Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On the Run: Mustache Dache Detroit 2014

A few weekends ago was the Detroit marathon - a much-hyped, highly-anticipated race. This past Saturday was Mustache Dache, a smaller yet just as eagerly-awaited event.  Last year was its inaugural year in Detroit and it went off without a hitch.  Although I hadn't run many 5k's at that point, I was just going to go ahead and declare it as best 5k ever.  I've run a few since then and it easily maintains the status!  This year was even better.

The event is hosted by RUNdetroit, which is not only an amazing running store but is tops in putting on an event!  

New This Year

Photos - All photos from the race can be found on Flickr and are FREE for race participants, courtesy of Nicole Rourke Photography!  You cannot beat that!  

Kids Race - 1 Mile Kids Run held before the 5K.  All kids got a sweet red cape.  The kids looked awesome!

Shirts - Men's and women's fits in different colors.  Last year they were all the same color and cut.  I like the change.


Photo courtesy of mustachedache.com/detroit

Pre-Race

I did packet pickup at the store (it was Thursday and Friday) but you could also pick up day of.  It was in full-swing when Brian and I arrived, helped along by many RUNdetroit Flight Club members.  Packet pickup, tents, port-a-potties, and picnic table were all set up in a parking lot located next to Atwater Brewery (as opposed to the lot behind it like last year).  It was a great location for everything.  

It was a cold and rainy morning so Brian and I huddled under the RUNdetroit tent.  Around 9:15 I went out for a 2-mile warm-up with a few of the ladies from the racing team.  We ran to the 1st mile marker and back.  The whole way out we were running straight into the wind, our faces being pelted with sharp icy drops of rain.  When we made the turn back, however, the wind was at our backs, the rain seemed to stop, and it was nearly blissful running.  Perhaps this race would be okay after all!  (At least the second half.)

Back at the tent we got a great group shot with the RUNdetroit Flight Club.  Crazy kids!



Then we headed to the start line where the race began right on time.  No waiting around in the cold for any late arrivals!  We were off!

The Race

I didn't start right at the front, knowing I would be slow (since the marathon I've mostly been running 3-4 miles, average pace 8:30ish).  Thankfully the rain had stopped so we only had wind to contend with.  The course starts out on the street next to Atwater Brewery before you hang a left toward Atwater Street.  This is familiar stomping grounds for me - past Milliken State Park, the entrance to the Dequindre Cut, Outdoor Adventure Center - so I was happy to be running there.  

Before I hit the 1 mile marker I heard a familiar voice ask, "So why are you running with a broken leg?"  It was my GLR teammate Mikelle!  I was so happy to have someone to run with.  We ended up running the rest of the race together, chatting the whole way.  I haven't seen her in forever!  Not only was it great to catch up but it made the race much more enjoyable.  Mikelle helped take my mind off pace so I didn't worry that I was running too slow.  


Photo credit: Nicole Rork Photography

Just as in our warm-up, the beginning of the race was windy.  After making the turn to head back along the Riverwalk, however, the wind was at our backs and it was calm and peaceful.  


Photo credit: Nicole Rork Photography

After the Riverwalk it was back to Atwater Street, a short jog around Milliken State Park, and before long we were heading to the finish line.  Many of my RUNdetroit friends finished ahead of me this time so they were all cheering me on.  Mikelle and I finished together.  I didn't pay attention to the time and even forgot to stop my Garmin right away.  It was a good feeling.  


Photo credit: Nicole Rork Photography
Post-Race

Brian finished just a few minutes after I did.  He did awesome in his first race since before we met!  We got our cool mustache medals, free beers (they were in cans this year, which was nice so we could take them to go), chatted with a few friends, and headed back to the car.  Had it been warmer we would have stuck around for photo ops with the gigantic fuzzy mustache or tried out the mustache teeter totter, mechanical bull, or mustache-themed High Striker game.  It is the best post-race party and the people-watching is amazing.  SO many mustaches!  Crazy costumes!  haha.  But seriously, it's a great time and the awards are pretty darn cool.  Growlers for top finishers and mustache pint glasses for age-group winners.  Everyone's mustache medal doubles as a bottle opener.  Sa-weet!




