Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MIAMI MARATHON - 02/02/2014

I’m not really sure just how interested I am in doing any more full marathons.

I know what you’re thinking…it is just lip service on my part.  The truth is, the training for a marathon is like a second job, and most of my running friends have downsized to half marathons.  When I signed up for the Miami Marathon over one year ago (because of the sensational savings they offered for early registration), I did not expect Elaine to be the only representative from Ocala to make the trip down to South Florida.  Jen decided to sign up for the Melbourne Half Marathon, Pam wanted to try some different races, and all of the other Turtles decided to take a pass this year (Amy signed up for the half marathon, but decided to make the race a family vacation).  Under these circumstances, this was the only full marathon that I had scheduled this racing season.  I’m not totally opposed to doing more marathons in the future, but definitely some different races (like Clearwater).

Elaine made her way down late Friday, so we decided to go to the Expo on Saturday morning.  Rachel had no plans that day, so the three of us made the drive down to the Miami Beach Convention Center.  In previous years, we had no problem parking; this year it was packed!  In addition, Lifetime was the new sponsor of the race (instead of ING), so the shirts were totally different.  We came, we saw, we conquered and made our way back home.

One of the best things about my blog is having the ability to look back and see what our routine was the last time we ran the same race.  In this case, the brutal reality will forever be etched into my memory.  Get up at 2am, out the door by 3:15am, and park at the American Airlines Arena by 4am.  I did not get very much sleep that night, but was pretty awake when we got to the race.  We walked around Bayside for a little while, and eventually made our way to our corral about 45 minutes before the start of the race (many visits to the porta potty were involved).

There were 21,854 participants this year, which represented the largest crowd for the Miami Marathon.  15,447 would be running the half marathon, while 6,407 “suckers” would tackle the full.  It took almost 30 minutes for us to get to the starting line once the race officially began, and the temperature was already 74 degrees before sunrise (oy vey!).

Since Elaine was running this race for the first time, I was naturally a very gracious tour guide.  As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, this is a beautiful course.  From South Beach to Coconut Grove, it just doesn't get any better in terms of scenery.  We obviously stopped to take many pictures along the way, and only one bathroom break the whole time!  It was brutally hot, with the sun out in full force.  Around the 12-mile mark, the rain clouds started to roll in, and we received a well-deserved shower for about 5 minutes.  After the rain stopped, we caught a break with lots of cloud cover for the next 5 miles.  Our pace was pretty slow, as the effects of not having run a marathon in almost a year were quite evident (not to mention, Elaine had run a marathon in Celebration the week before).

As we hit mile marker 21, we were told by a race official to “get on the sidewalk or get on the bus,” as they were about to open up the roads to local traffic.  This seemed very curious to us, as we had more than an hour before they were supposed to open the streets.  At mile marker 22, the course had us running up and back on the Rickenbacker Causeway for 2 miles.  When we got there, we were told that the road was closed to the runners and we should just continue to go north on Biscayne Blvd.  We were assured that we would still receive a finisher’s medal for the race.  When Elaine asked me what he meant by that, I told her that we were only going to run 24.2 miles; not a full marathon.  If you know anything at all about me (or Elaine), you know there is no way we would take the medal unless we ran the full race.  Still perplexed as to why we were cut off so early in the race, we decided to deviate from the course in order to make up the two miles we had lost by not running on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  Imagine the looks we received when the runners behind us wondered why we were running in the wrong direction.  In the end, we made up the mileage and crossed the finish line with our watches reading 26.2 miles.  We spoke with race officials later on, and they seemed just as mystified as to why this happened as we were.  They are supposed to get back to me, but I’m not holding my breath.

I took advantage of the early registration for next year, but I’m only participating in the half marathon.  I think I will have more company next year, but we have a whole year to figure it all out.  Back to Gainesville in two weeks!


No comments:

Post a Comment