Anthem Richmond Marathon 8K Recap

When my hot and humid spring marathon didn’t go as planned, I was anxious to give it another shot and started looking for a fall marathon. I learned that Matt’s brother Dan had signed up for his first marathon – the Richmond Marathon. I was excited for him and was curious to learn more about the race. It is billed as “America’s Friendliest Marathon” and has a pretty flat course – two things that made it sound pretty appealing to me. It takes place on a Saturday and I realized I had that Friday off for Veterans Day. We would be able to travel and I wouldn’t miss any work. The mid-November race gave me enough time to recover from the last marathon and start a new training segment. We don’t see Dan very often and thought it would be nice to be there to support him. It sounded like the perfect race for so many reasons, so I signed up for the full and Matt signed up for the half. We booked one of the downtown hotels offering a race rate and booked the flight to Virginia.

Unfortunately, my plans for a fall marathon didn’t go as planned. One day in early July my ankle locked up after I pushed too hard between a fast bike ride and a fast walk. It was bad enough for me to take a couple weeks off. When I did try to run again, my ankle still wasn’t quite 100% and I swore my way though a couple miles. Although my ankle healed after that, I started to develop pain in my other foot. By overcompensating for the ankle issue, I ended up with a stress fracture in my other foot. I didn’t get it officially diagnosed until late August. I knew all hope was lost and I wouldn’t recover soon enough to run the marathon. I was pretty upset at first but knew I couldn’t do anything about it. We couldn’t get a refund on our flight, so at the very least I’d go cheer for Matt and his brother. The race also had an 8K option, so I was hopeful that I could recover enough to pull that off.

I spent five weeks in a walking boot and took three more weeks of recovery time after that. I eased back into running very slowly a month before the race. I’d lost most of my fitness and was very cautious because I didn’t want to risk re-injury. It wasn’t all smooth, but I reached a point where I could comfortably run three miles every other day. I dropped down to the 8K and felt reassured when I got through a four-mile run a few days before the race.

We flew from Detroit to Richmond on Thursday night, and a shuttle got us to our hotel by 10:00. We walked a few blocks to Capital Ale House for food since we didn’t have time for dinner before we left.

After only five and a half hours of sleep, we woke up early to head out for a run on Friday morning. I saw a tweet that Bart Yasso (Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World) was planning a shakeout run from the host hotel a few blocks away. It was definitely worth sacrificing some sleep. We met in the lobby with a handful of other runners and Bart took us out for a tour of some scenic spots along the canal that cuts through downtown.

Running with Bart Yasso (in the white shirt)

Running with Bart Yasso (in the white shirt)

We had a beautiful morning for our shakeout run

We had a beautiful morning for our shakeout run

We ran at a very easy, conversational pace. It was awesome getting to chat with Bart. I have sworn his name many times while doing his infamous Yasso 800s speed workouts, but he is the coolest guy and has a ton of great stories. Speaking of great stories, it was fun to meet and talk to the other runners as well. One woman had come all the way from New Zealand. I enjoyed chatting with Derek, a guy who is close to wrapping up 50 marathons in 50 states within the year. We stopped for group photos a couple times. When Bart takes a selfie with other runners, it is fondly referred to as a “Bartie.” We ran a little over three miles and it was a great way to kick off the race weekend.

Matt and I are in the back row of this

Matt and I are in the back row of this “Bartie” – courtesy of Bart Yasso

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After showering, we headed out to Virginia Commonwealth University. Matt has a high school friend who is an assistant coach of VCU’s women’s basketball team. Their season opener was that morning, so we walked the mile and half or so down Broad Street to the arena, which took us through the first chunk of the next day’s race route. I’m glad we had an excuse to visit VCU because I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t realize it was such a large school with over 30,000 students. A bunch of local schools had taken field trips to the game, so it was pretty amusing to see thousands of kids screaming for VCU.

VCU's women playing at Siegel Center

VCU’s women playing at Siegel Center

During our walk back after the game, we ran into Keith Hanson and his wife and talked to them for a few minutes. Keith is one of the coaches of the Hansons-Brooks team, a group of professional runners who train in the area where we live. One of their runners (an Olympian!), Desi Linden, was scheduled to speak at the expo and run the 8K the next morning. Matt and I took a shuttle to the expo and made it just in time to see Desi and Bart Yasso speak. They discussed the race and held a question and answer session. Someone asked Desi what her mantra is during a race. She says to herself, “Calm, calm, calm. Relax, relax, relax.” It’s a good one that I may have to try myself.

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Desi Linden and Bart Yasso speaking at the race expo

Despite living in the same area, it took a trip to Virginia for us to get a picture with Desi!

Despite living in the same area, it took a trip to Virginia for us to get a picture with Desi!

As the talk wrapped up, Matt’s brother Dan and his girlfriend Heather arrived. We walked through the expo together and bought a few things. I love the logo on the official race shirt, but I don’t like how it fits me so I bought another shirt that fits better.

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The official shirt

I love the logo on this shirt I bought at the expo

I love the logo on this shirt I bought at the expo

Dan and Heather had driven to the expo, so we all went back downtown together to find a place to eat. Of course that proved to be difficult because it was prime time. I went into Penny Lane Pub to put our name in and waited behind a group that was ahead of me. Several minutes later the old Irish owner came out. He said there wasn’t a table in the house. I couldn’t hear everything he said, but he didn’t take names and gave everyone a business card. It was very odd! We tried a couple other places but they had long wait times, so we went back to the car to try somewhere out of the downtown area. I thought maybe we should try Penny Lane again first since they didn’t seem to have a list! This time the owner said there would be a long wait and there were 100 people in front of us, but took us back to a table. We were very confused, but we finally got some dinner.

At some point there was a major blow-up between a customer and the old man. The customer had been sitting at the table next to us for a while. He was pissed that they couldn’t move people around so his group could all sit together. The owner yelled that the guy came in with 12 people and no reservation and couldn’t expect to sit together. The customer yelled back about how he’d pay for his drinks but not the food. There was plenty of swearing on both ends. A waitress tried to get the customer to talk to “the younger version” of the old man, but there was no reasoning with him. He continued to yell until he finally walked out. Eating there turned out to be quite an experience!

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We had an odd but very memorable experience at Penny Lane!

Matt and I walked back to our hotel and I was a bit concerned that my watch said I ended the day with 12.3 miles. We did a LOT more walking than we probably should have the day before a race.

