Saturday, October 4, 2014

On the Run: Detroit Women's Half Marathon 2014

Forgive me if I've used this analogy for races before, but the Detroit Women's Half is like childbirth.  What does this lady without a baby know about childbirth, you're asking?  Just hear me out for a moment.  

I was all excited for it when I signed up last year.  A women's-only race on Belle Isle sounded awesome!  It was on my training plan and I was ready.  As it got closer I started to wonder why I signed up.  Wait, ALL women?  2+ loops around Belle Isle?  What was I thinking?  The actual event was going to be awful!  It would be painful mentally and physically.  But finishing a race has it's rewards.

It did end up being kind of cool, what with the support and camaraderie of the other women and all.  I showed up by myself and ended up meeting some great girls after the race.  The field wasn't super fast so I placed 1st in my age group and 5th overall.  I won a bottle of wine!  All of that, however, blocked out the horrible parts of the race - the boredom of 2+ loops around Belle Isle, the desolation of running most of that ALONE except for when you're dodging 5K walkers, the wind that is inevitable on 80% of the course, and the weird end of the course around the Casino.  Oh, and did I mention the utter BOREDOM and DESOLATION of the course?  I did?  They get a second mention because they were the worst parts.  

Yeah, so when I decided to sign up this year, I was remembering the good times and the award wine from last year - the post-race fun - not the actual mental and physical discomfort of running the race.  It also fell nicely into my training plan this year because I needed 15 miles that day so there was also that.  

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
Thankfully my teammates Sarah and Lindsay decided to sign up at the last minute, as well.  We all got there early to warm up and hang out before the race in the RUNdetroit tent.  I had pegged Sarah to win until Dot McMahan, one of the Hansons Brooks elites, showed up to do a sub-6:00/mile workout for the race so...  Yeah.  

Dot and Sarah were off like shots.  After the first turn around the fountain both were gone and I didn't see them until the race was over!  Two other women were next.  Lindsay and I ran together for the first couple of miles.  I got a little ahead of Lindsay and eventually passed one of the other women to fall into 4th. Once I got ahead of Lindsay I regretted it.  I should have just stayed with her for company.  3 miles in and I was already regretting this whole race.  I stayed very close behind 3rd - only 3 seconds difference for the first loop.  Even though it was boring I was hanging in there. 

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
The second loop is where I fell apart.  Once we got to the back half of the island the wind was even worse (20-30mph) and I was slowing.  My pace was inconsistent and negative thoughts abounded.  I tried to run hard enough to keep 3rd place in my sights (she had black compression socks on - I just wanted to be able to see those socks!) but she was getting further and further away.  I knew I couldn't catch her and didn't have it in me to try.  She had 3rd place in the bag and I was hoping to hold onto 4th.  But if not, whatever.  I was so over this race.  I just wanted it to be done!

At mile 10 I got hungry and didn't have a gel with me.  I never need one for a half but the wind was making me work harder.  Thoughts of "It's only 3 miles" turned into, "ONLY 3 miles?  STILL 3 miles!  That's a whole 5K!"  I thought I was going to puke.  My mantra became, "Don't lose your sh*t.  Don't lose your sh*t."  My hamstring was sore and getting worse.  Around mile 12 I saw some of the RUNdetroit boys with a big sign for me so that really helped perk me up.  If I could run just a little faster it would be over sooner!  That lasted for a couple of minutes and I slowed down again.

Getting to turn off the main road onto the bridge felt so great!  Until I realized I was turning into more wind.  And I also realized that when I made the turn toward the Casino that would also be into the wind.  Argh.  Running toward the Casino, however, I did see some familiar faces - Sarah (already done!) and my friend Bridget.  They were directing me where to go on what was a confusing portion of course.  I had to vault over a large puddle and zigzag around the Casino and past walkers who didn't realize they were on the course.  I was a little disoriented when I got to the finish area (or needed caffeine?) and accidentally almost ran toward the coffee cart instead of the finish line.  Thankfully a few friends were there to point me in the right direction!  

Despite the horribleness of it all, I did run it a bit faster than last year.  I finished 3rd open, 4th overall (3rd place was master's).  Sarah was 2nd and Lindsay was 5th.  RUNdetroit women's team top 5 - wahoo!

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
While we were waiting an eternity for the awards ceremony to start, Sarah, Lindsay, and I made a pact never to run this race again.  Never EVER EVER.  There are plenty of other races out there - more scenic, single-loop or point-to-point, non-desolate, and with guys to pass for competition.  SO, for those reasons - NEVER again.  Sarah and I opened up our prize envelopes.  Want to guess what we won?  Free race entries for next year!  HA!  

Looks like I'm expecting . . . another unpleasant half marathon next September!



Vanilla chia pudding, banana 

In the Sun / She & Him  
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward  
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
Violet / Hole 
We Found Love / Rihanna
Blood for Poppies / Garbage 
Just a Girl / No Doubt  
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae 
Fruit Machine / The Ting Tings
Stranger to My Happiness / Sharon Jones & the Dapp Kings
 Shake it Off / Taylor Swift
Hot Summer Night / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Anklebiters / Paramore
Party in the USA / Miley Cyrus
Turning Japanese / Liz Phair
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater-Kinney
Bootylicious / Destiny's Child
I Love It / Icona Pop
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
Everything's Just Wonderful / Lilly Allen
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
Man / Neko Case
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Don't Save Me / Haim

I also won a medal hanger and Hanson's gift card

How do you push through races that aren't going well?

1 comment:

  1. you push through one step at a time, alert for inspiration