Select Page

Race Recap: Detroit FreePress Int’l Half Marathon | October 20, 2019 & Detroit, Michigan Travel Review

Sitting on the steps of the Iconic Motown

I signed up for this race probably a year ago, and totally forgot about it until maybe a couple months ago. Then totally forgot about it again until maybe 3 weeks ago when my friend said, are we booking flights to Detroit!

First up was the expo. It was at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit. Now, when I go to expos, I go to pick up my bib, and hopefully munch on some free food. Very rarely do I buy anything. Well there was no free food, and I actually did buy something this time. A cute little running pouch. I used it for the race, but will wait to reveal the name until I use it a couple more times to see if I really like it or not.

Joe Lewis statue inside the TCF center

When I travel for races its usually for the weekend only, so I try to see as much of the city as I can in the small amount of time that I have. So the first thing I always do is google things to do in the city. The Joe Lewis fist was one of the top things to see. It was located about a half mile from the TCF center, so that was my first stop.

Walking up to the statue

The statue is located on the median in the middle of a really busy street. If you’re visiting Detroit definitely get your IG worthy shot.

Next up was the Motown museum. Now, I have mixed reviews about Motown. I was so excited to visit, because if you’re black and living in America, you know the story of Motown. Well as soon as you walk in, there is a wall in the hallway with beautiful black and white photos. I took out my phone to record it, and I was immediately yelled out that no photos or video were allowed. The man with the cock eye working the door literally screamed it out. It was extremely off putting, and totally put me in a sour mood. So the tour starts in the hallway, and then we were taken downstairs to a teeny screening room to watch a 15 minute documentary on Motown. I thought it was a waste of time since I really knew most of what was mentioned. I was there to see the house doggone it! From there we went upstairs to another room that had memorabilia. Not a lot I must add, and I have no images to show because we couldn’t take pictures! Then we walked through a tiny hallway of Berry Gordy’s apartment, and downstairs to the recording studio. This was the only place that you could record and take pics. This was extremely odd to me.

Left side view of Studio A
Right side view of Studio A

The tour was led by a 17 year old. She was a bit too chipper for my liking, and I just couldn’t take her seriously. I’d give the tour 3 stars. You can probably find a tour of the whole inside on the web. Save your 15 bucks and just go and take pics outside, those are totally free!

This sign is right across the street. There is one right outside of the house as well, but the lighting was better over here!

Next up was a trip to the Belle Island Aquarium. Now I have to say, I enjoyed this way more than Motown. It was a small aquarium, they only had fish, but it was a good variety, the building was beautiful, and it was free! Here are some of the water creatures that I saw.

Inside view of the Aquarium

Pretty right! Right next door was Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. This place was absolutely stunning! It really is a hidden gem.

Next up was a visit to Eastern Market. Google told me that this was a part of town that had lots of artwork, so I wanted to check it out.

This is just a snippet of some of the artwork, there was a ton.

The infamous Detroit Vs Everybody store was in Eastern Market

After Eastern Market it was time for some grub. I opened up my yelp app, and searched for nearby restaurants. I came across LeCulture Cafe because their loaded mac and cheese with lobster looked divine, and it was only 5 minutes away. I didn’t know at first that they were black owned, so this was a huge bonus, and made me want to dine there even more. The wait was an hour, which is long, but I didn’t mind because I had a slice of pizza in Eastern Market and I wasn’t starving. Their service was a little slow, but our server was great, and the food was excellent, so they more than made up for the not so fast service.

Didn’t get a pic of the apps, but it was yummy too!
The food was reasonably priced.

Now, on to the race. The race started super early at 7am, so that meant a 4:30am wake up call, so that we could get into downtown early, and find a parking spot. We ended up parking at the MGM hotel which was free…score! The race recommended a bunch of lots through spothero. I’m sure they got some kind of kick back from it, but not from me!

Mandatory pre-race selfie
In the corrals headed to the start

The race starts off relatively flat, weaving rights and lefts downtown through the blocks. The first challenge came at the Ambassador bridge into Canada. It was a serious incline.

