Monday, February 22, 2016

What in the Ass?! - Gasparilla Distance Classic Weekend 2016 (15k)

Today was Day 1 of 2 - the 15k portion of the Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge!

I woke up around 3am and tried to eat a cheese bagel (plain bagel with melted cheese on top).  I made it through half of it before my tummy said fuck this shit, no food for you. So, I got dressed, hoping I'd get hungry on the way there.

I woke up the family, who also got ready to go.

We headed to the car (parked right out front, in that fabulous parking spot!) and turned on the Garmin, assuming it was going to tell us to get back on Veteran's Expressway. Well, it told us instead to to via Kennedy and Willow - it avoided VE and all that craziness altogether! And since it was so early in the morning, surface road traffic was all but nonexistant.  Very nice!

When we were less than a mile away from the race area, my body said PEE, so I pulled over to a Walgreen's and got in line to pee (we must be close, there are other runners here!). Hubby thought he saw somewhere to park, so he went to scope it out.

Now, I'm a Purchase Pee-er.  If I stop in your place of business and use your bathroom, I will purchase something, so I'm not a Facilities Freeloader.  I grabbed a Pepsi, and was waiting in line when Hubby came running in, telling me that there's a great parking lot around the corner, but oh my god, we have to go now, it's filling up and it's the end of the world if we don't go now, oh my god, oh my god, ohmygod!

I looked at him and made that face of "what the fuck, man, you are insane," but decided to go with him. I apologized to the cashier and put my Pepsi down and followed him back to the car.

He gave me directions of how to get to this magical, filling-up-exponentially-fast parking lot, which was right under the Selman Expressway, and very close to the starting line. 

It also wasn't anywhere near full.  He didn't realize - since it was still dark - how large the lot was, and just overreacted.  

So, we sat in the car for a bit, I choked down some Gu, then threw on my shoes, geared up and got ready to go. 

We walked over to the 15k staging area, where Hubby and the Kiddo gave me hugs and kisses. I made my way to the back of the pack, looking for any sort of pacer signs or people. I got my Garmin locked on, powered up my Nike+ app and I was ready to go.  Oh, and my intervals were set for 1/1.  

I took off, passing the family with a wave and was feeling good.  Or at least as good as I could, since I was still as undertrained as I was for Celebration last month.

Here we go! (That's the finish line on the left)
Full on Pirate costume (and more finish line)
I walked past the finish line that will handle about a bajillion people this weekend, and passed under some road (I still don't know what that is!).  I saw a 15mm pacer, and I fell in line behind the group. I was able to keep up for about a mile, so I'm pretty proud of that!

15mm Pacer Group
The 15k leader returned before I'd even made it to Mile 1!

Go Speedy!
Mile 1 - I'm not that slow
I was falling behind the pacer, but I was still kind of close.  I'd been doing a full run now (instead of intervals), and I was feeling pretty good!

Before Mile 2, the Rough Riders were out, handing out beads again.  I grabbed a few and kept going.
Huge bus of Rough Riders
Good colors this time!
I came up on Mile 2, and saw this guy - I think he's just a Bayshore resident out for a nice walk!  Seriously, he's walking and reading a book at the same time, while I'm struggling to keep up with him. Devestating.

I wonder what he was reading?
I also passed this corner, that was fenced off for construction.  I'm not sure what is (or was) there, or what wll be there, but there was a sign that said "Veteran's Corner" so I'm hoping it will be something awesome next year.  Also, spray painted on te fence was some very odd grafitti - Apparently, what Cody saw will save your life...  Just eat the damn pig.

Veteran's Corner - under construction
Sad, vegan grafitti
I'm still feeing pretty good, as evidenced by this super-artsy, sunrise selfie. I sound like a smart-ass, but really, I think it's a pretty cool photo (as far as running photos go, anyway).

Sunrise Selfie
I made it to the first water stop, which is huge! Since I had Nathan by my side, I skipped the stop.

Water, water everywhere...
...and plenty for me to drink
I've successfully made it to Mile 2, and already it feels like I've gone a lot longer than that!

