Saturday, December 31, 2011

Final Race of 2011 on New Years Eve

With the mild winter weather, I decided to run the New Year's Resolution 8k in Flint this afternoon. I'm happy to be able to run outside at all, much less do a race this late in the year (guess you can't get much later). This race was actually warmer than the last 3 I've done, so that was an extra bonus.

I made the trek up to Flint for this race and was looking forward to getting my first race sweatshirt. Unfortunately, it had a hood. I don't like hooded sweatshirts - they are too hot to wear on a regular basis and I can't wear them to work, even on casual day. Oh well... I'll add it to my hooded sweatshirt collection - they tend to stay quite pristine.

After checking in and getting my bib, I went down to the locker room and unfortunately encountered "Naked Gym Guy". Apparently, every gym, anywhere must have at least one Naked Gym Guy on call at all times (I was thinking about the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" audio book we listened to which mentioned a similar phenomenon at the pool locker room). Qualifications for this guy include advanced age, must look like Lou Grant, must be in horrible shape despite going to the gym every single day and must be nude for an extended amount of time for no good reason. This is just uncalled for. Sorry for this but it needed to be said...

Anyhow, I warmed up and the race started. I felt quite good at first and had a decent half mile time. The next half mile felt even faster, but I was a bit disappointed that is wasn't at all. I slowed a bit more during the middle of the race, as I got a pain in my side (seems to happen a lot when I run "fast"). I worked through it and continued through town towards the finish. It was both nice and annoying that we ran into the 5k walkers the last 1.5 miles. They kinda got in the way, but it was nice that I got to pass people, even if they weren't in my race.
I actually did pass some runners near the end of my race and could have passed a few more, but it was quite crowded on the home stretch. I decided it wasn't worth bowling some people over to gain a spot or two (which doesn't really count much when the race is chip timed).

I finished in 42:53, which was on the slower end of my "goal range", but it reflects where I am at right now. I peaked in October and have been working to not regress too much since then. Overall, I enjoyed today's race and am looking forward to 2012.

Next post should be a 2011 recap celebration. Whoopie!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Setting Goals for 2012

When I got home tonight, I really wanted to go out and run, but I just didn't have it in me. Too tired from what seemed like a really long day at work. Too cold outside, too dark, too much trouble to get ready, too many excuses.

I did think about what I planned to do next year and my running goals for 2012. I want to set good, realistic goals that help me to progress. I think I did a good job setting goals for 2011 and I was able to meet or exceed most of them (the 24 minute 5k eluded me, but other than that I did well). So, here is what I've come up with for 2012:

1. Run a 22 minute 5k

Setting this number is a bit difficult. I think, under ideal conditions, I can run a 23 minute 5k now. The fact is that in the last 3 races I had a shot at 24 minutes, I wasn't all that close, with a best time of 24:39. I have excuses for each (oh I just ran a half-marathon last week, oh it's too cold, etc.) but in the end, I didn't do it.

I'm no where near my "potential", but I think a 20 minute 5k is a dream for next year. I would love to say I will be able to do 21 minutes, but after thinking about it, I just don't see it, especially if I'm not as fast now as I think I am. I think 22 minutes, at just over 7 minutes a mile, will be a good, realistic challenge.

2. Run a 1:50 half marathon

This means dropping over a minute a mile from my Brooksie Way time.

3. Place in a "big" race

To my surprise, I placed in quite a few races this year. However, most of those races had 6-8 people in my age group - the most people in my age group when I placed in the top 3 was 10. To define big is difficult. Even though it doesn't have a huge turnout, the Julie Run is big to me. Unless I improve exponentially, I won't medal in a huge race like the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot. I guess I'll know a big race when I see it.

4. Finish a 10k in 48 minutes

My only 10k race was run after running a PR 5k race as part of the Iron Turkey. As such, it wasn't representative of what my finish would be with good preparation on fresh legs. My guess is that I would finish in about 52 - 53 minutes now.

5. Run 900 miles

I didn't want to set a mileage goal, but I think I need to make sure I get enough miles in to meet my other goals. Why 900 miles? It is double of what I did this year and is in the middle of a 15-20 miles a week average.

What no marathon?

The first thing that people ask me after I mention that I ran a half-marathon is "When are you going to run a full marathon". I'm not planning to do a marathon next year. It isn't that I'm not interested or that I think I can't do it. When I run my first marathon, I want to be ready and to do well. Plus I need to smoke Jared from Subway's time by about an hour.

What are your goals? What do you think of mine? Lemme know in the comments section!

Monday, December 12, 2011

"You pass trees all the time. It's only fair that a tree passes you!"

The running Christmas Tree told me as I lamented that I would need to tell people that I was beaten by a tree during the latter stages of the Christmas Present 5k this weekend at Independence Oaks County Park.

Running Gear (the store) put on a free 5k race open to all to thank their customers as, well, a Christmas present. I hadn't really planned to run any more races this year but, as my running opportunities have waned in the past couple months, I thought it would be a good way to make sure I got out and ran.

This was certainly the coldest run I have done this year with temps in the lower 20s. I arrived early, picked up my number and tag, and returned to my car for warmth. I managed to coax myself out for about a five minute warmup before the race started. The cold breezes off the lake, if they were much stronger, would have been horrible, but the gentle breezes served mainly to lightly sting exposed skin.

The race started and we headed down the trail covered by about a half inch of snow. The paved areas were a bit slippery, so I tried to run on the area next to the trail. While I felt pretty good, I didn't feel like I was in race ready mode, so I went a bit easy. As the race progressed, the cold air started to hurt my face and numbed my gloved hands, but I and the other runners persisted. I found a runner that was going about my pace and decided to follow him as closely as I could.

I didn't look at my watch until it beeped after hitting 2.5 miles. I was a bit surprised that it read 22-something at the time, but I probably shouldn't have been. I was going a bit easy and, because of the snow, it was probably harder to push off the ground and generate good forward motion.

It was just a minute later when I was passed by "The Tree". To be fair, he probably would have passed me much earlier without the costume, but still, it was A TREE! (I never did see the guy running in nothing but his shorts. I'm guessing he ran quite a bit faster and was well motivated to do so).

My finish time was 28:29, about 4 minutes slower than my best time this year. Between the conditions and my recent lack of running, I was OK with that. I finished 3rd in my age group and got a five buck gift certificate for the effort.

While my running has been down, I am trying to keep doing something. I have been going to the gym once or twice a week in addition to my once or twice a week of running. I want to run at the gym, but I dislike the treadmill and am not a huge fan of the short track located upstairs. I start with a bike warmup and usually move to the treadmill for as long as I can stand it (never made it more than a couple miles without being bored). Then, I usually head to the elliptical or cross country ski machines, followed by a cool down on the track. Last weekend, I dared to use the weight machines and did a couple sets on about 8 or 9 different machines, mostly upper body stuff. My arms and shoulders were sore for a couple days afterwards, but I hope I can mix the machines in with the other stuff. Maybe I can actually build some muscle.... naw.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is this the off season?

