With 60 marathons on the schedule for this year, there’s no question I’m going to have challenging days that aren’t a whole lot of fun. Today was definitely one of those days. Running a marathon in Miami today seemed like a job, although I’m not complaining. It’s a pretty good job.
I knew heading into this race that it was going to be a challenging day. I didn’t sleep much Friday night (5 1/2 hours), flew cross country Saturday, didn’t sleep a whole lot Saturday night (4 1/2 hours) and woke up at 3:30 a.m. for the 6:15 start. That’s 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning my body time with 10 hours of sleep the two nights before!
I actually felt decent, but the weather was not at all conducive to running a marathon. It was about 70 degrees with 96 percent humidity at the start. It was really muggy and people around me were sweating before the start. I was convinced it would be a long, miserable day, but I didn’t fear it. My plan was to run by heart rate, keep my body under control.
I got rolling and I felt OK to start, but I felt really warm. There was nothing at comfortable about the run, but my legs were moving OK. I started to warm up pretty quickly and knew my suspicions were coming true. It was quickly turning into a difficult day and I knew I would have to take really good care of myself to not wreck myself.
I feel like I did a fairly good job of that. I knew I wouldn’t run a 3:07 like I did last week, but I wanted to at least get as much out of myself as I could. I was consistently running in about the 7:30 range. That’s all I had. I was feeling really warm and didn’t want to blow up.
The course was pretty nice. It started going through busier parts of Miami. We ran past a row of 8-10 cruise ships in port, then went through South Beach, and I think we hit downtown before the half. I’m not certain on my Miami geography, but it’s always fun to take a foot tour of a new city and see things I wouldn’t ordinarily see. I hit the half in 1:38, but didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t fatiguing too bad and I was maintaining pretty well.
The second half of the race went mostly through more residential areas, which I enjoyed. I like seeing neighborhoods in new cities. I started to slow a tiny bit in the high teens. 7:28s were turning into 7:34s. I thought I was looking at a 3:17 or 3:18, but I really started to struggle starting at about 22. My miles were pretty close to 8 minutes or so and I was giving it all I had.
Me and my friend/host Tim McDuffee after the race. He went 2:53 in that humidity … now that’s fast!
I could feel a sub-3:20 slipping away, but I had nothing. By 24, I knew I was cooked and I was going to be close to that 3:20. I pushed and pushed, and felt very confident that I was giving it everything I had. It’s very important to me to give 100 percent in all of my races.
I tried to go a little harder at 25, but my body had nothing for me. I kept pushing and pushing and knew I’d be close. I saw the finish line about 1/4 mile in advance and gave it another try, and didn’t have much of an answer. I crossed the line 3:20:03 after I went through the start.
I don’t like the time a whole lot, but I’m completely comfortable with my effort. I stayed with a friend of mine who went 2:45 on the same course last year, but went 2:53 today and thinks he ran better. I know it was a tough day and I know I gave it my all. I think I finished about 145th and there were somewhere around 5,000 starters in the marathon. Not horrible, I guess. But the weather was.
So, that’s 6 out of 60 for Operation Jack. Next up, Diamond Valley and Surf City next weekend.