Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Detroit Half Marathon 2012 Edition

Lots of people standing around in the cold and dark at 6:15 am: it must be a fall marathon
In 2007 I made the Detroit Half Marathon my first substantial distance race. I had never run 13 miles in a row in my life and I signed up on a whim to prove to myself I could run farther than a 5K. Well, as we all know, that race led to seven more half marathons, five marathons, a Boston Qualifying effort, and too many 5Ks and 10Ks for me to count (though I could look them up, I'm too lazy).

On Sunday, October 21, I was back in downtown Detroit, where it all began five years ago, to run my ninth half marathon. I had put in the weeks of training necessary and I felt physically ready, even if I knew I wasn't going to be running very fast. I anticipated finishing in 2:10, though I really wished I could finish faster than my time from the Dexter-Ann Arbor Half in June (2:04:22).

The race started at 7:00 which meant we had to be parked downtown by 6:00 in order to avoid street closures (which meant we were up at 4:15 and left just after 5:00...ugh). I use a parking lot in the Greektown area for events like this, because it's easy to get to and I sneak into downtown off I-375 to the east, thereby avoiding the traffic jams caused by everyone trying to take the only way they know into town (Woodward Avenue). We zoomed past a gigantic line of cars backed up on I-75 waiting to get off at Grand River (SUCKERS) and reached my parking lot (almost empty and $5.00 for the whole day) without ever having to wait behind another car.

I'd tell you where to find it but then I'd have to kill you. MY PARKING LOT. MINE.

We walked to the starting corral area and I hopped into a porta-potty that had NO LINE to take my third crap of the morning. The coffee I made was doing its job a little too well. Then it was time to...stand around for a while.

Trying to stay warm

I wore a crazy bright shirt so I was easy to see
At 7:00 the first wave of runners took off. My wave didn't cross the start line until ten minutes later. I settled into my normal cruising speed and looked forward to the miles ahead. The visual of a long line of runners, backlit by the rising sun and ascending the Ambassador Bridge at mile 3 was, as always, the visual highlight of the race. The view from the top of the bridge was beautiful. We descended into Windsor, Ontario and at mile 7 entered the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel for the "Underwater Mile." I HATE the Underwater Mile. It's hot, stuffy, loud, and smells funny. When the cool, fresh air hits your face upon exiting the tunnel at mile 8, it feels SO good. People all around me were audibly going "Ahhhhhh." Shortly after leaving the tunnel, I spotted the Engineer in the crowd. I veered over to the barricade to give him a high five; then it was back to business. Five miles to go!

Around mile 10 my knees started aching. This bothered me as my knees have never been a source of discomfort in the past. I felt great otherwise, knew I was almost done, and forged on toward the end. I kept my pace steady in the final quarter mile and finished strong, stopping Garmy at 2:09 and change. While I was slightly disappointed, I knew that stopping for a bathroom break at 8.5 miles hadn't helped my time.

I found the Engineer and we went back to my car where I changed into fresh clothes. We walked backwards along the marathon course to the Motown-Ann Arbor hash kennel's beer check at mile 24.5, where I got to enjoy a well-deserved Stone Ruination IPA. (We were handing out PBR to the runners; I raided the secret stash of good beer.)

Every job well done deserves a beer!
Watching the tide of humanity stream past for an hour and a half cemented my resolve: I am going to run another marathon before the end of 2013. I will turn 40 next year and this is the goal I have set for myself before I hit that milestone.

The same weekend of the race, I dog-sat for my friends' little dog. I brought her to my house that Friday afternoon and...well, various hijinks and scuffles and shenanigans ensued. Bouhaki hid (I barely saw him all weekend), Darwin couldn't have cared less, but Melvin was VERY PUT OUT at the presence of this INTERLOPER in his house. Annabelle was sitting on my lap Friday afternoon and Melvin was circling my chair like a shark. He paused to glare at her and I snapped a picture. The Engineer turned it into a LOLCAT.

Feel the rage!

1 comment:

Redhead Running said...

Oh Melvin! LOL!

Ok back to the race recap, first off, totally cracking up at your "my parking lot!" Next up, the 2013 goal, you can do this and I can't wait to be there to cheer you on! (Well, hopefully, if you do it somewhere I can cheer that is) :)