I did a 4 mile run this morning exactly at the speed I intended to (about 9:30 min/mi). It just seemed a bit harder than it should have been, as have my last few runs. Due to the weather and the lack of daylight, I just haven't been getting the mileage in that I did earlier in the fall. My long runs have not been as long and overall, my running has been less frequent. I feel like I am now in "maintenance mode".

There isn't anything wrong with maintaining, it is much better than quitting, which I did last year after a two-month trial of running. One of my key motivating factors has been improving and getting better / faster. I'm not certain that I will be able to do that over the winter if I can't get enough running in.

I do have some plans to combat winter and the "off-season". They include: more gym work, more running on the dread er.. treadmill when running outside is not practical (both at home and at the gym), using Wii Active 2 or other "video game" software to do workouts and to keep scheduling races. I have no races scheduled and, while I hoped against it, I do think I need to have some sort of race goals. Should I shoot for an early spring half-marathon? Do I keep doing the occasional 5 or 10k? Not sure, but I think I need to put some goals back into play.

Any ideas from my few, but loyal readers? :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Went to a nearby state rec area for a group run on the "mountain bike" trail. The group ended up being very small and, other than me, the few people who showed up were quite advanced. I was only able to keep up for a half mile and then they pulled away. As I haven't been able to get many runs in recently and likely because I did some gym work on Thursday, my legs felt heavy. I realized early on that there wasn't going to be any way I could do the entire hilly, 10 mile trail run (at least in the amount of time I had available this morning) and I didn't want to be several miles out on the trail and run out of gas. I turned around after a couple miles and ended up doing a respectable 6 mile run.

With this run, I exceeded 400 miles for the year. Oh yea.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I am Iron Turkey.... Man

After some debate, I decided to go to Dexter (near Ann Arbor) for the 2011 A2 Turkey Trot. They were offering both a 5k and a 10k race and something they called the "Iron Turkey", which was running both races back to back. I decided to do the Iron Turkey, as I thought it would be a good challenge.

I arrived early and picked up my bib and two t-shirts, one yellow short sleeve one that all race participants received and and the brown, long sleeve Iron Turkey shirt for those doing both races. It was quite cold as I did a short warmup and then retreated to the car for warmth.

The 5k race was first and there was a good turnout of over 1000 for the race. Of course, I started out a little fast and then ended up settling into a pace to try to get my elusive 24 minute 5k. The course was a walking / bike path around the center of the park and it was mostly paved and mostly flat. For about the first 1.5 mile, I felt good. Shortly thereafter, my midsection began to hurt a bit and while I tried to put it out of my mind, it slowed me down enough to put my goal in jeopardy.

I was able to pick up the pace late in the race, but not nearly enough to get below 24 minutes. My normal end-of-race charge was kinda weak and I finished with a time of 24:39, a personal record. While I was determined not to hold back because of the next race, I think that, in the back if my mind, I did. Then again, I ran hard enough to make myself a bit sick. :)

There was about 30 minutes until the next race. After recovering for a few minutes, I went to my car and ate one of those Gu gel packets. It was supposed to be Strawberry Banana, but it tasted like sugar honey goop. I'm not sure how people suck these down during a race, but I needed lots of water to get it down. It didn't do anything magical, but it probably gave me a little bit of energy.

After the start of the 10k, I my quad or hip flexor on my right leg began to hurt. This is a pretty normal thing, but I knew it was going to slow me down. While I had thoughts about a certain finish time, I realized early on that my goal would be mainly to finish. I figured I would be satisfied keeping a good "training pace" and I did that, finishing in 57:30. This wasn't a great time, but considering it was the second race of the day and my first 10k, it was fine.

I ended up 121st out of 293 Iron Turkey participants. Overall, it was a good day. I'm not sure if I will do any more races this year. If I do, it would likely be a silly race like the one where people run with the Santa Suits on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I take the worst finish line pictures ever....

This is from the finish of the Rugged Man race. I don't know why it looks like I have a big ol'belly. I really don't, especially after running all year. I was busting tail to the finish, thus the strained look on my face and my glasses are almost falling off too. It appears my right leg is just DESTROYED, but it was really just a very small cut and a scrape - at least maybe that looked rugged.

Looking back, I'm not thrilled with my time or my finish (12/20 men 30-39). It was my first real trail race, so I'll cut myself some slack. Just like at Warrior Dash, I let the bunched up group ahead of me dictate my pace. I need to run my race, not someone else's.

Anyhow, I have a couple race options this Saturday. I could go to Midland for a half marathon or I can go to Dexter and do a 10k OR the IRON TURKEY which is a 5k at 9am, followed by a 10k at 10 am. There are a couple other 5ks which are closer, but I would rather run a longer race. We'll see.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rugged Man

Today was the Highland Rugged Man Trail Race. It is a 4.8 mile loop, primarily used as a mountain bike course, located in Highland Rec Area. The weather was perfect for running, partly sunny and right around 50 degrees at race time.

Learning from last weekend, I arrived early with plenty of time to warm up (even though it wasn't nearly as cold as last week). I hadn't run outside for about a week and wanted to get moving and breathe in some of that cool morning air. While I thought I was a bit out of practice, I felt really good at the start of the race.

Every trail or cross country style race I have done so far seems to have a long jam at the start, and this was no exception. The trail was tight and narrow, leaving little room to pass. As I knew I was in for a long race (longer than a 5k anyway) I wasn't too worried about passing people and passed only when people were much slower than the pack or if they pulled themselves aside.

I ran with a pack of about 10 people for much of the first couple miles. Not the leaders - probably 2 or 3 groups behind. Based on the terrain, I was good with the pace. I was expecting less of an overall elevation change than at Pontiac Lake, and that held true. What I didn't expect were all of the twists and turns and smaller but more frequent elevation changes. There were few straight parts and, when you were "rewarded" with a downhill run, it was rocky and rooty. For a person who runs about 90% on roads, this was a bit tough. Rugged Man was, in fact, suitably named.

I was going pretty well until just after the 2 mile mark, where I fell. I didn't fall hard and wasn't hurt too badly (small knee scrapes and a slight strain on my right quad which always gets strained anyway), but it seemed to throw off my rhythm. I lost my pack and never did catch up with them. This didn't not ruin my run, but I think this fall and another wipe out by another runner later in front of me cost me my 50 minute goal (which really wasn't based on anything anyway). Miles 2 to 3.5 were tough as the terrain got even hillier and I recovered. I seemed to get back into a groove around the 3.5 mile mark. I was in my usual "no mans land" with few runners anywhere near me, but I was able to push myself. The terrain improved as well and there were actually a couple straightaways and downhill sections that were not too rocky.

Near the end of the race, I saw a few people in front of me around a curve, but I wasn't able to catch them. I was able to put some distance between me and the small pack's footsteps behind me. Once I crossed the last little bridge, I sprinted like a madman towards the finish, even though there was no one near me. (I probably look like a goofball, but I don't want to leave any time on the course coasting to the finish.) I guess that is my thing now - if I have anything left at the end of a race, I'm gonna use it. The argument could be made that, if I can run that hard at the end, I should be using more energy earlier. Maybe so, but I don't feel like I am holding back.