The race times were staggered on Saturday morning, with mine starting first. The 8K started at 7:00 and I left the hotel about 20 minutes before that. Staying in a hotel near the start of a race is SO ideal. I didn’t have to stress about parking, porta-potty lines, etc. I had about a 10-minute walk, dropped my stuff off at the bag check, and weaseled my way up to the correct corral. It was a perfect morning for racing – in the mid-30s and clear, with a little wind but not enough to really bother me. I felt just right in shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and gloves.

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Lined up for the 8K

I had no idea how to approach this race since most of my recent runs had been slower than a nine-minute pace. I only looked at my watch when I hit the mile splits, taking it by feel. I started out jogging and gradually got faster because I felt okay. The route was a mixture of the downtown, some of VCU’s campus, and neighborhoods. It was a quiet run with very few spectators until we approached the finish. It was pretty and peaceful as we ran through the neighborhoods.

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A sample view of the course courtesy of Google Maps

Bart Yasso had taken us to the finish line during our shakeout run, where he showed us that we would finish downhill. We didn’t realize that the downhill stretch was so much longer than we could see. My pace had picked up quite a bit in the fourth mile, but I really flew for the last few minutes of the race. I used the momentum from that hill for all that it was worth.

A very helpful downhill finish

A very helpful downhill finish

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My splits

I was thrilled when I checked my watch and saw how much of a negative split I had run. Of course that’s a lot easier when I start out jogging and end down a major hill, but it was nice to see that I do still have those 7:00 and 8:00 miles in me after running so slowly for the last month.

I collected my medal and water then headed to the gear check.

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Gear check was kind of a disaster. The gear had been separated into trucks based on corral time. That meant that as everyone from the first corral finished, they all lined up at the same truck. Volunteers at the other trucks had nothing to do while one truck was completely swamped. Since it was in the 30s, people were anxious to get into their warm clothes. I appreciate the volunteers for their hard work, but I feel like things were poorly organized. Maybe gear should be separated based on last names to help distribute the crowd a little better?

It was around 7:45, meaning Dan was probably just about to start his marathon and Matt and Heather were about 15 minutes into the half. That meant I had a lot of time to kill. I went to the post-race area and got a bagel and muffin. I wandered around for a bit and heard some announcements. I was just in time to see the top five female winners receive their awards. Desi Linden and Cally Macumber from the Hansons-Brooks team had both placed.

Three of the top five women in the 8K

Three of the top five women in the 8K

Soon the wind started to bother me and I got really cold. My hands were freezing and I easily had an hour to kill before Matt and Heather finished, so I went back to the hotel room. I was thankful that it was a short walk from the finish area. I relaxed for a bit, had some more snacks, and put on warmer clothes. It was kind of cool that I could look out at the finish from our room.

Overlooking the final stretch of the race

Overlooking the final stretch of the race

Matt and I use the Find My Friends app, and it really comes in handy at races when we want to track each other. I followed Matt’s progress and headed out when I knew he was getting close.

This shows the hill pretty clearly as Matt flew to the finish

This shows the hill pretty clearly as Matt flew to the finish

Matt finished in an impressive 1:42. He hadn’t followed any structured training and didn’t do many longer runs yet still managed to finish with a great time. Races have been a struggle for the last couple years due to exercise-induced asthma, but it seems like Matt finally found the right doctor who got him on the right medicine. It was a relief that he didn’t have any breathing problems this time!

I was able to find Matt in line for the gear check, which was at least three times longer than it had been for me. Like I said before – kind of a disaster. He got some cool swag for finishing the half, including a finisher’s hat and fleece blanket.

Matt's wearing his cool new hat

Matt’s wearing his cool new hat

Soon we found Heather, who had finished with a speedy 1:50 despite battling an achilles injury. We decided that we should try to catch Dan at the 16-mile mark of his race, but we didn’t know exactly when to look for him. We realized after a few minutes that we were too late and he had already passed. Matt and Heather still had to get their post-race food, where pizza was now an option for them. It wasn’t there for the 8K runners, but I suppose I didn’t really need it at 7:45 in the morning anyway! Matt and I headed back to the hotel room for a little bit because we still had an hour or so before Dan would finish. Dan texted Heather a couple times so we had a better estimate. When we looked at the tracking results we saw that he kept getting faster!

Matt went out to find him a little further up the course so he could run with him briefly. I went out to the hill so I could catch him coming into the finish.

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Dan on the last stretch

Matt and I found Heather and Dan and congratulated him on finishing his first marathon. He finished in 3:40 and ran a negative split! That’s an awesome time and I still wish I could master the art of a negative split during a marathon. Of course he hurt, but he was in relatively good shape. We hung around the post-race area for a little bit before heading out for more substantial food.

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These dogs hanging out in the post-race area were the cutest things

It was a bit of a walk, but we made it to the Southern Railway Taphouse for a nice lunch. We went back to our hotels after that and relaxed for a while until we were ready for dinner. Rather than attempt to battle crowds downtown again, Matt was smart enough to suggest that we try the VCU area. Dan and Heather picked us up and we ended up at a small, laid-back place called 821 Cafe. We didn’t have to worry about any owner/customer fist-fights breaking out there! We parked just in time before an anti-Trump rally passed right in front of us. The VCU students had staged peaceful marches each of the three nights we had been in town.

VCU students protesting

VCU students protesting

When we got back to the hotel, I could barely keep my eyes open. I had only run five miles that day, but had walked seven on top of it. We’d had a great but long day.

We flew home on Sunday morning and talked about what a great trip we’d had. Despite my initial frustration that I couldn’t run the marathon, this turned out to be a perfect trip. We had a blast doing Bart Yasso’s shakeout run and seeing the sights of downtown Richmond, checking out a basketball game and VCU’s campus, hanging out with Dan and Heather, eating at a bunch of good restaurants, and taking in the whole experience of the race day. It’s nice to get away from home and see new places and pack so much fun into one long weekend.

Thanks for reading if you actually made it through this whole thing!

– Janet
Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

Hockeytown 5K Recap

When the Hockeytown 5K (on Saturday, September 10th) was initially announced, it grabbed my interest right away. The Detroit Red Wings will be moving to a newly constructed arena in 2017 and this event would be one of many events to honor the “Farewell Season at the Joe.” The 5K would start at the steps outside Joe Louis Arena, run along Detroit’s RiverWalk, through the doors of arena, and finish at center ice. There would be appearances from current and former players, autograph signings, a locker room tour, and more. I wasn’t so sure about paying $50 for a 5K, but ultimately decided that it would be a fun and unique experience.

An experience it was. Whether it was a good or bad one depends on who you talk to. On one hand, it was a fun environment to celebrate the Red Wings and show some love for the arena that has been around since 1979. On the other hand, it was a great idea with not-so-great execution. More about that later.

