Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank International Half Marathon - October 15, 2017 - Race Recap

So I shared the first part of our big trip and the first October race in my last post and then looooong pause... Ooops, again the days quickly slipped away! Here is the rest of my October story:

We drove to Detroit on Friday, went to the Expo, Ran the 5K on Saturday, toured around Detroit and then planned to run the 40th Anniversary of the Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank International Half Marathon on Sunday!

Since we would have to get up super early on Sunday we decided to stay in Saturday night. Kathleen's brother in law cooked for us and we enjoyed a pasta dish with some bread for dinner. It was delicious, he was a fabulous cook. I realized however after dinner that I had not taken in enough water that day and made an effort to finish off a bottle of water before bed. I also realized that I had not taken in enough water on our ten hour car ride the day before either...

I got my Flat Deanne ready and felt pretty good about the upcoming race.

We then went to bed to rest up for the race. I did not sleep very well and was up back and fourth to the bathroom quite a lot. I didn't think too much about that though because I tend to be nervous before a big event. I really do not "race" races so why I get so worked up I have no idea! Once I get to the race I am usually fine, I think it is the anticipation that gets me.

I had been worrying for a few days before the race about leg cramps. I had a colleague of mine suggest I grab a few mustard packs and I did. I had no idea how mustard might help but I was desperate to grab a few packs in route to Detroit just in case! I finally snagged a few at the Target down the street from where we were staying the day before the race. 

That morning we got up, got dresses, drank some coffee, checked to make sure we had everything we needed, checked again to make sure we had everything we needed, checked once more to make sure we had everything we needed and then headed out.

The weather was looking quite questionable but we decided not to let that worry us too much until we got the URGENT: Sunday Race Update email. Ehhhh... Not much we could do about it so we decided to make the best of it! I had packed my rain jacket but decided not to take it. I decided would rather not have it and it rain a bit then to have it and it not rain and have to carry it for 13.1 miles. I figured I would find shelter if needed.

Kathleen's sister was a race volunteer so she was able to drive us pretty close to the starting corrals. It was such a wonderful bonus to have her sister there with us for these races! She was so much fun and such a tremendous help! She is a runner too so she just knew what we needed!

We got to the corrals and thankfully found the porta potties pretty quickly!! Both Kathleen and I were having some serious stomach issues. Making me wonder at this point if it was something more than nerves.

We then headed over and got into our corral. I could feel the energy in the air! I was perfect running weather to me cool but not cold. We anxiously awaited the start.

You know they had some Eminem paying through the streets! It was a pretty increadible experience. 

There were 3,137 people running the marathon, 541 people ran the Marathon relay. There were 11,456 people who finished the International Half Marathon with me and 1,408 people who ran the US Only Half Marathon. 

The Detroit Free Press stated that "A total of 26,377 people registered for this weekend's lineup of races"

We had decided since we both were feeling meeh to run a 5:1 plan, so 5 minute run and 1 minute walk. It was also feeling pretty muggy. We inched closer and closer to the start over the next 16 minutes or so before we got to the start.

Miles 1 through 3 were pretty non descript until we began to approach Ambassador Bridge!

At Mile 3 we were met by Border Patrol which was a bit intimidating. I was all like “OMG how cool is this, hi Boarder Guards” and they were all straight faced with their big guns protecting our countries. This is not exactly a photo op… Ooops…

We crossed Ambassador Bridge and entered into Canada! It was incredible! 

Canada was great! Super friendly and encouraging of the runners, tons of crowd support!

Kathleen and I stayed together the first 5 miles but her stomach was really bothering her and she urged me to go on. I was feeling pretty good at that point so I kept running. I felt like I was at a pace I could manage the entire course despite my own tummy troubles.

Mile 7 through 8 was the underwater mile. I had no idea what to expect. I have of course never run an entire mile under water before... This was also our route back to the USA from Canada! It was interesting but super hot and muggy. 

Another first for me was running in a half marathon, underwater between Canada and the USA with a dog! 

How cool is this!! The underwater boarder!!

I have to admit I struggled in this tunnel so I was super excited to see daylight and fresh air!

Side note: Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt!

Back in the US and greeted by crowds of cheering people! It was overwhelming and unexpected!!

Another side note: As runners we need to ALL remember to THANK the race volunteers! They have this to deal with for hours and hours!

At this point I was going soooooo slow... I had debilitating leg cramps starting in the tunnel. I tried the mustard packs and by packs I mean I ate like four packs hoping for some relief and got NONE...

I took a LOT of walk breaks and even took several STOP breaks. At several points I wasn't sure I was going to finish. 

Detroit Free Press warned runners of High Humidity in advance of the race.

The fact that I am prone to leg cramping and always have been coupled with two days prior to the race not taking in adequate water and the high humidity this race was doomed.

Detroit Free Press reported after the race that "Numerous runners had to stop or drop out of Sunday's races amid the morning's unusually humid and warm weather in the low 70s. Some managed to reach the finish line, only to then require wheelchairs to make it through the chute. However, there were no reports of serious medical conditions."

Luckily I was able to walk it out and I truly enjoyed the rest of the race! The experience was amazing! 

There were small bands all along the route.

We ran through Mexican Town and Corktown.

Of course my all time favorite sign was this one! #8Mile

The finish was great! Again soooo many cheerleaders and people it was a bit overwhelming! After the finish there was a little way to walk grab your medal, walk a bit farther and they gave out marathon blankets, walk a bot farther and they gave a plastic draw string bag full of recovery fuel including water, banana, trail mix, bar, pretzels, etc. Very well organized. I grabbed my goodies and waited for Kathleen!

My finishing time for this race was my all time absolute worst but with all the times I had to stop and all my leg issues there is no wonder. I still had an amazing time. I highly highly recommend this race!!! If I lived closer to Detroit I would absolutely run this on again but chances are since I am so far away I wont. There are sooooo many races I want to run all over the place! If you are in Detroit, however, I suggest you give this one go! It was awesome!

We came, we saw, we ran!! On to the next!

My Gear for this Race:

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