Gasparilla Recap Part 2: Amber Challenge

This year marks my fourth year running the Gasparilla Distance Classic! The first year I ran the 5K. Second and third years I ran the Lime Challenge – 15K on Saturday and 8K on Sunday.

 So this year I thought I would step I would step it up and do the Amber Challenge – 15k and 5k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. 25.5 miles total for the weekend!

I had been fighting a cold all week and began to feel back to normal on Thursday and Friday but knew I wasn’t 100%. So I went into the weekend not looking to push or PR – completion was the goal!

But I hit one PR on Saturday during the 15K! This time last year I set a new PR of 1:42:19. And this year, thanks to Claudia’s strength training and marathon training plan, I set an ELEVEN minute PR! 1:31:27! WOW!

I finished up Saturday by slowly jogging the 5K with a fellow Team Freedom friend that I met in the corral we chatted and made the time go by fast! No PR there (35:12), but I wasn’t even considering it would be possible with the crowds and my most recent 5K PR that I set just two weeks prior at BDR of 28:40. So I took it easy.

Sunday morning was an early morning! I headed down to Tampa at 4:30am. I was feeling sore from the day prior but knew I had to manage to get through the race. The pain and discomfort that I feel during the just over two hours that it takes to run a half marathon is nothing compared to the pain and heartache that these human trafficking victims endure on a daily basis. When you compare the two situations – I have NO excuses!  As is fitting for a Gasparilla race, I forgot something!  But not my shoes this time – my running watch.  I had a moment of anxiety on the way down about forgetting my watch and even considered driving back, but knew that would put me too close on time. I decided I would run comfortable and walk the water stops.  I started between the 2:15 and 2:20 pace groups and new that would be a good spot to stick between, if I got a wild hair and sped up, that would be ok too!

I finished Sunday with a new PR for the half marathon distance as well!  Only by a minute, but a PR is a PR!

Numbers recap:

  • 3 Races
  • 25.5 Miles
  • 24 Hours
  • 15K PR – 1:31:28 (11 minutes faster than one year ago!!)
  • Half Marathon PR – 2:16:30 (1 minute faster)
  • $500 raised for Hope for Justice
  • $162,000 total raise to fight human trafficking by Team Freedom
  • Over 300 Team Freedom Runners ran from Tampa to Chicago and back in mileage!

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