When I heard that the race sold out within a month and they capped the event at 6,000 participants, I realized just how big it was going to be. I also realized that it would likely be kind of crazy and knew I shouldn’t have high expectations about the “race” aspect. Probably not the kind of setting to aim for a PR.

Since I’ve been in a walking boot for a stress fracture, the PR aspect wasn’t even in the picture. As the event approached, I wondered if I’d even be capable of walking the 5K. We went to Las Vegas the weekend before the race and I knew it would be a good test to see if I could handle a lot of walking. I did plenty of walking in Vegas without a problem, so I knew I’d be okay to walk this one.

Packet pickup was available at the Hockeytown Authentics store in Troy the Thursday and Friday before the race. The store is between my work and home, so it worked perfectly for me to swing by. Anyone who didn’t get the packet there would have to pay an extra $5 to get the packet on race morning. I’m not sure I’ve participated in a race that charged extra for race morning pickup. I guess it’s a good way to help avoid a large crowd on the morning of the race. The packet included a very nice cotton shirt.

Very cool shirt

Very cool shirt

Butch Walker, one of my favorite musicians, had a show the night before at St. Andrew’s Hall. The venue is about a mile from the Joe. Matt and I decided to book a hotel downtown so we could avoid driving home late that night only to turn around and drive back early the next morning. It was a good decision because the show ended a little after midnight and we didn’t get to bed until around 1am.

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We saw a great show from Butch Walker the night before the race

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Our hotel was across the street from the RenCen, which is a cool sight at night

I was pretty worried about the weather because the forecast showed a possibility of storms the morning of the race. That’s really not ideal when stuck in a walking boot. It was raining when we woke up, but luckily things cleared up long enough to have nice weather for the race. We walked about a mile to the arena and got there about 20 minutes before the start.

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People lined up at the start

Despite the large crowd, somehow we happened to run into our friends Lindsay and Rich. I’m glad we did, because we had a lot of spare time to chat and catch up before we started. The race started at 8:00, but they released people in waves of around 100-200 people at a time because of the large crowd. It took more than half an hour for us to finally make it to the starting line.

A sea of Red Wings fans waiting to start

A sea of Red Wings fans waiting to start

As we waited, it was painfully clear to me that this race was going to be a total cluster. People were lined up based on when they got there. That meant that runners and walkers were all mixed together. Since I was walking, it really didn’t matter to me. Looking at it from the perspective of a runner though, this was a disaster. I knew it would be a mess for people who intended to run, so I made the best effort I could to work my way over to the right side of the road in hopes that I wouldn’t contribute to blocking any runners. The “slower traffic keep to the right” concept seems like common sense to me, but I guess it wasn’t really a concern for most of the people who were there to take a nice walk and celebrate the Wings. Walkers were spread across the whole road, sometimes in groups four wide. The road was pretty wide to start, but it did get a bit more narrow in spots.

A scenic route that went past Cobo and the RenCen on the way out, and came back along the RiverWalk

A scenic route that went past Cobo and the RenCen on the way out, and came back along the RiverWalk

Since I was walking, it was easy for me to snap pictures of the scenery along the way.

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Going under part of Cobo Hall at the start of the race

The RiverWalk portion was the most enjoyable part of the course. It was a pretty morning to look across the Detroit River and see Canada, and it’s always nice to see the RenCen standing out along the skyline.

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The RiverWalk with Windsor, Ontario across the Detroit River

Approaching the RenCen

Approaching the RenCen

The Detroit Princess Riverboat with the Ambassador Bridge in the background

The Detroit Princess Riverboat with the Ambassador Bridge in the background

As I came back to the Joe and turned the corner towards the finish, I encountered a complete standstill.

The backup getting into the arena

The backup getting into the arena

The line barely inched along and it took me over 10 minutes to get to the finish line from this point! Extremely frustrating. When I finally made it into the tunnel, tons of people stopped to take pictures of banners and other things. By the way, all of these pictures I took on the course were on the move, or when I was at a standstill wishing I could move!

I can finally see the finish, but it still took a couple more minutes to get there

I can finally see the finish, but it still took a couple more minutes to get there

They also stopped along the way to the finish line so they could have that in the background of pictures. I understand that it’s a cool and unique experience to gain access to spots you normally don’t get to see. I appreciated the people who at least pulled off to the side for their photos. Plenty of people stopped right in the middle though, which majorly contributed to the logjam. The pre-race emails specifically said that they would have free photographs so there would be no need to stop at the finish line to take pictures. That sure didn’t stop people. What a mess!

There I am in the blue hat after I FINALLY got to cross the finish line

There I am in the blue hat after I FINALLY got to cross the finish line

Note the bunched up carpet in the background. Somehow Matt managed to run a pretty good time for this race despite lots of weaving and dodging around walkers. As he was just feet away from crossing the finish line, everyone came to a dead stop. The carpet had become a trip hazard and they stopped people so they could try to fix it. Like I said…very clearly not the atmosphere to think about hitting a PR!

I got my medal after crossing the finish line, and it’s one of the coolest medals I’ve received.

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Hockeytown 5K medal

Back of the medal

Back of the medal

Then it was time to wait in line again for the post-race food. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t have water, but they had Powerade, bananas, granola bars, and containers of cherry tomatoes – something I’ve never seen for a post-race snack! Concession stands were also open in the concourse if people wanted to buy other snacks or drinks.

I found Matt and we took in the scenery from the stands for a few minutes. It was very cool getting the opportunity to hang out in the Joe without a game or concert going on.

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Looking down at the finish line

With Matt after the race

With Matt after the race

The post-race celebration included autograph signings, tours of the locker room and press box, and more. When we saw the crazy lines in the concourse, we decided we’d just head out. We still had to walk back to the hotel and check out, so we didn’t have a bunch of time to wait around. If I’d been able to run rather than walk, maybe we would have had more spare time.

We took the scenic route back along the RiverWalk and stopped for a couple pictures with Windsor in the background.

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To look on the positive side, this was a very cool event. I enjoyed walking along the scenic RiverWalk and getting to finish inside the Joe. The t-shirt and medal are pretty awesome. Some people got to meet with Red Wings players along the way or afterwards, though I never saw anyone myself. It was fun to see all of the love for the Red Wings. I’m relieved that I was still able to participate and clomp along through the 5K in my walking boot.

On the other hand, this event really needed better execution. I’ve participated in events with more than 6,000 people and they’ve been SO much smoother. The biggest problem was mixing up the runners and walkers. Bottom line – the runners should have started first. There was no attempt to place people according to pace. I never heard any talk about having walkers line up at the back to allow the faster people to go first. No recommendation for walkers to stay to the right to make room for the runners to get through. Simple things that you find at most races to help prevent many of the issues. With a crowd of 6,000 people, there ought to be some kind of organization to prevent it from turning into the total cluster that it became. Waiting over half an hour to make it to the start was bad enough, but it was especially frustrating to wait in line (at a standstill most of the time) for over 10 minutes just to get to the finish line. I know this was intended as a fun event and not a competitive kind of thing. It WAS chip timed with prizes for the top people though. I know it was the first 5K for many people, and a lot of people were there to celebrate the Red Wings rather than race. Still, there are simple steps that should have been taken that would have vastly improved the experience.

Although maybe not for all of the best reasons, at least it will be an experience that we’ll remember!

**Update**

I found a few photos of myself that the race provided for free, and this one is a real gem. My hat says “run happy” but I sure don’t look it. My excuse is that I was stuck walking when I’d rather be running. The woman behind me didn’t look too happy herself, haha.

This look might sum up how I felt about the race as a whole

This look might sum up how I felt about the race as a whole

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

 

 

 

 

Injury Update

My last post pretty much explained my injury situation, but I’m writing an update because I received the official diagnosis when I visited the podiatrist last Friday. When the nurse asked what was wrong, I said I suspected I had a stress fracture in my fourth metatarsal. Unfortunately, that was totally accurate. I’ve heard that sometimes stress fractures don’t show in X-rays, but mine was pretty clear in one of them. My fears were confirmed – I’d be stuck in a boot. The doctor said I’ll probably need to wear it for a month, then maybe take a couple more weeks off before I try to run again.

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My stylin’ footwear for the next few weeks.

How’d I get here? I’m pretty sure compensating for one injury created a new one. When my right ankle locked up for a couple weeks after biking too hard, pain shot up my shin when I tried to run. I took time off and got that injury worked out, but I think that’s when the signs of the stress fracture started to appear. Before the ankle/shin pain was totally gone, I had a run where I got through the first mile okay, but my shin bugged me as I continued to run a couple more miles. The next day or two I noticed that the outside of my left foot was a little annoyed. After another run or two, it was a different story. I felt fine while running, but limped as soon as I finished. By compensating for the pain on my right side, I think I probably adjusted my form in a way that led to the stress fracture on my left side.

I probably had the fracture for a good three weeks before I made it in to see the doctor. During that time I had a pretty good idea what was going on and knew that I was going to be done with running for a while. Of course I’m bummed, but I saw it coming and came to accept it a few weeks ago. The boot makes things a bit awkward, but isn’t too bad for the most part. Stairs are difficult and I hobble around a bit, but at least I’m able to put my weight on it and still get around. I’m a bit concerned that the boot makes me a couple inches taller on my left side, and I wonder if it’s going to lead to hip pain or create other new issues.

I had a few brief throbbing pains when I first got the boot, probably because the straps compressed the injured area. That faded after a couple days. I took the boot off the other night and wore a slip-on shoe so I could go out in the rain and move my car quickly. Just bumping the top of my foot on the opening of the shoe was enough to leave me in pain the rest of the night. Aside from that, I really haven’t had any pain. Hopefully a month in this thing will be enough. One bonus is that I might also be able to take care of the plantar fasciitis in this foot once and for all.

I went through my training log from a couple years ago to reassure myself. When I was in a car accident in March of 2014, my back was so messed up I couldn’t do anything for a couple months. It took seven weeks before I attempted my first walk/run combo. I ran a couple times by the eighth week, and I was up to three times by the ninth week. I survived a couple months without running then and managed to bounce back, so I’m sure it will all work out again this time as well.

At this point I’m not really interested in trying to bike or do much of anything besides lift weights. I don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize my recovery. I want to get through this as quickly as I can!

We’re going to Vegas in a week and I’m not too excited to walk all over the place with this darn boot when it’s 100 degrees. To look on the positive side, I’ll be able to pack a lot lighter since I’ll have no need for four days’ worth of running gear!

I know injuries like these happen to runners all the time, so it was probably just a matter of time before I got to experience my first (and hopefully only?) stress fracture. To anyone who has been there before, please feel free to share if you have any advice for bouncing back!

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz 

 

This Summer’s Training (or lack thereof…)

It’s been a couple months since my last update, and I wish I could talk about how I’m starting week six of training for the Richmond Marathon right now. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone as planned and I haven’t had the solid summer of running that I’d hoped for.

After running the Bayshore Marathon at the end of May, I swore I would take a solid two weeks off of running even though I felt fine a couple days after the race. The plantar fasciitis issue that started in January still lingered, so it was a good time to see if rest would help. Nothing improved after the first week of rest so I ordered a splint to wear at night. Finally – my heel didn’t hurt in the morning anymore! I continued to roll with a tennis ball once or twice a day because the pain didn’t go away entirely, but at least I noticed some progress. During my post-marathon downtime, I took some walks, biked a little, and kept up with weight training at the gym. I was pretty anxious to run at the end of those two weeks, but I was pretty rusty the first week back. My legs certainly didn’t feel as fresh as I thought they might. It amazed me how hard four slow miles could feel after I’d just been able to run 26.

I got into a good groove after that first week, rebuilding my base mileage and eventually working in some short speed and tempo runs over the next couple weeks. I got back to running six days a week and felt good enough to sign up for a bunch of races. I’d been thinking about running the Richmond (VA) Marathon in mid-November and felt like I had bounced back enough to commit. I could fit a number of local races into the training schedule, including the Crim 10-miler at the end of August, the Brooksie Way half marathon in September, and the Grand Rapids half marathon in October.

Of course once I went on a spree signing up for races, things went bad. I was on vacation the first week of July and wanted to enjoy the weather on a day when I’d normally rest. I took the day off from running, but went for a fast 3-mile walk and rode the bike for about 45 minutes. I decided that I’m usually too slow on the bike and ought to push a bit faster. The next morning my right ankle/shin felt tweaky, but I’ve had that feeling before and didn’t worry about it. I felt fine during my 6-mile tempo run, but the tweaky feeling got worse later that day. Considering how much it hurt to walk, I decided to rest for a few days. My next attempt at running lasted a quarter mile before I quit due to pain that ran up my shin. After a week of pain, I went to my chiropractor who practices ART (active release techniques) to see what he thought. Luckily he didn’t think it was anything very serious. It seemed like my ankle joint was restricted and just wouldn’t unlock. A few appointments with him finally solved the problem, and after two weeks off, I finally ran again.

