When last we left this story, I’d run a 15k at a decent pace and then walked 11 more miles at Walt Disney World Resort before coming back to the hotel to get a nap before the Gasparilla 8k. My legs hurt, my feet hurt and I was exhausted but I’d had a great day!
Let’s back up in time a little for some history on this race. Back in May, Erik and I ran the Expedition Everest Challenge. It was Erik’s first race and in the post-race glow, he agreed for me to sign us both up for this 8k, which I did in June. Our summer was hectic with Eli’s health issues and so we both completely forgot about the fact that we’d signed him up for it. About six weeks ago, I was double checking my registration details for the race and I discovered that Erik was registered too. Oops! I texted him and his response was: “They have ambulances at these things right?”. Needless to say, he hadn’t been training at all, so he had to start running again!
We got a good night’s sleep and I was so happy that the 8k was the second race of the day so it wasn’t scheduled to start until 9am, so we could sleep in a bit. We got to the corrals a little early and I was surprised at how crowded they were!
The corrals were lined up right next to the finish chute for the half marathon, so it was fun to see the half finishers coming through. We were so far back that we couldn’t even hear the national anthem! Erik’s plan was to do a 1 minute run/ 2 minute walk interval.
My hip was still bugging me and while we did start off together with the run/walk intervals, Erik’s version of running is like sprinting and since he’s about a foot taller than I am, his walk is pretty fast too. The shifting between walking and running was really tweaking my hip, so I told Erik that I wanted to just do a straight run. So we ended up leap frogging each other for most of the race.
It was so much hotter for this race than the one the day before. I was in a black short sleeved shirt and the sun was BAKING me! That 9am start seemed like a bad idea about three miles into the race! The course followed the same route as the 15k, just with an earlier turn around.
There seemed to be a lot of water stops early in the race, but not as many as I would have liked (given the temperatures) the second half of the race. There were several water stations from the half marathon earlier that morning that looked like they were shut down, but still had gallons of water. After finding the third one, a lot of us stopped to open water bottles and make our own stations (and pour some on our heads!). The 8k was the last race of the weekend, so I wasn’t worried that I was taking water from other runners.
It was a tough race with really tired legs and relatively high temps (and no shade at all!) but it was still a lot of fun and I finished strong. Erik caught up to me just a couple of minutes after the finish and we were able to get a photo together with our medals!
This was a lot of fun and a really great distance! While it was crowded at the start, the runners spaced out fairly quickly. Other than the lack of water stops in the last couple of miles (which probably wouldn’t have been a problem if the temps weren’t unusually high that morning) the race seemed well organized and the runners were polite and fun to be around. Here are my medals from the weekend:
While I missed the Princess weekend races, I really loved the lower-key fun of the Gasparilla Distance Challenge! I may try to do a Princess to Pirate race next year with the runDisney Princess 10k and the Gasparilla Half Marathon!