Hi there! Sorry I’ve been gone for a few days. Last week kicked my butt. Adam and I worked all day on Thursday and then drove up to Orlando. We didn’t get there until after 11pm and then we had a full day on Friday. More on that tomorrow!
On Saturday we drove home from Orlando and I had to go to bed almost right away! Since I didn’t book a hotel room for the Miami Half this year I bought a shuttle ticket which ran from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the start and finish. (Trying to drive and park around the starting line while dealing with closed roads just didn’t sound fun).
In order to catch the shuttle by 4:30am I needed to leave my house by 3:30am… which meant a 2:30am wakeup call. OMG. That was rough but by 5:55am I was safely tucked away inside my corral right next to the American Airlines Arena, home of my beloved Miami Heat!
You know how they say you should stick to the same routine every race morning? Well the extra early wakeup call on Sunday threw me off guard. It made me think I could eat eggs for breakfast since I would have enough time to digest them (?). Let’s be honest, I don’t know how digestion works. I do know eggs sometimes give me GI issues but that I really wanted to eat eggs on Sunday morning. With a hazy, sleepy brain I decided I could totally do it and be fine.
Bad idea. I won’t get into the sordid details but by mile two my stomach wasn’t happy about the eggs. The line for the port-o-potty cost me 4 minutes and my stomach still didn’t exactly feel good. I would go on to make additional, shorter stops a couple more times. Ugh. At least Miami looked pretty while I looked for anything to take my mind off of my stomach.
I was only able to eat half a Gu right before mile 9 and I could only take a couple of sips of Gatorade and water throughout the whole race. The lack of fuel surely didn’t help in the final miles although I tried very hard to keep up a positive mental attitude.
The course for the Miami Half was new this year due to construction on the Venetian causeway – but it really wasn’t terribly different than last year. I would say I enjoyed the views and the course just as much as in 2015 when I set my current half marathon PR.
The only downside to the alternate course was having to run the MacArthur Causeway twice. The first time up is not a big deal, but facing this bridge again at mile 10 was not so much fun! As I was approaching it I slowed down to snap this pic but of course it doesn’t look nearly as big in the picture as it is in real life!
Whoever thought putting a race photographer at the top of the bridge at mile 10 was a good idea clearly doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a runner. I would have preferred to see the photographer at the bottom of the bridge when I was recovering from the climb and picking up a little steam! Oh well, what can you do but smile and pretend to not be dying! I tried my hardest!
To be honest around this time I was pretty frozen and not feeling much at all! I stupidly tossed my throwaway jacket and top at the start of the race assuming I would warm up in the sun. Unfortunately that never, ever happened and I was freezing the entire time. I think my arm must have went numb from the cold + wind because after a certain point I didn’t even feel my Garmin buzz with mile splits.
Somewhere around mile 11 I was struck with emotion and shed a tear or two. I remembered the exact moment last year when I knew I was not only going to PR but that I was going to PR pretty big. I remembered that I was getting kind of tired but I told myself “this is where you determine how big that PR is going to be” and then I kept on trucking along.
I remembered that at mile 12 I passed a girl wearing the same sparkle skirt and she gave me a thumbs up. I remembered entering the finisher’s shoot and hearing Will Smith’s “Miami” blast through my earbuds and thinking it was just so appropriate. I remembered walking to the Results tent and getting the print out with my time and texting Lauren right away since she was coaching me at the time. Last year I ended this race on a total high… and I wouldn’t have any of those feelings or experiences this year.
All of that didn’t really make me sad though, it just made me emotional. You could say after the Miami Half last year the rest of my running year was one frustrating thing happening after another. I felt like I never really gained any momentum and it’s not too surprising that I haven’t had a great race season.
I finished the Miami Half Marathon with one of my worst finishing times ever: 3hr 20min. Of course that includes all of my bathroom breaks, including my 18+ minute mile 2. It is what it is. I finished and let out a big sigh of relief. I think the look on my face says it all: I’m sort of happy, I’m sort of upset and I sort of need to use the bathroom. 3hr 20min is way off from the previous year’s race where I finished in 2hr 57mins. WOW. What a difference a year can make.
I could definitely whine about my bad racing season, but at the same time a lot of things went really well for me last year outside of running. I traveled to a few new places, I experienced career growth and just generally learned to enjoy my life.
Having a bad racing season reminded me that I run because I just like to do it. I don’t need to knock down PRs all the time to find motivation to keep on training. I’m always going to run just because.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t know why I had to have a bad racing season but I’m sure it’ll become apparent at some time.
Now my focus is to run two more races this season: the A1A Half Marathon next month and then the Miami Beach Half in March. After that I’ll close the chapter on 2015-2016 and start clean.