Yes, the elevation chart for Miami is plenty appealing, but that’s not why I’m running the race. The actual reasons are much more personal, and much more lovely, so in the spirit of this Thanksgiving week, here’s the story of how December 11 came to be marked with a giant star on my calendar.
When I finished Nike and decided I had one more half-marathon left in me for the year, I looked at some local races, at RNR Las Vegas, and even at waiting till 2012 and making my sub-2 attempt on my 30th birthday at 13.1 Los Angeles. But then I got an e-mail from the Competitor folks about the Miami Beach race, and everything else was easy, because of this lady on the right:
We survived high school together, we spent our spring breaks in unseasonable locations for each other, and we’ve worn extremely tasteful bridesmaid dresses in each other’s weddings. We blog and bake collectively, and we will gladly take one of the longest non-stop flights in the continental United States to see each other in San Francisco or Miami. But to the best of my recollection we’ve never run together. Neither of us ran in high school — we were more inclined to spend hours marching around a parking lot at band practice — and it honestly never occurred to me that running would be something we’d share. (Mostly because of me. I was the one who wasn’t going to run, ever.)
Somehow — and that probably deserves its own post one of these days — I was running semi-seriously the first time I visited her house in Miami a couple of years ago, and she might have been running then too. But we certainly didn’t run together on that trip (it was somebody’s bachelorette party). And we didn’t run the last time we saw each other, either (it was somebody’s wedding).
But this summer, she signed up for her first half-marathon — which she went on to rock, finishing something like 20 minutes faster than the time she projected for herself. And so when I got that e-mail about a race in Miami Beach that would have us running around this hilarious little island where she got married and I used to walk from her apartment to the ocean and we together consumed many an oversized alcoholic beverage — and where we could celebrate our finishes at a free Pitbull concert? I couldn’t book my ticket fast enough.
Normally in any race where I was trying to PR, saying “but I really am just there to have fun!” would be a cop-out, a total lie. But in this case, the trip really is about more than just the race. I mean, it’s about running my brains out to try to get my sub-2, and in my very very most ideal version of the day, I kill my own race and still have enough left in the tank to turn around and run her in (HA HA HA, yeah. A girl can dream). But knowing we’ll be able to either toast our amazing races with giant frozen daiquiris or drown our sorrows and ice our aching bodies with giant frozen daiquiris made it much easier to commit to the attempt.
Sixteen more days. We are going to run hard and sweat lots and then storm South Beach in Vibrams and Adrenalines and compression socks. Bring it, Miami.