Thursday, February 20, 2020

(Unofficial Virtual) A1A Fort Lauderdale 5k

I mentioned this "race" briefly in passing, but I feel it deserves a recap of sorts.

Last year, I ran the A1A half marathon as my goal race after recovering from compartment syndrome.  As I've mentioned on this blog numerous times, I've run one of the A1A races every year for the last five years; it's always on my birthday weekend and is such a special race and experience each time.

Last year, I knew I probably wouldn't run it again. They had moved the 2020 race to a random weekend in January rather than its usual February weekend, and I just knew I wouldn't be able to make it work. I made my peace with it.

Then, I saw the medal.
I mean, this is about more than the medal, but really, it's kind of a lot about the medal.
Despite being overwhelmed by FOMO, I didn't sign up. I put my desires for that adorable turtle behind me. I thought I was okay with it. Then, race weekend came. And with it came photos. Hundreds of smiling Florida runners with their turtle medals crossed my Instagram feed and stories; one of those smiling runners was Kristina.

I was just coming back from having the flu and was feeling envious of the race on a couple levels. Kristina, being the most amazing and supportive friend I could ask for, made me an incredibly kind offer.
Usually I'd be horrified that someone just tosses their race medals, but in this case I am grateful!
So, that Monday, I ran a 5k. I'd been on complete rest up to the previous Saturday, when I ran one measly mile and felt winded and wheezy, but I needed to get that 5k done.

I met Matt at his studio and we ran together through an unexciting, nondescript neighborhood nearby. Every step felt tough; I was really struggling. At exactly 1.55 miles, I saw a sign.
No, not "no outlet"...the other one!
Literally, I saw a sign that made things seem like the stars were aligning. The race I'd been hoping to get back on track for, the one I was so worried I'd have to DNS, was staring me in the face.

The last half of the 5k was just as tough as the first. I didn't magically feel light on my feet, but as I finished the distance - wheezing and worn - I felt committed. The medal was a carrot I needed to get back on my feet after being sick; the "race" was rough but it rekindled the desire to train that my fever had snuffed out.
Since running the A1A unofficial virtual 5k, my training has been excellent. I've stuck to my new plan and now feel excited and ready for Gasparilla all over again.

A week after my "race", a package arrived in the mail. I hadn't really forgotten it was coming, but I wasn't expecting Kristina to rush out and send the medal quickly; after all, she was doing me a big favor. When it arrived, I was ecstatic.
I have Kristina to thank for stoking my renewed training energy, and now I have a sixth A1A medal to add to my collection. I may not have a bib and I may not have been there at the starting line, but I'm grateful beyond measure for this gift. It ended up meaning more to me than I could have expected.



  1. That is a good running friend--and a good friend. Runners have each others' backs.