Where to begin?
I guess at 4:15 when my alarm went off to remind me (as well as Paula and Melissa) that it was a race day! We had a whole night of shenanigans that I will recap tomorrow (I just really wanted to recap the race while it was fresh on my mind). Bottom line – 4:15 felt WAAAAAY too early.
We got ready and walked over to the start. It was the first time that I started at a hotel near the start (and finish) of a race and WOW, it was SO nice not having to stress about traffic and parking.
If you’re wondering if I am a giant — it’s true. Thanks Paula for taking this crazy pic.
When we got there it seemed like things were a bit of a cluster – corrals were EVERYWHERE and their arrangement didn’t necessarily make sense, but we went with the flow and you know, took pictures.
This one is so cute, I’m posting it again.
Paula and I bid Melissa adieu (because she’s super speedy) and then got pumped up about the race…and took more pictures.
American Airlines Arena — did you hear that LeBron James rode his bike here to avoid the marathon traffic yesterday? Kinda wish we saw that!
After a lame firework (yes, there was just one) the race started — and we slowly started moving. We crossed the start about 15 minutes after the gun. There were approx 17,000 running the half and about 4,000 running the full (per the race results)- so it was PACKED and the energy was HIGH. Despite it seeming like we were going to start in a cluster situation (hi RnR Las Vegas – I’m talking to you!), there were very little issues. At least at the start.
Miles 1-5 had us running from downtown Miami to South Beach. This consisted of the some of the prettiest scenery I’ve ever seen during a race – even if it involved running over bridges (Florida’s version of hills) and down causeways! We ran past the Port of Miami where all of the cruise ships were docked. It was SUPER humid and running near the water helped a little.
The only glitch I ran into during this part of the race (and pretty much the entire race) was there weren’t enough water stops. By Mile 2 I was dying for some water – but we didn’t hit a water stop until Mile 3. And when we got there? They were NOT prepared for us. Part of the issue is that they were handing out this new portable water – 82Go.
While I liked this water IN THEORY, it’s execution was lacking (plus – it tasted WEIRD). People (like me) still wanted a little cup of water. I did grab a pouch to go (and was able to skip a few water stops) – but I also wanted cold water to stop and walk with for 20 seconds. Then there was the issue of people throwing the pouches at runners, runners dropping the pouches instead of drinking them, and basically creating HUGE puddles of water by the water stops. It was A MESS. (But, I can’t say there wasn’t enough water!). I’m pretty sure I lost 2-3 minutes at waterstops through out the race. I’m kicking myself for not carrying a water bottle!
The first 5 miles of the race felt really good. My pace average was about 9:15 — and my slowest mile included the bridge at Mile 2 — at 9:17.
Miles 6-10 is where we hit South Beach and then hit up some residential areas before starting our way back to downtown Miami. The course wasn’t as pretty – but it was really interesting, there were a lot of landmarks, and it close to the beach! The crowds where pretty decent considering it was 7am on a Sunday and there were a lot of homeless people cheering. Woo!
Somewhere around Mile 7…
Don’t I look excited?
I slowed down a lot in the residential areas because it the street narrowed, it was crowded, and there was A LOT of bobbing and weaving going on. Disaster struck again at the Mile 8 water stop — where I couldn’t find any cups of water, so I chugged some Gatorade instead. As I was downing the Gatorade I was COMPLETELY soaked by someones water pouch. Awesome. Thankfully, we did hit a few breezes as we hit some rolls hills/little bridges over the water a minute or so later and it was actually refreshing! My average pace for that part of the course was 9:25 – my fastest Mile was a random 9:07 and my slowest was 9:32. I was all over the place. It was here that I realized that if I had kicked it up a little more (or maybe didn’t have so many issues at the water stops) I could have probably finished sub-2 (or close to it). Damn!
My favorite part of the race was as we entered back into Downtown Miami. We ran through a toll plaza and over a really nice bridge with beautiful views of the bay and the Miami Herald Building! As we hit Mile 11 there was a huge “Cheer Zone” that was full of people screaming and yelling. Awesome! At Mile 12 I just kept telling myself ONE MORE MILE and just kicked it up a notch. I was mentally done though and averaged a 9:20 pace — which ended up being the overall pace of my race.
SOOO happy to done!
I finished in 2:03:22 and I honestly couldn’t have been happier! I didn’t post this on the blog – but my A goal was to hit 2:05 with this race — which is a HUGE improvement over Vegas (2:15). I know I’m not quite there with my speed – but I’m definitely making improvements that are paying off! This was also my most consistent race to date and I didn’t slow down at the end. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually run a race with negative splits. Baby steps!
I had no problems getting water and collecting my medal after the race was over – and the food was VERY accessible. Getting out of the CLUSTER of people however, was a mess and it took about 15 minutes to go about 500 ft and find the beer tent (where we decided to meet). I guess I don’t understand the point of having a meet and greet area if NOBODY is going to use it! Thankfully, I finally found Melissa and then Paula. And then there was beer.
At some point Paula and I lost Melissa – and ended up taking some pictures before walking back to the hotel…
There as a lot to take in. The booty alone was impressive, no?
Overall – I thought that the ING Miami Half Marathon was REALLY well done – all things considered. I felt like RUNNERS had designed the course and that is just SO important to me! The race had beautiful views, great crowd support, and a fun after party! It was VERY VERY warm and humid – and I am just SO thankful it was overcast the entire time. If the sun had come out we would have bakes. Of course, there’s nothing you can do to prevent the weather! It’s Miami – where 70 degrees is the AVERAGE during the winter!
Will I run it again? Probably not, at least not next year — but I DO recommend it (especially with this 50% off discount they are offering starting tomorrow at 6am! <–This is how I signed up last year!).
Thanks for a fun race Miami. Up next — Gasparilla!!!