Yay, Mile 2

Luckily, Mile 3 came a lot quicker.

High Five - We made it to Mile 3
It was at this point I took my first Honey Stinger. I wanted to get through this vertically, and if I put off the fuel, the back end of my races are pure hell.

Honey Stinger - the perfect choice for ARFID sufferers
I made it to Mile 4!   Still truckin' on down Bayshore.

Mile 4
At one point, this runner passed me and I just had to question the clothing choice?  I'm guessing the long running skirt is for religious reasons?  I knew girls in my high school that had the long hair and always wore long skirts - I can't remember the religion, but this reminds me of them.  Whatever she was, she was faster than me!

Did she make it? Buy it? Inquiring minds...
(At some point, I crossed this mat. I can't remember if it was a 5k mat, a halfway mat or what, but there's proof that I crossed it!)

Yay! Random timing mat!
We got to Gandy and hooked a right. There was a HUGE inflatable stick-figure holding a sign and I thought it was so cute! What a good way of making sure runners see where to go.  Also, if you look at the street lights - the four on the right/center are pointed to the RIGHT, too!  Very clever.

Go RIGHT? The sign says NO RIGHT TURN... I'm so confused...
We didn't go very far down Gandy before hitting the turn-around spot.  I like turn-arounds, because I can see who's still behind me without being that runner who literally turns around to see who's behind them.  Like, I'm not so worried about you that I have to check out my competition, but it's nice to know who's back there.

Mile 5 - officially more than halfway finished!
We headed back to Bayshore for the long walk back. Bayshore welcomed us back.

Welcome to Bayshore Beautiful
Apparently the medians of Bayshore are considered a park
Also near this point was my favorite spectator - the Krispy Kreme Man! Judging by the pile of empty boxes, he'd given out a lot, but there was still some for me! A lot of people passed him up, but not me!

So many empty boxes! Is there one for me?
Yippee! A donut for me!
Also, near the donut guy was this fabulous DJ.  He was playing really high-energy tunes and was stanidng out on the road, dancing.  Many people stopped to dance with him for a sec, but I wasn't ablt to get a good shot of him.

This guy had abs for days, too
Bayshore Boulevard IS beautiful. And houses are ONLY in the millions... Maybe one day.

I'm so far away from the finish line...
Hey, there's random religious girl again.  I'm keeping up with her!

I've made it to Mile 6, and I have just over a 5k to finish. Sadly that means another hour...

Mile 6
Now that the 5k is getting ready to take off, the race staff had to move the Big Head guy.  They literally just picked him up, threw him in the back of a truck, and took off down the road.

Keep on truckin', Big Head guy
Mile 7 now. It's getting pretty hot out here.

Mile 7. I'm ready to be done now.
Nothing interesting happened between Mile 7 and Mile 8, so here's some Rough Riders at Mile 8 (soon to be the 5k turn-around spot).

Hey, guys! You got any beads?
I got to the next mile marker fairly quickly, and saw that it said Mile 2.  Uh, say what?  Oh, that's the Mile Marker for the 5k.

Thanks for making me do MATH!
However, because I could still math pretty well in my head at that point, I knew that that sign meant there was only 1.1 miles left to go. My mantra became “1.1, 1.1, 1.1, motherf&$ker, 1.1”  Yeah, I cuss to get through difficult moments.

They put Big Head Man up at Mile 8.3 to encourage everyone that there was only a mile to go. I kept repeating my mantra.

Mile 8.3!
I saw the bright yellow stripe in the road, which meant I was close - that area is where they take some cool "from the air" race photos. Mine did not come out well, so I won't subject you to them.

Nope, that's not the finish line...
Once I passed that area, you could tell they opened the floodgates of 5k people, because they began storming down Bayshore!

Have fun storming the castle!
Mile 9! I'm so close!! There's the bridge (it always has a sign that says "The End is In Sight").

Mile 9!  Only .3 to go!!!
I got passed by both the lead wheelchair athlete, as well as the first 5k runner, but I'm okay with that.

They see me rollin', they hatin'
I see the chute! I'm so close!

