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Gasparilla Half Marathon 2012

by Meghann on March 4, 2012

We came. We ran. We claimed our booty.



Truthfully, we weren’t sure the race was even going to happen as we drove to the start this morning. The forecast looked bleak and the downpour of rained mixed with 40mph+ gusts of wind resembled a monsoon outside. My parents couldn’t help, but laugh as they drove us to the start and wished us good luck. They opted to stay in the car and wait it out instead of joining us at the starting line. So much for our spectators! Who could blame them? I wanted to stay in the car too!

Before we left, I fueled up with a piece of toast that I slathered with almond butter, pumpkin butter, walnuts, and mini chocolate chips and paired with an orange.


Because of the monsoon, Kelly and I were afraid to take any more electronics with us than we needed to on the run. In hindsight, it would have been smart to grab ziploc bags on our way out the door, but we weren’t thinking at about it at the time. Instead, we decided to risk it with our iPods (Garmins are water resistant and are usually ok to run with in the rain), but – for the first time since my very first half marathon- I decided to leave my camera and phone in the car. *sniff *sniff It actually felt funny to run without my camera. I missed it.

My parents drove us as close to the starting line as they could and Kelly and I were on our own from there. Luckily the rain had let up and there was only a light drizzle at that point. Turns out we had driven through the worst of the storm on our way to the starting line. The rest of the race would be windy (VERY windy), but rain-free. We got lucky. Very lucky.

Kelly and I found some porta-potties, did a quick warm up run down Bayshore, then made our way to the first corral for the start. This was the first year Gasparilla attempted a corralled start and I give them credit for trying, but it still needs work. There were only two corrals that split at those expecting to finish under 2 hrs and everyone else. It was a crowded hot mess in both corrals, so Kelly and I made our way as close to the front as we could (we stood around the 1:45 pace group) to avoid as much bottle necking as possible.

At exactly 6:00am the race director gave us a very anti-climatic ‘Go’ and we were off.

The first mile of Gasparilla was probably the worst mile of the race. They changed the course from the last time I ran it and I was not a fan of the change. The road was too narrow to hold all the runners and (even near the front) we were still toe-to-heel with the person ahead of us. The sharp left turn about a quarter mile in didn’t help either. And the bridge to Davis Island? Just as I remembered – PACK and full off runners still trying to get into their groove.

Kelly asked me if it was ever going to let up and I told her to wait until after the bridge. Right on cue – we got off off the bridge, the roads widened, the crowds thinned, and Kelly and I were finally able to fall comfortably into a 8:10ish pace. Perfect.

Our main goal for the half marathon was to finish with a sub- 1:50. Kelly wanted to PR and I was just along for the ride. We figured out the night before – that in order to run a sub-1:50 – we had to keep a sub 8:20 min/mi pace. We shaved a few seconds off that (just in case) and gave ourselves a goal pace of 8:15 to hold.

Of course when we say ‘goal pace’ we just meant that we didn’t want to go over that. After we got over the hurdles from the first mile, we kept closer to an 8:10 pace and felt great at that. If we started to feel bad, we could just hold back a tad and bring the pace up as needed.

Davis Island went by quickly. I was familiar with the route and knew when to expect what – that made the first 5 miles fly by. Kelly and I departed Davis Island still holding strong side-by-side and waved a quick hello to our Dad as we started our long stretch down Bayshore.


The rest of the race was just a straight out and back along Bayshore. A long out and back in any other race may have driven me crazy (it was 4 miles each way!), but Bayshore is such a gorgeous road (and I’ve run it so many times in the past) that it really didn’t bother me. I know this road. I’ve got this.

Just past mile 8, I could tell Kelly was running a different race than I was. She looked strong, confident, and was just plain kicking butt with each split. She was doing amazing and clearly didn’t need me to pace her – she had this on her own! So when my pace slowed a bit to shove some sports beans down my throat at a water station (when did my body start hating mid-race fuel?!), I let her take off. This race was all her. And she was SMOKIN’ it!


