Detroit….The Race!

I have been waiting to get official pictures of the race before I posted this but still do not have them.  I will post them at a later date!! 
An international race?  Sure why not!  So that what I ran Sunday and it was perfect!  But there were some definite hiccups leading up to the race! 
First, I didn’t eat like I normally would have.  We went out to eat and I had chicken with rice but it was more spicy and greasy that I would normally have before a race.  It was VERY good though so I went with it! 

Second, while sleeping at the hotel I was woke up by the people in the room next to us.  They had a late night and were ridiculously loud when they came back.  They were screaming and swearing to the point of waking the hubs and I both up at 2:30!!  He went and said something to the front desk and they did quiet down thankfully!!  And finally, my family and I didn’t see each other…..I will say more about this in a minute.
I woke up at 4:30 super tired from being up a couple hours earlier and frankly I felt like crap!  I ate my bagel and half a banana, drank my water and changed my clothes.  I walked around a bit and found out the hotel did have a shuttle.  They weren’t supposed to but got one last minute!!  I went back and let the hubs know they could drive separate but needed to be there before 7!!!!  Start time!!!!  I told them I was leaving and my hubs was in the shower the kids were all eating and it was only moans and groans.  No good luck mom, love you…nothing….bummer!!
I hopped on the shuttle and off we went!  When I got off the shuttle I just followed the crowds to the starting area.  Found the restrooms and checked out the starting line!
The start/finish line!
One thing I really liked about this race is they are very relaxed.  I chose to go to corral G which was the 2:05 area.  I didn’t have to talk to any officials or anything they were just cool with you being wherever you wanted.  Nobody was checking bibs or anything. 
After being in the accident 4 days ago I wasn’t sure how I would feel and I thought this would be a safe bet.  I stayed near my corral and kept watch for my fam.  They weren’t showing up!  I called and they still weren’t even parked!!  I didn’t gear check my sweats as I was planning on giving them to D to hold onto.  Stress out #1!  We only had 10 minutes to start time so I called the hubs told him I was taking off my sweats and putting them by the G sign….hoping they could find them and pick them up! 
I’m somewhere out there
I went back to the center of the corral just before the started the national anthems.  Both for Canada and the USA as this was an international race.  They then started releasing us in 2 minute intervals with the hand cycles starting at 6:58.
At this point the fam had made it to the corral but I didn’t know at the time.  I never saw them.
The start of the race was freezing but I never felt too cold.  I talked with the pacer Kendall as she kept us right where we needed to be.  The first couple of miles were kind of boring.  It was cold, dark and we were just heading straight south.  At mile 2 we were getting close to the Ambassador Bridge which is seriously a gorgeous site at night and also when the sun is coming up! 
We hit mile 3 while on the start of the bridge and mile 4 near the end.  It was truly beautiful.  Knowing that behind us the was the US and ahead Canada. 
It gets a little crowded
The arrival into Canada was awesome!  The border patrol were not only watching for our bibs to make sure everyone was in the race and not illegally trying to enter but they were cheering for us and giving runners high fives!  They really made the mood lift and put a pep in our step! 
While in Canada you go down a road right next to the water and they have great crowd support.  People line the streets and are cheering for you the whole time!  We ran miles 4-6 in Canada before heading into the underwater mile (mile 7).  This is the tunnel from Canada to the USA.   It is almost exactly a mile from start to finish.  In the tunnel we lost all Garmin connections and had to make sure to hold back as it was easy to get a little fast with the down hill of the entrance. 
The tunnel was hot, humid and stinky.  I took a gel and slowly consumed it while running through.  Up to this point I had skipped the first water stop but had Gatorade at the others.  I knew there was a aid station on the other side of the tunnel so planned my gel according to this.  It would give me the chance to get the water I needed to wash down the gel.
Coming out of the tunnel was a experience like no other!  At first you feel the cold, it hit me like a ton of bricks!  I was so glad at this point I still had my gloves on and my sock arm warmers.  I ended up keeping them on for the whole race.  Then you see the people!  The street is lined with people screaming, cheering, whistling, waving US flags and ringing cowbells.  It was completely ridiculous!  I felt like I was running through a sold out stadium.  You couldn’t help but smile and cheer back at everyone!  Kendall and I gave a few fist pumps and cheers back before heading to the aid station.  We hit mile 8!  Feeling great except my right foot, I wasn’t sure what was going on but it wasn’t injury pain and wasn’t changing my stride, so I just tried to ignore it.  The next five miles were the best of the race.  We had people, bands, beautiful neighborhood streets, people trying to hand out whiskey, and a ton of ENERGY!! 
I let Kendall know that I was going to kick my last mile or so as long as I kept feeling good and she agreed that it was a plan.  She even agreed to yell at me if I didn’t go!! 
As I was running I was really having a hard time focusing on the race.  I kept looking for my family and didn’t see them.  Not once.  I was looking everywhere and hoping that I would see them.  I needed it!  I tried to push these thoughts to the side and run this race for me.  I wanted to push myself and if I didn’t see them, oh well! 
Looking back I think this actually made the last few miles go by faster.  I was distracted and had quit watching my Garmin completely after the tunnel since it wasn’t accurate anymore.  When I saw the 12 mile marker, I told Kendall thanks and headed off!  I picked up the pace and really gave it what I could.  I was feeling really good and started cheering on people I saw struggling.  We were almost done!  Don’t stop now.  Keep pushing!!!! 
I am in the neon orange, just to the left of the tall guy in red!
I rounded the corner for the final stretch.  A little more than the final .1 was a straightaway.  Back to the start (which they had changed to say finish).  I gave it what I had!  I pushed and cheered to people as I passed them.  I passed so many people I couldn’t believe it!  Finally it was there….the finish line.  I crossed with a official time of 2:02:57!!    A huge PR and I still had more left. 
My boys met me in the finish area!!  Finally….my family!!  I received my finishers medal which is very cool, one side of the ribbon is the US flag, the other is the Canadian flag.  We walked through and it was so cold I never even took a photo with my medal or anything!  Yep, big slacker when I am freezing.   

I was so cold when I was done we took off walking toward our car and I wasn’t stopping for anything.  As we walked I had my chocolate milk, water and some snacks to refuel my body.  My feet hurt so I even took off my shoes and walked in my socks!  This is something I would normally never do but I didn’t want to stop moving!!  Once at the car my hubs cranked the heat for me and we drove back to the hotel. 
This race was awesome, the energy, the course (apart from the first 2 miles) and they had it very organized as well.  So even though I felt like everything was going oh so very wrong, it all went right!  I will definitely be going back!
Quick recap:
  1. I had only 1 gel (between miles 7 & 8) and drank Gatorade at almost all stops-this worked really well for me.
  2. I had a 20+ minute PR
  3. My family got no good pictures…I will post some when I get them from the race
  4. The medals are hefty and super cool
  5. Race is large but not so big it becomes a hassle
  6. Highly recommended
Have you ever ran an international race?
What do you do when everything seems to be going wrong?

5 thoughts on “Detroit….The Race!

  1. Pingback: TBT: My FIRST Half Marathon – CFW | This Girl Runs

  2. This was my first pacer experience and I loved it….I didn't have to worry about keeping track and I really liked that. It did take me a couple of miles to trust someone else with this but once I just let go I loved it. Plus you have a permanent chatting partner!!


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