Ray and I met Brina through mutual friends while we were at the Run For Your Lives Zombie Infested 5k, and she and I became facebook friends shortly after that. We didn't talk very much and our interaction was minimal, until she noticed how active I was in the Half Fanatics group on facebook.
Brina wasn't a member of Half Fanatics but was intrigued by this group. She had foot surgery last year and was in the process of returning to running and needed some extra motivation, so she requested to join the facebook group (although she hadn't officially qualified for membership).
She had just run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, and she needed to meet her 2 in 16 days or her 3 in 90 days requirements if she wanted to join Half Fanatics. She asked me if I knew of any upcoming events.
And as it turned out, I was already registered to run the 13.1 Miami Beach race on March 9th as my 5th half marathon toward my 13 in '13 goal. This race would also fit her criteria of 2 in 16 days to qualify her for membership of half fanatics. She asked if she could join me, my friend Shannon, and Shannon's friend Tracy at this race.
Of course, we said yes.
I liked the idea of getting to spend a little more time with her, but I had alterior motives as well. After my absolutely terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad experience at the Sunshine State Half Marathon... I knew I needed a little extra motivation to get back out there and try again. And what better motivation than to invite a new friend? That way either you suck it up and do well to show how awesome and badass you are, or you fall flat on your face and look like an idiot. I guess it was my own variation of sink or swim, and it wound up working. Really well.
March 9th was another really early morning. Ray (who normally comes out to my half marathons to support me) had a commitment to march in a local St. Patrick's Day parade, so he wouldn't be coming with me. This made me nervous. I had been to races where I was the only one I knew who was running, but I'd never been to a race without my husband being there. Guess there is a first time for everything.
|Me with Tracy, Shannon and Brina pre-race.|
But then she surprised me.
By the end of the first 0.1 mile, my arch pain and shin pain was acting up. Though I had been to see a general practitioner and an orthopedic specialist, I still hadn't come to a definitive explanation for the Misery-esqe pains that I was having in my feet and ankles... I just knew that it is always worse during my first 2-3 miles. I cringed with every step, and Brina looked seriously concerned. I told her not to worry and explained that I just needed to work through it. Then I told her to leave me behind and go along without me.
Nope. She said. Let me tell you about my last half marathon, she said.
And she did. And pretty soon, I realized my foot pain was gone.
And I was having a really good time.
And we were making really good time. As in, just under 15 minutes per mile.
And that pace continued for close to 10 miles.
The course was fairly straightforward. Starting on Ocean Drive in Miami, north approx 3 miles to the Julia Tuttle Causeway. From there we crossed the bay Miami, then traveled south through the city to the MacArthur Causeway, then back east toward the beach, with the final 2-3 miles through Lummus Park.
|At the top of the Julia Tuttle Causeway.|
And eventually, when we began the final 5 mile stretch (because I always "break" half marathons down into the first 3 miles, then 2 sets of 5 miles to figure out where I am in the course) my pace began to significantly slow down. The fueling option I had chosen for this race (clif shot blocks) were not sitting well and I began to have some serious digestion issues. Then with the final ascent and descent over the MacArthur causeway, I was revisiting my arch and ankle pain.
Brina's Garmin 305 indicated we were slowing down to almost 16 minutes per mile. I tried to keep going, but felt overwhelmed as every part of my body screamed that something was wrong.
Why is it that everything always seems to fall apart in the final stretch?
I told Brina to go ahead without me as we began the final couple of miles on brick pathways through Lummus park. The brick was unforgiving, and my feet hated me.
I've stayed with you this long... she said, I'm not leaving you now.
And she kept running. She would run a little faster than me. I would drag my pathetic butt behind her for the run interval. then she would slow down and let me catch up during the walk interval. Then she would repeat.
I felt awful. Now I could barely keep up with her, and it was clear that she was slowing way down for me. I asked her again to leave me behind.
No, she said, the finish is right around the corner. Lets do this, she said.
And we did.
And as the finish line came into view, I told her I had a strange request.
Hold my hand? I asked.
And she did.
And we crossed the finish line.
And it was then that I realized what Ray had been trying to teach me for years. Yes, its nice to be able to say that I did something on my own. But sometimes, its really nice to share that accomplishment with someone else.
Clock - 3:30:20
Chip - 3:23:42
Pace - 15:24 / mile
OA - 1998/2006
Sex - 938/952
Brina qualified for Half Fanatics and I finished my 5th half marathon with a shiny new Personal Record.
And I couldn't be more satisfied.