Marathon #10 is finally complete! What had been left unfinished for 8 years, my mission to reach 10 marathons is now realized. Did it go as planned? Um, not exactly.
I got into Detroit and spent a leisurely morning relaxing with my cousins. There was some rain in the forecast, so I decided to get my standard day-before-race 2 miler out of the way before it rained. It was chilly, but so nice to see the fall colors!
After the run, I made plans to meet up with my Twitter friend Jenn Voss. She's the one who originally talked me into doing this race in the first place! At the expo, we also ran into another Twitter friend, Adam (@boringrunner) who happens to live in the same town I do in AZ.
I'm a total cold weather wimp (which is why I moved to Arizona). I had been watching the forecast for the last 10 days, and it was projected to be clear and cold. Well, at least it wasn't going to rain! I had trained diligently all summer in AZ, but at temperatures that were double what I was actually going to be racing in. I was worried. I got a surprisingly good night sleep, but woke up to this:
I met my friend at the start line and although my goal was to beat my best marathon time of 4:24 (from 2002), I just wasn't sure what to expect since it had been 8 years since I had challenged myself to marathon distance.
At the start line, with the help of a toasty throwaway sweatshirt, a trash bag, and some adrenalin, the cold didn't seem that bad.
Right off the bat, we started with some technical difficulties. My friend forgot his garmin. I said no problem, I have mine. Well I had just bought mine and although I had taken it out on some test runs, I didn't have it set the way he wanted it. So we were fumbling around in the dark as the race was starting trying to reset it, and well - it just never happened. We switched to using the runkeeper app on my phone instead.
We had a decent pace for the first few miles in the dark, even though we had to dodge a lot of people. My feet felt numb and tingly for the first few miles. My friend was constantly looking at our pace and started driving me crazy. I always tend to start a race fast, but as we were climbing the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, it was wearing me out a bit.
We were treated to a great sunrise over the bridge, which tempted me to stop and take pictures, but I didn't. We were running roughly an 8:30 pace for the first 5 miles.
Running through Canada was nice. We were along the water, and the fall colors were in full swing. I started taking short periodic walking breaks. Around mile 8 it was time to head back through the tunnel to the US, the famous "Underwater Mile". I felt ok up until the climb out of there.
CAUTION: NERVOUS BREAKDOWN APPROACHING!
Around mile 10, we were back on US soil and my mind started to get away from me. I started to have what felt like a semi panic attack. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of "what did I get myself into?" and "I'm not sure I can do this". I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I wasn't even at the halfway point yet, and was freaked out at the idea of still having another 13 miles after that. I told my friend how I was feeling and he gave me a pep talk. I told him he needed to entertain me and to stop looking at the time, that wasn't helping. We decided to turn off the phone and just run.
I felt better after the halfway point, and at the split I was thinking "This is what separates the men from the boys". All those times that I was the one running the half, watching the full marathoners make the turn and go another 13. Now it was payback time.
I was taking more and more walking breaks. My pace was slipping, but I sort of didn't care. All that mattered was making it to the finish line. I watched various pacers run past me. The 3:55 pacers, the 4:10, 4:20. oh no!
We ran onto Belle Isle, which was a really quaint island off of Detroit. That was a pleasant distraction. Still walking too much. Seeing single digits ahead of me felt awesome. Some people hit the wall at 20, but I was excited. Bring it on!
I ended up finishing in 4:36, which is a little off from what I wanted. Still way better than my last one 8 years ago, (4:59) but in my
top 5 in terms of finish time. I never did completely warm up, and at the finish line, my lips were blue. It probably didn't get warmer than 43 degrees that morning. Great running weather for most people, but not for this Arizona girl!
Now that I've had some time to reflect on it, I think that I probably will do another one (at least). I know that I can can do better. There are things I would change about my training. I'm not sure I would do another cold weather marathon. I hated training in the AZ summer, and the actual race conditions were a bit harsh for me.
That being said, the Detroit Marathon is a great race to do if you can. It's the only International marathon that starts in the US. It is flat and fast, and does provide a lot of good scenery. It's extremely well organized. Detroit gets a really bad rap. I hope more people can come out and give this race a chance - if you can stand the cold!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!