Sorry this post is a month late, I’ve been slacking off big time lately on this blog, but no fear, I am back!
Finally the day had arrived for my first half marathon, I had been training pretty seriously for the past 3 months, not even having any alcoholic beverages during training. I figured it was a much needed detox from all the holiday parties I had attended the month before. I tapered the week before and ran a 10k six days before, I was pretty confident I would finish, my goal was to finish in 2:30 or better.
On the morning of the race, I woke up at 4am to get ready & eat something, I left my house around 4:30am and got to Miami Beach around 5am, where the clubs were still hopping and people were stumbling into the street. I found a metered parking lot and when I went to pay, it said the meters didn’t start till 9am. Free parking! I walked over to the start line, used the porta potty before it got really crowded, another good reason to get to a race an hour early.
The race was supposed to begin at 6:15am but started closer to 6:20am as the directors had to get police clearance for us to start, then all the elites started 2 minutes before. I lined up close to the 2:20 pacer, hoping that would keep me paced correctly and get me to achieve my goal of 2:30 or better. But as soon as the gun went off, I sped out of there quicker than I wanted to, but I was pumped after not running for 2 days before. At about mile 3.5 I encountered the first and most deadliest of bridges, The Julia Tuttle Causeway, it was hell since I’ve had no hill training, since I live in flat Miami and we hardly have any bumps in the ground. I survived it but it slowed me down a lot, to the point that I was even walking along the bike path at some points. After that bridge was conquered, everything seemed a bit easier for awhile. Ran through some streets in Wynwood/Downtown and saw some places I would like to go to, like Bunnie Cakes, an organic & vegan bakery. Around mile 8.5 I ate 2 Honey Stinger chews for energy but was starting to fade. I know around those next few miles I slowed down a lot. I knew I was not going to negative split and I couldn’t calculate my finish time, my mind was starting to go mushy. Around mile 9.5 the 2:00 pacer group from iRun caught up with me & kept urging me to keep running. I was at the point that I just wanted to walk for a few minutes to get my mind back into it. The pacer grabbed my arm and pulled me to run again, so I started running again, and got a bit ahead of them, maybe 100 feet or so. After a couple minutes I started walking again and they caught up with me again, and grabbed me and urged me to keep running with them. I stayed with them for a few minutes and eventually slowed down and watched them ahead of me. I think it helped that the pacer was a cute guy, that definitely was a motivating factor. The last 2 miles were the roughest I think, up until that race, I had only ever run 12 miles in training. There wasn’t too many people out at 8am on a Saturday, which was surprising. I did see a surfer heading to the beach just before I made it to the finish line, not sure how well the waves were though since it wasn’t very windy.
Finally when I started seeing more people ahead, I knew the finish line was close by, I tried to push it for the last little bit, not sure how fast I was going though. I was probably starting to get dehydrated because I don’t like to drink water during a run, and for sure my glycogen was burned. I crossed the line while Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” was playing & almost could not believe the numbers on the clock. I finished my first half marathon at 2:03:34!! At that point I think the runner’s high hit me, because as I was walking to the food I noticed the 2:00 pacer and I went up to him and thanked him for helping keep me motivated out there. I grabbed a banana, water and headed out of the crowded food area. I went right to the Naked Juice truck and got a juice sample, collected some free Neutrogena sunscreen. Then I made a big mistake, I found an empty Boucher Bros cabana and sat down on the lounge chair, my legs were just so tired by that point, running 13.1 miles and then walking around for around 10 minutes. I figured I would be okay since I had slowed down slowly and walked a bit after I finished the race.
After watching the elites awards ceremony, being shocked at their finishing times I got up to walk back to the car. Suddenly the soreness came over over me as I walked back to the car, my ankle started aching and I started walking like an old lady. Haha. Also walking back to the car I was almost hit by a big truck and a car, nice, I survive 13 miles but then get killed by a car, I can see that headline now. So I left Miami Beach before I got a parking ticket, I wanted to go to Coldstone’s but apparently they don’t open till noon. Sad. Went home, ate something and took a nice long nap and prepared for a night out with the girls. Little did I know we would stay out till 6am on Sunday, ha!
Overall I was very happy with the organization of the race, and I may try to start learning to drink water on my training runs. I’ve already signed up for the 2014 13.1 Miami Beach, and might sign up for the 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale that’s happening in November, I want to collect some of the Florida Storm Series medals. I can’t wait!