Monday, January 30, 2012

Miami Marathon Recap

I believe some of you know that Sunday was not exactly the race I had planned and trained for. I also think some of you already know that I'm actually A-OK with how everything went down. As I said on the DR FB page, sometimes in the marathon, finishing is winning.

I'm going to save the photos for another post because I want to get the words out of the way first and then get on to the really fun stuff.

On Saturday, bright and early my carload of Hollster, P-Funk, and myself loaded up and headed down to the beautiful (and hot) Miami beach. We picked up our race packets, checked into the hotel and headed back out for a lovely group dinner with about 30 folks (some from the running group and a few bloggers and friends).

Not surprisingly, I was nervous at this point and just wanted to enjoy the camaraderie and then get back to the hotel to rest up for Sunday's race. I knew it was going to be a warm one but I was trying not to use the temperature as an excuse going into it.

Come Sunday morning, it was warm as we walked to the start corrals. I had a throw down long sleeved shirt on as I finally exited the porta-potty and headed to my specific corral. It wasn't too long before I was sweating standing in a very, very crowded corral D. Off came the throw down.

The gun went off and we inched forward like cattle. I mentally went over what I wanted to do that day. I had my 3:35 pace band on and reminded myself to start with an easy pace and then speed it up to race pace by the second and third mile. It was crowded.

I began the bob and weave through what seemed an impossibly huge crowd. It was a jam-packed race at this point and I almost started cursing when I came across a group walking at about the three mile marker. I know that everyone deserves to race, I just get upset when the walking groups are in a front corral. I don't know if they finish in the time they put down or if they just want in an earlier corral or if the marathon just goofs and throws people everywhere, but it's one of those things I find frustrating.

Anyway, as I got to the 10K mark I was running at about an 8:27 pace and knew I needed to pick it up. It was weird though because my legs just wouldn't cooperate. I knew it was hot out but I was thinking that I just needed to warm up and get going and then I'd be fine. However, by mile 8 I knew it wasn't going to me my day to BQ. I let that sink in and decided to go to goal A or goal B. I kept chugging along but just felt so sluggish and I was dripping with sweat. Not to mention, my face felt hot and I was reminded of those runs at the end of triathlons. (I think I saw Xaarlin around this point? We said hey and I believe I yelled something about 3:35 not happening.)

By mile 11 I started thinking I may need to stop altogether. I had slowed to an 8:35 and could not get my heart rate down. My IT bands were yelling at me and my legs already felt sore. What the hell was going on here? I considered pulling out at the half and taking my DNF. At this point I got to the half marathon turn off and was at a 1:52. I realized this wasn't too far off and decided that I'd suck it up and keep going.

My legs didn't feel good or fresh and my heart rate seemed way too high for the pace I was running. I started worrying about how mile 20 was going to feel since miles 13-15 felt pretty awful. I think it was at about mile 14 that I decided I was just going to finish the marathon and consider it another learning lesson in the annals of my marathons.

I think that decision helped me get through the rest of the race. I had a lot of time to think about disappointment from miles 15 to 20 and I knew in my heart that I was good with myself and would be good with however this race turned out. I hate to make an excuse for it, but it was indeed too hot for me and many of the others I ran with and met on the course. The high got up to 76 degrees and the low was about 69 degrees. It was humid and muggy and I got a little relief with a breeze by the ocean and again when it sprinkled a bit toward the end. While I do live in Florida, it's been much cooler in Tampa. My body just wasn't ready to regulate for those temperatures.

By mile 18 I started some walking. I was shocked at how badly I wanted to walk and it just sort of happened at a water stop. I was saying to myself, "You've run multiple 20 milers, what are you doing?" But again, my legs just wouldn't cooperate and I was breathing heavily running slower than I normally do. I was taking my gels and water and doing all the right things as far as fueling but it didn't seem to help.

As I kept moving and tried to keep running, whenever I started to walk someone on the course would literally yell at me to keep running. It was quite possibly one of the most awesome things about this race. One man with a Venezuela shirt said, "This is Miami! No one walks in Miami!" I laughed and started running again. It was one of those moments where I knew someone was looking out for me.

The other moment was when I again started to walk and a woman wearing a shirt that said "Goodwill Runners" came up and said, "Come on! You can do it! Come with me." And again I did. I followed her for as long as I could and again thanked whoever was looking out for me.

By mile 21ish when Coach EK hopped in to help me I knew I would finish and I was perfectly ok with whatever that clock said when I finished. I just realized it was a day to finish the marathon and that was good enough for me. I also knew that I had the support of so many friends and family and how could I ever be disappointed in myself knowing that just being out there was a huge accomplishment?

