305 Half Marathon – A Race Recap

Disclaimer: I’m promoting 305 Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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Race day attire (arm sleeves were not required)

Going into this race morning I was a bit tired, had ran the DRI hope for a cure 5k on Saturday morning and ended up taking my daughter into a pediatric urgent care later on for a fever after coughing for a week. Spent a few hours there and ended up leaving with antibiotics and nebulizer liquid for her with instructions to give her treatment every 4-6 hrs and bring her back immediately for anymore fevers. Exhausted and not going to sleep till closer to 10:30pm, I woke up at 3:30am to get ready and head to the 305 Half Marathon. Luckily I had laid out my clothing/shoes and race bag was ready to go so I basically just got up, jumped in my clothes and ate some cereal before heading out.

 

By some miracle we had cool weather at the start, I was debating on checking a bag or not but ultimately changed my mind, also changed my mind about needing arm sleeves for the race (good choice!) I did sit in my car for awhile in my Every Mother Counts hoodie to wait as long as possible before heading out into the cool weather. This wasn’t the 55 degree weather was predicted originally on the weather channel app but rather 60-62 degrees. Not bad but when the wind whipped through the buildings/hotels on South Beach it could feel quite nippy. Not bad though as usually this race is quite warm or even kind of rainy, in the past 6 years, this has been the coldest it’s been for this race. So I basically walked quickly to the port o potties and peed before meeting up with another running friend, Stephanie (TheCookieRunner) at the Miami Beach clock and she gave me a cool Momentum bracelet that would remind me later in the race to Just Breathe. We talked for a little bit and then I headed into the starting corral, where it was warmer with all the people crowded in. Talked to my friend, Carmen before the start and vowed that I would try to stick with the 2 hour pacer as long as possible. Starting I felt fresh and the cool air helped me in staying ahead of the 2 hour pacer at least for the first 7 miles of the race. They gave the pacers speakers filled with Miami/running related songs and just general anthems to pump you up: PitBull, Enrique Iglesias, Beyonce, Cake, AC/DC to name a few I heard while running with the group. At mile 6 I saw our Every Mother Counts South Florida ambassador, Esther and was cheered on by her. I think the ascend up the MacArthur Causeway slowed me down a bit but then a friendly cheer from my friend/mayor, Harolyn around mile 10 helped me get back out of my head and speed up a little for the final 5k of the race. Along the way lots of iRun runners were cheering us on and at the end Frankie Ruiz was running back to find his fiance to cross the line together, got a high five from him as I passed. Then Hector from iRun was about half a mile from the finish line and urged me to go faster, so I followed his instructions and sped up to even kick it up a bit and not let some other runner (guy) pass me at the finish line!

Something I did different during this race that I haven’t done before in a half marathon was not take in any nutrition. I think it helped that I had half of a bowl from Chipotle the night before and cereal race morning that helped fuel my race. I brought my Honey Stinger chews with me but never took them out of my back pocket of my awesome pocket full Oiselle pocket jogger shorts. So weird but somehow it worked, I do train with them generally and use the starting at mile 6 but this time I just didn’t need them.

I crossed the line in just under 2 hours, like literally 40 seconds or so before the 2 hour mark, I pushed at the end a little and my splits show it but I did not feel totally depleted. The course was slightly different at the end, which I did not realize until we were running it, I’m glad because that running straight into the blazing sun at South Point Pier is no fun after 12 miles!  Right after the finish line after collecting your medal and water there was a pots and pans PR station where you could hit the pots and pans together in celebration for a new half marathon PR. I had no PR but saw a couple people taking advantage of hitting the pans. It’s been a couple years since Miami has celebrated in the streets with pots and pans from a Heat championship win or Castro death, haha So some folks were very eager to hit them. After that was a long line to take pic in front of the official finisher backdrop, but I had no time to stand in the line but I think it would’ve been nice to get that free photo. I got some pretzels and the food tent had the regular runner food: bananas, fruit cups, pretzels, cookies, bagels and then pastelitos, empandas and some other little hispanic dessert cups. Very cool but I was not really in the mood to eat anything and no sweets after the race. I really just wanted to get home to my sick toddler and get some rest time. I went to the Storm Series tent and collected my category 4 medal before looking around at the other sponsor tents and then heading back to the car. Took a couple pics first and headed back to the finish line for a cool pic of my medal when Frankie Ruiz and Carla Duenas were crossing the finish line together, caught a few pics and then headed back to the parking garage. The weather was awesome for the cool down walk back to the parking garage, almost a mile away. Did not have the extreme soreness when I got home and got out of my car after sitting down and driving for 25 minutes from South Beach like I was expecting.

Great race and afterwards got an email from Athlinks to remind me to claim my new half marathon result and check out my pictures later on that evening. If you do not already use Athlinks, you need to get create a profile and add all your race results from the past. You can have all your race results on one site incase you ever wonder what was your PR for a certain distance or how fast/slow you ran for that race. You can also add friends/rivals and see what races others in your area are doing, so cool. Plus the Athlinks people are super helpful and only a tweet away from solving any issue you may run into.

