I was totally right

So, I know I haven’t posted in 6 months, but you know, life happens. Doesn’t mean I have forgotten about this challenge. My last post I was writing about races 14 and 15. As of now, I have completed 22 and am massively behind schedule.

But I have an excuse! Its not wholly my fault.

It was a bit tough finding sufficient races to compete in over the summer.  But I made it through, participating in 7 races in Florida’s hottest months.  But, now, I’ve hit a bit of a unforeseen snag, causing me to have to play catch-up a bit.

Race 15 was the Tropicolor Color Run, which Wifey and I walked together. I was OK with that considering I had another event the following weekend.

Race 16 was the Mother’s Day 5k, which ended up being one of my favorites so far, Despite the ridiculous uphill climbs of Vista View park, the event as a whole was challenging and fun.

Race 17 was in Clearwater beach. It was supposed to be the Memorial Day 5k, but since we were visiting the in-laws that weekend, I had to switch it up. This was my worst race by far, largely because I forgot my running shoes and was racing completely in the sand, dodging kids and sandcastles. I finished dead last, and wouldn’t do this event again.

Race 18 took me back to Vista View park, but this time NO HILLS! The park is beautiful without the treacherous inclines.

Race 19, the independence Day 5K. Non-descript road race, nothing really special.

Race 20 was the one I was looking forward to, the Hemingway Sunset run in Key West. This one was largely disappointing because, as with most races, I was at the back of the race pack. But the course wasn’t sufficiently marked, the roads weren’t closed and race volunteers started dispersing before we passed. Largely unorganized and disappointing.

Race 21 was possibly one of my favorites – Meet Me In The Dark at FIU North campus. It was a night race, and I felt great and posted an awesome time – for me.

Race 22 was appropriately named the “Summer’s End” 5k. Sponsored by Runner’s Edge in Boca, this beach run was fun but the crowd was way too athletic for me.

So, here I am 6 weeks removed from the last event. Having had the past 2 races I registered for cancelled, and the one before that we inadvertently slept through, means I haven’t run in an event in almost 2 months. So, I am massively behind schedule and need to catch up. The next race will be number 23 – the Viktor E Dash sponsored by the Florida Panthers and benefiting cancer research. I hope to do a bit of training in the next 2 weeks to get myself ready for this. You know, so I don’t die…

Stay tuned!

This running thing is getting addictive

Although I am 14 races in towards my pre-birthday goal of 40, I have race #15 planned for this weekend, and then I have already signed up for #16 and 17 as well. Beyond that, who knows?

May 8th is Mother’s Day – what better day than to drag your ass out of bed early in the morning to sweat and run for an hour? I signed up for a Mother’s Day 5k because, well, I needed a race that weekend. And this one has finishers’ medals! So it will be a fine event, even if my mother refuses to run it with me.

Just 13 days later, I’ll be running my second A1A race, the Covenant House 5K on A1A. The last race I did on A1A was a true joy. This one has free beer from Funky Buddha afterward to stay hydrated. So how could I pass it up?

Race #18 COULD be the Memorial Day Classic in Weston. I signed up for this but I am trying to get out of it. It would be a quick turnaround for me to run again after only 9 days of rest. But, more importantly, I need to travel that weekend so maybe it isn’t in the cards. I have already also signed up for what could end up being race #22, the Key West Hemingway Sunset Run. I have been eyeballing this one since months ago when my wife sent me the link. It looks amazing, but it is in Key West. So I need to drive 3 hours each way to run for 50 minutes (hopefully less) and spend a bunch of money. But, really, who feels like a weekend in the Florida Keys is a burden?

I am well on pace to finish this thing before my 40th birthday. But I am worried that races will start becoming scarce in the Florida summer. Frankly, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, its too damn hot to run down here anyway. But I can’t realistically just take the summer off, so I will try to see what clever ways I can come up with to not die of heat stroke trying to stay on track for 40 before 40 over the Florida summer. If it means I have to start running every weekend come winter, then maybe I have to do that.

Until then, just keep pushing for faster times…

This guy gets it…

Wifey texted me this blog article today that sounds like it could have been written by me.  Well, maybe by me in some distant future form of myself where I have the courage and ability to run half marathons.  But, besides that, the sentiment is the same.

http://www.daddyfiles.com/fat-guy-running/

I understand being the fat guy in the race, being smirked at by other competitors as you jiggle through the back of the course.  Gasping for air as you get passed by an old man in jean shorts who is walking and barely sweating.  But I also understand how it feels to have random strangers cheering you on as you approach the finish line in a full sprint, saying things like “you can do it” and “you’re almost there!”  That’s a great feeling.

