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Oct 17, 2011

Detroit Marathon 2011 race report

Definitely a rest day today!!!!!

Detroit Marathon Race Report

Short Version:

Total time:  3:58:45
Overall Place:  1029/3448
Gender Place:  786/2113
Division(M40-44) Place:  153/363

Needless to say I am very happy.


The alarm went off at 3:45am.   Ohhhh...why am I doing this?  Haha!  I did the usual routine that I do for any race.  Bathroom, foam roller, check weather, eat, go!  The weather said rainy and windy.  We had a few raindrops but nothing much and there was wind but it was not terrible except on the bridge.  We started out in the high 40's which was a perfect day for running.  It only got into the mid 50's and it was cloudy all day so that worked out just fine.

I went to get my running buddy, T.  He was running the 1/2 marathon today since he did his marathon two weeks ago.  Even with a marathon two weeks ago, he still did a 1:50 half.  Amazing!

My running buddy and I got down to Detroit at 5:30am.  We decided we would park in the same structure that we parked at for the expo.  Great idea!  It was very easy in and then we realized that we were right next to the start/finish line.  Here's a few pictures we took from the structure.
So close to the start/finish!
Before the race
T also took a few pictures after he finished his half marathon since he decided to stay and wait for me.  I was really glad that he did because my legs were KILLING me and while I could have driven, it was nice not to drive at that moment.

Since we got there so early we stayed in the car and T ate his breakfast and we listened to some music.  My friend, P, also was able to find us in the crowd of thousands before the race started so we were able to wish each other luck.  I can't believe she found us - not only was it crowded but it was dark too!

They did the Canadian National Anthem and also the US National Anthem.  Since we were going off in waves, it took us 8:16 minutes to get to the starting line but it made is much less congested at the start.  The first couple miles are not really scenic until you get to the bridge to Canada.  For those of you that did not know, this marathon goes over to Canada and back to the USA.  Here's the map:

Mile 2-5 takes you on the bridge and also by the bridge once off of it.  It was really windy on the bridge the entire time and of course there was a nice incline at the beginning of the bridge but it's at the start of the race so it's not that big of an issue.  There is also a big decline coming down the bridge too so that was nice having that.  If they ever changed this race so the bridge was at the end of the race, it would certainly make for quite a challenge but given logistics its doubtful that it will ever change.

Mile 5-7 is running over near the water in Canada and you get a nice view of the City of Detroit.  It was now light outside too.  I was still feeling pretty good especially since I have not run in 4 days.  When running by the bridge, you could hear a truck playing songs on it's horn coming off the bridge which was kind of funny.

Mile 7-8 is the only underwater mile in a Marathon.  We headed back through the tunnel.  Now everyone raves about the tunnel but frankly, I think it's stinky and hot.  I would say that it is something everyone should experience though.  My Garmin also went out here and through off my splits by about 3/4 of a mile.  The best part about this tunnel is that there are lots of people lined up to cheer you on after you come out of the tunnel back onto the US side.  This is the first time that I saw Ken from Eastside Stoney Creek TNT Coach.  He asked me how I was doing and I was doing great.  I didn't even feel any pull in my calf from Monday's incident at all the entire race!  Ken is such a huge supporter of races in the area and it's great to get a cheer from someone you know.

Mile 8 take you around by Joe Louis Arena and the waterfront again.  You really do get to see some great parts of the City.  It's a marathon that should be on everyone's list.

Mile 9-12 takes you through Mexicantown and Corktown.  Two great neighborhoods in Detroit.  They have some great people there and even had a Mariachi Band playing which is nice.  Also, I have run a 5k through Corktown a few times so it's nice to run in that area again.  Mind you that I have still been following the 3:55 pacer this entire time.  We actually got about 2 minutes behind the pace and made that  time up later on in the race(or at least he did)
This was not them but you get the idea - Mexicantown
Mile 12-13 is where the half marathoners break off for their finish.  Since there are double the half marathon finishers(about 10,400) vs marathon finishers(4,400), the crowd let up quite a bit.  It was nice actually since you could spread out a little and not feel on top of each other so much.  I also got to see Ken again right after the split.n  He asked me how I was doing and I was still feeling pretty good at that point.  See, the half marathon really is my favorite distance.  From the map, you can see how easy it is to get around on the course in certain areas.

