I signed up for the Detroit Marathon 2017 with the idea of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (I know that’s almost every marathon runner’s goal). I have to say, the Detroit Marathon is truly one of a kind. There are quite a few experiences that I don’t think I would have experienced anywhere else.
Getting to the Marathon
I won’t lie, this was the hardest part of the marathon (besides mile 21). This was a big hurdle and I almost missed it. I live in Michigan and I decided to drive to the marathon on the day. Be aware, there can be a lot of traffic. I read about this and thought that an hour would be enough time. It wasn’t.
Luckily, my parents drove me. And after watching the cars inching along for an hour, I simply hopped out of the car and ran to the race. I got a little bit of a warmup I wasn’t planning on. After a quick pitstop, I made it to the start with the big countdown timer at 57 seconds. I had made it to the race.
There are barricades at the start of the race that make it difficult to get in. I followed a string of people jumping one.
Crossing the Bridge
This is the only race (that I know of) where you cross into Canada and back into Michigan. We crossed the Ambassador Bridge and it was crazy.
So at this point, it is still dark out. It is a very humid 50 degrees or so. And about every minute or so, I am blinded by a bright flash of the helicopter above watching. I assume this is to prevent terrorists from getting into Canada.
As I got close to the bridge, there are police officers closely inspecting every runner as they pass. These officers are spaced about 50 yards apart and look very serious. I ran past the first one and heard them say into their radio, “Yellow shorts”. I didn’t think anything of it. Then I heard again. “Yellow shorts”. I looked around and I was running next to a guy with yellow shorts. That must be Yellow shorts. And out of the corner of my eye, I see them grab the guy. Luckily, they deemed him not a threat and let him go almost immediately. I hope his marathon time wasn’t ruined but I didn’t see him at the finish line.
Heading into Canada
Canada looks the same as the US but slightly newer. The sun was just coming up at this point so I couldn’t really see anything more.
I was warned by friends about the tunnel. It was twice as humid in there and it smelled a little bit. Not a bad experience. It also seemed like it was part downhill while also being uphill. Gravity must not work in tunnels. I will tell Newton.
I went from running with everyone, to being nearly alone on the course. These friends that I had grown close with over the last 13 miles, turned for home. It really sunk in that this was going to be a long race.
I don’t really remember much of the race or where we were running for a while. I remember that we ran east in a straight line for what felt like forever. We eventually made it to the fancy houses on the east side in Indian Village. I didn’t really take the time to appreciate it at this point.
I talked to a friend the week before running the race and he told me this. When you get to Belle Isle, you will be upset that you have to run around it. When you are about to get to Belle Isle, you can see where downtown and the finish is.
Belle Isle is super beautiful but this is where I started to breakdown. Those skipped two hour runs were really starting to weigh heavy. At mile 21, I lost all my energy and went into a dog-trot to try to hang on. My mile times really hurt from here on out. I had hit mile 20 at 140 minutes but I felt like I was making a deal with the devil. The last five miles can really do that to you. You lose your mind. You want to be done. Your goals and aspirations go out the window.
The Riverwalk was really windy but I could taste the finish. We ran past the boats along the water. At this point in the race, I did not take the time to enjoy it. Finish Line
I made it to the finish line and immediately laid down on the ground. The finish is on the road so I was trying to get comfortable on the dirty asphalt. But I had made it. And with a new PR of 3:11.