Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge Leg One – 15k and 5k

February 20, 2016

Before I went to bed last night, I decided to give myself a quick manicure, err Jamicure. I have a friend who is a Jamberry consultant and I purchased some nail wraps during her launch party. These things are uber easy to apply and they last longer than a traditional manicure for me. I like to have nice nails when I run; mostly for those after pictures holding my medal; so I took about 10 minutes to do my nails before I hit the pillow. They are fab if I must say so myself.


My Jamicure. I didn’t do the best job of applying these but they look pretty great for having done them in ten minutes before I went to bed!

My alarm sounded and I got up pretty easily. This surprises me because I generally have to negotiate with myself to get moving. But, I get up and start going through my routine. Since I’ll be walking to the start and I’m not 100% on where I am going, I have built a little extra time into my schedule.

It’s cool outside so I’ve opted to wear a zippered pullover. I know I won’t run the entire first race; the 15k; wearing it. But, it’s easy to tie around my waist. I’m running in my yellow plaid Sparkle Skirt today. I love the pockets in these; they hold a lot of stuff, including my phone, comfortably. I am even using the zipper waist pocket today to hold some cash and my ID. I run with a Road ID but I don’t know if I’ll hit the finish line party and I made need my ID there. The zipper pocket in the waist is perfect for this.


Flat Brandy ready to go for the 15k and 5k.

I finish my breakfast and head out the door. There are many other runners headed the same way so I just follow them. Once I’m in the right area, I go ahead and find my “corral”. These aren’t corrals per se; it’s more starting areas and you line up according to your anticipated pace. I spot the 12 min/mile pacer and decide to line up here. I know I won’t hang with them the entire race but we’ll see how it goes. I have my intervals set to 30 seconds run and 30 seconds walk; I will be sticking to those and trying to just stay comfortable.

Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi are at the start line to send us off. It is very cool to have two premier elite athletes at this event. After the National Anthem and some words from them, we are off and running.


A blurry start line picture as I’m approaching to start my race.

In the first quarter mile, we have to run over a draw bridge. This was a very weird sensation for me. I can’t really explain it but I felt the need to get over the bridge quickly. Luckily, it was very early in the race and I was running through a couple of intervals to allow the crowd to thin a bit.

The race was out and back along Bayshore. Bayshore is a beautiful stretch of road along the waterfront with some gorgeous homes. We made our way in front of the homes on the way out and along the waterfront on the way back.

I focused on staying comfortable for the race. I didn’t need to push myself; I just needed to finish and not aggravate my nagging muscle issues. And, I did just that; I ran at a comfortable pace during my run segments and walked easy during my walk segments.

The race started off cool but it was humid. It didn’t take me more than a mile to decide I wanted to take off my pullover. It warmed up pretty quickly too. While there was a nice breeze at times, it was warm and, especially on the way back towards the finish, we were in the sun a lot.

I finished the 15k in 2:06:12. This isn’t a great time for me but I am happy considering my injuries and knowing I have about 40 minutes to wait for my next race. My plan was just to keep moving and try to stay loose for the 5k.

As I crossed the finish line for the 15k, I collected my medal and some water. There was a medal check area where you could leave your medal if you were participating in the challenge. I checked my medal so I wouldn’t have to carry it. Although, in retrospect, I could have easily held it in my pocket in a Ziploc bag.

I took a couple of minutes to stretch and eat a snack before heading to the start area of the 5k. I am doing my best to keep my muscles loose.

It’s very crowded in the start area. It takes me several minutes to make my way down to my “corral”. Once I found a break in the barrier, I walked into the corral. Unfortunately, I walked into the area that was supposed to be for people anticipating a 30-35 minute 5k. This is definitely faster than I plan to finish but, by the time I realize that I’m in the wrong area, it’s too late for me to get out…because we’re almost to the start line and moving quickly across.

Since I’m in a faster group, I do my best to move all the way to the right so that when I start walking, I won’t impede anyone. As I start to look around though, I realize that there are a lot of people who definitely don’t belong in the 30-35 minute group including some families with small children and some ladies walking with strollers. I still feel badly that I’m in the wrong group as I don’t want to hinder anyone from achieving their race results. I just do my best to be courteous.

I stick to my 30 second/30 second run/walk intervals and I get through the first mile in about 12:30. This is much faster than I anticipated. I’m not hurting but I am tired and my legs are feeling a little heavy. As I start another run interval, I ask myself why I’m running so hard. I don’t have to run; I can walk this thing and be happy. So, I decided to walk the second mile. I enjoyed looking at some of the houses and feeling the breeze off the water. The 5k course was also an out and back on Bayshore; the exact same start and end from the 15k.

I completed the 5k in 45:02. This isn’t terrible considering I walked the entire second mile and about half of the third mile. My legs are tired though and I decide I’ll take advantage of the available massages and get my legs massaged. I collect my medal and some water and head to the convention center. I sign up to get a massage and I am told it will be about an hour. So, I wait there rather than going back to the hotel.

After sitting there for over two hours, I finally get in for my massage. I’m angry and tired and hungry and my legs are tight. I scheduled a 15 minute leg and lower back massage. The therapist was great; she loosened my lower back; which was extremely tight; and worked out some knots in both legs. She also did some stretching to help loosen my hips and hamstrings.

While my massage was very good, I was very angry about the two hour wait. The massage area was supposed to be ‘first come, first serve’. But, the massage reps allowed runners to pre-register for massages at the expo. Then, they allowed those runners to show up at any time to get their massages. So, I saw many runners that had gone back to their hotels, showered, and enjoyed some of the finish line party come back to the massage area and get to basically go right in for their massages essentially pushing people like me to the back of the line repeatedly. Since it was noted as first come, first serve, I never thought to ask about pre-registering for a massage. But, you can bet your bottom dollar, if I ever run this again, I will definitely ask about pre-registering. Waiting so long for my massage put my whole day off. And, since I didn’t eat until I got back to my room, it meant I didn’t get really do the best thing to help my body recover in preparation for tomorrow.

Once I get back to my room, I eat and sit in an ice bath for a bit. Hopefully, this will help my muscles some. I also stretch some more and take a little nap. I am going to meet some friends for dinner at a little sports bar not far from my hotel.

Day one collage

Two races down; some chocolate milk and an ice bath for recovery.

Two races tomorrow; I’m nervous but I believe I can do it if I stick to my intervals and just stay comfortable. I have a little over three hours to finish the half to make it to the start line of the 8k. My plan has been all along to get done with just enough time to make it through the finish chute and back to the start line. I don’t want a lot of time between the races because it will just make my legs heavy and tight. The less time, the better.

Until tomorrow…gotta run.

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