First half-marathon an 'incredible' adventure (and the cute guy in green helped, too)

First half-marathon an 'incredible' adventure (and the cute guy in green helped, too)

Provided by Free Press

Let’s just say I was a little nervous the night before running the Detroit Free Press half-marathon. My roommate -- also a first-time half-marathon runner -- and I spent most of the evening trying to figure out how many layers to wear, where we should load up on carbs and what kind of music we should load on our iPods.

The answers we settled on: three, Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen and a mix of Eminem, the Rocky theme song and Hall & Oates.

We were ready.

I wrote a column recently talking about how other people’s journeys have stayed with me over the years and that, now, it was time to take a journey of my own.

Waving hello to adventure

Waiting for my race wave to start was incredible. It was a brisk morning and people were so alive and ready to take on the miles ahead. They had dedicated a portion of their lives to train for this day and, finally, it was here.

The national anthem started and I looked up at the sky, thinking how peaceful it made me feel. As the race began I started to think about all of the runners who had traveled this path before me, what they saw and how they felt.

I quickly found myself running around people I didn’t know, our energy helping each other through difficult parts of the race, such as the incline in the U.S./Windsor tunnel. You never really realize how steep and long that incline is until you’re trying to run up it.

Shortly after exiting the tunnel, a man passed me with a shirt that read on the back: “If you’re reading this, you’re more out of shape than I am.”

True story, I chuckled to myself, continuing on. My goal was to run the whole 13.1 miles. Sure, I was slow. And sure, there were speed walkers walking faster than I was running. But I had made my mind up and there was no stopping me.

Stories, energy of crowd offers a boost

The route was more beautiful than I had anticipated and I was pleasantly distracted by the hundreds of people out on the course cheering us on. I thought about how amazing it would be if I could bottle the supporters up and pour them out whenever I needed encouragement in life.

From runners running to honor family members who had passed to runners running after being told they’d never run again, the route was filled with passion. It was an honor to be among people with such incredible stories.

Around mile 10, I fell into pace with a good-looking fellow in a green shirt. It felt good to have someone going the same speed. Unfortunately at the full-marathon, half-marathon split, he went one way and I went the other.

Story of my life.

The last half-mile was like something out of the movies. Hundreds of people were on the sidelines screaming at the top of their lungs. They cheer you on like you’ve just saved the entire planet and out of nowhere, your pace picks up and you feel like you’re flying, or, in my case, swiftly jogging.

I couldn’t help but have a big smile on my face as I crossed the finish line. I felt like a superhero.

My time: 2:51:57

Well, maybe a slower kind of superhero. My dad was there to give me a big hug at the end and with a laugh said, “You know, there were a lot of people who finished the full in the time it took you to do the half."

Hey, I said I'd run the whole way, not that I'd be fast. It’s not the time it takes you to do the journey that matters, it’s the journey itself.

Besides, no one really timed Frodo Baggins.