Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Underlying Success Story of All This Is...

 ...despite the fact that I can have a 4000+ Calorie Unravelling in one sitting, and I turn into a complete slacker from time to time, I have made a lot of progress.

Tale of the Scale
After a quick weigh in Tuesday, I've pretty much kept my goal of knocking off about 5lbs a month this year.  I'm going to have to have a pretty nice push this week to get July's quota, but I'm good through June for 30lbs this year.  So we've got the grand total since the start of this nonsense to 51.50 (did I just add the zero solely for a Van Hagar reference?) lbs total.

Tick Tock on the Clock
So I've kind of plateaued in the 26 1/2 -27 1/2 range on the 5Ks in the summer heat, but let's review things a little closer.  We have a 35:28 Crim 5K in 2009 and a 25:50 Clio 5K in 2011.  Enough said.  My 10Ks have been wretched lately, but my longer runs are getting shorter in time too (add another .7 onto the Volkslaufe 20K at my pace and it probably would have been another faster Half time).  Also, when bringing up the former couch potato me that could barely imagine suffering through the Crim 10 mile, let alone ever wanting to push on past that distance, there's a lot of success there.  You can't argue that when I had to stop and walk anything over 1.5 miles, and now I'm crossing at Half-marathon distances and running back to back 5 and 10 K's thinking how much of a cakewalk it is.

I haven't completely given up things that are bad for me, that's for sure.  I still fall of every once in a while, and sometimes pretty hard, but I've been getting back to the plan after.  That's the biggest thing, I guess.  I've learned that falling down doesn't have to mean jumping down into the gorge (no pun intended) and completely abandoning everything just because I screw up one or two days.  The no drinking except weekends rule is still in effect just because it seems to work for me.  Friday nights are usually stay home nights these days because I usually have a race Saturday morning, much to the dismay of....well, pretty much everyone I know. 

Other than that, I'm still doing a lot better at eating healthy that it may seem from what I've relayed here.  I just don't think having a nice salad or something like that makes a good blog story compared to double-dipping Taco Bell and the Golden Arches in an hour.  I think it might be a good idea to start stressing time again on the runs, because the ease of running lately has made me try other forms of sabotage to make it seem like a challenge.

Also, I will say that no matter how healthy I get, if I see the rare Hardees, I will probably stop.  Even if I've eaten, I'm getting something and freezing it, because I love them.  That star just smiles at me and I can't resist him.  Besides, there are only 3 that I know of and each is nearly an hour away.  Perhaps if I use my google mapping powers to make a map of Hardees locations, I can make them come back, much like I did with my Mello Yello Locations Map before it returned to this area.  Yes, apparently I do have massive marketing power around here, just like Duchovny in that "The Joneses" movie, but, you know, unpaid and nothing bad happens to the neighbors.  Admit it, you already want Hardees, a Mello Yello, and to watch that movie.

Hardees Excitement!

What's left?
According to the beginning of the year goals that I set for myself, I'm on track.  I still need to do a race out of Michigan, and I think I have it lined up already.  I will be doing The Warrior Dash this weekend, and I will probably do The Legend the week after to get my Martian, Warrior, Legend tri-fecta (when I only said for sure I'd do one of the three).  So I think I have it covered. 

As far as races coming up, I will be winging a lot of it because the registration deadlines for "early registration" for most of the ones I see are far away or up through the week of the races themselves (which is nice).  As usual, in red is potential and black is confirmed:

The Warrior Dash 7/30, Goal:  Don't get injured
The Legend 8/6
Montrose Blueberry 8/21 or Panda Bear Night Run 8/20 (or both, not like I couldn't hack it)
The Crim 10 mile 8/27,Goal: 1:36 (maybe 5K too, if anyone I know bites on my offer to run with them)
"Surprise Out-of-State Race"
Save the Wildlife Trail Run 9/24
Brooksie Way Half-Marathon 10/2, Goal: Beat DxA2 time (2:16:15)
Big House Big Heart 10/9
UM/MSU Tailgate Challenge 10/15
Detroit Turkey Trot 11/24
Flint YMCA Santa Run 12/3

I'm already looking forward to the Santa Run again, and it's only July.  There's just something about hundreds of running Santas through the streets of Flint in an untimed race that just seems so delightful.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Double Time, Again!

