They got a new sponsor this year, so it was no longer called the ING and instead was sponsored by people I'd never really heard of. But knowing that the company facilitating the race had such a great reputation, I still trusted them that they would put on a top notch showing. I was excited. Again, have I mentioned that this is my favorite half marathon ever?
We got there early and heard rumors later that parking had been a fiasco. We pulled into a private $10 lot about a block north of the starting line. We were a little later arriving than I had wanted, but stupidly, halfway through the drive from my house to downtown Miami, I realized that I had left Brina's bib on the table near my front door. So we had to take a half hour detour and head back to the city. I think that was why we jumped at the first available private lot, and in the end, it was probably what saved us from the congestion that kept others waiting to get into the municipal lots for close to an hour. How's that for a plot twist?
Anyway, we got there and hit the restrooms inside the American Airlines Arena, and waited for the other Half Fanatics for a group photo. Somehow, Brina and I lost Seth. We waited for him until the last minute before heading to the start corrals, but we didn't actually see him again until he passed us about half a mile into the course. Silly boy.
|On the causeway|
In talking with the podiatrist recently, we've determined that I have great bone structure in my feet but the high arches will make it far easier for me to roll my ankles now because I already have a good deal of weakness. Which is interesting because I rolled my ankle on NOTHING. and had the jersey barricades not been flanking the road, I surely would have face planted. A LOT of people reached out to me to help me steady myself and asked what happened and what I tripped on, and I felt like an idiot. I tripped over NOTHING.
But then I was really shaken up. I kept going, but was really worried. I had just rolled the ankle that left me laid up the last 2 months. I wasn't having heel pain, and there was no issue in the pocket that was bothering my in the ankle either, but I was really worried.
We kept at it. But my head was reminding me to take it easy and focus on finishing not on time. Over the bridge we went, and through the causeway. and then I started coughing. having been so sick recently, I never kicked that lingering cough. I couldn't seem to catch my breath, and Brina slowed down to check on me. She suggested inducing vomiting to help clear my throat, which took awhile but it did make me feel better.
|My new road treasure|
It was getting really warm, and it was really humid, and there wasn't a water stop in sight. I think the first water stop was 3 miles in... which I think is a little more than slightly inappropriate.
And we kept at it. Over the second bridge and through the condo area heading to Ocean Blvd. And as I was doing my running intervals, I was acutely aware that there was some distance building between she and I. She wasn't going really fast, I was just really off my game. And I was still scared. I told her to go enjoy her race because it wouldn't be any fun for her to feel like I was lollygagging, and it certainly wouldn't be any fun for me to be dragging behind her at a snails pace cramping her style. It was hard to see her leave, but I had developed a new game plan.
I was going to walk as much as I needed to, and I wasn't going to beat myself up over time. I was going to finish, and I wasn't going to get hurt. and I was going to enjoy myself out there.
|That's Adam in the purple off to the left of the shot|
The water stops weren't frequent enough, and I really took issue with the fact that they seem to just give volunteer opportunities to any high school student with community service hours. By the time I was around mile 8, they were joking around, having water fights (WITH MY WATER) and blocking the entire right of way for runners. At one point, there were so many kids in the path that I had to ask them to move out of my way, at which point, a kid thought I said "Give me gatorade" (because that sounds just like "get out of the right of way") and I crashed into him, got gatorade all down my front and sent him to the ground. Sorry kid, if it was my fault and I hadn't just done 8 miles and you had been smart enough to understand etiquette, I might have helped you up, instead he got an over the shoulder "so sorry" as I trekked along.
And then I met up with Farah, an amazing woman I have paced with at races when she was having a bad go of it. It was funny, I heard her calling out to me from behind and she gave me some cheesy line about how great I was doing and how much that SHE was inspired BY ME. It really was awesome. She knew I was struggling. So she paced me to the end. And from the point I met her around mile 8, to the end, I needed all the help I could get.
First It got really muggy, then the roads started to get really slick from the humidity. Then it got really dark... and we all know what comes next. TORRENTIAL downpours. It cooled me off and felt amazing for about the first 10 minutes, but it lasted probably 2 miles. and it made the ground like a skating rink (this is normal in South Florida), and the cups and water station waste turned into a combination of slick goo and squishy muck. We got waterlogged and we slowed down even more because I was worried about messing up my foot again.
THE DRAWBRIDGE WENT UP.
And it COST ME 7 minutes of valuable time.
By the time it came down, I was ready to jog in the last 2 miles... but standing around zapped my energy. Totally NOT cool.
But we joked that we would get the same really awesome medal as everyone else when we crossed the finish line and we were excited about the medal this year. Before we knew it, we rounded the final corner and heard the crowds roaring for us all as we crossed the finish line, and we had done it.
But we got to the end of the chute to find out that they RAN OUT of medals. I tried to pass it off like this has been known to happen sometimes at bigger races, and that it wasn't a big deal...
But it hurt, and standing around at the finish like and seeing everyone walking around in their medals just made it hurt all the more. I didn't even get a post race drink, we borrowed someone's medal for a quick photo op as we left the post race area, but I just wanted to get out of there. I was so sad I wanted to cry.
It shouldn't be a big deal, but to me it was. Logically I recognize this as a first world problem, but that didn't make it any less sad.
So after towel drying off at the car and changing my shirt, I walked to a gas station and got a beer and drank it in the parking lot out of a paper bag. cause nothing says despair like drinking a beer out of a paperbag in the middle of the day in a parking lot.
|Totally a not flattering picture, but without a pic, it didn't happen.|
Clearly not my best time, but also not my worst. I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but I finished my first race back since early December. I hear a lot of people didn't finish this race.
Time to start training again.