I finished in just over 52 minutes, which is just under the average time for all males from last year's race. I expect that average to be pretty close this year. That seems about right and it is just where I am at this point. I really want to be good and, with continued effort, that time will come, but it has been a long road to average and I am pleased with this race and my overall efforts.

I may do the Midland Half-marathon or another race next weekend. I really want to do the half-marathon, but I don't think I've been putting in enough miles to feel like I am still well trained for it. I'm confident I could do it, but I want to do well (as in beat my Brooksie Way time and try to beat 2 hours). I hope to decide by mid week based on how I feel, the weather, etc. It isn't the off-season yet! I feel like every race I get to do from now on for the rest of the year is a bonus and I plan to be thankful for running them, no matter the result.

Congrats to Matt at Breaking Point 315 for his fine showing at Iceman (bike race)! Can't wait to read the full report.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brain Freeze

The Trunk or Treat 5k race this morning was a mite bit chilly, with the temperature hanging around the freezing mark. I arrived a little later than I usually do for a race and, by the time I got the number and tag on, it was time to go. My warmup consisted of jumping up and down and moving in place for a couple minutes before the start of the race.

Once the race started, I got into a pace which I would maintain for the entire race, which is good. Unfortunately, that pace was about 30 seconds per mile slower than I wanted to go. I was never really able to get moving much faster and, as often happens for these races, it takes about a mile for me to really get into a rhythm breathing.

The cold air, which I am not all that accustomed to running in, just seemed to effect me. I felt tight and heavy breathing in the cold air was a somewhat of a shock to my system.

The good part of my run, as I noted, was the steady pace I was able to keep through the entire race (besides the very end where I kicked it up a bit). The longer runs I have been doing over the past few months have really been helping.

I ended up with 2nd place in my age group today, keeping a run of finishing in the top three going. I like getting medals and awards as little tokens of encouragement. While not terribly meaningful and certainly nothing to brag about, it is nice to have something to show for the effort - most of which occurs during the training before the race.

Side note: What is with the "long" courses? This one was also about .1 mile long, just like the previous race. Yes, each race is an individual event with different weather, terrain, competition, etc., but a 5k should be 3.1 miles. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but I would have felt better dropping about 40 seconds off of my race time.

I think I'm finally at the point in my resurgent running career that I don't absolutely need races to keep myself motivated. Not saying that I don't like racing or that I intend to stop, but my continued participation no longer hinges upon just getting to the next race.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mountain Man

Today, I did a group run organized by at Pontiac Lake Rec Area on the Mountain Bike Loop (the same one I did in July). This is the hilliest course I have run to date and is filled with rocks, roots and other hazards. The first time I ran it, I wasn't ready for the course, but I did it. This time, I felt a bit more prepared.

I arrived a bit early and it was cold - below 40 F. I walked around a little bit to warm up. There were about 15 - 20 people in all there at the starting time and, after a few words by Karl, the organizer, we were off.

For the first 4.5 miles, I ran most in front of a little pack of runners. I could hear heavy breathing and footsteps behind me during this entire time. While they would prove more than capable of catching up to me, they didn't. Once they did catch me, I offered to let them pass, but they said they liked my pace. They passed me at mile 5, but we swapped places leading a couple times after that because, at points where the trail split, I chose to take the shorter, "easy" paths while they did not.

I was very happy to even come close to keeping up with these runners because, while they were not "elite", every one of them were good, veteran runners. They seemed surprised when we were talking during the run that I only started back running in the last year and that I did mostly road, rather than trail running.

I ended up doing the loop over 20 minutes faster than I did in July. This was due to 1) being in better shape and having more running experience, 2) running with other people. (While it wasn't a race, they certainly made me push myself) and 3) The weather conditions were much more favorable and the bugs which previously attacked me without mercy were no where to be found. While running at an 11:45/mi pace would typically not be good at this point in my running career, I was very happy with it today considering the course.

You aren't a kid anymore alert: My knees and other portions of my legs don't like running more than about 6 miles or so. After my longest runs, I my legs are usually sore the rest of the day and often the following day too. Based on some tips from the forums, I have been icing my knees (I don't plan to sit in a full tub of ice - that may be effective but does not sound fun at all). I've done this after doing a 3 mile run yesterday and again today. It really seems to help, so I think I will start doing this as a regular thing, especially after a particularly long or tough run. Any other tips out there?

Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Miles, 4 towns, 6 turkeys and a snake.

In the two weeks since the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, I managed to run a total of just over 10 miles. This lighter running schedule was not necessarily done by choice, but it did allow me to heal up a bit. My right leg is discomfort free while running for the first time in at least a couple months. The bad part of the rest is that I feel like I am out of practice and my legs, while "healthy" are not in the best condition to do long runs.

This morning, I decided to do a long run, thinking I would do 7 or 8 miles. I headed out to my normal starting spot and took off. It was nice to be running though it took a bit to get my breathing down. It wasn't bad, but I usually don't have any issues when I am in practice. I tool the scenic route and after a couple miles, I was on a dirt road which could have been mistaken for a country road in the middle of nowhere. The road itself was ideal - damp enough to keep the dirt down with just the right amount of give.There were horses and a six-pack of turkeys in a driveway. Great temperature outside, nice shade and I saw just one moving vehicle the entire time I was on the first dirt road. It is strange to many to think of running as fun, but I was having fun.

The fun continued until near mile 6 when I made a questionable decision. I could have continued back toward home on the loop I planned and got my 7.5 or 8 miles in, but I felt good and decided to make a turn to extend the run. With the turn, I was running against a strong, gusting wind and largely uphill. This road was busier and I ran on the gravel shoulder much of the time. About a mile in on this road, I almost ran over a BIG SNAKE.

The snake was just curled up on the side of the road and, as I noticed it, I side stepped it by a couple feet. I don't know if it was dead or alive and I didn't look back to find out. Looking it up, I think it was a Blue Racer. Not venomous, but I don't think I wanted to step on it anyway. Did I mention it was a BIG SNAKE? :)

After the snake encounter, I really started to lose energy. I didn't drink or eat anything before I took off and was starting to weaken. It seemed like it took forever to get to the road I was planning to turn on and I was fading. I made it to the last turn and was hoping to make it back, but I was running out of gas. I made it past the 10 mile mark and I was done.

I walked for about a mile, but figured I was still about 3 miles from home, so I called for a rescue from my better half. While tempted to call before on a run, this is the first time I actually did. I walked nearly another mile and she picked me up and brought me home.

