Excalibur 10-Miler 2016 Recap

If you’ve ever been to a central Florida race, chances are you’ve seen somebody dressed up as a knight promoting the Excalibur 10-miler.  When they changed from finisher crowns to awesome medals, Mark and I decided to head down to Viera, FL.

I went into this race coming off a not-so-spectacular performance in New Orleans and a nearly 2 week running layoff after the voodoo doctor mistook my horrendous IT for a meniscus tear.  I really had no expectations for this race.  I knew I’d get a PR unless I laid down for a nap at mile 6, since my  last official 10-miler, the WDW Tower of Terror — a moment of silence please for this great race — resulted in near heat-exhaustion.  I did however go in with an A goal of 2:30.

We drove down on Saturday and stayed in Melbourne.  We found some good pizza and the Viera High School where the race would start.  The alarm went off really early Sunday.  We had to check out, drive the 30 minutes to the high school, and pick up our bibs.  Of course they ran out of shirts in Mark’s size and have to mail his.

I’d packed several options for race outfits because I wasn’t sure what the weather might do.  I settled on some CW-X shorts and a tank top, since the call was for rain.

Turns out it didn’t rain at all, but it was in the 70’s with 98% humidity.  Ugh.

We made our way to the start.  When you register, you pick a color, and that’s your knight.  The two knights dual at the start, then you run for glory.

photos courtesy of Running Zone

A little after 7, we took off.  There was a total of around 2500 people, with about half doing the relay.  The course felt pretty cozy for most of the race, running in one road lane or on sidewalks.  Mark had a hard effort run on his schedule for Star Wars Dark Side, so he took off around mile 2, at about where we passed the Washington Nationals spring training stadium.  Several Nationals were waiting pretty impatiently to turn left into the facility.  Sorry boys.

It was humid, but I felt pretty good. I took salt tabs with each Gu, and kept drinking my Nuun along with the course water every couple of miles.  My IT was tight but was holding up pretty well.  I did get passed by this girl:

Yes, 10 miles in flip flops.

5K split: 43:42

The course description mentioned a dirt road for a couple of miles.  Well, apparently in central Florida dirt road is code for loosely packed wet sand.

It was like running on the beach, and my IT really didn’t like it.  I resorted to running 1 or 1:30 and walking 1 for the length of it, and I had to stop  and stretch at the end.

5 mile split: 1:13:08

We turned off the sand and back onto roads and sidewalks alongside some really really nice houses.

Textbook form right there.

10K split: 1:32:44

Miles 8 & 9 started getting tough.  I started to feel those weeks off, and I was still trying to take it easy on my IT.  Mile 9 had a really frustrating out and back where you could only see people endlessly running even though the end was close.  I went back to running 1/walking 1 and tried to hang on until the end.  I chatted with other runners and even saw Mark pass me on the out and back.  Soon we headed around the school, through the tunnel, and finished on the track through a blow up castle.

I stopped my watch and saw 2:30:04!  My A goal!  Even better, later I looked at my chip time, and my official time was 2:29:57!  I beat my A goal!! On a tough course and rough weather.  Not my fastest 10 miles ever, but solid, and a good spot for the Star Wars Half in a few weeks.

They offered a great after party, and because it was a small race, there weren’t horrendous lines for photo ops, so we took advantage.

Then headed over to Disney World to kick the party up a notch.

Overall this was a good race, well organized and well supported, but I don’t know that we’ll travel back to do it again.  Doing away with the dirt road portion would make this a great fast race.

Official Time: 2:29:57
Overall: 1331 / 1617
AG: 126 / 160
Gender: 781 / 1015

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