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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gasparilla 5k and Marathon 2007

Gasparilla 5k (Saturday)
We flew down Friday night fairly late and spent the night at Sharon and Frank's house. Up bright and early Saturday morning, we headed downtown to the 5k, which started at 9:30. Last year, we started out across a bridge that had a slight grade, but this year they took the bridge out, so the only hill in the entire race was removed and it was completely flat. Sharon was less nervous this year. There isn't much to say about the actual 5k. I didn't stay with Sharon like I did last year, I was doing 2:1s and she was afraid to try intervals, so we split up 2 minutes into the race. I had been worried about being cold (the temperature was only about 60 as a high during the day, but it was sunny). Even though I'd only packed a singlet (60 degrees does sound hot when there's snow on the ground), Todd let me borrow his Fleet Feet long sleeve shirt. Turns out that I really didn't need it during the race, I heated up pretty fast.

I was trying to get a new PR, which would have been 35:40. I had set the watch I was wearing (Todd's watch) to have a goal of 35 minutes. After mile 1, I was 8 seconds behind and at mile 2 I was 14 seconds behind (so I guess I ran the second mile 1 second faster than the first). However, Bayshore Boulevard got me again with its blinding sun and heat and I slowed down for mile 3 and ended up with a final time of 36:06. A good time, one of my better 5k times, but not the PR that I was hoping for. It seems like the 35:45-36:45 timeframe is really where my ability level is right now. The sad part is, that means that I really need to work on the Shamrock 5k and try to set my PR there. If the weather is like it was last year, that might be easy.

Part of the problem was that the race was so crowded that I was constantly going around walkers and slower runners and I was NOT running in a straight line. That kind of sucked. Maybe I should just wait for Pikesville, which is a much less crowded race.

Sharon also beat her 2006 time, and she was somewhere in the 34 minute range.

After the race, we went to the Runners Expo and did some shopping (I got some new sunglasses) and I climbed the rock wall that the US Army had brought in. Once again, I miss rock climbing and really need to go again. I signed a waiver first... or I joined the army. Who knows, one or the other.

Next, we took the trolley down to Channelside and had lunch at Splitsville while the kids bowled. The rest of the day was spent at Sharon and Franks, and Todd and I went to Olive Garden for the pre-marathon pasta dinner. Early to bed.

Gasparilla Marathon (Sunday)
When the alarm went off at 4am, I really was hoping that Todd was going to decide that he really didn't want to run the marathon and would get back in bed. Instead, he got up and turned on the light. Ouch. We got ready, had some breakfast and we were out the door by 4:45. Sharon decided to accompany me down to the marathon to watch the run, which I greatly appreciated.

It was cold. The high for the day was 55 degrees and the winds were 25-30 miles per hour. As it neared the start time of 6am, I wrestled Todd's sweatshirt off of him and headed up to watch the start. There was only one wheelchair participant, so I guess he won the wheelchair division.

After we watched the start, Sharon and I headed back to the Convention Center to devise a plan. We had left the map in the car, so we had to keep going back to the Convention Center to check out the course map (they didn't have any spares to give us). We headed back over the bridge to near the finish line to watch the race at mile 6. Right as we were getting there, the pace car and the pack of Kenyan leaders passed us, which was pretty crazy. It really wasn't even light yet. When Todd passed, we were totally not paying attention and were just talking and so I got no pictures and we only barely got ourselves together to hold up the sign. There weren't many spectators out on the course, though, so it was pretty easy to find good places to stand.

Next, we went back to the convention center and got coffee and muffins and headed to mile 11. This was at the base of a bridge/hill, so we got to cheer people on as they went up. We saw Todd there after a few minutes and he was looking great. I had Biofreeze waiting for him.

The next thing on the agenda was to head back to the convention center to catch the Relay/Spectator shuttle bus to mile 14/24 or 16/22. We waited about 15 minutes for the shuttle, it showed up and filled up before we could get on. Some relay participants had to catch a taxi to keep from missing their runners. After an hour, we finally made it to mile 16, but we'd missed Todd. So, we stood at mile 22 and handed out oranges. There were VERY few spectators, so the oranges were appreciated. It was very very cold. I was wearing 4 layers - a singlet, a light longsleeve, a fleece jacket, and Todd's heavy sweatshirt and I was still cold. Some runners looked cold, others looked ok, but the wind was terrible. I think it was about the same as Marine Corps.

We saw Todd, who loaded up on a fresh coat of Biofreeze. He was still looking great (maybe 10x better than he did at NCR). He headed off and we got back on the shuttle bus, which was much faster. At the finish line, it was only a little while before we saw Todd, who did an excellent job. I don't know his official time but the race clock said 5:02 when he crossed the finish line. Pretty good figuring that he was shooting for 5:15 to 5:30. He had run the last mile and a half or so in and still looked great at the finish. He got his medals and photos with the pirates and we headed back.

After the race, we took showers and a nap and right at this moment, we're sitting in business class (Todd upgraded us in order to get more leg room and I could not be happier about it) flying back to Baltimore. Long and eventful weekend.

Congtratulations on an excellent finish, Todd! :)

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