In case you missed it, part one of the trip.
Now, where were we. Ah yes. After my mini meltdown in DTW...
Oh wait, I forgot to tell you parts two and three of said meltdown.
Back the truck up.
So after Marks flight left I still had far too much time to spend in the airport alone, after an Ebola scare, so I had lunch and tried to get some work in, till IT basically told me to buy a ticket to Nebraska because "that was the only way I'd be able to send photographs" of the conference to my editor on my company laptop. Customer service at its finest folks. So I did what any desperate traveler does -- purchases the overpriced (insert item) from the airport.
Dear boss, please excuse the $30 jump drive on my company credit card.
After all that drama, boarded the plane, started reading Gone Girl and life was good.
My driver with random airport workers who, "wanted to get in on her photo" and "don't forget to tag us on facebook".
I looooove that sign, she gets me.
Since I packed like a moron, (including forgetting a coat, in Michigan, in winter) we hit the store for other essentials that I also failed to bring -- race day breakfast I couldn't pack (bread, banana), snacks, and deodorant, because I packed a travel sample of Toms and it was awful so I just wore Marks and smelled like a man.
Went to dinner at Imperial, the elote special (corn on the cob smothering in love and cheese)?!?! I could have had four of them, alone, and been perfectly perfect.
Corn cob all over my face don't care.
After my first good nights sleep since I left home six days prior (the time change out west totally effed me up) we head out on a course tour of our own (the race sponsored one for a fee, but I'm cheap). Plus the road trip using a paper map was a blast!
Don't, mess, with my TRIPOD...
Bridge into Belle Isle -- mile 19-22
Ambassador Bridge is at the start of the race (miles 3-4) taking you from the US into Canada. Holy long bridge on foot batman...
And the wind -- takes your breath away.
This was suppose to be a shot of both of us, but someone (Jennifer) made an excuse and sent me this test photo wherein I look like a lost puppy standing in the cold all alone.
With Don King wind blown hair.
After our course tour, and a detour to snap a photo on this epic graffiti wall (amid stares from strangers) we hit up the expo at the Convention Center.
CROWDED, but efficient considering the international component and the fact passports were involved (I took my passport to the expo, and carried a copy in my spibelt during the race as ID). The eco friendly shopping bags were a nice touch to tote around all the things, grabbed a new sweaty band for my
obsession collection, throw away gloves ($1!!) and went in search of bio freeze because, shocker, I forgot that too. Sadly there wasn't any, just some independent company who tried to convince me they didn't have any small/trial sized bottles to buy, when they were sitting on the table (we hit up CVS for icy hot).
That middle child had my stay all mapped out to my OCD perfection -- course tour (US side), expo, dry run walking to the start, and lunch in Greektown (0.87 miles from the start/finish) where we planned to park on race day.
Homegirl had logistics on lock. (fistbump)
Then she took me to Easy Like Sundae wherein I forgave her for breaking my super soaker when I was 9...
Fro Yo brings families closer.
My fro yo game (left) was on point. Jen (right), take note.
Saturday we did all the things:
First, my shake out run around her neighborhood. Regardless of how many races I've run, mentally I need a shake out to squash my nerves. The crisp (cold!) air and pavement pounding did the trick, and like that, I would not run again until my first marathon. Eek.
McClure's Pickles -- this was part of our wedding shower gift and I fully intend not to share with the man I share my life with.
Somethings are sacred. Like pickles.
Next, Yates Cider Mill
Where I had my first, and second apple cider doughnut (one plain, one with cinnamon sugar).
And walked the trails.
Pre race dinner was at La Dolce Vita, where I took nary a photo because Jennifer's friend was with us and I didn't want to embarrass her with my food shots (you're welcome Jen). Food was da bomb, fettucini hit the spot (I devoured it all), along with an obligatory nerve soothing glass of wine. Did I mention there was live jazz band? Oh, well there was, and it was awesome.
Back at her place I frantically (no really, I was a basket case) packed my race bag, set an alarm, laid out all my things, and charged my electronics.
We were in bed, lights out, by 8:30pm.
Sadly, her neighbors were partying it up like it was 1999 (around 1am), so I laid awake, contemplating going down there for about an hour, thought better of getting into a fight with her neighbors and rolled over. Then the music stopped and I thanked Jesus.
Like any race I don't sleep great, so the wake up call wasn't bad. Noticing the frost (scrap-the-window frost) on the car as we got in was alarming, and I immediately began to think I wasn't wearing enough layers (I was).
Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Smart Wool Socks
Band Aid Friction Block
Nike Thermal Tights
Moving Comfort Sport Bra
Short Sleeved Tee
Long Sleeved Tee
The drive downtown was swift and all her pre-planning paid off. We parked without a hitch (for FREE!) at the casino in Greektown. Cut through the casino to stay warm for as long as possible, doubling back because I forgot my Gu to drink as we walked, beavis. Luckily enough I used the restroom, not porta potty, though the casino realized what racers were doing and blocked them off after that :(
Once to the start, I found my corral, noticed I had a few moments (30 minutes or so) before I actually needed to part with Jennifer, so we went to the restroom across from my corral. Super long line, but, it was a real bathroom, inside in the warmth and all the other runners were so nice and very encouraging.
There was just enough time for Jennifer to snap some photos of my terrified self, finish stretching, and set my Garmin, even though we'd been warned it'd probably be incorrect once we entered the tunnel from Canada back to the US since it was underground. Old habits die hard I suppose.
My wave (K) was off! It was still pretty cold so I didn't mind the crowd at the start, I went sans iPod (earbuds in, but off) to conserve power for when I hit a wall. Above is the only picture I took along the course -- I really wanted to be present and savor every moment, plus my run/photo skills are lacking, clearly. As we crossed the bridge, at sunrise(!) people stopped for photos, it was a fantastic view of the skyline otherwise passed via car. And boy was it WINDY!
As we approached the border (it is an international race), border patrol agents yelled out to be sure our bib was showing -- they had the right (obviously) to deny entry into Canada to anyone not racing/complying/looking suspicious. You don't have to stop, but the line of border patrolmen, with weapons is a bit scary, but hey whatever it takes to be safe.
As I entered Canada (Windsor-Ontario) I admired the skyline back in Michigan, took in all the spectators, riverfront, music and then realized Jennifer hadn't called to say she'd made it back to her car so I panicked, whipped out my phone and called her. Her first words, "aren't you supposed to be running?!" To which I replied, "I thought you'd been kidnapped!" All was well, she decided to brave the cold for the duration (trooper!) and had made friends along the way.
I have her to thank for every single race course photo -- she walked on foot, and took photos of the things we didn't get a chance to the other day for me because she knew I'd want the memories.
And I'm crying.
She was so right, and I so love her.
Jennifer, THANK YOU. You were an epic driver/cheerleader/nurse/tour guide/chef and the trip was an journey I'll never forget.
Back to the race.
miles 8- 13
The jaunt into Canada went by quickly, and as we approached the underwater mile, aka the tunnel back into the US. If ever I wanted to stop and take a photo, this was it. The tunnel was so neat, borders painted out, people chanting, the energy was palapable. But, we were moving downhill and I knew better than to sacrifice an opportunity to rest my legs on the downhill and pressed on. As we exited the tunnel people high fived the "Welcome to the United States of America" banner and I got choked up. To have the opportunity to run my first marathon, with the support of my family, and across international borders... I'm humbled.
Did a mental body scan, everything felt good, my pace, albeit not at my fastest, but I wanted to save as much energy as I could for the second half (I compartmentalized the race in two parts).
Crossed the half marathon mile marker in 2:36:05 with a happy heart and my adrenaline kicked into high gear. The first half was over, now for the hard work.
We crossed town (through Corktown and Mexicantown) uneventfully, and with crowds thinning, so I turned on my ipod and just let me feet do the work. As we got to Indian Village I realized where I was (that course tour helped immensely) and that there was only a few miles before Belle Isle, and beyond that, the finish.
Right about that time I saw the Elite runners, cheered them on, and took in the last of Indian Village before the course went toward Belle Isle.
I also have to note the volunteers who were unwavering in their enthusiastic support of runners. I'm fairly certain the bib color denoted if you were a first timer, as people keep yelling, "you got this first timer, you're killing it". To each and every aid volunteer. You have my whole heart.
It was around Belle Isle I saw the "Last Chance Pacer" a shuttle for anyone who couldn't complete the race by 2pm (the gun went off at 7a!). My goal, despite my overall goal to finish around 5+ hours, was not to be picked up by the shuttle, so I picked up my pace a bit. I was fully prepared to run from damn thing if needed even though I was making great time and had no cause to worry.
After I entered Belle Isle I ran straight into a wall, HARD. My knee had began locking up around Indian Village (mile 18 or so), and as I pressed on, it became more and more of a pest. Plus, I had to pee. Aid stations were every two miles (every mile the last two), so I'd been a champ at hydrating each stop alternating water and gatorade and taking a gel every 3 miles. As I rounded the other half of Belle Isle my bladder had enough, and I pulled into an empty porta potty with ease, simultaneously texting Jennifer (they have an app to track runners as well) to tell her where I was, and that my knee was giving me issues and I had slowed down. In doing so, I saw texts from Mark and my mom, encouraging me to press on, congratulating me on all the hard work the past sixteen weeks (my training plan). Through the tears I got myself together, made sure there was no TP on my shoes (vanity prevails) and exited (my stop lasted about 2-3 minutes total) with a fresh wave of adrenaline. I had to finish, this wasn't just about me and my goals, it was also about my family who had comforted me during training, understood my absence to get in my weekly mileage, listened incessantly about race pacing/gear/sore muscles and the like. I am incredibly lucky to have a support system that allows me to chase my dreams.
