Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gasparilla 15k

Tale of two races... it was good to get this race in my system, since I still had a bad taste in my mouth from the previous one. I had a pretty good night of sleep, and headed out of my house at about 6:15 this morning. I was able to park at our S. Tampa clinic, since it is only a few minutes walk from the start of the race. I was able to follow other people who were doing the race or running in the streets, and finally I saw a ton of people by the Publix, where the start of the race was.

Gasparilla is a pretty big race....not the size of a Disney, but still a pretty big race. I believe there was close to 3200 people running the 15k and over 6000 people running the 5k. It was a really neat site to see so many people gearing up for the big race. I tried to capture showing how deep the runners were at the start line, but due to my inadequate height I was not able to capture it... but here are a few pics anyway....

The wheelchair division started at 7:25 am. These guys and gals can book it....

A good amount of folks here waiting for the race to start.

Due to me running the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon next week, I planned on trying to take it easy during the race, to reduce risk of injury before the big day next Sunday. I figured that a good way for me to do that was to carry a camera, in which I would take pictures before, during and after the race, so I would focus more on capturing the moment instead of racing my butt off. Well that was my initial plan, and as the race started I got out to a very comfortable pace of about 8:00/mile. The first mile of the race actually takes you right in front of our S. Tampa clinic... and all of a sudden I heard someone scream out my name.... "Greg, I need your keys!!!!!" So quickly I looked to my right and saw that it was the office manager for an orthopedic MD that is next door to our office... so I basically had to go back and give her my pouch that had my keys and my camera in it. Ok... so a little delay here in the race, and I obviously wasn't thinking clearly at that point in that I gave her my camera... but oh well... I figured I guess I can start to move pretty good now... so I started to speed it up and I was going faster than I initially planned, but not at a full race pace. So no more pics....sorry!!!!
The course as always is beautiful, and there are so many people running that it just brought a smile to my face... I just can't explain it... running with so many people is so cool. It's nice to run past people, and even have people run past you.... and it is always so neat when you are on an out & back course to see when those extremely fast runners start sprinting past you, when you aren't even close to the turn around point yet. That is one of the neat things about races... you are running in the footsteps of some of the best runners locally, nationally, and internationally.
So anyways I ran a comfortably hard race (if that makes any sense) I can't say it was a walk in the park, but I had some energy left in the tank, that I was able to run under a 6:30/mile for the last 1/2 mile without a problem. I have to admit that at the end when I slowed down, I wasn't really out of breath, but I did have a feeling of wanting to puke once I stopped running..... but luckily I didn't embarass myself, and it went away. I think I'm going to have some good pictures, because I looked for all the cameras and gave some pretty cool poses while I was running (what a dork, huh?) At the end of the race, I went to some of the booths that had drinks and food and ate a little, and then worked my way back to the clinic. As I was going back to the clinic, I saw some people that were continuing to finish up their race... some struggling quite mightily and one guy just puking his guts out and still continuing to run (TMI!!!) But it made me think that I was on that end just 3 weeks ago, and you never know when it is going to be your day or not..... today was my day, and I'm very grateful for that. So here are the stats for the race...
15k (9.3 miles) - 1:09:04
403rd out of 3918 finishers
36th in my age group out of 191 males aged 30-34
Ft. I come!!!!!!
Map of 2008 Gasparilla 15k

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