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