Sunday, April 13, 2014

On the Run: Martian Invasion of Races 10K 2014

The martians invaded Dearborn again!  Every year around this time they come flying into the city and descend upon Ford Field park and the surrounding area.  Never fear - these martians are friendly and come to encourage people of all ages and ability levels to run. The Martian Invasion of Races lineup includes a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and marathon.  It also has a Kids' Marathon (kids log 25 miles prior to race day and run the last 1.2 at the event).

I've run the 1/2 marathon the last 6 years - it was my first 1/2 ever so I always go back for it - but with Boston just over a week away, I opted for the 10K instead. I was excited to run a 10K again and was shooting for a new PR.  My goal was sub-41:00 and with the interval and speed work training I've been doing, I was pretty confident I would hit my goal.  The course is one I'm familiar with, so that gave me an advantage.  It starts at Ford Field and winds its way through Dearborn to Ford Road where it picks up Hines Drive.  Up to this point there were a few slight hills.  I could see my Boston training paying off because I was able to pass some people and gain ground with each hill and elevation change.  

To get onto Hines we ran down a ramp from Ford Road and then things leveled out on Hines for a nice flat out and back.  Then we hit the paved Rouge River Gateway Greenway Trail, one of my regular training routes.  It has a few decent hills that I've been running hill repeats on the past couple of weeks.  I felt right at home on the trail and was happy to pass the 4-mile marker just after the first hill.  I was right on the heels of a guy who was using me to pace him but was determined not to let me pass him.  As we ran through UM-Dearborn I started closing in on a woman who had been far ahead of me for the whole race.  On a downhill I flew past her.  To exit the trail there is another hill.  Not only did I pass the guy I'd been pacing but also passed 2 others as I powered up that old familiar hill and kept right on going without slowing down.

Now I knew all the hard parts were over.  Everything left was easy and flat.  I checked my watch and saw that it read just over 37:00.  I knew there was no way I could finish in 40:00 but I tried to push as hard as I could.  On the last straightaway before I turned for the finish line I saw Brian taking pictures and my friend Megan cheering me on.  Then I turned for the finish and I gave it my all.  I ran it in hard, feeling strong and proud, finishing under 41:00.  

I set a new PR by 2:59, finished 4th in my age group (beat out of 3rd by 1 second!), 10th woman, and 34th overall.  And I got this sweet little glass martian from the Glass Academy in Dearborn!




Don't Save Me / Haim
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
The Walker / Fitz & the Tantrums
Anklebiters / Paramore
After the Disco / Broken Bells
I'm Shakin' / Jack White
I Love It / Icona Pop
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae
Mallie Chan / Otto Vector
50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train
E.T. / Katy Perry

I also ran the Kids' Marathon with my 5th grade Girls' Running Club from school.  For most of the girls it was their first race.  They did such a fabulous job and I'm so proud of them! I love being able to help train and inspire young runners who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity get out and run on their own.  

And here's Megan who ran the 5K and placed 2nd in her age group.  She's amazing! We met at RUNdetroit so we're both representing with our shirts.  We found this nice family of martians who let us pose with them.  Nanu nanu!

Did you run one of the Martian races?  Tell me about it!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jack Daniels Running Calculator

I wrote about the advantages of using a pace calculator in a previous post.  This is the Jack Daniels Running Calculator and I've been using it to help with my training and goal setting for Boston as well as my recent shorter distance races.  

With permission from The Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, I've included this calculator at the bottom of my blog.  (This is a screen shot - scroll down to the bottom of my blog to use the actual calculator.)  

I encourage you to use this to help set your own goal pace and plan your training accordingly.  Reevaluate your goals as your fitness level increases and your race times decrease.  

Happy Running!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Boston Marathon Countdown: 2 Weeks

2 weeks from this moment, I will be done running the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square.  I will have made my way up and down the Newton Hills; conquered Heartbreak Hill.  I will have taken in all the sights and sounds along the way.  2 weeks from this moment, I will be relaxing and celebrating with Brian.  It's hard to believe it will be here so soon!

But I can't think about all this quite yet.  I still have the race to run.  And I still have 2 weeks of training.  Yes, it's taper time but I need to stay focused.  I'll be running daily, just fewer miles.  As my mileage decreases I'll work on increasing my amount of sleep - something that has been severely lacking in these months of intense training.  That's going to be huge for me - making sure I'm well-rested. I've done so well staying healthy and I need to keep that up in these final days.  (2nd graders - keep your germs away!)

All in all, the past 2 weeks of training haven't been too intense, which has helped me rest up a bit.  I finished out week 13 with a 4-minute PR at the Rock CF 1/2 marathon.  That was a big boost for me near the end of my training!  Nice to see my hard work paying off.

I just have one more race - the Martian Invasion of Races 10K this Saturday - before the big day.  I won't go too hard at it.  I usually do the half so it will be strange to just be running the 10K.  I'll also be there running the Kids Marathon with my Girl's Running Club from school.  It will be a nice last weekend before heading to Boston the next Saturday. 

Here's my training from the past two weeks:

I'll check back in before I hop on the plane.  Happy Running!

Previous Boston Marathon Countdown Posts: 14 Weeks12 Weeks10 Weeks8 Weeks6 Weeks, 4 Weeks

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Run: Rock CF 1/2 Marathon 2014

My first half marathon of the season is always Rock CF and it never disappoints!  This is the 4th year of the event and each year it just gets better and better.  (Although even year 1 seemed to go off without a hitch!)  There is nothing that I would ask to improve - friendly volunteers, plenty of water and post-race snacks, a gym to stay warm in, no shortage of bathrooms inside and out, awesome race shirts, quick results, and no long awards ceremony to wait around for.  Parking is easy and if the lot is full there are shuttles.  There is a 1/2 marathon, a 5K, and a 2-person relay. There's something for everyone!