By this point my quads had begun to tighten, my feet felt raw, and my knee had all but stopped functioning. Despite my body I trudged forward hell bent on crossing the finish line, devoid of any care what the clock said.
As we ran along the riverfront again (this time on the US side) I mentally came unglued. I was done. My knee was now in excruciating pain, I was hobbling, and full on sobbing at the same time. About this time a woman saw me, came up to me and began cheering so loudly that "keep going", "you are almost there" I blocked out the pain, smiled, and rounded the corner at a faster pace.
As we rounded the corner my knee gave out and I came to a grinding halt. Mentally I wanted to cross the finish line, physically my body was done. So as I walked to regain composure, called Jennifer to tell her I'd stopped completely and was now walking and that I would meet her at the med tent, because that was now my first order of business across the finish line.
She happened to be standing next to the medical tent, told them I was on my way, and we hung up. I tried running until I couldn't take it, then walking, and I walked the entire last hill without regret. As I came upon the last stretch I dug deep, dusted myself off and ran to finish what I'd set out sixteen weeks ago to do -- run my first marathon.
I crossed the finish line, running, and with a smile on my face.
I headed directly for the medical tent (completely forgetting my medal and they had to yell to get my attention, ha!), where they sign you in, do a cursory check and triage you as needed. I got a chair, two extra strength tylenol and wrapped my knee in ice.
Once I felt up to it (and they gave the ok), we headed out, thanking the med tent workers as they retightened the ice pack so it'd stay put during the walk back to the car. God bless them.
The pain I felt was intense, and unmoving. Each footfall felt like torture and I wasn't moving swiftly.
Thankfully, the city of Detroit has a "People Mover" so we opted (read: I begged) to use that instead of walking the 0.87 miles back to the car.
Back at Jennifer's I took the longest, hottest shower I could, changed straight into pajamas, slathered my legs in icy hot and put on my Pro Compression Marathon Socks.
We ordered pizza, watched Hocus Pocus, and lounged around watching tv/napping. It was glorious.
That evening, she made me cake and ice cream and we watched Revenge. Shockingly I wasn't starving, but best believe I took one for the team with cake and ice cream. Whoever has Kroger is so lucky, the private selection brand rocks!!!
That night I slept fairly well, which I partially attribute to shock -- my body had never done anything like that and it was on catch up trying to assess hunger/tired, etc. The soreness woke me up a few times during the night, but overall, I slept well post race (I usually have mad DOMS post races that keeps me restless all night).
My last day in Detroit we rose, lounged a bit, then set off for coffee and the fabric store. Enter, Chazzano Coffee and my first pour over experience. Holy cow, with coffee that good you don't need milk and sugar.
We bought fabric for Miles bow tie and Rubins flowers for the wedding -- Jennifer was the seamstress behind the sewn curtain :)
I'm fairly certain my aroma of icy hot, the compression tights and my glacial pace made for a super fun shopping experience for her.
She dropped me off at the airport, the sight of me hauling my broken luggage comical and said our goodbyes (yes Jennifer, despite what I told you, I cried).
Mark picked me up from the airport and promptly headed just where I needed to go -- to get celebratory fro yo together. Because you can never celebrate your first marathon too much.
And that, my friends, is the novella of my first marathon -- the 37th annunal Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon.
Medically speaking that distance affects everyone differently. For me, my left knee gave me a pretty good scare (I've never had any issues with it before). I couldn't bear (any) weight on it, or get past about 75 degrees (slight bent) for the first three days. As of today (and a much needed month+ long break of running) I'm back running short and slow, and it feels pretty good. Time will tell if its a bigger issue.
It goes without saying after sixteen weeks I'm considerably burnt out. Not sell-my-treadmill-and-hang-up-my-mizunos, but I'm in no rush to run with purpose (or work on speed) in the near future.
I put my body through alot, and now I'm going to let it rest.
-- caution, TMI ahead --
As for my period, running at that mileage (I maxed out at 40+ miles most weeks) definitely affected my cycle. It was short(er) and super light, but at my yearly well woman during training my OB said that was normal and as long as it returned to normal post race (it did) I was ok.
-- end TMI --
I guess you may be wondering if I'd ever do it again -- and my answer is this:
As we walked back to the car on race day a man passed and asked, "well you look battered, would you do it again?"
Without skipping a beat I said "yes".
I have no races set for 2015, nor any desire to rush into one (at the moment), but best believe I've had time to think, reprioritize, and when I do race --
I've got some more dreams to chase...