Race Recap: Gasparilla 15k 2012

Oh me, Oh my. This race day was a doozy.

The expo was….an expo. Big room, filled with a lot of people buying things from vendors. Do I really need to go into more detail or show pictures?

I didn’t think so.


Moving on: We stayed at The Westin-Harbour Island in downtown Tampa. If you have the opportunity to stay there – don’t. It definitely wasn’t worth the $180 we paid for it, and that’s a discounted rate for the race weekend. It’s normally like $399/night. insane. our a/c was messed up, and it was SUPER hot despite the thermostat being set on 68.

needless to say, I didn’t sleep to much Friday night and 4:45 Saturday morning came way to early. I had dry toast bc I forgot the butter at home and coffee. – We headed out of the hotel around 5:50 to meet up with the Striders at the convention center for picture time. LOVE picture time!


After picture time we made the short trek over the Platt
Street bridge, hit up the porto-potties then headed out for a quick warm up.

aww yes, stretching out the IT band post warm up run

side note: I met a blog reader today! VERY exciting! Jenny & I were about to head out on our warm up, and Katy caught us and said, “I READ YOUR BLOG!” This caught me way off guard, and totally made my day. Hi Katy & Emilie, nice to meet you both today!

I’m not sure how far our warm up was, not far, but I was already sweating by time we hit the starting line…which was a cluster. We ended up jumping over a fence to get near the start line.. It was so crowded the closest we could get (without jumping the fence) was behind the 11:00 pace group. nope. not gonna work.

The gun went off at 7:05ish and we were off. Our plan was to try and run 8 minute miles, but I was a little leery of this plan since it was so hot. I’m not sure what it was at the start, but I’m guessing mid 70’s with 100% humidity.

Jenny & I stuck together for the first 3 miles, and then she made a smartass remark about me saying I couldn’t do an 8:00 today and said she was going to drop back.

mile 1: 8:17
mile 2: 8:18
mile 3: 7:57

That sub 8 pace scared me – I was really scared that if I tried to maintain that pace I’d die a slow death in the last miles. I guess I sort of just accepted my fate and kept pushing the pace.

Thankfully Run Tampa Bay puts quite a few water stops in the 15k. The first stop was at 1.4, and the next one was at 2. Since it was so hot I took water at every single stop. I started dumping water on my back/front/head at mile 4. Keeping cool, or trying to keep cool, became the name of the game.

At miles 4ish we entered a neighborhood which serves as the turnaround point. From about miles 6 – 9 there is absolutely no shade. none. The sun & the heat are just sucking the life out of you with every step. Another great thing that this race offers is sprinklers on the back stretch, and boy are they welcoming. I wanted to just stop and stand in those sprinklers.

mile 4: 8:00
mile 5: 7:57 (gelled)
mile 6: 7:57

I don’t remember if was mile 6 to 7, or 7 to 8, but I thought I might just keel over right there. I swear whatever mile it was must have been long. I thought I was never ever ever going to make it to the next water stop. All I could think about was waterwaterwaterwaterwater.

Miles 8 & 9 whooped my ass.
I all but gave up.
I wanted to walk.
I wanted to be done.
I was so over it.
My shoes were soaking wet from dumping so much water over my head. My toes were burning from sloshing around in my shoes (they were that wet). My KT tape was flapping in the wind. #kttapefail – I ended up ripping it off somewhere in mile 8.

mile 7: 7:58
mile 8: 8:05
mile 9: 8:07
.3: 7:45

Chip time: 1:15:34
OA: 523/4920
Female: 131/2550
AG: 26/355

Once I crossed the finish line I found a few other Striders and some water. One thing that I really dislike about this event is that the water is way to far away from the finish line. It seems like such a petty issue, but I don’t want to walk another 1/4 mile to find a bottle of water, then another 1/4 mile to get my medals. This is a 15k, not a 10mi race. I want my medal & water when I cross the finish line. #ventover

heeey paparazzi Mom

I wasn’t feeling to hot(lie: I was very hot) – I wasn’t feeling to well after I crossed the finish line; Despite drinking a lot water on the course I still had some goose bumps, and was a little dizzy. I sat on the curb for a while before attempting to make the trek up the platt street bridge for my well deserved medal.

me & the infamous David
that’s a crazy eye I’ve got going on there!


There is a pretty good spread of post-race treats once you make it over the platt street bridge and into the tunnel under the convention center, but I was in a hurry to get back to the hotel room so I could change clothes and get back to the start line to do the 5k with my sisters, Cara, Shelly & Emily.


