- Its DETROIT! Close to home
- Its close to my heart. 3 years ago I ran it 2 weeks after losing Ariel. I didn't think I could run, I could hardly breath. I remembered her verse, Phil 4:13 and ran it crying most of the time. I started it with her and I finished it for her, the wind beneath my wings.
From the time they picked me up at work, until the time we fell asleep, us girls laughed.
We checked into the Marriott, dropped off our luggage, passed out presents and headed to the Expo. We took the People Mover to the Cobo.Laughing hysterically, we shot goofy pictures, spent too much money and absorbed the runner energy in the expo. It was all part of the experience.
Back on the People Mover, Mary Ann, Jama, Claudia and I headed to Greek Town for dinner. This was Claudia's first Marathon. We were all so excited for her.
We had dinner at Red Smoke in Greek Town. My chicken was so big and real looking, I thought it was going to get up and fly off my plate singing "Eat more Beef!"
We had a great meal with free entertainment when Michigan lost to Michigan State the last 10 seconds of the game. The restaurant went crazy, then everyone left!
The girls let me get my traditional dessert at Astoria before we headed home. We were all so miserable from dinner.
Claudia thought it would be good to walk to the hotel. It looked like a good idea while we were tucked inside of Greek town.
The closer we got to our hotel the darker and creepier the streets were getting. We all got real quiet after we were asked for change from a dark object that was leaned up against a pole.
Then one of the girls comments "WOW, it smells like weed!"
Trying to not be so nervous I giggled "Cultural Claudia wanted to take the scenic route....Andys last words 'Stay on the PEOPLE MOVER Nita.'
"Cultural Claudia" one of the girls bust out laughing, and walking faster.
We laughed ourselves to bed close to 11pm.
We got up great considering we didn't get much sleep.
Erin (another gal in our running group) met us in our hotel room before we left for the race. Erin was running the half. Erin was impressed by both our river view and our ridiculous array snacks and food lined up in the TV stand.
Claudia asked me the night before if I was going to say a runners prayer before the race. It was at this time we gathered hands, with heads bowed and humbly sought God.
On schedule, we headed down with all the runners to the starting line. The temperature felt much warmer than I thought it would be.
In front of our corrals, was the lobby to the bank. We went in to get warm. "ANITA!" I heard a familiar voice, It was Danielle, my running partner and friend from HS. I was shocked to see her, we didn't plan on something so perfect.
It wasn't hard to find him. He was bummed, he wanted to ride his bike around to watch me but ended up with a flat tire. He left the boys home to sleep.
The first wave was going off. The music to Eminem was rocking "Lose Yourself" and I felt my race tears surfacing.
THE MARATHON: GOALS and PLANS:
The initial plan was Jama and I were originally going to run with Mary Ann at about a 4 hour Marathon. Claudia over the summer slowly increased her miles and her love for distance running. She signed up last minute for the marathon. The plan then changed. Lets get Claudia across the Finish Line for her 1st Marathon! After running with her all summer, I believed she was capable of a 4:10-4:30 marathon.
My target pace was a 10min/mi for the first 13 miles. If she was still feeling good, cautiously, we could pick it up the second half.
The MARATHON: The Story
It was a perfect morning to run 26.2 miles. The 5 of us started out together. Erin stayed with us until we got to the bridge. We lost her on the incline. The sun was coming up over the bridge, the skyline was amazing. Keeping your pace is equally as amazing!
The Detroit Freepress is one of the coolest races, you are in 2 different countries, over a bridge, in a tunnel and on a island. The first 3 miles we were actually followed by a helicopter. The border patrol were on duty and pulling runners left and right that were not wearing bibs or wearing their proper bibs. The patrol were so cool though. As serious as they were, they shared high fives, smiles and words of encouragement. They were hyping the runners and having a lot of fun with us.
As quickly as we enter into Canada, we are heading into the tunnel. I love the Tunnel too. I decided to video us girls. Everyone usually picks up the pace in the tunnel, I explained this to Claudia. Everyone's Garmin lost satellite but mine.
The crowds outside the tunnel were hyped. Feeding off the energy I was raising my hands in efforts of getting them more rowdy. "LETS GO DETROIT!!!" I screamed, then peed my pants. I jumped up to high five police officers, I peed my pants. "WAKE UP DETROIT!! WOOT WOOT" I screamed and jumped in the air, peeing my pants even more.
Laughing, "Girls I think I just emptied my bladder back there!"
