Monday, March 1, 2010

Gasparilla Half Marathon

February 28, 2010

Race morning started off at 3:15 a.m. I wanted to leave by 3:45 a.m. and I needed some time to drink a cup of coffee before getting in the car and driving for an hour.
I got to Tampa just before 5 a.m. Just off the interstate, cars were backed up pretty far, but they seemed to be moving at a decent pace. I got a great spot on the first level parking garage next to the convention center. I got all my gear on, double checked that I had my race tag for my shoe and other needed things, then headed inside to meet up with friends Katie and Brenda from the WW marathon group. After making a pit stop, I found Katie and her husband waiting for me at our planned meet up place. We hung out and talked for a while, but Brenda didn't show up. Was a little worried she got held up in the traffic.

At 5:40, I decided to make another pit stop at the real bathrooms. Katie and her husband decided to head on down to the start line. I was not too far behind them when I ran into my friend Susan and her husband. Talked a little with them as we walked towards the start. I went off on my own and moved through the large crowd. Got as far forward as I could get. About in the middle of the large group. I could see the 4:30 marathon pace group just ahead of me, so I figured I was in a good enough spot.

The race got started pretty much on time at 6 a.m. It was pretty congested for a while, but thinned out a bit after a couple of miles. My first mile was pretty slow for a race, but maybe this was a good thing. I got a drink at the first water stop, but didn't eat any of my Sharky's fuel yet.

mile 1- 9:52
mile 2- 9:42
mile 3- 9:37

By mile 3 I was thinking that it was a mistake to have worn a long sleeved top. The weather forcast had shown temps in the mid 40s and with the possibility of the wind coming off the bay, I figured this would be a good thing to wear. The first 6 miles were fairly protected by homes, so no wind and I was very warm. I hoped for cooler breezes once we hit the water front. At around mile 5 I had my first 2 sharky bits and some water. My plan for the race was to walk fast through water stops every couple of miles. I would drink a little water and have 2 sharky bits. (similar to Luna moons) At around mile 6 we ran back over a small bridge toward the finish line. But of course it was too soon to finish, we ran down a lane bordering the finish! Lots of crowd support here. We ran by the post race food area. The smell of cuban/mexican food at 7 am is NOT pleasent!

mile 4- 9:45
mile 5- 9:52
mile 6- 9:52

We ran a loop back towards the start line and then around to the waterfront. This was familiar ground for me. I ran the 15K here 2 years ago. Lots of beautiful houses to look at and a good amount of people cheering us on. I had a pretty good rhythm going, even though I was still hot. I started planning what I was going to wear for next weeks race already! short sleeves and a toss away long-sleeved top! The 2:10 pacer passed me around mile 8, she was going fast! I couldn't believe her pace was on target. My plan was to keep her in my sights for as long as possible.

mile 7- 9:42
mile 8- 9:58
mile 9- 9:37

I was very happy to turn around at about mile 10. I could see the finish area off to the distance. I was still feeling pretty good. My drinking and snack plan seemed to be holding up. I didn't really have to make a pit stop ( my biggest worry with day 2 of monthy visitor here). At mile 11 ish I had my last drink of water and 2 more sharky's. I knew I had it in me to run the last 2 miles at around 10 minutes each. I got excited that I might beat my last race time of just under 2:12! The last mile was tough. The heat was really getting to me, but I kept seeing those race photographers and giving them a big smile. I tried to keep up a good, strong pace for the last half mile. I was passed by a few people, but didn't have it in me to run any harder than I was already going! As I got closer I saw the clock show 2:12 and change, so I pushed it hard trying to get in as quick as I could to beat chip time of 2:10. I ended up finishing 2:10:10.

mile10- 9:39
mile11- 9:55
mile12- 10:10
mile 13- 9:57

Overall I am very happy with this race. I hope to run it again next year. It's a fun event, lots of great support and nice finishers medals. Looking forward to next sunday and the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

Chip- 02:10:10; clock- 02:12:32; overall- 1917/3896, Gender- 823/2129; division- 176/389; Pace 9:55

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