Seventh time’s a charm, but is it the last charm?
I have participated in this race every year since it’s inception. The first two years, I stayed with Jen, and drove to Mount Dora the day of the race (it’s only one hour away). The past five years, it has become a family tradition. Unfortunately, I may be the only one in the family that feels this way. With Lindsey coming to town from New York, and Rachel finished with finals at FSU, I just assumed everyone would be on-board with this mini-vacation. Boy, was I wrong. Mount Dora was played out, and no one really wanted to go. Most surprising was Lindsey, since she had never run this race. On top of everything else, I reserved a two bedroom cottage at our usual go-to spot, the Historic Mount Dora Inn. Since these reservations were made a year in advance, I did not factor in the new living arrangements for both the youngins. This race weekend also falls right in the middle of a potential vacation not named Mount Dora. With all of this taken into account, I don’t know if this race will be in any future plans. Rachel eventually changed her mind, and would go up for the weekend with Glenda and me. Lindsey had made plans, and would hold down the fort in the 954.
We left around noon on Friday, and vowed to find something interesting to do on Saturday. It only takes a few hours to walk through downtown, so we thought we would venture out to some of the surrounding areas (Clermont, Leesburg, etc.). Wine tasting was definitely an option, but the weather didn’t look as if it were going to cooperate. We didn’t hit any rain on the way up, but you could see it had poured earlier in the day. The cottage was really nice; a big step up from our usual one bedroom bungalow. A Sandhouse family tradition in Mount Dora is to watch holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel (mostly because there is only one television, and football is not an option). The rain started to come down again, so we would take to the TV, and try and eat supper around 7:30. We made reservations at Café Gianni’s, which is literally a five-minute walk from the cottage. The rain eased up enough for us to go, and the food was fantastic (as always). Our server suggested we go to Oak Haven Farms & Winery on Saturday. They have strawberry picking and wine tasting, which is right up our alley. We walked around to see the holiday lights, which are truly second to none. The rain started shortly after that, so back to the cottage for an all-night Hallmark Channel marathon.
We slept in Saturday morning, and made our way out around noon. The race packet pickup was right next door, and the shirts were a total departure from the previous races (I say that in a good way). It had rained during the night, and the prospects of seeing the sun were slim and none. On our way to grab a bite to eat, we stopped in The Cellar Door Tasting Room & Wine Bar. After a couple of glasses, we staggered over to One Flight Up, which is another one of our usual spots. It was now raining on and off, and Oak Haven was closed for the day. We dodged the raindrops, as we did some shopping in the downtown area. We actually made some purchases, including bath balms, wine (of course), and candles. Back at the cottage, it was more Hallmark Channel movies, and napping. We went to Jeremiah’s for supper, which was a new experience for us. It is about one-half mile from the cottage, and I guess you could consider it a sports bar. The food was good, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. Back to the room, I went to sleep, as the Hallmark Channel marathon resumed.
The race started at 7am, with the starting line less than five minutes from the cottage. The temperature was around 60°, with very little chance of rain. I made the decision to wear a long sleeve running shirt, which I instantly regretted once I walked out the door. The high for the race would only reach around 63°, but it just didn’t seem so cold. 840 runners stood tall for the National Anthem, which was 137 less than last year. I think the inclement weather may have kept some of them away, and there was a half marathon in Jacksonville the previous day (once again, speculation on my part). Once we were off and running, I was immediately in bad shape. It’s hard to explain, but I felt as if I were having a panic attack. My heart was pounding, and I was out of breath. I considered doing intervals, but would give it a few miles before I would make that decision. I slowed the pace down a little, which didn’t seem to help as much as I would have hoped. Slowly but surely, the feeling started to go away. As I was passing Mount Dora High School (around the three mile mark), I was feeling much better.
I was sad that this may have been my swan song, but I booked reservations for next year…Just in case.
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON