Tag Archives: 10K

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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Annoying Jerk and Old Iron Man: Making Friends at my Latest 10K

When it comes to races, some people enjoy the larger events with the big group of runners and cheering crowd. Me, I like to feel like I’m on my own little run until I get to the finish line where there is hopefully a shiny new medal waiting. Don’t get me wrong, big events are thrilling and the race-swag is nice. However, with a larger group of runners comes a bigger chance of running along side some annoying people.

The Stony Creek Distance Run is a small, week-night 5K and 10K race that takes place on the trails of Stony Creek Metropark. It’s also cheap, which made it a perfect choice for me. After a nerve-wrecking drive from Birmingham to Shelby Township in rush-hour traffic (it should be mandatory punishment for sex offenders to drive M-59 at rush hour every day for the rest of their lives), I happily awaited a pleasant run on the trails. Oh, and pleasant it was- perfect mid 70’s temps with no wind gusts or humidity. Pleasant, that is, until I ran into Annoying Jerk.

Commonly during a race I distract myself by focusing on other runners and assigning them names and character traits. For example: “Wow, Blue Shirt Girl is fast. I’ll let her pace me for a while. I wish I had her butt.” Or, “Ooh, Tattoo Guy sure has some dreamy eyes…” are thoughts often going through my head. For the first two miles of my 10K I focused on Old Iron Man, an older-looking fellow with an Iron Man logo tatooed on his ankle. I assumed that meant he had completed a full Iron Man and therefore he was instanly my hero. I ran close behind him for a while, until I was finally accosted by Annoying Jerk.

Annoying Jerk came from behind around mile 2.5 and began running my exact pace, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. Since we were running on a narrow trail, and I’m claustrophobic, and who the hell does that shit anyway, I tried to surge ahead to lose him. In doing so, I passed Old Iron Man. “Great job!” he said to me. Awww. I dropped Annoying Jerk for a while until he caught up with me, again running practically on top of me. I tried to express my annoyance in civil ways, such as sighing heavily and surging ahead several more times. But each time I did, Annoying Jerk would come sprinting from behind to run my exact fucking pace.

Now, if Annoying Jerk had been a good-looking shirtless guy, I may have enjoyed the company. “Why doesn’t he just pass me?” I kept thinking to myself, until finally I decided to lose him for good. With a 2 miles left to run, I sprinted ahead and never saw him again. I was then able to enjoy a solitary run through the beautiful trails until I crossed the finish line.

As I stood around after the race waiting for results to get posted (2nd in my age group, woo-hoo!), Old Iron Man congratulated me on a good run. “You kept a great steady pace! Good for you!” Old Iron Man also won his age group! I want him to be my grandpa. Then I saw him. Annoying Jerk was coming right at me. “Hey there! Good job!” Well, you would know, you were practically running on top of me THE ENTIRE RACE. But I didn’t say that. I thanked him. He then proceeded to explain how he had an hour drive to the race, and how he could’ve run faster had he not been so tired. Dude, don’t give me your bull-shit. I beat you and that’s all there is to it. Go home and cry into your Annoying Jerk beer.

In the end, the crazy antics of one inconsiderate runner weren’t enough to ruin my race. I went home, cleaned the dirt off of my shins and relaxed with some red wine. I’m running another 10K on Saturday- the AdvoKate in Rochester. Let’s hope there’s more Old Iron Men than Annoying Jerks (and some shirtless guys wouldn’t hurt).

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Winter is Coming

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately (what else is new? It’s how I entertain myself), so today’s post is just a collection of my thoughts and impulses.

1) Despite all the anxiety, crying, and threats of divorce, I pulled off my first Thanksgiving Dinner as a hostess with ease. It was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it to stay in my own house and not have to drive anywhere. I got to make the schedule and the menu. Plus my sister-in-law came equipped with six bottles of wine, which was a welcomed new tradition.

2) The colder weather looks like it’s here to stay, which lead me to realize I had zero pairs of running pants. I have yoga pants and sweat pants, but no real running tights like a serious runner would posses. So yesterday I ventured to Great Lakes Crossing and found a new pair of North Face moisture wicking pants for $35, and a pair of bright-blue Nike running tights for $29!!! I bet there is no better high than bringing a pair of $70 pants to the register and having them ring up half price unexpectedly. Take that, heroin!

3) I’m really beginning to enjoy night running. I enjoy the solitude and the heightened senses. I always run with my Knuckle Lights and reflective vest like a good girl so Randy doesn’t get nervous.

4) I recently had a scare on Daily Mile which lead me to become more cautious about the details I post, i.e. where I run, what time, who with, etc. It was nothing too serious, but enough to remind me that posting my whereabouts to complete strangers may not be the best idea.

5) I have tiny, dime-sized bald spot on the top of my head. My other hair covers it but I’m still obsessing over it. How did that happen? What horrible disease do I have? Why does Web MD link every symptom to HIV/AIDS?!

6) Speaking of health, I’m starting a personal challenge from now until Christmas to stick to a gluten-free diet. Why the hell would anyone want to subject themselves to such torture? Well, simply because it is such a big challenge. If you had stomach issues like I had you’d be willing to try anything. My gastroenterologist once suggested I was gluten-intollerant but I scoffed at the idea, and gluten-free diets in general, as being a passing fad. I’ve recently met other runners who swear that a gluten-free diet has meant less unpleasant stomach disturbances during their runs, so I’m finally ready to give it a try. Oh, and did I mention I’m already vegetarian? We’ll see how it goes.

I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas. Call me old-fashioned but I love Christmas music, Christmas movies, Christmas parties, and best of all: Christmas themed-races.

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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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