5:00am the alarm went off and we shuffled around the room getting ready. New Skin Anti Chaffing Spray here and a little bit there. I ate some mini muffins, oatmeal and a banana and drank a cup of coffee. At 6:00am I ate a sample size Larabar and we all headed to the lobby to meet Terzah and smile for our pre-race photo.
The race started at 7:00am and we all headed to the start line to drop off our bags and get in our corrals. That’s when I realized my Garmin wasn’t working. I charged it all night but it was not working at all. I had to run this sucker by feel and rely on the pacers and my race plan. I lined up towards the back of the 3:35 pace group.
The first third of the race (miles 1-9)
The course took us through a less than inspiring section of downtown Detroit but that was okay because the street was lined with crowd support and it was still rather dark out so it was no big deal. I was still in with the 3:35 crowd and feeling good. Around mile 3 we went over my favorite part of the course, the Ambassador Bridge. It was over a half mile climb but what a beautiful climb it was. It was timed perfectly so that the sun was rising as we headed up and over the bridge. Stunning.
On the other side of that bridge we would head into Canada (cue the “International” jazz hands). We would run through Canada for the next 5 miles near the water. I got hungry around mile 3 (apparently I didn’t eat enough breakfast) and took a Honey Stingers Gel. To get back to the US, we would have to endure 1 mile (from mile 8-9) in the tunnel. I didn’t even mind the hill out of the tunnel because I was so happy to feel fresh air. I took a packet of Honey Stingers chews here too.
I have had to go to the bathroom for quite a while by this point. So I decide to move ahead of the pace group do my business and then catch up with the group. I guess I was pretty quick with things because I just stayed ahead of the 3:35 group from here on. We also lose the half marathoners (shout out to Terzah- you go girl!)) and head away from the city. I’m still taking in water at every fluid station (I walk through them and will start running again once I finish). I hear a voice in my head (yes, I know how that sounds) that says “You’ve Got This!”. And I know that I do.
I take in another gel. I’m very present throughout this race. I never really zone out, but I’m not bored. It’s weird. I actually had the thought when I saw mile 16 – “I only have 10 more miles, how awesome. That’s just a tempo run.” I realize how obnoxious that sounds and I know for a fact that if I would’ve said this out loud someone would’ve punched me in the face. But I enjoyed the confidence and ran on. We ran through cute neighborhoods and heard a fun marching band. I high-fived some cheerleaders because I needed to hear their Woo-Hoos at that moment. Some guy near me said “I didn’t think I would ever like the sound high school girls screaming, but that was pretty awesome to have them cheer for me by name.” Just what I was thinking, dude. Our names were printed on our bibs.
We cross another bridge and head over into Belle Isle. A pretty little park-like place that unfortunately has been abandoned and now looks like it could be taken over by zombies at any moment. I took another packet of chews and turned on some music at mile 20.
Miles 22-the finish 26.2
I picked up the pace and put the hammer down. I was crossing the bridge off of Belle Isle and thought I was moving too slow so I decided to pick up the pace and just cruise for as long as I could. I never let up. It was at mile 24 that I started to cry. No joke. Almost started bawling and had to get it together because it was affecting my breathing. I was so emotional because I knew I would meet my goal and that I had run a good race.
I turned off my music around mile 25 because there were so many spectators around and I wanted to feel and hear their energy. Turning the final curve and seeing the finish line, I sped up more. It was no sprint but it was a good pace. I came in at the finish line and saw the clock and had my verification that I indeed qualified for Boston.
Post race celebration!!! After I tackled Tina to cover her with New Skin’s liquid bandage because she was chaffed something fierce. It does sting a bit when you first put it on, but man oh man does it do the trick!!! That evening, Kathy and Eric treated us all to the most amazing BBQ ever at Slow’s. Oh my word! It’s fabulous and I don’t really like BBQ.
I think there might be something to this race by feel thing.
Now here are the numbers for all of you runnerds and geeks out there.
Chip Time: 3:32:14 Clock Time: 3:33:21
Overall Place: 365 out of 3,751 / Sex Place: 48 out of 1,524 / Division: 8 out of 266
I finished that race strong and proud. I actually think I had a sub 3:30 in me that day but we will never know that. But I do know that other than typical creakiness post long run, I feel good. A little soreness in my calves and achilles but nothing a little compression socks can’t handle. I took Monday and Tuesday off and have enjoyed it very much, but I do feel the itch to run so I will trot it out in the next day or two because sure enough, I have another marathon to run in a couple of weeks. Not fast by any means, but another one none the less.
I can’t thank you all enough for your kind words, comments, reassurance, motivation, and positive thoughts along the way. I felt it that day! I really did! I’m not sure that I will ever be able to repeat this type of feeling from a race. The marathon gods were totally smiling down on me this day, I realize, but I did work hard and put in good solid training and feel confident in that! I’m still on Cloud 9, for sure! Have you ever experienced a zen-like race where everything just worked out perfectly?
- Denver Divas in Detroit (kandjcolorado.wordpress.com)
- failure, and the grace to try again. (rememberyourwellies.com)
- Denver RnR Race Report (kandjcolorado.wordpress.com)
- Your Brain Tells you to Stop, But… (iruninspired.com)
- I Finished the Columbus Marathon! (projectwhitespace.com)
- First half marathon! DONE! (staceinspire.wordpress.com)