Feb 27, 2016

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2016 8k

So the 15k was done, we were all PRed and went back to the hotel to freshen up. Then we headed out for some shopping and food, Kris and I's favorite activity (sorry Eddie!). We headed to Lakeland (about 30 mins away) to Sparkle Skirts HQ to pick up a skirt Kris had on hold. And of course, I got myself a skirt as well, cause it was like running skirt heaven up in there!

Because my amazing bestie was Mexican in another life, we found a great Mexican place to eat called Abuelo's. And, lucky for us they had $5 margaritas! Can't beat that after a morning running and a PR to celebrate. After we filled our bellies, since we were kid-less, we went to see Deadpool. Which was ah-mazing! And totally kid inappropriate, but so right up my alley.

After the movie we headed back to the hotel, packed up (so we wouldn't have to in the morning), and basically chilled had some dinner and crashed, more from the early morning than anything else. The 8k wasn't starting until 9:30, so we didn't need to be up before the sun.

In the morning we got all ready and headed out of the hotel with all of our stuff. Yes, I'm a chronic over-packer, but you just never know. I was really excited to wear my polka dot skulls shirt this day. It's just so me!

We drove closer to the starting line, and then walked to the start. Now, it was about 8:30ish by this point and the sun was out. It was gonna be a hot one. There was no seeded start that we could see, so we all waited together. I saw tons of people with Ultra Challenge (which was the 15k & 5k on Saturday, and the half & 8k on Sunday) bibs on and I had to admire them. I couldn't imagine stopping running, waiting 30 minutes and then starting again. Those people were rock stars.

The sun was strong as we waited for the race to start. And I was soooo happy I put sunscreen on. My arms would have been fried without it. The race finally started and we were off for 4.9 miles. We were able to keep a pretty good pace this day too, though, of course, because of the heat, we were slower than for the 15k.

I'm not usually a gatorade drinker (mostly cause I think it's gross), but because of the heat I did drink some. I have to say that Gasparilla really had great crowd support.  There were people out cheering the day before and even more on Sunday. Tons of signs (which sometimes give you the little boost you need to keep going). That one was Kris's favorite.

As we neared the finish line, we were looking forward to those cold towels, but we just got paper towels to dry ourselves off. Oh well. we collected our 8k medals and then the big bling, the Lime Cactus Challenge medal. The challenge medal was HUGE and so cool.

This might be FYI, but I needed to go the whole race, but since it was only 4.9 miles, I just held it. After the race we headed inside the convention center (where the expo and bag pickup were) to use the real restrooms. Then we stretched inside in the AC, had to take advantage. The stretching helped so much. Then we headed to the finishers food area. The day before there wasn't really a big line when we got there, but after getting our bananas and juice, we noticed a HUGE line. We got in the line it thinking it might be the beer line, but it was better. The Colombia Spanish restaurant was serving paella de pollo (chicken paella) with black beans, and bread! We each got a plate and then found some shade to sit and eat. Best breakfast ever.

After that we went back to the hotel to grab my car and head to Kris & Eddie's house in Orlando. I got to see the kids and basically just lay on the couch. I was tired after all those races.

Gotta say that the Gasparilla Distance Classic might be inching up there as on one my new favorite races. The expo was good the people, from the actual runners, to the spectators, and the volunteers, were all great. The swag was out of hand, and the runners only food at the end were all awesome. I might have to be back next year for Gasparilla!

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