#MedalMonday: Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon

By | February 26, 2018

smiling among the palm trees

all smiles, and not because it’s the finish line

So I ran a second half marathon this past Sunday. The time? Not the greatest. But I had so much fun. Couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous course along the ocean.

I knew the course was mostly flat, but I had two concerns going into the race: the drawbridge on Las Olas and the Florida humidity. For the latter, I was glad I was arriving on the Wednesday prior to the race (Sunday).  My runs Wednesday were a mess because I needed more water than expected (mid afternoon, sunny) so they were: from hotel as far as water ran out and from Walgreens until water ran out. Ideal, no. But it was my first weather running since the Squirrel Stampede and gave me a chance to run the northern reaches of the Half Marathon course, which I didn’t previously know. That was the best thing about this destination race: I’ve been to Fort Lauderdale more times than I can count, so I knew the course and I didn’t have the nerves of an unknown city (or desire to tire out my feet exploring).


Funky Fun Run tee-shirt

Thursday was much more fun. When stretching in the hotel gym I saw a flyer for the Funky Fun Run and decided why not. I’m so glad I did. It was after sundown and in the shuttle from the hotel to the start at Running Wild I met some lovely folks-who even came to cheer me at the finish! That was such an amazing surprise. It was a quick 3.5ish mile run down Sunrise to A1A and past the Westin to the finish line for Sunday’s race and back to the Westin for a drink. I don’t really get the post-run beer thing, to be honest, but such a fun night and while it was humid I was OK and knew I was ready tor Sunday. And yes, I bought a shirt (have to support local businesses) and it’s in women’s sizing!

Funky Fun Runners

The other fun thing about this run, it was going to be my first Expo. On Friday I walked to the convention center to give myself an idea of what walking over one of the draw bridges would be like (weird!). I really didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the event.

posing with 13.1

Silliness, of course.

Also, practical. Lots of vendors and goodies. I won a copy of Push at the OrangeTheory booth, bought a couple of gels and alas didn’t find a buff. That was the one thing I was worried about for Sunday, the sun. I had a visor but wasn’t sure how it was going to go. It ended up going fine, mostly because it was overcast much of the run, but I really do need to get a buff before my summer runs.

Swear the best thing about a 2 Queen Bed hotel room was place to do flat me that isn’t on a stepladder

Flat Cari

race shirt was cute!

Sunday came early. And by early, I mean 3:45 alarm because the race started at six and they suggested we be in our corrals by 5:20. I allowed way too much time for an Uber (even though there was a surge!) and was there super early. That was good because it gave me time to use the bathroom, check my bag and buy a breakfast bar at 7/11. I wasn’t sure about (not) eating with such an early start. I had just a snack after a late lunch Saturday and was fine, but peckish. I knew I could run on a breakfast bar as I’ve sometimes had those at work before running.

The start was a little too disorganized for my liking, to be honest. I’m used to the military like corrals at NYRR races and this was just one giant mass. I found a pacer, eventually, and while I wasn’t sure I was on board with her run 5/walk 1 plan, I figured I’d start out with her. We were off a little after six: they ended up doing waves instead of the mass start, which was probably smarter.

There’s a running adage that says the first mile is a liar. It definitely was on Sunday. It was the only mile below eleven minutes because even though it was an hour before sunrise, the air was soup. I had some thoughts about a time leading up to the run, but I knew early that wasn’t going to happen. I knew I’d have to choose between running and being miserable, and run/walking more than planned, and enjoying it. I think the first two pics tell you which one I chose.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park sunrise on the Intracoastal

sunrise over the Atlantic, along A1A

lone spectator, although crowds were good

I spy signs of the Finish

Jellyfish sandcastle

As you can see, it was a gorgeous course and I wanted to enjoy it. Oops! I was also struggling mightily. I felt bleh from the heat around mile five in the park so took an early gel. That and sloshing water just made me queasy, so I decided I was walking the water stations and no more gels. Walking some gave me the chance to really take it all in: people in crazy wigs at water stations, a beer station, some fun signs, a gecko! I had my phone in my hand the entire time since a gel exploded in my pouch.  Hence the photos.


