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Monday, February 22, 2016

Lemongrass + Ass Doesn't Smell Very Nice - Gasparilla Distance Classic Weekend 2016 (8k)

Today is the final day of the Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge - a simple 8k.  It started relatively late in the morning, so I had plenty of time to wake up, without having to rush.

Unfortunately, after my tormented lady-bits discovery, I had to make sure I lubed up some new parts. I exclusively use Ruby's Lube as my lube of choice; it's all natural, with only 5 ingredients. I'm not sure whether it's the lemongrasss or the calendula that gives it it's distinctive smell, but I love it. However, I just gotta say... lubing those down south bits was gross, and I didn't like doing it.

After I was greased up and dressed, I got the family up, we all packed and loaded the car, then came back inside for breakfast!  We never have time for hotel breakfast!

Our hotel had a nice spread of cold items like fruit, yogurt and cereal, as well as hot items like eggs, biscuits, sausage and make-your-own waffles. I ended up with a waffle, some sausage (it was smoked sausage, like keilbasa, not breakfast sausage like McDonald's, which was kind of weird), a biscuit, some eggs and OJ.  I wasn't impressed with the waffle - this was my first foray into the Hotel Waffle Experience, and I thought that my waffle was much too soft. It wasn't crunchy, so the syrup just soaked right into it and made it a very large sponge.  I did enjoy the sausage, of which I could have enjoyed a pound or so, but I didn't want to overload my stomach with grease. The OJ had pulp in it, so I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I wished I did. The biscuit was a biscuit, probably came from Sam's or Sysco.

Once we finished breakfast, we officially checked out and headed back to our super-secret parking lot. I was worried it might be full from the folks already out there doing the half-marathon, but we lucked out.

I loaded up and we headed over to the 8k.  With kisses from the family, I headed to the start line, while they headed over to the Plant Ave Overpass (yeah, I looked it up between the post from yesterday and today).

We waited... and waited... and waited.  So I took some start line selfies. Set up the Garmin. Made sure my Nike+ and Interval Timer were ready. Made sure the music was going.

Are we there yet? It's a loooooong walk to the Start Line!
I made it!  Start Line Selfie!
We cheered on some of the half-marathon folks coming in to the finish chute, but finally, it was our turn to go.

Off we go!
I love runners who carry big flags!
The 8k follows the same route as the 15k and the 8k, so there are no surprises. Unfortunately, that also makes it a boring course to do multiple times.

I'm watching you, Mile 4 Water Stop
The 8k leader passed me at about 21 minutes. I made it to Mile 1 right after that.

I'm not really this slow, I'm just stuck in the back
The weather was nice, not cold, and I was full-on 'running' at this point; I was skipping my walk intervals and soon made it to Mile 2.

Mile 2, LOTS of 8k'ers returning already!
Big Head Guy met us at the turn-around and we began to head back up Bayshore Blvd.  There were still a LOT of people behind me!

Big Head Guy says turn around!
Look at all of those people still behind me!
The return trip always seems so much longer... I think it's because I don't have a focal point.  I can't look in front of me and say "oh, I need to go to that blue builidng."

I meandered and made my way to Mile 3.

Mile 3, less than two miles to go
At about this point, my crummy camera died.  It's been dying a lot, and I know I need a new one, so I guess it's time to get serious about finding a new one (it getting soaked in the bag with my banana yesterday didn't help at all, I'm sure!)

I'm not 100% sure this is the same guy, but I'm pretty sure I caught up to the American Flag Guy from the photo up above, so I'm not way behind!  Sure, could be a totally different guy, but I choose not to believe that!

I'm about 99% sure it's the same guy
Big Head Guy was out to tell us that there was 1 mile to go - so I knew I was at mile 3.93!

Mile 3.93! (I think their math is off, if the Mile 4 sign is that close...)
Right after that was the Mile 4 sign.  So close! Less than a mile to go.

Past Mile 4, maybe 4.5, there is a water stop.  And yes, AGAIN, the water station was shut down before we got there.  All that was left was cases of gallon jugs of water.  This is so fucking frustrating!  It's a race. In Florida. In Tampa. By water.  You have a 99.44% chance of it being fucking hot. Why can you not keep volunteers out here for an additional hour so that us slow folks in the back aren't forced to chug water from a fucking jug?

I didn't stop for water - I didn't want to worry about backwash
I kept on going, I knew I was almost there. I passed under the first overpass and I could see the chute.

Lookin' good!
I finished upright and my official time was 1:23:26.  I missed PR'ing by about 90 seconds!  Oh well.  I wasn't trying to PR, so I'm happy with my results!

This photo is so cool, almost Tilt-ish, or HDR
I got hugs and kisses from the family, picked up my 8k medal and my AWESOME challenge medal (much better than last year's!) and headed back to the car (via that cool bridge shortcut). I had no craps to give about the stupid afterparty today.  I dind't need another granola bar or watered down soda.

I saw this photo and said "Damn, my boobs are HUGE!"
Once in the car, we had to decide where to wander (to get the crap out of my legs before we drove 2 hours home). IKEA!  Of course! And it was only a few minutes away! I changed clothes there, and then we wandered a bit.  I picked up a few pendant lamps and shades (originally, I just got a pendant and shade for me, to go over the treadmill, but the Kiddo decided she wanted a light too, so we got one for her).  We spent a whopping $31 at Ikea (I know, sacrilege!)

While sitting on the very comfy couches in the IKEA showroom, we decided what we wanted to do for lunch.  Nothing in town was sounding good, and I had an odd hankering for Dairy Queen.  We found one in Brooksville that served a few purposes; it got us out of town and it helped us avoid the Dade City area of I-75.  However, before leaving, we did hit up the WaWa for gas, snacks (including Meat Cups™) and beverages. That came out to about $30.

The drive up 589 was very peaceful; well, once we left Tampa it was peaceful. I think we spent about $7 on tolls going back and forth all morning. Not a bad price to pay for avoiding the interstate!

Once we got to Dairy Queen, I was starving, and tired.  The kiddo got the popcorn shrimp combo with a milkshake as her drink. Hubby got a chicken sandwich combo with a milkshake. I was happy to see a fish sandwich on the menu (Thanks, Catholics!), so I definitely got that, with a regular soda to drink (they have good ice!). This was about $24, not bad at all!

I'm a fan!
We were given a number and our food was brought out to us, so it was nice and hot.  My sandwich was nice and large (not piddly, like McDonald's), and very crispy.  I devoured it!

Sorry for the missing bite, I was famished! 

I skipped having ice cream, (though I really - REALLY - wanted a caramel sundae) because I was ready to go. We ended up getting home around 4:30. We unpacked, put stuff away.  I hopped into the shower for a nice (well-deserved) long, hot shower and plopped my butt in bed by 6pm.  I watched some DVRd stuff, read my book, tweeted and just generally chilled out.

All in all, this was a very successful weekend - even without any PRs.  I think it was due in part to having a great hotel location, which gave us access to food and a convenience store within walking distance, as well as a great parking spot for both days of the race.  Hopefully we can afford to book this hotel again next year. It was, without a doubt, the priciest room we've stayed at for a race - over $300 for two nights! But, we know that Tampa is an expensive place to stay, if you want to be close to downtown.  This hotel was ony $50 more per night than we paid for the shitty Ramada on Strip Club Row last year, and it was a world apart, in terms of quality for what we recieved. More important than amenities or accessibility of food, I felt SAFE in this hotel. I didn't feel safe at the other one.