On Saturday, May 11th I ran my first ever 25k race in Grand Rapids, MI where the weather ended up being great for running. Prior to the race the Grand River had flooded leaving mud on the roads along the course. Luckily they got that cleaned up in time because I was told the alternate route was hilly. The course was already deemed hilly, but I’ll get to that in a minute. A running friend, Larry Smith, that I met on Twitter and lives in Holland not far from Grand Rapids said it always rains on this race. He even sent me a graphic showing the past ten years showing that. The week leading up to race day looked like it would not be out of the ordinary, but this year it was dry! I feel it’s because I was there. It was in the chilly 40s, but for this runner it was perfect conditions. I drove up Friday to meet Larry at the expo and to pick up my packet. I was going to stay for the pasta dinner at the expo, but the place was a madhouse. Did I mention that this is one of the largest 25k races in the country? Close to 23,000 runners for all of their races combined (25k with over 5 thousand runners) including 10 and 5k distances. So after quick hellos with Larry it was off to Grand Haven where my wife’s cousin lives. I tried to find a pasta place, but the closest thing I could find was a little hole in the wall pizza place called Fricano’s Pizza. It was hysterical in that it was like sitting in someone’s living room which technically you are since it is in a converted house. I sat at the bar and the menu was on the placemat as explained by the bartender which made perfect sense since the only thing they sell is one size of pizza with seven toppings to choose from. It was absolutely incredible. That’s all I can say. Great fuel the night before the race.
Larry on the left and me on the right.
I got to bed at my usual time around 10 and I slept like a rock. Even woke up before my alarm at 5:40 AM. Got my breakfast of a Stingers chocolate waffle and also their peanut butter energy bar. I love their honey powered foods. Not full of crap that you’ll burn through quickly. Check them out if you haven’t heard of them. I also had their cherry cola chews to have during the race. A cup of coffee later and we hit the road just before 7 for a 8:20 race time. Grand Haven is about 30-40 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids so not a bad commute.
6:00 AM “game face.”
Many roads were already blocked off when we arrived, but found a close place to get dropped off. I walked through a plaza and right next to the starting line is a parking garage which provided shelter from a brisk breeze. Nice since I was sporting shorts sleeves and shorts. Did my yoga like pre run warmup stretch in the garage. I can only imagine how I look doing that while others were doing their typical stretches or sprints up and down the road. I then get a txt from Larry trying to track me down. What was comical is that we were literally in the some area right across from each other, but we it several minutes to meetup. Now let me say this I respect Larry for his dedication to running. I’m dedicated, but he’s on a whole other level. He’s fast. Like seriously (he finished it in 1:45 for 15.56 miles). We shook hands and he went towards the front while I stuck with the 2 hour pace group. I planned on finishing anywhere from 2 to 2:15.
And we’re off. Sort of. The slow walk to the starting line timer strips may be annoying, but with 5,000+ runners it has to start slow. I stuck with the 2 hour pace group for the first four to five miles. We hit the stretch along the park that was covered in mud which was quite pungent, but I understand it was just covered in a swamp just a couple of weeks before. The water stations were perfectly placed, well stocked (thanks volunteers) and plentiful. We hit the bridge to cross the river where cousin Ben was standing passing out donuts! He’s such a hoot. I’m glad him and I have become great friends. Similar personalities and always looking for the next laugh. Donuts halfway on a 25k race is a riot. And BTW I was informed that several runners did take a donut from him. That is awesome. Anyway. This is where the “hills” start. I will say I am so glad I train on hills because it pays off every time. Passing other runners up a hill is kind of fun. After awhile I noticed the 8:00/mile pace group which I hung with them for the next sixish miles. At the halfway point I used good old Siri on my iPhone to tweet “Halfway there” which was kind of a funny thing to do.
I was still feeling great. Continued to control my breathing. Heart rate was higher than I wanted it to be, but that was from the fast 7:30/mile pace for the first four miles (the two hour pace group was moving too fast IMO). I would say for 95% of the race I felt great. Once we got to the one mile left ar I felt I had to take it down a notch. I was pushing it too much. Glad I did because on the final stretch up the hill to finish line I felt better and strong. Done. 2:07 for 15.56 miles. I was spent. Pushed myself and happy with the results.
