2014 Gasparilla 15K Race Recap

Better late than never right?

For me the Gasparilla 15K was about one thing and one thing only.

Finishing.

And I finished!

Leading up to the race I mentioned that the last few long runs I had scheduled fell by the way side during moving and the associated mayhem. Thankfully I knew that and I knew better than to push myself during the race.

Although my only official goal was to finish, I did hope to run below 11:30/mi pace. I am NOT a fast runner and NOT good at distance running. It just ain’t my thing…I be like “where’s the water?” So while this is painfully slow for some, it is really on target with my abilities and fitness level right now given that I would be running farther than I had in training. The majority of my long runs had been clocking in at slightly over an 11:00/mi pace.

At the start I strategically positioned myself directly between the 11:00/mi and 11:30/mi pacers, praying I wouldn't see that 11:30 pacer again. Heh.

A good two minutes past the start, I rolled over the starting line. The first 4 miles were great, I was running solid between 10:45 and 11:30 (yes, that’s about as steady as I get). There were a lot of people on the course the entire time. While that caused a lot of dodging and weaving, I welcomed the distraction. I really paid attention to running straight lines around the turns. I try to do this in tri’s but I really focused on it here because I knew I would be struggling at the end and wanted to help myself as much as possible.

The course was a simple out and back on Bayshore Blvd. The turnaround was just over half way and I was just starting to feel it here. This was my first opportunity to gauge where I was against the pacers since I hadn't seen the 11:00/mi pacer in a while. I was still well in front of the 11:30/mi pacer, though I lost a little bit of ground on the middle mark between the two. After the race I looked back and saw that I had been running a 11:26/mi pace up to the turn around so I was right on track!

Somewhere between the turn around and the next water stop I hit the stop button on my Garmin. I happened to notice when I was drinking water that I was stuck on 5.2 miles! All I knew was it had to be after the turn around where I hit the lap button and visibly got confirmation that it was still running. Oops! I did get a little second wind out of the mishap because when I looked up from my Garmin I could see the 6 mile marker. So it felt like I skipped about ¾ of a mile :-D.

Shortly after is where I started to break down a little. Mile 6.25 to 7.25 was rough! I was just tired, my legs were heavy, and I was in need of some nutrition. As luck would have it, the next water station had Gatorade! I welcomed that boost and kept trucking, very slowly.

By mile 8 I was in a place of “if you stop you will never start again” so I didn't stop again! No more water, no breaks for anything, just running for the finish! I didn't even have a sprint at the end, but I did finish at a steady pace. The last few miles I just kept telling myself that I was capable of this and I would be really happy that I didn't stop and give up. The 11:30/mi pacer passed me in that last mile but I was ok with it because I knew I was doing what I could to get to the end.

I finished in 1:48:12 which translates to an 11:36/mi. I’m very happy with that after the training I had. And I was so proud that my legs carried me 9.3 miles!

Some final thoughts about the race itself…

At the race expo there was a board with every participants name on it. Pretty neato, plus it was fun to find your name.

The weather was perfect…overcast with a tiny drizzle here and there. If the sun had been out I would have baked underneath it. It was really muggy though.

Such good organization! Gasparilla is a huge event and they keep it running smoothly! Props!

The race ultimately gave me the confidence to finally tackle my first Olympic triathlon. Not that I was making my triathlon schedule for the season last night or anything!