I headed to the Gasparilla "8 on your side" expo at the Tampa Convention Center Friday night with a group of friends. We grabbed our race packets and walked around the entire expo. I was disappointed that Nike is no longer sponsoring the event and the official merchandise was very generic. I enjoyed the excitement Nikes presence brought at the event and expo. One other thing I missed was the wall of names. Nike used to have a wall, like at the Chicago Marathon, where all 27,000 runners names were listed. It was fun trying to find your name as well as the names of your friends!
After the expo my friends and I headed to Spaghetti Warehouse for a "carb up" dinner. It was great. After it was over I went home and fell asleep.
The 15k didn't go as planned. I tried to run it fast. That didn't end up working as it got hot, I was not used to the shoes I was wearing (more on that later...) and I felt run-down. I did not eat anything or drink a lot of water before the race which might have caused this to happen. I finished the 15k talked to some friends and then went home to get ready to pick up my friend Maureen who was arriving from Chicago.
On Sunday the race started at 6am which made for a very early wake up call.
When the race started something didn't seem right. It was pretty humid (100 percent humidity was reported) and I couldn't get my breathing down well. My pace was suffering even though my legs felt strong. It was warm out I didn't want to drag Maureen back as she felt good so I told her to run on. I ended up getting two huge blisters one on each foot due to the new shoes I had been wearing and each step felt like a knife stabbing me for 11 of the 13 miles. This was the most painful race I have ever done and I felt like quitting SO MANY times. However, I pushed though the pain (even though I was pretty sure I was bleeding though my shoes). My biggest fear was that I would injure myself for the LA Marathon. I had my worst 1/2 marathon time in years because of the breathing, heat and blisters. You can't win them all I guess.
The half marathon medal was awesome. Maureen and I went to the after party for and enjoyed the day rest of the day!
Hopefully next year goes better for me at Gasparilla! Maybe they will bring back Nike as a sponsor too!