Sunday, October 16, 2011

Detroit Free Press Half: October 16, 2011

Yes, this half marathon took place about 5 months ago and I am just now writing this blog. I could list a bunch of excuses but we all know what those are like...blah blah blah and they all stink. This race took place right in our back yard. It was the annual Detroit Free Press half marathon. This race was cool for a number of different reasons. The first being that Jauf came up from Columbus to run with Jess and I in this event which would be his first (and maybe last..hehe) half marathon. He was determined to break the 2 hour mark which would be an awesome accomplishment for his first race at that distance. The rest of the reasons why this was a cool race are mostly related to the actual course, which I will explain in the rest of this story. So, we were up late the night before and for whatever reason my alarm clock failed me. Luckily Jauf's alarm woke him up on time and we were able to get downtown with time to spare. We parked about a mile or two from the start so it was a nice little warmup walking to the starting line. Here is a pic of the three of us near the starting line, it was still dark outside:

When we got to the race area we realized how big this race actually is. The city was crowded with runners! This is a pretty popular event since it is the only "international" marathon in the U.S. The course crosses the Ambassador Bridge and goes into Canada. Then returns to the U.S. through the tunnel that goes under the Detroit river. At the start of the race Jauf took off at a much faster pace then us. Jess and I were keeping a pretty decent pace as well. The weather was chilly and there was some light rain at the start. It was still misting out and windy as we got to the bridge. The bridge is one giant incline to the middle and Jess and I ran the whole incline so that was a confidence booster! When we got into Canada the route took us along the Detroit river with awesome views of Detroit. Here is a picture of us running up to the base of the Ambassador Bridge:

After running a few miles in Canada it was time to head through the tunnel and back to Detroit. Upon entering the tunnel we discovered it was about 20 degrees hotter then the air outside. Not only was it hot down there it was very stuffy. When you have thousands of runners passing through an enclosed space I guess stuffiness is the result. We were glad to get out of the tunnel and back to some fresh air. The rest of the race took us through some of the cool neighborhoods around downtown Detroit. There were plenty of aid stations which helped keep things moving along. About mile 10 Jess and I had not walked at all. We didn't say anything to each other about it but i think we both wanted to make it to the end without walking. I admit I wanted to walk a few times but we just kept pushing on. Jess's determination is the single reason we were able to cross the finish line with our best half times ever and without walking!! We finished in 2:18 which is not a great time compared to competitive runners, but for us personally it was nice. Here is a pic of running in the tunnel. It is blurry due to the fact that it is not easy to take a picture while running:

So when we finished we were wondering if we were going to be able to find Jauf since there was people everywhere. He was waiting for us near the exiting gate so no problems there. We found out that Jauf had really kicked ass and almost finished under 2 hours. He was just a couple minutes over. He was hurting pretty bad, I can relate as I know how I felt after my first half. So all in all it was a really good outing. Jess and I set our PRs and Jauf finished his first half. Next weekend Jess and I are headed to visit her brother Luke in Virginia Beach. We are going to be running the Shamrock Half Marathon there. Luke will be running his first half marathon. Also, this is going to be a really big year for me as I am running two ultra marathons. Really looking forward to it.