Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge Leg Two – Half Marathon and 8k

February 21, 2016

I had dinner with a few friends last night at this awesome little sports bar near my hotel. The food was great, it wasn’t overly pricey, and it was great company. Because it was close to the hotel, I got back to my room at a decent time and was able to get to bed relatively early. This morning when my alarm sounded, I wasn’t overly grumpy about it.

Today I’m wearing my Sea Swirl Sparkle Skirt. Neither of the skirts I chose to wear this weekend have anything to do with pirates or Gasparilla; they were simply random skirts I tossed in my suitcase. Though, Sea Swirl at least has something to do with water!


Flat Brandy ready for the half and the 8k.

It’s cool outside so I’ve opted to wear a zippered pullover again. Just as with yesterday, I know I’ll take it off in the first mile or so, but it’ll be nice to have while I’m standing around.

I finish my breakfast and head out the door. The start line is in a slightly different place this morning and it’s a teensy bit farther to walk. I’m hoping I’ll run into a couple of my friends today.

As I’m walking towards the start area, a couple of my girlfriends yell at me to get my attention. I’m so happy to see them! We stop for a couple of pictures and then head to the start area. We have a little while to wait so we just chat while we’re standing. Christina and Heather are running the same intervals as me. I’ve decided to stick with them for as long as I can; they will likely be faster since I’m planning to take my time and hopefully limit the length of time I have between the two races.


Me and the girls before the race with downtown Tampa behind us.

The gun sounds and we inch our way to the start line until we’re finally moving. We run an extra interval or two so that the crowd can thin out some. This course takes us a different way than yesterday; we head out to Davis Island and then hit Bayshore around mile five. The section on Bayshore is out and back just like yesterday only we run along the waterfront on the way out and along the residential side on the way back to the finish line.

Around mile one and a half, I decided to take off my pullover. I tried to do this while keeping my intervals. It was a challenge. I was sweaty enough that my pullover was hard to remove! I had to run an interval with my arms still like a shrug! It took me a few intervals to finally get my pullover removed and tied around my waist.

I stayed with Heather and Christina until about mile four. Their walk was faster and I could feel my muscle starting to flare. I slowed my walking some so I could stretch my hamstring and tried to focus on keeping my run interval at a comfortable, easy pace. I could still see them ahead of me until about mile six and then I lost them completely.

About mile six was also when my stomach decided to get frisky. I felt like my food was just turning over in my stomach and like I made need to stop for an emergency bathroom break. I stuck with my intervals but I definitely felt like I was running and walking a little slower. I was planning to stop at the next available opportunity. But as I approached the next water stop, where there was also a porta-potty, I didn’t feel like I needed to stop anymore. I decide not to stop and hope that I don’t have a bad accident later!

I’m tired. My body is tired, my mind is tired; I’m just tired. I look at my watch and I start to consider that I may not finish in time to make it to the start of the 8k. I know I will be disappointed if I don’t make it but I know I am OK with it if I don’t. Everything has really been working against me lately. I don’t dwell on it though; I stick to my intervals and keep chugging along.

I pass the 11 mile mark and look at my Garmin again. I can still make it to the start of the 8k. I can continue at this pace and finish right at three hours. This is exactly what I was hoping to do. So, I keep chugging along with my intervals. I have a little bit of renewed energy knowing that I can complete the challenge.

As I’m running into the finish line, my personal trainer, Tracey, yells at me; she is running the 8k with her son and they are in the start area. I run over and give her a big, sweaty hug and then head towards the finish line. My friend, John, also yells to me as I’m running by. I will loop around and meet him in the start block so we can do the 8k together.

I finished the half in 3:00:51. I collect my medal, grab a bottle of water, and find a break in the barrier so I can loop around to the start line of the 8k. I packed an extra orange and some peanut butter pretzels so I can refuel between races. I even brought a Ziploc bag so I can put my medal in it to carry in my pocket; this way I don’t have to check it.

I find John in the start area and we catch up on life for a few minutes. He’s had some injury-type things going on as well; we’re both in rough shape! We are also both tired from three previous races so we decide we’re going to walk the entire 8k. I have NO problem with this. I’m excited to even be in the start block as I was nervous that I wouldn’t make it.

The 8k course takes us along the same out and back along Bayshore as the previous three races. I’ve seen enough of this scenery in two days! It’s really pretty but I wish there was some variation in the courses so that every race didn’t use the same basic course.


One mile to go! I’ve completed three races so far in two days and I’m finally at the last mile of the last race! YAHOO!

John and I walked and chatted. We met some new people along the way too. I even saw Tracey and got to cheer for her as she ran by on her way back towards the finish line. My legs protested running altogether so we walked the entire way. My finish time for the 8k (approximately 5 miles) was 1:26:18. I have finished 10k races faster than that!

I collected the race medal and my challenge medal and then said goodbye to John. He was heading to a baseball game for his son and I headed to the runner area to find some food. I had late checkout at the hotel so I have a little time.

The lines for food were so long that I ended up just getting a fruit cup and a Coke. The Coke was so good! Then I walked back to my hotel, ate a snack and drank some chocolate milk while sitting in an ice bath. I showered and was back on the road headed home before I my late checkout time hit!


My “all the bling” selfie! My smile doesn’t really indicate how tired I really am!

I’ve completed the Goofy Challenge once and the Dopey Challenge three times. I’ve also done the Aching Quad; four races in 24 hours; and the Winter Park Road Race Distance Dare; back to back races – a two mile followed by a 10k. None of those challenges were as hard as the Michelob Ultra Challenge. What makes this challenge so difficult is the time between the races. Even if I had been well trained, I think the time between the races would’ve been brutal. Planning to finish the half with as little time to spare as possible was definitely a smart decision. I cannot imagine trying to race any of these races while running this challenge. My legs were so tight and heavy during the second race on both days. It was tough!

I’m happy to have completed the challenge. I had some serious doubts during the races on whether I could complete them and the challenge. I know my training has been off due to these nagging injuries. Now that I’m done with races for a couple of months, I can focus on healing and on getting back into better running shape. In addition to being injured, I’ve been unmotivated and I need to figure out what’s going on with that. It is time to take a step back and reassess.

For now, I’ll take a break and get some much needed rest!

Gotta run!

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