Gasparilla Half Marathon Race Report
Weather- absolute trash. Don't listen to what anyone says about this being a "winter race in Florida." Ya right- if by "winter" you mean "80+ degrees, humid enough to fog your sunglass before putting them on, and a guaranteed tan/burn an hour after sunrise." Truly delightful.
Race number two of the weekend... this is a cool race since some of the pros, Kenyans (sorry I mean the "American citizens who definitely weren't recruited to run for the US in the Army"), and wannabe pros come out for it, like Meb last year. Sara Hall for example won it this year and Tyler Pennel (5th in the Olympic trials) finished 4th this year. I gotta say, even though they technically dropped out because of the heat/whatever, it felt pretty cool to run past some of the pros as they were walking/waiting to be picked up. The little things in life...
I started off slow and controlled, focusing on my form. I wasn't really trying to "race", but instead was trying to feel good for the whole run. My legs were surprisingly only moderately sore after the 15k yesterday, but I'm happy with this decision to be conservative- it would have been a ride on the struggle bus if I tried to run a decent time, and I likely would have failed miserably.
At about mile 7 I decided to get a bit more serious, especially when I saw RJ coming up in front of me (who also ran and beat me in the 15k yesterday). He did not look like he was going too hard and I was coming up on him pretty quickly. He thankfully saw me at the turnaround and waited a couple of seconds for me to catch him. He said he was just about to pack it in so-to-speak when he saw me, but I think I reinvigorated him a bit. We talked for a bit through miles 8 and 9 and then caught our first runner. The moment we did that a competitive fire kind of lit in both of us and we tracked down about 8 more- more on that below. The last mile and a half were now a bit of a struggle, but I didn't have to reach too deep. RJ motored ahead, and I welcomed that- he earned it and was much more fit. It truly was a good experience running with him and then racing with him.
I crossed the finish line smoothly about 14 seconds behind RJ and felt pretty comfortable- with both my run and my decision to be conservative today.
I have to say, the best part of the race was passing other runners. I kind of felt bad- as if I had dogged it a bit- but, selfishly it feels good to outwork someone on the run. This weekend was super humbling, so I really needed that to salvage any semblance of confidence moving forward.
Splits- 5:58, 5:58, 5:54, 6:00, 6:02, 5:51, 5:54, 5:58, 5:58, 5:58, 5:37, 5:52, 5:53, Finish-0:42
1st half- 38:50, 2nd half- 38:45