Sunday, April 26, 2015

On the Run: Martian Invasion of Races 10K 2015

I've been running Martian races since 2010, when I stupidly signed up for my first half marathon the day before the event, lack of training be damned.  Since that race I've come a long way and learned many lessons on my journey (some lessons were more painful than others!).  

As I'm coming back from a long and painful hamstring injury, I'm experience running and racing in a whole new light.  It was with a heavy heart that I made my decision not to go to Boston this year.  As much as I wanted to be a part of the experience again - run the race I'd been planning on since requalifying there last year - I knew my body was not ready for it.  Why risk reinjury?  Why run the race and not enjoy it because I was miserable?  Brian and I talked about going to Boston for race weekend but in my heart I knew that would have been hard for me.  In the end we decided to stay home.

When I made the decision to stay in Dearborn I also did two other things: I signed up for the Martian 10K and got the Girls Running Club started again at my school.  Another teacher and I coach the 4th-5th grade girls to help them log 25 miles in the weeks leading up to the Martian Kids Marathon.  Then on race day, they run their final 1.2.  If I was going to be home I was going to make the most of it!

After I signed up for my race my friend Megan from RUNdetroit asked me if I would pace her for the race.  I didn't have to think twice!  I love Megan and don't get to run with her often enough.   

Race day dawned bright and beautiful.  And warm.  HOT if you ask those running the marathon and half marathon.  Temps reached into the 70's for the kids race at noon.  One thing I love about Martian is that my house is 1.5 miles from the starting line so I can avoid parking and porta potties, plus get in a nice warm-up run on the way.  Megan came over to run there with Brian and me.  He was running the 5K.  We got to the race with only about 10 minutes to spare - just long enough to meet up with the rest of the RUNdetroit Flight Club group that was running and get a group picture.  Our friend Lee was running the 10K, too, and decided to run with us.  

I really like the 10K course.  I ran the half for 4 years and while it's not bad, it's honestly not that great.  The 10K has you on Hines for just long enough not to get boring.  Before that you see some nice Dearborn homes and the Dearborn Country Club. Afterwards you hit the Rouge Gateway Trail and run through UM-Dearborn campus, which has some nice rolling hills.  Megan, Lee, and I stayed together the whole time.  I entertained them with stories to pass the time.  We got some shoutouts for our RUNdetroit jerseys, which is always fun.  

Megan had two goals and she met her secondary goal.  She finished 3rd in her age group. I was so proud of her!  

After the race we stuck around while the other Flight Club members finished the 10K. I love celebrating their PR's with them!  Then we went to Starbucks to refuel and I headed back to the finish area to check on half marathoners.  At that point my girls were starting to arrive for the Kids Marathon.  For most of them it was their first race ever and they were nervous and excited all at once.  They were asking me so many questions!  When it was go time they went for it!  Some of them a little too fast and they had to walk but they always started up again.  I went back for one of my girls who was struggling.  She was jogging when she could and at the end was able to run it in hard to cross the finish line.  I was so proud of each and every one of my 33 students that completed their race that day!

One pain-free lesson I've learned is this: Sometimes you need to run races for other people.  I ran for Megan and I ran for my girls.  I wasn't in Boston last weekend but I ran with happy legs and a happy heart.  And in the end, shouldn't that be why we all run?



CLIF Shot (Vanilla)

None - Just the sound of my own voice!

Brian ran his first Martian race and finished 4th in his age group.  He got a PR and his first racing award!

Did you run a Martian Race this year?  Tell me about it!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Giveaway Saturday!

Next Saturday, April 25th is the 6th annual Run with the Cops Not From Them race on beautiful Belle Isle. There is a 5k and 10k option.  Come on out to run and bring a friend, too!

If you'd like a chance to win a FREE entry* for either the 5k or 10k, answer the following question: Who do you run with?  Comment below and a random winner will be announced Sunday night.

*Race entry courtesy of RUNdetroit

Monday, April 6, 2015

Face Your Fears

As I stepped outside for my run yesterday morning, my head was full of anxiety.  I was nervous. My stomach was in knots.  This wasn't race day, so what was the big deal?  

I had to do 8 miles, my longest run since October.  I was excited about the distance but nervous because I hadn't run more than 5 on my own since I'd started running again post-PRP.  I've run 20 miles solo so why did 8 seem so daunting?  I guess I've gotten used to running with people in the past 6 weeks - Brian, RUNdetroit group run, Detroit Tough Endurance friends.  Sure I've run by myself a few times but not 8 miles.  

