-great weather/morning for a run!
-had so much fun carrying my camera on the first half of the course.
-finished in 3:45:30, not a PR but that wasn't the point.
-legs are sore, but I am walking just fine.
The marathon festivities actually start on Friday when I headed to downtown Detroit for packet pick/marathon expo. I found a close parking structure only charging $5, pulled in and was inside the expo 20 minutes after it opened (3pm was opening). Wow! The place was already so packed! I thought I was being all smooth and going early to beat the crowd. Guess I wasn't the only one with this idea. I made my way back to the packet pick up, gave them my bib number, showed my passport and had my stuff in hand. I slowly made my way back out, stopping at the various vendors. I ended up buying some Gu and a pair of throw away gloves. I was ready to head home, but Jeff (the guy from my gym that I was to pace on Sunday) called and wanted me to wait to get a picture with him under the countdown clock. I paced around the official merchandise booth for a bit until he arrived. We took our picture and I was on my way home.
Here with Jeff & his friend Marisa who was walking her first half marathon.
Saturday we had dinner reservation for about 20 runners & their spouses/significant others/family members/etc... We had dinner at Pia's, an Italian restaurant. Perfect for those looking to "carb load". Up until Saturday, I really wasn't feeling this marathon. But after having dinner and talking race strategy with the other runners, I was really pumped and ready to tackle another 26.2. I was home around 7:45pm, laid out all my race gear and climbed in bed around 8:30pm. I also made sure the camera battery was charged. I was going to do something at this race that I have never done in the past. I was going to carry my camera for the first half of the marathon.
Here are a couple photos from dinner.
All the marathoners and half marathoners in our shirts at dinner
Sunday; Race Day!
The alarm went off at 4:30am. I had 50 minutes to brush my teeth, make coffee, eat a bagel, get dressed and be ready for Jeff to pick me up. We met the rest of the group at the YMCA and caravanned down to Detroit. We were lucky enough to get parking at the Compuwear building. We were able to stay inside the building using their restrooms and keep warm until we needed to make our way to the corrals.
In the compuwear building before the race
Around 6:30am, it was time to make our way to the corrals. We dropped a few off at their corral while the rest of us made our way to corral C. We stripped off the throw away clothing and awaited for our wave to start.
waiting for the horn to blow for our wave
The horn blew and we were off! I love wave starts. The congestion experienced in the past was virtually non-existent! It was nice and spread out when we approached the Ambassador bridge that takes us over the Detroit river and into Canada. In years past, it's been so congested that you basically came to a crawl. No fun. But not this year.
running the approach to the bridge
Had it been a clear day, you can usually catch a beautiful sunrise when running the bridge. I actually love this portion of the race. I love the uphill, reaching the top and looking left to the Detroit sky line and then the awesome downhill! You cross into Canada and are greeted by some great crowd supporters! We run along the Detroit river with a great view of the Detroit sky line.
Rick and I running along the Detroit river on the Canadian side. You can see the Ren Cen in the distance.
5 mile mark along the Canadian side of the course
All thumbs up while running in Canada
this is what a picture looks like while running and trying to capture a photo of Detroit
The back to the US is by making a turn and heading to the famous "under water mile" where you run through the tunnel that is below the Detroit river connecting Detroit to Canada. The tunnel and be very warm and smell like exhaust. I didn't find it as stinky this year as I have in years past. I did shed my gloves in the tunnel though. I got warm!
the sign as you begin the decent into the tunnel
enter the tunnel
Jeff & Rick running in the tunnel
running the under water mile!
leaving Canada and entering the United States!
We come out of the tunnel and are greeted by a ton of cheering spectators. It's also a great feeling when the cool air hits your face after getting quite warm in the tunnel!!
out of the tunnel and running where cars would stop for customs
making the climb/turn to Jefferson Ave in Detroit after the tunnel
Once we made the turn on to Jefferson back in Detroit I was all eyes on the crowd. I knew my dad would be in the area. I heard "stephanie" and spotted him right away. I ran over, gave him a quick kiss & hug and continued on my way. We ran past Cobo Hall (where the expo took place) and Joe Louis Arena, where our beloved Red Wings play.
blurry pic of Cobo Hall
passing Joe Louis Arena
We kept running (obviously) and were still feeling great! We had a good pace going and knew it would soon be time to ditch the camera. I was going to pass it off to Jeff's wife, Kristin, around the 11 or 12 mile mark.
trying to get a picture of the old train station. the last picture I took before handing off the camera.
Jeff, Rick and I around the 11 or 12 mile mark, getting ready to hand off the camera.
We ran through Mexican town where they had a mariachi band. Of course, we past them right after I got rid of my camera so no picture. Bummer. We also run through Corktown which has some really unique houses. Again, no camera. There is very popular race in Corktown held every year the day of the St Patrick's Day parade. Anyway, after Corktown we run down Layfayette passing two famous coney island; Lafayette and American, turn left and we make the split from the half marathon field. As they head towards the finish, we proceed on to the 2nd portion of our race.
I ended up seeing my dad just past the split. We ran by and gave him a high five. This part of the course can be a bit boring. You run straight for a few miles and the crowd support dissipates. Around mile 15 my hip was starting to bother me and I had also realized Rick was no long behind us. I knew we would see Kristin around mile 17 so I was going to remove my fuel belt to hand off to her to help eleviate the pressure on my hip. What a relief that was!
It was also around mile 16-17 that Jeff really began to struggle. I kept talking to him, trying to get him to focus more on his form and to not think of the aches and pains. He kept telling me to go on without him. He said "you can make a 3:35 if you just go on without me". I told him that was not the point of this race. I signed up to pace him and that is what I was going to do. Around mile 18 he needed to stop and walk a couple times. He'd walk for a few seconds and I would try to encourage him to shuffle on. We were coming to Belle Isle, a place most dread, and I wanted to make sure he would be ok. We started up the bridge to Belle Isle and I turned to talk to him and he was gone. I looked a few times but didn't see him.
I had to make a decision. Keep running or stop and wait.
I did the selfish thing and went on without him. The last 6.2 miles clicked on by. I was feeling quite a bit of soreness in my left hip and down through the back of the leg. But it was nothing that I could handle. I just knew I'd have to back off the pace a bit. No hitting a wall for me. Making the turn toward the 26 mile mark and then turning to the finish is the best feeling in the world. I can't keep the smile off my face. People are lining both sides of the streets cheering. It's an amazing feeling. I saw my dad yet again just as I approached the finish line. After I crossed, there was my mom and step dad, who were start line officials that morning.
My legs really started to cramp up after I finished. So bad that I almost felt like I would be sick. I had my mom rub my legs while I chugged a chocolate milk. I looked to my dad and said "I have to stick to trail ultras because marathons hurt too much". I also kept my sight on the finish line waiting for Jeff & Rick to finish. Finally at the 4:02 mark, they both came across the finish line. And both were feeling very rough. Rick ended up with a PR and Jeff missed his 3:45 mark by 17 minutes. For all the walking Jeff did and the fact that 4:02:xx was still faster than his slowest marathon, he should be proud.
Could I have ran a 3:35? maybe. But I would not have had the experience that I had. I was socilaizing with many runners, snapping pictures (took 47 in total) and didn't have the stress of hitting a certain pace/finish time. I had so much fun! Just how a marathon should be.
Underwater mile pace: 8:16
Age Group place: 27/240