Distance
5k 

Time 
22:07

Pace 
7:08/mile

Fuel 
Banana

Tunes*
Maneater / Hall & Oates
Attention / The Raconteurs
Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) / Gnarls Barkley
Sharp Dressed Man / ZZ Top
Everybody Get Dangerous / Weezer
Bodysnatchers / Radiohead

*Due to time constraints, I had to use the same playlist as last year.  In keeping with the theme of the race, all songs on my playlist were sung by artists sporting 'staches at the time of recording.  


I'm not big on medals but this one is definitely unique.  Plus it's both fashionable AND functional!


Also new this year were these awesome pom-pom hats, which were available for purchase in-store packet pick-up.  My favorite color AND a pom pom?  I couldn't resist treating myself to one!

All in all, another fabulous Mustache Dache!  


Did you run Mustache Dache?  Tell me about it!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the Run: Detroit Free Press Marathon 2014


Marathon #4 is, as they say, in the books.  It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't easy.  It was downright painful.  But it's done.  I gritted it out and finished.  Everyone said I looked good in the final miles and strong when I crossed the finish line, even though I felt like I was shuffling and dragging my right leg down the road behind me.  

I finished in 3:08:48, just over a minute off my PR at Boston earlier this year.  I beat last year's Freep time by 6 minutes, placing 15th woman and winning my age group.  So I was jumping for joy, right?  Cheering and celebrating?  I should have been but at first all I could focus on was the fact that I didn't run the race I set out to run.  Well, and the fact that my leg was so sore I couldn't walk, let alone jump!

Here's how things went down:

My initial race goal was 3:05, back in the summer when I was going to start training.  My hamstring injury led to a delayed training start by 2 weeks and the whole plan was highly modified (both pace and distance).  I adjusted my goal time to 3:10 and was okay with that.  Then after doing well at Brooksie Way I thought maybe I could do better than 3:10.  Maybe I could do 3:05 after all.  I talked to Justin from RUNdetroit and he helped come up with this race-day plan:



I needed to stick with the 3:10 pace group until exiting the tunnel at mile 8.  At that point I could pick up the pace.  It seemed smart and manageable.  I met up with the pace group before the start, pledging to stay with them.  And I did.  For one mile.  What was I thinking??  I'll tell you what I was thinking.  I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to pull off the plan after all.  Maybe I better run faster at the beginning in case I couldn't speed up at the end.  Smart marathon running?  I think not.  You can probably guess where this race is headed.

By the time I hit Canada I was already regretting my decision to split from the pace group.   My pace was way off and I knew I was running too fast.  I should have adjusted but I kept on going.  I had my friend and fellow RUNdetroit'er Arni to run alongside so maybe I wanted the company.  We stuck together for all the Canadian miles, through the tunnel, and exited together.  This was probably my favorite moment from the race!  As we were running back into the US, I had The White Stripes "Blue Orchid" playing in my ears and we were greeted by a huge cheering crowd.  A man announced my name and bib number over the loudspeaker.  Talk about a rush!  


Photo credit: Brian Wolski

Photo credit: Stephanie Smith

Within about a minute of exiting the tunnel I caught up to the 3:05 pace group.  WAY ahead of schedule!  I was so excited to catch them but knew I was in trouble.  I felt comfortable running with them at their 7:04 pace for a little while and then suddenly it didn't feel so easy.  My Garmin was reading out a 6:50ish pace and I started to panic.  I couldn't maintain that!  After the tunnel I'm not sure how accurate that was but once it's in your head it's in your legs.  I started to slip back in Mexicantown.  I slipped further back as we neared Corktown.  By the time we hit Michigan Avenue I don't think you'd ever know I'd been running with that pace group.  I lasted about 3 miles.


Photo credit: Stephanie Smith

I'm not sure exactly when the pain started (mile 1?) but definitely by mile 12 I was hurting a lot.  It started in my right hip and worked it's way into my hamstring, glute, IT band.  I would have been so happy to peel off and finish with the half marathoners!  Thankfully I got a boost with the RUNdetroit cheer station on Michigan Avenue, plus Sarah G when I made my turn with the other marathoners.  (She had long since finished her half.)


