Race Report: Gasparilla Distance Classic (Read 354 times)

    I ran the 15k portion of the Gasparilla Distance Classic; all in all, I had a lot of fun. Start time was 7:30 and cold. The predicted temp was 36°; not sure what the actual temp was, but it was pretty chilly. I parked the car and jogged over to the convention center to warm up, dropped off my stuff at the gear check room (no line!) and then went for a quick run around the block to warm up some more. When I got over to the starting corral, what struck me the most was how much smaller the crowd was compared to the 5k portion that I ran last year. At best, there were about half as many runners. This allowed me to start at the back to avoid getting swept up faster than my desired pace but still cross the starting line fairly quickly. I was pretty happy with my run; my plan was to run negative splits, but I wound up running a pretty even pace the whole distance with a little kick the last 1.3 miles. I was running by myself, but saw a few people that I knew from work along the way. My firm pays the registration fees for anyone who wants to run in any of the 4 races or other challenges for Gasparilla every year and provide racing shirts for everyone so that we stand out. The course is always scenic as it winds along Bayshore Blvd and back with Tampa Bay on one side and multi-million dollar mansions on the other. Residents of the neighborhoods near the course usually come out to cheer everyone on, but it was either too cold or the 15k starts to early for most of them as I saw only a handful of spectators this year. The few that did show up however, were all very enthusiastic and encouraging. That includes the live music they had set up at the mile markers along the way. That was really neat, the 5k last year just had canned music, but they got a bunch of local bands and artists to perform this year. All of the volunteers were great too. Everybody handing out water and gatorade had a smile despite the hour and the temperature. And who needs Gu?? somewhere after mile 5 there were people handing out Krispy Kreme donut holes! Big grin I grabbed one on my way by and it really hit the spot. At about 6 and a half miles, my IT band started to ache right on schedule, but never got bad enough to force me to stop; didn't even have to slow down, so that was nice. I was concerned about that because up until the race, I'd never run more than 8.5 miles for that very reason. But I made sure to give extra attention (even more than I usually do) to my IT bands during my stretch and rubbed them down with Ben Gay as soon as I woke up to get them a head start on warming up. The rest was fairly uneventful after that. I was able to finish and finish strong and felt really good when I crossed the line. Spent the best $10 of my life on a massage and headed on home. My only pet peeve is that my results seem to be missing from the official results. I sent an email to the people in charge and am just waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully nothing went wrong with that, but at least I wore my watch so I know what my time was, it will just be disappointing if I can't see how I did against the rest of the field. Not sure what's going on with that though, I had my chip on my shoe and definitely crossed all of the mats. Confused
    The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. -- Juma Ikangaa, Tanzanian marathoner

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