Last year, we celebrated Gina's birthday in Tampa, by running the Saturday Gasparilla races, the 15K and 5K. This year, Gina wanted to run the Lime challenge, the 15K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday, but also toss in the 5K for fun. Our plan was to drive up early on race morning, run the two races, and party all afternoon. Stay up in Tampa, then run the 8K on Sunday morning.
We left Sarasota at 4:15am on Saturday morning. It was going to be a long day! We wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get into the expo, get our challenge jacket and bibs, check bags and get to the starting line. We made it up there in speedy time, arriving just after 5 am. I managed to find the convention parking garage, which was the closest, and get in there before it filled up. We sat in the car for a bit, since the expo didn't open until 6. Once we were able to get in the expo, the lines we both got our bibs pretty quickly before heading to the jacket table. We were to find out they were out of smalls! The jackets (unisex sizing) were running big, so they had let people change sizes the day before. We filled out the form to have our sized mailed to us, then headed downstairs to get ready to check our bag. We made one last bathroom stop, before heading out to the start line, a couple of blocks from the convention center. We just had a little time to wait, before we heard the national anthem and then we were off!
My goal for the 15K was to come in as close to last years 1:17 finish time as I could. I knew that beating that time was probably not going to happen because of the issues I've been having with my right leg. I felt pretty good for the first half of the race, but then my right hamstring and hip started to hurt. Gina had caught up to me just before the half, so we ran a bit together, before she pulled ahead. I tried to keep her in my sights, but managed to loose her completely by mile 7. I managed to finish strong with a 1:18:58 time. 9.32 miles Just good enough to pull off a top 10% in age group finish! Splits- 8:16, 8:12, 8:18, 8:26, 8:38, 8:31, 8:31, 8:51, 8:33, 2.38
Gina and I met up in the finish line area, then headed over to the bag check. We had enough time to go to the car, so we took our stuff there, put our 5K bib on then left the bags in the car. We had about an hour total to hang out. We decided to go ahead and get in the starting coral. I'm glad we went in early. We got pretty close to the front before it got really crowded. The 5K is the largest of the 4 races. There are over 14,000 runners/walkers! We got to see Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan on the announcers podium. Well, we could sort of see them, they were far away! We heard the announcer say that the two famous runners would be at the expo later, so Gina and I decided we would try and make it over to hear them talk later. Once again, we heard the national anthem and we were off!
The only goal I had for the 5K was to finish in a decent time! The race was so congested right from the start, even though we had started pretty far forward. I pulled ahead of Gina and managed to stay ahead for the entire race. Not one of my fastest times, but not bad considering the down time waiting around after the 15K. Finish: 26:16. Another top 10% in age group finish!! Splits - 8:18, 8:19, 8:29, 1:00
|Wendy, me and Gina|
|Me, Cindi and Gina having fun at the after party!|
|Shalane Flanagan, Cindi, me, Meb and Gina!|
After the 5K, we headed back to the car to change into sandals and grab our little backpacks. Since I can't have regular beer, I had brought a little cooler of gluten free beer in a cooler. I have a big, insulated mug which holds two beers, so I poured the beers into that, then we walked over to the food area to grab some food, before walking over to the after party. It was packed! We stood in line to see if we placed in our age group for the races, we did, and received our special mugs. We found Wendy, who was also celebrating her birthday! She and I hung out while Gina went to stand in line for her beer. After Wendy left, we found Cindi, then the 3 of us hung out for a few hours, enjoying the music and the fun atmosphere. After a few beers, we had lunch, where Derrick joined us, then we walked back to the expo to catch Meb and Shalane give their talk. We made it just in time! We got photos and autographs before doing a little shopping at the expo. Finally, at around 4pm, we made our way to the hotel, where we were able to check in. After showers and a little rest, we decided we were to exhausted to go to ybor city for the Chocolate festival or for a movie, so we had dinner at the hotel and were asleep by 9 pm! We had one more race to run in the morning! :)
Sunday morning: We got to sleep in before a race! The race started 3.5 hours after the half start, so we had plenty of time in the morning to get ready and then walk the couple of blocks over to the start of the 8K. Once we got going, Gina and I stayed together for a bit, but I quickly realized that drinking all those beers the day before was going to make this 5 miles tough! I had my GoPro with me, so I took a bunch of photos with that and just enjoyed the last race of the weekend. 8K (5.02miles) finish 43:19. Splits - 8:28, 8:25, 8:38, 8:45, 8:52, 0:09
Love these races! May be back again next year. :)