The first day of the Gasparilla Distance Classic Weekend wasn't the best of race days for me. My legs were bloody, my foot had went numb, my 5k time was horrible for me. I was exhausted and cranky. I knew there was a chance that the half was going to be very difficult for me considering the fact that I ran 12.4 exhausting miles the day prior, my legs were raw and bloody, and I was going to be attempting it with new shoes. I knew all of this, but I was determined to get through it.
I woke up at 3:15am Sunday morning. Today was an earlier wake up than Saturday because the race started earlier. I didn't want to have to wake up so early, but the race starting earlier was good - it meant it wouldn't be as hot. You have to take the good with the bad. I drove over to Anna's and we headed over to the Target by the Suncoast to meet up wit the others. I was tired and hungry and was looking forward to some Starbucks, when it was brought to my attention that they were closed since it was so early. I panicked for a moment because I hadn't ate anything and I was hungry. The only place open around us was McDonald's. I decided even though it wasn't the best pre-race food, that was going to be my breakfast. I needed to eat something or I wasn't going to make it through 13.1 miles. I ordered bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel and coffee. And yes I know I'm crazy.
We arrived downtown, met up with friends, and of course took some pictures. Then we headed over to the start line. We heard the horn sound for the first wave of runners and walked up closer to the start.
|Group Shot before the Half|
The horn sounded for our wave and then we were off. I tried to keep a pace a little slower than normal and I was doing pretty good. Then we got to the bridge to Davis Island and everyone was at a stand-still. I would have been annoyed with this had I been trying for a PR, but since I wasn't and I was just having fun with the race I just went with the flow of things. Slowly we made it over the bridge. I saw lots of friendly faces and said hello to a lot of people during this race and that made for an awesome time.
I realized I had more energy than the day before so I picked up my pace slightly. I was feeling a lot better than the day before and my new shorts seemed to be protecting my leg wounds pretty well. And so far my new shoes were working for me. I felt good.
|Feeling good and being silly on course|
I was feeling happy during this race. I spent time looking around. I remember looking out into the distance, at the water and the palm trees and just thinking that it was an amazing feeling being able to do this and amazing how far I had come over the past year. I also thought about how beautiful the view was and how happy I was living in Florida. I had this really odd moment with my self that I never had running before. It was a sense of absolute happiness.
During the race I saw a friend of mine who's foot was bothering her and I walked with her for a bit. I know how it feels to have a crappy race and how much better it is to have someone there with you. Usually I have to tough out the crappy times by myself, but I didn't want her to have to go through that. So I decided to walk with her, at least for a little bit. I think we walked together and chatted for at least a mile. We saw some other friends, stopped on the side of the road for pictures, and just had fun with it. Running and racing isn't always about having the best clock time, its about having a good time.
After a little while longer I set off running again. I got to the 10 mile mark and realized my time wan't that bad considering the amount of time it took to get over that first bridge, the fact that I had walked a little over a mile, and the fact that I was trying to keep a slower pace at first. Only 5k left!
I think it was sometime during the last 5k that I ran through this awesome cheer section. There were lots of people lined up on both sides of the course screaming and cheering and calling out my name from my bib. It made me want to keep running and not slow down at all. I thought to myself that the Chicago Marathon is going to have tons of spectators like this, so it will definitely be helpful when I start to get tired.
I saw the marker for mile 12. Almost done. I still felt good. I had so much more energy than I had yesterday after running my 12.4 miles. I was going to finish the half and feel better. What a difference a day makes.
I crossed the finish in 2:41:57 and I was happy. My foot didn't act up, my legs didn't hurt and I still had a ton of energy. I walked over to get my awesome skull and crossbones half medal and my extra medal for completing the Beck's challenge. Then of course more pictures.
|Looking Tired After 25.5|
After the race I headed to the convention center to meet up with friends. I met Anna and Emily first. Anna and I hugged and congratulated each other for our awesome accomplishments this weekend.
|Anna and I Showing off all of our bling!|
Then it was time to go home. I met up with Sara and Michelle, and headed out. Beck's Challenge complete. 25.5 Miles Complete. Awesome weekend complete.
|Beck's Challenge Complete!|