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Tampa Bay Corporate 5K: A 3.36-mi PR!

Last night, with fairly warm temps and a present wind, I ran the inaugural Tampa Bay Corporate 5K. The race started and finished at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. The race was put on by Mena Shaw Races, operated by co-race directors (and my friends) Benjamin Mena and Beth Shaw.

My overall takeaway from the night is that they put on a wonderful event. There was an issue with the course--it ended up being about a quarter mile long--and that might have kept me from PRing the 5K distance, but there's no real telling. Let's just say I was close at 3.1 miles. But one benefit of knowing the race directors is being able to get the back story on things like this, and it turns out the police or other city officials actually made them move the race start/finish about a quarter mile farther from where they had determined the correct start/finish point for 3.1 miles. These things happen, and it wasn't the race directors' fault. So what I can say is that I ran a PR for this very specific distance ;-)

Here's a pre-race group shot of the Live. Sweat. Sleep. Repeat. team, plus some gratuitous photo-bombers (myself included, as I technically ran for the Tampa Crossboot team):

We look so happy. Then we ran. And the course was what I would call semi-challenging. I realize others would not and did not think of it in this way. It was an out-and-back course with a bridge (which we ran over twice) and a lot of winding near the turnaround point. I've taken the already lovely course map and enhanced it even more:

I was doing all right until the return trip over the bridge, where I thought I could possibly be inducing a heart attack, and then I noticed at some point between the bridge and the turn onto Cass St. that my shoe was untied. I thought for about 20 ft. about letting it go; I only had about a half-mile left (or so I thought), and what were the chances of my tripping over my shoe lace for that distance? Well, I couldn't calculate my chances well enough because I don't know the stats on such a thing, so I decided to be safe and tie it. Have you ever been running full-throttle for more than two miles and then needed to (1) make a very sudden stop, (2) bend down to the ground, (3) do something using fine motor skills, and then (4) stand back up and try to get back your momentum? I think it's scientifically impossible. But I tried my best. And at the "probably 3.1" point on the map, I was gassed out. Once I saw that I wouldn't PR, it was hard to keep pushing myself. Until, that is, the very last push down the finishing chute, when a couple of guys running in next to me started to pull ahead and my body said, no way, and I found this extra store of energy to blow past them. I wonder how much I really had in there, and when I could have started using it . . .

Here are my numbers:

Not terrible, but my watch actually said my average pace was 7:59, which looks so much better to me than 8:00. And my classic error in 5K races is starting out too fast, which I obviously did here. I still need to learn how to run these things more efficiently.

But, the great news is that I'm on the first page of female finishers again! I'll take 36th place. It was a tough race, and I pushed hard for my time.

But the best part of the event was getting to see so many running friends out together in one beautiful place. The post-race party in Curtis Hixon was a lot of fun--with not only beer, but also wine! Finally, someone who understands my constant dilemma at post-race parties (thank, Ben!).

Beth and Ben put on an amazing race event, and I'll gladly register for any others they do!


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