This time of year is peak running season in Florida. With the mild temperatures, there are marathons, half marathons and 5Ks almost every weekend from November until April. As luck would have it, two of Central Florida’s biggest and most popular races, the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, traditionally fall on the same weekend. So the choice is yours: do you want to be a princess? Or a pirate? As an insane person, I opted for both.
Friday morning was the Disney Princess 5K. The theme was Frozen, and it couldn’t have been more fitting – a bizarre cold snap meant that temperatures at the 6:15 a.m. start were right around freezing. There were lots of “the cold never bothered me anyway” jokes as we tried to stay warm in our starting corrals. Disney 5Ks are extremely walker-friendly, so it was a pleasant (if brisk) meander through Epcot at sunrise. We jogged through World Showcase while “Let it Go” sung in several languages played on a loop, which I thought was a really nice touch. Kristoff, Anna, and Elsa were waiting to greet us toward the end, so I stopped to snap a quick (terrible) selfie.
I finished the race, then sped home, showered and went to work. (Remember the part where I said I’m insane?) That night, it was off to Tampa, where I was participating in the Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge. That meant Saturday morning I ran the 15K event, and Sunday I ran the 8K. The course both times was a gorgeous out and back along Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard. The weather continued to be insane, with chilly temperatures on Saturday (I ran in a zipped-up jacket, something I never do) giving way to almost 80 degrees on Sunday. Nothing like going from wearing multiple layers to getting tan lines over the course of 48 hours. Ah, Florida!
I covered 17.3 miles over three days, earned four medals, and I went back to work on Monday morning completely exhausted. But it was wonderful, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Race events coming up in Central Florida include the Orange Blossom Half Marathon and 5K in Tavares on March 1, and the Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe Winter Park Road Race 10k and 2 Mile on March 14. Check them out and come running with me!