Sunday, January 25, 2009
As promised, I will post a race report following each of the ten marathons. Up to this point, I had yet to make the official report for the first of these marathons, the ING Miami Marathon, which I ran on Sunday, January 25, 2009.
The air was warm, the ocean was cool, the course was scenic, the runners were diverse, and the Ferraris were out in full force along Ocean Drive. I felt pretty good about my training leading up to this race, so I was anxious to escape the cold, icy weather of DC and get down south and get this campaign started under sunny Miami skies.
The race itself started at 0630hrs to avoid the heat of the South Beach sun. We gathered in downtown Miami outside of the AmericanAirlines Center (where the Miami Heat play) for what was a raucous crowd of participants, all of which were jittery, nervous and starting to subconsciously bounce up and down to the sounds of none other than Will Smith's 90's song "Welcome to Miami." To answer your question, yes, it was in my head for the first six miles.
Because the marathon and half marathon runners started through the same narrow streets and bridges of downtown Miami, the opening miles of the race were a bit convoluted with runners darting left and right trying to find an open piece of asphalt...much in the way an angry driver will hit the gas in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic if he can move six feet ahead and into the space created in the lane next to him, only to make the same move back into the original lane once he sees he's not going any faster. Such was the scene down in Miami for probably the first seven miles or so. Instead of a smooth start where you find a your lane and gradually start to set into your rhythm and find your target pace, it is a lot of fits and starts with runners constantly having to slam the breaks to avoid rear-ending the runner ahead of them as they change lanes without warning. I don't want to beat the metaphor to death, but you get the picture.
After the initial confusion, things started to spread out and by the half-way point (the 13.1 mile mark where the half marathoners pulled off) there was plenty of open road. The pace group I was running with was pretty erratic so at one point, I just had to make the decision to go on my own to try and hit the end time I'd targeted. Speaking of which, I'm often asked how fast I'm running these marathons. To be honest, it's a bit of a loaded question. Casual observers assume I might run a high six-minute pace, which I'm capable of doing, were this a one-off endeavor. However, because I will be running 10 marathons this year and not merely one--and some with as little as 15 days recovery in between races--that kind of workload and punishment on the body requires that I run at a respectable, but more reasonable pace. Consequently, I have targeted an eight-minute pace (or roughly a 3:30 finish time) for each of the ten marathons. I believe this is a respectable pace for any marathon, much less 10 successive races, and it will maintain my athletic credibility and degree of sacrifice throughout the ten-race campaign.
To put it differently, I was recently asked why I didn't just jog/walk some of these races to make it easier on my body. My answer was immediate and to the point: for me to do so, would be disrespectful of the men and women my efforts are trying to serve. To give anything less than my best would feel like I was dishonoring their service and their sacrifice; it would fly in the face of everything that the 10-12-100 Campaign is all about.
That said, I finished the ING Miami Marathon in 3:30:17, which meant an average pace of 8:02.
All in all, it was a good race and a great start to the 10-12-100 Campaign. I felt good in my training, great during the race, and pretty resilient in the days following the marathon, all of which are good markers for the months to come. For those of you who have requested it, I will be posting splits for Miami and the other nine marathons as they come along. I will include the Miami splits in the next day or two.
There was no Crockett, no Tubs and no D. Wade, but there was 26 miles of beautiful South Beach race course to get this 12 month campaign started right.
One down. Nine to go.