I was also off my routine, having eaten breakfast and drank coffee pre-run instead of the usual post-run Starbucks stop.  Was that causing the knots?  Should I wait to run while it settles?  

What I didn't really want to admit was that the biggest source of my anxiety was actually fear.  Coach Terra wanted me to run 8:00-8:15/mile pace and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it.  I was afraid I wouldn't have the endurance to keep that pace for 8 miles. Maybe I'd be huffing and puffing or my hamstring would start to hurt.  I might completely run out of gas and say, "Screw this!"  I might trip and fall, something that happens more than I'd like to admit.  Basically any scenario possible went through my head.  Remember, I hadn't run 8 miles since October.  Anything could happen.

Yes, anything could happen.  Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny morning.  I put on my brightest shoes, one of my favorite shirts, and my sunglasses.  I'd made a special Spring playlist just for the run.  I turned that on, started my Garmin, and I was off.  I easily slipped into my planned pace and I felt at peace.  I ended up having the best run I'd had in a long time.  

Before leaving the house I'd felt a little crabby because I'd been so worried about the run.  I hadn't wanted to fail.  I'd been afraid to fail.  I just needed to have a little more faith. Faith in myself and faith in Coach Terra's plan.  She wouldn't ask me to do something I'm not ready to do.  

Face your fears.  Run at them head on.  Again and again and again.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Run: Rock CF 1/2 Marathon Relay 2015

Emily Schaller, you've outdone yourself yet again.  Emily is the tireless race director who expertly executed a 5th Rock CF that was somehow even more spectacular than last year's event.  I always encourage any runner to participate and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

When I had my PRP injection in February and was looking at recovery time, I started panicking about Rock CF.  I am already missing Boston.  Missing Rock CF would actually be worse.  There was no way I would be ready for a half marathon but thankfully this event is more than just a half marathon.  There is also a 5k and a half marathon relay, split into legs of 7.7 miles  and 5.5 miles.  At first I planned on doing the 5k.  The distance would be good.  Then my friend and Girls Running Club coaching partner asked if I would relay with her.  Nicole had planned on the half but hadn't been able to train enough.  The relay would give me more miles, plus alleviate the anxiety of a 5k.  If I ran leg 2 (5.5 miles) I wouldn't have the pressure of starting a race, either.  I could either race it or just run it depending on how I felt when the day came.  No pressure.

Leading up to race day I'd been following my coach's plan of running easy, base-building miles.  My last 4-6 weeks have looked like this: 6 days running 4-5 miles at 8:30-9:00 pace, biking a few days a week, and Mechanics at Detroit Tough 2 days a week.  One day of rest.  For the race I would start at 7:30/mile and see how I felt, hoping to drop down from there (keeping in mind I'm still not 100% healed).

Similar to Corktown earlier this month, I didn't approach this race like most other races. I was running leg 2, so I wouldn't be starting the race at the same time as anyone else.  That was a bit of a game-changer.  It threw things off a bit in terms of warm-up, fueling, bathroom, etc.  Much of that would be done at the relay exchange point while I was waiting for my runner to come in.  

Because I wouldn't need to do those things until the exchange, Brian and I took the opportunity to volunteer at race-day packet pickup.  We're always there early for parking so we figured we may as well do something productive!  One of my goals this year is to volunteer at more races and what better race to start with than Rock CF.  We had so much fun with the other volunteers and loved helping runners and wishing them well on their race.  We got cool shirts for volunteering AND Emily even surprised me with a bib from the Groundhog Day race that didn't get to happen last year due to icy conditions.  

Brian stayed to help man the table until 8:00; however, I left a little early to get in on a RUNdetroit group photo and board the shuttle bus.  Waiting on the bus was probably the hardest part!  It was nice and warm but just sitting wasn't an ideal way to get ready to run.  Finally I had to get off the bus.

The only other relay I've done was The Great Lakes Relay in 2013.  I kind of forgot the excitement that comes with waiting for your runner to come in.  I was standing in the chute, trying to remember what Nicole was wearing, when I heard the announcer say her number.  I started jumping up and down and yelled to the person on my right, "1641!  That's my runner!"  When I saw her coming I shouted to another random runner, "There she is!  There's Nicole!"  I told Nicole how great she did but she was waving me on telling me to go go go!  I was so excited I almost forgot to run!  

