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?