Things for the "Atwood Duo-Medal-y" did not exactly start out too well.  I was given the wrong shirt, which I should have snapped a photo of.  I knew the first 200 people doing the double got a special shirt and medal, but I guess I thought maybe I didn't slide  in under the 200.  However, a little digging and I found out that they didn't even have 200 in it yet, and I sent mine over a month ago.  So I got up early this morning and got that all worked out.

I had plenty of time to think about the fact I was going to run a 5K that would end 30 minutes before I had to run the 10K.  I was worried about the stopping and starting again, since this would be the first time I'd be doing two races without an extended break between.  There was just enough time to get tight, but not enough to shake off any fatigue.  Still though, I decided I was going to press the issue and go out hard for both.

One was really hilly and there were no PRs to be set today.  I slid in just under 28 minutes on the 5K, and kept moving as much as I could.
After the 5K
After changing shirts, it was time to line up for the 10K.  I was really tight, and the plan became "Go slow early, loosen up, and then gain ground."  It looked and felt like that was what I did (based on the field and my legs), but my time said otherwise (1:01:27).  I didn't mind too much, but it was just one of those things where I know the mental block of what I was doing kept me from leaving it all out there.
Me after the 10K

Oh well, the point for me was to finish today, and it felt good to be one of the ones to do that in the inaugural version of this race.  It did make me wish I had done the Tuuri before it ended, though, as that was the one this race replaced.  This one itself was a really nice race, though.  The Drubbler was out in full force, and the Mayor showed up to send us off and to participate as well.  Even if you don't like him (and I'm not in that crowd), you can't say he doesn't represent and show up to things.

After getting hydrated, I decided to check my chip times for the heck of it.  I figured there weren't any awards happening for me today.  I figured wrong.  I snagged a 3rd in the 5K.  Sure, maybe it was a weak field in my age group, but the trophy is so sweet and I will take it.
I also noticed just after getting my medal that it might have a slight spelling error...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blasphemy Will Get You Nowhere

With the Atwood Duo Medal-y looming, I decided I might need more than just a day off, but I wanted to see what sort of mess I'm getting myself into the way temperatures have been.  So we signed up for the St. Pius Run on Wednesday instead of running Thursday and ran in the 95 degree temperatures.  It was just burning up out there to the point where we stayed in the shade and waited for race time. 

We watched the kids run and saw one wipe out and start bawling.  His mom picked him up and carried him off as a girl over by us said she'd wrap her kid up in knee and elbow pads if they ran one of those.  Jason and I pretty much talked about how if that were our parents we'd probably be told that we were fine and to get up and finish the race.  He didn't even skin his knee.  Oh well, I'll stop there before this becomes some sort of social commentary.

I made the mistake of wearing a very dark green shirt with a very large printed logo on the front (Green Lantern) that didn't breathe at all.  Probably should have went for something a little heat friendly, but it looked good, and I got a "nice shirt" from another runner, so...worth it.  I had to snag a water at mile 2 and it was a little out of the way on the course.  That's where Jason lost me, and I stayed about that far away the rest of the race.  I couldn't get anything going.  My legs were dead.  Even my attempts at a last drive sprint to the finish were squashed by unresponsive muscles, and there was no catching Jason.  So the good back-and-forth continues.

I still don't have an official time for the race (it was 27:15ish).  The results got messed up and they couldn't even give out awards that day because of it.  They said they'd post results later that night and mail out the medals, but I haven't seen anything, so I'm starting to believe that they're lost for good. 

When I got home, I was about to post a joke about St. Pius being the patron saint of running in REALLY hot weather on the Facebook, when I immediately got a really bad calf pull.  It was a really painful one too.  Painful enough for me to beg "No, no, I'm just kidding.  I won't post it.  Make it stop!"  So it stopped, but it's still pretty painful.  I could barely walk on it that night, and I still feel like someone stabbed me in the calf.  I really hope it's better by tomorrow.  I think it should be at least good enough to run.  I may give it a little 2 miler today to test it.  The original wording of my St. Pius comment will never see the light of day, and I feel a tightening in my calf just thinking it now.  So I will let it be. 

