Sunday, September 18, 2011

Detroit Zoo Run For The Wild 10km, Huntington Woods, MI - 18th September 2011

Detroit Zoo Run For The Wild

This won't be quite as detailed as previous race posts as it wasn't quite as eventful as the previous ones have bee.

Up bright and early as usual for race day although my preparations, which involved carb loading a few beers the previous evening were less than perfect. The weather was gorgeous and we headed out to the zoo. I was a wee bit concerned about parking as the 5km was starting at 8am, while the 10km wasn't until 8:45am, but they were completely unfounded as we got parked in the multi-storey, no problem.

The place we bedlam, with people milling about all over. 5km  runners were starting to appear and we decided to just head down to the starting line after a short sojourn to the rest room. I was feeling pretty good about the run as myself and Bren had decided to drive the course the previous day, when I was picking up my packet. The course is very flat, through a nice residential neighborhood of established homes, all in all very civilized. This was going to be my biggest race to date, with over 600 runners expected in the 10km.

At exactly 8:45am, the race got underway, I started quite near the front which I suspect was my undoing, psychologically. I didn't start particularly fast, but I wasn't concerned as I planned on keeping some energy in the bag for my big kick, later. The first mile was nice and straight, I put in a solid 8:44, which works fine for me. The bizarre thing is that people kept passing me, I must have started in front of the faster runners and they were catching up. I then started something that I have managed to avoid over the past few weeks, what I like to call pace creep, when my pace gets slower and slower with each mile. Mile two comes in at 9:09, three at 9:29 then four at 9:38, five comes along at 9:49. Now this isn't as bad a creep as I used to do, which was a solid 30s per mile, but it is still concerning. For at least the first four miles, people kept passing me and I think it was getting to me, I even had a couple of minutes of doubt, around mile 3.5, when I wondered if it should be out there at all. When I start mile six I decide that this can't continue and I make a concerted effort to try and up my pace and finish strong as opposed to my usual finish that typically involves the use of defibrillator. I did manage to run the whole way, which has been a goal of mine, which was nice.

A couple of general comments on the event as a whole;

  • Three water stations was nice and they were perfectly situated
  • Plenty course marshalls kept the traffic away
  • Beautiful area for running
  • A tech shirt as opposed to a regular t-shirt would have been nice
  • What was the deal with running out of water just after I crossed the finish line, it also took me a good two or three minutes to find water? The info that there was plenty inside the zoo, a ten minute walk away wasn't much consolation.
Cotton shirt
I'd do it again, though.

Here's how the Garmin saw it -

Results are in - I'll take it, overall 293 out of 630, 183 out of 256 men, 29th out of 41 in my age group,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Get a Complete Workout with Nothing But Your Body

I guess I don't have the excuse of waiting to buy the right equipment now...

How to Get a Complete Workout with Nothing But Your Body:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Light run with many aches

So I decided that since I had to take yesterday (Friday) off work anyway, that I may as well see if this pulled muscle in my chest was going to stop me from running in a race next week. I thought I'd go back to my favorite haunt, Richardson Park, and try to see how I go. I wasn't planning on PR'ing anything, just surviving, which I did. Any really big breaths were a strain, but the normal run of the mill stuff was fine, so I'm good to go in my book. Incidentally I did 3.13 miles in 30m43s.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My exercise regimen

In an ideal week - Up at 6:15am'ish, exercise bike on maximum resistance for approx 10 miles, followed  by three yoga planks of one minute each with one minute break in between.

Lunch at 11:30'ish, walk fast for approx 50 minutes/ 3.6 miles

Saturday morning, out at approx 8:30am for 1 hour/ 5-6 mile run

Sunday morning, same as Saturday

It isn't a routine that I read anywhere, there isn't some magic to it, it doesn't purport to do anything clever. This routine does a few things and it does them well;

  • It gets me actually doing something
  • It is better than nothing
  • It can evolve into something more structured over time
  • I sweat a lot...
Note that there hasn't been an ideal week in quite some time, due to time off, aches and pains and just life in general.

Injuries, the stupid things that happen to slow you down...

My latest injury is a pulled muscle in my chest, upper left and it is damn annoying. It came when I was helping clear away some of the dirt from around the Hangi pit, not working particularly hard, as anyone that knows me will not be too surprised to hear, and now I'm struggling to cough or take a big breath or do anything that puts any kind of strain on my chest cavity, damn it's annoying.

