This was another marathon weekend for me. Amy and I spent the past week at our friend Jared Polis’s apartment in South Beach getting acclimated. I ran the Miami Marathon today – knocking another state of the list in my quest to run a marathon in every state by the time I turn 50 (I’ve done 6 and I recently turned 40.)
South Beach has been a trip. When I was a kid, my dad’s parents lived in Hollywood Hills and I remember never being allowed to go to South Beach because it was “too dangerous.” I’ve been here several times over the past few years and dig the scene, even though I’m not a late night party guy. Jared’s place is perfectly located on the corner of 14th and Ocean, which happens to be the turn at the 6 mile mark of the marathon.
I was anxious this time around – my last marathon was New York on November 7th – so there wasn’t much time between marathons. My longest training run this cycle was 2:30 which is shorter then my normal long run (3:00 – 3:30), although I did it on a treadmill in a room that was 90 degrees to try to simulate the heat, followed by a 2:00 run the next day. The rational part of my brain knew I was ready; the irrational part got spun up a little.
The marathon was well organized and sponsored by ING, the same lead sponsor for the New York Marathon. It was much smaller (about 10,000 runners total – half doing the marathon; half doing the half-marathon). The course starts in downtown Miami, starts early at 6am, cruises over the MacArthur Causeway to South Beach, through Miami Beach, back over The Venetian Causeway, through downtown (where the half marathon ends), to Coconut Grove, and then back to downtown.
Since I felt a little nervous, I went out slow with a goal of finishing in 5 hours. I put the Coverville 2005 top 40 countdown on my iPod Shuffle and settled into a rhythm. When I passed 14th and Ocean, I stopped for a minute, gave Amy a kiss, and grabbed a Clif Bar from her. I continued to cruise through the half way point and started feeling strong, at which point my headphones broke. I continued music free and – at 16 – decided to pick up the pace since I felt that 4:45 might be in sight. At 19 miles I knew I had made a mistake and backed off, but still ran out of gas at 21 and slammed hard into the proverbial wall. My lonely miles are usually 13 to 18 – today is was 21 to 24. It had gotten hot, my legs were completely stiff, and my brain wasn’t working any more. I got a brief second win at 24 and saw that 5 hours was still a possibility so I pushed it as hard as I could for the balance of the run. When I encountered one of the only hills on the course at 25.75, I knew I wasn’t going to make 5 hours, but kept up the effort, enjoying the thrill of cruising by my fellow runners. The finish line finally came into sight and before I knew it, I was done.
Six down, a bunch to go. Next up – the 110th Boston Marathon.