Turkey Trail Trot / The LeftOvers Half Marathon Recap

My latest adventure was three days in a row of racing on the trails at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township, MI. When I went to the Brooksie Way expo in September, there were fliers with a discount code for the Turkey Trail Trot and LeftOvers Half Marathon. I stuck them on the fridge to keep them fresh in my mind. Since I haven’t been training for anything specific lately, I’ve been doing a whole bunch of races just for fun. I’ve been trying to do some races that have been on my radar that I haven’t done before. Although I usually go out for a run on Thanksgiving, I have never done a turkey trot race on the actual holiday. It was time to change that this year!

I thought the “run eat run” challenge sounded like fun, so I signed up to do a 10K on both Thursday and Friday. Move-It Fitness gives people the option to do 2.5 miles, 4 miles, or a 10K on both days. If you do the same distance both days, you get a medal each day plus an additional medal for the challenge. I didn’t care so much about collecting more medals, but I thought it would be something fun and different to do. I went to Tim Horton’s a couple days before the race for the early packet pickup. They requested canned goods to donate to the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, so I took a couple bags with me.

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The cotton shirt for people running Thursday and/or Friday

Stony Creek Metropark is only 10 minutes from home, so that made things nice and easy on Thanksgiving morning. The race started at 9:00, and I got there a little after 8:00. There was a pretty big crowd, which makes sense since I’ve read that Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for running races.

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I thought it was pretty interesting that the announcements and starting line directions were made without a microphone despite the size of the crowd. Trail races seem to be a bit more laid back than road races.

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With 158 finishers in the 2.5-mile run, 210 in the 4-mile run, and 153 in the 10K, over 500 people participated. All of the races started at the same time, so they tried to organize people by pace. People aiming to run a 7-minute pace were told to line up at the front, and a woman stood at a spot to represent the cutoff point for that group. It was a chip-timed race, so the clock didn’t start for us until we crossed the line. People running an 8-minute pace went a couple minutes later, and I went with that group. Knowing that the trails are more challenging than roads and knowing that I had another day of racing coming up, I didn’t count on running sub-8 miles like I usually do for the 10K.

The start was a little challenging because people were so close together. Some parts of the trail at the beginning weren’t very wide. After watching one girl wipe out, I realized that I should back off the people in front of me so I had enough room to see the roots and patches of mud up ahead. I also realized that I should watch my footing carefully and look down pretty much the whole time. I run the trails at Stony every now and then, so I know that I need to be careful. It was even more necessary with all of the people around.

A photo from Move-It Fitness's Facebook page - I'm in the yellow

A photo from Move-It Fitness’s Facebook page – I’m in the yellow

Another photo from Move-It Fitness

Another photo from Move-It Fitness

It was about 32 degrees at the start of the race, so it was a bit cool and I battled watery eyes for a while. Aside from a small patch in spots, there wasn’t any mud to worry about. There were a lot of leaves on the trails, and sometimes they could hide the roots and rocks underneath. I knew that I should be careful, especially on several downhill stretches where I got some crazy momentum. I kept hoping that I wouldn’t fall!

Apparently they change the direction of the race each year, and this year we went counterclockwise. We hit a stretch called “The Pines” about two miles into the race. I had never run there before and really loved it. The only downside was that it was truly a single-track section and I was right behind three people and their dog. The woman in front of me told me to let her know if I wanted to pass, but I said I was okay. I wasn’t really trying to race and didn’t think it would be a big deal. The trail winds and zig-zags constantly for about a mile, and there are very few spots that are wide enough to try to pass a group. Eventually I got a little frustrated by the slower pace and finally found a spot where I was able to pass. They were totally cool about it, but I didn’t feel like there was an earlier opportunity to pass.

Once I got out of that section, I had a little more space around me for a few miles. Then I came up on the people walking the 4-mile race. I had to be vocal about passing, and everyone seemed to be friendly and willing to move over. There were hills scattered throughout the run, and some of them were kind of tough. However, the earlier hills were nothing in comparison to what came between miles five and six. There was a hill on the way up to the *real* hill, so I was already winded before I got to the worst part of it. Although I didn’t stop to walk, it felt like I was shuffling along slow enough that it could have been considered a walk. That part was brutal. Like most of the uphill stretches, a nice downhill section followed. That made for a speedy finish, and my official time was 53:14.

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My Garmin’s map of the route

My Garmin said there there was an elevation gain of 337 feet

My Garmin said there there was an elevation gain of 337 feet

They had water, bananas and some bite-size candy at the finish. I was surprised by the lack of food, but it WAS Thanksgiving and we’d have plenty of food later, so it was probably for the best.

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I saw that I had placed first in my age group, so I asked a woman in charge if they had any age group awards. She said it was just for bragging rights. I was relieved that I didn’t need to stick around since I wanted to get home and get ready for the day.

As if one day of  racing wasn’t action-packed enough, I went through the same routine the next day. The race started half an hour later and the crowd was much smaller. 36 people finished the 2.5-mile race, 51 did the 4-mile, and 47 did the 10K. That was 134 people on Friday versus 521 on Thursday. It was a few degrees warmer and the sun was out, so it was a pretty morning.

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The race was not chip-timed and we didn’t start in waves, so I got up near the front. I pushed harder during the first mile than I had the previous day because I wanted my space. I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone in “The Pines” like I had on Thursday, and therefore I expected my time to be faster. Not getting stuck and running faster were my two goals for the day. I didn’t want to start out so fast, but I figured I’d slow down once I had some space. That method worked, and it sure helped that there was a much smaller crowd as well. I still came up on the walkers right around the time when the biggest hills hit, and once again, they were very nice about making room for me to get through. The last hill still sucked, but I toughed my way through it. I flew along to the finish again, with a final time of 52:26. I was almost 50 seconds faster than the prior day, so I was happy. My time was good for first in my age group again, and I was the second female overall thanks to such a small group for the 10K.