So then I was off!  (And eventually remembered to start my Garmin.)  I ran through the water station and and into the stream of half marathon runners.  It was a gorgeous day.  The sun was shining and the water was to my right.  I was so happy to be out on my favorite race course again.  I was doing well running 7:30's and although I'd hoped to drop down, I quickly realized that wasn't going to be realistic.  My hamstring felt good but I was pushing hard to maintain my pace.  I didn't want to overdo it.  What I was feeling more than my legs, however, was hunger.  That is what slowed me down more than anything. I hadn't fueled properly and it was taking its toll.  So I listened to my body and did what I could.  I wasn't going to let anything take away the enjoyment of this race!

I wasn't on the course long before I made it to the Naval Station Hangar, which is the start of the 5k race hosted by RUNdetroit.  Justin Craig, RUNdetroit co-owner and 5k race director, was outside the hanger to cheer and offer support.  Only another 3.1 miles left?  Wow, this race was going fast!  Although it was a chilly day I was really warming up with the sunshine.  The wind had died down so my gloves came off.  I had already seen a few fellow RUNdetroit Flight Club friends (easily recognizable by the distinctive wings on our jerseys) on the course and saw several more as I made my way to the river.  

Due to snow on the track, the race didn't finish in the usual location.  Instead of finishing on the high school track, it ended at the middle school.  This meant more of the course was along the river at the end.  I loved this change, especially since I didn't get to run along the river starting the race.  The new finishing chute was pretty amazing, too.  Nice and long, with great crowd support all along.  I felt like a star running through it!  The first person I saw when I was done was Emily, watching each runner cross the line.  I found Brian.  Nicole was waiting for me.

I think this was my happiest Rock CF finish ever!  No worries about PRs or placing.  Just happy running, pure and simple.  



Banana, CLIF Shot (vanilla)

Nobody Really Cares if You Don't Go to the Party / Courtney Barnett
Birth in Reverse / St. Vincent
I've Had it Up to Here / Weezer
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater-Kinney
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
The Middle / Jimmy Eat World
Youth Without Youth / Metric
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
Anklebiters / Paramore
Man / Neko Case
Jaded / Green Day
Run Right Back / The Black Keys
The Feast and the Famine / Foo Fighters

*Official time, based on 5.5 miles.  Garmin shows that the course was 5.23 miles for an average pace of 7:23/mile.  That's more realistic!

For fun, check out my other Rock CF posts!

Did you run Rock CF this year?

Friday, April 3, 2015

On the Run: Corktown Race 2015

On Sunday, March 15th I ran the Corktown 5k, my first race in over 4 months.  This was a race of firsts for me.  First pain-free race since injuring myself by running the Novi 1/2 Marathon last May.  First time racing with Brian (we ran side by side from start to finish). First team event with my gym, Detroit Tough.  Most importantly, this was the first time in years I raced completely happy and carefree, not trying to push myself too hard or worrying about what place I finished.  

For those of you not from the Detroit area, the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day basically IS St. Patrick's Day.  That's when Corktown celebrates with the race at 10am, followed by the parade at noon (drinking and shenanigans all day).  I ran the race for the first time last year but have never been to the parade.  Honestly, I'm not up to dealing with all the craziness!  

Brian and I parked at Mudgie's to stay warm and have some pre-race coffee.  I've never had coffee before a 5k but hey, there's a first for everything!  From there we could walk the few blocks to the gym to meet everyone, take a group photo, and head to the start as a team.  I loved that Brian got to meet a lot of my Detroit Tough family for the first time!

We had just enough time to get in a warm up run, do some run drills (high knees, butt kicks, walking lunges), and squeeze into our corral with a few minutes to spare before the start.  This race is huge so they have several corrals based on your finish time.  We were in the first one but toward the back.  Brian's goal was to finish in 25:00, which would be a PR for him.  My goal was to make sure he did just that.

Because of the rush at the beginning, we started out faster than planned.  Brian was doing great so we just kept it up.  I chatted the whole time, waved to people, thanked volunteers.  The people-watching was great - lots of costumes and crazy get-ups.  We paced a guy in lime-green spandex and an orange mullet for most of the race.  It was awesome.  He beat us - but not by a lot!  We ended up finishing under 25:00.  Brian beat his Mustache Dache time by over a minute and he also beat me by 1 second!  He was NOT letting me win this race.  haha.  

We got our medals and saw a whole group of Detroit Tough friends waiting for us.  
Like Megan - my amazing new friend!  We also saw several fellow RUNdetroit Flight Club friends too!

After the race we headed back to the gym for a potluck brunch - and a little monkeying around!

Running a race with my friends and family - after so many months of injury - filled me with such joy and happiness.  No nerves, no stress, no worries.  Among the (many) things I've learned from my injury, one lesson is this: not every race has to be your own.  Race with and for someone you love.




none (first race without music!)