I especially appreciate the last bit of this article, which properly addresses the subject-matter jackass that inspired this bit of literary gold.  So, from one fat guy running to another: great work!

Two more races in the books

Over the past 2 weeks, I have completed the next 2 races in my 40-part adventure.  On March 19, I ran the Hearts at Work 5K at Markham Park.  2 weeks later, I participated in the Pound the Pavement 5K benefiting Habitat for Humanity at Zoo Miami.

Early morning starting-line selfie, with the daunting "hell hill"

Early morning starting-line selfie, with the daunting “hell hill”

The Hearts at Work was a decent event.  Kind of disorganized but overall a fun challenge.  The race started at an arbitrary point, despite being managed by Accuchip, on the bit of road I’ve come to call the “hell hills” at Markham Park.  I have been riding my bike there, and there’s a small stretch of 4 hills that make bike riding a challenge.  We started (and finished) this race between hills 3 and 4.  So, a nice uphill climb to start and about a tenth of a mile before the end.  Thanks for that.

In all, this race was pretty fun.  Being familiar with the course was nice – no guessing “when is this thing going to end!?!?”  I once again won a door-prize – a $50 gift certificate for Running Wild, a local running store.  I felt good at the end, once again setting a personal best at just under 52 minutes.

The next race, two weeks later, was the Pound the Pavement 5K at Zoo Miami.  I have always wanted to run a race at the Zoo.  I feel like these races in theme parks make the run a little more interesting and less focused on how much I’m about to die from the pain.  But, the night before this race, I had foolishly scheduled a sleep study, and as such, I only got 4-5 hours of sleep.  So I was extra exhausted and ended up finishing about a minute slower than the last race.  

Photo of me, dying at the finish line.

Photo of me, dying at the finish line.

This was the first time I failed to beat my previous time.
This event was as fun as I expected it would be.  Complete with elephant poop smells, the zoo provided interesting backdrop and experience for this run.  I just wish it wasn’t so far away, and that I was better prepared.  I hope next time, I will be able to perform better, and let this race be the anomaly.

These last two events put me at 13 completed. For the math whiz kids, this is just under 1/3 of the 40 before 40 challenge, with more than a full year to go.  I have 3 more events on the calendar as of now:

  • April 16: Sunsmart 5K, Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, FL
  • April 23: The Color Run Tropicolor 5K, Huizenga Park, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • May 8: Mothers Day 5K, Vista View Park, Davie, FL

I’m starting to run into a problem, though, because not many events are scheduled in South Florida after Memorial Day.  I guess it gets too damn hot out there to run in the summer time.  So, my “every 2 weeks” schedule is going to have to compress some beginning in the fall.  Guess I better get to training…

March for Cancer

As soon as I saw an event that benefits cancer research that didn’t require $250 fundraising minimum, I knew I wanted to sign up.  Of course, so did the wife, since this is a cause that she is passionate about supporting.  So, this morning, we got up a 5-something to get to Fort Lauderdale Beach before 7 AM.  Little did I know, this event course was almost exactly the same course I used to run many years ago when training for my first ever 5K at ESPN the Weekend.

IMG_20160305_102332You could not have asked for a better venue for an early morning run.  The weather was beautiful, a breeze graced the entire course coming off the ocean.  We started on the 3-mile course as a Royal Caribbean cruise ship pulled into port everglades.  It was amazing.

This event was a simple out-and-back course, starting on A1A south of Las Olas, and going all the way to Sunrise Blvd. and back.  I finished this race, once again, faster than the last one, but only by about 35 seconds.  Gotta get back to training to improve my time before the next race.

Once done, the post-race festivities were just as interesting, including the raffle which we won a GPS watch.  Every radio station in South Florida was in attendance as a sponsor, in addition to Orange Theory, PDQ, and Ed Morse.

In all, I thought this was one of the best-organized and most fun runs of this entire challenge.  I am happy to be a part of contributing to the worthy cause and  I plan to do this event again next March.

Next up – A Sunday morning jaunt at Markham Park benefiting the American Heart Association on March 20th.

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