Gasparilla 8K – 2014

26 02 2014

I’ve been in Tampa 3 Februarys, and I’ve run 3 Gasparilla races. If you’ve done something three years in a row, that makes it a tradition, right?


IMG_1169How did I not grab a photo of myself?


Gasparilla 2013(by the way, that’s Beth, the female winner this year!)


SOAS ambassador

This is definitely one of my favorite races of the year, and I hope that as long as I’m in Tampa (and perhaps even if I’m not in Tampa) I’m still running it! I think the city puts on a fantastic race with an awesome expo and even better medals. This year, I signed up for the 8K. I was a little worried about how the race would go, considering the pains I’d been having throughout the week, my Achilles was acting up again, and I’d ridden 50 miles the day before. I decided to go into the race as though it was a training run, but deep down I was thinking that it would be nice if I beat last year’s time (40:52) and come in under 40:00.

I was also super excited to race in my new SOAS ambassador kit, which I was lucky enough to pick up when I was in San Diego last week.

SOAS ambassadorLOVE this kit!

I lined up with the 8:00/mile pace group, planning to stick with them for the first half and push ahead in the second half.

The gun went off and I was caught in the typical walk/slow run/dodge and weave dance where everyone is trying to find their own space to run. Just beyond the bridge, so not even 200 yards into the race, I was trying to go around someone and I bobbed right. At the same time, someone was bobbing left, and we bumped into each other. My ankle twisted and I nearly fell over, but I immediately started to feel pain. Dang it! Why can’t my right leg just behave? I hobbled over to the curb, as the guy who I tripped over asked, “Are you okay? Are you sure?” I waved him off, grabbed on to a tree for balance, and flexed my foot back and forth. I had a decision to make: was it bad enough to stop and get it looked at, or keep going?

I’m stubborn and really did not want to throw in the towel after barely starting the race, so I opted to stick it out. I limped a little back into the crowd, and once I started running, it didn’t really hurt that much. I monitored my pain levels closely, determined to finish the race, but resigned to the fact that sub 40:00 might not be in the cards, and if the pain intensified, I must stop.

I was sure the 8:00 pace group had made significant ground on me, but after a few minutes of being back on my feet, I saw the group ahead. I looked at my watch, and was pleasantly surprised to see I was under 5:00/km (note: 5:00/km is just about 8:00/mile). I slowly made up the ground I had lost, catching them at about 3km in. I stayed with them for about half a kilometer, but gradually passed them before the turn-around.

It was a humid day, and I was a little worried that my body would react to the thick air in the same way it had on Friday night. I tried to keep my cool by grabbing waters along the way, and enjoying one of the sprinklers spraying water on the runners. On the way home I kept telling myself that I could do this. I glanced at my watch and knew that sub 40 was actually within my reach.

3km left, 2 km left…There’s the finish line. I gave it what I had left and crossed the finish line at 39:06! PR by over a minute! Of course my first thought was that if I hadn’t paused at the beginning, I would have broken 39. Doh! I guess I have a goal for next year!

At the end of the race, I spotted my friend Heather and waved hi to Meghann, who caught a great shot of my finish.


And I have to give her props for this pre-race shot too:

1890605_10104217714513153_1685435428_oI’m easy to spot in my snazzy kit 🙂

As I made it through the finish chute, I spotted my good friend (and super speedy) Steph, who was in town from DC visiting some of her friends and me!

1620398_10100568754263765_1292439554_nSteph is one of the fastest triathletes I know (she went to Age Group Worlds the past two years, and if you got USAT’s latest rankings, she’s in the top 25!) but she is by FAR the most humble athlete I know. Most triathletes I know (including myself) love to yap about their latest PR or grueling training session. If you ask her about a race, Steph will casually respond “Yeah the race was pretty good” (even if she won the darn thing) without much additional details unless you prod- and I totally respect and love her for that. She’s super supportive of her fellow teammates and when I was in DC, she was always willing to go for a (slower) ride with me. I should take a page from her book every now and again:-)

Steph was the 4th OA female and 2nd in our age group. I squeaked into the top ten in our age group, and I was happy with that!

After the race, I stopped at some medics and iced my ankle. It hadn’t hurt during the race (adrenaline? compression from my shoe?) but now that I was stopped moving, I was definitely walking a bit more gingerly.


I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but it is still a bit swollen, but not badly enough that I couldn’t get a swim and spin in already this week. I’ll probably get it checked out when I get home from my work trip.

Despite my crummy ankle issue, it ended up being a pretty stellar run. It was a sticky, humid day, but it was so fun to race in my city of Tampa. I can’t wait to do it again next year!