Race Recap: ING Miami Half Marathon

My first race of the year under my belt and I fulfilled my goals.  I finished healthy. I stuck to my game plan.  I had fun.  My training and motivation had not been great leading up to this race and I did feel a bit intimidated as we were preparing for the start, but I let these fears and doubts slide from my mind and stuck with my game plan.

First, I would recommend the ING Half Marathon to anyone wanting to do a destination race.  The expo was big with lots of action. The race was super organized with no real logistical issues (more later on this). The course had sections with lots of crowds. The flat course made it one of the easier half’s I have experienced.  The finisher medals were impressive and race shirts were one of the better tech shirts out there. All of these things add up to a fantastic first race experience and personally one of my most favorite half’s to date.  It didn’t hurt that it was a great location for the weather and beaches.

The one and only thing that was cumbersome was the loading into the corrals and management of runners trying to get from the drop off point to the gear check.  Since the finish is some four blocks from the start line you had to navigate through thousands of runners walking in multiple directions to get to the gear check area.  This made for a stressful 20 minutes of hoping that I got my gear checked, shoes laced up and stretched for the start.  Once I did find the gear check area and made my way to the corral (I had to leap a fence to sneak in) it was an organized start.  Each corral had their own start, about 10 minutes after each other.  I was lucky to be in corral C, I wonder if those in corral F and above had a longer wait between.

Remind me never to run a full marathon that has a half marathon taking place at the same time.  I give those running the full lots of respect as they had to deal with rather larger crowds, a faster pace and a turn off only a mile or so from the half finish.  Talk about a mind F. Although, the course marshalls did a better than normal job of separating the two groups as you came closer to the split, something that in the past has never been really that organized or clear.

I experienced something new which I hope is a staple at all running events I attend in the future.  At the water stations they made available 82Go Water- a thing of beauty and total convenience.  They are 8 oz of purified water in a plastic water packet, almost like a balloon or gel pack. I would grab two of these and hold one while I bit open the corner of another drinking while running without the uncomfortable drinking from a pinched corner of a cup.  I tell you, every race should have these.  They are absolutely brilliant.  Easy to drink from, no choking on water and handy enough to hold onto while running.  I gotta say, the best new thing I have seen at a race ever.

As for my race, I ran the way I wanted.  I went out slow for the first 3.2 miles.  I broke the race into two further parts of 5 miles each.  I had some cramping and slight dehydration issues along with some residual issues from my cough/cold, but my legs and hips felt great.  My time wasn’t important to me and neither was a PR- 1:56 was my time, far from my 1:39 to 1:42 that I have been averaging.  I enjoyed this race, it was fun and got me off to a great start to my running year. My base has been set and I am looking forward to the future races on my calendar.

There is something rewarding in setting a PR, but there is also something fantastic about running a race on minimal training and running for fun and the experience.  My motivation seems to be coming back and I am looking forward to preparing for the next races on my schedule.

Are all races you finish considered a success? Do you try to PR at ever race? If you don’t PR is it a disappointing race? Have you seen 82Go water packets? Did you race this past weekend, how did it go?

– Scott


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