So, I am terrible at updating in a timely fashion. That leaves me with about 500 things to post about, and no one wants to read about 500 topics at once. But you know what? You're going to! Because I have pictures and I wanna post 'em and that's that.
First off, last Friday, I spent the day downtown, mainly because I needed to pick up my packet for the Freep half-marathon. My girl Jen and I wandered the expo together, wading through the hundreds of people swarming the pick-up lines. She found her number pretty easily.
How cute is she? Cute, right?
My pick-up was not so simple. I had to go here.
This was because I entered late and therefore my number was not on the handy find-your-number-here board. And when they finally figured out what number I was, I had to return to the problem area because the bib they gave me was for a 44-year-old man named Curtis. Who is, I should point out, not me. I don't have anything against this Curtis, but you know, if I'm going to sweat through 13 miles, I kind of want the glory.
So, finally, number in hand, I was ready to run. But first, I had to survive a bachalorette party on Saturday night. Luckily for me, it was a tame version, not a ride-in-a-limo-and-do-shots-and-dance-until-2-a.m. version. Nothing wrong with that version (other than that I'm kind of past the whole go-to-the-bar-and-do-shots-and-dance-and-fend-off-creepy-guys thing) but given that I needed a good night sleep, I was grateful for the tameness.
First, we went to the Franklin Cider Mill. This place is at once very cute and slightly bothersome. I like it all right, I just wish there was more to do there than spend money. Maybe real apple trees to walk through? A trail in the woods? A pumpkin patch? Something? Bueller? Anyway, I dug up my best capitalistic tendencies and perused lots of different ways to shed my hard-earned cash. I wound up with a donut, some cider and a beef stick, but the options were seemingly endless.
My friend Chrissie weighed the options carefully. And then I'm pretty sure all she purchased was a caramel apple.
She looks pretty. Right?
Finally, we said goodbye to the lovely fall afternoon outdoors, to the ducks in the river and the gaggles of disobedient and dare-devilish children.
We went to Chrissie's house for some snacking and gift-opening and game playin'. Anne, the bride-to-be, got a few, um, how do you say, interesting gifts. Like this blow-up sheep. That comes with a handy hole... in its... backside.
And then we played a rousing round of Balderdash. I recommend this game highly. It's updated -- it used to be a game in which players made up definitions for very obscure words. Now you not only do that, you invent people, film synopses, acronyms and laws. It's hilarious. And Anne's friends made it even more so; they were very boisterous and fun.
But I checked out pretty early to get some shut-eye for the big race. I had to get up at about 5:15 to leave for downtown by 6. Jimmy drove Jen and I, dropping us off downtown before he went to park at his office. It's a very cool thing, the time right before a major race like that. Thousands of people are milling about in the dark in an otherwise quiet city. Steam is rising from the sewers. Runners are stretching and bouncing and chattering, expending their nervous energy however they can. After a much needed trip to the Porto-Potties, Jen and I split up and got into our starting spots, assigned by projected finish time. Then, at 7:15 on the nose, we were off.
From the start, I felt great. I had to stay on the outside because I kept passing people. I decided to keep the pace up as long as it felt good, even though I knew it was a faster pace than normal. I cruised through downtown Detroit, through Mexicantown, where the smell of yummy Mexican food was intoxicating. It smelt like the streets were lined with tortillas. Mmm. Then, four miles in, we hit the Ambassador Bridge. It's a beautiful scene cresting over the bridge as the sun rises over the river and Windsor. Very easy to run in a moment like that, when you're flying high with such beauty around you. Then we run a few miles through Windsor, which fly by. And then, the tunnel. It's cool to know you're running underwater -- very science-fictiony -- and at the beginning, as you enter the tunnel, everyone hoots and hollers. And the first half-mile is all downhill, so you sprint and feel great doing so. But by the end, you're just dying for a fresh breath of air. I hit a little physical wall at the end of the tunnel, fighting uphill, gasping for breath. I suddenly really wanted to be done. I thought for sure my pace would drop; I knew I was way ahead of my goal time anyway, and I gave myself permission to slow down.
But I kept it up. It hurt. Bad. My knees and the bones in my legs and all of my muscles and my feet, all of it ached. I became suddenly much more aware of how many miles were left. Seeing the 11 and 12 Mile Markers was heavenly. And then hearing a man yell that there was only four blocks left...I wanted to kiss him. I turned the corner and tried to sprint in, especially when I saw the clock over the finish line counting into the 50s. I ended up crossing in one hour and 49 minutes and 41 seconds, about 10 minutes faster than my goal time and eight minutes faster than my previous best.
Nice of them to give me a police escort, eh?
I collected my medal and shiny wrap. I always wanted one of those.
So I finished 34th out of 485 in my age group. Can I get a what-what? I don't really know how to say that and sound cool, but you know what I mean.
My legs and feet hurt for two more days. I rewarded them by not running and by eating sushi and a whole box of my favorite Ginger Lemon Creme cookies. And some white chocolate triffle. And the end of the Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Bun ice cream. And some cake. So maybe I took it too far. I don't care. My feet and my stomach thank me.