Last weekend we made our 3rd trip to Dearborn, MI for the Martian Invasion of Races. We took a fun little road trip with our friend (Hi Andy!) and rented a house via airbnb in charming Ferndale, which is probably my favourite neighbourhood ever.
Hubs and Andy were running the marathon and I decided to do the 10K since the half marathon started too late and I would miss seeing them finish. I squeezed in as much distance as I could between the time we arrived and the marathon start, and again in the 45 minutes before the 10K started.
It was another cold, windy (and later, snowy) race morning but these guys boldly wore shorts – these were the only bare legs we would see all day!
One of the things I love most about this race (besides the awesome alien theme) is the low-key atmosphere. It’s easy to get on-site parking and you can pretty much stroll up to the start line just minutes before your race. I lined up about 1/3 of the way back just as the national anthem was playing, and then I was off!
My plan was to practice 5:40/km pacing again (after a 10K warm-up), in the hopes that it would feel controlled and comfortable.
The 5K and 10K started together and it was very congested to start. I was weaving my way around people walking in jeans and hiking boots, wishing that I had started closer to the front. Thankfully the 5K turned off before the first mile marker and it opened up nicely.
It was pretty windy heading north and I knew that would mean a noticeable headwind for most of the first half of the marathon. I hoped that wasn’t going to be an issue (spoiler alert: it wasn’t!). There were also some snow flurries on and off throughout the morning – hello, April!
We started out on some quiet residential streets before making a scenic turn along the golf club grounds, then following an out-and-back around the half way point.
I was feeling comfortable and confident as the kilometres ticked by easily at target pace. I had the occasional urge to go faster, especially as I kept leap-grogging back and forth with the same people, but held back since that wasn’t the purpose of this race for me.
KM 1 to 5 – 5:37, 5:37, 5:37, 5:38, 5:39
The later miles took us along the Rouge Gateway Trail, which I recognized from the marathon in 2011. From this point on each mile marker for the 10K was paired with a mile marker for the marathon. I was thinking about the guys again and hoping they would be feeling strong when they followed along this same route at the end of their race (spoiler alert: they were!).
There were a couple of small inclines – just enough to notice – and two bridges in the park which I remembered well for the wobbly feeling they left in my legs.
When my watch beeped for 9K, I decided that I had accomplished the pacing I had planned and didn’t want to hold back anymore. I cranked it for the home stretch and passed all those leap-froggers.
There was a nice downhill toward the final turn, and then this view heading to the finish line:
KM 6 to 10 – 5:39, 5:37, 5:39, 5:36, 4:45
I got warmed up and changed in the car before heading back out to watch the marathon finish. The highlight of the weekend was seeing Hubs and Andy cruise to incredible 3:10 and 3:20 finishes with massive negative splits and making it look easy! One of the best trips/races I can remember.