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Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon - RunMarathon

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Detroit, Michigan
United States
Detroit Free Press / Flagstar Bank
70F / 21C
Total Time = 4h 30m 45s
Overall Rank = 2243/3819
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 207/309
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4:00am and had my usual pre-race breakfast (peanut butter toast and coffee). Drank a bottle of Ultima (electrolyte drink) on the way up to Detroit. At the race expo, kind of scoped out the parking situation. Planned on parking at Cobo Hall. When we got up there, that garage was closed. No problem, our backup plan was the 24 hour garage down the street--also closed (not much of a 24 hour garage). Eventually found an open surface lot about a half mile from the start.

Got our stuff together and used the bathroom at Cobo and walked up to the start. Drank another bottle of Ultima during the walk. Start area was chaotic (way too many friends/family in the athletes only area). Located the gear drop and then got in line for the bathrooms. Finally made it through the bathroom line, dropped my gear off and found my start corral about five minutes before the start.
Event warmup:

Just the walk from the car to the start area.
  • 4h 30m 45s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 20s  min/mile

Once the gun went off, it took about a minute for me to get into my start coral and another three minutes to cross the start line. As expected, the first mile was crazy crowded; I just let things thin out naturally and did not waste energy weeving in and out of people. After about 2.5 miles, there was plenty of room to run. About this time, we ran by a bunch of Mexican restaurants, I think they were already making their tortillias for the day because it smelled wonderful.

Around mile four, we began the climb up the Ambassador Bridge. Wanted to keep the heart rate under control, so I slowed down a bit. Got to see an amazing sunrise from the bridge. The run through Canada was pretty uneventful--took in a gel at the mile six aid station some gatorade at the mile eight aid station.

The race re-enters the US through the Detroit/Windsor tunnel. The thought of running under the Detroit river was pretty cool--the reality is that it kind of sucked. It was hot, loud, and sticky. I was very happy to exit the tunnel not only for the fresh air but for the awesome crowd support as well.

I think the great crowd support and adelinine got the best of me during the next couple of miles as my heart rate was creeping up and I was not slowing down. Hit the half way point at 2:04:50. I wasn't feeeling great at this point but wasn't feeling terrible either. Saw Brandy just after the half way point, gave her a kiss and carried on.

Mile 14 was mentally tough for me; realized I still had 13 miles to go, there was almost no crowd support, the wind was picking up, and you were running next to deserted lots (not very scenic at all). Did my best to stay positive and focused.

The run to Belle Isle was pretty uneventful. My heart rate was well into Z3 by this point. Tried slowing down but it did not seem to help (in retrospect should have begun a run/walk here). The first half of the Belle Isle loop was into a extreme head wind; it was like running with somebody pushing on you from the other direction. There were some grassy areas next to the road, so whenever I could, I ran on that to give my knees a break.

On the way out of Belle Isle (about mile 19) my heart rate was pushing Z4. Decided to go to run for 5 minutes, walk for 30 seconds. Did this for as long as I could but the walk breaks were getting longer. Around mile 22, I hit completely hit the wall. Everything hurt, my heart rate was at lactic threshold, and my stomach was upset.

Put aside all time goals and just focused on finishing. Didn't think I could keep calories down (even smells were causing my stomach to churn) so I just drank water for the last five miles. Walked alot and ran when I could. Just kept kept setting mini goals for myself (run to that stop sign then walk, run to that traffic light and then walk...). I was feeling down but never thought about quitting.

The last mile was terribe; I was in pain and defeated. I walked virtually all of it. Even with amazing crowd support, I just could not bring myself to run. When I saw the mile 26 marker, I decided that I wanted to finish strong and started running again (more of a shuffle, but at least it looked like I was running). Saw Brandy here and that really really helped. Did manage to cross the line while running. I did it!!! I finished a marathon.

My pre-race goal was to finish between 4:10 and 4:20. Even though I missed this, I am VERY happy with how I did.

