I finished. I could still walk after. Atlantic ocean makes for the best race scenery. I pushed on through heat & humidity. I’m a happy camper…errr, runner. But, rewinding.Fun in the sun on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront #RunFTL Click To Tweet
The Expo was a lot of fun. It’s relatively small compared with the Cherry Blossom one and easy to manage. I lined up for the bib, shirt & goody bag (three separate, but only the bib was a line) while Mom & Bob went to get the parking pass. Pre-pay parking for your spectators is a time & sanity saver as the Bahia Mar is right across from the finish and finding parking on a beautiful weekend beach day/traffic on A1A with the race isn’t fun. We spot checked some of the meter apps and the pre-pay in the lot was only about $4 more.
After the essentials, we wandered the four aisles. I knew I had “forgotten” my chews aka couldn’t find them before packing last minute so they were what I needed to buy. I found them quickly, although not from the Running Wild booth. I wish I’d realized I forgot my backup shorts as I would have bought a pair there. As I mentioned in the Weekly Wrap, a four store tour of Delray was not productive in terms of finding shorts. Oh well.
Race Day ish:
Why do I consider pre-race dinner part of race day? When the race starts at 6am and it’s less than twelve hours before? That’s race day!
Luckily I was relatively tired from a 4a wakeup on Friday and was able to fall asleep by 10 or so. Alarm went off at 3:30 and first step was to check to see if I could get an Uber/Lyft to the start. I knew they served Delray, but wasn’t sure about available cars at that hour. I had a backup in Mom, but luckily it looked easy to get a car thanks to bar closing time/airport runs.
Somehow I didn’t end up with a Flat Cari photo. Oops. I opted for the Lotta Breeze capris despite the heat concerns, a bright yellow shirt from the Manhattan 7 Mile making it easy for mom & Bob to spot me coming and my Yankee hat that I wore for Lebow. Why that one? It’s a random game giveaway and wouldn’t have minded tossing it if it got too sweaty. Rather than the new shoes, went with the Vongo 2’s as I ran Lebow in them but hadn’t taken the new ones out for longer than 4.5 miles. I requested a Lyft at about 4:15 and was at the start by 4:50.
I wasn’t really sure about how to warm up for this, so I essentially didn’t. I did some of the PT exercises at my PT’s advice but otherwise people watched, joined and re-joined the potty lines and watched the clock crawl to 6. It was too long a wait, but with a 30m drive and I-95 a crap shoot, I wouldn’t risk it closer. If I do this again next year I’ll definitely stay in Lauderdale.
Seeing and waves were more organized than last year, and I think we crossed the start about 6:10 or so. Why “or so” and no exact temperature and humidity? I decided from the beginning or really even from early last week to take it as a fun run. I had not run more than 10K since my last half and when I went into PT I made the decision to sacrifice the goals for all three spring Halfs in order to heal. This was the right decision.
Plus, it’s easy to treat this as a fun run. The course is (mostly) gorgeous, the spectators are fun and aside from the bridges on Las Olas, it’s a pancake. The latter is why I hope one day I’ll set a PR here.
My fueling strategy was a NutriGrain in the car on the way down, lots of water and chews when they felt necessary. The run strategy was to walk Las Olas Bridge, the water stations as needed, and then when my Achilles asked for it. Both of these worked as planned and were the right decision. I was pleasantly surprised that I kept within sight of the 2:30 pacer until Hugh Taylor Birch Park at mile 5ish. I started really strong, but wasn’t a case of going out too quickly.
I was dreading the stretch from the Park exit to Oakland Park Blvd. as it always seems to go forever – usually because I’ve run out of water when doing it on my own and am inching to the Walgreens. Also, it goes away from the water for a bit because the oceanfront has some high rises–not scenic at all. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Other than walking the Las Olas bridge and the water stations, I didn’t walk until after mile ten, which was much later than last year. This was where I found the beer station and happily took the water they also offered. Them, Front Runners really go to town with their water stations. Could also have hugged the table with the wet sponge, which felt magic when she wrung it over my head. As you can see, I was not alone in my decision to walk. It was just too warm here.
MarathonFoto hasn’t finished with the photos but I expect one exceptionally bad one as I didn’t even see him until the women next to me did a jump and I was trudging at that point. Although I’d been drinking enough, I was wilting.
The thing that was different about this race than any other? Mom & Bob were at the finish and knew roughly when I was coming as I’d texted that I switched to walk/run around mile 11. When I saw them, I turned on the ham. This was right after the only part about this race I hate, the inflatable pseudo finish that isn’t. It’s an evil tease. And yes, Dirt in the skirt is the best movie line.
It was hot, I was tired, I finish smiling. Oh, and my official finish was 2:44:17.08. 2018? 2:50:08:71. Almost a six-minute course PR. WOW. I was shocked when I saw my watch because I was pretty sure I’d lost the 2:45 pace group.
I got my medal, did the obligatory finisher photo and made my way back to mom & Bob.
Palm tree was my only request. Best post-race decision I made was to leave a bag in their car with a change of clothes, flip flops and my new massage stick. That (and the Dunkin run for iced coffee!) made for a much more comfortable ride back to Delray.
And then there was brunch. Original plan was conch fritters at Boston’s, but I wasn’t feeling heavy fried food so we went to Park Tavern. The plan was ahi tuna, but I was hungrier than a starter and it didn’t pair well with anything else, so this became the decision. Tracked and moved on, see also: DQ oreo mint blizzard for dinner. I’m not normally a post-race brunch person, but this was good!
As was this perfect way to rest my feet and then stretch
and Monday’s walk to the beach to stretch and make it a legit visit.
A few things I’d change, but a really good race weekend overall. I’m in FLL way too often to consider this a race-cation.
On to the next.
What I loved:
- The Skirt/capris were the perfect choice. Phone was accessible, leaving belt pocket free for sunscreen, extra NutriGrain bar. It was hot, but I think anything would have been hot, and this way I didn’t have to worry about chub rub.
- I ran a solid 15K in the heat before we lost the shade and entered full sun. I think it was that rather than my recent lack of running that made for a challenging last 5K. Changing to a walk near the end was right, the choice was running or finishing.
- My running and fueling strategy. Throwing out goals in favor of a race plan sometimes works.
- At 13.12, this is the best I’ve run an actual course.
- PT stretches paid off. Although the lack of hills is part of what made this recovery easier, I wasn’t too sore other than walking to the beach Monday. Intracoastal bridges are evil.
- Reading Meb for Mortals. OK, this has nothing to do with the Half, but I started it on the plane home and loving it.
Things I’d change:
I’m actually not sure if I’m doing this next year, not because I don’t like the race but because it’s moving to January. While Florida > NYC running in January and I think it will be cooler, which solves my major issue with this race, I’m not sure I want to give up Lebow. So we’ll see. Luckily the early registration savings isn’t a decision maker. If I do, or if these help others, some things I’d change:
- Stay in Lauderdale. a 30m ride to the start is one variable too many on race morning.
- I’d fly in on Wednesday or Thursday to give myself more time to acclimate to Florida weather. I did this last year, and it also meant I got a run in with the Funky Fun Run group
- Be a little more detail oriented with the body glide. I missed two spots and oh do they hurt. On the plus side, I know what I’d have looked like if I hadn’t lubed.