Before starting any race, it’s important to have goals. The last few times I started a race, I had specific time goals that I wanted to hit. The last time I started a half marathon, I had a very big milestone I wanted to accomplish, and I did. Last weekend, however, my goal was different. All I wanted to do was to get out there, take it slow and really enjoy running through my childhood stomping grounds, and have fun.
I started my morning (or was it still night?) with an early wake up call at 4 am. I had laid everything out the night before to make everything a little easier!
Ready to go with my race day outfit!
Since i was staying with my parents in our house out in the suburbs, we had a bit of a drive to get to downtown Miami. Luckily, my dad was also running, and he knew all the tricks to avoid race day traffic and find decent parking without too much of a hassle.
We did the usual pre-race errands (bag drop, bathrooms, finding the corrals etc.) and made it into our corrals a few minutes before the gun went off. My dad was running the full, so we said our goodbyes then, so he could get into his grove. Usually I am a pile of nerves, but at this point, I was surprisingly calm. But after all, I knew I complete the distance, and I knew I wasn’t racing…there was not much on the line!
It took about 15 minutes for me to cross the start once the gun went off, but considering the size of the race, the wait wasn’t too bad. We only stayed in downtown Miami for just a few moments, and then we hit the first “hill”, as we climbed the Venetian Causeway towards Miami Beach. Normally highway miles are a necessary evil in a race and can be rather boring, however in this case, the highway was right along the ocean and was lined with cruise ships waiting in port. At this point in the day, the sun was also starting to come up, so the view was absolutely spectacular.
After about 3.5 miles, we hit South Beach, which was the highlight of the race for me. Not only is it my favorite part of Miami, but it was also the site of my first 5K as well. I enjoyed running through the streets and reliving some great memories. The spectators, especially those who were just getting home from the bars/clubs from the night before, were a great boast, too!
After South Beach, we headed to some of the communities in Miami Beach, which I wasn’t as familiar with. The temperatures were definitely starting to climb, but every time I started to feel warm, I thought about how cold it was back home – and suddenly, it didn’t seem so bad!
Notice how there’s no mention of a watch? That’s because I really tried to forget about it! I knew my pace was slowing, especially since the water stations were getting so crowded that I was forced to walk through them (and even had to fill my own water cups at a few of them!), but kept reminding myself that this was for “fun”, and not to stress.
Around miles 9-10, it was time to say goodbye to the beach, and head back to downtown. We were on another highway that I wasn’t as familiar with, and the view wasn’t as exciting, but I did run into a childhood friend on the course and ran with her for a bit, which perked me up a bit.
The last 2 miles of the race were back in downtown Miami. I kept seeing signs that said “almost there”, and while I knew the spectators meant well, we had not broken away from the full marathoners yet, and they weren’t even halfway through yet! When I saw the break at 12.5 miles, I was a little tempted to head to the “full marathoners” side, but I knew that would of been a b-a-d decision. Instead, I veered to the left, made the last turn, and headed to the finish line for another 13.1 in the books!
The perfect frame for my medal! Runners Personalized Photo/Medal Frame – Florida Choose Your Distance, $34.99; goneforarun.com