Address: Lummus Park: 1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
(The day we “met”)
Have to say, this was a special half for me; Not for your typical reason of being up bright and early in the morning and going to run 13.1 miles to cross the finish line for a new medal or for a PR or anything like that; I actually usually hate half marathons, mostly because they’re kind of boring and on the road (I hate road races).
No, this half marathon was special because I met the love of my life in a half marathon a year ago (Miami Half, Jan 28, 2017) and asked her to be my girlfriend on March 9th, 2017; so this was like our one year anniversary race since we met running.
Before I get into the specifics of the 305 Half, I want to tell you the story of how Marilyn and I met. There’s a special reason that the word “met” is in quotations in the quote under the picture in the beginning of the post.
Going back to the first paragraph, I would never voluntarily sign up for a half marathon. The only reason I was at this particular half (Miami Half) was because of my lovely friend/client Jade Garcia. I had coached Jade and had her on a running program so that she could PR her half marathon time for the Disney Half in January of 2017; what ended up happening that weekend was the half marathon got rained out and cancelled (which is crazy because Disney never usually calls off races or any events); fired up Jade decided to run the full marathon AND. SHE. FINISHED! Another client of mine Stephanie D’Espaux also signed up for the half, but went for and finished the full as well! So proud of those two!
The Miami Half reached out and emailed all participants of the Disney half participants and offered a discount to all those who could prove that they had registered for the event; Jade on a runners high wanted to sign up and run the Miami Half as well after finishing her first full. As a coach and friend, I advised her not to; that she’s on a runners high and needs to rest especially since the full was the longest race she had ever run. From the Sunday that the email went out offering the discount to all the participants, she had till the following Thursday to decide. After her constant bugging, I promised her, if she had recuperated enough and was feeling well enough to sign up for the race that I would sign up as well and pace her for the event to make sure she was okay…
Fast forward a couple weeks later and there we were standing in a starting corral at 5 in the morning ready to run the Miami Half Marathon. It was unusually cold, around 40 degrees or so if I remember correctly; it had been overcast the whole day as well, the sun never peeked out once. It was windy and it had rained at certain points during the race; basically we got all the racing conditions that no true Miamian would want to endure; but of course I was out there in my speedos with a smile from ear to ear cheering everyone on to keep pushing forward because we had beer and medals waiting for us at the end! Screaming that this was voluntary and they signed up for this. LMAO!
Fast forward to the 12th mile of the race. Before the race had started I had promised Jade she would hate me by the end of the half. She said there was absolutely no way that could happen. As I’m cheering Jade on “JADE, LET’S GO! IT’S THE 12TH MILE; YOU CAN STILL PR! YOU GOT THIS!!!” All I heard in return was, “HAIDAR! I NEED YOU TO SHUT THE F*&% UP RIGHT NOW! MY HEADPHONES ARE ON FULL BLAST AND I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!” “HAHAHAHAHHA” mocking my laugh, I told her she’d hate me.
Anyways, this is where our (Marilyn & my) story begins. This was Marilyns first half marathon. The conditions had beaten her down and she was ready to walk from the 12th mile to the finish. This was the longest distance she had ever ran and she was ecstatic that she was going to cross that finish; time didn’t matter.
That’s where we “met.” As I’m cheering Jade on, encouraging her to push through the pain and finish strong for that PR, Marilyn heard all that noise and noticed me. From her perspective (she told me later on), she saw me run by and did a centuple-take. She could not believe that this “naked” guy (I was wearing a speedo) could be running this race and be in such a good mood. That motivated Mari to go on. She finished a couple seconds ahead of Jade & I; I actually ended up being in every single one of her professional finisher race photos. Even by accident Jade and I were walking around at the end of the race and I happened to end up in the back of Marilyns finisher selfie with her medal (the first picture on this post).
I didn’t care to tag or post any photos that day, but Jade did. And because of Jade tagging, hashtagging and posting pictures of the race both before and after, Marilyn found us through the hashtags of all the posts people put up that day. She was surprised she even found the picture of Jade & I and tagged me in her finisher photo on her newsfeed. As soon as I got that notification and saw that #MCM, I slid straight into the DM’s.
That same week (two days later) we went on a runners date with Brickell Run Club and did a couple more run dates before we actually went out on a proper date both her and I. Had to make sure the speedo guy wasn’t a weirdo or anything. We went out on a couple more dates throughout February; but I already knew, I knew that this was the girl I wanted to be with.
I asked her to be my girlfriend March 9th, 2017 and we’ve been together ever since.
Fast forward to March 4th, 2018 & there were again 5 o’clock in the morning in a starting corral waiting for the 305 Half to begin. It’s funny how it always works out that every half marathon you run in Miami always happens to be the one and only cold day that Miami experiences throughout the year.
The morning of the 305 Half it was around 45-50 degrees and windy (it was much better racing conditions than the Miami Half that we met at); thank goodness Aroma Espresso Bar was on site handing out Cafecitos in true 3-0-5 Miami fashion. Anyways, the guns went off, the race started and off we were. We didn’t really train so it was kind of a slow half, but it was a fun one. The route that they set up was beautiful. We got to see the beach at the start and finish and run through the city with AMAZING volunteers that were cheering you on and keeping you motivated the whole way through.
They had music stations every so often and it was just great time running with the Miami community and bumping into a bunch of friends along the way.
It’s funny, we found each other doing something we both love and in the most random of ways. Everyone you meet and everyone in and out of your life doesn’t happen by coincidence, it happens because it’s meant to be; the universe set it up for me to be there at that race and for me to pace Jade and for Mari and I to meet. They say that sometimes you may meet your soulmate in your lifetime, I definitely did. I felt an automatic connection to Mari and felt like we’ve known each other in past lives. I’m just grateful I found her in this one.
Happy anniversary baby; to many more. I love you.
Till the next race!