Race Report: Detroit Marathon, Oct 5th, 2003

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by jhallum, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. jhallum

    jhallum Guest

    It's been pretty chilly in Michigan, with temps about 10 degrees colder than normal for the past
    week or two. Sunday Morning was more of the same, with a low of 28 over night, though it was about
    40 at race start when you take the Detroit heat island into effect.

    The Detroit race course is really cool. It starts at the Tigers and baseball bat statues in front of
    Comerica Park, and finishes inside Ford Field at the 50 yard line. Along the way, you cross into
    Canada along the Ambassador Bridge and exit Canada through the Tunnel into Detroit at about mile 9.
    From there you reach the half marathon point on Belle Isle, an island park just east of the city.
    You circle the island and cross into Indian Village, which is a neighborhood of well kept old homes
    in the NE part of the city. From there, you begin to circle back toward downtown, passing through
    the Eastern Market (a farmer's market), and finishing in Ford Field. Being Detroit, it's a mix of
    ugly run-down buildings in the first few miles, and the last few miles and plenty of pretty vistas
    the rest of the way.

    Being my first marathon, my planning ran into some snags. I arrived at the race course about 35
    minutes before the race, getting caught in a pre-race traffic and having to take a slight detour to
    a secondary lot. Then, I decided I'd better hit the portajohns on the way out. Well, I didn't
    undress all of my layers because of the cold, and the lines were hugely long. One problem with this
    race is that the portajohns (of which there were about 20) are arrayed along the back edge of the
    start area, about 100 yards or so back from the starting line, and the lines seemed to be getting
    close to the start areas for the marathon. I managed to get in and out with a whole 5 minutes to
    spare before the race. One problem. No stretching(except for some light stretching about an hour
    before the race), and no warmup jog. Dammit. Can't be helped. I shed my layers, gulped down some GU
    and water, and hopped into line, a bit back of the pace groups.

    My plan was to try to run 3:40. I was planning on sticking with the 3:40 pace group and just try to
    hang on. I have been suffering from a cold for the past two weeks, which is still hanging on, and my
    plan before I had been sick was to race for 3:40. The race starts about 2 minutes after I get into
    line. I have to weave in and out of traffic for a bit to catch up with the 3:40 pace group, which I
    find about the 1 km mark. I pass the illustrious mayor of the city just after I meet the pace group,
    he's a big guy, and I guess they had to run around town to find size 15 shoes for the man. He
    slugged it out for about 9 miles, which impresses the pants off of me.

    For the first 3 miles, I stick with the heart of the pace group, and grab water at every water stop.
    We start up the Ambassador bridge just after the 3rd mile marker, and make the climb up the bridge.
    This is the baddest hill on the course, it goes up a 5% grade for about 800 feet. It feels like more
    than that, but that's what is advertised. :). Of course, what goes up must come down, and we spend
    the rest of the 4th mile going down hill into Canada. It's an interesting picture. To the north and
    left, there is the ruined warehouses of Detroit in the foreground, and the beautiful skyscrapers in
    the background. To the right, there is Windsor, which has lots of greenspace along the river. To the
    south, there is nothing but manufacturing and more manufacturing. With the steam and smoke pouring
    out of them, it's kinda neat looking, and sort of majestic...just not in the same way the view to
    the north is.

    We turn off the bridge as mile 4 becomes mile 5. After mile 5, my plans begin to change. The pace
    group slows way down (probably because we were doing 3:30, not 3:40). The first 5 miles were at
    39:57, just a tad under 3:30. Since I'm feeling good, I leave them behind. Why not? Lets go for it.
    I just stick with my pace (actually, I end up slowing a bit). The Canadian side of the river is very
    cool. The view that greets us after coming off the bridge and turning underneath it, is a downhill
    view, with the bridge to the right and above us, with the runners ahead of us streaming down. Very
    cool. We turn along the river, where the pack I'm running with is racing a supertanker up the river.
    The tanker wins, going a little faster than we are(but not much). There are lots of neat sculptures
    along the river here. It's pretty neat. After mile 7, we turn into Canada, and do a loop into the
    tunnel back in the US. After mile 9, we are back in the US the rest of the way. Sadly, my wife and a
    friend who made the trip with us missed me, and I missed them, so I didn't get to see them cheer me
    on right at the 9 mile marker. The course continues for a while, before zigging and zagging a bit.
    At the 10 mile mark, my split is 1:21:52. At this point I'm starting to feel exactly how Robert in
    his marathon report, wondering if I'm going to crash and burn somewhere. At this point, I'm feeling
    very good. I slowed down a bit in the 5-10 mile split I'm not sure why, but it probably didn't hurt.
    I'm still in good shape, so what the heck, lets keep up this pace.

