Checking the weather in the several days leading up to this race was frustrating...I shouldn't have bothered. It fluctuated every few hours: rain; clear; showers; wind....you get the idea. On race day, I heard rain on the roof at 6:30 am, but crawled out of bed at 9:08 to sunshine!!!! The race was going to start at noon, so we had a good brekkies at home and headed to the border. Luckily, we got a border guard with a sense of humour; after all, I was completely decked out as Irish Gal. Here I am in a "dry run" the day before, checking to make sure everything was going to work:
I would add several more fluorishes on race day.
Now, there were going to be prizes for costumes and it is a flat course, but this race was going to be more than 10,000 strong (!!!!!!), so I was just going to have fun. That's a LOT of people! Ever-faithful, ever-caring Mike got me to the start line with plenty of time to spare (around 11:00), and gave me instructions on where/when to meet afterwards. I know I say this every time, but I couldn't do a lot of these races without him. I headed to the costume judging tent, as instructed on the race's Facebook page and had myself judged, then milled about, visiting the porta-potties a couple of times. They were playing some great music over the loudspeakers (both recorded and live), and a bank of pipers was getting ready to pipe off the strting line. The kiddie race started first, and they were cute! The announcer said there was a 1-year-old participating, and that he might not make the whole distance as he kept stopping to pick up everything he saw on the ground, LOL!
I was in the last wave, and man, was it crowded! Everyone was friendly and pleasant, though, and we joked around a bit. Finally, about 15 minutes after the first wave took off, we started to move, only to see the first finishers from the first wave come in! That was a bit weird. Now, a lot of 5Ks give you clock time, but this one actually used chip time due to the large numbers of people. We jostled and jockeyed for position as we headed up Michigan Avenue towards the skyscrapers of downtown Detroit in perfect racing weather. Sometimes I felt like I was in a video game, bouncing around from one side of the street to the other, and around people, trying to get a clear path. I did about an extra 0.1 mile just doing that! I passed a LOT of runners enroute. I felt good, rolling along, trying to keep good racewalking form throughout. I feel a bit like an ambassador for racewalking at these events because there are precious few of us in them.
I headed back and crossed the finish line to a new PR by a full minute (officially 33:45; Garmin 33:29) which is really great as I not only bounced around a lot, but slowed down briefly for water at both of the two water stations. The medals were beautiful (as were the shirts we got earlier in the week at the satellite registration spots). I then went to the costume tent and discovered that I had won first prize!!! Very cool, indeed. Here's what I won:
Pretty nice, huh?
There was lots of food afterwards, and stalls set up with other good things, including craft beer, but I didn't get close to that! I opted instead for a fresh double espresso. I met Mike at the appointed time and place, and he had some food awaiting me. It all went off like clockwork.
The volunteers were wonderful and seemed unflustered in the face of so many participants. Many thanks to them and to the race organisers!
Go raibh maith agaibh!