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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gator Gallop - I finally did it!

As you know, I once said that I would do this one day. I was half kidding and half serious. This year, I decided to do it.

The night before, I got my gear together and laid it out for the next day.This is the tee-shirt they gave out - it's not a tech tee, but I did score a 2XL, which I love for sleeping in!

It was the first time I would wear my Team Sparkle skirt and I was worried about looking foolish. But, I got dressed and drove down to Ben Hill Griffin stadium to attempt to find a parking spot. 

Do the Gator Chomp!
What do you think?  It certainly lives up to it's name of SPARKLE! When I stepped outside, my ass sparkled like a freaking disco ball! I love it!

I found a GREAT spot, a little tight to get into, and I was really early, so I sat in the car and read a book for about 20 minutes before trying to get out of the car. I say trying because I didn't realized that the spot was SO TIGHT I couldn't get out of my car! I ended up having to back out of that spot and attempt to find another one, and now the race (well, run) was going to start in like 15 minutes... Serves me right for being so nonchalant about it all!

I found a much better parking spot right around the corner, and as soon as I got out of the car, I had to pee. Of course! I found a bathroom, did what I needed to do and headed over to the starting area.

This is where the run began to suck. You know how, at most races (runs), there is an energy to them? There was no energy here. No "woo hoo" feeling, no "let's go" feeling. It felt like we were all waiting for a bus or something.  The gun went off and we all just kind of trotted along.  Really weird to explain.

We started on SW 2nd Avenue and soon made our way off of campus onto University Avenue - the main through street in Gainesville.  There were thousands of people sitting on sidewalks lining up for the parade. Even with so many people there, I didn't feel out of place or self-concious at all.  I just kept doing my intervals.

I quickly got to the intersection of West University Avenue and Northwest 13th Street (huge intersection in Gainesville) and it kind of freaked me out to know that I was RUNNING through this intersection, rather than driving through it. I kept going, heading towards downtown.

Northwest 6th Street was our turn, and as I ran around the corner, I saw a co-worker of mine there and he cheered me on and gave me a boost. It was great to see him, he's a great guy.  Once I rounded the next corner (in a kind of shephard's crook) now heading back the way we came, but one street south, I knew that I was almost done. Thank God!  I was so over this, it wasn't even funny.

I saw the finish line and made my final push and crossed at 31:28.  Since this was a Fun Run, there were no clocks or timers or anything, so I'm going by what my Garmin said.   This gives me a pace time of 15:47.  Under 16 is all I ask for at this point...

I Finished!
After the finish line, there were folks with lots of different drinks - I got a bottle of water, some sort of juice and some PowerAde.  I also got a coupon to Fit2Run. And that was it.  No one was there clapping for finishers. No other runners were out there clapping for runners. It was like, okay, I'm done, keep walking ot the car....Again, very strange.

Here's where it goes from strange to funny.  I got lost trying to find my car.  Before I left that morning, I took a photo of my car and plotted it on a map using a cool app called Find My Car.  I also printed a map to the general area of where I was going to park and tucked it itno my SpiBelt.  Let me tell you, I was kicking myself for forgetting that I had it!

I was doing okay for a while, but my iPod lost wi-fi and then everything went to hell. I turned in the wrong place and I ended up back at University Avenue, rather than parallel to it, like I needed to be.  I kept walking down University until I got to the place where all the parade floats were coming out. I had to go around that area, as well as the O'Connell Center, so instead of going around IN FRONT of it, I decided to go BEHIND it (part of the reason was so that I could see all the floats and who was in the parade!).  I kept walking and walking, feeling more and more foolish by the minute!  I finally saw a group of people wearing the T-shirt they gave out, so I kind of just fell in step behind them, since it looked like we were going in the right direction!

FINALLY, after like 30m to an hour after the run was over, I ended up back at the car.  I finally felt foolish, and it had nothing to do with the skirt. Who knew?

So, would I do this again?  Hell no. I don't know what the major draw to this run is? Being a Gator fan? Exhibitionism?  I can think of many races I'll spend this $20 on instead of this one.

BUT - I can at least say that I did it, and to me, that is a huge plus.  There's a fat girl in 2009 who would never believe me if I went back in time and told her I did it. That's enough for me.