Last weekend, I headed to Miami for my first blogger meet up! Oh, and to run a half marathon. NBD.
I know how to be in public. I swear.
Luckily, they forgave my stupidity and still let me hang out with them.
We wandered aimlessly from the hotel to find the shuttle that would take us to the expo. Since we didn’t really know where we were going, we followed a random guy pulling a roller board suit case. He looked safe enough when he said, “Follow me!” We’re all still alive and well, so it wasn’t really the worst judgement. Questionable, but not horrible. Then, we boarded a “shuttle” (read: school bus) for a hot and sticky ride across the city.
When we finally arrived at the expo, it was pretty packed. The idea was to get in and get out (TWSS) so we could catch a shuttle back before they stopped running.
(Cheesy photo required)
We grabbed our packets and walked around a bit, but there was nothing super exciting to see. Plus, the free Larabar and Cascadian Farms granola bar booth was already shutting down, so there wasn’t much to see. Boo. On the bright side, I did get a bib with an even number, which fulfilled some of my pre-race superstitions–one less thing to be worried about! 😀
We also scored some of these water pouches that they were going to have at the race. They were really weird. The water tasted funny and plasticky. Good in a pinch, I suppose, but not something I’d keep on hand.
By then, we were pretty much over the expo, so we headed back to clean ourselves up (i.e., not shower, but change our clothes and spray body splash to pretend we were clean) and get some food. Drinks and a Cuban buffet? Sounds like the perfect pre-race fuel! (Note: I am capable of good decisions, but this was not one of them.)
The food was actually really good, and my uncultured self got to try yucca for the first time, which it turns out is really good!
As part of the buffet, they made us chicken and beef to order and brought it to our table. When the server brought it to us and declared, “I have some meat for you ladies!” I thought we all might die right there on the spot. As Paula said, “YEAH you do!!!”
(Funny, but not especially delicious)
Then, the manager offered to take a pic for us “with a nice background.”
Um . . .
Thank you, wonders of photo editing!
Because I’m an animal, I needed dessert.
We split 2 giant cookies among the 3 of us. The cookies were for sharing, so it was totally ok. Not like my ice cream pie. 😉
Then, Paula scored some jelly for her signature PB & J’s, and we called it a night.
I woke up at 4:30 AM on Sunday morning to her wrapped in a sheet, assembling said PB & J’s at the foot of my bed.
I have never gotten up that early for, well, anything. Luckily, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it might be. I managed to get myself dressed and eat my shot blocks without any major issues.
We followed the crowd down to the start, which was less than a mile from the hotel. It was really nice to not have to fight traffic or find parking on a race day. I think we were all grateful.
Somehow, we made our way to the start. It was kind of a mess, with the corrals all over the place, marathoners mixed with half marathoners, people trying to drive on the roads. Yeah, ugly. So we took super candid photos.
Then, I took off to find my corral. Within minutes, I was packed in with everyone else, feeling like a sardine and already freaking out a little. With one pathetic firework, we were off. I think I started maybe 2 minutes after the gun?
The first mile spit us out right onto a bridge, which is Florida’s version of a hill. It really wasn’t bad at all. What was bad was dodging all the people. It.was.packed. And–it was DARK! I couldn’t see a thing aside from the ships out in the Port of Miami, which admittedly were cool, but since I was trying not to run into anyone, I didn’t really get to enjoy them. By the second mile, I had kind of settled in. People were thinning out a little bit, and I was able to hit a comfortable stride. I felt light and loose–just how you want to feel in a race.
As you can see in the lovely photo above–it was hot. Actually, it was HUMID. Like, cut it with a knife humid. I was breathing ok, but I could definitely feel it. I wanted water, but it didn’t materialize until mile 3. I took one of those pouch things, but I quickly realized that I hated running with it, so I got rid of it pretty quick. By mile 4, I was already starting to wilt a little. I kept up a decent pace, but I wasn’t feeling the best.
At some point, I’m pretty sure the sun came up, and we ran past some homeless people cheering, but honestly, I was so in my head, I didn’t pay much attention to the course. I was vaguely aware of running past the beach at some point. I noticed a woman in the shortest, lowest cut dress with 6 inch gold heels who was “cheering” on the sidelines. There were restaurants and very poorly organized water stations, but really, I was too focused on the madness going on in my brain.
This is really hard.
I’m running slower than I did in my last half, but I’m working a lot harder.
I could just slow down.
Where the hell are the port-a-john’s?
I didn’t come all the way to Miami to just slow down!!!
This isn’t a PR day. I should just slow down.
Shut up–you know you aren’t going to slow down.
I’ll hit the bathroom as soon as I go past the Gu station.
Where the hell is the Gu station???
Fine, I’m going to the bathroom. I’m going to lose at least 2 minutes. My God–are these shorts cemented to my body or what?
OK, better. Where is that Gu???
Maybe I should just slow down. God, this race is hard.
NO! You will not phone this in!
OMG, but seriously, where is the Gu?!?
I should offer someone something for a Gu. But I have nothing to trade (insert inappropriate thought here).
Fine, just drink Gatorade.
Could these water stops be any worse?? Spread out people!!!
Finally! An orange! This is the best orange of my life.
Wow. I’m really running slow now.
OK, only 2 more miles.
F. My knees are killing me.
Do I seriously have to go to the bathroom again?!? No, only 2 more miles!
This is not a PR day–just stop at the bathroom. Again.
Ugh. OK, better. Finish this thing.
I have never been so glad to be done with a race in my life. Official time: 1:42:43. Not my best, but definitely not my worst. Of course, when you consider that I was 29th out of 1,771 women in my division and 125th out of 10,006 women overall, maybe I didn’t do as terribly as I thought after all. I’m thinking that maybe everyone had a bad race???
As soon as I finished, I tried to find a good spot to wait for Paula and Michelle, but I was so sore and achy, that standing still was agony. I waited for a while in the chute, but eventually, I grabbed my medal and headed for the food tents.
No fuel along the course=bagel, granola bar, bananas, and God knows what else. All I know is that my hands were beyond full. We found each other soon after at our pre-arranged meeting place: the beer tent!
I earned the crap out of that medal.
We grabbed our beers, but mine incited another riot in my stomach, and I had to bolt to the port-a-johns once again. Ugh.
Then, I couldn’t find Paula and Michelle and felt like a total idiot. Yes, I got lost. After searching for them for a while, I figured they must’ve headed back to the hotel, so I decided to try to find it. I had no clue where I was going, but by some miracle, walked right to it, where a very nice concierge let me in to the room so I could text them and let them know where I was. Fail.
1. LOVED meeting my Orlando blog friends! They are fantastic. So fantastic that I may consider a move to Orlando. Awesome awesome ladies.
2. Hated the mix of marathon and half marathon. Waaaay too crowded for me.
3. The water stations were a hot mess. They only had them set up on one side of the course instead of both, and the people weren’t spread out at all.
4. Gu was promised between miles 7 & 8. They didn’t have it. Totally unacceptable. I didn’t bring any fuel with me because I thought I was getting it on the course. For the $85 race fee, this is not ok. Ever.
5. The medal is SWEET! Easily my coolest medal.
I do think, though, that I’ve been overtraining. I’m taking 2 days off, then re-evaluating my marathon training plan. I may even take a week off. My body hurts in a way that kind of scares me. I’m not up for an injury, so I want to tread lightly. I’m still going to run the marathon in April, but some alterations in my plan are definitely necessary. We shall see!