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Hard Work Pays Off—Half Marathon PR

Melissa Villamizar November 19, 2012 Fitness 3 Comments on Hard Work Pays Off—Half Marathon PR
Hard Work Pays Off—Half Marathon PR

We try to stay away from too many “personal posts” at LWBF, but as you all know, I spent four long months training for yesterday’s Half Marathon in Miami Beach, Florida, so a recap of the race is definitely in order! A good combination of a new training program and some nutritional tweaks made an enormous difference in my race day performance, allowing me to shave 12 minutes off of last year’s time and 22 minutes off my first half marathon time 18 months ago! Saying I got a PR (Personal Record) is an understatement!

White Rock Centennial Half Marathon (5/2011)

Rock n’ Roll Miami Beach Half Marathon (12/2011)

Rock n’ Roll Miami Beach Half Marathon (11/2012)


All meals for the past week:
Sea salt on everything, drink more electrolyte water.

Days 4, 5, 6 prior to race:
4g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight.

Days 1, 2, 3 prior to race:
10g of carbs per kg of bodyweight.

7:30 pm the night before:
Dinner: Kale salad with avocado, raw vegetables, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, brown rice pasta with homemade vegetable tomato sauce, basil pesto bread, water, water, electrolyte water, coconut water w/superfood and more water. We rented a condo in South Beach this year instead of a hotel so that we would be able to make our own meals, having more control over what we put into our bodies pre-race. We’ve been able to have our smoothies for breakfast, and now we are able to have Claude and Sarah over for a carb-up, relaxing pre-race meal. Totally worth it!

10:00 pm
Bedtime. I’m so nervous I could throw up. I’m doing everything possible not to think about the race, it’s difficult.

Race Day! 2:44 amMiami Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon Medal 2012
Damn, not time to get up yet.

3:30 am
Nope, not yet.

4:15 am
Rise and shine! On the menu for breakfast #1: Gluten-free organic oatmeal with 1 Tabelspoon of raw honey (transported from Dallas) and a sliced banana. Rest and watch CSI Miami. (It’s all that’s on, I swear.)

5:10 am
Breakfast #2: Smoothie with peaches, banana, spinach, blueberries, coconut water, almond milk, water, superfood powder and maca powder.

6:00 am
1,000 mcg of B12 and we’re ready to leave the house! I feel like I have a disorder. “Babe, are you ready to go, it’s time to go are you ready to go we have to go we’re gonna be late we’re gonna be late.” Yes, it was all one sentence.

6:30 am
After a short 5 minute walk/jog to the start line from our condo in SoBe, we’ve checked our bags and are ready to go. But wait, I have to pee. And where’s Claude? We always meet up before the race! I’m sweating so much. I don’t think I should be sweating this much. What if my body is overheating?! Ugh, it was probably that 1.5 mile sprint to find a bathroom before the race. Dangit!

6:45 am
Start time! We’re at the front of Corral 2, ready to Rock n’ Roll (no pun intended).


The Race

Mile 1: I can’t believe I’m here, this is great. Gosh I hope I have a good race! (Praying)
Time: 7:25

Mile 2: I’m starting out fast, but not abnormally fast. I feel like this is a good mile 2 pace. I’m feeling good as we approach the Miami Beach Golf Course. It’s pretty.
Time: 7:37

Mile 3: Did I start out too fast? What if I did? Shit. Where the hell is Claude?! I’m about to hit the 5k mark. Oh man, I have people at home watching my time via text message. I hope they’re proud of me! I bet they’re not even awake yet! Crap my left hip flexor is really tight…
Time: 7:58

Mile 4: Ugh, the on-ramp to 195. Stupid hills. CLAUDE! Oh my gosh there you are! What? What is that you’re saying? Sorry, I can’t hear you and I can’t take my ear buds out because it ruins the suction. On we go! Slight cramping in the neck, means I’m using secondary muscles to breathe. Must get that straightened out.
Time: 7:51

Mile 5: Up and down the causeways. These aren’t as bad as I remember them. Maybe I’m being optimistic. Oh well, I feel good. I’m still running at a consistent pace and I’m burning by people on the uphills. Babies!
Time: 8:05

Mile 6: Man, my pace is on point! I found my rhythm and I’m doing great! Wait, we are still running in the opposite direction of the finish line?! Darnit. Time to take the GU out of my sports bra so that it dries off enough for me to open it at mile 7. Ball of my left foot hurts, hip flexor still tight. But feeling wonderful (it’s all relative).
Time: 8:09

Mile 7: Time for GU! I get 1/3 of the GU packet down with some water and pitch it to the side. I almost immediately regret throwing it away. I’m a little tired but this race is going by so quickly! Yay Miami!
Time: 7:34

Mile 7.5: Just puked a little. Ha. I probably shouldn’t post that.