What would you do differently?:

Not go out quite so fast; I started the second half at the bottom of my Z3 heart rate. In hindsight, 4:10 was probably too agressive of a goal given my current fitness level and total lack of experience with this distance. Also needed to take in more electrolytes and salt, my clothing and skin were covered in white grit after the race. Should of tried taking in calories in the last couple of miles. The worst that could have happened is I would have vomitted, but some extra sugar might have helped me get past the wall.
Post race
Warm down:

I have to admit I was totally out of it after the race. Looked for Brandy but could not find her (apparently she was ten feet from me behind the barricade). Heard my nephew yelling for me while turning my chip in. Went and said hi to him, my sister, and brother-in-law. Eventually I found Brandy, and then I lost all energy--I was either sitting down or falling down. Sat in the fetal posistion for a couple of minutes and then decided to try to get beyond the barricade so we could at least sit together.

Picked up my bag of food, finisher's medal, and got my bag from gear check. Just sat there for awhile. Brandy told me that was I was shaking so bad that my teeth were chattering (yes I was wrapped in a mylar blanket). I must have looked pretty bad because at least a dozen people asked me if I was OK. A couple even volunteered to help get me to medical. Probably should have gone, but that would have meant backtracking and I wasn't sure I could make it to the car as it was.

Eventually made it to the car, and during the ride home was able to eat and drink a little bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Mainly inexperience with the distance. Also, in hindsight, my training had some deficiencies; all my runs were either LSD, recovery, or tempo runs. Should have definately thrown in some hill work as well. Also, to protect my knees, I did most of my training runs on dirt roads, should have done more of them on pavement so body could get used to the increased pounding.

Event comments:

The race itself was great. Felt the start area was bit chaotic (the fact that there were numerous non-athletes in the runners only area did not help--I couldn't actually get into my start coral until the race had already started). People of Detroit/Windsor were wonderful and the volunteers were great.

If I had a complaint, it would be that there were not enough bathrooms at the start and on the course.

Last updated: 2007-07-28 12:00 AM
04:30:45 | 26.2 miles | 10m 20s  min/mile
Age Group: 207/309
Overall: 2243/3819
Performance: Average
Mile-01: 09:49 (146 AHR) Mile-02: 09:30 (146 AHR) Mile-03: 09:36 (155 AHR) Mile-04: 08:33 (162 AHR) Mile-05: 10:30 (157 AHR) Mile-06: 08:41 (161 AHR) Mile-07: 09:12 (162 AHR) Mile-08: 09:28 (160 AHR) Mile-09: 09:30 (164 AHR) Mile-10: 09:34 (164 AHR) Mile-11: 09:42 (166 AHR) Mile-12: 09:29 (168 AHR) Mile-13: 09:41 (169 AHR) Mile-14: 09:31 (171 AHR) Mile-15: 10:28 (172 AHR) Mile-16: 10:02 (174 AHR) Mile-17: 09:55 (179 AHR) Mile-18: 10:16 (181 AHR) Mile-19: 10:21 (182 AHR) Mile-20: 10:38 (184 AHR) Mile-21: 10:35 (182 AHR) Mile-22: 11:02 (184 AHR) Mile-23: 12:26 (174 AHR) Mile-24: 12:56 (171 AHR) Mile-25: 13:49 (161 AHR) Finish: 15:20 (168 AHR)
Course: Through the streets of Detroit, Windsor, and Belle Isle. All paved with with a few rolling hills and two significant climbs (the climb onto the Ambassador Bridge and the climb out of the Detroit/Windsor tunnel).
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-10-23 8:10 AM

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Ida, Michigan
Subject: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon

2007-10-23 12:16 PM
in reply to: #1019954

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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon
Great race report, and nice race. Excellent detail.
2007-10-23 12:19 PM
in reply to: #1019954

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Subject: RE: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon

craig, what a race!!!!  wow.  i am amazed that you pushed on through!  i'm glad you're ok now, shaking badly after a race sounds super scary!!!!

congratulations on your first mary! 

2007-10-23 7:35 PM
in reply to: #1019954

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Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon
Congrats on a great race!!  You put in all the details that I thought about during the race, but couldn't remember when I wrote my RR!!  
2007-10-24 4:36 PM
in reply to: #1019954

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Lakewood, CO
Subject: RE: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon

Wow Craig, way to overcome and persist.   I only pray I can demonstrate that type of determination when faced with those obstacles.



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