Grand Haven Coast Guard Fest 10k -- aka Fool me once...

Am I a glutton for punishment? This race was my most miserable last year--thanks mostly to poor race management. So I guess it was wishful thinking that had me register and pay money AGAIN for abuse.

Last year's biggest issue was poor course marking, which had those of us "bringing up the rear" types off course for a section, then back-tracking. This year the course was marked much better...but only 2 aid stations (last year I remember clearly at least 3) for 6.2 miles in warm, humid weather and a 9am start? Par for the course, apparently, as they moved the finish refreshments a couple of blocks away from the finish, then ran out of water and cups (and I finished ahead of over 48% of the field). At some point they found more water and cups, but the lines for water were--no joke--at least 30 deep. Nuts on that business. I went inside the YMCA to buy a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade--maybe I should bill the race organizers....

I heard that the 5k folks (who started at 8am) had to wait in line for water--during a RACE--at the single aid station on their course.

I don't care if racing purists look down upon me, in the future I will do nothing longer than a 5k without my own hydration (I brought my own for the 15k I did last month, which I really didn't need, as that one had aid stations EVERY mile, but thought that would be overkill for this race)...I was so envious of those smart folks who had hand bottles and regretted not grabbing my own. I should have been able to easily clock in at under an hour given my recent training, but by 3 miles I was queasy and chilled and my pace kept dropping...I'm almost always a negative splitter or maintain an almost perfectly consistent pace for the duration of a race, but overheating and inadequate hydration took their toll. As a result I came in at 1:01:48 (start is not chipped, so my actual time was probably closer to 1:01:30). I still beat last year's 1:11:11, but I'm not all that thrilled about it. In April I did a challenging, hilly 10 miler at a faster pace than this race.

There's really no excuse for them to not have perfected this event. DH ran this race 20 years ago, so it's by no means a new race. That 6.2 miles felt SO much longer than the 25k I did in May. The Grand Rapids Marathon was only in its 3rd year last October and it was FAR better organized and executed than this mess.

Now I'm in search of another 10k in the not-too-distant future so that I can get my PR under an hour--as it should be. Last weekend there was a 10k about equidistant from this one...I really wish I had known about that race prior to registering for this one. I don't think I want to pay for an hour of irritation again. The ONLY thing they did better this year (aside from the course marking, which I didn't actually need this time around) was the shirt. But that's not saying much, as last year's shirt looked like it was designed by a trained monkey (not a flying monkey, mind you).

The one highlight was getting to hang out withmy friend Joni and her family after the race and watching her hubby and our boys run up and back down a HUGE and steep sand dune. I think her husband is very brave...and maybe a little nuts to volunteer for that.


Tomorrow's a big day for my 'little man'!

Tomorrow as I race in a 10k event about an hour away my son will be competing in his own first "race"...a 'tot trot' for kids 3-6. Apparently it's an obstacle course for the kiddos. I think I'm more excited about it than Dane is, though I think he's pretty geeked about wearing his own race bib and he got his very own race packet with t-shirt, coupons, ink pen, and granola bar--just like mom's pack. One of my friends will also have her son doing the event (she'd run the race with me, as well, but she's recovering from injury).

That reminds me...I need to get one of my good cameras set up so DH can take photos of us.


Check out my new do!

I've been toying with the idea of going shorter for about 6 months, now. My stylist went a tad shorter and sleeker than I had wanted, but our printer's out of magenta ink and I couldn't print the photo I found online of what I wanted--so she got pretty close. In another inch around my jawline it will be closer to what I want.

Anyhow, I can still tuck the front bits behind my ears and throw a hat on when I run, which is ultimately what I was going for. No more ponytailin' it before every run. Has a lot more style than my center-parted long-bob, too.

Heh, maybe Jon-boy and his cohorts can do this, too!



Finally, justice is served

Jon Bartlett and his cohorts have now been found guilty of the horrific beating they meted out to a biracial man in Milwaukee almost 3 years ago. At the state level these clowns were found innocent by an all white jury, but with a more balanced jury in a federal court room these "men" have finally been found guilty of a hate crime.

