This is my blog which features thoughts about my resurgent running career. The purposes of this blog are to keep me accountable in my efforts to return to running after an extended layoff and to hopefully provide a few tidbits to help others do the same. I've gone from couch to 5k and beyond. I'm striving to be a truly good runner. Not there yet, but it's a start!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Detroit Freep Marathon - I did it!
Today, I completed my first full Marathon, the Detroit Free
Press Marathon. I am both happy to have done it and glad that it is over. Now,
on to the details:
I have been in taper mode for the previous 3 weeks. The
first week after the Brooksie Way Half was only a bit less mileage than normal
training (the 10 mile long run instead of more was the big difference). The
next week was less and this week, I ran 3 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday and 2
Last night, after dinner, I got all my stuff (clothes,
watch, bib, etc.) ready and went to bed before 9 pm. The only decision that
needed to be made the night before the race was wardrobe. I prefer a tech shirt
and shorts and dislike wearing much more. It was going to be too darn cold so I
decided to go with a light tech shirt, my Brooksie Way 2012 long sleeve shirt
and long pants. I fell asleep to a 0-0 Tigers / Red Sox game, woke to a 2-1
Tigers lead when Amy came up and found out they lost at 3:30 this morning. I was able to get 5 good hours of sleep and a
couple hours of on and off sleep, so not too bad. Got up at 4am, ate my Rice
Crispies (my preferred breakfast on race day), showered, got dressed and we
were ready to go before 5 am.
It was raining when we left and I was not thrilled about it.
Luckily, the rain stopped and the race was dry. It was still cold and windy. We
parked at Greektown Casino (thanks for the free parking!) and walked to the
starting area in the crisp morning air. After about 15 minutes, I got in the
corral. Started in the E corral, rather than the D corral noted on my bib
because the pacers I wanted to be near were there. I saw Brian D, a Dailymile
pal, when I got in, which was nice.
We started about 6 minutes after the elites and were off. I
felt great and was moving well without expending much effort. Maybe the taper
does work! There was supposedly nearly 6000 marathon runners and 12000
international half marathoners and it was like riding a wave – in the dark. One
of the highlights of the race came after a couple miles – the Ambassador Bridge
crossing into Canada. Seemed like we were going uphill forever, but it was
gradual and not bad at all. The runners were in good spirits at this point with
a lot of banter going on, which made it even more fun. Now I really want to run
a race on the Mackinac Bridge. The downhill was nice and we ran into Windsor along
the Detroit River.
Historical Picture - It was much darker out than this.
The view of Detroit was very nice and our neighbors to the
north (actually South in this case) were very hospitable, if not particularly
great in numbers. I will be honest and say that something I was looking for was
the remnants of a suddenly famous shrub in a riverside Windsor park. (It has
gotten attention from various media and internet outlets and was a big topic of
discussion on Drew Lane’s radio show on 105.1 on Friday). Alas, I did not see
the shrub, which is just as well.
Before and after. You can find the whole story HERE.
I was cruising through Canada and, after the race, noticed my
split times in Canada were as fast as I went in this race. I don’t think I was
going too fast and probably made up some time by surging for about 10 seconds
when I was passing. I passed the 4 hour pacers at this time and had an idea in
my head that, just maybe, I wouldn’t see them again. The tunnel back to the US
was another highlight, as there aren’t too many (any) other marathons where you
run a mile underwater. Yea, it was just a hot, slightly stinky while tiled
tunnel, but it was still pretty cool. Out of the tunnel, I saw Sara from work
cheering me on and then my wife, Amy. It meant a lot to have her there cheering
and I blew her some kissies *blush*.
The race continued to go well through the point where the
half marathoners split off to head to the finish. Part of me wanted to make
that turn and be done, but that was not the plan this day. Two-thirds of the
runners made the turn to the finish and the course became much sparser. It was
a bit like some of the air went out of the race, the wave was lessened and it
carried us no more. We were on our own (very dramatic).
I continued to feel good through mile 15 and was still at a
sub-4 hour pace at that point. I knew the race would get difficult at some
point, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen with 10 miles to go. The knees had
been sore for a while, but they got worse. My right leg was starting to hurt,
my back was sore and my feet were waterlogged and felt like they were
blistering (they weren’t, but the bottoms of my feet felt bizarrely bad). I
didn’t hit “the wall”, but by Mile 20, my legs had quite enough and Belle Isle
Put simply, Belle Isle sucked and for a couple reasons. The
wind was pretty brutal and I just felt bad. I started walking the drink
stations, then I started employing the run / walk method for the next 5 miles.
There is nothing wrong with walking, but it sure wasn’t speedy. The 4 hour
group passed me about Mile 17 and the 4:10 group near Belle Isle. While I had ”energy”,
my legs and core were failing me. It was all about finishing.
When I hit the 25 mile marker, I decided I would not walk
again and I ran the 1.2 miles in to the finish. I don’t know if I have hurt as
badly running, ever. My first half-marathon may have been close, but I think
this was worse. I was happy to finish strong despite the rough last quarter of
the race. My finishing time was 4:17:48.
I had no set goal, but that was in the ballpark of where I thought I would
finish. I am disappointed only because I was doing so well through about 2/3of the race and it felt like, in a way, the wheels came off. That is the
marathon and a first marathon to boot. I finished, I enjoyed my experience and
feel like I accomplished something – that is what counts.
Saw Jeff and Trieu and then my wife. I may have had a couple
tears when I saw her, but not too many. J
Had a not-free beer and then waddled almost a mile to the car. Thankfully, she