2018 Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon Race Recap Part 1

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen my updates about this year’s Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon. I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around everything – from the months of training, to race week and the expo, to the race itself and my amazing success, and to recovery and the “now what?” feelings. I’m going to break this race recap up into those categories to make sure that I cover everything, to keep you from falling asleep reading a long blog, and of course to keep the suspense!

By now you know that I achieved my “A” goal… the time I thought might be feasible but would be the hardest for me to reach. I truly did not expect that I could accomplish it. I was scared to even put that goal out there because I’m not one to set those high goals. But I did… I set that goal, and I crushed it.

I’ve felt like I had no words for the last couple of days because of this. I could not believe that I accomplished that goal. When you’re training, you get into your own head a lot, especially on those more difficult runs. If your pace isn’t where you think it should be, or you feel awful, or you miss a workout, doubt really sets in. When I reached taper time this training cycle, I felt more confident than I ever had. I was ready. I wasn’t nervous. I knew I was going to do well, and I was pretty sure I was going to PR. I still wasn’t confident that I could get my “A” goal, but my friends and training partners were. The only thing that I kept saying was that weather would be my biggest factor.

10 days prior to race day – October 11, 2018 – was my 10 year running anniversary. I actually started running back in January of 2008, but did not do my first race until October 11, 2008. This year I celebrated my anniversary with a lunch time run with my “sister from another mister” Christine and then we saw a concert together that night. During that lunch time run we talked about Detroit. She was planning on coming to support me so we discussed plans and we discussed how I thought I would do. She told me she was confident that I was going to reach my “A” goal; I said I wasn’t so sure. She reminisced with me on how far I had come. The hundreds of miles that had gone into my training, many of which we ran together. The fact that I had stuck with my plan with very little variance. She told me, “You’re ready.”

That weekend my husband and I went to visit my parents. I planned on completing my last long run there because it was 8 miles and I have a challenging but beautiful 8 mile route there that I love. It is also the place where my running journey began, so it was fitting to run there after my 10 year “runiversary” and finish up my last long run of training there. The weather was on the colder side, closer to what was expected for the marathon. Unfortunately, I was not well prepared for this run. I completely forgot to bring music, which wasn’t a big deal, but what was a big deal is that I forgot to bring running pants. And not just that I didn’t bring pants and instead brought shorts or something… no. I completely forgot anything to cover my bum that was made for running. Luckily (maybe?) I packed a pair of dry fit sweatpants for Ken and made due with those. Not long into the run I realized why I wear pants that are form fitting – the chafing was real. But I completed the very hilly run, which helped boost my confidence for Detroit and that dang Ambassador Bridge.

Race week was about minding my nutrition and keeping my runs easy and fun. This was the first time that I properly carb-loaded the week prior to the marathon. I had a plan, did my grocery shopping, and executed it quite well. I stayed hydrated during the week. I ran an easy 3 miles Tuesday, 2 on Thursday and 2 more on Friday. I was mindful of temperatures in comparison to what was in the forecast for race day, which helped me to test out different clothing. I was excited, not anxious, and I was calm. I was ready.

An example of breakfast, lunch and dinner during carbo-loading week.

Tuesday night run of 3.13 miles (yes purposely because of Detroit 313), a 2.04 mile group run on Thursday night, and 1.89 easy miles Friday morning.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my recap!

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