Gasparilla 15k Race Recap – a day of reckoning

Tips on runningHow to get started with running … Ok, how about “Lessons I learned from my day of reckoning”.. that’s it!
I get a lot of questions from friends and co-workers about running and how to get started, etc. Mostly because I’m the type of person who can’t stop talking about something I really dig (or the opposite rant about something I really don’t dig…don’t get me started on my Yogurtology rant, Pinkberry all day yo!) I can’t sit here and write out a list of tips based on things I read from Google or Runner’s World…that would just be being a copycat and I can’t go out like that! What I CAN do it use my experience to bestow knowledge unto others…
Many peeps that know me have heard all about the Gasparilla 15k that I ran this past March. Not only was it the farthest race I’ve ran, but it was most definitely the day that this girl learned a lot of lessons on what to do and what NOT to do.
I begin my list of lessons with a photo… now this situation happened at the end of the race, but I figure it’s a great way to suck you into this post and get the ball rolling… shall we? It’s not an easy one to look at, but one that can help jumpstart the thoughts in your heard of “what the heck is wrong with you girl?! what were you thinking?!”
my meaty, post-race feet! horrid, I know
Here we can begin with Lesson #1: No New is Good New on race day! (Thanks, coach Steve for reviewing this with me POST race)
Never ever, ever, ever wear anything new on race day. Most importantly, NEW SHOES. Yes, kick me. I’m stupid and should have known this. I had worn the same shoes all through my training and decided to buy a new pair the day of the Gasparilla expo.. Mizuno Nirvana 6’s…and also that they were so cute in black and pink that they matched my outfit I’d picked. BUT I had the same pair of shoes and figured they’d be fine. This was not thinking that Lesson #2: Just because a type of shoe is one you’ve worn before, doesn’t mean that they haven’t changed the shoe itself in the next model the year later. I’d worn these shoes before, but this year’s was stiffer and had more stability than I was used to. I shouldn’t have worn new shoes, but these were a tad worse being that they were stiffer. Here’s an article I found that also goes into more detail. Oh and Lesson #3: have your feet ‘professionally’ measured for shoes! Only by having a gait test and by looking at your arch and width will you really know the best shoe for your foot. Getting the ones on clearance is great for being frugal and all, but not so great for what’ll fit best for longer and longer runs. Here’s a good one on shoe/feet specifics, but again someone at a Running Specialty store can assist all while having you try on different types of shoes. Also, thanks to the advise of another running friend who suffered receiving the “Golden Blister” award, I now use 2 Toms Blister Shield every time I run, particularly when it’s hot and humid. It wicks away moisture and I have yet to get another blister..even a small one..NOTHING at all near the above-ness. Oh and I live by Balega Hidden Comfort, synthetic, socks. They are like feet pillows!
Are we set on the shoe topic? Need anymore photos to drive the message home more? No? Ok, you’re welcome for that illustration and now we’re set to start the overall Race recap with inserted Lessons via Kat:
I’d been training since about January building up my mileage week by week (the prescribed 10% a week.) I’d always been an avid 5ker…and that was the farthest I ran…I never strayed from that magical distance…it was home to me. I started running with the fabulous ladies of the Brandon Running Association because Gar-bear (hubby) hurt his ankle and was no longer able to be my running buddy. Gar-Bear didn’t like me running alone once I set out on anything farther than 4-5 miles, so I was able to meet this great group of girls who motivated me to build my miles and speed all while having some of the funniest girl talk moments I can think of…(sorry, what happens on morning runs, stays at morning runs 😉 Oh that’s another lesson, Lesson #4: Find a good running group! It really helps build support with those who are all about the same thing you are: Running and running better! You can easily tucker out on your own but not as easily when you have others holding you accountable 😉
Before the start of the race with my B.R.A. girls..where’s Beth? … we all know where she was lol
