Wednesday was beautiful. We spent some time swimming, walking on the beach, reading, napping and just hanging around doing not much of anything for most of the day. It was awesome. The fact that the temps were in the single digits back in Boston was not lost on me. Sorry. Not sorry. Wednesday night, my sister, her husband, Jeff and I we went out to dinner at the Palm Valley Fish Camp. I ordered fish because, when in Rome....or Florida. I enjoyed a glass of wine. I had dessert. Basically, I did everything I never do before a race. Because, as my coach had reminded earlier in the week, I don't always have to live a monastic lifestyle and it's important to make the most of the times when I'm not in training simply because I can.
I won't lie and tell you I didn't consider bailing on the half all together while I was enjoying my coffee and dessert. I did. But, when I got home from dinner I laid my stuff out and set my alarm anyway. I mean, who was I kidding? I got a decent night's sleep and woke up 5:30 the next morning. Oof, that came quick. It was pitch black outside and it was a balmy 60 degrees, which I was thrilled about. I hopped in my brother-in-law's car and made my way over to the race start. For the record, he's not a runner.
I actually rolled in a bit later than usual, not at all on my usual pre-race game and not really sweating it. I jogged over to the start to grab my number, this being my only window to get a warmup in. I could not help but notice all the people wearing hats and gloves. No joke. Apparently 60s is pretty chilly for the locals. I must have looked ridiculous in my shorts and tank. I got my bib and shirt and ran back over to my car to ditch everything before making my way over to the line. I'd spoken to my coach the day before the race and we'd landed on two goals; to run hard and to have fun. He reminded me that I was still recovering from Baystate and that my body was not going to be super responsive because of that. Basically, this was probably not going to be a PR day and I should not expect it. It's always good to get this kind of reminder so I don't set myself up for disappointment. Thus, I was going to just give it what I had and do my best to have a good time.
The race director sent us off right on time at 7:00am. As you know, Florida is pretty flat, so I knew it was going to be a relatively painless course, weaving mostly throughout the neighborhoods in the area. I settled right into a pace that felt comfortable, turned up my music and zoned out. Until mile 3 when I zoned back in. On my big toe. Which was throbbing. Stupidly, I'd made a last minute switch to flats right before I'd headed to the line. Really bad call. My big toenail had suffered at Baystate and was now being pushed against my shoe with every step I took. Oh my word, each time I lifted my foot I got a little shot of pain on the nail. My first thought, thank goodness this wasn't a marathon. At the very least, I knew I could grit it out for 10 more miles. My pace was fine, hovering right around 6:45. I tried to focus on my breathing and my rhythm, my music, the palm trees; anything other than my toe. Since I was not at all stressed out during this race, I made an effort to thank the volunteers on the course and at the water stops. I also tried to smile often as I've heard that helps trick your brain into thinking your having a good time, even when you're not because your toe hurts. I wish I had a good story for you on this one, but really I just cruised through the miles, mildy suffering, but for the most part enjoying the scenery and the morning in general. Miles 6,7 and 8 were pretty rough. I could feel myself slowing down, and stepping on the outside of my right foot in order to adjust for my toe. But, I was able to pick it back up for the last few miles simply because I was just eager to be done.
I finished in 1:28 and change which I was more than pleased with given how things had unfolded. I should have eaten more carbs and less sugar the night before. I should have stayed off my feet for a better portion of the day on Wednesday. I should have hydrated better. I should have gotten up earlier and given myself more time to warm up. I should have cooled down. Oh yeah, I didn't do that either because my toe hurt too much. And for a different race, I would absolutey go back and do it differently. For this one, I wouldn't change a thing. I got exactly what I expected out of it. And sometimes that's all we need. In terms of running, that is. As I said, for this trip, what I really needed was family time, good food and a lack of regimen. And that, too, is exactly what I got.
Hanging w/ Rosie & Grace
at Thanksgiving dinner w/ my sister and my dad
Listen to this:
We Got The World - Erin McCarley