ahoy runners! whoa, i cannot believe that gasparilla half marathon is over already – well my body is quickly reminding me that i ran 13.1 today. and wow, was i nervous for this race. as most of you have read throughout this journey, i really wanted to get an official PR this year. so i feel like as much as today was a “fun run,” i think i still added that little bit of pressure since i wanted it so badly.
with an early start at 6:00am, i ended up starting the race with the 2:15:00 pace group – ultimately that was the goal in the mind, but truly anything less that 2:30:00 would be a huge accomplishment. and wow, did i love running that that group – such high energy and you learn so much about the people around you. with some of the group running their first half marathon, others completing the gasparilla ultra challenge – there was such diversity among us all. i stayed with the group until about mile 9 – the turnaround on bayshore boulevard. holy smokes, the amount of headwind that we faced for those last 4 miles was intense. at one point, my visor flew off due to the wind causing me to run backwards to grab it off the road. i wasn’t going to lose my brand new headsweats visor – oh the things we do for running.
but with that headwind, i definitely had to stop and take a few breaks along the way towards the end. honestly, i think it ended up being the best decision for me because even at the end of the race, i was able to keep up a fairly decent pace. and…i ended up getting a PR of 2:19:22. words cannot describe how ecstatic i was at the finish line. and the fact that my best friend was there to cheer for me at the end made it that much sweeter. ironically enough, we actually were able to see each other along the course (thank you for that down and back). seeing her coming down more of the home stretch was a huge motivation for me to keep pushing on.
overall, the race was absolutely incredible. among the views and just being in the runner community – you cannot go wrong. and it is still mind blowing that i have completed 3 half marathons already this year. but now i get to rest up my body a little bit before my upcoming race at the end of march – the zimmerman winter park road race 10k.
until next time