I'm lucky my in-laws live in Miami. It's a fabulous place to visit in January. And even better when an impending snow/ice storm is threatening to shut down an entire weekend.
Adam and I flew down Friday morning and were picked up by my brother-in-law at the airport. The 3 of us headed straight for the Miami Marathon expo to pick up our packets for the race weekend. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, Adam, and I were all doing the 5K on Saturday and I planned to meet up with JJ to run 26.2 on Sunday.
The expo was pretty standard for a large city race. Plenty of vendors offering their shiny wares and lots of free samples of snacks. I managed to escape without buying anything extra. I did find my name on the giant Miami sign--a cool touch for all the runners participating in the half and full marathons.
All the lines for the porta-potties were insane and there was only about 20 minutes left before the race start. I went in search of a less busy area, but after walking 7 blocks, I ended up just deciding to grab JJ at gear check and hope the Code Abby would just magically disappear. Yeah. Right....
I gave Adam my jacket and phone, kissed him for good luck, and then JJ and I got in corral E and tucked in behind the 3:55 pace group.
It was miserably cold waiting to run, but I knew it would be perfect once we started running. Finally, our corral started moving forward and we crossed the start line!
JJ and I talked and talked and talked and talked. All the way across the bridges of Biscayne Bay and through the beautiful sunrise on South Beach.
My Code Abby became more urgent and I ducked into the porta-potty right around mile 10. JJ then spent the next couple of minutes running and Facebooking. Ha! Marathon running at its finest.
I started looking for my FIL and Adam as we got back into the downtown area. I was scanning the crowds and I was beginning to become discouraged because I knew we were about to leave the start/finish area and I hadn't seen them.
Fortunately, right before the half and full split, we spotted them! Yay!!
As we cruised into the second half, I still was feeling good and started to look at our pace every once in awhile. We were likely somewhere between 3:45 and 3:55 which was pretty perfect. I was remembering to eat a GU every 5 miles and it was cool enough that a cup of liquid at every aid station was adequate.
In the middle of the double digits, JJ's boyfriend Ricardo spotted us on his bike and we ran next to him for a few miles. He kept trying to get our picture, but he would not bike far enough up ahead and we'd pass him too quickly. It took him about 5 tries before he ultimately was able to snap a few shots of us.
The last 10K I started to feel the miles in my legs like a long run, but I was still feeling surprisingly fresh and happy. It was odd. Maybe the product of running 50K and 5 1/2 hours 2 weeks ago made this seem short by comparison?
We grabbed beer from a few spectators offering it around mile 22 and then went out on the last out-and-back along the bridge. It was cool enough that this part was still pretty pleasant. I imagine any other Miami race that this would be the hellish part as it was completely unshaded and the sun was now much higher.
Going back into town was the best part. The streets were lined with spectators and runners that had already finished their race. It was loud and boisterous and I had the biggest, goofiest smile on my face for the last mile. To finish another marathon feeling so dang good? I just cannot believe my own luck.
Coming down the finish chute was amazing. I love big races for the reason that they make you feel special with people lining each side screaming and cheering. Adam and my FIL called out to me and Adam managed to capture a great video of us running towards the finish line.