Jun 22, 2006

Sunny Days, Chasing the Clouds Away....

Last night was rain from the depths of hell. Now that I think of that, wouldn't last night have been more like steam, rather than rain? Oh whatever... you get my point, it was raining like I have not seen in a long time.

The brightest lightening I have ever seen... almost continual. Thunder that you feel to your core, and a downpour of solid skin hurting rain.

I love Michigan!

Needless to say I did not go out last night for a walk or a run, but it was also my day off - so they rain happened at a perfect time. Today I am following Week 1 - Thursday's plan (see previous post "Get Your Engine Started".)

I am very excited about it, and cannot wait to see how I do. I have a terrible time running on tracks, or even treadmills. I can deal with outdoor tracks, and will need to become quite familiar with them for my speedwork, but indoor tracks are a different thing. I need breezes blowing on me, even if produced by my running.

I need changing scenery and noises other than basketballs on a court and people on the cardio machines. I adore the gym - for cross training - yes, for running - no.

So today I am reflecting on the scenery and experiences from some of my favorite More blogs about 13.1 mile runs - The Rock 'n' Roll Half in Virginia Beach, VA in 2003 (my first half marathon ever), the 500 festival's Indy Mini Marathon in 2005, the Flying Pig marathon/half-marathon in 2004 and 2005, the Fifth Third River Bank Run in 2005 and 2004, and the Detroit Free Press Half for the past three years.

The was AMAZING. The sun, the warmth, the bands every mile (although most had shut down by the time I arrived lol), the cheering squads, the amazing afterparty, and the concert by Goo Goo Dolls... what a wonderful run! You run the last 2 miles or so along the boardwalk, with the ocean on you left hand side, and spectators and completed runners on your right. As you finish the run, you are greeted by seeing yourself on the big jumbotron, and get the amazing feeling of completion. I love this race, and all the beauty of VB with it. We made a side stop at the Aquarium after the race, and I really enjoyed the exhibits. You run through a military base, scenic rolling hills, downtown, and on the beach (boardwalk, no sand). Afterwards you hang out on the beach, relax, drink/eat, and then come back for the concert. If you are looking for a nice sunny first half-marathon - this is the course for you. Only slight hillage at the begining, other than that it is beautiful and sunny. It is a must do!

For , the most wonderful thing was a few miles on the actual Indianapolis Speedway! You got to see the pace cars from the past Indy 500's, I love 'vettes, and you see yoruself on the jumbotron there as well. The crowd was amazing during the race, and as you are finishing, there is a mile countdown along a long straight flat road in which you slowly see the finish line appear. My issue here is that the countdown is almost counterproductive to me. I like to see counting up, not down - but to each there own!

On the whole it was a wonderful run, set a PR, and got to enjoy the local jazz club (Noodles), and begin my love of Blue Moon beer.

As for the - the thing that sticks out in my mind is all the bridges! You run through Cinncinatti, and KY, and cross over the bridges to each side. It is hilly, and I do mean HILLY. The rivers, parks, and cities were all so peaceful, given the crazy runners reaking havok on that beautiful day in May!

Last year (2005) was the first half-marathon addition, and the year prior I ran in the Marathon. Rainy, cool, and LONG, I remember the hills being at the past part of the race. However in 2005 for the half, they altered the course, and the half got all the hills!

It was that race in which I changed my opinion about hills... but I will save that for another post.

Back in Michigan, the was rainy and dreary the whole time through. Minus the thunder and lightening, it reminded me of last night! I started out in the back of the pack - primarily because of the bathroom line, we actually started in front of the 5k runners - and had to work our way through the 25k to get going.

That took a lot of energy, but miraculously I made it all the way. Oh yeah I cried when I passed 13.1 miles because I knew I had 2 more to go and was absolutely out of it. I wanted nothing more than to be done!

Now next is a race I will do every year, because I love the scenery and the ambiance. . I only do the 13.1 miles, because that is where all the fun is! You start out at Comerica Park, run over the bridge to Canada (Windsor), run through the road park on the Windsor side all the way to the tunnel back to the US, run 1 mile UNDERWATER back to Detroit, meander the way through the city (MExican Town, Cork Town, etc.) and finish on the 5o-yard marker of Ford Field. I LOVE this half, and all the experiences you have with it. It is the only international marathon or half with a 1 mile underwater run. HELLO! If you are ever looking for a cool run - this is the one for you! Crowd support is never waining, and when you cross at Ford Field, you are AGAIN on the jumbotron, and everyon ein the stands is cheering for you!

SO when you are sidelined for the day, think back on what experiences you have had, and relish in the joy that was - it just may help spark some new interest, and at the very least will provide a chance to enjoy what you have accomplished!

Run on and rember on my friends!


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