Read Part 1 of the Gasparilla Recap!
Another AMAZING race day! Running 3 races in 2 days (25.5 miles combined) was QUITE a physical, mental, and emotional challenge, but it was worth it. I am tired and sore, happy and proud! My butt hurts SO much from all this booty-hauling!
I woke up at 4:15 AM and cautiously moved my legs. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as sore as I expected to be, considered I had run a 5K and 15K the day before. I think all the stretching really helped me out.
I was tired, but the excitement of RACE MORNING quickly hit me and I was suddenly WIDE awake!! Coffee helped, too — I’m not going to lie. :) I had the same breakfast as yesterday — two pieces of WW toast and a sliced banana.
Meghann and I got dressed for the Half Marathon and headed downtown with her friend Derek. The race began at 6 AM, so it was pitch black when we arrived!
I promptly began to stretch out my sore quads and hips.
As you can see, it wasn’t raining yet!! The forecast called for showers, so I came prepared with a hat and garage bag (to wear). You guys had some GREAT suggestions for running in the rain, and I definitely heeded your advice. I also wrapped my iPod in a ziploc bag to keep it dry.
Here I am goofing around before the starting whistle blew… Check out those guns! Hardy har har!
That’s my lucky running shirt, by the way! I definitely felt lucky before the race — no knee pain AND no rain! PERFECT!
There were approximately 9,000 half marathon runners and 2,000 marathoners. Although that’s less people than yesterday’s races, the course was different and started on some one-way side streets and a narrow on-ramp and bridge. There was quite a bit of bottlenecking in the first mile, so I was very relieved to see my Mile 1.0 time was 10:00/mile. I wanted to pace 9:30/mile, but 10:00 is always a good time for the first mile of a major race.
I made the decision to ditch Meghann right at the start of the race. As I described in yesterday’s recap, she is a TAD too fast for me and I didn’t want to accidentally burn myself out. I decided I would feel mentally stronger if I wasn’t staring at her booty for 13.1 miles.
The first few miles took us over Tampa Bay (the water was soo choppy due to high wind gusts!) and through a beautiful neighborhood filled with mansions. Before I even realized it, it was Mile 4.0 and we were running back over the bridge to the other side of the bay.
Mile 4.0 to Mile 5.o was a complete blur. I know the course took us over another overpass and bridge. But at each pace clock, I was so pleased to see that I had whittled down my average pace to 9:30/mile.
While passing over one of the bridges, I happened to glance up at the sky and noticed the sun was finally rising. This would’ve have given me immense relief, but I also immediately realized that there were several huge, dark, and low thunder clouds coming right at us! At that point, the rain seemed inevitable, so I sent up a silent prayer that it would hold off until the very end.
We turned back onto Bayshore Drive around Mile 6.0. Bayshore Drive is a beautiful road that fronts Tampa Bay, which provided some beautiful scenery. The clouds looked ominous, but the rain was holding off. I ate 3 Clif Shot Bloks (same ones as yesterday) for a total mid-run calorie intake of 100. I definitely felt the carbs hit my bloodstream almost immediately, which was excellent!
The turn-around point on Bayshore Drive occurred around Mile 10.5, so I was able to spot Meghann when I was on Mile 10! She saw me, too and we waved hello! 🙂
Once I hit the turn-around, I suddenly felt AMAZING. The wind was at my back, and it was a relief! I picked up my pace and definitely achieved a negative split. A volunteer handed me an orange slice, which tasted sooo good and gave me another tiny energy boost.
Then…. at Mile 11.0, the inevitable happened. The clouds opened up and it started to POUR. I was determined not to let the rain get me down, so I screamed out "WOOOOO HOOOO" at the top of my lungs, which started an awesome change reaction all down the course!!! So many people were cheering for RAIN — it was amazing.
My goal was to cross the finish line in less than 2 hours and 6 minutes, thereby setting a new personal record. I sprinted towards the finish and clocked in at 2 hours and 3 minutes (unofficially)!!! I was so excited to have a new PR — in fact, that’s TWO PRs in one weekend!
- Duration: 2 hours, 3 minutes (Half Marathon; 13.1 miles)
- Calories Burned: 1,250 (approximate)
Volunteers were handing out aluminum ponchos for the runners, which helped heat me back up tremendously!
I actually burst into tears at the finish line — I was so emotional (happy emotions!!). It’s so satisfying to run a Half Marathon AND set a new PR. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to continue running even though I have troublesome knees. To be able to continue my favorite hobby is so amazing.
Meghann and I found each other immediately! She beat her PR, too!
I grabbed a water and a banana….
And then we walked back to the car… We were both ecstatic but exhausted.
The best part about this weekend was definitely the AMAZING medals the finishers received!
The little medals are my 5K, 15K, and Half Marathon medals, and the large one in the center is for completing the Bud Light Challenge (3 races in 2 days!). I am so proud of these medals and will probably sleep in them tonight! 🙂
After driving home and showering, I refueled with 1.5 servings of Anne’s Organic Mac and Cheese.
I need to eat MORE of course, but I’m trying to save room for a Tampa Blogger Meet Up lunch at noon, and a trip to DAIRY QUEEN for my well-desired Resee’s Blizzard!
A WONDERFUL race weekend, all in all!! I loved it.
You are amazing, CONGRATS on your PR’s!! Wish I could be there to congratulate you in person today, you rock!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