So there was this little half marathon down in Miami at the end of January, you may remember me writing about this a few times. Well, it happened and I learned a few things along the way. It became known to me as the SoBe It Half Marathon because I let go of all goals other than to just enjoy and finish it. And yes, SoBe = South Beach. Deal with it.
Here’s a brief synopsis followed by some detailed info that you may or may not care about.
The first is that 70 degrees in Miami is cold and miserable. Yes, even when you are from New York City where it’s snowing and in the teens. I really wanted to feel warm, truly warm, and only got to feel that when I was in my hotel room under blankets with a space heater on.
Second, I learned that my foot may actually be ready for long distance running. It felt fine during the entire race.
Third, I am incredibly out of shape and ran the worst half marathon (time-wise) in my life.
Now the details.
But ultimately, what this half marathon proved to be was a confident booster and a good reality check.
Leading up to this race I really wanted to get in a good 10-13 mile long run but so many things got in my way. Coming back from the injury, cold weather, work, and lack of confidence. The lack of confidence thing is kind of funny because the whole reason I wanted to get a 10-13 mile long run in was to boost my confidence but when you don’t have much will to get outside to run on really cold days that’s hard to accomplish.
I ran one 10 mile long run back in December and then only managed one eight mile run a couple of weeks before the race. My confidence was blown. I had no idea how my foot was going to feel and I knew I was not in running shape. My one hope was that I got fitted with new running shoes with my special insoles/orthotics in them and things started to feel better. I did my eight mile run in them and my foot felt good. But thinking about what would happen after eight miles during the race freaked me out.
This is where it’s good to have friends who take these journeys with you. These people are Doreen, Leah, and Katrina. They saved my life on race day probably without even knowing it.
If you have ever done the Miami Half or Full Marathon you know that there is a lot of waiting time. Katrina and Leah had both planned on running the half but opted out due to injury. Their superhero status was cemented when they still got up super early, took a shuttle bus to the start and hung out with us before it was time to get into our corrals. They even stayed on the chilly day to see us off at the start and cheer for us close to mile 11.
During the race my superhero was Doreen. Dealing with her own injury we decided to head out together and do a run/walk together for as long as we could with the rule always being if one of us needed to go ahead and run on that it was ok. Having your best buddy alongside you is the best distraction one could possibly have. I was cold and miserable for a good part of this race but Doreen kept me focused by sticking to our run/walk plan and checking in with each other.
But mile eight was where I started to freak out and the doubts took a dominant place in my thoughts. All I kept thinking about was the fact that I only ran eight miles for this race. I had no idea what would happen and wondered if I could make it back to downtown Miami. Doreen still kept me focused by asking questions and pointing things out to me. I may not have been a happy camper at various points in this stretch but we continued on.
When Doreen was ready to go on I willingly sent her off and focused on what she has said to me while on many long runs together. Basically you can do it, just keep going.
Those last few miles were hard but I kept going even when everything else in my body hurt but my feet. But, as always, there was my buddy waiting for me after I crossed the finish. It was worth it just for that congratulatory hug.
So I learned that my foot can now handle this long distance stuff again and that I am woefully out of shape. I was then reminded that post-race drinks and food with your buddies is always awesome and so is being on the beach even if you have to wrap yourself in a blanket.
With that behind me I’m slowly working my way back into running shape to gear up for the NYC Half. The slow part is to avoid injury and get that routine back in order. I’m not planning on doing any racing in February but to focus on my training and making sure that I don’t have another worst ever half marathon.