Even as Kelly pulled ahead, I knew I still at a sub-1:50 in me. My splits were solid, my legs felt great, and I only had 5 miles to go. I had this, I just needed to zone out and get in my own groove.

The one thing that really threw me off during the final miles were the huge gust of winds that literally felt like they were going to knock me off my feet at any minute. We had been fighting headwinds on and off for the majority of the race, but the huge wind gusts that would take us by the side, were the worst. I would stumble a little bit with each one and kept waiting to be blown away. That wind was brutal!


I had passed the mile 12 maker around 1:40 and knew I was well on my way to making it under my goal. The pressure was off and I decided to just enjoy my last mile.


I passed my parents and knew I was close. They shouted, waved, took photos, and told me to meet them at the car after the race. My Dad was also wearing my pink jacket at that time, I’m sure that entertained a few runners during their final stretch.


We went under the bridge, made a left, and I could see the finish line in the distance. It was only when I saw the finish line, that my competitive side came through. Alright, time to push it. A guy came up beside me and I made it my personal goal not to let him pass me. I picked it up and gave it all I had left on my way to the finish.

Screen shot 2012-03-04 at 11.53.31 AM.png

Boo-ya! Under goal and I managed to edge myself in front of the random guy I picked out in the crowd. Success! πŸ™‚

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I spotted my sister and our friend, Mary, ahead of me in the finisher’s chute. Kelly SMASHED her goal with an incredible finish time of 1:47:10 (WOO HOO!!! I knew she had it in her!) and was still in a bit of shock. She did AMAZING and earned every bit of it. GO KELLY!!! πŸ™‚

Our friend Courtney came up behind us and we grabbed a group finish photo.


(photo credit to Mary!)

The morning rain had brought in cool weather and we finally started to feel it once we were done running. Because of that, Kelly and I opted not to wait around and instead made a beeline to where our parents were waiting in their car.


We couldn’t get in that heated car fast enough!

My dad stopped at a local bakery on our way to breakfast and Kelly and I split a red velvet donut – YUM!


We had breakfast at the Tahitian Inn.


Greek omelet with a side of fruit


and hotcakes instead of toast.


A breakfast of running champions. πŸ˜‰

At breakfast I asked Kelly if she was ready for a sub- 1:45 half and she said ‘Hell, yeah!’ Challenge accepted.


Bring. It. On. πŸ˜‰

1 Jennifer March 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hold up. Red velvet donut?? How was it? I’m a red velvet fan but I don’t think I’ve ever had it in donut form.

Congrats on our race!
Jennifer recently posted..NEXT UP: Avocado Breakfast Spread

2 Meghann March 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

You really couldn’t taste the Red Velvet – it was just a good cake donut πŸ™‚

3 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

So there was a 5k and 15K yesterday and a 1/2 today? And this is a yearly thing? It looks fun. Also, are you doing the “Color Run” thats coming up later this year in Orlando? Its a 5k but it looks really really fun.
Sara@RunningInPinkProject recently posted..Liz and Sharik say β€œI Do”

4 Meghann March 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Yes, and there was a 5k+3k today too! They do it every year – I ran the final year that included a full marathon back in 2010. I’m thinking about doing the Color Run, as long as I’m in town for it.

5 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm

One of the things that Im most excited about for moving to FL (besides the fact that Ill be living in the same city as my husband again) is all of the fun runs that are always going on. Im really really slow right now but Im working hard at improving. πŸ™‚ I think Im going to do the color run too.
Sara@RunningInPinkProject recently posted..Liz and Sharik say β€œI Do”

6 Sana March 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Congrats Kelly!! (I hope she reads this) It’s awesome that she trained for this while juggling her job as a teacher!!!
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7 Caroline March 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Congrats to both of you on a great race! Running in wind is tough, and can wear out your body and your eyes quickly! This sounds like a fun race to run!
Caroline recently posted..Half Marathon Training Week 9 Recap

8 Ari@AriTiana March 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Way to cut through those winds and congrats to Kelly for killing the time! Reading this just motivated me to do the run I was highly contemplating skipping.

