This was a reasonably good effort under quite warm and humid conditions. The Gasparilla Distance Classic is a 15k that is the Tampa Bay area's signature event. They began this race 34 years ago - and I actually ran in the inagural race in which George Steinbrenner was the official race starter at that time. Over the years the race offered substantial incentives and prize money such that there were several world records set on the flat out and back course along the scenic Bayshore Boulevard in sight of downtown Tampa. Bill Rogers ran the race a number of times and my father actually had a photo of him in the race that years later at a different event he had autographed by him. Bill was here this morning and spoke to the crowd minutes before the race. He is in a "weakened" state - during a year of recovery from prostatic cancer as I understand. He was planning to run 7 minute miles. Joan Benoit Samuelson was aslo on hand to say a few words to the 22,000 or so runners.
My plan had been to run conservatively for the first 5k at or just below MRP and then to see how I felt and hopefully run the rest of the race in the mid to low 6:20's. What actually happened was a bit of the opposite. I ended up running the first 10k in the low to mid 6:20's with the last 5k sort of involuntarily at MRP or just a little faster. The early start time of 7 am was good, but I think by the time the sun was fully up and established the heat slowed everyone down.
Mile 1 was relaxed at at 6:17 pace and my heartrate was 155
Mile 2 was controllled at 6:30 with HR at 166 (according to Daniels I should have be running with my HR at 163 for a 15k - but weather conditions dictated otherwise.). I tucked in behind a big guy in a red shirt to draft shortly before the 2 mile mark.
Mile 3 - 6:21 HR at 170 felt ok but thought I may be pushing it a little bit to stay with the big guy in the red shirt off of whom I was drafting. Two other runners of similar size grouped up with us, one of them looke like a triathlete with a visor and shaved legs.
Mile 4 - 6:23 HR 173 - lost the red shirt guy and we headed in to an extend loop for the turn around. Triathlete pushed ahead of me about 10 yards and his buddy about 20 yards. Striking and stylish female in between the two with a long blond braid was falling back or I was catching her as we started heading back north befor the 5 mile mark.
Mile 5 - 6:17 HR174 - passed stylish female and began picking off a few others as the heat kicked in. Was a bit frustrated that none of the waterstops had gatorade up to this point.
Mile 6 - 6:26 HR 174 - starting to wonder about my HR as I am hitting a bad patch. Pleased with my overall pace at 6:22 through the 10k.
Mile 7 - 6:51 HR 172 - Not sure what happened here. Felt kinda crappy and perhaps zoned out on my concentration. HR actually dropped too. Triathlete guy and stylish female were still within 10 yards so they must be feeling it too. I was not being passed either. So I thought, I gotta pull this back together...Fortunately waterstop had gatorade - got a gulp and resumed concentration.
Mile 8 - 6:43 HR 173 - Thought I had run faster than that - but was feeling good bit better. Pulled up past stylish female and started picking up other runners. Triathlete was definitely going down by mile 9....a sub 1 hour effort is looking unlikely.
Mile 9 - 6:37 HR 174 - Still surprised at not being under 6:30 but thought, I had a shot at going sub 1 hour if I got a 6:20 or better in - oh well. I can smell the barn from here.
Last .3 --- 5:55 pace HR 178 to max 181 - passed triathlete dude and stylish female was way behind - huge gap to next set of runners - so "no one will pass me" mode kicks in - drive to finish. Somewhat disappointed with not breaking 1 hour - but pleased that my garmin says I average 6:29 pace for the race.
3 mile warm up an 1.5 mile cool down back to the car.
Finished in top 100 (97th) for the race and 13 in my age group. Not great, but not bad. I recognized none of the names of the runners who finished ahead of me in the age group. I beat my more familiar competitors.
All in all - decent effort.
Looked back at past race results - in 2009 I ran about 10 seconds slower. I did not run it last year as I was still recovering from a stress fracture. It appears I did the race twice since the year 2000 and those two times I ran 1:03 and 1:05. Seems to me that I did this race at sub 1 hour in the late 90's - but have not been able to find race results that far back. So I guess this is my best time here in the last 10 years. LOL.