I had a couple of good 4-mile runs, but then started to have problems with my other foot. Are you kidding me?! ARGH. At first I thought it could be tied to the plantar fasciitis, which hadn’t bothered me much lately. I poked around a bit and realized I had a tender spot on the top of my foot coming down from my fourth toe. After taking a week off, I ran a few miles a couple times. I actually felt fine during the runs once I warmed up. However, as soon as I finished and started to walk, the pain left me limping. A few days of struggling to walk around work kept me from attempting another run. I realized a few days ago that the painful spot is actually swollen…not a good sign. I’m going to see a podiatrist at the end of this week and I’m scared that I’m going to end up in a walking boot!

I felt pretty down in the dumps during my two weeks off with the ankle/shin pain. I watched the first two weeks of my marathon training plan come and go without any runs. I knew that would set me back and I was depressed because all I wanted to do was run. Once this foot injury popped up, I kind of moved on past the depression into a stage of resignation. I’ve come to accept that I can’t run right now and I’m going to eat the cost and bail on some of these races. The Crim 10-mile race is in less than two weeks, and I know there’s no hope for that one right now. The Brooksie Way half marathon is in about five weeks, which doesn’t look too promising either. If I can start running again sometime soon, maybe I can drop down to the half marathon in Richmond. I don’t think the full is going to be an option at this point.

I’ve spent some time on the bike since it doesn’t flex my toes and set off the painful spot. Now that I’ve realized my foot is swollen, I think I’ll hold off on that too until I get to the doctor. Since I haven’t been able to do much else lately, I’ve been going to the gym more often. When I’m running higher mileage, I typically go once a week. Even going one extra time a week has helped me see some improvement, versus just staying in my usual maintenance mode. Still…all I want to do is run.

I’m very thankful that we’ve gotten back into our old concert-going habit lately because it’s been a good distraction. Matt and I used to go see bands all the time, but running kind of took over as our main hobby. In addition, we’ve gotten older and lazier about going out. That’s changed this summer as a steady stream of bands that we enjoy have come through town. We’ve seen great shows from Andrew McMahon, Weezer, Hollywood Vampires, Bryan Adams, Acceptance, Soul Asylum, Alice Cooper, A Great Big World, Matt Nathanson, and more. We have several more shows coming up soon, plus our first trip to Vegas in a few weeks. Since I can’t run, at least I have other fun stuff going on to cheer me up!

I know not being able to run is a pretty minor problem in the big picture, and most runners end up injured at some point. I guess it was just a matter of time. It’s not my intention to complain or fish for sympathy. I just wanted to write something to help me remember how disappointing this summer has been, and throw an update out there for anyone who might care!

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

Bayshore Marathon Recap

Third time is the charm? Not so much for my third marathon. I had high hopes leading up to the Bayshore Marathon after an extremely solid training segment. It was my first time following the Hansons Marathon Method and I felt strong and very prepared. Then I started to scope out the weather.

Forecasts during the week leading up to the race didn’t make race day look very promising. I worried about potential thunderstorms, heat, and humidity. I started to get pretty bummed out because it looked like I wouldn’t get to run to my potential and see how well the training plan had really worked. I do not run well in warm and humid conditions so I knew I’d have to adjust my expectations. Just two weeks earlier we’d run a 5K in the snow, then the weather did a total 180 and went into full-blown summer mode. It’s hard to spend 18+ weeks of hardcore training working towards one goal only to have the weather on one specific day mess it up. I knew I couldn’t go into the race with a negative attitude though.

I already qualified for Boston in 2017 with my time at the Twin Cities Marathon. I really didn’t have to worry about my time. I’ve been intrigued by people who are able to run multiple marathons within a short period of time, seeing as how it’s taken me a while to bounce back from my prior two marathons. I wondered if this would be a good chance to try slowing down and see if I could recover faster.

As much as I worried about the weather, I couldn’t change it. I was still excited that after 18 long weeks of training, the race was finally here and we had a fun Memorial Day weekend trip ahead of us. Matt and I got up early on Friday morning for a 3-mile shakeout run before I went to work for half a day. We started our drive to Traverse City just after lunch, beating most of Michigan’s “up north” traffic. It took about four hours or so. We hit a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner, then went to the school for packet pickup, which was available from 5-9pm. We’d participated in Bayshore weekend in 2012 when Matt ran his first full marathon and I ran the half, so we pretty much knew what to expect.

Packet pickup takes place in a gym. I’d seen pictures of race-specific merchandise, but wasn’t sure where it was. Luckily we noticed the smaller gym on our way out where they had a bunch of gear.

Packet pickup

Packet pickup at Traverse City Central High School

Race merch

Race merch

Playmakers was there with a bunch of t-shirts, jackets, hats, and other things branded with the race’s logo. They had a good variety and some reasonable prices. I ended up getting a hat and a cotton t-shirt.

2016-05-28 - bayshore hat

2016-05-28 - bayshore marathon shirt2

In addition to the stuff I bought, of course I also got the official race shirt as a part of the packet pickup.

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A nice short sleeve New Balance tech shirt

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Matt’s 10K shirt

Marathoners also got a pair of thin Smartwool socks. When Matt ran the race in 2012, the socks had the race’s name on them. These socks were just plain socks off the rack.

We got to our hotel by 7:00. Hotel prices can be ridiculous because of both the race and because Traverse City is a hotspot for tourists in the summer. There’s no such thing as a discounted rate for runners. Hotels near the start can run over $300 per night! We were fine with a *somewhat* more reasonably priced hotel a couple miles down the road.

Bayshore is an extremely popular race. When it opens for registration on December 1st, anyone planning to run the half marathon needs to register immediately because it fills up in minutes. The full marathon and 10K take a little longer to fill, but eventually all of the events sell out. We know that it’s ideal to book a hotel before even signing up for the race because those go quickly as well.

The night before the race I ended up with maybe seven hours of sleep, minus the numerous times I woke up throughout the night. I wasn’t especially anxious, but I was concerned about how the weather might affect me. When I got up on Saturday morning, I had a Honey Stinger Waffle and some water first thing. I also ate a Picky Bar an hour and a half later when we got to the school. Those snacks seem to be enough to fuel me without upsetting my stomach.

As expected, traffic was slow getting to the school. Nothing too bad though. Parking was another story. The half marathoners have to take a shuttle out to the starting point for their race, so they have to get to the school before 6:15. The marathon starts an hour later, followed by the 10K at 7:30, so the non-half racers don’t need to get there quite as early. Parking seemed to be full by the time we got there, so we ended up creating our own spot on some grass.

Matt and I found some friends as we headed to the starting area. One great thing about running Bayshore is that a ton of other running friends are always there.