Go, Go, Go!
I look SO HAPPY in this photo!
They have, I think, the longest finisher's chute I've ever encountered. It goes on forever, but I finally crossed the finish line! My official time was 2:39:41.  I didn't PR, but I didn't expect to.  I got my medal, and my water, then caught up with the family.

MarathonFoto - After getting medal and water
I changed into my flops and got a finisher photo by some super-deluxe power transformers.

Those are some sexy toes
Now, how are we going to get back across where we need to go?  Not a problem, said Hubby!  They found a really neat walkway that goes UNDER the bridge!  It was a little claustrophobic, but I felt like I was running liquor. 

It's a little claustrophobic in there
It's VERY close to the Bay.

I could probably spit in the water, if I wanted to
We headed to the after-party area, in front of the convention center, where I got a banana (for the Kiddo), some energy bars, a bag to carry all this stuff and a fruit cup. (At some point, I put my tumbler in there to carry it in to the hotel and I forgot it was in there, so everything got wet and ruined).

I also wanted to check out the Q105 After-Party area, since we didn't go there last year.  Wow, it was like a half-mile away and what a let-down! It was all beer and bad live music.  So, we left there pretty quickly and walked back to the car. But, hey, I know for future races that it's not something I want to experience!

At some point (don't know where), I changed clothes and noticed that my butt hurt (TMI, I know).  I thought I might have gotten Swass (Sweaty Ass), so I gave myself a wedgie (so my butt cheeks wouldn't touch each other) and forgot all about it.

We went over to the Citrus Park Mall, where we had a date with some movies.  Hubby and I were going to see Deadpool (he'd already seen it), while the Kiddo was going to see Kung Fu Panda (she didn't think she could handle the violence in Deadpool).

I had booked online using Fandango ($35), so all we had to do was give our printout to the ticket taker.  Once inside, we hit up the concession stand.  The snacks - even for movie theatre standards - were expensive! Seriously, we spent $30+ on 2 popcorns and 3 drinks!  And then, when we got our food, the popcorn was stale and the soda was watered-down.  Blech. And there was no salt anywhere - I had to ask for it. And (okay, first world problem here...) there was no DIY butter dispensers either...
Luckily, the theatre was pretty nice - the seats reclined!  Hubby didn't know about this perk, or that I'd reserved seats - we were mid-auditorium in the middle of the row. Very nice! 

It's very important to elevate your feet
Rare Hubby Shot, looking dapper in blue jeans
I wish I'd brought a jacket or something though. It was (as it usually is) too chilly for me, especially with exposed feet.

The movie was fucking fantastic - and that is high praise from a woman who gives no shits about action or super-hero movies.  But then again, I've loved Ryan Reynolds since he was Berg on "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place." And that's saying something, because that show had Nathan Freakin' Fillion!

After the movie (still bummed about the damn popcorn), we walked around the mall before grabbing dinner at Red Robin.

They tried to seat us at a table that was right at the entrance of the restuarant, and I asked for a different table. I'm a weird person; I don't like people seeing me eat, and I felt like, since the table was at the entrance to the whole restaurant, EVERYONE who walked in would look at me.

So, we got a better table, near the back.  At this point, it's around 5pm on a Saturday night. I didn't think it would be this busy already, but it was, so it took a long time for food to come. It did, eventually, and it was glorious (I love Red Robin).  I got a Tavern Double (that ended up being free, thanks to Red Robin Rewards).  The Kiddo got Corn Dog Nuggets and Hubby got a Bacon Cheeseburger. Our total was around $22 (yeah, dinner was less than movie theatre snacks...)

We rolled out of Red Robin, made our way to WaWa for dessert (they had milkshakes, I had a Nutty Bar), grabbed some cookies from the lobby and went up to our room.

I prepped for Sunday by taking a nice hot bath and trying to take care of my chapped ass.  I've never chafed there before, but apparently there is a first time for everything, and holy shit was my ass RED!  The pain when I sat in the tub was indescribable.  Guess I'll have to lube that up tomorrow...

After my bath, I twittered, chilled, read my book and eventually fell asleep.