Photo credit: Brian Wolski
For anyone who's run the Detroit marathon, you know that much of the fun is in the 1st half.  After the first 13 miles, however, the runners spread out, the spectators are fewer and farther between.  Lafayette is a long lonely stretch, especially when you don't have anyone to run with.  And I didn't.  I ran solo down Lafayette and through Indian Village.  Maybe 10 runners altogether?  (Some I passed and some passed me.)  All I could think about was getting out of this race.  My leg was killing me.  What was I thinking running this marathon?  The 6 weeks off that my orthopedic suggested I take after this marathon - previously scoffed at by me - was looking more and more like a reality.  I remember a police officer smiling at shouting, "Yeah, Run Detroit!"  I soldiered on.

When I got to Jefferson a guy ran up alongside of me and said, "Looking good, Amanda!"  It was one of the guys from the 3:10 pace group.  He was clearly doing much better than I was as he motored right along past me.  Up ahead loomed my nemesis - Belle Isle.  Lafayette and Indian Village were bad, but this part is torture.  Mental torture.  More boring, even fewer spectators (except for the bridge, which isn't bad), and more wind to contend with.  The island takes a little bit of your soul each time you race on it.  On the bright side I saw a few friends on the bridge - both spectating and running - to make it all seem just a bit better.

According to my fist, I was supposed to be running sub-7:00's by now but my pace was slowly creeping into the 7:20's.  I was passed by 2 women.  I was desperately trying to run strong but I felt like I was losing ground with every step I took.  My right leg was killing me.  My calves now hurt.  My strategically-timed playlist helped a bit with The Four Tops Reach Out (I'll Be There) playing in my ears as I ran toward the Ren Cen.  I was so happy to get off that island, down Jefferson, and onto the Riverwalk.  Not much left!

The Riverwalk was beautiful.  I felt like I was home again.  That helped cheer me up, especially when I saw my friend Emily from Rock CF.  She always gives me a good laugh!  I actually saw quite a few friends in the final few miles to give me encouragement.  My friend Stephanie took this photo on Atwater near the Dequindre Cut.  


Photo credit: Stephanie Smith
In the last mile I closed in on a woman and tried to chase her down.  Even though I didn't beat her, I'm thankful she was there to give me that final push at the end when I wanted to joy-jog it across the finish line.


Photo credit: Brian Wolski
After it was over I talked to a few people who had just finished.  I love the post-marathon excitement with everyone finishing their race and reaching their goals!  Runners are the greatest!

I limped back to the RUNdetroit VIP area, which was an amazing addition this year to the marathon experience.  RUNdetroit partnered with Saucony to provide a warming tent, private port-a-potties, and gear check to Flight Club members or customers who bought Saucony products before the marathon.  After the race there were free snacks and massages.  It was amazing!  

I was slightly delirious as I dragged myself up onto the massage table.  The therapists helped me roll over and worked on me for a good 20 minutes.  I wanted to cry, everything hurt so much!  But seeing Brian and looking around the tent at all my friends who had run the half marathon made it all seem ok.  

Brian and I stuck around for about an hour or so, sharing race stories and celebrating with all the other runners who'd run amazing races, before heading back to the car.  The city was so alive, between the marathon and Lions tailgaters.  As painful as running the marathon was, I don't regret doing it.  

I guess you can say marathon #4 was a little like Detroit itself - a bit gritty, desolate and lonely in places.  But also great areas that feel like home to me.  Most important were the people along the way.  And although it may not be easy, it gets a little better each year.


Photo credit: Brian Wolski

Time
3:08:48

Pace
7:12/Mile

Fuel
vanilla chia pudding, banana (pre-race)
2 vanilla CLIF Shots (miles 12 and 20)