Coach EK was wonderful and helped get me to mile 23. He's been a great coach and an even better friend. Just having him out there for those few miles was amazing. He not only helped me, but several of my buddies who were also running. In addition to Coach EK, I saw my buds Navy Steve and Little J who were also running folks in.

As Coach EK left it wasn't too long before the Lazy Runner appeared. He had completed the half and was also coming back through to help others. He had promised to run me in and he had all but lost his voice from cheering for folks at this point. As per usual, he made me laugh and we hammed it up for the cameras as we headed toward the finish line.

I'd like to point out that I did talk to a lot of people during this race. I met a man from London who said he wasn't used to the heat. I met another man from Tampa who said he hadn't really trained but he looked like he was doing fine to me. Near the finish line Lazy Runner and I picked up a woman from Atlanta who wanted a 3:45 or so but she felt the same way I did. I really love this about running. I enjoy meeting lots of people on course and I often wonder when someone is just going to tell me to shut the hell up. Heh.

The final mile in I saw the woman from earlier with the "Goodwill runners" shirt on. She was walking.

I knew this was my pay it forward moment and I said, "Come on! You helped me, now I'm helping you. Let's go!" And so she started running behind me.

As I ran up this final hill (it was REALLY RUDE) and toward the finish chute (which seemed to go on for damn near ever) I started waving my arms to get the crowd pumped. I know I needed it and I felt like at least I could help others around me who may have needed it too. I saw some of my buds holding a sign that said, "Suck it Miami!" and I started laughing and shot them double birds to echo the sentiments. All in good fun though because Miami is a great city and they can't help if it's too hot for me on marathon day.

I ran through the finish line with a big goofy grin on my face because I had just finished my 6th marathon and got my big, shiny medal. PR and BQ be damned. I'm proud of myself for not quitting and for holding my head up high. Not a single tear was shed, nor will it be shed. I earned this one, that's for certain.

I turned back after I got my medal and went to talk to the "Goodwill runners" lady. We hugged and I told her congratulations and thanks.

The bottom line is that my biggest fear going into this race wasn't that I wouldn't BQ or PR (I thought PR'ing was in the bag. Ha!). It was that I'd be super disappointed and sad if I didn't meet my goals and I didn't want to do that to myself. I didn't want to finish the race and be bummed out or be a total Debbie Downer to any of my friends. I guess in a way, having to finish this marathon in the way that I did helped me realize a lot about myself as a runner and as a person.

Again thank you all so very much for the continued support and encouragement. I've still got the hunger and will certainly be running another marathon. I'm thinking about redemption come next fall.

Congratulations to all of my racing buds! You all did amazing and I'm proud of each and every one of you. Felicidades Jessica de Cuban Running Crisis! You did it girl!

Final Time: 4:06:04 (average pace 9:24)

Adios Miami y gracias.

30 comments:

Casey said...

When your IT bands are yelling at you, you say: "SHUT UP LEGS!" Congratulations Beth, you did awesome in that crazy heat!

Kandi said...

That sounds way to hot for me too. Glad you stuck with it and finished strong!

Laura said...

Congrats on gutting it through and not beating yourself up a ton. Love what you and GoodWill Runner did for each other.
Yet another reason why I love this running thing.

fancy nancy said...

Congrats on pushing through and keeping an awesome perspective on it! The running community rocks...glad you were able to pay it forward!!! 6th marathon!!! Way to go!!!!

Navy Steve said...

it was definitely sneaky heat and humidity. I knew it was too warm when we started, but even I went out a bit too fast and suffered. I can only imagine on the full!! Awesome!

Brooke Shemwell said...

Congrats, Beth! Glad you stuck with it and finished the race. Now you're in great shape for the next one.

Karen said...

Congrats on getting and done and not quitting halfway. Next time the BQ will be yours .... DEFINITELY next time!

lindsay said...

I think you might feel a little lame for sort of using the temps and heat as an excuse bc you live in FL to begin with. Well, don't. Yes, you were more acclimated than a non-FL resident, but you probably weren't doing long runs at BQ pace in the warm, humid weather. So it is definitely still a factor!

I'm glad you stuck it out and made the most of it, eventually :) And I loooved that you saw Goodwill lady again!

Congrats on another marathon B.O.B! But I am disappointed by the poor showing of espaƱol here ;)

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Awe Beth, I love you. I would have cried if I saw you lifting your arms after all that. You are so amazing! Many of us have been there thinking, uh what the hell?! The heat is just something you can't change and it takes way too much of a toll on our bodies.

Sun Runner said...

You finished in less than ideal conditions while feeling less than spectacular (well, no one feels spectacular at the end of a marathon).