    At this point, the marathon turns onto Belle Isle at the 11.5 mile mark. The crowds are a little
    sparse here, which is too bad, but I'm really cruising along. There are little nagging doubts that
    I'm going too fast, but those voices are summarily overridden, and I keep on going. I cross the half
    marathon mark at 1:47:01. Riiiight. Sadly, now my hammys are starting to give me grief, but not so
    bad that I have to slow or anything. Just normal aches and pains that I felt during my training runs
    of 20 miles.

    I cross the 15 mile mark at 2:01:51, for a 5 mile split of 39:59. Yeah, I'm feeling good, and the
    half marathon mark probably spurred me to go faster. Still feeling good, not fatigued in any
    meaningful way, and only my hammys are feeling bad. We finish the circumference of the Isle by mile
    17.7 (passing a really heavy punk band at the 17 mile mark). I resist the urge to mosh with my
    fellow runners, though I manage some headbanging. We turn off the island, and into the hardest run
    I've probably ever done. I can totally see the 20 miles of fun, 6 miles of pain statement now.

    Miles 18-20 were pretty tolerable, though I was looking at my watch entirely too much looking for
    the mile marker. I'm so into my hammys at this point that I'm not really paying attention to all of
    the houses around me. I cross the 20 mark at 2:42:20, or about 40:39. Not too bad, but I'm slowing a
    little. I'm able to keep with it for the next five miles, and pass a few people, but I think I
    really stopped passing people at about mile 24 or so. After mile 21 the buildings get a bit more
    rundown, and cross into the Eastern Market at about mile 24. There are some pretty ratty buildings
    around here. Yikes. Don't run here after dark. There were some irritated drivers at this point, who
    didn't pay attention to the news and were stuck in traffic. When I passed mile 24, there were about
    15 cars honking their horns continuously. I don't think they were cheering us on. Love that Detroit
    spirit. The crowds along here were fantastic, though. I really appreciated them.

    By mile 25, the hammys are just hanging in there. I'm not walking, but if it wasn't for the finish,
    I might think about it. I know that 3:40 is in my grasp, but I WILL NOT WALK, except if I can't
    drink water at a shuffling pace. My mile 25 split is 3:24:59, or 42:39. Not great, but I'll take it.
    We turn into downtown, and the crowds get appreciably larger and louder. Mile 26 is right by Ford
    Field, and we make a turn around it, and go right down a tunnel for about 100 feet or so. It's a
    little disturbing because of the lack of lighting and the steep downhill grade. I guess a wheelie
    bit it at the bottom of the tunnel and crawled across the line. His cycle was pretty much totalled.

    We come out of the tunnel onto the Field Turf surface, and there are people in the stands to our
    right cheering us on. I sprint as fast as possible to the finish, and don't quite pass a couple
    right next to me. I dunno if my picture got taken, I was off to the side, and there were two other
    people in the shot. We'll see.

    I stop my watch (3:35:10), and stumble to get my medal and blanket. The finishers area is pretty
    much the rest of the field, with a fence to prevent people from the stands jumping on the field, and
    vice versa. As I try to walk off my hammys, I'm really feeling the emotions of the moment. I'm
    getting a little choked up because of the success of the race, and just soaking in the atmosphere. I
    even remember to reach down and touch the field turf. It's pretty neat stuff, still not quite real
    grass, but at least it's not astroturf I hate that stuff.

    There's one last tribulation: To get from the finishers area to the food, you have to climb a
    loooong flight of stairs. That was kind of annoying. But the food was good, and that's all that
    matters. I met my wife outside, and we just relaxed in the crowd, and basked in a job well done.

