Disclaimer: I received free entry to Tropical 5k race & am promoting Miami Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Let’s start with Friday, Miami Marathon expo opens at Mana convention center in Wynwood, a district known for art galleries and hipster bars. I really like this area for the expo, even though parking can be a hassle it is generally cheaper than when the expo was held at the Miami Beach convention center in the past. As part of the VIP experience we had complimentary valet parking but I chose to get to the area early and scored a very close spot, on the street beside the Mana parking lot. Also as part of VIP we were able to enter the expo one hour before the general public. I got there around 11:30am so I had a nice walk around the displays for 30 minutes before it got pretty crowded. I checked into the VIP lounge and headed to the packet pickup area in the back of the convention center to pick up my race bibs for my two races. VIP participants get to walk a red carpet to pick up their bib, and it will probably be my only opportunity to walk a red carpet so that was a fun perk. Pickup was easy breezy and I received my VIP bracelet & swag bag to wear all weekend to take part in all the VIP events. Some things I knew that I could not attend like the cocktail party on Friday night since I was running the Tropical 5k early the next morning, plus I really don’t partake in alcohol so close to race days.
After I got my race bibs for Miami Marathon and Tropical 5k I took a walk down the AthlEat street to try out some new things and had a taste of my favorites like MaraNatha almond butter and Harmless Harvest coconut water. I walked back to check out the VIP lounge to rest my legs whilst charging my phone with the sofa! I sat down and checked out my swag bag containing a very nice full zip jacket with the Miami Marathon logo on the back, a stainless steel Miami Marathon branded tumbler, and a lotion/chapstick combo pack in a nice sized reuseable tote. After hanging out there for awhile I walked around to visit some friends who were working at the expo and ran into a couple more friends while walking around and checking out some of the booths. I got to try out the normatec boots, which I have always been curious about but never had the opportunity to try them out, I got a chance at the expo for 10 minutes while meeting another Bibrave pro. I returned to the lounge one last time, that’s when I discovered that I could’ve used the Normatec boots without a wait in the lounge. Facepalm. Okay, so now I know for the future if I sign up for the VIP experience again next year. Also they had massages available as well as treadmills to use to loosen up the legs while in the lounge. I picked up a vegan salad to eat while there as well as a Ten water for electrolytes. I am always terrible at hydrating the Friday before my race weekend so it was much appreciated. I stopped by the official merchandise booth and got Phoebe a Future Finisher tee (the same one I managed to lose last year at the expo) and tucked it securely in my Oiselle spike bag. The expo was getting pretty crowded when I left just before 2pm to head back home to get as much rest as possible with a toddler.
Saturday morning I woke up to torrential rains and cold weather. I put on my new Miami Marathon jacket over my Bibrave singlet and headed out, making sure to put my running shoes in a bag to carry to the car to keep my feet as dry as possible for as long as possible. Parking was easy at Watson Island, right beside the Children’s museum and waited around an hour till it was 7am and I had to get out of the warm and dry car to use the bathroom before the race. By that time the rain had pretty much stopped so I took of my poncho as soon as I finished in the port a potty and after crossing the starting line I threw it to the side to one of the spectators. Just before the 7:30am start it started sprinkling, which later turned into a more steady rain once I was around mile 1. It reminded me of the 2017 Miami Marathon weather, where it was 55 and raining the whole 26.2 miles. Ran into a couple friends along the course but hurried through the miles, reminding a young runner to watch running along the slippery white painted street lines. Pretty much ran across the finish line, grabbed my water and a medal and headed to the finisher photo opp quickly, got a pic and went to Nikki Beach for a bagel and banana and ran to the buses back to Watson Island. Usually I like to stay longer and take some pics on Miami Beach with my medal but with the weather being so horrible I thought it was best to head back as soon as possible to dry off and prevent any possible colds the 22 hrs before Miami Marathon began. Funnily enough the bus driver got a bit lost on the way back to Watson Island and hopped a curb but eventually we made it back to our cars safely. Then it was mom mode the rest of the day, went home, showered and took toddler to swimming class before heading home and trying to slightly carb load and stay dry the rest of the day. It rained all of Saturday and the rain continued through the night, everyone I knew running the race was preparing for another 2017 sort of weather conditions.
