Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Race Report: Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon

I completed my 5th half marathon last Sunday, on Halloween. This was my come back race, since I haven't raced since August due to injuries and illness, and my last half marathon was in May. I've been sick the past 2 weeks and almost had a root canal, so I my last run was 12 miles two weeks ago. My legs didn't quite appreciate jumping into a half marathon after that, but I finished only 8 minutes slower than my previous slowest half; I'll take it.

We drove to Ft. Lauderdale Friday night and stayed with Jason's mom. We headed to Miami Beach Saturday morning to pick up our packets and check out the expo. Umm ... what expo? There were maybe 3-4 tables total, and I think only one was a vendor, but I did get some more free packets of biofreeze :) The race shirt is a really nice tech shirt (pictured to the right).

On race morning, we all got dressed up in our costumes: Dad was Lt. Dangle from Reno 911, Jason was a priest (he ran in a priest dress the whole race but took it off after and refused to put it back on for the photo), I was a catholic school girl, and Mom wore dad's race shirt (she was our photographer and cheerleader). When we stepped outside we immediately felt the humidity and the ground was wet with fresh rain. I was glad I didn't wear the clown costume I originally planned because it involved a huge hat that would have gotten hot and heavy quickly.

This was a point-to-point race, so we took a shuttle to the start from where we parked near the finish line. We were running late because we had to go back to the hotel for dad's bib # and chip, but we made it in the nick of time. The shuttle dropped us off at the start line with only a few seconds to spare. This turned out to be a blessing because the front runners took a wrong turn and ended up running an extra 1/2 mile, but it was fixed by the time we crossed the mat.

It was drizzling for the first few miles, which felt nice, but it didn't last. Most of the run was near the ocean so we had a nice breeze until the sun started beating down on us towards the end. We ran on the MacArthur Causeway for the first 3 miles along docked cruise ships at dawn. It was gorgeous seeing all the cruise ships lit up with the ocean in the background and the sun rising; I wished I had ran with my camera to take some photos, but I left my phone with mom since it was raining at the start. This also meant I had no pace data, except for manual splits on my stop watch. I missed the first mile marker (or it was not there) so I ran the first 2 miles a bit too fast. I slowed down after that, but never recovered.

We took a right turn when we got off the bridge and made our way to Lummus Park for an out and back along the Serpentine Walkway and Beach Walk Esplanades next to the beach. This was nice because I could focus on watching everyone's costumes to help pass the time until the turn around and looking for Dad and Jason. I saw mom around mile 4, and Jason and Dad somewhere on the out and back. They both looked like they were struggling too. Even though we had a nice breeze most of the time, it was still pretty humid and most of us were in costumes that didn't breath as well as regular running clothes. I felt like my shirt was suffocating me, so half way through I shed it, tucked it on the back of my skirt, and ran the rest of the race in the wicking tank top I wore underneath. I immediately felt better.

I knew I wasn't going to PR, so I didn't push myself too hard. I remember this being a conscious decision, thinking that I probably had more to give if I dug deep enough but I didn't feel the need for unnecessary suffering. I was hurting towards the end of the race regardless and really wanted to just walk the last few miles, but I pushed through and ran every single run interval even if it was slow -- mainly because I wanted to finish and walking that far would take too long :) There was a small hill just before the 13 mile marker, which was just cruel, but the view of the ocean when you got the top was well worth it.

I rounded the corner and it wasn't long before I saw mom and Jason. She ran along side me cheering and giving me the push I needed to finish strong while Jason took photos. I was hurting, but everyone was cheering for me so I dug deep and sprinted to the finish grunting because it hurt lol. I think that's the cause for my sore thighs :P I collected my coveted medal and then proceeded to refuel and rehydrate. They had a nice spread of food at the finish -- rice, beans, chicken, cookies -- but I couldn't stomach any of it at the time so I settled for some orange slices, plenty of water, and then stood in line for my free massage. There was also an after party with more food at Nikki Beach, but we never made it there.

Overall, this was a really fun race with great support. They had water at nearly every mile, with plenty of volunteers to encourage us. I loved seeing all the creative costumes, running along the ocean, and the medal rocks! I probably won't run it again because I'm not a fan of Miami Beach and it's a long way from home. However, I'll definitely want to do another Halloween race. I love running in a skirt, or maybe I just love dressing up, so I'm now in search for the perfect running skirt -- the ones I have don't have long enough shorts to cover my thighs.

Official results:
  • Clock - 2:51:43
  • Chip - 2:49:27
  • Pace - 12:56
  • Overall -  883 / 1092
  • AG - 57 / 65
  • Gender - 448 / 598

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