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

What is wrong with me?

My wife and I had a discussion (not argument) about me participating in more marathons for the 2008 year after the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon next week. She feels as though I should shut it down for the rest of the year and not participate in any more big races. I was trying to justify why I think I should do at least one (maybe two) more marathons later in the 2008 year… I mean its only February, right? She held her stance on this topic quite firm, and after we finished talking about this issue… I have begun to wonder…. Why do I have to run marathons? Why can’t I just run now for the sake of running? Is there something wrong with me?
So, I figured that I would use the blog today to explain my stance on this issue.
If you have read my blog since I started it, you would know that my reason for starting to run was primarily for health related issues. But since starting to run races, there are a few things that I have come to realize. I am never going to win any races, but I can continually push myself to levels that my body has never reached. There is something that is so cool, about being able to do something that you can say, I did better than last time, and next time, I'm going to go for the next goal.
Next, think of a hobby that you have.... some folks like to knit, sew, bake cookies....whatever. Would you like that hobby as much if you stunk at it? What if you continually baked brutal cookies that nobody wanted to eat, or continued to poke your finger every time you knitted. I feel the whole idea of having a hobby is to be good at it... it just makes it more fun to do.
So with those things said..... the marathon day itself is pretty cool, but it is the journey of preparing for the marathon day that makes it so special. 2 weeks ago, we celebrated Adryana's 5th birthday party, and leading up to the party, my wife put her all into making the party a complete success (which it was). Now, even though the party was great, there was a lot of preparation that she did throughout the weeks leading up to the party, and it wasn't always fun for her, but to see it all come together on that day was just such an incredible feeling for her (that she still hasn't stop talking about Adryana's party). Kerry actually has said that she would like to be a party planner...and I've always wondered, why? She seems to always be stressed when she is doing things like this.... but now it makes complete sense. The feeling you get when you prepare for something and put so much dedication into something, and then to see it all come together is priceless.... and that is what the marathon brings to runners.
Finally and most importantly, I realize that training for races (especially the marathon) makes insignificant things seem significant, and makes pressing issues not such a big deal anymore. What???? Let me explain..... about 2 years ago, I would get anxious and stressed out over certain things... like working real long hours, having multiple patients during a certain time of the day, etc. I would get all worked up if things never went the way I thought it would go. I would also get bent out of shape before a day would even start, just thinking of how I would actually handle everything. Now, I think that at times I get so engulfed with thinking about my training, that those things that used to bother me seem so insignificant. Yesterday was the perfect example..... we had 45 scheduled physical therapy patients at our facility, which is by far, the most amount of patients that we have ever had scheduled at our facility...of those 45, I believe 42 people showed up, and it was past 8 pm before I left the facility. Guess what??? My mind was taken off of all that because I was so excited about running the Gasparilla 15k this morning, that it didn't even phase me that we just had our busiest day in Renewal Rehab's history!!!! So basically, if your mind can only focus on a certain amount of things, it might as well be things that excite you and make you feel positive and happy, right? Ok, I think I have convinced myself that this is the right thing for me to do!!!! Hopefully my beautiful wife will take a peek at the blog.... let me see if she changes her mind.... I will let you know.

So, I did the 15k this morning and it went great... I am going to blog about it, but I want to download pictures on here, so you can see all the sights from the race.
Bye for now!!!!