It was a good run, but was more mileage than I should have done after 2 weeks with no long run. (I forget that this was only my fifth run of 10 miles or more) Next time, I'll stick to my plan. Next weekend, I will either find a race or I may do the "practice run" taking place at mountain bike trail at Pontiac Lake Rec Area. This was the site of perhaps my toughest run ever. It would be nice to take this on with others.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back 2 Back

I ran a race yesterday (as noted in the previous post) and while I had fun, I was not completely thrilled with how I did. I now see that setting a PR is always good and that, as I keep working, the times will continue to drop.

Late last night, I decided to run another race today because I still wanted to race and it was very close to home. I wasn't too sore from the day before, but I rarely even run at all on consecutive days. To race two days in a row was a bit silly, but I didn't care. I wasn't going to be worried about times, I just wanted to race.

The Run at the Farm 5k was a hilly, cross country course at a local park. While I didn't hurt, my strides didn't seem to have much power behind them. Running on the grass and up hills didn't help matters. I ran a bit behind the main pack to start and gradually, the best runners pulled away and left me alone in the no-mans land I always seem to end up in, way behind the leaders, but somewhere between the good runners and the next tier of runners. About half way into the race, another runner caught up to me and we ran together most of the rest of the race. Another one caught us with about 3/4 mile left and we all ran together in a pack towards the finish. They both passed me with about 1/4 mile left but I made a charge at the end, caught one but didn't quite close the gap with the other. I ended up 2nd in my age group and had a nice time.

I don't plan to race twice in one weekend again, and probably won't run consecutive weekends on a normal basis. As you would guess, I ran best when I was adequately rested and it gets expensive to run these races. It was fun this weekend though. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Great Pumpkin 5k

I ran the Great Pumpkin 5k in Davison, MI this morning. I rustled the family out of bed early and we all rode up to the race at Davison High School. It was a great morning with perfect running weather.

I wanted to do this race because the course looked flat and fast (it was). Perfect conditions to set a personal record and meet my goal of a 24 minute 5k in 2011.

At the start of the race, I went out way too fast. My goal was to keep 7:20 (or 23 min) pace for as long as I could. For the first half mile, I was closer to 6:45, though by the end of the first mile, I was at 7:10. I was struggling a lot more with my breathing than I thought I would and the second mile was at 7:44 - still at 24 minute pace. The last mile was just bad - 8:35. While I finished the very end strong, my time was disappointing - 24:45 (24:40 per my watch and the clock).

While I was disappointed, it was an adult 5k PR by well over a minute and I finished in 3rd place in my age group. After I had a little time to be ticked off that I didn't meet my goal, I realized that, with my half marathon training, it had been nearly a month since I ran anywhere near 5k pace. Most of my runs were at a slower, half marathon pace or less. You run like you train, and I haven't been training for a 5k since June!

The other thing I noticed about today's race is that the course was almost a tenth of a mile long. I was hoping that my Garmin would show that I did the 5k distance in 24 minutes, but it was actually 24:15. It is closer and makes me feel a little less badly. :) While the result wasn't what I expected, I ran as well I ever have, got a medal and had a good time.

There was a kids race after the 5k was done and my lil' boy decided he wanted to run - right before the race started (not earlier when I could have registered him). He was upset as the kids ran by, so I told him to just go. So, he joined the race as a bandit runner and was cute as he ran around the track. He even got the plastic metal and a lollipop when he was done.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fine First Half Marathon

I ran the Brooksie Way Half Marathon this morning, finishing in 2:04:47. This beat my "official" goal of 2:05 (though I didn't quite make my "fantasy" goal of 2 hours even.) This followed up a 2:10 practice run a couple weeks ago, a run that I thought went really well.

The Brooksie Way course is known as a difficult one. The first half of it is largely downhill, while the second half, particularly miles 7 - 10, is brutally hilly. During that stretch, there first big hill is quite steep and the second seems endless.

I wanted that 2 hour time, even though I am not "there" yet. I went really fast (for me) the first few miles, but did so comfortably. I know they say you can't "bank" time in a race like this, but as long as I was feeling good, I was going to keep it up. On a flat course, I might have had a look at the 2 hour mark, but for today, I'm happy with how it went.

I've been battling something (a pulled muscle or IT band thing?) in my right thigh and it really seemed to flare up around mile 5. It hurt and it probably affected my pace a bit, but it didn't get worse and I dealt with it as best I could.

Near the end of the race, I knew I was close to the 2:05 time and was determined not to miss it. Once you get over an hour on my GPS watch, it doesn't show seconds, but I knew I was close. The best part of my race was the last .1 mile, where I decided I was going to lay out and go with everything I had left up the hill to the finish. I passed about 8 people up that hill and crossed the finish line in as close to a sprint as I could muster. I couldn't have done that any earlier, my right leg was in agony as I crossed the finish line. Had that not been the end of the race, I'm not certain that I could have continued, my leg was done. I wonder if they were taking pictures there at the finish. I'm guessing that I had quite an expression on my face.

Considering it was my first half marathon and my first race ever in excess of 4 miles, I think today was a great success and served as a fine payoff for months of effort.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Running into Clarkston

I ran a rather hilly route this morning in anticipation of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon next weekend. I ran 7 miles today, which I figured is enough. I kept it at a 10 min / mile pace overall - a bit faster at the start and end and a bit slower in the middle. I felt ok, but not nearly as good as during the half-marathon practice run last week. I am hoping that the pace I started at today will be my race pace. (It is astounding that my long run pace now is pretty close to my 5k race speed less than 6 months ago. I'm getting there...)

Looking forward to running a long race without the hydration belt. I need it when running solo for anything more than about 5 miles, but the race will have water stations every mile.

While I live in a pretty busy suburban area, I can get about 3 miles from home and feel like I'm out in the country. I "discovered" a great dirt road to run on today and didn't see a vehicle on it the whole way. I'm thinking that more of my long runs will start going in this general direction.

The race week plan is to do a mid-distance, mid-effort run on Monday and I will try to get short runs in on Wednesday and Friday. Race day is Sunday and I will be ready.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A great run - Brooksie Way Half Marathon practice

I had a great run this morning at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon Practice Run. This was an "official" practice run with about 500 people showing up to run the entire course. I ran the whole thing (and then some - my watch showed almost 13.5 miles) and did so faster than I thought I would.

The vaunted Brooksie Way hills are very real, but not as bad as I had feared. The first half of the course is mostly downhill or level. Miles 7 to 10 starting at Tienken Road were tough and did much to effect my legs. This is were I slowed down a bit, but was able to work through it.

The only downside of the run is that in two weeks, during the actual race, I need to beat it. I was actually about 10 - 15 minutes faster today than I thought I would be, but I wasn't pushing too hard. I ran my race and ran my pace. In fact, I had a stupid mantra pop up in my head while I was running: "Run your pace and run your race and 'til mile 12 you do not chase". (Thanks Dr. Seuss) Basically, I was trying to worry about myself and not worry about expending extra energy and chasing someone down at mile 5 when there is a long way to go.

When I did reach mile 12, I still decided not to chase and finished steady. I had a good kick left in me but elected not to use it. I proved my point that I could do the distance (this was my longest run ever) and this was training, not a race. I didn't want to wreck a great run by pushing too hard when I was tired and hurt myself. No holding back at the race.

