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Best Damn Race Orlando

by Meghann on March 2, 2014

What a difference a week and great weather makes. Last week at Gasparilla I was struggling to get under 2:00, this week at Best Damn Race Orlando I was finishing under 1:50 with a big ole smile on my face. I forgot I even had that time in me!


Whoop! Whoop!

It felt so good to be back in Orlando this weekend. It’s been a while since I stayed the night there and I forgot how much I missed it. I drove to Orlando to work the expo with a co-worker on Friday and it was a big ole trip down memory lane. We spent Friday at our booth, then had dinner at Brick & Fire near downtown. We ordered the Girl & Fig. 100% recommend. The crust is made with a red ale beer and is mouthwatering delicious.


We stayed at a nearby hotel in downtown and were up super early for race day.

cory vines top

I made a cup of coffee with the hotel coffee pot and had a Clif Bar in the car.

The weather was already looking great for an amazing race day. There was a slight chill in the air and zero humidity – such a difference from the hot and humid races I ran last month. I was feeling good about this, but I still wasn’t sure just how good. My Best Damn Race buddy Beka (who I’ve run both Best Damn Races with in Safety Harbor and planned to run Orlando as well) was gunning for a PR, which would be anything under 1:54. I felt like crap getting to 1:58 last week – could I do 1:54? I was doubtful, but I never back away from a challenge.


We found few other buddies to join us as well. Loved seeing so many Orlando and Tampa friends on race day!



Left to right: Victoria, me, Stephanie, Beka, Michelle, Rachel, Paula, Carissa

We got to the starting line a few minutes before gun time. It was a smaller race, so there was plenty of room the stretch and breathe at the start. There were five of us who decided to start as a group, then gradually move into our own paces as we needed to. This was a fun race, we were all laughing and just enjoying the beautiful morning.


The race started right on time and, again, the start was such a difference from last week’s Gasparilla Half. We crossed the line almost immediately and there was no crowding or bunching. Everyone was running about the same pace and there were no walkers to dodge – it was the perfect race start.

I felt great right from the beginning. I was really just enjoying the run and trying not to think much about my pace, I was just going with the flow and keeping up with my friends. We stuck together for the first few miles talking about running and babies (my sister’s little bun in the oven to be exact). I was feeling really talkative for some reason, so it was a great distraction from the pace.

The Best Damn Race Orlando Course is a little wonky. Lots of turns with some funky out and backs. It wasn’t a bad course, just an interesting one.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 11.23.56 AM

The first couple of miles covered some brick roads, which required a little extra attention – the uneven surface makes the brick roads susceptible to tripping and rolled ankles. We were not fans of the brick roads, which seemed to go on and on at the beginning of the course, but there were thankfully nonexistent at the end.

Somewhere around the 5K mark we started dropping girls from our group. Beka, who was trying to PR, was looking crazy strong. We were averaging sub-8:30s and kept asking if she wanted to hold back, but she said she felt great and wanted to keep pushing through. It was Victoria, Beka, and I at this point and I definitely started to feel like the weakest link, but made it my mission to keep up with them as long as I could.


Around mile 6 my left calf/foot went numb. It was odd, the rest of my leg felt great – and I was still holding a decent pace – but I couldn’t feel my left foot at all. I started debating in my head – should I stop? should I keep going? am I damaging my leg further? I decided that since it was just numbness – and not pain – that I would keep going. If my leg started hurting at all, I would slow down.

Gradually I started slipping further and further behind Beka and Victoria. Beka was looking so strong, I knew she was going to make her goal – and then some – I didn’t want to hold her back.  I put both of my earphones in and just ran. Beka and Victoria always stayed in eyesight, but I was officially on my own at this point.

We hit the funky out and back stretch from mile 7-8 and I saw a few of my friends running in front and behind me. Everyone had smiles and no one looked like they were in pain. I’m telling you, the weather was amazing, how could you not have a great race on a day like this?

Best Damn Race did a great job with aide stations. There was an aide station at almost every mile of the course and each station was also well stocked with both gatorade, water, and amazing volunteers who I made sure to give a big thank you to every time I passed. I took both a cup of gatorade and water at every station and grabbed a Vanilla Gu around mile 8.

