Saturday, April 13, 2013

Martian Marathon Experiences

I haven't blogged in a long time, so thought I should post something about my race today - the half marathon at the Martian in Dearborn. This may be the whiniest post ever, so I apologize in advance. Even though I'm likely to moan and groan in text form, just about any race is an experience and I'm happy that I got the race in today. With that said...

I decided to do this race when I became concerned / disappointed that I wouldn't be in top shape for the Rock CF Half Marathon (which I wrote about here - in a nutshell it went OK). It was three weeks after Rock, so I figured that would afford me time to get in better shape (it did a little) and that the weather would be better (it was not).

As the race approached this week, I wasn't as excited as I usually would be for a "big" race. It was wet and rainy all week. During the one run I did manage to do this week, I was chased back home by lightning before I was halfway done. I just wasn't in the mood to do the treadmill inside, I was wiped out from work, etc. The other thing I was non-plussed about was the race day weather. It was going to be cold. I'm sick of cold, don't like running in cold, just want it to be warm. For geek reference, it seems like we're living on that dreary, crap planet the humans were going to settle on when they were searching for earth on Battlestar Galactica (I had to look it up - they called it New Caprica).

My pre-race prep was very low key. I didn't lay out my clothes, didn't plan my driving route, anything. Knowing my race was starting "late" (the half-marathon started 45 minutes after the 5 and 10k and 1:45 after the marathon), I decided to leave later than normal. That worked out fine except that I didn't really know where I was going and didn't know what roads would be closed. Once I got close, I ended up parking in a neighborhood about 3/4 mile from Ford Field.

The weather wasn't the disaster it could have been, but it was still too darn cold and moderately windy. Packet pickup was kinda a cluster. I got my stuff (bib, shirt, pin) ok, but the layout wasn't great - too small of a space for such a "big" race and it just didn't flow. There didn't seem to be a gear check and, since my car was so far away, I just ended up putting the shirt (which is a nice, tech shirt) on over my other shirts. I didn't want to do that - it was too hot once we got going - but I didn't have much of a choice.

I saw Ty and then found Kevin, who I had planned to run with, and after a couple minutes, we got in the chute before the starting line. The race started almost 15 minutes late, so we were standing there for about 20 - 25 minutes, in the cold. This was not helpful...

Once the race finally started, it was crowded and because the pace signs didn't go up until everyone was already in line and jammed in, they did nothing. It could have been worse, but there was still too much need for dodging of slower runners. While I felt fine and was breathing well, my legs felt like crap almost immediately. I don't know the last time they felt like that, but it has been a long while. I don't know if it was lack of running this week, standing around before the race, both or neither, but it was not pleasant. Not an injured feeling, but a tired, sore feeling, mostly at the backs of my legs.

I wanted to keep up with Kevin, at least for the first half of the race, but I only managed about 4 1/2 miles. I asked him to go ahead and leave me, as I didn't want to hold him back. Shortly after that I went from consistently passing people to being passed. Due to flooding, the course snaked through various subdivisions. The course was OK, but nothing special.

Ty passed me at mile 10 and I asked her to pull me along. It didn't work as she seemed to be getting stronger while my legs continued to fade. The odd thing is that I wasn't breathing hard at all - I couldn't make my legs move fast enough to tax the rest of my body. I was (am) in shape enough to do much better, but my legs were just not effective today.

Perhaps I sped up a little the last mile, and at the end of the race, once the finish line was in sight, I turned it on. I couldn't get my legs moving the previous 13 miles, but I passed 20 - 30 people in the last tenth of a mile. Maybe I was being wimpy and could have gone faster throughout or at least faster a bit earlier, but I don't think so. I just didn't have "it" today.

I finished in 2:04:09, my 2nd slowest half marathon finish out of 5, being only slightly faster than my half marathon debut in 2011. I'm disappointed that I didn't even break 2 hours and that I was slower than 3 weeks ago and that I was nearly 15 minutes off my PR. However, I'm not really upset and can accept the race results fine. It was an off day, my training is still not what it needs to be to allow me to improve and the weather has not been my friend. I'll be improving soon enough and will be faster, stronger and better.

I am excited that I will be leading a couch to 5k group starting Tuesday, April 30th at 6:15 at Bethany Church at 1375 Hiller Road in Waterford. This group will meet every Tuesday for 8 weeks leading up to the Open Door Julie Run 5k / 10k in Commerce Twp on June 22nd. If you're in the area, please join us! There will be a full post about this, but thought I'd mention it.

Have a good day!


  1. Good job!! You got out there and did it! I don't like the cold either and desperately want warmer weather to hurry up!
    I hope you enjoy leading the couch to 5K program! I think it's important to help others when they want to get into fitness. I've never led anything but have helped out with beginning running programs, mostly just running along with new runners because they spread out and the leader can't be everywhere.
    Are you going to pace at the next Kona race? I've already been asked and I when I saw what the shirt looks like, I said yes because I really like the shirt for that one!

  2. I'd like to pace at Kona. We'll see. I think I'll pace then end up at Relay For Life.

  3. Don't get too discouraged, sometimes our legs just forget to show up on race day. Don't sweat it, you have lots of exciting stuff in the works to focus the energy on.