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Detroit 2006 #3 – 26.2 Mile Experience III

 
Some people are satisfied with a sequel.  But as for me I was all lined up and waiting for the gun to go off to start my third marathon.  The gun sounded and we were off.  A new corral system was being used this year that proved to work well.  It only took me two minutes to reach the actual starting line and the congestion of runners in the first miles seemed better than last year.  My plan was to stick with the 4 hour pace group as long as possible to keep a good solid pace and not go to fast.  The first couple miles were great.  Lots of fans on the course, some needed to be woken up, but it was great to have all the fan support. Around mile 3 I started to get a cramp in my side.  What?  This never happens to me.  Mentally I started to freak out.  How long would this cramp last?   Would it make me stop running?  After using the deep breathing technique that I had been taught the cramp slowly went away.   Hurdle one completed.  Next, I ran into one of my running buddies from Stony Creek, Donna, that had joined our Saturday trainings.  Donna is actually the wife of one of my Dad’s friends the he grew up with.  We do live in a small world.  I think I scared her but I passed her and then dropped back and gave her a half hug.  We went right into the conversations that we would have with all the other fellow runners at Stony which made the miles roll by.   We continued on with the 4 hour pace group over the Ambassador Bridge.  The view was amazing!  Plus one of the Detroit Fire Boats was in the river spraying water which was something you do not get to see every day.  After a short trip through Canada it was down into the Windsor Tunnel to run the only Underwater International Mile in the world.   Half way through the tunnel I looked back a few times and noticed that we had left the 4 hour pace group about half a mile behind us.  The pace did not feel that bad so we continued out of the tunnel onto Jefferson Avenue, my favorite part of the course.  It is hard to describe, but the feeling of coming out of the tunnel and seeing all of the fans lined up along the wall overlooking the tunnel, then running through them on Jefferson Avenue raises your emotions.  It is the best welcome back to the USA that anyone could ask for.  Next we hit one of the water stations that was ran by Team in Training.  Everyone running the station was working really hard due to the nasty wind but they each found time to cheer us all on also.  The course continued on and everything felt good until about mile 15.   The legs began to feel heavy.  My calves were twitching a little bit but no muscle cramps yet.  Thank you Lord!  Around this time I let the people from Stony that I was running with go ahead and I slowed up my pace a little.  I was still ahead of the 4 hour pace group so I was still at a good pace.   The hardest part of the day came around mile 17 when we turned onto Belle Isle.   The nasty wind that had slowed us down for short periods of the course was now in full force since there were no buildings to block it.  It was a very cold winter style wind that burned the face and made you feel like you were not even moving forward at times.   I pushed on and made sure that I walked through the remaining water stations for a quick break for the legs.   That strategy proved to work well.  After leaving a water station I would begin running again and the legs felt fresh for a short period which was always an added plus.   Making our way through Indian Village we were treated to some beautiful homes and lots of fan support.   There were people handing out beer, and even a father and daughter offering Advil and Jelly Beans.   After I saw that I remembered that along with my Power Gel I had brought one pack of Jelly Belly Power Beans with me.  I have to say that at that moment those Power beans were the best tasting jelly beans I had ever had.   The indulgence in the Power Beans must have really slowed me down because I notice that the 4 hour pace group was now past me and seemed to be moving pretty fast.  No big deal.  I was happy with my current estimated finish time, yes I was still able to do math in my head.  I continued on through the last long stretch of the course and saw that Greek Town was in the distance.  Then one of my fellow TNT’ers, Tim, came cruising past me.  I had to yell as loud as I could to get his attention.  You could tell that he was in the zone and feeling good.  He slowed up to offer some words of encouragement, and then continued on.  As I got closer and closer to Greek Town I felt like I was moving faster and faster.  I guess the body knew that it was almost done.  As I made the last turn towards Ford Field the fan support grew and the cheering was very loud.  I head my name being called but I was focused on using the remaining energy I had left to cross the finish line.  The crowd was on the street and only left a small path for us to run down.  That was actually pretty cool and helped propel me to the tunnel down to Ford Field.  After stepping onto the turf of the field I looked up and pointed above to give thanks and crossed the finish line.   
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November 2, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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