ARRRRGGGGGHH YA READY TO READ ABOUT A FUN RACE?!
Yes? Well! Look no further than right here, okay?
This weekend my friend Michelle and I ran the Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, which is part of a weekend of races, actually! The Publix and Michelob (helloooo food and beer) sponsored race weekend consists of a 5K, 8K, 15K, and half marathon. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and thought we’d come back this year, too. Last year we ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, but my wallet can’t runDisney every year, you know what I mean?
Since we’re only a couple of hours south of Tampa, we left Friday after work. Michelle and I are both teachers and, even though I only worked three days last week, I was pretty tired. Traffic, of course, is horrendous. Seriously, people. Don’t come to Florida, we’re full. Our two hour drive took us about three hours because we wanted to get to the expo for packet pickup and avoid it in the morning.
The expo was still going pretty strong when we got there, so we picked up some fuel and I finally got myself a pair of Oofos that I’d been wanting since Chicago. After we picked up our packets we searched out some food and finally made it to our hotel. A trip with the two of us is always an adventure, because we’re both a little directionally challenged, so there were a few u-turns involved. Traffic in Tampa is scary.
Race morning started out smoothly. I’d decided on a Skirt Sports outfit of shorts and a tank top and it ended up being perfect for the weather. There wasn’t too much traffic and we made it to a parking lot with plenty of time to spare. It’s always my fear that I’m going to be late for a race or oversleep, but it hasn’t happened yet! I mean, fingers crossed.
The streets were already packed when we got to the start line and things were a little confusing. The last time we ran this race we were confused then as well. A lot of runners weren’t sure where to go and ended up in different corrals from what we could see. We ended up in the right one, however. You know, the not fast one?
We started off the race at a fast pace than normal by complete accident. We were actually right in with an 11:00 pace group and, yeah, no. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy. The day was supposed to be hot and humid so I knew I wanted to take it easy.
At about mile 2, a band was handing out beads which I happily took, and also ditched a few miles later because running with beads is annoying.
There were water stops as well as sprinklers at every mile, which was a huge plus. The weather was unseasonably warm for February, as it usually is in Florida. It’s just how we do things. We stayed strong though, with a decent pace even when we stopped to take pictures of the sunrise or pirates hanging out on people’s balconies.
The race is a straight shot down Bayshore Avenue with a turn around, so you get the same view both ways. It’s still a great view of the water. You also get the same porta-potties both ways and that’s kind of gross. Toward the end they started handing out Gatorade as well as water to keep runners hydrated. I stuck with water as my stomach always seems to revolt on me when I’m running and drinking things.
The last time we ran, there were some spectators handing out donuts. That didn’t happen this time and it was a little disappointing as I am always hungry. 🙂
I definitely started to slow down around mile 7, but Michelle kept pushing me. It had gotten really hot and we’d both tried to roll up our shirts for any kind of air flow. Seeing that final sign was like winning the lottery, even if we still had a little ways to go.
At the finish they gave everyone a cold towel, bottle of water, and medal, of course. Then we were ushered through the recovery stations which was basically just snacks. Don’t worry, I picked up a lot of them.
We also realized we PRd the course by a couple of minutes, so we got our picture taken with a Jack Sparrow look-a-like and each of us rang the bell before heading to the after party for free beer and to sit around with some other smelly people.
After a little recovery we went on the adventure of remember where the car was parked in the daylight and made it back to our hotel to shower and change. Originally we were thinking of things to do in Tampa since we were already there, but since temps were practically boiling we just ate brunch and hung out for a few at the mall, like the cool kids do.
Gasparilla is a fun and beautiful course that I definitely recommend. It’s an affordable race and they put on a great party. I hope you check it out one year!
My old stomping grounds! I’m so sad I didn’t truly get into running until after I left Tampa. I would love to get back for the Gasparilla races one year but every year it seems like it may work I usually opt to go back for the festival instead haha. One day!