Playlist
Riptide / Vance Joy
Dangerous / Big Data
Gotta Get Away / The Black Keys
Chop and Change / The Black Keys
We're All in This Together / Sam Roberts Band
Losing California / Sloan
Lazaretto / Jack White
The Walker / Fitz & The Tantrums
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
Fell in Love with a Girl / The White Stripes
Best Friend / Foster the People
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward
I'm Shakin' / Jack White
We Found Love / Rihanna
Tennis Ball (Prescribing Tristen) / Pure
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
Blue Orchid / The White Stripes
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Ain't Messin 'Round / Gary Clark Jr.
Chop and Change / The Black Keys
After the Disco / Broken Bells
Shake it Off / Taylor Swift
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
Locked Out of Heaven / Bruno Mars
Digital Witness / St. Vincent
What Makes You Beautiful / One Direction
Violent Shiver / Benjamin Booker
Mallie Chan / Otto Vector
Second Chance / Peter Bjorn & John
Everything / Nine Inch Nails
Nowhere to Run / Martha & the Vandellas
Fever / The Black Keys
Alex Chilton / The Replacements
Radio / Raphael Saadiq
Bulletproof / La Roux
Rearviewmirror/ Pearl Jam
Detroit Rock City / KISS
Don't Let Go / Weezer
Man / Neko Case
Lucid Dreams / Franz Ferdinand
C'mon C'mon / The Von Bondies
Mind Your Manners / Pearl Jam
Big Girls You Are Beautiful / Mika
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces / Ben Folds Five
Sixteen Saltines / Jack White
Reach Out (I'll Be There) / The Four Tops
Eye of the Tiger / Survivor
Discipline / Nine Inch Nails
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls) / Foster the People
Possibilities / Weezer
Get in My Way / Robin Thicke
50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train
Anklebiters / Paramore
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Lose Yourself / Eminem



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Michigan Runner Magazine


I was clicking through the latest issue of Michigan Runner, an online publication that highlights local runners and races, when I came across this full-page picture of me!  I'm the cover girl for the Photo Gallery.  Pretty exciting!  I'm not sure why I'm running at an angle, though.  I'll chalk it up to another one of those weird Amanda things that I do.  

You can access the online magazine with this link.  There's also another photo on page 13, as well as an article about the race including some quotes from me, on page 23.


Monday, October 27, 2014

On the Run: Brooksie Way 1/2 Marathon 2014

*This is a long-overdue post from a race on September 28th.  Sorry for the delay!



The Brooksie Way Half Marathon fell on a day that I needed to run 22 miles.  My final long run before the Free Press Marathon.  While some might think it crazy to tack on an extra 9 miles to my race, I figured it would be a good training opportunity.  Plus the race would get me more than half of my long run, making the total miles pass more easily.  I did the same thing last year for Brooksie, with a successful result, so why not?

I got to the race super early.  There was a large contingent of RUNdetroit Flight Club members running so Justin and Alia had the store tent set up near the start line.  I was able to leave my bag there while I ran through the campus of Oakland University, trying my best to avoid hills.  (It's a hilly campus so I wasn't entirely successful.)  I took it slow, running those miles at a 7:59/mile pace.  

My hamstring was a little sore already so I was nervous.  I wasn't sure what to expect from that, plus Brooksie is a hilly course.  This year it was changed due to construction.  The first half is pretty flat and usually there are rolling hills throughout the second half.  Instead of rolling hills, however, there was one HUGE hill.  It looked pretty bad on an elevation chart.  I knew what to expect from rolling hills but had no idea what to expect from this new hell (yes hell not hill).  My hill training hasn't been up to snuff.  I was hoping to run the race in 1:30 but I would just have to see what happened once I got out there.  

Right from the get-go things were not looking good.  I was sore and people were passing me.  I felt like everyone was passing me!  Men, women, children.  Everyone.

By mile 4 I was ready to give up.  I wanted to hop on some kind of wagon and ride it to the end.  I managed to pass a girl on the Clinton River Trail but before I knew it she passed me again.  Doh!  Things were not going well.  Then around mile 5 I was heading around a curve, down a hill, into downtown Rochester, when I was suddenly closing in on 2 women.  And then I was passing them!  And then I chicked 2 dudes!  That gave me some motivation.  Maybe things would be okay after all.  I had a big smile on my face as I passed some spectators on a corner, turning toward the park that leads to Paint Creek Trail.  

