Sunday, February 22, 2015

I Am a Pirate! Gasparilla Weekend Race Report (Day 3 - 8k and Final Thoughts)

Day TWO of my epic Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge!!

Amazingly, I was feeling pretty good as I got out of bed (I think I was up around 5:30).  I ate a Jif To Go peanut butter cup and then we packed up our room.

The weather was much warmer today, so I didn't need long sleeves or tights.  Hubby and the kiddo packed up the room while I went downstairs to check out.

We drove in to downtown Tampa and found a better place to park this time around (hopefully with working non-keyed elevators!).  It was the South Regional Garage at 301 Channelside Drive (and ony $10!)

We headed off to the 8k start, which was MUCH farther away; it was on the other side of the street, next to the finisher chute. Hubby and the Kiddo went off, searching for a good Start Line vantage point while I walked to my start line.

They ended up getting a great spot at the top of the Overpass, and I had a great spot on the left side of the road, watching the half-marathoners come in the chute.  I cheered them on for a bit, until it was time to gear up.

Half Marathoners coming in on your left; 8k'rs ready to go out on your right
I got my music and my Garmin ready. Oh, crap - the Garmin didn't charge last night... crap crap crap. I also set my intervals for an easy 30/90. I was feeling pretty good, but I didn't want to overdo it and bonk at Mile FOUR, you know?

Finally, it was time to go and I took off, looking up at the overpass. I found my family, but no matter how much waving I did, only the Kiddo saw me!

I'm going to tell you this right now - I've already run up and down this road twice yesterday, so the miles today are going to run together. You may end up reading a really disjointed race recap with a bunch of mile marker photos, I dunno.

I remember that early on, I saw this lady in the sports bra and all of her hooks except for one were already worked out of their spots and she was close to free-boobin' it, so I tapped her on the shoulder and let her know. I felt like a good person.

I don't know if I'd like to have my earphones running through my bra... seems painful
Already at Mile 1!

At least it's in a different spot this time
Hey, I'm going really fast, here's Mile 2 already! (No, really, I told you this was all running together...)

Woo hoo!
This house was the turn-around spot and I wanted to take a picture of it yesterday, but didn't get a change. If you can see on their porch, chekc out their pirate ship chandelier! It's so cool!

My light's a pirate ship
Headed towards the finish line, we passed Mile 3. 

Mile 3! More than halfway there!
Sadly, by Mile 4, the water stops had backed up - but they so nicely left jugs of water on the side of the road for us. No cups or anything. Just jugs of water. Some people were literally taking the jugs, drinking from them, and throwing them in the grass. Other people were just taking the jugs. Period. The rest of us used the jugs to fill up our own water bottles. 

Sad lonely jugs
Less than 1 mile to go!
HOWEVER, the water stop at Mile 4.5 still had water. AND SPRINKLERS!

It was getting mighty hot out on the course, so the sprinkers were a godsend! You can see all the walkers in front of me veering to the right to get drenched. 
We're really cose to the overpass again! That means we're almost DONE! I'm THISCLOSE to finish my first-ever challenge race!

I DO love my Internet Results!
I refused to check my Garmin for TIME during this race. If I wanted to see distance, I would cover up the bottom 2/3 of the watch. I didn't want to freak myself out. 
The end IS in sight this time!
Still trying to be a pirate
After going under the overpass, I put on the two medals I got from yesterday (SparkleSkirts, baby! I carried those medals the whole time!) and ran in. My GUN time was 1:31 - I totally PRd this race, too!!!!! 

Can I get a what-what?
I hit stop on my Garmin, then checked for my time... Welp, my garmin DIED! So close to the finish too (I had checked it after the sprinklers, I think).

Whatever, I PR'd!!!!

I did it!!!  I PR'd TWO RACES, during a CHALLENGE!!!

Official Finisher's Certificate
I lost it, I was crying on my Hubby so badly a volunteer had to come check on me!  I blubbered that I PRd my races, and she nodded nicely and told me to move along. Not a runner, she.

I recieved some ice cold towels (I gave one to the Kiddo, she was really overheated, wearing long sleeves) and plopped the other one on my head.  I also got my medal, and my challenge medal, then grabbed a bottle of water, which I chugged down pretty quickly.

I got some pirate photos with ALL the bling, then we headed down to the Riverwalk for some "official" photos with Jose Gaspar's boat.
More pirates
Check ot that bling!
I'm so fancy!
I think this is her first real medal!
After the photos, I changed from my running shoes to flip flops and wandered towards the after party.  Since beer can't be served until 11 in this county, I was hoping that the lines and crowds would be smaller.