9 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Are you wearing a BIC band? If so, is it one of the 1 inch ones? I’ve been thinking about getting a thicker one, but I’m not sure.
Caroline @ After Dinner Dance recently posted..Sweet β€˜N Spicy Korean Stew

10 Meghann March 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

It’s a Sweaty Band! It’s their thicker headband, but I’m not 100% of the right name.

11 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life March 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Congratulations to both you and Kelly! That is an incredible time, plus with how windy it was, that makes it all the more amazing! One thing about running races that is unfortunate, you can never control the weather!

12 Lena @Fit on the Rocks March 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Woohoo…go Kelly! You guys both rocked it despite the crazy winds. I love the race medal. So fun.

13 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City March 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Congrats on the race, especially considering the wind πŸ™‚
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..A Busy Saturday

14 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Awesome job! I bet those winds were rough, I hate running with wind gusts here in Chicago, it’s so frustrating!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Special Treat Day

15 Ash Bear March 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

So when are you going to pace me for a race? Wonder if there is a 5 or 10k in NYC or Austin this summer?

16 melissa (fitnessnyc) March 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Congrats to you both! Way to kick weather’s butt!
melissa (fitnessnyc) recently posted..The PLAN!

17 Coco March 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Firstly.. Congratulations to you both for hitting your goals! And secondly.. those are the most awesome medals.. ever.. lol.. They are too cute! Those pancakes look amazing and you sure did earn it!
Coco recently posted..Week 9- Check!

18 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Woohoo!!!! You two are AMAZING!!!
Red velvet donut?!?! I die.
Jessica @ The Process of Healing recently posted..Thought of the Day

19 allpointswhole March 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Thats so awesome…great job to both of you!!

20 Michelle March 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Were we wearing the same shirt?? I think so. Too funny! C9 for Life, yo.
Michelle recently posted..Saturday Morning Motivation

21 Kelly March 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I always look forward to your race recaps. Congrats to you and Kelly!
Kelly recently posted..Historic vs. Modern Edinburgh

22 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt March 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Congrats! You are a running machine..
Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt recently posted..Anticipation

23 Megan March 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Awesome job! Did it feel weird to not run in costume? πŸ˜‰
Megan recently posted..Sunday Inspiration

24 Reenie March 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Waaaay to go girls ~ great job!! πŸ™‚

25 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

YAH!! GO Kelly! Very cool. Nicely done for you both πŸ™‚

Looks like the perfect post-race b-fast to me–have fun today with the fam!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Whole Wheat Pancakes

26 Sneakers2Sandals March 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

24th!? Friggen awesome.
Sneakers2Sandals recently posted..Gasparilla Half Marathon Race Recap

27 AmyC March 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Way to go Meghann! That is a great finish time and well worth that yummy breakfast.

BTW – your running shorts are super cute…what kind are they?
AmyC recently posted..February Follow Up

28 Meghann March 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

They’re the Lululemon Run: Speed Shorts. They are very comfortable and great for running!

29 Jess-ThatJessGal March 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Meghann, I know you were grousing about your princess photos from last weekend, but let me say that the pictures your Dad took should totally banish that “you don’t take good race photos”…you look amazing. I am so envious of your legs! Rock the race photo!
Jess-ThatJessGal recently posted..Leap Year Look Ahead

30 Chelsea March 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I ran my first half this weekend and your time killlls mine (2:07) haha! I hope to one day get a time like yours. I was doing good till I had a poddy break at mile 10 (oops) and really felt my kneeees.

31 Christie March 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Congrats to you and Kelly on an AWESOME race!! Very inspiring for myself to get back into regular running shape!
Christie recently posted..My favourite dinner.

32 corey @ learning patience March 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

You are so inspiring M. I know we really haven’t chatted off – blog before but I wanted to let you know how much you inspired me to run…hard – fast and long. I never thought a marathon was within my goals but now I’m 10 weeks in and have gone from a 1:39:10 10 mile to a 1:28:38 10 miles today in 6 weeks. Thanks M.

