Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K

Total runners: 5917; female: 3245, male: 2672.
Remember that run I was going to run?
Amy and I made the hour-long drive from Bradenton to Tampa during the small hours of Saturday. We arrived in the nick of time; day-of registration closed three minutes after we got through. After some hassle regarding not getting pins for our race numbers, we attached our ChampionChip (a unique-ID tracker for your shoe), checked our bags (I kept my camera), and made our way from the conference center down to the street.
There were thousands of people! The entire 5-lane width was filled, for a few hundred metres. We were at the back. A cheer drifted its way down from the front of the pack, and we were off.
Or maybe not. It took four minutes to cross the starting line.
About a 1/2 mile into the race, we came up on some energetic music. At first I bopped along, thinking, “Hey, neat, this race is going to be pretty easy if they put speakers along the whole route.”
And then, as I turned the corner, I heard the lyrics: a gospel chorus singing “Praise!”, and saw the banner: “Jesus loves you!” and some smaller signs “You’re all winners with Christ”. A local church was taking advantage of the fact that the race was going right by their front door. Felt a little cheated — before I turned the corner, I thought the music was being put on by the race coordinators.
At about the 1-mile mark, a woman with a microphone and a big speaker shouted words of encouragement at us. We passed two water stations, went around the halfway-point loop, passed another water station and a contraption blowing water mist on runners as they went by, and back past microphone lady. She was still at it, encouraging stragglers to keep on movin’. “Well, self,” said I, “if she can keep that up, I can definitely keep this up.”
We finished in just under 28 minutes. I came in 102nd out of the 281 males in my age group [25-29]. Considering I wasn’t running for time I think it’s okay. πŸ™‚ [Stats for all runners — you’ll have to use my last name, if you know it, they messed up punching in my first.]

After the race it was over to Amy & Erik’s with Cam and Melissa for some tasty chicken fajitas. We watched Confidence at Erik’s recommendation, which was excellent. I think I’m going to add it to my “to buy” list of DVDs.
By the way, my lack of entries in the past week or so is a reflection of an increased number of deadlines that will be coming up over the next month. The balancing act still needs some work — I’ve had three borrowed movies sitting on my desk for the past week, that little utility I was cobbling together could use some work, and I have some books that need reading. But — I still managed to squeeze in a pickup Ultimate game beside a full workday Sunday, woot πŸ™‚
Next up: the local paper is coming to photograph my Ultimate team at practice tomorrow night!

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