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Leaving on a jet plane

I admit that I was annoyed with some of my friends on Facebook yesterday.

As I tried to get everything done one needs to before a trip -- packing, cleaning, running last minute errands, trying to do three extra days of work in one -- I got a bit frantic.

Would I get everything done before my early morning Friday flight to Miami? And don't even get me started on the anxiety of running the half marathon.

My Facebook friends left messages along the lines of "Boo-hoo. You're going to Miami. I'm so sorry for you."

And frankly, I got a bit defensive.

OK, then you can run 13.1 miles at 6:15 Sunday morning.

I admit, too, that my response was a bit harsh.

But this is a big deal for me.

It's not just about running a half marathon, feeling the most trained and prepared for a race in my brief competitive career.

It's about taking the trip to begin with.

My professional career as a sportswriter has always revovled around collegiate sports and college basketball in particular. I don't believe I have ever taken time away during basketball season in 11 years. I certainly have never taken a Florida trip in the winter. How could I? What would people think? Do I deserve a trip to Miami in January?

I'm working on that part -- on giving myself permission to take time for myself, to do the things that I love and that are meaningful for me. And running (and triathlon) have become not just meaningful but an intricate part of who I am. On one hand, who am I not to live up to who I am and take advantage of opportunities that come my way?

This trip includes a lot of "firsts" -- my first long-distance trip to a race, my first time traveling and racing at a destination with friends, my first race expo and my first experience at a major running event as this is the ING Miami Marathon, complete with three days of festivities and about 10,000 runners.

Why shouldn't I enjoy the experience?

I vow now to stop making apologies for running a winter half marathon in Miami.

I promise to try and bring some sunshine back with me.

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