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The starting area on the grounds of Northwestern Michigan College

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Matt and I before the race

The morning was storm-free and mostly cloudy, but it was also warm and humid. It was about 70 degrees with humidity over 80% by the start of the marathon. Not ideal for me. I’ve been very lucky to run my other two marathons when it was 40-50 degrees. I knew I wouldn’t always be so lucky! I had successfully trained for a 3:30 marathon, meaning an 8:00 pace. I knew very well that if I aimed for that pace in the conditions that morning I would crash and burn. My new goal was to throw pace out the window and hope just to survive the warm morning. At best, I’d aim for an 8:15ish pace and see how that went.

I had no problem getting into the starting corral and the race started before I knew it. I didn’t have any issues with congestion and got off to a quick start of 8:08 for the first mile. I knew I wanted to dial it down though, and hit 8:13-8:18 for the next seven miles. I wasn’t really aiming for a pace and that’s what came naturally as I ran by feel. Within the first mile or so my face was already soaked and my sunglasses fogged up from the humidity. About a mile into the race is when we caught the first glimpse of the water – it was beautiful. The marathon is an out and back course along the shore of the East Grand Traverse Bay. You can’t go wrong with the scenery. Plus, it’s basically a flat course. It rolls a little bit in spots, but nothing very significant.

2016-05-28 - bayshore map

There’s a reason this race is so popular

There aren’t very many access points for spectators along the course, so there isn’t a ton of spectator support. However, plenty of people set up outside their houses to cheer, play music, or even offer beer. A guy dressed like Will Ferrell playing the cowbell was pretty entertaining. The few spectator spots that are available are very energetic, and the aid stations are great.

One of the biggest boosts is watching other runners. The half marathoners run down the peninsula on the opposite side of the street, and I started to see them about six miles into my race. I saw Hansons runner (and author of the Hansons Marathon Method training plan I followed) Luke Humphrey go flying by in second place. It was a good distraction to watch everyone go by and pick out people who I knew. It was also fun to hear others yelling out to the people they knew. It’s a very encouraging environment. There was a little down period after all of the half marathoners went by, but soon enough I started to see the marathoners heading back down the peninsula. I saw them about 10 miles into my race. Again, it was fun to look out for people.

I felt okay through the halfway point and had settled into a pace in the 8:20s for miles 9-15. I was still running by feel, and I guess by then I was feeling a little slower. I had a 25 oz. bottle of GU Brew in a hydration belt and grabbed water at pretty much every aid station. I made sure to stay hydrated and didn’t feel like I was ever lacking there. I ate Honey Stinger Chews at a few points throughout the race, then switched to a few Clif Shot Bloks with caffeine later in the race. Fueling didn’t seem to be an issue.

By miles 16-18 my pace dropped into the 8:30s. The heat and humidity started to really drain me. From mile 19 on, my pace ranged from 9-10 minutes per mile because I started to take walk breaks. Nothing hurt and I didn’t cramp up or anything. I was just drained and didn’t want to run anymore. I typically don’t take my phone out during races, but decided to send a quick text to Matt. He had well over two hours to wait for me after he finished his 10K and I appreciated him being so patient.

Matt's post on Snapchat as he kept occupied waiting a long time for me

Matt’s post on Snapchat as he kept occupied waiting a long time for me

Taking the walk breaks meant I’d leave him waiting even longer. I let him know that I was fine but not feeling it and didn’t want to run anymore. He was encouraging and told me, “Keep going, you’ve got this.” I kept that in mind as I trudged along, and spectators echoed his words. I was so appreciative of the spectators and volunteers at the aid stations who provided words of encouragement. “You’ve got this, you look strong.” By a certain point, it seemed like I got into a cycle of running past people who had stopped to walk, only to have them run past me a few minutes later once I started to walk. A lot of us were struggling and it meant a lot to have people along the course encouraging us.

Since I really wasn’t aiming for a certain time goal anymore, I didn’t care what it took to finish the race. If walking made me feel better, I was going to walk. I knew that running would get me through it faster, so I tried to run as much as I could. I decided that I’d start walking through every aid station. It was a break to look forward to and it meant I’d get enough water down to stay hydrated. I kept telling myself that even if I was a bit slower, I was still going to finish a marathon. Some people were still on their way up the course, meaning they had even farther to go than me. I knew they were going to finish, and if they could do it, I could do it. It was especially inspiring when I saw a guide running with a blind person. They were going to finish this marathon too. It also gave me a boost when I saw an older guy named Harry (his name was on his shirt) with his knees taped up moving along slowly. He was smiling and I knew he was going to finish. I could do this.

As I got closer to the finish, I passed a house that had music blaring. Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” was playing. It was nice to actually smile for a bit as I rapped along with the song in my head and watched the spectators dance. It gave me a boost for a few minutes. I still kept doing the run/walk thing right through the end. With about a quarter mile left, I was back on the campus and people lined the streets. They gave me another boost. I couldn’t just walk past them – I had to get moving again. I knew the finishing stretch on the track was coming up and I had to finish strong. As I entered the track, I saw all of the people in the bleachers cheering. I only had about 100 meters to go.

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Matt got this picture of me looking strong at the end

I raised my arms in celebration after I crossed the finish line, thinking, “Thank God it’s done.” I was way off of my goal of a 3:30 marathon, but knew that a time under four hours was still pretty darn good.

2016-05-28 - bayshore results

I took a few minutes to pace around and stretch, and was relieved that I was actually in pretty good shape. After my first two marathons I had pretty bad IT band pain in my left knee that caused me to limp around. I realized that the tips of my toes hurt a little bit and probably had blisters, but otherwise I was fine. I got my medal and a bottle of water and found Matt waiting for me at the entrance to the post-race party. I hadn’t been too emotional during the race, but had a brief moment when I saw him. That’s when it must have sunk in that I had really done it and he was there being so supportive. I had been running six days a week for the last 18+ months, and at times the schedule seemed ridiculous. It meant passing up a bunch of things we may have done otherwise. It meant adjusting schedules to make my running fit. It meant lots of late dinners. Matt was very understanding and supportive through it all and I know how lucky I am.

With Matt after the race

With Matt after the race

With my medal

With my medal

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A closer look at the medal

Bayshore does not disappoint when it comes to post-race food. I look forward to eating lots of goodies after a marathon, and Bayshore does it right. I got a bottle of chocolate milk first, which is my go-to recovery drink. Then I went to check out the food. I got several kinds of cookies, a blueberry muffin, a bag of chips, a bag of pretzels, and the best thing of all – a cup of Moomers ice cream! I found a few people from work who had also run the marathon and we chatted about the difficult day. We saw Luke Humphrey and I congratulated him on his second place finish in the half, then let him know how much I had enjoyed following his plan…even if I didn’t get to truly put it to work thanks to the weather. We found our friend Karly who ran a great race and got her BQ despite the conditions! Eventually we headed out and went back to the hotel. I had a layer of salt on top of my layer of sweat and needed a shower pretty bad.

