Our Gasparilla experience started on Saturday morning with a 4 AM wake up call. Jennifer had signed us up for the Ultra Challenge a while ago, and the morning had arrived. The plan was to take it easy on the Saturday runs (the 15k and the 5k) in order to be able to complete the Half Marathon on Sunday with enough time for the 5+3 afterwards. But, as usual, the weather gods of Florida had other ideas.
Saturday was great weather. Hot, but I prefer hot runs to cold ones, so the 15k went as planned. We held back to the 14:00 pace range and finished strong, with plenty of time to take a break and head out to the 5k. Because we ended near the end, the start of the 5k was in the rear with the gear, and it took us a good mile to weave from out of the walkers and strollers to open space. By that time we were accepting that there would be no PB’s that day, so we pulled back and walked it in. No big deal really. It was about the miles.
On Sunday we started at 3 AM. I headed out to car to find it 77 degrees, but something told me to grab a jacket anyway, and man I am glad I did. We got hot by a torrential rain right before the start of the race, and you could feel the weather dropping. By the time we got started we were ready jsut so we could get moving. Somewhere around mile 2 or 3 we looked around and Kate was gone. Jenny was convinced she was ahead of us, so was trying to catch up. I knew she was behind us.
Right as we were leaving Davis Island the light started to show and Jenny got her second wind. Our pace was well below our normal half time, but we had run the 12 the day before, so were had already figured the 5+3 was not going to happen. Near the end of the run we were greeted by the GREAT TNT water stop, which gave us a bump in spirit, then again by Coach Teresa of the Wine and Dine team we were on at mile 11.5 which helped us finish strong. Got glimpses of Irene and Jennifer Simpson on the course, then Jennifer again heading back out on the 5+3. The goal then was to NOT let JS catch us before we finished … whatever it takes.
Not concerned about missing the 5+3. They let us have the Beck’s Light Medal since we did finish the three races. The runs are now complete for the season, with 4 half marathon’s (5 for Jenny) and one full marathon under the belt. The Gasparilla 5k was our first race last year 2011, so we have come a long way in a year’s time. Can’t feel bad about that progress.
What I learned was that I am definitely a fair weather runner … actually a fair weather anything. I don’t like being miserable. What I have enjoyed most about the past year is that when your outside, in the nice Florida sunshine, you can ride, or run, or swim all of your stress away. When the weather is bad and working out becomes work, well, it loses me at that point. I have learned to like short runs, including half marathons. I have learned how to deal with the soreness after these runs … I could have run today … and I did spin today. That’s something I couldn’t do before. Even with a 3:13:00 times, that is faster than my first two half’s AND I ran twelve the day before. It’s getting better.
So now the run’s are over for awhile and I start focusing on St. Anthony’s in April and the Half Ironman in May. I was thinking about how it will feel to finish that race in May, and here the announcer say “JC Harris … you ARE an Ironman”.
That may actually make me emotional. 🙂