1.29.2006

I thought beer was for after the marathon

Pre-Race
I slept soundly but woke up at 140. From then on I dozed off and on until 350 before finally getting up. I had breakfast and drove downtown, arriving plenty early. I walked to the start area and Naomi found me near the corrals. We chatted, took pictures and waited for anybody else. Rachel showed up just before the start so we took a picture of the three of us still looking fresh.
The Start and Miami Beach
At the gun we stayed together for the first mile (10:39) up the McArthur Causeway bridge. Brent was there to take our picture. Soon Rachel was listening to her playlist and pushing on ahead. Naomi stuck with me through mile 2 (9:40) then I moved on. Mile 3 (10:23) came at the second causeway incline and there was a buzz as the dawn was coming over South Beach straight ahead of us. Mile 4 was on Alton Road before Joe’s Stone Crab (9:56). I was obviously not pushing very hard with an average of well over 10 minutes. Mile 5 (9:48) was very nice as we cruised up Ocean Drive on South Beach with the sun brightening the cloudy skies. A large time-and-temperature sign reported it was 7:00 and 70 degrees. It was already the hottest of the four Miami Marathons.
A fair number of fans were out on the sidewalks cheering on runners especially at 14th Street as we headed over to Washington Avenue. At the end of mile 6 (10:02), I had a Gu and resolved to pick it up. Mile 7 (9:29) was still on Miami Beach and I realized I was about two minutes off my realistic goal of running a 4:15 marathon. My mind set was to catch up to that pace and see what I could do to close in on a 4-hour run from there. Mile 8 (9:36) was the lip on the Venetian Causeway and the trip across was very scenic. It was on one bridge that I caught up to Rachel at Mile 9 (9:19) and took her picture with some large waterfront estates in the background. Mile 10 was almost to the mainland and I put in my only sub-9:00 time (8:53).
Mainland
As we came off the bridge we were greeted by narrow chutes of fans cheering like crazy. By the time we reached Mile 11 (10:01) they were gone. I cannot explain why that stretch was so slow except for the congestion. Mile 12 was all downtown Miami and not so pretty (9:29). We turned towards Biscayne Blvd. and the start/finish area where the half runners veered left to collect their medals and we went straight. The loss of 2/3 the runners, the quiet and the prospect of having to do another half marathon preyed on my mind for a spell as we went over the Miami River bridge to reach Mile 13 (10:19). I took another Gu but had to wait a little too long for water to wash it down and my stomach was roiling for a short spell.
The Second Half
Under a Metro Rail station we all beeped as our half times were recorded. SW 1st Avenue was a straight stretch where I began to concentrate on my form again and monitor my efforts to catch the 4:15 pace. At mile 14 (9:10) I was grooving. I notice a fellow running next to me as we approached a water stop. As we went through it he glanced sideways at me and nodded. He was telling me we would run together. Diego was a nice friendly non-talking guy. We got along. Occasionally spectators would call one of our names and we would thank them together. We became pals and pushed each other well as we ran down S. Miami Ave. Mile 15 (9:40) went by and we waited for each other in the aid stations as we had Gatorade or water. Mile 16 was in some suburban neighborhoods (9:34) and we were passing people regularly. I saw Brent in his Team Rachel.com t-shirt waiting to jump in and finish with Rachel. He said Diego and I were looking very strong. On Tigertail Ave. we hit Mile 17 (9:32) and I was within 20 seconds of the 4:15 marathon pace. I was psyched.
Then wheels started wobbling. During the next stretch I could sense a little pain in my left hip and feeling tired. I started to think about keeping up with Diego or not. We reached Mile 18 in Coconut Grove and found we had slowed quite a bit (10:00). It was time for more Gu. We each had our meal. At the next water stop I insisted on walking a little to stretch and rub my hip. Diego said he felt like he should continue on without me.
Note to Self Next Time: Don't Stop
In the quaint back roads of the Grove I came upon a homeowner in his driveway offering iced orange quarters. It sounded so good I stopped to eat two. When I tried to restart my run my left hip locked up and my left knee spazzed. I couldn’t get into my running gait without crippling pain. Mile 19 (11:45) was ugly. Not nearly as much as Mile 20 (13:01) as I tried to pick it up but each time my knee said no. I realized I had six miles left. It was a nice day for a walk. I had lost the 4:15 pace goal and there was nothing left to do but finish and, in the process, walk fast and see what I could do to repair my left side. Mile 21 (20:16), Mile 22 (18:30) and Mile 23 (18:28) were along the sunny and scenic S. Bayshore Drive and I was happy to just mosey along playing tag with a few other cripples who kept stopping or starting then walking.
Beer Is Beautiful
Then a miracle happened. Towards the end of Mile 23 there was the one and only beer stop on the route right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it. I said to myself, “Walking. Sunny day. Why not a beer?” So I had one and it was delicious. Soon thereafter I tried to make the hip and knee work. It was working. Ah, the remedial benefits of beer. I was going okay but the hip was nagging me to do something about my car remote in my shorts pocket. It seemed to be an aggravation on the spot that hurt so I took it out and put it in my shoe pocket. Wow. That felt much better as I ran. I ran the entire 24th mile (12:34) without walking and believed I could run it in for the last three miles. Almost. I calculated that I might make it in just at 5 hours. Mile 25 (15:00) got me within eyeshot of the downtown high rises. Mile 26 (13:34) went back over the Miami River bridge which was slightly brutal.
The Finish
For the final .2 Finish (2:05) the crowd was buzzing and Dave and Jason from Orlando saw me go by and yelled to me. I crossed at 5:00.40.
Naomi saw me in the finish area and called to me. I got my medal, had my banana, water and bagel and we all congregated on the grass embankment. I took pictures of everybody for RBF postings, we all told our stories and planned our next races.
In the garage I called Mrs. T who was relieved I survived, congratulated me and inquired if this was the end of my marathon career. I know she thinks I am taxing myself beyond what she thinks I can handle. We’ll see. I doubt I’ll stop. I have to go for a new PR J. Then I called Susie to give my account of whatever I told her for a blog posting.
I drove back over to Miami Beach, had a hot shower, fixed a sandwich, a beer and an Aleve pain killer. Then I walked a mile to the beach.
It was a memorable race day. The course was gorgeous, the stops and organization top notch. It was a little hot but that's why it's the tropics. I would recommend it to anyone with the interest in getting out of the January snow and cold to enjoy Miami.