When I got to mile 9 I did some quick math and realized that If I kept this pace I would be coming pretty close to going sub-1:50. Umm.. what? How did that happen? The feeling in my foot had returned (thank goodness for that one!) and I was feeling good – heck, I could really do this.

I caught up with a guy ahead of me and told him if we kept this pace we could go sub-1:50. He laughed and said his goal was to beat that. I knew he wouldn’t have a problem. We went back and forth for the next mile and a half, then he pulled ahead in the last mile – he was going to beat that goal with time to spare.

We circled around the final stretch of downtown onto Rosalind Ave and I started looking for our final turn onto Central. The girl in front me turned around and said “I read your blog!” We exchanged mutual hate for the awful headwind and she told she was well on her way to a PR. We made the final turn onto Central together and could see the finish line ahead – so close, yet so far!

I knew I didn’t have it in me to sprint at that point, but told her to go for it. I told her the finish line was all hers. She started sprinting about halfway down Central, and I started my push as soon as I reached the stretch of spectators. I gave it my all and jumped into the finish line (can’t wait to see that picture!).


Done! Official finish of 1:48:30 – a full 10 minutes faster than my finish at Gasparilla a week earlier. I’ll take it!!

I immediately found Beka and Victoria and gave them big hugs. Beka didn’t just beat her goal – SHE CRUSHED IT!!! She came in around 1:47, giving her a full 7 minute PR – INSANE!


One -by-one our other friends started coming through with big smiles on their faces. Almost everyone had a great race and there were loads of PRs to go around.

In fact, you should have seen the line at the PR bell. It was consistently 10 people deep and everyone had a huge smile on their face.


We hit up the food and loaded up on bagels, fruit, and chips.


Yum. Yum. Yum.

And look who I found at the beer tent.


Katy! Who KILLED it at the 10k/5K challenge.

Oh, and I have to comment on my top.


Cory Vines had sent me a Racerback Tank to test and review this past month and I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve worn it on a couple of runs before and I just love the material – it’s so soft and breathable, you almost forget you’re wearing a top. The tank is also loose and long, so I never had a problem with it riding up or cutting into me. You can’t beat the color either – love the purple. Check out Cory Vines HERE.  (psstt.. the top is a steal at $25!)

It was a great day for a race. You seriously can’t beat a flat course, amazing friends, and perfect weather – why can’t all race days be like that? I wasn’t sure I had a sub-1:50 in me anymore (my pr is a 1:45:39 from 2012, but I trained my ass off for it and I remembered how much it hurt to run that). This race was the confidence booster I needed before diving into training for the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon this June. I thought maybe I could train for another sub-4:00 (or even a PR!), but wasn’t sure I could still do it. Now I’m sure I can. This race was just what I needed to prove that. I’ve got this – bring it on, Seattle!!


For the Love of Lola

Derek’s family friend is walking in the Energy for Life Walk at Al Lopez Park on March 22nd in honor of little Lola Lee who recently lost her battle with mitochondrial disease.  This walk helps to raise money for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. The money goes to support research, education/ awareness and support families/individuals in our local area living with mitochondrial disease. Please take a minute to check out their donation page and support their fight against this terrible disease.








1 Gillian March 2, 2014 at 11:52 am

So jealous of the nice weather! My goal is to do another 5K in April or May when I can enjoy the same thing 🙂

2 Lesley March 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Great job! I’ll have to check out that company for more workout tops. I love tank tops but not ones that ride up.
Lesley recently posted..Random Sunday Musings 3/2

3 Meghan R March 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

It was great seeing you again this weekend 🙂 Glad to hear you had such a great race!

4 Lauren March 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Congrats and great recap! Love that tank too!
Lauren recently posted..Spinspiration

5 Molly Rose March 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Great job!! You WILL get your goal at your marathon, you’re a beast!! Again, it was really great meeting you and I hope to bump into you more in some local races 🙂
Molly Rose recently posted..Best Damn Race

6 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs March 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I LOVE my Cory Vines gear — so comfy & soft, and such a great price! Can’t beat it 🙂
Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs recently posted..Weekend Links

7 Mo (@rushourunner) March 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Awesome job, you sure did crush it! And I love your top, thank you so much for posting the link. I’m ordering one for myself in purple (my favorite color) as I type 🙂
Mo (@rushourunner) recently posted..pulaski 10K RR

8 Lindsey March 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm


will you be posting your marathon training plan? Just wondering, I’m running a marathon and it would nice to compare it with someone who knows what she is doing

9 Meghann March 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Yep! I plan to. A friend is creating it and I’ll post about it as soon as it’s available.