After the difficulty of finding each other before the race, after the race it was as if it was planned because down the walkway I see Larry.
Post race smiles.
I love Grand Rapids. It’s a great artsy, clean and a craft beer drinkers delight. It’s a perfect place for post race rewards. Craft beer. Congrats on Grand Rapids for being voted as Beer City USA again. We hit up Hopcat for lunch. Their food is outstanding. Then Ben and I hit up Grand Rapids Brewing Company since it’s right next door to Hopcat. We got our samplers then headed to a newer brewery called Harmony Brewing Company. Oh my, this place is awesome. They have bacon nuts! Got a growler of their grapefruit shandy to bring home with me. Love it. The last stop on our brewery crawl is my favorite GR brewer, Brewery Vivant. This place is stunning. Love their Belgian ales. That’s all I can say.
All in all. It was another fun race. Meeting new people and pushing myself is what I love about running. There is a runner’s high you feel after you’ve accomplished something so great so intense. This is why I run. To push myself. It will be a repeat race, but not next year since I will be running Flying Pig 2014. More to come on that.
I was sore for maybe 2 days max after the race. Used rollers and it’s now time to do some recovery runs.
My race results. (This is a PR since it’s my first 25k right?)
I’m a, self admitted, tech junky. To be more accurate an Apple tech junky. I had the first iPod back in 2001 and then in 2007 I had the first iPhone. So coming up later in 2013 I have had many white corded Apple designed earbuds including the recent redesigned version for iPhone 5, Earpods. I haven’t just stuck with Apple’s earbuds either. I’ve bought, as my wife can attest, numerous ones over the years. Since I’ve gotten back to running I’ve looked for the perfect running earbud. Apple’s default model just don’t fit right constantly falling out plus they are not the greatest in audio quality. While for safety when running you still want to have some surrounding ambience filter in, but I think you can have the best of both worlds. The Apple Earpods are very well designed with pretty good audio quality and while they are better for running they still are not completely perfect. I’m also concerned about ruining decent earbuds and typically use an old pair when I go out for a run. Sweat can easily destroy them let me tell you. I ran the Flying Pig Marathon with decent earbuds which with the rain and sweat shorted out halfway through the race.
That’s where a simple “why didn’t I think of this before” adapter comes into my life. Earhoox. These are the simplest silicon adapter that “hooks” attaches to the earbud and then “hooks” right into your ear. It’s brilliant. It’s stupidly simple and magical. I’ve been running with them a lot lately and they are absolutely incredible. No slipping even when I’ve been in humid running conditions and sweating profusely. No hand reaching up to push back into ear. It works!
*Disclaimer. I received a free pair in a giveaway from from Earhoox, but it was not required or requested that I create a post to talk about them. I stand by why I say regardless of receiving them as a gift.
I just got back from vacation and this month’s StrideBox was waiting for me to open. This service just gets better and better every month. Here is this month’s score:
Last but not least was a surprise. A light up/reflective wrist strap was included in the last moment before shipping the boxes according to an email sent from StrideBox. My wife certainly likes the idea of me wearing something like this when it is dark. I must admit little extra safety measures doesn’t hurt for sure.
If you haven’t signed up for this $15/month subscription service I don’t know what you’re waiting for?
I’m too sexy for this kilt. Too sexy for this kilt. Too sexy…
March 16th the eve of St. Patrick’s Day where fools become Irish and the Irish become annoyed. Even though I am not Irish, but love to run I had circled St. Malachi race on the calendar at the beginning of the year as one I had to run. I’ve heard it was a fun race and frankly a post run beer opportunity is something I don’t want to miss. A few weeks before the race in another one of those fun light bulb moments I thought wouldn’t it be fun to wear a kilt. I quickly began to search for a kilt especially one that would be light in material and not traditional wool. They are expensive! Luckily there’s eBay which is where I found a light fabric model that was easy on the wallet. I had even investigated in sewing one with tartan print tech fabric, but time was running out. I was set. I got my kilt. I just wanted to have fun and just get some laughs.