Ambassador Bridge

Once I got halfway up the incline I started walking and recorded some video for my Vlog. I could already feel my calfs getting tight because it was so steep, so I figured I’d take it easy because we weren’t even at mile 3 yet. The middle of the bridge was extremely shaky. I felt myself getting a bit of vertigo from the bouncing, so I was happy to get off of the bridge.

The view running into Canada

The Canada portion had great crowd support. There were people on every inch of that course in Canada. Yall did a great job ehhhh! The one thing I noticed and didn’t like, was by the time we got to mile 4 there was only 2 water station. After that the stations were spread out every 1.2-1.4 miles. New York has me spoiled, I like my sports drinks every mile!

After 2-3 miles in Canada, we headed through the tunnel back to Detroit. That tunnel was hot! I was sweating bullets in there.

Inside the tunnel

I don’t remember too much after this point. There was a lot of inclines heading up overpasses, but they weren’t so bad. I pretty much took it easy the whole race, documenting my experience, and enjoying myself. I had to use the bathroom from mile 3 on, but at every bathroom there was a line with a ton of people. I really don’t know how I held it in basically the entire race. Here are my splits.

My final thoughts, Detroit the city was OK, I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. To cross to the other side of a block you had to drive down the block and make a u-turn, there were medians everywhere, that totally annoyed me. The race was good. Plenty of crowd support, they could have used more aid stations, great amenities at the end of the race, and free race pics! Detroit is state #16 for me. My next state will be Tennessee in December. Another state that I have never been before, so I’m looking forward to it. Until next time…

About a mile from the finish-line
Thank you for the free race pics!
Done, sweaty and all!

Race Recap: NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon | October 13, 2019

So the last time that I did this race on October 11, 2015 I swore it would be my very last time because I absolutely loathe going to Staten Island. Well, turns out, 2015 wouldn’t be my last time, because here I was again in 2019 running the Staten Island half all over again.

Now, the only reason that I registered for this race was because I had New Balance points that were going to expire, and one of the point redemption options was a free race entry. Now, the only reason I had New Balance points to begin with was because I was going to use them to redeem an entry for the London Marathon 2020….well that was a total dud, and a super long story that I won’t get into right now. BTW, I am fundraising for Team Sense for a London Marathon entry. CLICK HERE to donate!

Anywho, I woke up at the early hour of 4:30am to get ready for the race. I was meeting Janis, and then we would drive to Staten Island. Our original plan was to park downtown, and take the ferry over to Staten Island, but I really couldn’t be bothered with the extra commuting.

Heading to the Verrazano Bridge

We made it to Staten Island about an hour before the race started, and found a great parking spot about a half a mile from the start line. Parking near the start always turns into a traffic nightmare when its time to leave resulting in a 1hr+ standstill to get off of the island.

Janis and I pre-race

This race is pretty uneventful, except for the monster hills. There is very little crowd support, so the out and back of this route is very boring. I was taking it pretty easy, and felt good up until mile 7. At that point fatigue, and climbing hills started to kick in. It probably didn’t help that I ran 10 miles the day before either!

Mile splits

I stopped at the aid stations for an extended period of time during miles 9 and 10 because one of my gels spilled in my pouch and everything was sticky included my phone. I had to stop and clean my phone off with water before the stickiness dried. This is the 2nd time this has happened to me. The first time was a couple weeks ago in Atlanta. My buttons were stuck because the gel dried, and I had to chisel them and scrape the crusty gel out to get them moving again, and I didn’t want that to happen again, so stopping it was!

Anywho, the race ends on a hill, and I was completely over it at that point. I mean this was my 2nd race in as many weeks that ended on a hill so I was not a happy camper.

Headed to the finishline, one of my buddies caught this pic.
and this one too!

Overall, not my best performance by far, but my best performance that day. This was just another training run for me, so I was just happy to log the miles.

Will I be doing this race again? That is a definite never! Even if I get a free race entry I would pass on this one. I am completely done running in Staten Island!

