Monday, September 21, 2015

Everybody's Been There, Everybody's Been Stared Down By the Enemy

If you are a runner or a walker or have ever trained for a race I'm sure you will get it when I tell you I went into Sunday's race with an A Goal, a B Goal, and a C Goal.

A Goal: Finish strong. Finish happy. Don't burn out at mile 10. Finish faster than the 3:20:00 time from when I ran this race two years ago. That race sucked, I was under trained, miserable, and tried to drop out at Mile 10. Basically, A Goal was do better than that!

B Goal: Finish within my PR time of 2:49.

C Goal: Get a PR.

In case you are just starting to read this blog, I am training for the Monroe Half Marathon which isn't until November. My speed work is starting to get better for that. My goal time for that one is 2:30, which is FAST for me, but I have hopes I can do it once I really settle into my speed work. I sorta trained for this half marathon. Mostly, I just ran while pushing the Guys in the jogging stroller and tried to get some miles under my belt.

 Detroit Women's Half Marathon Race Recap

Packet Pick-Up
Saturday was packet pick-up day. It was a pretty smooth process. There was an incentive to pick-up at the expo and not on race day, a free gift bag from Athleta. The weather was crap, but that's ok, crap weather the day before a race is just fine! I had the Guys with me, and didn't bring the stroller so at one point I was carrying two toddlers through the expo because both of them wanted to play the "Let's Lay Down on the Floor" game. Fun times! There were a bunch of vendors there, but I didn't really get a chance to shop. Bonus, wrangling toddlers for half the day totally counts as being active for a half hour, thus keeping my Star Wars Streak going strong.

Race Day 
Weather was PERFECT! It was 49 degrees out when I left my house. It was only supposed to get up to a high of 70. The only downfall: there was not a cloud in the sky, so it was pretty sunny and got a little warm there for parts of the race. But, I'm not complaining that much!

The race was on Belle Isle, a state park on the Detroit River. Because it's an island, there is only one way on. Which always, always, always leads to back-ups. This is the third year for this race and they've delayed the start every year because of how congested it gets.

I left my house in what I thought was plenty of time. I got to the bridge leading to Belle Isle, everything was great and then this:

Thankfully, I had a friend who was already there and she sent me a text letting me know they were delaying the start. I parked and rushed over to the starting line, getting there just a little after 8:00AM. The race ended up starting just around 8:15AM.

The Race
After the slightly delayed start, we were off! I had my interval timer set-up for one minute running, thirty seconds of walking. I had three packages of Gu Chomps. The plan was to start them around Mile 3 and eat them every three miles after that. Each package has four pieces in it so at Mile 3 I ate half a package, then after the next water stop, ate the other two pieces. This worked out great.

They had Nuun at every water stop. I took a little cup around Mile 4 and was fine. But when I took another cup around Mile 6 it was a bigger cup and as soon as I drank it my stomach cramped. I honestly feared I would end up with a jacked up stomach for the rest of the race! Thankfully the cramping passed and I could focus on running again. I also only took water for the remaining water stops. Running Tip: Never, ever drink or eat something on race day you have not trained with. I know this and I STILL did it. Rookie mistake!

The course started off running through the center of the island. That path spit us out at the east end of the island. We ran all the around to the west end, which was the start/finish area. At around Mile 6 I passed that area and got a nice boost from all the cheering from the 5K runners and some nice crowd support. I continued on my merry way, keeping one foot in front of the other and still feeling pretty good.

Just before the split, where the people finishing the race cut into the island towards the finish line the lead runner caught up to me. She was booking it!

The course continued to loop around the island. The weather was still great and I'd get a nice breeze off the water every so often so that kept me nice and cool.
Around Mile 9 I started doing Runner Math. "If I run at such and such pace I can make it in before this time. But, if I speed it up I can make it as this time. And if I walked from this point on I could still finish by this time."

Runner Math is complicated, folks. Add to it doing math while RUNNING and it gets even harder! Pretty much I figured if I kept up my current pace I would be able to PR. And PR by a lot!

Of course once I thought that my legs said, "Fuck you, Meg, we are tired." Sorry, my legs get very sweary when they don't want to run anymore. Assholes.

I fought through it. I fought through it hard. I had to force myself to stop looking at my damn Garmin because knowing how much further I had to go, and watching my pace get slower and slower was seriously disheartening.

By Mile 10 I knew I was kicking ass at my A Goal. And B Goal was looking pretty good, too. At that point I could've slowed down quite a bit and still managed to achieve both of those goals.

But C Goal was sitting there in front of me, a shining beacon of PR.

I will admit to you, I didn't have a ton left in the tank by the time the last two miles rolled around. My pace dropped by almost a full minute per mile, I struggled to keep it under 13 minutes/mile. I was tired.

Earlier, maybe halfway through the race, Hubs sent me a text saying he probably wouldn't make it to watch the finish, that he couldn't find his wallet. I had been sending him text updates letting him know what mile I was at prior to that. When I got that text I was kinda bummed I wouldn't have anyone at the finish line.

Mile 12 slowly trudged by.

At the turn before the finish, with about a half mile left, Hubs called me. I have Bluetooth headphones so I answered the call. Turns out my guys made it to the race after all and were waiting for me!

This helped me kick it into gear just a tiny bit. It was the boost I needed, even better than the caffeine in my Gu Chomps!

I rounded the corner and saw them and started to tear up. Oh my handsome guys. The boys cheered me on, then wanted to cross the finish line with me. It was far enough I knew if I stopped my legs would cramp up and I might not finish. So I yelled for Hubs to wrangle them and kept going. I crossed the finish line and got my medal. I heard the announcer say, "Looks like we've got someone lost on the course!" I looked back and there were C. and A. trotting down the course towards the finish line. I ran back to meet them, just as Hubs caught up with them to keep them wrangled. And we all ran back across the finish together.

I ended up with a six minute PR! All I could think was how hard I had struggled at this race the first time, how I didn't think I could finish it and how I didn't think I would ever want to run again. And here I was beating my time by over thirty minutes!
The crowd support for those of us bringing up the rear for the race was still awesome. I love how the announcer calls out everyone's name as they as crossing the finish line. And there was PLENTY of water and food left. I love a race that thinks about the back of the pack!

After the race we went home, watched football, and hung out as a family. That run earned me 39 WW Activity Points! It  was a great day and now more than I ever I am looking forward to kicking ass at the Monroe Half!


  1. DUDE! What an amazing race for you and now you have a shiny new PR to show for it! You go girl!!!! So cute that your little men helped you cross the line...again!

  2. I may have teared up at the end of this when the hubs and your boys were cheering. Way to freaking go!

  3. I love this post so much and I'm so happy for you! I also may or may not have teared up reading it :) You are AMAZIIIING!

  4. YEAH! What a great race re-cap - and a PR to boot! One of these days I'll down to Detroit to do a BIG race. The races up here (the Thumb) are a lot smaller and not a ton of crowd support. I can only imagine how it feels.

  5. Great job! You finished just before me (2:43:58)! I wonder if I saw you. Although, I wanted to die at that point so I wasn't really "seeing" anyone! lol It was a PR for me as well. :)

  6. Congrats on such an amazing race! I love that all of your guys not only made it to see you finish, but that you all got to run across together. Way to go!!

  7. Love this race recap - the ending is spectacular :) Little guys and a PR - who could ask for more???