Mile 8: Relay transition point. Bastards. Oh well, I feel like superwoman! I can’t believe I’ve kept up this pace! Or can I? Ah, who cares. Foot hurts, trying not to think about it. I occasionally press my finger into my hip flexor thinking it will help. It does not.
Time: 7:45

Mile 8.5: Oh thank heavens, a GU station! Yes, give me GU and water! I take another 1/3 of the packet, but this time I keep the extra in my sports bra as my “security GU.” I feel strong and man, this race is going by so fast!

Mile 9: Whoo hoo! 4 more miles! I can totally do this! Although this stretch of road is beautiful with these huge palm trees, I am not interested in looking at them. My foot is killing me, but I don’t care. I’d run right through a fracture right now I’m so determined.
Time 8:12 (that was a rough one apparently!)

Mile 10: What the hell?! I thought I was already on mile 10! I feel like I’ve been running FOREVER! This is the longest race ever! Ugh. Well, the faster I run the faster this is over!
Time: 7:51

Mile 11: Holy shit (excitement). I’m almost there. This is the LAST causeway. I’ve got goosebumps I’m so excited! All of this is about to be over! And I still feel good! Melissa stop, stop thinking and chill, it’s not over until you cross that finish line!
Time: 8:09 (lost focus for a bit)

Mile 11.3: I’d like to be done running now.

Mile 11.5: Okay, I’m happy again.

Mile 12: Um… OH MY GOD. Is that Claude?! I’ve never finished a race with Claude, he’s so fast! Maybe I can catch up to him! Use those long legs Melissa, use them! I tap Claude, smile and say “let’s go!” 🙂 Something comes over me and I take off. I remember this point of the race last year, I tried so hard to kick it into high gear, but I just couldn’t—I had nothing left, and everything was cramping. This time, I felt great! There was a lady ahead of me, she’d been ahead of me the entire race. I wonder if I can catch her? I’m going to try!
Time: 7:59

Mile 12.2: Holy shit… (excitement)

Mile 12.3: I’m about to DO this!

Mile 12.5: Caught the lady! See ya! I’m at my highest gear and loving it. Holy shit this is amazing. I love this!

Mile 12.8: Holy shit! (I think I might actually be saying this out loud at this point). I think I just actually flexed my bicep for the last photographer. I don’t care I’m SO happy!

Mile 13.0: Are you kidding me?! I mean ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Someone get a picture of this smile!
Time: 7:33

Mile 13.1: HOLY. SHIT. I’ve done it. Is this real? Did this really just happen? I just beat last year’s time by TWELVE minutes! And I’m still alive and my body feels strong! Well, that’s all relative but in this sense, yes, I’m in good shape injury-wise. My stomach, that’s another story (that you don’t want to hear) so I’ll leave that part out.

As I write this, it’s now 12 hours after start time and I feel relatively good, considering. In fact, I feel the best I’ve ever felt after a race like this. I did everything I could in the months, days, and even minutes leading up to the race. I took water and Gatorade at every station during the race to attempt to stay as hydrated as possible and afterwards, I drank the Gatorade and ate the GU (reluctantly, but I knew it was important), coconut water, water and ate the necessary food to refuel my body. I am still in shock that I was able to accomplish such an amazing time (considering I am not a long-distance runner)! I’m getting messages about the next race I’m running and I’ll be honest…this last four months has been totally worth it, but it’s taken a lot out of me mentally and physically. I think I’m going to bask in the glory of this accomplishment and wait a bit before signing up for the next one.

Melissa RNR Half Marathon Medal Miami 2012

To all of my friends, family and supporters out there, thank you. Your kind words and thoughts helped me more than you know. Words from class members and clients rang through my head as I was running, and the phrases that I use constantly, those were loud and clear as well. I absolutely practice what I preach. The announcer made a great point as he welcomed us to the 2nd Annual Latin Music Miami Beach Half Marathon.

“You’ve already done the hard part, now enjoy your victory lap.”

And I did.

Peace, love and hard work that pays off,



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