Saturday, March 24, 2012

Passion For Life 5 Mile run, Walled Lake, MI; 3/24/12

Grey, misty, mild day, perfect for a run. Myself, Gordon & his friend Johnny were running the 5 mile & Iona, Liam & his friend Thomas were running the 5k. I didn't think it was going to be too busy, so they would be OK, on their own, as it turned out that wasn't a good decision, but Thomas' mum, Meaghan offered to run with the kids, so were going to be ok.

Packet pickup was a fiasco, but I should have guessed it may have been and waited for a couple of hours, to give it a chance to settle down. We drifted downtown, found a parking space easily and drifted down to the Bayside to wait for the start, in retrospect we were a little too early, but better to be safe than sorry, right? There were a couple of photographers milling around, taking pics, hence the shots. The place was mobbed, apparently this is the largest charity race in Michigan, and it felt like it, bloody people everywhere.

The time came to start heading to start and it was kinda disorganized, but that was nothing compared to how messy the start of the race would be. I really wish races would start telling walkers, people with dogs and strollers that they have to start at the back of the pack as the first 3/4 mile was bedlam, trying to zig zag through groups of people milling about. There was also a couple of groups of people running beside each other in one across the road, a real pain in the ar$e. Once it settled down, I started enjoying it, although I've run the lake many times (albeit mostly counter clock wise), every time I see something new. The day was kind of strange due to the mist hanging over the lake.

I downloaded a metronome app from the Android marketplace during the week for my cell phone so I could try and maintain the near mystical 180 steps per minute cadence. One of the hints the instructor gave was to use the metronome to monitor the cadence of my arm swing and to use that to control my step, I suspect this was to discourage slamming the feet down on the beep, but I'm not 100% sure. I was also, consciously running lower down, thus forcing me to keep my knees bent, & to try and stop myself from heel striking quite so much. It felt a little strange and I did feel a little tighness in my calfs while running, but it kept me going at a fairly respectable pace.

The field really thinned out after the 5k'ers looped back to the start, the course was uneventful, with a couple of aid stations and some people handing out bottles of water along the way. I still prefer to run it anti-clockwise, but, on the whole, a good day out.

On finishing I got a chance to watch everyone finish their races which was very cool, as I generally don't know anyone or it is too busy to enjoy it.

9/22 in my age group;  77/229 overall; PRed the lake

Gordon, Liam, Johnny & Thomas

Iona, myself, Thomas & Liam

Thomas finishing strong

Me looking beat

Iona after cadging a lift to the finish

Liam overtaking on the final turn

Me, on the home stretch

Johnny, flying

Gordon, heading to the finish

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shamrock 'n' Roll 10k, Plymouth MI; 3/18/12

It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day for a run in south east Michigan. I didn't have too high hopes for this run, what with me doing very little running prior and a few beers the day before. We got there about 1/2 hour before the start and struggled to find parking, the place was absolutely mobbed. Bren decided to kick me out of the car so I could go and get my race packet and she could try and find a parking space, we met up about 15 minutes later. We were going to be starting and stopping at the same place as the Halloween run, but the route I think is a little different, but no big deal, Plymouth is very flat and picturesque, so it was still going to be a pleasant race.

I met a friend during packet pickup and again right at the start of the race. I was a little concerned how it was going to be at the start as the Halloween race was a nightmare, too busy and it took a while for the race to spread out and acquire some gaps to run into. The horned sounded and we were off, walking slowly, but by the time we got to the starting line, there was a little space and I could actually get to my 10k without a great deal of difficulty. The run went as well as I could have hoped for, what with being hungover and out of practice. I used the aid stations for drinks and didn't walk. I was a little disappointed to see my old friend 'pace creep', was back as each mile was slower than the previous on, I even didn't have it in me for a kick at the end.

On crossing the line, I got my medal and directed towards the a snacks, which were laid out well and a great relief especially with the whole, 'no waiting' thing.

Finished in 53:34.2, which is about 30 seconds off my PR, so not too shabby

Nice route, well marshalled, not too busy, cool medal, plenty snacks at the end. All in all quite a good day out

White tech shirt with green side panels,
one of my favorites.
How Endomondo saw it -

How Garmin saw it -

Results - 9

41st out of 101 in my age group; 376 out of 1322 overall, not bad...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

February 2012 - motivational nightmare

So if I had to pick a phrase that typified my exercise regimen for the month of February, it would be 'lack of motivation'.

The Willis Tower on a beautiful,
but damn cold day.
I started out by getting ready for the Super 5k on the morning of Superbowl Sunday and went from there. The Super 5k went as well as I hoped, my expectations were low and I came in at right around that. Unfortunately around mile ~2.5 my right calf started to hurt but I had already made a mess of the race before then, so no big deal.

We decided that it was time that myself and Bren treated ourselves to a short vacation, so due to extortionate flights, we decided to hop over to Chicago for a few days. I even brought my running stuff with me, and planned on using the gym at the hotel before venturing out in the morning or if Bren was in the pool later in the day. To quote that famous Scots poet, Rabbie Burns, the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft agley,  which roughly translates as, even the best organised plans can often fall apart. Mornings did not involve going to the gym and we went back to the hotel to swim one afternoon, of which I spent about 18 minutes on the treadmill doing about 1.75 miles, which I hated, so there.

Post trip to Chicago, I struggled to get myself up early in the morning and back onto the exercise bike. I have also experienced a twinge in my upper right calf, which I don't want to aggrivate prior to the Sham Rock 'n' Roll Run in Plymouth in mid-March.

Time to get this bloody thing posted as it is almost halfway through March.