(To read my recap of the race expo, click here.)
When I woke up this morning, I was pissed for half a second because I didn’t know why I was waking up so early on a Saturday. Then I remembered it was race day, and I put on my clothes faster than a cheating husband the morning after. I was super excited about my outfit, because it was the first time I had accessories that matched the race theme: the jolly roger headband I bought last night at the expo, and a pair of grey running shorts with silver skulls all over them from Pink. I was also rocking my “I Run 4 Landri” tank top (click here if you want to be matched up to an awesome running buddy as well!). I was feeling fierce like Beyoncé.
I debated on whether to walk from my house to the race site (about a 20-25-minute walk) or drive and park somewhere downtown. I decided to drive so I wouldn’t tire out my legs before go time. However, I wasn’t planning on how bad the traffic would be. Guys, it was bad. Like, 2012 Republican National Convention bad. After sitting in it for about 20 minutes, I decided to retreat back to my neighborhood and take the hike.
Luckily, I still had about an hour until my wave started, and I was able to make it to the staging area with plenty of time to spare.
I also didn’t realize just how popular this race weekend was. There were thousands of runners. Literally, thousands. It was especially impressive considering this was also the weekend of the Disney Princess races over in Orlando:
My wave started right on time at 9:30, and race conditions were overcast and muggy, no breeze. I managed not to succumb to my adrenaline, and started off at a slow, steady pace to conserve my energy; however, it wasn’t long before I was sweating like a beast. The first two miles went well; my legs felt strong, and I had a steady pace going. The third mile was a little tougher, and there were moments where I felt a little light-headed and nauseous. But I wound up finishing with a time of 45:13, at a pace of 14:32, and I was happy with that. It was consistent with how I’d been running during training.
What was slightly annoying about this race were the walkers. I’m not against walking a 5K. I’ve pretty much walked like a boss at some point in all of my races. Hell, I even had to slow down a few times today to shake out my legs and center myself. But there were groups of people who were walking right from the get-go, smack dab in the middle of the course, making it hard to get around them. Considering the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic offers a special 5K walk, I’m not sure why they didn’t sign up for that instead. It was the same for the few people I saw with strollers. A 5K stroller roll was also offered, but instead of signing up for that, they chose the regular 5K, practically plowing down those in front of them. I came close to being hit with a stroller, and while in line at Starbucks after the race, I overheard a girl tell her friend the same.
I will say, this was the first race I’ve run that had a fair amount of eye candy. There were a few firemen from Pasco County walking in their t-shirts and fireman pants–the super hot kind, with the suspenders–and I had to resist rubbernecking as I passed. There were also a group of Army guys running in formation while sounding off cadences. Yes, please. I think more groups of hot men should sign up for races to help the ladies keep their minds off how tired they are, or how much their legs ache.
The course was pretty straightforward, departing from downtown and running along Bayshore Boulevard and back. There was a water station before we had to run back, and there was one on the way back, which was nice. And I always love running along Bayshore–so scenic and pretty. And the bling was pretty cool, too:
Of course, I had to stop and get my celebratory Starbucks beverage after. Caramel Flan latte–so yummy!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this race, and even though I don’t like to run repeats, I’d consider participating again next year. Did any of you run? What did you think?