Sunday, October 4, 2015

On the Run: Women Run the D 2015

I swore I would never run this race again after last year.  But when it came down to it, I couldn't turn down a free race entry.  I wasn't exactly looking forward to the race but in the weeks preceding it, I did a few training runs on Belle Isle to mentally prepare for race day.  One was a solo 13-mile tempo run, which was especially good because it gave me the practice of the double loops at race pace.  I've also started to make my peace with running on the island, now that it's become the home of our Be Bold Crew.  

The Be Bold recovery station

Women Run the D is scheduled back-to-back weekends with The Brooksie Way.  A couple days before the race Coach Terra asked me to pick one for my goal race.  Of course that would be Brooksie.  I needed a solid 20-miler the weekend of Women Run the D so we decided I would run that one as an aerobic training run, cross the finish line, and just keep running another 7 miles.  That took off so much pressure for me knowing I was NOT racing this thing but just using it as training!  It would be perfect.  A training run with port-a-potties before and after, water stations, cheering spectators, and a Be Bold recovery station when I was finally done!  

Just the Tuesday prior to the race I had tripped over a construction sign while running before work.  My left knee was scabbed and I had road rash on left thigh.  The real problem, however, was my inner right knee.  It was sore to the touch and a bit painful to walk on.  Somehow running was okay once I got going.  I had taken it easy in the days between the fall and the race with lots of rest, ice, and Ibuprofin the day before.  On race day I took Aleve and got taped up by Coach Stefanie (aka The Dynamic Runner).  I actually felt pretty good.

The race start was moved from the Casino closer to the bridge.  I met up with my RUNdetroit family and the Be Bold Crew.  As usual, the race start was delayed by 15 minutes.  I waited until the last minute to go up to the start line.  After we took off, it was another girl and me at the front behind two lead bikes.  We were side by side until the first turn when the other girl shoved me aside.  She actually pushed me over into the other lane!  I wanted to laugh so hard because A) If you've ever been on Belle Isle you know that the road is very wide.  Certainly wide enough for two small runners to share without the need to push or shove. B) It was just the two of us.  Nobody was even close behind us.  What was she thinking?  C)  I wasn't even racing this thing!  I wanted to shout, "It's all yours!"  She had no idea what a long and lonely race she had ahead of her.  

Instead I thought about what a happy run I was going to have.  20 miles, here I come!  I took it all in.  I waved to everyone on the course.  I thanked all the volunteers.  I said good morning to the spectators and other people out enjoying the day.  Each mile ticked away quickly and easily.  

When I got back near the starting line I saw Coach Terra, Justin and ACE! from RUNdetroit, and some other friends.  I was feeling fantastic!  I continued around to the other side of the island.

Before long I met up with the 5K'ers for the first time.  It's hard because many don't realize that runners are coming.  They are either running slowly or walking, sometime 4-5 across. It makes for quite the obstacle course!  Some of the ladies are more observant than others and I got some cheers and shouts of "You go girl!" along the way when they realized I was a half marathoner.  That was a nice boost.  They made their turn just before my mile 7.

It was at this point I found one of the lead bikers waiting for me.  I was so grateful that she had stayed back.  The next stretch of island was going to be a lonely one, lacking both runners and spectators.  I was grateful for the company!  As she rode she would glance back to make sure her distance was okay and I felt like I needed to keep up.  My own personal pacer!  haha.  When we converged with the 5K runners again she helped get them to move out of my way so I didn't have to weave around them.  Later I saw Justin again and joked that I couldn't get lost in this race!  I even chatted with her here and there but that was hard because it was windy in some spots making it hard to hear each other.

The route was a bit different this year so it wasn't two full loops of the island.  Near the end we made a turn at the Athletic Fields and ran past the old zoo.  This is where Be Bold Mechanics class meets so it felt like home.  As we turned into the final stretch at the finish line, my lead bike pulled off to the side.  I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.  My friend Jen was handing out medals.  She scooped me up in a huge hug!  Then I ran over to my lead biker and gave her a hug, thanking her for the company. She was wonderful to come back for me!

After that I quick ran to the Be Bold bus where I tossed my water and medal to the Crew and was off and running again.  I maybe stopped running for a minute total.  Then I ran across the bridge, down Jefferson, and picked up the Riverwalk for 3.5 miles before I turned around and came back, completing my 20 miles for the day.

When I got back I got to hear all the happy news from friends who had amazing races.  It was wonderful to celebrate with them!  I was also just in time for the awards ceremony.  I placed 2nd overall.  This year they didn't give free entries again so it will be my last year running it.  I got a cozy blanket, another single medal hanger (I got one last year.  Honestly what do you do with these things?), and a gift card to American Home Fitness.  

Of all my 20-milers, this was by far my best and happiest!  Healthy legs + happy heart = successful training run!  


6:58 min/mile
Turn it Around / Lucius
10th Floor Ghost Girl / Cibo Matto
  Don't Save Me / Haim
 Ex's & Oh's / Elle King
Don't Take My Man to Idaho / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Ship to Wreck / Florence + the Machine 
Birth in Reverse / St. Vincent
Man / Neko Case
Caught Up / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
Youth Without Youth / Metric
I Love It / Icona Pop
Hell / Tegan & Sara
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae
Dead Brains / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Keep Your Head / The Ting Tings
Bulletproof / La Roux
Shake it Off / Taylor Swift
Youth Without Youth / Metric 
Ex-Girlfriend / No Doubt
Shut Up and Drive / Rihanna
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Kiss With a Fist / Florence + the Machine
Never Go Back / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward
Blood For Poppies / Garbage
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater Kinney
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs

NOTE: This post was about MY run, MY race.  As for the Women's Half Marathon itself, I don't really have a lot of great things to say about it.  
  • Expo - Hard to find and underwhelming.  One of the big products/sponsors at expo was NuStep.  I'm not entirely sure why this was at a race expo.  Anyway, don't plan on spending much time at their expo.  You may even want to just get your stuff on race day so you don't have to pay for parking.
  • Shirts - Usually the shirts are ultra tiny so I order a medium.  This year they went with a different shirt company so even after being in the dryer on high, it's still too big.  Order true to size.
  • Course - While I give them credit for changing up the course a bit, it's still a half marathon on Belle Isle.  That island is good for a 5K or 10K but too small for 13.1 miles.  Some friends had the idea of making it a 15K, which I think would be perfect.
  • Organization - By year 3 a race should be getting their stuff together.  Every year it starts 15 minutes late because not everyone is there on time.  By starting late, however, people think they don't have to get there on time.  It's always a delayed start but there's never a clear announcement about the new start time.  Or if there is you don't know because their speaker system is so bad.
  • Pink - Everything is PINK!  It's women's race but not all women love pink!
  • Port-a-Potties - NOT ENOUGH!  This is a WOMEN'S race.  Women pee.  A LOT.  I'm not sure if this race follows the 1:100 formula but they should probably go with a 1:50 formula.  The lines were super long.  But note that the Casino does have a few restrooms that you can use in a pinch.

One nice thing about the event is free photos.  Race photos can be expensive so it's nice to get them free at this event!  They took them at a few points around the island.

Did you run Women Run the D?  Tell me about your experience!