The Cayman Islands’ top female distance runner Beth Florek is taking a rare break from slogging on the roads as she winds down from her disturbing experience at the Boston marathon.
The five-time Cayman marathon champion will defend her title in December. And she will return to Boston for the seventh year in succession in April 2014.
Thankfully, Florek had completed this year’s race long before terrorists detonated two bombs at the finish line, killing two people, injuring hundreds and bringing the city to a standstill.
In retrospect, she describes the experience as “surreal”. But she was not shaken by the events and the race will remain a regular fixture in her running calendar.
Florek, who typically runs three marathons a year, plans to take some time off during the summer to give herself a mental break from the rigours of early morning training.
After six solid years of virtual non-stop training and competing she believes it makes sense to ease off.
“I’ve had no injuries, I feel fantastic but I need a mental break,” she said. “In our lovely Cayman summer you have to get up earlier and earlier to train.
“If you are doing a three-hour long run you want to be finished by 7.30am. For me, that means getting up around 3.30am because I am not the sort of person who can just get out of bed, put on my running shoes and go.”
A break for Florek will still mean 35-40 miles on the road each week and yoga three times weekly.
Despite her prowess as a distance runner, Florek describes herself as generally unathletic. She doesn’t swim, cycle or play team sports and admits says she is “horrible at almost everything else”.
“It would be punishment for me if I didn’t go running at all. I just won’t have a goal that I am trying to hit and I will get a break from those early mornings.”
Things will start picking up again in the build up to the Cayman Islands marathon, an event she loves for every aspect, including the supportive water stops, cheering onlookers and excellent organisation.
“I will start working towards that from the end of August. I’ve won five times in a row and I’d like to try to defend the title.”
Then it is back to Boston. Florek missed much of the mayhem in the aftermath of this year’s race but got a glimpse of the terror that was gripping the city on her way out as the airport swarmed with police officers and FBI agents.
“After that I was home watching it on television and it was hard to believe I was even there.
“It definitely hasn’t diminished my desire to go back to Boston and I will race again next year.”