I don't recall how many years Bartlett already is sentenced to for other asshattery, but this should add enough time that he will be a VERY old man before he ever breathes free air, again...if he makes it that long. My mom and I were discussing how unpopular crooked cops and child molesters are. I'm guessing his fellow convicts of racial minorities will have particular disdain for an officer of the law who violently beat an unarmed minority individual.

We were also wondering if he will serve his entire terms in a federal prison or if they will move him to the federal pen. for this sentence, then back to state for the remainder? Either way, we feel no pity for him.


Gotta love The Onion

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash


Breakthrough on Feet!

...aka my takeoff on the title of a downhill skiing technique book published years ago.

In the past week I had been reading and paying more attention to online discussions and articles about running form, particularly in terms of midfoot striking, as opposed to heel striking. Since starting running I was pretty aware that I am a hard heel striker--the outside edge of the heels of my shoes always show wear long before any other part of the shoe. And in recent months I have been plagued by pretty much back-to-back injuries...nothing serious, but the sorts of things that take some of the joy out of things.

I've also been frustrated at my lack of speed and inability to break beyond ~11 minute pace for my easy runs. Granted, a year ago I was probably running closer to 11.5-12 minute pace, but I've been at 11 minutes for a good 6 months, even with increase in miles and speedwork.

So, back to the foot strike thing...I've concentrated on landing more midfoot, or with a more flat foot, rather than heel-to-toe. 2 nights ago I was having an entirely crappy, painful, slow run...but during the last 15 minutes I decided to incorporate some of the techniques that "Chi Running" promotes--namely the foot plant and more erect, forward leaning body. Almost immediately I found that my turnover rate increased, but with no added effort--and my shin pain almost instantly decreased substantially. Hmmm...

Today I decided to try being more mindful of my footstrike and posture for an entire run (I had planned on 90 minutes, but the humidity was kicking my ass and my asthma, so I called it good at an hour). Not only did I feel more light on my feet, but I cut my pace by :30-:45/minute...hello?! That's HUGE!

Now I feel like I've found my Holy Grail of running! I want to do more reading and research, but from what I have already read it appears that adapting from heel striking to midfoot striking has cured a lot of folks from chronic injuries (like knee problems, shin splints, foot issues, chronic compartment syndrome/calf problems...all things I have dealt with). Chi and Pose running experts also recommend switching to a more minimal shoe (Pose folks actually push for some barefoot running, but I'm not that brave/nuts), as the thick, oversized heel in modern running shoes actually encourages heel striking.

I had been planning to grab a pair of New Balance 1223s as soon as they are available...but now I think I may hold off. At $135 I'm none too eager to spend that kind of money if I don't need to. Instead I just ordered a $90 pair of NB 902s, which is a lightweight performance stability shoe. I'd likely not wear these for anything but speedwork and shorter races...at least not until I know if they would work for anything longer. They are less stable than any other shoe I have worn, but moving away from the heel striking should go a long way towards minimizing the overpronation issues I have. My light-med stability 767s may be perfect for most longer runs and races, as they don't have *too* oversized a heel area.

I'm still using my Asics Gel Kayano 13s for some runs, but the more I wear them, the less I like them. They just never have fit like any of my wide NBs, even though they are technically wides, too. Tell that to my 3rd toe on my right foot, that is still healing from a blister, since the shoe narrows too rapidly and rubs into it (even with almost an inch of space beyond my longest first 2 toes). I am convinced that they contributed to my right knee problems, too--and I have read 3 other accounts of runners who have had similar issues. Very strange.

Saturday I have my only 10k race of the year--the Grand Haven Coast Guard Fest 10k. Shouldn't be any problem to kill my PR from last year, as it was 1:11:11. Avoiding any tragedy I should easily get under an hour--even if I run heel striking the entire way!



Oh, happy day!

There's an X-Files sequel in the works! I had given up hope on any sort of sequels, since it's been so long since the first movie--so glad I was wrong! Now I'll be getting my Mulder fix!





Phew...ran 3 days in a row, total of almost 19 miles, then "ran" almost a mile with Dane this afternoon. He really wasn't up for actually running (he got a side ache pretty quickly, then wanted to chat-up every person we met on the paved path)...he's been a biking fool for the past few days. He FINALLY let us take his training wheels off and he discovered how much easier it is to bike without those aides. Kid has been completely inspired by watching the Tour de France a bit with his dad.

