The ING Miami Marathon was Sunday in
hell Miami. It was hot and humid, which I would expect for Florida, though I was hopeful for some sort of mercy. Well, mercy came in the form of 93% humidity, 72 degrees at the start, and cloudy. Thanks for the clouds? Anyway, Colin and Barrett woke up at 3:30am with me, and we all got into the car by 4am to head down to Miami. They were troopers, considering Colin and I picked Barrett up at the airport at 3:30am the night before. They picked up some sign making materials at the Expo on Saturday, but wouldn’t let me know what they’d say. The suspense!
A few pre-race observations:
- People in Miami wear less clothing than the average race participants
- Starting a race at 6am means that you see many people still out from the night before. Very drunk.
- Homeless people in Miami are much scarier than homeless people in DC
- Slow people line up in front of fast people no matter what state the race is in
After parting ways with Colin and Barrett I found myself next to some old lady (see #4 above). The race started on time and surprisingly smoothly. For the uninitiated, trying to get 14,000 people moving from a standstill can be difficult. It’s kind of like bumper-to-bumper traffic, where you start going, get excited that you’re making progress, and then slam on the brakes to avoid a fender bender. Well I didn’t have to worry about bending any fenders on this day. I did, however, have to take a pit stop about 0.4 miles into the race, which hurt the first mile split, but you can’t argue with nature. Pretty quickly my energy began to drain, blamed on the humidity, because what’s a race report without blaming something on the elements. I made it through the first 10 miles pretty smoothly, running down South Beach (where more people were still out from Saturday night, see #2 above), though there was another stop. Around mile 10 I heard my name (though “Mike” isn’t really the same as if my name were “Cosmo”) so I looked over my shoulder and saw someone I went to high school with (also named Mike.. see what I mean? Cosmo.) We briefly chatted before the race, just saying that we should meet up, but it never happened. We caught up on life as much as you can while running through a rain forest and knowing you still have to run 16 miles. I continued on after about a 1/2 mile back on pace, but it was so just so random that it had to be told.
I planned to see Colin and Barrett a little after Mile 12 and then a little after Mile 13. This was what I was waiting for, getting to see the clandestine (SAT word) signs. I saw Colin and then Barrett about the same time they saw me, about 100 yards away holding signs over their heads. Both are pretty much just inside jokes, so after all this hype, you won’t give a “lol” or even a courteous “ha”. Anyway, Colin’s said “3:27:28 Or I’m Still Faster”, referring to how he beat me in Chicago by 34 seconds. That got him a nice little spray from my water bottle. Barrett’s was less of a jab saying “Mikey: 8 | Barrett: 0”, as this was my 8th marathon and he’s run none (yet). I rounded a few corners and the Half Marathon course split off to finish, leaving far fewer runners on the course with me, and far fewer fans on the sidelines.
From there I headed south for what seemed like 100 miles through very pretty neighborhoods. I caught a bit of a runner’s high from about mile 14 through mile 18 at which point I said hello to every police officer directing traffic and every spectator out watching the race. At one point pair of runners pulled over to answer their phone.. Nature was calling.. but rather than a porta-potty they found nothing. They pretty much stopped next to a wall and became friends with that wall very quickly. About 50 yards away was a couple families watching the race, and two young girls (12 years old?) saw what was happening, whispered to each other, and laughed while turning away. I called them out on it and shouted “You don’t need to look!”, resulting in immediate embarrassment as their faces turned red as an embarrassed twelve year old girl.
As I was nearing the finish, around Mile 23, there’s a little out-and-back onto a bridge where we went half way across the bridge and then turned around. As you turn onto the bridge, it begins to curve and the only thing you focus on is the 90 degree incline. The bridge just goes straight up about 200 feet. Well, it would seem that the race director has a sense of humor. As you approach the rockclimbing wall of a bridge, you start to see there’s an underpass that loops around under the incline, flat as a pancake. I didn’t find it amusing, though I was grateful for the turn of events. I saw Colin and Barrett one more time right at Mile 26 as I approached the finish and picked up the pace as much as I could. Though I probably lost 14 pounds of sweat during this steam room marathon, I finished strong and got the medal. And let’s face it, that’s what matters. I had to take 3 pictures of this one, because it might be the coolest one ever. It spins! Twice! My finishing time was 3:35:45, about 7 minutes slower than Chicago, but the conditions were much tougher. I did run the second half 5 minutes faster than the first, which impressed me, and should impress you too!
2010 Miami Marathon:
||273 out of 2913 (top 9.4%)