Miami Marathon - Part II

"To me, the runner's high is a sensational reaction to a great run! It's an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction and achievement." SASHA AZEVEDO

13 more miles to go and I seem to be on pace, the second half seems to be a little more promising although it was not that much of a piece of cake. I had though that going over the causeways and bridges were over, but I stand corrected. We hoped onto a bridge with gretes (I think this is what kills your feet after a while of so many bridges you go over and these gretes are pointy, so they just prickle your feet) when you have ran 13.1 miles already they are not fun. I now understand why the NYC marathon puts carpeting over the Willis Avenue Bridge, and I could sure use the carpeting now.

I see that there is a wheelchair competitor that just went over the bridge, although is it a wheelchair competitor? He had no legs and was on a “board” …at first I had thought that it was one of the volunteers just going down the “bridge” with his skateboard (Actually when I was little, my cousin and I use to roll down our huge street on skateboards thinking we were lugist…boy we were stupid…really!) But no, it was a handicap racer who had pads on his hands and was doing this whole entire marathon with his arms…DAMN! I really shouldn’t complain now. I scream out, “Go ACHILIES!” that is amazing and brings to wonder if you would continue this sport even though you had something like that go against you…It takes a whole lot to come back like that.

I stroll on, trying to keep pace and going in and out of developments and residential communities. The water stations are pretty bare here and they are not excited, the crowd support is just as bare due to everyone doing the half marathon. Keep trucking…that’s all I tell myself. In this whole time I keep thinking different things such as, “damn, I forgot to pack up my sandals in my bag…I usually pack up sandals for after the race…what happened there?

At mile 16, I see MD or rather hear MD first. I love MD’s family, where MR. D ran the Vermont City Marathon with me (as it was his first marathon, and probably his last) and that was back two May’s ago in 2007. I didn’t expect to see Meggie there because she told me that she was going to be at Mile 20, so this was very unexpected. All I could say to her when I saw her was, “MY CAMERA BROKE!” I was upset and she knew that. All she could say was, “Oh man! I forgot to bring my camera!” it was ok…I just like taking photos with people that I stay with and it brings a little more personable experience to the whole trip. I stop, take a picture and go again…in a way it’s a stop and go, but it’s exciting for me.

There was the Chicago incident, where it was my first marathon that I had decided to do this since in college I had perfected this whole take a picture by myself of me and another person…(I took a picture at a different setting and event with my entire Architecture class) it came our pretty cool as a collage and a challenge – which I was thinking of doing this year with different people from my running club. Anyways, the whole Chicago thing failed with Kimmy (AD’s roommate from freshman year – which I was going to stay at her place, although my sister tagged along and then I got a hotel instead) so no stopping…but meggie was creative. I kept strolling along as the miles kept coming. Mile 16 was tough as I could feel my legs finally feeling some exhaustion. It may have been the amount of miles that I had done to prepare myself for this race, or just the speed that I had been going at, but the fun had finally ended and started to keep pushing.

At mile 18 or so, I get really confused when we enter a town square, there are cones on one side and I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to go right or left…no one directed me which was strange and I spent a little more energy getting confused. I went right and later on found that we circled around. The little town had a coffee place, where people just sat outside and drank their coffee, tea and at their morning bagel or eggs…it was cute and some cheered the marathoners on. It was like the Tour De France where people are just chilling and having an event for that city that it goes through…

Although being on the other side was a different story. It was nearing mile 20 and your long miles at that pace for me was rather grueling. The people cheered, it brought a smile to my face and at one point I even said to them, “Do you mind me coming over and having breakfast with you?”…Again, I was having fun with it and I wished I had my camera to snap that photo of people just chilling with a morning meal.
I left that with a smile and knew that I had been enduring more and more pain since the breakage point will follow…Mile 20, everyone dies at Mile 20…that’s when you hit the “wall”…although I have felt it coming, I had to stay focused and just keep going.

Mile 20 brought a rather unpleasant experience where there was a water stop. The people giving the water stop were African American KIDS…I say that lightly because they were teenagers or even young adults, but sure did act like kids. I was not happy. These kids decided that it was funny to basically move back and forth while giving out water. They would even go as far as moving the water (when you grab it) out of the way so it’s like a “not fast enough” move. I was lucky to get water from those who were not playing around, although I really was unhappy with the people they had chosen to “volunteer” for the job and play around like that…especially at mile 20 where losing your concentration like that can and will falter the remaining 6 miles left…and those are a long 6 miles. I told this to NC and she said, what you didn’t do anything? She suggested that I should have spit my water or even throw my water back at them…In hindsight, I really should have.

