Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Miami Half-Marathon Recap - Race Report

Just the facts first
I had a goal of 1:50 for the Miami half-marathon. I ran 1:58. Not close at all. But I wasn't surprised to not hit the goal. About 2 weeks ago I attempted a mile repeat workout with the 1:50 pace as the goal. I wasn't able to hold the pace. So, I knew it was a long shot.
This is my official stolen photo from MarathonFoto. This is pretty close to the start because I've already ditched my pants.
It was a cool day for the marathon. Which meant that maybe I had a chance to run faster than expected since everyone does a bit better in cool weather. Standing at the start I was not focused at all. I have run enough races that I know that when I go out to hit a goal I have that goal clearly in my head. I frequently go off to start on my own to run my own race. This year I even said out loud,  "I need to get my head in line if I'm going to do this." I was also pretty sure I was under hydrated even though I had been drinking water the day before. In the end it just didn't come together. It felt like hard work the whole way and when I look at my personal data I was working the whole time so this is just what I had on this day.

While I wish I had hit the goal wishes don't make goals happen. Actions do and I know I hadn't been training enough to make this happen.

About the Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon - It's Miami people.
We start our races here very early because while heat wasn't a factor this year (2015) if it's going to be hot it gets hot very early. But it's Miami, so be prepared to battle stupid traffic on the way, parking is a total pain unless you are really early (we arrived more than an hour early) and of course, the race started late.

Here I am hiding behind a pole from the chilly wind. We actually went and stayed warm in the arena before the start.
The handcarts and physically challenged group was listed as starting at 6:05 but the announcer said the intersections were not closed until 6:10 so they went off late and all of us starting after went off late too. It's Miami - we're famous for being late. I started at almost 6:30. 

Hablamos Espanol
This race draws and enormous amount of participants from "the Americas" so enjoy the multilingual start and the flow of English, Spanglish, Spanish, Portuguese and even French around you throughout the race. If you do the full I read in the guide that we had a cuban coffee station. Seriously, that would be amazing on a marathon course.


The Miami marathon is a crowded race. This year I will say that the start was the best it has ever been organized. The corrals were well manned and people were only allowed where they were supposed to go.  It was still very crowded all the way through the course - but for me not at all un-runnable like it has been before. People are describing it like the new corporate run so still pretty crowded. There is a lot of bobbing and weaving throughout the race. Probably a bigger time gap between corral starts would help.

The Miami Marathon is all grown up.
This is the 13th year of the Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. So 13 years ago I ran this half totally untrained because I really wanted to support a hometown marathon. Luckily for me it's become a smashing success. This year we even had the Goodyear blimp overhead and we have lots of bands and cheering squads along the way. Sadly, long gone is surprising the cross-dressers on South Beach because that was a highlight in the first few years. There were still a few club goers dazed along Ocean Drive.
 
In the past this start has been a disaster where you were bobbing around hundreds of walkers for miles. This year was much improved. I started at the front of corral D had only one issue. That was having to weave around 10 teams of charity walkers pushing adults in strollers or wheelchairs in the middle of the road. I saw one collision where a runner collided with a charity stroller team (the stroller stopped short just after a left turn and the runner coming from behind just plowed into them). I do hope that everyone involved was okay. Just like when driving I always wish that slow traffic would stay to the right. I'm happy the stroller teams are there in the race - they deserve to be there - I just wish they knew to stay to the right.

I mentioned it was a cool temperature start and I started with too many layers. instead of shedding my top long sleeve layer and toughing it out while waiting to start I kept it on and after 2 miles had to stop to remove it which was a bit of a process. Oh well it was what it was.

Also, my iPod decided to not function ... bummer. I think one too many runs in the rain did it in. Luckily the course had lots of entertainment.
This is my group chilling inside the arena before the race.

Miami has beautiful sunrises and some colorful characters on the course
Watching the sun peak up over the cruise ships was great, the fire boat was spraying water in the bay, also great. The sunrise over Ocean Drive was beautiful. The music along the course was fantastic. At one point on Miami beach we run through a Jewish cheering section. There are at least two Jewish charity/training groups so we have a Jewish flair to this race that adds even more character.  While personally I learned that Israeli pop music doesn't inspire me to run faster I did enjoy watching the guy dancing by the yellow bus and I think a lady offered me kosher ham... which made me chuckle.

I carried my own fluids for this race so I avoided the water stops. They looked very crowded so I was happy to skirt around them. 

The Miami Half-Marathon course was kept clear and wide the whole way which is a first and that was great. I loved the singing island-homeless lady downtown and the finisher chute was pretty good. 

I was extremely happy to not take the right lane to run the full marathon. 50 people go left and seriously 3-4 pull off for the full. Lonely. For some reason the volunteer there thought I had made an error and kept saying to me, "full to the right" and pointing to me. But I shook my head no (with as much vehemence as I could manage) and thought inside my head ... nope, no way, not today. I had never been registered for the full so I'm not sure what caused his confusion.

There is a tight turn headed into the finish and I was almost knocked over by an over aggressive dude bobbing and weaving to shave off 5 more seconds. But I didn't tumble so all is well that ends well.

All in all a great morning even though I didn't have the speed I'd hoped for in my legs.

Why does not hitting a goal that wasn't realistic still sting?
Hoped is the word there. I hoped I could do it but I know I didn't actually do the work it would take to make that happen so I'm good with not hitting the goal. It is actually my fastest Miami half marathon time. While a lot of people set prs on this course Sunday I don't think it's a PR course for me. I've never thought it was.

Amazingly we all grouped up after the finish and met for breakfast. It's always amazing to me that even with 25000 people out there I can find my friends. The walk back to the car in the chilly winds was super unpleasant. Luckily my friend had my sweatpants and I was able to put them on about halfway to the car. Brrrr.
But it did take a day to have that really settle in. I knew I wasn't trained for sub 1:50. I just came out of the vacation mind-set after Chattanooga. I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays and I'm pretty out of shape. But it did still sting just a bit.  I think missing this goal is actually what I needed though to push me forward.

Is it a good race? Do I recommend it?
I try to run the Miami Half Marathon race almost every year. It's a fun morning. It's not my favorite local half-marathon though. That title goes to a1a in Fort Lauderdale which I can't run this year because of a family conflict. I've never run the full Miami marathon and at the moment I have no intention to do so. While the half marathon has lots of fans the full marathon is pretty much regarded as a lonely sufferfest.

I recommend this half marathon as a fun morning. If you live out of town and want a weekend of fun in Miami - this is a great time of year to be here.

Onward and upward. Next up Ragnar Relay to Key West.


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