Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crim 10 Mile - 2012

I ran my second 10 mile race in three weeks this morning at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint. We got the kiddies up well before sunrise and made the trip up to Flint early to make sure we got a good parking spot and think we did pretty well. After checking things out, the family set up a couple hundred yards before the finish line and I headed over to the starting line.

Crim Race results are available HERE.
I saw a couple people I knew, including my neighbor Greg, before heading to my assigned area. I was in Wave B (there were Waves A - E, with the faster runners near the front according to their predicted finish times, in this race of nearly 9000 people). Apparently, this was the first year they started in waves and I'm glad that they did, as I hate having people run then stop right in front of me or when people who are going to walk line up in the front. Wave A, which included many "elite" runners, started about 2 minutes before my wave.

Once we got started, I was pleased that, although it was crowded, I was pretty much able to move at the pace I wanted. Other than the normal tight legs due to waiting for about 25 minutes for the race to start, I felt pretty good. Through the first 5 miles, I was able to keep a pace of about 8:10 min / mile, which is right where I wanted to be. Then came the hills...

The Bradley Hills are infamous in this race. I drove them on Thursday and tried to discount them as not being as bad as the Run Thru Hell (they weren't), but my legs sure didn't appreciate them after the 4th or 5th one in a row. I expected to slow during the hills, but I didn't expect that they would make the back of my legs ache so much. Not agonizing pain at all, but very tired and sore. My pace never did bounce back to pre-hill levels. Where I was on a pace to finish in 1:22 at the halfway point (I thought early that perhaps I could even pick it up and make a run at 1:20), I was struggling to maintain a fast enough pace to beat 1:25, my goal for the day.

My Garmin beeps every half mile and displays the half mile time and I kept seeing times like 4:16 (8:32 pace), 4:23 (8:46 pace) and started to do math in my head each time to see what I needed to do to break 1:25. In the last mile, I knew it was going to be close. I figured that if I could get myself to "the bricks", the last 1/3rd mile of the course on a brick road, I could pick it up enough to make it. Running hard to the finish, I waved to the family and then put my head down and pushed harder.

Once I crossed, my immediate concern was to get one of those cold, wet towels they were handing out, as well as getting Gatorade, water and some snacks. Once I got something in my belly, I looked at my watch and saw 1:25:05. While I would have been fine with that, I would have been a little ticked to miss a goal by seconds (again). Did I start my watch early? Did I stop it right away after the finish. I couldn't recall, but I hoped those 5 seconds were in there somewhere.

After making my way through the crowds to find my family, we watched Greg finish the race and decided to leave rather than try to collect my "free" pizza and drink, which would have required another trip through the bottleneck on the sidewalk. The results were on-line quickly and I was glad to see that I did, in fact, break 1:25 by a few seconds.

My first Crim experience was a very good one. I beat my time from a couple weeks ago by a couple minutes, the family had a good time and it was just a really fun race all around (though I didn't partake in the beer or Krispy Kremes during the race). I would highly recommend running the race (10 mile, 8k or 5k) if you are able and I plan to run it again next year if my schedule allows.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I have run 500 miles and then I ran 500 more.

To the tune of The Proclaimers song I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles):

"Well I have run 500 miles and I have run 500 more
To be the man that ran 1000 miles to throw up at your door"

On Tuesday, my evening run gave me a total of over 1000 miles run since my "official" running comeback (which began 18 months ago). The run itself was nothing special. In fact, it was kinda craptacular. I ate dinner before I ran and waiting a couple hours after eating didn't help. For some reason, I kept singing both a couple lines from the "500 Miles" song and a line from "Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll" by Blue Oyster Cult (I am well versed in the Classic Rock arts). Instead of singing "My heart is black and my lips are cold, Cities on flame with rock and roll" I was singing "My legs are tired, and my belly's full, Cities on flame with rock and roll." Yes, I am a big dork.

