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ING Miami Half Marathon

by Meghann on January 30, 2011

Miami Half Marathon? Check!

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Three Andersons. Three Medals. One kick butt race.

Running is now officially a family affair. ;)

Why do I keep picking races that start at 6:00am? I’m convinced it’s a Florida thing. I need to start racing more out of state asap.

We were up at – wait for it – 3:40 this morning. Ughh… Want to know the strange part? My twin brother – the only one not racing – was the first one to pop to the alarm and run around the apartment waking everyone else up. I think he took crazy pills….

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FIVE runner + THREE spectators = We had to build in extra time into out morning to toast bagels. ;)

I had a pumpernickel bagel. Half with honey peanut butter and half with butter. Both sides with fresh strawberries. :)

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It helped that we were staying with a semi-local (my brother) because he was able to navigate the parking situation this morning. We gave ourselves plenty of time and ended up finding a spot in a parking garage within walking distance of the start. Plus 1 for us!

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I was worried when we were leaving the apartment and I realized both my Garmin and iPod were dead. Total rookie mistake – ALWAYS check your electronics the night before a race! After a slight panic I brought the chargers in the car and was able to get just enough juice in both to last the entire race. At least I realized it in the apartment and not at the starting line. Plus 2 for us!

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The start was CRAZY. 21,000 people swarmed downtown Miami and took over.

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Luckily 21,000+ people meant their corral system completely fell in on itself. Bad for people who were actually racing this race for time. Good for those of us who wanted to all stick together. :)

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We decided a few weeks ago to run in pairs. I would run with my little brother Ben to try and push him to a sub-2:00 half and Kelly was running with Derek to set a new PR of anything under 2:19. Megan’s plan was use this race as a training run for her ultimate goal of obtaining a 1:45 half in the spring.

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At 6:05 the wheelchairs were released.

At 6:15 the elites began the race.

At 6:25 it was our turn to own the streets of Miami.

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Look out Miami! We’re comin’ atcha!

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The beginning of the race was crowded and slow. It took us over seven minutes to cross the startling and ten minutes for our first mile. There was a lot of weaving through the crowds and a lot of dodging of cones and walkers.

They also present you with your first bridge of the race about half a mile into the course. The bridge itself was about a mile long and only had a steep incline towards the beginning. It was narrow and crowded, but the views were gorgeous. We ran by the cruise terminal and Ben and I started chatting about which of the ships in port we had been on (can you believe we had been on two?) and when our next cruise will be. I now have a deep desire to go on another cruise in the very near future. :)

My parents had told us they would try to find us around mile 5, so Ben and I were both pleasantly surprised when we took our first turn off of the bridge and spotted our family at 3.5.

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Obviously it was a nice surprise. :)

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Passed the bridge we were on our way to South Beach for my favorite part of the run.

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There’s something exciting about running along a road as iconic as Ocean Drive. You have the beautiful Atlantic Ocean on one side and gorgeous art deco buildings on another. I loved every minute of it.

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Running along Ocean Drive took us through mile 5. After that we headed to central South Beach and eventually made out way past Lincoln Road and the convention center.

Ben was doing great at the point. He had to keep warning me to slow down, but I was only speeding up because I knew he could handle it. Ben is a strong runner, he just needs to remember that. :)

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My parents didn’t mention anything about seeing us anymore along the course, but I was secretly hoping we would spot them another time before we left South Beach.

Sure enough, just past Mile 8 Ben told me he could see Dad in the distance.

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So obviously he began taking his shirt off…

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Oh, Ben. I guess if you’e got a system down, you shouldn’t mess with it. Right?

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I should probably mention the weather for the half was AMAZING! We had a low of 54 at the start and a high of 59 when we finished. Not only that, we had beautiful sunshine and a nice cool breeze to go with it. I would say those are my ideal racing temps. :)

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Mile 8 was our last in South Beach. After that we hit a series of bridges and island hopped as we made our way back to the mainland.

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Ben was still holding his own and had even gained a little speed along the way. I kept waiting for him to sprint right past me.

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We made our way back to Miami with less than two miles to go and e hit a large group of spectators that stretched for a quarter of a mile. The line of spectators reminded me of Chicago. It’s hard not to be pumped when encountering a large group of spectators. All you can do is pump your fist and smile. :)

The closer we got to the end, the more I kept waiting for Ben to sprint ahead of me, but he never did. His stomach started cramping and he was starting to hurt. I pulled out ahead and threw everything I could at him to push him to finish strong. He was hugging his side, but I knew he was going to finish.

We turned corner after corner and with less than a half of a mile to go, the race began to divide for half marathoners and full marathoners. We were so close and according to my Garmin if we gave it all we had we were going to meet his goal.

Half Mile to go…

800 yrds to go…

400 yrds to go…

I grabbed Ben’s hand and we sprinted hard.

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Official Time 02:00:04 !!!!

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That’s a full 11 minutes off of his previous PR! He rocked it and should be so proud!

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Victory was ours!

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Of course, leaving any finish line is a challenge. Especially in a big race like this.

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#Race Tip: If you are running a big race have a designated meeting place afterwards or if all else fails go to the family reunion area and hang tight.

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It took longer than expected, but eventually we were all safely reunited. :)

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Be sure to check out Kelly and Megan’s recaps on their blogs to see how they did!

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And Derek ROCKED it!

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He finished in 02:23:?? and ran with a smile. :)

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I <3 this man!

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Meals and Miles Represent! ;)

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The group headed to Sergio’s for a post-race celebration of FOOD! :)

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Megan, Kelly, and I split the Miami and American (minus the bacon) Tortillas (cuban omelets)

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We all agreed the Miami omelet was our favorite of the two. The plantains gave the tortilla a nice sweet touch.

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A couple of showers and sprays of body spray later, seven of us piled pack in the SUV for the 4 hour drive home. Booo.

After a quick stop to Whole Foods first, of course. ;)

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Ben and I somehow skipped the collection of post-race snacks in the finish line area and in the process missed out on all the Publix chocolate chip cookies I spotted in everyone’s hands. :( From then on I was determined to get a cookie! Luckily, a Whole Foods just happened to be on our way out of town.

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The Everything Cookie definitely hit the spot. ;)

I also had an Apple on the road.

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We’re less than 50 miles away from home. Just enough time to squeeze a nap in.

See ya in Orlando!

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