Jen, Mary and Pam came down on Friday afternoon. Jen had decided earlier in the week that she would not be participating in the race, but wanted to see her South Florida family. We met Glenda for lunch, and headed down to the Miami Beach Convention Center for the expo. The great thing about going to this race expo on Friday (as opposed to Saturday) is the smaller crowd. The race shirts were very nice, and we all walked out having made a purchase or two (or three).
It was back down to Miami on Saturday, as we paid a visit to Zoo Miami. I think the last time I went to this zoo was back in 1992, right before Hurricane Andrew decimated it. The weather was totally overcast, and the temperature was around 72 degrees. Perfect conditions for checking out the animals and taking photos.
The weather forecast for the race was 53 degrees at race start, with a high of 62 degrees at the finish. This was an unbelievable surprise, as the temperature for this race has historically been much higher. For some reason, it took us no time at all to get down to Miami. In fact, we were in our parking space at the American Airlines Arena before 4am; that was the good news. The bad news was they had not unlocked the port-a-potties yet. There is always one restroom open in Bayside, but it was nasty from the night before (beggars can’t be choosers). We sat in the car for a bit, and made our way to the starting line around 5:15. It was very windy, which made it seem colder than it really was. In total there were 15,905 participants (significantly less than the record crowd of 21,854 from last year). 2,748 runners would participate in the full, and 13,157 runners would take on the half. For some reason, the start of the race was delayed 15 minutes, and our corral did not cross the starting line until 7am.
This was Mary’s first time running this race. She is a bit slower than Pam and me, but we all stuck together to help her PR this bad boy. The cool weather made for absolute perfect running conditions. In fact, I can’t remember ever running a race were the weather was this ideal. I wore a short sleeve shirt with compression sleeves, and never had to take the sleeves off. This course showcases some of the most picturesque areas of Miami Beach, including South Beach. Mary ran a very strong race, but her toes started cramping around the eight-mile mark. After a quick massage by “Dr. Jay,” we were back on track. The wind had totally died down, and the sun was out full force. All of this was a constant reminder of why I never get tired of this course.
As we approached the finish line, I actually felt as if I could have done the full marathon. Pam and I did our best to encourage Mary to keep up the pace, but you could tell that she was totally spent. She missed a PR by 40 seconds, but we were really proud of her. The finisher’s medals were very nice (as usual), and we actually made it back to my house before noon.
I’ve already signed up for next year, but I don’t think any of my friends will be running with me. I did get my friend April to sign up, so I’m hoping we can run together (this will be her first half marathon). Either way, the countdown begins.