While the course is not my favorite it’s still quite scenic to be running through downtown over the mighty Cuyahoga and up to the lakefront around Browns Stadium. The hill along Browns Stadium is rough and this from a guy that loves hills. I train on lots of hills all of the time, but this hill just gets my goat for whatever reason. The weather report leading up to race day did not look very promising. Waking up and looking outside it certainly lived up to the report even though I did not expect as much snow that was on the ground. It was big flakes. Got the kilt on and headed out the door. It was snowing hard. Temperature wasn’t too bad. I took the train downtown so I could get a mile warmup run in to St. Malachi Church. I was also running with friend from the Cleveland Running Co. group which also took the train. Usually heading towards downtown the snow lightens up and is completely different than the east side. It got heavier this time. It was crazy. Running across the Superior Bridge was the omen of how crappy the course would be. It was a slushy slick mess. The snow stopped and then sleet came. Then rain. Then little hail like pellets. Then snow again. Some form of moisture just kept coming down. It was crazy.
Wearing the kilt was fun. I wasn’t cold too much because the wind wasn’t bad at all. I got lots of stares and laughs from other that were just as festive in their attire, but there was only one other gent wearing a kilt. Odd. His was a true wool Scottish kilt which was great. The 5 Hour Energy people had a booth and requested a picture which I gladly obliged. There were a lot of people. Lots. I was looking forward to meeting people, but it was difficult to navigate through the crowds who were all trying to seek shelter pre-race.
There were 2 races, a 2 miler and the 5 miler which I competed in. The race was to start at 9:45 and began with a bagpiper. Nice touch. It took awhile to get moving and the roads were one sloppy slushy mess. You were soaked immediately. The worst part was the turnaround lane through Burke Lakefront Airport. It never got salted and was just a mess. My feet were so wet and cold, but I moved on. Once you got through the turnaround it was great to see all of the people behind you. There were 3,310 runners to be exact. What a turnout. My final climb up the Superior Bridge was strong which was part of the last half mile. I turned it up thanks to hill training me thinks. I passed at least 10 runners on the last stretch. It felt great, but with how wet and cold I was happy it was over. I claimed another PR for 5 mile race. I improved by 3 minutes over my previous 5 miler. Very satisfied with the results. Hope this is a precursor to the upcoming 25k in May.
Afterwards headed to the bars close by for a pint (or two) and yes still wearing the kilt. Overall a great day.
|Age Group (40-44)||Overall||Time||Pace|
The full 2013 St. Malachi Race Results.
The 5 mile course.
Photos from the race (Facebook).
In years to come March 13, 2013 will be looked upon in history as a significant day. Not because of a new Pope being selected no, but because of the massive freakout started over Google’s announced ending of life for Google Reader.Just look at what people are saying on Twitter.
Two weeks of no Pope: baby cured of HIV; breath test for cancer; saltwater found on moon of Jupiter. Day One with Pope: Google Reader dies.
Dear Google: I’m not “very sad” that Google Reader is being retired. I’m damned irritated.
To me it’s typical overreaction to technological changes and advances. Google is a corporation. They must answer to their shareholders and the bottomline. Google Reader was impossible for them to monetize and they knew it. That’s why they are moving on. You should too. Google never owned or controlled RSS which is what Google Reader uses to provide your feeds in a manageable collection. Yes they gain data by us adding our feeds to Reader, but they couldn’t control ads consistently which is where their real motivation is. Google shelled out lots of money for the development of Google+ which people are really not grasping. I think this tweet sums that up completely:
As tech junkies we scream for the next big thing and when the next big thing appears we react negatively. We are afraid of change in our routines no matter what good it brings. This only spurs innovation. Just look at the alternatives out there. The little guys can now show their innovation. I credit Google for letting others take this content syndication over. Take a deep breath people. All is well. You’ll be okay.
Wow, quite the chart: Doomed Google Reader still drives far more traffic than G+ bit.ly/YbAG9V
As you may recall I joined a subscription based monthly running goods service delivered in a box called Stridebox last month. Today I received the March box. It is great.
