RunWild @ Zoo Miami – a New PR


February 10, 2013 by IowaTriBob

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run my first 5K of the year at the RunWild @ Zoo Miami event.  The event was the perfect way to start off the racing season with beautiful weather, a flat course, unbelievable scenary, and a new personal best.

My coach Wendy and I have been talking about getting me into a 5K event over the past several weeks to help establish a run baseline for the year and to hopefully put the past several months of training to work.  With a bunch of airline, hotel, and car rental reward points built up, I looked at the national weather map and identified southern Florida as the place to be.  When looking for races in the area I stumbled across the RunWild @ Zoo Miami event and immediately registered and booked the rewards.

As I left Cedar Rapids the weather was somewhat mild compared to the past several weeks, but when I arrived it definitely put living in Iowa into perspective.

Cedar Rapids WeatherMiami Weather

The Event

The RunWild @ Zoo Miami is a competitive 5K as well as family fun run/walk event benefiting the Chapman Partnership.  The Chapman Partnership is the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, operating two Homeless Assistance Centers in downtown Miami and Homestead.

The registration opened at 7:00am with race time starting at 8:00am.  You could sign up online prior to the race and pick your packet up in the morning or sign up on race day itself.  This was probably the one negative of the entire day.  The event registration wasn’t very well organized and wasn’t prepared for the turnout of new signups or packet pickups, causing lines of nearly 100 deep at times.  In fact, the registration took so long the race start was delayed 20-25 minutes so more could join.  Given the weather was low 70’s with nothing but sun, there weren’t too many complaints and even with the delay, I enjoyed every minute of being there.

The race is held directly within the Miami Zoo itself and the course runs the perimeter of the zoo exhibits.

Miami Zoo Course

The course is fully paved and winding in most areas but is as flat as you’ll find.  The scenary was absolutely amazing.  Seriously, how many 5K races will you get to do where you can run by lions, elephants, giraffes, and howling monkeys as they begin to stir for the day!

There was a small, but well put together, exhibition where the pre-race announcements were made, national anthem sang, some great music played, and for those that chose to participate, a short but fun pilates warmup conducted.

Miami Zoo 5K Race Exhibit

After the race there were awards given and plenty of activities.  Once you finished you could also walk back through the zoo before the official 9:30am open time with no crowds and open access to everything.  In addition, your race registration could be used as free entrace back into the zoo throughout the day and allowed you to purchase discounted tickets for family members that wanted to join.

Awards Ceremony

My Results

After a two day taper and some good carb loading and nutrition I finished with a time of 24:36 and an average pace of 7:56 min/mile.  By far my best effort EVER.  In fact, this beat my previous best event time by over 3 minutes (27:56) and my best training 5K time by over 2-1/2 minutes (27:17).  What was just as suprising for me was that I placed 6th (out of 38) in my age group – 6th!  For a non runner that only really started back in June, I’m feeling pretty good about that.

Late last year I set a few big goals for the 2013 season and one that I had really considered a stretch was to run a 5K in under 24 minutes.  Although I realize there is still a lot of work to do this year, I’m hoping to have to revisit that goal midway through the year to set the time just a little bit lower.

Overall the event was a well put together, the atmosphere was friendly and exicitng, it was well attended but not too crowded, the weather was near perfect, and the scenary was amazing.  Its definitely one I’m looking forward to doing for many years to come.

20 thoughts on “RunWild @ Zoo Miami – a New PR

  1. jimmyjtaylor says:

    Congrats on the PR. Sounds like a fun race.

  2. bgddyjim says:

    Awesome run brother. That’s a great time.

  3. Hadn’t heard about this one! Might have to keep it in mind for next year. Great job on the PR!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      It would be one that I’d definitely recommend, especially if you live up north and are getting a little stir crazy from the winter months and workouts. Thanks and I really appreciate it.

  4. Carrie says:

    Congrats on a new PR! Going sub-24 is totally doable–it isn’t a matter of “if,” it’s “when.” The race sounds like a lot of fun! Running through a zoo and soaking up some warm weather sounds like a win-win. :)

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you! Its great to see how our perspectives can change as we experience new wins (and loses). It wasn’t but a few short months ago that I couldn’t imagine running a 5K at sub 8 min pace. Now I’ve got visions of trying it sub 7 :-) some day!

  5. Steena says:

    Congrats on the PR! Sounds like you’ve been training hard to earn this!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thanks for the support… I never thought I’d say it but I really enjoy the training and when I get to a day off or light day, I almost feel guilty about it and want to be doing something. The taper to even this 5K was a great example but come race time I was definitely ready to go.

  6. Bob, did you get any ocean swimming in while you were there? I am just a couple weeks away from going to Ft. Lauderdale for a few days, hooping to get a good open water ocean swim while I am there. :-)

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Man I was dying to do it but didn’t have the time. I’m doing the South Beach Triathlon in April and was able to drive the bike course but really wanted to swim in the ocean since I’ve never done it before. Enjoy the time, weather is beautiful, and get in a good swim for both of us. If you have any good tips after I’d love to hear about them.

  7. Jim says:

    Congrats on your new record! That’s an awesome time, and sounds like the run was a lot of fun, too!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you very much. For me it felt like I was flying :-) and I’m excited to see where my next one will take me. The race event itself was a blast and something I’ll definitely do again.

  8. David says:

    Wow, your new PR beats what I’m trying for. Congrats on both the great time, and getting out of Cedar Rapids in February!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thanks and for the first race it was great to be able to enjoy it outside of freezing temperatures. I look forward to continuing to read more about your progress as well as it seems like you’ve continue to make some great strides forward.

  9. elisariva says:

    Outstanding!! All of your hard work is paying off!

    • IowaTriBob says:

      Thank you and it definitely provides a little extra motivation to keep at it! Its truly amazing what we are capable of if we dedicated the time and energy to find out.

  10. Great job! I’m really impressed how much you’ve improved in the last couple of months!

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