Miles 1-4: The first miles were erratic in terms of pacing. The first mile was crowded so there was no choice but to stick with the crowd's pace, but the first mile was also probably the most scenic -- we crossed Biscayne Bay and the cruise ships were all lit with their night's lights and the sight of them with the city in the background was really pretty.
Just past mile 3, I spotted Laurel running and I said a brief hello. She was running with her group, so I left her with them and continued on my way.
4: 13:02 (bathroom break)
Miles 5-10: This is where I felt like I was finally able to find my pace and these were the miles that I felt the best. In miles 1-4, I had a hard time breaking away from the crowd, I stopped a few times at fluid stations, and I stopped to use the bathroom; but by mile 5, I felt like I was all set and I basically set the "cruise control" in these miles.
The highlight here was running up Ocean Ave in South Beach just as the sun was rising -- it was beautiful.
Miles 11-13.1: At mile 10, we started to cross back from Miami beach into Miami and the bridge back felt like a steep incline at this point, so I walked the incline and then ran the decline back into the city. Crowd support here was awesome, but I was starting to lose steam. The last few miles were slow but I knew I was almost there so I kept pluggin away.
At 12.5 miles, I saw my husband. I stopped briefly to give him a hug but then he told me to get going, so I headed out for the last .6 miles. Even though it was so close to the end, the mental boost I got from seeing him really helped in that end segment. The half marathoners broke away from the marathoners, and then we headed down the shute to the finish.
The crowd was loud and busy, and it felt great to come down that straight away feeling so good. I passed my husband and in laws and then stepped over the finish line!
.24: 2:33 (? regarding distance is addressed below)
I had estimated that I would finish somewhere around 2:20, so my time of 2:22 was pretty close to my estimation. I think I could do the distance in a faster time (most of my training runs were faster), but I think I'd need a smaller race with fewer participants in my way; hopefully, A1A in 3 weeks will be an opportunity to improve on what I did this morning.
Post Race: I got my medal, got the chip removed, and got my refreshments and then met up with my family. We didn't stick around long (it was starting to sprinkle) before heading back home for a shower, a big breakfast and a long nap.
This afternoon, I feel great. My legs are a little tired, but aren't real fatigued and I can really appreciate the half marathon as a race -- it's long enough to feel challenging, but not as long and exhausting as the full marathon. It was a great race and I will probably do it again next year -- the scenery is nice, it is well-organized, and the course is pretty flat (with the exception of the bridges).
Notes and Anecdotes:
- I saw a guy running barefoot. I've never seen someone run a road race in bare feet. I would imagine that would hurt, but he looked happy.
- Right after the 3 mile marker, we were on one of the bridges leading us into Miami Beach and I suddenly felt myself sway and I thought I had vertigo. But, no. The bridge was moving from the weight of the runners and the cars on the other side. It was really weird. The actual asphalt felt soft under our collective weight.
- My husband and in laws got to see Brian Sell, who was running the half, cross the finish line at 1:03, a new course record. I wish I could have seen the Olympian, but I guess once he finished, he didn't feel like chillin with the masses for a banana.
- My only complaint? The general crowd. There were approximately 20,000 runners, and for most of the race, we were restricted to one side of the road and that wasn't really enough room to spread out; plus, it made water stations really crowded, as well as the finishers shute. In the future, if the race continues to grow in size, they may have to close the roads completely so that runners have enough space.
- Garmin recorded the length of the race as 13.24; could the race have been mis-marked or did Garmin record the distance incorrectly?