I am beat but excited. Part of me wants to go out and run some more, but that is not a good idea at all. I will do a recovery run on Monday, something during the week and a good 8 - 10 next Saturday if all goes as planned.

Thanks to Erin who I met during the run. I kept up with her through the better part of 10 miles and she was very nice and encouraging. Also green shirt lady, blue shirt hat man and zebra skirt lady helped with their steady pace. :) The apples and cookies at the end of the run were great. The apples were the best tasting apples ever (they were actually good, but part of it was because I was super hungry) and I ate them like a Tex Winter cartoon character eats corn on the cob.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Goal Updates

The Camp Lael 5k 2010 was the first race I ran without walking since high school and I just finished the 2011 one, so I thought that this would be a good time to look at the goals I have achieved, and those yet to be accomplished. Here are a few:

1. Finish the Open Door Julie Run (June 2011) in 26 minutes or less.

Result: 26:01.8 (Darn close) - I chose this race as the start of the year as a "tent pole" race that would show where I was at. I figured that I could do 26 minutes by this race. I beat 26 minutes on my watch, but was a couple seconds off on the race clock. Even though I beat my previous adult record by over a minute, I thought my performance was just OK.

2. Win the Camp Lael 5k.

Result: Won the Camp Lael 5k. - To be honest, I could have skipped backwards and won this race this year. I did run it hard and finished in 26:06, which isn't bad for this rather brutal course. I would have been more satisfied if I could have had a rematch with Super Mom and the 9 year old that beat me the year before. :)

3. Place in my age group at an event.

Result: Placed 3rd at the Sylvan Shuffle and 1st at the OPC 5k in my age group.

Running in the 27 minute range at the time, I didn't really expect to win anything at either of these races. I have found that sometimes, a particular age group just doesn't attend certain events and that it seems rather random. I'm sure that at some point I will have a great race that deserves an award and will end up far out of the picture. I race against myself more than other people, but it does matter to me where I finish. If you don't care at all where you finish, why race? I would like to eventually get to a point where I am competing to win my age group at almost every race.

4. Finish the Brooksie Way 5k in 24 minutes or less.

Result: Incomplete. I have opted to run the half marathon instead of the Brooksie Way. I hope to run another 5k later in October after the Brooksie Way on the 2nd. I think I can run a 24 minute 5k now, but until I actually do it, it is just talk. I have broken my half marathon training way to much to try to fit in another race before October, but there will be plenty of races to do in the cool October or November air. I have amended this goal to "Finish a 5k race in 24 minutes or less in 2011.

I haven't set goals for 2012 yet (but welcome suggestions). I would like to run a sub 21 minute 5k in 2012 and think that it is possible with continued work. (I really want to say 20 minutes... we'll see where I'm at come January) That would put me near my high school times which ranged from about 19:30 to 22:30, averaging around 21 minutes or so. (The truth is that in some ways I am a better distance runner now than I was in high school, but my legs are not nearly as strong.) I would like to place at the Julie Run 5k next year too.

No decisions have been made about long distance runs. I'm thinking about another half marathon or two during the year, but don't have any time to complete them in mind. I would like to do a marathon at some point, but I would like to progress a bit before I consider it.

I'm not into setting mileage goals, because I think that many runners at my level tend to run too much. While I would love to say "I'll run 1000 miles next year", I don't want to make that a goal. I just want to run enough to meet my other goals and if I run 600 or 800 or 1000 miles to do it, so be it.

Goals are nice, but the best thing is that I am enjoying running and plan to keep going for the foreseeable future. I am in better shape than I've been in years as well. Running is not for everyone, but it is good for me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner - or McDonalds Dinner using gift card prize

Ran the Camp Lael 5K this morning and won the race! There was little to no competition at all, but this may be the only race I ever win in my life, so I'm counting it. The race was listed on the website among others, so it isn't my fault that it wasn't well attended by runners. They were invited but few came (there were many more walkers than runners). One of my goals this year was to win this race (I actually told my wife I would win immediately after last year's race) so... mission accomplished.

The course was primarily gravel and dirt roads, had some very steep inclines and consisted of 3 loops of the same course, making the hills that much worse. I finished with a time of 26:06, but I think I would now be a couple minutes faster on a more "standard" road 5k course. I dropped over 6 minutes from my time just one year ago.

Overall, it was a good but not great run. I do not have experience in leading a race (other than last years race, where I led for the first half of the race before finishing 4th) and I think I probably was a little complacent the latter part of this race, knowing that I was ahead of the next runner by a wide margin. Legs felt good, breathing was excellent, but had to deal with minor to moderate midsection pains through much of the race.

My first half marathon is in three weeks. I will not win that race and will probably not even finish in the top 2/3 of my age group, but I am looking forward to it!

Monday, September 5, 2011

That was better.

55 degrees with a light drizzle, while a bit chilly at first, turned out to be ideal running weather. I felt much better today during my 3.4 mile hilly run than during Saturday's struggle. It was probably one of my better short training runs and I kept a good, even pace (the hills accounted for most of the variation). If I can run like that (at a bit faster, race pace) next weekend at Camp Lael, I'll be happy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crummy run but not too worried

Went out this morning with the intention of going 10 - 12 miles. I did that, but I didn't even consider that I would walk about half of it. I did my usual walk of nearly 1/2 mile before starting running and felt fine. Once I started running, I almost immediately knew I wasn't going to have a great run. After a couple blocks, my quads felt fatigued and a little sore and it seemed there was just no power in my legs. Even though it was humid and it took just seconds to work up a sweat, I didn't feel bad, but my legs were just useless (which can be a problem when you are running). :)

With the way my legs felt, I never got into a good rhythm and felt like I was kinda gliding along instead of running. I quickly developed a side stitch which didn't help matters, but I pressed on as I ran past the high school and then through the nature center. While I was hoping that I would get into a groove, by about 3.5 miles in my upper legs felt even worse - like I had run 10 miles the day before. I probably should have turned around and ran back home at that point, but I wanted to keep going. Then, a few blocks later I started walking, shouted "No!" and started running again, only to resume walking less than a minute later.

I decided to let myself walk a bit only if I would resume running. I was hoping I could "reboot" myself and when I started running again, I would feel better and use better form. That really didn't happen. I probably moved about 6 more miles after that, but only ran a little over 2 of it.

Overall, I was disappointed with the run, which was easily my worst in a couple months, but I'm not too worried about it. I did a quick run Thursday night which must have been more taxing on my legs than I had thought. This was also my 4th run of the week when I have been struggling to normally get 3 in and I had already done a "long" run on Tuesday. If today had been a race, it would have been my "worst case scenario", but I would have worked through it and ended up ok.

The plan is to rest tomorrow and, if all goes well, I'll do a hilly 3 or 4 miles on Monday to prep for the Camp Lael 5k next weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2011


My grandfather went to be with the Lord last week and we attended his funeral this weekend. Obviously, running took a backseat to life.

