The Gasparilla 15K was my first race since my half marathon in NC and part of my training for the Delaware Coastal Marathon which I signed up for on a whim over Christmas break. I was very happy with my race and thought I had achieved a new PR until I looked at my 2014 results and realized I was 40 seconds slower this year. In 2014, I finished the 15K in 1:20:09 at an 8:35 mile per minute and this year it was 1:20:46 at an 8:39 pace. But this year, I ran to the start from my house to increase my mileage in keeping with my somewhat informal marathon training plan, so considering my three mile warm up, I was still very happy with my results.
I kept the first three miles around a 10 minute mile so I wouldn’t tire out my legs too much. Once I got to the start with about 15 minutes to spare, I really had to use the bathroom but when I saw how long the lines were, decided I would hold it and go during the race if necessary. I didn’t see anyone I knew and ducked into the corral where one of the gates was cracked open. Conveniently, I ended up pretty close to the 8:30 pacer and decided I would do my best to stick with her. Because of the huge crowd, I ended up a bit behind her once we started and spent my first mile trying to catch up.
I stayed right behind the 8:30 group for the next 4 miles but started to slow down as we raced back down Bayshore after the turn around point. It was warm in the sun and I had to get water at a couple of stops (I’m not sure the pacer stopped to rehydrate at all!) to drink and pour on my head. The last mile felt pretty horrendous and I really wanted to walk but I kept pushing myself as best as I could, knowing the finish line wasn’t too far off.
The best part of the race was seeing lots of familiar faces once I crossed the finish line! I truly love the running community in Tampa and was happy to see friends who were out to spectate and provide support, and lots of friends who raced. I walked around for a bit, chatting with people, and then made my way to the finishing area where there was live music and beer. The restaurant Ulele had a tent set up and offered an amazing honey craft beer for free to race finishers (I can’t remember the name of the beer but I would definitely buy it at the restaurant once I figured it out). After getting some food and socializing, I went home and napped. And no I didn’t run back home; I hitched a ride with a friend!
As usual, I didn’t love any of the professional race photos but I included the two I thought were the best.