A few weekends back, I traveled to Detroit for two awesome reasons. One: to run a half-marathon. And two: to visit my beautiful friend Najette and her family. And the most awesome part? We were all running together, in memory of her mother who passed away earlier this year of cancer.
Melinda (MJ) was diagnosed with a rare form known as primary peritoneal cancer (PPC). The lack of awareness of this type of cancer is frustrating. That’s why Najette, her sisters, her brother-in-law and several other family friends ran this race – in memory of MJ and to raise awareness about this type of cancer that is still widely unknown amongst the general population. It was my honour to be able to join them.
After a series of unfortunate events, including a ridiculous bumper-to-bumper traffic jam getting off the highway at 6:15 a.m. and our friend Vincenza’s car battery crapping out during said traffic jam, Naj and I somehow made it to the start line before all of the corrals had crossed. We jumped in, snapped a quick photo, and we were off.
Highlights of the race included:
- Getting to watch the sunrise as we crossed the bridge into Windsor. That was pretty awesome.
- Crossing the Canada-U.S. border not once, but twice. Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor, and through the tunnel back into Detroit.
- The super enthusiastic crowd that seemed to never let up through the entire route.
- The weather. It was perfect. Sunny and calm. Cool but not cold. I wore my homemade ‘sleeves’ a.k.a old socks to start but ditched them within the first few kms.
- Mile markers vs. km markers. Having run most of my races using the metric system, I thought this might throw me off my game. Turns out, it’s sort of nice not to know exactly how far 8 miles is in km’s. The signs took longer to get to, but there were also a lot fewer of them. Of course if I was ever curious, all I had to do was look at the distance setting on my watch. Which I did do. And I was usually psyched that I was closer to the finish than I thought.
- Crossing the finish in 2:08:50. Not my personal best, but pretty decent considering my state of health and missed runs in the weeks leading up to the race. Naj, however, earned herself an awesome new PB, shaving an amazing 10 minutes off her best time! #Rockstar
- Post-race hugs and laughs with Naj, Yasmeen & Vincenza, after finally spotting them while wandering around without a cell phone amongst hundreds of strangers.
- Celebratory pumpkin spice lattes, pink champagne & breakfast sandwiches. The 80/20 rule does not apply to people who just ran a half marathon
- Soaking our tired muscles in Naj’s sister’s hot tub in the sunshine. Bliss.
Thanks Detroit, Najette & family for making this race one of the most memorable ones yet.