Detroit Free Press Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I ran my first half marathon and it was quite an experience!

We left Saturday morning so head over to Detroit. Let me just say that driving in a new city with just my mother was not ideal. Don’t get me wrong I love my Mom but she does not know how to be a good navigator. I drove, because she was no comfortable driving – which was fine. She was stressed, and when she is stressed she gets grumpy and mad. Anyways, during the driving portion of the trip we got lost a lot, there was a lot of yelling in the car and possibly a few swear words.


Anyways, we headed straight to the expo to pick up my bib. Well organized and free samples! The volunteers were amazing, so fun and friendly.



At the expo I bought a t-shirt, glass and a 13.1 magnet. But the lady at the cash didn’t put the magnet in the bag, super sad! So I paid for it but never got it, very disappointing!


After the expo we went to do a little shopping.

The Race

The morning began with a 4:30am wake up, actually I didn’t get much sleep because of the constant slamming of hotel doors all night. We got up and got dressed and were out the door by 5am.


We spent quite a bit of time trying to find apporpriate parking as we were not familiar with the city, had no idea where the start line was and where parking was located. We found parking, and spent some time in the Cobo centre before the race. About 45 mins of that was in the bathroom line, haha.


I started a bit further back than I had anticipated when registered for the race. I think I stareted in the 5:00 marathon carrel. The first wave of runners went off on time at 7am, but since I was further back I didn’t cross the start link until 7:17am. I didn’t realize I had started this late, which really messed me up at the finish line/until I got the final results.


The start line was fun, and I chatted with a bunch of different people. All first time half marathoners, and a few were even from Canada!


The first 5 miles I felt amazing. We ran a bit in Detroit and then went over the Ambasator Bridge. This was by far my favourite part of the race. I ran the whole bridge, it wasn’t easy but it was so worth it! It was such a cool feeling to be running it with so many people. The view at the top was beautiful! It was windy but that was to be expected! I came off that bridge loving running.

We ran in Windsor for about 2 miles along the water, which was also beautiful. I didn’t take my camera because I didn’t want to carry it, but it would have been nice to get some shots during the race because the views were amazing!

Mile 1-6 splits: 10:44, 10:49, 11:17 (bridge), 10:48, 10:53, 10:56

Mile 5.5 is where things started to get tough for me. I told myself to make it to the 6 mile point and then I could start my walk/run for the rest of the race. So at mile 6 I took a walk break, and my first shot block. It was only a quick break though, because I knew I needed to keep my pace up if I wanted to hit my time goal of 2:30. At this point I was right on pace.


We went into the tunnel at mile 7, and it is a whole mile under water. This is where my Garmin got messed up, so my splits and distance are not accurate. The downhill of the tunnel was fast, I knew I was going too fast but so was everyone around me so I just kept going. Then we got to the uphill and I walked, the whole way up. It was about half a mile but I didn’t care. We were only at mile 7.5 and I knew that if I didn’t walk I would pay for it later. In hindsight I likely could have ran and been fine but I am happy with my decision. I think I took another shot block in the tunnel, not sure.


We exited the tunnel and soon hit the mile 8 marker. I knew I had to pay attention the the mile markers now that my watch was not accurate. The next few miles are a blur. I ran as much as I could but did take walk breaks. I was thirsty so I was trying to take in as much water as possible at the aid stations. I took two cups and drank both. The trouble was that I was getting cramps from too much water. There was Gatorade but I don’t train/drink Gatorade so I stuck with water. I remember drinking Gatorade by mistake at a race in the past and it made me feel so sick so I stay away for now.

There were a few more tunnels and overpasses we went over, and I remember thinking ‘when will it end’. I was so happy to see the 10 mile marker, because I knew we only had 5K left to go! At this point I was walking up another hill and a girl about my age, or a few years older went by and said ‘keep going your doing well’. So I started running again. I ended up running with her for about a mile and she was great. We chatted about a bunch of things. I wish I could have held onto her for longer, but I took a walk break and told her to keep going. She was running the full marathon and still had a long ways to go.


Mile 11 was rough, but mile 12 was worst. It honestly seemed like it was 2 miles, the longest mile of my life. We turned a bunch of corners, and around every corner I thought there was the finish line, but it wasn’t. I walked a lot of mile 12, I was hurting and tired and it was messy. But you know what, I got it done.


I thought that crossing the finish line was going to be this big emotional thing for me, I suspected I may tear up. But I didn’t. I was in a lot of physical pain and just wanted to be done running. I completly missed the people with the medals so I had to back track to get mine.


When I crossed the finish line I looked at the clock and it said 2:53, but my watch said 2:38. I was instantly confused and disappointed. The 5 hour marathon pacer passed me about mile 10, and the 2:30 half marathon pacer passed me just before mile 12 (who I really tried to hang onto but couldn’t), so how could I have finished with such a slow time? Well, I hadn’t realized that it took a full 17 mins to cross the start line in the beginning until last night when I checked final results.


I know that if I walked a little less and ran a bit more I would have been able to get my 2:30 but I did my best. I have to be happy with that. I really enjoyed this race, which is what I wanted to do. There is always another race for a faster time, but not another race will be your first ever half marathon.



I spent the night laying on the couch, eating pizza (par my request), a cupcake and a mini snickers bar.


If you made it to the end, thank you. That was a long one! If you just looked at the pictures, then you will probably get the idea 😉 Regardless thank you for reading, it means a lot!

Detroit Free Press Half Marathon: 2:38:17


One thought on “Detroit Free Press Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Katie @ Runs for Cookies October 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM Reply

    A HUGE congrats on your first half-marathon!! That’s a great time for your first–you should be very proud 🙂

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