On October 20, 2013, Carl and I headed north to Detroit to run the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon (Carl) and Half Marathon (me). If you read this blog, you know that I was injured before and didn’t really train for this half at all. I’d made it up to 8 miles a few days before the race, and felt good, but went into this one with two goals only: finish and don’t get hurt…
…. and it wasn’t my best race, but I’ll take it. It was a neat course, and a great weekend. I got to spend much of it with my good friend Marcia, who calls Detroit home, and who was able to show us around her city and provide us with wonderful hospitality while there. Our pre-race dinner the night before was at an old school, classic Italian place called Mario’s. Dinner was delightful. The company even more so.
The course took us across the Ambassador Bridge and into Windsor, Canada. Running along Riverside Drive on the Canada side, we stopped to take a couple of pictures. This was about mile 6.5, and I was getting breathy and a bit discouraged, so I was relieved when Carl made the suggestion. The city of Detroit and the Detroit River provided a nice background.
Another mile and a half or so into the race, we made our way through mile-long underwater tunnel that would take us back into Detroit. This was really cool for about a half mile. It was downhill, and we experienced something we’d never experienced before: a wave shout. Inside the tunnel the shouts would start from way behind us, approaching us like the waves you see at football games, only it was voices, roaring up from behind us, overcoming us, and as we’d join in, off the wave shout would move in front of us. It was cool. But then we started running uphill, to get out of the tunnel. It was so stuffy, hot, and humid I thought I was going to have to sit down. I walked a lot, just trudging forward to get the hell outta there and back above ground and into the sunlight and fresh, cool air again. I don’t think I am generally claustrophobic, but with a half mile to go, I just wanted OUT.
Eventually we made it out, and it was shortly after that, around mile 9, when Carl and I decided it was probably best if he went on. He was doing the full, I was slowing down, so it was just best for us both.
I went on to finish the half in 2:47. I sat in a sunny, grassy area for awhile waiting for Marcia to get downtown and find a place to park. Feeling rested enough, I walked toward her and we met for coffee, where we got some much needed catch-up time while waiting to head to the finish line to see Carl come in. He had a great race, coming in at 5:12.
I think this is a race we’d do again. It certainly brought an economic boon to the city of Detroit, with an estimated 27,000 people participating in the festivities. We saw the monstrous GM Building, learned the history of 8 Mile, the cultural divide in Detroit’s Mile Road system, a saw monuments that showcase the city’s rich history in the Labor Movement and its connection to the Underground Railroad.