If you are interested in doing this race in 2019 right now the prices are the lowest they will EVER be. Register in the next 2 days and only pay $60! That is extremely low for a half marathon! I am posting below exactly how affordable prices are for the next week or so for the half marathon and the 5k option. So hurry so you can get your 3-0-5 medals and oh if you somehow missed this race but want the whole set of medals you can purchase your 3 medal when you register for the 0 in 2019!

305 savings

 

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A1A Marathon & Half Race Review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to A1A Half marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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Now on to this weekend’s events: On Saturday I attended the Publix Health & Fitness expo for the A1A Marathon and Half with my toddler. It was slightly different this year than last, this year our names were all on a huge poster instead of a car like last year. Packet pickup was a breeze, no long lines for me, but I did get there as soon as it opened pretty much. Some vendors were still setting up their booths when I got there but most were ready and willing to offer lots of samples. One of the first booths we came to was the Honey Stinger booth, I love Honey Stinger chews and waffles and train for long distances and races with the chews so I took a couple new flavors to sample and gave one to Phoebe. The guy at the booth kindly gave her a brand new box of a new kids line of waffles they just came out with, she was super excited about it! Treo had a yummy birch water drink, I tried a sample and went back for a full size drink to share with my daughter. Geico was out there and got another pic with the Geico Gecko, who my toddler could not stop talking about when we got home from the expo. Also won a Team Geico shirt, they promised to provide a free massage if you were wearing their shirt when you crossed the finish line, it was a little warm for a shirt with sleeves yesterday but still a great quality training shirt by Brooks. I will be running around Miami wearing my team Geico shirt for sure, and I am a policy holder too, haha! So we left there with some new products to snack on and my race bib fairly quickly, I had some mom weekend errands to run (Target, of course) so had to hustle out of there kind of quickly. My tip to you about the expo is go on the Friday that it opens or early Saturday to beat some of the crowds if you are interested in seeing everything and getting your race bib quickly.

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Race morning, my wake up time was 3:15am in order to leave my house by 4am to get parked and situated at least an hour before the race started. So timing was good and I made it up to Fort Lauderdale (a 45 min drive from Miami) and parked in the parking garage that I always park at for Fort Lauderdale races. Unfortunately I assumed that the race would be starting where most of the Fort Lauderdale halfs I have run have started in the past, umm, no, so guys, please check the address of the starting line BEFORE you park. So I decided to walk over to the McDonalds across the street to use the bathroom and of course that was locked up and the store does not open till 6am (when the race starts) but luckily I met two ladies from out of town and walked over to the starting line (about half a mile from where I parked) with them. The port a potty situation was a weird one, they were lining the sides of the starting corrals but there were lines for the potties in all different places, nothing like I have seen in the past. I was able to use the bathroom before I started the race and meet up with fellow BibRavePro, Dawana. Always fun to meet up with other pros, whether local or semi local, we both agreed to have no goals going into this race due to the high humidity and warm weather.

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The race had a slightly staggered start in the corrals, they would let a big group go and then stop the next group till the first group had a bit of a head start in order to minimize the possibility of trampling. I did not mind, it would’ve been annoying if I was going to run with a pacer that was well ahead of me but that was not the case. I always want to start out slow and get faster as I go but that almost never happens. I just looked at my mile split times for the race and my fastest mile is my first mile. I really liked the part where the course went into Birch State Park, I had never been there before and now I want go back and take my whole family to check it out. Definitely was cooler in the woodsy area and scenic, but the race never got extremely hot due to the overcast skies.  I was pretty even paced till the halfway point when I slowed down, also I met up with an Oiselle Volee teammate on the course that I never met before and we ended up talking about kids and races. It definitely helped those humid miles go by quicker when not focusing on how many miles are left, I ran with her until the last mile when she wanted to sprint to the finish. I wanted to take it slow and looked more at this race as training run because I have another half in two weeks and am not really sure I was in the best half running shape after running Miami Marathon only 3 weeks ago. It’s usually not advised to run race miles till 26 days after a marathon, not sure if it has been that long.

After crossing the finish line I had no issue getting water & Body Armor before collecting my awesome new jellyfish medal! Definitely one of the coolest medal I have ever earned from running a race, in fact it might be the coolest most unique medal ever. I have a few favorites and this one has joined those ranks. I haven’t ever had a medal with rubber moving parts, and the tentacles on this one are soft rubber.

I walked through the post race party area and first came to the Michelob Ultra beer trucks that were handing runners plastic cups full of beer, I passed on that. Kept going to see a Bubba Burger truck with a few burger options including a veggie burger option but passed on that too because I really did not think that having a “burger” after just finishing a race was a good idea. I did however have a slice of a cheese quesadilla from the Mission tortilla tent, because I think my body needed some sort of cheese at that moment, haha. I also took a carton of Vita Coco coconut water and a banana from the Publix tent, put them in my awesome Oiselle pocket jogger shorts that you can stuff full of stuff due to the crazy amount of pockets on them. I walked over to the beach to take some pics and just relax away from all the noise for a little bit. I did enjoy the cover band that was playing some old 90s rock songs every time I passed by, I like that kind of entertainment. Took one more walk around the post race area and talked to some friends who had just finished running the race also and made a little pit stop in the beach bathroom building before heading across the street to catch the bus back to the starting line. While on the bus I started to feel a bit sick but I figure it was due to the fact that I was finally sitting down after running a warm race, I felt much better after getting off the bus, even with the hot sun on my face as I was finally able to use my Goodr sunglasses to walk back to my car. I made sure to eat that banana that I got from the race food tent before driving home just in case I was going to start feeling bad on the 45 min drive home. I even considered going to the Starbucks drive thru that we passed while on the bus ride back to the parking area, but changed my mind as I just wanted to get home and wash the sweaty salt off my skin. Today I just heard there were a lot of DNFs at the race yesterday, most likely the marathoners as it was quite humid but surely started getting hotter during their second 13.1.