10 Montana Ross March 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

First off congrats on a great run! Best Damn Race was lots of fun and it was great weather, definitely a difference from Gasparilla! I beat my time from last week by 4 minutes so it must have made a difference! Did you by any chance stay at a Rosen hotel? Looking at your pic in the room it looks exactly like mine where I’m staying! Just wondering lol. Hope you enjoyed your weekend 🙂

11 Meghann March 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Nope, I was at the Doubletree 🙂

12 Amanda Elizabeth March 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

That’s awesome congratulations! You definitely had beautiful weather! So fun meeting up with fellow Tampa runners 🙂
Amanda Elizabeth recently posted..Friday Favorites

13 Victoria March 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Had fun running with you! Congrats on a great time! 🙂

14 Ashley March 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Congrats on the great race!
Ashley recently posted..What We Do When It’s Freezing

15 Jen March 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Great race! My first marathon will be the Seattle Rock n roll. I did the half last year and it was awesome.

16 Michelle March 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

I’m so glad I forced myself to run with you guys for the first few miles. It set me up for an amazing run.

Congrats on getting back to a sub 1:50 pace 🙂
Michelle recently posted..Pre-Planning Planning

17 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

Wow awesome time!!! Glad you had a great run – I really want to do this race one day.
Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..Weekly Recap: 2/24 – 3/2 {and March Goals}

18 Beth March 3, 2014 at 7:28 am

It was nice to meet you! Where DID that wind come from?!? And I’ll expect to see you next spring at the Tallahassee half marathon!

19 SJ March 3, 2014 at 8:34 am

Hey Meghann, have you posted your training schedule for your upcoming marathon? I’m doing a half in a week and have a marathon scheduled for early June as well so we’re on a similar schedule. I’d love to see it!

20 Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

Great job on the run!! This is why I love running, sometimes your body just does amazing things and this was one of those! 🙂
Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} recently posted..Weekend Recap {Work, Work, Work, Oscars!}

21 Laura March 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

Great race! I bet the Seattle marathon will be an amazing time, I love that city!
Laura recently posted..Ironman Raleigh 70.3 Training Plan

22 Christina March 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

Based on your prior races, you definitely do have another sub-4:00 (by a lot) in you, I believe. Just a matter of training smartly and running often. Obviously, your body still remembers how to run fast, and it won’t take much effort to get back to where you were.

I’m looking forward to it! I love reading about training and stuff like that. Congrats on this race!

23 Beth March 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

Always nice to see you at the expo so I have someone fun to chat with! Congrats on your race! 🙂
Beth recently posted..February Stats/Recap + Last Week’s Workouts

24 Heather Montgomery March 3, 2014 at 11:47 am

Great job on the race! Now I must run a race with a PR bell, looks so fun!

25 Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian March 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

You get the best medals! Love it.
Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian recently posted..Motivational Monday

26 Meghan March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Good weather always helps. Need some here in Jersey!
Meghan recently posted..SS day 6

27 Runner Girl Eats March 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Congrats on a great run! Can’t wait to read about your training for Seattle. You’re training posts are always so inspiring 🙂

28 Kristen @ Glitter and Dust March 4, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Awesome race results and report, Meghann. It looks like a super fun race. I am so curious about the skirts you wear during a lot of your races… what brand are they and are they comfortable to run in. You look really cute!
Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted..One Of The Best Birthdays… Ever!

29 Sara March 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

Have you ever done the Florida Beach Halthathon? I’m going to be in town from New England that weekend and am thinking about doing it, but would love to hear some thoughts on the race before I sign up. I’m running Boston in April so I thought it might be a good check-in race. Excited for some warmth and sunshine in your neck of the woods!

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