Racing streaks will likely never be my thing because I just feel like there are far too many races out there to keep going back to the same ones! However, 13.1 Fort Lauderdale appears to be the exception as this is now my third year running it and I still love it just as much even without a shiny new PR.
The group that puts on this race, also does ING Miami…thus the focus on cool spinning medals!
If I were looking to travel to FL for a race this would be it. It’s one of the prettiest courses and they focus on post race amenities rather than a big expo, which means you are rewarded if you can make it to the finish! This course is also part of the Storm Series, so if you like extra medal bling check it out.
This course is quintessential FLORIDA. If you want to see water, palm trees and beaches this is the place to be.
The course changed a bit at the start area this year and while it takes you through some pretty places, it’s not built for speed. It contained seven turns in the first mile, but if you can hang on and make it through a few more turns in mile 3 then you are set to fly! First the straight away on Las Olas and then the out and back on Ocean drive.
Las Olas (source) is a popular street in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida with lots of trendy shops, chic boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and hotels. After you pass through this area you continue on the blvd which leads you over an number of waterways providing spectacular views down the water of boats and the decadent homes that can afford that great property in Las Palmas (source.) Unlike Miami where you need to run large overpasses this course is flat from start to finish.
They close down the street next to the boardwalk so you have awesome views on the out and back.
Next up you make the turn on to the road that runs parallel to the Fort Lauderdale boardwalk. This entire portion of the run is exactly what you dream of when you say “I want to take a trip to the beach”. It’s palm tree lined, right next to the beach and with the low wall you can see the waves crashing on to the shore. Unfortunately for the runners, today the winds were blowing East to West which meant at times you actually felt as though your feet were about to be swept out from under you. Some days this course will favor you with a tail wind, but today it was a fight for the entire last half…again at least the view was stellar!
Yup that’s an actual picture of the trees and flags in today’s wind!
My only complaint is there were not enough porta potties at the start (though are there ever??). About three minutes to the gun, there were lines 30 deep. Many of us headed to the start anticipating a place around mile 1 or 2…nope the first time I saw another set of potties was about mile 6 and I just didn’t feel like breaking stride at that point.
Beyond that the course scenery is great as noted, they had more than enough water/Gatorade, great bands, finish line entertainment and the beach!
Today’s sand sculpture and the one from 2010…not sure the older one could have taken today’s wind.
In keeping with the fun post race atmosphere, 13.1 FTL always serves up a little Pollo Tropical! Chicken, rice and beans…along with of course your standard fruit, pretzels and cookies. For those who like to celebrate their accomplishment there was also a beer tent next to the stage…so yes you could have your drinks and chill out on the beach with some great music. A pretty awesome finish to a race!
DOUBLE BIBBING IT
I did everything wrong going in to this race, which I mentioned yesterday in how not to prepare for a race. Which meant, I had no real expectation of hitting a PR, but I stuck with the idea that I might to ensure that I didn’t take it easy. I wanted this to be a great workout and to push myself the entire way.
Part of me though that my NYC training would mean an automatic PR, but the truth is training to run 26.2 miles at a 9:05 pace doesn’t match up to running 13.1 at a 8:25 if you haven’t been practicing that pace. I knew when mile 1 felt tough that I was probably in trouble, but I dug in today and just gave it all I had. Which makes me excited for the Palm Beaches half on Dec 2!
Final time: 1:52:45
2 min off PR time…someday I’ll get faster, in the mean time I had a darn good time out there today.
My outfit of choice today included not only my NYC marathon shirt, but also my bib. That sucker is going to run 26.2 miles in timed races! I put my 13.1 race bib on the front and NYC on the back, which I will plan to do again for another half marathon next month.
This definitely lead to a few interesting conversations from either someone who had been in NYC as well, someone who had followed the ordeal and someone who just thought I forgot to take off my last race number. I love that running brings us together and makes people feel free to start conversations who I might otherwise never have met!
Do you like running the same race each year? What’s your favorite post race amenity?
Days like this make me very grateful to live in Florida. Sunshine, scenery, friends…and shorts.