Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Novi Memorial Day Run 10K - Review

Date: 05/27/2013
Route:  Novi Memorial Day 10K
Distance: 6.2 miles
Total Time: 1:07:22
Pace 10:52/Mile
Temp: 60 and Partly Sunny

First race of the year! I decided to start this year with a low key local run. Usually I start with the Corktown Races, but because I started my season so late this year, I pushed back to this 10k to kick of the year. I was quite nervous heading over to the race, as it had been over 7 months since my last race.

Check in was nice and simple, just a table with some volunteers. Unfortunately, the race shirt was not a shirt at all, but a tank top. I don't really mesh well with tank tops, being the massive individual that I am. I end up looking not to pretty, plus who wants to end up looking like this guy:

One of the neatest parts of this event was the elite mile. In order to even be able to ruin this you had to submit an entry under 6 minutes for men and 7 minutes for women. They ran this before they even let the 10K runners go out. It is amazing to see real athletes sprinting, you can tell that some of them were literally born for this. The guy who won ran the mile in 4:12. We were chatting afterwards, and he said the best he ever ran was a 4:04 in college. This inspired me to do some research. This guy, just a local runner from the Detroit area, would have been the world record holder in the mile in 1942. To me that is insane. It is an amazing example of how far we have come in the science of nutrition, training and equipment. Of course, then the mile winner trotted up to the front of the 10k start, and ended up running a 6:30 pace for the 10k AFTER running that mile.

As I mentioned before, I was nervous, and it turned out that this was a pretty small race. In small races, I tend to get lonely, because most of the runners are ahead of me. I definitely run better when there are people around me. my goal was modest, the run under 12 minutes a mile. First race in 7 months for a 270 lb person here people, what did you expect. We took off and it was a slight uphill for about the first half mile. I settled into a pace that was a bit faster then I wanted, but felt good. 

The course was basically a neighborhood course, winding through the exurb that is Novi. If you even want a run that shows off the late nineties and early aughts obsession with McMansions, this is the run for you.  While it was mostly peaceful, we did have to dodge a few errant cars trying to make there way out of their subdivisions. 

I settled in with a group of three others for the first two miles, ticking off those at way under goal pace. I decided to bridle it back in mile three, hoping to save something for the last mile. My splits were good, I even got a negative split out of mile 4. Here they are for your viewing pleasure:

The last mile was a nice straight away with a slightly downhill tilt, so that was nice. I ended up finishing up under 11 per mile, 10:52 to be exact. It was only after downloading the run to my Garmin software that I realized that I was only off my best ever 10k, the Martian last year, by 14 seconds a mile. I am actually quite pleased. 

Overall, i would recommend this run to anyone in the northwest burbs. Good organization, a relatively small field and a pretty good course make this run a winner. It is going on the schedule for next year.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Running for Your Life

Date: 05/16/13
Route:  Ann Arbor Rd
Distance: 2.5 miles
Pace: 10:48/mile

So I decided to go out for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood, and for fun, completely changed up my route from normal. I decided to head through a neighborhood and out to the main road by my house, Ann Arbor Rd. Then I decided to loop back. along the way, I ran out of sidewalk. Here is the map of the part of my run that is hilarious:

If nothing else, this proves how accurate GPS watches are. See that part of my run where I shift from running next to Ann Arbor Rd, to running on Ann Arbor Rd? That's because I was running on the 4" gutter next to the road, in the dark, on a 5 lane road. Yeah, that was really really really not fun. I sprinted. My time in that section of the run went from 10:11/mile down to a low of 6:58/mile as I powered through the area under the railroad bridge. I did not even look behind me, I just sprinted through. 

Nothing will quite get the adrenaline going then minivans wizzing by right next to you at 45 miles an hour. Needless to say, this route will never be run again.

Have you ever had a route that turned into a disaster?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Runner Bling

I am not a fan of  runners decking out their cars like they are some personal extension of their medal rack. This is kind of what I am talking about:

Just a Couple.....

You know what I am talking about....they inevitably start with the 13.1 in a circle. Then comes the 26.2. Apparently then comes all the odd distances plus snarky stickers about runners ability to go for a long time. Throw in some race specific stickers and you are looking at a fancy looking Honda Accord.

So I was driving home from work the other day and saw the antithesis of runner bling:

This made me literally laugh out loud. It is the cultural response to the overwhelming ability of runners to brag about how awesome they are. Whoever threw this on his Explorer...I salute you!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Date: 5/7/13

Route:   Quick neighborhood 2.25 Miler
Distance: 2.25 Miles
Pace: 10:19/mile

Now that I have been back running for a little while, coming up on three weeks now, it is time to start varying my workouts a little bit. I am a big proponent of throwing some "speed" work into your routine. When I say speed work, I am talking about putting half or quarter miles into your workout that are a bump up in pace. I am not talking about going to the track and running 100m sprints.

During this run, I made sure to have an increased pace during the second half of mile 1, as well as the last .25.  I know that the last .25 was run at a 9:13 pace, which is pretty fast for a guy like me. Again, these are not really meant to be sprints, more to push yourself for a short period of time in the middle of a longer run.

What is your opinion on speed work?

Do you like sprints or increased pace within a run? 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Grand Plan

Late last year, in a smokey room full of seasoned diplomats, a grand plan was hatched. This is what it looked like:
OK, this is really a famous pic from the Yalta Conference in 1945.

