Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Call for Winners!

I'm still waiting for 2 winners to contact me to claim their race entries.  If all winners do not contact me by 8am tomorrow (Saturday) I will choose 2 new winners.  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winners for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk Giveaway

I was going to wait until tomorrow to announce the giveaway winners but I was too excited! The 4 race entries for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk go to Julie Long, Stephanie KapanowskiMichelle Trachsel, and Jessica Wright.

Congratulations!!  Please email me ( to claim your entries. Thanks to everyone who commented on the post and shared the contest on Facebook.  The Arthritis Foundation is very appreciative of the extra publicity!

For those of you who didn't win, I hope you'll decide to sign up anyway.  It's going to be a fabulous race!  My husband will be there running it, along with many of my RUNdetroit friends.  Unfortunately, I won't be walking or running after all.  In the interest of my injury, I decided that cheering for people will be my smartest option.  Look for me on the course and at the finish line with a cowbell and a smile!  I'll be cheering for you!

*I used to choose the winners.   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jingle Bell Run/Walk Giveaway

Are you ready for the holiday season yet?  Well ready or not, here it comes!  It's not even Thanksgiving yet and Starbucks has been serving Christmas Blend for 2 weeks, you can hear Christmas music around the clock on WNIC, and Detroit had it's tree-lighting ceremony in Campus Martius park last night.  Yep, tis the season!  You can't fight it so you may as well just go with it.  

Or better yet, RUN with it!  This year, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K and 10K is coming to Detroit on Saturday, December 6th.  A national event, it has been named one of the "Most Incredible Themed Races".  Dress up in all your festive holiday gear - Santa hats, reindeer antlers, crazy socks.  Don't forget the jingle bells!  There are even prizes for best costumes.  I'm sure the people-watching will be great!  

The race is a fundraiser in support of the Arthritis Foundation.  You can register as an individual or with a team.  The honoree this year is Emi Werschky, a 7-year-old with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.  It's awesome that the race can support her and others to help find a cure!

One of the best parts about the Jingle Bell Run this year is the course.  In the past this race has been held in Northville and Bloomfield.  I've never run it.  Now that it's in Detroit, however, it's a not-to-be-missed event!!  It covers all of my favorite running spots - Dequindre Cut, Campus Martius, Riverwalk, Woodward Avenue, Comerica Park, and Greektown.  RUNdetroit designed the course so naturally it would be awesome!

Course map by Justin Craig, RUNdetroit

Check out the video below to see a few highlights from the course.

After the race you can warm up at the post-race party, hosted by Hard Rock Cafe, where you can enjoy a free beer and some other goodies.  Medals will be awarded to top finishers in 13 age groups.  

On these cold days, races are great excuses to get you out the door for your run.  When it involves a fun theme and a good cause, all the better!

I'll be doing the 5K for fun (maybe even walking, depending on my hamstring).  

Now, here's the really good part!

How would you like to run or walk the Jingle Bell Run for FREE?  In the spirit of the season, I have 4 (that's right - FOUR!) entries to give away from the Arthritis Foundation.  

For a chance to win, here's what you need to do:

1. Post a comment below answering the following question: What is your favorite Detroit winter/holiday memory? (1 entry)

2. Share this post on Facebook and let me know you shared it. (1 entry)

3. Start following Vegan Road Runner on Facebook if you don't already. (1 entry)

All entries must be received by Wednesday, November 26th at 8pm.  I will randomly choose 4 winners.  Winners will be announced on Thursday, November 27th.

Date: Saturday, December 6th
Time: 9:00am
Event Website: Jingle Bell Run 5K Run/Walk - Detroit

Good luck!

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


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

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!





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



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

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.