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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

March 3, 2009

The Good

  • well-organized aid stations
  • great support from random townspeople: if that’s how they show up to support runners on a miserable, wet Sunday, I can’t imagine how they would have turned out on a sunny day
  • the flute player on Davis Island
  • the mime in the back of the park at mile 18–her entertainment was random, but provided much-needed distraction at a tough part of the course
  • the guy on stilts at mile–oh, who am I kidding, I have no idea.
  • the guy that ran into a stop sign because he was running along with his relay-running friend; he was wearing flip flops, and that had to hurt
  • the runner who was in socks; was he a barefoot runner who decided to don socks as a nod to the wet weather?
  • the joggler! I can’t imagine the challenge of joggling in wet conditions!
  • the runner who decided to run a marathon while dribbling a basketball; yikes!
  • the 74-year-old newlywed who met his bride online, running his second marathon this year
  • the Let Me Play kids who high-fived us at mile 24. True, for them, playing in the rain was probably fun, but still, they were an uplifting spectacle. I hope they stay well!
  • the many homeowners who I’m sure spent their own cash to provide us with water, vaseline, jelly beans, bananas, and oranges along the course
  • the musicians who entertained us with blues, rock and roll, and other genres along the course, especially those who had to deal with technical difficulties due to the rain
  • little wait for porta-potties (always with TP!)–at least for me, and I took three stops along the course; I had the freedom to choose to stop at moments when I saw no wait (looking at my splits, my stops added about forty seconds to my running time those minutes)
  • the runner in a pirate costume–ahoy!
  • my long-sleeve race tee; it’s beautiful, and I might not take it off until this cold snap is over in a week
  • the medal, complete with pirate theme, of course–it’s heavy and huge. Arrgh!
  • though I know some will disagree, and I wasn’t sure myself how this would work out, but I thought the layout of the finish line/ runner recovery area was actually beautiful. It forced me to keep walking to get my water and banana, then walk a little further to get food–not that I wanted any. I understand some runners were disappointed because local hotels didn’t offer shuttles, but the five-block walk to my hotel was actually just the thing my legs needed, I think.

The Bad

  • oh, I’m sorry–I didn’t mention that we ran in a Biblical deluge?
  • as advertised, the course takes you through some of Tampa’s most beautiful neighborhoods, but man, is it ever loopy. As long as you don’t mind tight turns, I guess that’s okay, but be prepared for many of those.
  • the course is advertised as mostly flat, and that it is, but there are several overpasses and bridges, and one, at about mile 9, is extremely slippery. For some reason, it’s also been chosen as an aid station location, not that it would have mattered once the rain started. Marathoners crossed this bridge twice, a dangerous proposition.

The Ugly

  • my on-course pictures, for one thing–the ones that have been recovered so far are beyond ugly. See, they’re all from after the rain started, and . . . well, if you have any respect for me, you’ll avoid using my last name and bib combination to see if I’m right. Sadly, I looked so terrible to the Boss when he saw me at the finish that getting me food and coffee was his priority and I have no other pictures, so we’ll hope the pictures of me before I got to looking like a wet rat will be presentable.
  • The amount of conditioner it took to unsnarl my long hair after the race. I tend to not cut my hair between the start of a training season and race day, but wow. It’s time for a fresh start.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2009 8:53 pm

    I’m glad The Good outweighed The Bad and The Ugly.

  2. the Zookeeper permalink*
    March 4, 2009 1:39 pm

    Me too, Bob! I tell ya, in spite of those things we could not control, it was a great event, and I’m in the process of drafting letters both to the RD and the local paper to let them know how much I appreciate both the great organization of the event and the local support. I’ve read stuff to the contrary on some message boards, and maybe it’s because I have nothing to compare this marathon to, but I loved this race, and I think both the town and the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.

  3. March 6, 2009 5:35 am

    LOL- Love your list! Seeing how I chafed so badly, I didn’t think there were enough first aid stations! It is nice though to not be hungry during a race from all the food stations! 🙂 How did that guy stay up on these stilts in that wind?! And I agree, short lines for the potty is sublime! :-))

  4. the Zookeeper permalink*
    March 6, 2009 12:19 pm

    You know, the one thing I did not carry that I need to snag the next time I see it at an expo is those tiny-sized Body Glide sticks. A friend says ChapStick works in a pinch but I seriously do not want to be working that one-inch square between my legs. Moving on . . .


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