I was not planning to run this race after the debacle of last year.
In fact, if you re-read last year’s review, I had asked my husband to pinky promise that I would not sign up for the Gasparilla 15k in 2013.
Guess what? I signed up anyway…..
I knew so many people who were planning to run it and I wanted to prove to myself that the race wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
With all the new PRs I have been setting lately, it seemed fitting to see if I could beat my previous year’s time for this race, too.
So a new challenge was on the horizon.
In years past, I have not been able to spend much time at the expo while picking up my packet due to time constraints or work or whatever reason, so this year I decided to take a half day at work and go with a few friends to pick up our packets and enjoy the expo together.
At the expo, Paige and I ended up registering for the Athleta Iron Girl Half Marathon in April! This was my first half marathon 2 years ago and it will be Paige’s first half ever. We both saved $10 and they gave us each a shirt and a hat, too.
After we had picked up our packets, bags, shirts and walked all over the expo hall, we decided to go home to prepare for the race.
I had to decide on an outfit, figure out food and coordinate departure times with everyone in our group.
Since I did so well at the Best Damn 10k, I decided to copy my prerace meal from that race. We went to Goodfella’s and I ordered an eggplant parmesan sandwich and French fries. It was delicious!
Eggplant Parm sandwich. It was delicious!
The morning of the race, I felt great. We arrived 15 minutes prior to the start and began walking to the start line.
Pre race pic, before we sprinted to the start line.
Here’s the problem; this year there was a new start area. I spent hours at the expo and read every single email that they sent out, so how did I miss this key piece of information? I knew they were going to have a wider start, but nothing about a different start area. So with less than 5 minutes to the start, Paige and I pretty much sprinted to this new start area. When we got there, they announced we were 30 seconds away from the start! We were not ready. My GPS watch wasn’t synced up, I had not stretched yet and I still had my cell phone in my hand. Uh-oh!
I usually hand my cell phone to whichever willing member of my support team is close by. Since Paige and I had left our support team in the dust at the “old start area”, I did not think to hand it off.
As the last 30 seconds ticked down, I prayed my GPS would connect as I crossed the start line and thanked myself for choosing Nike running capris with a large compartment over the butt so I could stow my phone in there!
The reason they moved the start was so that there would not be so much of a traffic jam at the start. The start of every race is tough to navigate. People line up near the front when they shouldn’t and then run (or walk!) slowly as the rest of us try to maneuver around them. It is very frustrating and hard to escape.
I felt that I could not make headway until after mile 4. That is pretty bad for a 9 mile race. Usually you find your place within the first mile or two. Four is a little absurd, in my opinion. I plugged along, determined to find my way through all the traffic.
This year, I was determined to take a piece of the Krispy Kreme donuts that they always hand out but I always miss out on. And about mile 6.5, I grabbed one and took one bite and the rest fell on the ground. I was happy to have had that one bite though and followed it with a GU since a water stop was just ahead.
I crossed the finish line strong at 01:26:16, which is my new PR for a 15k!
My time for 2011 was: 01:34:53
My time for 2012 was: 01:32:33
My time for 2013 was: 01:26:16
We look pretty good for running 9.3 miles, huh?
As my group all finished and reconvened, I was glad I had decided to run this race. I had a great time, even with all the misinformation and traffic at the beginning. I finished strong and fast and I was happy.
My newest bling! (and its orange, my favorite color.)