13.1 Miam Beach Race Review

So for the last month I have been anxiously awaiting the Miami Beach trip to spend quality time with my momma, meet my on-line friend Angela for the first time and to run the 13.1 Miami Beach race.  Miami certainly did not disappoint.  Mom and I had an excellent time and the weather was unseasonably warm reaching the low 80s each day.  We were able to have fun in the sun, walk around and enjoy the city and do whatever we desired without worrying about the weather.  Super nice, relaxing and we had an awesome time. 

I also really enjoyed meeting Angela.  I was a little “under the weather” when we left for the trip and the head cold: sore throat, ear aches & headache was back full force by late SAT afternoon, which unfortunately was shortly after she arrived.  I certainly wasn’t myself but did enjoy her company and meeting her in real life.  She is a sweet person, great/loving wife/momma and a kick ass runner.  We had non-stop conversation until my voice totally went out.  A silent TTF is a very sad thing.  😦

We kept it very low-key the night before the race.  We walked the beach and talked, walked thru the city a bit, ate at an awesome restaurant and went to bed early.  At that point, I had already realized that the weather would not be good for me ideal and the fact that I had been eating in restaurants and consuming way too many calories, sodium and other additives which are not part of my normal diet would also probably not be a plus in my quest for the 1:50 but I tried to stay positive and BELIEVE that it was possible.

If you would like to read a race report on a perfect race, please click over to RunWithJess for her race recap of the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon HERE.

This race was not perfect in any aspect.  We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to 72 degrees and 90% humidity, 9 mph winds with warnings of wind gusts up to 30-40 mph.  As soon as I stepped outside the humidity hit me hard, just breathing, not exerting myself at all.  I was feeling crappy with the head cold but had taken some Motrin to calm the ear/headache issues so felt okay by race time.  We met up with a few of Angela’s friend’s and then we were off racing into the dark.

I lined up with the 1:50 pacer trying to believe that it was still a possibility but knew almost immediately that it was just a dream for a day like this.  So I let the pacer run away from me at the first water stop around 1.5 miles.  I knew it was vital for me to hydrate properly if I were going to finish.

At this point, we were on a very ugly bridge, which was scenic as it was the bridge closest to the cruise ship docks and we had a decent wind off the water but  I was nervous.  Really nervous.  Not because the 1:50 pacer was GONE but because it was very early in the race and I was already thinking about bagging it.  The bridge was several miles long with two very large inclines and corresponding declines, then a long flat section in the middle.  The temp wasn’t horrible but the humidity was just thick.  I walked for the first time in the third mile going up the second nasty incline.  I didn’t walk for long, just long enough to regroup.  It was somewhere in this section that I realized I was going to have to treat this race like any other scorcher and run it water stop to water stop.  I walked thru every water stop from there on out, drinking both gatorade and water and also dumping water on myself then just tried to keep moving to the next.  I had made the conscious decision to finish no matter how long it took and no matter how much I had to walk.

Somewhere in the 4th mile the 2 hour pace group powered past me looking very solid and stong.  It was so evident in these early miles who were the locals versus the visitors. We “visitors” already looked like wilted flowers and the locals were powerful and stong in their home territory.  It was almost funny, had I not been the wilted flower.

The course map was very simple, we ran a big square, so it was easy to break it down into quarters.  As soon as we got off the first series of bridges, it was into town for a short shady jaunt, then a long set of second set of bridges with the ups/downs, then the homestretch.  I saw my momma at mile 12 and stopped and drank her water talked to her.

The water stops were about every 1.5 miles.  It seemed like a long way to run without water but I am glad they weren’t more often or my time would have been even slower I would have overdrank.  There were live bands or music every 3 or 4 miles, the volunteers and police were plentiful and friendly.  The post race party was hopping with lots of food, beer, massages and live entertainment.  Everyone looked to be having a great time!

Overall it was a good race and very scenic, just a bit too warm & humid for Ms. TooTall.  The finish temp was 82 degrees.  For me, my race strategy sometimes gets revised to self-preservation, which means running smart and safe to the finish.  My body really just shuts down in the heat/humidity, it’s not even a conscious decision, the body just slows down.   So I safely made it to the finish and that makes me happy regardless of the time.  I was officially a 2:08:22 finisher and I’ll take that!  Always good to make it back for the post race photos!  Chris, Jess, Me & Angela:

After the finish, I walked/jogged back for Angela so it was a total 16.5 mile day for me.  I’m a bit sore but not bad.  My biggest “pain” is from the slanted/grated roads that gave me a huge blood blister on the side of my big toe.   I did as lot of weaving around trying to find a flat spot to run but it was difficult.  Here is the “loot”: 

There wasn’t an expo, the goody bags only had the shirt, one sample of biofreeze, and the backpack.  Although, it was a decent race, I don’t feel as if I’m missing out by not yet having ran the Chicago race.

