Monday, January 28, 2008

RR Miami Marathon

Race Report
Miami Marathon
Jan 27, 2008
Marathon # 297

I went back and looked at my race report for this marathon in 2007.
I quote the opening paragraph:

“I signed up for this marathon one year ago for two reasons:
1) the race offered a 50% discount for the first 200 entrants to register
2) I finished in the same time of 3:33 in the two previous times I ran this race and wanted to go back in 2007 to break 3:30!”

Well not much changed in my reasons for 2008! As you are aware I unfortunately suffered from those strange leg cramps in 2007 and had a terrible race. So I signed up again immediately with the expectations/hope of getting back into shape in 07 and finally breaking 3:30 in this race in 08! My plan was to rest during the summer (accomplished) and then train hard all winter so I could break 3:30 at Miami and get into peak shape for my hometown race in March 08. That plan went down the tube when I tore the plantar fascia in my right foot in the very first race in the fall. As most of you know I have been struggling just to run through the injury and complete the ten marathons I had scheduled to allow me to run marathon #300 at my home race! Thus I did not have much expectations going into this race.

However my injured foot seemed to recover/heal by the end of the year and I was finally able to start adding some intensity and speed work to my training runs in Jan. I knew that I was not in good enough shape to be competitive at Miami but I figured I would use the race as a long hard/fast training run to beat my body back into competitive shape. Thus my goal was to run the first 20 miles at an 8:30 pace (or as hard as I could) and then struggle – run/jog/walk/crawl - the last 10K to finish. If I succeeded in the first goal hopefully I could still finish the race under 4 hours?

A few weeks before the race my friend Frank – ‘the only other sane person in the world’ – (see Boston, April 05) decided that he wanted to walk the Half marathon and asked if he could join me. Frank is recovering from major back surgery (triple fusion) in Sept 07 in addition to his quadruple heart bypass and is not willing to give up racing – be it running or walking! So we left early Sat morning in the ‘red rocket’ for the 100 mph drive across Alligator Alley to Miami. After picking up our race packets and checking into a hotel on SoBe (South Beach) we walked over to the beach to check for those ‘floss’ bikinis that a friend claimed the beach bunnies were now wearing on Miami Beach. We didn’t find any?

Disappointed, we headed off for an early pasta dinner since the race started early the next day. Sun was M-Day! We arrived at 5 am to get parking near the start line. It felt cool even though the temps were a mild 64 F and close to 100% humidity. Being Floridians and OLD we were both COLD and I made a bad decision to wear a T-shirt for the race. The race started at 6:15 am. I was in the 2nd corral. I took me about 1 minute to cross the start line. Frank was in the 10th corral and it took him 17 minutes to cross the start line because he had about 18,000 runners in front of him. By the time I reached mile 2 in 16:56 on the MacArthur Causeway I was roasting and starting to overheat! I really regretted my decision not to wear a race singlet as I started to dump water over my head and body! By the time I reached mile 5 on SoBe in 42:35 I had settled into a comfortable 8:30 pace but was very hot! I passed mile 10 in 1:26:16 and a split of 8:47 so I had started to slow a wee bit but was not concerned. When I passed the Half in 1:53:10 I was starting to tire but was still determined to hold a fast pace till mile 20. During the 1st Half I talked to several runners from a number of Central and South American countries – Guatemala, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru – to enquire about marathons in their countries. In the 2nd Half two young runners from Argentina (now living in Miami) decided to adopt me and take care of me. They promised to drag me to the finish line. I was very thankful because they did indeed drag me through the next 7 miles. We passed mile 15 in 2:09:20 and a split of 8:34. I started to fade at mile 17 (2:26:41 and a split of 8:45) but my new friends encouraged and dragged me to the 20-mile marker in 2:52:45. I was a few minutes slower than planned but still quite happy with my time. I thanked my friends and waved them on because I knew I couldn’t hold that pace for the final 10 K! I figured I could slow down to a 10-minute pace for the last 10K and still finish under 4 hours. The next 3 miles were tough but when I passed mile 23 in 3:21:51 I knew that experience and determination would carry me to the finish line under 4 hrs. Luckily it started to drizzle around mile 24 and that helped to cool me down and I cruised across the finish line in 3:53:06.

I was very happy with my strategy and performance. I had run a hard/fast tempo run for 20 miles and had hung on to finish under 4 hrs! Even Maddog was pleased that I had finally managed to get my finish time below 4 hrs again! The only negative was that my foot started to hurt around 23 miles and was very sore at the end of the race? When I arrived back at the car Frank was waiting – he had finished the Half in 3:29 and was proud that he had beat me back to the car!

I have two more marathons to run locally (FL) in the next three weeks to get me to #299. I plan to use the same strategy in both races - run hard/fast tempo runs for the first 20 miles and then try to hang on and finish under 4 hrs and faster each race. This should help me beat my OLD, fat ass, out-of-shape bod back into competitive shape. Miami confirmed that I do not have enough time to get back into ‘peak’ competitive shape before my home race but I am going to try my best to get as close as possible. My only concern is that I cannot afford to aggravate or reinjure the foot and have to start the healing process all over again. It is a tight line to walk!

Stay tuned!

No comments: