Well, Leo’s second race and my third is in the books and it was a fun one!
The Turtle Trot 5K began last year to benefit our local nature parks and their amazing programs. The folks running these places don’t just keep the parks up beautifully, they also do a ton of work in schools and around the community to educate folks about environmental matters. Both Leo and I are happy to be supporting their efforts.
The morning of April 14 was surprisingly gorgeous – a most-welcome cold front brought morning temps down to the high 60’s and humidity levels somewhat lower than “jungle.” It was a welcome relief here in West-Central Florida, where it’s already starting to feel like summer. For a small race, things were surprisingly well organized with lots and lots of volunteers getting runners checked in, running water tables and keeping folks informed about where to be and when. Kudos to all involved!
The course first wound through McGough Nature Park on asphalt and gravel trails that would allow runners to go two abreast with room for a third to pass, then left the park for several blocks of closed residential streets, entered a Bonner Park and continued through its VERY narrow, very rough (as in dirt, rocks and big, gnarled roots) paths, exited back into the few blocks of streets, and finished with a short jaunt through McGough’s paths again to the finish line in the parking lot. I heard that the number of participants had doubled since last year and there were a few spots where things got log-jammed. Particularly problematic were the super narrow trails in Bonner Park, where it was impossible to pass due to the thick vegetation (that could very well have housed any number of poisonous fauna) on either side. It was a short stretch, though, and it was supposed to be a fun race, so I didn’t see it as a major problem. I do hope they cap it at this year’s total, though, and maybe consider starting in waves; I can’t imagine a bigger pool of racers working.
Leo and I finished with an official time of 43:59, blowing away Leo's previous 50:32 race time! He walked an awful lot of it and complained often of being “too tired” to run. I don’t get it; we train at a much better pace than that. For whatever reason, he just wasn’t feeling it, I guess. But he finished and had a good time doing it, and I’m very, very proud of him.
No medals for this one, and we weren’t lucky enough to win one any of the many great raffle prizes (all of which came with a dozen or more fresh shrimp – gotta love FL!), but there were yummy muffins and fresh fruit after the race, as well as T-shirts and swag bags full of all sorts of coupons for local merchants.