Packed my race bag the night before and had my throwaway jacket ready as well as my rain poncho, I figured I would use it at least for a few of the first miles. Alas race morning came and it was another soggy morning with a steady rain as I left my house for the AAA, where I would park. A week before we had received an email that being part of the VIP experience we would be able to park free on race morning but when I got to the ticket taker she said I should’ve had a neon yellow parking pass. I was not given one at the expo so I paid $5 like the past years. That was kind of annoying but at least I was prepared for it. I gathered all my stuff and headed to the 1000 Miles Run Club tent in the charity village to gear check my stuff and meet up with running friends for a group pic. We had a VIP gear check also but I just wanted to check my stuff with my running club tent instead since I would be heading back there post race to change into dry/warm clothes. Getting to the tent in full rain gear and a warm hoodie I began to notice that it was wayyy too warm to be wearing the hoodie was the rain was beginning to stop and the humidity was starting to creep back in. After dropping my post race bag at the tent I went in search of my Every Mother Counts teammates and said hi to them before heading back to the AAA again to use the bathroom.
Getting into the B corral was not as big of a problem as getting into other corrals in the past, that was another perk of having VIP, having an early corral so therefore an earlier start. Was able to wait and dispel my nervous energy with way too much chatter with my bibravepro teammate, Mike, sorry dude! I ditched my hoodie and rain poncho on the fence of the corral as soon as I got in there, it was getting toasty already and not raining at that point. I thought that it was both good and bad in the sense that we got to start earlier so the sun would be less brutal than say 10-15 minutes later start but then you had to think about all the super speedy runners in the same corral who would be passing you and the C corral. That was a big crazy, I didn’t get run over or anything but it did cause my brain to think that I was not running fast enough even though I was holding back a few of the first miles till I was hitting my marathon goal pace. The first couple of miles flew by as I ran up the McArthur and heard the sounds of the bagpipers at the very top, through South Beach, around the golf course and through the Venetian Islands. When reaching Downtown again right after the Venetian toll booth I was met with lots of cheers and lots of familiar faces. One of my Ragnar teammates, Shirlei handed me a cold mini bottle of water, I carried that water for a couple more miles, it was very appreciated. I also saw the young daughter of our Every Mother Counts local leader cheering me on with great force, those miles were faster miles as well, miles 11-12. For me mile 12 is kind of annoying to hear all the spectators screaming “ALMOST THERE!” when you still have another race to go. The cheer squads from Nike and Lululemon were out in full force for that mile so that kept the hype up. Right after the split between half and full marathon the streets become quiet without the spectators and you are fully able to open your arms. It is kind of a surreal and peaceful feeling, which is good because you still have 13.1 more miles to go before you are done. Then you see that bridge, and thinking hmm, was this a good idea? Don’t worry you will be seeing that bridge again, later on, prepare your mind for it. I also was hoping to see another Ragnar teammate, Esther at mile 14 as she had told me online she would be there with water and fuel if needed. And right under the mile 14 sign was my cheerful and vibrant friend, ready with a mini bottle of water and a piece of a banana. I gratefully took both and kept heading down Brickell, passing this extreme wind tunnel in front of the Fortune building (where Brickell Run Club meets every Tuesday night). I particularly enjoy the popsicles on the corner just past that every year and I continued on to till I got to Rickenbacker. At that point my energy was running a bit low even though I had been taking in my honey stinger chews every few miles like I had trained. Then as if a musical miracle Queen with Bowie playing Under Pressure started on a nearby speaker and anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Queen! I was jamming to that song the rest of that mile, as I ran farther from it but continued singing along with it as I went, the photographer caught me doing a bird like motion as I was hearing it. One of the great moments where music can help push you through what seems like impossible, with 10 miles to go things were looking brighter again. I don’t run with music very often anymore but at that moment I missed it. Onward through the grove, along Bayshore drive memories flooded in of running along that path for many, nearly all training runs in 2014-2015. One of the reasons I love Miami Marathon so much is because of all the great memories it brings back as I run along the course, from pre runner Lisa to runner Lisa times. Going through the downtown Grove area is always fun and scenic but the smells of breakfast foods was making me a bit nauseous. Guessing because my stomach was not in eating mode, but rather in running mode so I was not hungry and did not want to smell or think of food at that time. I took some walking breaks through those miles as my mind was getting tired, more than my legs. Through the Grove neighborhoods with families out in their front yards with water and snacks for us was fun, I didn’t see any beer stands this year, not that I would’ve been able to stomach that either. At mile 24 I finally found the pineapple chunks I had been looking for at mile 12, I must’ve missed them back there