It was still dark when our corral finally crossed the start line just a little after 7:20 AM. As we neared the mile 1 marker, we could just make out the giant Ambassador Bridge ahead of us, its lights glistening in the lightening sky. Oh, wow!! It really did look enormous! Our race route wound under the bridge and then around in a spiral as the ramp began to steepen. Here there were a large number of border patrol officers standing in a line across our running lanes and mingling amidst the stream of runners checking for bibs and looking for possible disallowed runners as they periodically checked sheets of paper in their hands.
They had the two right lanes open to us runners and had barricaded one of the two lanes in the opposite direction, leaving just one lane open for cars. As a result of this, the line of cars waiting to cross the bridge stretched back the entire length of the bridge ramp as they waited for the pilot vehicle to return from the other direction. We runners were almost off the bridge at the other end when the pilot vehicle finally returned, bringing those waiting cars with them.
There were numerous race volunteers cheering us on along the bridge span and near the bottom in Canada. A race announcer was chatting non-stop as we came down the bridge toward the toll booths, and he was absolutely hilarious, warning us of the "horrors" of the tunnel ahead of us. There was a huge bank of portapotties just after we passed through the bank of toll booths so I took advantage of that.
|The elephants - mom and two babies - in Windsor Sculpture Park, along|
the Detroit River in Windsor ON. Photos come from Windsor Sculpture Park
website. link here -----> City of Windsor
It seemed like no time at all before we were turning right, away from the river, and I knew we were headed for the entrance to the Windsor Tunnel. As we passed through the empty customs booth lanes, several agents were standing there cheering us on and telling us to have fun in the tunnel.
I must admit it was a lot of fun running through that tunnel. Others who had done this race before complained about it being hot and smelly, but that definitely was not the case at all. First of all, traffic was halted so there were no vehicles passing through. We had the tunnel all to ourselves. It was very well ventilated as I discovered quickly. I ran along the left wall, near the curb and I could feel large volume of cool fresh air coming out of the vents that were down near the curbs on either side of the tunnel.
|photo courtesy of running friend Patty|
I wish I was carrying my smartphone because at the mid point, there were Canadian and American flags on the wall to mark the national border. I "borrowed" a running friend's photo of this to share at my blog.
We popped out of the tunnel on the Detroit side at mile 8. Now just 5 more miles to go! The route took us back toward the bridge in order to go through Corktown, but my thought at seeing that bridge looming ahead of us was, "Oh dear Lord, don't let this be an episode of Groundhog Day!"
|Photo from Google Maps|
Through Corktown on 18th Street, we passed a really neat old fire station with a granite plaque dating it to 1897. Then we turned right onto Bagley and back into the downtown area. Just a couple more miles to go and I'd be done! Lots of spectators as we passed through town and then I was turning right onto Fort Street and just a few blocks away from the finish line!
I collected my finisher medal, my bag full of snacks and treats (I love it when races do this!) and then worked my way out of the finisher chute and found my way down toward Congress Street and then Fort Street toward my hotel.
Done! And a bucket list item checked off! I snacked on some of the items in my race bag then got cleaned up and headed for Renaissance Center to have a late lunch at Granite City Food & Brewery. This really hit the spot! I had lunch off their special Oktoberfest menu....a plate of sausage trio, sauerkraut, and German red cabbage, washed down with a special Oktoberfest pint of beer.
That done, I headed to the Starbucks nearby, got myself another of those maple pecan lattes, and then headed back to my hotel, fully satiated and on my way to getting fully caffeinated. As I passed through the hotel lobby, I grabbed a bottle of beer at the lobby bar to bring up to my room for later. But of course, by 7:00 PM or so, I was hungry again, so I went downstairs and had a light dinner of chicken fingers and fries in the lobby bistro area. And a beer.
I was still experiencing that post-race afterglow that I get when I've done a particularly special race. It can be special because it was hard (Rome marathon), or because it was a gorgeous route (Vancouver) or because it was unique (this Detroit race). Now I could start gathering my things up and getting them packed, hoping I had enough room for two new long-sleeve running shirts (the race shirt and the nice logo shirt I bought at the expo).
Tomorrow I'll check out of the hotel, take an Uber to the airport and then be home well before dinner. Next trip will be to Las Cruces to run Day of the Dead Half Marathon and attend our annual 50 States running club banquet. I'll receive my 100 Half Marathons Award at that banquet.