Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017 – race recap

Where to even begin with this journey? Gasparilla was my A-race. I was planning to train for the Disney half, maintain my fitness, and then rock out Gasparilla. However, when Disney got cancelled my training plan went to hell. I was still hoping Gasparilla would go well but wasn’t sure.

Turns out Gasparilla went AMAZING! The weather was fantastic for Tampa and I felt good. Right after Disney I decided to up my intervals. I had been training at a 1:1 interval and I went to a 1:30:1:00 interval. I was excited because in training I was averaging a 12:45 – 13:15 minute mile. I told Jon that my plan was to keep each mile below 13:30 per mile and I would finish in under 3 hours, which I haven’t seen since 2014. I really like this race because it is fast and flat. It is also makes my PR easy to compare year-over-year. Last year my finish time at Gasparilla was 3:11:42 or a 14:38 minute mile. So, if I could keep it under 13:30 per mile that is 1 minute per mile faster this year!

On Friday, I headed to the expo, this race has a great expo. Lots of samples, freebies, and awesome priced gear! I did some networking for work and hopefully, I’ll get a few of the vendors for my events. On Saturday, I volunteered at the expo for the local Humane Society, Jon was a volunteer medic, and our friend Lee who came down was running the challenge.

Pre-race photo

On Sunday, we got to the race bright and early. What I love about this race is that we don’t have to leave early from home. We rolled up, met some friends, and headed to the race start. Jon and Lee are sub 2 hours and I am above 2 hour finish so we separated there. I started off a solid pace. It was strange because this is the first time in a while that I was surrounded by people. Last year, I was on my own for most of the race. This year I was yo-yoing with lots of people.

Finally, good race photos!

My race was going stellar! I was clocking 12:45 and less each mile! My stride felt good, nothing was hurting, and I was KILLING my time goals. There was a fantastic breeze coming off the bay that made for great weather. That was until mile 9. At mile 9 I made the turn to head back for the last 4 miles of the race. That’s when I learned that the awesome wind I’d been feeling was actually a tailwind. I realized this as I turned into a HEADWIND! 4 miles of HEADWIND to be exact.

I also learned that the trip back to the finish is a bit of an uphill. However, I’m hopeful to have good weather at my 10 miler in 2 weeks and get a 10 miler PR (current is 2:11:00 from 2011).

Paul got a shot of me on course

I took the headwind in stride but it seriously sucked. It also was a bit of a motivation killer. I had done the math about the amazing PR I was going to have just prior to making the turn at mile 9. I knew it wasn’t going to happen at mile 11. However, I wanted to get as close to a PR as possible. I also had to stop and use the portapotty which added a minute to my official time, but it was a necessity!

Somehow, I managed to push myself into the finish line. My watch had a finish time of 2:51:42 which was an average of 13 minute miles. My official finish time was 2:53:12 (stupid bathroom needs). Need to work on not having to go to the bathroom! However, I’m really happy to have my best time in 4 years and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can improve of the coming year! My goal is a 2:45:00 half by December! Here’s to the training!

Awesome medal as usual

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