Leading up to the race, I'd been hoping for one more cold front. Gasparilla is historically a hot and humid weekend, but as I kept my eye on the weather, it looked like I was about to learn a lesson a la "be careful what you wish for."
Friday we met up and went to the expo, which is always completely organized and run like a well-oiled machine. Bibs and packets in hand, we browsed the stalls but didn't find anything noteworthy.
|Why is the lighting at the expo always so bad?!|
|One of these tacos is a BLT made with pork belly and I nearly died from happiness when I took my first bite.|
My alarm went off at 5am on Saturday. I checked the weather: 41º. That was a few degrees colder than expected, but I reminded myself that I would warm up along the way and that the last time I ran in 50º, I was too warm when I layered a vest over my Watch Me Go.
Like I had practiced with all my morning long runs, I opted to forgo coffee and breakfast, but I packed a Gu in case I got hungry. (I ran my 8-miler completely fasted but started to feel hungry around mile 6.)
Dressed and ready, we left the house around 5:45. Jessie works in Tampa, so we had the luxury of using her office building as our own personal staging area. We hung out in the car (which we were able to park for free in the building's garage) until we felt time was getting slim, then used the office bathrooms and had plenty of time to walk over to the start. The walk over was the worst part of the morning - it was like walking down a frigid wind tunnel. I was really starting to regret not wearing more layers.
Huddled in the corral, I didn't really feel anything. I didn't have a sense of excitement, anxiety, or any other jittery emotions that usually course through me before a race. I think I was too numb to feel anything!
|With 6000 of my closest friends!|
Around mile 3 I saw someone in Skirt and complimented her taste. I paused to take a photo of the sunrise. Around mile 4 I started to feel hungry and broke out my Gu. It was the Birthday Cake flavor, which reminded me that this was my birthday race. I had kind of forgotten!
|Let's play I-spy.|
I took a walk break to switch from podcast to music and then just kept trucking.
The 15k distance kind of plays with your mind, because you think you're done when you get to mile 9 but you're not quite there yet. In the last mile, though, Gasparilla never fails to disappoint. The crowds are constant; you don't want to walk with so many people around cheering for you.
|The beads are untucked, which means the end is near!|
|Indoor finisher pic!|
I finished in 1:34:05, which is a three minute course PR and a 44 second distance PR.