2010 Detroit Free Press (Half) Marathon Recap!!!

29 Oct

***This post is extremely long…  Get a glass of water, sit in a comfy chair, and prepare for a long one…

So nearly two weeks ago, I ran



I actually ran the Half Marathon – 13.1 Miles baby!  Todd *was* registered for the full, but I’ll talk about that in a minute…

This race is incredible amazing, because as you might be able to discern from the logo, it goes from Detroit, Michigan and into Canada (my city, Windsor), and back into Detroit.

A race that actually crosses international border crossings?  Sign me up!

And I didn’t make a mistake there, you actually cross two different border crossings!  You start in downtown Detroit (which is Reeeeeally clean and not scary at all) and make your way to the Ambassador Bridge – which is the busiest border crossing in North America!

You run across the bridge (amaaaazing!) image


and into Windsor,


Running through customs – the only time the border guards actually cheer you on as you pass on through ;)

image Down Riverside Drive… thought that this pic was cute and absolutely hilarious!

And now on over to the Windsor Detroit Tunnel.  That’s right, tunnel!  This border crossing actually goes under the Detroit River and is almost exactly a mile, so you get an “underwater mile” time as well as your course time.


No need to pay that toll!


And while you’re in that tunnel, look at what you’ll see…


Once you’re back in Detroit, you run around downtown, Mexican Town and Cork Town and before you know it – you’re crossing the finish line!

It really is the most amazing course.  The full actually goes over to Belle Isle – yes, an island(!) after doing the same course as the half.  It sounds like it would be pretty cool, but I’ve clearly never run it, so I don’t know!

Onto my own race now…

We got up at 3:40 (OMG – I don’t think I’ve ever gotten up that early and in fact, the people across the street were still partying…), I ate an egg puck on a piece of toast and were out of the house by 415.  The race started at 7, but I like to be settled way before it begins, so we always go to races *very* early.  We stopped for a coffee (obvi!), crossed the border (via the tunnel – and I couldn’t believe that I’d be running through it soon after) and had the car parked by 5.

We sat and chatted, sipping our coffees and me eating my second breakfast: tuna on a piece of whole grain.  Tuna?  I know, right?  Not a normal pre-race meal for most people.  However, for me it’s go-to on race day and I find that it really keeps me satiated, but not heavy feeling.

At 530 we went for a walk to check out the starting area and scope out port-a-potty locations.  I always feel better once I see the set up.  And as luck would have it, the convention centre was open, so no need for port-a-potties all day!!!

At quarter after 6, it was time to put on my running shoes and get race ready!

IMG_3882 IMG_3883

Todd and I made our way to the starting area

IMG_3886 Me trying not to let my nerves get the best of me….


We then made our way back to my corral.  Btw – EVERY race should have wave starts!  It’s nice running with other people at your pace and not having to try to maneuver around slower people (amazingly, there are slower people than me ;P).

We talked about where he’d be so that I would look for him.  It ended up that I’d see him around mile 9 and mile 12.

And before we knew it, it was time for the handcyclers to start!


And one minute later, the race started!

It took about 20 minutes for me to reach the start line and amazingly enough, I actually saw Todd (and he saw me) as I was passing where he was standing (and I had no idea where he’d be).  The picture below kind of shows the enormity of this.  Oh ya, this race had nearly 20 000 participants!

IMG_3892 My plan for this race was to do the best that I could do on that day.  The summer and the ridiculous humidity really took its’ toll on me and my running is nowhere near where it was last April.  Then, I could run 11 miles before needing a walk break – now I needed walk breaks all the time (there was one morning in July when I went out and had to walk after .25 miles because of the humidity – and my asthma – and I actually started crying…).  So I decided that I’d walk whenever the heck I needed to.  There were water stations every 2 miles and I walked through all of those, and toward the last 3 miles, I probably walked every 4 or 5 minutes, with the last mile being more like run for a minute, walk for 15seconds, run for two minutes, walk for 15seconds – until the 13 mile marker where I turned it on.

But backing up a little…

When we were running on the approach for the bridge, there was a bottleneck and we actually had to stop and walk.  FAIL.  Sadly, this was because a runner was down (and I learned later that it was actually the Aunt of one of Todd’s friends, and she had a massive heart attack).  She was unconscious and gray looking.  It was sad to see, but there were  3 people helping her, so I continued on (it was especially tough to see, because last year 3 people died doing this half).  When we were climbing the bridge, there was another bottleneck, where I turned to the person beside me and laughingly said, “So much for a PR, I guess.”  This was because there was construction in one lane on the bridge.

It was awesome running back into Canada and I loved running through my city and knowing the lay of the land.  I saw one of my running friends cheering furiously on the sidelines and slapped so many hands of spectators that my hand was actually a little sore – lol!  Before I knew it, we were heading into the tunnel.

Todd told me that I had to take my earphones out because the sound of people running is absolutely amazing.  I did as I was told, and as I was hit by the still, very warm air (which Todd also prepared me for), I took my earphones out and listened.  Nothing.  It was loud with people laughing and talking, but people at my pace were running more for fun than an awesome time (like where Todd would be running) and we also weren’t packed together as they would have been with Todd’s pace.

Coming out of the tunnel, the crowd support was amazing!

Before I knew it, I was running toward mile 9 and toward Todd!

I was soooo happy to see him, and not just because he gave me some gatorade ;)  …which turned out to be a really good thing because the next water station was out of water!!!  …all of the other stations were amply stocked though.