Anyways, mile 22 came on quickly as I can hear Meggie again screaming out my name. She got other people to join her as I strolled along side. She had come up with a plan to take a picture with her camera phone as I came back to mile 24…Uh!!! At that point, I had been flirting with danger. I have been on the brinks of getting my time and I knew that I was close and as close as my PR…:09 seconds…I would be devastated if it came down to the point where it was less than nine seconds…but at least it would be a PR right? We strolled out to another causeway and it was getting hot. All can see was this large causeway bump up from the flatness that we had…it was mile 22…would the officials be that cruel and make us go up that causeway? I can see bikers go up, and runners come back from their expenditure, although they wouldn’t be that cruel for us to do that, would they? I see cones out there on the causeway…oh my we are going up….but securely, we did not and we rounded below the causeway to make a U-turn and on our ways back. At Mile 24, I can see my time has elapsed. It was close, but I would have to literally run 6:30’s to the finish line and endure such pain…there would be no give up point. I rounded the corner where Meggie’s friend was as she had told me that Meggie was around the corner. She had been practicing for the shot as I quickly got in…and then got out. Then all I can hear in the background afterwards is…”GO BRIAN!! GO!!!” My gosh, it probably lasted for about an mile away as I had motivation to keep going…and going hard. I wanted to keep stride, knew I was close…and get as close as possible. I can see other runners done as they helped somewhat and crowds started for form with motivation. How close was the finish line? Where is the damn finish line? I see a struggling runner as another gal starts to motivate him again. He was so close and he had stopped…I scream on the top of my lungs to help him back on his feat, screaming, “let’s go, your there, KEEP GOING! LET’S GO!” Like a drill sergeant…it worked. He started again, but I was afraid that I had expended too much energy by doing that. I could feel that I have some left in me, and I was going to be close…keep going…open your stride and keep the last mile going as fast as you can. I tried…putting the last of the effects into it…going faster and faster as I could to do so.

Now we rounded downtown area and it was nice…but where was the damn finish line? There was another bridge as that was a pain in the butt because it was a hill…and at that moment…the legs were feeling nothing. Absolutely nothing. I came down the bridge and made a turn…the finish was near…time to gear up the last churn of energy that I had left…Started and saw that there was another turn…more people…turn and then I can see the end…the end was near, but not near enough…it was about a half a mile and I put everything else in there…open your stride, keep that gate going and put it all in…you almost have it…
I sprint or put all of what is left that I had within that moment…passing a time chip matt about 10 feet where the finish line actually was, was like a tease…what is this…and then I finally finish and put one hand up in the air to signal to my grandfather that he had teased me and I was thinking of him.

This race was for you gong gong, I was thinking of you.

I stop my stopwatch…but really don’t know exactly what time I had, since in the beginning, I had to restart my watch and my mile markers were off…all because of my heart monitor being off…it was bad.

I douse water on my head as literally I took a shower and the medal people come to congratulate me. I am a little disappointed though, angry at my camera for not working and just thinking, if I didn’t have the memories in pictures, at least I wanted to go sub-3. It was either or for me and I was disappointed. I kind of knew that I didn’t get the time that I had wanted, but really didn’t fess up to the disappointment of what time I actually got.

I went through the food tents and got some food…was confused afterwards on where the baggage was…which was poorly placed and had to ask the info booth people. I walked slowly, gingerly and had to go through the many half marathoners to get my bag as they had formed a wall, line after line to emerge and get their bags. Ours was simpler as I was in the front of the pack and had to ask a volunteer to get mine…since no one was really working our side.

I stripped down and basically was hurting…called my parents, called my sister and called JM, who awaited my phone call. She broke it to me about my time. I was guessing that some people in NYC who were not doing the Manhattan Half in the 20 below weather was tracking me…JG also tracked me and before I knew it, the times were up on the web. E-mails already sent out. Gosh they are quick!
I tried to turn on my camera after all said and done…and guess what…

It started up again…;like nothing happened and I was dreaming the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it!
Every marathon has it’s story…guess that made it even better…
And Pictures are up...here you go!


Anonymous said...

BH, you're right. Every marathon has its story. Happy that the camera is working again. Congrats again. Nice photos of the ones you were able to take.

JohnnyGo said...

One day soon, it will all come together, and you'll have your sub-3, no doubt. My guess is that your camera will be working that day too!