Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Miami: Half The Marathon, Not Half The Fun

By Ross Forman

The more races I run, the more I know … that I never truly know what to expect on race-day.

Maybe that’s what keeps driving me back to the starting-line, among other reasons.

On Sunday morning, Jan. 30, I took to the streets of South Florida with about 21,000 of my closest friends for the 9th annual ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon, of which I was only running the 13.1-mile version. I say “only” because this was my third Half Marathon ever, to go with 10 full 26.2-mile marathons – all 13 completed in just over three years, dating back to November, 2007.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect in Miami. Oh sure, it was only 13.1 miles in comparison to a marathon, but 13.1 miles is still a good distance, and 13.1 miles certainly can – and does – impact the body. First, I don’t run outdoors in the cold; just not my thing. And Chicago is cold nowadays, and has been for months. So training for this race – meaning, running – was limited to whatever I could do at Bally’s Total Fitness. And running was almost non-existent in January, though by choice.

Instead, my training in 2011 has been Insanity.

As in, Shaun T and the countless TV infomercials for crazy cardio and plyometric workouts, from the same people that bring you P90X.

I was skeptical at first, but I know Insanity and P90X work – I’ve seen the results, friends who have done one or the other, or both. So, I’ve spent January jogging, kicking, punching, jumping, doing pushups and more to strengthen my core.

I was committed to Insanity for 29 days, and on the 30th day of January, I ran my best race ever. Explain that?!?!?! I felt strong throughout, and great after. I even set a Personal Record (PR), beating my previous best Half Marathon time by almost 10 minutes.

I might have been happier at the end of the Miami race than any other race I’ve ever run. Talk about Lucky 13. Thanks Shaun T, Fran P, and Denny’s R. As in, Denny’s Restaurant. The night before the race, I opted for Denny’s $4 all-you-can-eat pancakes as my carb-of-choice since I’m not a pasta person. The pancakes seemed to do the trick; I felt great throughout the run.

Sure, I’ve felt great before other races, but then just had an OK showing on race-day. Miami was the opposite: I felt OK going in, great as the bling was placed around my neck.

Now it’s on to Tel Aviv. Well, in early-April to be exact, when I return to the full marathon route. I’m excited for the trip, especially after the Miami showing. In fact, my only real concerns for the Tel Aviv Marathon are the logistics – hotel, food, communication, and dare I even mention the normal fears of traveling to the Middle East, which now are heightened by the goings-on in Egypt. The running and training parts, those aren’t a concern, even in Chicago’s cold.

My running slate for 2011 post-Tel Aviv is a green-state, so to speak … still undecided. I definitely will be re-joining the great endurance-training program at Team To End AIDS (T2) this summer in a coaching role, and couldn’t be more excited to work with Katie, Dan and the others as we help runners achieve lifelong goals, and of course help support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) in the process.

So, as I’ve said before, if you’re even remotely thinking about attempting a Half Marathon or Marathon, or running another, yes, you can do it, and should … and why not join T2 (

See you along the lakefront in Chicago, if it ever warms up,