Gasparilla Recap 2014

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20140223-171528.jpgFriday, I took my lunch break to treat myself to a pedicure! I made friendly conversation with the lady painting my toes and shared what an adventure I would be embarking on this weekend.  I showed her the logo from our shirts and she was able to duplicate the Team Freedom logo on my toes!  Love it!

Before we get into the actual running, let’s first talk about a pasta party! Team Freedom, 260 runners, in coordination with the Joy FM and The Morning Cruise raised over $114,000 for Abolition International, an organization that faces the evils of human trafficking head on.  This was an awesome event – complete with tiaras! There was amazing food and cute cupcakes.  In addition, the founder of Abolition International gave a mini-concert for this small room of folks – Natalie Grant, Christian artist who sings “Your Great Name”. This girl has got some pipes and a huge heart.  What a priceless experience!

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Amazing Team Freedom!

Saturday night David and I visit Dave and Emily King at their house in St. Pete and enjoyed some delicious tea and time together.  We don’t get to see them enough!  It was interesting to hear about all of the publicity that came from her latest creation of the Practice Make Out Pillow! She is an amazing artist!  Check her out!  Then we headed toward downtown Tampa.  I decided last minute that we would stay in downtown if I could find a decent deal on a hotel – which I did!  I figured with an early start time on Saturday, it would be nice to simply walk to the start line!  So we arrived at the hotel late and I laid my outfit out for the 15K race the next morning – oh no… no shoes!!!

Rewind one year – last year, I put my shoes on the roof of the car while I got everything else together and then we drove away… with my shoes on TOP of the car! It took me a few miles to realize this and luckily we were able to track down the shoes in the neighborhood! So this year I simply forgot my shoes altogether!  This is the moment I’m so glad that I have running friends – more specifically friends with close enough shoe size to make it work! Caitlyn brought shoes and extra comfy socks to the start line.  Here was my dilemma race morning, if I walk in flip flops to the start line, what am I going to do with them? Yes… I walked from our hotel to the start line BAREFOOT! Made for interesting discussion with Mike, one of our co-workers that ran the 15K with me.

20140223-171415.jpg15K, held good pace, no major issues, small blister from shoes that I wasn’t as familiar with, set a personal record of 1:49:10 – a new record by 8 minutes.  We found David after we finished and refueled with a Shock Top!  Then we hit the expo again.  Mike hadn’t had a chance to go and he certianly enjoyed it.  He even did karaoke at the Blue Cross booth! Needless to say I have more blackmail than I will ever need!  He better keep himself in line!

A relaxed Saturday evening at home with the family brings us to Sunday.  With a later start time, I got to sleep in a little bit!  My mom and I took on the 8K together.  The Gasparilla 5K was her first race ever last year, so it was an honor to run with her! She has gotten faster since we ran together last and there were moments where she was pulling me along!  So proud of her! We finished one minute shy of an hour with a 11:49 min/mi average – very respectable on any day, but especially after running a 15K the day before.

20140223-171454.jpgBayshore provided a beautiful backdrop for these races.  Saturday it was beautiful, but Sunday it was slightly eerie with the fog over the bay!

One of my favorite parts of running with Team Freedom was the awesome playlist that they put together for us. It was a mix of music with interjections of encouragement!  The music provided exactly what I needed at the moment I needed it.  The song that almost caused me to have a moment of ‘church’ on the course was “Hello My Name is”.

Here is the chorus:
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

What an awesome reminder of all that I easily forgot that I am.  The rest of the song addresses the mindsets that cause us to easily forget who we are in Christ – Regret and Defeat!  I will certainly be listening to this mix of music more often as I run – to reason that I can’t have some ‘church’ while I’m running!

Two days of running, four medals earned! 15K, 8K, Lime Challenge Medal and, my favorite, my virtual medal!  The virtual race was my brain child when I started raising funds for Abolition International.  It certainly will happen again next year, so be on the look out about November next year!

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