So while I went into this race with a sore, achy shin for the past few weeks, I ran the race with no pain at all and was not even limpy after the race like I have been after some runs in the past few weeks. Hoping this means that I am on the road to recovery with the shin splints and that it was just because of wearing the wrong shoes to work in the past few months. I know in the past few years most of the time this race is a very cool weather race, in fact I think a few years ago it was in the 40s when it started, so hopefully when I run it next year it will be cooler.

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Fitbit Miami Marathon 2018 weekend – Expo & Race Review

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Over the years this race expo has been held in 3 different locations, well that’s since I have been running this race in the past 5 years. 6 years if you count the year that I did the Tropical 5k only. Mana Convention Center is actually my favorite expo location for this race. The parking might be a pain somewhat as you  have to find street parking and use a meter/parking app but its way less crowded to get to than the Miami Beach Convention Center with all that traffic to get there and not as confusing as the Marlins Park one was. The first Miami Marathon expo I went to here I remember it being a very windy day and surprise, again it was a very windy afternoon as I walked to the expo from parking a few blocks away. I brought my toddler again this year to pick up 4 race bibs between my boyfriend and I. Upon walking into the convention there is all the typical vendors for shoes (I hope you already have your shoes for your race before going!) and Geico, running store booths, massage booths and the food trying booths (yum!) I walked past them quickly in order to pick up the packets because even though it was still only about an hour into the expos start I knew that the longer I waited the longer the line would be. Before leaving work I had printed out copies of our bib numbers so it would be easy to pick up the packets but then promptly forgot them in the car and remembered when I got into Mana (mommy brain is real, people!) Luckily there is a convenient computer bib look up zone with very helpful volunteers so I was able to look up all 4 bib numbers quickly and head to the bib number pick up line. I went to the marathon line first because I know those get busy and was able to get my bib in like 2 minutes of waiting. The line was quick and went over to the Tropical 5k line to get my bibs there and that line was pretty quick too but longer because that race was the next day. In less than 5 minutes after entering the expo, with a stroller, I was able to pick up all the bibs I needed for the weekend of racing.

I then walked around the expo, saying hi to running friends and running store friends. My toddler got to take a pic with the Geico Gecko and I was able to find my name on the Miami Marathon letters for a quick selfie. The one thing that I ended up buying was a toddler shirt saying Future Finisher, it’s kind of a thing since I found out I was pregnant  and bought the first future finisher baby onesie secretly. Of course I stupidly gave the bag with the shirt to my toddler, who quickly lost it without me realizing till I was home and she was napping (AAHHH!) So someone went to the expo and got a free toddler shirt that they found. That was the only negative to the Miami Marathon expo and it had nothing to do with organization on their part at least. It was pretty cool that this year they had a few areas where you could do fitness classes or lift weights while hanging out at the expo. I don’t know if I would want to try a new exercise out a few days before running a marathon but I’m sure it was popular with a lot of people. Outside there was a bag check area for the runners coming directly from the airport to the expo (very helpful and there were quite a lot of bags there) and a bike valet zone in case you wanted to ride to the expo and wondered where to park your bike. Also there were 3 food trucks incase you were in the mood for trying a fun new food, I do have to say that the Jamaica food truck’s wraps looked pretty tasty! I stopped by the Athlinks booth and asked them about the race day app, which they told me works with runners carrying phones but that the regular Athlinks app would help me track runners without their phones gps. I looked at the features and learned that you can also see/download your FREE finisher pics on the app too! I have had an Athlinks account for years now and love that now I can use the app and claim and find my results even faster than using a regular pc.  Anyhow after I left there after having some Harmless Harvest coconut water (the best coconut water, IMO) and getting a sample of Hemp Hearts (love these!) We walked back to the car while taking pics with some of the Wynwood art on the walls and sidewalks, my toddler really enjoyed this part of the trip. I actually saw a ton of runners taking selfies and pics with the art walls. Quickly drove home, as quick as traffic would allow and got in a short nap with the toddler.

Next morning I headed to the Tropical 5k, which I recapped right here.

Now Miami Marathon morning, woke up at the early hour of 3am! Way earlier than any of my early morning training run wake ups have been and left my house by 3:45am. Early enough to be in the race area and parked in the American Airlines parking lot (only $5) before 5am. Walked over to the 1k booth and hung out with friends with some porta potty stops along the way. Pro tip: there is no line for the porta potties in the charity village area and you can get a nice warm up walk to get there and back to the finish line after. First thought: it is quite windy, looking at the skies all I can see is grey clouds, unsure if they are rain clouds or regular pre dawn clouds. Just making sure my phone didn’t get damaged I put it in a plastic sandwich bag in my armband before starting.