He was always there for us. He passed away last week and we attended his services and the reunion picnic celebrating his life this weekend. Who else would teach me how to repair the rust holes on my '84 Dodge Daytona with duct tape and primer and have it actually work and look good? We will miss him greatly. Prayers for my family, especially for my grandmother are welcomed and appreciated!

I did run this weekend, though not the Crim 10 Mile race I had planned. I ran Friday morning at about what I figured my 10 mile race pace would have been. I did 5 miles. I would have rocked at my race and beat my goals. I have very little doubt about that.

On Sunday, I just wanted to do something to get out and run. I ran the only race I could find in the area. It was the Foxwood 4 Mile, put on my Frank Johnson of ASF Running ( It was a loop around a neighborhood then a nice bike trail out and back. I did the race and, considering that I was mentally and somewhat physically tired before the race, I did ok with a time of 34:25. I figured if I was under 35, I would be satisfied. It was an age-graded race, meaning that some people started earlier and others later based on age. I finished 8th overall and got a nice little "Top 20 Finisher" trophy for my efforts.

I met some nice people and overall the race just made me feel good and normal after the events of the past week. They will be putting on a marathon / half marathon in April 2012 that I might consider doing (the half that is).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cautious run

Ran a "5k" on part of my "hilly route" this afternoon. I didn't go 5k race pace, but I wanted to go a bit faster than I had been as of late. For a training run, this was an OK one. I was very cautious in that once I experienced the slightest bit of discomfort or a little pain, I seemed to back off. If I was racing, I hope I would have just powered through it. Maybe I should have done that anyway....

Even though the Crim 10 Mile is the lead-in to my Brooksie Way Half Marathon in October, I still want to do well and really want to feel good and healthy going into it. Ideally, I would do a mid-tempo morning run on Wednesday and a very light run on Thursday this week. Hopefully, I will do it and not just talk or type about it. :)

I think I have been too cautious overall in my running this year and maybe I'm not as "good" as I should be, but the main thing is that I am still at it and have no plans to stop. I wouldn't say I'm in great shape, but I probably haven't been in better shape in the past few years.

Love to my grandparents who are both dealing with health issues.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gettin' ready for the Crim!

Gettin' ready for the Crim 10 mile next week! I'm excited as it is my first road race in over two months (the Warrior Dash was fun but not the same) and my first race over 3.1 miles. I wish it would have been today, but, alas, I must wait another week.

Did a 7 mile run today in a different direction than normal. I liked the loop I ran, though I did have a long stretch of sidewalk running. I don't like to run on concrete as I think it has less give than asphalt and wears legs out faster. I've heard other runners say the same, but I'm not sure if it really matters or if is just a mental thing. At least it was a fairly new and level sidewalk...

I ran ok. About a half mile into my run, I noticed that I had my tennis shoes and not my running shoes on. I felt good, but something just felt off. These tennis shoes are definitely not suitable for running, but I decided to press on. About 4 miles in, my feet felt like bricks. Hopefully, it will be like using a weighted ring on a baseball bat and it will help me later. :)

I didn't end up going quite as fast as I would have liked, but I think it was caution on my part not to hurt or strain anything before the Crim more than anything. While my legs were getting a little tired, I had lots left in the tank when I was done.

Not ever running a 10 mile race, I shouldn't make predictions or announce my goals publicly, but what the heck! If I go under 1:40 next Saturday, I'll give myself an 'A', under 1:45 a 'B', under 1:50 a 'C'. Anything over 1:53 or so would be a failure in my eyes, especially since I have done that just training. My plan is to establish a 9:30 min/mi pace and try to stick to it throughout. As I have never really done that before for that distance, I'm giving myself a little wiggle room. 1:40 is a 10 min/mi pace and if I can do that, I'd be really happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Warrior Dash

Ran the Warrior Dash on Saturday. It was a fun event, different from a traditional race in that it is run on trails with many obstacles, both natural and man-made.

The race starts with a wave of about 500 people with fire shooting out the top of the starting gate. My brother-in-law and I were about halfway back in the group when the race began. Unfortunately, the course was pretty narrow and there was nowhere to move. We went at a slow jog pace for nearly a mile until the first intentional obstacle. While I wasn't overly concerned about getting a great finishing time, next time I will get as close to the front as possible.

We ran up and down good sized, fairly steep hills and through a little stream several times. Intentional or not, the obstacles seemed to be placed in more or less increasing difficulty. Many of them required considerable effort, though none were impossible. The 20 ft tall cargo net climb was probably the hardest and the scariest, besides the mud.

The mud pit was right at the end and required one to jump into about a 4 ft pit of watery mud, then crawl through about 60 feet of more shallow mud below barbed wire. After I jumped in, my shoes got stuck in the mud and it took considerable effort not to lose them. I probably had about 5 pounds of mud on me as I got out of the pit and shuffled to the finish line.

Overall, it was a fun event, though much different than a traditional 5k. The finishing time doesn't really mean too much, this race was more about the experience. I finished with a time of 39:24, which was 183/592 in my age group and 1674/6726 overall. I would consider dong this race again next year.

I ran 6 miles this morning as well, as I wasn't feeling too many effects from the Warrior Dash. Nothing remarkable about the run, though it may be the coolest it has been on a run in weeks (still humid though).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rain in the AM, Run in the PM

Got up around 5:30 am this morning, intending to run, but it was raining pretty hard, so I went back to bed. Ran after work instead. Nothing special. It is getting easier to intentionally run the last mile as the fastest mile, especially when "only" running 3.

One more short run planned for Thursday before the Warrior Dash!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This one goes past eleven!

I ran 12 miles this morning! I was planning to go somewhere between 6 and 11, depending on how I felt. 11 would have been good, but I ended up pretty far from home on my route. It would have taken forever to walk home if I stopped. I felt pretty good up until about 8.5 miles. The last 3.5 miles was tough, but I made it. I was tempted to go 13.1 miles, but decided that is best left for another day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two Hundred Miles

Did a short two mile run tonight to bring my measured total to 200 miles so far this year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Evening Run - That's Soupy!

As I was driving home, I was looking forward to running. Then, I got out to pick up some pizza and was treated to a blast of warm, humid air that fogged my glasses. It was drizzling and I was hoping it would just pour. I got home and it was still very humid and lightly drizzling, which continued throughout the run. Please rain.. please rain... it would feel so nice if it would just pour.. but it was not to be.

I ran pretty well for an evening run in the soupy air. I felt great at first, but had some trouble with breathing in the thick, humid air. I ran about 30 seconds a mile slower than I had hoped, but still had a decent 5k run.

I would like some running weather please.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Morning Run

I had a good run this morning. 7 miles at a pace which I would describe as my "Half Marathon" pace. It was probably my best "long" run in over a month. I got out early before it got too hot and was able to keep a fairly consistent pace, although I was a bit faster at the beginning and end of the run. Overall, July has been a disappointing month as far as running between vacation and the heat. I don't think I took a step back, but I didn't progress as I did in June.

