Fitness Magazine

Detroit Free Press Marathon/Half-Marathon 2014

By Xmarkm @matthews_mark

I ran a half marathon as part of the Detroit Free Press marathon yesterday, my second event in three weeks as an advocate for RUNWELL, and it was a perfect day. 
A huge thanks to those who donated for the cause, including bloggers Ty at TyRunman and Amanda at Miss Zippy. You helped fund treatment for an addict somewhere, and spread the cause of Runwell which uses the power of running to fight addiction throughout the globe.  For someone like me whose times are slowing and whose pains are growing, running for the cause is inspiring. I’d like to think I’m running to make a younger clone of myself somewhere, someone who can learn to stay sober and tap into something bigger than themselves like running to find a new joy in life. (Do not fret, donations still being accepted)Being able to run a massive event in my backyard was a great way to feel some communal energy. I typically run alone, so the contrast and feeding off the spirit of 30 thousand other runners was a pleasure.

Some Highlights
~The Expo. I jabber-jawed with plenty of folks. The expo is bigger than it was even 3 years ago when I signed copies of The Jade Rabbit at the Running Fit booth. I had a period where I disliked Expos, but I’m starting to like them again.
~A 10:30 am Race start. None of the 4:30 am menacing alarm noise. I could wake as usual, had time for coffee, the morning paper (yes the Free Press), see the family, and had time for that all important pre-race BM
~The Detroit River Front and Belle Isle. The perfect weather made the Detroit River glisten. And there is something cool about have a sun-reddened face after being outside on an October fall day. 
~Indian Village.  It’s a different dimension in there. Front yard parties, cook outs. Even a big cardboard brick wall with a doorway cut out and the words;  “break through the wall" written on top. Lots of beer is handed out on this part of the course,and I passed by with a smirk. If I’m gonna break 21 years of sobriety, it won’t be for you.
~Singing Frozen's “Let It Go” on Belle Isle. "My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around..."
~Hanging out at the finish watching families waiting anxiously for their loved ones, and then seeing them reunite. I saw one dad in tears after his daughter finished, which means more to me as a father now than when I first started marathoning.  
~Running an even pace, my last mile being the fastest, and being able to even run 13.1 miles after only running 10 miles in the last 20 days. 
Lowlights-A mad house. A MAD HOUSE. There was a Detroit Lions football game on the same day. People were lined up for miles as I left the city. Downtown was a mosh pit of cars, with pedestrians crowd surfing over the metal. Not sure how it works, but I got to believe the Freep has to pick the marathon date well before the NFL schedule comes out, and the NFL is too busy slapping the hands of wife-beaters to pay attention to such things. 

-Spectators saying the wrong things to walkers. Starting the event late meant the US half marathoners were running alongside the 5 hour marathoners, and plenty of them were the walking wounded the last few miles. I felt their pain, I’ve been there, and when I've done so, I hate hearing things like, “come on, just run a little bit, even slow.”  You think I wouldn’t if I could? I have been training for months, this moment is huge, I've already blasted past such pain just to be here, and you think I am choosing to walk now and not being forced by physics? The intent is encouragement, but the person feel worse, and I saw plenty of it. Walk alongside, say nothing, if you want to support. Also, running by and tapping a walker on the shoulder. Don’t do that. ARGGHHH!
~My chronic injury.  The adhesions in my leg ached, as I expected, and I had to walk them out and grind away so that my leg would work.  It felt like someone shot an arrow with a flaming tip into parts of my thigh. I persisted, coming to know what would get me threw, and did what was needed. It hurts to the touch today, but it was all worth it. 
I now expect to be event free until March of 2014. Until then, more specialized massages to grind out the scars, more acceptance of being an aging runner, and fattening myself up with some Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas fare. 

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