Well, Gasparilla has come and gone. I have some mixed emotions about it, for the last 15 weeks all I’ve done it eat, sleep, train Gasparilla so it’s strange knowing that I get to sleep in again on weekends if I want to. At the same time, I am happy to take a break from the hard core running and focus more on CG training and fun runs with my friends.
I took the day before Gasparilla off from work. I had some PTO to use up and I just wanted to relax a bit before the crazy 48 hours that laid ahead of me. Montana was driving up that morning to stay with me throughout the weekend. As soon as she got to my place we did a quick turn around back into the car and over to the expo. The last two times I ran Gasparilla I hadn’t had a chance to explore the expo, it comes in second compared to Disney in my opinion, so it was nice taking our time, walking up and down the aisles. Because Montana is actively involved in the running community not only with ambassador relations but she is also the store manager of Fit2Run, so it was quite funny because it felt like every 5 minutes throughout the entire weekend she saw someone she knew…in a nutshell I’d say she’s Helen from the movie Bridesmaids. With our time at the expo we checked out the cryotherapy booth and found our names on the walls of participants. I also met up with my friend Lorena from CG. She was running the 15K and 5K as well.
Later that evening Montana headed back out to Tampa to meet with some of her friends from the Sub30 club. While invited, I felt their place of pre-race dinner was not the best fit for myself so I order some takeout from Carrabba’s.
The alarm came all too quickly Saturday morning. Montana wanted to meet up with the Sub30 crew for some pre-race photos at the convention center about an hour before the race started so we left a bit earlier, which worked out perfectly when it came to parking as we were able to get a close and convenient spot! I fueled up with a honey wheat bagel and some peanut butter about two hours before the start of the 15K and had a banana about an hour before. Upon arriving at the convention center I left Montana with the subbers in search of Lorena.
After meeting up Lorena, we headed back over to find Montana and make our way over to the start area. We lined up about mid way in the chute with the gang of subbers just behind us. Having run with both Lorena and Montana separately I knew we were all within the same pace limit. This was Montana’s first 15K and Lorena wanted to get a PR as well as myself, I told them that I would pace with them and if I felt good towards the back half of the race I’d kick into gear as I had a 1:41 PR to beat!
We took off using :90/:30 intervals which helped me from starting out too fast. The first few miles were pretty congested, since there were three of us, I tried to follow proper course etiquette and run with no more than two abreast, whether it be myself and Lorena or Lorena and Montana. Though the course was a bit crowded at times we managed to break negative splits through the first half of the race. Just before the turn around I spotted the family who gives out Krispy Kreme donuts every year and pointed them out to Montana and Lorena. Just after the turned around we kicked it into high gear a bit to get us to those donuts! At this point I was feeling real good and the pacing couldn’t be any better, so I slowly turned it up a notch and started breaking away from the ladies. Though at one point I picked it up a little too much as mile 7 came in almost :50 seconds faster than the previous mile at a 9:39 pace – oops! During mile 8, I popped off the course to use the port-a-potty, the weather was warming up fast and I was doing everything I could to keep myself hydrated. With mile 9 in sight I pushed the slight discomfort I was starting to feel aside and put a big smile on my face with two thumbs up as I approached a set of photographers.
We had about an hour to spare before the start of the 5K, so we headed over to the finishers area so I could grab a banana to lightly refuel myself. Just around the corner was the pirate ship used as part of the big annual invasion. We headed over there to a) keep the legs moving and b) get some photos.
Soon enough it was time to make our way over to the 5K start. The good thing was the organizers didn’t select a wave for us to start in they only ask that we lined up according to our estimated finish time, so we packed our way with the 31-35 min group. There was a light sprinkle of rain which felt refreshing as we waited for our wave to start, as they were releasing us about every 10 minutes. Soon enough 9:35am rolled around and our wave was released, we took off again using our :90/:30 intervals. Yeah that 15K PR, I was paying for it now. My legs were absolutely dead, thankfully I wasn’t the only one, both Lorena and Montana were feeling it too. We took the 5K at our own pace of about 12:30/mile and I was ok with that. While I was hurting now I didn’t want to push it even further as I really wanted to do my best tomorrow in the half.
When we crossed the finish, Montana met back up with the subbers however I could feel my legs tightening up and needed to keep moving, I felt bad for not being more social but Montana and I had dinner plans with them later that evening so I could mingle then. Lorena and I headed back over to the revival area but took a detour back into the convention center to cool off in the a/c and knock out some post race stretching. Neither of us wanted to sit down for fear of not being able to get back up but we managed. Before heading out we made our way back over to the revival area to get a snack for the road. Lorena had to get back to home to her family but Montana and I stopped for brunch first at Another Broken Egg.
When we arrived home I jumped right into recovery mode, I started foam rolling then soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Since we had about two hours before dinner, I laid down for a short nap with my compression gear and elevated my legs.
Recap to be continued…
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