Florek’s speed is back

Cayman’s marathon queen Beth Florek will be running the 26.2-mile event locally after missing it last year because of pregnancy. 

It will be a welcome return for Florek, who married Dan over the Cayman marathon weekend two years ago.  

Son Conner is nine months old now and is already used to being pushed in his stroller at high speeds, since Dan is a runner too.  

Beth, who used the 30K race in East End on Sunday to gauge her fitness, won it reasonably comfortably, which boosted her confidence to take on the longer marathon distance of 42K on Dec. 7.  

“I was very pleased with the result, and I’m in much better shape than I thought,” Florek said. “It’s been almost two years since I’ve done a long distance race, and the 30K was a huge reminder about what it feels like to push myself to the limit and to not give up mentally when it gets hard and uncomfortable.” 

She did her highest mileage week in the build-up to the 30K, which included two hard runs.  

Her thought process was going into the 30K on tired legs would be an indicator of what a realistic goal the Cayman marathon would be for her. Florek expected to run around an 8-minute mile pace but actually ran just over 7:30 pace.  

Even with the extra distance, she feels having five more weeks to sharpen up, plus being able to rest will make a similar pace for the marathon achievable.  

“That’s around a 3 hour, 15 minute marathon, which isn’t that far off of what I’ve typically run in Cayman,” she said.  

Florek has been logging decent mileage since July and started adding interval sessions, tempo runs and long runs in August.  

She said her endurance came back quite easily, but her speed is not like before. 

The biggest limiting factor has been her lower back.  

“Pregnancy left me without abs and knocked everything else out of alignment, so my lower back seizes and locks on me when I attempt to run faster than a certain pace,” she said.  

“During all of my quality runs where I do any type of speed work, I have to stop several times to stretch out my back. I don’t experience pain, but it just seizes and I can’t continue until I release it.” 

She is still able to complete the workouts but has to slow down and break up the pace instead of running straight through. After trying several remedies and hoping it would just resolve itself on its own, Florek went to a physiotherapist.  

“I’ve been seeing Rose Smith at Back to Health for the last three weeks, and she is a miracle worker. I wish I had gone to see her months ago when this first started. 

“I’ve seen massive improvement in just a few visits, but there is still a lot of work to do. During the 30K I had to stop and stretch out my back several times, especially during the final 10K.”  

This is great time of year for road racing in Cayman as there are races practically every weekend, but she won’t be doing many other races before the marathon.  

Dan is also training for the Cayman marathon. They juggle their training schedules around minding Conner. “We have done a couple races that we’ve brought Conner to and I’ve run with him in the jogging stroller,” she said. “We ran the CISPA 5K at the end of August and the second Fidelity 2-mile race. I think we’ll try to run the Pirates Week 10K. It’s one of the few 10K races and is always a fun event.”  

Beth-Florek

Beth Florek is enjoying her running again. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD