A good start to the season in Tampa
"The Becker Buzz"
Gasparilla Tampa Bay Half Marathon
1:15:00 - 5th Overall
This weekend I decided to head over to Tampa for what is turning out to be an annual event. I have run the half marathon each of the last two years, placing 5th in 2006 and 3rd in 2007. Each year I do the race on just a day or two of rest, so it can be a good fitness marker. My only goal was to set a PR.
The temps were great (mid 50's), but it was pretty windy. The course is pretty straight forward. Flat, with the exception of a few over-passes and bridges. The race does start at 6am (in the dark), so the footing can be a bit tricky on the cobblestones.
After a 4mile warm-up, my legs felt good. I was sporting the compression socks, which always gets a few looks. As always, the pace was hot from the start. I rolled through mile 1 at a conservative pace and then settled in. As the miles passed I built by pace, but kept my HR in check using my Timex HR Monitor, which is bomb proof. I have abused the heck out of mine over the last year and it hasn't skipped a beat....yes I am a comedian :)
I was holding about a 5:45/mile average through mile 5 and then picked it up a bit. The idea was to catch the guys up the road before we turned into the wind. I rolled through 6 and caught the next racer. At the same time he and I were told we went the wrong way and had to go back, "WHAT!!!" We had just started back before we were stopped again and told we WERE headed in the right direction. The whole ordeal did not take much time, but still caused the HR to jump a few beats.
As the marathon and half marathon courses split, I was informed that I was in 4th, with 5th literally breathing down my neck. The legs felt good and the pace was surprisingly easy. Coach Kurt(www.pbmcoaching.com) and I have not been using a lot of the "cross-over" effect in my training. Basically, I am not doing much speed work on the run and doing all my intensity in the pool and on the bike. I would say that it is working pretty well.
I turned back into the wind and traded places with the other racer to hopefully catch a bit of a draft. I didn't wait long(might have been a mistake) and came back around and slowly picked up the pace. I then dropped a 5:33 mile 12 and thought it would be enough, and it might have been, if I had any type of a "kick" down the chute.
I finished in 1:15:00 and 5th overall, while also setting a new PR. Mission accomplished, although 1:14 would have been nice. Official results can be found here. Thank you to all those who support me. My family, the Partain's, Coach Kurt, Timex, The Trek Store, Berkeley Running Store and many more.
Stay tuned to another update soon!