Overall I am stoked for my PR; last year my time was 1:19:05, so that’s a pretty good PR. I wanted a 1:14, but I knew going into the race that I would probably have to adjust my expectations because of the heat. Looking back, if I had run the 1st & 2nd mile just a tad bit faster I probably could have met my goal of 1:14:XX, BUT, I am not upset with my time in the least. I can’t express how disgusting it was today.


That awesome tank top sunburn is just from the 5k.



In other non-running related news: Lots of thoughts & prayer to the families that have been affected by the tornadoes in the mid-west.

My Aunt & Cousin both lost their homes on Friday to a tornado. Fortunately they were not home because my cousins daughter was in the hospital having a baby.


24 thoughts on “Race Recap: Gasparilla 15k 2012

    • Thanks Chris! I’m crossing my fingers that we have cooler weather for your half on 3/18 !! At least I know we will have a nice breeze – but hopefully not a butt kicking wind like we had at the halloween half!

    • Thanks! Ha Ha! I can hardly wait for the summer to roll around so I can get an awesome shorts tan to match the tank top tan. Last summer I was injured so I didn’t get a chance to get the shorts tan!

  1. I’ve been waiting for this recap! Great job! Its crazy to think that you are dealing with such heat – I ran in 30-ish temps today! And how do you run in that sunny heat without sunglasses?!

    Congrats on the PR!!

    • Thanks! I usually try to wear sunglasses, but I forgot my running sunglasses @ home. I had a pair (which i wore for the 5k) but they don’t have nose grippies and they slip off when I run. I didn’t feel like dealing with that for 9 miles so I opted to squint the whole time (ha!)

    • Thanks! It was a great race despite the heat! I love the course, it’s nice & flat. The worst part is that you can see the finish line from the halfway point turn around. You can’t see the actual finish line, but you know the set of buildings int he horizon is the finishline, and that is kind of brutal to see that for 4 miles.

    • Thanks! I don’t know if I mentioned that they had sprinklers every so often on the back stretch. That was really nice, but also dumping water on myself for the last 5 miles helped as well.

  2. Smart ass comment?! What do you think I said?! I said, ‘Hey Jena 8’s aren’t gonna happen for me today, I’m backing off the pace.’


    You did awesome on this race! The conditions were sucktastic and you pulled off an awesome PR!

  3. Jena, it was so nice meeting you! I told Sherry you probably thought we were crazy people! Maybe we kinda are?!? I also saw you on the turnaround and gave you a cheer. 🙂

    We love following your blog! Great recap and nice time at the15k!

    • I laughed for 5 minutes while Jenny & I were doing our warmup. I have no idea how you found me, or even recognized me! It was totally awesome though!
      I saw you at the turn around, I think I waved.. Or I meant to wave. 🙂 How was your race?

      • Well, it WAS kinda freaky that we saw you and recognized you. I guess you were fresh in our minds because we were obsessing over your Gasparilla posts from prior years (since this was our first)! Plus, you look exactly the same as you do in your pics!

        Gasparilla was good for me at 128:44! A good first for me and room for improvement! I was very happy!

      • Congrats! That is a great time! Maybe next year it will be a little cooler!! I love the 15k, it’s one of my favorite races!

  4. That’s a HUGE PR. You ran awesome! Strange indeed to think it was -1* here Saturday morning & you were dealing with that heat. SO sorry for your family & all the tornado victims. I’ll send my prayers too.

    • Oh man -1 !! That is crazy! I can’t believe the weather we’ve had the last month. It’s been so cray. hot cold hot cold hot cold. ughhh

  5. Great job on your race! I ran a hot half marathon a couple of years ago and it made the effort a lot harder. Sorry to hear about your aunt and cousin – I can’t imagine how hard that would be. Thoughts and prayers.

    • Thanks!! I have a half coming up @ the end of this month and i’m crossing my fingers that it’s not scorching hot!

      My Mom told me that KY has been deemed a disaster area, so I think they should be getting some help in there soon. My Aunt works for a bank, and the bank is letting them stay in a house that they got back as a foreclosure (or something like that) until they can get another place to stay.

  6. Congrats onyour race Jena! You did really well!

    I enjoyed your race recap and all the pictures. The Gaspirilla festival has intrigued me since I first heard about it a couple years ago. I’ve decided Florida racing isn’t for me though, and I think you just confirmed my position.

    The conditions looked brutal, but you still got a huge PR. wow. You need to enter a race in New England or something. Just image how easy it would feel compared to that.

    I’m sorry to hear about your cousin. I hope the rebuilding process goes easily.

    • Florida is just ridiculous – the first year I did gasparilla (2010) it was in the 40’s! You just never know what you’re going to get..at any time of year. Ha. Jenny & I are doing an 8k in Newport News, VA on 4/21 …hopefully it’s nice weather, and hopefully it’s a flat course (that’s an issue i’d have with running in New England, HILLS!)

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