I can’t believe my very first half marathon is already over.
We came, we ran, and we kicked some serious booty!
And by booty, I mean the pirates’ kind of course…
Let’s go ahead and dive into the details of the 2012 Gasparilla Distance.
Ready to Run
It was 4:30am and Scott and I were up and at ’em. What? The last time my alarm was set that early, I was heading to the airport in sweats ready to sleep on a 10+ hour plane ride…sigh. When our alarms went off we got dressed and ready to head out by 5:10am. I had planned on eating something like this on the morning of our half.
Then I did some research. As much as I would have loved oatmeal and fruit, I had a feeling it might have been too much fiber right before the race.
Later this week I’m planning a what to do/eat and what not to do/eat the week and day of a long distance race, but for right now let’s keep moving…
What I ate/drank: the night before
lots of water
regular penne pasta (not whole wheat) with chicken and vegetables in a light marinara sauce
What I ate/drank: morning of the race
half a bottle of water
1 Zone Perfect protein bar
*NOTE: I was going to try a new bar with more calories, but I decided to stick to what my stomach is most used to.
Start of the Race
When it was time to leave for the race it was raining with 30+ mph wind gusts. OUCH. We sprinted to the car, got soaked and started thinking “what did we just get ourselves into?!” The whole way over Scott and I laughed, got worried, then prayed for the nasty weather to go away. I was still trying to fight off a nasty cold I had last week from running in the rain, and I wasn’t ready to run an entire race in it!
When we drove up to the race area, we parked as close as possible, put our bib numbers on and jogged up to the starting line to warm up. We both went up to the 8:47 min/mile pace group, stretched and took this awesome photo to document our luck of weather.
The wind was still there, but luckily the rain died down to a drizzle at the start of the race. We were a little nervous about it.
The race started at exactly 6am and by the time we crossed the starting line a minute had already gone by.
For those of you who have never raced before, a chip is either attached to your bib or your shoe to track your real race time, so I wasn’t worried about it.
Scott and I both started strong, but struggled to get a good pace going due to the narrow path towards Davis Island. It wasn’t long before I saw him dart off, while I was content staying with my pace sign buddy at 8:47 min/mile.
The 5 mile run through Davis Island went pretty quickly. For the weather being as awful as it was that early in the morning, I was really impressed with the entertainment that came out, as well as the spectators. There was a fire juggler at the 1 mile mark directing us and live music the mile after that. Since it was still dark out during this portion of the race, I was a disappointed that Scott didn’t get to see how beautiful the island is. Anyone who travels close to downtown Tampa during the daytime should take a drive through… it’s charming.
Getting into the Groove
Once we got out of Davis Island, I felt like the race had finally begun. The roads widened, the sun was starting to make an appearance and I was pumped!
Running felt like a breeze until about the 6 mile mark. My body felt good, but my continuous runny nose was really irritating me. From here on out, I grabbed some of the toilet paper I stuffed into my shirt for this reason and blew my nose at every water stop.
What I ate/drank: during the race
1 tiny cup of Gatorade at the 2 mile mark
water throughout, every other stop
1/2 a Strawberry Kiwi Accel Gel pack at the 50 minute/6.5 mile mark
the other 1/2 of Accel Gel pack at the 1:30/9.5 mile mark
Miles 7 and 8 flew by, and I was really enjoying what was going on around me. I had ear buds in, but I could still soak in everything like the mime, more live music and spectators cheering us on.
Mile 10 seemed to take forever to get to, but I finished up my Accel Gel and powered through it. At the 11 mile mark I saw a huge crowd of spectators all wearing the same shirts. When I realized they were all kids most likely from the same school, I joined in on the high-five line and it surprisingly turned into just what I needed to get excited again! From there on out I kept my pace and had a goal of finishing in under 2 hours.
During the duration of the race, I used the iMapMyRUN app on my phone and it turns out I actually ended up running 13.38 miles. I think I can blame the bottle-necking at the beginning and the zig zagging between people throughout the race for that.
At mile 12, I was really hoping to hit my goal of 2 hours or under. My phone had already alerted me I had passed the 13 mile mark, so I was anxious to see the finish line. When I finally saw it, there Scott was cheering me on. The little booger finished his in 1:47:10!
I was SO proud of him and excited to see him there.
With about 0.3 miles to go a familiar voice says, “great job, Heather!” and I recognize my friend Mike. How crazy is that? When I saw him, he started to sprint and I made it my new goal to keep up with him for the remainder of the race. I’m so glad I did that because that is what caused me to get under 2 hours… all 3 seconds of it under.
Once we crossed the finish line, I was handed what looked like a metal lined blanket. I forgot how cold it was for a second, until I felt the wind again. I found Scott, he walked over to grab a medal with me and we enjoyed the victory.
What I ate/drank: after the race
water (handed out)
1 banana (handed out)
1 fruit cup (handed out)
While waiting to find our friends who raced with us we ran into pirates…
got handed more random things, including baked beans (?)
and found a spot to take a breather.
I forgot to mention earlier that Scott got his knee wrapped in KT Tape the day before when we picked up our racing bags. His knee has been bothering him, and he said it helped keep some of the pressure off.
Apparently, the tape also doubled as a DIY leg waxing kit. I couldn’t help but laugh, while Scott was pulling the tape off saying it hurt more than running the half!
Eventually we got motivated to head out to the car and on to brunch. There was just one problem: both Scott and I pulled a park and run, meaning didn’t look to see where we parked when we got to the race! The weather was nasty, both of us were trying to pin our bibs on, and we didn’t even think twice about walking off in the dark.
To make a long story short, we found our car…eventually…45 minutes after we started looking for it. That was probably the most painful 45 minute walk we’ve both ever experienced.
Word to to wise:
Never forget to look where you parked, especially in the dark, especially going to a race! Duh.
After all of that, we treated ourselves to a celebratory brunch with friends at my old second home, First Watch.
What I ate/drank: brunch
3 egg white omelet with spinach, red peppers, red onions, black olives and feta cheese
1 English Muffin
3 tomato slices
and…1/2 a ginormous bacon & cheddar pancake (Scott’s choice!)
Our first half marathon was a success and we felt great!
I hope you’ve enjoyed following me through my 10 weeks of training for it – or better yet – feel inspired to enter any kind of race of your own. Shout out to my mom, who also completed her first ever half marathon yesterday!
She’s a perfect example of mind over matter. She started training with me back in Week 1 and pushed herself the entire way through. I am SO proud of her! 🙂
Hard work, dedication and determination is all it takes to train for a half marathon race.
Arggghhhh you ready?