Its always great to be in Miami when the month is January and cold in NJ/NY. Miami marathon was a peer pressured marathon by fellow runners Kino and Paul Arroyo. We met up at the NYCM Expo and all three of us signed up for the race (unfortunately, Paul couldn't make the race). The one thing about traveling to the marathon is the logistics and cost. Advice to another marathoner trying to cover other states, if you're not comfortably making a living with plenty of pocket change, I would calculate the costs and save up for the next year. Running marathon's are not CHEAP.
Anyway, back to Miami. I headed out the morning of Saturday from LGA (Laguardia Airport), meeting up with Lisa Cao on the same plane. Fortunately, I had an upgrade to first class and was able to ride comfortably. I tried getting Lisa up, but it didn't work. Once we arrived, we met up with Kino and Steve "Thunder" Lee. Steve and Kino are both aiming for the 50 states and have been traveling together for quite a while. They are finishing their 50th at Hawaii this year. We rented a car and drove straight to South Beach. It's always nice to be by the beach. This is also one of my dream retirements, sitting by the beach every morning until I lay rest in the grave. We did some eating, walking, sleeping, and a short run on the beach and headed back to the hotel where we met up with Gopal. That night, we all grabbed food by the art district of Miami and pretty much went to sleep early. Oh, thanks to Lisa, we got an amazing hook up to the Kimpton Hotel which was close to the start of the race and right by Biscayne Blvd, where it is like the Wall Street of Miami.
The morning of the run was dark. I believe it was 6:00AM or 6:30AM. Anyway, the sun wasn't even up yet. There were still partygoers outside, but you can see many people walking to the start. The course is mainly flat with a little elevation change by the bridge. I was expecting to PR this one but the temperature was in the 70's and a bit humid. I've been wearing my Skechers GoRun and wanted to test them out for the marathon. The race started off with some small fireworks and off went the tens of thousands of people. The beginning was super crowded. I had to zigzag my way through many people, at times almost colliding with other runners, but managed to get into a comfortable pace by mile 3. The first half of the marathon was nice. Watching the sun rise was kinda cool and running through South Beach was awesome. I think I went out too fast but I was doing under 9 minute per mile. There was this girl running aside me the entire time and she kept me at a good pace also. Once we headed North of South Beach, I started feeling a blister forming on my big toe. It started getting uncomfortable but I kept on going. In most cases, I forgot about it and kept running. This race used some interesting water packets at the aid stations. People were throwing these water packets like water balloons and splashing all over the place. What a waste of water, I thought. Miles 7-11 was awesome passing by Rio Alto Island, Di Lido Island, San Marino Island, San Marco Island, and Biscayne Island, all boasting really nice mansions. This part was one of my favorites I think.
After returning to the mainland, I noticed even more blisters on my feet, this time near the ball of my feet and around the pinky toes on both feet. By mile 13, where we returned to the start line and many finished the half, I felt the blisters pretty bad. I continued on, but by mile 15, I completely stopped to take my shoe off. My time at the half was under 2 hours (1:55ish). I noticed 5 blisters on my feet and with the humid, it wasn't helping at all. I continued to run but it was hurting so much, I slowed down completely. I didn't bother to stop at an aid (lesson learned, always stop at an aid if you have that many blisters) and continued on. Miles 16-19, I was pacing at 10 minute miles, sometimes walking. I wanted to take in the course view, but it was mostly the suburb area and there wasn't much to see. I was getting pissed that one by one, people were passing me. Mile 19-20 was by the coast, and it was nice, but still, I was going through a lot of pain. By mile 21, I was on a complete walk with a little jogging. Mile 22, I started to jog a little again. Time wasn't a factor to me anymore. I knew I couldn't really run anymore so I just wanted to finish. I took in the view again as we did an out and back on the Rickenbacker Causeway. It was my first time running through a toll booth.
At the turn around, there was some pineapples being served so I gobbled it up, stretched a little and headed back down. I saw Lisa Cao coming up on the way back. She looked a little tired too.
I continued to jog/walk the rest of the way until about mile 25. The last stretch, there were still a lot of cheerers so it motivated me to run. In the end, I ran the last mile and finished with a time of 4:46:46. It was worse than Yonkers Marathon, when the course is much easier. I enjoyed it a lot, and would love to come back and beat the time again. I'll most likely get a better time.
In the end, we all grabbed some food and met up with Nancy Oh. We relaxed a bit at the hotel and went out to the Bayside Market place at night to grab some more food and meet up with other Maniac members. Aside from the running, its always a blast to be in Miami when the weather is still cold up North in NY. 2013 Miami Marathon, I'm pretty sure I'll be there.