The color of my bib signaled that I had raced both days, so I received the additional medal for the challenge.

Medals for Thursday's and Friday's races

Medals for Thursday’s and Friday’s races

A woman at the end asked if I was coming back for the half marathon the next day. I said that I hadn’t planned on it and didn’t think I was conditioned for it. I haven’t been running consecutive days very often lately, let alone three days in a row on a challenging course.

In addition to the water, bananas, and candy they’d had on Thursday, on Friday they also had hot chocolate and cookies. I talked to a few other people who asked if I’d be back for the half marathon. I thought the two days in a row had been a good enough challenge, but the more people asked about the half, the more they put the idea into my head. By the time I got home, I decided that I’d sign up and go for it.

2017-11-24 - fri me

I knew that I was crazy as Saturday turned into another day of deja-vu. Back to the same parking lot around 8:30 for a 9:30 start. I picked up my bib and shirt, caught up with my friend Carmen who was (smartly) running just the one day, then I went back to the car to stay warm for a bit.

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Thursday and Friday’s shirt was cotton while Saturday’s shirt was technical material

Saturday was actually pretty nice – around 46 degrees. There were a few moments of light rain before the start, but it was the warmest of the three days. Warm enough for me to go with shorts!

Saturday’s race was not chip-timed either, so I started near the front again. 111 people finished the half so it wasn’t too crowded. I started a little fast again to gain some space. I don’t like the feeling of running right on someone’s heels on the single-track portions, and I don’t want to think that I’m holding someone up behind me either. Once I had some space, I settled down to run a pace that felt more comfortable. I knew I should run as if it was a training run and not try to race – especially in the early miles.

In order to make the course long enough for a half, we branched off on one segment of the trail that we hadn’t run the other days. There was usually someone in front or behind me within the first 4-5 miles, but for a good chunk of the race I was on my own. That made it easy to run along at whatever pace I settled into.

I ran with my own bottle all three days, but utilized the aid stations this time for some water. I knew I wouldn’t place as the top female and didn’t really care about my time, so I always stopped to walk for a brief moment when I got the water. The brutal hill still sucked on the third day, but I got through the first loop of the course feeling pretty good. I was totally on my own as I started the second loop. At some point it began to rain a little bit, but luckily it didn’t last very long. When I got to “The Pines” I decided it was okay to stop and take a couple pictures. No one was coming behind me and my time didn’t matter anyway.

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11.75 miles is when things got ugly. As I flew down a hill and rounded a corner, I wiped out. It happened so fast that I don’t know if I tripped over roots, slid on leaves, or just had bad footing. I swore as I went down and was a bit startled as I sat up to assess the damage. I had dirt all over my hands and my left knee, which hurt. I had a little bit of blood on my right hand, but it didn’t seem too bad. A guy I had just passed was coming into view, so I wiped myself off and started to walk. I didn’t really want to walk it in, so I tried to run and felt good enough. I got moving, knowing I could stop at an aid station soon. When the woman there shouted out to ask if I wanted water or Gatorade, I yelled back, “Band-Aids?” They didn’t have Band-Aids, but luckily one of the volunteers had one napkin in his pocket. I poured some water on my hand, wiped it off, and it seemed like the cut was pretty minor. I held the napkin over the cut the rest of the way just in case. I heard the guy call in an injury, and I reassured them that I was fine. The woman told me that someone else had just twisted an ankle. I was thankful that at least I hadn’t done that! She reminded me that I didn’t have far to go, and I carried on. I am extremely thankful for the awesome volunteers who supported this race.

Other than one guy, I hadn’t seen any people for at least five or six miles. While I had stopped for a minute or two, a couple people came along and passed me. I wasn’t concerned with “beating” people, but seeing them helped motivate me to get moving. I gained on them when we got to the last brutal hill. The three of us seemed to take a similar approach of running as much as we could, taking a break to walk, then trying to run again. We swapped places a couple times depending on who was walking or running. Eventually I tried to push myself to keep running, got to the downhill portion, and took off…hoping I wouldn’t wipe out again!

I finished strong with a time of 1:59:06. That was good for 6th female, and 19th out of 111. Although I didn’t have a real goal going into the race, I hoped that I’d finish within two hours. Even with the downtime thanks to the wipeout, I still pulled it off.

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A photo from Move-It Fitness’s Facebook page

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Here’s what the elevation looked like for two loops. My Garmin said that there was a total gain of 801 feet.

2017-11-25 - sat elevation

I went into the tent after the race, where I was thankful that they had hot chocolate and cookies again. I took some time to figure out what I’d done to myself. The blood on my hand was from a few minor scratches. The non-bloody injuries were the ones that hurt more. My knee was covered with dirt and didn’t look bad yet, but I knew it would get worse later. I realized that my right elbow hurt, so I rolled my sleeve up to reveal a scrape there. It wasn’t pretty, but I was hopeful that nothing was too bad.

I went back out and saw Carmen coming into the finish, so I took some pictures and cheered her on.

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The top male and female runners received a free Metroparks pass for 2018. They didn’t have any other prizes, so I didn’t stick around too long after the race. After three days of racing, I was ready to get home and rest.

The day after the race, I’m surprised that I’m not more sore. I thought for sure that the uphill climbs and flying down the hills would beat me up. I think running on the softer trail surface really helped. I also think my wipeout injuries are helping to overshadow any soreness from the running. My knee hurt a bit on Saturday, but isn’t too bad now. It hurts if I touch it and I’m sure it will turn into a really ugly bruise in the next few days, but it doesn’t feel like I did anything serious. I have a variety of other scratches and bruises, and my upper right arm hurts and aches as if I got a tetanus shot. I know there’s always a greater risk of injury on trails. I’m just thankful that it happened on the last day with just over a mile left!