This is the line to get IN to the after-party
Still not the end of the after-party line
Still not the end (but close to it)
I cannot imagine any party that is worth this kind of line.  Is the beer that awesome? Is the band that good? Well, no thanks! We headed back to the car instead.  We had plans to meet up with my mom at the 4th Street Shrimp Store in St. Pete at 1ish.  I used to live in the Largo area, and we'd go to the 4th Street Shrimp Store a lot when I was a kid, so I was looking forward to returning. Since mom had moved back to New Port Richey (about an hour away), she hadn't returned either, so she was ecstatic when we (I) originally invited her to our celebratory lunch.

However, it's only just now 11am, so I called her from the car to see if she would meet us there at noon instead. She would.

I'd planned to change clothes there, anyway, so we hopped on i275. The traffic was insane, but once on the Howard Frankland, I was reminded of how BEAUTIFUL the water is here. Maybe we'll go to the beach after lunch?

Mom beat us to the restaurant by a few minutes. I got out, wearing all 4 of my medals, clanging like a windchime!

We got a table in the "new" part of the restaurant, and then I quickly changed to some not sweaty, much more comfortable clothes.

I ordered the shrimp dinner with fries and chowdah. Hubby got chicken fingers (he doesn't do seafood, but humors me when I do).

OMG, it tasted like childhood. It was so damn tasty I wanted to roll around in it. The chowdah was thick and creamy and just perfect. The shrimp were fresh and fried perfectly! Frankly, hubby's chicken was pretty mediocre compared to my food, but whatever, I didn't have to eat it!

We all chatted for a while, but we needed to leave, so we said goodbye to mom (who nicely paid for our meal... ) and then we debated hitting up a beach. Well, we drove around looking for a WaWa over on the peninsula, but none could be found, and I was getting very tired. I nixed the idea of the beach, got back on Howard Frankland, it up the WaWa on Dale Mabry and then headed home.

I would've LOVED to have taken a hot shower once we got home, but due to a plumbing issue the day we left, the drain was clogged, so I just went ahead and put my ass to bed. We didn't cook dinner; just unpacked and went our separate ways.

So, my thoughts on this race?  Would I do it again? Oh, HELL YEAH!  The expo is awesome, the course is flat and (for the most part), support on teh course is wonderful. However, parking is costly, traffic is horrendous and hotels are super-expensive if you want to be anywhere near the race itself (our room for the crappy area it was in, was $200 - and that was considered a 3-Star "Secret Rate" hotel from Hotwire).

5k Official Time – 1:10:39 (me)
11964th out of 12116 Total Runners (Me) – beat 152  people
11959th out of 12116 Total Runners (Kiddo) – beat 157 people

15k Official Time – 2:37:00
5183rd out of 5254 – beat 71 people

8k Official Time – 1:24:45
3922nd out of 4091 Total Runners – beat 169 people

Lime Challenge Accumulated Time – 4:01:45

30,994 Total Runners
520 Finished the Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge (I came in 495th)

Location: Tampa, FL
Host: Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, Inc   
Race Fee: $85 (Challenge) + $25 (5k)
Packet Pickup: Easy, but VERY busy (and very LARGE) Expo. Parking at the expo was insane
Parking: LOTS of parking lots, but all charge hefty fees ($10 per day)
Support: Some better than others; may have been better for the speedier folks
After Party: BUSY – the lines to get IN were crazy! We never made it to the “official” after-party

 All in all, I think it's a good race weekend, and I look forward to doing it next year. Maybe no 5k with the kiddo though.

MEDALS!!! 5k, 8k, Challenge and 15k
Oh, and one more thing...

Seriously, how?

I Am a Pirate! Gasparilla Weekend Race Report (Day 2 - 15k and 5k)

Today was the first day of my two-day Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge, and it consisted of doing the 15k.  Well, my day also consisted of doing a 5k as well, in the place of my mom, who decided not to walk it with the Kiddo (Mom was having some Achilles Tendonitis, so she didn't want to push it).

We were up around 4:30 and me and the Kiddo ate breakfast.  We began getting ready to go, and once Hubby was up, he kept rushing us ("c'mon, it's already 5am, let's go!!" kind of stuff; Man I hates when I does that...)

Of course, he's right to do it, because we WERE running behind, but still...

Stepping outside the hotel room, the weather was a lot chillier than I was expecting!  I threw on a pair of tights under my Sparkle Skirt and made sure I had a set of Hot Hands (chemical hand warmers) in my jacket.

