On the eve of life’s great yearly event known as the ING Miami Half Marathon, I would like to pause Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, bow my head before my chocolate chip cookies and have a moment of silence. A moment of quiet reflection on where I thought I would be on this evening, just 12 short months ago. I had foolishly pictured myself holed up in a downtown Miami hotel room, having just finished a gargantuan plate of spaghetti and garlic bread in preparation for what would be my 9th time running the ING Miami half. Tantalizingly close to the starting line of what would be a glorious 13.1 mile jaunt in the South Florida sun, up the bridges into the coral and peach sunrise, past cheering fans on the cruise ships newly arrived into port, around the transvestites stumbling out of the hip hop clubs on Collins Avenue on wobbly, 6 inch heels, past the well-coiffed ladies with sunglasses heading through gritty Overtown to find their way into Club Space, where electronic music would decimate their ear drums while simultaneously energizing the hordes of ambitious runners streaming below in endless waves of 5:30 minute/mile, 7:50 minute/mile . . . 9:30 minute/mile . . .
I thought for sure when I signed up at the crack of dawn one year ago (to take advantage of the cheapest race entry possible) that I would be escaping the bitter cold of Minnesota and rejoining the ranks of the well-tanned and sprightly Floridians who flocked to the race that was the first in the world to feature the “double-spinning medal”, an undeniably awesome race accouterment. I thought for sure that I would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the throngs of people lining up for the porta-potties before the race because no matter how many times you’ve already gone that morning, your body will defiantly tell you there is still more that must come out. I thought for sure I would be tearing up at 6:00 AM as the National Anthem was being played before +20k people crammed into lettered corrals separating people by how fast they claimed they could run. I thought for sure I would be hearing, “Excuse me” and “Lo siento,” as my neighboring corral-mates tried to stretch their quads and inevitably ram the back of their $200 shoes into my stomach. Or the smell of coffee and oatmeal farts from the guy in front of me as he bends down to “tie his shoe”.
Alas, it is not to be. I am in Minnesota where it is 23 degrees and dropping. I have not planned my pre-race meal and safety-pinned by bib number to the front of my sleeveless running top. I have not set my shoes out in front of the chair over which I’ve carefully lain said running top and non-chaffing running shorts. I have not slipped the crinkly goo chomps package into the pocket hidden in the waistband of my fancy running shorts. I am not, as they say, trying desperately to fall asleep while knowing that I need to wake up in a few hours and move my body through approximately 2 hours of heavy breathing and leg pumping. But, my friend “haif” is, and I am wishing her all the best tomorrow. Kick ass. Love ya.