[PART 1] Michigan Week and Detroit Half-Marathon!

Last Friday, October 13 at around 1:00 pm, I boarded a Greyhound bus to Detroit, Michigan.

This is not a “finding myself” story nor a result of a travel roulette.

I ran my 3rd half marathon!

I was excited for this race for a couple of things. This was my first international half-marathon (outside Canada). All participants also crossed from U.S.A to Canada (and vice versa) through the Ambassador’s Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. It was an arduous process, but definitely worth it.

As with my previous posts, here are three takeaway points from this amazing experience!

I went to the race with the goal of finishing under 2 hours and 30 minutes. This time was based on my previous half-marathons where I had the same level of training and preparation. I joined my assigned coral which started about 12 – 13 minutes after the first gunshot. I lowered my music volume for the first few minutes to get the feel of the crowd. The announcer even asked the crowd, “who feels like going to bed?!” only to be responded with a loud cheer. There were runners who loved taking selfies while running and at strategic points (mostly at the spot where the Ambassador’s Bridge was at the background).

As for me, I kept it simple. I was in the moment, put in my favorite tunes, kept at a distance from the other runners, didn’t take selfies, called my family when I was at the Canada side, and put in a lot of high-fives from the spectators who kept us going.

I also felt competitive at certain times, especially when groups of runners went past me. Was I getting too comfortable with my pace? Will I be able to achieve my goal? Was I falling behind? If this was my mindset going in, I already lost even before the first gunshot. I’m not an elite runner nor did not belong in the highest corral.

Cliche as it may sound, my only competition was myself.

All runners crossed the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel back between the 7th and 8th mile. We were coming from Canada and now going back to the United States. This was one of my favorite parts of the race. We were in an enclosed space, so the shouts turned to echoes. As I entered the tunnel, I lowered my music volume and listened in to the enthusiasm. People were screaming with joy, chanting “U.S.A.!” and also taking selfies at the crossing point.

There was one guy who randomly chanted the words of Bruno Mars’ popular song. Until now, I wonder why he randomly chanted those words. Maybe it was playing on his iPod? Maybe he loves Bruno Mars? I will never know the answer but I knew, for certain, that he had a great time.

The best part about running these races is seeing the cheers, smiles, and creativity of the spectators. You might be wondering, “how do these spectators express their creativity?”

Some spectators brought signs with them. Most of them made personalized signs to cheer on their favorite runner. Others brought signs that said, “there’s beer at the end!”, or crossing the face of actor Christopher Walken that meant to stop walking and keep on running. There was a sign that made me laugh. While running in Canada, a young girl was raising a sign that said, “You’re almost there! #FakeNews”. I didn’t mind some other creative signs because I was too focused on reaching my goal. However, this specific sign made me laugh. From that point on, I noticed the other signs, gave more high-fives (even to the border officers), and enjoyed the moment.

A little dose of humor is enough to change one’s mindset for the better. It worked for me!

On y va!! (for now. Stay tuned for Part 2!)

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