If I get a chance to let you know how Atwood went Saturday, I will.  I know I have a busy day, though.  Among other things, there's a BBQ cook-off at the Farmer's Market after the race with my name on it, and I think Jessi wanted to do something that night too (I think she wanted to force me to take her to baseball?...I cant' remember).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Super Fatty Sabotage Island

Disclaimer:  This is a true story.  The events of this blog (namely the food part) has not been exaggerated for dramatic purposes.

First thing you need to know is that Jessi was tubing with some girls and I was left unsupervised here with no real grand plans for the weekend.  My goal:  to keep as occupied as possible.  Now, most men I'm sure would love a little time away from their lady to cut loose, but we have so much fun together and, unlike many women I hear about (exaggerated I'm sure), she has no desire to stop me from having fun and enjoying life.  So when she's gone, if I try to think "Well if I have time to myself I can do _______," I don't really come up with much that's worth doing.  In fact the only things that I can really do while she's gone that I can't while she's here fall in three boring categories:  comics, guy movies, and video games.  I like those things, but I'm not lame enough to drop an entire weekend (or more than 4 hours collectively) on them.

I needed company.  So I had Joe come over and we drank some beer and hard cider while watching the Tigers.  

Unfortunately he bailed on me due to some sort of personal drama, and I got left alone.  Not long after that I had the most epic fast food meltdown.  Maybe it was the slight low blood sugar from the alcohol (which wasn't all that much for a 5+ hour span), maybe it was boredom, or maybe I just lashed out with food the way pets lash out at a house when you leave them alone.  Either way, I was knee deep in fast food from two places right before bed on the eve of a race.

The total carnage?

Taco Bell
2 - 7 Layer Burritos
2 - Beefy 5 Layer Burritos
1 - Cinnamon Twist
1 - 32 oz Baja Blast that that's out of the way...What?...More?...How is that humanly possible?

4 - Mcdoubles (not a misprint)

Yeah tally the callys if you want.  I already have.  It makes my heart sad (just like the spackling of my arteries from this did at the time).

I woke up the next morning still full, and pretty sickly feeling as well.  I still managed to get rolling (not literally), and made it out of the door.  I made the drive down to Detroit's Belle Isle and parked for the race.  Every time i go to Belle Isle, I realize it's been too long since the last time I've been there.  It's not really right near downtown, and it's easy to forget about, but as far as city park's go, it's pretty wonderful.
Scott Fountain
Detroit, Windsor, and the Ambassador Bridge

These are two of the several nice views of the city from Belle Isle.  There's a lot more on the island itself, even inland there are small lakes and ponds all over, not to mention a small nature zoo, museum, and a casino.  There's even a yacht club, which pretty much shatters the stereotype that nobody in the city has any money.  It's also a lot more laid back than most city parks.  There aren't any overly stringent rules that hinder the park's experience, and you can grill, have a brew, set up a volleyball net, and go about your day.  I really would love to lobby to have our family reunions there, but people are still afraid of Detroit.

As far as the race itself.  When it started at 8:30, I was still digesting burritos.  I felt like ass, and off the start my legs weren't worth a darn.  I never felt worse for a race in my life and this 10K nearly wrecked me.  During the loop around the island, I nearly threw up twice.  It was just over 80 degrees at the start, and it was direct sun all the way around.  I didn't even feel like I had a decent pace going until the thing was almost over.  Even after, I felt like this lion.
I Feel You, Buddy
I never did stop to walk, but my time was still crappy by my new standards (1:03:39), and it took a while to get my bearings.  So I went back to the car for a bit, and sat and drank some water, and took this photo of me being disgusted.
Then I took some more pictures, and decided I was going to go swimming.  Of course everyone's heard all the horror stories of the Detroit River, but they've done a lot to clean up the place, especially after 2005.  The water was clear and the beach was clean, so I went for it.

The result:
A Much Happier and Cooler Me!
Of course while I was doing this I was supposed to be getting tickets for the Tigers game for my friends and my phone blew up with them freaking out.  I was supposed to call them and let them know our status by 11:00, but I didn't get around to it until 1:00.  I was too busy enjoying water, and the scenery.  They can wait.  Besides, they should know by now I'm not dependable when it comes to a timeline.  Besides, I also had to take a walk through the city drinking a Blue Faygo and take a picture of it for no reason.

