Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2000 Miles, Transition and Kona Races

Sometime just before or during the Detroit Marathon, I passed 2000 miles total since I started keeping track (March 2011).

There are plenty of runners that could do that in less than a year, but it took me about 2 1/2 years. I've never really had any particular number of miles as a goal, but 2000 is a nice, round number and perhaps is something to celebrate (thus the firework picture). That is about the distance from here to Las Vegas. I should get a trip there now, no? No. No trip...

After the marathon, I rested for about a week without much running and have very gradually done a little more each week. I would actually like to run a lot more, but our family schedule (mostly other people with scheduled things while I hang with the baby and kid), worse weather and lack of sunlight haven't been helpful. The lack of a goal race to focus on hasn't helped. This will be the third fall / winter running transition I've gone through and they have all gone the same way. I always have good intentions, but I never seem to do all of the running or workouts I intend to do. 

The one thing I have done is pace a couple races, the Kona Wicked Halloween run and this past weekend, the Kona Chocolate Run, both in Plymouth.

I am the Angry Bird that is the bomb, yo!

The Wicked Halloween run was the Sunday after the marathon. My first run after the race was 3 miles on the treadmill the day before the race. It was fine but I don't think I was anywhere near back to race shape. Luckily I didn't need to race, just run at a certain pace. I asked for a "slower" pace at the 5k and got it - 11 min miles. Because that was well within my capabilities, I decided it would be fun to wear a costume. I found a cheap "Angry Bird" costume at 5 below and figured that would work.

Pacing a race is a different mindset than racing. There is less mental preparation for certain. You never want to pace a race anywhere near your limits (unless you are pacing an elite marathon runner for a few miles, which is a totally different endeavor). You should be able to run comfortably and keep a nice, even pace. I try to be encouraging to people around me. That's about it.

Running in the costume was a unique experience. It was a bit bulky, but not overly restrictive. It did keep me warm before the race and didn't get too hot during, though if I was moving faster or running longer, it would have gotten uncomfortable quickly. There were plenty of kids telling their parents about the Angry Bird. The kids identified with me, while their parents were down with Pac Man. There were some great costumes, much more elaborate than mine. The Google Maps one was the most unique.

The Southeast Michigan Runners Group at Kona Chocolate Run.

This past Sunday, I was a pacer for the inaugural Kona Chocolate Run. The 10 and 5k course were the same as the Wicked Halloween Run (and the Shamrock N' Roll one too). I had 55 minutes for the 10k and, because I haven't been running much, I was worried that I would have some difficulty. Not that I couldn't do it, I was just nervous that it would be difficult. Thankfully, I felt really good and it was relatively easy. The other pacers and I were cheering people on and encouraging runners the entire race. Hopefully, we weren't too annoying! :)

I met several runner / blog pals before the race including Jeff (Detroit Runner), Ty (Tyrunman) and Megan (Watch MeGo Run) as well as the Southeast Michigan Runners Group from Facebook. I missed a few other people, but that is easy to do when there are 3 races with 6000 runners there.

Me and Ty or Ty and I

Megan, Ty and me

After the 10k, I hopped in and paced the 12 min/mile group in the 5k just as they were starting. That was fun too. They didn't really have a formal dual race option, so I was happy to run both races. The only down part of the race was the lack of chocolate in my belly. By the time I was done with the 5k, the line into the chocolate tent was crazy long. Kona runs great races, but the setup for the food was a misstep. To their credit, they are already working to correct this for next year's race.

Overall, I like pacing races because it keeps me involved and doesn't drain my wallet. It isn't as fun as actually racing, but I don't think I am in prime racing shape at the moment anyway (I would have still smoked my 10k PR if I did race. My 10k PR is weak and I even beat it during the first 10k of my last half marathon).

For better Kona Chocolate Run race recaps, go HERE or HERE or HERE. :)

I'll hopefully have more to say soon. Peace.

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