As usual the first 12.5 miles were crowded and the first 5 were almost nonstop elbow smashingly close. At mile 3.1 I missed the 5k timing mat and had to run back to cross it to not miss any splits on tracking, the mat did not stretch all the way across the bridge in that area. All the other timing mats were right in my way and no way I could have missed them, I don’t understand how anyone could have missed any of the others on the course. The first part of the race has you running over the MacArthur Causeway and in that 20 mph winds, it was very rough. Nothing like being battered by winds in the first 2 miles of a marathon, only 24 more to go, right? The next couple of miles are through South Beach, which was nice as it was around the time that the sun was rising. Around mile 9 I saw a fallen runner being taken care of by paramedics, I’m guess it was dehydration as the temps were starting to heat up by that point in the race. Later they raced by in a mule with said runner in the back, scary to see but glad all the runners in that lane got out of the way, I may have yelled to get their attention to get out of the way of the incoming ambulance. Lots of great views  and then we were heading across the Venetian bridge. It was there that I saw the Every Mother Counts crew cheering at mile 11 and that helped give me a little bit of a boost to get through the next couple of crowded miles before the split. A few miles later was cheered on by Doug, owner of GoRun, always nice to see a familiar face that knows your name out there. Something that is never cool and always happens just before the half/full split is the bystanders who think they are helping but unfortunately not for the full marathoners, start screaming “Almost There!!” I did make sure to yell out “You mean, almost HALF way there” as I finally made it into the full marathon chute. After that you can stretch your arms out and shake off all that crowding and you are in a quieter zone. You have a bridge soon after the split which is expected but what you may not realize is that you have to cross that same bridge again just before you finish.

The course was changed a bit from the past when we would run down Brickell and cross the short but steep Brickell bridge. Strangely in the past marathons I would speed up around this point, I guess the freedom of less crowding but this year I started to slow. I believe the slowing down was not really due to my terrible marathon training this year but rather the humidity started to get pretty high around this time. Around the Brickell area there was a corner stop with ice pops and I made sure to grab one, it was the best ice pop I had ever tasted, I could tell I was starting to dehydrate at that point. It was still pretty cloudy through most of this race but there were some times when I felt the sun, one of those times was while coming back from under the Rickenbacker bridge area. I started to really slow in the Coconut Grove area and it was strange because I wasn’t having any aches at all, but rather the heat was starting to get to me. I have trained in the temps this whole time but maybe less in the elements as a lot of my long runs were done on a treadmill. Something I will not be doing the next time around but rather more long runs on the street, even if it means bringing the BOB running stroller & toddler along for the miles. It was around mile 17 or 18 I saw another runner friend who was being the guide for a visually impaired runner and ended up running almost the rest of the remaining miles with them. They took walking breaks and usually some walking breaks through the water stops which really helped me. Since the heat was getting pretty crazy there, I started stopping for water at all water stops after mile 15. I was not taking a chance of getting dehydrated and having to be rushed away on the back of an ambulance and there were plenty racing by us as we ran up Bayshore drive. Along the way it was nice to zone out a bit about the running part and just chat with others while the miles slowly passed by.

Finally we were out of the Grove/Key Biscayne area and heading up Brickell to move onward to the last 2 miles. Those were some very very long miles, but when I got over that last bridge, the one we crossed twice, and I walked up/ran down, the buildings were blocking the sun a bit and helped with the overheated feelings. At the final mile was a group of iRun runners who had completed the half marathon and were back out there to cheer and Hector, one of the owners of iRun cheering me on as I ran through that final mile. They said I was looking strong but I was just chugging along just trying to get to the end in one piece. I never felt like I was going to collapse through the whole race or anything, just exhausted from the heat and ready for it to be over already. Since the race weaves through the downtown area and not a straight shot as it was in the past it was getting kind of overwhelming as I would turn another corner and still be like where is the finish line. Finally in the last stretch, there was a 1k running friend who had a megaphone and was calling out “Go Running Mama!” as I passed by for that final boost before the finish line. When I saw the finish line I just tried to run as fast as possible, that was my idea of a sprint at the moment and so elated when I finally had crossed over and my finish line pics show just that, haha!

