Sunday, February 18, 2007


My friend Christine organized a relay team for the Gasparilla marathon in Tampa. That sounded like fun so I agreed to do it and Christine found two others to fill out the roster. Our team name was "Shut Up And Run", simple and to the point. :)

The night before we had dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City, just outside Tampa. This was the sloooowest restaurant I've been in - we got there at 6:00 pm and didn't get our food until sometime after 8:00! Everyone else at the dinner was from Christine's running club Orlando Fit, and we passed the time chit chatting.

One problem we had to solve was the woman who said she would run the 4th leg of the relay didn't show up, didn't return any of Christine's calls, and likely would just flake out... so we started planning an alternate strategy to avoid forfeiting. A few people said they would run for us in a pinch, and there was also the possibility of one of us running the extra leg.

The event started at 6:00 am so we got to the start to see everyone off, and then rushed back into the Convention Center to heat up. While waiting for Vanessa to finish her leg, we walked all over the place, maybe a mile or more in all seriousness, looking for the relay handoff spot. It was supposedly nearby, but we got misdirected several times, to the finish line, and then even further away... until finally we found somebody who knew where it was and also drove us there in a golf cart. It was right next to the Convention Center, down a side street and not very well marked at all, especially for non-natives who don't recognize street names.

Vanessa finished up her leg of 6 miles and handed off to Christine for her 8 mile leg, and then Vanessa and I went back to the Convention Center to have some bagels and coffee. Soon I lined up for the shuttle bus to get to my handoff spot, and made it there just a few minutes before Christine arrived. I took off for my 8 mile leg, miles 14 to 22.

I've never been at mile 20 in a marathon in 3 hours, but thanks to a relay team I was there. And I felt bad, because many of the other runner looked pretty beat, and I passed a few, but then I was only at mile 6 of my day while they were laboring along for the whole distance.

When I got to the relay spot at mile 22, Christine took the chip and said she'd run the final segment due to the no show. But I didn't want her to run alone so I raced after her and we ran together for the last 4.2 miles. Vanessa joined us right before the end and we finished as a team!

That was my first marathon relay and I had a great time. We finished just under 4 hours clock time, and our chip time was much better - 3:56:59. Our team came in 13th out of 36 relay teams.

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