Over the years I have managed to damage myself in not very impressive but mostly annoying ways. I cut my scalp bending over near a handrail and getting up while hitting it. I blew out my knee while using my snowblower in under 1" of snow. I rolled my ankle walking down two stairs in a bar, while sober. I stuck a steak knife into my thumb while carving pumpkins for the kids. I hurt my back while combing my hair. I cut my heading while standing up at a customer site. I hurt my back while sitting down at dinner (not very comfy seats).

I am a bloody disaster.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Milford Labor Day 10km, Milford, MI - 3rd September 2011

Milford Labor Day 10km

The race starts and finishes at Bakers of Milford, a place I used to frequent every time I played disc golf. We arrived about 30 minutes before race time, just enough to get the general lie of the land, have a look at my competitors and get in the zone. Again, the starting field looks good and fit and I don't, but I feel like I am supposed to be there this time.

We all grouped at the starting line and at 8:30am, just before we get started some bright spark decides that the Rocky theme would be suitable. So with a smile on my face, I get going. Not being very sure of the route, I'm really not sure what I'm going to be up against. I start out with a good pace, I was hoping for approx 9 minute miles for the duration, and beating my previous best. It is a long gradual uphill, towards Milford, but I'm feeling good, as we pass the mile marker, someone is standing shouting out the time, which I thought was kinda cool for people not actively tracking their time, on their handy dandy watches. I pass mile one at 9:01 minutes, on schedule.

Mile two is still a gradual downhill, still heading towards GM Road, the first water station is right at the corner of S Milford Rd. I continued the run towards downtown Milford, this time the route is rolling a little, but I'm still feeling good and put in a very respectable 8:39, which will be my fastest of the day.

Mile three takes me into the centre of Milford and as we turn onto South Hill Rd (very aptly named), at approximately 2.4 miles in, I see the foothills of the Andes stretch out in front of me, and then the hell began. The hill starts slowly, but it doesn't take long to start kicking my ar$e. I see the first person start walking and again, I'm glad it wasn't me. I had been keeping pace with a woman who had a jogging stroller, once the hill started, she was way out in front. I started running slower and slower. At 25 minutes in, quite near the top of the hill, all the fooling myself into keeping on going, fails and I start walking. I'm the fifth or sixth person I see walking, so I don't feel too bad. I eventually finish mile three in 10:14. The amazing thing about this mile is that I dropped all the time in that half mile uphill stretch, I was actually doing really well before the Andes hit.

Mile four continues with the whole increasing altitude thing and I suck at it, my practice routes are almost exclusively flat and you can tell. The route actually goes down for a little at one point, but it is too little, too late, I end up walking again at one point and I'm starting to get a little demoralised by the whole 'hill' thing. The scenery is very pleasant though, which I really get to appreciate, as I am passing it so slowly. Another water station passes by. As an aside, I may turn out to be found, drowned, on a 10km track somewhere as I am so bad at trying to drink out of those little Dixie cups while moving, the water goes in my eyes, up my nose, everywhere apart from where it is intended, this is not something that I was expecting to have trouble with. Slowest mile of day at 10:39.

Mile five ambles along and starts by giving us a couple of gradual downhills, but I really don't get any great benefit from them as I'm done in and running on empty. I turn the corner onto Buno Road, at last heading towards the finish. Buno Road has a couple of nice little uphills in store for us. On one of these hills, I again take a stroll, my legs are on fire and I'm ready to be done. While walking I keep pace with another runner, actually running, so I'm not the only one that is struggling. I finish in 10:08, so at least my mile pace wasn't on a full scale drop down the toilet.

At the start of mile six I decide to try and see if I can speed up a little and finish strong, unlike my last one. I try and crank it up a notch when I make the turn back onto Milford Rd. I know the end is close and it buoys my spirits. Not much else I can say about this one, apart from 'no more bloody hills' and I put in a, not too shabby, 10 even.

Mile seven starts and I know I'm not going to beat my previous record, but I completely underestimated the route. I can see Bren, Liam & Iona were waiting for me as I get close, I feel better than I did at the end of the Farmington Hills race. I don't get passed in the final stretch, but I guess there were quite a few behind me. I cross the line at 1:00:53, I'll take it.

Post race there was free beer, snacks, plenty drinks and free burgers for the racers. I even got a medal and the obligatory tech shirt, kinda cool though.

Blue tech shirt with yellow
side panels
This is how my Garmin saw it -

Results are in, 75th out of 166, 11th out of 20 from my age group -

Race video courtesy of Michigan Runner, I can be seen at 0:23 & 2:23, in the white shirt -

Race photos courtesy of Sadler Shots can be seen at