I Love Faygo (and wardrobe changes apparently).
 The shirt (in case you're wondering) says
"Chicago's 3 Greatest Disasters:  The Fire, The Flood, The Sox".
 We did go to the game, though.  After that I went to Steely Dan at the Fox Theatre, and I didn't get home until 1am.  So I had a full day and I kept myself out of trouble (other than the 3 PBR's Mike talked me into at the game...not large ones, just the 12ers). Jessi got back Sunday, and I've been running and dieting off the Friday binge ever since.  I still don't think I've made up for it.  I'm not sure what can, but I think running in heat advisories the last two days in 90+ temps is a start. 
That's a Pretty Full Day

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ophelia Bonner

So...I got another age group win last Thursday.  This time it wasn't at some backwater town race, but in an actual city race.  Ok, so maybe it wasn't a large race, and, yeah, maybe the heat chased most of the runners registering that day into the 5K (instead of the 8K), but a win is a win.  The guy who got 2nd in our age group and I pretty much ran side by side most of the way.  Every once in a while one of us would pull ahead, only to have the other compensate and catch right up.  This went on for the entire race until the final stretch where we both cut loose on the last sprint.  He'd go faster...I'd go a  little faster...he'd go up a gear...I'd go another.  Eventually after the 6th or 7th ramp up, I heard a cuss word from him and I pulled ahead at the last second.  Of course I didn't know we had been racing for 1st until after, and the times for us were both the exact same time in minutes and seconds, meaning I had won by a fraction of a single second.

It would have been a really fulfilling moment for me, but unfortunately that person that I beat out had to be my good friend Jason.  I still think he could have lost me at some point, but he swears not, and that if he had I would have caught up.  Who knows?  Either way, I still kind of feel like I robbed him blind of a win, but he still got an award.  I guess that will teach him to leave me behind next time, if he can.  Again...I'm just the....worst...running...partner...EVER!  Also, there was another person in our group that was faster, but he was taken out of age group awards for being the overall winner, I guess.  Whatever.  I don't get this stuff sometimes.

Also, I have to mention that this race had watermelon for the finishers, and that is the best thing that I have ever had after a race.  I think I had like 8 corners of it, and, at the time, I probably would have pawned off the trophy to take one home, maybe even just half.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Penance Run

Since the 10 miler was more of a make-up for the missed Saturday and the Arby's meltdown, I still owed a run yesterday with Jason.  They always say "He who pays the piper calls the tune," but I think the Tuesday run was the exception.  I was paying the piper, but I didn't call the shots at all. 

Our usual weekday runs, as of late, have consisted of a nice short jog about 30ish minutes long by my place.  I gave up home field yesterday and went out to Jason's place to do his trail instead.  I barely even wanted to think about running.  It was steaming hot outside, and Jessi was at work, so I could have easily stayed in with the A/C going and got things done around the house.  That, or I could have easily sat around doing next to nothing, watching some Netflix DVDs, catching up on that table full of reading material I have sitting out, or swearing at Metroid Prime 2 (which I've been nursing for at least a year since I hardly ever play games anymore).  Instead, it was immediately changing into running clothes and going to Jason's right after work.

I pretty much knew I didn't want to do this.  However, I told myself no whining.  I wasn't going to mention the big run on Monday, or complain how it made me too tired to Jason.  I was just going to keep my mouth shut, and run with him, letting him lead the way and choose the path.  There really were only two goals for the run:  keep up and shut up.  I managed to stay with both.  Sure I mentioned that it was a tough run, the sweat-soaked light blue shirt was proof of that, but I didn't cop out and make excuses.  It's all part of my new "Don't Suck as a Running Partner" campaign.

Just to twist the knife a bit, though, we went further than we usually do because he wanted to.  I told him to lead the way, so we did our usual run, and then instead of going back, he wanted to head for the park like we used to.  After that, he asked "Do you want to go back up the hill on the way back" and I answered "I'm up for whatever, it's up to you."  I should have phrased that response better.  The way I said it pretty much gave him no choice but to do it.  I'm pretty sure "I'm up for whatever, it's up to you" when translated into runner speak means "I can, but if you decide not to, it's okay that you're a wussy."  When we hit the hill he asked "Why'd you talked me into this hill again?"  That was hilarious.