What really gave me the boost I needed was when I passed the halfway point and one of the volunteers shouted to me, "3rd woman - and 2nd is just ahead!"  I'd had no clue I was that close.  In my mind I was 20 women back so to hear I was 3rd was shocking!  And I could actually see 2nd place.  I gradually picked up the pace over the next mile, took a CLIF Shot, and by mile 7 I had passed her.  

Things continued to go well from there.  Of course there was THE hill at mile 9.  It looked bad on the elevation chart.  In real life?  It was HORRENDOUS.  I felt like I was barely moving!  It had 3 false summits.  The worst part was actually when I got to the top and tried to get my legs moving again.  It felt like I would never pick up the pace again.  Eventually I did and ended up running the last mile of the race at 5K pace.  I think because I just wanted to be done!  

I held onto that 2nd place spot and finished in 1:30:41.  58th overall.  Then I hung out with the other RUNdetroit runners who had finished the 5K and 10K while we cheered on the half marathon finishers.  Here we are at the end!


RUNdetroit Flight Club members
After that I had 2 more miles to run, which were probably the most brutal 2 miles I've ever run.  I basically complained for every step of the way!  But then I was DONE!  And I was oh so happy to be finished running for the day!  Last long run?  DONE!  Last race before the marathon?  DONE!  I should be getting my award in a few weeks.  I'll post a pic when it arrives!  




Time
1:30:41 

Pace 
6:55/mile 

Fuel 
vanilla chia pudding, banana (pre-race)
Vanilla CLIF Shot (mile 6.5)

Tunes 
Dangerous / Big Data 
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
Lazaretto / Jack White 
Lately / Soul Asylum 
Gotta Get Away / The Black Keys 
The Walker / Fitz & the Tantrums 
Shake It Off / Taylor Swift
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
Supermassive Black Hole / Muse 
Little Numbers / Boy 
Sixteen Saltines / Jack White 
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
Machu Picchu / The Strokes
Mercy / Duffy
Dear Rosemary / Foo Fighters 
The Monster / Eminem ft. Rihanna
Can't Hold Us Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Kiss With a Fist / Florence + the Machine
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Best Friend / Foster the People
Fast in My Car / Paramore
Get in My Way / Robin Thicke
Discipline / Nine Inch Nails
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Riptide / Vance Joy

Coming Soon: Detroit Free Press Marathon race recap!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Detroit Free Press Marathon - 1 More Day!

I haven't been updating you about tomorrow's race like I have for my last two marathons, mainly because of my hamstring injury. I started training late, wondering if I was even going to run the race.  I very loosely followed my training plan. I ran through a lot of pain. I was in PT and on anti-inflammatories for much of training.  My motivation dwindled. Due to these factors I adjusted my goal from a 3:05 finish (7:03 pace) to a 3:10 finish (7:15 pace).  This would put me ahead of Freep last year (3:14:49) but it wouldn't be a PR (Boston - 3:07:38).  

Things have improved.  I've had some good solid races in the past month, placing me at the top in several of them.  I ran the courses faster than the previous years' races, even if I didn't PR.  I kicked butt at Brooksie Way a few weeks ago (post will eventually be up!), which was the second part of my 22-mile training run.  So that got me thinking that maybe I could run this thing in 3:05.  So this week I had a mini freak-out about pace. Justin from RUNdetroit helped work out a good plan for me that will allow me to start out slower, pick up the pace after I'm good and warmed up, put in a good kick at the end (fingers crossed!), and still meet my goal.  

Anyway, whatever I end up running, I'm just hoping for nice weather and that my hamstring holds out.  I need the wheels to stay on until I cross the finish line.  Then I will rest.  



If you want to track me on your phone or desktop, you can do so by following these directions from the race Web site (www.freepmarathon.com):

  • Follow on your iPhone/Android app store by searching "Detroit Free Press", download the free app, and then access our 'Track Your Runner' link starting TOMORROW MORNING on race day (note: link will NOT appear on the app until Sunday AM). 
  • Desktop users can alternatively visit this link on race day morning to also track their runner: http://live.xacte.com/detroitmarathon
I'll post on my Vegan Road Runner Facebook page after the race.  Blog post will be later. I still owe you one on Brooksie Way so don't hold your breath!  haha!

Event: Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon
Start Time: 7:00 a.m.