Mile 13-16 is basically a straight shot down one road.  Unfortunately there were not make spectators at this point of the race but really, most do not seem to get tired yet at this time in the race anyway.  It did make for a little bit long part of the race since there is not much to see here.

Mile 16-18 is a run through Indian Village.  This is an incredible neighborhood in Detroit with 100 year old homes everywhere that are very large homes.  It used to be where the rich and famous lived and still many wealthy people live there.
Incredible homes, huh?
Mile 18-19 is run on a main road in Detroit.  Not really too much to look at here and it's about this time when you(or at least me) are starting to really concentrate on just running.  Because I was with the pacer still, I had a nice conversation about his running so it kept my mind off the fact we were still going.

Mile 19-22.5 is on Belle Isle which is a nice island with a great park on it.  We also had to run over a bridge here twice.  There is also many other races held on this island and you get a great view of the Skyline of Detroit and Canada.  It was also a part in the race where it was really windy again but I did my best to hold on.  At my last marathon I crashed at mile 22(bonked) but I promised myself that I would not do that here and continued to run although I was starting to slow down a big.  I was still holding onto the marathon pacer through 22 miles.
This is the view from Belle Isle; close up with a camera though

This is the bridge we ran across twice!
Mile 22.5-24 is a nice run through Riverwalk.  Riverwalk is an area that was cleaned up a few years back and is an incredible place to run.  It came at a great time because it help me keep going since I have not run in this area before.  But I have to say, I was getting TIRED!
Of course, the fountains are not going this time of year but very nice!
Mile 24 - This mile almost killed me.  There is one thing that saved me  - KEN!!!!!
There he was again and he was handing out beer to runners.  Haha!  Not that I could take one as I probably would have puked it up at that point.  My stomach was giving me some problems and I could barely drink water.  Ken did something way over the top as a spectator and for me.  He ran a mile in front of me just to help keep the wind from coming into me and made it easier for me.  He saved me.  He also used his excellent coaching skills to help pull me through and pushed me to run at least until just before mile 25 where there was a hill that needed to be covered.  I ran to the hill and then walked up the hill.  After the hill, I gained my confidence back all thanks to Ken and I was off and running again.  If you are ever thinking of running a marathon and you train on the east side, Ken is the man!  He coaches for Team in training, a great cause.

Mile 25 to 26.2 - I never stopped running from the boost of confidence Ken gave me.  It was an incredible thing to do. Without him I would NOT have met my goal of sub 4 hours.  I was ready to do whatever he said so he said just keep running and keep really good form.  That did it for me, I finished the last 1.2 miles strong.  My running buddy T was there waiting for me and had his camera so he got some great pictures of me at the end.  He's a great photographer.
Me at the end floating! 
I almost missed him!
and I'm smiling at 26.1 miles!  Haha!
The grand finish!
Remember, it took us 8:16 to get to the start
Final chip time:  3:58:45; holy cow I cut it close!!!!  This is why I say Ken helped so much.  Had I walked even a little more past that hill, it's likely I would not have met my goal.  I'm very happy to have met my goal of a sub 4 marathon.  Now I need a new goal.  Yes, one day and I'm already thinking about what marathon to do next year.

Here's a couple pictures of the medal which is really the nicest medal I have received so far and I believe probably one of the nicest medals for a marathon.
Nice ribbon with US & Canada

Sorry, hard to see the writing.

While I would say that there were several differences to how I did things from my first marathon to this one that helped me improve(will post about them later), all I can say is that it's still HARD.  26.2 miles is a lot of running.  Haha!  Now it's time to rest a few days to get my legs back to normal.

I hope you enjoyed the recap of the race.  I'm sure I'll do this race again sometime.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!!


  1. congrats! i actually knew you got your sub 4 goal, i looked it up yesterday :) That is so awesome, especially with the weather yesterday.

