At the beginning of this year, my friend Kendra decided that she wanted to do her first half marathon in 2022, and she wanted to actually train for it this time. This idea came with wanting to run some other races during the year, the first one being Corktown Races in Detroit for St. Patrick’s Day. When she proposed the idea, Paula and I gladly agreed to run the race with her. Two years ago, Paula and I were thinking about running the race, but I think you all know what ended up happening that year.
By January 19th, all three of us were registered for the race. We talked about race outfits, because if you aren’t going to be fast, you might as well be cute and festive. Kendra bought a tutu. I bought St. Patrick’s Day running shoes. None of us really had goals for the race other than having a fun girls’ day. We did all come up with a casual idea of training plans for ourselves. I decided to work towards running without run/walk intervals because I knew that Kendra had talked about wanting to run an entire 5k without walking, and maybe Corktown would be the race for that.
Spoiler alert: Corktown as NOT the race for that. Leading up to race day, we were all watching the weather. In typical Michigan fashion the predictions changed drastically day by day, hour by hour. We were hoping they would change again the day of the race from the predicted wind and snow, but unfortunately our hopes did not come true. The snow was falling when Kendra and I arrived at Paula’s house.
On our way down to Detroit, the snow would stop here and there. Kendra asked a few times, “Whose idea was this?” And we had to remind her that it was her idea. As we were about to take the exit for the race, Kendra asked, “Do we have our bibs?” And we all suddenly realized that we did not. We were really early to the race, and we were about to turn around when I used my common sense and prior race volunteer experience to say, “We can just go to registration and tell them we forgot our bibs, and they will give us new ones.” So, in case this ever happens to you, don’t fret – the lovely race workers and volunteers will be happy to reassign you a bib number so you don’t have to turn around and drive 30 minutes back home and end up late to the race instead of early.
After getting our new bibs, we headed back to Paula’s car to hang out until closer to race start time. We chatted, laughed and people watched from the warmth of the car. One girl walked by the car and exclaimed, “Why are we doing this?!” as the wind and snow raged on. Same girl, same.
It finally came time to head down to the race start. We made one last pit stop at the porta-potties and then hopped into our corral. We saw lots of people dressed festively and there were surprisingly a lot of spectators despite the less-than-ideal conditions. The streets of Corktown were getting covered in snow. We ran/slipped through, glad that we had worn our sunglasses even though there wasn’t a ray of sun in the sky – they shielded our eyes from getting pelted by snowflakes! There were bands playing Irish music and we had Flogging Molly blasting from our phones. We ran the first mile and then took a walk break. I kept up a very slow jog while Kendra and Paula walked to keep myself warm. We probably walked about 3 times during the whole 5k. When we reached one of the last turns of the race, a volunteer shouted to us, “You’re not winners, but you’re all champions!” We laughed and said, “Damn right we are!” It gave us a final boost of confidence to finish out the race.
We were walking the last part of the race when Paula said, “Okay, we should probably run when we turn this corner.” Kendra asked where the finish line was, and we pointed right ahead around the corner. She said, “OH! I didn’t think we were that close!” And we took off. I brought up the rear as we finally crossed the finish, got our medals, took a quick selfie, and made our way back to the car through the snowy mess.
Afterwards we headed to one of our favorite post-race restaurants for burgers and shared a yummy appetizer of pretzel bites and beer cheese. We all remarked, “That was an experience.” Even though the weather did not cooperate for us, we still had a good time and enjoyed each other’s company. Surprisingly none of us really complained all that much during the race, just a few “This really sucks.” were muttered here and there. Corktown is definitely a race I would like to do again, especially if it’s not snowing!
Oh, and Mother Nature definitely has a sense of humor – by the middle of the afternoon that day it was almost 60 degrees outside.