Gasparilla: Day 1 (15K & 5K)
|March 3, 2012||Posted by Katy under Race Photographs, Race recap|
2 races down, 1 to go!
It was an absolutely beautiful day to race down here in Tampa! I had a blast running back-to-back races!
This morning started as all race mornings do: early wakeup (4:30am), rice cakes and PB, checking all my social media platforms, and watching the news.
Unlike other big races I’ve done in the past, I was not nervous at all. I was unusually calm about gearing up to races two races, something I have never done before. Of course I was a bit excited to take on this challenge!
My mom and I headed Downtown at around 5:30 and parked in one of the garages near the convention center. After a quick gear check, I headed out to the start corrals for the first race of the day- the 15K.
When I was walking to the corrals, I knew that we were in for a hot day. It was already pretty warm and humid, and the sun was just coming up. However, lately I have been purposely doing my runs in the warmer parts of the day to prepare myself physically and mentally for the warmer temperatures that are starting to creep into Florida.
For this race, I decided to run with 9:00 pacer for as long as I felt comfortable and then let him go ahead towards the middle of the race. I am notorious for going out too quickly during races and since I am not planning to PR this weekend, I felt fine keeping my pace on the conservative side.
I relaxed in the corrals for about 30 minutes as more and more people started to position themselves by predicted pace time. Then before I knew it, the National Anthem was sung, the wheelchair athletes were released, followed by the runners who have ran Gasparilla races for 35 years!
At 7:05am, it was finally our turn to cross the start line! Let the Gasparilla weekend begin!!!
The first 1/2 mile was congested, but having run a few Disney races in the past, I knew that it would eventually thin out a little. There were a few elbow bumps and near falls, but other than that, it was not too bad.
I quickly settled into around a 9:00 pace and just reflected on the fact that I was FINALLY here! After being forced to defer last year, I was finally running the first of three races that have been on my mind for so long. Truth be told, I was getting a little emotional just thinking about it!
Around the mile 4, we saw the elite runners on their way to the finish line. I wish that I could be that speedy!
Around mile 5.5 or 6, the heat was starting to get to me a bit and the 9:00 pace sign was getting further and further away from me. With no pressure to PR, I decided to pull back my pace a little. My legs still felt good, but I was having a little chest pain and did not want to aggravate an asthma attack.
It was also around this time that I started walking through water stations. Normally I do this during races but I completely forgot to do this when I was with the pacer. The little 10 second walk breaks helped me re-group and get back on track.
Even though the backstretch of the course was super hot (with the sun glaring off the water), this was my favorite part of the course. The view was beautiful, the spectators were awesome and there were three misting stations you could run through to cool off.
There were also spectators handing out Krispy Kreme donuts (which I passed on) and beads! For whatever reason, the beads really made me smile and I could not get rid of my stupid goofy grin for the remainder of the race.
I was having wayyyy too much fun because I was actually sad when I saw the “1 Mile To Go” sign!
I booked it during the last mile to finish in 1:26:31. That is about 4 minutes slower than my 15K PR, but still a solid time. After collecting my medal, I went back to the convention center to find my mom, grab my Luna bar, and head back to the start corrals for the 5K. I decided to drop back from the yellow corral into the blue to run with my mom.
By this point it was getting very warm, and with no shade in the corrals, it was pretty brutal. I tried my best to avoid the sun by sitting down and stretching until the corrals moved forward.
At 9:40, our corral was off and running!
I was the “official” pacer for my mom. We were trying to break her 5K PR that she set back in September. Our plan was a 3:1 run-to-walk ratio, and I let my mom dictate the running pace that she felt comfortable. The course was much more crowded than the 15K and it was impossible to not weave around people.
It was incredibly hot and I was trying my best to keep my mom motivated and on target for a PR. I shouted out my favorite running mantras and words of encouragement.
My mom was on target for a PR until mile 3 where she hit a bit of a wall. I could tell she was getting frustrated and I worked my best to keep her on pace, but unfortunately we slowed down a little. However, it didn’t matter because she still crossed the finish line in 43:42- less than two minutes slower than her PR.
Even though she did not PR, I am still so proud of her! She ran a great race in the heat and definitely pushed herself to her limit. I know that she will set a new PR soon!
After collecting our medals we headed to the convention center to collect my gear and head out to the after race party.
I happily collected my beer and celebrated my running accomplishments today!
I had an incredible time today and was very impressed by the organization of this event. The volunteers were amazing and everything ran pretty smooth. My only complaint was the lack of water right at the finish line. We had to walk a long way after each race (especially the 5K) to grab a bottle of water. Other than that, I couldn’t have asked for a better race experience!
12.4 miles down…13.1 to go!
I hear tomorrow is going to be rainy and windy. This will be interesting to say the very least…