Feb 26, 2016

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2016 15k

Finally, it was time to really start my crazy race season. This past weekend was the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Kris and I, and check this out, Eddie joined us too, we all decided to do the Lime Cactus Challenge. That was the 15k on Saturday morning, and the 8k on Sunday morning. We figured this challenge would be a great warm up for the Pixie Dust Challenge coming up in May. Since it was a double race, and it was in Tampa, we got a hotel and made it a mini race-cation.

I took Friday off from work, and drove up to Tampa. Kris and Eddie were gonna meet me at the hotel after her dad came to watch the kiddos, so I was going straight to the expo to pick up all of our bibs. I headed out of Miami at about 12:30, and waze estimated about a 4 hour drive. It was all going fine until I was about an hour away.... then it was almost a complete stop on I-75. Like 5 miles per hour. I could have run there faster. All of the traffic ended up adding about 2 hours to my drive. UGH. But eventually I got to the expo.

I picked up our bibs, then went to get our shirts. I had read somewhere about jackets, so that's all I was expecting, but I was wrong. We got 2 shirts, one for each race, a challenge jacket, a cool logo tote, and a water bottle. So much swag! (And it was cute!) Then I wandered around the expo checking out all the things and wanting to buy all of the things. 

I eventually headed out to go to the hotel. By now it was dark outside, but I got to the hotel, checked in and dragged my stuff upstairs. By this time the snacks at the expo had worn off and it was time for some food. I went downstairs and ate and when I got back upstairs, and had the TV fixed (cause everything was an issue on Friday, including the hotel TV that maintenence had to come fix), Kris & Ed arrived. We were getting our clothes ready for the early wakeup, and I realized we had no pins for our bibs. UGH! We'd have to go into the expo and grab some in the morning.

The next morning we were up at about 5, after some snoozing, and got dressed and headed out. We drove to the start, mostly cause I had no idea where it was, oh and we had to get the pins. We parked closer to the expo, and headed there to grab pins. Thankfully they were right at the info booth in the front. We pinned on our bibs and headed to the start. 

Somehow Eddie was seeded, so he started ahead of us. We got into the start and hung out a little behind the 11:30 pacer. We heard the national anthem, and then before we even noticed, we started. It was a little chilly, so we all had our jackets. In hindsight, we should have left them. My jacket was off and around my waist by mile 1.

Right at the start there was a bridge to go over. We hoped it was the only one, and we were right. We eventually got on Bayshore Boulevard which was gorgeous. The sun was just coming up as we started to run, and the view of the sunrise was a great start to the race. We had the water on one side and some gorgeous houses on the other. It was so pretty. Meanwhile I tried and finally succeeded in rolling up my jacket before tying it on my waist so it wouldn't hit me on the back of the legs. Think the 3rd try was the charm.

We started with our intervals at :45/:30. This pace seems to work well for us. There were plenty of water/gatorade stops along the way. We kept to our intervals pretty much the whole time, except once or twice when the race entertainment was louder than the earbuds let us hear.

It was an out and back course, and a little before the turn, we finally saw Eddie who had just made the turn. He was looking good, and his super long logs kept him at a decent pace. We came up on the second half of the course and it was getting a little warmer, but nothing too crazy. And we were keeping a great race pace for us. 

Disclaimer, Kris and I are not the fastest runners out there, not ALL the way in the back of the pack, but pretty near the middle of the back. We usually keep about a 14 minute pace in races, and this time it kept coming up as 13-something, which was awesome. Plus we were feeling good too. I had no knee pain, but was grateful that I taped both of them up.

At about mile 7 or 8 I mentioned to Kris our last 15k, the Riverside Dash 15k, and what a horrible race that was. How at this point in that race we were miserable and counting the moment to the finish line that seemed so far away. Then I said we probably had a PR going here. I was thinking we definitely felt better, so it had to have been a better time than the other one.

Soon enough the finish line was in sight and we ran all the way there. We crossed and were immediately handed ice-cold wet towels. So great! It wasn't super hot, but the towels sure were refreshing. We grabbed some water and I had some gatorade too. I usually hate gatorade, but it was so cold and refreshing. 

We were watered and medaled and then we started looking for Eddie, who had finished a few minutes before us. We found each other and started heading to the runners only food area. Can I say how awesome it was to have the food sectioned off for runners only? By the way, it was about this time that I noticed my debit card, which was in my pocket, was gone. I called the bank and cancelled it. It must have slipped out at some point. I wasn't really worried since I cancelled it so quick.

As we ate and stretched, I looked up our old 15k time and Kris and I definitely got a PR. I was thinking it would be a minute or two, but no, we finished with a chip time of 2:02:15. This means we PRed by 8:38! CRAZY! I totally have to chock up out PR to cross training. I've been doing Beachbody programs (everything from Insanity Max :30 to Hammer & Chisel) and Kris has been doing OTF. I think the lifting and using different parts of our bodies has not only built muscles, but also built better runners!

After we sat for a bit, we headed to the expo, since Kris and Eddie hadn't been. And it was great to get some air conditioning, food samples (which made for a great breakfast), coffee (YES!), a free tank and even a free 5 minute massage. As we were in the expo, I got a call on my phone and it was the race. They found my debit card and were holding it for me! The staff and volunteers at this race were beyond amazing. We were pretty much done by now, so we headed back to the hotel to clean up before getting some food.

Check back to find out all about the 8k, which also had some great running accomplishments too!

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