"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

So, what's up?

So, what's been going on running-wise?

For me, I've been preparing for a solo attempt at a marathon in November.  I have several ideas in mind as to the course, but haven't settled on one just yet.  Out and back would be OK, but not ideal since I'll have to figure out how to stash supplies along the way without having an animal steal them or have the water freeze.  A loop course would be better since I could stash supplies in my car and use it as an aid station.

My training plan for the marathon attempt is pretty simple:  Run!  Mas!  That's it.  Nothing fancy.  I'll save the more advanced stuff for next year when I'm preparing for an ultra attempt.

I'll spare you the boring details, but I am on track to break 200 miles in September.  It will be a personal best month for me.  Woo Hoo!  It also means I am wearing out shoes faster.  Boo!

Fall is most definitely here.  The colors are brilliant.  Too bad when I am running in the dark in the morning I can't see them.  The stars are pretty though.  Venus is easy to pick out in the eastern sky.

The 2012 racing season is almost over for me.  There's a half marathon coming up in October and a 5K in November and then that's it until next spring.  I've started penciling out plans for 2013, but nothing firm yet.  It's looking like I will be spending a lot of time in Michigan's Upper Peninsula next summer.  There's a trail 50K, a trail marathon and a trail 25K up there that I want to run.  We'll see how it all works out.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mud Creek Crawl - Trail 10K - Race Report

Today my family and I ran at the Mud Creek Crawl (one of Runners World's top 13 out-of-the-way races).  It's not one of those new fangled mud and obstacle events.  It's a real, live trail race.  My wife and daughters ran the 5K and I ran the 10K.  The races are held at the Pine Haven Recreation Area near Sanford, MI along the banks of the Mud Creek (hence the name).

The trails are a nice mix of dirt, packed sand, gravel and tree roots.  There were enough hills to make things interesting, but not so much to really beat a person down.  It had rained Friday night, but the trails were in great shape today.  Just a few muddy spots.

The weather was cool and sunny, maybe about 55 degrees at start time.  It was a perfect morning for running.  What a difference from two weeks ago.

Since my entire family was involved in this event as participants we have no pictures.  Sorry.

We got up at O-dark-thirty, loaded the kids in the car and headed off for the race site.  Race time was at 9:30, but the info said to be there early for check in and body measurements.  Apparently they don't use the traditional age groupings to determine awards.  People are scored based on a combination of age and body type.  So, we got there at 8 and were almost the first people there.  We got through the check in process quickly.  We found out the body fat measuring equipment didn't know how to handle a skinny 10 year old and a skinny 6 year old.  I, on the other hand, could probably do with a little less ice cream :-)  Once we were though the check in process we went back to our car to get warm and hang out.  Good thing we got there early because by the time we were done more people had arrive and the line to check in was pretty long.

So, on to the start.  For the first 3 km I ran with my 10 year old.  This made me happy.

She is really improving as a runner.  We're still working on pacing, but she'll get there.  She told me her goal was 45 minutes and she ended up finishing in 37 minutes.  She did great.  I think it finally clicked for her that to go faster, she needs to go slower.

After the 3 km marker the 10K and 5K runners split.  I quickly caught and passed one lady, but then I was alone.
I was by myself for only a mile or so, but it seemed to go on forever.  It's much more difficult to stay in a racing frame of mind when there's no one around me.  I tend to slip into my normal weekend long trail run state of mind.  I was spending time admiring the trees, looking at the creek, listening to birds, etc.  Every so often I would look at my watch and realize I had slowed way down and be like "Oh Crap!" and speed up again.

Then I saw them.  The pack.  Woot!  I started working my way up through the pack.  I don't know how many people I passed, but it put me from DFL to the front of the midpack.  This section of the course was my favorite.  It was like a roller coaster with all the up and down and sharp curves.  Beautiful.  I can't wait to go back there and run those trails again.

Then it was over.  One last climb to the finish chute (evil RD! hahaha) and it was over.  I finished in 1:05 which I was more than happy with.  It was my first ever trail 10K and the first 3 km I was running with my daughter.  I really didn't treat it as a goal race or a PR effort.

After I finished I found out my 6 year old daughter had finished her first 5K ever with my wife.  She was pretty excited.  She even got mud on her legs and was pretty stoked about that.  It made her feel more like an official trail runner.  LOL!  Both daughters are already bugging me about doing another trail race.  I think that's a good sign.

No shirts for this race (which is fine with me) but we did get really cool aluminum water bottles.  My wife and 6 year old chose some cool hats with pink "Mud Creek Crawl" logos.  The event was well organized and I appreciated the reasonable cost in this age of spiraling race entrance fees.  If it fits my schedule next year, we'll be back.  I love quirky smaller events like this.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

North Country Run Half Marathon

Today I ran the North Country Run Half Marathon.  It a trail event held on the Big M trails in Manistee National Forest near Wellston, MI.  I don't have a mile-by-mile race report, but I do have some observations from the day:

  • It was hot.
  • Aid stations were awesome.  The volunteers really make then rock.
  • There are a lot of hills on this half marathon course.  Whew!
  • Did I mention it was hot today?
  • I love trail running and racing.
My goal for the day was 2:30, which would have been about a 15 minute improvement over last year.  Well, I was on track though about mile 9 to hit my goal.  Then the wheels fell off.  I started really feeling the heat.  It's been cool here for the last 4 weeks or so, so I didn't get in much in the way of heat acclimation prior to the race.  I started cramping all over and just really not feeling good.  By the amount of people I was passing, I wasn't the only one struggling in the heat.  The last couple of miles it looked like everyone was having a hard time.  Lots of walking going on.  I ended up finishing at 2:45.  Same as last year, but considering it was 15-20 degrees warmer than last year I'm fine with it.  I know I did my best out there today.  A new PR just wasn't going to happen today.