Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Martian Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Dearborn, MI
Saturday, April 2
Half Marathon #28
State #25/50
Weather - CHILLY, overcast, upper 20s

I first heard about the Martian "Invasion of Races" through a half marathon club I joined last summer - This immediately became my choice for my Michigan run. Sounded different and fun!

As always, a race weekend begins with our travels. Although this race begins with incidents that started a few days earlier. This was another tricky weekend because our normal sitters (my awesome parents) were out of town for spring break. We had lined up a sitter for the weekend... who subsequently had a family emergency and wasn't going to be available until Saturday. Which was a problem because our flight left for Detroit at 5:54 pm on Friday night. Luckily after a day of searching we found someone to watch the girls until J got home from work. We were hoping that was going to be the extent of our trouble for the weekend.

We needed to grab dinner before boarding our flight since we wouldn't be landing in Detroit until well after 10:00 pm. We found a Domino's (yay!!) and got our macaroni and cheese bread bowls, side salads, and these tiny awesome chocolate "lava" cakes.

The flight wasn't very long, and we were on a SUPER tiny plane. We landed on time, and got our rental car with no issues. I had some trouble finding a beer to drink before bed though. Apparently they don't sell beer at gas stations, and I didn't see a liquor store on the way to the hotel. Finally got to the hotel around 11:20, only to find out the bar in the hotel stops serving drinks at 11:30. At least they sold me one and let me take it up to the room.

By the time I finished my drink and laid out all my stuff for race morning, it was already well after midnight. I had a hard time falling asleep and spent the night tossing and turning.

Originally the forecast for race day was a pretty decent chance of overnight snow (!!) like, 40-50%. We woke up to dry streets and upper 20s for temps, although it was overcast. It was pretty chilly. The race didn't start until 8:45, but there wasn't too much information about the starting area, and we wanted to get a spot close to the start/finish, so we decided to leave the hotel around 7:00. With as many close calls as we have had, I would always rather get to a race super early than be stressed out.

Feels like 23??? Sure did. Brrr.
Love my "Be Cosmic" headband from Razzy Roo!
Even as early as we were for OUR race, the marathon had started much earlier, and there was already limited parking. Super awesome city of Detroit/Dearborn has no free parking. Our choice was a meter or a paid lot. The only spot we found was a meter, and of course we couldn't find a machine to get change. We figured we would walk to the start, get our packets, then find somewhere to get quarters on the way back. On the way, there was a parking attendant who "thought" the city would be more lax about the parking since everyone would be here for the race and they obviously wouldn't be able to fill the meters after 3 hours if running the full or a slower race.

We were able to find our way to the start with no trouble because of all the awesome inflatable aliens! We arrived at the start area right when the 10K race was getting underway. While we are in line to get our bibs, shoe tags, and shirts, I ask about bag drop. Only to find out there isn't one. Are they kidding??? Over 2000 racers, no on-site parking, upper 20s... and NO bag drop????? There is absolutely no one in line, so we use the port-o-potty before heading back.

Awesome start line!
We head back to the car, it takes us about 10 minutes to get there. We found a bill changer on the way. We were only able to sit in the car for about 15 minutes before we had to head back. Luckily I'd picked up someones trash bag on the way so I wouldn't totally freeze. We got back to the start line about 15 minutes before the race started to use the bathroom again. Lines are long but we are given a tip that there is a building behind the port-o-potties with bathrooms with no lines. We were able to use the bathroom and get back just in time to be in the back of the pack, apparently the race has already started.

The race immediately starts up a hill. I hate starting so far in the back. It's hard to get around the people walking (often 3-4 across) and it's hard to get a pace. I am feeling ok the first few miles, although the first aid station is sooner than I think it will be. By about mile 4, I'm starting to get really tired. I walk through the second aid station (also sooner than it should have been) and I decide to relax my pace a bit.

Only course pic I took. Entire course looked like this... barren.
The course is... boring. We are running on a road and keep entering these "parks," but everything looks the same. The same dead trees, the same stretches of road. Nothing to make it interesting. The next aid station is just past mile 5. Supposedly a station with GU, although I don't see any. Not too long after this one is when my foot starts "aching" a bit. Not hurting as bad as last weekend yet. Cross mile 6 and I'm assuming we will be turning around soon. I see L headed back my way about when I hit the 10K mark.