I wasn’t sure if I had my 2nd best time of 2nd slowest time until I checked the official time on the Athlinks app but that was later on when I finally sat down. I picked up my new medal, making sure that all parts spun (issue earlier in the weekend about that) and headed to the food tent. Last year the food tent was a mess and I had to juggle all my food in the cold freezing rain but this year it was much better and (yay!) no cold freezing rain either! They had boxes of DeliverLean meals ready to pick up, at first I looked at it and it said something like Turkey sandwich and I guess one of the volunteers could see my face “oh damn, meat” and asked if I was vegetarian they had meals for us too. Finally, a meal option for vegetarians at a race! Best news ever! I got my pasta meal box and some pretzels and oatmeal cinnamon cookies and quickly went to another tent where they had cold water. I got a cold water bottle and went in search of  a place to put all my stuff down to better organize it for carrying back to the 1k tent to eat. I dropped my Nuun tablet into the cold water bottle also and was happy I didn’t have to wait long before getting re-hydrated. They also had Gatorade bottles available but I almost never drink Gatorade so I passed on it. Then I walked sorely back to the 1k tent where I could put my stuff down on a table and start snacking on some cookies. I stayed standing for a long time while I gave my body time to slow down a bit and get readjusted to not running. I know better than to sit down right after a long distance race, one thing I learned really quickly after my first half marathon. After about 25 minutes or so I decided it was time to sit and rest a little, it was at that time that I looked up my boyfriend’s splits and could see that he was nearing the finish line. I continued to watch the app while I ate my cookies and drank my cold Nuun infused water until he finished and came to the 1k tent to find me. After that I got my gear bag and was trying to debate whether I should change clothing or not, I ended up not choosing to change clothing as it wasn’t cold and I really didn’t want to see what would happen if I tried bending to change, haha! Took a porta potty break and then went to the Florida Storm Series tent to collect my Cat 3 medal of the series. At the 305 Half I will be collecting my Cat 4 medal so in about a month I will have 2 more medals.

Another reason to park or not park at the American Airlines Arena is the walk back is a good cool down, re stretch your muscles walk before the drive home but can be terrible if you can barely walk. Luckily it was a good cool down walk for me and not the latter, also it makes it easier to leave the downtown area also. All in all this was not my best marathon and not my worst. The conditions were brutal but I endured the wind and heat and conquered my 4th marathon to date! Miami Marathon 2019, I am coming for you and will hopefully be PR ready. Now I just need the weather to cooperate and I will be good. If you haven’t signed up for next year’s race, what are you waiting for? Right now the prices are the lowest they will EVER be, so sign up now!

 

 

Tropical 5k – January 27, 2018- Race Review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Tropical 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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This is my 4th time running the Tropical 5k. Most years this race has been very cool at the start, even one year it was freezing cold. That was the year I had planned on pushing Phoebe in a stroller for the race, but it was too cold and she had a cold so that didn’t happen. Something you just cannot count on in Miami is the weather, this year the weather was cool at the start because of the 16 mph winds! Cool but humid, by the time the race was over, I was windblown and sweaty, not sure how that is even possible but this is Miami.

Weather aside you must get to this race early as the line to get into the parking area of Watson Island gets very crowded and packed quickly. You have options of parking in a grassy lot or paid paved spots right across from the Children’s Museum or even at Jungle Island which is about a half a mile on the other side of the causeway. This year I choose the grassy lot area but usually choose the paved parking lot, which was not too bad but it was a little walk to the starting line. I got there about an hour before the race started so I would have enough time to set up the stroller and take a bathroom break before the race began. The race start at 7:30am but the best advice is to get in the corral area by 7:00am or be prepared to squish through the entire crowd to get to your desired spot to start. My boyfriend was going to be running with the stroller for this race and he managed to get into the corral in enough time to not have any issues while I used the porta potty. I heard one person complaining that the porta potty was a bit unstable since it was kind of on a small hill beside the corral but I didn’t have any issues and got one with toilet paper, score!

Lined up and listened to a commissioner talk and heard a young girl sing the National Anthem before the race began, same stuff. The wind though was a bit much in some spots along the MacArthur Causeway as we made our way to South Beach. Great views of the cruise ships along the right side and cheering squads along the way. The plan was to take this race at an easy pace in order to not shred my legs for the Miami Marathon the next day and I think I did that at around an average 9 min mile pace until the final mile when I boosted the pace a bit.  Heard some friends along the way cheering me on but on a sprint to the finish line it’s hard to focus on faces so I just went with it. Collected my medal quickly and made it out of the (long) finishing chute in just enough time to get my phone out of my armband to get a pic of my boyfriend and toddler crossing the finish line. Perfect timing!

After I met them at the exit of the finisher’s chute we made our way over to Nikki Beach for the 5k after party. When we got there we had no problem with any lines and had an assortment of bagels/cream cheese/fruit cups/pretzels/bananas/granola bars. Typical runner food and of course coolers of water/gatorade also. We found a nice comfy couch area and relaxed a bit. I got my official finisher pic taken in no time at all even though there was a bit of a line, photographer was fast and efficient. Listened to a live band playing 80s hits and Bob Marley songs while we snacked. Then took a walk on the beach, which is right beyond the dunes/serpentine from Nikki Beach area. Got some pics there and then went to the bus line. In past years the bus lines have moved very slowly but this year they were ready for everyone and we made it onto a bus in I would say 10 minutes or so. These are school buses so if you have a running stroller as we did, probably a good idea to be the first on the bus and make your way to the back of the bus to take up a spot. There was another family right behind us on the bus that had their running stroller as well and were very helpful. Bus ride was quick and before we knew it we were back at the parking lot and driving home.

