Monday, January 26, 2015

Redefining AMAZING: the #MiamiFamous Half Marathon race recap

I used to think that running my fastest time was the only thing that could make a run/race amazing. I used to think that (despite the title of my blog page) real runners run fast, and anything less than a pre-defined speed would fall short of an "acceptable" pace. I used to think that getting a PR (and a medal) were the only goals that mattered in a race. But that's not how this works (that's not how any of this works).

After a night of not really sleeping much (not nerves...just couldn't turn my thoughts off) I got up on Sunday feeling tired but still excited to get the day started. The morning was chilly.... ok, let's be real... it was cold (low 50s) and windy. The race sponsors kept referencing the fact that "weather conditions would be perfect" for running, but as we were standing in the corrals with numb fingers and toes I'm pretty sure many people (like myself) were ready to challenge the use of the word "perfect".

I was in Corral H...

...with friends from my running group...

It was a huge corral (certainly not the largest though) & we were the second to last group to start...
On one hand, the beauty of being stationed where we were was the great view of the start (although corral "I" had a much better view). On the other hand, there was an exercise in patience that we reluctantly endured as we witnessed all the other corrals take off (but then, corral "I" had a much greater lesson to endure). 

The official start of the elite runners for the 2015 Miami Marathon and Half Marathon...
(If the video doesn't play try watching it from your computer. If that doesn't work I apologize (sometimes the videos don't play very well)). 

I took a couple of pictures along the beginning of the course...
Water boat and blimp "cheering" the runners on

Cruise ship passengers "cheering" the runners on... no I'm kidding I didn't "see" anyone cheering but I saw other runners waving at the cruise ship so I waved too (and took a pic)

The sunrise was so beautiful...once you got over the fact that the light was in your eyes.
I tried to run behind people who were taller than me so that I wouldn't have to deal with the sun too much. But then this guy (who I conveniently nicknamed "sun shield") stopped suddenly to take his walk break and I nearly crashed into him (rude right?). I got over the sun issue very quickly after that (this, by-the-way, is the true definition of a "first world running problem"). 

As seen on my route.

After I took the "as seen on my route" picture (above) I had a rational conversation with myself about the necessity of these shots. I said "Self, what are you doing? Think of your phone battery life". And then I responded (because that's how these "rational" conversations go...a question/comment and then a response) with "But I said on my blog I would take a lot of pictures along the route. That was the whole plan". 
So in reevaluating "the plan" I came up with this five-step justifiable conclusion:
1. The point of running the Miami 1/2 was to enjoy the route (and kind of because the medal is awesome); so...
2. If I stay too focused on capturing "non-blurry" pictures I might not enjoy the journey; plus...
3. My phone was in the side pocket of my running tights and it was hard to get out each time I wanted to take a picture; and...
4. My fingers were still numb from the freezing temperatures; therefore...
5. I should stop taking pictures and just focus on the run & the route & preventing frostbite.

I still had to struggle with the phone vs pocket dilemma at each mile marker because my intervals for the race were to run for 1 mile (or to the mile marker) and then walk for 1 minute. If you recall (for those of you who are not first time visitors to my blog) I had an initial goal of doing a 6:1 interval pace (run 6 minutes: walk 1 minute). However, I'm surrounded by running friends who challenge me and encourage me to push my limits. I may or may not roll my eyes when they tell me I should try and run a half marathon without stopping (ok, I roll my eyes ALOT when they say that.... ummm & maybe just in general too. Eye rolling is a gift, and I am very talented at it). But despite my eye rolling talent I listen to their advice (mostly) and really appreciate their confidence in me (however delusional optimistic & "glass half-full" I may think they are). 

Prior to race day, two of my running friends (one whom I've actually run with and the other I haven't run with yet) both suggested that I should aim to run for 1 mile and then walk for 1 minute "just to see how it feels". They were both so confident I could do it and I figured, short of this being some type of "cosmic running conspiracy" (since they don't know each other) maybe they had a point and I should try it. 

So I did. I ran to every mile marker, then walked for 1 minute (repeat x 11). Then once I got to mile marker 12 I ran the rest of the way. I didn't end up with a PR but I also didn't die so all is still right with the world.

My Garmin Summary...

My Official Race Summary...

My Official "unofficial" Race Splits...

My Garmin Splits...

During and after the race I saw a lot people I knew... which is not surprising considering I live in South Florida and this is probably THE running event to participate in down here. I also met a few runners that I know through blogging (via my Instagram page). And I saw runners that I trained with in Jamaica when I went home for Christmas. It was a real runner's reunion :)

I did my usual post race pic...
(my left knee wasn't hurting me so I'm not sure why I'm "guarding" it so much. I've noticed I do that a lot though)

A close up of the medals...
(my Category 3 medal & my #MiamiFamous Half Marathon Finisher medal)

What made this event amazing was not just the weather or the medals (although those didn't hurt), and it certainly wasn't my finish time or minute per mile pace. This event was amazing because it was everything I imagined it would be and more. In running and in life, it is the combination of perfect moments that serves as the catalyst for redefining amazing. There was no individual moment/mile/medal that in isolation could capture how great this event was. And I wouldn't change a single thing... well maybe I would wear a pair of "throw away" gloves, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing. 

I went to the event hoping to enjoy the day; and I did. I went to the corrals prepared to run my own race, at the pace I wanted, doing the intervals I committed to; and I did. I went into the starting line determined to run each mile with no regrets; and I did... 

The Miami Half Marathon was the perfect start to my race calendar for 2015. It was epic. It was memorable. It was truly something amazing to be a part of. I would do it again in a heart beat (and fortunately the registration blitz for 2016 starts tomorrow (50% off!!!) so I will get the chance to add it to my list for next year). 

I want to take a moment to congratulate everyone who participated (in the half or the full) on their finish. I know some people got injured, so I wish you a speedy recovery. Many of my friends got PRs (Congratulations!!!! I am so very proud of all of you!). And many others are planning on running next year (I can't wait!!!)

If you ran the Miami half or full let me know how it went :) 
What was your favorite part of the event? 
Are you running it next year?


  1. CONGRATS on one mile run, one minute walk intervals! What a great way to challenge yourself with something new! You probably held back a bit not sure how those intervals would go, so if you do this again next time you'll PR big! :)

    I really liked this race a lot because I PR'd; however, I think the Fort Lauderdale course is nicer. If you're looking for a true beachy race, there is nothing that can beat running along A1A where you have great views of the water! Of course I'm biased since I'm a Fort lauderdalian, haha.

    1. Thanks! I'm so proud of you and your PR! You set a goal and achieved it, that's really awesome. I plan on doing the A1A half (maybe) next year. We'll see how I feel as I progress through my 15 races for 2015 ;)
      Congrats again!

  2. What a big event I can't even imagine a race with over 13,000 people in it that is incredible. Good job, I love races where you can just go out and have a great time :).

    1. Thank you! It was a really great experience :) I can't wait to do it again!!!

  3. The run looks amazing! I think I'll sign up for next year's half :)


  4. It was epic! You've summed it up perfectly, no regrets.

  5. Epic congrats to you!!! Love those medals!!!! I totally remember running over the causeway after seeing your photos. :) My husband and I always say we want to go back and run it. When we ran it I remember insane humidity...certainly not like here in Canada!

    1. Thanks! We were lucky to have the cold front (as much as it sucks for the areas up north that are dealing with the harsh weather). Humidity can be a huge problem down here so even with numb fingers and toes I was grateful ;) You guys should come back and run it....2016 registration blitz is open :) :) :)


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