I’ll be at the Skyway 10K…as a volunteer!

One of my favorite races in Tampa is the Skyway 10K. It is 6.2 miles of bridge running that traverses the mouth of Tampa Bay from Manatee County, through Hillsborough County and ending in Pinellas County. The views from the peak height of are breathtaking and something that very few people get to experience due to restricted access to the bridge.

In 2018, a group came together to pitch a 10K run over one of the tallest cable-stay bridges in Florida; something that hadn’t been done since the collapse of the original bridge on May 9th, 1980. The new bridge, called the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, is an engineering marvel, spanning 180 feet into the air and 21,859 feet across the water to connect Manatee and Pinellas Counties. It is also part of a heavily traveled federal highway system, making it a logistical challenge for race organizers. However, they made it work.

The race was an instant success and the race spots were quickly sold out during the inaugural race during 2018. My wife and I got a spot. In 2019, the same outcome. However, the popularity continued to rise and anticipation grew. At 1:00 p.m. on September 13, 2018, registrations began. After errors with the registration system and duplicate entries, entries for the race were all taken in a little more than 20 minutes. We were again lucky to get a spot, as was my parents.

In 2020, the registration became a lottery based system. Once again, we submitted our names, this time as a team, and hoped for a spot in our 3rd Skyway 10K event. Waiting with anticipation, the moment never arrived. We were upset but realized that we had been lucky to have gotten a spot running in the first two races.

I’ve always heard that if you’re a ‘real runner’, you not only encourage other runners no matter their abilities but you also occasionally volunteer to help during a race. Well, this is my race. I will be at the Skyway 10K, as a bus captain. For that, I”m willing to get up at 2:30 a.m., drive 30 minutes to St. Petersburg, arrive at 3:45 a.m. and give safety information to lucky runners. This is my way of giving back to all of those volunteers in the many races in which I participated. They made my races memorable and wanting more. I plan to provide the same to the runners of the Skyway 10K.

See you at the finish line!

Gasparilla Classic, ready or not…here I come!

Today, I’ll be running the Gasparilla Classic again for the third time. After completing the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge last year (all races for a total of 30.4 miles in 2 days), I signed up to do it again once registration opened. That was pre-injury.

A few weeks ago, I received the “it’s ok to go start back slowly” instructions from my podiatrist. I took that to mean, I’m healed. I felt good. Planned the following run with vigor. I was excited to get back to doing what I loved. What I soon realized was that I was very much not healed. My hairline fracture continues to rear it’s ugly head after every run.

I had to make a decision. Run or not run? I had to choose one of them since Gasparilla doesn’t allow for deferments. I had to be realistic. No chance I’d be able to complete the challenge without significant re-injury and undoing the healing process that had already taken place for the past 8 weeks. So, I decided instead to run the smaller of the two races, the 5K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday.

So, it’s the day of the run. It’s cold (that doesn’t help calm an injury) and windy. I’m ready to slowly tackle the 5K, my first run since mid-December. A stupid move? Well, we’ll soon find out. And then, there’s tomorrow…