Despite finishing bruised and battered, I feel pretty accomplished following this 3-day experience. I’m glad I chatted with other runners who gave me the push to go for it. It seemed like a crazy idea at first to go for all three days, but I knew that others were going to do the same thing, and I reassured myself that I was capable of doing it as well. It gives me a confidence boost that maybe I can consider running a spring marathon – something I’ve been questioning lately. In the meantime, I’m having fun kind of winging it. I still might squeeze in a holiday race or two before the year ends.

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

 

 

 

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Big Bird Run 10K

2017-11-12 - big bird shirt

On Sunday, November 12th I ran the Big Bird Run 10K in Roseville, MI. The race has been around for 39 years and I’ve considered running it several times but never got around to it. My friend Carmen has run the race many times and talking to her reaffirmed that I should sign up this year. Perks she listed included a flat course, a good shot at age group awards, and great raffle prizes.

The 10K was scheduled to start at 10:20, so the late start was another bonus. I didn’t have to wake up super early! I still got there a bit early because people running the 1-mile race started at 10:00, with the 4K following at 10:15. A volunteer motioned for me to park in a lot a short walk from the rec center where the race was based. When I got my packet I saw that there was plenty of parking right by the front door, so I moved my car closer. That was a wise choice because it made it easy to grab a hat at the last minute when it started to rain, plus I could get my coat to stay warm right after I finished.

The rec center had real restrooms and a warm gym where we could hang out beforehand. I found Carmen and her mom, and Carmen reminded me to submit the raffle ticket on my bib so I’d have a chance to win one of the many turkeys!

It was just under 40 degrees, and with a little bit of light rain, I opted to wear a jacket. I was a little warm during the race and probably could have gone without it, but I didn’t know if the rain would pick up. Luckily the rain was very minimal and didn’t last the whole time.

2017-11-12 - big bird 4k start

I lined up after watching the 4K racers (including Carmen’s mom) start. Carmen had warned me that it was easy to start too fast at this race, and sure enough, I did. I held steady for the first couple miles and it felt like an easy pace, but eventually I fizzled out and it was a harder effort the rest of the race. We started on a couple of busier roads, then the rest of the run was on residential roads and through a couple of parks. The course was totally flat other than the twisty climb up and over a pedestrian bridge twice. It definitely felt harder the second time, but the way down gave me a nice burst of speed. I also found a little bit of extra speed at the end when we had a straightaway of nearly a quarter mile. My official time was 46:56. It’s not one of my fastest 10K times, but I was happy enough with how it went.

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Carmen came through shortly after me with a big PR! You can read about her race on her blog.

2017-11-12 - big bird carmen janet postrace

They had bagels and fruit in the gym, where they were giving out the awards for the earlier races. We checked the raffle board to see if our bib numbers were listed under various prizes. Carmen’s mom won a turkey! We realized we should find the results to see if we had placed in our age groups. I had won mine and Carmen was second in hers.

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I won a Michelob Ultra prize with a high-quality drawstring bag that had a windbreaker inside, plus a medal. Carmen won a nice plaque.

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2017-11-12 - big bird medal

2017-11-12 - big bird windbreaker

It took a while to get through all of the awards, but Carmen told me that it was worth sticking around through the very end. At that point they drew numbers until they gave away all of the unclaimed raffle prizes. We were especially interested in the one remaining turkey. After drawing numbers of a bunch of people who had left, Carmen’s number was called! She and her mom BOTH won turkeys! What a nice Thanskgiving for them.

Knowing that the race has been around for 39 years, I had thought it would draw a bigger crowd. It looks like 39 people did the mile, 105 did the 4K, and 169 did the 10K. It wasn’t a huge crowd, so it made for a nice, small hometown race. Hansons Running Shop supports the race, and their runner Mel Brender (who sold me some shoes a week earlier!) won the women’s 10K. They also provided the runners with a pair of gloves in the race packets. 

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It was cool to see a bunch of local running friends and run a nice, flat race with fun prizes. I just may have to return next year for the 40th year of the race!

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Romeo was attracted to my prize instantly

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

GM Global Facilities 5K Recap

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On Saturday, November 4th, Trivium Racing and GM partnered up to present a 5K at GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Since I work there, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. I wanted to be supportive of the Chevy Running Club and the charities that would benefit from the race – the Special Olympics and Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit. I signed up right away and even got Matt’s permission to sign him up…though he was very reluctant. He practically lives at work lately, has barely been running, and hasn’t had any desire to race. I was excited that we’d finally do a race together since it had been nearly a year since we’d done so.

The race started at 9:00 and we got there a little after 8:00. We got our shirts and bibs then went back to the car to stay warm. It was around 40 degrees with a light breeze, and I’m not used to the cooler weather yet.

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A nice long sleeve shirt

The shirt and medal feature a water tower, the Design Dome, and other architecture from the campus. The famous architect Eero Saarinen designed the Tech Center campus, which is a square mile. We only got to see a little portion of it during the race since we did a 1.5-mile loop twice. I’m sure it’s hard to shut down too many roads when some people still need to get to work, plus this loop was logistically ideal.

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Eventually we ventured back out into the cold. I was surprised that I only came across a handful of people who I knew from work. I knew that Marty, who recently retired, and his wife, Cheryl, would be there. We got to chat a little bit before the race. Rather than do the organized stretches and warm up with LifeSteps, I opted to do a warm up jog.

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LifeSteps led a warm up session with the Design Dome in the background

I started my jog along the lake and my eyes started to water instantly. I didn’t think 40 degrees should seem that cold! I think it’s a great temperature for a longer race like a half marathon, when I’m running a slower pace. Trying to run fast when it’s cold is tough though, which is why I made sure to get the blood flowing beforehand. Right before the start, I joined some members of the Chevy Running Club for a group photo.

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Once the race started, I noticed right away that my breathing felt labored in the cold air. It has been pretty warm until recently and apparently I’m not acclimated yet. Despite doing a warm up jog, my feet felt semi-numb for the first half of the race. I was surprised that I was so wimpy about the cold!

