It’s not a half marathon. It’s a 13.1 mile journey that will lead you to the promised land of high endorphin levels, free Whole Foods two bite brownies at the finish, accomplishment, and insane joy. The many months of hard work is about to pay off, and you'll pleasantly surprise yourself if you just let it happen. If you’re crazy enough to try running a half, this may either encourage you or scare you off. Like I said, depends on your level of crazy.
Mile 1: And we’re off! Ladies and gents, this is the first segment of I take this mile really slowly, or at least I try to, because a) I want to savor this first mile and b) I don’t want to start off too quickly.
Mile 2: The course takes us past the old Tiger Stadium, and into Mexicantown. The aroma of freshly baked tortillas has tempted me to stop both years. Yum! The music is lively and I’m getting ready for the Bridge.
Mile 3: This is the mile where I huff and puff my way to the top of Ambassador Bridge. The effort is well worth it: seeing beautiful Windsor and downtown Detroit at sunrise from the bridge is awesome.
Mile 4: The LJS that runs up is the LJS that runs down. The downhill part of the bridge into Canada, and I waved hi to my Canadian. Welcome to Canada, eh!
Mile 5: Under the bridge and into Windsor…the merry runners run! This is a pretty boring mile, in terms of scenery and how I feel.
Mile 6: It’s time for GU! There are lots of folks outside cheering us on, and we run along a beautiful riverside park. Hello to the Windsor Marching Band!
Mile 7: We head towards the tunnel, and there’s a rest station in front of a Tim Hortons. This is very tempting. Right now I’m very positive that a double chocolate donut would do wonders for my time.
Mile 8: The underwater mile! It’s the only major marathon that has an underwater mile, and wow! There is no headwind. I start preparing mentally for miles 9-11, because they are rough on the grey matter and the gams.
Mile 9: Welcome back to Detroit. Yes, you’ll be safe. No, you shouldn’t wear a St. Louis Cardinals t-shirt. We run past Cobo Hall, and Joe Louis Arena. The headwind that we didn’t have in the tunnel comes back with a vengeance.
Mile 10: This is the mile that I spent 6 months training for. It’s really really dull here-there’s nobody there cheering you on, the crowd has spread out. That darned wind! This is the turning point for me where I go from enjoyment to survival. Mentally, I can finish the full marathon! But, my quads doth protest. This mile marks the longest Gurjit ran up to the race.
Mile 11: We’re getting closer to Tiger Stadium, ready to head back to Ford Field. I can SEE Ford Field. I pull together all of my confidence, concentration, and craziness to keep on running. My ego tells me that I cannot walk, and my stupid legs listen. The ROTC boys give me some Gatorade and a Jolly Rancher. Food candy and eye candy? Yes please, I’ll have another.
Mile 12: I’m wondering if that burning tingle in my legs will be the last thing I ever feel before I pass into a Jolly Rancher-induced coma. I know that I’m almost done; I have just one point one more miles to go. I hold on, trying to save energy for the sprint toward the finish. My mantra? “I am a bad-ass. I am hard-core. I rock.” No…seriously. It is.
Mile 13. Yeah. Literally, it’s all downhill from here. The final sprint into the stadium, down the tunnel and into Ford Field makes everything pass by in a blur. The finish is on the 50-yard line; our heart, our soul, our drained bodies embed into the fake grass. I do believe that Ber and I melted into the end zone after we finished, and Gurjit and I were able to watch the women’s marathon winners come in.
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