Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2012
The Sarasota gang before the race.

Race morning started off early again. I got up at 3 am! I checked the weather to see if the cold front had moved through earlier. Nope. It was 70, humid and very windy. I picked up Renee at 3:45 and then we were on our way to the Tampa Convention Center. I missed our exit, so I had to try to remember how to get there from another direction. Only added a few minutes to our time. We had a very short wait in traffic to get into the parking garage. $10 later (ouch) we were parked and meeting Gina and Stephanie right on time at 5 am. We waited for a few other friends before checking our bags and heading out into the crazy wind. It started raining just before we got out side. We took a group photo, then started the walk over towards the start. We stopped by the Publix, to see if there were any Fanatics still hanging around. We were past the time of the group photo. They were all still there, so we got a couple more group photos and then headed over to the start. They had a line of porta potties down a side street, next to the corrals, so I decided to use them. Thankfully the lines were not long here. I found one with 4 guys in it. Score! They always go faster than the women. J I think I was there for only 5 minutes. Met up with Gina and Vicky and the we headed over to our corral. We got in at the back of the first corral (no one looked at bibs. We made our way up a little then hung out. There was a light rain. I was very happy to have my garbage bag rain coat on.  Just before 6am, We all tossed off our garbage bags to get ready for the start. After the national anthem, without any blast of an airhorn or fireworks, we were off! 

Half Fanatics before the race!

Gina and I decided to run the first 3 miles and then start 4/1 intervals.  The streets were pretty wide and it was easy to get around people until we hit the ramp going up to the bridge. We slowed down quite a bit running through that tight space. It didn’t last long and soon we were at our brisk pace again. Around mile 2, we got to the first water stop. I grabbed a cup, pinched it and then tried to sip it while still running. Some got in my mouth and some got in my nose! Yuck. I decided I would just slow down and take a few seconds to drink at the rest of the water stops. At about mile 2.75, we decided to go ahead with the intervals. We are occasionally blown to the side by a wind gust, but really the wind isn’t too bad so far.

Miles 1 through 3: 9:37, 8:45, 9:17

By now my left leg is hurting. The IT band and hamstrings are tight. I start stretching for a few seconds at every other walking break. The stretching does help, but the benefits don’t last long. Around mile 6, we run back over the bridge, off of Davis Island, and start our long run on Bayshore Blvd.  It is beautiful here. Great views of the water and of the fantastic houses facing the water. There are lots of race photographers just after the bridge. One right after the other. I pose and pose for each of them. Do they get any shots of me? No!! Geesh. We can really feel the wind now, but it still isn’t too bad. Gusts every once in a while that blow us to the side, but other than that, the wind wasn’t so bad. We catch up to Summer during the 8th mile. She ran both races the day before and is running both on this day. She decides to add intervals and run with us for a while.

Miles 4 through 9: 9:39, 9:46, 9:41, 9:34, 9:39, 10;02

This was the best photo of me on
on the course! 
Soon we are curving to the left and now running on the other side of BayShore Blvd. There is a grassy area with trees and bushes that break up the right and left sides of the road. We keep an eye out for friends that may be behind us.  Looking for friendly faces on the other side of the road helps to distract me from the IT band pain. By now I am stopping to stretch at every walk break!  After a couple of miles, Summer drops back and it is just me and Gina again, trying to keep up the pace. She has pulled ahead of me a little, but I am not far behind. With about a mile to go, we are side by side, looking forward to getting to the finish. We take one more walking break then decide to just run it in. I am pushing as hard as I can. Gina is very encouraging, which helps me to keep pushing. We finally see the finish line banner just ahead of us. I am at my max as I run it across the finish line!

Miles 10 through 13.18: 9:51, 9:56, 9:39, 8:56 (Wow!!), 1:23 (last little .18)

Finish: 2:05:50. 
This is my third fastest time and my best half marathon time in over 10 years! Very happy with it. J

Ken, Gina and me after the race!

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