5:40 am came very early, but after chomping down a pear really quick, I slept-walked out the door and headed out to the marathon start. It was a great day for a marathon – 40’s for the start 50’s for the finish…nice! When I got to the start line, I found the 3:55 pace group. My thinking in joining the 3:55 group versus the 4 hour group was that when I slowed down towards the end I would have a 5 minute buffer to reach my goal. I am SO glad I did!
The race started in the dark, but by the time I was at the Ambassador Bridge (cross into Canada) the sunrise was in full blaze. The pink and blue-ish colored clouds were so gorgeous! Then after a few miles in Canada, I entered the tunnel back to Michigan. Once back stateside, the route went through downtown, Mexicantown, Corktown, and Indian Village. The houses in Indian Village were great and made for a nice view around mile 18. I defiantly was cruising through the race until I hit mile 21. Suddenly my hamstrings started to revolt! Having minimal elevation change really started to take its toll. I then willed myself (yes, it was a hard mental last 5 miles) to keep at least a 10 min mile pace. By this point I knew I’d be super close to the four-hour mark and I wouldn’t let a couple of minutes get me, again. So, when I reached mile 25, I had about 11 minutes to finish up. I was able to pull it together, take deep breaths through the nausea, wiggle the arm cramps out, and forge on. And lo and behold, I crossed the finish line in under 4 hours! So, you’re just dying to know what my actual finishing time was, aren’t you?! Well, it was 3:59:18. A full 42 seconds under four hours, but hey, I’ll take it! 3:59 sounds much better than 4 hours. Now, if my legs will only ache less I’ll be good!