Category Archives: Charity Race

Comfort Races

I must say, it feels good writing a post that is running/fitness related instead of dead pet related. That being said, I really don’t have much to post in regards to my running since I barely did any of it in July. Truth be told, due to the constant vet visits and care that go into taking care of sick and dying pets, and not to mention the stress and heartbreak, I only ran a total of 15 miles in the month of July.

But Laura, your second 50 miler in North Country is only a couple of weeks away! Yes, thanks for the reminder you jerk. I am fully aware of how unprepared and unmotivated I am to tackle another 50 miler, so sadly, I have decided to be a DNS. Instead, I will be running 40 fewer miles as I tackle the Crim Festival of Races on August 26th. This brings me to the title of this post.

Four years ago was one of the happiest and most successful in my running history. I was setting personal records left and right and was able to enjoy some really fun races associated with some great memories with friends, which is why I now refer to them as  “comfort races”. Like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, these are races that are just plain fun and make me feel warm and fuzzy with nostalgia. As I put myself through another round of 50-mile training in preparation for North Country, I realized I was burned out. Running wasn’t fun anymore. I wanted to be the runner I was four years ago when running felt effortless and it was something I actually looked forward to. I needed to run more comfort races.

The AdvoKate 10K in Rochester is one such comfort race for me. The AdvoKate is held in memory of Kate, a young girl who passed away from pediatric brain cancer. No that is not at all a “comforting” thought but the race does raise funds for one of my favorite charities, St. Jude’s. My friend Andrea and I had a tradition going for two years where we would run the AdvoKate and then drive to Clarkston to enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch at the Union Woodshop. Sadly, Andrea is in graduate school in Ohio and couldn’t join me this year. However, seeing those familiar pink balloons at the start line and running through my favorite trails in my favorite city was enough to bring back so many great memories of miles spent with my friend. Four years ago I set my 10K PR of 52:10 at this race. I surely did not run that fast this year but I enjoyed myself and that was my only goa.

The Crim 10 mile race in Flint, Michigan, was another favorite that I participated in four years ago. Along with my friends Andrea and Mary Beth, we travelled to Flint the night before to run the Michigan Mile and have some fun downtown. We had a blast that night exploring the all important Expo, getting a free meal because a restaurant accidentally poisoned MB with a buttered bun (she has a lethal dairy allergy), getting beer from a toothless lady, and making up one of MB and mine’s most enduring inside jokes- The Beefberry. The race itself was a blast too, with crazy fun spectators and some beautiful scenery that I was not quite expecting from Flint. The race after-party was a blast as well with more beer tent fun and listening to some great live music. I’ve been wanting to run the Crim again ever since but have always had a conflict. I am so excited to be able to run it again this year, despite knowing I’ll also be DNS-ing North Country.

Speaking of happy memories, I hope to make some more by running some new-to-me races in the coming weeks- the Milford Memories 10K this coming Sunday, and the Marquette Trail 11 Mile Race the week after. Having logged so many long runs all year, it’s been very liberating running short distances and having so much of your day left. My husband will be running the 50K in Marquette and I look forward to a vacation filled with all the beauty the Upper Peninsula has to offer.

Is there another 50 miler in my future? I’ve been toying with the idea of running The Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50 Miler in January. I was so motivated to tackle another 50 after the Indiana Trail, but that motivation quickly faded when I realized I’d be training solo this time, and in the heat and humidity. For now, I’m enjoying the short runs. Plus, as a friend recently told me, “You have already have your 50! Why the hell would you want to do another?!”

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Random Thoughts: February 2014 Edition

Though the winter weather continues to hold Michigan by the blue, shriveled, balls, at least we can rejoice that we are one month closer to the promise of spring. With so much chaos occurring around me I felt it would do my spirit good to focus on some of the highlights of this past month, in no particular order:

1) Salted Caramel

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Salty and Sweet: the flavor combination of the gods. Those who know me well know that I’m a peanut butter whore and will put it on or in just about anything. However, this winter I was introduced to the wonder that is salted caramel. I first tried it in the form of GU during my long runs, and sorry Peanut Butter GU, but I have a new favorite. The Salted Caramel GU goes down smooth and tastes like melted caramel candies. I’ve been rationing the packets I bought like they were Salted Caramel Crack.