One great thing about the race route was that it was totally flat. They had music playing at one spot, a very enthusiastic woman giving high-fives and cheering in another spot, and a woman in a Cookie Monster onesie who made me smile.

As I finished my first loop, the announcer said that the second, third, and fourth place women were close to each other and that it would be quite a finish. I realized that meant I was in fourth place. The woman in front of me wasn’t slowing down, so I didn’t think there was a chance I’d catch her. However, the woman in front of her did slow down during the second loop. I normally think about running my own race and don’t worry about trying to beat other people, but knowing that I could get a prize for being one of the top three women helped motivate me to keep pushing. Eventually I caught one of the women and I knew I better finish strong because I didn’t know how close she might be behind me. Trying to run 5K pace is always a challenge, but dealing with labored breathing in the cold made it even harder. My legs felt fine but my lungs did not.

2017-11-04 tech center 5k - splits

My official finishing time was 22:12.9. They tracked both chip and gun start times, and for some reason mine was the same. I didn’t start at the front though, and it definitely took me a few seconds before I crossed the line. My chip time probably should have been more like my Garmin’s time, so I’m not sure what happened there. It’s only a few seconds so I don’t really care, but if that had cost me my third place finish I may have cared. Especially since the official times show that the next woman was only one second behind!

(Edit – A couple days after I wrote this I realized they used gun times for the overall winners and chip times for everyone else. They made an announcement about that prior to the race, but it didn’t really register with me because I didn’t think I’d be fast enough to worry about it!)

I looked pretty miserable in my finishing photos, so I’m going to try to forget about those. Matt and Marty looked pretty good finishing though!

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Matt with both feet off the ground, flying into the finish

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Marty finishing strong!

I grabbed a granola bar and some pretzels then went back to the car with Matt so we could crank the heat. We put some extra layers on and sat there for a bit until it was time for the awards ceremony. I got a pretty cool prize for placing as the third woman.

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Matt and Cheryl both won age group awards. They received a cool cup.

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We caught up with Marty and Cheryl and took some photos together before it got too cold for us.

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2017-11-04 tech center 5k - cheryl janet matt.jpg

Overall, it was a great race. A little over 300 people participated, which is pretty good for the first year. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do for the race in the future. They already mentioned doing it when it’s a little warmer next time, which sounds good to me. Although the combination of the cold and the struggle of running as hard as I could for three miles wasn’t especially fun at the time, I was pretty happy about the race later…when I was nice and warm. It always depends on who shows up, but I was pretty excited to be one of the top three women. I was also happy that Matt and I got to enjoy a race experience together. I hope it won’t be another year now before we race together again!

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

Grand Rapids Half Marathon Race Recap

2017-10-15 - grmarathon medal

The 2013 Grand Rapids Marathon was my first marathon, so of course it was a memorable experience. Little did I know that this year’s half marathon on Sunday, October 15th would end up being unforgettable in a different way. It was definitely an “experience.” Thanks to less than ideal weather conditions, I’m sure this one will remain pretty fresh in my memory for years to come.

I actually signed up to run this half in 2016. I thought I’d use it as a training run as I worked toward running the Richmond Marathon. When I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot in August last year, it was clear that I wouldn’t recover soon enough to run either race. The Grand Rapids Marathon is one of few races that provide the option to defer to the following year. I opted to pay the $25 fee to do so and this race was on my calendar for over a year.

One big reason I enjoy the Grand Rapids Marathon so much is because of Don Kern, the race director. He has a positive attitude and a great outlook on life that really resonates with me. When I considered signing up for the marathon in 2013, the humorous FAQ section on the website caught my interest and made me laugh. He sends newsletters every week as the race approaches, and they become daily updates when the race is 10 days out. He shares inspirational stories from his past marathons as well as tips to help alleviate any pre-race worries. Don has run over 300 marathons and has a lot of great stories to tell, many of which are documented in his book and the adventure continues…. It’s a great read about the adventures of an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things – such as setting the world record for the fastest time to complete a marathon on each continent.

As the race day approached, I fell into the habit of obsessively checking the weather forecast. It didn’t look good. It looked like it would rain, and it could be cool and windy as well. As people began to worry about the weather conditions for this year’s race, here’s what Don had to say:


“So here’s the deal. In case of bad weather, the race will be held OUTDOORS!

Ever run in the rain before?

Some people are asking me about if it’s possible the race will be canceled because of weather. 95 degrees. -25 degrees. Deluge thunderstorms. Wind. Rain. Fog. Whatever. We’ll cancel if there’s a disaster of Biblical proportions. Otherwise, plan on this thing happening. We’ve had 12 years of nice weather. What if one year we don’t?

Always remember–there’s more in you than you think. More strength. More determination. More guts. It’s all in there. Make it happen.”

 

Don’s advice helped me relax. He was right – I’ve run in the rain before and it was fine. Rather than going into the race thinking it was going to suck, I adjusted my mindset and looked at it as an adventure. As Don pointed out, if the weather was bad, we’d have a good story to tell. Boy, was he right…

Grand Rapids is more than two hours away from home, so I headed out the day before the race and stayed at a hotel. The drive out there was kind of miserable as it rained steadily the whole time. I went to the expo at the YMCA for the packet pickup. A pair of socks was included along with the long sleeve shirt. I found a nice short sleeve Brooks shirt that I bought as well.

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2017-10-15 - grmarathon expo shirt

I walked around a mall for a bit, got my standard pre-race dinner at Noodles and Company, then settled in at the hotel for the night. Although I had come to terms with whatever race day conditions we faced, I still kept following all of the updates. A video was posted of Don out at a flooded spot along the race course.

2017-10-15 - grmarathon puddle

It was turning into an obstacle race at this point! We might have a few steps through a monster puddle, but we’d survive.