The grand plan was for a blogger meetup at the Chicago Marathon in 2013. Myself, Roseanne and a few others were going to join together in Chicago to run a marathon, my first ever full marathon, and try not to pass out doing it. Well plans changed. Timing and money came into play (let's just say Chicago is expensive), and "The Plan" changed.

The new plan has Roseanne and I running the Detroit Marathon together. The hometown favorite comes through again. Also, realize, when I say "together" I mean Roseanne will finish waaaaaaaaaay ahead of me and then offer moral and GU support.

As I am not a solo operation, and am part of a family consisting of CE and The Wife, it was a good idea to run this idea by The Wife. Lets just say that she was a mite bit skeptical. Honestly, I understand where she is coming from, and I might even be a little skeptical of myself. Making a logical argument against me running a marathon is really easy. It goes something like this:

1. I am too fat, as in 278lbs fat.
2. I have never run a full marathon before, and training for half marathons has been a challenge in the past.
3. It will be a challenge to carve out the time needed for training, putting a heavy burden on my wife to be a solo parent while I am out running.
4. Did I mention that I fall handily into the category of society called "obese." Obese people do not run marathons.
5. 278 lbs.... I mean lay off the Doritos already.

So, me being the bullheaded person that I am, decided to come up with a plan to run the marathon. The Wife would have to agree to this plan. It was called "Operation: Parvum Corpus." Thanks Google translate for making me sound smart.

Here are the main points of "The Plan":

1.  I am not able to register for the marathon until two criteria have been fulfilled. The first is that I get under 265lbs and hold it for two weeks. The second is that I go to a doctor and get an EKG of my heart to make sure I am in good enough cardio shape to run a marathon. 
2. I will be participating in the "Running 501" class at Running Fit in Northville. This class will meet twice a week, June through October to run and go over topics that are relevant to training for a long race.
3. I sill start tracking all my eating and exercise on www.myfooddiary.com. The idea being I will make better choices if I have better information.
3. I will not be able to run the marathon unless on race day I am under 250lbs.

So, with these criteria in front of me, I readily agreed to the plan. I am happy to report that I am already down to 273.8 lbs and hope to be under 265 by the end of May. So here is to Detroit, and to convincing my body that 26.2 miles is really just a long 10k!

A couple of observations about this post:

1. There are a lot of lists in this post
2. It was surprisingly hard to write your actual weight on the internet for all to see.
3. I am pretty confident that I will be able to meet the plan requirements and will run the marathon.  Keep checking back for updates. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

To Sweat or Not to Sweat

To sweat, or not to sweat, that is the question.....

One of the odd things about the spring is then while it it is still cooler outside outside, which is a good thing in my mind, it stays exactly the same temperature at the gym. A sweltering, 100% humidly experience is the norm anytime I hit the treadmill. This is pretty much what my experiance at the gym looks like (minus the funny hat):

When you are used to running outside in a cool 40 or 50 degrees, the abrupt reintroduction of this thing called heat can be overwhelming to the system. Usually while outside, I do not even feel loose or start to sweat until about 3/4 of a mile into a run. At the gym, I am sweating practically the second I get there. At my gym, the best treadmills are on a lofted area, so I get even more sweaty going up the stairs. By the time I step on the treadmill, I look like I already have several miles under my belt.

This of course has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, I warm up faster, and I look like a champion before even firing up the treadmill. On the downside, I need a lot more fluids, and sweat dripping into your eyes just sucks. i refuse to be totally cool and throw on a headband, I know, my fault on the sweat in the eyes thing.

So what about you, do you enjoy sweating a little, or do you prefer to stay high and dry on your workouts?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I will never get to run the Boston Marathon. I know it is hard to believe, but alas, this linebacker of a runner never going to hit the times necessary to tackle Heartbreak Hill. Most runners will never run Boston, we are the masses of 10K and half marathon runners that plod along, excited to break 10 minutes a mile during the 4th mile of our 10k.

Still, I know Boston. All runners know Boston. Every race that I, and many others have run is Boston, the same triumphs, the same disappointments. I have run Boston, we all have run Boston. The time that I somehow managed to run my first half marathon without walking, that was Boston to me. The time that I cried while trudging up a 200ft incline over just .1 of mile 8 during a half marathon last year, that was Boston to me. The time I ran with a friend during his first half, after he recovered from a broken hip, ribs and leg, that was Boston to me. The faces, both of anguish and jubilation that you see in the paper following every Boston Marathon, are the same faces I have worn, and seen during my time running.

I say this not to minimize the accomplishment of qualifying for the Boston Marathon or the tragedy today, but to say that I feel the anguish and pain of the running community tonight. I feel it because although I was not there today, I have been there many times before. To have the amazing glory that is a race finish sullied in such a way is inconceivable. This is the moment of triumph and pain, sometimes all rolled together, and it was stolen from those people today. They deserve better.

This is the Facebook post I wrote just after I heard the news: 
"So sad about Boston. What should be the crowning achievement in a running career, turned into horror. What pursuit is more noble and pure then a human being running? Why would someone want to destroy that? I hope runners all over the United States do not give into fear, I for one will not be. See you at the starting line."

So pray for Boston. Pray that we catch the people who did this, but most of all, keep running. Keep showing up to that local 5K, or make plans to run that big city marathon have always wanted to try. We, as a running community are strongest when we band together, put one foot in front of the other and all support each other. I am proud to be a runner, ever more so after today. I am sure i will be proud of the way the running community handles this tragedy. See you at the starting line.