Done and Done

October 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Well, that’s that. I finished my first real road Half-Marathon this morning. And it was so much fun!

I woke up got out of bed at 5:20 (as per usual, I woke up a few times during the night, and finally couldn’t get back to bed at 4:30) and chowed down on my usual pre-run fuel.

The race started in downtown Detroit at 7:15, and even though my brother and I left Ann Arbor at 5:45, after a bit of sitting in traffic, parking and walking to the start, I was rushing to use the bathroom and find my place in line.

It was cold this morning (around 35 degrees at race time), so I was rocking the headband, gloves, a jacket, my shorter pants, and sleeveless shirt under my jacket. I love my Under Armor jacket – it keeps me warm,  but I don’t get overheated. When I do get a little warmer, I just unzip it (there was a lot of zipping and unzipping, depending on whether or not we were running in the sun :).

The Half and the Marathon started together, and actually ran together almost the entire 13.1. As there were approx. 20,000 runners, this meant for some pretty crowded conditions, almost the entire race.

The multitude of people was actually a welcome change from my Trail Half-Marathon, especially since I made the (very last minute) decision to not use my iPod. I usually run without music, but I’ve never done a race without it before. But I really wanted to take in everything, instead of zoning out to my music, and I didn’t want to have to deal with any technical difficulties. I was kinda scared when I started (and maybe could have used a little musical pick-me-up at around Mile 10), but I survived, and barely missed it at all.

Miles 1-2: Very slow going and very crowded. I tried to go about 9 minute miles, and tried to stay pretty close to the 2:00hr pacer.

Miles 3-6: Over the bridge to Canada! This was possibly my favorite part of the whole race. Because it was still cold and at the beginning of the race, going up the bridge wasn’t that bad at all. The sun was just rising, and the huge mass of people already on the bridge made a really cool silhouette. When we were actually on the bridge, the sun was peeking over Windsor – I wish I had had a camera! After the bridge, the run through Windsor was great – I started to speed up a bit, and at about 45 minutes in, I ate two Sharkies.

Miles 7-8: Through the tunnel back to America! There was a great downhill into the tunnel (followed by a not-so-bad uphill out of the tunnel), and although it was a little warm, it was thrilling to be running “underwater”. I actually think they might give “Underwater Mile” splits (race results aren’t up yet), so I’m interested to see that!

Miles 8-9: There was great crowd support during this part, so although I was starting to feel it a bit, I was still doing okay. I took two more Sharkies during this time, just for a little pick-me-up. It’s funny – I thought I wouldn’t like the mile markers at every mile, but it was so much nicer to know how far there was to go, so I could pace myself accordingly.

Miles 10-12.5: This was definitely the roughest part of the race for me. I didn’t know my time (I was specifically not looking), but I wanted to speed up a bit for the last 5k. Unfortunately, my left knee started to really hurt, and it was just a really uncomfortable couple of miles. I tried to keep the same pace, and just kept moving forward.

12.5-13.1! – The knowledge that I was almost there made me forget about my knee pain and I sped up as best I could. The mass of people surrounding the last .1 mile made it really easy to make it to the finish :)

According to my watch, I finished around 1:55 (I beat the 2hour mark!); I can’t wait to see the official results.

The victory of the finish was slightly tainted by a runner who had collapsed :( I moved quickly to the side, and grabbed a space blanket, my medal, and a goodie bag from Whole Foods!

I found my brother, who snapped a oh-so-flattering post-race photo :)

Hopefully the official photo is better…

After the race (and about 45 minutes driving around Detroit trying to avoid the Marathon…), my brother and I went to Benny’s Family Dining, a greasy spoon diner in Ann Arbor. Honestly,  fancy brunches are wonderful, but sometimes nasty hash browns and hot chocolate from a machine is just what the doctor ordered :) I also had a veggie omelet (with egg whites, cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms) and half a biscuit (which tastes purely of flour). Unpictured, because I forgot my camera in the car, but I promise you, it was entirely unremarkable (if delicious).

And now? It’s my favorite post-race activity – vegging on the couch, reading blogs and watching TV :) I’ve been pretty hungry, too:

If I get really motivated, I might go take a nap :) I love post-race Sundays!

PS: I really want to run a marathon now…


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