Gasparilla 15k & 5k....Ouch!

Saturday morning I woke up around 4am to set off and complete the first two of the 3 races I was running that weekend for the Gasparilla Beck's Challenge. The 15k would be up first, followed shortly by the 5k. I had never actually run a 15k race before so I was glad that I was going to be checking this off my goals list. I wasn't too nervous about back to back races because the distance would be 12.4 miles. I have run quite a few halves, so 12.4 miles was doable. 

I picked up Anna a little after 5am and we headed to downtown Tampa. We met up with some friends for some group photos. 
Pre-race photos!

Run Tampa friends!

We then headed over to the start line. There were tons of runners and it was hard to make our way through the barriers. Eventually we made it. The horn sounded and we were off.

I started running and tried to keep a little bit of a slower pace than normal. I knew I had a 5k after this race, and tomorrow was a half. I wasn't looking to PR or do anything crazy. I wanted to keep my energy for the other 2 races. Unfortunately for me keeping myself slower than usual is hard for me. I wound up speeding up and starting to run my normal pace. 

About a mile in to the race I started having problems. My right foot went numb. I tried to walk it off a little but nothing changed. I walked over on the side and even tried to stretch my leg on a fence. Nothing helped. I kept walking. I started playing mental games with myself. Part of me just wanted to give up and walk the rest of the race. I didn't want to risk injury and running like that felt uncomfortable. Then I realized that I needed to run another race after this one, so I needed to finish in time for the start of the 5k - I had to run. After some motivational text messages, I set off to start running again even though my foot was still numb. I guess my left leg started overcompensating for my odd running, as my left ankle started to give me trouble. I cursed myself for not wearing my new running shoes. 

I had gotten a new pair of shoes at the expo and really wanted to wear them because my old shoes were so worn down. I knew, however, that you are never supposed to wear new shoes during a race, so I stuck with the old pair. Now I was mad at myself for not wearing the new ones. I was struggling. 

Anna and Carla called over to me and I ran with them for a little bit. Seeing their friendly, smiling faces gave me energy. I started to speed back up a little bit. Then I started to experience a terrible burning pain on my thigh. I realized that the bandage that I had on my left thigh was rubbing against my right one. I had a skin biopsy the week prior and I had to keep the area covered. I had run like this before, but it had been colder and I was wearing capris. No rubbing there. Now I was about 6 miles into the race and the pain was intense. 

Around mile 8 I saw Anna, Carla, and Johanne. I ran with them for a little and the pain on my legs was getting unbearable. I decide to just rip the bandage off my leg as it was already almost rubbed off anyway. I figured after the 15k I would go to the aid station, get some vaseline, and be good for the 5k. Then I would go get cleaned up - it looked like my leg was starting to bleed. 

As I neared the finish I saw Ben and his camera and smiled. I felt like crap but hoped the picture would come out decent. The last picture he took of me at a race was awesome! (Thanks Ben!)

Nearing the end of the 15k

I saw the finish and was relieved. I could finally go get something to help with my leg. Official time for the 15k: 1:46:09 . It was at 11:23 min/mile pace, and considering all of the problems I had, I couldn't complain. 

Anna finished the race right behind me, and realized that her daughter, Emily, who was running the 9:45 5k had forgotten her bib. We ran over to the convention center to try to get things straightened out. As we headed over I was looking for an aid station but didn't see one. The mobile medical people were not too friendly or helpful. They said they didn't have anything for my bleeding leg and didn't know where the aid station was.

Anna and I after the finish of the 15k

We met Emily at the convention center and were standing on line for race questions when we realized we had to get back down for the start of the 5k. We said bye to Emily, wished her luck and headed to the 5k start. There was supposed to be an area to leave your 15k medals before the 5k race, but we didn't see it and didn't have time to search. We lined up at the start of the super crowded 5k. And then we were off.

I think there is something about crossing a race finish line that signals to your mind and body that you are done running. My body didn't want to cooperate at all for this race. I think psychologically, when you cross the finish, your mind tells your body that it's done its job and can now rest. 

I wasn't resting, I was running another race. Or attempting to run it. After about 0.8 miles I started to walk. It was hot. It was humid. Sweat was dripping off of my elbows. I started trying to pick up the pace again, but it was very crowded on the course. I decided to take it easy for this race. I saw Ben and his camera again, and knew I was closing in on the finish.

Towards the end of the 5k, looking a lot more worn out

I pushed myself to keep running a little more, I knew this would be over in a few minutes. I crossed the finish with my worst 5k times ever: 38:02. I was a little bummed out and disappointed in myself because I know I can keep a better pace during a half, and this was 12.4 miles. Why hadn't I been able to do it faster? 

I saw Nick right after the finish and stayed chatting with him for a little while waiting to see Anna finish.
Nick and I

And we're done for the day!

Apparently I had completely missed the end of her race, so I headed over to the convention center to try to clean myself up. I headed to the bathroom where I washed the blood off of my legs. I met up with Tim at the convention center and we headed to try to find me some food. Then we ran into Ben again who took me to the aid station to fix my leg. 
Me, Ben, Tim

Ben and I headed over to the nurse who gave me some ointment for my legs. Then we tried to bandage it, but nothing wanted to stick. After taking a few steps away I realized I needed something more to hold the bandage on. The doctor on scene wrapped my legs for me.
My first trip to an aid station

Then I headed back to the convention center to find Anna and Emily. We reunited by packet pick up and of course got another photo.
Me, Emily, Anna

Showing off my fancy bandaged leg

After a few minutes we headed home. I felt exhausted and it didn't help that it took a little while to find my car. I forgot which level I parked on with all the excitement of the races. We found the car, and drove home. 

I felt like I had been beat up. I was sore, I was tired, and I was cranky. I then realized I needed to get some new shorts to cover my leg wounds. I didn't have anything quite long enough besides capris, and it would be way too hot for them. I headed over to sports authority in hopes that I would be able to find something to protect my legs for tomorrows race. 

After I picked up the shorts I needed food. It was time to carb up, so I headed to Caraba's for some lasagna. Then I headed home to try to get some sleep before my 3:15am wake up for the half.

I hoped I would survive...