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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Martian Invasion!

This past Saturday, I took part in The Martian Invasion of the Races in Dearborn, MI. While I was incredibly temped to try the 10k (FINISHER MEDALS!), I went with the 5k. Since the last race was only 3 miles, I had yet to complete a full 5k. So I'm counting this as my first! 

Researching and reading about races online, I've always been interested in the expos that accompany them (Shopping? Free stuff? Yes please!). So I opted to pick up my bib the night before at the expo, despite the long drive during rush hour! 

When I got there, I pushed through the growing crowd to pick up my bib and my shirt. I liked that I could find my number online the morning of so that pickup went quickly. I really liked the bibs, but was slightly disappointed that the 5k runners had Orange. Not a good martian color if you ask me, and a little odd with my chosen outfit color of purple...but hey, not much I could do about it! 
I got my shirt and thankfully ordered the perfect size! They also gave us little martian races pins.  
I took some time and wandered around, making a bee line for the Bondi Bands booth. I had looked at their site before, but for some reason didn't place any orders. Among the giant pile of their "fashion" bands, I found my perfect piece of's sparkly and silver. The rest of the pile was slightly unimpressive, so I handed over my $8 and went on my merry way to the next booth.  I was interested in the fact that Mizuno was there, since I'm a big fan of their shoes now, but that's really all they brought with them. Shoes. I was looking to see if I could get some Mizuno gear...but the choices were extremely limited. It's possible it all went quickly in the first 3 hours, but I don't know. I looked at some shirts and some gloves at the other booths, but spent the most time looking at the race related gear. I almost bought a race glass, a car magnet, and various warm embroidered running fleeces, but felt that since I was only doing the 5k, I'd feel a little like a fraud wearing/using it. Maybe next year? I was slightly disappointed in the amount that was there, but honestly, it was probably decent for the size of this race.

Wake up time was 4:45am. I wanted to be there an hour before the race, just to make sure parking was all sorted out. I was on my own that day, so there was a little added stress. The trip took 45-50 minutes and while I got a little lost (because my WAZE app didn't recognize the exact address I entered and brought me BLOCKS in the wrong direction) I eventually got there and got parked. I was relieved I brought quarters with me because it was all metered parking, which they didn't specifically mention. But I found a space in a lot that was 3 blocks away from Ford Park. 
The weather was not as good as I had hoped for and I envisioned a repeat of the Lucky Dash from a month before, but it wasn't so bad. About 5-10 degrees warmer and no snow. Everyone was shivering at the start though.
The announcer was keeping people's spirits up and updating everyone on the start. 
The race began with an uphill climb away from the park, but we were assured that this was by far the biggest hill on the whole course. The 5k and the 10K started together and broke off about a half mile from the start. I was pretty grateful for this because it was quite crowded and it was difficult to pass people. Plus all the little kids weaving in and out of people made it difficult as well. The course went through a really nice neighborhood. It kept me distracted along with my 5k playlist. The best thing about this race was the guy dressed in a teddy bear full big mascot head teddy bear. I felt like Ted was running ahead of me. Good motivation! Wished I could take a picture, but my phone was tightly strapped to my arm. This race felt really difficult to me. My muscles were tight and I had a cramp in my stomach that didn't feel like leaving, but I won't allow myself to walk a 5k unless I'm about to collapse. So I kept pushing. Before long, I could see the park again and I pushed a bit harder. There was no clock at the finish, since it was chip timed, so I had no idea how I was doing. I crossed the finish, got my finishers pin, grabbed and bottle of water and a cookie, and attempted to look up my finish time. It was pointless, so I wandered back to my car.

Later in the day, the times were finally posted...My final time for this race was 29:17!!!! I was really hoping that I would do better than the last race. Cut a few minutes off my time from a shorter race! I'm pretty happy with it and if I can keep my 5k times under 30 minutes, I think I'll be good with that! I was also 18th in my age group and 116th for my gender. Overall I finished 291/1,118!

All in all I liked the expo, race, and course. I think it was well organized and fun. I especially enjoyed the martian mile markers around the course. Maybe next year I'll take on the half marathon course and get one of their shiny green Medals! :)

A short note about Boston... 
Terrible. Yesterday I ran 4.09 miles out of my workout with Boston in mind. I also wore my Lucky Dash shirt in support. I felt a strong sense of determination during this run, to keep going. I will not be deterred from running big races and no one else should let a few terrible horrible people keep them from reaching their goals. From my short time being in this community, I know other runners feel the same. Boston is a tough and amazing city and I know they will bounce back 200% from this. Just keep running.





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