Monday, February 1, 2010

Miami Marathon 2010

The Miami Marathon was this weekend. As a local race, we always have lots of running buddies signed up for either the half or the full. The last 2 years, I paced high school cross country runner Dani (#14266 in picture above) through the half marathon. This year Dani was on her own running with a couple of other cross country friends. Wife Salome always runs the half. I was to pace tri-buddy Tony (far right) in his first full marathon, but injury forced him to pull back to the half marathon distance. However, having the long training runs under my belt, I felt obligated to run the full. A bunch of additional running friends were out on the course.

The expo the day before was interesting. I got to hear Olympian, Ryan Hall talk about his marathon experiences and picked up a couple of marathon tips. One was to take deep breaths early in the race. Another was to take about 10 quick steps after coming to the top of a hill to get your pace back up. Not that we have any hills in South Florida, but I did use this in the event to get back up to speed after doing walk breaks. I was running using a modified Galloway run/walk method wherein I would walk around 30 seconds after each mile. This was what Tony & I had trained doing and I didn't want to change methods for the race. I hope to run an ultra later this year and I hear that ultra runners use walk breaks. I have only run a marathon using this method once before and wanted to experiment with it again.

The race start was on the hot and humid side. All South Florida marathons are set in the winter months between December & February to increase the likelihood of cool temperatures and low humidity. It's always a bit of a crap shoot in that regard and this year we ended up with things a little warmer and more humid than one would hope. We had cloud coverage, but at least the weather forecast of rain for the whole morning didn't take place.

The hardest thing about using the Galloway method are the first couple of miles. You are fresh and ready to run, but are supposed to take walk breaks every mile. The idea is that you stay fresher longer. Thus, at mile one, I dutifully pull to the side of the road and walk for about 20 seconds. When I take my walk break after mile 3, some running friends running the half come by and ask if I'm OK. I cut the walk break short and run with them for a mile.

The system worked well and the miles for the 1st half want by faster and with less effort than I expected. I was on pace for just under a 4 hour marathon at the half way mark. It all felt pretty good until about mile 18. My left calf muscle got a little tight and hinted that it might want to cramp in the miles ahead. I modified my gait a little to try to ease up on the calf muscles.

The course was nice and I felt good going through Coconut Grove, but as I headed north back towards downtown Miami, fatigue started setting in. I started to slow during miles 22 and 23. Mile 23 was an out and back along Rickenbacker Causeway. While a pretty mile along the water front, it was my most frustrating, as I was the 4 hour pace group pass me. I knew at that point that the sub 4 was not going to happen. Oh well, I thought, at least its still a pretty course. I rallied a bit for the last couple of miles and had several friends cheering me on at the finish line. My time was 4:11.

Everyone got through OK , just a little slower than they had hoped. The only person I know exceeded their expectations was Dani, who PRed with a 1:57 half marathon. I also understand fellow triathlon blogger Chloe also PRed. Congratulations to both Dani & Chloe. I always say that any day you PR is a good day. Salome ran a 2:15 half, Tony ran a 2:11 half, and iron training buddy John (Mr. Consistent) ran a 3:47 full. I could post more results of many other running friends, but it would be fairly meaningless to readers of this blog. OK, just a few more: Victor ran a 1:54 half (PR?), Demetri ran a 2:21 half, and both Miranda and Jerry ran 1:44 halves. There, that should keep me out of trouble.

I usually grade my marathons by weather I break 4 hours. However, given the humidity and my training levels, I'm giving myself a B on this one. I didn't go out too fast, as is my norm, and I stuck to the Galloway method. I didn't cramp and gave it my all. All in all a good day and fun with lots of running friends.

That was marathon number 26 for me. I used to think that I might stop running marathons after 26, but there are still a couple more I have on the books (Paris on April 11th, the Goofy at Disney next January) and a few more I'd like to run. Coming up in the next 2 months are a half marathon and an Olympic distance triathlon. Thus, its time to start cross training in a serious way again.

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