I truly enjoy doing the Tropical 5k the day before running a Miami Marathon or half because it really does help to shake out the legs with a short run the day before a big race. You never know what the weather will be like but most likely it wont be as warm next year, but like I said before, you just never know. Another great thing about this race is the free official photos at the end! These were courtesy of fitbit, who is the sponsor of the Miami Marathon for the next 3 years now! Hurry and sign up for next year’s race now and take advantage of the super awesome pricing.

And incase you are wondering, those super sweet shorts are spandos by Oiselle.

Miami Marathon weekend – Tropical 5k & Miami Marathon – January 28-29

Disclaimer: I’m promoting & running Miami Marathon & Tropical 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It has only taken me almost a year to complete this post – it’s a long one and other things got in the way of completing this one but here we go!

First up, Miami Marathon expo was held at Marlins Park, parking would’ve been $10 if I wouldn’t have had a friend (hi, Lissette) who lived close by so we walked over, about a half mile or less. We arrived and checked out the Miami sign with all the participants names on it, found my name and we went along the edge of the park to enjoy some yummy coconut flavored yogurt, coconut icee type of drink, honey stinger samples (im part of the hive) and free samples of sliced bread. Finally it was time to head into the park, we got the metal detector waved over us and we we were in. Not too much of a line for that part of our experience but when we got to the Tropical 5k packet pickup line. That line was extremely long and slow until someone must’ve said something and the line got broken down into more smaller lines. I even asked my friend to watch Phoebe in the stroller so I could go over and pick up my marathon bib since there was no line at all for the half/marathon bib pickups. I was back in less than a minute after picking up my marathon bib. We waited in the 5k bib line for about 30 minutes, where I ran into my running friend Matt and met a Oiselle teammates husband in line. Long line = lots of time to have conversations. When walking into the part of the park for bib pick up we noticed a long winding line of people leading to a higher floor, that was where the shirt pick up was at! Luckily for us I had Phoebe in the stroller and we were able to take the elevator up and come in from behind to skip the line and grab our shirts quickly. After that we walked around, running into many running friends and checking out some booths. There was a Brilliant Reflective booth, if you remember I did a review on their products a few months ago on here. I got a new iRun singlet for upcoming races and got Phoebe a purple Miami Marathon onesie. Fun fact: when we hadn’t yet announced my pregnancy to anyone we got a green Miami Marathon onesie for her back at the 2015 expo. Last year I looked but they didn’t have any baby or toddler clothing available, glad they brought them back 🙂 I would say this expo was problematic for a lot of runners, who were stuck waiting in a long line in the hot sun for their race bag/shirt. I still think their best location has been the Miami Beach Convention Center even though there’s terrible traffic to and from that location. Maybe they can plan for the Airport Convention Center instead next year? Below are some pics during training for Miami Marathon.

Next up : Tropical 5k on Saturday morning. We woke up very early and packed up Phoebe and the Bob running stroller. Headed over to the Children’s museum, where the start of the race was. I got there an hour early and was able to get parking and be able to rest and stay warm in the car for a bit before getting out and setting up the stroller. I went into this race with the idea that I was going to take it easy and Derrick would be running with the stroller so it would be less energy used from me in prep for the next day’s marathon. Well I do not think that my 8:02 pace was such a slow easy pace but I never felt that I was pushing my pace too much. Finished just under 25 minutes and headed over to Nikki Beach  to get some bagels and pretzels to munch on before heading back to the car. Got to see my Oiselle teammate, Margaret receive her 2nd place overall female award. Phoebe ran around a bit and then really wasn’t interested in getting back in the stroller. We waited in a 15-20 minute line for the school buses that were transporting us back to the Children’s Museum start.

