Monthly Archives: June 2013

Charlevoix Marathon: A Weekend of Running, Family, and Road Bananas

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

You all know I hate writing race recaps/reviews/whatever you call them, simply because I’m not good at it. Someone who is good at it is Jeff over at Detroit Runner. You can read his recap of running Charlevoix here. Now, on to my nonsense-

Long story short: I did it! I finished marathon #2, the Run Charlevoix Marathon, in 4:42:42. Now, the official results page shows a different number about a minute slower. But the number I’m posting is the one the race announcer quoted as I crossed the finish line. Race Announcer Man would never lie! The “gun time” can suck it.

Short story long: I will now break down my marathon experience highlighting the most important aspects, like…

The Weather! Around 55-60, extremely humid, with a light mist. The mist felt great and helped cool me off. It also lead to some epic chafing.

The Swag! Wow, Charlevoix really outdid themselves this year! Instead of a long-sleeved tech shirt, we got a really high-quality cotton T-Shirt (gender specific!), a performance hat, and running socks with “CVX 26.2” printed on them. Nice!

The Medal! Oh, only the most beautiful medal in all marathons, in my limited opinion. You can kind of sort of see it modeled by my cat above. It’s a heavy one, with a cool stained glass effect. It really captures the beauty of Downtown Charlevoix.

Aid Stations! They were plentiful and stocked with water, Gatorade, GU, and Twizzlers (??). The volunteers were friendly. Lots of port-a-potties as well, and yes I had to use one at mile 3.

Crowd Support! Almost non-existent. This is a small race, if you thrive on cheering strangers and bands at every mile, this race is NOT for you. I, for one, zone out so much while running that the apocalypse could be occurring around me and I wouldn’t notice, so it didn’t bother me.

Scenery! The full marathon course had several beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The overcast weather added to the mystique of the water. I’m not a very religious person, but there were points where I couldn’t help but thank God for the ability to run and for the gorgeous land around me.

Best Marathon Moment! Seeing my mom, dad, and Randy (and my parent’s dog Barley) cheering me on at mile 24. I wasn’t expecting them to be on the course at all! Their support helped me push through those final miles with a smile on my face.

Worst Marathon Moment! Stepping out of the port-a-potty at mile 3, I stepped directly into a massive puddle in the grass. My entire right foot was soaked for the remainder of the race, though with the 100% humidity I hardly noticed.

Funniest Marathon Moment! Seeing my brother Jeff wandering along the side of the road at mile 25. Apparently he grew impatient waiting for me to finish so he started walking until he saw me. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I found you a banana if you want it. It was on the side of the road,” he replied. No, I did not eat the road banana.

All in all, it was another amazing weekend spent in Charlevoix with my family and running a PR. I would’ve liked my time to be more around the 4:30 range, but shaving 37 minutes off of my first marathon time is nothing to sneeze at. Plus I can honestly say I never hit the dreaded wall. I was sore, of course, but my energy was consistent throughout. Now, I have my sights set on the Wineglass Marathon in New York in October. Marathons are beasts, but for the first time I feel like a worthy foe.

 

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Random Thoughts: Pre-Marathon Edition

This Saturday I’ll be running my second marathon in beautiful Charlevoix, Michigan. There are lots of thoughts flowing through my little pea-brain as I lead up to this occasion. Here are a few:

1) The general non-running population has no clue what marathons are like, nor do they care. The number one question I get asked when I tell people at work I’m running a marathon this weekend is, “Oh! How many miles is that?”, which is often followed by, “Why would you do that?!”

2) I’ve been having many pre-marathon nightmares lately. My favorite so far was that I finished the marathon, but the race director refused to give me a medal unless I ran the half-marathon as well. Other dreams include forgetting my headphones, socks, or showing up to the race in high heels.

3) I don’t remember feeling as stressed and nervous leading up to my first marathon as I have for my second. Maybe it’s because I know what I’m in for- all the pain, fatigue, boredom…why am I doing this again?

4) I’ve been battling a sore throat since Monday. It hasn’t gotten worse but it hasn’t gone away either. I’m sure it’s just a bad combination of stress and acid reflux. My friend Swiss informed me that St. Blaze is the patron saint of throat ailments, which is appropriate since my throat is on FIRE! (lol Catholic humor).

5) I’m very fortunate that my parents have a home in the Charlevoix area, which allows me to turn the marathon into a “race-cation”. My parents, brother, and Randy will be Up North this weekend and I’m looking forward to unwinding after running 26.2 by floating around Lake Charlevoix with a drink in my hand. I’m also happy to be visiting Short’s Brewery for the first time! They have a peanut butter and banana beer!!!!!!!

That’s it for now! My next post will obviously be my marathon race report, which will hopefully be all about how I PR’d the shit out of Charlevoix. Have a great weekend all you runnerds out there!

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Into the Great Wide Open

Yesterday I went for a short run through Orion Oaks, which is a mix of shaded woods and open fields surrounding a lake. There is a also a dog park with an indoor restroom, which has saved my ass (literally) on several occassions. It is hands-down my favorite spot to run.

Yesterday as I ran through Orion Oaks I came upon a most unusual sight: A woman walking with a parrot perched on her hand. I slowed up as I approached the strange duo, fearing I may spook the bird. As I passed the bird, I heard it’s handler speak to it, “Good boy. Good boy, you’re behaving so well.” I had many questions: Does this woman walk her bird often? What is his name? Are his wings clipped, or is he just the most well-trained parrot ever? Can he say dirty words?

These questions remained unanswered as I was too shy to bother the lady; although, to be fair, if you’re going to walk a parrot through the woods of Michigan, you should expect a certain amount of curiosity. This run in with a tropical bird reminded me of past encounters with animals during my runs: The fat-ass raccoon who let me come so close to it I could pet it (but of course I didn’t), The seven deer laying in a field who rose to their feet when I took a picture, the wild turkey stampede at Stony Creek, horses on the Polly Ann Trail, and the rogue deer running like she stole something down 14 Mile road in Clawson who thankfully found grass instead of oncoming traffic.

Before running in locations such as Orion Oaks and Stony Creek Metropark, my only enounters with wildlife in suburbia were with with my car.  Running has given me a new appreciation for nature and the critters who inhabit it. The encounters are not always fun, like the time I learned the hard way that Orion Oaks was also a Massasauga Rattlesnake preserve. My non-running friends tease me often for my running obsession. Unfortunately, the majority of them who tease are also sedentary and in need of a new healthy habit. There’s a vast world out there beyond our living rooms, and as I left the lady and her feathered pet yesterday all I could think was, “Non-runners miss out on so much in life.”

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