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!  



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

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 (

  • 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:
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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mustache Dache Winner

Thanks to everyone for your comments on mustaches!  The lucky winner is Kacey!  Congratulations!  I will contact you with a coupon code from RUNdetroit.  For those of you who didn't win, head on over to Detroit Runner's blog for another chance to win.  Or sign up anyway.  It's such a fun race!

And check out this year's race shirt designs that were revealed this week.  Sa-weet!

Date: Saturday, November 8th
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Event website:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mustache Dache Giveaway
Do you love running along the Riverwalk?  Do you love a nice cold beer after a hard run? Most importantly, do you love mustaches?  If you answered YES to one or more of these questions then you'll want to sign up for the upcoming Mustache Dache, hosted by RUNdetroit!  The event was so much fun last year - great course, fun swag, and a fantastic after-party outside of Atwater Brewery.  Plus the race supports Movember, so what's not to love about this race?  

I ran it last year and had a fabulous time!  (Read my post here.)  This is easily my favorite 5K.  I hear this year is going to be even bigger, better, and hairier than last year!  If you haven't already signed up, don't wait too much longer!  It sold out last year and people were begging to get in! 

But wait!  Before you do, here's your chance for a FREE entry into the Dache!  To win, simply leave a comment about mustaches (Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Favorite type of 'stache?  Best celebrity 'stache?) either on this post or on the Vegan Road Runner Facebook post by 11:59pm Thursday, October 16th.  For an additional entry, share the Facebook post on your own wall.  I'll put all names into a Starbucks bag and the lucky winner will be announced on Friday.

Good luck!

Date: Saturday, November 8th
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Event website:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

On the Run: Detroit Women's Half Marathon 2014

Forgive me if I've used this analogy for races before, but the Detroit Women's Half is like childbirth.  What does this lady without a baby know about childbirth, you're asking?  Just hear me out for a moment.  

I was all excited for it when I signed up last year.  A women's-only race on Belle Isle sounded awesome!  It was on my training plan and I was ready.  As it got closer I started to wonder why I signed up.  Wait, ALL women?  2+ loops around Belle Isle?  What was I thinking?  The actual event was going to be awful!  It would be painful mentally and physically.  But finishing a race has it's rewards.

It did end up being kind of cool, what with the support and camaraderie of the other women and all.  I showed up by myself and ended up meeting some great girls after the race.  The field wasn't super fast so I placed 1st in my age group and 5th overall.  I won a bottle of wine!  All of that, however, blocked out the horrible parts of the race - the boredom of 2+ loops around Belle Isle, the desolation of running most of that ALONE except for when you're dodging 5K walkers, the wind that is inevitable on 80% of the course, and the weird end of the course around the Casino.  Oh, and did I mention the utter BOREDOM and DESOLATION of the course?  I did?  They get a second mention because they were the worst parts.  

Yeah, so when I decided to sign up this year, I was remembering the good times and the award wine from last year - the post-race fun - not the actual mental and physical discomfort of running the race.  It also fell nicely into my training plan this year because I needed 15 miles that day so there was also that.  

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
Thankfully my teammates Sarah and Lindsay decided to sign up at the last minute, as well.  We all got there early to warm up and hang out before the race in the RUNdetroit tent.  I had pegged Sarah to win until Dot McMahan, one of the Hansons Brooks elites, showed up to do a sub-6:00/mile workout for the race so...  Yeah.  

Dot and Sarah were off like shots.  After the first turn around the fountain both were gone and I didn't see them until the race was over!  Two other women were next.  Lindsay and I ran together for the first couple of miles.  I got a little ahead of Lindsay and eventually passed one of the other women to fall into 4th. Once I got ahead of Lindsay I regretted it.  I should have just stayed with her for company.  3 miles in and I was already regretting this whole race.  I stayed very close behind 3rd - only 3 seconds difference for the first loop.  Even though it was boring I was hanging in there. 

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
The second loop is where I fell apart.  Once we got to the back half of the island the wind was even worse (20-30mph) and I was slowing.  My pace was inconsistent and negative thoughts abounded.  I tried to run hard enough to keep 3rd place in my sights (she had black compression socks on - I just wanted to be able to see those socks!) but she was getting further and further away.  I knew I couldn't catch her and didn't have it in me to try.  She had 3rd place in the bag and I was hoping to hold onto 4th.  But if not, whatever.  I was so over this race.  I just wanted it to be done!

At mile 10 I got hungry and didn't have a gel with me.  I never need one for a half but the wind was making me work harder.  Thoughts of "It's only 3 miles" turned into, "ONLY 3 miles?  STILL 3 miles!  That's a whole 5K!"  I thought I was going to puke.  My mantra became, "Don't lose your sh*t.  Don't lose your sh*t."  My hamstring was sore and getting worse.  Around mile 12 I saw some of the RUNdetroit boys with a big sign for me so that really helped perk me up.  If I could run just a little faster it would be over sooner!  That lasted for a couple of minutes and I slowed down again.

Getting to turn off the main road onto the bridge felt so great!  Until I realized I was turning into more wind.  And I also realized that when I made the turn toward the Casino that would also be into the wind.  Argh.  Running toward the Casino, however, I did see some familiar faces - Sarah (already done!) and my friend Bridget.  They were directing me where to go on what was a confusing portion of course.  I had to vault over a large puddle and zigzag around the Casino and past walkers who didn't realize they were on the course.  I was a little disoriented when I got to the finish area (or needed caffeine?) and accidentally almost ran toward the coffee cart instead of the finish line.  Thankfully a few friends were there to point me in the right direction!  