A little while later we headed out to downtown Traverse City. One of the perks of doing a marathon in Traverse City is being able to get some great post-race treats, and no shame in eating them with so many calories to replenish!

This doesn't show the caramel-covered Rice Krispie Treats we finished on the spot

This doesn’t show the caramel-covered Rice Krispies Treats we finished on the spot

We picked up a pizza and breadsticks and took them back to the hotel for dinner. We watched the Tigers lose a game miserably then watched a few things on Netflix.

I was surprised that I pretty much felt fine, even the next morning. The one exception was my left heel, which caused me to limp when I took my first steps in the morning. It had been fine after the race, but the plantar fasciitis that I’ve been dealing with since January was still very much there. I’ve gotten used to that misery though, so it wasn’t anything new. When I was able to take my bags down the stairs of the hotel without wincing, I knew it was a good sign. Stairs are typically miserable after running a marathon. I kept telling Matt that it felt like I hadn’t really run a marathon and it was a strange feeling. Though I wasn’t thrilled that my race was so much slower than planned, I had a feeling that it had worked in my favor in terms of recovering faster. I almost felt like I had just run a really LONG long run rather than a race.

The next day was beautiful, so we stopped by the beach briefly before heading home.

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An awesome view across from our hotel

We drove 3.5 hours straight through to get home, and that stiffened me up a bit. By Sunday evening my quads were a bit sore, and stairs became a little more difficult. However, I was pretty much good to go by Monday.

I swore that I would take a full two weeks off after this marathon no matter how good I might feel. Whenever I’ve jumped the gun and started running sooner than that, I’ve found out that I’m not fully recovered. The plantar fasciitis has been torturing me for months and I’ve been anxious to get away from the pain. I’m really hoping that some time off will help. I’ve been training so hard for so long that I need to give my body a little break.

During the late, miserable miles of the marathon, I told myself that running half marathons might be a much better idea. Of course now that I’m distanced from the misery, I’m thinking otherwise. I’m already starting to wonder about the next marathon. Am I crazy enough to put myself through the intense training schedule again soon enough to try a fall marathon? Should I try again for that 3:30 marathon that I know I’m capable of? Or should I run another marathon for “fun” at an easier pace?

I’ll give myself a couple weeks to see if I make enough progress with the plantar fasciitis before committing to anything. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a bit of downtime…something I haven’t appreciated for about half a year now!

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography.com and Instagram @janetboltz

 

 

 

Prove It 5K Recap

I’ve been trying to avoid racing during marathon training in order to follow my training schedule as closely as possible. I made an exception last weekend when I ran the Borgess Half Marathon because it helped me get 13 of my 16 miles in for the day. I also made an exception for the Prove It 5K on Sunday, May 15. I had 10 miles on my schedule and a 5K really wasn’t ideal, but it was a unique race that I didn’t want to turn down.

The Prove It 5K took place at GM’s Proving Grounds in Milford, MI. For the first time, people had the opportunity to run around the high performance test track. The race was hosted by Trivium Racing and GM’s Chevy Running Club, which I am a part of. Proceeds went to the Dearborn Animal Shelter and Michigan’s Special Olympics. I had never been on the test track and thought it sounded like a very cool race.

A very cool bib for this race

A cool bib for this race

Milford is nearly an hour away from us, so we left the house around 6am in order to get there an hour before the race. We had been warned that the packet pickup and starting area were half a mile from the parking lot, so we needed to allow extra time to get back and forth. There were a couple locations offering an early pickup on Friday evening, but we waited until the morning of the race because neither location was convenient for us.

We were not thrilled to find a layer of snow on the car when it was time to leave home. It’s mid-May!! I had a terrible tempo run on Thursday when I crashed and burned because it was nearly 80 degrees and I couldn’t handle the heat. Now a few days later it was in the 30s and felt even colder with the wind. It was freezing when we got out of the car to head to the pickup area. We got our bibs and shirts then headed back to the car to stay warm.

Fun design, but I probably won't be wearing it without another shirt underneath!

Fun design, but I probably won’t be wearing it without another shirt underneath!

Once I got my bib attached and was ready to go, I still had time for a warm up run. With 10 miles on the schedule, I was determined to do as much as I could. Matt and I ran back to the starting area and I ran around enough to get a mile in before the race. Some of the track is banked a decent amount which made it a little awkward for running.

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Some of the Chevy Running Club

The Chevy Running Club took a quick group photo, then there was a pre-race talk about the course before the start. They said people were going to be split into waves of 250 people and it looks like just under 600 people ran the race. Matt and I were in the first wave. I didn’t have a plan for the race since I haven’t done any runs at 5K pace for seven weeks. My top priority right now is my marathon in a couple weeks and I didn’t want to get hurt by pushing too hard. Plus, did I mention enough yet that it was it was so darn cold?

The test track had some hills that I hadn’t anticipated. I ran 7:29 for the first mile, not feeling like that was especially easy. I must have warmed up and gotten a boost from some downhill stretches because I picked it up to 7:03 for the second mile. More uphill sections and fatigue made the last mile more miserable. That’s when I told myself that I prefer marathon pace over 5K pace! 

The hills weren't too extreme, but this wasn't a flat race track!

The hills weren’t too extreme, but this wasn’t a flat race track!

Our route around the test track

Our route around the test track

A picture of me (in blue) from Trivium Racing's Facebook page

A picture of me (in blue) from Trivium Racing’s Facebook page

I slowed down to 7:16 for the last mile but finished as strong as I could, aided by a downhill stretch. I was happy with my finishing time of 22:43, which is a little over a minute off of my PR. My time was good enough for first place in my age group! That meant sticking around for the awards ceremony, which was scheduled for about an hour later. 

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Post-race treats included bottles of water, cans of pop, a variety of packaged nuts, bananas, and a couple kinds of granola bars. We also received a cool glass after we crossed the finish line.

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Within 10 minutes of finishing I started a cool down run. I was still determined to get six more miles in that day. I ran back to the car, dropped some stuff off, then did some laps around the parking lot. Eventually I headed back to the track for the awards. I kept moving as long as I could to rack up the miles and to stay warm. I had time for about 4.5 miles. 

