Detroit Race Recap

A couple days ago, I wrote about my trip to Detroit. Now, I want to talk about the actual Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon that I ran.

Sunday morning was 46 degrees and it was dark when the race began. I had a short sleeved shirt on with sleeves that were separate and removable. There was a sea of people in every direction. There were people in bathrobes. There were people in tank tops and shorts. Judy and I stood in our spot awaiting the start and agreed to run together as much as possible. There were speakers everywhere so the crowd could hear the announcer that was set up at the start line. Each corral was released a minute from the previous. Being in corral “L”, we started the race quite a bit after the “gun time”.

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We ran the streets of Detroit approaching the Ambassador Bridge that leads into Windsor, ON [Canada]. Finally reaching the bridge, Judy and I ran for awhile. We looked down at the Detroit River and the sights surrounding it. There were Canadian border agents on the sides and a few people were stopped to have their race packs inspected. The bridge was a mile of steady incline and I realized that it was not very far into the race and was pushing myself too soon. Judy agreed to walk the hill. Other race participants stopped and took selfies on the bridge. One guy stopped in the middle of the path for a selfie. We crossed over into Windsor and got high fives from border agents as we crossed through the lanes meant for cars.

Windsor was a nice city with a path along the river that had sculptures along the side. Judy spotted dog pulling a man with rollerblades at what looked like a pretty quick pace. It was so odd and funny. There were crowds along the road cheering and holding signs. Soon, we were nearly halfway through the race and entering the tunnel back to the US. It was a mile underwater. People were shouting and making all kinds of noise through the tunnel. It was hot in there. I was breaking a sweat. The end was an incline that I think was made more difficult by feeling so hot. Then, high fives to US border agents and smiling for the camera to catch a photo of us just after a “Welcome to the USA,” banner.

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We ran together, walked the hills and the water stops, kept up conversation, and took in all that was around. Toward the last mile, Judy still had plenty of energy and started to get out ahead of me. I offered, “run YOUR race,” as my nod to go ahead. She reassured me that I could finish and she went along at her pace.

At first, I turned on my music. I’d had my headphones on pause the entire time so I had music if I wound up alone. I paused it and I prayed. I was so grateful that I’d enjoyed the race and I felt good. I praised God and I decided I’d finish the race showing appreciation. I resumed my music, paused a moment to drink from my water bottle, and took off toward the finish. I started to pass people and I realized that I felt good. As I crossed the finish, I pointed above to praise God, like many athletes before me have done. I was so pleased that my finisher photo captured that.

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I met up with Judy at the finish after gathering my medal.

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We got our snacks and went to the after party. There was a beer tent there that said “Save a cat/dog. Buy a beer.” So I HAD to buy a beer and socialize a bit. Then, Judy went back to her hotel to get cleaned up. I ran into more friends and hung out a little longer at the after party before walking back to the hotel and gathering my things to go. I started to walk to where Judy and I were going to meet and I couldn’t get around the race. We came up with a new plan and she parked on the road I was on as close as she could near a barricade. I walked 6 blocks with my bags feeling heavier with each block. I switched around a few times and I set my things down for a breather a few.  While I loaded my things to the car, the police lifted the barricades. That figures, right?

We rode out of the city and stopped for lunch before leaving Michigan. I had my first meal at Texas Roadhouse. Not bad. I took a photo on the way home of the sunset. Because Judy and I had spent so much time together that day, we saw the sunrise together and the sunset.

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I didn’t get a personal best or even come close at this race. I had a great time, though. There wasn’t a nagging injury or the feeling that I couldn’t finish. I got to have my first view of Detroit, Michigan. I got to go into Canada for the first time. I got to cross the border running while giving high fives to border agents both ways. I’d say that was an experience that I’ll never forget and one that many people are unlikely to have.

Thanks for reading! I actually have some stuff to say about mental health soon, so I’ll be back for that.

Detroit Race Recap (The Trip)

I’ve been meaning to write here about the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon from October 20th. I have had very little time to sit down and write something out. I have so much to say about it, though. This post just covers the trip and the next, I’ll talk about the race.

