In the week leading up to Miami, we had some bitter cold temps. I decided to go attempt a 6 mile run on Saturday. Wound up spending most of Sunday and all day Monday sick and in bed. As the week progressed, I steadily felt better. By the time I boarded the plane to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, all I had left was a slight cough and some chest congestion.
Upon getting in to Fort Lauderdale, Kris picked me up and we went to the apartment to crash for the night. We got up and knocked out a six mile run. We hung out in Fort Lauderdale for the day before heading down to Miami to the hotel for the next 2 nights.
Saturday night after I ate dinner, I headed back to the room to crash early and that is exactly what I did....at 7pm! I woke back up at 10:45, 11:45, 12:45, 1:45, and 2:30. At 2:30, I had enough so I got up and started watching some Sportscenter. I started into my prerace meal, showered and headed down to American Airlines Arena, where the race would start.
We had a slight delay at the start due to the course not being closed on time. Once we got underway, I was getting passed left and right like it was a 100 meter dash. I checked my watch and went through the first mile at 6:08. A little fast so I slowed down, or so I thought. Mile 2 was a 6:00. I forced myself at that point to get back to 6:13-6:15 and I did successfully for the next couple of miles. I was feeling real good and at mile 8 some of the half marathon carnage started to come back to me. Just beyond the 10 mile mark, Kris jumped on the course and ran with me until the 11 mile mark. He gave me some positive words of encouragement, asked how I was feeling and told me he would try to meet up with me again at 20. Just before the 13 mile mark, I had a guy sprint up to me, catch me, look over and say, "Holy shit, you are going that fast and running the full?" Nice to hear at that point in the race. As the split occurred on the course, it became very lonely very quick. I saw 2 guys running about 45 seconds up on me and that was it. I steadily worked to bring 1 of them back, running a 5:55 13th mile and a 5:50 14th mile. This would come back to bite me later in the race. I passed this guy at about the 16 mile mark and was completely solo. I could not see the other person he was with and didn't see anyone real close to me. I just continued to click the miles off. I got to 20 and the clock read 2:03:10. AWESOME! I thought if I could just hold back to back 20 minute 5K's, I had a 1:30 PR! Sounded pretty easy at the time.
Mile 21 Kris hopped back on the course with me. He was saying all the right things but I knew he was just being kind. I was still running 6:17 but my stomach was in knots and had been since mile 3 when I took some Gatorade Endurance, GARBAGE!! Way too much sugar and way too sweet. He stayed with me to 22 and told me we were coming up on my favorite part of the course. In Miami there is a 1 mile out and back stretch from 22 to 24 that looks like you have to climb this huge bridge. Instead you go under it but the first time we ran the course we didn't know that. That was also the same place where I started to walk a great deal 2 years ago when I broke my pelvis. As I cruised under the bridge, I missed the hand off for water. I made the decision that the drink was more important that the few seconds so I spun around, jogged back and grabbed 2 cups. This 2 mile stretch really kicked my butt as the sunny was beating down on and I was now paying for my earlier pacing issue. Kris met up with me again at 24 and was encouraging. He asked how I felt and my answer didn't surprise him. My stride had shortened and my pace had slowed. I told him we were going to be hitting 7 minute miles from here on in. He told me not to quit and the thought never entered my head. The fact that my PR was probably safe for the day crossed my mind. As we hit mile 25, I was told the lead woman was about to pass on my left. DAMN! I thought she was way ahead of me. She went by me and then one more guy at the 25.5 mile mark. I had no fight for either of them. As I made my way to the finish, I had mixed emotions. I had given up the PR that was well within my grasp but I was still running as opposed to 2 years prior when I could barely walk into the finish line. I took a look over my shoulder, saw there was no one else close as I neared the finish and got down to Roll for Awareness for ALS. I did this for all of the Blazeman Warriors out there!
While I didn't run a PR this time, I learned a lot again about marathoning. One of these days, I will figure the whole thing out! Thanks to Kris for supporting me on the course. I know the last couple miles were painful for both of us!