Again, like yesterday, traffic was bad once we got near the Convention Center.  We randomly followed other runners to a parking garage at the Bank of America Plaza. We parked originally on the 4th floor, but saw a sign that it was reserved, so we moved up to the 6th floor - no one wants to get towed!

Hubby and his head for navigation led us to the start line for the 15k.  I didn't see any waves slower than under 60 minutes (I checked later before writing this, and there weren't), so I got in Wave 4 (41-50 Minute Time).  While waiting, I opened the Hot Hands and put one in my sports bra and one in my pocket.  I also remembered to turn on Nike+, start my interval timer AND get the Garmin going (I'm so bad at that one...)

Not MY wave, but it was the slowest one they had
Off we go, and I'm doing 1:30/2:00 intervals (they were great intervals!). I didn't want to overdo it with 2/1 and screw myself - I had a lot of running ("running") to do this weekend and I wanted to make sure I finished all of it uninjured!

We headed up Platt Street Bridge before we even hit Mile 1.

This is the biggest "Hill" of the course
We also passed the Finish Line, which had a HUGE long chute!  I can't wait to run in to that in a few hours!

There's even bleachers for spectators
Closer shot of the finish line
We had to run over an underpass, and they hung a huge banner across it that read "You Can Do It!"  You bet your ass I can do it!

I *think* this is the Selmon Expressway Overpass?
I made it to Mile 1 and I'm feeling good!  The view of Tampa Bay from Bayshore is amazing and I can see why people love this place. There are a lot of gorgeous houses here!

Really nice sized Mile Markers!
As I ran by, oogling the houses, I couldn't help wonder what the cost of living here would be.  I just Zillow'ed Bayshore Boulevard (edit: I added the links for you!) and there is a lovely 8900+ SF 6 bed, 9.5 bath for ONLY 13.9 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!   It makes the 6 bedroom down the road a steal at only 3.5 million dollars, and the tiny little 728sf 1/1 condo at $165,000 seem like chump change!!!

"Chafing is hot. Call me"          "Run Faster - I just farted"          "Running takes balls. Other sports just play with them"
Between miles 1 and 2 was a huge trailer. Something called Rough Riders. I had no idea what or who they were, but they were dressed up kind of like cowboys and handing out beads. I'm a sucker for any beads I don't have to flash for!

Hey, Rough Riders!
There were also strands of beads hanging in the trees and bushes nearby, making them look oddly festive and trashy at the same time.  I hit up every single Rough Rider and loaded up my arm with beads.

Yup, I'm a bead whore
Soon enough, Mile 2 showed up and I was still feeling pretty good. It's still chilly out, so I've kept my jacket on, and we're still going down Bayshore. Our side was in the shade, which wasn't helping, temperature-wise.

Whoo hoo, Mile 2
I passed the Shalom building, and I thought it had really cool architecture.

Wow, there goes the leader's car already.

I like that the lead car has a clock on it!
I'm doing pretty good at Mile 3; not my best time, but I've seen worse. I'm pretty sure there are still a lot of people behind me, so there is no fear of me being last.

Worst 5k ever! Oh, this is a 15k?  Crap.
Finally, a water stop. I don't know why I like water stops so much: I always carry my own water... 

This guy had a great way of cleaning up all those empty cups; he was using a huge piece of plywood to shove them in to a huge pile!

Shove... shove...
We're at Mile 4 now, and we should be turning off on to a different road in a minute.

Mile 4! Look at all those people over THERE, though...
I made it to the turn-around spot!!! Hit that mat!!!

Boom!  Halfway!
Right after the mat, there was a little girl with her dad cheering us on and lots of the runners in front of me were giving her their beads. I just trotted on by with a wave. Hey, I ran for 'em, they're MY beads. Call me selfish, I don't care. 

Back on Bayshore, we are officially more than halfway done and passing Mile 5.

Feelin' alive at Mile 5
I'm still pretty cold at this point, and was thinking that I was going to need to keep wearing the jacket for the 5k. Then I realized that the Kiddo didn't bring an extra jacket or long sleeves (for the race) so I called hubby and asked him to bring my grey jacket (for Kiddo to use) and my Halo (pocket power for my iPod) from the car.  I felt guilty asking him to go all the way back to the car for it, but knew that there was no way I was gonna give up my jacket (especially since it was cold and wet and sweaty.... ewwww). Hubby told me later that he thought I was calling him to tell him I QUIT, and he was going to yell at me!  LOL, no such thing as quit!

After I hung up, I also moved the second Hot Hands packet to the other side of my bra. Now I had one in each cup.  