The turnaround is where I think it will be, right at 6.55 miles. But then mile 7 doesn't come when it should. Somewhere between mile 6 and 7, the course goes .3 miles long!! The curse of the Garmin... I would never have known if I wasn't wearing a watch, but just knowing that the course was going to be long made me feel even MORE exhausted.

Didn't hit an aid station until the one I had crossed just past mile 5. I had to stop and use the bathroom (again). This time I didn't have to wait that long though so I doubt it affected my time by more than a minute or so.

The course turned off the main road onto a trail around mile 11. Finally a tad more interesting, although still the same dead trees, just this time ONLY dead trees, no boring road to look at. I'm super tired at this point, and I just want to be done. I am aiming for a 2:10 finish, but with the course being long, with my foot aching, and with my exhaustion, I don't think it is possible.

Come around the back side of the start/finish area and cross the line. I'm soooo happy to be done. Get my bottle of water and my medal, meet up with L and decide I don't even care about food or snacks. Just want to get back to the warm car so that we can shower and put on some warm clothes.

Major complaints on this race:
1. No bag drop???!!!!
2. Not enough water stations - they were not spaced well, and two of them were very awkwardly placed around blind corners.
3. The course was WAY long... people need to be more careful measuring. .30+ is VERY long on a half marathon course. (They fully admit this though):

The fun:
1. Loved the inflatable aliens everywhere. Wish people wouldn't have stolen them after the race, I was hoping to get post-race pictures with them.
2. Cool race shirt!! I might actually wear this one again.

Official Gun Time - 2:16:41
Official Chip Time - 2:13:00
Official "Adjusted" Time - 2:09:56
Overall Place - 1154/1838
Garmin Time - 2:13:01
Garmin Distance - 13.48 miles (!!!!)
Garmin Pace - 9:51
Mile 1 - 9:03
Mile 2 - 9:07
Mile 3 - 9:17
Mile 4 - 9:49
Mile 5 - 9:45
Mile 6 - 10:32
Mile 7 - 9:56 (even though this is where the course went rogue, I still clicked when my Garmin hit the mile markers)
Mile 8 - 10:06
Mile 9 - 10:37
Mile 10 - 9:39
Mile 11 - 9:57
Mile 12 - 10:28
Mile 13 - 9:56
Mile 13(.48) - 9:46

Drive back to the hotel, find that we have about 20 minutes to shower before we need to check out. No problem... we are professionals. We are out of the room just a few minutes late, check out, then get in the car and drive back to the airport. We have a flight leaving Detroit at 2:30, so we will just eat at he airport.

We pick a sit down "bar" type restaurant thinking we will have a nice luxurious lunch. There were only a handful of people in the restaurant, yet we managed to get the slowest moving server in the world. A normal lunch takes us... 30 minutes. This one took an hour! We we are in no danger of missing our flight, but I can't understand why anyone working in an airport doesn't have a bigger sense of urgency. Most people ARE in a rush. Grrrr.



  1. I love that medal!! Sorry the race wasn't awesome :(

  2. That medal is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How can a longer race not have a bag drop? That sucks. =(

  3. I'm cold and tired after that report. I need you to run in Hawaii again so I can feel all warm and fuzzy with your race reports! ;)

    That medal is freaking RADICAL!!!

    I'm obviously not as experienced with these longer races, but even I am shocked that they had no bag drop. I do almost all of my races alone without anyone watching or running with me. Bag drops have been super critical for me a couple of times. That's pretty lame!

  4. I thought about doing this marathon but work got in the way!

  5. Just found your site from razzy roo! Just did my first half marathon on March 27th I had so much fun and I <3 your goal of 50 halfs in 50 states!

  6. Thanks for the review! I'm thinking of doing this race next year because we have some friends who live there. Now I am a little nervous about making it through the full (because of the boring terrain). I'll just make sure to make a really awesome playlist.


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