This weekend was such an incredible experience. I can’t believe how long that my family has lived in Florida and we have never ran the Gasparilla races ever. 18 years ago when I first started to date my husband, we would rollerblade down Bayshore together. It was nice to experience Bayshore again.
My mother and I woke up at 4:00 in the morning so that we could make sure that we would be able to park at the Tampa Convention Center. It was nice to have parking close by. We made our way into the convention center and got ready. It was nice not having to use porta potties! Once we were ready we headed outside to figure out where we would have to line up. Surprising they did not have special placements based on time. I found a 9:30 pacer and thought that is about where I should be. My mom stayed and talked with me until it was time to start. She didn’t want to start too close because she usually runs a 13 minute mile.
It was very crowded so my first mile I was running at a 10 minute pace. After that the crowd started thinning out and I was able to maintain a 9:15 pace. It felt really great and I was beginning to wonder if my IT band would act up. God is so good because it didn’t. My mother and I decided that we would run with music for this race. This was my first race running with music. It was nice because there really wasn’t much entertainment along the route. Just straight running. I love to listen to worship music and sometime as I am listening and praising God I would start to get all choked up and can barley breathe. So I really had to try not to think too much about the worship songs or else I would be in tears. Without Christ I could not do anything.
Halfway along the route I was able to see my mother running. It was great, she was all smiles. I must have been at mile 6 and she must have been around mile 4. She was doing awesome with her pace. It must have been the music!
My goal for this race was to finish under a 10 minute mile pace. I was able to finish at an average of 9:49 pace per mile! It would be nice to run faster but the more miles there are the slower I go. All God requires of us is to do our best. If He wants me to run faster, then He will give me the strength but I am thinking that at 36 years of age, just finishing is an accomplishment.
Once I crossed the finish line I ran into a friend from church. Cheryl was running the 5K. She is such a positive and encouraging lady. It was nice to see her. She did awesome for her 5K.
It has become a tradition that I run and find my mom after I cross the finish line. So I made my way back towards Bayshore and ran the last mile with her. We always have fun the last mile and I am able to take pictures of her. It is amazing that my mom can do this. It doesn’t matter how old, your size, or shape, God will help you get across any finish line.
The only complaint about this race is that there was no fuel during the run. I know 9 miles isn’t much but I was hungry towards the end of the run. Then you had to walk almost a half mile to get the food! They gave us fruit, smoothies, Coke, and protein bars. 🙂
It’s been a huge blessing to be able to run these races.