  2. LOL, Jeff it's what I do! Just think of all those poor runners that I couldn't hand out beer to..... Great job!

  3. Congratulations on a great race!!! And awesome to get the sub-4 hour goal! If I "un-retire" from marathons, that is my next goal.

    Well done!

  4. Congrats Jeff on meeting your goal time and great tribute to Ken!! I agree, it's a beautiful course and something I would most likely run again. Now I know what you mean about finishing your first and already thinking about another!!

    The bridges were by far the worst in terms of wind and I agree that miles 13-16 were boring as can be! Thank goodness my parents snuck out there to cheer me up!

    Great job on your second marathon and thanks for helping me with the determination to even attempt my first marathon!! You are an inspiration and I think the main thing is because you're a normal person that people can relate to!

  5. What a wonderful time!! I was refreshing your time yesterday so I was glad to see your sub 4! But after reading your race report I swear for some dumb reason I thought Detroit was more inland and nowhere near Canada! der. How cool though! lol

  6. you fought the battle and won, nice report.

  7. Awesome job on your race! Every time you talk about this marathon, it makes me want to run it. I mean, come on, you run through canada and back!

  8. Great job!! I thought the wind on the bridge was an unnecessary double whammy! And I definitely agree with you about the tunnel. Kind of cool, but I was so incredibly thankful for the fresh air at the end. Looks like the half marathon route misses some of the best views! Congrats on your great race!!

  9. Congratulations on your race! Great photos & awesome medal!

  10. Congrats on getting your sub-4 Jeff! And a great recap!

  11. Sub - 4!!!! congratulstions :) As for ken running in front of you for a mile. WOW. How awesome.

  12. Awesome job!! And congratulations on meeting your goal! I do want to say I agree with you about the tunnel. To be honest, I couldn't wait to get out of there and back into the rain, ha ha!

  13. Congratulations Jeff!!!

    I thought of you yesterday while out there running. So happy to see that you met your sub-4 hour goal!!

  14. Great nailed it..!

    It's wonderful you had such great friends to share the race with (T) and that could give you a boost when you needed it (Ken)

    The windy bridges sound tough, the tunnel kinda weird and running through two countries pretty cool!

  15. Great job on the race! Sorry I missed you at the expo! Ken is such a great guy, so awesome he was able to help you pull off that sub-4 with time to spare!

  16. Great job Jeff! Congrats on a sub 4 finish! Sounds like a great race and from your write up, it's easy to tell that you have some great friends!

  17. Look at you Mr. Sub Four! Great job.

  18. Congratulations on an awesome marathon and time!!

  19. Congrats on going sub-4, Jeff, and great recap! There's so much to see downtown, and the marathon course really takes you through some cool areas like Indian Village.

  20. Congratulations! Sub 4 is an incredible accomplishment ! Well done! As a Canadian living in the US a cross border marathon is something I'd like to do, but I thought Niagara was the only've given me something to think about. :)

  21. Great job!! Both to you on your sub 4 finish and to Ken for helping out just when you needed it. Sounds like it was an amazing run.

  22. Awesome job!! I want to do this marathon next year!!

  23. Congrats on going sub 4! Yep, they're always hard, aren't they? But they're so darn satisfying once they're over! Love that ribbon!

  24. congrats!!! i effing hated that tunnel, but i loved the mariachi. great photos!

  25. Congrats and well done! Sub 4 -- sweet.

    Great post.

  26. Thanks everyone for your comments. I really did enjoy it....well...maybe not mile 24-25 but otherwise. You all inspire me!

  27. CONGRATS on beating your goal! I've never actually met Ken but believe everything you've said about him being such a great supporter. I loved all the pics too--it let me relive the Detroit course a little. I just remember being SO tired on Belle Isle and having to stop and re-group on that boardwalk of a thing with the fountains that don't run in Oct. Again, great race and congrats!

  28. NICE WORK!!!! Sub 4 is such a huge milestone. I Knew you could do it!!

  29. Nice work, I'm hoping to run sub four during my next marathon. I've ran three so far, and am slowing getting better.

    The Detroit marathon is a blast! I love the first half of the race. Belle Isle is a drag though...