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2013 Gasparilla Half Marathon Race Report.

Monday, February 25, 2013

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 �1905� 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!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sorry for your pain during the race but it sounds like you came through like a trooper. I'm glad that you were able to find your inner warrior and make it through to the end. DSSECRETS sounds like the perfect support team. My daughter is such a Yankees fan that the chance to be near D. Js' house would have made her entire year! She'll be so jealous when I share it with her!
    Take care of that knee and achilles!
    You're the bomb, Monty. Keep thinking positive thoughts and Sparking the rest of us.
    1881 days ago
    Congratulations on finishing. Talk about true grit!! I heard on the news that there were 30,000 runners altogether. The very thought of it is overwhelming, so from my pov just starting is an accomplishment. However, I hope you are able to get your knee back on track before your next race.
    1882 days ago
    Great story! I did the 8K. That paella was worth the run! I hope you're feeling better.
    1882 days ago
    Sorry for the pain, Monty... but you are an IronMan for finishing through it. Heal up well, please, take good care of you!

    fyi... my cousin's daughter, the one I'm coming to St. Pete to do her first HM in November? Was among the 8K runners as Gaparilla. She posted on FB after that she felt like death (migraine & sinus)... so I'm hoping my running buds (you and D, and R) recover fully and well, and keep on running... safely!
    1883 days ago
    Congratulations!! Despite the pain, what a wonderful experience.

    i hope you get to feeling better soon! emoticon
    1883 days ago
    Take it easy on that knee, k?
    Love "like the warrior I am." emoticon you are!
    1883 days ago
    Time for some rest and true recovery!
    1883 days ago
    Sounds like a great event. Too bad it was the same weekend as the Princess! Sorry to hear about your pain. It sounds like you are managing it well. Take care and do not push too hard! emoticon
    1883 days ago
    Glad you worked through the pain, you're a tough, young geezer!
    1883 days ago
    This has definitely go to be a possibility for next year.
    Hope you figure out your knee and can run pain free very soon.
    1883 days ago
    OMG, what a huge race! Congrats for pushing through and being a warrior! Yep, take that away from the experience, is my vote. You did great. Hoping that your knee makes a complete recovery. Knees are funny things. I had problems with mine for awhile, but currently, they're doing great. RICE really worked for me. Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! emoticon emoticon
    1884 days ago
    I've known you for 26 years and I've never known you to be as quiet as you were during this race. I've never seen you show so much courage and determination. You continue to inspire me.
    1884 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    Congrats to both of you on finishing that race. Really sorry the knee hurt so bad and prayers it heals well so the next race goes well.
    1884 days ago
    So sorry for your pain. I admire your grit to tough it out. You were the picture of determination and persistence. Hope you don't regret it, though. Wishing you a total and fast recovery. Hoping you get any medical attention you need. Thanks for all the pictures. I had friends in the 15K. Let us know how your recovery is going. Take really good care of yourself. -Marsha
    1884 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your experience of the Gasparilla Events. You wrote a wonderful blog and shared great pictures. I certainly do recognize the scenery. Take care and hope you have a quick recovery.

    Sharon emoticon

    1884 days ago
    Good for you for persevering thru the pain. Sorry it wasn't a more pleasant HM for you and I certainly hope you recover quickly and are back to 100% soon. All the best and congratulations!
    1884 days ago
    I'm sorry such a great event had pain attached to it. Hope you recover quickly so you can get back out there soon.
    1884 days ago
    emoticon and emoticon
    1884 days ago
    Reminds me of my first marathon. From mile 16 on I was in constant pain, stopping every minute to try to stretch my IT band. I think I cried that entire last part, but you can't tell it by the finish line photos.
    Kudos to you for feeling the warrior within at the end!
    1884 days ago
    Well done for a strong finish! It sounds like you really toughed it out even and had a few laughs along the way. Congratulations!!!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1884 days ago
    So sorry we missed you - the race was too warm and humid for me. I wish I could say I enjoyed the scenery but was so focused on just finishing.
    1884 days ago
    That expo looks great!
    I'm glad you made it through, the swag is fab!! Sorry, it was so painful. I hope you are feeling good soon.
    1884 days ago
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