I am an ambassador for the Best Damn Race series. I am compensated for my promotion of the BDR events with race entries and sponsor gifts. All opinions are my own.
The Best Damn Race Orlando 10K + 5K Challenge was a Christmas gift from my parents (thanks, guys!). I’m not entirely sure WHY Meghan and I decided running 9.3 miles that day would be a great idea, but it would keep me on track for Gate River Run and Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon training, so it was definitely the right call.
Last year, due to my hip injury, I ended up not even being able to make the trip down to Orlando attempt the 5K, so I was chomping at the bit to get back to this venue. I love the series, and would, one day, love to run all of the BDR races, as scheduling allows.
I drove down to Orlando on Friday afternoon. I would be staying with Meghan at her house, and we decided that we would just pick up our packets on race morning, so I didn’t have to rush around downtown, and we could spend more time carb-loading and catching up.
It was the right call.
Dinner at TR Fire Grill was beyond amazing, and we were feeling quite well-fueled when we finally headed to bed.
Since the races started at 7:05AM, we were out the door just a little after 5:30. We had to stop for a bagel (I forgot my granola bar), and then we snagged parking in a $5 lot a few blocks from the start line.
The morning was pretty chilly and windy, and I was mostly glad for lower temperatures.
Packet pickup was fairly easy (although a lot of people did opt for race day pickup). We got our t-shirts and wristbands for the beer garden, and then dropped our bags with a friend (although gear check was also an easy option).
We met up with some of our fellow ambassadors and took some pre-race photos. With people running three different races at different times, it was hard to coordinate a big group photo and there were still some running buddies we didn’t get to see. Next time!
With the 10K starting soon, Meghan and I made a run to the portapotties on our way to the start line.
Corrals were self-seeded and we found ourselves a nice spot. After the National Anthem, the 10K runners started out.
When I ran this course two years ago, it was slick and wet and misty. This year it was chilly and windy, but the terrain didn’t really offer too many issues. Yes, there are a lot of bricks in downtown Orlando, but it wasn’t too bad for the 6.2 mile distance. The majority of the race takes place in some very pretty neighborhoods, and then winds back into the city for the final push to the finish line.
I like the course. It’s interesting, with some small elevation variety. I believe we counted four or five aid stations along the 10K course, although I was too cold to stop for hydration (which Meghan told me was freaking her out). I opted out of my handheld water bottle, because I knew I could get Nuun on the course, but I just never wanted any.
We finished all smiles and made our way through the chute to collect our medals, a bottle of water and then a fruit popsicle. Yum.
There was about 40 minutes until the 5K started, so we spent the time taking pictures of our first piece of bling, going to the restroom. And hitting up the beer garden. Because it just felt like the right thing to do.
Before we knew it, it was time to go again. The 5K was just an abbreviated version of the 10K, and it was a nice run. We spent 3.1 miles chatting and laughing (and with me skipping the water stops again). The wind had definitely kicked up, so our last stretch to the finish line was a little more challenging. Boo.
But we smiled all the same.
(Yes, Best Damn Race offers free race photos! It’s such a great perk and we ended up with several good photos!)
At this point, we were plenty warm, and it was time to get a snack. Best Damn Race is known for his post-party, and we were happy to grab a selection from the food tent: I got a cold Diet Coke, brownie bite and slice of pizza (they also had oranges and bananas, candy, chips and other goodies), and then we returned to the beer garden.
This year, I didn’t have anything going on at home, so I was able to hang out and enjoy the festivities a bit.
It ended up being such a nice morning, and I almost didn’t want to leave.
On our way back to Meghan’s house, we stopped at Se7en Bites for breakfast and drinks. Eggs, grits, fried green tomatoes and a delicious garlic biscuit with a blackberry sangria. It was absolutely everything we needed, and then some.
I was really happy we decided to go ahead with the challenge. I confess that I was having a very hard time getting over the seven mile hump in my training, and getting through 9.3 with a friend made it all so much more bearable and put a great spin of momentum on the weeks ahead.
I am so grateful to Meghan for being such a great running buddy (and gracious hostess) – we are incredibly well matched, and my biggest complaint is that we don’t live closer to do more regular training together.
So ends another fabulous season of BDR (for me). I am hoping to add some other locations to my calendar next season (um, New Orleans anyone?), but we will see how it goes!
What foods and drinks do you like to see at a post-race party?
5K, 10K or both?