Although the forecast still didn’t look good, it was in the mid-60s and the rain had stopped when I headed out the next morning. Since the “velocity-challenged” racers were due to start at 7:00, I got to a parking lot by 6:45 to avoid dealing with road closures. I took a bag with post-race clothes to the gear check tent, jogged around a bit, and lined up in the corral. I happened to turn around and see one of my online running buddies Pete right behind me, so we chatted for a few minutes.

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We’re lucky that the rain held off prior to the race so we stayed dry and warm. As the National Anthem began, the first drops of rain came. Over the next couple minutes, a few drops turned into a steady rain just as we were about to start. I looked at the girl next to me and we both just laughed and shook our heads. I was thankful that it was warm enough and I was smart enough to wear my triathlon outfit since this was practically a duathlon! I can imagine it would be annoying to have a wet t-shirt and shorts weighing down on me for 13 miles.

In addition to the rain, we had a pretty strong wind to deal with as well. Shortly after we started the wind blew the rain sideways and I heard someone comment that it felt like pellets. This was going to be an interesting one!

I was soaked within the first few minutes. Although I tried to go around most of the bigger puddles, I realized it really didn’t matter. It’s not like I’d end up more wet than I already was. I used Aquaphor all over my feet and wore Injinji toe socks, so I hoped that my feet wouldn’t turn into a mess of blisters. We ran around some streets in downtown Grand Rapids to start, and one stretch through the busy part of town had a lot of spectators cheering us on. I give the volunteers and spectators a ton of credit. At least we got to keep moving and stay warm, while they were standing there getting cold and wet.

After five miles or so of running through the streets downtown, we veered off onto a paved path through Millennium Park. When I ran the full marathon, I really enjoyed running a long stretch of Indian Mounds Road. It’s lined with trees that can be really pretty at this time of year. However, the half marathon turns before hitting that stretch. I didn’t notice scenery much during this race, with the exception of one short area 9-10 miles into the race. We finally got some nice fall colors in that spot versus mostly green everywhere else. I realized that I had forgotten about the hills along the course. I mostly view this race as “flat and fast” but it does have a few little climbs to keep things interesting.

Pretty early into the race I knew that I’d roll along without any big expectations. I hoped that I’d run faster than I had at the Brooksie Way half a few weeks earlier, but that was the only real goal. I didn’t feel especially fresh or fast, aside from a part around the ninth or tenth mile when there was enough of a downhill stretch to help speed me up. The rain didn’t bother me all that much, and it came and went a few times. During the few brief moments when it wasn’t raining, I noticed that my face was pretty warm. The temperature dropped throughout the day, and it’s probably for the best that it was a little warm. I’d rather not be cold in the rain and wind!

Don had announced at the beginning of the race that they had been able to clear up most of the “lake” about seven miles into the race. By the time I got there, it had been raining for nearly an hour and was pretty flooded again. Someone was making a great effort to reduce it by sweeping it and using a pump, but our feet were completely submerged for several steps.

I had to hold onto my hat a few times thanks to the wind, but it didn’t seem to affect me too much until the end of the race when everything felt hard enough as it was. I didn’t look at my watch very often, but I seemed to be averaging somewhere around an 8:00 pace as far as I knew. I didn’t realize that I had a few faster miles mixed in during the second half of the race that helped me end up with a negative split. I felt like most of the run was quite an effort, but mostly sustainable. The last few miles felt more labored though. It’s understandable considering my training.

I normally like to follow a training plan for the half marathon that requires speed work and tempo runs. I’m normally used to running a specific race pace. However, I’ve been cautious this past year because I feel little tweaks occasionally from the foot that I injured. It’s been a year – how long can this linger? I’m very thankful that I’ve been okay running up to the half marathon distance, but it’s still frustrating. Most of my runs have been at an easy pace aside from racing every few weeks throughout the summer. I’m surprised that I was able to sustain an 8:00 pace for so long when I haven’t been running it during training. The end of the race felt hard, but somehow I kept going and even sped up a little. This wasn’t one of those races where I started slow, sped up, and felt strong through the end though. I battled the rain and wind and managed to keep going, but I didn’t feel great. Here’s a picture from the final stretch when I didn’t see the photographer:

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When I knew there would be a photographer at the finish, I faked a smile. The above picture reflects how I felt more accurately though, haha.

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I finished in 1:43:47 – around two minutes better than my time at Brooksie. Goal achieved! It’s clear that the heat and hills of Brooksie were more difficult for me than coping with the pouring rain.

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Here are my splits:

2017-10-15 - grmarathon splits.jpg

As if I haven’t raved about Don Kern enough already, another awesome thing he does is greet every person at the finish line. He’s there to shake every last person’s hand, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Especially in those conditions.

2017-10-15 - grmarathon don kern finish.jpg

I was thankful for the heat blanket at the finish, because once I stopped moving I started to get cold. Although the frozen custard available in the food line looked good, I knew it wouldn’t be the best idea for me. I opted to grab a bagel, granola bar, apple, fruit snacks, and chocolate milk. I thought the chocolate milk would be a good way to get protein and refuel. I decided that was more important than the post-race beer, which I didn’t think would mix well in my stomach after a whole bottle of chocolate milk.

2017-10-15 - grmarathon beer tent

Eventually I went to the gear check tent to get my clothes. I was shivering by that point and my hands were getting especially cold. The race starts and ends by the YMCA, and they are kind enough to let the runners use the locker room. I got a post-race picture prior to changing.

2017-10-15 - grmarathon janet

You can’t tell from the picture, but I was totally soaked. During a triathlon, at least you have the benefit of drying off a bit thanks to the wind on the bike. Not this time! I started and finished totally soaked. I felt much better when I got into some dry clothes, but my hands were bad enough that I had to sit in the car with the heat on for a while before they got back to normal.

