I really love this huge event. Composed of a 5K, 8K, 15K, Half Marathon, and three different combination challenges, it truly is the "Distance Classic" they promote. Obviously the Jr Program for all kids is a part of this as well.
Race Packet Pick-up is lots of fun as well.
There were different shirts for each race and challenge!
Needless to say, the Tampa convention Center Main Hall had 7 plus rows of vendors. You could find anything you wanted from races to information to running gear here!
I have to give props to American Running Company who properly represented!
Gen Mgr Breanna Olver manning the store!
D & I scored all kinds of running gear and more!
I was cautiously optimistic about this Half. My goal was to finish. For precaution, I KT taped my right Achilles, wore a Feetures right plantar fasciitis foot sleeve, and a "110% Blitz Knee Sleeve on my left knee as it was still a bit sore. I would wog and comfortably interval while trying to embrace humility and patience. Trust me when I say I was solidly put to test.
On Saturday, 11627 5K and 4924 15K entries ran their respective races. On Sunday, 4426 Half Marathon and 2952 8K entries took their turn on the course.
Our start was at 6:00am. The corrals were set by pace time. D & I were at the back of the pack. It took 17 minutes after the air horn went of for us to cross the starting line!
We went about 3/4s of a mile until we took an access road across into Davis Island, most noted now for the home of Yankee Derek Jeter's modest $12.3M mansion, the biggest, most expensive home in Hillsborough County!
Things were going smoothly and we focused on the scenery. Hit our first musical water stop halfway through the island!
I appreciated the dude taking the time to play for us!
Close to Derek's house, I saw one of Tampa's finest and told him I was gonna make a pit stop at Jeter's house so expect a call! He laughed! Thank goodness, the Sheriff had a sense of humor!
We made it through Davis Island (no arrest) and back on Bayshore Dr. southward.
This is where I started to feel my knee. I focused on everything around me and continued to pace myself with DSSECRETS refusing to leave my side! She kept distracting me with comments about the beautiful view of Tampa Bay, the water stops, anything, and everything. I just embraced the moment.
At mile 8, D took advantage of the comfort station around mile 8. I continued on as I knew I needed to keep going. I came up to the U-Turn around mile 8.7, and knew what we had left.
D caught up to me around 9.2 miles and we focused on the finish. Around mile 10, I truly appreciated the great rhythm of this musician.
He asked if this was for America's Most Wanted!
I needed that humor. I tried to step it up but backed off as soon as i started to feel the pain escalate. I shuffled, moved, and tried to find a painless pace. Around Mile 12, it became a bit more consistent. I focused on a lot but started to get distracted by the coming of 8K runners who had started their race. That combined with several other obstacles did not help my frame of mind.
Finally, we saw the finish line. I kept shuffling. I will tell you now that I was fighting tears and figured I was looking pathetic. I heard the announcers call my name, "Christopher" out down the home stretch! You know you're looking sad when spectators yelled out my name (on my bib) in encouragement. But all of a sudden, I heard someone screaming, "You got this, Monty" Do it, Monty!" I turned and saw Chris Corbo, one of the owners from American Running Company, screaming his a$$ off. It made me feel like the warrior I am!
I crossed the finish line, grabbed a cold wet cloth, and felt no more pain for a while. I received my medal and took several finish photos with my Tower of Strength, Darren. We slowly walked to the area where I needed a food distraction. Columbia Restaurant provided us with a plate of paella, black beans & rice, their famous Original ï¿½1905ï¿½ Salad, and Cuban bread. Darren didn't want anything to eat but I got her a plate anyway. We went inside the Convention Center, where I put down our plates, went to the first aid center, grabbed a ice pack, and shoved it inside my knee sleeve. I went back to enjoy our "breakfast!" D and I both killed those fabulous plates of food.
We started back to our vehicle, the pain grew a bit but we made it, stopped at the Palm Harbor Farmer's Market, picked up some healthy food for the day, came home, and started recovery! I got rid of my cold pack, took a hot shower for what seemed like days as I let that heat pour over my leg, then relaxed with a cold pack. We just vegged for the remainder of the day.
I'm feeling a bit better today. I'm going to take time to reflect on this experience. I can't weight the right and wrong of it all. I've been through a lot worse but I'm a bit confused. I know there's a lot of good to take from this so that's what I'm going to do. I don't regret anything!