When we finished we realized neither one of us brought anything to determine how far we ran or how long we had been going for, so we had to do a little bit of estimating.  I tried to map it on Daily Mile, but with the trails not marked on any map or the distances not laid out on the trail maps, it's a little hard to get it very accurate.  I figured it was about 72 minutes and 6.8 miles or so, but there's no way to know for sure.  The only sure thing was that it's somewhere between 6 and 8 miles, and we were probably going about a 10:30 pace.  My estimate on Daily Mile is probably really conservative for pace and distance, but I logged it anyway. 

Anyway, the piper is paid, with interest.  I'm not even going to think about running today, but maybe we'll do that Ophelia Bonner 5K tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This is War!

Running Brent is declaring war on Fatty Brent today after Fatty Brent dropped an excessive calorie Arby's bomb on Running Brent territory.  His mission is not to capture the fatty, take him hostage, and transport him several miles into acceptable calorie territory by foot. 

You two are Jamochan me crazy.

Ok, I figure I'll explain what happened yesterday now and out myself publicly.  Yesterday for lunch I was deadly hungry, but I knew I was making FaBrentas (which are essentially veggie fajitas in a pita bread with a little avocado and hummus).  I kept thinking I'd just hold out until then, but I got a nasty craving for some Horsey Sauce for some reason that I can't explain.  I believe sometimes that, given my stomach's bulbous shape and my penchant for girly music, that sometimes I trick my brain into thinking I'm a pregnant woman.  I think maybe if I give my brain a look in the mirror, it would know better, but it's still too late to stop putting avocado and pickle on the meatball sub. 

Anyway, Arby's has been a long-time nemesis of mine.  I don't often eat there, but it seems to creep up and smack me around good sometimes.  About 7 years ago Arby's broke my 5 year stint as a vegetarian with a huge meat attack blow-out.  Just imagine 5 years without even so much as a taste of meat and suddenly diving face first into the old 5 for $5.  Things like that aren't supposed to happen.

I could explain away that instance with being trapped on a bus and a mix between starving and not feeling like just having some curly fries, but I can't really explain yesterday's collapse.  I went from "I'll just get a snack to hold me until I get home," to "oh whatever, I'll grab something small for lunch," to "I got a coupon for 3 beef 'n' cheddars and I gotta try that Oreo Shake!"  Oh, and I got my Horsey Sauce, too, about 3 of those little condiment cups full for just the 3 sandwiches (let's not even the discuss the amount of Arby's Sauce or their new 3 Pepper Sauce I had to try). 

I swear, if condiments didn't exist, I'd be much less prone to eating too much.  Want proof?  Just look at the hot sauce collection in the fridge.  There are 5 different types (Frank's Xtra, Valentina (Black Label), El Yucateco, Tabasco, and Sriracha) in the fridge at all times, and each is used for a variety of instances.  It doesn't end there either.  I vary miracle whip and mayo, types of mustard, grated cheese, and the list goes on and on.  Needless to say I'm kind of a condiment whore, and using them sparingly isn't really my M.O.  I've been known to put hot sauce on popcorn and chips (once using half a big bottle of Sriracha on a single tin of Pringles over the course of a week), completely disappear some foods in ketchup, make tacos/burritos that consist mostly of salsa and hot sauce, and keep eating barbecue sauce when it's on my plate and there's really nothing left of the actual food it was put on.  It's a sickness, really.  I'm not even sure anymore if I actually like food or just things that I can put on food. 

