My marathon week started when I received this very thoughtful basket from my great friend Dee:
I just returned from Miami. I ran my 2nd marathon… The selfish one. It was an incredible experience. I shaved 17 minutes off my last time placing me at 4:01:46. Unfortunately I didn’t make sub 4 like I wanted but I did better than I anticipated. I placed 891 overall out of 3784, 185 in my gender out of 1377 and in my age group 38 out of 220.
I flew into Miami on Friday to adjust to the weather and was really happy that I did. I was 15 degrees in NYC and I was beginning to feel ill. When I landed in Florida it was already 70s.
I had gotten a room with Airbnb a few months prior with an amazing hostess who lived up to her positive reviews. Catalina is a student who lives downtown and she rents her master bedroom. The place had an amazing view. I also found out last minute that it was 0.1 miles from the finish line (which was fortunate when the race ended). She showed me the pool and gym so I took a visit to the weight room an worked out my upper body.
Chris joined me in the evening where we grabbed a couple beers (carbed up). On Saturday I did an acclimation run of 2 miles with Chris, who was super excited about the weather. We also got to hang out with Vladimir and Shanna throughout the time there who were incredible hosts. They truly made my vacation. On Saturday, Vlad took Chris, Manny and I to the expo to get our badges. Chris changed this half marathon to a full (he was happy that he did). Lawanda found me and I attempted to contact my aunt who we didn’t find that afternoon. Nonetheless, we went around to explore the area. We did more carbing up, took photos with a snake (I kid you not) and headed home.
On Sunday, Chris and I woke up and had some of our subway sandwiches at 4 am. I took a shower, applied my KT tape and dressed up in the running gear that my very thoughtful boyfriend got me. We headed out at 5am to meet with my aunt at corral D. My aunt looked amazing! She’s really into challenging her body and living a fit lifestyle. I hadn’t seen her in years! Read some of her story here.
We started a little after 6:15 with the half marathoners. It was a little slow at first but Chris and I tried to maintain a 8-8:30 mile pace. I popped a salt pill about half hour in and checked the time (I needed to take 1 every hour). We stopped at every station where we grabbed water for each other and I poured it over my afro, my face and gulped. I was able to cross the half marathon mark with him around 1:52 (although we have better half marathon times, a marathon is a completely different beast). I felt great and pursued on with him. We loved the energy of the crowd and kept dodging slower runners. Unfortunately Chris headphone began malfunctioning during the race, he had bought it only the day at the expo. By mile 13 however, I realized that my KT tape started coming undone. It got completely lose and my knee started hurting. I got overwhelmed, I needed to walk. Chris asked if I could make it to mile 16 and we could slow down. I couldn’t even if I had it in me. I allowed him to get ahead. After all, he needed to make his own goal as well. This was only mile 14. However the crowd made us feel great (thanks to the person who made the “you’ve got this stranger” sign.
No longer pacing with Chris, I found a marathon pacer who kept me at 3:55 marathon pace. I did fall behind eventually (thanks knees). On my way, I saw many runners who had fallen, needed IV or cramped up. I was praying for God to keep me strong through it all. No promises just thankful that he was able to have me stop at every aid station and replenish. I took in water, ate pineapples, sipped concentrated Gatorade and snatched a Gu pack. I took time to check the beautiful surrounding but I loathed going over the bridges. By mile 20 I felt confident that I could be sub 4 if I tried however the walking began more frequent. My legs started to cramp so I stopped to stretch out my calves. While walking a woman passed by to tell me that I’ve got this to stay strong! I thanked her and started again. She had passed me along the way and I caught up with her, this time, with her cramping to the side of the route. I sent her motivation.
By mile 23 I felt good again. I had only 3.2 to go. I thought that I could still be sub 4 if I pace up to a 10 minute pace but that didn’t happen. I had a final bridge to cross and when I did my knees hurt like they never had before. My face probably showed the pain that I was in. Crossing the finish line felt so great! 2x marathoner! I looked at my stopped Garmin and smiled. I did it in 4:01:46… Didn’t beat Sarah Palin’s time again but I beat my own record by 17 minutes! Chris found me. We took finisher photos. We met up with Vlad and Shanna. After stretching, we went to grab a beer. That beer was the best!
Shanna spend the evening with us and Chris and I dragged ourselves to get sushi. Shanna got us cupcakes. We basically crawled back (well I did… I was in ridiculous pain). Vlad picked her up after midnight (I didn’t even get to see her leave, I was knocked out).
By the next morning Chris had to be back to NYC so he went to sleep and was off before day break. Then I had the place to myself. Vlad took me to ocean drive later in the day after Lawanda passed by for cheesecake I had baked.It was great to share our experiences. Apparently Chris and I were the only ones who were trying to push to beat a personal record. The girls said they had no desire to complete another marathon (well, to each their own). I plan to do a Ragnar relay with Lawanda’s group in 2014 (God-willing).
Later that evening, I soaked in the jacuzzi where I met a cute couple: David and Hayley. We discussed pharmaceutical advertising which I absolutely love chatting about. After half hour I headed back up to the flat and relaxed. On my final day, I took it absolutely easy. Vlad and Shanna dropped me off and this vacation is definitely one of the best I’ve ever had.
Now back to 43 degrees… Hope I didn’t miss anything.