Gasparilla Distance Classic Expo

February 19, 2016

I’ve done very little running since completing the Dopey Challenge last month. Part of that was intentional; I’ve been injured and needed to take a little time to let my body heal. I took two weeks off from running and did very little in the line of workouts. After those two weeks, I did most of my “running” on the elliptical since it simulates the movements of running and allows me to get some miles in without the impact of running. Unfortunately, my injuries aren’t healed completely so I still am not logging the miles that I need to be logging. Because of that, I am very nervous about this weekend.

I was scheduled to run the Michelob Ultra Challenge at Gasparilla last year. However, I sustained a stress fracture in my right shin while running the Rebel Challenge at Star Wars in California a month beforehand. Fortunately, I was able to defer my Gasparilla registration from 2015 to 2016. So, now I am at the “use it or lose it” point. I am going to run and do the best that I can. I am not overly concerned about the races on Saturday; the 15k followed by the 5k; because there are several waves for the 5k. Once I finish the 15k, I will have time to catch one of the later waves of the 5k if I finish later. On Sunday, however, I have a time limit to finish the half marathon to make it to the start line of the 8k in time. I know I am not in good running shape so I will just do what I can and if I don’t complete the challenge, I am OK with that.

I finished packing my bags this morning and loaded the car. I have to take my dogs to the kennel as well. Once I drop them at the kennel, I head straight to the expo at the Tampa Convention Center. Since I don’t really know the Tampa area that well, I am not sure how long it will take me to get there.

Traffic is kind of heavy during the drive but I make it to the convention center parking garage. From the kennel, and with a stop to get some breakfast, it took me about 90 minutes.

I headed into the convention center and followed the signs to the expo. This is the biggest race expo I’ve ever attended. There are aisles and aisles of vendors. I can’t wait to walk around and see all of the booths.

I made my way to the back of the hall to pick up my race bib. Once I had that, I went to shirt pickup to get my swag bag. After that, I walked up and down the aisles looking at all of the race gear. I almost bought a new pair of shoes since they were on sale but the only color available was the color I already have (also brand new) so I opted to save my money.

I did stop by the McDonald’s booth for a fun picture and to spin the wheel. I won a coupon for a free smoothie. I also stopped by several other booths that had “try me” samples. I tasted some delicious cheese, some amazing granola, an interesting fizzy sports drink (not bad but definitely different), and an energy bar.

Gasp Expo McD Pic 021916

My “race” picture at the McDonald’s booth. I’m such a dork!

After finishing at the expo, I headed to my hotel. I’m staying at a Hilton and I selected it because it is walking distance to the start/finish lines. I don’t mind paying a little more for the hotel to have some convenience. What I didn’t know is that parking would be such a disaster. The parking garage at my hotel was full so I had to park at a garage around the corner. It wasn’t a long walk but it was far enough that hauling my bags was a pain in the butt!

Once I got checked in and settled, I decided to look for a grocery store. Luck has it and there is a Publix about half a mile away. I walk over there and get myself some items for breakfast and some chocolate milk for after the races.

I probably should’ve gotten a Publix deli sub for dinner but I decided to walk to a pizza and pasta place instead. I got a small pizza and a salad and took it back to the hotel. The pizza was good; not the best I’ve ever had, but it was better than many chain places.

I got all my gear prepped for tomorrow morning. I don’t want to have to think about a lot of stuff when I get up. The race starts early; not Disney early but still early for me since I’m not a morning person! I also went through my swag bag; HOLY COW awesomeness! In addition to the race shirts and the challenge jacket, there is a reusable shopping bag and an infuser bottle.

Gasparilla Swag

The official race shirts for each race and the jacket for the Michelob Ultra Challenge.

Time to get some sleep. Until tomorrow…gotta run!

This entry was posted in Gasparilla, New Blog, Race Recap, running, Tampa and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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