The next morning I headed to the American Airlines Arena to park for the Miami Marathon. It’s usually a bit less crowded than the Bayside parking lot and cheaper but can be a little bit of a walk after a race. I didn’t realize that it was open for use of the bathrooms this year as it wasn’t open last year for us to use. I would’ve went in there instead of using the portapotties like I did. Met up with another 1k run club member and walked with him over to the 1k run club tent to leave my bag. I photobombed some pics and before long it was time to walk over to the start corral. I headed over to the E corral and actually got a chance to sit down on the curb and watch everyone for a bit before the race began and everyone started moving forward. At that time the weather was around 58 or so and the sky looked very very cloudy. I had my $3 purple fleece (thanks Target!) on and was still a little shivery but ready to start. Just before our corral started to move forward it started to lightly rain, I cringed. I usually discard my throw away jacket at mile 1 or 2 since I start getting too warm, this was not the case with this race, I didn’t toss that fleece until it was nice and soaked around mile 7, in South Beach. My hands stayed cold the whole time and I regretted not bringing throw away gloves with me. The rain started steadily around mile 1 and continued the entire race, going from slight drizzle to full on downpour. By the time I was leaving South Beach I was soaking wet and trying to keep my spirits up. Every time I felt like I was starting to dry a little bit, the rain would come back to soak me once again. I tried to have fun with the race and waved at the Oiselle cheer squad (You rock, Tricia) and enjoying the on course entertainment (the ones that were still available in the rain). I stopped focusing so much on my pace when I realized that it was going to be a very soggy 26.2 miles. Saw a lot of running friends along the way cheering, and some running the extra 13.1. After the half split the course became quiet and less runners around. Hector from iRun and his wife were riding bikes on the course and reminded me to not underestimate the weather and remember to drink enough water. It was nice and peaceful and there were some cheering squads along the way into the grove. An older runner from KY was telling me how he was trying to BQ but had to catch up to the 4:00 pacer. Strangely enough we talked about pee breaks and how even though it was raining peeing in your shorts would still smell, lol. Interesting people you meet along the route in a marathon. Around mile 20 the rain started getting heavier again and I somehow managed to pass Dr. Dribble & his pacer around mile 23, his hands bleeding from the dribbling of basketballs for 23 miles in the rain. Those were some grueling final miles but I powered through, determined not to stop, not even to use the bathroom. When I got to the final bridge  (with metal grates, aye!) on Brickell, I said now I will rest on my fast walk up this bridge and finish this race off running. First small walk in the 25.5 miles in the cold rain. I’m not sure why but it seems like it started to rain harder as I turned the corner onto Biscayne Boulevard, seeing the finish line through the hard rain. I do not remember the crowd roar quite as much as I did during my first marathon but no doubt it was there, even in the pouring rain. As soon as I passed the finish line I walked quickly to get my giant 15 years marathon metal and headed to the line of food. After 4 hrs I was tired and hungry and cold, I wanted to get through the line as quick as possible. It was a mess and there was no way to carry all the food that I had collected, luckily one of the volunteers noticed how people were struggling to carry their food and started handing us empty boxes from the food on the tables to carry our stuff. As soon as I left that zone I headed into the picture taking zone and waited a few minutes in the long but fast moving line to get my pic taken in front of the photo op wall from the official photographers. Then I rushed as fast as possible to the 1k miles tent to collect my stuff and get some Nuun in my body. When I got there many members were fast to tell me that I needed to get out of my cold wet clothes and helped me under a towel wrapped around me to get into warm/dry clothing. One of the items being an Oiselle teammate’s disco spandos (a very cherished item) since I had only brought a tee and another pair of shorts and a light jacket. I really didn’t expect it to rain the whole time and thought it would’ve warmed by up the afternoon, I was completely wrong. I was so cold and my lips were still so purple that I had to put on a rain poncho that I had brought with me and then another 1k friend put her NYC marathon poncho over top of that. That helped warm me up quickly and I began to feel like I could actually speak without shivering nonstop. I was so disoriented when I left the tent to make the almost mile walk back to my car that I totally forgot my EMC singlet and race bib at the tent. Luckily my Oiselle teammate, Margaret who had lent me her capris sent it back to me and I sent her back her pants a few days later.

 

Amazing race, horrible conditions, but maybe it was those conditions that helped me in running faster and running stronger than I had previously. Maybe also it was the good training I had prior to this race. I was confident going into this race with my many long park runs starting early with two 20 milers or so, nothing longer than that.

Let’s hope that Miami Marathon 2018 has great weather but with no rain!

If you are interested in running Miami Marathon 2018, in 2 months from now:

Register here and use code “BIBRAVEMM18” to save $5 on race entry to either race.

 

 

 

 

 

A1A Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon Expo

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So since about Tuesday night I hadn’t ran since I seemed to pick up this horrible virus/cold/bad germs from my toddler with the idea that a lot of rest would heal me up before race day. Off I headed to the race expo, which is about a 45 minute drive away from my house with my toddler. I did not anticipate the traffic getting into Port Everglades and I had never been there since I have never been on a cruise. Major traffic right at the entrance, unknowing that there is another entrance to the convention center, I just went where my apple maps told me to go. I pulled into a massive parking garage with no real signage about pricing on the outside (I didn’t see anything) but with a ticket to take when parking. I had only planned to spend an hour or less anyways so figured if there was a fee it would be a low rate since I was barely there.

First con of the expo: paying to park to get your race packet. Or maybe sharing a garage with lots of overnight parked vehicles. It was somewhat difficult to find parking and pretty dark, not something I like to do with my kid in a stroller, just doesn’t seem safe. I think that in the future it would be nice if they could have some sort of discount or fee waived for packet pickup vehicles if they show their bib at the end. I was very surprised when pulling out of the garage to finally see pricing in tiny print on the cashier window. 0-1 = $3, 1-3 hrs = $6! So I basically paid $6 to park for a little over an hour! Pretty ridiculous, in other race expos I have paid way less for more time spent looking around at the vendors. I was hardly there because after 30 minutes or so I was starting to feel very weak due to being sick and needed to leave.

Actual packet pick was so easy, there was no line for my last name initial and got my bib and shirt in a minute or less. Everyone was nice and fast, no issue here. In fact I would say this was one of my pros of this expo: speedy packet pickup. If I wasn’t interested in looking around and taking some pictures I would have been out of there in 15 minutes or less, which would be good for someone in a rush.

Backing up to as soon as I stepped into the expo, there was some massage tables and people getting massages to the right of the entrance and some Lexus cars to the right. One of which was wrapped in all the participants name, which was pretty cool in my opinion. I found my name quickly and got a pic with it. As soon as I was done I walked right to the pack of the room and picked up my race packet. There were plenty of volunteers helping direct runners and visitors, which was nice and helpful. Usually expos are such a huge mess of everyone crowding around certain booths and just generally a headache. This one was set up well with enough space for me to push a stroller through without any issues.

I walked through every aisle, checking out different booths with other race info and tried to hit up a couple of photo ops in the process. Also got to try a few new things, one that really stood out was the Yasso Frozen Yogurt booth, where I got to try a chocolate chip yogurt bar. Yummy, and of course I shared some with my toddler because I did not want a meltdown to happen. They also gave me some coupons, which I used when I went to Publix right after the expo to get some groceries. I love finding new food favorites at race expos. There were a few more things and some wheels to spin to win certain things. I spun the wheel at the Publix booth and chose a snack container because with a toddler, snack time is all the time!

Another pro of the expo was the cool 13.1 and 26.2 signs that were set up so runners and their families could take pictures by. I liked that and liked it even more that I didn’t have to wait in line to get a pic with them. I didn’t realize till later that there was a wall behind that for runners to sign their name and write things on, I missed that part.

I would say that the expo had a lot of pros but a few cons like the parking fee situation. I did not collect as many freebies as are available at some expos but I really do not need any more junk. I have enough plastic promotional water bottles to last me a lifetime at this point!

The night before the race I kept going back and forth about whether it was smart to run the race while still feeling very sick and congested. The decision was made for me when my daughter kept waking up multiple times during the night and even after giving her tylenol to get her fever to go away, the temps kept spiking to the temp of 102.9. It was at that point that I said it was not safe for me to run in my current health plus I was going to have to take my baby to the ER to get her high fever checked out. So at 3am I made the decision and a few hours later when the fever was still very high I took my daughter to the children’s hospital to get checked out. Her diagnosis was upper respiratory infection with the beginning of an ear infection. I have since been to get checked out myself and they are ruling what I have as an upper respiratory infection with some water in my ears. My recommendation from the dr has been rest and lots of hydration as well as an inhaler to get rid of this cough. Luckily I have been doing that because I really, really want to get better and miss running.

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My planned attire for the A1A half marathon and race bib.

 

 

Sunday afternoon I spent having some serious FOMO about those A1A race medals but also reading about multiple incidents of people needing medical help from the hot and humid conditions for the race. Still sad I had to miss the race but there’s always next year!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to A1A Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

 

 

Weston Rotary Club Half Marathon – December 11, 2016

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The whole reason I signed up for this race is because the West Palm Beach half marathon was cancelled this year and I really wanted to do a half marathon in December. I went into this half marathon with only one goal: under 2 hours. The weather was looking to be rainy all that weekend and it had started the Friday before. Even at packet pickup which was held in the same park beside where the race started it was drizzly. Running races in the rain is not something that makes me happy, chaffing usually happens and sometimes I even get sick afterwards. Packet pickup was a breeze, I brought Phoebe along with me and we ended up getting a vanilla bean frapp at a nearby Starbucks after. It was one of the fastest packet pickups that I had ever been to, literally I got out of my car and collected my bib in less than 2 minutes! Anyhow I spent the rest of the day trying to rest my legs but failing miserably as I chose to go by Target on the way home and get some Christmas shopping.

Race morning I woke up very early because the race was a bit farther from my house than usual, about a 45 minute drive to Weston. I got there an hour early and was able to use the port-a-potties before the race started. And these were were some very nice port-a-potties, that is one sentence I never thought I would write. LOL. PortaJane was the name of the company and all the potties were pink! They all had a small light, which is much needed when navigating those things, a mirror (haha) and a sink with running water by pushing down a foot pedal. And the toilet was flushable too, think a toilet in a motor home, it was just like that! As you can see I was pretty impressed with the bathroom options at this race, which is rare. Anyways back to the race stuff, Everyone lined up pretty well at this race which is a pet peeve of mine when a bunch of little kids or run/walkers line up in the front and I have to dodge and jump over them at the start.

I heard some complains about the course afterwards and although it wasn’t scenic like some of the other races in the past, it was easy and clearly marked. It was an out and back course in the shape of an L and as far as I heard no one got lost. Most of the time I enjoy out and back courses because I can see faster or slower friends somewhere along the course and be able to cheer them on but sometimes it does make me feel a little dizzy if I focus too much on finding people in the crowd.

It was overcast and drizzly for the whole race. No big downpours but just drizzly light rain the entire 13.1 miles, my feet were soaked by the end but I didn’t really notice it at the beginning. Thanks to feetures socks I didn’t acquire any blisters during the race. After I crossed the finish line and collected my medal I walked over to the covered patio of the high school where they were serving food. I now regret not trying the vegetarian breakfast wrap but I generally don’t trust things being handed out by high schoolers. I got a muffin and a banana and headed to the car to change out of my soggy shoes and replace my soaked singlet with a tee shirt for the drive home. I would definitely sign up for this race again, it had a smooth packet pickup, good bathroom facilities and a very easy course.

Later that afternoon I had to refuel and figured the best way would be to go to Jaxson’s Ice Cream parlour with Phoebe and some friends for a gigantic sundae! It was a good ending to my Sunday.

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