I completed 5 of 6 races in the 5 boro series this year, here are all the medals
Why won’t she let me be great!

Next up, I am headed to Detroit for the Free Press International Half marathon, and I am excited!

Until then…

I am participating in the London Marathon on April 28, 2020 on behalf of Team Sense. Please consider donating to help me reach my fundraising goal of €1700, Thank you!


JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Race Recap: The Race | October 5, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

A couple weeks ago, I participated in The Race for the 2nd consecutive year. 2018 was the inaugural running of The Race, and I was legacy backer #100! The race is run through African American neighborhoods in Atlanta, and features a 5k and half marathon. I ran the half of course, and also volunteered at the expo handing out race bibs.

In the cute Hello Racer volunteer tee. I chopped the sleeves off of it.

Not the best quality, but here’s a snippet of me giving @fitwithcj his bib.

I got to see a ton of my run buddy’s.

I also had the opportunity to speak on India and Tommy’s The Run Duo Podcast, make sure you check out their show, it is dope.

A snippet of my interview

You can find the full podcast HERE, my interview is around the 1hr mark.

Now, on to the race! The race started super early at 7am, so my morning started at 4:30. There were 1700+ people registered, and while there was parking at the venue, it wasn’t enough to accommodate that many people, so I had to make sure I was in the parking lot by 6am to get a spot. The race started promptly which I was so happy about because I hate when races start late.

I treated this race as another training run since I am still in training mode for the NYC Marathon, so my plan was to take it pretty easy. Here are my splits:

My half marathon splits

I kept my mile splits pretty uniform the entire time. I am going to guess that when I peaked in the high 11s there was probably a hill involved. I hate hills, but while running in Atlanta it is inevitable. Check out the elevation chart, there was certainly a lot of up and down going on.

The Race elevation chart

The last 3 miles were really tortuous. It was a steady climb to the finish. The last mile especially was a doozy. Check out the hill behind me.

Crazy hill on the last mile.

Once I got up this hill, I booked it to the finish and picked up my medal.

Headed to the finish-line….free race pic!
Getting my medal

Some post race pics

If you plan to register for The Race, make sure you add VIP to your registration, it is totally worth it. From the free food, massages, real bathrooms and not port-o-potties, you’ll get your monies worth and so much more.

Post race massages

Post race there was a day party at The Beverly. Super cute venue, I had a good time. The theme was t-shirts and denim shorts.

And finally Whiskey and eats on Saturday at ASW Distillery.

All in all it was a super fun and successful weekend, and I’ll definitely be back next year! I believe registration opens Black Friday, so don’t miss out!

Race Recap: Brooklyn Half Marathon May 18, 2019

img_9230So this past Saturday I tackled my 5th Brooklyn Half Marathon, and it surely was a doozy!  My day started super early.  When the alarm went off at 3 am I really wanted to say screw it and go back to sleep.  It was just to dang early!  My friends Janis and Allison were volunteering at the finish-line, so I bummed a ride with them down to Coney Island to cut down on my commute time for the day…thx a bunch Janis!

When I hoped out of the car I had to use the bathroom, so  I truck it over to Dunkin Donuts, and of course they didn’t have a public bathroom.  Luckily McDonald’s was right across the street, and they had a big, nice, clean bathroom, and their coffee is waaaay better anyway, so forget you Dunkin!  I used the bathroom, grabbed some coffee, and I was on my way.

I walked over to the train where there were lots of runners getting on.  They more than likely parked in Coney Island, and were taking the train to the start like is was.

 

[wpvideo f7WDCQTT ]

Views on the train

 

[wpvideo LL2ukhLq ]

 

Once I reached the Prospect Park area, I ran into a few of my running folks.

JP Mission-James

My homies from Atlanta! Donyetta, Odel, & Angie

My Adidas Runners NYC Crew

More of the AR Crew

#3StripeLife

I was running ok coming into the race.  Nothing to write home about but, I had not done any long runs, so I knew I’d be in trouble after mile 6.  Well that trouble came earlier than 6.  By mile 4 my shins were achy, and I knew I’d be commencing my walk/run intervals.

