Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Latin Music RockNRoll Half Marathon - Miami, Nov 18, 2012

I don't like Miami. I really never have, and the few times I've been there are spent anxious to leave. Admittedly, not much of that time is spent in South Beach, an area that I only really enjoyed during the trip for this race. But... still.

South Beach is beautiful. It's just too bad that it's surrounded by Miami.

I arrived for the race on Saturday and hurried to pick up my packet so that I could meet up with the GORUCK Ft Lauderdale class that would be finishing around 1300hrs. It meant a short stay in Miami Proper.... and I was good with that. The afternoon was spent in Lauderdale with good people, football, and drinks. Definitely a step up from Miami, but I had to get there eventually.

My hotel was downtown, and there is very little (ok... nothing) to do down there. I ate some pasta that wasn't very good but was very expensive, and then I retired to my room. The race was set for 630 AM, and parking in South Beach is a noteworthy nightmare. So, I was out by 0400 to find a spot. As it turned out, that was way too early. I ended up laying on a rock wall with a few dozen other early risers and waiting for something to happen. But, regardless, I was there and enjoying the rest.

I met a couple from Denver that had come down specifically for a bike race that day. It was moved up a week (probably to avoid the Rock N Roll race) and they decided to do the half instead. Good people. I'd run in to the husband a couple times on the course as we had similar paces.

One good aspect of an early arrival was being able to watch every one else show up. If you're looking for eye-candy, Miami races are your thing. I don't know the volumetric amount of silicone that crossed that finish line, but it was considerable. They may be plastic... but hot women is what I'm saying...

I was in the fourth corral (surprisingly given what I thought was a fast time I put down on the registration) and was off about 10 minutes after the elites. I was hesitant to go hard since it was my third half marathon in 14 days, but I felt great. Plus, I knew we were headed for a cloudless day and that it was going to warm up considerably. The bands were few and far between (something I notice regularly at these 'rock and roll' races.. it's a good thing I don't do them for the on-course bands), and as I crossed over the first causeway bridge around mile 6, I noticed that I felt great. My legs were solid and I was making good time. I decided to push it, dropping my pace by about 0:30/mile and pressed through the halfway point.

It was around this point that I ran past the exchange point for the relay. Seeing all these fresh runners standing and waiting on a baton annoyed me, because I was certain they'd be soon behind me on rested legs. The realization pushed me harder. I crossed back over the Maria Tuttle Causeway toward the beach and stared into the rising sun, bright and irritating. There isn't a lot of shade in the area, and each minute was warmer than the next. These factors as much as my fatigue and long miles in recent weeks made my energy flag.

The final, small bridge near the Coast Guard Station was merely a blip on the course map but really drained me. As we turned onto the barrier island, I was pushing with everything I had for the last mile. Thankfully, we were back among the spectators, and their energy gave me what little fuel I used to spring forward. I had hoped to get in under 1:54, but I cruised in at 1:54:06, a new PR for the half.

The post-race party was relaxing - drinks and all the food freebies on the beach - and I was content to sit and watch the runners funnel through. (Again... people-watching is a must at this event.) With my parents in town in Orlando, though, I eventually made my way back to the hotel and a shower before jumping on the road.

The race was well-organized (as opposed to the thin band support on the course, the ease with which it is run is why I enjoy the RnR races) and a nice atmosphere. Sadly, I still hate Miami and doubt I'll be returning anytime soon. But, there are a couple Rock n Roll races in 2013 that I am looking at running.

Just not down there. Cuz Miami sucks

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