Derek organized a group bike ride for the JDRF fundraising folks, so Dane and I met them all for ice cream, which was really fun. I'm starting to really lust after a road bike. Now that Dane can ride the thought of something all 3 of us can do together is pretty enticing. Plus, as much as I love running, I am godawful slow. I have a feeling that I would be a bit of a natural on a bike. I have pretty powerful thighs that aren't particularly well-bred for running. The physical features that limit my running potential would be assets on a bike. Having a long, fast stride is not nearly as important on wheels as being able to turn a crank hard and fast--something my sprinter legs could do fairly well, I imagine.

Plus...the other night we were at the bike shop where Derek purchased his sweet carbon-framed baby almost 3 years ago (he has a wheel that has a crack, so we were in for warranty replacement issues) and saw a junior version of a Specialized roadbike. In 2-3 years Dane would likely be big enough for that, so that may well be the time that I also get outfitted with a decent roadbike, myself. By that time I will likely have run at least one marathon (if all goes according to my long-term running plan) and will have achieved that goal. After that a 100 mile bike ride will probably look pretty intriguing to me....

In other running-related news, my knee issues that have plagued me a bit since my trip to Wisconsin seem to in part be related to those Asics shoes I started wearing about a month before the patella problems cropped-up. I only realized this once I found some cushy arch supporting insoles to put in one of my New Balance pairs of trainers. After just a few runs in those my knee felt MUCH better and the new insoles kept my foot happy, too. Then I did a long run in the Asics and the knee was angry again...ding ding ding--I think we may have gotten to the bottom of my knee problem.

I'm sure the long drive did not help, but now I think the shoes may have been at fault. Gah, I am SO glad that the NB 1223 is coming out soon--I loved my 1222s, but they needed better arch support. If the 1223 has more of a defined arch I will have found the perfect shoe, methinks. If the arch is still low I can always buy an aftermarket insole (the Sof Sole performance ones seem to be perfect for my needs).

Ack, spend $135 on a shoe to fix one problem, then get injured...just my luck!



For Kamal...

Here are my codes--replace the [ and ] with < and >

Here's my log code:
[script src="http://www.runningahead.com/scripts/1272ca9ee59e47b2a1e3552fd4259300/latest/10" type="text/javascript"/][/script]

Distance totals:
[script src="http://www.runningahead.com/scripts/1272ca9ee59e47b2a1e3552fd4259300/totals" type="text/javascript"/][/script]

[script src="http://www.runningahead.com/scripts/1272ca9ee59e47b2a1e3552fd4259300/records?all=1" type="text/javascript"/][/script]

Not sure why they don't want to display properly on your blog...I'd ask Eric for assistance if you still have problems--he can look at your blog and probably tell you exactly what you need to do. He's a helpful guy.




Reveling in another's pain...

Especially when the object of my revelry is Jon Bartlett...first boyfriend, a fact which causes me some embarassment today. Though it can be said that I learned who not to marry from that single relationship--my spouse could not be more different from Jon if he tried. Derek is a gentle, sensitive, honest, ethical, witty, fit, blonde-haired liberal atheist...pretty much the antithesis of that creep already behind bars.

This trial should be good viewing. I already have ample popcorn and beer on hand for the show.


Previous news stories relating to the case can be found HERE.



A few days in the motherland...

...aka the great state of cheese (WI).

A week ago my son and I drove my mom and nephew back to WI after they spent a week here with us in MI. My sister lives in Green Bay, so we walked to an IHOP for supper, then spent that night with my sister and her boys. The next AM we drove the rest of the way to my folks' place in Door Cty.

The drive from GB to DC was sort of surreal to me as they are building a 4 lane divided hwy. As a child most of the trip was done on 2 lanes with plenty of curves, so the trip could be quite slow if one managed to find themselves behind sluggish "tourons" (my new favorite term...tourist + morons). Some of the highway is built right on top of the pre-existing road, but other parts veer off a bit, so in stretches there are frontage roads. Unfortunately some of the small towns on the route are all but being lost and I imagine the tourism $$ they will now miss out on is going to hurt some businesses. There are definitely negatives for the area.

