Friday, November 30, 2012

Santa Run: Last Training Day

Here is how you train for the Flint YMCA Santa Run:

 Milk and Cookies

I'm eating a Ginger Family!
The pictures of all the fun and joy from tomorrow's race will be coming your way in blog form soon...

Love this run.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jive Turkey

Waking up at 5am after spending a night with your friends at a dinner, drink, and Singstar engagement (we always have a day before Thanksgiving pot luck with friends) is tough.  What's worse is when you realize that even that wasn't early enough.  

I was out the door by 5:30, and had no traffic trouble whatsoever on the way down.  Then I finally hit the crowd downtown.  I ended up in a wrong lane to park down there, and instead of dicking my way into a lane, I decided to keep going at come back at it from the other side.  So, after getting to Detroit by 6:30, I didn't manage to be officially parked until 7:45.  Even then, I questioned the legality of my parking spot, even though it was supposedly paid for when I gave money to a homeless-looking old guy.  

So I officially missed my "Blitzen" heat, and from the look of things, so did half of the runners down there.  Figuring it wouldn't matter, I took the liberty of a downtown restroom stop before I started my race.  Having that out of the way, I ran up to the start and began my journey of trying to zig-zag around the rainbow of bib colors, from all different speed heats, trying to navigate their way through the course.  Walkers, slow runners, run-walkers, and speedy runners all lined the road as an impossible to navigate asteroid field.  Collisions were almost inevitable, and I consider myself lucky to have only had a few grazes here and there.  Most of came along with headphone people that made completely erratic moves right in front of me, without knowing I was coming fast behind them.  

About a mile in, I saw the finance guy from work and said hello to him, and moved right along by.  I was determined to knock off my 10K PR.  It wasn't going to be hard, given the record was a 10 minute pace.  Even with the congestion, I figured I was going to have it anyway.  

Then, things got ridiculous.  I ran into a wall of people right by the Detroit Princess, just before the last turn to go into the finish.  The finish line was so congested that we all had a nice slow walk to the finish line at the end.  I don't know how many minutes I was waiting there...5, 7, 10.  It seemed like an eternity.  My PR hopes were completely dashed by then, and I think I officially came in at a 1:05, which is still, sadly, somewhere in the middle of my 10K times.  

By the time I got across and got my medal, my only thought was that I wanted some water.  I had skipped the last few water stations to save myself some time, so I was really thirsty.  I never did find it.  I'm not sure if it was gone, or temporarily gone, or what.  I could have a bagel...but that was pretty much worthless to me (but I still had one).

So I went back to my car, where I had my own water, and not knowing whether I could stay parked there or not, gave up on spending a few hours down in Detroit and drove home.  I was already in a semi-pissy mood, and the best cure for that is spending time with my wife, who was still sleeping when I got back at 10am.  So I decided to join her for a bit, before we had to get up and go to Thanksgiving part 1 of 2.  

I just don't know about this race.  I think their organization needs to step up.  The route, the costumes, the people, and the atmosphere are electric, but every time it seems to be some sort of logistical nightmare.  If they don't fix this, they will really be losing out on a huge opportunity.  This race could easily be the crown jewel of Detroit, and who knows, maybe even the entire state.  You need to find a way to continue to hold the crowds you're getting, and maybe even draw more.  You can't run out of room or supplies, and you most certainly shouldn't run out of medals.  I don't care if you need to get some criminals that need community service hours down there, you need more volunteers.  What's the worst that could happen?  

I did get mine, though, and it is quite fantastic.
Trust me, I want to do this every year, but now I'm telling myself that I won't for another 5 years.  I love Detroit, but if I'm not going to the game, it's not really worth this much hassle.  So, with the game being too expensive, and the NFL continuing to have stupid rules unnecessarily protecting people that get paid millions to play a child's game (not to mention the other idiotic rules that my Lions seem to always find and figure out how to use to cause them to lose a game), it may be a long time before you see me again.  That is, until you're ready to change.  I'm sorry Detroit Turkey Trot, but I think it's time for me to see other races.  I hope this isn't our last time together, but if it is, know that you'll forever be in my heart, even if you handle yourself in a manner befitting of your Parade Company sponsor's mascot. 

You see this, that's you!  Clowns!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Brent vs. The August/September/October (way overdue, I know...I suck)

1) Pick 12 things of social importance that I've had limited exposure to, but decided I didn't like and immerse myself in each of them for 1 month.

I actually made good on my promise to try Budweiser products again.  I think I had at least a few of each one.  Sure, maybe I was going for a badge on Untappd, (not really, I don't think I ever entered them yet, actually) but it counts.  I still dislike them a lot, and the Platinum isn't any better.  However, the Platinum bottle is pretty, so I'm going to keep it in the garage, because I know it won't exist in a few years.  It could be the Crystal Pepsi of the Bud world (I'd love to see Platinum vs. Select in a Bud Bowl IX)

Bed and Breakfasts.  I'll admit it, I was afraid to do one of these.  It just seems like a set-up for some sort of horror movie where the old people you stay with brainwash you into doing their bidding or chain you up in a basement dungeon full of homemade projects they saw on Marth Stewart.  It just didn't seem like a good fit for our anniversary.  Even if you take away the creepy factor of knowing you're in a stranger's house, it still seems like trying to be romantic while you're staying at your grandmother's house.  However, all of these surroundings are easily ignored when you and your wife really, really like craft beer.

