Detroit Free Press International Marathon

On Sunday, I ran the Detroit Free Press International Marathon and boy what an experience.  It was frankly one of my favorite marathons.  What else can you say when a race takes you to Canada and back?  I really loved the race and would like to do the race again (the US Half Marathon course looks like fun, especially with all the beer on the course, as detailed below). :)

As I had just run the Chicago Marathon and at a time I wasn't even expecting, I knew going into this race that I had to race it easy.  It's been a few years since I've done two marathons in two weeks, and it won't be the last time I do this, but I'm not getting any younger, ha.

Chicago left my calves VERY sore, especially since I had three calf cramps during the race.  Although I was given the chance to run on Tuesday, I was like hell no, and rested.  By Wednesday, the 6 miles I ran felt awesome.  I had to take a rest day on Thursday for other reasons, and I had to cut my run on Friday short due to time, but it was all good since the plan was to loosen the legs before Detroit, not tire them, right???

We left super early on Saturday and were in Detroit by noon.  We had lunch, checked into our hotel, and headed to the expo.  We were staying across the river from Windsor, Canada, at the Marriott in the Renaissance Center, which is a nice complex by the riverwalk.  It was windy and rainy but we walked to the expo, which was less than 1/2 mile from the hotel.  Met a couple of friends and ladies from Sparkle Skirts, got our bibs, and headed back to the hotel.  But before we did, we notice our PR flag among the ones at the expo, so of course, picture time!

By then it was almost 5pm and we were tired.  I had forgotten how hard it is to do back to back weekends, since you lose the weekend, head back to the office, work all week and away you go again.  I tried to nap but was not successful. Instead, I read an email from the race warning that it MIGHT be canceled due to the 70% chance of thunderstorms from 7am to 11am, which were the first 4 hours of the race.  Lovely.  A part of me was hoping they would cancel since I was tired, ha, but was hoping they would cancel before I wake up at 5:30am so I could sleep in. Priorities!

Hubby and I met Lisa and her BF for dinner at a bar.  The food, the company, and the beers were great.

We headed back to the hotel and tried to go to bed by 11pm, our normal.  I really didn't sleep much.  We woke up at 5:30am and got ready.  Grabbed my Krispy Kreme donuts, Mtn Dew and stuff and we headed out.

My plan was to run the first half of the race with hubby, who was running the Detroit International Half Marathon, and that worked well.  I needed to take it easy especially at the start and hubby didn't go out at PR pace so he kept me centered until we parted ways at Mile 13.  Here is a picture of us near the start:

We headed to Corral G, and met my friend Nick there.  We chatted a bit until it was time to start.  For some reason, we ended up in the front of the G corral, sheesh!  We weren't when we stood there but I guess people kept moving and we ended up feeling like elite marathoners, lol.  I am sure everybody around us was faster than us...

And we were off!  We started heading towards the bridge to Canada in the dark.  The temp was 67F, 65 dewpoint and cloudy.  It really never rained during the race and it never thundered so we got lucky in that front.  I didn't bring my sunglasses because it was supposed to rain, but of course, the sun peeked out at Mile 11 for a while, grrrr.

The sun was out when we headed to Canada through the bridge:

And Windsor was very pretty:

I was looking for my friend Lori that was spectating this year before the tunnel back into the states, and miraculously I managed to see her (I am famous for missing people spectating and looking for me, LOL).  She took a picture of me and we headed off to the US!

The tunnel was a bit warm but nothing bad airwise.  Halfway through the tunnel, the two flags are there side by side and I tried to get a picture of them as we ran by:

Good thing I don't make my money taking pictures because I suck at it...

We came out into the US by our hotel, which was around Mile 8 and headed back towards the bridge again before heading to Mexican and Greektown and hubby's finish.  This is when the sun peeked out and I was regretting my lack of sunglasses but by the time I headed solo to run the second half, the sun had hid again, luckily.

We parted ways at Mile 12.90 or so and I headed towards the second half, which is the same route as the Detroit US Half Marathon.  We both cross his finish and my 13.1 split around the same time, in around 2:35:XX.  I wanted to be at 2:30 or thereabouts, but 2:35 would do.  Then and there, I decided to speed up and see if I could negative split the race.  I did.

The next few miles take us through some residential areas that were shady and had a Fall look. I love that since I don't see any Fall anything where I live. :)

When I got to Mile 17, I saw the first beer booth, so of course I took one. Then another booth, so I took another, then another booth, and another booth, etc.  SIX beer booths through the one mile stretch.  This is how all marathons should be like!  I didn't abuse my stomach so I only took three but the residents there were awesome.  I also heard they had Fireball shots somewhere in this mile but fortunately for me I didn't see them.

Pretty soon, I was at Mile 19 and heading to Belle Isle.  It was here that I noticed how much the residential area had protected us from the brutal winds.  Wind forecasts were in the 20-30mph with gusts in the 40s.  This area was easily unprotected by anything and very windy.  But I pushed on.  The Belle Isle segment is around 2-3 miles around the island and this is where the winners of the US Half Marathon (who started 2.5 hours after us) passed me.  I felt slow, ha.

By the time we left Belle Isle, it was Mile 23 or so.  I felt really good by then, although I had some 12mm miles when I fixed my sock or when I took too long of a walk break at the water stations. But I continued on and had no muscle cramps or anything like in Chicago.  I couldn't do the math well, but it looked like I had a 1-2 minute negative split already so long as I didn't dilly dally, so I pushed on.  I knew Iceland had been at around 5:09 and I really wanted to run faster than that.  But the wind was brutal, so every step I took felt like I was moving inches!

Mile 25 had us almost there so I pushed on.  I see the sign where we have to turn to finish and my GPS had 26.65 already and the finish line looked like it was a mile away (only .30 from there, though).  I was 0.10 from the finish line when a gust of around 40mph hit us as a headwind.  We stopped, all of us.  We couldn't even move.  Some people moved sideways.  It was like WTF.  Debris falling over us, etc.  We tried to continue on and finish but we could only move a few inches and felt like we were outside during Hurricane Irma trying to run.  Finally, the gust went away and we were able to finish, but not before the wind wrecked my beautifully prepared ponytail, LOL.



I definitely felt better than I looked at the finish line, LOL

Final time was 5:08:44, and I felt like I could've run faster or even some more.  The race was super fun, the beer was excellent, and it's always a good day when you can run and feel strong the whole distance.

Forgot the medal!

Next up, Indy Monumental HM and Space Coast Marathon to finish the year!


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