Anyway, after my awful lunch and the hours of guilt I had at my desk while finishing up the day at work, I had decided that I would force a run out of myself although Monday is not my running day.  With the heat, Jessi told me I wasn't going to make it out that long, and I didn't really feel very much up to it anyway, but I somehow pushed out 10 miles fairly easily.  I didn't want to go too much further, though, because the day was almost over, and I promised Jessi dinner, so I headed for home.  I stopped off for a water and a "Big Hug" punch about halfway through because I had to get a drink of something.  It was too hot to make it the 10 (much of it on the Crim route) without any drinkage. 
I still owe Jason a run, meaning he's going to completely beat the crap out of me today.  Also, I didn't run any this past weekend with the canoe trip (which I hope to also write about).  I meant to, but I forgot to bring any shorts that weren't swim trunks or cargos.  I guess I was too focused on picking out horrible shirts.  So I really kind of owed myself a run anyway.  Maybe if I force myself to run off some of these horrible calorie blow-ups, I will stop having them, but I kind of doubt it.  My fat half knows that my running half can easily handle a long rung, and it's not going to bother him all that much.  So he's probably just going to keep going with a "Manny being Manny" sort of 'tude.  Anyway, I'll stop talking about them like they're real people before I get some sort of dissociative identity disorder.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Huckleberry Hustle

Nope, no nifty word play again, just citing the name of the race.

Pre-Race Stuff

While I'm bored to tears at work, I might as well give you the setup leading into today's race.  First off, I'm going camping this weekend, and haven't done anything to get ready yet, other than go to Almar Orchards and buy a case (yes a case) of two varieties of organic hard cider (Scrumpy and Solstice).  If you're ever in Flushing, MI, look them up (also see Koans and McCarrons orchards, because they all offer something different).  Anyway, that's the extent of the preparation I've done for the 2nd Annual Canoe Trip, other than making a half-baked checklist of very unimportant things not to forget. 

The canoe trip came about last year because we missed Nick3's (yes I number them, their name is too common not to at this point) 5th of July party.  The 5th party was a summer fixture until his family sold the place on the lake, and we never really replaced it with anything.  We'd been talking about a canoe trip for years, but things kept interrupting it.  One of the years when we actually had it all put together.  It was abandoned because our friend suddenly wanted to move to California, and we had to send him off that weekend instead.  Besides, he was our planner person, anyway.  I'm still pretty sure none of us would have got this thing rolling had my girlfriend, now fiance, just called and set it up last year. 

It was really fun, minus the two boat flips Jessi and I had, which weren't just nice "oopsy" flips.  They were "owww rocks and I can't hold the boat still enough to get back in" flips.  The root causes of the flips are still up for debate, because I haven't learned those four magic words ("yes dear, you're right").  We also had some comedic neighbors last year.  The mixed UofM/MSU group next to us was pretty rowdy until their 8 hour canoe trip wiped them out the last day.  There was also the crazy Canadians that out-partied the entire camp leaving an unending trail of beer cans (which they did pick up in the morning).  They even took a La-Z-Boy  chair that someone threw out on the adjacent road and sat it next to their fire for a few nights.  They then burned it the last night they were there. leaving only some smoldering scrap metal in the fire pit.  As I said, they put our "party" to shame.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to redeem ourselves.  We'll have at least 10 people this year, where last year we only had 6.  I will try not to throw at baseballs at anyone's head, and bring some Sun Chips for the raccoon (see 1st Canoe Trip)

Anyway, the Huckleberry Hustle is a race out at Crossroads Villiage, which is a small park run by Genesee County that has a mid-1800s theme.  I don't believe I'll be in period dress for the race, but I hope that isn't a problem.  What may be a problem is the 6 tacos that I had for lunch ("I love them little tacos.  I love them good!").  That's a lotta taco.  The race is at 7pm, which is right smack dab in the middle of when I should be getting things ready tonight.  Our tent smell awful, so I absolutely must put that up tonight to air out.  If not, I need to find where I can buy some new cartridges for my respirator mask.  I don't see taking the race too seriously, and I want to take a few photos as I go.  That may change depending on how well I digest and if I feel like actually running hard.  I doubt it.  Anyway, updates on the race later tonight...if I have time.  If not, I'll get it with all the "non-running weekend" camping/canoeing stuff when I come back.

The Race

Let me just begin with stating that the streak of me finishing ahead of Jason is over.  He darted off at the start, and there was just no catching him.  I'd like to blame the tacos, that we just had a distance run and my body's still thinking long distance, or the fact that it was a trail run...well no I don't like to blame race performance on anything really.  I was just slower today, and he was faster.  Still well within the usual margin of error though, and with a 5K average that's still sitting around 32:00, I'm not going to complain about a 27:05?...or something like that (finally checked...27:03 officially).  I forgot to take pictures (because I forgot a camera), but I did relax and enjoy the run, despite trying to catch a skinny man with a blue shirt and yellow stripes.  Yeah, I could see Jason up there, but he was a long ways away.  Honestly, I think it will be best for both of us if we actually have a little back and forth for a while.