They awarded the top 20 people based on age grading, using age and gender to put people on a level playing field. In addition, they gave awards to the top person in each age group.

Posing with my award, from Trivium Racing's Facebook page

Posing with my award, from Trivium Racing’s Facebook page

A visor for winning my age group

A visor for winning my age group

We headed out after that and I ran a couple more slow miles once we got home. It may have been done in several chunks, but I managed to get all of my marathon training miles in for the day.

Though better weather would have made the day more enjoyable, it was very cool getting a chance to run around GM’s test track. Many thanks to the Chevy Running Club and Trivium Racing for making it possible!

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography.com and Instagram @janetboltz

Borgess Run for the Health of It! Recap

Kalamazoo’s Borgess Run for the Health of It! was my first half marathon (in 2011) and I enjoyed it enough to return the following year for my fourth half. I decided to go back this year on May 8th, making it my tenth half. It worked perfectly with both marathon training and Mother’s Day plans.

Kalamazoo is about two and a half hours from us, but Matt’s parents live about 20 minutes away. We headed out to stay with them on Friday night after I finished running seven miles at home. I was ready to fall asleep shortly after we got there, then had to motivate myself to run eight more miles the next morning. I must still be in winter running mode because 60 degrees that morning seemed hot! At this point I’m three weeks out from the Bayshore Marathon and wrapping up my peak mileage week of the training plan – a total of 63 miles after getting through 16 on race day. My legs were tired for both Friday and Saturday’s runs, but I know that should be expected.

After Saturday’s run, Matt and I went to Wings Event Center for the expo. We were happy to see that they had our sizes for the 2012 race shirt, which is one of my favorites. With a deal of three shirts for $10, I got one and Matt got two. Gazelle Sports had some apparel and accessories for sale. I bought some Picky Bars and Clif Shot Bloks. Green Strides was there to collect old running shoes, which helped motivate Matt and me to clear out our large collection. Literally a garbage bag’s worth and then some! 

The expo at Wings Event Center

The expo at Wings Event Center

Gazelle's area at the expo

Gazelle’s area at the expo

Posing with the race shirt

Posing with the race shirt

I spotted Don Kern at a booth for the Grand Rapids Marathon and wanted to let him know how much I had enjoyed his book and the adventure continues… He’s the director of the GR Marathon (amongst others) and his book about his various running adventures is extremely inspiring. Maybe I will spot him at the Bayshore Marathon in a few weeks. He said he’ll be there to celebrate his birthday the day before and Bayshore will be his 300th marathon the next day. Pretty awesome!

Noodles and Company had a “buy one bowl get one free” deal for racers, so we got lunch there. Later we had a nice family dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, then I got a restless night of sleep. Not because of pre-race nerves, but because that’s how I seem to sleep lately.

I didn’t get nervous this time because I planned to use the race as my long run. If I followed my training schedule, I was due to run 16 miles at an 8:42 pace. That’s well off of my half PR pace, which is around 7:35 or so. No pressure!

We got to the race site at 6:50 (just over an hour before the first race) without a problem and parked in a grass field near the starting corral. We relaxed in the car for 10 minutes or so, then it was time for me to hit the porta potty, gear check, then start a 3-mile warm up. It was in the mid-40s which felt a little cool to start, but it was perfect when I got moving. We lucked out with a beautiful day!

A pre-race photo with Matt, who ran the 10K

A pre-race photo with Matt, who ran the 10K

I finished my warm up and got in the corral with about 10 minutes to spare. I figured I might aim for around 1:50 and positioned myself appropriately. I worried I’d get cold or tighten up between my warm up and the start of the race, but I was okay.

The half and full marathoners started together

The half and full marathoners started together

The first couple miles went down the main road before we got to downtown Kalamazoo. The brief stretch through the pedestrian mall is always a fun and energetic stretch. Shortly after the 3-mile mark the half and full runners split. I had a sappy moment there because it was right by the State Theatre, which is where Matt and I met at a Verve Pipe show. After that there’s a stretch that’s a little more industrial, then a bit on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and through a couple parks.

Nice scenery

Nice scenery

The half course is mostly flat, but has a few good downhill stretches and two tricky climbs uphill. The first comes after the 8-mile mark, and the second is about a mile from the end. I huffed and puffed a little, but kept going strong and recovered pretty well. I smiled when we ran down Random Road because I liked the name, and another fun moment was when a guy ran past his grandma’s house. He was in front of me when he started yelling, “Grandma! Grandma!” He ran up onto the sidewalk and stopped to hug her while she sat in a chair in the front yard, then told her he’d see her in half an hour or so. It was very sweet.

I did not plan on racing this and was pretty disciplined. My legs didn’t feel super fresh as I started, so 8:30-8:40 pace felt just right. I did hope to cut down as I went, and began doing so by miles eight and nine, when I dropped to the 8:20s. I think the surge kicked in when I got stuck behind a few people and couldn’t get around them. When I finally did, I kept rolling and my pace kept dropping. I didn’t really pay attention to my watch and just went with how I felt. I felt good and it made me feel stronger as I started to cruise past some people in the later miles. Running a cut down/negative split half marathon is always a great feeling for me. I love finishing strong. I managed to drop to my typical half marathon pace for the last full mile, and was happy when I saw Matt cheering for me along the final stretch. Though I didn’t have a real goal time, I was happy to slip in just under 1:50.

Concentrating on finishing strong

Concentrating on finishing strong

A shot Matt got as I approached the finish

A shot Matt got as I approached the finish

2016-05-08 - splits

2016-05-08 - results

After catching my breath, I grabbed a bottle of water and some chocolate milk. They had bananas and orange slices, but that was it in the way of food. That’s a pet peeve of mine. I always want food at the end of a race! I know Bayshore has goodies like ice cream, cookies, and lots more, so I’ll look forward to that in a few weeks. I was bummed by the lack of food at this race though. You could go to a food tent and buy a BBQ lunch, and even the beer garden required payment – no free beer ticket offered on the bib like so many other races. Oh well. I was thankful that Kellogg was giving out granola bars and a sizable sample of Special K with red berries. Matt and I hung around for about an hour, then headed out and grabbed lunch on the way home.

A post-race photo with Matt

A post-race photo with Matt

2016-05-08 - bounce houses

2016-05-08 - band

2016-05-08 - beer garden

2016-05-08 - finish

2016-05-08 - medal

Aside from the lack of food at the end, I loved everything else about the race. The weather has been perfect each of the three times we’ve run the race and it’s an all-around great experience. It was a good way to get my last 16-mile training run in, and gave me practice with fueling in a race environment. Now, I just have to double the race distance in a few weeks…

– Janet

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