    Here's the executive summary:

    Time: 3:35:10 (8:12ish pace) Splits: 5mi 39:27/39:27(7:59) 10mi 1:12:52/41:55(8:23) 15mi
    2:01:51/39:59(7:59) half 1:47:01 20mi 2:42:20/40:39(8:08) 25mi 3:24:59/42:39(8:32) finish 3:35:10

    What an awesome experience. I'm so going to try to do this again...

    -jeremy 25mi

    --
    --
    +================================================================+ Jeremy Hallum, System Manager ,
    Astronomy, University of Michigan [email protected]::[email protected] "Audentis Fortuna Iuvat"
     
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  2. ahass

    ahass Guest

    Awesome!!! Nice, even splits. I looked at the temp that morning and decided gee, I'm so glad I'm
    driving to do Chicago next weekend and not Detroit... Make sure you take adequate recovery and keep
    stretching those hammys. Great run.... Andy Hass
     
  3. Robert Karp

    Robert Karp Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    >
    ><terriffic report snipped for brevity>
    >
    >What an awesome experience. I'm so going to try to do this again...
    >
    > -jeremy
    >
    >
    Jeremy, what an awesome performance to go with your awesome experience! This was a wonderful report
    to read; very descriptive. I admire your toughness after mile 18 or so. I'm sure it was a struggle
    at times with nagging twinges in the hamstrings and the mental issues that seem to arise late in a
    very long run. The scenery sounds quite varied which I found interesting to read about (I think it
    is really a nice feature to cross into Canada). I'm sure your quite pleased with your time, as you
    should be. I'd been following most of your weekly training posts over the past six weeks or so, so I
    thought you would give a strong performance though I didn't think sub-3:40 was in the cards for
    either of us. Again, congratulations!

    Robert
     
  4. [email protected] wrote:
    >
    <good report snipped>
    >
    > What an awesome experience. I'm so going to try to do this again...
    >
    > -jeremy 25mi
    >

    Way to go Jeremy, especially being sick! Time for a well-deserved rest.

    Next year might do it with you.

    Scott
     
  5. In article <[email protected]> [email protected] writes:
    >
    >I stop my watch (3:35:10), and stumble to get my medal and blanket. The finishers area is pretty
    >much the rest of the field, with a fence to prevent people from the stands jumping on the field,
    >and vice versa. As I try to walk off my hammys, I'm really feeling the emotions of the moment. I'm
    >getting a little choked up because of the success of the race, and just soaking in the atmosphere.
    >I even remember to reach down and touch the field turf. It's pretty neat stuff, still not quite
    >real grass, but at least it's not astroturf I hate that stuff.
    >
    >Time: 3:35:10 (8:12ish pace)
    >
    >What an awesome experience. I'm so going to try to do this again...
    >
    > -jeremy

    Wow, big congratulations! That's a really good first marathon time. Hope your hams are feeling
    better today. If you can get them massaged they'd really love you for it. Best of luck in the
    recovery phase, and then time to start planning the next, eh? ;-)

    Teresa in AZ
     
  6. [email protected] wrote:

    > ... Make sure you take adequate recovery and keep stretching those hammys. ... Andy Hass

    Yeah he should, but one day post-race and he's already roped me into being on his team for some
    local x-country race. ;-)

    Scott
     
  7. Kinda wordy, ain't it?
     
  8. Joe Positive

    Joe Positive Guest

    On Mon, 06 Oct 2003 16:39:50 GMT, [email protected] wrote:

    [thorough description of a great first marathon went here]

    >Time: 3:35:10 (8:12ish pace)

    Very nice.

    >What an awesome experience. I'm so going to try to do this again...

    and if you're thinking like that, just after the race - even nicer.

    Karen
     
  9. Wow! Nice job for a first marathon! Great report too. I felt as if I was there. (I spent a summer in
    Detroit way back when so I kinda know the terrain too. A bit of nostalgia. Thanks for that!)

    Take care o' them hams ...

    --
    Brian P. Baresch Fort Worth, Texas, USA Professional editing and proofreading

    If you're going through hell, keep going. --Winston Churchill
     
  10. Anthony

    Anthony Guest

    Congrats on your 1st marathon, Jeremy!

    Nice splits and good result. Thanks for the report.

    Anthony.
     
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