|Marlins Mascot...very ironic!|
The shuttle bus ride was quick to the start area in downtown Miami. The start was at the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat play. I didn't sleep well the night before, probably slept for only 3 hours. I was a bit emotional in the morning, the weather felt the same way it did the day my dad died. Once I got into my corral and talked to other runners, I felt a lot better. I talked to a local running group in my corral, most of them were first time marathoners...awesome!! I met a commerical litigation attorney named Melissa who was from Miami. It was her first marathon and she was so sweet. I told her about my journey and gave her a 50 for Billy magnet.
Around mile 17, a man running his first marathon with a shirt on that said "WHAT WALL?" ran to catch up with me and he said, "You didn't know this until now, but you're my motivation. I just read your shirt and your dad is proud." I talked to him for about 5 minutes and he said he has two more marathons planned--Kentucky Derby and Marine Corps Marathon (with his son)! He asked me, "Is the marathon worth it in the end?" and I told him "Yes, it's the best feeling in the world." I started to pick up the pace again because he got me pumped up. He stopped and walked and said, "go get em." I wished him the best of luck and told him he could do it!
The next runner I met was a Marathon Maniac Diva, Bonnie. I ran with her for a few minutes and talked to her about races. She is doing the Gaspiralla Ultra Marathon in Tampa in February.
During the race, I heard a group of ladies talking about how boring it would be to run a marathon alone. I thought to myself, it's not boring at all. It's actually quite self-reflecting and liberating.