Monday, April 30, 2012

Nom Nom Nom

One of the highlights of the Martian 10K for me was the chocolate milk after the race. It got me thinking about the way food has evolved as part of the race event. A couple of years ago, it was not uncommon for their to be no provided food after a race. If there was anything it was a:

Now it seems that we are presented with the following at every race:

In recent races,  I have been given free GU on the run, eaten pizza and drank free beer afterwards, and also been given bagels, cookies, bananas, muffins and M & M's. It seems that there has been a food cold war between races lately, as the post-race spread gets more and more elaborate. While this is great in the moments after a run, I don;t want race prices skyrocketing just so we can have a NY strip after the race. Pretty soon races will be $100 and we will get a jacket, a gold belt buckle, a medal, steak after the run, and a 30 minute massage the next week. Sometimes you just want to go out and run.

So readers, a few food related questions:

1. What do you like to eat after a race?
2. Are you excited for the trend in post-race food, or do you like to bring your own food.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Texas, Our Texas

Date: 04/09/12

Route: Texas 4 Miler
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 11:15/mile
Temp: 83 Degrees

"Texas, Our Texas" is the state song of Texas. The Wife, who is originally from Texas, tends to hum and sing this whenever we are getting close to going to Texas or are actually there. It turns out that if you are from Texas, you definitely know this song, as it is drilled into your head sometime in junior high. They probably made you ride a wild bull or something until you memorize it. My Texas running adventure unfortunately consisted of just one run, as I got sick late in the week, but here is what it was like:


There, that just about wraps it up.....

So apparently in Texas, it is hotter then in Michigan. Not just hotter, but HOTTER. Here is what I ran through:

Ok, so that might be the Sahara Desert, and it might not have been that hot. To my Midwestern bones though, it felt awfully toasty. The sun just beat down, not  a cloud in the sky, trees were few and far between, as I was running in cattle country. is was also very sandy, the middle portion of the run was on a "road" that was really just a 20' wide strip of sand. All of the sudden I was running on the beach! As this was an out and back, I knew it was going to be fun coming back as well. I also had to keep a watch out for copperhead snakes, as I almost stepped on one earlier in the week.

There were several nice things about the run. The scenery was beautiful, as I was running mostly by cow pastures, so there was grass stretching out to the horizon.  It was also very cool to see so many butterflies, they would flitter past me, while I was running. Apparently the monarch butterfly comes through the area pretty heavily, so I was seeing the tail end of the migration northward. It is strangely calming to run by a herd of several hundred cattle.  They just kind of moo and shuffle along.

I have friends who live and run in Texas, and I have a ton of respect for them. I am sure they would say the same when I am out running in 13 degree January, but honestly, I think heat is more dangerous to a runner then cold.  We have the recent example of the Boston Marathon, which took the unprecedented move to grant weather deferments to anyone who wanted them, because it was going to be 83 out. Heat can do serious things to a body under prolonged stress, and especially people like me who are not the smallest and tend to warm up very quickly.

It was fun to run in a new and different place, but I was glad to put in a few miles tonight in perfect running conditions, about 53 and partly sunny.

So what is the hottest weather you have ever run in, and what was the effect on you?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Abducted by Martians....AHHHHHHHH

Date: 04/14/12
Route:  Martian 10K
Distance: 6.2 miles
Pace: 10.37/mile
Total Time: 1:06:01 - 10K PR!
Temp: 51 and rainy

They call this race an "invasion of races," and they are not kidding. With a marathon, a half-marathon, a 10K and a 5K, the organizers have a full docket for all levels of runner. I was running the 10k today, since I probably am not good enough (YET) to run half marathons three weeks apart and I just ran the Rock CF Half three weeks ago.

I was not able to do a packet pickup on Friday due to flying back from Texas (don't worry, blog post about running in Texas coming soon). I arrived early under a stone grey sky, with occasional rain drops falling. I had to park in a lot with a meter, and only had a ten, so I ended up with a zillion quarters. Lesson for next year is to bring some quarters. Packet pickup was smooth, and I think the shirts are quite funny. Jeff, over at Detroit Runner, disagrees, but I find it quite nostalgic to be running in a space invaders shirt. I stole his shirt picture, because, well....I am lazy and mine was dirty So thanks Jeff! What do you think?

Jeff's shirt, mine is somewhat larger!
I started off very strong considering I am sick with a nasty cough, and was still jet lagged.. My fist mile came in at 10:11, and I was not hyperventilating, so I decided to turn it up and run a couple of sub 10 miles. This may not seem like much, but I have a goal this year of a 10k with an average below 10 min/mile, so it was nice to get a couple of miles at that pace.

After mile three, we really entered the nicest part of the course, winding through Hines Park and the University of Michigan - Dearborn campus. The problem was I was slowing down! I could not really pinpoint the reason, everything seemed to be working. I will just chalk it up to jet lag and sickness. I cruised across the finish line at 1:06:01, or 10:37/mile. My Garmin had me at 10:33/mile, so that was pretty darn close.

I am very happy with the time, given the conditions. This was a 10K PR for me by over 3 minutes, or 35 seconds per mile. I am pretty confident that I will be able to bust though that 10 minute barrier this running season. My best 10K run last year was in June, so I am running faster, even while sick, earlier in the season then last year, so I guess I cannot complain.

At the finish, there was ample food and drink, these guys know how to organize a bunch of runners. The best part was chocolate milk! I love chocolate milk after a race, and to get a nice cold jug of it was great. I would bring my own, but I have no way to keep it cold, and it is best really cold. The medal was pretty snazzy as well.

Overall, I would give this race an excellent rating. Some, including Jeff, are not fans of the half here because it is essentially a out and back course, but the 10K course is scenic and fast. So I would highly recommend this as a 10K, and probably will be running it again next year. Next race on the schedule is the Back to the Beach Half, but it is over a month away, I am going to focus on getting well and putting in some miles.

Luckily the Martians returned me safe and sound back to the homestead in Plymouth. All is well.


1. Do you have any strategies for running though sickness?
2. What do you think of that crazy shirt?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


With apologies to Eminem for stealing the title of his most recent release, let me preface this by saying rather then recovering from some drug additicion, I am talking about recovering from a half marathon. I know, not nearly as exciting.

When I was running my first half, back in 2009, I saw a sign along the course that said "you don't need toenails anyway." This being my first long run, I kind of chuckled and kept going. After the race, when I changed my shoes, I saw one of my toenails was black...very appetizing. Sure enough, it fell off and I was sans one toenail for a while.It took me FOREVER to recover from this race. I believe I went home and took a 3 hour nap. I did not move for a couple of days and certainly did not run for a few weeks.

After this last half, I did nothing you could call exercise till Thursday, and then it was a 30 minute bike ride in the gym followed by light weights. This time I was happy with my recovery, and I ran a good training run on Sunday. This week it is back to the normal 4 and 6 mile runs during the week with some weights mixed in. I hope to one day be able to run a half and then get that twitchy leg feeling I get if I have not run in a while the day after the race.

My good friend, RA, just ran a half and had to take a few weeks off, and she is way fast, so I do not think there is a correlation between fitness level and recovery time. Some people just keep right on trucking, and there probably is a correlation between average miles per day and recovery time. If you are used to running 12, then a day with 13 is no big deal.We are all different, and it amazes me how different people and different bodies deal with the stress of running a half or full.

So here are some questions:

1. What do you do to help your post-race recovery?

2. How long do you usually wait after a half to resume your running schedule?