Looking back at the experience a week later, yes, it was hard and kind of sucked at times. But it was a memorable adventure, and having accomplished the race in such challenging conditions makes it that much sweeter. I had moments during the race where I smiled at the ridiculousness of voluntarily running 13 miles in the pouring rain. I also had moments where I was just trotting along, not quite suffering but not feeling great either. I feel good about the actual results of my race, but it also means more to me in the bigger picture. This race was a great reminder to keep a positive attitude, be adaptable, and try not to worry so much. The fact that it was so ridiculous and impractical is part of what made me enjoy it. It all worked out, and believe it or not, was actually pretty fun.

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

Brooksie Way Half Marathon Recap

Brooksie Way is the ultimate hometown race for me. We live half a mile north of one section of the route, so that’s about as close to home as it gets! The half marathon starts and ends at Oakland University, and the course winds around the trails and roads I run all the time in Rochester/Rochester Hills. It’s a scenic course with good variety, but it’s also very hilly and challenging.

One thing that really draws me to the race is the sense of community. Between the 5K, 10K, and half marathon, over 3,700 people participated this year. I love getting to participate in a race in my town and seeing the race proceeds go back into the community in the form of mini-grants. It’s fun to see so many familiar faces, between running friends I know from the area and people I see at the gym and on the trail regularly. The Chevy Running Club from my work takes part in the Team Challenge and draws a pretty big group too.

As much as I love this race, I was kind of surprised when I realized I had only done it twice – in 2011 and 2012. I had to look back at the last five years to remember why it had been so long. The race conflicted with family plans in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, the course was altered due to construction and took runners up a brutally steep hill that I hate during the later miles. Because of that, I bypassed the race those years. I signed up for last year’s race, but a pesky stress fracture derailed those plans. After a five-year break, I was pretty excited to get back to it this year.

The race expo is held at Oakland University’s recreation center. This year they offered $15 discount codes for 2018’s race to the first 100 people in the doors both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. I got there about 10 minutes early on Saturday morning and was among the first 15 people, so I guess now I have a good reason to commit to next year’s race! It was nice to get there early before it got crowded. I picked up discount codes to a couple other races I may consider, and found some good deals on shirts…as if I need more. I found high-quality Brooks podium shirts for $10 a piece.

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In the past, the official race shirts were nice ones from Brooks too, but not these. I prefer the Brooks quality, but hopefully this one will be nice enough to wear regularly.

2017-09-24 - brooksie race shirt

I also stopped by the official Brooksie merch table and got an additional shirt in honor of the 10th year of the race.

2017-09-24 - brooksie 10 year shirt

The race was due to start at 8:00 on Sunday, September 24th. I got there a little before 7:00 and parked easily right on the race grounds. Typically, it’s the perfect time of year for a nice, cool fall race. This year was a different story though. We’d been stuck in a heatwave for at least a week. We were looking at potentially breaking a record the day of the race. The good thing is that at least I was acclimated as much as I could be. I had made a point of going out to run when it was extra hot in the week or so leading up to the race. Still, as much as I tried to be prepared, it’s never ideal for me when it’s nearly 70 degrees at the start of a longer race.

As I jogged around to warm up, I noticed that people were walking around inside the gates of Meadow Brook Amphitheatre. The race starts along the main drive into the venue. I’m not sure why it was open, but since it was, I decided to go in and explore. Meadow Brook is one of my favorite concert venues, and it was cool to see it looking so peaceful as the sun was rising. Some people were using the restrooms and some were warming up by running around the grounds.

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The Chevy group met for a photo at 7:45, then I wandered over to the start.

2017-09-24 - brooksie chevy group

2017-09-24 - brooksie start

The first wave went off at 8:05, and mine followed a couple minutes later. It didn’t take long to clear the shade of the trees and get out in the open with the sun. Fortunately, the route only took us into the sun during the early miles when it wasn’t too hot yet. Entertainment was spread out every mile or so, including a guy playing bagpipes and local news anchor Stephen Clark’s band within the first few miles. Someone was offering cider and donuts to the runners which made me laugh. I don’t think that would sit too well. The first few miles start out downhill, then we got some shade as we ran along the flat Clinton River Trail for a bit. I had a Foo Fighters song running through my head at that point, so I got extra fired up when I passed a guy playing an acoustic guitar while singing a different Foo Fighters song!

Five miles into the race was the first taste of some hills, although minor compared to what was coming later. There was a quick trip through downtown Rochester and the park, then about a mile up Paint Creek Trail – the place where I run most frequently. That’s where we hit the halfway point and when I could tell I was slowing down. Even though the trail seems flat, there’s the slightest incline which I always feel when I’m already struggling.

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I was happy to see Matt at the end of the stretch on the trail. Notice the smile on my face in his pictures versus the photo from the race’s photographer, haha. It was good to see him, and he stuck around long enough to catch some great photos of a couple other friends too.

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My smile didn’t last long because as soon as the trail portion ended, the real hills began. Even though I’d done repeats on the first big hill numerous times leading up to the race, it didn’t feel any easier. Running that hill seven miles into a race is a lot different from doing repeats on fresh legs. From that point on, the rest of the race was a struggle. I was running with a 21 oz. bottle of GU Brew and was trying to conserve some of it. I realized that I was thirsty and should be drinking more, so I started to grab water along the course as well. Since I tend to spill most of it when it’s in a cup, I only got a few sips here and there.

I was mostly in survival mode for the last five miles of the race, where the most challenging hills seem never-ending.

After the tenth mile I came across a guy handing out small bottles of water. He was a savior and I was finally able to drink enough. I knew that Roland from my work would be spectating somewhere after 11 miles, so looking for him helped distract me for a bit. He has come out to cheer for me each of the three years I’ve run the race which is so awesome of him. Seeing him made me smile – especially when he showed me that his shirt said “Run, Janet, Run!” The next day he told me that another woman named Janet ran up to him for a selfie. It was nice to have that little boost when I was struggling.

Knowing that I was nearing the end, I managed to pick up the pace. The uphill climb to the finish line was brutal, so it was nice to see my friend Jeff from work cheering me on. He didn’t get a smile from me at that point though – I was just hoping my final push wouldn’t give me a heart attack! Somehow I faked a smile for my finishing photo though.

