This morning I was up at 4:45 a.m. so that I could be out the door at 5:15 to head to Tampa for the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.
I had no trouble parking in the Tampa Convention Center’s parking deck and just minutes after I arrived I met up with three of the Bradenton IRunMommies, Robyn, Shelley and Stephanie.
Robyn and Shelley are actually the founders of IRM! I ran with them once before at Fort DeSoto last September when they came to St. Pete for a training run. I remember it was super hot that day. Foreshadowing for today, I think.
I hung out with Robyn and Shelley and Stephanie while they picked up their race packets and shirts at the expo. I also gave them some pointers on where all the good stuff was, since I had just been there yesterday and scoped it all out.
We took a goofy photo in front of one of the displays. Not sure why Robyn and I felt the need to lean in?
After we dropped their race bags off at their car in the parking deck, we walked over to the start.
Hello finish line…see you soon!
They didn’t have corrals, but everybody gathered around the pace runners carrying signs. That tiny white square in the middle of the crowd below says Pace 10:30. Yeah right. That’s where Stephanie went, so I just followed.
Waiting to start, and my ubiquitous maniacal face. Why do I do this? Why?
A bystander took a photo for us, and my face is much more normal (I made a concerted effort). However, for some reason Shelley and I had to do the “lean-in”.
Shelley says that the lean-in is a holdover from her sorority days. I was never in a sorority, but I’m thinking that IRunMommies is sort of like a sorority. A sweaty, masochistic sorority.
After the National Anthem, we were off!
You really have to give Gasparilla Distance Classic credit for consistency in branding. The green banners with beaded parrots were everywhere!
I hung with the Bradenton girls for about the first half mile or so. I tried.
Pretty soon, however, the 11:00 pace group caught up with me and passed me. Oh well.
First mile down. I took this photo on the run, and tried to get myself in there, but all I got was the brim of my visor.
I barely got the mile 2 marker, as I was much more concerned with the water station that was on the opposite side of the street from the marker.
At this point I was trying to keep running except for walking through the water stops. That was the plan, but I was not able to keep it up for the whole 15K. Before long the 11:30 pace group was at my back.
They had those traffic speed signs that show how fast you are going on the course. I took this photo on the run, but it was consistently showing 12 or 13 mph for the people running around me.
Oops, the 11:30 pacers passed me.
I tried to hang with the 11:30 pace group for as long as I could. I was still running with them as we passed mile 3.
Here are some kids holding those accordion spectator signs that I thought were so cool from the expo. The back has a big white space in the middle so you can write whatever you want on it.
I wish I had picked up two of them. I guess I could make my own.
Mile 4 done.
Somewhere along the line I had gotten some beads from spectators who were handing them out on the course. I tucked them in my shirt so they wouldn’t be flying around everywhere.
Just past mile four was the loop that was the turn-around on the course, and I tried to look for the Bradenton IRMs coming back towards me, but I never saw them. I guess that means they were either WAY ahead of me, or somewhere within the mile or so loop ahead.
Part of the loop had us heading due east into the rising sun, and that sucked. It was killing me. I missed the mile 5 marker, but somewhere around there I ate a Gu. I kind of liked this “just plain” flavor. It was like eating pure glucose.
I was seriously dying near mile 5.
This blurry photo is people handing out pieces of Krispy Kreme donuts, which was nice, but I definitely couldn’t not have managed to eat one at that point.
Besides, I had just eaten the Gu sugar bomb.
After the loop, I was happy to see the water again on Bayshore.
Isn’t this a beautiful view?
The only problem with the beautiful view is that you can see all those skyscrapers way off in the distance and you KNOW that they are your destination. That white line going all around the edge of the water is what lays ahead of you. It looks so far away!
Does the following picture looks nice and breezy to you?
Yeah, no. It was blistering by this point. It was definitely a taste of summer running.
Just keep going. Only about a 5K left. Just keep going.
Downtown is getting closer.
They had water sprayers at all the water stops from this point on. I kind of tried to avoid them, as I felt wet enough, but I saw others taking a shower in them. I had some Gatorade at this stop…
and some water.
Do ever have a race nemesis? Seems like I always have one on a long race. Someone who you pass, then they pass you, and you see them again and again. This woman was my race nemesis today:
I first noticed her after mile 4 in the loop. I was on the far right side of the road, where I usually hang out because my super flat right foot likes a slight slope to the right. She came up on my right side, and elbowed her way past me without saying, “Sorry” or “Excuse me,” or anything. Rude. Or maybe my music was just blasting too loudly for me to hear her.
Mile 8! Getting closer.
The Rough Riders were the ones handing out the beads. They were hanging out around mile 8.
One mile to go!
Mile 9…almost home!
There she is again, my race nemesis. I had just stopped for a second to take that mile 9 marker photo and she passed me. I determined at that point that I would for sure beat her across the finish line, so I picked it up and passed her.
I don’t think you can make it out in the following photo, but I could see the finish line from here.
Here it is! I did it. I finished under two hours and I beat my race nemesis (who I’m sure is a very nice person in real life)!
Give me one of those!
Happy happy happy. I love finish lines…
and Diet Coke.
Dang. Stupid Diet Coke. I didn’t grab one. I haven’t had one since Monday! What a temptation.
I did, however, grab some black beans, but I ate them before I remembered to take a photo.
I met back up with the Bradenton IRunMommies in the expo inside the convention center.
It felt weird to be at an expo AFTER a race, but there are more races tomorrow and the expo goes on all day today.
It was great meeting up with you guys…Shelley, Stephanie and Robyn! So much more fun to have people to hang out with before and after the race.
I said goodbye to the girls then headed to the bathroom to wash the black bean soup off of my shoes. Oops. Check out the half-moon of sweat on my skirt! The back of my skirt looked even sweatier and my shirt was completely soaked.
I have to say that the race bibs were pretty “blah”. They don’t even have the event name on them! Oh well. Otherwise, I thought the event was great.
Walking down stairs after running 9.32 miles. Ouch.
Here’s my medal, close-up:
I like the medal, but I think that the ribbon is super cool.
On my way back to my car, this was causing smiles by everyone:
Oh, and I grabbed another tiny bowl of beans since I sort of spilled half of my other ones on my shoes.
Here is all the post-race booty I came home with:
Thank you Gasparilla Distance Classic for a fun morning! I love races.
Here are my official results:
Active.com said there were 2,551 female finishers, and I was 2,157th. Definitely back of the pack, but before 400 other women, LOL. Oh well. I’m just happy that I squeaked in under two hours. The heat makes so much difference!
Here’s what my Garmin said:
I tried to hang in there at the beginning, but the lure of walking soon took over. You can see in the graph how I was mostly running at the beginning, and somehow miraculously ran most of mile 7 (Lap 7 above), but otherwise there was lots of walking mixed in.
I do love the Garmin map!
Okay, that’s all I got. Whew.