Gasparilla Half Marathon

For those who just want times: clock time 2:18; chip time 2:15:09; garmin time 2:13:00(my garmin said at the finish line i was at 13.3 miles…).

That is more than 10 minutes off my first half marathon. I should be thrilled with that but I was really hoping for better considering how my training runs had been going…based on my training runs, I was hoping for under 2:10…but I did have a couple “issues” and I think maybe that was the cause for the slower time.

Yesterday I went to the expo to pick up my packet.  If you’ve never been to an expo(this was my first) it’s a big room full of booths with people selling running/fitness accessories and some booths giving away free samples.  I wandered past all the booths, got some free samples and bought a really cool running wind breaker(it has detachable sleeves so it can be a vest, lots of pockets and venting and a hood that rolls up into a little pouch at the back of the neck.) for $40(marked down from $119).  I also signed up for a 15k on April 10.  It’s a girls only race so that should be pretty interesting!(and HOT!)  The shirt I got as part of my racing entry fee is probably the nicest one I’ve gotten so far both in design(it’s a Nike dry fit long sleeved t-shirt) and style.  The logo is pretty cool.  The only thing is the color…it’s this loud, bright green.  Not my favorite.  Should’ve done the marathon I guess….their shirts were blue!  And it’s on the large size(they didn’t have x-smalls so unfortunately I had to get a small) I came home, did a couple things, had a big dinner and went to bed around 2030(though I didn’t actually fall asleep till about an hour later and then woke up to my roomates dog barking an hour after that and then a couple hours later when she got home)

Woke up at 0330 and took Gracie out, and started getting myself ready to go. It was 39 outside…chilly….so I had to re-think what I had planned to wear(I layed out 2 different outfits depending on the weather). I ended up wearing long capris as opposed to knee length ones and my running hoodie over this cute tech shirt I got at Target that says RUN RUN RUN. I ended up putting a wind breaker over that I was so cold(and gloves!). I had made pancakes yesterday so I heated those up and made some tea and then headed on my way. I had found a parking garage that was about 1.2 miles from the start which is were I planned to park(for free!). Yeah, it was a walk before and after but I didn’t have to fight traffic AT ALL.

I pulled into the parking garage around 0440 and got myself all set up and headed to the start. I was FREEZING the whole time and for some reason, I didn’t have the “fire”…the drive…from the moment I woke up I really just wanted to go back to sleep! I wasn’t nervous per say; just not excited like I should’ve been…It was definitely a weird feeling.

I arrived at the start at 0500 and there were maybe a couple hundred people there. But it filled up quickly! I walked around trying to stay warm and stretched. I somehow missed the pacers lining up and I got stuck BEHIND the 2:30 pace group. I took off my windbreaker and stuffed it into my Nathan backpack. I didn’t cross the start until 3:45 after the race started! Craaaaazy. The first mile sucked because I was practically back with the walkers! About 1 mile in there was a small bridge to go over onto an island and it was so back-logged that I was walking up the bridge NOT because of cardiovascular reasons because it was so freaking packed. I was weaving in and out and sprinting to get ahead of the slower runners. Finally around mile 2 I started to settle into a good pace and it wasn’t until mile 3.5 that I caught up to the 9:55 minute/mile group. I was feeling great for the first 5 or so miles and then as I was climbing a small bridge about to come up halfway my knees starting screaming. I’m pretty sure it’s my IT band because it’s right on the outside of my knee. It was a pain so sharp I stumbled and ALMOST fell(add that to the three other times I stepped in potholes or things like that and almost twisted my ankle!). For a little bit there, I didn’t even know if I’d even FINISH the race. I’d been holding steady at 9:45-9:50 pace but it all started going down hill after the pain started. I just kept telling myself to keep on going. Sometimes the pain would go away completely and then I’d be back up to a good pace and then BAM a sharp pain and I’d slow down again.

Mentally, I think this tore up my game and I definitely began to slow down for the rest of the race. I did walk through all the water stations that I go water at(I didn’t stop at every one though) because I haven’t mastered running and drinking at the same time! Around mile 10.5 was the turn back for the final stretch and I thought I better take my running sweatshirt off because I was going to get too hot out in the sun. Its already fitted and it was so sweaty that I had to completely stop and wrench it off myself and then tie it around my waist…I think that I lost 3 minutes with that at least. I also walked a bit around mile 12 because I was getting discouraged that I wasn’t going to make my time goal, plus my knees were screaming at me. Seeing my Garmin click over to 13.1 and know that I had 0.2 miles left to the finish line was a bit disheartening too. I’m not sure why my garmin was that off…maybe all the weaving I did at the begining?

I crossed the finish line and was given my medal and it was very bittersweet. Yes, I was proud to have completed another half marathon. Yes I was happy to have knocked time off my previous half. I was also sad that I didn’t make my time goal and sad that there was no on there to greet me or hug me or anything. Particularly when the girl who finished alongside me ran up to her husband/boyfriend/fiance..whatever…gave him a big kiss and he said how proud he was of her.

I met a nice girl walking back to the car(she was parked there also). It made the mile back to the car go by more quickly as we talked about the race.

My knees are sooo sore right now. I’ve applied some recovery gel, taken ib-profen and put on my recovery clothing but wow…soreness city. I tried to take a nap but I was half-awake for most of it…maybe later.

Disapointments aside, the pace I ran according to garmin was 10:11/mile which is better than what my 5k pace used to be so that to me is a huge accomplishment! Now to conquer the 2 hour mark!


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