Sunday, March 6, 2011

Miami Beach 13.1: SUCCESS!

What a gorgeous, gorgeous morning to run a half marathon. And the best part about the day is how 14 hours after the race, my body feels fantastic! I know, I know... the last time we spoke, I was in the middle of a 'slow recovery' routine. But by Friday afternoon, I could fully rotate my left ankle without so much as an ounce of pain anywhere and I wanted that third medal so badly. This 13.1. has been teasing me for weeks now and I was too stubborn to refuse it. Encouraged by Erin Wolff and Emilio Arrieta, I decided to run the race. I knew that I could mentally handle the distance since I had done it twice before, and as far as physical completion, well, I knew I'd have to listen to my body and take it nice and easy. Today wasn't about running to beat a certain time, it came down to my addiction commitment to the amazing feeling of running side-by-side with thousands of people of all shapes and sizes who are pushing themselves to accomplish a personal goal. My stepmom once told me that of all the gaits that horses could do 'forever', it's the trot. So I figured that I could trot my way through the course. And yes, I just called myself a horse.

Emilio, Janet, Liz, Erin, Katie

 There were only 2,000+ registered participants in this race. It was a quiet morning on Ocean Drive but  buzzing with excited runners by 5:30am.  I ran with my friend Emilio (in his first race, ever!). It was a wonderful distraction: running alongside such a friendly, upbeat, equally-out-of-long-distance-shape-but-fiercely-determined-to-just-...finish conversationalist. The first 7 or 8 miles were cake as we trotted over the Rickenbacker Causeway in the early morning sun.  The race carried a Latin theme and the DJ cheer posts encouraged me and my Ecuadorian compadre up and over into downtown Miami. Coming back over the Julia Tuttle Causeway in the rising sun prompted the loss of Emilio's shirt and a few rising groans about our tight extremities.  The last three miles were the toughest by far for Emilio's screaming knees and my lead weight hamstrings. But true to tradition... with 0.1 miles left, rounding the corners of the sidewalk through the welcoming crowd, I gave Emilio a mischievious look, and took off at a sprint. Let it be known that Emilio is fast. I've seen him play soccer and run circles around defenders. But this poor guy couldn't catch me for the life of him. I looked back twice and I couldn't help but smile, partly because I was winning -muahaha - and partly because I was so proud of him for pushing it so hard in the end when I knew he was exhausted.

The finishing time was 2:11 and I couldn't be happier. A 10 minute-mile average when three days ago I wasn't even considering the run? That's awesome!

I feel like I can safely say that what separates days of muscle agony from a pleasant feeling of accomplishment with only minor aches and pains, is your post-race cool down. Miami Beach 13.1 did it up! A masseuse tent, trays of fresh, hot paella, a Michelob Ultra tent, fruit tables, gatorade and water by the gallon, a live DJ and dance floor, two female Latin dancers showing us 'how it's done', and best of all... about 30 port-a-potties with my name on them. After stuffing ourselves full of beer and food, we headed straight to the beach for a swim. The salt water felt a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

 Sure enough, true to another tradition, I took a fantastic 3 hour nap when I got home. I'm not sure which race I'll do next, though I'd like to do one more before I return to DC in April. I'll never be able to beat this terrain! Looking forward to my run next Tuesday :)

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