Lucky #7: Miami Half Marathon

2019 marked my seventh year running my hometown race, the Miami Half Marathon. When I first ran the race in 2013, I was a new runner and completely new to the half marathon distance. The race was tough and awful at times, but it solidified my love for the sport of running and my love for the 13.1 distance. I come back to the Miami Half Marathon each year as my “runniversary” because this course takes me back to that 2013 day where I fully understood my strength and felt what it was like to own being a badass. In the years since that first half marathon, my love and appreciation for running has grown.

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I’m grateful for the years of running and, believe me when I say this, I am grateful for the ability to run. Even though I am grateful, I am still human and I get disappointed when runs/races don’t go as hoped for or as planned. The disappointment is even heavier when I’ve had a solid training cycle and saw and felt all the changes.

Miami Half Marathon 2019, here it is: you broke my heart. The frustration was real. The disappointment was palpable. The anger was intense. I finished and I’m grateful that my training prepared me to finish the race regardless of the circumstances. But, it still hurt and sometimes I just want to sit in my hurt and feel OK about not feeling OK with how things went down. I care a lot about running, I care a lot about my training, and I put my whole heart into both and when it doesn’t come together, it stings. Tears were shed on the course and relief filled me when I finished.

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Running is hard, even when it feels easy. When it doesn’t feel easy, it’s even harder and it hurts.

So, what happened? An annoying side stitch that made itself at home for almost 2 miles. I couldn’t run through the pain and my brain went overboard with all kinds of questions: Is this a repeat of the Chicago Marathon 2018? I never get side stitches in my training, why do I get them when I race? Did I drink enough water all week? Am I breathing wrong? Why is my body “failing” me? It’s been a while since I’ve had a good race, when is that going to happen again? Then, of course, the stream of thoughts: I am angry. I am upset. No, I’m just disappointed. It’s OK. There are other races. I’m still angry though. Bye A-goal. Bye B-goal. Just smile. Just finish. Just keep moving forward. There’s beer at the finish line. You got this. You look good. SMILE.

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It’s amazing how many thoughts and experiences can fit in one racing experience and how you can feel like you experienced a lifetime of events in the space between start- and finish-lines.

I’ve spent the past week processing the race and working on being kinder to myself in situations like this. The heart break has subsided and I’m in that Let’s-Find-Everything-Positive-About-The-Race stage:

  • After days of race-day forecast being rain, rain, and more rain, it did not rain.

  • Expo was quick, easy, and well-organized.

  • I got to see lots of runner friends at expo, on the course, and after the race.

  • The course showcases Miami’s beauty perfectly.

  • Smooth start and organized finish.

  • Beer.

  • I got an amazing hug at the mile 12 lululemon cheer station.

  • I finished my seventh Miami race and 34th half marathon.

  • This race came in as my fastest Miami time with a 2:01:36 finish.

  • Maybe there was a 10K PR time.

  • I’m already signed up to run in 2020 (also, got some amazing goodr glasses).

  • The race medal is a stunner.

  • I still love running.

  • I can’t wait to race again. (I see you Princess and 305).

Not all races will be the best races and that’s OK. Goals come and go and that’s part of what makes running an endless amount of fun. My work as a runner is to continue caring as much as I do while letting go of disappointment quicker. It’s running and it’s hard and there’s always another run on the horizon. Showing up and doing the best is what matters.