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20 Miles Of Tampa By Foot

by Meghann on October 15, 2011

We did it! We did it!!! 20 miles are done!

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Well, technically 19.63 miles, but let’s not get nit picky. If you round up the walking I did to my car and to breakfast after the run, I would say it rounds up to a solid 20+. ;)

When Ashley first told me she was coming to Tampa the weekend of October 15th and we would be running 20 miles together I thought “Yeah, Yeah. Sure, Sure. No, big deal.” Then I finished my half ironman and realized October 15th was only three weeks away – yikes!

I quickly jumped on the marathon training bandwagon (would NOT recommend unless you are crazy and stupid like me) and knocked out a 15 miler and 17 miler in anticipation of rocking out a 20 miler with Ashley. I knew her pace was slightly slower than mine and – if at anytime I wanted to bail out – I could drop back and she wouldn’t judge me in the bit. I was ready for this run and excited to be doing it with a good friend.

I jumped out of bed at 5am, full of pre-run adrenaline, and downed a half a cup of iced coffee and a piece of toast with almond butter and granola while I was gathering my stuff.

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Please note that it was dark and I was focusing on eating, charging my Garmin, and various other activities at this time.

I headed out around 5:30 and was lucky enough to find a parking garage that was open right near Ashley’s hotel. We really lucked out because Ashley’s hotel was the perfect location for getting a long run in, while exploring Tampa.

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(p.s. Isn’t Ashley adorable? I’m stopping at the Lululemon Outlet in Orlando next week and picking that skirt up!)

We started with a loop around Harbor Island before looping back around Channelside and downtown. Then we headed to Davis Island and watched the sun rise over the million dollar houses. It was a beautiful morning with a slight cool breeze, low humidity (at least what I considered low humidity Ashley? not so much), and clear skies. We chatted about upcoming races, our travels, and just catching up on life.

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It wasn’t until we took a stretch break a little past mile 6 that Ashley gave me a funny look and asked if I had two different shoes on. What? I looked down and – sure enough – two different shoes. Idiot.

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Where is my mind lately?! I can use every excuse there is, but when it comes down to it – I was the one who grabbed, tied, and walked out the door wearing two different shoes and didn’t realize it until over 6 miles into my run. Clearly my head is still in vacation mode, either that or I needed more sleep last night.

I made a point not to dwell on it and instead just laughed. What else can you do? :)

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We finished our lap around Davis Island and cleared the bridge just past our 10 mile mark. Ashley was starting to feel a lot of pain in her legs at this point, so we decided to slow down and just do what we could at the time.

I love Ashley for many, many reasons, but I was especially proud of her unwillingness to give up today. I told her several times that we could turn around at any point and head back during the run, but she was determined to finish it – even if she walked the whole time. I knew her legs were bothering her, but she never whined about it and always made it a point to pick up her run again after a needed walk break. She is amazing.

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I tried my best to be a running cheerleader and chatted her ear off the whole time. We reached milestone after milestone before hitting our turn around point back to the hotel.

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At this point Ashley was even more determined to finish and put all her focus and energy into running. She nailed it and we ended up coming in just around mile 19.63 at 3:47 and were proud to be done. :)

During the run I chewed on a Gu Chomp every 3 miles and guzzled Gu Brew from my Camelbak bottle.

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When we finished I said a quick good-bye to Ashley and navigated downtown traffic to find Fresh. I was hungry and knew they had oatmeal!

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Pumpkin oats please!

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I ordered the large pumpkin.

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Eh. Not as great as I was expecting. Even all mixed in, it was a little bland. Next time I would lose the maple syrup and add raisins, brown sugar, and peanut butter.

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Time to change and head back out! It’s a pool day!

See ya!

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