This past weekend I had the honor to participate in the Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend. GDC carries out the mission of the GDC Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for charitable youth organizations and running programs in the area. Since it’s inception in 1978, over $3.9 million has been donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa, Girls Inc. of Pinellas, The Friends of Tampa Parks & Recreation and youth running related programs. The 2014 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic official charity partners include, Hope For The Warriors, Metropolitan Ministries, and Richard’s Run for Life.
One of the best things about the registration for this race is that the registration fee only cost $35, the price for most 10ks. As an added bonus my best friend, Courtnay, paid for my race registration as part of my Christmas present – what a thoughtful best friend!
The swag bag, as it has been in past years, was a simple, re-useable grocery bag; and contained my t-shirt, bib, and a booklet that enclosed all the pertinent race information like parking, start line, runner/family reunite area, etc. While the bag did not contain much, I was content. Most swag bags contain flyers for other races and for business to far out for me to drive too, therefore, I wind up disposing of most of the contents. One thing that I loved about this race is that complimentary runner tracking was offered, meaning I could sign my family and friends up to receive text message update on my progress during the run.
The morning of the race my nerves began to kick in. This was a whole new venture for me, distance wise for a race and I wanted to do really well. I tried to not let the pressure of having the runner tracking get to me mentally. Thankfully, I was able to meet up with my friend Paige, and her husband, prior to the start of the run. Paige has a faster pace than I do, so I knew going in that we would not be sticking together for very long but it was comforting to have her nearby at the start line.
The course took us out onto Bayshore Blvd, where we made a turn around at Gandy Blvd and then back up Bayshore to finish just outside the Tampa Convention center. It was a very muggy morning, with a temperature in the mid-to-high 70s and a humidity level closing in on 100%. Planning for some sunshine on the way back to the finish line I wore my visor; however, it was so disgusting out that the visor was off my head and clipped to my personal items belt not even a mile into the race.
Just passed mile 5, was a group of volunteers passing out Krispy Kreme Donuts. I’m not used to snacking on anything during my runs, except some energizers, like Sport Beans, to refuel. Per the advice of my sister, I took half a donut and was very thankful I did. The carbs and sugar were just what I needed to push through the home stretch.
Upon crossing the finish line, all I wanted was a bottle of water. Unlike most race, which have water easily accessible, I had to walk over to the Platt Street Bridge to access the refreshments. I was happy to stumble upon a large trash container filled with cloths soaked in ice cold water along the way and immediately put a cloth to my face and the back of my neck to cool myself down.
I have not decided if I will run this race again next year, not because of any faults, but there are other races I am taking into consideration to participate in and these runs can get to be costly. I would however, like to complete another 15k in the future to see my progress as a runner. I would have preferred to finish the race 10 minutes sooner than I did, crossing the finish line at 1:55:58, but hey, I completed the run and completed it in less than two hours!