since I started running I try to travel for races and explore the world at the same time. This time I signed up for a race in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After last years great experience at the Wings for life world run I knew I wanted to run it this year again but I made it to my goal to run it in Florida and I reached my goal when I booked my flight to Fort Lauderdale. I was ready to run farther and faster than last year.
Just to give you a short overview about last year. I ran in Santa Clarita, starting at 4am. Which did mean to get up at 2am and get ready way before my usual time. But I was lucky I had a running buddy and some friends who would also run. I made it to 1:20:21 h and after all I ran 12,32km. Why is there such an odd number? because the wings for life run has no finish line, only a catcher car who will catch you at one point. I knew this year would be very different and I had to train way more because no one would push me besides myself.
First off al I had to fly to Florida and rent a car to be able to make it to the location the next morning. After a short but deep sleep I woke up at 4:30am to get ready for the big day. When I checked the weather I was first shocked and then I realized I can´t change it just make the best out of it. The difference between New Jersey and Florida weatherize was 30 degrees (15° C). I knew I had to make sure to hydrate enough and stretch properly before.
I left the house early enough to be 60 minutes early at the start line, which would be perfect for me but after having trouble to find the right way to the entrance of the parking lot and not so much help from the volunteers/police officers I finally found it and had only 30 minutes left to get to the start line. Picking up my bib was the easiest part because they only needed an ID and I was ready to go.
The feeling before the start was amazing, excitement, nervousness and joy to be able to run for those who can´t. I was amazed how many people came together to run.
A little before 7am a nice lady sang the national anthem and we counted down the last 10 seconds and we were ready to go. I had a good start even tho there were to many walkers all over the place but after I passed them it got easier. Mile 1 was hard because I had trouble finding my rhythm and the sun in my face bothered me a lot. I´m one of those runners who hate the sun in their face.
The sun was in my face for the next 2 miles as well. Mile 2 and 3 were a little easier but it took me up to mile 4 to get in a rhythm and I knew it was way to late to make my goal of 10 miles. But I kept pushing and at mile 5 I saw the pacer for finishing a 15k before the catcher car gets you. I added myself to his team and from then on I just thought about nothing, my head was empty and I just ran. Surprisingly many people joined late on and not from the start.
Mile 6 and 7 passed by in no time and I regretted wearing shorts a lot because my tights rubbed on each other and I was really sore. At mile 8 I had to walk for about 2 or 3 minutes because of that but then I picked myself up again and gave it my all. At almost 9 miles I took a short break again and then I started to sprint because I heard the car coming. The car got me faster than I expected but I made it to 14,72km or 9.15 miles in 1:28:07h. This is a pace of 9:42 min/mile which was 30 seconds slower than the pace I trained with but still amazing when you think about the weather difference and that I had no friends to run with.
I ran 2,40 km more in a way faster pace than I would have thought 6 months ago. When I started running again last year in November, after a long summer break it took me 11:30 min/mile but I´m an achievers and not a quitter, so I kept training and pushing myself. Most of my 400 miles till May 8th I ran alone, some I ran with the Nike NYC run club and some with friends.
After I made my way back to the start place I got my medal and was able to see the wheelchair winners and watch the global race on a big screen. Because we were in Florida and it was super warm and sunny I made sure to sit most of the time in the shadow. When both of the Florida winners were caught I was able to see them and almost 20 km later the global winners were announced. When I went back to the car after the run was over I was burned like crazy. It took me 2 after sun lotions and 1 week to get rid of my sunburn.
I just loved the whole experience again and can´t wait for next year. I already signed up for next year and again in a different location as the last 2 years. Who wants to guess where I will run?