My splits for the race

This pace chart shows when I walked and ran.  All of the severe dips that you see are when I was walking.  I try to keep a steady pace of Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Sometimes I stick to it, sometimes I don’t.  Most of this race I stuck to it, until I got to the end when I was just really over it all.

Pace Chart

As I was coming up on the boardwalk and nearing the finish-line, I was just so happy that it would all be over soon.  I  hadn’t run more than 7 miles in so long, so I was really feeling it.  As you can see I was not smiling at all!  This was my only pro-race pic taken by the photographers, when I know I smiled at that camera plenty of times. (insert mad face)race_4144_photo_65950021 (1)

Once I crossed I ran into my boos who were giving out medals.  Hey girls!

Janis & Allison

I had a change of clothes with me that I left in Janis car, so I booked it over to her car to change.  Yes I changed in the car!  On my way back I bumped into James (Nighhawk)

Me and James

Then I booked it over to the Adidas Runners NYC after party at Margarita Island, and it was awesome!  Here are some pics:

Hi K-Rod!

All in all I had a good time at the race.  I said afterwards that I wouldn’t do it again, but hey, ya never know!  I really wish they would change the course though.  The logistics of this race is almost as annoying as the NYC Marathon!  Until next time!

IMG_9277

My 5 Brooklyn Half Medals…aren’t they purdy!

Race Recap: NJ Half Half Marathon May 1, 2016

IMG_7918So this past Sunday I headed down to the Jersey Shore to run the NJ Half Marathon.  The weeks leading up to the race we were having pretty good weather in NY, so I had my cute little shorts and tank top ready to go for the race.  That plan went right out the window because it was cool and rainy out.  I woke up at the crack of dawn race morning.  Well actually before the crack of dawn since it was 3:30am.  The race started at 7:30am so we wanted to give ourselves enough time to get from NY to NJ and get settled in for the race.  Being that it was so early traffic was non existent so we had a nice ride down to the shore.

IMG_7884

The crew in the corrals before the race

The race start was at Monmouth Park Racetrack; like literally inside the park.  We got there pretty much at the start of the race, so I had to hustle to get to the trucks to check my bag before they pulled off.  I should have packed a full change of clothes, but I just had a shirt, and my umbrella inside the bag which I was so happy that I packed it because I really needed it after the race!

IMG_7888

Obligatory pre-race group selfie

This race had a stagger start, and I thought it was pretty slow going.  I mostly race in NY and most of our races have a lot of people.  I didn’t think this race was particularly that large and the stagger start was really not needed.  It just left us more time to play around and take pictures!

 

Dawn's First Marathon!

Dawn’s First Marathon!

IMG_7895

Allison Dancing, yeah we had way too much time on our hands!

IMG_7899

Allison, Deb, Janis

I was feeling pretty good the first 5 miles of the race.  A little too good because although it was raining and cool I was hot.  I unzipped my jacket some which was a mistake because as it started to rain more my shirt underneath my jacket became wet, and I started to get cold.  I almost took my jacket off because I was so hot, but I was happy that I didn’t.  So I kept a pretty good pace up until the 50 minute mark when I stopped to take in nutrition.  At this point I walked a little while I ate and drank.

FullSizeRender(3)As you can see, as the race goes on, my splits increase.  I felt fine endurance wise, but from mile 6 on I was cold, and my feet were soggy so my natural reaction was just to slow down.  I started taking it easy and taking in gatorade at every water stop.  I will say although there were people around me the entire race it was very lonely out there, and quiet.  I don’t think I’ve been at a more quieter race before.  The course was pretty basic. Mostly through residential neighborhoods, so other than the occasional view of mini mansion it was a pretty boring course.  It was virtually flat except for 2 overpasses, so if you are looking to PR or try to BQ this marathon is the perfect place to do it.

