Monday, June 27, 2011

On the run: The Solstice Run - 10 Miles

On Saturday I ran The Solstice Run in Northville.  I chose the 10 mile run; there was also a 1 mile, 5k, and 10k.  I hadn't run this one before but a few friends who did it last year said it's a very hilly course.  Despite my good intentions, I rarely if ever run hills so I was nervous about facing them.  I was also majorly lacking in confidence after the arduous Dexter-Ann Arbor race a few weeks ago that nearly made me hang up my running shoes for good.  In fact, had I not been registered for this race I likely would have said screw it, I'm done with races.  (Funny thing is that I was in fact NOT pre-registered but by the time I realized that I was all psyched up and had to do it.  And my friend Katie was running so neither of us could back out.)

A little chilly waiting for the race to start.  And yes, we're standing in a construction zone.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect the morning of the race.  It was dry, cloudy but no chance of rain, and actually rather chilly at 7:30 a.m.  There was even a light breeze. Like I said - perfect.  We started out at Northville Downs, where you run once around the track before heading through the parking lot and out onto the road.  Basically the first thing you hit is a big hill.  I'd only run one mile and already I was starting to regret this race.  The remaining 9 miles seemed to stretch endlessly before me.  It was at that point that I told myself to take it slow and see what happened.  I abandoned any expectations about pace and age group rankings.  My goal was to finish without getting a stomach ache (not within my control but I could still hope), without having to stop and walk, and without vowing to quit running forever.  

Amazingly, once I took the pressure off of myself I found that I actually enjoyed the run.  I took in the sights as I ran through beautiful neighborhoods.  I smiled at the people cheering me on.  I even sang along a little to my (mostly) summer-themed playlist.  Each mile, my average pace steadily decreased although I wasn't trying to speed up.  My heart rate wasn't through the roof and I felt good.  

Now, don't let me mislead you about those hills I mentioned.  It WAS hilly.  There were a lot of small rolling hills as well as several pretty steep climbs.  Aside from the first one, the most memorable came at mile 6.  I had just rounded a curve in a subdivision when there it was, looming in the distance.  As if on cue, "Eye of the Tiger" started to play in my ears and I knew I could make it.  I put my head down, leaned forward, shortened my stride, and powered up that hill with Survivor urging me on.  It could have been the end of the race when I got to the top, I felt so triumphant!  And since it I'd just hit the 6-mile mark, I had less than halfway to go.  Wahoo!

I just spotted Brian!

Almost to the finish line.

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, though it still had its ups and downs (literally).  The course went through some older neighborhoods and back into town.  In the last mile I ran down Main Street, past a one-man band covering Billy Joel and people sipping coffee at outdoor tables, and into Ford Field park where the race ended.  As soon as you crossed the finish line you got your medal and a lei.  (It was a Hawaiian-themed race.)  If you like events with fabulous post-race parties, The Solstice Run is a MUST DO for you.  It was almost like a mini-expo with free food.  The best was the Panera bagels in individually-labeled bags - easy to grab and go!  They also had pizza slices (none vegan, of course), oranges, bananas, and tons of bottled water.  There were hula dancers, music, a man on stilts, and a general air of celebratory excitement.  Right then I decided I'd surely do this race again.  Not just for the party but also because it was a challenging yet manageable course with interesting sights.  My knees were a little sore from the hills but otherwise I felt pretty good.  And I should mention that there were lots of water/Gatorade stations along the course plus one had GU gel packs and another had GU Brew (whatever that is).

Bigger smiles after the race than before. 

We left the party and walked back to Main Street where we got coffee at The Next Chapter Bookstore and Bistro (featured in Scream 4 when the movie filmed in Michigan last summer).  We also popped into Great Harvest Bread Co., mostly just to take in the delicious smell of freshly-baked bread. 

So there you have it - a fabulous day at the races!



Toasted Nuts and Cranberry Luna Bar, banana

California / Phantom Planet
Sloop John B / The Beach Boys
Holiday / Vampire Weekend
Losing California / Sloan
Chop and Change / The Black Keys
What Happened to the Sands / Pas/Cal
Fantastic Voyage / Coolio
Summer of '69 / Bryan Adams
Ghost Town / Shiny Toy Guns
Not Afraid / Eminem
Dani California / The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Miami / Will Smith
Under Cover of Darkness / The Strokes
One Summer Night / that dog
Eye of the Tiger / Survivor
Violet Hour / Sea Wolf
Cruel Summer / Bananarama
Viva la Vida / Coldplay
You Are a Tourist / Death Cab for Cutie
Fighter / Christina Aguilera
Crushcrushcrush / Paramore
Vacation / The Go-Go's
Surfin' Safari / The Beach Boys

(I had a few more "power songs" on the list but I crossed the finish line with the Beach Boys.  Quite appropriate, wouldn't you say?)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! And a perfect lead in for your upcoming vacation on the big island....