As I said, it was mostly a trail run, with a little bit of gravel road through Crossroads Village.  It was closed by the time I got there, so there weren't any old timey people around except for a few people dressed as train conductors.  If I had that outfit, I'd just wear it all the time.  Another woman and on of them was addressing us over a P.A. before the race and saying a bunch of things that I'm pretty sure nobody heard at all.  Loud doesn't really help when clarity is completely lost.  Other than just enjoying the charms of the old buildings and town, there were a few animals there (goats, a calf, a donkey, and alpacas), every runner got a free ride on the old carosel (which I skipped out on...they're constantly restoring that thing as it is, I don't need to go all human waterfall on it and erode half the paint off), and they were giving out some berry blue after (which is my official Detroit Lions Kool-Aid...but never seems to do any good).

All in all a pretty good race.  My apologies for no pictures, I'm just not the shutterbug in this household.  Anyway, it's time for me to pack vacation shirts.  Yep, that's right, it's time to find the ugliest shirts I still own and wear them publicly just to prove I'm on vacation and don't care.  I can already picture Jessi shaking her head.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Volksläufe Part II

First off let me say that my race preparation during the prior day of any race is not exactly commendable.  I was pretty good in setting everything out for the next morning, but as far as eating right, resting, hydrating, and getting a good night's sleep, those things never seem to happen. 

My Sunday plan was as follows:  go to church early, hang out with family and friends for a couple hours, go to Frankenmuth for the race expo, pick up my packet, have a nice spaghetti dinner, come home early, relax while drinking lots of water, and go to bed about 10pm.

However it went much more like this:  church at noon, family cook-out till 3:00 (but missed most of the food which wasn't cooked yet), rush back home to meet my friends at my place, watch Tigers game, fiance goes to Frankenmuth for fun and fireworks without me because my friends just want to sit and hang out, watch multiple episodes of "The Good Guys" with them on Netflix until about 10:30 (all the while drinking Labatts and eating pizza and wings from Wizeguys), clean up the man mess and finish laundry, wait until my fiance gets home, yadda yadda yadda, go to sleep at 2:30am.

I tried my best to get a little water in before I went to bed, but that's just not the way to prep for races.  I really am taking a lot of them lightly these days.  I don't have this overwhelming sensation that I'm biting off more than I can chew, and it's to the point where any distance I run just doesn't scare me anymore.  Of course this can all flip around with a tight muscle before the start, but so far I haven't had too many barriers stop me from running at least what I consider a respectable race.  Even this past week after the Solstice Run I didn't run a bit until Saturday with Jason, where we both took it easy.  Of course work caused that on my end, a bit, but I should have forced myself out during the waning hours of the day for at least one weekday run.
Where most good trips to Frankenmuth start.  The big permanent "tent."

For the Volksläufe this year, I decided to step up with the big boys and girls (or is it little, because they're actually smaller) to run the 20K.  Last year we did the 5K, and we ate pancakes before and had a beer after, but my friend and I weren't so sure that would be the way to go with the extended distance.  We ended up splitting on that decision, and I got myself a stack of pancakes before the race.  Jason opted out of them.  I figured it was a good way to spit in the face of the long race and just tempt it to give me a big side cramp or possibly a nice spew halfway through.  Like I said, I'm getting bold and reckless when it comes to these races, which just makes me think more and more I need to get pimp-slapped by a marathon at some point.

After the pancakes we made our way to the start and wondered where everyone was, only to find out the 10K and 20K started a little west of the 5K, and realized we were getting really close to race time.  In fact we were lucky the 10K started at 8:00 and we were at 8:10, because we barely made it in time to see the 10Kers off and to get in some last minute stretching after the national anthem.  With the race actually on the 4th this year, there were a lot of folks dressed in red, white, and blue (myself included, but much more modestly). 

