Tag Archives: Miami marathon

Miami Marathon Race Report: the only thing positive about this race was my second split!

1 Feb

Badum ching!  D’ya like that?  You can already guess what happened, huh?
Well, first of all, it isn’t exactly true that there was so little that was positive about the race.  I mean, I was on vacation, the weather was beautiful, (albeit hot, but we’ll get to that) and I was running a marathon — one of my favorite activities in the world.  A year ago, I was laid up with plantar fasciitis and hating life.  Things could have been worse.  They also could have been better.
But, I’ll start at the beginning.
T and I boarded our flight to Miami on Friday night and I already had butterflies in my stomach (<-awful cliched writing, sorry) as I observed all the other passengers who were clearly running the race, as well.  A dude in an Ironman shirt.  A girl in a Chicago Marathon jacket.  It was starting to sink in that it was almost Race Day.
We arrived, checked into our hotel, ordered an indulgent dinner via room service, and crashed. Saturday morning we had a delightful breakfast (also courtesy of room service) and watched a dolphin frolic in the water out our window. YES. IT WAS AWESOME. I was squealing with joy.

room service FTW!

room service FTW!

We just barely caught him on camera

We just barely caught him on camera

I went for a quick 3-mile run around the hotel, we hit up the Expo, we hung out on the beach, we got dinner at the hotel, we crashed.

I slept OK, but was wide awake as soon as my alarm went off at 4:25 AM.  I stepped out onto our balcony into air that was a bit balmier than I would have liked for that hour.  But I was excited and didn’t care.

I guzzled my pre-race juice as I have in all 12 marathons in the past:

018 A

I knew I should eat something, but I just couldn’t summon up an appetite.  This was probably a mistake, but oh well…

We hopped in the car and parked in a lot that was about a 10 minute walk from the start.  As we approached the start, I got my first wave of unease.  I knew I would have to use the bathrooms one more time before the race, but the bathroom situation was… a logistical sh*t show.  (Yes, pun intended.)  The port-o-potties were crammed right up against the fences barring off the corrals (which were not open yet) — so the lines looped crazily off to each side and stretched for what seemed like miles.  They also seemed to not be moving.  At all.  T and I hopped in line and waited… and as sweat began to form on my forehead and it became increasingly clear that I was not going to get to go before the race started, I started getting some serious doubts about the race.  T urged me to head for my corral — corral D– which was on the other side of an enormous mass of people.  He was right.  I had to push my way through the thick crowd and began feeling something close to panic.  The NYC b*tch in me had to come out as I shoved my way through people milling around.

But I made it to corral D just in time and spotted the 3:30 pacer.  Excellent.  I positioned myself a tiny bit in front of him… and then noticed the 2 hour half-marathon pace group in front of me, in corral C.  What the?  I think a 2 hour half-marathon is about a 9:10 pace, and a 3:30 marathon is an 8:00 pace.

This was taken by the kind guy from Marathon Fotos just as everything began to sink in and I realized it was very possible I was not going to get my goal.

miami marathon1

The gun went off and off we went.  Immediately, I was weaving around people and trying not to get too pissy.  It certainly wasn’t any one of the runners’ faults that we had been corralled in such a bizarre fashion.  But irritation and frustration were there off the bat.  First mile clocked in at 8:07 and I was PISSED.

I gunned it in mile 2 in a desperate attempt to make up those measly 7 seconds (like a crazy person.)  I had been so intent on even 8 minute splits for the whole race that being off in the very first mile had messed with me.  Being a marathon veteran, you would think I would have realized I had more than enough time to make it up.  Second mile was 7:46.  PSYCHO.

And so the miles went by.  My head was not where it needed to be at all.  I clearly remember thinking at mile 3 (7:59) that I should NOT feel so discouraged and just generally “off” at mile freaking 3 in a marathon.  I remember at mile 5 (8:02) thinking, “holy crap, I’ve ONLY RUN 5 MILES?!”

You get the idea.  Miles 6-10 slogged by and while I attempted to take in the scenery and enjoy myself, I could not get into a good head space. 8:03, 8:06, 8:03, 8:03, 8:00.  Around mile 6, I took my first non-coffee-drink calories of the day, a Honey Stinger, in the hopes that it would give me a mental and physical boost.

At mile 10, I heard 2 guys next to me discussing their pace and strategies.  When I asked them what their goal was, they said “3:30 or under.”  When I said it was mine, too, they said I was looking good so far, to which I responded, “Only 10 miles in!”  They encouraged me by saying it was a 10 mile warm-up and I was on pace so far, which was nice to hear.  As we chatted a bit more, I learned that they were from Miami and they sympathized when I told them I was from NYC.  They said they’d had a hot winter and were used to it, having been training in it.  One of them told me, “My most important advice for this race is to drink water and Gatorade at every single stop.  Do not skip any.”  We approached a fuel station and I bid them adieu as I did just that.

I was feeling very slightly stronger and most positive at this point.  The Honey Stinger and Gatorade probably helped.  I looked at my watch as I came through the half and it was right under 1:45, miraculously.  Right on pace!  What??!

But.  Something happened almost exactly at the half.  My body was just done.  DUNZO.  Mile 14 clocked in at 8:22.  I tried to care.  I tried to push.  I couldn’t.  It was hot.  I felt crappy.  The 3:30 pace group passed me.  And I knew they had started slightly behind me.  I tried to catch them.  I kept them in my sight for a little while.  Then, I lost them.

8:10, 8:38.  At mile 16, it crossed my mind that I kinda wanted to just quit.  What was the point?  My A-goal was long gone.  I had a feeling my B-goal was about to pass me up.  (I was right.  The 3:35 group passed me and then some around mile 20.)  But I knew that I am not someone who quits marathons.  And there was no reason I SHOULD quit.  I could finish the race, of course.  I just didn’t feel like it.

miami marathon2

So I pushed on.  Mile 17 was 8:54, mile 18 was 8:48.  Blah blah.  I just kind of stopped trying.  And it felt kind of awesome.  I walked, slowly, through every water stop.  I let go of the goal I had worked so hard for with surprising ease.  Mile 19 commenced the 9:xx min miles with a 9:02.  Mile 20 was 8:30.  I heard the 3:35 pacer say to his group as they passed me, “You’ve done 20 miles and now is where you dig deep.”  I wished I could get on board, but ugh.  I sucked.  I just… couldn’t.



Mile 21 was 9:30.  Ho hum.  Sometime after this, I stopped at a fuel station and just kept on walking past it.  La-di-da.  Mile 22 clocked in at an impressive 9:58.  I made myself start running again.

I call this one "poor form; way too hot; make it end"

I call this one “poor form; way too hot; make it end”

9:15, 9:37, 9:44.  More walking and lazily slurping down Gatorade.

The 25 mile marker came and I decided not to be a total piece of sh*t and attempt at least a sub-9 minute mile.  8:50.  I picked it up as I cruised through the chute.  I easily spotted T, who had somehow found a spot right at the front.  I grinned ruefully and flashed him a thumbs-down, then I was done.  3:43:39.  F me.

I ambled around the finish, got some water, got my medal, chatted with a dude who was stretching next to me, and then went to the “K” to meet up with T, as planned.  I found him easily, and told him I would probably cry eventually, but was feeling pretty “whatever” at that point.  We went off in search of our car, but first I called my mom with T’s IPhone and snuck into a restaurant to use their bathrooms (I couldn’t bear the thought of using the pots at the finish area, and I never did stop during the race.)  At some point, I slid T’s IPhone into my bag, which held my water bottle and a few other things.  The phone barely got wet, but completely stopped functioning.  Then, the tears came.

They didn’t last.  What did last was our search for the car.  We wandered around for about 45 minutes before we located it.  You can imagine how fun this was, after a disappointing marathon and just after realizing I had broken T’s phone.  By the way, the thumbs-down photo was on the phone, so sadly it may never see the light of day.

In all honesty, I got over the disappointment fairly quickly.   How could I not?  I was on vacation and the weather was picture perfect.  T and I got cleaned up,  packed up, and headed out of Miami proper to South Beach.  Ahhhh… the perfect place to lick one’s wounds.

We spent the next few days doing the following:



EatingI ate my weight in filet and truffle mac and cheese at Prime Italian.  DELICIOUS!

I ate my weight in filet and truffle mac and cheese at Prime Italian. DELICIOUS!



We even made it to Flywheel just before leaving town, where I was able to take a class with my favorite instructor who moved from NYC to Miami, Aleah!


Now that I’m a few days removed from the race, I’m feeling a bit disappointed again.  Listen, I just asked a friend who tracked me to send me my splits (the marathon site doesn’t offer any splits and my Garmin was a bit off.)

According to these splits, I came through the half at 1:45:30.  I came through the 30K at 2:33:01, with an average pace of 8:13.  8:13s!  I still could have had a BQ!  My foggy brain had thrown in the towel long ago, thinking my B-goal was way out of reach.  I’m sad.  And mad at myself for my mental weakness.

I’m also determined.  It was a hot day for me.  Did I mention that?  I suck at warm weather running in any instance, but particularly when I’ve been training in winter in NYC.

I’m going to find that spring marathon and nail my goal.  I WILL DO IT.  Now, I’m asking for thoughts and advice.  Does anyone have any spring races they recommend?  Any good training plans for marathon-to-marathon?  Any ideas for what the golden amount of time should be in order to benefit from a solid base of marathon training and build on that?  I would appreciate any thoughts you all have to offer!

And finally, here are the results.  Read ’em and weep.  I’ll be back and better than ever! 🙂




Checking in and happy 2013!

10 Jan

Posting a little place holder here, ’cause I am, in fact, still alive and running!

Work has been busy and outside of work I’m still training for Miami and attempting to have some semblance of a social life, too.  That doesn’t include this past Saturday night, which was spent baking cookies and then reading in bed.  Nerd alert.

Since I wrote, the holidays happened, which were a melange of good, bad, and ugly.  (Mostly good, though!)

Good included:  seeing my awesome family!  seeing my awesome friends!  sleeping a lot!  eating cookies and cheese with reckless abandon!  seeing The Silver Linings Playbook! (my girl crush on Miss Jennifer Lawrence has now reached epic proportions) giving and receiving fantastic gifts!

Bad included:  snow, (blech, hate winter) coming up 11 miles short for my prescribed 53 miles due to aforementioned snow + laziness + airline shenanigans (more on that to come)

And the ugly:  on my way back, airline shenanigans resulted in me being stuck at the Philly airport with no option to get to Laguardia before a flight — with a connection! — the following morning (I said no thank you and took the public transport to the Amtrak station and bought a ticket to Penn.)  Said shenanigans also resulted in my bag being transported to Laguardia on the flight that followed my canceled one, even though they didn’t get ME on the flight, (’cause that makes sense) and my bag finally being delivered to me the following morning with one of the beer bottles shattered and everything else in the bag (clothes, which had kept the bottles nice and cushioned– or so I thought) soggy and reeking of beer.

So long, DFH Celebration Ale, given to me as a Christmas gift last year and aged for a full year :(

So long, DFH Faithfull Ale, given to me for Christmas last year by my brother and aged for a full year 😦

I’m fairly certain that the US Air bag people played hockey with my bag, ’cause I definitely packed everything up very carefully with just this fear in mind.  At least my two other special beers survived the perilous journey.

brewed with peppercorns... I look forward to sampling it!

brewed with peppercorns… I look forward to sampling it!

Anwho… more ugly included runs that were derailed due to, er, tummy issues (um, when one survives on a straight diet of cheese and cookies for a week, this is to be expected, no?) and the loss of my ATM card, credit card, ID, and unlimited metro card.  And flip phone.  I’d rather not get into this, but I will say that I have a new flip phone, so don’t worry!  The jabs and jeers shall continue until I’m due for an upgrade in May… 😉  Also, word to the wise– do not carry a bag for the first time on New Years Eve because chances are if you are not accustomed  to carrying this bag and have a glass or two some champagne, you will forget to zip it and lose everything in a cab.  So yeah, don’t carry a new bag in that instance.  Even if the bag is super cute…

Did I need to buy this bag?  Absolutely not.  It was on sale, though...

Did I need to buy this bag? Absolutely not. It was on sale, though…

Miami training is going pretty well.  I did two 60-mile weeks and am officially tapering!  I’m still experiencing anxiety prior to every speed workout and am always slightly amazed when I nail them.  For instance– yesterday, I was to run 8 miles with 5 of them at tempo pace (7:27.)  I had pretty much decided I probably wasn’t going to be able to do it and was surprised when I did and it went well.  This is a regular occurrence with MGP runs and Yassos, as well.

In addition to the tempo yesterday, this week has also included a 7 miler with strides and an easy 6 miler.  I have a 10-miler with 8 MGP miles (eee!), another easy 6, and a 16 miler.  After last week’s 23 miler, the 16 miler is going to feel like a vacation.  That will rack up 53 miles total for the week and then next week I only have to do 40!

A few other running-related notes:

-I finally broke down and bought one of those handheld water bottles, even though I’m cheap and it was not.

water bottle

My reasoning was that I have read a few reports from the Miami marathon and it sounds like the water stations are pretty congested, at least until the half marathoners are done.  I’d like to try and avoid that, at least as much as possible, for the first half of the race.  However, I’m a little nervous since I’ve also read race reports from 2012 and the humidity level was something crazy, like 89% (barf.)  I DIE in humidity, since I sweat so much anyway, so this could get ugly… I’ve been practicing carrying this thing on my long runs and there is nothing to it, though I probably will wind up carrying either it or my phone, but not both on race day.  I’ve never run a marathon without my phone on me, but I don’t want to be juggling a bunch of crap while I gun for as close to 3:30 as possible (yep, I said it.)

Anyway, I carried it on Sunday for my 23 miler, but I wound up being pretty dehydrated and feeling ill afterward.  It really doesn’t hold that much water, but I did only refill it 3 times.  My 13th marathon and I still suck at hydrating.  At least I am finally getting the hang of fueling.  It’s amazing how much better a long run goes with the help of a few Honey Stingers… who knew?!

honey stinger

-You may recall a little bitch of an injury that plagued me for longer than I care to remember last year.  The plantar fasciitis hasn’t reared its ugly head full force or anything close to it, though I feel a little twinge here and there … but I can deal with that.  However, the foot ailment du jour is called metatarsalgia and it is no fun.  It basically feels like a burning or stabbing sensation on the metatarsal area of my foot and my toes.  Good times.  The good people at Jackrabbit fitted me for shoes about 4 times before I finally gave up and realized it wasn’t the shoes, but rather, my feet.  I’ve been able to keep it at bay during long runs with Advil.

And on a final, unrelated to running note, I’m not a huge “resolution” person, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have goals in mind at the beginning of every year.  However, for the past 2 years, I’ve made the resolution to “read more.”  I was a total bookworm growing up and was an English major in college.  But somewhere along the way I stopped making time to read.  And last year, I read a grand total of something embarrassing like 4 books — the Hunger Games series and Gone Girl.  I think I’m better at more concrete goals, so this year I’m going to read a book a month.  This month’s selection is I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe and I’m loving it and already almost finished.  If anyone has any good books to recommend, toss them my way!  I have a HUGE list of books I’ve been wanting to read for years, but I’m always open to suggestions!

In 2 months…

27 Nov

So, I guess now is when I say I’m planning to run the Miami marathon on January 27th– 2 months from today…

Basically, as a very generous gift, I was given a trip to Miami to do so last year, but as you may remember, I had a “short” bout with the dreaded plantar fasciitis … this prevented me from doing any running whatsoever for an unspeakable amount of time.

And so, January 27, 2013, is the day I hope to will run a sub-3:35 marathon.*

I actually got a little queasy just typing that out.  Yeesh.

Well, anyway, I suppose my official training for this race began the day I was slated to run the NYC marathon, which you may have heard wound up being canceled…

I ran 20 miles in the park that day, and the following week, ran a total of 44 miles, plus did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  My training has been decent but unremarkable.  My long runs have been very slow.  My speedwork has been pretty much on par.  Last week, I ran a little over 53 miles and did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  I also consumed about a million calories.  Fuel, of course!

This is a goose!

Who knew that goose was delicious?!?! T and I discovered this on Thanksgiving!

I made my Grandma’s oyster dressing. It involves: oysters, saltines, and a “little” bit of butter…

It is also DELICIOUS.

Can’t have Thanksgiving without green bean casserole! I used about 3 times the amount of cheese that the recipe called for. Obviously.

Anyway, so that’s just some of what I fueled my 53+ miles with last week.

One more shot of the goose

This week is a bit of a cutback week — I’ll only run about 45 miles.  Then next week I’ll run 60… which will be the most miles I’ve ever run in a week.

A few random observations about running during this, my 13th(!!!!) marathon training cycle:

-20 milers almost always suck.  They would probably suck a little bit less if I ran with a buddy or if I listened to music, but this last 20 miler (Friday after Thanksgiving) I had neither, and it was particularly brutal.

-For some reason, it’s difficult for me to hit MGP on anything but a circular path (lately for me, it’s been the Reservoir and the Astoria Park track.)  Why is that?  I should probably rectify this situation, seeing as how I’m pretty sure that the Miami marathon is a typical road race and not one done around a reservoir or on a track…

-I really want to join a running club/team.

-Inclement weather is almost a given on nights when I have NYRR running class.  Case in point:  the weather today sucks.  And I have class.

Anyway, this is not cohesive at all, but the 2 people who read my blog asked why I hadn’t written anything in a while.  So, tada!!!  I’ll do better next time. 🙂

Hope your holiday season is off to a great start!

*this really only involves shaving 4 minutes off of my PR, but I’d rather be closer to 3:30 if we’re being honest here…