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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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3rd Annual Holiday Family Fun Day 5k presented by Mitchell & West LLC – December 3, 2016

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I knew I wanted to do some sort of holiday race this year but not per say with wearing an itchy Santa suit so I decided on this race. Going into this race I knew that I was never going to place as it always brings in all the speedsters in the area (I have seen pics from previous years). Also there is a mile option as well. I’m kinda thinking about signing up for that option as well next year. Awesomely enough the winner for both races was the same, Baptist Health South Florida Kendall Run Club pacer, Ethan Clary.

Anyways back to the race morning, I got ready and was on site an hour before the race, I wanted to make sure that I could hit up the Publix bathroom before the race started. I picked up my race packet, which was a super speedy process and headed back to the car to change Phoebe’s diaper. Of course when you choose something for a toddler to wear you must always keep an extra outfit on hand for any unforeseen issues. Just my luck Phoebe’s diaper leaked right before we got out of the car so I had to do a whole clothing change in the car before setting up the stroller.

The weather was pretty nice on race morning too, not too warm and slightly breezy, which was a bit of a problem on the final jaunt to the finish line. No one realizes just how difficult races with a stroller can be in windy conditions, I felt like I was going nowhere pushing 50 lbs of stroller/toddler. The course was different from the typical Coral Gables course around the Granada golf course and instead ran us through very shaded areas (awesome!) and in front of the Biltmore Hotel. For most of the race I followed a speedy girl whom I knew was finishing her long run at the 5k, figuring if I could keep up with her I could do pretty well. Well I did keep up with her pretty well and ended up with a new stroller PR! Official time: 23:58, 7:43 pace, almost an overall stroller less 5k PR, amazing! I stuck around to cheer on my friends still running the 5k and then for the mile race. Great event and I will definitely be back again next year, most likely doing both races, the 5k and then the mile race 🙂

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The start of the mile race. Speedsters are off!

The next day I had my first 20 miler of marathon training and by Monday morning I was feeling that speedy 5k + the 20 miler.

Turkey Day Miami – November 24, 2016

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Running this race on Thanksgiving Day morning has become a tradition for me, been running this race since 2012, the first year I started running. The first year I only ran the 5k and since then I have ran the 10k. Phoebe has already done this race twice now. Last year it was horribly rainy and although it started out a little drizzly it cleared up before the race began. I was crossing my fingers that I would not have to run the stroller through massive puddles again. I got to the race site early and met up with some of the other ladies in Every Mother Counts South Florida team. Parking is always a bit of a problem for this race but if you get to the site an hour early its a breeze, everyone else is stressing out and you are parked and can relax a bit.

 

I had the rain guard over the stroller for most of the run since the weather was sprinkly most of the way. But towards the end, in the last mile I believe I was able to lift the weather guard so Phoebe could get some fresh air since it was not raining anymore. A few years ago this race was very chilly, in the 50s but this year it was unseasonably warm. I like the out and back way of this course so you can cheer on and get cheered on by friends passing by. I finished at a respectable 54:36, which 6 minutes faster than last year’s time. There was a bit of clogging in the finisher chute, due to the race backdrop with photographers too close by. I can always expect some sort of line there but this year it was insanely long and I ended up slightly bumping someone as I tried to get through the crowd to get out into the open again. This guy ended up screaming at me for bumping into him and saying I need to pay more attention and not run over people. Very, very rude participant all because of the overcrowding in the area. Phoebe remained sleeping through it all and was finally able to escape the rude guy and the crowd. I met up with Derrick and some of our friends from the 1k run club and then we walked over to the Every Mother Counts tent to see everyone there. After some time there we headed to the food tents and I stocked up on the Picky Bars?! Again, at another local event! Never have I been so happy with the food options at a Lifetime Fitness event. Overall, another great Turkey Day race with my little running partner.

 

Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1 – November 13, 2016

Third time doing this race and the course is a little different than last time I did this race, back in 2014. Less twisty turns this year and more A1A.

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The morning started with a wake up alarm at 3:30am in order to have enough time to get to the race by 5:30am. Once we arrived in the parking lot closest to the starting line I quickly headed to my favorite place to pee before the race, McDonalds across the street. I was not the only one who had this idea this year, apparently people are realizing that it’s better to pee here than in a portapotty! After that I headed quickly to the starting line since the line for the bathroom had taken up a lot of time. There I saw a couple of friends and we took some pics before the race started.

