Well I did it! I can’t believe that since November, I went from frantically realizing that I was in deep trouble for my Disney marathon to reaching a really big goal of mine, which was a sub 2:10 half marathon.
Everything went about as perfect for me today as I could have hoped. My legs have felt great for weeks and I just knew I had a great run in me for today. My goal was somewhere between 2:05 and 2:10. My final time was 2:04:26 which is a huge PR (personal record for you non-runners). I PRed while training for Disney at a half marathon in December. That was 2:18:57. I can’t believe I shaved almost 15 minutes off of my previous PR. But I always have felt if I could just keep my training consistent, I could do it.
The race was a little warmer than I would have liked but while the start was around 69 – 70…it never rose from that either. I started off a little faster than I had intended but after 3 miles I decided I was going to have no trouble holding that pace. My splits are about as consistent as I could have asked for. I was in the 2nd wave for all of the people expected to finish over 2 hours. This is a medium sized race so there was only two waves. With about 4500 total participants, that meant I was running with about 2000 other people. Since I started at the front of the wave I had open roads for the whole way. The streets were pretty wide the whole time so I never felt like I had to slow my pace any. The worst thing that happened was during mile 3 I had to stop and tie my shoe. Somehow that was also my fastest lap so not really a big deal. (You can see the splits and route in my link below from my Polar GPS)
The coolest thing happened before I even started. A minute or two into the race, the route passes over the mouth of the Hillsborough River and onto Davis Island where the first 5 miles take place. From the starting line, you have a great view of the bridge and can see the runners still in a big group running over. I don’t ever spectate a race so it was a really cool thing to see. The race was well stocked with aid stations with bottled water (thanks Zephyrhills!) and Gatorade at every one. There was a boil water order for the whole city of Tampa so the fact that we had bottled water was the only reason there was a race. There was really nothing notable about the course itself. I run it frequently on my own since Davis Island and Bayshore is a beautiful place to run. Seeing the bay in the darkness was beautiful. Then Ilisa was waiting at the finish and I was able to actually see her cheering for me as I sprinted home. Nice feeling to see someone there for you! All the races I’ve ever run over the years I go by myself so the past couple races have been amazing for that. I can’t imagine standing there waiting for me to run by in an instant is all that exciting so I think its pretty awesome, personally.
Overall, I love doing the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Last year was the only year since 2008 I didn’t run it and I really regretted missing it. It was the first race, the 5K, that I did back in ’08 when I first started running and its a really well run local race. The expo is always really nice. I’d say the only disappointing thing for me this year was they didn’t do their official gear with Nike and the quality really suffered from both the give-aways and the merch to buy. My favorite running gear is some of my purchases of Gasparilla gear over the years.
I’m not sure what’s next for me. I only have a 5k booked next month which I’d like to PR and I’d like to PR a 10k and 15k this year as well to complete the set. I’m training for some triathlons during the summer and then next fall I have a 10 miler at Disney in October and I may do the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon again in November.
Been a great year so far though…can’t wait to see what else I’ll do. 8)