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?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Interview with Jennifer at Moonbird Wellness

I had the pleasure of being included as part of a series entitled "Crafting a Movement Practice" on the blog Moonbird Wellness.  This was the first time I was interviewed so it was really exciting for me!  Please take a moment to read my interview and those of the other people in the series.  

Boston Marathon Countdown: 4 Weeks

4 more weeks!  The Red Sox tickets have arrived!  The Duck Tour has been booked!  And the running continues.  The past 2 weeks of training have been pretty intense.  In week 11 I hit my highest mileage ever - 70 - capping it off with the Corktown 5K. When you take it one run at a time it doesn't seem so bad but by the end of the week I was pretty beat down.  I also had a late night of speed work at the track, consisting of the following workout:  1 mile warm up, 5 x (400m-800m) at 5K pace, cool down

Even though week 12 was only 57 miles it felt like a lot more than that!  I probably need a rest but that's just not in my nature.  I was feeling a hamstring pain on most of my runs so I dialed back the pace a bit and didn't do the full mileage on some days.  I wasn't able to make it to yoga, which didn't help.  I finished out the week with another 5K and was able to put in a much better performance than I did at Corktown.  (Race report coming up). 

Here's a look at the past 2 weeks mileage:

Looking ahead, I have Rock CF 1/2 marathon coming up on Sunday.  It's not my goal race so I won't taper for it and will continue to stick to my Boston training plan.  I will, however, get in daily stretching for my hamstring (and my weekly yoga session) so that I hopefully won't have issues with that.  Fingers crossed for warmer weather and sunshine!

Happy running!

Previous Boston Marathon Countdown Posts: 14 Weeks, 12 Weeks10 Weeks8 Weeks, 6 Weeks

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On the Run: Corktown Race 2014

Race season is picking up and I'm falling behind in my posts! Even though I raced today I'm just now getting around to my report about last week's race - the Corktown 5K in Detroit.  I've always heard it's a fun race but also heard it's very crowded (nearly 10,000 runners) and hard to actually race so I've hesitated to sign up for it. This year I thought I'd give it a try since I run in that area often with RUNdetroit and I was also convinced by the race director, Doug Kurtis, to do it.  You can't really tell Doug Kurtis no when it comes to racing!   

I had my last 20-miler scheduled for Sunday so I got up at 4am.  I wanted to be able to finish that run (obviously at a slower pace than my usual 20-milers), change my clothes and shoes, and get down to Corktown early enough to find parking.  Was I crazy to run 20 miles and then go race a 5K?  Yes.  Yes I was.  But I really needed to get in that last 20 and it was the only time I could do it.  Plus I looked at it as training to see how I could push myself in those final 3 miles.

I sure picked a year go to this event.  Everyone said this was the coldest Corktown Race they could remember!  It was something like 15 degrees with a windchill making it feel at least 10 degrees colder.  Brrr!  Brian braved the cold and went with me. While I did all my pre-race stuff (port-a-potty, huddling in the RUNdetroit tent, warm-up jog), he walked to Mudgie's Deli for St. Patty's Day treats.  He was back in time to see me start and watched me cross the finish line, although it was so cold that his camera didn't work to take pictures!

Although it was a super crowded race, starting right up at the front made it all okay. I didn't have any problems racing it and contrary to the warnings I received, there weren't drunk people stumbling onto the course, nobody clotheslined me with a beer, and I wasn't tripped by anyone in a kilt.  With so many people there for the parade the crowd support was fantastic!  Definitely lots of fun sights to see up and down Michigan Avenue. The first two miles were windy and I ran both of those at 7:00 minutes even.  Then for mile 3 there was a nice tail wind, speeding me up to a 6:48 final mile.  I'm sure knowing I was nearing the end didn't hurt!  

I ended up finishing in 21:41, which was a few seconds faster than my last 5K but not my fastest.  Definitely more of a 10K pace.  I'd like to say I can blame those 20 miles I ran before the race but it's probably due to the fact that I'm just a poor 5K runner. Ah well, the speed work will eventually pay off.

We didn't stick around for the parade, nor did I get a beer or whiskey afterwards. Honestly, I was just just so darn cold and hungry that all I wanted to do was get my Starbucks coffee and oatmeal and get into warm clothes!  Maybe next year we'll make more of a day of it.  I will certainly be doing this race again!  




CLIF Shot - vanilla

Whiskey in the Jar / The Pogues
Good Rats / Dropkick Murphys
Selfish Man / Flogging Molly
The Great Defector / Bell X1
Barroom Hero / Dropkick Murphys
Devil's Dancefloor / Flogging Molly
Salvation / The Cranberries

Did you run a St. Patrick's Day race this year?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Boston Marathon Countdown: 6 Weeks

Spring is in the air!  Although I had to take my runs inside a couple of days last week due to sub-zero morning temps, this week we've seen a major warm-up.  The snow is starting to melt, roads are clear and dry (no sidewalk running yet), and the sun has been shining.  The upcoming week is looking fantastic weather-wise.  I just might be able to break out my new Guides, which thus far have only seen the treadmill and indoor track!  

I hit my highest mileage to date these past two weeks, with 64 and 63 miles.  In week 9 I went to an indoor track for my first real speed work session.  I had no idea what I was doing but was with some very experienced track runners who coached me along.  We did the following interval: 

1 mile warm up, 2 x (800m-600m-400m-200m), 1 x (800m-600m-600m), cool down

The plan was to do 4 intervals but the track was closing.  I was okay with what we did, considering this was my first track workout and I was holding a 6:30 pace (translation - I was DYING!).  Since one of my goals for the year is to run a faster 5K, this is definitely going to be the way to do it! Now I just need to make sure I do it on a regular basis.

I've been getting my weekly tempo run in on Saturday at RUNdetroit, thanks to a fast running partner.  We do the run together at or faster than my marathon pace for the full 10 miles, talking the whole time.  No recovery.  On race day we'll really fly when we AREN'T talking to anyone!  haha

Today I finally got in my first 20-miler.  I've done two 18's, both in brutally cold and snowy conditions.  Today was sunny and dry - wahoo!  I went back to Kensington Metropark to run the hills and although I obviously slowed down on the inclines, I managed a 7:49/mile overall pace.  It's no marathon pace to be sure but for a training run, I was okay with it. And I felt good at the end, so even better!

Here's a look at my daily mileage from the past two weeks:

Next week I have another 20 miler but it's the same day as the Cork Town 5K, so I'm trying to figure that out.  I'm excited about the race because I've never run it before and I hear it's a lot of fun.  We'll see how it all shakes out.  I'll keep you posted!

Happy running!

Previous Boston Marathon Countdown Posts12 Weeks14 Weeks10 Weeks, 8 Weeks