A chilly start – but very successful day! My time was 3:49:34, very close to a perfect pacing day.
Let’s start with the expo…
The expo was in a new location this year, Mana Wynwood, the artist’s community of Miami. Parking wasn’t difficult since I was on for the first shift. I’m glad I left early, part of I-95 was closed due to an accident on Saturday morning. The venue was a large building that could have been a bit better utilized. There was plenty of space unused in the facility, it seemed like the marathon and all accompanying supplier booths were crammed into a smaller, designated section. Because of this, the expo felt more like a flea market! Tight aisles and crowded everything. Our Purium Pacing booth was very well positioned, not a single person could miss our signs, triple booth or enthusiastic workers. I think we boosted attendance in the pace groups as well as awareness of Purium products dur to the great location of our stand.
Pacer dinner was very good, surprisingly the Cuban-based restaurant we had used two years ago had a diverse menu. Some of our runners were overlooked with their servings, but honestly, this is bound to happen in a group of 25 or more. My food was well prepared and a good portion.I roomed with David from Erie, Pa. He was the 3:10 pacer. He had a very focused approach to his preparations. He wanted to wake up at 3am, eat something, then lie down for 45 minutes to properly digest – thankfully he didn’t budge until 3:30. I slept well, neatly tucked into the covers. David preferred to sleep in cool temps, so we had the air conditioner on all night!
I roomed with David from Erie, Pa. He was the 3:10 pacer. He had a very focused approach to his preparations. He wanted to wake up at 3am, eat something, then lie down for 45 minutes to properly digest – thankfully he didn’t budge until 3:30. I slept well, neatly tucked into the covers. David preferred to sleep in cool temps, so we had the air conditioner on all night!
Our morning drive over was the best we’ve ever had. A quick jaunt on 395 East to I-95 South, exit on 8th Ave and drive to 5th Ave. We went straight East into the Port area and parked under the AAA for $5.00 Easy as ever!
Pre-race it became apparent that my clothing was ok for the temps, as I had practiced during the week. The wind was a chiller, however, I couldn’t get warm at all waiting for the running to start. Corrals opened late, no reason why but it has happened before at Miami I remember. Thanks to Kristen for giving me a “barrel liner – 6ft tall clear bag to wear while we waited. April Flynn had two pink sweatshirts on, one of those worked just enough to keep my teeth from chattering, so a big thanks to her, too!
My group consisted of Melissa from Ft Lauderdale, who wanted to start with us but said she would end up running a different pace. Also hovering near me in the early miles were Sue (First marathon) Stephanie, Phillipe, Anne (from Melbourne, AUS) Felix (From Cologne, GER) Uttarrio, Wladimir from Ecuador, Gordon Turner (from south of Lexington, KY) There were two other gals from Pompano that stayed alongside us all the way past Mile 13, but I did not get their names, they were “plugged in” to their music.
The corral starts were wisely staggered, this is a big improvement! We were at 9 min mile as a group for mile #1. This 13-second differential was the largest I’d have all day at any mile marker. The cool weather allowed us to be right on pace by Mile 4 on South Beach. Sue was my “closest” runner in the first half, she stayed right by me listening and soaking in advice, tourist spots and anything else I was saying! We saw the race leaders coming back at us near mile 3.5, that’s always exciting. The new route on South Beach was very good, it seemed to go by quickly. I was not too cold at this point, but I wasn’t ready to toss the pink hoodie, knowing we had more exposure to the NNW wind on the run back across the causeway. I found the miles 9 & 10 on the Mac Arthur Causeway to be the toughest conditions of the day – wind in the face and a hill at Mile 10. Our pace was consistent but a tad slower going up the hill into the wind…
Once back in Miami, the half marathoners left for their finish line. I still had a sizeable group for the 3:50 full, maybe 10 people. We did well over the Mile 14 drawbridge, I kept reminding the group to drink more than they thought, since they weren’t having any sweat issues, which can be deceiving! I employed Sue to hold my water bottle and pacer sign between Miles 15 & 16 while I quickly did a pee break on course. Once back with the group, we did well through the small residential neighborhoods leading into Coconut Grove. Some of my group was now about 50 feet back running steady, with several others joining me at the front to talk or tell me how they felt.
Once we entered the 20-something miles, I got my group to concentrate on anything but “only 6 miles remaining.” We discussed a few neat things in that regard, then found ourselves making that right turn towards Rickenbacker Causeway. The sun was in our face and my best two runners came forward, Felix from Germany and Uttario. It was so nice to see so many runners going strong from this point on, usually in warmer Miami conditions people are doing plenty of walking!
We went down Brickell Ave with many people cheering for us. The wind was blocked by the buildings and trees, this two mile straightaway was the most rewarding for so many of the runners near me. Many were smiling, they had great conditions and were all running well as we approached the final two turns. I sent my two guys ahead because they had good energy – they both waited for me at the finish to thank me for helping them achieve great races. I waited for several people at the line, those that still obtained PRs and finished a minute or two behind me.
I visited the VIP area for warm coffee and eggs. Then I went to the Hydration Rejuvenation area for an IV. This process is so beneficial! I mentioned it to so many people on the course and at the pacer dinner. I see their business doing very well here in South Florida!