Thursday, January 31, 2019


Spoiler alert... I may have crossed the finish line.
Well, I've been very bad about updating my blog recently! Although, I don't think I could have given much of a preview, this race is routine by now seeing this was going to be my SIXTH time doing it. My only goal was to get under two hours. This is never a good race to set an ambitious goal at... between the time change and typically unfavorable weather, it's a tough one.

Anyways, I flew out early on Thursday. My alarm went off at 3:45am and I was out the door by 4:00 for my 6:15am flight. Thankfully I breezed through security (government was still shutdown at this point) and so I had enough time to grab a coffee and a bite to eat. My layover was in Newark, and unfortunately, that flight was delayed by a couple hours. So I ended up in Miami around 9pm despite my early wake up. However, it was a blessing in disguise because I was ready to go to bed by midnight Miami time.

The rest of the trip was pretty low key. I've been to Miami so many times now I don't really do the tourist thing. I did make sure we went to the beach even if the weather wasn't the greatest. There was probably a grand total of 15 minutes of sun the two hours we were there but I still managed to get a light sunburn. HA. Accomplished my goal of swimming in the ocean despite the locals probably thinking I was crazy since it was only about 65 out.


This was probably the best I adjusted to east cost time in any of my years at this race. I actually got about 4.5 hours of sleep despite the 4:00am wakeup. Much better than the two and a half hours last year and the 90 minutes of sleep my first year! We drove and parked near the start line again, amazing how close you can end up getting without too much issue! I think a lot of people get freaked out about the thought of parking and end up taking other forms of transit (like we used to take the shuttle) but it's actually not that hard to find parking if you arrive an hour early. We'll keep that our little secret though.

The forecast called for heavy rain and it started raining on our way to the race. However, once we parked, the rain ceased. The forecast still looked bad, but it was dry for the moment. My friend and I bought had ponchos just in case, and we hung out in the car until about 5:45am. It stayed dry, so I left the car and hustled toward my corral (C). It was a giant clusterfuck trying to get in... I got there about 5:50 and there were probably 100 people grouped up around the entrance trying to get in and one worker slowly checking bibs. Eventually people got worried about missing the start and we pushed our way in there past the worker who just had to stand to the side. Kind of funny, because the start of the race was delayed 15 minutes anyways so we ended up having plenty of time.

MILES 1-4: OVER THE CAUSEWAY (8:46, 8:18, 8:41, 8:28)

Before I knew it I was running the Miami Half Marathon again. Other than the Shamrock Run, I haven't run any even more often. Crazy to think! The weather was holding off for the moment but that didn't mean it was ideal. It was about 66 degrees and humid at the start. Probably about 80-85% humidity. Thankfully it was overcast, so we didn't have to contend with the sun, but it was still too warm to really perform at your best, especially if you aren't acclimated to that weather!

As you can see from the picture, I was a slimy, wet mess at mile two before the sun even came up. Welcome to running in Florida! Since I didn't have any overly ambitious goals, I wasn't concerned with my time at all. In fact, I put my watch to the the time of day screen and only looked at my split when it beeped each mile. I know a proper half marathon pace by now, so I just tried to run around there while also taking the weather into consideration. This resulted in a mid-8 pace with some variation due to the ups and downs of the causeway.

MILES 5-8: SOUTH BEACH STRUTTING (8:48, 8:52, 8:47, 8:50)

Onto the annual section in South Beach! There were parts of the course here where the wind was blocked and without that blowing your body overheated very quickly. Luckily those stretches were only a couple miles at most. As you can see, I settled into a nice pace, a little slower than I thought I might be, but not too bad. At this point I made it my goal to finish under 9 minutes a mile overall. I've definitely slowed somewhat since the marathon, that is a post for another day, but if I could run under 9 with the conditions, I would be pretty happy.

The course changed a little again this year. Instead of the out and back section that had been introduced in recent years, they went back to a loop through a residential neighborhood and golf course. This was the route my first few years doing the race, so it was nice to get back to that "traditional" route - although, I did miss the energy of the out and back section. Overall I was still feeling pretty good here, my pace felt comfortable and I knew I could finish the race without too much of an issue. I made a special effort to take in the sights and crowds around me. Many times at this race I'm grinding so much I haven't been able to enjoy that.

MILES 9-13: ACROSS THE BAY TO THE FINISH (8:47, 8:47, 8:59, 9:11, 9:26)

This year I hit the Venetian Islands portion still feeling pretty good. That hasn't been the case some years! My first ever time in Miami (not for a race) I race across these things as part of my long run so this part has always held a special place in my heart! As you can see, my pace held up until about mile ten. Eventually the grind of the race did catch up with me. With most of my long runs being of the ten mile variety, it was really no surprise I started to poop out after ten. It was just an overall tiredness that took over, neither my lungs or legs were struggling in particular.

I did make a special point to acknowledge the toll booths at the end of the Venetian Causeway this year. That has always been a milestone for me (back to the mainland, almost to the finish) but last year I was so out of it I didn't even remember running through them. Well, I remember this year... the small victories. At this point of the race I also started power walking through the aid stations instead of a slow jog like earlier in the race. Anything to give my muscles a tiny little break before going back to the grind.

Anyways, not much to write home about here! There was that really great cheer section about mile eleven that imparted a lot of energy into us participants, then another two miles of boring downtown before finally weaving our way to the finish. They changed the route near the finish again this year, nothing too drastically different, we ended in the same place, but there was less weaving around this year and it seemed to be a more direct route to the finish. Anyways, I ran the last quarter mile at an 8:00/mile clip so I still had a little pep in my step at the end.


I'm not mad, just disappointed.
Done! Whew! I transitioned to a walk and... well, my legs almost gave out. So weird! They got all tingly and weak, something that never happens during a half marathon. I didn't even feel that bad at the end. What the heck? Anyways, it was temporary, within a few steps I was back to normal but that was a surprise. Guess I probably did push myself to the limit if that was the reaction of my body! Anyways, the rest of the chute was the normal fare, get your medal, get your food, get the hell out of there.

My friend didn't run the race this year so he was able to meet me after I finished and after a quick break to power down some food, we headed toward the beer tent. Michelob Ultra... AGAIN. That fucking company sponsors every freaking race. Ugh. BUT it actually tasted pretty good after the race. Once our beers were down, we headed back to his place and I took a big ol' fat three hour nap. Once I woke up we watched a little bit of the Pro Bowl and then headed to Pizza Hut, were I committed unspeakable acts with food.

Overall, a really fun trip and a good race. Love the Miami Half! The best part was, I think for the first time ever, I had no delays on my way back home. I actually arrived back as scheduled.

Official Chip Time: 1:56:52, 8:55/mile. 2247/14162 overall, 1715/7215 male, 275/957 M30-35.