This past Sunday I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Latin Music Miami Beach Half Marathon. I had taken interest in the RNR series once I noticed many bloggers participating in the races across the country. I always hoped to run in one at some point and immediately signed up in February when I visited the RNR race booth during the Disney Princess Half Marathon expo. I signed up for my second half without even knowing if I could finish or would even enjoy a half marathon!
After the Pretty Muddy Mud Run on Saturday, my mom and I drove down to South Beach to pick up my bib number. The positive part about picking up the bib the day before is you can get a feel for the area you will be running if you are not familiar with the course. Traffic was CRAZY at noon on Ocean Drive. It made me nervous for the traffic and parking for the next morning.
Another challenge I faced was dehydration after my Saturday mud run. Since I was so focused on getting to the RNR expo, I think the lack of rehydration and refueling on the way over kicked me in the butt. I had a headache from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. when I went to bed. I gave myself a 4:15 a.m. wake up time on Sunday to leave the house at 4:45.
My parents insisted on driving me down to Miami, even though I told them I would be fine by myself. I knew I could tackle the parking and traffic, but in case the traffic was backed up where I needed to jump out of the car and go, I had my parents there for help. I was so glad they came with me in the end.
My parents found quick parking on Washington Ave. and met me around the starting point. We observed the other runners and took photos before they wished me good luck and good bye and headed to the infamous News Café for breakfast. I headed to my corral. I liked how there were many more corrals than Disney races (RNR had about 14 maybe?) but they held about half the amount of runners, which made starting easier. In my corral, I overheard one man in his seventies say this was his twelfth RNR race this year. You go, guy! The RNR series attracts a wide audience and many runners travel from outside the state to participate. If I had a ton of money and time to travel the country and run, I would do the same thing they’re doing. I also learned after the race that Ana from my guilty pleasure, the Real Housewives of Miami, was there in the announcing booth at the starting line! I was very bummed I ran by her without realizing who she was.
Around 6:55, my corral reached the starting line and we were off. It was cool to see many restaurant and building owners standing on their balconies to watching the start of the race. The small, deco hotels and buildings surrounding the course have that Miami feel. The first two miles took us past Washington Ave. and around the Miami Beach Golf Club. I don’t know how other runners can run into the bushes to pee and get back on track so quickly. Not for me!
The next leg of the race was crossing Julia Tuttle Causeway. This was a huge challenge for me because I am not used to any steep hills at all. I would say almost half of the race was on causeways – leaving South Beach on Julia Tuttle Causeway to enter Miami and then back to the beach again via McArthur Causeway. I ran non-stop until mile 5. That’s when I started to add in some walking breaks to save my knees.
I am thankful there were police officers at all the intersections to make sure the runners were safe. Miami drivers are crazy and I wouldn’t trust one of them even with hundreds of runners on the road. I was nervous when I noticed the causeways would still be open to cars while we ran. We only had one lane reserved for us, blocked off by cones. I made sure to run on the shoulder of the road but I was shocked when I saw men and women running so close to the cones. Don’t you people care about your safety?
One reason I was intrigued in the race series is that local bands play almost every mile during the course. I wasn’t too impressed by the local musicians. The groups ranged in genres, from reggae to calypso to Latin music to soft rock. The bands that were asked to play fit the feel of the location, yet the music didn’t totally pump be up as I anticipated. I’m glad I still had my playlist going! There were also many cheerleading teams for the local high schools cheering on players. It reminded me of the events I would have to attend during my cheerleading years.
Unfortunately, I didn’t train much for this one as I did for Disney Princess. Many weekend trips and events in the fall prevented me from long run motivation and the sweltering days in August through September made running outdoors difficult. Miles nine and ten were the hardest. I was so close yet so far. These miles were done on the McArthur Causeway amidst all the cars. I did catch some beautiful views of the Port of Miami though and all the huge cruise ships ready to embark during the holiday season. There is nothing else like Miami.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel as I noticed the RNR flags and the beach ahead. The last tenth of a mile was on the beach. Since I completed the race with a walk/run combo, I finished just under three hours. I take that as a success since I didn’t train! The announcer called out my name and hometown when I crossed the finish line, which was never happened before – I’m usually crossing with a big group of people.
My knees were aching as I walked past the finishing area and into the crowd. I received my water, Gatorade and medal and looked for my parents. I was so thankful they were there at the finish line to snap a photo and cheer me on! The race benefited St. Jude Hospitals, and my parents held up a sign you could personalize with the St. Jude logo on it.
My whole body hurt, but the next on my mind is, “Where can I get my free beer?” I went to the Michelob Ultra beer garden to claim my prize and sip with my parents while the Latin band Alexis and Fido jammed with their booty-popping back up dances. How I wish Pitbull was the entertainer again this year! (That was another incentive to get me to the race.)
This time I made sure to drink plenty of liquids after the race to avoid that same headache. That with the combination of the beer and other salty snacks to refuel did not sit well in my stomach. I am going to say again how thankful I am that my parents took me to the race.
I think I’m going to take a break from half marathons for awhile and stick to shorter ones. I am very proud of myself for completing two this year! The Florida heat does not help at all!
What is your most memorable race? Do you like to travel for races or stay local?