Well today started out a bit different than yesterday. Instead of being insanely sunny, hot, and humid, we had a bit of a flip flop – rainy, cold, and windy!
Some wild and crazy rain was forecasted for the race, and they were not kidding. At 5:30am as Marcus and I were getting ready to leave the house, the clouds opened up and dumped out an insane amount of rain, and fast! The best part… the cell of rain moved incredibly quick, and our jog to the start was only a little sprinkly – no hard rain! And it even stopped as we were sitting in the corral for the start. I still can not believe how lucky we were! No soggy shoes = a very happy Mary
The Half Marathon
We got down to the start for Day 2 races, and the half marathon was first up. They implemented the corral system again in the half marathon, similar to what they did in the 5k, except this time it was not as effective. Red and Yellow Bibs signified that you were to run under 2 hours, and blue and white bibs signified over 2 hours. I really think they could have benefited from breaking it down just a bit more, as there were still 2 hour people standing in the front that we had to weave around in the start.
No biggie, the Gasparilla team really makes good improvements each year, and I am sure 2013 will be no exception. We were told to “Go” (seriously, no gun or anything, just a simple Go!), and the half marathon was under way. The first 5 miles were done on Davis Island, and were my hardest of all 13. I think it truly took me that 5 miles to find my legs. Courtney and I ran together again, and we were both feeling our legs from yesterday. She stuck with me until mile 7, and I finally found my happy pace. I stopped at 2 aid stations in those 7 miles (hooray for having Gatorade this time!), and took my Gu Chomps at the turn around. It was just what I needed to power through the next 6 miles.
We turned around on Bayshore, and had a bit of head wind, but nothing terrible. There were more short gusts, followed by minutes of a lull in the wind. I took advantage of the lulls and picked up my speed just enough to compensate for those miles that were affected by more of a head wind. Before I knew it, we were looking at the 10 mile marker, and I knew I had only a 5k to go.
I run the race route every week for training, multiple times, so I am very familiar with it. This can be either a bad thing (since you know every inch of it), or a great thing (since it seems like a walk in the park). Luckily for me, it was the latter, and I had no problem with that last 5k. Never once did I feel out of breath or tired cardiovascularly – my legs were just starting to get a bit heavy. I cross the finish line in 1:44:11 – good enough for 8 minute pace
Rather than getting a lot of food like yesterday between races, I ran home and changed clothes. The temperature dropped almost 15 degrees from when the half started and finished, and I was cold! I threw on a long sleeve shirt and jogged back to the start of the next race, with just a few minutes to stretch and get ready for the last race of the Michelob Ultra Challenge!
The 5+3k was the only race I had never run in Gasparilla before. It is new as of last year, and is quite an odd distance to me – they made it to compensate for the insane crowds at the 5k. There were quite a few people who did it, but you can tell it is not a very competitive race. I think the people who are really serious do one of the other 3 races, and the 5+3k is just icing on the cake.
The race was just another out and back on Bayshore. The wind decided to majorly pick it up for this race, and was blowing hard, what seemed to me, the whole time! I was so ready to be done running, and luckily it was a nice short race. I grabbed Gatorade once, and a cup of water once as well, and finished in 39:57. I held my (close to) 8 minute pace again, and I could not be more excited!
After all, that was race 4 of 4!
Done and done! 4 races in 4 days. A total of 30 miles raced – all around my 8 minute pace that I am looking to do for the marathon in April! Starting and stopping for each race proved to be much more difficult than I ever imagined. The feeling in my legs each time I started back up mimicked how my legs feel in the latter part of a marathon, so I can not wait to tackle Nashville!
I don’t know about you, but I am ok with saying I Ran For The Booty! Even though, I definitely felt like a wind chime walking home, as all the medals were clicking together. Just look at that beautiful bling…
Any other big races this weekend?! Did you run Gasparilla as well? What did you think of it this year?