Monday, October 22, 2007

DETROIT FREE PRESS MARATHON - RACE REPORT

The alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I am sleepy. Fortunately, I only woke up once during the night. I start to get dressed and realize that I wasn't really that organized. I couldn't find my watch and then I couldn't find my leg compression garment. So I flutter around like an idiot. Eventually I get organized and am ready to go. Janet (step mom who has come down from Thessalon to do the half marathon) is driving us. We leave at 5:45 a.m. We're on track! We get to the border and there is a line up. We wait and finally get into Detroit. We drive around and try to find parking close to the event start area. We turn down a street and it is blocked off. Janet becomes a bit panicked! She doesn't think that we'll find a parking spot and that we'll miss the start of the race. Fortunately we see a parking garage and they are not full. We only have to pay $10 and we are literally 1 block from the start and it's 6:45 am!!!!!!! What luck!!!! Did I mention that Janet saw a shooting star that morning?

We get out of the car and decide that it is best to go to the Port o Johns. We stand in line and realize that one of our "johns" is out of service so the line up takes forever. We are standing in line while the National Anthems are being sung. I still have to check my gear! We finally get to pee and decide it would be quicker to drop the bag off at the car. We run!!! We get back to the start and it is almost impossible to get to our start location. Janet arrives at her area first and I try to make my way up to my start area. No luck!!!! The gun goes off and I just decide to stay where I am at and wait. After 5 minutes I have crossed the start line! I pass the first aid station and they say that they are out of water and sports drink! I start to think that this may be another "Chicago Marathon" (all stations after this one have plenty of fluids)!!!

I try for the next 50 minutes to get past the walkers and slower runners. It was very frustrating!!!!!! I don't recommend lining up at the back of a start line unless you really need to be there. Over the bridge we go as the sun comes up over the horizon.... quite pretty!

I get into Windsor and spot an acquaintance Tammy. Her name escaped me so I grabbed her arm and said "Hi". I think that I grabbed her too hard because she almost lost her footing. I am not sure if she recognized me at first. I think I may have scared the crap out of her:) I then saw my friend Darcy so I yelled out his name and waved! Further down the road I noticed an Infinit Nutrition hat and knew that it was Les! I yelled out to him as I then noticed that Julie and Gavin and Ben were there as well. It was so great to see my friends there!!!!! I stopped to pet a man's pit bull (I asked permission and he looked at me like I was stoned. From his reaction I thought that maybe his dog was aggressive but I then realized how odd it would be for a race participant to stop running to pet a dog... I had pet a great dane during my first marathon). I pet the pup and went on my way. It's so sad that they have to wear a muzzle in public:(

The race continued on and I kept looking at my pace thinking "I'm going to fast"!!!! My training for the last 5 weeks had been at an 11 min/ mile and I was running more than a minute faster. It was really easy to go faster because of the crowds and cheering stations and bands!!!! I had brought my ipod to listen to but only used it for a few miles where it was boring! I got to go to Belle Isle for the first time. It was quite beautiful! And windy! I would like to mention that the weather was perfect. There was a nice breeze and most of the marathon was run in the shade. The last few miles were in the sun and it was a lot warmer! Over all, a perfect day for a run.

I was still feeling great when I passed the 17 mile marker. I decided to keep the same pace! I could feel that my toes were blistering and I had a hotspot under my right arm (my arms were rubbing on my sides..... must get back into lifting weights:))

Around mile 23 I start to realize that my legs were not moving as fast I want them to. I was trying to make them go faster and they would not respond at all. I even passed through one aid station and did not have the energy to thank the volunteers! ( I make it a point to yell out and thank all of the volunteers and police as I pass them!!! ) So for the next 3.2 miles I let my legs did what they wanted. With a mile left I was feeling better but the legs still wouldn't listen!!! I figured that I was lucky that they were still moving after having pushed the pace for so long.

One thing I don't like during a race is when people start saying "just one more mile", or "one more corner", or anything that gets my hopes up nearing the end. Because that 1 more mile, or one more corner never seems to come. This race I had people saying "it's just around the corner" and there were actually 3 more corners. I vow that when I am a spectator at the next event I will not ever say "you're almost there"!!!!!!

With about 400 meters left I saw Janet and she yelled and waved and took my picture!! I had not expected to see her as I had planned on finishing between 4:30 and 4:45. I guess she started looking for me at 4 hours!!

I got to the finish line and raised my arms up and smiled for the camera! I did a PR of 4:20:13!!!!
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