In 2014 I had originally registered to do this event. However, the week before I injured my foot during the Spartan Race. That injury caused me to defer, and honestly, I'm still struggling with that foot injury.
So..fast forward to 2015.
My 8yo son, Ronin has been a running fool. All he's been doing is eating, sleeping, and running.
He asked me in early November if he could run a marathon. I had to tell him NO, but I thought he could handle a 15K and he began training. Once I saw that he was serious, I registered him for the Gasparilla 15K. Our plan was for us to drive down to the race together, and then he'd run and do his thing, and then wait for me at the finish line.
He had been training so hard, was doing so well. He was consistently running 3-6 miles at a 7-8 minute mile pace. He had his little heart set on WINNING his age group (10 and under) and then 3 weeks before Gasparilla his world came crashing down around him.
He broke his tibia. A very bad break. You can see that it broke in several places. He broke it roller skating on a school field trip. When I met him at the hospital after the accident he looked up at me through tear filled eyes, and his first words to me were "Mama, can I still run Gasparilla."
That would be No. Sorry, son. Your 2015 running season is over.
He took the news like a trooper.
And much to my surprise, I did not use this as an excuse to again defer my own registration. Instead I reached out to a friend, Tara from Everyday Ramblings of my Life and asked if I could do the race with her. We had originally planned to do it together last year, but again, I deferred.
She was kind enough to say "YES OF COURSE" so we made plans to meet-up and do the race together. She's been doing a lot more races than me recently, though I have still been "wogging" on the elliptical so I was nervous that I might slow her down, and my foot is still really bothering me. But I made sure to wear my Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve and extra cushion socks, and my new Saucony Triumph.
I drove down race morning with Denise from RunDMT, we parked, went to the expo hall, met up with some of her running buds, snapped a few pics, and before I knew it, it was time to head to the start line!
Tara and I met at the back of the pack and we were soon on our way. She had a time from last year that she wanted to beat, me I just wanted to finish. We ran a little bit, we walked most of it. I told her she could go on without me if she felt I was slowing her down, but she just looked at me and said "we started this race together, we will finish this race together." And finish we did!
I LOVED this race!! The out and back along Bayshore Blvd was PERFECT! It started off cold, but we warmed up quickly. I had carried my own water bottle, but I would not have needed it. There was a plethora of water and gatorade available. There were porta-potties E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. and if you read my Holiday Halfathon recap, you know that the lack of bathrooms was a huge issue for me.
But not with Gasparilla. Everything was perfect. The company, especially. Tara was an awesome 15K partner. She never made me feel like I was too slow, or holding her back. And I was super excited to hear at the end of the race that she had PR'd by over 10 minutes from 2014!!
After the race Tara and I walked. And walked. And walked some more to find the post-race food and drink. It was quite a distance. In previous years they have always had the food right in the tunnel, but not this year. I felt like we walked another mile to get our recovery fuel. The walk just never ended.
But it was worth it.
Many of my Tampa Bay Blogger friends were invited to try out Ulele a few weeks ago. I was unable to attend because of work, but they all RAVED about it. And many commented about the wonderful beer.
I was so happy to see Ulele at the post-race party with 3 types of beer to sample. That's Tim in the tan shirt, and he's the head brewmaster.
It was very good beer, and just further cemented that I need to get to Ulele's for a proper meal.
After the beer and the fun, we went to the expo.
At the expo I found my fellow Polar ambassador and friend, Mary.
We chatted about my race, about our other Polar friend, speedy Chris who ran the 15K in 50:17 (that's 9.3 miles....) and I asked her about her thoughts on the battery charge of my M400.
And soon I was home, enjoying more beer, and resting my feet.
I went to bed by 10pm, and I was feeling good! I woke up at 6:30am, and left my house by 7am. The 8K wasn't set to start until 9am, and I had several friends in the half-marathon that I was hoping to see!
My feet were feeling a little sore, so I decided that a shoe change was in order. So for the 8K I wore my Hoka One One.
I'm not sure that was the best choice. I did size down in these shoes as recommended, but I felt my feet slipping in them as I walked and sure enough, I developed blisters in places that I hadn't even been sore the day before.
But Tara was sore too. Together we kept each other motivated, and pumped to finish the race. And finish we did!
And I'm pretty sure she told me that she even PR'd both races from her time last year!!
This was a GREAT race challenge and I plan to repeat it again next year...with Ronin!!
A HUGE thank you goes to Tara for walking with me, to #TeamPolar for the gear to monitor my heart rate throughout the event, and to Enell Sports Bras for providing me with the most comfortable, most awesome sports bra ever, the Enell Lite got me through over 14 miles in comfort!