After my last marathon, which was a total debacle, I concluded that even though it was my slowest ever and hurt something awful, I was pretty darn proud of finishing because I struggled SO HARD to finish. It took everything I had to finish that race, and for that reason alone, I was glad I had done it. Be proud of what you accomplished! Marathons aren't meant to be easy under any circumstances, and when things go wrong, it takes deep reserves of mental strength--- not to mention physical--- to keep going, keep moving forward, all the way to the finish. You did it!!!

FYI, if you want a cool, chilly race, come to Michigan in April and do the Martian Marathon. ;)

JP said...

As my mom says, "You didn't make your goals this time. Now, get up and get back to work!" Your BQ is right around the corner. Great job wrestling the heat and winning!

Jess said...

Aw you made me bust a tear. Irregardless this was a super great post! You are right. Sunday was tough. And I am glad you chose not to DNF. When I hit that wall at mile 18 all I kept thinking is what would Beth do?! And I knew you wouldn't quit, so even though I wanted to cry and quite possible jump into the ocean and call it quits. I didn't and like you said marathon no. 2 is out of the way and now I learned my own lessons. And not to mention that I did PR. I keep forgetting about that small fact because it was not the time I wanted but you are right we still learned some huge lessons out there. Thanks chica!! You are like super amazing!! :)

Carolina John said...

Hey you still pulled out a good finish. There's a reason BQing is tough. You'll get it one day.

TNTcoach Ken said...

Job well done!

it's all about pace said...

glad you finished and made the most of your day... the heat can make a huge difference.

you have a BQ inside you

Morgan said...

This. You. Proud of both.

Heather said...

Congratulations! And great attitude even if you didnt meet your goals! You will get it one day and when you do, you will own that as well

I cant wait to see pictures

Katie said...

I'm sad that you didn't reach your fabulous goal - which you WILL - but I'm really happy to hear how calm you sound about it. Your mind is in a good place. You'll get that nasty BQ!

Vaudiophile said...

So maybe you didn't do what you wanted, but you suffered through it. Sometimes not everything falls into place at once. Pushing through these bad ones will be instrumental in you getting to your BQ. Chances are you'll turn around and tip your cap to this race for toughening you up.

Lesser is More said...

Congrats on making it through and fighting those inner thoughts! There are certain things you can control on race day and weather isn't one of them. So when you have a goal of hitting a specific time, everything has to line up perfectly. As you found out, and as I have in the past, it doesn't always work out that way. Keep on fighting - you'll get there for sure!

Allison said...

Sorry to hear about the heat and humidity. That's something you can't really train for and has such a huge impact.

I'm glad you were able to finish without being totally discouraged and help some fellow runners along the way. I have no doubt you will get that BQ!

Michelle said...

I did the half and just about died from the humidity (which says a lot because I did my marathon training this summer in crazy ass humidity). I just kept thinking - if only it were 10 degrees cooler. You deserve MORE than a medal for kicking ass through this marathon. Great job - and great attitude. You WILL get your PR and BQ!

Jamoosh said...

You beat the heat and humidity, which is a victory in itself. Excellent job!

TX Runner Mom said...

Sounds like kinda miserable weather! Great job on pushing through all the obstacles and getting it done!

Evolving Through Running said...

I think you did pretty well considering those temperatures. I was whining about the 25 degrees at the start of the MCM, and dripping sweat at the finish when it was still in the 40s. Can't imagine what I would have done trying to run in that heat and humidity. Lived to BQ and PR another day - good job!

Jason said...

You totally kicked a$$ out there. Not quitting is far more important than a PR or a BQ.

There are pros that stop racing and take a DNF rather than a poor time, which is such BS. Finish the damn race and you did.

There will be more marathons and more successful marathons but you may never have a more satisfying marathon.

Congrats my friend and you did eat lightning and crap thunder.

Xaarlin said...

Congrats! Im glad you are so positive after this race. It really takes these less than ideal races to show us what we are made of. While it wasn't a perfect race, you still ended up with a great time! You will get your PR and BQ soon. :)

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Wow great race and recap! That is so great that everyone was helping each other along and that you didn't quit! You should be very proud of yourself and that is still a respectable finish time especially in that kind of heat and humidity! You'll get it next time. My motto is death before DNF :-)but I am a more a middle to back of the packer so I'm usually happy to just finish!

McCrae said...

Thank you for this great play-by-play! I have my first marathon next month (eeek is it really already February?!!) and I'm slightly freaked out about it...

Glenn Jones said...

We learn a lot about ourselves when things don't go right. I think you passed with flying colors. Congrats on a great finish. This is one of those races that you will probably remember forever, even though you may want to forget it.