Race Review: Miami ING Half Marathon

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.

I asked Michelle and Melissa to walk in front of me and turn around for a picture. I swear to you they both started running. Who does that?

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.

(source)

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.

(source)

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. Smile

(source)

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. Smile

23 Comments

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23 Responses to Race Review: Miami ING Half Marathon

  1. Amanda@FancyOatmeal

    I agree with you about the baggies of water; not a good idea! And there’s something rather nice about getting to spill half of your water down your back and front after a few sips that refreshes me for the next water station.

  2. I just find it so hilarious that I barely recall any of the course. The toll booth? So cool! Sorry I missed it . . . mentally not there, either. Also, I expect an ING race to have Gu. I know I keep harping on this, but when I look at the pictures of me in the second half of the race, it’s clear I need fuel. I look like warmed over death.

    Despite all that, I had fun! I wish we would’ve been there longer! Next time, must schedule drinking time!!!

    • Yes! I agree they needed a fuel station. Instead, they had oranges at like, mile 12.8. What was with that?  I hope they had it for the full marathoners. The only reason I didn’t mention it is because I bring my own, but if I relied on them I would have been pissed.

      ________________________________

      • That was the best orange of my life.

        • Michelle

          And those oranges weren’t even part of the official course! They were from some Christian group. I read on the ING Facebook site that there were Gu but “they ran out quickly.” Ummm apparently they didn’t realize that 25,000 people were running? And how quickly because what # were you Melissa? Like the top 10%? I still wish I had given you my extra gels!

  3. I love ING races, too, and am SO OVER the Rock n Roll series. They are so expensive! I’m trying to only run cheap races this year, esp. because I’m gonna do a triathlon or two and those are fing expensive, too.

    What other out of state (though I know Miami was in state) races do you have lined up?

    • Nothing yet! But Chicago Marathon (in 2013) is on my list and I’d really love to do a race in New Orleans, DC, and Houston. My family lives in San Diego, so a race there will probably happen sooner than later. 🙂

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  4. I know I already said this on Michelle’s recap, but I really don’t get the water thing. I would have freaked out. I mean, I can barely ram a cup of water down my throat, never mind something that looks like one of those water snake things I had as a kid.

  5. oh man wish I would have known you were running! i love to meet new bloggies in my city!

    I know the owner of 82g0 and love her…but honestly I was really worried about them being used for the race. glad overall you loved the race!

  6. It looks like a fun race! I think I’m gonna try my first full this year via the Rock n Rock series but now y’all have me nervous 🙂

  7. Rachael @ Happy Healthy Runner

    I’m not a fan of RNR at all and expected wayyyyy more out of them. those little water packets are a great concept, but seem like they weren’t well executed :-/

  8. This course really does look beautiful, and that’s just from your pictures! Love the picture of the cruise ship in the sunrise, so gorgeous. And those medals are still so adorable! I did the ING Atlanta Half (though I actually think now it’s run by Publix) and I also thought it was very well organized and well done, though not as scenic / pretty as this. And I still don’t understand what the heck you do with those water pouch things.

  9. Michelle

    I just realized the shirts on the Publix people handing out cookies says “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” Love it!

    I definitely preferred this ING race over RnR! I MUST run NYC someday.

  10. You do realize I would love to have your crappy race time right? Just making sure you know that. That course looked pretty darn nice. Too bad about the weird water.

    On another note, I’ve been given the all clear to book any races I’d ever want to run in San Diego. Hubs wants to go there BAD.

  11. Michelle

    Oh man ING humor. At mile 16 of the NYCM they had a sign as you come off the bridge (which is the most awful part of the race) that said “Almost There! If you consider almost 10 miles to go!” I wanted to stab whoever wrote it.

    • Ha! That’s great! Stuff like that actually gets a giggle out of me on the course and makes me forget I want to punch something. 🙂

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  12. Those water torpedoes sound horrible! What in the world? And the possibility for slippage? Hmm…why don’t I run races again? 😉

  13. Heidi@CrazyFitLife

    Looks like you had a great time, and that’s what’s important, right? Those water torpedos are a bit scary though….

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  16. Phyllin' Phat

    That’s a kickass medal. I’m going to look into this for next year. Good job btw!

  17. Jorge

    I am from Toronto Canada about to do the 2014 my first 1/2 marathon. I can’t wait, loved your blog.

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