but I got these. Something else I remembered to do this year that sometimes I have forgotten to do in the past was thank the volunteers at all the stops. They are volunteering their time and for long hours they are on their feet so that you can have that hydration or fuel so always try to thank your race volunteers. Volunteering at a race a couple months ago changed my whole idea of volunteers and how important they are. It was at that point I made the decision that no more walking was allowed, no matter how much my mind was telling me I needed to walk instead of run. I breezed through the next couple of water stops and trust me I hit most of the water stops on my second half of the race that day. Just before mile 25 was the GoRun Miami crew with the owner Doug out there cheering me on, then not far after the iRun crew was out in full effect with one of their owners, Hector cheering me on! Also Alicia got some moving pics of me when I ran through there, love those peeps, maybe one day I will be able to make it to run clubs again and run with those speedsters. With less than a mile to go I came back to that bridge where I tried to help another 1000 miles member up it without stopping but she was having major leg cramps. I figured that I would walk up it but with the adrenaline pumping, knowing I was so close to the finish line, I climbed that bridge as fast as possible and got through it. A few more turns through the downtown buildings and I was in the finishing chute, I never try to encourage the crowd to get more cheery but this year I did, raising my arms to get more cheers from them and it was amazing!! As soon as I finished my friend, Oscar was there to help runners through the finisher chute, not to catch bandits like I originally thought. He congratulated me and even presented me with my 26.2 medal and walked me over to the food tent where he grabbed a vegetarian post race meal for me. Such an awesome race day and I didn’t even notice the humid windy weather as much, apparently I was so focused that I did not even see an Oiselle Volee teammate along the course who screamed to me. I tried to keep moving after but was stuck in a finisher photo line for a little bit but got to meet another VIP experience lady who I was able to direct to the post race tent.
I headed to the 1000 miles tent and got to talk to a few of my favorites before changing in their mini changing room. It was then that I noticed my left foot was covered in blood, apparently along the race I got a blister, it popped and that was where all the blood came from. I had no pain so just changed socks and shoes also and headed over to the VIP tent to see what they had. I don’t know how many others have this issue but for a couple hours after running a marathon I am not hungry at all. I walked around and looked at all the yummy food that I had no plans on consuming, they even had Belgian waffles and lots of other hot dishes. I chose a strawberry and a bagel, can you believe it, I picked a bagel from all the yummy food, a race staple from every race, small or large, haha. I brought the bagel home with me since I could not think about eating it yet, I did eat the strawberry while in the tent. I walked over to the massage/normatec boot tent area to see if I could get in some recovery treatment but the line was long and I did not feel like waiting around awhile so I walked back to the AAA. In the past my IT band has been sore after the marathon and I am usually walking pretty slowly back to my car but not this year. I don’t know exactly why I was feeling less creaky after the race but I think possibly it had something to do with not sitting on the side as soon as I finished like I saw a ton of marathon participants doing, I kept walking around for over an hour. Even after arriving home from the race, I did not feel like I was going to fall down when I got out of the car like happens a lot after long distance races. Drank my Ripple protein shake and got my shower so that I could take my daughter to visit her great grandma for a couple hours. I did get in a mini nap while there, 45 minutes and was eventually able to eat some pizza afterwards.
Something I did different for the race that you are really not supposed to do is wear new gear for race day that you haven’t trained in. Well I got some new Oiselle summer rogas in a douglas fir color and decided a few days before the race to wear them. I have ran in rogas for many years and love them dearly so I knew they would probably be fine and they were fine and worked well in the humid weather. Usually it’s not advised but these had a lot of pocket space so I knew they would be perfect for marathon distance, I highly recommend them. Now on the other hand my Every Mother Counts singlet did not treat my skin so well, and I train in it pretty often, chafe disaster under my arm. The singlet is a little big on me so it scraped me pretty well in the humidity but it will heal quickly, just momentarily painful.
I had to adjust my goal time since the weather was not a cool 55 like was originally expecting, nor was it raining, which could have helped also. My A goal was 4:00:00 finish time but my B goal was under 4:30:00 and would you believe it, I got my B goal by seconds! And I do mean seconds, 2 seconds to be exact lol.
I am already signed up for Miami Marathon 2020 and I urge you to sign up right now too since the prices are as low! Apparently they were lower if you signed up while at the expo but I didn’t even think about it, but next year I will sign up while at the expo. Also I really enjoyed the VIP experience and think that if you can afford it, it is filled with awesome perks that will make your race experience even more fun.
That’s a wrap, Miami Marathon 2019!
Want to read my previous race reviews for Miami Marathon:
Apparently I didn’t review the 2015 race?