I think, as long as I'm not too sore, that I will try to get out again tomorrow morning. I'd love to do a faster, shorter run (more 5k pace) but we'll see.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ten is a magic number.

I decided last night that, even though I wasn't back to my normal running schedule due to vacation and hot weather, that I was going to run 10 miles today. So, I did it.

I ran a three lake loop (technically, I probably looped around 5 lakes) around Lotus, Maceday and Williams Lakes. That was good for over 8 miles, then I was creative and ran around until I got to 10 miles.

With the route I was running, I had a choice to run one direction and hit the hills early in the run, or go the other way and hit the hills late. I decided to take the hills early and, while my legs paid for it, it was probably the correct decision. I may have been tempted to stop running on a big hill late in today's run.

I went out early and while is wasn't scorching hot, it was warm and humid. I felt good at first and thought I was at a pace I could maintain throughout. However the hills, the humidity and my recent lack of running all probably played a part in my gradual slowing during the run. My legs (mostly knees) were not happy with me beyond about 3 or 4 miles.

Overall, I'm glad that I reached the ten mile mark. I have a month until a ten mile race, so while I knew I could do it, it is still nice to cover at least the same distance as the race.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back from vacation

We're back from vacation. I did do a couple runs during our trip, one at Camp Lael and one at Wisconsin Dells. Nothing remarkable about either other than that they were both a bit hilly. I'm hoping that all these hilly runs I have been doing for the past few weeks are getting me ready for Brooksie Way Half Marathon in October, which is supposed to be a challenging course.

I didn't run a particularly long way (it is nice to now think of 6 and 5 mile runs as mid-distance), nor did I run particularly hard, but at least I did something. Ran a bit this morning too, but it was already quite hot at 8:30 am (I woke up at 6, saw that the news station said it was 78 degrees and fell back asleep. It was in the low to mid 80s by the time I got going.)

My schedule may allow me to get a couple runs in this week. Next race isn't until the Warrior Dash Indiana in about 3 1/2 weeks. I plan to do a 10 mile run this weekend if all goes as planned.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Firecracker Mile

There was a race in Clawson today called the Firecracker Mile. I didn't run it mainly because I didn't sign up early enough to get the lower price and because I didn't really want to drive out there.

Anyhow, I decided to run a timed mile because I had never done so (as an adult). I picked a flat loop in my area to run, did a mile slow run warmup to get there and then went at it. Here it is:

My legs, particularly my quads, have not recovered from Saturday's outing and I didn't follow my usual running morning routine. I think that in a race setting with proper preparation, I would be in the 6:30 to 6:45 range. Still not blazing fast, but better than today.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

9 Mile trail run

I survived the longest and toughest run I have ever done this morning. Went to Pontiac Lake Rec Area and ran the mountain bike trail. There is a reason why it is, in fact, a mountain bike trail. For this area, it is about as mountainous as it gets.

I headed out to the park to learn that it didn't actually open until 8 am. Luckily, I saw a runner parking nearby while I was out there and said he parks at this certain location frequently, so I went with it.

I learned early on that I was not going to set any speed records as the hills were brutal. The biggest hills were early in the run and pretty much rendered my legs ineffective. The first mile or so was about the speed I thought I would run the whole trail, but that was far from the case. The bugs were pretty brutal throughout the run (Tip #1 - if you are going to do a trail run, put on some insect repellant) and I was very tempted to turn back by mile 2, but it got slightly better from about then on. And I saw a wild Turkey.

Around mile 3 to 4, I felt like I was settling into a good pace and felt good. That lasted until about 6.5 miles in. There was one particular stretch where between the rocks, hills and distance that my knees started to rebel. It was a struggle to finish for the last couple miles, but I did it. I am happy to say that I ran the whole 9 miles. There were a few hills where I walked near the top in the last couple miles, but I don't consider that "walking". Of the 2 hour, 7 minute run, a max of 2 minutes consisted of this walking (where I probably made as much progress up these hills as "running").

I think this run will probably be the toughest that I will do all year (unless I do it again at some point, perhaps in the fall). It wasn't speedy, but it didn't need to be. It was probably beyond my current capabilities, but I toughed it out and finished strong.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hills Are Alive.. with the sound of heavy breathing....

Finally had a good evening run. It is the first one in a while and the first that I did that much distance. Overall, it was actually my best 5 mile run yet. The best part is that I picked about the hilliest (is that a word) course I could find and still averaged under 10 min / mile, which is good for me with that distance. I think this is my half marathon race pace right now, which I could live with.

I think I will be doing the Pontiac Lake trail run on Saturday. It is about 9.5 miles and is even a bit more hilly than what I did today. This will be a huge test, but I think I am ready. I won't beat myself up if I need to walk at some point, but that isn't my plan. I've come a long way and I will consider this essentially my July race (as it looks like I won't be doing a formal race in July right now, unless I sneak one in late.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nice weekend

We had a nice weekend. The weather was perfect while my little boy and I were at camp. Camp Lael is also the site of a 5k race which I participated in last year (and at which I was schooled by a 7 or 8 year old boy.) and I will be helping out to make this year's race a success. The course is compacted sand, dirt and gravel (the best surface to run on) and is quite hilly. I ran 5 relatively easy miles Saturday morning. Would have gone faster and / or longer, but I knew I had a full day of fun planned with my lil' guy and took it easy. That and the hills were tough. I need to put some hill runs back in my schedule.

I ran this morning too. I hadn't run at a "near 5k pac:e since the last race, so I went fairly quickly (for me). It took about 1.5 miles to really catch my breath and feel comfortable.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It Ain't Got No Gas In It

I've had a couple runs since my race, but nothing which dignifies embedding the runs at all. Ran Monday morning and had a decent, easy mid-distance run. Ran again tonight (even though I said no evening runs) and it was quite forgettable. I was just tired and had no energy. My legs didn't hurt or anything, but they just didn't want to move. I didn't even move fast enough to breathe very hard. I was just outta gas I guess.

This week has been busy at home and a bit stressful at work, so the sub-par outing tonight was no surprise. I would have liked to get up early and go, but due to family activities, I didn't get in bed early enough to even think about getting up early.

Looking forward to going to camp this weekend with Lil' J. We should have a great time and I plan to run in the morning when I get up. The camp is the site of a 5k run later this year, so I plan to run the course over and over. Will do a long run most likely on Saturday. I don't know that I can go more than 8.5 mi then have a full day of camp fun, but 6 or so sounds about right.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Open Door Julie Run 5K - gimme two seconds here

It was a great day for running a race, in this case the Open Door Julie Run 5k in Commerce. This is my third time running the event, but the first time I was actually in decent shape to do so. I had 3 goals for the race (kind of like Bronze, Silver and Gold I guess). The first was to beat 27 minutes, then 26:30 and then 26:00. I ended up with an official time of 26:01.8. Overall, I am happy with the time (which is over a minute faster than my previous best just 2 weeks ago), but am disappointed because I left those 2 seconds on the course.

I didn't feel great for the race, just OK. I think I am ready to go too early and then there is some standing around during lineup and announcements and such. I felt "crabby" from the start of the race, as there were people with dogs, strollers and others who just weren't going to run lined up ahead of people who were actually runners. If they are going to allow dogs and strollers, they need to get them in the back and out of the way.

My legs felt good overall, but the course was a bit more hilly than I remember. No huge hills, but more small inclines than I remember.

I did well and I'm trying not to let 2 seconds ruin what was a good run overall. I can say that if there was a timed start as well as a finish, I would have beat 26 minutes, but I want it official on record. Oh well. In a while, 26 minutes will be a distant memory for a 5k time and I will be competing to win my age group at this race next year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm a morning person...keep telling yourself that.

Did my first "pre-work" run this morning. Ideally, I would have done it yesterday too, but I didn't get up in time. As the temperature increases and it when it is still hot in the evening, maybe I'll be more motivated to have a comparatively cool morning run.

This morning, I just wanted to run a mid-tempo couple miles so my body isn't in shock for Saturday's race. I figured a 9:30 pace overall and did just slightly slower than that. I'm not sure why but today, like a few other times, I do exactly what I set out to do and still feel a little disappointed. I think it is because I wasn't relaxed and was thinking about all I had to do at work today and worrying about things I shouldn't worry about. My most enjoyable runs are not only when I have what I consider to be a good performance, but when I am able to relax and just enjoy the run itself.

My main goal was to test my lower back, which I apparently strained a bit Monday during a very poor round of golf. It isn't bad, just a bit stiff and slightly sore at times. The good news is that it didn't bother me while running, so that can't be an excuse.

I wish tomorrow was Saturday, as I'm looking forward to the race and to the weekend in general.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Mornin' Run

Had a nice "tempo" run this morning. Ran 5k almost as fast as I did for the race last week, which is nice. I was putting in a good effort, but didn't feel like I was running that hard.

Hopefully, that means that this Saturday's Open Door Julie Run 5k will go as well as I hope. I have set three goals for the race, a each with decreasing times. I think I can drop quite a bit of time off of my OPC race.

Will try to run early Wednesday or Thursday, then it's on!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Now its time to bring it around town, bring it a-round town.

Had a good long run of 8.5 miles this morning (personal record for distance). Felt pretty good throughout and was able to keep mile times pretty consistent throughout. The only things that felt a bit tired and almost sore during this run were my knees. No ill effects a while after the run, so I'm hoping that the muscles around the knees will continue to strengthen.

Each of these long runs gives me confidence that I can not only do the half marathon, but that I can do fairly well.

Watch Spongebob and Squidward Bring It Around Town

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Done with Evening Runs?

I try to run one or twice a week after work. I work a 10 hr shift until 6:30 pm and often do not get home until well after 7. By this time I've had a full day and am tired and hungry. My guess is that this is not the best situation for running. I rarely have a "good" run this late in the day. It's more like "Well... doing something is better than nothing".

Unfortunately, the options for avoiding evening runs are A) Not running at all or B) Running in the early morning before work. Like 5:30 am early. I don't like either choice, but I may try some morning runs. It was difficult to commit to regular exercise and running, but I have done it and now enjoy it. It will be more challenging to get up at the "butt crack of dawn" and try to gallop around the neighborhood.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Mornin' Run

Nothin' exciting here. Legs still stiff from race and yard work. Started to loosen about mile 4. I'm trying to get used to running in hot weather. Not enjoying it so far.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I am victorious!

With an record 5k time as an adult of 27:11, I finished 1st in the 30 - 39 year old category at the OPC 5K in Rochester today (28th overall). I received a nice Running Fit gift certificate for my efforts. For whatever reason, thirty-something males have not turned out in droves at the last two races I have participated in, allowing me to place 3rd last month and 1st today in my age group. I am unapologetic, as I will take what I can get. I never expected to place at all this year, so to do it twice is very encouraging!

As for the race, it was very nice. It was only $5 to run and included a bag and t-shirt. The run itself was downhill from the start to the Clinton River trail, about 1.3 miles down the trail and back again. I enjoy trail runs as it is nice to run on something other than concrete or asphalt.

The best thing I did today is pace myself. I had my Garmin GPS watch and decided that I wanted to run an average of 8:30/mile. First mile I was right on and ran just a bit slower the next 2 miles. This allowed me an experience that I haven't had much: passing people late in a race. It is much more encouraging to pass other runners than to be passed. I caught 5 or 6 runners in the last half of the race, including passing one (that I didn't think I could catch) right before the finish.

This puts me in a good position for the Open Door Julie Run in two weeks. I ran this race near 32 minutes a couple years back and would love to finish with a time that starts with 26. I've dropped most of my time goals as I was starting to worry about it too much, but this is something I really want to do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No Mac Bridge Run this year for me....

No Mackinac Bridge Run for me this Labor Day. Maybe next year. I still think this would be a pretty cool thing to do, but I'm not going to deal with the trouble of going up there to do a consolation walk.

Dear Runner:

We regret to inform you that you have not been selected to participate in the 2011 Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Run. Many great athletes entered the lottery, and unfortunately not all can attend the event.

We would like to encourage you to enter the lottery again next year. If you would like to receive notification about the 2012 lottery please send an e-mail to If you are still interested in being a part of the Labor Day festivities at the Bridge, please consider participating in the walk hosted by the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

We appreciate your personal dedication to health and wellness and encourage you to register for other endorsed events. A list of these events can be found on our website.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My longest run so far....

The Story So Far.....

I used to be a runner. In high school I was a sprinter for a couple years and ran cross country in the "off season". I was pretty fast, but never a great athlete and was essentially "barely varsity". In college, I didn't do much running other than taking a Running / Walking class (thankfully, I got an "A").

I went to work after college and, after a while, decided that I wanted to run again. My first time out I was feeling pretty good and was on my way back to my place when "WHAM!", my toe caught the uneven sidewalk and I bruised and skinned up my leg pretty good. That was essentially the end of my running career.

Fast forward 10 years and a couple kids later.... I decided to run a 5k in 2008. I trained for a couple weeks and ran most of it with a bit of walking.... then stopped running. I repeated this in 2009. In 2010, I made a bit better effort, training for a total of about 9 weeks and running three 5k races, each better than the last. Then I went on vacation, got out of my routine and, yes, stopped running.

This year, I started up running again in late February with a greater sense of purpose and determination that this would not be a flirtation but part of a lifestyle change. I can and will be fit. I will become a decent runner and perhaps will evolve to be a good one.  I have been a dedicated runner for about 3 months now and do not intend to waiver in my efforts to improve and to become fit for me and for my family.

That is my running story so far. The "Clippin' Along" thing is an inside "joke" (not really funny though) between my wife and I which I'll let you in on. I used this term when I said that some vehicle was "just clippin' along". She had never heard the term and thought it was pretty dumb. I don't know if it is regional slang, but my mom used it a lot and I followed suit.