All in all this is a great pack for runners this month. I was just talking about about the Gu peanut butter gel after not knowing they existed. A fellow running group runner informed me of this after we were discussing our love of peanut butter prompted by a new peanut butter pie at my neighborhood pie store. It will be interesting how I react to it on a long run after my experience with the chocolate Gu in Flying Pig Marathon (gag).
The Kind Bar is awesome. I love their stuff. Not too sweet and well balanced. I can’t wait to try the Picky Bar. Sounds interesting. Can’t be wrong when it states “It’s freaking science, dude.”
The wrist pocket will be handy for short runs or races when I just want my car key with me, but on longer runs I have carrier belt that will be better for carrying items.
The frozen PowerICE bars will be interesting. Not sure about those. Might great on warm days to help cool down.
Can never have too many anti-chafe sticks so it’s nice to get another and the detergent is needed too. I have Tide sport detergent, but question whether the use scent to cover up the old sweaty runner smell as opposed to cleaning it. Can’t wait to test that out to see.
If you’re a runner a monthly service like this is great because it gives you a chance to try other things when you normally might not be privy to it. For this runner I like to try things out to see what is going to give me a great optimal run and this is one way to discover it.
3 years ago this May Kate and I watched her college buddy from BGSU days run the Cleveland Marathon. When he crossed the finish line something hit me and at that moment I said I was going to run a marathon for my 40th birthday. I was 38 at the time. Of course all went way ahead of plan when I ran the 2011 Flying Pig Marathon when I was 39 and with less than a year of training. While it was an incredible experience I felt like I hit “the wall” too early and easily. I still managed to beat my estimate of 4:30 for a full marathon by 9 minutes.
Then 2012 happened. The year of my 40th birthday. The reason why I got into this running thing. To run a marathon for my 40th. With a full marathon under my belt, adding a running partner, a mild winter & an awesome training season tragedy struck three weeks before the Cleveland Marathon. An injury occurred on my left ankle/Achilles area. Total disappointment and frustration took hold. At times it felt like I wouldn’t run again, but I came roaring back. I’ve since ran a 10 miler, 10k (recorded another PR), two 1/2 marathons (and two more PRs) and a 5k at 21 minutes and change. While the 5k was not a PR which I achieved back in my Army days when I was 18 (18:15) I am getting so close to that 18 year old runner. I feel as though the injury was a great lesson that I needed to learn. It helped me to get more mentally tough than I was which is something totally needed for distance running.
Which brings me to today. I originally thought I was done with full marathons and was settling for 1/2 marathons or 25k for now on. Training for a full marathon is a huge time drain which asks a lot of a family and as my kids get older their involvement in activities increases as well. I refuse to miss their activities ever which is more important than my running, but I have an itch. The itch is to run 1 more marathon. I feel I need to settle the score with the Cincinnati Flying Pig. This is not about me being competitive because I’m really not into that at all. This just boils down to me sticking to that original commitment even though I’ve ran a full marathon already. I also want to set an example for my kids to see what can be accomplished through commitment & dedication. More importantly this is also to fulfill my commitment I made to a little boy living with cystic fibrosis who I dedicated my Cleveland Marathon run for.
The other great factor in all of this is that I’ve met many great runners on Twitter from all over including some in the great down under of Australia. I’ve learned a lot from them in a short time like #plankaday and other races to check out. I’ll be running a 25k race in Grand Rapids, MI this May with one of these Twitter friends. Some of these friends will also be running the Flying Pig 2014 which is going to be awesome. Now to start recruiting more to run in Cincinnati May of next year. Will you join me? Let me know. I think I’ll design a shirt for the group.
So darling. – View on Path.
Even though I live and breathe design and interactive development in my day job at night my personal design has taken a back seat. I’m about to change that. I’ve transitioned from a custom Wordpress install to going the Tumblr route. Now currently I am using an off the shelf theme for now, but that will soon change as I learn how to build a custom theme for Tumblr.
I also think this will help me become more frequent with my posting in general. Talk more about my day job and running. Stay tuned.