Hiya! Happy Thursday! I come to you today with my latest race recap from this past weekend in the mitten. It’s been four years since I last ran the Freep Half Marathon (recap here). Actually, that race was my second and my Dad’s first half marathon ever! I remember that October day very well. Danielle and I donned Team Sparkle skirts which were a huge hit. D & I took off in front of Dad, assuming he was going to finish way slower (yet ended up literally 2 minutes behind us!!). It was the only time I’ve stopped at a porta potty during a race (literally within minutes of crossing the start line). And D & I pushed hard to finish under 2 hours. It was a great, great day. One that left me with high expectations when we signed up for this year’s event.
Those expectations were somewhat slashed when I fell off my training wagon in September. Therefore I was forced to set the bar pretty low leading up to race day. Despite my lack of expectations, however, I was still really excited to run. I love running in Michigan and there are lots of aspects of the international half marathon course that are pretty great. The Ambassador Bridge and the Tunnel, just to name a few. Also, I had just started Shakeology and PiYo on Monday, despite all the typical recommendations NOT to do anything new in the days leading up to a race. So I was feeling stronger than I had in awhile and just ready to run.
The hubs drove us up to Michigan on Friday afternoon while I sat in the navigator seat and ogled the spectacular trees. Such fall beauty this year!!
Shortly after our arrival, Dad and I almost immediately got back on the road and headed down to the race expo at Cobo Hall. I told Dad he’s somewhat of an “expo geek” since he usually spends more money there than he does on the race itself 😉 I picked up a Brooks headband and a couple pairs of Injinji socks and kept on going.
Saturday was a free day, which we spent doing some shopping and checking out my parent’s new house. We had a pizza dinner and hit the sack soon after. Alarms were set verrrry early!
Dad and I awoke way before the sun, downed our standard oatmeal cups, and jumped in the car by 530a. The thermostat read 35F,,, brrrrrrrrrrr. I always struggle with dressing for cold weather races. This time I donned long pants, a tank, a light long sleeve, plus gloves and my new headband. Fingers crossed it would be enough! Not knowing exactly where to park, we found ourselves at Greektown Casino and made the trek to the starting line, hand warmers in place. Did I mention BRRRRRRRR???! Definitely could’ve used another layer, but I dealt with what I brought. We stood next to our gate for about 30 minutes, taking a quick potty break while we waited. We finally jumped in our gate just before things got going.
We crossed the start line just a few minutes after 7a. I was so frozen that my feet felt like a bag of rocks. It took awhile for them to thaw out, but once they did, I fell right into a groove. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, I thought to myself. The 3 mile marker is when the trek across the Ambassador Bridge begins. I had told Dad earlier that I shouldn’t take any pics because my cold butterfingers would probably drop my phone in the lake. But with the sun coming up and the sheer beauty of my surroundings, I couldn’t help myself. The pics aren’t of spectacular quality due to my boppy-ness, but you get the idea. So, so gorgeous.
The bridge itself isn’t exactly easy to run across with the strong incline. But the decline into Windsor made the struggle worth it. Dad and I were feeling great at this point and hit the 5 mile marker with a time of 48:28 (9:41/mi pace).
While we ran along the river, I put my phone away and told myself to just run. No pictures to distract me. So run I did. But it was around this time where something else began to distract me,,, my stomach. I’ve ran plenty of races while needing to use the bathroom. And most of those times the feeling goes away nicely. Without going into too much detail, that feeling was NOT going away today. I told Dad he could go on without me while I stopped to use the facilities before we crossed back into the US. But being the best running buddy ever, he stopped and waited with me. A solid 4 minutes was wasted in line, but thankfully I felt like a new girl after taking care of business. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Just after mile 7, we entered the Tunnel, aka the Underwater Mile, aka no place for the claustrophobic! It’s actually really cool. Not many can say they’ve ran a mile underwater, right? The hardest part is about halfway through, when the incline starts and the stuffy air gets the best of you. But there’s nothing better than running through customs and getting those first few breaths of fresh air.
Miles 9-12 were just okay for me. I didn’t feel swift at all. I was just going with the flow. Dad was consistently 10 steps ahead of me. & with my unanticipated stop in Canada, all time goals were basically off. But I was surprisingly okay. I was enjoying my music. The sunshine felt magnificent after such a cold start. And I was just happy to be out there running without any attention to pace or time. In fact, the majority of the race I had no idea what mile marker we were at (our Garmins were all screwy from the Tunnel). And I loved it.
When we hit our final half mile, we picked up the pace just a touch. However, my focus was mostly on the sidelines where my Mom, hubs and E were waiting for us. I finally saw my buddy’s bright yellow puffy vest and red doggie pacifier over to our left, and all was right in the world 🙂
Moments later, Did & Brumms grabbed each others hand, and across the finish line we went.
Chip time: 2:13:23.
We briefly met up with our spectators, attempted to get a post-race pic but bailed (lines too long), then started the walk back to Greektown. Thank goodness for those space blankets because the second we stopped running, the freeze returned! Brrrrrrrr,,,,,
During our walk back to the car, I told Dad that I was proud of us, even though it wasn’t our best time. I told him how cool it is that even with our sub-par training, we can still wake up at the crack of dawn and rock out 13.1 miles. That says a ton about our fitness. However, that’s not to say that I don’t wish we ran a bit faster. Of course I do. But we played the hand we were dealt, and for that I am completely satisfied. I suppose people don’t exactly get faster the older they get, right? 😉
We brunched at Kerby’s Coney Island close to home and after hot showers and light packing, we were on the road back to Indiana by early afternoon.
He’s faster than we are 🙂
I love this race. It’s at the perfect time of year and the perfect excuse for a trip to my home state. It’s also the perfect excuse to spend oodles of time with my favorite Did, the best running buddy I ever did ask for.