Ahoy there, matey! Lol. Just kidding. But it is in the festive spirit of Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla Distance Classic. The race was about three weeks ago, but with traveling and work deadlines I haven’t been able to write a full expo and race weekend recap like I wanted to. So here it is, three weeks late. I suppose better late than never.
2016 was the first year I ran in the Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend in Tampa. This is when I use to live in the sunshine state. Right before I moved to North Carolina, my friend Jen and I signed up for the 2017 Gasparilla Half Marathon and planned on running it together. Fast forward 8 months later, and the Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend was finally here. Adam and I were going to Tampa anyway for our high school friends wedding. Because of this, I opted out of doing a race challenge this year so I didn’t have to run on Saturday. I registered for the half marathon on Sunday. Jen registered for the Amber Light Challenge (15K, 5K, and half marathon).
I went to the race expo on Friday, right from the airport. It wasn’t too crowded yet, and I actually saw a friend from high school there. The expo was massive, and pretty much the same as last year. I am saying this in not a bad way! We quickly left the expo after I got my race bib and shirt, so we could get ready for the wedding. The half marathon shirt this year is awesome. It’s green, and has tie die along the sides. Pretty neat.
Sunday mornings race began at 6:00am. Jen and her boyfriend picked Adam and I up for the race, and we made our way down to the Tampa Convention Center. One of the best things about Gasparilla starting at the Convention Center is you don’t have to use the port a potties. Yup, that’s right. Just go inside and use a regular restroom. As you runners know, that seriously is a luxury. After Jen and I got ourselves situated, we met up with her friend from Fit 2 Run, who is also a Galloway Method Trainer. She was awesome! The three of us ran for 1 minute and walked for 30 seconds throughout the half marathon. I do not normally run the Galloway method, but Jen’s knees are injured and she is getting surgery soon for them. I will say I really enjoy the Galloway Method, when I’m running with a friend.
I think this half marathon was the most interesting experience I’ve had with fellow runners. One guy, who we later found out is a teacher in Orlando was doing intervals similar to our own so we kept passing each other. After awhile when us three girls passed him, he started yelling ‘JERKS!’ Then he would pass us and we would call him out. It was fun, and made the race memorable. Throughout the race there was this fun banter, and it was our goal to beat him to the finish line. And….we did!
Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Tampa in February, and loved running with Jen!