Saturday, December 10, 2011
Reindeer Run 2011
Today is my normal run day, but I definitely didn't do my normal run. No, I got to run through Sea World Orlando for the Reindeer Run 2011. I had a great time and got to see the park for the first time!
As you guys know, I had started looking for smaller races to do between half marathons and last week a friend of mine at work told me he was doing the Reindeer 5k and that it was a run through Sea World. I jumped on the chance to join and today we finally got to do it.
There was pre-registration, but I didn't really pay attention until it was too late so I arrived early and signed up at the event. The website had said that you might get a shirt if you register the day of and so I was hoping to get there early for a regular shirt. Well, they beat my expectations... I got a tech shirt! There wasn't really a goody bag, but I was more than happy with a 1/2 ticket to Sea World, the tech shirt, and food at the end. The race was only $35 so I wasn't expecting too much.
The run started just outside of the park and the first mile was around the parking lot. As one would expect, there really wasn't much to see. Then the second mile was inside the park and you ran past all the major areas. You past Sea World on Ice!, Shamu Stadium, Dolphin Nursery, Blue Horizon, etc... I wish you could have seen more, but I totally understand how that could freak out the animals if a few thousand runners kept running by.
Santa was out to cheer runners on, as well as some Sea World trainers, and even a drug dog (although I have a feeling he was doing a pre-opening sweep of the park...). Santa's cheering helped get me to the end. I finished the race in 28 minutes and 14 seconds!
At the end of the race there was a post-race party that had water and some sports drink, hot chocolate and cookies, goldfish, and more cookies. They had a nice center area you could relax, or two more pavilions. One pavilion had registration for the "Rudolf Run", I'm assuming a mile dash for little kids. The last pavilion had some booths, a stage where they handed out top 8 finisher awards and had a costume contest. There was a picture spot out so I got a picture with my friends who I went with.
They even had animals out with trainers walking around. We saw a opossum and heard there was a penguin somewhere. Then, they brought Clyde the sea lion out! I got really excited since I used to work at a marine mammal rehabilitation center and sea lions were our main patients. They let us get pictures with him so of course I had to get one!
The only things that I think they could have worked on is placing out their water spots a bit better. One water spot was at mile 1 and the next was at mile 1.5-ish. Then you didn't get water until you finished. Luckily it was only a 5k, but it would have been nice to have the second water stop between mile 2 and 3 somewhere.
I'll definitely be remembering this race for next year. It was a great way to get my weekly run in and work on my speed. Plus I can't really complain since I did get to run through Sea World before the park opened...