Mile 6 back on Bayshore
I've made it to Mile 6 and I'm almost 2/3 of the way done!  Again, not my best 6-mile time, but I'm out to finish a challenge, not WIN the challenge.
This mile was really boring for some reason. It was just one foot in front of the other, admiring the beautiful bay and keeping up with my intervals.
Here we are at Mile 7 and I have less than a 5k to go!
What can I say? It's Mile 7!
Mile 7 was also pretty boring, so here's Mile 8!

Oooooooooh, Mile 8!
I got passed by the first 5k runner right after passing Mile 8.  The way the weekend works is that the 15k and the 5k are on Saturday, then the Half and the 8k are on Sunday.  There is another challenge, the Ultra Challenge, that is the 15k, 5k, Half and 8k.  Wow! I'm over here struggling to finish the 15k and there are people who have already finished who are now running the 5k...

Please don't run me over
At this point, all of us 15k'rs are told to move to the right so we wouldn't get run over by the 5k'rs. 

A bunch of 5k folks passed us, but we made it to Mile 9! We're so close!!!

Mile 9!! Mile 9!!
There's the overpass!  After the overpass is the chute!!!

I can't see it from here!
And here is that long-ass finisher chute that I passed just a few hours ago!

Boom!!! Finished!!! PR, baby!!!! Oh, yeah!!!  I beat my Gate time by like 10 minutes!!!

That's a good pace!
I spotted the family and walked over and got my hugs, before being ushered along by a volunteer.

I was given my medal and then a bottle of water.  I met up with the family again and I got a few photos taken with local "Pirates".

After decompressing for a moment, we walked to a semi-quiet area so I could change bibs and get ready for the 5k.  I also changed out of my green shirt that I had been wearing to a black top with a red scarf - I was attempting to look like a pirate. It didn't work very well.

Arrr, we're pirates
The Kiddo ended up taking my white jacket anyway (even though it was drenched with sweat). I got rid of my fleece earwarmers, too, since my head was way hot by now, and chugged some PowerAde. I checked the power situation of my iPod and ended up not needing my Halo at all.

We headed towards the start line and kind of slipped in between the fences, not even realizing that we had line-jumped about a thousand people by doing that. Oops.

Front line of the Stroller Roll and Walk (AKA the Slow Folks)
Action Shot!
We had to stand around for about 10 minutes, and the standing (in a very large crowd with not a lot of room to move around) was inducing leg cramps and general crappiness.

The kiddo took the opportunity to try her Chocolate Honey Stinger that we got at the Expo last night.  I tried it, as well; I didn't like the flavor, but the texture was fine for me.

I ended up not needing my grey jacket, and after taking off, I handed it to Hubby past the start line.  I felt SOOOOO bad for making him go to the car to get it and the Halo, only to not need either one...

The course is very similar, but slightly different, from the 5k.

This Publix smelled like fried chicken and it was very unfair
We passed this little cutie right after starting. Since this was a Stroller Walk, she had her little stroller with her.  (I think we still got beat by her...)

Bitch, I'm fabulous!
Once past this area, the course is the same as the 15k, so I knew what to expect. I spent a lot of time watching the masses of runners coming back towards the finish line.

Then I saw this...

Daniel? Are you waxing off in there?
I had absolutely no idea what this was. My first thought was Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid. You know, when he went to the Halloween party dressed like a shower?

Well, turns out it wasn't Ralph, but the architect of the Sykes Building (in Tampa) who ran AS his building!  How creative!

Before even hitting Mile 1, the Kiddo needed a pottie stop. Apparently, while waiting for me to finish the 15k, she had drank (drunk?) all of her water, but didn't have anywhere to tinkle.  

Thank you, Portable Sanitation, for the plethora of potties this weekend
She was in there a while, so I took a 15k medal Glamour Shot. 

Oooooooooh, Ahhhhhhhhhh!
Very soon after the potty stop, we made it to Mile 1!

Hey, this looks familiar
The kiddo didn't want to run very much, so this ended up being one hell of a walk for us (seriously, it was like we were at the mall...)  She took a lot of water at each water stop, like it was going out of style.  I was expecting her to have to tinkle again before we were done. 

We made it to Mile 2 with no tinkle stop. 

Already on the other side of Bayshore
I don't remember why we stopped to take this photo. It had something to do with the island in the background that you can barely see over the railing. But she really wanted me to take it. So here it is. 
Hey, look at this pretty island thing back there. I'm a pirate.
At this point, as much as I love my daughter, I'm really regretting doing this 5k. She's going so slow, and all I want to do is finish. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I'm really aching in my hips and knees.  Next year, I'll definitely need to work on fuel and pop some Tylenol before the 5k, if I do it again).  It's heating up out here (seriously, it was probably like 11a.m. at this point) and I'm just unhappy. 

