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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!


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Running a half-marathon in all 50 states

The first half marathon that I ever ran out of state was during Ironman Eagleman 70.3 on June 14, 2015 in Maryland.  That was my worse half marathon experience ever!  Next came the Cayman Islands Half Marathon on December 6, 2015 which was out of the country, so that doesn’t really count now does it.  Next was the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, Florida, on Febuary 20, 2016.  This was my first real taste of traveling and running road races, and this is what sparked the idea of possibly running a half-marathon in each of the 50 states.

Back in 2016, I wasn’t really serious about accomplishing this task.  I just wanted to run some states and see how I liked it.  I added GA, NJ, and IL to the list that year, and in 2017 added LA, DE, & CT.  In 2018 I made a bit more progress than the previous years, adding TX, NC, DC (not a state but I’m counting it!) CA, MA, and PA.  2019 has been a bit of a dud with only SC checked off the list.  I did a whole lot more local racing in New York this year.

So as of this post I am sitting comfortably at 15 states + DC with 35 states to go.  Seems like a whole lot, but I am in no rush and will see and explore the United States at my leasure.

Next up for me is the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon this weekend.  This race is super cool because we get to cross the bridge and run 2.5 miles or so in Ontario, Canada, and then back over into Michigan.  This will be my first time stepping foot on Canadian soil so I’m pretty excited about that.  I’m just hoping it is not too cold at the start.  Sundays low temp is 47 degrees, with a high of 66.

Wish me luck!

 

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: NYRR Bronx 10 mile | September 29, 2019

Bronx 10 mile Finish-line

This past Sunday I got to run one of my favorite races.  I think its my favorite mainly because its in the Bronx, and I’m from the Bronx!  I think this is my 3rd or 4th Bronx 10 mile.  I try to do it every year, but it always falls on my anniversary weekend.  Luckily this year I didn’t have a trip planned, so the Bronx 10 mile it was!

Looking back on previous years, this years time was really the pits!  Granted I am certainly not as fast as I use to be, so my times have really taken a dive, but I hadn’t realized that it had gotten this bad! Another granted, I really wasn’t attempting to run this race fast, but was instead treating it like another marathon training run.  I did a 3:1 run walk miles 2-9.  Run walking has really helped me to stay healthy, and get through my double digit runs without feeling like death warmed over.  So while I was 16 minutes slower than the last time, I’m happy with this time because I did what I needed to do, and finished in under 2 hrs.

This years splits 

Oh, another goodie about this race is we run by my Alma mater Dewitt Clinton High School.  Every-time I have the opportunity to see my old High School in person, it brings a smile to my face because I had so many good memories there.  Fun fact: Stan Lee, the creator of X-Men, Ralph Lauren, and even Tracy Morgan all graduated from Clinton High School, and so did I! lol.

Of course I had to get a selfie in front of the school!

 

All in all, still one of my favs, and I hope I can do it again next year.  This weekend I am off to Atlanta to run The Race, it should be a jam packed weekend.  I’ll be documenting the entire weekend on video, and will have my full race report next week.

 

More Pics:

 

I am fundraising for the London Marathon….click here https://justgiving.com/fundraising/str8kim to support Team Sense and to help me reach my goal!

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