This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.
Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.
The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.
I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.
The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.
Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.
Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus, there is the medal.
I sadly did not make my goal.
It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.
I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.
Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?