- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
get to Miami Beach around 5:15. I’m feeling the music in the car, the temperature is a perfect 55 degrees, and I’m loose. Heading into my favorite race of the year, I couldn’t feel better coming off a tough Miami Marathon and Half a couple weeks back.
But this race is different. It is more Miami – laid back, festive, less pressure. Oddly enough the course is much tougher – four of the tallest bridges in Miami, and a lot of small ups-and-downs. As we line up at the starting chute (single start no corrals) I run into a few good friends. We hug, pose for pictures and wish each other luck. I separated from them so I wouldn’t be tempted to run with them at the beginning.
I get into a competitive mode and try to race early instead of letting the race come to me. It was against my go out and have fun plan. As the gun goes off and smoke fills the air, we set off.
The group opened up early and I found a lane, quickly settling into my pace. After a quick first mile – much quicker than I wanted to go out – I noticed a woman runner moving at the same pace I wanted to be at. We opened up lanes for each other, trading pacing duties over the next two miles.
The first 5K was perfectly executed, I felt great heading into the first bridge. Except for the need to pee. I thought to myself “go now so it doesn’t get into my head after and I have enough time to catch up.” Less than 30 seconds and I’m back on the road. I attacked the first bridge, and felt good on the way down.
I could see the woman and group I was with before the potty break. I took it easy the next two miles as the biggest of 4 bridges was next. Up and over without a problem and I was 10 seconds behind the group. I maintained that pace, feeling good. At mile 8 I saw my friend that I hung back from at the start line, and the woman runner I was pacing with. I made my move to catch them. It was then that everything went into slow motion, I could visualize gears moving, and everything just clicked.
We were running up the MacArthur Bridge, and I heard “GO DADDY” along with a honking car horn. It was my wife and kids driving towards the finish line. I got next to my friends and gave one a quiet fist bump to say “Hey I’m here.” As we descended the bridge I kept that same pace and ended up going in front. That’s when my friend said “You’re now my unofficial pacer.” Normally, that would have freaked me out, but I took it all on.
From mile 9 to 11 I could feel the ear-to-ear grin, as I held myself back. I knew it was happening. I was remembering how to have fun and why I love running. I saw one of my training partners cheering on runners on top of the last bridge. And I knew the next person I’d see was my son just 400 meters from the finish line. This is the one race he is allowed to finish with me, and I wanted him to help me finish fast.
I didn’t look at my watch the last two miles. I knew where I was. I knew what had to be done. It wasn’t long before I saw Gavin, told him to get on my side and to run fast. I looked up at the clock, saw a 1 on the hour, gave a 2 down sign to my wife and just listened to the cheering crowd.
In a race where I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the beautiful Miami atmosphere, I attained that goal while also smashing my PR by 12 minutes and running my first sub-2 half marathon. Yes there was a huge celebration after Miami style – banging on the pots and pans at the PR station and enjoying a couple ice cold beers.
When I first ran this race in 2018 it re-invigorated my running. Now, 3 years later, it has propelled me and motivated me to do even better. Thank you 305 Half Marathon for being the best half marathon race in the world.