The Martian Invasion

Race Name: The Martian Invasion
Distance/Type: 10k
Race Location: Dearborn, MI
Race Date: April 13, 2013

Finish Time: 1:07:19
Finish Place (Age Division & Overall): 102/168 & 999/1698

Mark’s Finish Time: 57:30 

One thing you will learning about running and more specifically racing, is that race day normal equals an early morning — and the morning of the Martian Invasion was no different as both Mark and I’s alarm went off at 4:30 a.m.! Ugh, I know! I was extremely excited for this race, since it was the first race I was going to run with my Mom & Dad in over a year.  I cannot believe looking back that we have been running for over three years now! Where has the time gone? If you haven’t already, you should check out my post Running: A Family Affair.  Although I am bias, it is pretty inspirational! Now, back to my race report…

Like I said above Mark and I rolled out of bed at 4:30 a.m., got dressed, fed the dogs, grabbed our gear and headed out the door towards my parent’s house.  We got to Howell around 5:30 a.m. finished getting ready and headed out the door for our hour drive to Dearborn.  Although the 10k didn’t start until 8:00 a.m. we planned on getting down there at 6:45 a.m. because we knew parking was going to be hard to find.  Luckily we were able to find a parking spot about 200 yards away from the starting/finish line!!  Once we got parked we took off down towards the starting line to figure out the lay of the land and find the bathrooms! Getting there early meant we did not have to wait in line for the port-o-potties and there was still toilet paper in them! Bonus!!  Tip for newer racers: Get there early on race morning!  It will help with parking, allow you to check out the starting and finish shoots and use the bathrooms without having to wait in long lines!

There were at least four different races that morning — the 5k, 10k, half marathon and a full marathon.  That does not include a “Kids Run” that was starting as we were leaving! This is one of the largest “local” races I have ever been too; and it was very well run and organized.  Tip for runners interested in running a future Martian Invasion: We picked up our packets during the expo the day before the race. Although we did not have to wait in line for packet pick-up on race morning, the line was insanely (and I mean INSANELY) long!  Do yourself a favor and try to go the day before to get your packet or allow yourself a lot of additional time in the morning to wait in line.

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A “backwards” view of the 10k/5k starting gate, along with the line for packet pickup along the left had side of the photo.

I was hoping since it was mid-April that we would have a nice spring time run, but boy was I wrong!  It was about 38 degrees and incredibly windy all morning. As we were waiting for the race to start a nice lady and her husband took a picture of all of us together for me, then we all scattered to our appropriate areas of the starting gate.

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Mark, Myself, Betsy (my Mom) and Bruce (my Dad) at the starting line!

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The starting gate.

The starting gun went off and everyone took that initial running leap forward till you have to stop again.  The starting gate was setup on a three lane street and although the starting gate was good sized, after the gate the shoot was too narrow for the large amount of runners in the 10k (1,698) plus we started with the 5k runners so there were over 1,800 starting at once.  Not only that, right after the starting shoot ended, there were onlookers who were standing in the middle of the running lane!

The course was BEAUTIFUL and I really enjoyed running this race.  The first mile was my normal “semi-rough” while I worked on finding my breath and my rythem. At the start of the second mile we ran around the Deaborn County Club Golf Course, then we continued onto a running trail which took us around Henry Ford Community College and The University of Michigan Dearborn.  There was a fantastic mix of flat and easy running along with a few gradual hills which were a nice challenge.  There were two bridges over Rouge River that we had to cross over and both times I had to stop and walk across them.  The first bridge I tried running across, but with the large number of runners the bridge was bobbing up and down to the point where I got dizzy and almost fell over.  So once I got to the second bridge I didn’t even try to run across it and just walked. 

 All was going well until the 5.5 mile marker when the course took us up a nice little hill, out of the park and onto Michigan Ave.  Since we had been running on a trail through the park we had not felt the effects of the gusting winds all morning.  Once we came out onto Michigan Ave. we were no longer covered by the trees, completely exposed to the wind — and let me tell you what, it was COLD! That wind just cut right through you and took my breath away.  It only lasted for a half of mile until we turned the corner a headed down the  second to last stretch.

Finally, we turned the corner and headed down the remaining few hundred yards the finish line.  The finish shoot was cut in half and well marked on which side was for the 5k finishers and which side was for the 10k finishers.  I tried to pickup some speed for the last 200 yards, but the crowd was pushing out into the finishers shoot and you could barely fit two runners side by side for the last 50 feet of the race.  It was extremely frustrating for the finshers shoot to narrow so much — and it was purely a result from the on lookers pushing themselves out into the lane to get a better view!  Tip: Keep in mind if you are watching for a friend or family member at the finish line respect the other runners who are running in the event! Do not crowd out into the finish lane! Do not run across the finish lane to the other side in front of runners who are coming in to finish!  It is rude and extremely disrespectful! These people just ran for miles, some could be trying to obtain personal records, for some this could be their race of that distance and this is their moment!  They have worked hard for it and they shouldn’t have to fit through the crowd to get there! 

As I crossed the finished line I stopped by GPS, looked down and knew I had I done it — A NEW PR!!!  I was so excited!  Not only did I PR, but I cut my time by 5 minutes!!!!! Mark is a little bit disappointed because as of right now he does not have an official finish time.  His chip did not read him crossing the finish line; however, he did have his time according to his GPS watch and he also ran a new PR by about 4 minutes!!  I am so proud of him!  (We have emailed the race director and they are going to be working with us on getting Mark an official race time!)  Tip for newer runners: Timing chips are tiny electronics! They do not always work perfectly. This same thing happened to my Mom during the 2012 Fort For Fitness 10k. If this happens to you — try not to disappointed. Email the race director with all of your information (name, age, bib number) and your approximate finish time. They should be able to help get you an official finish time by looking through their finisher photos!

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Mark and I after the race!

The post race tent was full of chocolate milk, water, bagels, bananas, cookies, and other goodies — and there were plenty of everything for every runner!  That was great! I grabbed the goodies I wanted and headed back to the car to change my clothes and stretch.  Last race since it was so cold out I did not take my time and stretch enough — and although it was cold out I made sure I took my time and stretched properly!  I am glad I did because the next day my legs felt great!  My Achilles is still bothering me but I spent a few hours at home after the race icing it which has really helped!  I have been struggling with that for three weeks now so I am following my training plan without pushing myself to hard, laying off the speed training and ice, ice, icing it! 

Overall it was an amazing race and now it’s time to start training for my next race — the 2013 Mason State Bank 5k, and nice run through my hometown!

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