Sometimes I do crazy things. Crazy things involving endurance sports; I’m not that crazy otherwise. This past weekend fit right in! I got started running back in 2007 with the Gasparilla 5k and the Gasparilla Distance Classic has remained one of my favorite race weekends. I had so much fun and it helped me get back in shape, so every year I try and make sure to do a Gasparilla race. Since this is my last year in Tampa I decided to step it up a bit and do all four races! That meant 30.4 miles over two days between a 15k and 5k on Saturday and then a half marathon and 8k on Sunday.
I really had no idea how to train or even run an event like the GDC Ultra Michelob Challenge but I trusted in overall fitness to get me through the weekend. I really lucked out and on the first day ended up near the 9:30 pace group. The pacer also was doing all four events and several people in the group were as well. So I had a bunch of people to run with and talk to all weekend. This is the first race in a while that I wasn’t running for time, I really just went out and had a fun weekend. The first day there were donuts being handed out at the half-way point of the 15k & 5k so I ate a donut in both races! If there had been beer available I’d have definitely taken some of that too but I never saw any. As it was a pretty easy effort all weekend I was able to just enjoy chatting with everyone in the pace group and taking in the crowds.
The weather was absolutely beautiful all weekend. I said at one point during the half marathon on Sunday that this was the reason I run. I had beautiful houses on one side, the bay on the other and huge trees overhead. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the Tampa skyline was just a few miles down the road. There were dolphins playing in the water. If that isn’t enough to get you out there I don’t know what is!
All I wanted to do was go out and finish every race comfortably and I managed that. I never slowed down all weekend and while I was sore I felt pretty good overall. At the end I was able to meet up with my friends for some fun pictures and it seemed like I saw someone I knew almost constantly all weekend long. Its hard to say if I’ll be back next year but it was a good way to run my final GDC while I live in Tampa. 8)