2017-09-24 - brooksie janet finish

This was a rough one. A month earlier the Crim 10-mile had been an ideal race for me. I started slow, finished fast, and felt strong the whole time. This race was practically the opposite. A 20-degree difference in the temperature at the start was probably a part of it. I’ve had the heat shut me down in a couple races, and luckily that didn’t seem to be the case this time. However, I think the heat and hills together were a rough combination. Although I’m very familiar with the course, the five-year gap since I’d last done the race helped me forget just how hard it can be. My splits show how I dropped off during the second half. I didn’t look at my watch much later in the race because I really didn’t want to know how bad it had gotten. Based on how I felt, I thought some of the splits would have been a lot slower than they actually were!

2017-09-24 - brooksie splits

2017-09-24 - brooksie results

When I saw that my final time was just under 1:46, I was pretty happy. It was similar to my 2012 time. I knew I should be happy with the results on a hard day, on a hard course, without having followed a training plan to truly prepare me to run a half. I was also pretty thrilled to see that I was fifth in my age group. When I race distances much longer than 10K, I usually don’t place within the top 10. We don’t have results for the Team Challenge yet, but I’m hopeful that my placing will help one of our Chevy teams score well.

2017-09-24 - brooksie medal

I took my time walking through the finishing chute and picked up a Rice Krispies Treat, granola bar, bag of pretzels, etc. A free photo booth was available so I got in line. It was a very slow line and I waited at least 20 minutes, but caught up with my running friend Carmen (read her post about the race here) as well as Jeff and Jenny while I waited.

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The photo above was texted to me within a minute, then I finally made my way to the Team Challenge tent. It’s definitely one of the perks of participating in the challenge. The post-race snacks at the finish line weren’t very substantial or filling, so it was nice to load up on some carbs provided by Rochester Mills.

2017-09-24 - brooksie food

I chatted with a couple from work for a while and eventually made my way to the post-race tent that was open to everyone. There was another photo booth there where they actually provided a physical print.

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After spending a couple hours on site after the race, I finally headed home. Matt always picks up the best post-race treats!

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I was fortunate to have a lot of really solid races this summer, so I suppose I was due for a tough one. I know that the weather played a role in the struggle, so I’m happy that I did as well as I did considering the conditions. Even though I didn’t have the strong feeling that I did throughout Crim, I still feel like this was a successful race.

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

 

Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo Recap

I spent the summer concentrating solely on triathlons, so I was pleasantly surprised when I ran a really strong 10-mile race at the end of August. Triathlon season has wrapped up for me and that was the first “running-only” event I had done this year. The results got me excited to concentrate on running again, which prompted a visit to RunMichigan.com to create a list of potential races I might want to run through the end of the year.

Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo stood out because I had done the 5K in 2014. At the time, it had been a borderline PR for me and I remembered how much I loved the fast, flat course. They have a 5K, 10K, and a “Too Wild” combo that includes both. Since I had just raced 10 miles so successfully, I thought the 9.3-mile combo race sounded like a good challenge.

Romeo always wants to be a part of the action, so of course he was there to photo bomb my picture of the race shirt

Romeo always wants to be a part of the action, so of course he was there to photobomb my picture of the race shirt

Sunday, September 10th was the day of the race and the weather was absolutely perfect. I got there pretty early and hung out in the car for a while since I had picked up my packet a couple days earlier. The 5K was first, and I warmed up with a half mile jog before lining up. I was happy to see pace signs to help organize the crowd.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 5k start

48 degrees felt cool (but great) for the start of the 5K. I didn’t have a specific goal or a target pace. I just planned to run hard and see what happened. The course runs around the outside of the zoo, past a golf course, and through a nice neighborhood in Huntington Woods. It’s as flat as can be, and with few turns, it can make for a fast race.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 5k route

I ran just above a 7-minute pace for the first couple miles and picked up after that. There’s a long, straight shot down Woodward right before the finish line. I used that stretch for my final sprint, forgetting that it was actually half a mile and that it was tough to sprint for that long!

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 5k finish

I couldn’t believe that the clock had just turned past 21 minutes as I approached. My prior PR had been 21:31, so with a time of 21:04, I had shaved quite a chunk off of that. I hadn’t PR’ed in the 5K for three years, so I was pretty excited.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 5k results

I got my medal and they handed out pre-filled water bottles. The zoo is on a mission to keep disposable bottles out of the environment, so it’s pretty cool that they had these.

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They had Gatorade, apples, and bananas right after the finish line as well. I bypassed all of that because I had a specific fueling plan in mind with the 10K coming up next. The tricky part about doing a 5K/10K combo race is the downtime between races. The 5K started at 8:00 and the 10K started at 9:15. That meant I had almost an hour to kill. I had done a challenge like this once before, and it also took place on a cool morning. I ran that 5K really hard and the 10K felt pretty rough afterward. I was curious to see if the same thing would happen this time. I walked around so I wouldn’t stiffen up and went to take a picture with the famous water tower in the background.

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I spent a little time in the car with the heat on and swapped my long sleeve shirt for a short sleeve one. I knew it was warming up and I wouldn’t need long sleeves for the longer distance. I had a few Clif Shot Bloks and water, hit the bathroom, then did another half mile jog to loosen up. I was relieved that the warm up jog didn’t feel too bad. It was funny to go through the routine again and line up for a second time.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 10k start

The 10K felt a bit more labored, but it’s a tricky distance for me. It’s short enough to still run pretty hard, yet somehow maintain it for a longer time. My first couple miles were in the 7:30s, my next few were in the 7:20s, then I picked up through the end. The course started the same way as the 5K until we branched off on some other roads to add more distance, then we finished the same way. Although it was tough, it helped to have people around to keep me going.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo 10k finish

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Once again, I was pretty shocked and thrilled when I saw the clock. My 10K PR from a couple years earlier had been 45:16, so I had shaved five seconds off of that. Double PRs? Awesome! I felt pretty accomplished and like I had really earned the special “Too Wild” medal.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo medal.jpg

People who did the combo race weren’t eligible for age group awards in the individual races, and they didn’t have those awards for the challenge either. They posted the final results for the combo online the next day. Although I cared more about breaking my own records, it was cool to see that I was the second woman out of 79, and eighth overall out of 137!