Due to the success of Salted Caramel GU, I decided I should try actual salted caramel in a non-running gel form. Thankfully Sanders here in Birmingham has several salted caramel candies to choose from, including chocolate-covered salted caramel hearts for Valentine’s Day. Holy crap are they amazing. I intend to eat an entire bag the next time PMS rolls around. Salted caramel, will you be mine forever? XOXO

2) Undie Running

Me and Andrea and our totally unplanned matching animal hats

Me and Andrea and our totally unplanned matching animal hats

This past Saturday, despite overloading on salted caramel, I participated in the second annual Cupid’s Undie Run Detroit. Thousands of Detroiters took to Woodward to run one mile in their underwear, in 20 degrees. The event raised over $2 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which is awesome. What’s even more awesome is being able to walk around Detroit in your underwear without getting arrested. Fine, I’ll come out and say it- I hate wearing pants.

Joining me in my undie running adventure was my buddy Andrea who ran with me last year. This year the event was held at the Fillmore in order to hold more people, which did raise more money; however, the house-party in your underpants atmosphere of last year turned into a creepy, club-like setting. I would think twice about running next year without a male escort. All of that aside, RUNNING IN YOUR UNDERPANTS IS THE BEST!

3) The Nike Training Club App

In an attempt to gain a six-pack before the above mentioned Undie Run, I downloaded the Nike Training Club app for my iPhone. There are hundreds of workouts to choose from, ranging from 15-minute ones that target specific muscles (the Sculpted Arms workout hurts so good), to 45-minute long circuit training routines. What I love most about this app is that anyone with a pair of free weights and a few feet of space can get in a killer workout. Every workout you complete earns you points toward different levels, some of which include bonus workouts. One bonus workout I completed was Paula Radlcliffe’s Marathon Prep Workout, which should’ve been titled, “Do Lunges Until You Beg for the Sweet Mercy of Death”. My new goal is to fit in at least three Nike Training Club workouts a week. I may not have a six-pack yet, but I am definitely seeing more definition.

The weather forecast is asking us not to get used to the warmer temperatures coming our way, since the rest of February will be back to polar conditions. I guess this is just the new normal here in Michigan. Oh well, I think with my balaclava, Salted Caramel GU, and burgeoning six-pack, I’ll make it out alive (seriously though, is more snow really all that necessary?).

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Paczkis and Undies: A Run-tastic Saturday

Andrea, the Zebra Hat and I at Cupid's Undie Run

Andrea, the Zebra Hat and I at Cupid’s Undie Run

To loosely quote Ernest Hemingway, if people did half the things sober they said they would do while drunk, they would probably quit drinking. The idea of running a mile through Detroit in my underwear was one such idea that struck me as logical one tipsy Saturday night. The Cupid’s Undie Run was the aforementioned race, and when I woke up the next day after registering, I was flooded with regret. Oh well, body issues be damned! This race was for charity afterall, and I was determined to have fun.

A few weeks later I learned of a 5K in Hamtramck the same morning of the Cupid’s Undie Run, the Paczki 5K. Each finisher was promised a paczki and a beer. To tell you the truth, I was more excited about the free beer than the paczki. For those of you who are not aware, paczkis are polish donuts traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday. They sinfully pack 600-800 calories each. They are a big deal in Detroit, though I view them as nothing more than glorified jelly donuts (though the custard ones are pretty damn good). Since the Paczki 5K was at 10:00am and the Cupid’s Run at 2:30, I could logistically do both races. I registered and looked forward to a Run-Tastic Saturday in Detroit!

Paczki 5K

The temperature on race day morning was below 20 degrees, but it was a beautiful sunny day with no wind. I met up with my buddies Mary Beth and Cara Jo and we danced to warm-up while waiting for the race to begin. The course had some icy spots, but otherwise it was flat and clear. I ran without music and my watch and enjoyed the volunteers, spectators, and scenery. It always brings a smile to my face when residents camp out on their front porches to cheer runners.

I finished the race in 27:31, technically a PR, but only by 10 seconds. Oh well, I was happy nonetheless! The free beer was especially delicious; something about drinking before 11:00am just makes beer that much more enjoyable. Afterwards I joined Mary Beth, Cara Jo, and some of their friends for brunch, which consisted of more mimosas than food. I was having such a blast it was difficult to leave, but there was more running to be done…

The Cupid’s Undie Run

I met my friend Andrea at Cheli’s Chili Bar, the race headquarters. We immediatley said “to hell with it” and stripped down to our bras and boxer shorts. Andrea had bought us beads to wear and temporary tatoos. I brought nothing to the party, except the sight of my awesome zebra-head hat.

There were many model-perfect bodies walking around us in lacy pink undies without a trace of cellulite, so Andrea and I promptly got to work drinking away our shame and inhibitions. The combination of alcohol and the sun made the race suprisingly warm, and we had a blast running and cheering past bewildered spectators. There were many cops along the course, and I can only imagine this was either the greatest or worst assignment of their lives. There were all different shapes and sizes, but the one thing in common was that every single runner was having the time of their lives.