After the race, we were up for some more fun in the sun but that was not in the cards.  Rainstorms came thru and the temps dropped to 62 before we left Miami that evening.  The high winds were ripping the palms right off the trees! 

We did walk back to our favorite area for lunch but overall with the temperature drop and high winds we were just thankful to have been able to enjoy our days previous and it was easier to pack up and head to the airport.  A few of my favorite sites before leaving, most are from a small street called Espana Way with lots of little shops and restaurants.

How do you do with “destination” races?  Are they hard for you or do you always rock them?  This was my first and probably my last unless I luck into being somewhere when a random race is happening.  I race close to home where I am usually familiar with the conditions, can sleep in my own bed and eat my own food prior to race day.

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

Inspiration in Numbers

I find the energy at the FNRC runs these days to be unbelievable.  The number of people with the variety of runners and paces is absolutely inspiring.  It is hard to “hold back” and not run too fast when the energy is so high.  Although difficult to explain, it is similar to the feeling of racing where the excitement is so high, and you have focus on relaxing and keeping the pace easy enough so as not to bonk die before the end. However, this is NOT a race but our normal group run atmosphere, on our home trail, with our friends.  I not only feel lucky to be part of this group but am constantly inspired by the influx of newbies.  I feel compelled to run strong, NOT BITCH COMPLAIN and strive to be better so that I am a good example for those who put their heart on the line and have the courage to step up to run with our group.  I know joining a group run can be scary but it appears that A LOT of YOU people are overcoming their fears and stepping up to join us!  Thank you, newbies!  You push the rest of us to be better, and be present, not only for all of you but for ourselves.  Amazing!

Today we had two groups, an early group of longer runners who drug themselves out of bed for a 7am start.  Here they are from left:  Joe, Pat, Kate, Mary, Kelly, Susan, Joyelle, Lynn & Lara.We then had to push a little bit to be on time to pick up the second group of sleepyheads runners.  When we got to the next pick up we doubled in size.  Here is the group that made it to the 2nd pick up from Top left:  Dawn, April, Jennifer, Nicole, Kate, Gennie, Kelly, Lisa, Me, Lara, Joe.  Bottom left:  Cathie, Nicole, Melissa.

So the two groups equaled 19 people, then we “found” Diane (not pictured) along the way and she made 20!  Thank you, Diane for making an appearance so we could break yesterday’s record of 19!  Whoooop!

The run was really awesome on all levels from the weather, the atmosphere to the conversation.  Great day!  I had initially planned to run with my Ragnar Vanmates this morning and was fortunate to have many more on the trail!  My Ragnar Van:  Kate, Lara & Me.

We also saw Lara’s Hubby our Van driver out training this morning so made him stop for a photo op too!  And since Kelly is one of our volunteers, we had almost the entire Chicago contingent of Team “Chicked” for the pic:  Kelly (volunteer), Lara, Nels (driver), Kate & Me.

The group really was all over the board this morning with paces and distances.  We had a large group of run/walkers, and everything from 3-12 miles at various paces.  I needed 12 this morning and Joe showed up a few minutes early to squeeze in two miles with me before the rest of the group arrived.  The majority of the group ran 10 miles.  The temps were cooler initially at 24 degrees but we didn’t have the wind today and it was a beautiful day to get out and burn some calories run before the Super Bowl parties this afternoon.

My total:  12.07 miles in 1:49.  I was hoping to keep it around 9 minute miles today and we did very well.  We were faster for the most part but then had to slow to a walk thru a few icy sections so it worked out to a 9:03 average.  Can’t complain about that.  I am pushing for a sub 1:50 in the 13.1 Miami Beach race in 4 weeks.  It seemed very doable until Ang told me that 6 or 7 miles of the 13.1 were bridge inclines……hmmmmm, don’t count me out yet.  I’m feeling strong.

Any big plans for Super Bowl?  Who are you rooting for this year?  Did you get a run/workout this morning?

Happy Running,                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz