Sunday morning started with a 4:15am wake-up to get ready for the race. I did the same thing as always – got ready and made my PB&Js. About an hour later, we headed out to the race start. And for the first time ever, I discovered the glory that is staying at a hotel within walking distance to the starting line.
Unfortunately, I cannot walk and take pictures at the same time, so most of my pictures are blurry. I’m lucky I get one foot in front of the other.
Michelle and I found our corral, or what we thought was our corral since the signs were confusing, said our goodbyes to Melissa, who was in the “fast as shit” corral, and waited for the start.
The race started at 6:15 and even that early, it was extremely humid. Miami doesn’t believe in seasons, I think. The entire day was overcast which I was thankful for because I know it could have been much worse.
I didn’t feel good or bad during this race. I guess I just felt like I was going through the motions. I tried to increase my pace but every time I checked my Garmin, I just couldn’t get below a 10:00 minute mile. It was disheartening and I checked out mentally pretty early on. I hate that. My mental state makes or breaks a race for me. Every time.
But enough about my crappy running. Let’s talk about the race. Specifically, the things I didn’t like. Like how the whole race was packed with runners and never thinned out. I was dodging people for 13 miles.
The first water stop didn’t appear until mile 3, which I thought was a little crazy, especially with the humidity. And honestly, any Florida race should know better.
The water stops weren’t long enough (one thing Las Vegas RnR got right) so everyone was crowded at the tables trying to get water and none of the volunteers were prepared. I usually had to wait for them to pour my water – and I made sure to thank them all because I’m sure they were as frustrated as I was.
There were also these little water pouches available at each water station.
I tried one of these at the expo and it tasted like plastic but I still kinda liked the idea. That is, until it was put into action. Everyone was throwing unfinished pouches on the ground, so running through water stops was like running through a mine field.
I almost slipped on my ass twice. These things are a horrible idea for races. Not to mention that the volunteers were throwing them like footballs to the runners, so I felt like I was dodging little death torpedoes as they flew over my head.
And now for the things I liked. The course was amazing. I think Michelle said in her recap that you could tell the course was designed by runners and it is so true. There was always something to look at and it was gorgeous. It definitely gave me an appreciation for Miami that I didn’t get from my first visit.
We started out running by the port of Miami. It was dark when we ran by, so it was really cool seeing a fleet (about 6, is that enough for a fleet?) of cruise ships all lit up.
We ran through South Beach, by cute restaurants and shops, between skyscrapers, over several bridges with amazing views of the water and the city, and we even ran through a toll booth, which I thought was kinda fun.
Firemen showing their support.
Also, crowd support was amazing through the entire race. It blew away both Rock ‘n’ Roll races I’ve done. There were even 2 high school drumming bands out that I think were a highlight for me.
I crossed the finish line to a disappointing 2:21:07. That’s 3 minutes slower than Vegas and 18 minutes off my PR. But at least I looked pretty bad ass doing it.
Oh right. No I didn’t.
After the race, I walked through the finisher’s shoot (which was thankfully nice and long, unlike Vegas) but a backup still happened as everyone was trying to get their medals.
Then everyone’s friends and family were waiting for the runners just outside the medal area, and they were all lined up on either side making it impossible to get through which was super annoying.
There were a lot of goodies afterwards. The usual food, beer, and Pollo Tropical. And the cookies. Oh man. The cookies.
After getting through the crowd, I found Michelle and Melissa and we hung out for a bit.
To make a long story short (I know. Too late), we took some pictures, had a couple beers, talked to a weird stranger, lost Melissa, found her again, and walked back to the hotel while watching the marathoners run in and taking in some scenery.
And a little ING humor.
Overall, I really liked the race. Would I do it again? Maybe. But not anytime soon. I definitely think ING races know what they’re doing and this is the type of race I expected, but didn’t get, out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series.
Now it’s time to improve my pace and get ready for Gasparilla in March.