Jan 31, 2017

2017 Tropical 5k Recap

I never had any intentions of doing the Tropical 5k. But then I saw that it could count as part of the Florida Storm Series, which means more medals. I had already done the Ft. Lauderdale 13.1 and the Turkey Day 10k, so I only needed 1 more race to get the Category 3 medal. Who am I to turn down more bling? Especially when it's just a 5k! I signed up and was ready for my category 3 medal.

The 5k is on Saturday, and though I scoured all of the information that was sent to me and the website, I didn't see it listed anywhere if they had day of packet pickup. So, to be safe, I left work a little early on Friday and headed to Marlins Ballpark for the expo. I had been to the Miami Marathon expo a couple of years ago when I did the half. Then it was at the Miami Beach Convention Center, meaning most horrible parking of all time. Marlins Ballpark was a WORLD of difference. Parking in the garages (I had to pay parking, but they were sure to tell you the rate in the pre-race info) was easy and painless. I picked up my number, and checked out all the vendors. And I may have picked up a few things too. 

I headed home and started to prep my race day outfit, but it was gonna be 50! That's coooold for this Caribbean creature, so long sleeves were needed. I also pulled out my gloves, cause I'd rather have them then not. I went to bed early and go some sleep before my early morning drive to the beach. 

I headed to the beach in the dark and the ride was pretty smooth. I really only hit traffic when it was the exit to get to the start. The start was at the Miami Children's Museum. There was some parking there, and more across the street at Jungle Island. 

I was lucky enough to get one of the last spaces at the Children's Museum, and those spaces were free. Score, free parking!

It was chilly out there, but I started walking towards the Museum building and the start. That's when I saw a few tents with race day packet pickup. They really could have mentioned this in the emails and the website. Especially for those only doing the 5k, going to the expo isn't really necessary.

I headed back to the start and got into the corral and waited. I found a friend out there, and we chatted and caught up a little before we started. 

The anthem was sung and it was time to get going. It was crowded. Really crowded. I always start with a 5 minute walk, and I might have gotten elbowed a couple of times. My intervals started soon enough, and I was off. I was glad to be running cause I wanted to warm up. 

The course was great. It was across the causeway to South Beach and alongside the port where all of the cruise ships are. By the time Runkeeper told me it was mile 1, my pace was already fast. I knew it would be with the cold, but it was really good. I wasn't pushing too hard either. 

Mile 2 came up and I was shocked at my pace again. I knew what my PR was for the 5k was (36:38), and thought I can get a new PR, probably by a few seconds. At about mile 2.5 there is a slight uphill, then a gradual downhill while you get off the bridge and onto the mainland of the beach. I decided to let gravity do it's thing, and ran down the entire downhill, ignoring my intervals.

We went a little farther down the street, and I started up my intervals again. Then we turned and there was the finish. I ran all the way til I crossed the finish. It was crowded when I came in, but I think I might have one decent pic.

I crossed and remember looking back and seeing 36:0?. I knew I did it. But overly cautious me, needed proof before I celebrated. 

I headed out to get my medal and here's where the good race got messy. There were hoards of people trying to get medals, and not enough handing them out. I had to search for a bottle of water. There were just buckets on the floor with gatorade and water. No one was handing them out, and I had to push myself through a crowd to get one.

Then there was another hoard by the race pics. I know the storm series has free pics, which they will even post to your Facebook for you. Pretty cool, and since I was there alone, I waited for my pic. There were people that were skipping in front, hogging the background. So rude.

Once I got out of that mess, I walked about another block to the beach. The after party was at Nikki Beach at South Point (the most south point of South Beach). I headed onto the sand for some pics on Miami Beach. Then I headed to Nikki Beach for some food and to grab my Category 3 medal. I looked around for the marketing tent, which is where the pre-race email said the medals would be. I didn't find it, so I asked one of the race staff. He called in and told me that I could pick up my medal the next day at Bayside. That is the day of the half and full marathons in downtown Miami, not closer at all. I told him I was only doing the 5k, and I only did it for the medal. He said I could contact the race office and have it mailed to me.

I headed back to the shuttles back to the start, since this was a point to point race. The shuttle took a bit to get there, but while I was waiting I checked the website, and there it was. My new PR! 35:11!! And then before I knew it I was headed back to the start and my car. 

The race itself was great. Flat, cause let's be serious, this is Miami, we're at sea level. But the communication and definitely the post race area needed help, badly. This isn't the first race, so I'm not sure why it was so disorganized. But I'd def give the Tropical 5k a second try.

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