Saturday, May 30, 2015

On the Run: Wins for Warriors 9K 2015

Last Monday was Memorial Day and I was lucky to have a 4-day weekend away from work!  Brian and I really made the most of it - family wedding Friday night, RUNdetroit group run and Avalon on Saturday morning plus more family time later.  Sunday we went to a Tigers game followed by dinner at Green Dot Stables.  That alone would have made for an amazing weekend.

But it wasn't over yet!  Monday was the Wins for Warriors 9K.  There were several other Memorial Day races but we chose this one for a few reasons.  First of all, it was at Comerica Park.  Brian was excited about the opportunity to finish at home plate.  It was also a charity race benefiting veteran's mental health services, something I believe is overlooked and under-supported.  Plus the race was in Detroit, one of my favorite places to run.  I was looking forward to a new route through some of my favorite places.  

Wins for Warriors 9K Course Map
After we signed up we found out a few of our friends from RUNdetroit Flight Club also were running, as well.  Wahoo!  On race day we met at the store at 8am and carpooled to the park.  Packet pickup was super easy because the race was very small (only 349 participants).  The shirts were cool but unfortunately there weren't any smalls.  I'm not sure they even ordered them!  I'm glad Brian likes his because now he has two.

While we were waiting for the race to start, we took lots of photos.  

This is the best one - it showed up on several Facebook pages and Instagram feeds (such as Opportunity Detroit and Wins for Warriors).

One great thing about having the race at Comerica Park is that we were able to use the restrooms in the park.  ALL THE RESTROOMS!  Plus real sinks, hand dryers, and drinking fountains.  It was a dream.  

Before the race started there was an opening ceremony and then Justin Verlander did a video countdown on the big screen.  I was up at the front talking to people and didn't realize the countdown was going.  As the gun went off, I started my Garmin but had to fumble to turn up the volume on my iPod, clip it on my shorts, and find my gum - all while running.  By the third turn around the stadium I was settled in.  

I wasn't sure what pace I was going to be able to run.  I'd only raced one 5K road race since coming back.  My speed work has been 7:05 pace so I thought I'd start out there and see where things went.  I was a bit nervous but trying not to let it get it to my head.  Once I got to the Riverwalk I thought I'd be fine.

A bunch of guys had passed me right out of the gate but after a mile I was able to catch up and pass 2 of them.  Another guy with a RUNdetroit shirt caught up to me.  We were kinda going back and forth but not exactly on pace with each other.  Since the race was so small there wasn't really anyone to follow - just one guy in a red tank top way ahead in the distance.  It was a little lonely.  I was grateful for the fishermen and walkers out on the Riverwalk.

Just before the halfway point, a guy caught up to me.  We both told each other good job.  Then he said, "Hey I'm not trying to pass you."  (I thought, dude it's a race.  Isn't that the point?  haha!)  "I just need someone to pace with."  I was really grateful because it was at that point that my brain was kicking in and telling me that it was getting hard.  Not my legs but my head.  I needed company.  His name was Matt.  We ended up running the rest of the race together, chatting the whole time.  I was especially grateful when there wasn't a course marshall at a turn after the Riverwalk and we didn't know where to go.  (Thank you random spectators!)  And again when I felt like I was bonking out close to the 5 mile marker.  (Turns out that mile 5 was my slowest mile - probably the wind and nearly getting lost didn't help either!)  Had Matt not been running with me I wouldn't have enjoyed the race as much as I did.  I kept my pace even at the end to finish strong while he gave a huge kick to fly across the finish line!  

After crossing the finish line we were ushered down a tunnel onto the field level.  I ran down with Matt, the guy in the RUNdetroit shirt, and a couple of other guys who'd finished before us.   We got to run around the whole warning track to get our medals.  After that we were allowed to hang out down there as long as we wanted - sit in the stands, play in the dugout.  It was really cool.  

After everyone was done we took more pictures.  It was raining by that point so we headed up to get snacks and check results.  I finished 1st female and 7th overall!  There was going to be an awards ceremony at 11:00 (which seemed a long time after a 9:00 race start) but they let me take my award early.

Fox news was there reporting.  Check out this video clip to see a little more about the race.  Watch closely and you'll see me receiving my medal inside the stadium!

The snacks were good - water, perfect bananas, bagels, Whole Foods granola bars, and cookies (not everything vegan but my friends can vouch for their deliciousness).  There were several veterans' organizations with tables.  All in all it was a fun race - great course, perfect location, and friendly people.  Hopefully next year more volunteers will show up for course marshalling and they will have small tee shirts. I will definitely do this one again.  I had a hard time with fund raising (Running in my underwear?  Easy to fundraise!  Veteran's mental health?  Crickets.) but maybe next year I can generate a little more interest.  




My Hero / Foo Fighters
A Long Time / Mayer Hawthorne
Digital Witness / St. Vincent
Lazaretto / Jack White
Crawling to the USA / Elvis Costello
Kids in America / The Muffs
Sixteen Saltines / Jack White
Run Right Back / The Black Keys
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
The Feast and the Famine / Foo Fighters
Gotta Get Away / The Black Keys
Felt / Garbage

Verlander's Instagram from the race.  That's me at the front!  The bad*ss guy on the far right won with a 5:08 pace.  He said he was going to "take it easy".

Did you run a race on Memorial Day?  Tell me about it!


  1. So funny that you just commented on my blog! I came across your blog last week when I was looking for Dave Tomsich's email address (I'm doing physical therapy with him). And I was sucked in when I started reading your restaurant reviews, haha. Small world :)
    A huge congrats on your award! I remember seeing you go by--it's hard to miss the first female. I thought it was a great race, and I look forward to next year.

    1. Small world indeed! Thanks for checking out my blog as well! How is PT going for you? Dave is great. If he were closer to me I would have seen him for PT on a regular basis.

      I'm looking forward to the race next year as well! :)

  2. Hi there... I was one of the 2 guys you passed after mile 1! I talked with you afterward, said I was chasing you the whole time..... I stumbled upon your blog randomly! Hope you are having a nice summer - and great job on this!

    1. Hi Brian! I'm glad you found my blog! It was nice talking to you after the race. Hopefully we'll see each other at another race soon! :)