My legs feel better, but I still don't think they've fully recovered from the Run Thru Hell last Saturday. I ran at a decent pace this evening, but my hamstrings get sore when I am running. I don't feel injured at all, just like they got overused and are tired. If I was hurt, I'd take more days off, but as it stands now, I can deal.

I will be running the Crim 10 Mile at the Crim Festival of Races on August 25. I think I like the 10 mile distance and am looking forward to this race because of that, the opportunity to beat my time from the Run Thru Hell and because it is supposed to be a fun race. The plan is for an easy run tomorrow, long easy run Sunday, run 3 times in 4 days Monday - Thursday, rest day Friday and then good race on Saturday. Easy, right? I would love to luck out and get cool weather on race day again. It makes a significant difference.

Here's hoping the next 1000 miles are as good or better than the first 1000!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Run Thru Hell

Best. Notice. Ever.

This Saturday I did the Run Thru Hell, a race in Hell. Hell, Michigan that is (Yes, that is the name of the town). I wasn't planning on racing until last week when encouraged to do so by my wife. I'm sure that the main reason was to get the T-shirt and, it was a pretty good shirt to get. Too bad it is pink. "Real" men may wear pink, but I'm guessing many are not thrilled about it.

We (my wife and I) got there early (or so we thought), but there was already a good line for registration. While in line, I saw Ty from "This is How Ty Runs". We each equal about 25% of our respective blog readers. :) I was glad to meet her in person and also her friends Irina and Chris. After registry, we experienced a man only known to us as the "Bathroom Sargent" or the "Bathroom Nazi" (ala Seinfeld's Soup Nazi).

"You - its open right there! Get in there! Back there! One, two stalls open! You and you, get moving!" the Bathroom Nazi demanded. Actually, he and his minions kept the restroom line moving very well. I almost wanted to get a picture with the guy, but he was far too busy. That, and I was afraid of hearing "No Bathroom For You!". That would have been bad, as the notice said I could not PEE or DUMP on the course.

Both the 10 mile run and the 4.8 mile "Weenie" run started together. Early on, the rolling hills started and they weren't too bad. I got into a good rhythm and stayed on pace, no matter how many people I passed or was passed by. The light drizzle felt good and the temp in the mid 60's was about as good as could be expected in early August. The dirt roads were close to a perfect running surface with only some puddles and divots marring a soft running surface.

Once we got to Hell, I saw Satan handing out "Atomic Fireballs". Only an evil person would hand out hard candy to runners. I passed. Downtown Hell, Michigan consists of a casual restaurant with post office, a sit down restaurant, the old Ice Cream place which is now all souvenirs and a mini-golf course. After the downtown, the weenies headed back to Hell Creek Ranch, while the 10 milers turned further away.

I saw an elevation map which indicated that the hills stopped after about 4 miles. That elevation map was very wrong. The biggest hills were at the two "out and back" sections of the course at about the 5 mile and 7 mile marks.(I saw Ty going up the hills as I was coming down and we exchanged a high five and thumbs up). I handled the hills pretty well, but they did slow me (and undoubtedly almost everyone else) down a bit. The elevation gain / loss for this course was more in 10 miles than Brooksie Way Half Marathon in 13.1, so if one can handle this, any other course should feel flat by comparison.

Hell is hilly and cooler than reports would indicate.

While I slowed when going uphill and sped up going down, I was able to keep a fairly steady pace. I was racing, but not going "all out". As I hadn't run 10 miles in 3 months or so, I wanted to make sure I finished strong. I was pretty much by myself for the last mile, with a group a bit behind me and another a couple hundred yards ahead. I wanted to catch them, but still wanted not to "overdo" it. Near the end I did catch the straggler and had a nice, strong finish.

I finished in just under 1:27, which was right around what I was aiming for. The average pace for the run was 8:42. For Brooksie Way, I need to run about 20 seconds a mile faster for 3.1 miles longer to meet my 1:50 goal. Based on how I felt and knowing that I have a month and a half left to train, I have confidence that I can do it.

We went to get "brunch" with Ty, Chris and Irina and had a nice meal at the Picnkey Diner. Irina ordered flaming cheese - OPA! - for Chris, because he had never had it. I think I may have had it once. We shared and it was pretty good, as was the omelet I had (just needed a bit more Feta). I hope to see Ty at the Crim (another 10 miler) in a couple weeks.

 After brunch, we drove back to Hell to check out the town and get some pictures.

We visited the restaurant / post office and sent a postcard to my father-in-law. Apparently, this is the only post office that will lightly burn your mail, if requested, to give it that authentic Hell look. I think he will enjoy the card. We also visited the souvenir shop. Didn't get much, but they had some reasonably priced stuff. I know it's all in good fun, but I'm into good over evil and would have liked items that reflected that viewpoint.

I don't plan to go out of my way to return to Hell, but I would certainly consider this or another race here again.

Have you visited any strangely named towns or even run in one?

Do you do "intermediate" races to train for a "bigger" or "more important" one?

Would you run or not run a race based on terrain?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Social Butterfly


I've had a couple weeks of good running and am definitely in training mode now for upcoming races. I've never been a high mileage runner, so if I get 20 or more miles in right now, I'm happy. The other thing that I have been doing lately is running with groups.

Up until recently, other than races and doing runs with Lil' C, I always ran alone. I like running by myself just fine and don't need others to motivate me. With that said, running with a group is nice too. You get to interact with people who "get" why you run, you can learn from them, get and give advice and having other people around is just motivating. Who wants to dog it when others are watching?

I'm not exactly a social butterfly, but maybe I'm at least Arthur from "The Tick"
The two group runs I have done so far have been with my work "Brooksie Way Half Marathon" team and at a Hansons Group run in Royal Oak.

I am the "captain" of our Brooksie Way team (simply because I am helping to organize it, not because of my running greatness) and this year I'm trying to help make us a "team" rather than just people who don't really know each other getting a mediocre score. Part of this is trying to run together. I was able to organize a run and have people planning to show up and then I got sick with some stomach thing. I recovered enough to attend the run, but I still felt pretty rough, even a couple days after feeling "better".

After being up half the night with stomach pain, I wasn't going to run, but thought I should at least show up since I was the one who set the thing up. Once I got there, of course I was going to run. I'm glad I did because I got to meet and get to know the team from work (we all have the same employer, but don't really work together). It was fun, even though the run was a struggle. The run also seemed to get me back on track to start my "real" training.

The other group run was last night at the Hanson's running store in Royal Oak. This running store hosts a group run every Thursday night. While I had considered going before, my work schedule didn't really allow it. Now that my schedule is more "normal", I decided to check it out. There was a big turnout (35 - 40 people) with a broad range of ages and abilities. Most people run 4, 6 or 8 miles on set routes. I did 6, which is a long run for me after work. It was friggin' hot and I didn't bring my hydration belt, but survived. I didn't really run with anyone for a long period of time, though there was always someone either a bit in front or behind me (I always seem to be doing my own thing behind the better, experienced runners but ahead of the rest of the pack, both in races and apparently in group runs). Still, I wouldn't have run 6 miles on a hot weekday if I didn't go to the group run and I met some nice people, so it was a win.

I have another group run set for tomorrow at a local Metropark (kind of a regional park system). I'm meeting a couple people from a group I found on "", hopefully along with some of my Brooksie Way team. The plans is to go 8 miles or so at around 45 sec / mile less than my planned half marathon pace.

I'm adding a race to my schedule for next weekend, the "Run Thru Hell". Yes, I will be running through Hell. Hell, Michigan. This is surely a race where the T-shirt should be a keeper!

The almost annual Run Thru Hell is a 10 mile trek through Hell which I'm told is quite hilly. I've debated running hard versus running like a training run for the race and have pretty much decided to run it hard unless conditions or health dictate otherwise. It will be my first 10 mile race and should be a good "warmup" for the Crim 10 mile later in the month and the Brooksie Way at the end of September.

Do you attend group runs? Do you find them unnecessary, helpful or essential?

Any upcoming race plans?