That first night in GB and the subsequent night in Sister Bay found some pretty uncomfortable temps, but by Weds. a front came through and the weather was gorgeous--though NE WI is as desperate for rain as we are here in West MI.

On Weds. AM Dane and I met my childhood buddy, Liz, for breakfast at the ultimate in cheesy eateries, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant...home of good, albeit overpriced, food and goats on the grass roof. After leaving the restaurant Dane and I wandered and checked-out some of my favorite childhood places, including the Mill Road Gallery owned by one of my HS Art teachers (I was very impressed that he recognized me immediately). We also went down to Pebble Beach where I spent many a day of sunning and swimming as a child. It was a unique treat for Dane to be able to throw rocks in the water, as all we have in our area is sand, sand, and more sand.

Weds. afternoon Dane and I went over to visit another childhood friend and her 19 month old son. I ran into a few other HS classmates and it's really mind-boggling to meet their offspring. This is the stuff that makes me feel sorta old.

Weds. night I went for a run that started out fairly painfully. My right knee gave me fits most of the time in WI and is just now showing good healing. Apparently my legs don't much care for running a race, then roadtripping while still recovering. I think this was my first bout of "runner's knee."

Thurs. my mom ended up not having to work (she sells tickets for a ferry and due to high winds from the NW they didn't go out, as it's difficult for the capt. to dock), so she accompanied Dane and I on our trekking around. We had lunch at Digger's, then hit Peninsula State Park and climbed up to the first platform of the tall 3 platform observation tower. Dane got cold feet, which is just as well, as I don't do heights well at all--particularly since I started having inner ear and vertigo problems in recent years. We also went to the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and had frozen custard at Not Licked Yet.

On Thurs. night I met up with Jen and Liz at JJ's/La Puerta and we each had 2 margaritas...that's a wild night out for us 30-somethings! It was so wonderful to have a few hours to gab with the girls. In some ways it really seems like no time has passed. I wish I lived closer and could do drinks with them more often.

Friday my parents both took off from work so we rode the passenger ferry from Gill's Rock to Washington Island and back. Picked-up some cheesy "Danish" souvenirs for Dane, including a sign that says "Parking for Danes Only: All others will be towed" and a funny Dane mug. After that we stopped at my great uncle's (actually my paternal grandpa's cousin) orchard farm market (Seaquist's) to buy fudge and goodies. We then had a lunch/snack at a bakery with some killer chili and bread. Dane wanted to go to Pebble Beach again, so we drove down that way for a bit so that grandpa Bruce could show him how to skip stones.

For supper on our last night in Door County we had to do the original fish boil at the Viking Restaurant. Dane wanted nothing to do with fish or chicken (likely due to his having eaten a PB&J snack not long before at the bakery), but he did enjoy the flames and drama of the fish boil itself. I'll be posting some fantastic photos of this once I get around to pulling them off the memory card and resizing.

After supper we drove out to the scary lookout at the little Porcupine Bay park, then back home to pack and prepare for bed.

On Sat. AM we packed-up the car and left just minutes after my folks left for work. We made slow progress heading home, in large part because I didn't sleep well the entire time we were in WI (thanks to a certain little boy who thrashed and gnashed his teeth in his sleep next to me), so I was depending upon coffee and Diet Coke to keep me awake for the long drive. We also picked up cheese at our favorite WI dairy (Renard's) and stopped for a while down by my brother and his GF in Chicago. I was so happy to meet her--she's a female version of my brother and they seem such a good match (unlike his ex-wife).

We made it home about 12.5 hours after we left WI, exhausted but glad to be able to sleep in our own beds.


4 states in 1 day

I'll write more later, but last night we returned from WI...what a LONG-assed drive! I think we left about 10AM EST and we rolled-in to our driveway ~10:30PM. Took it slow, made lotsa pee stops (caffeine to keep me awake = lotsa full bladder), spent a couple of hours by my brother and met his GF, construction, traffic, etc. My bed felt SO good last night and it was the best sleep I've had in a week. I feel like a new woman today.