Sunday, March 6, 2011

13.1 Miami Beach 5k

~2 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5k race @hard effort
Actual: 18:09 (1st female, 2nd finisher overall)
1/2 mile c/d
Total: 6 miles

Wow, so much to say about this weekend's 13.1 event and so little of it has to do with my running. In fact, as you can see from my results above, the weekend was so nuts nuts nuts that I ended up deciding to "race" the 5k instead of the half marathon; even at that, we were so slam packed at the Karhu and Craft booth that I'm almost embarrassed to count the few minutes that comprised my warmup and cooldown as they were so scattered. Though the race began at 6:23am, a time when I am rarely awake much less trying to run hard, my "cooldown" didn't take place until roughly five hours later when I was sprinting back to my South Beach hotel in an attempt to shower and check out in time to make my afternoon flight. So, why was the morning so crazy? Let's start from the beginning.

In the beginning, my alarm went off at 4:15. And I hit the snooze button. By 4:35 I begrudgingly acknowledged that I could not afford to sleep any later, so I w
oke up and dazedly began going through the motions of getting dressed for a run and preparing for a morning of Craft and Karhu sales. As I jogged the half mile from the hotel to the race start in Lummus Park, I couldn't help but be amused/amazed by the masses of people who were still milling about enjoying their Saturday night while I was up early to begin my Sunday morning. They say NYC is the city that never sleeps, but based on my weekend here in Miami I would argue that South Beach during Spring Break could easily contend for that title. At any rate, I arrived at the race site just before 5:00 and immediately began setting up our race booth along with my coworkers Nora and Aaron and our partners from Runner's Depot. As is always the case at 13.1 events, our goal was to be set up and ready to rock before most of the participants arrived. For a 7 or 8am start this is often challenging enough, but for today's 6am start it required an even more concentrated effort. Fortunately we worked like champs and had things ready to rock and roll within the hour, which gave me just enough time to jog five minutes out and back while the half marathoners were lining up. Normally I'd prefer to run the half at these events, but given the proximity to my recent marathon and, more significantly, the less than ideal weather--80 degrees, 90% humidity and windy--I must confess I was relieved that I'd only have to run hard for 20 minutes or so. Little did I know then that my own aversion to the weather would be the least of our concerns.

Once the half-marathoners set off at 6:13, we 5kers lined up. Though I'd almost been awake for two hours, the barely lightening sky and my general fatigue from the weekend made the idea of running a race seem preposterous. I lined up near the front of the pack and spent a few minutes enjoying the antics of Karhu the Bear, who was suited up and making a show of stretching out before the race began. Due to the success of LA's "Beat the Bear" promotion we decided to extend the same challenge here: any participants who beat the bear during the 5k would win a free pair of Karhu shoes. In LA our bear ran 18:45 and was beaten by less than 15 people; today we expected our bear to run closer to 21 minutes and hopefully fall in behind 20 or fewer finishers. Didn't that turn out to be wishful thinking...

Karhu the bear during happier times, warming up
for the 5k

The race began just before 6:30, and almost immediately I shot toward the front (after spending the first 20-30 meters navigating around people who had no business taking up the first row of the starting line, of course). Within the first 400 meters it became clear that there would be one guy leading the way, then a decent gap, then myself following suit, then another decent gap, then everyone else. I won't bore you with the details as that's a verbatim description of how the race unfolded, save for myself taking an accidental 10-20 second detour in the wrong direction midway through the third mile. As soon as I crossed the finish line I grabbed a bottle of water--it sure was warm and humid, even without a furry mascot suit--and stayed in the finishing chute to wait for our bear to finish.

I waited. And waited. After a few minutes, I was excited. As more and more people came trickling in, I grew anxious. By the time the race clock ticked past 25 minutes, I became concerned. A few seconds later our bear staggered across the line, literally dazed and confused and more or less suffer
ing from heat exhaustion. Aaron immediately escorted him to the medical tent and I immediately sprinted back to the Karhu booth. A whopping 97 people had beaten our bedraggled and overheated bear, and that could only mean that things were about to get crazy in Karhu land. Sure enough, the next time I looked at my watch over two hours had passed, and the hoopla didn't die down and allow us to pack up until almost 11. To be sure, the buzz surrounding the brand was exciting to behold, but it also made for an absolutely exhausting morning. If I was spared the fatigue of running 13.1 miles, I think it's safe to say the morning madness more than made up for it. Believe it or not, our bear was such a trooper that he returned to the Karhu booth to help pitch in even after spending almost an hour in the medical tent. Now that's the indomitable Finnish "sisu" that our brand celebrates! Karhu the bear may have taken more of a beating than he (or we!) planned for today, but I can guarantee you that he'll be back on his feet and swifter than ever at our next event, the Georgia Marathon 5k on March 20th. In the meantime, I think he and I both need a well-deserved hibernation, er, nap.

Me with one of the 97 (!!) people who beat the bear
and earned a free pair of Karhu shoes


Mad said...

oh no!!!! poor bear!!!

Victor said...

Nice race this weekend!