The Kiddo kept complaining that she was hot, but she never took off her (my) jacket!  Instead, she kept taking water and dumping it on her head. I can't fault the logic (I love doing that when it's hot), but I generally take some layers off first.

Too hot? Step 1 - Take off JACKET!
Finally, though, we slogged our way past the Mile 3 sign (which I have no photo of) and crossed the finish line!  It took us over 70 minutes to do a 5k, which is BY FAR my worst time ever, but I won't count this as an actual race time - this was all for her. 

I let her finish first, as I always too, and judging by her MarathonFoto, she seemed pretty pleased.
She did it!!
Unlike earlier at the 15k, the finish line was so empty, we could do an actual Finish Line photo.

Finish Line Photo!!!!
We headed up the bridge and got our medals (the blue one). 

15k medal on the left; 5k medal on the right. 1 more race to get 2 more medals!
We got some water then posed to take photos with the pirates again. This time, because there was no one around, we sweet-talked ALL the pirates to get in to ONE photo with us. It was awesome, and I totally want a corset.
ALL the Pirates!
While we were standing there, Hubby was off to one side, maybe 10 feet away from us.  A motorcycle cop came our way and stopped right in front of him. Hubby looked at him and the cop snidely said "no, don't move or anything!" Hubby looked at him like, "huh?" and the cop yelled at him, "MOVE!"  What the hell, bro? The road we were on is at least a 2-lane road (but I think 4), and there was plenty of room down the middle of the road (more people off to the sides than in the middle). What was up the cop's ass for him to go berserk like that? I dunno, but you can bet your ass I reported him when I got home! 

Still freaking out a bit about Ponch and his attitude, we headed back towards the Q105 After Party. Hubby, the darling that he is, thought that it was IN the same building as the Expo, so he dragged my happy ass all the way up the long flight of stairs only to discover that it was BEHIND the building. 

I limped my way back downstairs to the party. Wow, it's busy here, and we weren't even AT the party yet.  We grabbed a banana for the Kiddo and a semi-flat, kind of warm watered-down Coke for me (but DAMN, it was still super-tasty).  Also grabbed a few Special K granola bars, but when we got to the end of that line and saw how busy the actual party was, we said screw it! It was frankly just too damn far for me. 

We headed back to the parking garage, only to discover that the elevators didn't work - they only worked with a key card, which of course, we did not have. 

We got lucky though, and eventually (I think we must have been at this place for 10 minutes) an elevator came DOWN so we could hop aboard without the key, and we made it to our car on the 6th floor. As we drove down, we stopped at the little building (what is that called, anyway?) to pay for the parking, but the gate opened up before I could get my credit card out, so... we'll I'm not gonna lie... I drove right outta there!  

We made our way back to the lovely Ramada (happy birthday, Debra!), and hubby went directly back out to go get ice for me.  The kiddo changed in the bathroom while I chilled out, then hubby came back, started me a bath and dumped in all the ice!!  He's not a runner, so he doesn't know that you need to gradually ice down, not get in to a slushie.  I warmed up the ice bath a bit (I had a 'chill' bath), hopped in for 10 minutes of torture, then switched over to a hot bath for another 10 minutes or so. 

Bathed and dressed, we decided lunch at Wendy's sounded good.  I ended up with a spicy chicken sandwich and some super fresh french fries courtesy of the lovely lady at the register, as well as a frosty.  

I needed to find somewhere to walk around for a bit so that I didn't cramp up, and I recalled that there was an IKEA in Tampa. Hubby wasn't too thrilled with the idea at first (He hates Tampa, really hates Ybor and hates people who shop at IKEA.) I told him to suck it up and deal with it. 

So we went to IKEA!

"Ikea: just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen"
Just in the parking lot and I was already nerding out over it. I love furniture you put together yourself. I love inexpensive furniture. I love "stuff".  

I was not disappointed with IKEA.  We walked around the showroom part and hubby started falling in love with the store, then we got to the upstairs "stuff" part and I was in heaven! So much storage, so many pieces of furniture!  It's a damn good thing we have a small car, or I would have loaded up on new lamps and storage pieces. Maybe next year. 

We stopped at WaWa on the way back to the hotel and got some dinner (I think I got a quesadilla) then chilled out and got ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the 2nd half of my Lime Cactus Challenge - an 8k (that's about 5 miles)!