Friday, February 02, 2018


Oh hai there! Do I look tired? I have no idea why! It's only 5:30am Eastern Time. Jolly ho, onward with this jaunt!
First of all, fair readers, I have to apologize for my lack of posting. I was going to do a preview for this race but didn't get around to it. Not sure I'd have much to say anyways, I was hesitant to set any goals since traveling to Florida is always a wild card. Between weather, sleep, digestive uncertainty, and now arthritis, it's hard to really gauge anything.

I will say I was trying to shoot for under two hours. I did a 1:56 at the Holiday Half but I didn't necessarily feel any faster. If anything I felt slower... I had a lot of mojo going into that race and then the time between that and Miami was a slog to stay motivated. However, I felt like I was about in the same shape, so maybe I could do something similar. As you'll see, that was a pipe dream!

Anyways, I had another ungodly early fight requiring a 4:30am wakeup. Twelve hours later, I was in Miami! Did some fun stuff in my free time there... went golfing, laid on the beach and got some sun, ate delicious food without giving a shit, etc. I tried to adjust to east coast time but failed miserably this year, leading to a lot of tossing and turning and only 2.5 hours of sleep before the race.


Spoiler... I finished and looked terrible.
We woke up around 4:00am and were out the door by 4:30. Painful wake up, but I've done it before, so I know I can fight through it. We found a neat parking lot last year that was mere blocks away from the start line that we hit again this year. Pretty slick. We were at the start line by 5:10. After walking around to get some photos we split into our separate corrals and waited for the start of the race. I was in corral "E" this year, placed with other people looking to run around a 2:00 half marathon.

The weather this year was going to be the main hurdle. I watched over the week as the temperature kept creeping upward. All told it was 75 degrees with 90 humidity at the start of the race. Not good! Now, there was no direct sun, it was overcast, so that helped. There was also a pretty stiff breeze, another positive in the cooling department. It wasn't as bad as the death march my first year, but it wasn't ideal. While the weather had been unseasonably cool the last three times I was here, that wouldn't be the case this time around.

MILES 1-4: CAUSEWAY CRUISING (8:48, 8:42, 9:03, 8:54)

I paced myself at my Holiday Half pace, shooting for something around 8:50 a mile. As you can see, for the first few miles it went pretty well! I was a little concerned about how I was feeling though. The short amount of sleep was really weighing on me and the weather was not ideal. I could feel my core temperature rising and as a result, my cardio was labored for the effort. It felt harder than it should have. The Tuesday before the race I went to the gym and did a four mile "race pace" run... it was nowhere near as hard as the first four miles here!

As always though, the race was cool. Always neat to run over the causeway and see the cruise ships in the dark. The sun wouldn't rise for another couple of miles so for the moment I was doing okay. I did have a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't be able to maintain the pace, but I would cross that bridge when it came. I ran into Miami Beach feeling a lot like I did back in 2014... uncertain of what the rest of the race would hold. Comparing my feeling at mile four here with mile four of the Holiday Half... night and day!

MILES 5-8: SOUTH BEACH SUFFERING (9:07, 9:11, 9;15, 9:34)

Rolling along, looking strong (?)
While I knew I probably wouldn't be maintaining my pace, I didn't expect to slow down so quickly. I was putting forth the same effort but I just couldn't get those damn miles below 9:00. By mile 8 I had accepted my fate and walked my first aid station. To that point I was doing a slow jog or powerwalk through the stations, getting my fluids and then quickly resuming pace. This aid station however... nice leisurely stroll and a good twenty seconds to drink the water before resuming.

This section of the race was identical to last year. Instead of going through some neighborhoods like the first two years I did it, they now do an out a back a few blocks west of Ocean Drive. While I kind of liked the neighborhood change of scenery, this is also fun. Something about an out and back with runners going both ways is exciting and electric. I was on the lookout for my friend who was running a quicker race than me but I didn't see him. I think he was long gone by the time I got to this section. Overall, I had slowed down a little but nothing too drastic.

MILES 9-11: VENETIAN VENGEANCE (9:40, 9:57, 10:18)

Well, this is where any thought of finishing under two hours vaporized into thin air. The conditions were just too uncomfortable. Now, had I ran this race after a summer of training in the Oregon heat... no problem! I am running in 80, 90 degrees all the time then. Your body gets accustomed to it. But training all winter in 44 degrees and then trying to run a half in this? Just not happening. I hate excuses. I really do. However, sometimes the conditions are just not right. And I, dear reader, put forth that they were not good.

Over the Venetians.
I am now gratuitously walking through the aid stations. Nice thirty second strolls. Drink the water, throw the cup, walk ten seconds more, groan, slowly begin to shuffle. Apparently I was also mentally out of it, because I'm trying to think back about running through the tollbooths (always a milestone because you are almost back on the mainland) and I can't even remember doing that. Zero recollection. So yeah. I think I was a little checked out. My legs felt okay, my cardio was just really labored as a result of being too warm. I felt crummy. It was really hard.

MILES 12-13.1: DOWNTOWN DISTRESS (10:16, 10:35)

Alright, gotta admit, took a couple unsanctioned walking breaks toward the end of this thing. Once the two hour goal flew out the window I was lacking in real motivation. I then thought about doing it under 2:05, but really, I didn't care. I'm surprised these miles were as fast as they were to be honest. I've done long runs at this pace without walking. So what really was going on was I was running a 9:30 clip and taking teeny weeny little breaks here and there. Sue me.

I can't express how crappy I felt. These miles really sucked! I'm not going to compare them to the last few miles of last year or the last few of a marathon, but they sucked. A lot worse than the Holiday Half! I again took the pineapple. Year two... maybe I'll make that a tradition, even if I get fast again. Anyways, after some slogging along we wound our way to the finish line. It felt like a different route this year, and what do you know, it was! At some point you turned the corner and there was the finish, a half block away. Hallelujah!

Suck it Miami, I am done!

My legs actually felt pretty good after finishing.I remember being in pretty bad shape after last year. This year I was fine. It honestly felt like after a long run. The pressing concern was my energy level and general well being. I felt like garbage. You can see it in my face in the pictures, I look like shit an and lack any color. My body was zapped of any energy. And while my legs were sore for a few days, it wasn't anything too bad. I was going up and down stairs no problem. So the story of this race really was the weather and the resulting lack of cardio.

If I had ran a slower pace to begin with I could have easily maintained a consistent pace and ran this bitch in. Hindsight is 20/20. All three of us did worse than we were expecting. Had one friend who is in 1:42 shape do 1:50. So I can't feel that bad about my race. Hell, I did a half marathon in 2:06, that's pretty fucking good. I need to keep perspective. A year ago I was more than a half hour slower. I was in the top 50% for every category. Onward.

Afterward we took some naps and then gorged ourselves at Pizza Hut. Completely worth it, every soul sucking mile.

Official Results: 2:06:18, 9:39/mile. 3657/13837 overall, 2517/7002 male, 365/873 M30-34.

1 comment:

  1. I love that that pic. Clearly, you were having a blast!