To the best of my recollection, this was the eighth time I’ve participated in this event. With the exception of two years ago, I have always had to pleasure of running with at least one guest “celebrity” from out of town. This year would be no different, as I picked up Elaine from the airport on Friday morning. Unfortunately, some of the enthusiasm would fade, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
We went straight to Runner’s Depot from the airport. They were putting on their own “mini” expo, with everything 20% off. I purchased a pair of running shorts, which will be proudly featured in my race photos. I asked Renee if we could take the early bus down to the expo on Saturday around 10am, and come home on the late bus at 4:30pm. She was very willing to accommodate us, and would let me know later that day. We met Glenda and Joyce for lunch, and got the word from Renee that it was a go. Yay…I wouldn’t have to drive to Miami two consecutive days!
After the debacle last year at Marlins Park, the expo was moved back to Mana Wynwood. Rachel had never been to Wynwood, and wanted to spend the day with us for food, fun, shopping, and photography. The expo was pretty crowed when we got there, but it was fun being able to take our time, and look through all of the merchandise. For some reason, Lindsey and I were put in the last corral, but we were able to straighten it out and move ahead a little bit. Since most of the corrals were already at capacity, we were only able to go from corral “K” to corral “J.”
After our shopping spree (which included a jacket, a hat, and a shirt), we grabbed lunch at the Wynwood Diner. I must say, the “Brioche French Toast” was the best French toast ever! It was now time to visit the Wynwood Walls. The Wynwood Walls was conceived by the renowned community revitalizer and placemaker, the late Tony Goldman in 2009. He was looking for something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at a simple idea: “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place.” Starting with the 25th–26th Street complex of six separate buildings, his goal was to create a center where people could gravitate to and explore, and to develop the area’s pedestrian potential. At this point, I became Rachel’s personal photographer, and was able to capture the beauty of both her and the walls. Once we arrived home, it was an early dinner, and an even earlier bedtime, in anticipation for the big day tomorrow.
We arrived in our usual parking spot around 4am; the temperature was a delightful 65 degrees. Elaine was running the full, and was in one corral ahead of us. 16,585 runners entered this race (13,732 for the half, and 2,853 for the full), which was around 500 less than last year. Lindsey wanted to run by herself and try to PR. Translated..."You're too slow for me." Once the gun sounded, it took about 45 minutes for us to start the race.
I felt really good, and the peeing was kept to the minimum. I had no pain in my knee at the start, so it actually felt okay to run up the bridge. I caught up with Amy and her friend Yvonne around the four mile mark, as we were making the turn to run on South Beach. Even though I was running pain free, my pace was unusually slow…even for me. I was a little disappointed, but I’ll take it over a swollen knee anytime. I started to feel a bit tired around nine miles into the race, but I think it was because of the heat (it was now around 74°) more than anything else. Considering my last race was 32°, you could probably consider this a heat wave. With two miles left to go, I caught up again with Amy & Yvonne. They were walking, so I assumed they were doing intervals. Amy told me that Yvonne was having major IT band pain, and she could not run. Since my time was shot to hell at this point anyway, I decided to be a Good Samaritan and stay with them. Amy and I had a really good conversation, but we really felt bad for Yvonne. With one-half mile left, I decided to run it in for the cheesy photo-opp. Lindsey met me at the finish line, and was grinning ear-to-ear. It didn’t take a psychic to figure out she must have set a PR. The post-race food was very good, not to mention the medals.
At this point, I would be ending the blog with a clever line or two. However, there would be a very disturbing set of events that would forever put an asterisk on this race.
Later that night, Lindsey and I were looking online at our race photos. For some reason, we could not pull up anything on Elaine. Not even her finishing time. We let her know; she thought it was odd as well. Elaine called me on Monday, and was beside herself. She received an email back from the President/CEO saying:
Hi Elaine, Determined by multiple points on the course and unrealistic paces in your time you were disqualified.
The same Elaine who gave a homeless person sleeping outside the parking garage $10 earlier that morning? Elaine is one of the most law-abiding citizens you will ever meet. In fact, when the two of us ran this race back in 2014, they prematurely closed the Rickenbacker Causeway. This would have knocked two miles off of the race. The two of us looked at each other and said we are not taking a medal for a full marathon if we do not run 26.2 miles. We then proceeded to make up our own route to get the extra mileage in. Yeah…that Elaine.
Her response was brief, and to the point:
Please see the 3 attachments. The first one shows my start time and overall finish as well as the course. The next two pictures are my laps, mile by mile. As you can clearly see I did not deviate from the course. I would like a full explanation as to why I was disqualified as well as a full refund. This is not acceptable. I look forward to hearing from you in the morning.
Sincerely, Elaine Trettel (who does not cheat)
If I just looked at the mile-by-mile times (not knowing it was Elaine), I would think the runner probably stated out too fast, and ran out of steam towards the end. Of course, Elaine stopped to shoot (and post) several videos & photos throughout the race. I held off publishing this blog until the final verdict was in:
All is updated. It wasn't my call the RD had you out. But now you are back in because of this data! Thanks for supplying that.
Best Regards, Josh Stern President/CEO
In the end, the “good guys” always prevail!
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON