Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Extra Protein Makes You Fast

Date: 09/27/2011
Distance: 4.01 miles
Pace: 9:45/mile
Route: Hines Park 4 Miler
Song that got me started: "It Is Well" by Kutless
Song that got me through the wall: "Get a Grip" by Aerosmith
Song that brought me home: "Conch and Flute Air'" by Song of the Lakes

Personal Note: Rocked an amazing first mile in 8:51. This would be my first sub nine minute mile in about...forever.  Also note I was a little tired later in the run and my time suffered, but man I felt fast that first mile. Regularly scheduled blog post below.

After my nice Chicago interlude, it was great to be back on familiar territory, Hines Park.. One thing has changed on this route however is that I am now finishing in darkness. Accordingly, I am rocking a nice LED headlamp to get me through the darkness.

This lamp has several advantages, the biggest ones being that other people can see me and I don't run into trees. Along with that comes the downside that apparently you are a giant pulsating target for any and all bugs on the trail. I try to imagine what they see. First is a giant attractive light bouncing down the trail, then the massive amount of carbon dioxide my body is putting out hits their radar. It is like a kamikaze attack. I don't stand a chance. Right about mile 3 of this run, I run though some woods on the connecting trail between Hines Drive and Ann Arbor Trail. Hey look, it is a map. Check out the trail that runs just to the right of I-275. Yup, this is where JD becomes the all you can eat buffet.

So it is inevitable that some of these nice crunchies end up in my mouth. Tasty, I know. I figure I am getting some free run protein, I mean it is literally their loss, so I am OK with it. I might have to get some goggles if I am going to keep running this route at night.

In a completely separate line of thought, I am running in a 5K this weekend called the Jamesers 5K. This race is in memory of James Perez, whose parents we knew personally. The race benefits Kaleidoscope Kids, a hospice service for teens and younger children. During this run today, I was thinking about this coming race, and how my daughter CE  and The Wife will be there to see me at the finish. Truly what a blessing it is to be a father and husband

Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Shoulders or Hey, That Guy Looks Like a Local

Date: 09/25/2011
Distance: 4.02 miles
Pace: 9:36/mile
Route: Chicago Lakeshore
Song that got me started: "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
Song that got me through the wall: "Devil is a Lady" by Chain Gang of 1974
Song that brought me home: "Wanna be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson

Chicago, the "City of Big Shoulders." I prefer "Arsenal of Democracy" personally, but as a nickname,  that is not to shabby, much better then "Cucumber Capital of the World", Wauchula, FL....seriously. 

YUP, that is a cucumber on the city seal
I was in Chicago for a bachelor party of a good friend. We had our fun on Saturday night, tank top on said bachelor, $7 mini beers (yeah Chicago), and a really fun time at a dueling piano bar. Also think 4am bedtime, and a recliner to sleep in. So what do I decide to do in the morning...a nice 4 mile run along the lakeshore.
So after approximately 4 hours of sleep and a tasty breakfast of Powerbar Gel Blasts (proudly made in the Czech Republic), I took the "L" over to Grant Park and had a nice run on the path right by the lake. OK, so it was not a nice run. It was raining, not just a little rain, but more like a "hey, you might as well just jump in that big lake over there" kind of wet. It was also windy. Chicago is also known as the "Windy City," yup, got that one right. While running, I kept thinking of something my HS cross country coach used to tell us: "never trust your body in the first mile." My body was screaming at me to stop, take a couple of Advil, and go to sleep for about 10 hours. I told it to quit complaining, digest those tasty gel thingies and move me forward. Crazily enough, it listened.

Here is my top 10 observations about Chicago:

1. Hey look, functional mass transit, how novel.
2. Apparently being in running clothes makes you instantly look local, as I had two seperate people ask me directions while wearing them.
3. $7 for 8oz of Stella is just too much, I don't care where you are. We are talking about the Budweiser of Europe here.
4. Thanks to Mother Hubbard's Bar in Downtown Chicago, for outfitting the bachelor in a very nice pink tank top. That made the rest of the night very interesting.
5. The guy I stayed with lives in an area that basically is the meatpacking district. Very interesting when your neighbor is the Bridgeford packing plant (free beef sticks for all!)
6. The new Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, welcomed me to Chicago with an insane toll on the "Chicago Skyway." Thanks buddy!
7. Never start the night with a shot of Absinthe.
8. Hearing Marilyn Manson on dueling pianos is just weird. I mean the original is weird enough. I say stick to Billy Joel, etc.
10. Sigh, Chicago has used it's downtown lakefront property so well. I had a serious case of city envy while running down there. Props to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy for trying to get this rolling in Detroit. We have a little catching up to do.

So it is back to the D for me. Very nice to be home with the Wife and CE.  I have one more run planned this week and then a 5K this weekend! More about that on the next installment of this fine example of the written word.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Conversation and Company

Date: 09/18/2011
Distance: 4.20 miles
Pace: 9:58/mile
Route: Hines Park 4 miler
Great Running Company: Rosiecat!

I have to admit, I was a little nervous before my run on Sunday with Rosiecat. It was the kind of nervous you get before doing something with someone who is obviously better at the activity then you. To be frank, you don’t want to embarrass yourself. See Rosiecat is a lean, mean running machine. She is not built like an NFL tight end, like say…myself. She is an incredibly modest person, but she ran cross country at the college we both attended, and while not the fastest on the team, no one politely asked her to leave either. Also, I would like to point out that she recently ran a half marathon in under two hours… I will just keep dreaming.

So apparently trying to be modest she suggested that we “only” do four miles. I am pretty sure she could have sprinted those four miles, but instead she settled for my modest pace and we had a great run peppered with great conversation. These are the best runs.

Sometimes running can get quite lonesome, especially distance running. That is why a lot of us runners are careening about your neighborhood wearing ear buds, it helps keep us sane. So it was nice to have company on a run, but it is also hard to carry on a conversation, because you are you know…running. In general conversation takes minutes, not seconds. It generally goes something like this:

Person 1: run…how are the…run run….kids?
Person 2: great…run run…..we went to the….run run…beach over the…run run… weekend
Person 1: Yeah it was….run run…great weather….run run … for the beach.
Person 2: Man, that hill sucked…run run

The real problem is when you get to a rather long sentence with words like antidisestablishmentarianism in it (ok that never happens but you get the idea.)

This has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is you rarely ever blurt something stupid out; you just have too much time to think about what to say. Usually conversation wanders in and out of topics, with running holding a decent amount of the total, especially reflecting/complainnig about the run or a previous run or a quad injury or something.  I am convinced that Olympic sprinters complain to each other in the 100m dash about the track being uneven.

Thanks so much to Rosiecat for not embarrassing me, and politely jogging along at a warm up pace for 4 miles, not to mention the great conversation. Do you out there enjoy the solitary run, or you all about moving in roving packs of crazed runners jabbering to one another?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stories From The Trail

When I am posting a run diary, as I hope to do often on this blog, I do not plan on just giving the bare bones facts....that would be an awfully boring blog! I also realize that most people do not care if my left quad was a little sore, or if it was raining.  I hope to be able to tell stories from the run, and relate this to all things in life. It is truly amazing the things you see and experience on a run. AS you can see my music taste is VERY eclectic so be prepared for a little randomness on that end. Here is a sample run diary from my run today:

Date: 09/15/2011
Distance: 5.03 miles
Pace: 9:50/mile
Route: Splash Park
Song that got me started: "Lights (Bassnectar Remix)" by Ellie Gouling
Song that got me through the wall: "Anchor" by Satelites & Sirens
Song that brought me home: "Fantastic Voyage" by Coolio

The great thing about this route, the one I affectionately call "Splashpark," is that it takes me through so many people. There are times when you want to see people,. and times you want solitude when you run. I only take this route when I want people interaction. This route takes me through Downtown Plymouth (I get to run by the fountain) and then out of town to a park with a splashpark in it. In the summer this route was always buzzing with people. Whether it was diners at restruants in Plymouth to millions of kids getting soaked, this route was jammed with people.

As the temperature has dropped, and my weekday runs start finishing in the dark, I have been seeing less people. Today, it was an eerily lonesome run. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I want solitude on a run, but I was not expecting this much on this route. Usually I have to dodge around people strolling through Plymouth, and get strange looks from people eating dinner on the patios of restaurants. Today, I just breezed through. The strange looks I think are a kind way of people saying... "You are waaaay to big to be running." It is not often that you see a 6'1", broad shouldered, 250lb man running through the streets, so I can understand their slight amazement.

I also like running this route because I feel that I run better when people are watching. Sad to say, but a little exterior motivation is always a good thing. Usually on this route I am always by people except for maybe miles 3 and the start of 4, so there is always a bunch of people to look "fast" for. Don't try and pretend you are better then that. I am convinced we all try to show off a little when we know others are around. Who hasn't picked up the pace a little when a "ruunerguy" or "runnergal" comes around the corner speeding along at 7"30/mile towards you. I know I do.

So my question to you, dear reader is whether you like solitude or company on a route? What are some characteristics of your favorite route?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Just wanted to upload this picture of me back in HS as proof that I did run cross country. That is me is those sexy red shorts... and look, I am even in front of someone else!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Running Through Life

I have another blog called American Life, but that kind of faded out with the arrival of CE back last year, but I am also hoping to start publishing there again. As many of you out there is Blogland know, a new born child tends to take all of your available time, and then some. With prayer and perseverance, we have made it through the first year and time constraints have eased somewhat. This is a return to blogging, but also a refocusing on what now consumes a good portion of my free time....running.

To give you a bit of background, I ran cross country in high school, but I was not very good. I was the runner usually first out of scoring, although sometimes I would matter by bumping others down. My pride and joy was a time of 21:07 for a 5k. Of course my teammates were running in the 16's and 17's so I seemed SO SLOW. Now looking back 21:07 seems almost mythic, that is just over 7 minutes a mile. I don't even know if I could sprint a 7 minute mile right now. This brings me the point of the running.

I have sporadically run over the past few years, nothing too serious. This winter, I became literally disgusted with myself. My weight had steadily increased over the years and I was rapidly becoming severely overweight. The thought of my daughter seeing me as this fat old man scared me. Let me contrast this with the Wife, who is the only person to over get told by the doctor to "eat more salt, your blood pressure is a tad low." We make interesting contrasts in food preferences; I love potatoes and bad things like hamburgers, fried food and Taco Bell. She loves.....veggies. Strange, those veggies.

So I have been running this year, and while this blog will recount with some regularity my running exploits, it will also be about life through the lens of running. I believe that distance running gives the runner time to think and reflect, so hopefully I will be able to provide adequate entertainment, and relate to you what it is like for a regular overweight guy to suddenly get semi-serious about running. Cheers.