You Can’t Win Them All

E Pluribus UnumThe 2014 Lifetime Miami Half Marathon was my 24th half marathon, my fifth time running the Miami Half, and my sixth year participating in the event (I ran the marathon one year).  It was also my 9th slowest half and one of my most disappointing races.

It has taken me close to two weeks to even start to write this race report.  It would be nice to just skip it; to try to forget a poor performance.  But that’s stupid.  I need to have a record of this to look back and know that I don’t always perform as well as I hope or expect.  I also hope that other runners who think I’m super fast can look at this and realize that races don’t always go as you hope.

I’m currently in the midst of training for the Boston Marathon.  My mileage has been increasing and my training times have been good.  More importantly I’ve felt good.  I’m not hurting and I’m not overly tired.  I had every reason to believe I would do well.  This was not a goal race and I didn’t taper.  I didn’t stress over the race.  I did not take the time to worry about details.

The logistics were pretty easy this time.  Just like last year Amber, Donna, and I got a room at Home Sweet Hampton Inn and took the people-mover to the start line long before the sun came up.  This race has grown to gigantic proportions.  There are somewhere around 25,000 runners.  Needless to say, the people-mover was packed!  This year at least I was able to line up with Amber at the start line.  The corals are enforced but, somehow, many people slip into the wrong place.  We were in coral C and many people next to us were supposed  to be in coral H.  Even if it weren’t for the rude and inconsiderate runners crowding into the wrong coral there’d still be a problem.  For some reason coral C is 6:30 minutes/mile to 8:00/mile.  If you are a runner you will realize that this is a huge difference.  That’s finishers from 1:25 to 1:45!  This is my one major complaint about the organization of this race.  To lump 20 minutes of different finishing times in the first non-elite coral is asinine.

The gun sounded and with a quick kiss I was off.  My baseline for half marathons is 1:30 and I expected to meet that with relative ease.  Each mile looked at my watch and shook my head in disappointment.  I never gave up, I kept pushing but I just wasn’t moving.  A 1:30 requires a 6:52 average pace.  I had just one mile that was faster than 7 minutes per mile.  Not even the anger I felt when a runner was nearly mauled by a vicious dog was enough to fuel me into faster paces.  I even screamed at the dog owner to control his dogs.  His kind reply: “hey, fuck you!”

I could feel myself getting slower in the later stages of the race and the clock reflected that.  My splits headed toward the 7:15 range.  In the end I crossed the finish line in approximately 1:33:00.   I don’t have a good explanation for my poor performance.  It is true that it was warm (72 degrees before the sun rose), and I didn’t eat properly the day before but those things simply do not add up to the performance, or lack thereof, that I had.  I’m capable of better.

It wasn’t all bad.  Once again I got to spend a few days in nice weather with two of the most important women in my life.  This race also shook me up!  It’s a wake up call!  I’m not in as good a place as I thought.  Seeing the race photos has also alerted me to a decline in my physical appearance.  None of this is acceptable to me.  With help I’m making changes to correct these problems.

My next race report, for the 2014 Boston Marathon, is going to be different.

 

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