After the gun had went off I stayed ahead of the 2:00 pacer, I was trying to keep the 1:50 in my view but soon after I lost him in the crowd. Going through the small tunnel is always a fun part of the race since everyone wastes their energy early in the race by screaming and cheering once in there since it echoes. The neighborhood parts were nice and quiet with shade from the large trees which is always a plus in SoFla races. The major flaw that I saw in the race was something that was uncontrollable, mother nature. Apparently it had rained a lot in the past couple of days and there was a lot of standing water in the street, covering the whole road in most places. Treading through water at the 5 mile mark was not a good feeling, I was scared of the possibility of blisters and the squishy sound of wet sneakers around me was oddly gross to me. Anyways I seemed to do pretty well in this race, in fact much better than I expected. At this point in my running I just kind of want to finish a half marathon by the 2 hour mark, funny how only 2 years ago that was my ultimate goal. So much has changed since then, I’m beginning to think that whole “faster after baby” isn’t really a myth after all.

Finishing time was 1:54:37! Somehow I stayed ahead of the 1:55 pacer without even realizing it. Saw a couple of my 1k run club friends before the finish line which helped boost me to the line. After I crossed, I collected my medal, got a pic with Derrick, who finished just a minute before me and went to find the beer. Just kidding, well kind of, I first dropped a Nuun tab into my finish line water and headed to the food tent. Got a banana and a few Picky Bars. I was super stoked to find they were giving out Picky Bars at this race, they are $2 something and only really sold in Trader Joe’s so I made sure to get some for the road. Love those bars, but that’s another post all together. After I had an Ah, Fudge Nuts! Picky Bar I went to the Michelob tent to get my free beer. In the past I have been able to get more than one but they have gotten a bit more strict to only allowing one per beer ticket on the bottom of our bibs, kinda lame. They gave out a nice drawstring bag with white sunglasses and a Michelob Ultra visor, pretty good swag. Anywho I got my beer and had a couple of sips before I just gave up on trying to drink it after the race, I was extremely tired from waking up so early and ready to go. So we looked at the sand sculpture and headed to the buses to take us back to the starting line. These were not the nice a/c buses but school buses, luckily it did not take too long to get back to the car, I did hear a story that one of the bus drivers got lost and took a detour through Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood airport, haha. I had not heard until I had already left the race that there had been a runner hit while on the course, later we found out he died. I do not blame the race directors or volunteers for this as the race was blocked off and nicely directed by the cones but the inconsiderate driver who hit the runner. Unfortunately the police did not charge the driver with any offenses, hopefully this does not happen at any future events. #MilesForArthur

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iRun 10k – November 6, 2016

This is the 4th time I have done this race and the 3rd time doing the 10k distance. Last year I was only a couple months postpartum so I ran the 5k to keep it easy. I set my sights on a faster 10k this year and a day after my fastest stroller 5k, kind of a lofty goal. Finish time: 51:32. Officially my fastest stroller 10k! Two new distance PRs back to back!

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The morning started off cool but sprinkling, when I left my house the rain was coming down pretty hard. The weather luckily cooperated and stopped raining but the temps stayed cooler for a little while during the race. Before the race I had to use the bathroom so it was Phoebe’s first time in a portapotty. ICK. I made her face me the whole time and not touch anything in there while I peed, definitely an experience with a toddler but with no one to watch her it had to be done.

The race started on time and we were off for our two loop course that passed by an early voting location with a few news crews interviewing people. I didn’t feel like I was really pushing myself during this race, like it felt pretty effortless and was able to cheer on friends through the course. At the end of the race I was even able to pass a guy going at a hyper speed with the stroller. I apologized as I passed him quickly. After the race I got to try some juices and grabbed a slice of watermelon. Hung out with some other runner moms and then headed home. Again 4th place in my age group, by seconds!!! One day I will break into the 3rd place, one day!

Again another lovely race with some awesome iRun-ners and great race organization. I will do this race every year as long as I am able, hopefully that’s a very long time.

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