The weather predictions held true – a start with temps in the low 50s, and a good breeze from the NNW. I went to packet pickup Friday night with John and Erica, finding a nice place on Las Olas, Sushi Rocks for dinner. Thanks, Yelp! The drive down was me picking up Angie at Bed Bath & Beyond at 4:00am, and coming quickly down I-95 with no traffic or incidents. When we parked, the lot was segregated with spots for compact cars and vehicles over 6’6″. My GMC Acadia is taller than I stand, I parked in those spots. After the race I had a $37 parking ticket in my wiper blade assembly, I will be contesting that.
We got out and immediately we were cold. I had a lululemon short sleeved shirt and a Run Response pair of shorts on, with a cotton shirt as a throw away. Not enough clothes. The wind was whipping! We went to the porta potty area, I stayed in that thing a little longer than necessary just to keep warm. We walked past the start line, watched the fire truck lift the American Flag into place, and brought ourgear check goodies to the UPS trucks at the back of the corrals. I was very cold, with no relief as an option since none of the local buildings or businesses were open at 5am. Angie and I saw the elevator for the 3 story parking garage. It had a glass side hat overlooked the corrals – that’s where we would spend the waiting time before the race began. We rode up and down so many times, answering questions on some rides, others were silent. We saw Teresa and Robert, arriving and riding at different times. Richard Kaplan came for a ride, too. Once we thought it was close enough to the time for starting, we went down and looked in the corrals for Angie’s pace group. I had suggested and arranged for Angie to run with Andrea in the 4 hour group. This was slower than she planned on finishing, but a great place to start. I advised her to go with that group until mile 19, then surge forward if she had that strength in the later miles. Andrea was removing a navy blue hoodie, one she said came from her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I asked if I could wear this throwaway, she said certainly and also offered a pair of sweat pants. These I didn’t take, although it was cold enough for them, I could se how getting them off with shoes on would be easy so I declined. Angie stayed with Andrea, I moved up through the corrals to find others I knew. I found Steve Chin, fastest pace leader for the day – and right next to him was Adrienne. For the fourth year in a row, we’d start this race together and look to have her PR for the half marathon. She wanted to run near Steve and his 3:25 pace group. I suggested she start with me and stay a little ahead of him. We ran the first 3-4 miles together. She sliced through the crowd better than I did, she asked where I was once and from behind I replied, “Cruising behind people dressed in garbage bags going 11 minute miles.” Which was close to the truth. How did these people get and stay ahead of me for even half a mile? Adrienne told me she “didn’t think she had it today” and said I should go ahead. She pressed on and sped up, gaining a 1:41 half marathon PR.
Once out of the park, the sun came up, I had shed the hoodie and white cotton t-shirt and was rolling north. I do like seeing the lead runners in the half marathon cominb back at me each year. John Reback, Robert, Erica, Hamed, and a few “Hi Daves” I couldn’t identify as we passed through water stops. When we split from the half marathon group, it was apparent the wind would play into the day’s results. It was strong and in your face. I know the course well, thinking that at certain key points where we were exposed to the direct wind, it would be great if I could “hide” behind people that were taller to benefit from any draft. This didn’t happen. I found a few people on the run up to the “neighborhood” and the turnaround, but once I came upon them, they slowed or kept their 7:45 or greater pace. I couldn’t stay at that for any significant measure of time, so I kept going past them. I stayed right on Succeed pills, Power Bar Gels and water at every stop. I was at the halfway point at 1:39:57 – too slow I thought. I had to run a negative split for any chance at a good close to PR performance now. I did well in the neighborhood, then swung back south. I like seeing the pace groups heading north, 3:35, thenAndrea (with no Angie) and finally Marcela Todd at 5:30 finish pace time. The wind was at my back, but it wasn’t a noticeable push. I turned on th music at mile 18 and thought how nice it would be to glide if the wind could aid my effort! I was passed by one runner at mile 21, a guy I passed at mile 13.5. He had a Miami marathon orange shirt on and he was moving well. I wasn’t able to keep his pace, afterwards I discovered he finished right before me in the overall standings witha 3:14 I think. I ran down the final 3 miles, not really knowing how close I was to my PR. I felt a twinge in my left calf, but nothing bad. I had a salt pill at 24 miles and water as I went along the sun exposed Ft Lauderdale beach. I couldn’t go much faster, I was according to the Garmin watch in the 7:20-7:30-7:40 range. I finished strong, coming past a few cheers from people that knew me but I didn’t know them in the final finish line chute area. 3:18:49, I believe 15 seconds away from a new record.
After the race I had many text messages from people that finished the half and left for home due to cold. I waited for Angie, spoke withsome of the pacers, ate the rice and chicken burrito and drank the Mich Ultra tap beer. It was sunny but never warm, that wind tore through the open finish area and chilled everyone, especially runners that were just done. I found Cammie Breen and her husband, so I hung around with them and a friend they had made. I did have a surprise in getting up with the band after they did a round of awards – it was fun, I wish some of my friends from WPB were there to see that!