Where we were

Where we should have been

After the 10Kers vacated and I watched my coworker come running behind them, because he likely did exactly what we did, we lined up on the grass for the start.  It was hot and bright out, and I just realized I forgot to put on sunscreen, but at least I had my sunglasses this time.  The cannon went off for the race, and after the initial jump we all had, we began to run.  I immediately started sweating and, having never used my sunglasses in a run before, found out immediately that radiating body moisture and tinted glass don't work all that well together.  I needed some wipers on the inside, so for the time being it was goodbye to the dark realm and hello lots of squinting.

About 2 miles in a small plane went directly over the road we were on, only a bit above power line high, landing on the other side of the road at "Tiny" Zehnder Field Airport.  It was a nice little unintentional race touch to keep us all from being bored with the flat open roads we were on for the first half of the race.  That's all it was too, open roads near farm land without any shade or anything else.  You'll get that in a lot of the long races, though, and at least you can see (mostly smell, though) some animals here and there in the distance.  The water stations were set up nicely about every 3 km, and there were a lot of neighbors our with sprinkers and hoses going for us, so I didn't get into many situations where I was wanting for something too much. 

I just kept a nice pace on the front half, and didn't really even push to the point where I'd have to do a lot of mouth-breathing.  Before I knew it I was crossing a sign that said 9km/20km and a bunch of people dressed in Christmas attire, with decorations all over, and confetti coming down from above.  Of course I'm referring to the Bronners people (where it's always Christmas).  During that water stop I somehow managed to get a couple pieces of confetti in my mouth along with my water, and I ended up losing half the water trying to spit out the paper stuck to my tongue.  To the outside observer it may have looked like I was just puking water or something, but luckily I was not really around too many people.  Not that I'm ever all that grace-filled normally, but I'm glad nobody seemed to see that paper/water gulp and gag.  Needless to say I needed the 12km water stop pretty badly when it came around.

It was also about that time that we were hitting more country roads, and I noticed when turning down one that Jason was still there right behind me waiting to strike.  I was kind of surprised he hadn't passed me at this point, but I figured it would be coming.  I also was starting to recognize the route we were on as the Winterläufe route when we hit the bridge, so I knew there were hills to come, and I thought for sure he'd get me then.  Not that I was worried about it, I just figured it was inevitable because he'd beat me so badly before on the Crim and Martian.

I took the hills pretty nicely, though, and I even had the energy to go out of my way to high-five a giant inflatable Sparty with the woman next to me, who must work for MSU in some capacity from what she was saying about them giving her money.  We were going off course, though, and the race official kept waving us back in, but we continued to commit the running foul and went over to Sparty anyway.  About another mile and a half, there was a band playing the chicken dance, and I joined in on that too.  I was officially having too much fun out there.  Jason later said he was thinking "I'm just trying to keep the energy to run, and he's up there chicken dancing and goofing off."  Maybe I got in his head a bit with that, ha ha, because he never did pass me.  He never fell behind, either.  I pulled a small distance ahead early, just after the plane fly-over, and he stayed about that exact distance away the entire time.  I guess there were a few points during water stops where he said he got right behind me, but I pulled ahead because I've now learned to drink and run without stopping.

We finished pretty much back-to-back with late 2:07/early 2:08 times, and started drinking water like a couple of restocking camels.  There was a lot of great stuff there for us.  We had Gatorade, apples, bananas, popsicles, bagels, etc.  It was a nice setup.  At this point I just appreciate getting water right away, anymore, but all that was very impressive.  I had to have a Gatorade after the water, and an apple after that, and a popsicle after that (red,white, and blue bomb pops!  Love it!).

Gatorade.  Are you in it?

 After the initial settling down, we grabbed the camera and some money for a beer.  Jason grabbed a Frankenmuth Pilsner and I had a Frankenmuth Batch 69 (IPA) and sat down for a bit.  Pancakes, Running, and Beer, that's my Volksläufe tradition, and I'm going to keep it that way as long as they have them all.  Of course "tradition" right now is just something I've done twice and think I'll continue to do.  It's tradition the same way an expansion team has "tradition," so I'm not sure it counts for that much yet.  I don't know, I would think all those pancake flavored burps along the 12.4 miles would count for something.

How about you?  Any race traditions you have in general or traditions for a specific race?
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