Sunday, October 17, 2010

Detroit Free Press Half Marathon

I DID IT! I finished my first half marathon this morning and it felt GREAT! I've had my heart set on running a half marathon since I began running last October and even though I've had a bit of an injury setback, it felt great! Before hurting myself on August 28th at the 10mile Crim race in Flint, I had hoped to finish a half marathon around 2 hours and 30 minutes. I had to change my expectations a bit with my injury and lack of being 100% prepared for this race, but I hoped to finish within three hours today.

My day began at 4:30am to get up, carb up for breakfast and make a fruit protein smoothie for the road. I got to Detroit by 5:30am and parked at Pat's casino (Greektown) to take the People Mover over to COBO. It worked out great since I was able to avoid traffic and make it to the race with time to spare. I was able to relax, stretch, use actual bathrooms (not porta potties) and mentally prepare for the race.

I went in with a basic idea to run two miles and then walk 1 mile for the entire race. I didn't want to hurt my knee or foot again and wanted to be sure I could finish. Well, that didn't exactly happen. I crossed the start line at 7:15am and ran the first 7 miles without stopping. They felt so great, I didn't want to stop. The first three miles were in Detroit, then across the bridge to Canada completed the 4th mile. This was the most gorgeous part of the entire race - we watched the sun rise on the bridge. Absolutely beautiful!

Miles 5-7 were through gorgeous residential Canada and full of enthusiastic spectators. I couldn't get over how beautiful Canada was - we were running on the river road which was a gorgeous park on the water and residential across the street. Beautiful houses with great landscape and decorations, nothing like Detroit. Just lovely.

When we reached the tunnel to come back to Detroit, I made myself walk this mile so that I could finish the second half of the race. Once we exited the tunnel, I ran mile 9 then did a mix of running and walking for miles 10, 11 and 12.

Just after a water/gatorade station at mile 11.5ish, I came around a corner and saw a sign that said "Go Rosie Go" and had a shamrock on it. I knew the sign couldn't have been for me since no one knew I was running in the race. Then I heard a familiar voice cheer me on! I was shocked to see my sister Coop rooting for me. She gave me the strength and desire to finish hard. I came upon the 12 mile mark and decided to go for it and give it my all.

I turned up the heat - stopped walking and started jogging, but it felt like a sprint at that time - for the last mile.1! My left knee was killing me, just like after my 10 mile race in August, but I really wanted to finish the last mile running. At about mile 12.5 we passed the Lafayette Coney Island and it was then that I finally decided to eat that for lunch! Around mile 9, I started getting hungry and planning what I wanted to eat after the race. The mile after that we ran past a mariachi band in front of Honey Bee - the home of the most delicious mexican food and grocery. I digress in food...

So I finished the last 1.1 mile running down Michigan Ave in front of a million spectators. The feeling of crossing that finish line was surreal. On one hand, I couldn't believe it was over - time seemed to fly by. I don't even remember what I was thinking about the first 7 miles, it was great and so much fun, just mindless running. On the other hand, I had so much pain in my left knee, I knew it had to end soon before I collapsed.

I crossed the line and looked down at my watch: 2:57:43 - I made it in the time frame I had in mind and was so proud! I took a picture with my new medal, ate some crunchy bar they gave me (which was so delicious, but I don't know if that was just because I was starving) and started stretching out my legs.

After the race Coop took me out for a victory coney dog and chili cheese fries at the famous Lafayette coney. It was the perfect ending to a great day. I was really glad Coop came out and we were able to get together after the race. I couldn't have imagined a better race day.

So after my drive home, ice water bath and 2 hour nap, I still feel amazing! Yes, my knee still hurts and going up or down stairs is brutal, but I'm completely okay with that.

The hardest decision is what half marathon to do next - I have three in mind, but they're so close together, I'm not sure which ones to choose. I guess that's a good problem to have!

Right after the race with Coop's poster

After the deliciousness of Lafayette Coney!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Half Marathon Tomorrow!

I'm so excited about the Detroit Half Marathon tomorrow! I went down to COBO to the expo this morning and it was so energetic. Even though I won't be able to run the entire time since I haven't been able to adequately train after my knee/foot injury, I'm still excited to run/walk it. It's going to be a beautiful day and I'll still feel good afterward. Next year, I'll either run the entire half marathon, or perhaps even run the full! Who knows??!!

What's crazy about today is that even though I've been off the training plan for the past month, I'm so pumped up and have already planned out my next few races, including at least two more half marathons! I can't explain how energetic and friendly and helpful everyone is at the expo - from booth reps to volunteers to the thousands of runners all around you. It's contagious and I love it.

So that's it, I'm totally back into the game. I even bought a runner's fanny pack - nothing like my mom used to have, but small and discreet to hold my car key, license, phone and even race bib. In reality, probably just my key and bib for tomorrow. I'm just so excited. I'll let you know how it goes :)