Sunday, 15 April 2012

Martian Marathon Meteor 10K...and other madness.

Saturday, April 14th was, shall we say, a busy day. I had to go from

 this.... this... 

....that is, race in the early morning and play a 2.5 hour harp gig in the evening!

Let's start with the race, the Meteor 10K portion of the Martian Marathon in Dearborn, MI.
 Up at 5:50 to cross the US/Canada border and get to the race start to pick up my bib, etc. (10K started at 8:00). There was an expo Friday night where I could have done this, but that would have meant crossing the border twice more. Waits are very unpredictable at the border, so I opted for Saturday morning. I did the Martian half last year and was able to use this plan, so tried it again. Over the border easily at that hour (the guard even knew something about races and racewalking!)...didn't even have to explain the antenna on my head
or the martian on my belt.

It was a mob scene of vehicles as we approached race central, but we magically found a parking spot, threw a bunch of quarters in the meter and followed the crowd down to Ford Field. The lineups weren't too bad (I think lots of folks did the Friday night thing, especially as so many were from that area, and all of the races had largely staggered start times, which is good as this event has a LARGE turnout).
Lots of warming up, potty break, then say goodbye to Mike and ensconce self at Back of Pack. The race follows the first portion of the longer races, and ends through a lovely paved woodland trail where I train frequently. This was my first 10K (I usually do halfs), so I wasn't sure on strategy or pace. I had pre-programmed what I hoped was something reasonable into my Garmin, and started out relatively slowly, fiercely resisting getting caught up in the burst of adrenalin and fast push out of the gate. I picked up the pace, settling in to my racewalk groove. Needless to say, the required hip action caused my little martian to groove along, causing amusement in those I passed. I had two "aha!" moments re: technique: one was a true balance between toe-off and heel strike, the kind you see in pros (this only lasted for about ten minutes, LOL!). Another was about mile 5, when I was observing a runner about my age ahead of me. He was running with such easy grace, relaxed and totally in the zone. It kind of seeped into me and I found my upper body moving quite differently than it usually does when I racewalk. Again, it didn't last long, but it's definitely something I will be pursuing in the future.
Round the bend, pump in the gas left in the tank and push for the finish. Really nice medals again this year (heck, even the bibs were nice!):

and the tech shirts were cute, with an Atari-type critter racing for the finish line:

Finish line food looked good: bananas, bagels with packets of cream cheese, cookies and lots and lots of fresh chocolate milk served with hoopla (one of the proud sponsers this year was the United Dairy Farmers of Michigan). I grabbed a banana and set off to rendezvous with Mike a couple of block away (good cooldown), where he awaited me with a key lime soy yogurt and an incredible flourless muffin. I stretched a lot, then we headed for home. I was really happy with my time: 1:12, which translates to an average of 11:38 min/mi (pretty amazing for me, when you consider I started out relatively slowly and racewalked the whole thing). No aches and pains, no cramps or cuts, no blisters or bruises!
[A runner made this comment with disdain as I passed him: "Oh, man, this is depressing. I'm being passed by a walker." I wasn't fast enough on the uptake for a comeback.]

I think this race was better organized this year than last. Last year, they had timed the kids' marathon so that hundreds and hundreds of children came swarming into the finish line just as a large number of halfers were doing the same. Utter pandemonium. Then, of course, there was the distance error last year!!! Everything went very smoothly this year from what I could see. They had rescheduled the kids' race to noon (and there were 1400 kids running), so all was well! There was a glitch with the bib chips, though, and it looks to me like some of them didn't register the time properly if you look at the results. Mine was fine, though! [Just checked back and they adjusted the times]
Home, eat, short nap, luxurious bath, change into Edwardian Harp Woman, pack up gear and head out to play at a Titanic dinner (it was the hundredth anniversary of the disaster). It was a really good time, with a small but very appreciative audience. Well organized and very friendly people made for an enjoyable gig! I was in the zone, focussed and really into playing. On the way home I joked with Mike that I should schedule races on gig days all the time - NOT!!!!! Got home about 9:30, ate and eventually fell into bed, completely pooped but with too much adrenalin still coursing through my veins to sleep well. Ah, well - who needs sleep?

Again, don't think I could have done this day without Mike. Uncomplaining Mike, who takes me where I need to be, watches out for my wellbeing while there, totes my gear (except the harp - I carry that), etc. etc. Raise a glass of craftbrew, a shot of single malt or a very dry martini to him for me.


  1. Wow! 11:38 pace is FAST for racewalking. That is impressive. Fun event, that is the best medal I've ever seen. Great job.

    I'll have to get a craftbrew and raise it for Mike!

    1. Thanks, Scott! They really do have cool medals and shirts. Seems to me I read somewhere that they won an award for best marathon shirt one year (didn't even know there was such an award).