Monday, October 26, 2015

Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend!  The weather in Michigan is turning beautiful. We are seeing the fall colors and it's starting to get cooler here.
I've been sitting on this post for a week. Sometimes, the hardest part after a race is composing your emotions, your thoughts and processing the event. For me, this race had a fair share of emotions. This month has a significant meaning for us. If you're been following this blog long enough, you know the reason for #purplestrong and if not, keeping reading this blog. More to come. 

We woke up early around 3:30 in the morning to head down to Detroit from where we were staying. We were staying with another set of my "parents." They were a blast! It was a 45 minute drive from their house to the race, so we decided we should get there early and parked. 

The race started at 7:00 am, but we knew if we left by 4:00am, got there by 5:00am, we were safe. You just never know with Detroit traffic. We arrived at the Cobo Center, which had a parking garage underneath and suprisingly was not listed on any guide. All of the parking garages were all closed off that we had marked off on our maps because the streets were closed. 

However, I spent an hour in the Cobo center staying warm, stretching and using beautiful bathrooms. I highly recommending parking here and staying warm here! PARK at the COBO CENTER! 

After being at the Cobo Center, around 6:30, I started making my way to the start line. I made my way to my correct Corral and I was shaking because it was so cold. I had to gloves, my ears were covered, two shirts, pants and all the rest of the running a gear a cold gear could wear. Meanwhile, people were in shorts! WOAH?  WHAT!!!

 Then just as my corral was staring to move, it started to snow.. Immediately, I found my husband because we always experience the first snow of the season together and I kissed him. The first snow is magical. It was like the heavens were sending kisses my way! Cheesy? MAYBE! At that point, I would take anything :) 

Then we were off. The first mile and half was fairly boring and dark. We were running through the streets of Detroit. I was freezing. My breathing was awesome and my pace was on par. I was pretty happy. My Garmin was registering an awesome pace on Mile 1 and even as I was halfway through mile 2. Then we started to enter Border-patrol and Canada was not to far away. This girl was starting to get SUPER excited.  The anticipation was building as I knew I was running towards the Ambassador Bridge! 

Yes, there were cars! Half of the bridge was open. The traffic was awesome in cheering runners on by beeping, playing music and yelling out their windows. It was pretty cool and made the long hike to the bridge go a little easier. Honestly, it felt like forever to the Ambassador Bridge and just getting to the Bridge had me at a 5k. 

I wanted a selfie with the bridge behind me! 

Once I got to the beautiful Ambassador Bridge, it was walking room only. The bridge was pretty clogged as they had only one side of the bridge shut down for runners because they still needed to keep it open for traffic. It got tight at times. For safety, I walked with others and to be honest, the hills were pretty rough on the knees, so it did save me some energy. Not ideal or what I had planned, but injury would not be apart of my plan either, so I always stick with safety on the courses. You can't always train for these things. Follow the crowd is my mantra during these kinds of situations. Going against the grain can sometimes work in your favor... Other-times, not!  

I stayed back a little ways and therunners thinned out, which gave me some distance between the walkers and allowed me back to running. It also stopped the clogging, but I caught back up with that group later in the tunnel. 

The view from the Bridge was incredible. Pictures don't do the view justice of the city. It was beautiful! 

We ran by the beautiful Riverside Park and had lovely Canadian Spectators! They were a hoot with their signs! Some of them were just hilarious, but I was really trying to watch my time and I knew I was about Mile 7 or so I thought, however I was really at Mile 6.. ( Need to run tighter curves)

We then entered the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, which was I believe a good two miles, but I'm not sure because my Garmin lost signal. Talk about frustrating!! I think the whole tunnel from the turn of Border Patrol into into the dark tunnel was around 2 miles. This was very tight and also unsafe at times. People were taking selfies while not running. They stopped in the middle of the tunnel because there is a cool spot where you are in the middle of the United State and and Canada, but it had runners at a dead stop, others were walking. People were falling, again not safe. I walked a good half mile during this tunnel. I made good head way at the first part, but the second half mile, I couldn't make any distance. It was clogging. 

We came out of the tunnel, I remember Border Patrol checking for bibs, we made a turn and all the sudden I was in the United States again! It was a huge party. People were cheering for us everywhere.  In my head, I had no idea where I was mileage. My Garmin was not picking up satellite yet.. I texted my husband to start tracking me again. At this point, I was really hoping I was near 10 miles.. WRONG! 

Little did I know, I had another 5.1 miles to go! UGH! I kept texting my husband to find out where I was at the course because I wasn't sure if my Garmin was right anymore or if I was just completely out of it.. He told me 2 miles later that I still had 3.1 miles to go.. I kept telling myself a 5k. 

One of my knocks against this race, I didn't see signs on this course anywhere about where I was in terms of mileage. Normally, this would be fine because my Garmin does a decent job, however losing it in the tunnels and it was registering more miles then it should have was interesting looking back.... 

As I came near the finish line, I could feel tears on the brink. My husband and I were supposed to run this race together. I knew if I saw him at the finish line, I would probably lose it. This race was hard emotionally, it had its moments physically, but it was a more emotional race. 
I couldn't find him anywhere because he was on the other side waiting to cheer me on in a different spot, but then he saw I was already past that point, I was too speedy and he high tailed it to the finish line, but as soon as he tracked it, he found out I had already finished. Sometimes, technology fails in tracking because it didn't register I was that far already, but I'm so thankful he was willing to suffer the cold and wait for me, even though he missed my finish

*The only International race that runs into a different country from the United States.
* An awesome course.
* So many things to see and a beautiful course.
* Tech shirt and a beautiful medal.
* Running with 30,000 other runners.
*Great Sponsors

* Mileage signs not posted.
*Garmin will not register in the Tunnel
* More Bathrooms and water aid stations
* Narrow spaces may require walking for safety.

Would I run this course again? YES, absolutely! I loved it! You can't pay a price on how beautiful the scenery was! I would love to go visit some other International countries and race! 

What International race is on your bucket race? 

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here! 


Chaitali said...

That's so cool that this race has you running over the bridge into Canada and back! But so weird about the lack of mile markers. I don't think I've heard of any major road race that doesn't have them. I ran the Marine Corps 10k this past weekend and it was super congested too. But I guess that's just the price we put up with to do these big races :)

Sarah said...

It was weird that they didn't post signs, but a cool race! I heard the Marine Corps is an awesome race! I hope you had fun :)