I knew I had to use the bathroom but all the port-a-johns had lines. I have never gone to the bathroom in a marathon before. Today was going to be a first. A couple of the girls had to go too. The power of suggestion. "I think if we can hold it until after the half marathoners split we wont have any lines."
I didn't know how much more I had to hold. But it wasn't too much longer I was revving the crowds again and peeing my capris again. Claudia said "Anita, you need a panty liner." I replied, No, I think I need a catheter!"
I screamed into the crowds "HEY WE GOT A FIRST TIME MARATHONER!!"
As the split came we all joked about "Don't get any ideas!" Mary Ann took to the right heading to the Finish line of the Half Marathon. Jama yells "MARY ANN, where are you going?" Cracking herself up Mary Ann jumps over the tape and joins back with us.
I wanted to chat but the girls were all listening to their headphones. We were coming up to mile 18, each of the girls were in their special place. Jama was leading most of the time, Claudia was a couple steps behind me and Mary Ann mingled around. I would shout out our pace or our time and one of the girls would say "What?" I decided I would turn up my tunes too.
As we entered unto Belle Island the sun was out and it was toasty. We all checked in with each other. Jama's knee was starting to hurt. Mary Ann was doing good and Claudia was hanging on. The 20 mile mat was in front of us. With the energy of a crack head I pumped up the girls "LETS GO, 20 miles Raise your HANDS OVER THE MAT!" The ladies in front of us even threw their hands up!
At mile 21, I reminded Claudia that she had now ran farther than she had EVER RAN.
Claudia was trying to smile but she was hurting. Jama was about 10 feet in front of us. Mary Ann was beside me, "Mary Ann, Claudia's hurting, we gotta drop the pace."
We slowed up. "Today is YOUR DAY CLAUDIA, You got this."
She was holding her side. She had a side stitch.
She was holding on. Mary Ann went back with her. I stayed ahead holding our pace. We all hit the water station. "MARCO....??" I yelled this to make sure we were all together. Jama was the only one still replying "POLO".
Mile 22, was windy but refreshing. I stayed ahead of Claudia so she could see me.
Mile 23 "Claudia, Who you running for?" Mary Ann later told me she said, herself, her husband, her little man." I came back to her. I laid my hands on her praying for her.
As we exited Belle Isle our pace dropped a little. Jama moved ahead. Claudia was still struggling with the side stitch from Hell. "YOU got this, How's your cramp?" Half laughing she replied "You are my cramp!" Pretty witty, that's Claudia.
At mile 24, Claudia actually told me to "GO, Go ahead." Mary Ann stayed right next to her. We worked together to get her through those last couple miles.
"No Regrets Claudia, It's just a cramp, it won't kill you, run through the suck."
We had a couple turns, a couple hills but we kept coaxing her.
"You got this, I am so proud of you" I heard Mary Ann cheer her on.
I was like a caged animal as the crowds grew thicker the last mile. "First Time Marathoner Coming through!!" I pumped up the crowds.
The last mile, we were breaking it down by turns, lights and hills. "HALF MILE.." a volunteer cheered.
With the FINISH in site, I started screaming into the crowds, "LETS GO DETROIT!!" I was literally jumping with both legs 3 feet in the air. I was trying to get the crowds roaring for Claudia. My hands were hurting as I clapped at the spectators. The crowds were smiling and laughing. They were loving the energy. Most people get to the finish and are toast. I saw Andy as I was jumping around like a Mexican Jumping bean. I brought it in with the girls as the FINISHING Mats approached. Mary Ann, Claudia and I for the last time threw our hands in the air all smiles to Finish a perfect Marathon!
FINAL WORDS: We had a PERFECT Marathon. Our first half was 2:10:40 and our second half we shaved off 39 seconds with a finishing time of 4:20:01!
Us girls had an Epic weekend. We had a great Marathon weekend together.
Andy asked later that night "Anita, why are you so stupid?!" He saw me outside the tunnel but I was screaming so much I never saw him! That is Andy's way of making fun of me in a loving way.
I have ran Detroit half Marathon and Marathon about 7 times between the two. I have watched this race get more awesome with larger crowds and more runners.
It is one of my FAVORITES.
I LOVE pacing first time marathon runners. Last year, I paced Lacey at Detroit. This year, I was so grateful to cross that Finish Line next to Claudia and Mary Ann. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Running is more than a time or a pace for me. There is a race for that, there will always be a race for that. But running next to your friends holds a special place. A place you can't replace.