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!
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.
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.
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.