Luau 5K with US Road Running Race Club

Luau 5K at Heritage Harbor Park in Bradenton, FL

Today I ran the Luau 5K, decked out in my Hawaiian finest!

I know a 5K is not a very impressive distance, but it’s exciting for me since I’d thought my running days were over.

My Running Buddy, Bonnie

I used to run a lot. My main running buddy was my neighbor, Bonnie. We ran so many races together over the past 20 years. These included several Bolder Boulder 10Ks, the famed Bay to Breakers in California, the Denver Rock’n’Roll Marathon, the Horsetooth Half-Marathon, and countless 5Ks. In fact, in 2013, we ran a 5K every month in costume.

A year of costumed 5Ks

Running Again After Bone Density Improvement

Then, 5 years ago, I had some major back problems, including osteoporosis.

I was at risk for a vertebra fracture, so the doctors recommended against high-intensity sports like running.

However, after 5 years of AlgaeCal, my bone density improved and I’m no longer osteoporotic! (I’ll probably write some other blog post about Algaecal and my success story with that, but I don’t want to get too far off topic.)

Last Fall, I was walking with Bonnie, and told her that my back was better and I was thinking I’d be able to run 5Ks again. We remembered how much fun we’d had with our Year of Costumed 5Ks and agreed that we wanted to do something like that again.

However, I spend winters in Florida, so we couldn’t physically do a monthly event together. Bonnie suggested we each do a challenge of our choice and share photos.

US Road Running Race Club

I was excited about the idea of running again. When I searched for 5K races in Bradenton, Florida, I discovered the US Road Running Race Club! They host monthly races and (here’s the best part) they have theme-based costume contests!

Welcome Gift from the US Road Running Race Club

The club sent an unexpected Welcome card (so sweet!) and T-shirt. Race entrance fees are 50% off when you join the club and they even offer the ability to do virtual races and submit pictures on their Facebook page!

Today’s race had a theme of “Luau.” Since I didn’t bring my wide array of costumes with me from Colorado, I ordered a pink hula skirt and matching leis. It wasn’t the most creative of costumes, but I was happy with it.

And guess what? I won the costume contest!

Of course, I’m pretty sure I was the only runner who came to the event wearing a costume. My fine-tuned strategy when it comes to winning contests is to be the soul contestant.

The volunteers and workers at the race were handing out leis. (Another gold star for US Road Running Race Club!) I think the person who was in charge of the picking the winner of the costume contest was a little worried until she saw me, just before the race start.

She immediately told me I’d won the contest, gave me my medal, and took a picture of me at the front of the pack at the starting line. Instant celebrity!

Even though other people think it would be embarrassing to be the only one in costume, I embrace my inner-child.

I admit, it IS embarrassing to be the only adult in competition with kids. Luckily there were no kids who were dressed up.

It’s also awkward and embarrassing when the costume contest is settled by audience applause. Go ahead, cute little kids, steal the show!

But blissfully, I was the soul contestant and scored an easy win!

High-quality medals!

I came home with two high-quality medals – one for the Best Costume and one for finishing the Luau race.

The weather was perfect and running felt really good! The low altitude and flat terrain (along with my slow pace) made it an easy race. Five years ago I thought I’d never be able to run again. I thought I might be in constant pain. Who knows what the future will bring, but I’m so grateful for today.

This was one of the highlights of the month for me and a wonderful way to start 2024.

Thank you US Road Running Race Club! Looking forward to more!

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