Despite the horribleness of it all, I did run it a bit faster than last year.  I finished 3rd open, 4th overall (3rd place was master's).  Sarah was 2nd and Lindsay was 5th.  RUNdetroit women's team top 5 - wahoo!

Photo credit: Brian Wolski
While we were waiting an eternity for the awards ceremony to start, Sarah, Lindsay, and I made a pact never to run this race again.  Never EVER EVER.  There are plenty of other races out there - more scenic, single-loop or point-to-point, non-desolate, and with guys to pass for competition.  SO, for those reasons - NEVER again.  Sarah and I opened up our prize envelopes.  Want to guess what we won?  Free race entries for next year!  HA!  

Looks like I'm expecting . . . another unpleasant half marathon next September!



Vanilla chia pudding, banana 

In the Sun / She & Him  
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward  
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
Violet / Hole 
We Found Love / Rihanna
Blood for Poppies / Garbage 
Just a Girl / No Doubt  
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae 
Fruit Machine / The Ting Tings
Stranger to My Happiness / Sharon Jones & the Dapp Kings
 Shake it Off / Taylor Swift
Hot Summer Night / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Anklebiters / Paramore
Party in the USA / Miley Cyrus
Turning Japanese / Liz Phair
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater-Kinney
Bootylicious / Destiny's Child
I Love It / Icona Pop
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
Everything's Just Wonderful / Lilly Allen
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
Man / Neko Case
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Don't Save Me / Haim

I also won a medal hanger and Hanson's gift card

How do you push through races that aren't going well?

Friday, October 3, 2014

On the Run: Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 10K - 2014

Hot damn!  I'm so excited to write this post!  September 14th was a special day for me.  Not only did I get to run my favorite race for the 7th consecutive time AND celebrate my 7-year racing anniversary, but I also WON said favorite race!  How awesome is that?!  

I did NOT expect to win this year!  I had a great race the previous week but I'm still having hamstring pain and am not in top racing form.  I trained hard all week, running 20 miles the day before this race.  My goal was to go out and give it my best shot, definitely beating last year's time of 43:17 but I knew I wouldn't hit a PR.  Top 3 would be nice but I would have to see who showed up that morning.

I arrived at the race early as usual.  I needed to eat my banana, pick up my bib and shirt, do a mile warm-up, and use the port-a-potties before the lines were too long.  The weather was perfect - sunny and low 50's.  (Although looking around at some of the other runners' outfits - hats, gloves, tights - you'd have thought it was winter!)  I debated about the arm warmers but kept them in the end, figuring I could roll them down mid-race if I got too warm.  

My timing was perfect as I lined up at the start with about 5 minutes to go.  I scanned the front of the crowd, which consisted of mostly men and a smattering of women, none of whom looked too serious about the race.  With 30 seconds to go, however, one woman stepped up ahead of me and I knew I had competition.  She had beat me by 48 seconds at Back to the Beach in May, after I took a wrong turn and added on extra distance.  After racing this course 6 times, however, I wasn't about to make any mistakes today!

My strategy for a 10K is to not go too hard out of the gate, knowing I will pick up the pace as I go.  First place was ahead but I was okay with that because I was steadily closing the gap.  By the first mile marker I caught up to and passed her.  I didn't look back but continued to race as if she was right behind me, just in case.  I didn't want to let this one go!  I steadily increased my pace for the first three miles but around mile 4 my legs were starting to feel the long run from the day before.  I kept pushing but with an inconsistent pace for the remainder of the race.  

This is a lovely neighborhood course - shady, tree-lined streets with gorgeous homes.  There are a lot of turns on the course so there's always something new to look at.  Considering it's a smaller race it has a lot of neighborhood support and plenty of volunteers.  The course and the people were nice distractions to keep me going when I wanted to slow down!  Running down the final stretch into the zoo, I was so excited to be finishing first female.  I heard someone shout out, "Girl power!" and that made me laugh.  I felt strong running across the finish line.

After the race I was interviewed on camera by Michigan Runner about my win.  My part isn't until the end but there are a few shots of me running earlier in the video.  I'm not comfortable being interviewed but it turned out ok.  You can view it here.  I even got to brag about RUNdetroit and the women's racing team when asked about my jersey!

I was excited to see my friend and fellow RUNdetroit Flight Club member Megan finish her race and then we did our mile cool-down together.  She's such an amazing person!  I love that I always have friends at races now!

Then I went to the awards ceremony where I received one of the better awards from a race - a 90-minute massage (either deep tissue or sports) from Massage Envy.  Talk about a useful award!  All top finishers and age-group winners also got medals.  I was so excited to run a great race, have fun, and support the zoo all at the same time.  

Best day EVER!!





Fever/ The Black Keys
Bring Me Your Loves / St. Vincent
Animal / Langhorne Slim & The Law 
Happy / Pharrell Williams
Gotta Get Away / The Black Keys
Violent Shiver / Benjamin Booker
Animal / Pearl Jam
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward
50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train
Dancing Shoes / Arctic Monkeys
Get in My Way / Robin Thicke
The Walker / Fitz & the Tantrums
Man / Neko Case