I loved it last year, and this year solidified my love.
I was worried I loved it so much last year because it was cold (I prefer cold weather running), and I got a 15-minute personal record. I loved the bands and course, but I was afraid it was tainted by the weather and my sweet PR.
This year, it was not cold (it bordered on hot at the end of the race), and I actually ran it a few seconds slower than last year. But, I still smiled throughout the majority of the race and loved almost every second of it (The few seconds I didn't love were in mile 12 ... blech).
For a baseball-loving girl like myself, I love that the expo and start line are at Tropicana Field.
I didn't love that my Garmin decided to freeze. Grrr.
|It was 6:45 a.m. all day.|
I love that the course follows familiar turf: right by Taco Bus. What I didn't like this year is I was starting to get warm at this point (only mile 3).
I love the slight downhill into downtown St. Pete, and this year I loved the shade the tall buildings provided. This is where I took my first GU gel (about mile 4).
I normally wouldn't love the route south into a somewhat boring stretch into a neighborhood, but I do love the bands along the course. They'd make any course fun.
I felt pretty good miles 5-7. It was cooler through this part of course, and I felt a nice breeze as we went from mile 7 into mile 8 along Tampa Bay. I took my second GU gel around mile 8.
Then, this happened.
Yes, the pesky Pier. It's no secret that it's not something I love. It wasn't this day either. Don't get me wrong: the views are beautiful, and I know there are much worse routes than this. But, it's long, there's no shade, and it's windy.
I started struggling a bit on the Pier. My legs just started feeling tired. Not horrible, but miles 9 and 10 were kind of rough.
It was also rough not knowing my time. They had clocks at each mile, but I wasn't sure how much later I started than the clock. Being in corral 8, I figured it was about 10 minutes later, but I wasn't entirely sure. I tried doing math while running, which was a bad idea on my part. It made my head hurt.
I felt a little better in mile 11 because I saw some rockin' cheerleaders: Lori and Georgina. They really were at the right place at the right time. I needed a push, and it was great seeing friendly faces who were cheering their faces off for me.
|After the race with one of my rockin' coaches |
(Carolyn) and the rockin' cheerleaders,
Lori and Georgina.
Mile 12 is where things got worse for me. I was hot, tired and done. I really didn't know if I was pushing for a PR (I didn't think so, but wasn't certain) or if I was way off (I didn't think so). So, not knowing and being hot and tired, I walked a bit. I doubt it was more than one minute, but having a frozen watch, I don't know.
I tried to push mile 12 into 13, but I really don't think it happened. Again, I don't know because my watch was frozen.
But, I did take a rockin' race photo (the first and only time this has ever happened) during this time. (Didn't my frozen watch photograph nicely?)
The run to the finish line seemed to take forever. It could have. I don't know. MY WATCH WAS FROZEN.
|The LONG run to the finish|
It was great seeing more rockin' cheerleaders along the finish line.
After finishing, getting a sweet medal, a cold towel and grabbing some food and beverages, I met up with the cheerleaders.
|With my cheerleaders Caroline, Dan and Theresa. Oh, and a |
photo-bombing Chloe. She went for the bagel while we were
busy posing for a photo. (Cheerleader Eric took the photo.)
|With my rockin' running buddy and cheerleader, Lori|
Then, I went to check out Sean Kingston at the after-race concert. I wasn't crazy-excited about seeing him, but I was pretty impressed with his performance. I heard him sing "Beautiful Girl," which is the only song I thought I knew that he sang. He then proceeded to sing a string of songs I knew. Fun.
And, that's what this entire race is: fun. I love the organization, the atmosphere, the bands along the course, the course itself, the post-race concert ... yeah, pretty much everything.
Oh, and my time: 2:33:54. After hearing it, I wondered if I could have cut 4 minutes off (to get a PR) if I had an unfrozen watch. I wondered if I would have ran harder if I had an unfrozen watch. Then, I realized I couldn't change it. And I had fun, which is the most important thing.