The mostly flat course is a scenic loop around Grosse Ile, with beautiful views of the water.  Added to the course last year was a run through the Grosse Ile Naval Air Station Hangar, which is really cool.  This year Rock CF made the hangar the start of the 5K, which was hosted by RUNdetroit.  (See, getting better every year!)  

It was pretty windy during the first and last 3 miles.  Especially the last 3 miles, which was challenging.  But by that point I was pushing hard and determined to finish strong.  The miles in the middle were calm.

I knew I'd be able to beat my PR from Brooksie Way (1:32:30) but I would have been happy with shaving off 30 seconds.  Once I got going I knew I was looking at taking off about 2 minutes.  I was checking my pace more often than usual and it was a little up and down.  I just couldn't get myself to hold a steady pace.  After mile 5 I finally settled in and although I wasn't consistent, my pace started dropping with each mile (so even better!).  A woman had passed me at mile 3 and I was chasing her until mile 10. Finally I caught up to and passed her as I exited the hangar.  I think it helped that Justin and Alia from RUNdetroit were in the hangar cheering me on!

I ended up finishing 4th, with my RUNdetroit teammates Sarah and Stephanie ahead of me in 1st and 2nd, respectively.  (Ahead of me by a WIDE margin, I must note!) Remember that old PR from the fall I hoped to beat?  I blew it out of the water by nearly 4 minutes!  My finishing time was 1:28:36.  I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face and the race director, Emily, gave me a big hug.  A hug from the race director after crossing the finish line?  Yet another reason to love this race!  

Post-race, I swapped stories with the other runners, grabbed some snacks, checked results, and got my award.  Oh, but first I made sure to hit the PR Cymbal, loud and clear!  



Vanilla Chia Pudding, banana

Pompeii / Bastille
Don't Save Me / Haim
Digital Witness / St. Vincent
Breakout / Foo Fighters
We Found Love / Rihanna
Get in My Way / Robin Thicke
Youth Without Youth / Metric
Mallie Chan / Otto Vector
I'm Shakin' / Jack White
After the Disco / Broken Bells
Stranger to My Happiness / Sharon Jones & the Dapp Kings
Birth in Reverse / St. Vincent
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
Tightrope / Janelle Monae (ft. Big Boi)
The Walker / Fitz & The Tantrums
Man / Neko Case
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Dancing Shoes / Arctic Monkeys
The Stars are Ours / Mayer Hawthorne
What Makes You Beautiful / One Direction
Work Around It / Them Swoops
Sexx Laws / Beck
50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Uprising / Muse

Have you run a race yet this season?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On the Run: Run du Nain Rouge 2014

To go along with Detroit's Marche du Nain Rouge - an annual event held in Midtown during which the Nain Rouge ("red dwarf") appears and needs to be driven out of the city for another year - Tour de Trout hosted their 2nd annual Run du Nain Rouge 5K. It was a small event with just shy of 400 finishers.  Quite a nice change from the nearly 10,000 at Corktown last week!  

This was one of the most fun and relaxed events I've run.  The start and finish line was on Canfield right out in front of RUNdetroit.  Before the race I stayed warm in the store with all my running friends.  It was basically just an even bigger group run than usual!  I had gotten in 3 miles at home before the race so I did just a short jog up and down Canfield right before the start.  My hamstring had been bothering me in the warmup so I wasn't sure how I would feel.  My goal was to run it faster than Corktown and if it was only by 1 second per mile I would be happy.  Advantages were a flat course, less wind, sunny skies, very familiar territory, and not having run 20 miles the morning of the race.  Plus I had my friends Justin and Amy ahead as clear 1st place male and female winners to keep me motivated to run fast!

I started right at the front and just went for it from the get go.  At first a few people passed me but they were men so I wasn't too upset.  I knew Amy was the only woman ahead of me and I was going to hold onto that 2nd place no matter what!  I occasionally glanced at my watch for pace and every time I did I was shocked at what I saw.  I was running way faster than I thought I could but I just kept going.  Most of the course was on Cass but it also took us around pass the Masonic Temple, which was very cool to run past. There was a turn-around over there so I got to see Justin kicking butt in first place and Amy not far behind.  Then it was back to Cass, which I knew put me in the homestretch. 

Right at the end, just as we were about to round the turn onto Canfield, a guy came from behind to pass me and finish under 20:00.  I was inspired and picked it up a bit but just didn't have it in me for that final push myself.  I finished in 20:04 with an average pace of 6:28/mile.

When I saw the time on the clock and my pace I was so excited you would have thought I'd just qualified for Boston all over again!  I was jumping up and down, high-fiving friends and strangers, and telling volunteers I loved them.  (Brian later told me he was glad he wasn't there - haha!).  Everyone just hung out on Canfield in front of City Bird and RUNdetroit while the rest of the racers finished up and people enjoyed their post-run snacks of blood oranges and red frosting-swirled brownies. Carnival music was playing, everyone was happy, and it was such a festive atmosphere.  I loved every second!  I would have liked to stay for the actual Marche but had to get home to check papers and do report cards (boo!).  Next year I'll make sure to budget my time better so I can stick around.

Because I finished in 2nd place I won a $20 gift certificate from RUNdetroit.  The top 15 finishers also got a Nain Rouge beer koozie and sticker from City Bird.  Fun stuff!

And in case in you were wondering, the Nain Rouge WAS caught and banished from the city, due to his dragon being illegally parked.  Detroit is safe for another year!




CLIF Shot - mocha

Sympathy for the Devil / Rolling Stones
Devil's Haircut / Beck
Devil Inside / INXS
Devil's Dance Floor / Flogging Molly
Shout at the Devil / Motley Crue

What do YOU think about the legend of the Nain Rouge?