Our plan was for Todd to then walk over to the mile 12 area (it was only a few blocks away from where he currently was) and I’d get to see him again.

I continued on through Mexican Town, Cork Town and back into downtown.  I had to stop a couple times and stretch out, my feet were cramping.  The miles continued to tick on by, and before I knew it I was nearing Mile 12!

Todd was at mile 12, and noticed these two girls with their Canadian flags.


And I came by about 2 minutes later – with a huge smile on my face!


This is me desperately wanting to walk, but not wanting to walk when I was getting my picture taken ;)


Notice that girl behind me?  So many people were dressed as heavy as she was – and there I was in a tank top!  It was 14C before the sun came up, I couldn’t imagine running in a t-shirt, let alone 2 shirts!

Todd ran with me for a few seconds and assured me that I was doing really well, and I was pretty close to giving myself a PR.  Oh!  Did I mention..let me check…nope… At the start line I started my Garmin, then looked down about about 5 minutes later and noticed that it wasn’t actually started!!!  I was wearing gloves and hadn’t pushed the start button hard enough!  I figured out (by the mile markers) that I was out by .4 miles and around 5 minutes.  So my entire race I didn’t know what my actual time was (exactly).

Mile number 12 was tough for me and I felt like the final turn was never going to come!

Todd was standing near the finish line and you can see me to the left of the C….and if you look at the very left of this picture you’ll see the 13 mile marker.


As I passed by Todd – he went crazy cheering and I was sooooo surprised to see him!  Right then I turned on the afterburners and sprinted to the finish!

And do you notice the two people that I’m passing?  Yup, I made up two minutes on them in the last mile!  …and I thought that that last mile was disastrous…

IMG_3911 After the race, I walked through the chute, got my medal, my bag of food, some gatorade and a water.  And I walked, and walked, and walked.  And walked some more.  And my feet hurt incredibly.  Every step was excruciating.  Just when I got to where the end of the chute was last year, I realized that I still couldn’t get out, and had another entire block to walk.  I almost cried.

And the worst part?  I was actually walking AWAY from where Todd and I had planned to meet up!  As for Todd, he actually ended up on the wrong side of the street so had to walk all the way down the outside of the chute in order to get to the right side of the street.  He actually came up the chute to try to meet me – but with a space blanket on, everyone looks the same – and we didn’t see each other.  I FINALLY got to our meeting spot (obviously I had no idea about Todd’s issues getting there), and Todd wasn’t there.  Once again, I wanted to cry.  All I wanted to do was sit down and I was afraid that if I sat down on the sidewalk that somehow Todd would miss me.   Luckily, within a minute Todd was there and my smile returned!

IMG_3915 What a fantastic race!  The minute I finished I started looking forward to next year’s race!

As we walked back to the car, we saw people who were finishing the marathon and I turned to Todd and exclaimed, “There is absolutely no way I can imagine doing another 13 miles.  No way.  It is absolutely inconceivable to me at this juncture.”

Maybe someday…


– the pics that aren’t sourced (and aren’t from this years’ race) are from when we watched the race from Windsor in 2008, and absolutely became inspired to run.  Seriously, a defining moment in both of our lives.

– in 2009, Todd ran his first half and I longingly watched from the sidelines


Tired Todd!!!!! 1:48:58!!!

– This year, I ran the half (my third) and Todd was signed up for his first full!  Unfortunately, during training, Todd was running and (looooong story short) hurt his knee.  :(  He was unable to train AT ALL for the 7 weeks leading up to the race.  He decided that he’d better drop down to the half.  He thought that he might still be able to do the half, and if nothing else, he’d run with me at my pace (Slowest Runner Eva!).  Unfortunately, he couldn’t even do this.  Not racing was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever made in his life, and I truly respect him so much for making it.  He saw his chiropractor several times and got some ultrasound therapy and saw his GP who said that he just needed to rest it (sprained medial collateral ligament).

– Fast forward to now, about 9 weeks after his injury and he’s starting to feel better (*knock*knock*knock*).  However, we’re registered for the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon in a mere 5 weeks [OMG! 5 weeks!].  Todd is once again registered for the full and me for the half.  Once again he is likely going to have to drop down – if for no other reason than a lack of training for a full now – although he could knock out a half with no training, if need be.  He’s said that he will at least finish the half, even if he has to drag his leg behind him.  I understand, but I PRAY that it doesn’t come to that.  I hope that he’ll try a couple runs in the next few days (he’s currently cross training only) and that the results are positive.

Oh! and my time was 2:55:42 – about a minute slower than my PR and 7 minutes slower than my goal – but given the circumstances, I was more than pleased!


2 Responses to “2010 Detroit Free Press (Half) Marathon Recap!!!”

  1. beyondbennett October 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Dude, you are so Wonderwoman! I’m so proud of you! (I’m totally tearing up!) And what a fabulous post. This looks like a phenomenal course – although the whole being squished with a kazillion people in a tunnel kind of freaks me out a bit. The bridge part – that would make up for it!

    Too bad Todd didn’t run, but it’s great that he’s listening to his body and the professionals and not pushing it. I wish I could be there in Vegas to cheer you guys on!

    (PS – six days! Yay!)


  1. A grilled what??? « - October 30, 2010

    […] also finally finished my 2010 Detroit Free Press Half Marathon race recap – have you read it yet?  If not, you should! …If for no other reason than it took me […]

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