I still can’t believe I am a “runner” .

xoxo from Trinidad
corey @ learning patience recently posted..Giving Thanks – Week 34

33 Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter March 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Awesome recap. Congrats on a great race!

I ran the Michelob Ultra Challenge this weekend. That weather was so confusing. Hot then cold… But, it was still a blast!
Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter recently posted..Race Recap: Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge (Day 2)

34 carissa March 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Congrats to Kelly! that first mile was SO frustrating!!!! Fast course otherwise!
carissa recently posted..Fit2Flex 50 Challenge – Week 2 Check In

35 Cindy March 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Meghann, congrats on being tougher than the wind – to both of you! Cutest medal, ever. I love Bayshore and must get back to that race soon! Now I want a red velvet donut…
Cindy recently posted..Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

36 Hillary March 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Congrats to both of you guys! What a kick ass race in not such kick ass conditions.
Hillary recently posted..(Green) Apple Pie Smoothie & Oatmeal Graham β€œCrust” Cookies

37 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama March 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Well done ladies! Way to conquer the rain and wind (my 2 least favorite things in running).

When’s the sub 1:45 going to happen??? No problem!!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..My Favorite Yoga Hip Openers

38 Melissa March 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Congrats on your race!! Now I NEED to know- where are those shorts from??! They look like they might be lululemon? So cute

39 Steph @ 321delish March 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Bummed I missed you! I was about 5 minutes behind you:-) Great race!! 1:50’s my next goal- I need to run with you to pace me!
Steph @ 321delish recently posted..Superbowl Snack Idea: Italian Wontons

40 Laura March 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

I want to do this half only for the medal… that is awesome!
Laura recently posted..My Week In Workouts

41 Chuck March 5, 2012 at 12:24 am

Way to go! You’re not kidding- it was crazy windy out there today! I kept an eye out for you but never say ya
Chuck recently posted..Be Aware…

42 Natasha @ Moody Girl in Style March 5, 2012 at 12:37 am

You guys did an awesome job in the race. Congrats! I’m seriously interested in signing up for this race next year because of your review of the expo, race and the pictures of the medal. I’m also inspired to push myself to run faster in my next half marathon. I definitely want to push for under 2 hours, but some reason I can’t get there yet.
Natasha @ Moody Girl in Style recently posted..What to Wear to Work

43 Andi March 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

Awesome run!! The weather looked scary but ended up perfect – so great! Wishing we’d done the half instead of the 15k in blistering heat yesterday πŸ™‚
Andi recently posted..Gasparilla Distance Classic 15k Recap

44 Emily March 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

red velvet donut, eh? Sounds AWESOME.
Emily recently posted..Sunday – Rest Day

45 Erin March 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

Way to go! I’m currently training for my first half and your blog has been an inspiration! πŸ™‚

46 Erin March 5, 2012 at 8:47 am

Way to go! I’m currently training for my first half and your blog has been an inspiration!
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47 Erin March 5, 2012 at 8:48 am

sorry that posted twice πŸ˜›
Erin recently posted..Stevia Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

48 Katy (The Singing Runner) March 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Congratulations on another sub-1:50 and congrats to your sis on a PR!

I wish that I could run as fast as you all but I don’t think that I will ever get to that level. I’m almost getting to the point where I think the sub-2 hr half I ran for my first half-marathon in Jan 2011 was a fluke!

Haha! Glad you had fun this weekend. I had a blast…but I am very sore today!
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Gasparilla: Day 2 (Half-Marathon)

49 Lauren @ Sassy Molassy March 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Your parents got some great pics of you running! And I love your lulu shorts! What style are they? Way to rock that race, both you and Kelly!
Lauren @ Sassy Molassy recently posted..16 Run and Done

50 MegaNerd March 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I am SO jealous. I loved running Gasparilla, and seriously those are some kick ass medals.

Congrats on an amazing finish time to both you and Kelly! Miss you girls.

51 Heather March 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

way to go ladies! so proud of both of you! amazing!
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