will run for booty

March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm 3 comments

last weekend was the gasparilla distance classic ~ a weekend series of races i’ll always deem my favorite. i credit years of a working relationship with susan harmeling, the race director, as a reason i started running six years ago and since then, i have yet to miss a GDC. in ’07 i ran the 15k ~ my third race ever and first longer than a 5k. in ’08 it was my first half ever. ’09 just another half. 2010 was the final running of the GDC full marathon ~ a race i ran with food poisoning. 2011 i ran my current half pr of 1:56:47 ~ and this year the 5k with sab on saturday and the half solo on sunday. the gasparilla distance classic has been running for 35 years. i’ve got six of them under my race belt and hope to run every year going forward for as long as my body will oblige.

though this wasn’t her first 5k, this year was sab’s first GDC. she’s always been hesitant to run a race with such a large field but she finally agreed and i couldn’t have been more excited.

Anal retentive x 2

Anal retentive x 2

saturday morning as we headed to the start. i could tell sab was a little nervous but she denied it. she’s definitely getting a tough girl attitude though i can’t imagine where from ;). the crowd was as i expected ~ insane ~ but we took a quick walk up to the expo. i wanted sab to get a rush of the excitement and energy they elude. then with about 15 minutes to spare we headed to the start and lined up in our color area. this was the first year with a staggered start to help ease the congestion. with nearly 12,000 runners ~ and walkers ~ it was bound to get a little crazy out there and i was glad for the new corrals. we never heard the gun. just shuffled forward with the crowd until we crossed the start and took off.

going into this race i told sab there was no goal. just run. enjoy. walk if you need to. but i tend to be a bit self-demanding and knew i’d take a little of that out on her. i didn’t want to push her hard. i knew we hadn’t done much training leading in and really this was supposed to be merely in prep of the 5k she is running at the end of march. but i wanted to ensure she do what i knew her to be capable of. mile one she ran. she seemed strong and more than once i had to reel in her pace a little as she weaved through the crowd. the weather was brutal ~ unseasonably hot ~ and i knew it would take a toll quickly. sure enough about mid way into the second mile the walk breaks started. we kept them short. a minute or so. and she did pretty well picking it back up when i’d call time. but her pace slowed considerably and more than once i had to shut down the “i’m going to die. it’s so hot!” drama. but she pushed through and true to form found her sprint at the end to finish in 40:23.

finish strong

my little runner girl

saturday afternoon the bunny arrived in town. my GDC ritual running includes her whenever possible! my ’08 blog race recap was actually the reason we met and it seems only fitting she be here when she can. she had lined up a hotel room at race start ~ even though i now live two miles up the road ~ and sab and i were going to stay with her to make things easier. sunday morning we were to meet up with brewski whose son was running so sab could hang with him (note: he was NOT babysitting her. she is too old to be babysat! she insists i never use that term again. <sigh> lol) but saturday night i started to panic. the unseasonably hot weather on saturday was being pushed out by a massive line of storms ~ the same one that caused all the recent tornadoes ~ and sunday morning was calling for intense storms and high winds. anxiety kept me up all night and by the time the 4 a.m. “wake-up” call came i had decided that sab would stay at the hotel. but she refused. she insisted on being there to support me. i love my little runner girl :).

it was around 4:45 a.m. when the skies opened up. the rain was coming down sideways and we could hear the wind howling around our 10th floor window. we sprinted the short walkway from the hotel to the convention center and waited for the race delay we fully expected. but surprisingly the announcement came that the 6 a.m. start would stand. some how the rains had skirted north enough that the one band that passed over was done and gone within an hour. the wind, however, was not so kind. huddled at the start the bunny and i knew it would be a tough race.

the first five miles of the gasparilla half are my favorite. the quiet and beauty of the island i now call home is always an inspiration. i felt good. not great. but given all givens i was able to lose myself in the love of the run. it was when we came off the island and back along the bay that the fury of the wind became almost unbearable. with sustained winds of 20 miles per hour and gusts up to 40+ i found myself fighting an often losing battle. but i pushed forward. hard.

around mile six i felt my calf begin to tighten. the pain was bearable but worse than i had felt in awhile and i quickly accepted the fact that i was going to end up walking a good portion of the race. i knew going in this was a possibility and i was ok with that. i just wanted the booty! the new medal rocked and i’d hobble all the way to the finish to get it if need be. i slowed the pace but made myself keep pushing. i’d fight it until i crossed the point of being stupid. i passed the halfway marker at a 1:03:39 ~ still on track to meet my acceptable goal of 2:09:00 but miles away from a hopeful sub-2. but not long after, much to my surprise, my calf loosened up and when we made the turn to come back up the bay i suddenly felt invigorated.

i am a slave to the garmin. i meticulously monitor my pace. i refuse to end training runs on anything other than a perfect round number mile. i live for the numbers on the screen. but in those last few miles i never looked once. i knew there was no need. i was giving it my all. i was running my run. and no watch was going to change anything about what i was doing. i had no idea if i still had a chance of meeting my goal. and i truly didn’t care. i ran with nothing more than the love of the run.

as i came into the final stretch i caught sight of the time clock and thought for a moment it was wrong but a quick glance at the wrist proved it true. i was just barely under two hours. still too far away to go sub but close enough to barely go over. i saw sab off to the side and heard her screaming my name and i summoned the last of my energy and pushed through hard to finish in 2:00:19.

as my own worst enemy a part of me was disappointed to be that close yet not go sub-2 but when i stopped to really think about things i knew i had no reason to be disappointed. i haven’t been physically 100 percent in a long time. the wind was brutal. my training ~ if you can even call it that ~ has been minimal. i overcame a 3 minute deficit midway and pulled a huge negative split! but most of all, i know i gave it all i had. body, mind and soul.

and it didn’t matter because i got what i really wanted.

check out my booty

check out my booty

and just because i love these pictures i have to share with you my race recovery process.




rest and relaxation

rest and relaxation



Entry filed under: exercise, injury, racing, running. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

setting the goal walk the walk

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kalli and Bill  |  March 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    i love this recap! thank you for sharing both your race and your daughters. what a great pic she took crossing the finish line. how wonderful to have shared this big piece of you (running) with her and now she is hooked all on her own.

  • 2. Michelle  |  March 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Congrats!! You probably were one of the 1800 people we passed me at the end of the race when I lost my will to run!

    Your daughter is SOOOO cute. Congrats on her first Gasparilla!

  • 3. KitKat  |  March 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I smiled the whole time I read this. You sound like YOU, if that makes sense. 🙂


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the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39



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