Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Race Report: Gasparilla Half Marathon

First, I have to thank Susan from Kellogg's for the opportunity to run this awesome course for FREE!  Thank you so, so, so much!  Second, I have to thank Coach Steve for not only agreeing to run this race (after a very long negotiation), but also sticking with me almost the entire way.

The morning started off a little rough.  The forecast indicated that a band of showers and wind were going to be moving in from about 3 am to 9 am.  (Which just so happened to be the time that we were going to be running...) and I was a little concerned on Saturday.  But, I have run in the rain before and Lord knows I'm sure as heck not going to melt..

I left the  house around 5 am to meet up with Coach Steve at 5:30.  The wind was INSANE. It literally looked like a hurricane with all the debris and palms flying across the road.  I thought for a second that I might be insane to be running in this weather, but I really wanted that medal!

I got to my top-secret parking location that is very close to the start/finish and FREE and it started to downpour.  Ben was nice enough to make me a homemade poncho out of garbage bags the night before, so needless to say, I was looking hot and could have deflected most of the rain.

Luckily, the rain let up a little and I started to jog to Publix.  However, the streets were flooded and a car drove by and totally drenched me.  It felt like something out of a television show, so I had to just laugh.  At least my garbage bag/poncho helped to protect me!  I met up with Coach Steve (and he did make fun of my poncho, just in case you were wondering) and we headed over to the starting line.

Surprisingly, the starting line was not crowded at all.  It seemed kind of strange because the race was starting at 6 am and it was after 5:30.  The strategy was to start conservative and then pick it up at the end, if we felt good.  The wind was a little rough, but it's nothing that I'm not used to from running on Bayshore.  Poor Ben was the ONLY person cheeering runners on as they went over the Davis Island bridge at the start (so adorable!).

The first four(ish) miles on Davis Islands went by pretty quickly.  Even though it had rained, it was still a little warmer that I thought it was going to be.  I really wish that I would have worn a sleeveless shirt at this point. (I really felt bad for the people I spotted wearing a long sleeve shirt, mannnn).  We spotted Ben on the way back over the Davis Island bridge and then spotted David from the Striders shortly after on Bayshore. (Thank you guys for being so tall and easy to spot in a crowd!)

The out and back on Bayshore was more windy then Davis Island.  My knee was doing pretty well all the way until we got to Gandy Boulevard and then I had two sharp knee pains.  It wasn't too bad, and Coach Steve runs with Aspirin (what?!?) and he gave me one.  That seemed to do the trick and we ran back down Bayshore.

Now I run Bayshore quite a bit.  Mentally, I know every, single mile and how far it is to each street from any particular point I am at.  It could be a good thing, but sometimes it is mentally draining.  I have to say that running with someone else is soooo, sooo, sooo much better than running by yourself.  And Coach Steve was a great running buddy and very encouraging the entire way.  Here are some of the pictures from the course..

Nice face!

Here is a photo of Coach Steve, myself, and Cami afterwards.  Check out the bling-bling!

Here are the final results.  It's not a PR, but it was a difficult day and I'm happy with the end result.  81 out of 384?!?  I will take it!

1 comment:

  1. Great job Laura! Enjoyed reading the report. I love the section on Davis Island, I'll need to try and get back there next year. Kudos to Coach Steve for sticking with you and kudos to Ben for the rain poncho and being a one man cheering squad.