This was a long awaited weekend. I had spent months training for this event, almost 8 months anticipating it and now it was finally here. Originally I had planned to work for a bit on Friday and then head to the expo but I put in a lot of hours early in the week and decided to reward myself with a day off. I headed up to the expo around 11:30 am from Sarasota. When I got to my friend Krystal’s house, we headed straight over to the expo.
Upon arriving, we picked up our packets and gear bags with the awesome shirts inside and then proceeded to walk around the expo and check out the vendors. I saw several people I knew from the shoe companies- the perks of working in a retail running organization are knowing a lot of faces at the races. We wandered around, not really seeing anything that caught our interest, until we came to the cryotherapy booth. Cryotherapy is a method of pain treatment that uses a freezing technique to deaden an irritated nerve. I had heard great things about this type of treatment and wanted to try it out; since they were offering free demos I figured, Why not? I asked the guy to work on my shoulders as they were sore from a boot camp class I had taken a few nights prior.
It was definitely super cold- the guy said my skin got to 40 degrees at one point! Afterwards I just wandered around the expo some more but about ten minutes after receiving treatment I noticed the pain had almost entirely disappeared! I couldn’t believe it and went back to have him work on my other shoulder. I guess this stuff really does work! The pain did come back slightly after my body had warmed back up (several hours later) but it was way less than what it had been before I’d had treatment. I felt that it was worth the ten minutes I spent doing it. It’s also less expensive than I had imagined…the guy at the booth informed me that the first session only costs $30 in an office and $40 for each session thereafter. It’s definitely something I’ll be looking into during marathon training.
After we finished at the cryotherapy booth we headed over to check for our names on the famous Gasparilla wall. Both Krystal and I found ours and we also ended up finding some friends at the expo as well. We stopped to chat for a bit and then headed back to Krystal’s house to rest up. I had dinner plans with the Sub-30 club– the large group of runners from the Facebook group that came to Florida for this event- so I left to meet up with them around 4:45, completely underestimating Tampa rush hour traffic. I finally arrived at Ferg’s, our meeting place for the night.
Having been a member of the sub-30 club on Facebook for a few years at this point (I think I joined spring of 2015), I have had the opportunity to interact with several of the group members that were coming down for this race. I was so excited to meet them in person! I felt like I already ‘knew’ several of them (a few of them I had met prior to this at Disney races) but it also felt like I was just re-acquainting myself with old friends. Dinner and chatting that night was amazing. I couldn’t have enjoyed spending time with these fantastic people any more than I did. I left feeling so fulfilled and happy.
Saturday morning- pre-race and the 15k
Saturday dawned bright and early and I woke up and got dressed and had a bagel and peanut butter to hold me over while I was racing. I knew I would need to be sustained for not only the 15k but the 5k as well. We parked in a garage not far from the convention center and walked over to meet in front of the convention center for pictures. Krystal was able to meet up with some of her friends from Camp Gladiator pre-race and I of course hung out with the ‘subbers.’
We took a few group photos and then headed off to the start line. The Sub-30 Club was planning on running a 3/1 interval as “middle of the pack” runners. I started in the same area as them but I was planning on doing shorter intervals with Krystal- we use a 90/30 approach. As the race started I was feeling really good so I was keeping pace pretty well. It was really crowded in the beginning and it was hard to run like we wanted because everyone kept stopping and walking in the middle of the group. Finally around mile 2.5 I felt like the crowd thinned out a bit and we were able to get into a good groove. The first three miles were in the 11’s pace wise and then we dropped down to the 10’s around mile 4.
Krystal wanted to PR the 15k and my game plan was to hang on with her as long as I could. I figured I could attempt to get a good time on my first 15k since I was feeling so good during the first few miles. We turned down a side street around mile 4.75 and on the way back I saw someone in a t-rex costume. I was thrilled to see this and high fived the t-rex on the way back out to the loop. I wanted to take a picture with him but I was pacing really well and didn’t want to mess that up. We hit the turn around and started pushing the pace a little. Miles 5 and 6 were pretty steady and then mile 7 came in way faster than I was intending (10:14 pace). I had taken a Honey Stinger around mile 3 and again at mile 6; I was also pretty well hydrated because the aid stations were placed very strategically during the race. I scaled back a little on mile 8 so I would have gas left for the finish, while Krystal pulled ahead. At this point, my strategy became to keep her in sight so it would motivate me to keep going at the pace I was going. Her friend Lorena was pacing well with me so we stuck together for most of the end of the race. At the last mile station between mile 8 and 9, I was feeling really good and just wanted to cool down so I took a cup of water and dumped it on my head but kept running. That’s where I lost Lorena. I pulled ahead and kept my intervals going, steadily getting faster each time. My last mile came in at 10:01 and then I ran a 9:06 pace to the finish line. My overall time in the 15k: 1:40:23.
After we finished the 15k we took some photos and then went to the runner revival area where we picked up a few snacks and then headed back to get in line for the 5k. The sun had come out by this time and it was super hot outside. The break in between the 15k and the 5k made my legs cool down and I wasn’t really feeling it when I lined back up. Throughout the entire 5k I tried to keep up a steady ‘jog’ and managed to make it through at a 12:30 pace, but it was a pretty rough race. Since I had such a great 15k, I wasn’t really worried about my pace on the 5k, I just wanted to finish. However, it did make me a little concerned that I wouldn’t feel good for the half the following day.
Following the 5k, Krystal and I headed to brunch and went back to her house to take a nap and rest up before dinner that night.
Recap to be continued…
Have you ever tried cryotherapy? Are you a member of any running groups online? If not, you should check out the sub-30 club!