41 comments:

ShoreTurtle said...

Congratulations, marathoner! Your recap was excellent. Reading it now, I felt your pain and felt your spirit lifting after the beer stop. I'm always amazed when I read race stories, especially marathon reports. I'm very happy for you! You've earned a couple of days rest. Great job!

Kim said...

Congratulations! You made it!
You finished your first marathon. YAY! Be very proud of yourself.
Great job!

christine said...

Big time props to ya mannnnnnn!!
No doubt you'll be plotting your next before too long. I'll be happy just to survive my upcoming 10K
Hooray for you!

Running Chick said...

Carbs is carbs, right? And obviously, beer had just the right kind of carbs for you.

Congrats David!! I'm so proud of you! Sounds cheesy, but it's true! You ran a smart race - truly a successful marathon.

susie said...

You found the internet! I am proud of you, too, as I said on the phone. You had an amazing training run and finish. Even better, think what T. and C. will think of their dad. Inspiring.

DawnB said...

Congratulations David, You did it!!! :)

Sarah said...

David...I'm so happy for you :-) You are definitely inspiring...and not pouting or complaining about missing your goal time. Great report and congrats on a strong race!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Congrats David. Great write up. I could almost feel your pain. I have to agree sometimes a beer is just the thing we need. Glad you made it.

Lara said...

I have been waiting all day for this! Huge congratulations to you for your marathon, and for appreciating every step! Great report!!

And, drinking a beer while running a marathon? David, I've never felt closer to you than I do at this moment. You are a man of my own heart.

jeanne said...

Great job David. Oh boy, did I feel your pain...but that beer perked you right up! Great recap reading! And in the photos (on Noames site) you all look fresh as daisies!

brent said...

way to go david, way to go. great job on a hard race! and very inspiring. we are all proud!

Steve said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

runr53 said...

Well done sir! Only thing, why didn't you tell us all earlier that we could have stayed at your place for the weekend, hehe? It was 47 degrees here in Detroit this morning and rainy, but it felt good to be running again, so its all good! Rest well!

21st Century Mom said...

CONGRATUALTIONS! Thanks for the excellent write up. Sorry your hip decided to let you down but you had a great run anyhow.

Here's to the next one!

Mia Goddess said...

Yay! You're a marathoner ~ and the kind of marathoner who has a great time, enjoys the scenery, doesn't give up in the face of real pain, and knows when it's time to grab a beer. That's the best kind, in case you were wondering. :)

Danny said...

Congratulations!!

Your recap of the last eight miles or so sounds really familiar. Except you seemed to enjoy it a lot more than I did! Maybe beer really is the answer. How about GU with beer in it? That could be a million dollar business....

Way to go!!

Robb said...

I often read your blog. Today, I'm compelled to comment on your great effort. There's certain glory in getting that job done! Good job David. Great post...congratulations!

Joe said...

Awesome, David! Great write up, very readable. You wove all the various stories in so well.

What the body does in those last 8 miles or so is fascinating. You learned much and helped all of us learn as well.

Congratulations! Enjoy the rest and the planning. Be patient, your wife will understand!

Susan said...

Fabulous job David! Congratulations. Your race reports are always my favorites!

Bex said...

Congrats, congrats, congrats! Very well done, David. I only wish I could have been there to cheer the RBFers on.

Actually, I will be in Miami in mi-March for a wedding, but not a race, alas.

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Whoohoo! Congrats on the marathon, David. Sorry you had that hip pain but I'm glad somebody brought out the beer! Rest up. Take it easy for a while. Hope you are moving good today.

Be proud, David. You did it. :)

Thomas said...

Congratulations! You are now a marathon runner. Doesn't that sound great?

You also provided the world with the scientific proof that oranges are bad and beer is good for you.

boiledpnut said...

Way to "stick with it" and complete the race on your own accord. Race recaps like this are true inspiration.

boiledpnut said...
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The Running Red Sox Fan said...

Bravo. You should be extremely proud of yourself! Congrats!

Yvonne said...

Great race report. Congrats marathoner!

Scooter said...

I think the beer had a placebo effect - but who cares, it worked. To paraphrase the legendary Yogi, 90% of running is half mental. I know I can count myself in the group profiled by that.

Meantime, I guess from your post, "I called Mrs. T", that you know the pierogie lady. http://www.pierogies.com/

Jank said...

Congratulations, Marathon Man!

Now, more than ever, you are my hero...

april anne said...

Congratulations David! We are so proud of you. Way to go!

Oldman said...

congrats David... I always knew beer was a replacement for gaterade!

Anne said...

Let me add to the chorus: Congratulations! Congratulations! I'm glad you adjusted your attitude and expectations when the hip and knee started hurting -- and it's true. Once you stop, it is incredibly hard to get back into the groove.

jeff said...

i thinking that i wished i'd given you the "do not stop" advice, but i think encouraging you to just enjoy the experience is what has you smiling today, rather than beating yourself up over the finishing time.

hey, isn't it a surreal experience? aren't you just sorta in a stupor today?

it's the greatest feeling in the world! now, go and sign up for san diego. doooo it!

congratulation and wonderful report.

Michelle said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon. You got a taste for the beast so when is the next one?!

robtherunner said...

Congratulations David! I have always wanted to stop for a beer during a marathon. Great pictures above as well.

Richard Maas LMT, MTI said...

your post about the race is great. your effort and perseverence are awesome. WAY TO GO, DAVID!

Just12Finish said...

Great report David - I could almost imagine every step and every mile. One marathon down, many more happy ones to come! Congrats!

Jack said...

I'm kind of late saying this, but congratulations! I know this will be an experience you will never forget in your life. Great job of hanging in there!

beverly said...

I'm late to the celebration here ... but wanted to say congratulations. I love reading your race reports ... you hanging in and knowing when to just soak it up ... it just made me grin with pride for you. Congratulations!

Running Jayhawk said...

This is a wonderful report! Congratulations :) We all have our "bad miles" But you did it! And you rock. :)

Rae said...

Great race report!!! Don't you just want to go back and do it all over again? It seems like it was over way too quickly, and I agree, it's totally surreal.

I bet next time we see you in a Fuel Belt loaded with beer! =)

Darrell said...

Way to dig deep and hang in there. From the way I read it I doubt that your done witht the marathon thing just yet. Congratulations.