My official race time was 02:21:52.  Not the time I wanted, but considering my lack of training I’m pretty happy with it.  Post race there was lots to grab.  They gave out towels, water, gatorade, pretzels, and my favorite salt water taffy.  The one thing they were missing was foil.  It was wet and cold out there, and some people were in shorts and tanks, so something to wrap up in would have been nice.  I looked at the images of last years race and it looked sunny and warm, so I’m sure having foil was not on the race directors radar this year.

IMG_7903

Soaked at the finishline with my crooked hat!

Would I recommend this race? Yes and no.  Yes because it is a flat course and if you are looking to set a record this is the place to do it.  The medal is nice, and there are good post race refreshments.  No because it just wasn’t all that fun for me.  The water stations were not predictable but pretty random.  Who reads the athlete guide right?  I’m so use to having the option of liquids every mile that when it isn’t there it annoys me.  The post race shuttle location was horrible.  It was at least half a mile, maybe more from the finishline.  Then once the bus dropped us off back at the start we had to walk another half a mile back to our car.  For those that just ran a marathon that is a lot of walking, and painful at that.  The Race Directors really need to work on those logistics.

Until next time!

IMG_7883

Race Recap: Publix Georgia Half Marathon March 20, 2016

Hiya…it’s been a while!! I know I always say that! Anywho I’ve been up to lots of fun stuff so I haven’t been chronicling my fitness escapades like I should, but I am back to business now.

A couple weeks ago I headed down to Georgia to do the Publix Half Marathon, and I’ll tell you it was certainly a memorable weekend.  Atlanta is practically a second home to me now since my mother moved there, so I’ve made the two and a half hour flight many times and it is a breeze.

We got in early Friday morning, and as much as I love Atlanta, I hate the Atlanta airport.  All the walking and hoping on a train, then waiting for luggage that always takes forever, it really just poops you out.  Then on top of that we rented as car which was a whole other journey.  I don’t think we got out of the airport until 2hrs after our flight landed.    So after making a few stops we headed to my moms house.  After settling in we went to get a mani/pedi because of course we didn’t have sense enough to get one while in NY.  After all the getting up early I was beyond exhausted.  We got back to the house and I wanted to take a nap, but of course I couldn’t sleep; and we had an event to go to that night!  I went to Deb probably around 9 or 10 and told her I didn’t want to go out.  She said but you told X you would be there…I said I surely did and chucked it up and got ready, and I am glad I did because we had a ball.

Deb and I with Michael Martinez, founder of RunFam

So the weekend was called Runners All-Star Weekend.  We went to a white party Friday night hosted by Run Fam.  The party was at 595 North Event Center which is a warehouse type building; it was really nice.  The vibe of the party was very cool, and it was nice to meet so many people that I interact with on Facebook on a daily basis.

 

img_7101

Me

Deb

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

img_7135

The whole NYC crew

I took tons more pictures, but we would be here all day if I posted them all.

On Saturday we attended Heather King’s day party, and that was also a blast.  I had the opportunity to chat more and meet lots of new people in a day time setting.  The Meet and Greet Day Party was held at 255 Tapas Lounge in Atlanta.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this place.  The food was delicious, and the drinks were nice and strong!

 

img_7241

I finally got a chance to meet Mr. BTA himself!

Me and Tony Brown, founder of Black Triathletes Association.

Me and Tony Brown, founder of Black Triathletes Association.

Me, Michael Martinez-Founder of RunFam, & Deb

Me, Michael Martinez-Founder of RunFam, & Deb

On Saturday we headed over to the expo to pick up our race bibs.  The expo was held at the Georgia World Congress Center which is huge.  I’ve been there before for an event and didn’t realize how massive the place was until this day.  I am not exaggerating, from the time we walked in the place, to get to the location were the expo was we walked at least a mile.  I looked down at my watch and saw I had 2000 more steps and couldn’t believe it.  The expo was extremely underwhelming.  I left my Honey Stinger Energy Chews at home so I was on a mission to buy some at the expo.  There was not one vendor there that sold nutrition.  When we first walked in there was a Mizuno (the race apparel sponsor) shop with race gear and very little nutrition.  After walking around the entire expo and finding no vendors with nutrition I was pissed!  I had to walk back to the Mizuno shop and buy sports beans (which taste disgusting) because the only option was energy gels which I just cannot stomach.