 With the support of the group, I’d made it to 9.1 miles as my farthest run [insert golf clap.] Fast forward 2 months, and here comes race day. You’d think by this time, I would have been through enough races to know rookie mistakes…Lesson #5: no cotton anything, dry fit all the way, for example, but I was not thinking clearly… obviously. For example, at the start I began to be a bit thirsty and then remembered Lesson #6: hydration right before running: I left my water bottle with Gar-bear, that did me a whole lot of good huh. Too late now, so, us girls geared up at the start, looking at the marvel of unique costumes in the mix and before I knew it we took off! I ran out the gate too fast at about a minute faster of a pace, knowing I was to stay around my comfortable warm up pace for long runs – Lesson #7: don’t go out too fast right out the gate, race day or run day. I could see myself already doing my favorite race game: let’s reel people in and pass them! Dork, there’s no reason for that this early in the game! By mile 3 the sun was coming out in full force and I was already hurting. Ah, here’s another Lesson #8: run in all conditions. Of course you want to run in whatever weather you prefer (mine being COOL weather, nothing near Africa-hot) but it’s best to get used to all conditions: rain, sleet (just kidding), humid, hot, just so that you’re used to whatever could happen on race day. I also started to feel like I was having a tough time breathing…OH did I forget to mention that I’m an allergen-induced asthmatic?? Yea… about that… I hadn’t been managing my asthma all too well…and thought I was She-ra apparently.
For those with Asthma or medical breathing issues: Lesson #9 always manage your Asthma/breathing issues and carry your inhaler! My lil red magic inhaler was with Gar-bear instead of with me .. genius, I know… so I was having a hard time breathing in the humidity. It was all doom & gloom when I started stopping to breathe at water stops. I never stopped…I always slowed down…but today was a different beast day. By the turnaround at Ballast Point turnaround (4.70 miles or so into the race) I was beat.  I tried taking a Gu thinking I’d have magical powers that would gun be forward…alas, that didn’t happen. It just jiggled in my stomach with all the water I’d consumed way too late. This continued all the way until around mile 7.75. As I was on yet another walk break (Lesson#10: If you have to, slow down a bit, so that you don’t have to stop entirely) I saw another friend from the group, Jess. She appeared to me like an angel.
…like this Angel (yes, that’s me sleeping almost on the ground probably)
Jess was like “Hey Kat! How’s it going?!”… I muttered something like “I’m ‘kay….(wheeze) jus’ walkin’..’s hot man.” Jess said she’d run me in the rest of the way. She knew I had a goal time, and that if I didn’t pick up my sorry, sweaty, wheezy behind, I would finish poopy. Her words of encouragement (“No stopping!!” .. “Push through the pain!” — not knowing I had monster blisters on my feets but knowing I had to go #2 like it was no one’s business — stupid Gu) helped me to not only finish strong at only 21 seconds past my goal time, but she made sure I looked up, smiled, and took good race photos 😉
Me trying to be all Rocky… when in reality I looked like this:
As I came to the finish, there was my handsome fiance waiting for me….I walked right past him and found the nearest port-o-let….did my bidness Lesson #11: Be sure to know where the bathrooms are….and then I ran over and embraced him.
3 cheers for clean port-o-lets!
I missed him there by my side but was so glad to see him. He said I looked great, and I laughed thinking “if he only knew the internal dialogue I was having in this race!” We walked to the water/medal station (up the hill by the convention center, VERY bad & far placement) and then to meet the other B.R.A. folks…on the way to the car my feet were aching…once the socks were off I knew why I was dying…new shoes = horrible blisters = dumb Kat. But we don’t need to revisit that, or do we?!
So, lessons learned…blisters drained (Yes, Gar-bear, hydrogen peroxide DOES sting) and feet taped up I was good to rest a couple of days and prepare for the next run.
Now, if these lessons aren’t a start, I don’t know what are!
What were some lessons you’ve learned from races? What questions do you wish were answered?

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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  • Reply
    June 1, 2012, 3:21 pm

    hahaha great post! <3

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012, 8:34 pm

    I was pre-porta-pied. Heh.

    Good tips girl!! LOVE ’em.

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012, 8:39 pm

      Thanks chica! haha

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012, 9:16 pm

    I love it! You should add the follow me widget/app.

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012, 9:37 pm

      thanks! which one is that?

  • Reply
    June 16, 2012, 12:40 am

    I just laughed through this whole post. I made a crap load of rookie mistakes in March at the Half too! To this day I am still amazed at how on Earth I finished!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012, 12:34 am

    omg! your poor feet, what a tough way to learn a lesson lol… at least you looked hot running it! 🙂

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