The week leading up to the race, my husband was out of town on business. I was not mentally well and had considered canceling my trip to Detroit. My travel plans meant that I would miss my husband returning from his trip and much of my relaxation comes from talking to and being with him. He convinced me to go and enjoy a girls’ weekend with my friends. I convinced myself on my last pre-race run that it would be okay.

I was fortunate to be welcome in a group that were going up in the mid morning. I was concerned that I’d be driving on my own when my original group said they were leaving before I would have my kids off to school. I was able to get my kids off to school, head to the gym to complete workout 20.2 of the open, and get in a shower before meeting up with my group.  The car ride was more than 5 hours, but it went by quickly with four of us chatting the time away. We arrived in time to check in to the hotel, get our race packets from the expo, and arrive to a dinner event we’d signed up for in advance.

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I met up with Maureen, Jane, and Kristen. These would be the friends I was sharing a hotel room with and I’d originally planned to travel with. I trained for my first marathon with Jane and Maureen in 2016 and I hadn’t seen them as much in subsequent training seasons since then. I was excited to catch up.

That night, I found myself unable to sleep. Upon the realization that I wasn’t sleeping, I began to feel anxious. Then, I began to feel trapped. I started feeling intensely afraid and the realization hit me that I could not get any fresh air without stepping out of the safety of the hotel room. I started looking up flights home because I was certain my heart would explode if I didn’t go home soon and I didn’t think I could wait another car ride. Flights were all over $300. When I noticed Kristen starting to stir, I texted that I needed to leave the room. We went to the hotel lobby and sat near the door until the breakfast room opened. At breakfast, I got teary eyed. I went alone back to the room to shower and get ready for the day.

I took a dose of my anxiety medicine. It was prescribed to me to take twice a day, but I’d been only taking once a day after the doctor told me that it was okay to use the AM dose on an “as needed” basis. I messaged my friend Judy asking if I could ride home with her on Sunday instead of waiting until Monday like most of the others on the trip. She agreed and that took a lot of the anxiety away. I spent the rest of the day too busy to work myself into any frenzy. Maureen, Jane, and I walked around Detroit. Upon searching for a place to eat, we encountered Mr. Monopoly from a bank promotion. We were given coupons for a free food bowl from a nearby food truck. We had a delicious meal of pork, cole slaw, and cornbread. We went on to walk to the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum while stopping at places along the way for photos. I really enjoyed seeing where the Lions, Tigers, and Redwings all played. The museum was lovely and I enjoyed learning a few new things. I also really enjoyed some of the displays. We used their QLine trolley to save the return walk to the hotel. It was clean and really comfortable. We found a bar/restaurant and had a meal and drinks before heading back. We ran into Judy with some friends there and I confirmed we were in the same corral at the race. Once back at the hotel and full of food and extra sure I was hydrated, I put my race day clothes and accessories together in a single bag. I double checked everything to try to settle any future anxiety.  At bedtime, I was too tired to keep my eyes open and I dozed off while my roommates were quietly winding down. I know I heard someone talking when I realized I was too sleepy to understand.

The alarm went off in what seemed like moments later, but it was race day. When I looked out the hotel window down to the street, I could see all the people with their race bibs. I saw buses filling with people to be driven out to their relay locations. We got ready for the race and walked down onto the street and towards our corrals. I said goodbye to my friends and hugged them. It was cold and dark outside, but there was noise and people in every direction. Mentally, I prepared for escape from the fencing without a reason or specific fear. Kristen was nervous about the pressure she’d put on herself to run a new PR. Her parents were there to support and cheer her on. They helped Judy find us in the crowd.  When Judy showed up in the corral, I knew that we were going to be running together and I was excited about the experience and having someone to share it with at the same time.

Next post, hopefully tomorrow, will be about the race. Jane and Maureen gave me crap about writing about them in my blog. So I’m specifically mentioning that they wanted to know what I was going to write about them.