Date: Saturday, February 26, 2011
Location: Tampa, Florida
Weather: 80s & Sunny
Bib #: 8369
Division: Females 30-34
Fashion: Lemon Yellow ING NYC Marathon 'I Run These Street' Tech-T (Asics), Navy Blue Adidas Soccer Shorts, & Nike+ Vomero 5s
- Chip: 34'34" (11'04" Pace)
- Nike+: 35'08" *Fastest 5K to date
- Clock: 41'19"
Running Buddies: Allyson & her mom, Dee Dee
Cheerleaders: Mom & Rusty (Thanks for the signs, Mom!!)
[Race Packet Pickup]
Oh, how I love race weekends! For me, it isn't just about the race and the shopping, but the energy that exudes from an event of this magnitude. After arriving in Tampa on Friday morning (and snagging lunch with some old and new friends), we headed over to the Tampa Convention Center for one of my favorite parts of racing: The Expo! Considering the number of races held over this weekend, there was a nice turn out of vendors. I was disappointed to see the price tags accompanying some of the items for sale, especially for handmade headbands. I may not be a seamstress extraordinaire, but I know shoddy craftsmanship when I see it. I should take a shot at making some accessories to jazz up my running wardrobe. Also, lots of free snacks! I can never get enough LunaBars (Mint Chocolate Chip, yum!) or Chobani Yogurt.
I knew from the get go, I would be in trouble as Nike is the official outfitter for the Gasparilla Race series, so naturally, I didn't walk away without a little pre-race retail therapy to take the edge off. As Gasparilla is a pirate-themed event, I was hard pressed not to buy everything I saw! I finally managed to pare my shopping list down to three event items: a Dri-FIT T-shirt, matching Tempo shorts, and a pink long sleeved technical shirt. I was rather disappointed in the freebie shirt they designed for this year's event. Even the "small" shirt looks like a nightie on me!
My only beef with the racing bib was its size. It was roughly 8"x8" and half of it was covered by sponsor logos. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good sponsor as much as the next person, but it made the bib a little unwieldy, especially with the positioning of the B-Tag strips on the back. There was no way to trim it down to a more manageable shape.
Getting to the start line was simple, but you need roughly an extra 10-15 minutes to get to the starting area. Prior to the 5K, a 15K is held, so there are already a bunch of people in the area. Thankfully, this race was a soft-start as there was no corral system in place, with the exception of those who could maintain paces under 25 and 30 minutes respectively. Though I started with Allyson & Mrs. B., we all split up shortly after. More specifically, Mrs. B. left Allyson and I in her dust!
While we were taking our positions and getting ready to hoof it along the Tampa Bay, Mom & Rusty went for coffee and scoped out a nice location near the finish line. Color me jealous, but I could have used a little Starbie's to get my day started. Instead, I had Honey Nut Cheerios and they were fantastic!
Perhaps, my training for the Disney Half amped up my endurance more than I was expecting. Though the sun cleared the skies of any clouds just as we were taking off, I managed to keep to a light jog most of the time. I kept the race pace running to a minimum as I knew I would certainly need the extra energy the following morning. I received my first Finisher's medal, and it was far heavier than I anticipated! Looks like I am going to need a wall rack! Surprisingly, the folks at MarathonFoto snapped a pretty cheerful photo of me running through the final stretch, so I am debating between the special edition print ($24) or the digital copy ($44; and take it to a photo shop with my other photos). Personally, I like the one on the right.
After the race, we hit the showers, grabbed a tasty brunch and the mom and I hit to road toward Orlando. As we put our tail lights to Tampa, anticipation, excitement, and a teeny smattering of fear started building.
Pre-Race Carbing Up: Chicken & Dumplins with corn and sweet potato casserole
- The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (1880 State Road 60 East,Valrico, FL 33594)
- Sweet Tomatoes (10017 Adamo Dr, Brandon, FL 33619)
- Boston Market (1401 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon, Florida 33511 )