After our mile run Andrea and I went to the club upstairs to drink more and dance our barely-covered asses off. Desite the absense of clothing, there were no creeps to be found. It was oddly freeing being around strangers in nothing but a bra and shorts.

After a recovery meal of cheese tortellini I made my way back home to regail Randy with tales of my Run-Tastic Saturday. Andrea texted me later that night to alert me that a clip of us running had made it onto the news. Yikes! Well, that’s the risk you take running through the streets in your underwear I suppose.

Run-Tastic Saturday was a rousing success. I haven’t had that much fun running and being with friends in a long time. Next race- the Corktown 5K on March 10th, which is without exaggeration my favorite day of the year. Any day that combines running, Jameson, parades, and friends makes me a happy girl.

 

 

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Running for a Cause: The Rhonda Walker Foundation

A few weeks ago I realized I had yet to do a 10K this summer. Since I’ve PR’d a 5K and half marathon this year, I figured it was time to slaughter 6.2 miles. I scrolled through the races on Run Michigan.com looking for something suitable. I had thought I had the whole summer’s schedule memorized with how obsessively I scan that website (hey, I get bored at work sometimes), but I did find a 10K I hadn’t spotted before- The Give and Get Fit 10K, benefiting the Rhonda Walker foundation. The mission of the foundation is “to empower inner city girls towards becoming strong, confident, successful, and moral future leaders”. Since 100% of the proceeds of this race went to this awesome cause, and since it was an opportunity to race in my hometown of Troy, I registered without hesitation.

The race headquarters were held at Somerset Mall ahem, EXCUSE ME- The Somerset Collection. Right away I spotted Rhonda Walker herself, walking around, taking pictures, giving away hugs. Nice to see that it’s not just her name attached to the foundation. There were different booths set up with vendors- my favorite was the Whole Foods booth that had a make-your-own-trail-mix station. So delicious, and free to boot. The race T-Shirts were a very high-quality cotton, not the cheap kind you usually get that feels like sand paper. Mojo in the Morning was also there for people who care about that. I’m a Dave and Chuck the Freak fan myself. A band played through the festivities and I really wish I remembered their name because 1) they kicked ass, and 2) I’ve seen them play charity events before. Good looks, talent, and big hearts? Definitely a band worth supporting.

Now to the race. Let’s all remember this was it’s first year so there were bound to be hiccups. As I lined up in the corral I noticed this wasn’t a really large group. “I better keep up or I’m getting lost,” I thought. My initial worry would not prove to be unfounded. The race took us through a residential neighborhood that was BARELY marked. There were several points where we weren’t sure whether to go straight, turn, run in circles, etc. At one point an exasperated lady shouted, “THIS RACE ISN’T MARKED WELL AT ALL! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!” Relax! This is a charity race, we aren’t running from Charlie through jungles of Vietnam. Word must’ve got out that runners were confused because volunteers made their way out to direct us.

Once the course became clear I realized I was well on track to PR. As I crossed mile five, I started bolting, only to realize the finish line was in sight. What? That’s not right. Well, I wasn’t going to start doing laps around the parking lot to make it a true 10K. I crossed the finish line at 49:23, which is a great pace for a 10K, except that I had only run 5.3 miles. Oh well. There were cheerleaders cheering me on at the finish line, giving away high-fives, so any ill-feelings over being shorted on miles quickly fell by the wayside.

After the race I made my way inside the mall collection for even more festivities. Young boys were there to hold the doors open for runners, and young girls who were from the foundation were there to greet us and ask how our run went. It was very sweet. Not to sound like an old man yelling from his porch, but if there’s one thing our younger generations are severely lacking, it’s manners. The Health Expo was fantastic: free Starbucks coffee, free bananas and granola bars, raffles and give aways, PLUS mini white-chocolate strawberry crepes. CREPES! France’s greatest contribution to the world. If I had stayed longer there were free Yoga and Pilates classes as well, but alas, I had a busy day ahead of me. I couldn’t believe all the free stuff I walked away with for the fairly low registration price of $25.

Despite the aforementioned snags, this was an awesome event and I would recommend it to anybody. If anything, come for the swag (and feel good knowing you’re helping young girls go to college who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance). I should also mention several Local 4 newscasters were there, along with Charles Pugh, Detroit’s city council president. Kind of funny to see talking heads walking around like normal people. Rhonda Walker is flawless looking in person. If it weren’t for her great work for the city of Detroit, I’d kind of hate her.

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