Grandmotherly Nautical Room

Back to the Future.  This was supposed to be my October one, but I will be playing make-up this month.  Everyone loves this series.  I do not.  It may be because I watched it too late in life when I first saw it.  I'm not sure.  I'm giving it another roll of the dice, though.

2) Learn 12 new recipes (1/month).

I figured out how to configure the perfect buffalo chicken wraps (awesome)

I made my first ever ghost pepper chili, and made it vegetarian for J, but he didn't show up to run because he's all busy with continuing his education or some crap, so my wife and I had to eat it all.  It was fantastic and super spicy.  I've also made a second batch this week that was hotter and just plain better.  I wish I had discovered the beauty of crock pots earlier in life.  I would have been a lot further along in my crock potting experience.

Love this stuff
I figured out how to make a pretty decent standard curry sauce.  In the past I have failed at this horribly, but it was also years ago when I couldn't cook worth anything.  So my avoidance fear of it were unfounded and now I can make chicken and veggie dishes with it.

I also made some sort of bogan chicken parm hybrid (not shown) involving half a leftover jar of Ragu, cream of mushroom  soup, a few ounces of mozzarella, and a bunch of spices.  I'm not sure I invented it, but it was actually really good.  Sometimes I just go and randomly start making food out of nothing at all (cue the Air Supply).  I do this less because I like experimenting and charting unknown recipe territory, but more because I don't feel like going to the store, and there's not a lot of food choices in the house.

3) Do 12 home improvements/repairs (1/month).

I did manage to get 3 windows fixed over the last 3 months.  I have 2 more to go, but winter is here, and they won't be happening this year.  I know it's not much, but it will be something to the drafty upstairs and to the heating bill.  Old window panes are hard to get out, then you have to get them measured, cut, back home, glazed in, wait for that to harden, sand that down, and then paint them to match the rest.  Usually one is a full day job (with breaks to watching Michigan State do just enough to lose, make pancake breakfasts, stroll down to the farmer's market, and/or watching Kevin Nolan do the chicken dance for West Ham)

4) Try 12 new restaurants (1/month).

I think I overdid it...

Motor City Brewing (Detroit)-Mediterranean Brick Oven Pizza is fantastic.  Muge of beer are huge.

Woodbridge Pub (Detroit)- Fantastic brunch food

Champs Pub (Brighton) - Met some friends from AA here, being it's halfway between both of us, for Monday Night Football (Lions/Bears) a few weeks back.  Decent beer selection (Rogue Dead Guy, Warsteiner on tap) and some weird meat burgers (Elk, Yak, Ostrich, etc.).  Good place to watch a game.  Not a lot of people, but enough to make a little atmosphere.  More importantly, you don't have to shout over music or the play-by-play of the game while watching.  Good volume control is important for a bar.

PM Steamers (Ludington)- Pretty decent pasta dishes.  Nothing to die for, but the restaurant has a really nice atmosphere, whether you're sitting inside where the lights are low or outside watching the ships go by

House of Flavors (Ludington) - Two words, Ice Cream.

Old Hamlin Restaurant - Crazy huge delicious breakfasts that are delicious enough to want to finish, but impossible to finish.  Skip the breakfast bar, and go from the menu.  You'll still end of full and end up with better food.

Le Serving Spoon - Really good place to grab a wrap or sandwich.  It is what inspired me to go off and figure out how to make delicious buffalo chicken wraps myself, but I still haven't perfected mine to their standards

August/September/October Extras
Running Highs-

August - It's a toss up between getting my 8K PR at the Blueberry and running my 3rd straight 10 mile Crim (despite not PRing it again...).  Next year is going to be tough to keep the streak going, as I'm going to be Best Manning it up that day.  Hopefully I will have no morning duties (or previous night hangovers).
September - Taking down my Half-Marathon PR at The Brooksie Way was amazing.  That race is very hilly, and to have it be my best one right now feels good (mostly because I think I have it in me to take this tiem down again)

October - Finishing my first marathon.  Let's face it, I'm super proud of this one.  If I were to never do another 26.2 again, this one can't be taken from me.  Getting it done and getting in the paper for what is pretty much the namesake of my blog just felt like one of those time when life lets you know you are where you're supposed to be.

Running Lows- 

August - The Warrior Dash-related costs.  I'm sorry, but the realization that it isn't worth it and knowing I probably won't go again next year upsets me.  It's a fun event, but at some point you have to take a stand against price gouging.

September - The Legend Trail Run.  I still can't get over how I was slower in this one again this year, and didn't even really try hard.  it was embarrassing.

October - About the only moment I can point to is the part after the Detroit Marathon where I felt like I was going to hurl and had to sit down and get my bearings.  I've felt that way before, but not at a race where there's nowhere to go off by yourself and where you'd basically be throwing up in the middle of a crowded street.  Luckily I didn't.
Mileage- August 118, September 117, October 102

That will most likely be my end of the 100-Club this year.  This month I've ramped down to 5 and 10K-ish distances, and my running buddy is busy with school.  Don't expect any long runs or any attempts at getting to 100 this month.  I've earned the rest, and so have my legs.  I'll be shocked to see 50+, honestly.


I'd just like to extend an early Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in case I don't get the chance to later.  I'm lucky enough to be running the Detroit Turkey Trot (I've put my differences with them aside this year) in the morning and then going to two family Thanksgivings (her family and my family) with my wife.  I don't mind the running around, it just makes my life seem fuller.

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