The Winter Park 10K Road Race

On Saturday, March 12th, I forced myself out of my warm, cozy bed to lace on my sneakers and head out to run the Winter Park 10K Road Race.

I remember lying there, trying to come up with a valid excuse to skip, desperate to go back to sleep. Despite my better judgment, I had stayed up late watching House of Cards with my hubby, and I knew I would regret it when the alarm rang at 5am.

Somehow, I forced myself out of bed. Honestly, I don’t know what made me do it. I could have easily lied and told my husband I overslept or, to be frank, told him the truth: I didn’t want to go.

But why didn’t I want to go?

I had registered for the race months in advance. I had stepped up my cardio at the gym, and I had no one to impress: my friends and family weren’t running it with me, so I had signed up to do it all on my own.

So, why didn’t I want go to?

I was scared I couldn’t do it.

Not physically unable, but mentally. I knew I could do 90 minutes of cardio at the gym (absorbed in a movie on my ipad), but could I run with 35,00 other people with nothing but my thoughts and the asphalt?

I didn’t trust my will power. I didn’t trust my resolve. I didn’t trust myself.

I was scared to see myself fail, even though no one else would ever know. And I almost skipped the run.

But, somehow, I did it. I got up. I got dressed. I choked down a protein bar and sipped some water, and I drove to Winter Park while my husband and puppies slept peacefully.

I was anxious when I parked. I felt nauseated when I picked up my race number and t-shirt. I debated heading back to the car a hundred times, but as I saw runners of all shapes and sizes arrive, eager to run, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong thing.

It didn’t matter if I had to stop and walk. It didn’t matter if I was slower than the other women my age.

I was already winning.

I was here. I was willing to try. I was doing more than the other quarter of a million people living in the Orlando-area who weren’t up at 6am, stretching their calves on a curb. I was going to run, or jog, or run/jog, or run/walk, or whatever it was that I was going to do – I was here.

I sang along to the Star Spangled Banner and took off with the gun shot, and I ran.Well, jogged quickly, as I was working my way through 3,500 people just to get to the real starting line.

Before we’d gone half of a mile, people started to walk. I passed people younger than me, and people who looked like they lived in the gym. I felt a little stronger with each person I passed.

When I hit the one mile mark, the clock read 10:08.

Now, 10:08 isn’t a record mile by any means, but everyone knows the first mile is always inaccurate, as the real race clock starts when you cross the starting line, so seeing 10:08 meant my real first mile was likely closer to 9:30 or so. That was a good pace for a 10K (6.2 miles, in case you’re not into the metric system), but was it sustainable? Most of my 5Ks were around 28 minutes, so a 9:30/mile for a 10K didn’t seem realistic.

At mile two, the clock read 19:35.

Wait a second. Did I get faster? That couldn’t be right. I must have misread it.

Before I hit mile three, I realized a lot of people had “dropped off” from the run. Not quit the race, of course, but they’d stopped to walk along the way. The people I was pacing with now were in it for the long haul. I spotted a middle-aged man, maybe in his early 50s, who was in great shape and holding almost the exact same stride as me. I decided he would be my mental-pacer, the person I would try to stay with throughout the rest of the race.

At the 5K (3.1) mark, the clock read 28:04.

Wait, what? I AM getting faster.

At mile four, there was a hill. Now, for anyone who knows Florida, we don’t have hills. At all. But Winter Park has a few baby ones, and one happened to be at mile four. It may have been small, but it BURNED. But I kept with my pace-buddy (did he think I was stalking him?), and I made it.

At mile five, the clock read 48:37. I have never run five miles in less than 50 minutes in my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to cry, but then I realized how silly it would be to start crying during a 10K and I kept going.

Did I mention I hadn’t stopped? I had kept running –and kept up with my pacer– for the entire time so far.

Mile six gave me a jolt of excitement. I could see the finish. I could hear the music. I had very few people around me now, and most of the “droppers” were gone. I was with the runners.

I crossed the finish line at 56:46. I ran 6.2 miles in 56 minutes and 46 seconds. How? What? Holy shit.

Race 56.46

Sorry about the ridiculous watermarks, but I can’t pay $28.99 for a single JPG. Seriously, Track Shack??

Come to find out, my official race time was 56:10. I ran the 10K at a 9:02/mile average pace, faster than I normally run my 5Ks.

Let’s summarize this a bit:

I woke up anxious. I spent the entire morning afraid I couldn’t run the race (regardless of pace). I had to give myself a pep talk just to start the run, and yet I set a PERSONAL RECORD?



I’m glad I didn’t let my mind hold me prisoner on Saturday morning, for I never would have known just how strong I could be.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori


Running in April!

Keeping up with my resolutions for the new year, I’ve been doing no less than one 5k per month since January. I’ve tried to pace them out every 2-3 weeks, as getting up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning is not something I’m able to do on a daily basis (without massacring a small village).

Fortunately for me, with the month of April comes a lot of EVENING 5ks! YES!

As the Florida days get longer and the evenings are still cool, several events are moving to PM-time slots. I don’t know about you, but running at 6:30pm is a LOT better than running at 7am – my legs are already warm, I’m well fed and watered, and chances are I’ve got some steam to burn off from a stressful day at work.

Excited for all of the evening possibilities, I accidentally signed up for FOUR runs this month. Whoops! Looks like it’s going to be a busy, running-filled April!

Here’s my calendar —

The Tijuana Flats Just in Queso Super You 5k!
Where: Baldwin Park, FL.
When: Thursday, April 3rd @ 6:30pm

SuperMom 5K Orlando
Where: Baldwin Park, FL.
When: Saturday, April 12th @ 8am (will need coffee, but this is reasonable!)
What I’m Most Excited About: I’m running in place of my sister-in-law, Lindsey Perez, one of the coolest moms I know!

IOA Corporate 5K
Where: Lake Eola, FL
When: Thursday, April 17th @ 7:15pm
What I’m Most Excited About: Racing with the Full Sail University team!

Run for the Trees Memorial 5K
Where: Winter Park, FL
When: Saturday, April 26th @ 7:30am (feed me coffee!)
What I’m Most Excited About: I get a free tree at the end of the run! Too bad I kill every plant I touch. 😦

WHEW! I’m exhausted just LOOKING at this schedule. I’ve got a run every single week! This is the best time of year to be a runner in Florida (dry season + longer days of sunshine + the temperature doesn’t match the pits of Hell yet) so I plan to capitalize on the climate and get out there as much as possible.

Not really FAST (is that false advertising?), but I'm committed!

Not really FAST (is that false advertising?), but I’m committed!




Who wants to join me? 🙂 There’s still plenty of time to sign up!

Bon appetit, my friends, and happy running!

~ Tori