img_7176

img_7179-1

One good thing about the expo was I saw this cute Georgia Marathon hoody, but I didn’t want to pay $65 for it.  After the race they were marked down to $50….score!

img_7332

On to race day:  The race started at 7am, so we had to get up at the crack of dawn to get to downtown Atlanta before the streets closed.  The race start and finish were just outside of Olympic Centennial Park.  There were plenty of port-a-potty’s set up so using them was a breeze.  Now bag check was a friggin mess.  The lines were like 100 people long.  I am really spoiled with our NY races because bag check is a breeze.  I really don’t understand why the lines were so long, and why it was taking the volunteers so long to get bags checked.  There needs to be an overhaul of this system for next years race, because it did not work well.

Pre-race it's still dark out!

Pre-race it’s still dark out!

 

img_7198

My obligatory pre-race selfie!

img_7201

Waiting in the start corrals

So this was the HARDEST half that I have ever done.  Yes I heard the horror stories about the hills beforehand, but I never expected to get what I did.  This was my first time running rolling hills.  In NY we have hills here and there, but no rolling hills.  The hills were never ending!  As soon as you went up one and down another, here comes another one!  The first 3 miles of the race I felt OK.  There were hills of course, but I didn’t think it was too bad and thought OK I can do this.

At mile 4 of the race, we ran by Dr. Martin Luther’s King Jr.’s church Ebenezer Baptist Church.  I decided to stop and take a few pictures of this historic site.

IMG_7202

The original church

IMG_7203

Newer larger church across the street

IMG_7204

And my blurry while running pics

IMG_7205

IMG_7206

As I was running up the block I was looking for Dr. Kings home.  I was on the left side of the street which was the wrong side.  I thought I saw it but wasn’t sure so I just kept running.  I asked someone after the race where it was and I indeed missed it!  Next time I’m in Atlanta I think I will finally go on the tour of his home.

 

IMG_7382Mile 7 is when I really started to feel the burn of the hills, and I just said F it and starting walking up them.  Since I started taking my running seriously I stopped walking during races.  Well not completely, I still walk the water stations.  If I do stop to get liquids it is usually no more than 30 secs…a minute max but that’s pushing it.  At this point I was so over the up and down that I just walked as fast as I could to get to the top.  Sometimes I tried to run, but I felt like I could walk faster than my attempt at running so I just walked them.  Almost everyone around me was walking as well, or trying uneventfully to run them.  It is very discouraging when you get this far into a half and you have to start walking.  I saw my goal time slipping away from me minute by minute, so my new goal was to just get to the finish line.

The post race swag was great.  They gave at out green throw away jackets as soon as you crossed the finish.  There was full bottles of chocolate milk which I drank right down and took 2 for the road.  Bananas, snack boxes, powerade, and I’m sure plenty things I do not remember.  A con for the race for me besides the hills was the Powerade.  I am use to Gatorade Endurance formula.  This is what I train with, and this is what we get at mostly all NY races.  I’ve drank powerade before, but the regular store bought kind.  Not sure what formula they provided along the course, but it tasted disgusting and had a wretched after taste.  I took it at the first station and skipped all the rest.  This led to minor cramping in my quads in the later miles.

Overall I had a fantastic time this  weekend.  Although this was the most difficult half I have done, I will and am going to do it again.  Next year I think I’ll actually put some training in for it because this year my mile count heading into this race was non existent, and I will bring my own liquids!

img_7208

img_7215

img_7221

img_7237 img_7244

img_7236

Publix Georgia Half Marathon Medal

Publix Georgia Half Marathon Medal

For anyone thinking of doing the Publix Half don’t let the hills scare you.  We get complacent in our running once we reach certain milestones, so it is nice to challenge yourself every once in a while.

Until next time!

Share

 

Pin It on Pinterest