2018 Races: #11 - Detroit Freepress International Half Marathon!
This was a GREAT race!
Truly one of my favorite races I’ve run so far, and I’m SO glad I got to participate!!!!
I really felt SO excited for this race, more excited than I have felt in a while to run a race. And maybe it’s because I didn’t force myself to follow a plan so I just ran 2 or 3 times a week and only for as long as I really felt like running. The longest run I’ve done since May was about 6 miles (twice) out in San Diego with my Navy guy at a local lake. Otherwise I’ve gone 4-5 miles locally every once in a while, and 2-3 miles a few times a week. I went through such a running funk and didn’t know how to get out of it. Turns out I just needed to NOT have a race training plan and that turned my mind around to a better place :) I also focused on strength training and other fitness activities which was smart. It all oddly made me look forward to this race a lot more than I thought!
I was beyond impressed with the organization of this event. The fact that 25K people cross the border without major incident is amazing. There were TONS of volunteers, police, and border patrol present on both sides but I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe; I only felt supported. It was really, really great & easy to get all the information needed to make the race go well.
Before going into this race, I told myself that I didn’t want to push it. I didn’t want to feel pressured to run a certain time or “do” something specific with this race, even subconsciously; I just wanted to enjoy it. Finishing around 2:45 would’ve been great, and that’s partly what I was going for, but I also knew that I didn’t train hard so if I didn’t hit that I wouldn’t be upset.
Having that mindset right from the start shaped my entire outlook for the race to be overwhelmingly positive and grateful.
The morning of the race was cold cold cold—35*F but felt like 29*F with the wind chill….BRRR!!! I bundled up and felt good about racing with all my layers. I met up with my co-worker and a few of her friends so we could walk to the start line together, which was nice since I didn’t really know where I was going. We lined up and waited for about 30 minutes until we crossed the Start line. They played Eminem’s Lose Yourself at the start, since he’s from Detroit, and we were off!
I set a good pace for myself to start. I was sticking to around 11:00/mile and that felt really great. I didn’t walk until right before we entered the bridge, right around 3 miles. I stopped because I wanted to take a picture on top of the Ambassador Bridge going into Canada, because HOW COOL IS THAT?! I got the pictures and then pushed forward.
Running through Canada was a really easy 4 miles. It was fun to see all of the supporters on the route cheering us on—one group was handing out orange fruit slices which was nice, and so many others were just out there cheering for all of us strangers. So fun!
I had been warned that the tunnel heading back into the U.S. was the worst part for most people. It wasn’t the most fun—1 mile under water; 1/2 mile down, 1/2 mile up—but it really wasn’t that bad. I stopped to take a picture at the border sign which was another fun opportunity, but other than that I ran the whole mile through the tunnel without any trouble! But, as soon as I hit mile 8, there was a STEEP incline to get out of the tunnel, and THAT was hard. I stopped to walk, and even that was reeeeeally rough. I heard someone say that they usually see people passing out at the top every year, but not this year (it was also really cold so I think that helped). Once I saw the sign welcoming us back to U.S. I felt better.
Once I was back in the U.S. it was a struggle to the finish. Hitting mile 9, my lower back started to cramp up and became stiff. I had to stop and walk multiple times to stretch it out because I couldn’t run in an upright position from the soreness. That’s happened to me before, but not for a while. Somewhere within mile 11, some people had a table set up to hand out cups of beer….so I ran over and grabbed a cup of All Day IPA :) I only took 2 sips but it was deeeelicious ;)
It got colder as the morning went on. I know I was sweating more, but the temps were definitely dropping. By the time I was heading to the finish, my muscles were cramping and my back was in pain and I was coughing a lot. BUT!!!! I was still feeling SO HAPPY AND GRATEFUL, and I knew I wouldn’t hit that 2:45 mark I kinda wanted to hit but I didn’t care. When I crossed that finish line and realized I saw my watch say 2:47:58, I truly thought to myself “DAMN, for not training very well, that’s pretty freaking awesome!!!!” :)
This was the first long distance race that I didn’t have anyone waiting at the finish line for me. It was a little weird, but it allowed me to just enjoy the finish & cheer on the other runners as I walked back to my car. I love cheering runners on!!
I teared up a few times throughout the course & at the finish for no real reason other than I just felt so incredibly grateful.
Grateful for the chance to run this race.
Grateful for being able to run in general.
Grateful for everything my body is capable of doing.
Grateful for the running community.
Grateful for this beautiful life I am blessed to live.