Detroit Free Press Marathon Report

The players:
Paul: PRed at the Dayton Air Force Marathon 09/17/2005, a medical issue kept him from finishing Columbus 10/16/2005
Doug: PRed at the Columbus Marathon 10/16/2005
Helen: PRed at the Columbus Marathon 10/16/2005
Andrea: PRed at the Steamtown Marathon 10/09/2005, ran the Columbus Marathon 10/16/2005

The stage:
Detroit Free Press Marathon 10/23/2005

We headed up to Detroit on 10/22/2005 to see what we could do. I had taken it easy in Columbus and was hoping to hang with the 3:30 pace group in Detroit to see if I couldn’t set a new PR (I ran 3:30:05 in Steamtown). For the past two weekends, I’d run 5 miles Friday and a marathon on Sunday. This past Friday, the run had gone great and I felt really strong.

As soon as we got to Detroit, things started to unravel a bit. Traffic was horrible and we kept getting turned around. At the expo, Paul had some troubles with immigration and we had to go to the border to speak with some immigration officials. At one point, we thought he was not going to be allowed to run, but things eventually got resolved. We were disappointed there was not more information on the gear check or parking given to participants. We determined that it took roughly 20 min from the hotel to the starting area so we decided to leave around 6:15 race-day morning (I wasn’t eager to wait around outside if it were cold). The others were concerned about rain, but I had faith I would have a third straight weekend of decent running weather.

Race day came, and it took us a few more minutes to get ready than expected. I think we left around 6:20. I wasn’t too worried, until we encountered horrific traffic on the freeway. We literally were not moving for minutes at a time, as the clock ticked closer and closer to 7:35. Eventually Paul’s aggressive driving got us into a parking lot, and we headed to the staging area as fast as our full bladders would allow us. As a bonus, we no longer had to worry about the gear check! I was adamant about going to the portapotty before starting the race, as it was chip-timed anyway. We made it to the staging area almost in time to see the first runners head off – only to see that all the portapotties were on the other side of the staging area. Paul started the race and Doug, Helen and I weaved our way across the runners, getting cursed at all the way. It was close to five minutes after the gun when we finally hit the road. Naturally, the 3:30 pace group was nowhere in sight.

The three of us started off running together, and immediately Helen started having trouble with her watch. Things were just so disorganized this morning, it was hard to get focused. We were stuck dodging runners and walkers right from the start.

Doug and I were walking a bit at waterstops; whereas Helen ran on. These breaks are reflected in the variation of split times (we stopped at perhaps every 2nd one)

1 8:33
2 8:22
3 8:06 We see Paul briefly
4 8:33 On the bridge to Canada, Doug and I speed up and lose contact with Helen
5 7:38
6 7:57
7 7:47 I like running in Canada J
8 8:00
9 7:37 Underwater mile; this mile split is on your finisher’s certificate. I wanted it to be impressive! (probably paid for it later)
10 8:04
11 8:09
12 7:42
13 8:26
14 9:42 Portapotty and ‘visit with Doug’s wife’ break
15 7:48
16 8:20 My spirits aren’t great. It’s not hard, it’s just not easy
17 8:00
18 8:07
19 8:17 Doug is chatting away; I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on what he’s saying
20 8:13
21 8:06
22 8:49 Hmm, what’s this?
23 8:13
24 8:37 ..and this
25 8:37 ..grrrr. I tell Doug to go ahead. I need to finish this on my own
26 8:34 Stopped for a beer break here. I deserve it!
.2 1:37 I jog in easy. I just want to be finished.

Chip time: 3:36:08

The decent into Ford Field is VERY steep, I think it’s an accident waiting to happen, so I found myself taking it very easy. Once across the finish line, there were a few volunteers walking around with water, and no other sustenance in sight. Once you left the field there was food, but it was not convenient for people waiting on other runners. I was really surprised at this, I almost felt it was a health issue (aren’t we supposed to refuel right away?) There were several aspects of the race organization that I was disappointed with, particularly as this is the 28th running of the event? I would expect them to have a few more details worked out.

I was disappointed with how I ran this race. I struggled through it mentally more than the others I’ve run recently. I don’t know if it was how rushed we were in the morning, or just simply all I’ve put my body through for the past three weeks (I’ve only run 6 marathons ever, so half of that has been in a row). But it wasn’t my body that was making this difficult (other than the sickly sweet gu and Gatorade concoction in my stomach), I was just not feeling as strong psychologically as I could have been.

Despite how I executed the race, it did go well. This was my second fastest marathon ever, and it was a Boston qualifying time. I’m glad I challenged myself to do three-in-three and I’ve already joined MarathonManiacs at the silver level, but I have no desire to do it again. I have a lot of faith in the training I did leading up to this fall (Pfitz 12/55) and I really feel like I’m made for this running stuff. I look forward to seeing what I can do in the future!

(Oh, and the other players? Doug ran most of the way with me, so his time wasn’t great but I think he finished feeling pretty good. Helen finished about 10 min slower than her Columbus time the week before and I think secretly wants to run another marathon this weekend. Paul kept his nickname of “PR Paul” by setting his 6th successive marathon PR.)