Checking my flip flops in my bag was wonderful for the walk on the beach back to the hotel. I checked my glasses in favor of my sunglasses, which meant I was running without glasses the whole of the race. It was fine, but I really need to get transitions. What I didn’t realize until the race was done: I ran without music. I didn’t turn on my headphones at the beginning because I was talking with the others in the group, and apparently never needed it. That was surprising to me, and I wonder if it was part of why I was flagging. I don’t think so though.

the only kind of jelly fish I like on the beach!

When I got back to the hotel, I took my medal down to the beach; a ceremonial spot in my weight loss journey.

“‘Running lets you know what you can do,’ she says. ‘You never know how far you might go until you get outside your comfort zone. You have to reach beyond your grasp. That’s where the real living begins.'” ~Doris Brown, Amby Burfoot’s First Ladies of Running.

Yup! Made this all Facebook official, but that comment nails it. It’s what I hit on after my first half as well. I will never be skinny, but my body can do a lot of things it never could before. I have a runners’ body and I’m damn proud of it.

I’m not sure whether it was a flatter course or swimming to stretch my legs after, but I’m way less sore than last time. I ran three times this week and other than some soreness which I could also attribute to airplane seats, I was fine after Monday.  Like the first, and others that follow, lots to learn, but a gorgeous day by the beach.

Yep, just a little humid

I <3 this medal. Has now joined the others

Other notes:

  • I did two runs in the new shoes I mentioned, but the 9 is too big so they went back. I apparently wish they made 8 3/4. My November ones have a couple hundred miles in them so they’ll get me at least through Cherry Blossom and maybe Brooklyn while I shop.
  • Finally hit 100 miles run on the year for #RunTheYear. A little behind pace for my 780 goal, but I think I can pick it up.
  • June is definitely going to be for shorter runs. Other races booked (and linkup with Deb Runs):
    • Women’s Mini 10K, I did this last year and loved it
    • Achilles Hope & Possibility (4M), I was closed out of this last year so got in early. I love the work that achilles does.
  • I will probably also sign up for but haven’t officially:
    • Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium, it’s mid April this year. Yay! Still not crazy about the stairs so we’ll see.
    • Italy Run, because heritage
    • LGBT Pride Run, depends on how I’m feeling on two days racing back to back once I get closer
  • TBD on:
    • Queens 10K. It’s super early and getting out there is not easy. I’m not sure how much I want to do the NYC Half, so 4/6 isn’t super compelling to me.
    • Retro 4 Miler: I loved this last year, but mid July could be awful
    • Team Championships: Yes, I’m on Team MHRC but I have yet to do anything with that so not sure.
  • I’m training for the Brooklyn Half, not Cherry Blossom. I’m still running Cherry Blossom (and can’t wait), but rather than train for that, which I was behind on anyway due to recovering from Lebow Half, and then be in a now what scramble for Brooklyn, I’m going to use Cherry Blossom 10 as a long run for Brooklyn. I know me, I’ll be taking photos of the blossoms. I think this will work.

On to the next

8 thoughts on “#MedalMonday: Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon

  1. Liz Dexter

    Fabulous medal and tee and great, sensible work. I personally think more fuel between lunch the day before and the race would have helped you with your energy, but running in soupy weather is YUCK. I’ve been thrilled to see your progression and can’t wait to see you enjoy your next year of running fun. And yay to having a runner’s body that is strong and can get you miles and miles!

    1. cari Post author

      Probably. If in my own environment I’d have liked a late lunch/early dinner. That;s my plan for DC *where it hopefully won’t be humid) and Brooklyn as it worked for Lebow.
      Me too: so glad I went down this rabbit hole!

  2. Debbie @ Deb Runs

    Congrats on your race and finding new running friends in a new city! You got some great pictures!

    Oh, I like the idea of running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler as a training run. I’ve run it five times and that was years ago before it got as crowded as it is today. I hope the cherry blossoms are in peak bloom for you so you can get lots of pictures. It’s beautiful when they’re in full bloom! Can’t wait to read your recap!

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you. Me too! I used to live in Japan where I fell in love with them. Have talked about going down to DC for them for years but never did, and then a friend mentioned the race to me and lottery luck came through. It’s going to be a fun weekend no matter what. Won’t wear out my feet Saturday but so glad to have booked National Archives, which I missed out on last time due to lines

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