Friday, October 26, 2012

Detroit Marathon: Dark Knight Rises

So it should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I decided to run the full marathon instead of just the half after all. By my estimate, I completed about 85% of the training, which is about what I did my first couple of marathons over a decade ago, i figured I might as well get another marathon on my running bio after all. I seriously considered calling it at mile 12 but realized I'd have to wait another hour for Nightingale to finish her half and I'd only beat myself up second, third and 4th guessing my decision.

The bib# seemed like an omen that I would run the full marathon
 I actually ran as far as the 13 mile marker and then turned off my Garmin and started to walk back to the finish, thinking I would call it a day. But then I realized I had not one but two hours to work with and thought a slightly over 4 hour finish time was within reach. So I started again.

Essentially I covered 7 miles in the first hour, 6 miles in the second a little more than 5 in the third and then another 5 in the fourth.  It took the last 35 minutes to cover the remaining 3.2.  That includes stops to try and stretch my tight muscles.

I'm pleased to report that my knees, while a little tweaky at times, held out magnificently. During the last two weeks before the trip, I rested my knees by tapering much more than the standard marathon training program calls for.  While this saved my knees, it cost me endurance. 

It was my calf muscles and lack of endurance that got to me kinda like many of the other 21 marathons I've run. While I would have preferred a time closer to four hours, I can live with my 4:35 time.  This probably isn't my last marathon.  It probably is my last for a year or two. 

The course is rather pleasant, the trip through Canada is fun and Belle Island is amazing. Downtown Detroit has a lot of cool architecture, although sadly the inner city is a shell of its former self. Still, a very enjoyable course nonetheless.

When we were walking to the starting line, we passed the buses for the relay runners. It reminded me of New York Marathon because they bus you out at 4 or 5 in the morning since it's a point to point marathon.

I tried to stay with Nightingale's friend Ann, but she was having none of it.  She dropped back and was going too slow for me to keep up with, so I continued at a more comfortable 8:30- 9 mm pace.  On the Ambassador bridge to Canada, I noticed a loose mat that was probably placed to make the transition a little smoother.  About 20 seconds later we heard a crash and it appears a runner tripped on it, bringing two others down with him.  Don't know if they were half or full marathoners or a combination.  A lady running next to me exclaimed that she was almost part of that mess and was relieved because she was 5 months pregnant. 

The trip was not without drama, or at least a very light version of Drama. First off, we traveled 300 miles to the Motor city in hopes of being able to work in some time with the little monkeys nephews and some of Nightingale's friends. However, as is life, her friends couldn't make the additional 20-30 minute drive to meet up anywhere near our hotel.
Second, while the trip had been on the books for months, there was a brief "scare" that her sister and our brother-in-law would be in Chicago because someone finally agreed to rent their house and they need to move their furniture out of it.

Ambassador Bridge looks easier to cross from the hotel room
Finally, because two of our travel companions brought there 14 month kid along, it was decided that we would order dinner from the hotel restaurant and eat in their suite. The ambitious plan was to order ahead of time and have the food brought up when we were ready to eat.

That plan changed, ostensibly because the restaurant told B that it would only take 15-20 minutes to put the order together, but really because someone dropped the ball on putting the order in.  I was a little annoyed because if we were going to have to pick up our order ourselves, instead of going in on one check, we could have each called in our own order.  That avoids the drama of who owes how much especially for those who somehow believe that a $20 will cover an $18 meal, tax and tip.

When we called, they said they were slammed and it would take 30-40 minutes. We waited 40 minutes and then went to pick up our order...and still waited 20-25 minutes. They kept coming by and telling us it was almost ready and would we like anything to drink while we waited.  Sure, we'd love to down some overpriced watered down drinks while we wait for you to prepare our order that you obviously just started putting together when we walked in. 

On top of that, the food was marked up and cold. Luckily K had the web menu print out which showed the correct price.  The manager comped us $50 for the difference and the wait.  As we were gathering our bags, the bar tender told me that they had marked up the prices because of the marathon.

I cannot begrudge them that.  Restaurant bars are in the business to make money and drinks are usually 30 - 50% of their revenue, a statistic I totally made up.  People running a marathon are not known for pounding down the cocktails on race night, so it makes sense that they would try to make up some of the lost revenue by upping the price.

What I can rip them on Yelp for is the fact that the food not only was room temperature when we got it, but also not very good.  Neither the quality or the quantity justified those prices.

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