Have I ever mentioned how fast I am at getting ready in the morning? Well, I am pretty speedy: Before a race, I can get up, get dressed, drink a cup of coffee, read my email, take a poop, walk/feed the dog, and be on my way within 30 minutes. The only thing that threw that timing off this morning was that after I walked Scooter, and as I was pouring my remaining coffee into a portable thermos, I heard the distinct heaving of a pre-barfing dog. We only have two area rugs in our house, the rest is either tile or wood, but the dog always barfs on the carpet, why is this?
Anyway, I was able to dash into the living room, lift the heaving Scooter onto the wood, and allow him to barf there. I gathered the necessary paper towels and began to clean it up while he proceeded to complete the necessary dog puke trifecta (he can never barf just once; it is always 3 times).
Thankfully, he finished up his third barf, and then went and ate his food, so I got it cleaned up and was still on my way to the race right on schedule.
I got there at 5:30 am, parked, walked to the start, stood in line for the porta-potty, and was in my corral by 6 am, ready for the 6:13 start (weird start time, right?).
The National Anthem was performed, a few fireworks were launched and we were off! The race started on 17th street, right by the port, and we headed west along 17th, and then turned north along US 1 through Ft. Lauderdale. The Garmin lost its signal as we went under the river, so the splits for miles 2 and 3 are off, but split the difference and you'll see that I was right on pace.
Around mile 3, we turned east on Las Olas, and then at 4.5 miles, we joined A1A and headed north. There was a strong wind coming out of the northeast and blowing across the ocean, and a few times I had to hold onto my visor, but the wind mostly gusted, didn't blow steady, so at times I had to fight it, but overall it wasn't bad. The temp, in general, was PERFECT this morning: a cool 68 degrees! Thank you sweet baby jesus.
Just after the 10K marker, I had to hit up a porta-potty again (a little too much coffee I guess), but thankfully, there weren't any lines so the restroom break only cost me about 40 seconds.
Running on A1A, especially Ft. Lauderdale's section of it, is the perfect running road: it's flat and straight with a good view of the ocean. So once we had turned onto A1A at 4.5 miles, I knew exactly what the course would entail: run 4 miles north, turn around and run 4.6 back to the beach finish. To me, this is perfect. There's no swerving through city streets, the crowd thins out, and the out and back course is my ideal course (a turn around provides me with a huge mental benefit).
So I was feeling good at the turn around at 8.5 miles and I knew it was just a steady 4.6 to the finish. I kept plugging away and tried to maintain my 9:45 pace, which I did a pretty decent job of, so these miles went pretty smoothly. Sure, I began to suffer from the typical fatigue that settles into your joints and muscles during the last half of a race, but overall, I felt good and I knew that either tying or breaking my PR (by a smidgen) would be possible.
As I neared the 13 mile marker, I picked up the pace: I only had one minute to tie my PR and I had to at least do that much. As I was sprinting toward the finish chute, a guy on crutches chose that moment to cross the race path, I wanted to just plow into him for being so inconsiderate, but instead I mumbled a profanity under my breath, swerved around him and gunned it for the finish line.
.28: 2:20 (I guess being nearly 2 tenths of a mile over is a pretty standard Jess-deviation at this point)
Total Time: 2:09:43
Yes! A PR by 2 seconds!! (My previous HM PR was set, as I mentioned yesterday, at A1A -- a nearly identical course -- last February with a time of 2:09:45, so I was pleased to be so consistent with the two races.)
I got my medal, loaded up with some fruit and a bottle of water and boarded a shuttle back to the start. I felt good afterward, and the only thing I was kicking myself for was that one bathroom break, but hey, if a girl has to pee, she has to pee, dammit.
I got home and Jerry made me breakfast (pancakes and bacon: excellent combo for a post race breakfast -- carbs, sugar, protein, calorie dense).
All in all, this was a good race, and a huge improvement over the HM I ran last weekend. This is the first 13.1 in a series that's being started by the same organizers who do the ING series, so there's gonna be one in Miami in March, one in Chicago in June, and one in Atlanta next fall, and then they'll repeat Ft. Lauderdale next November. I think I will do it again: Great course, well-organized, and a nice medal.