One of the cool parts about running this race is getting free admission to the zoo afterward. They also have a post-race party with a band and a bunch of food. They had more fruit, granola bars, chips, pretzels, hot dogs, and burgers. I thought it was especially nice that they also had a black bean/veggie burger option.

2017-09-10 detroit zoo party1

2017-09-10 detroit zoo party2

After the meal, I spent 2-3 hours walking around the zoo with my camera. I am very fortunate to take photos of cars/trucks/parts for a living. The number of “fun photos” I’ve taken outside of work has dropped off considerably as running, biking, and swimming have taken over much of my time. It was nice to get the camera out and take some fun shots of the animals. Here are a bunch that I took:

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I probably walked 3-4 more miles through the zoo. Although my legs were tired from racing so hard, I think I recover better if I keep moving.

I had a great day at the zoo and would definitely return to this race again in the future. It’s fun to combine a day of running with a walk through the zoo, and it’s for a good cause as well.

I’ve had some pretty good races lately and I keep surprising myself with my recent speed. When I PR’ed in the 5K and 10K in the past, I’d been running higher mileage with very specific speed workouts. The combination of swimming/biking/running plus racing often seems to be working in my favor. I’ll see how it works for me when I bump my distance up next weekend for the Brooksie Way Half Marathon.

– Janet

Follow me on Twitter @reidphotography and Instagram @janetboltz

Crim 10-Mile Race Recap

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A photo I took at Crim in 2016

In 2015, I ran the Crim 10-Mile race for the first time and immediately understood why so many local runner friends run the race every year. I had a blast and was excited to run again in 2016. Unfortunately, a stress fracture left me sidelined and I could only spectate. I’m glad that I went to cheer for Matt and other friends because it was still an inspirational and fun experience to watch a race of that size. I was a bit heartbroken that I couldn’t participate, so it made me even more anxious to get back to the race in 2017. I was healthy and ready to go, and ran my second Crim on Saturday, August 26.

I really had no idea how to approach this race or what kind of pace to aim for. When I ran in 2015, I was in the middle of marathon training. I was averaging 50+ miles per week and was very familiar with what paces I could run for various distances. I’ve been averaging 25 miles per week recently and have not been targeting specific paces at all. I recovered from last summer’s stress fracture only to have the area flare up again in January. I’ve been extra cautious about speed and mileage since my return to running in April. I had done a couple of 10-mile long runs and one 11-mile run in the last couple months, but haven’t been doing any structured speed work. The only real speed I’ve done has been during my triathlons throughout the summer. I wondered if it was reasonable to aim for an 8:00 pace, simply because that had been my goal marathon pace last year.

I made sure to get to Flint nice and early the morning of the race. I parked around 6:30, which gave me an hour and a half until race time. I still had to pick up my packet and I was probably parked about half a mile away.

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The design on the front of this year’s shirt

After I got my stuff and made a bathroom stop, I went back to the car to get organized and to stay warm for a few minutes. It was a clear morning, just under 50 degrees with no wind. It was perfect running weather but a bit cool for walking around in a t-shirt and shorts beforehand. Crim has historically been warm and/or humid, so the awesomely cool weather was almost unheard of.

I met up with the Chevy Running Club for a group photo at 7:30. I was sporting the team shirt and ran for GM as part of the Corporate Challenge. We had nine teams of ten people – 90 participants! That’s the most we’ve ever had for Crim. Only about half of the people made it for the group photo. Several days after the race I found out that one of our teams won the Corporate Challenge for the fourth year in a row. We have some real speedsters!

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Some of the members of the Chevy Running Club

The amazing people who have run the race for 30 or more years get to start the race early.

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After watching their start, I did a brief warm up jog then waited in the corral for 10-15 minutes. Crim’s corral system keeps things nice and organized. People are placed based on their estimated finish times and reasonably-sized waves go off every 90 seconds or so.

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As I waited for the start, I still wondered what pace to run. I killed some time by playing with an app that estimates race times based on your current results. I ran a 45:50 10K at a triathlon the previous weekend. Based on that time, it estimated I could run 1:16:36. I’d been thinking of aiming for an 8:00 pace, but this told me I may be capable of 7:40 pace. Maybe I could push a little harder than I thought? Ultimately, I planned to run by feel, have fun, and see how it went.

I was in wave C and started a few minutes after 8:00. Although my hands were a little cold for the first mile or two, I couldn’t have hoped for better racing weather. We ran past the University of Michigan-Flint’s campus within the first mile. As a Wolverine, I got pretty pumped up when I heard the Michigan fight song over a speaker. That was the first of many moments that brought a smile to my face during the race.

Triathlons are the only races I’ve done this year, and people are usually scattered and spaced out during the run segment. Crim, on the other hand, is one big swarm of people. I felt energized being a part of such a large race once again. It was a big group run with a party-like atmosphere. The people of Flint come out to support the race and keep it pretty entertaining between their cheering and antics. Like the last time I did Crim, there was beer in front of one of the frat houses, there’s “Champagne Corner,” the guy who sings karaoke (and sounds great doing it) at the end of his driveway, people bouncing on a trampoline, etc. I had to laugh when I ran past one house where a group of people sat in the front yard with a “clap track” providing applause on a loop. There was a “band” named Kyle and the D-Bags, and I quickly realized the drummer and guitar player were only pretending to play along to a recording. As I ran just behind the 8:00 pace group, I totally cracked up when one spectator (who clearly didn’t understand pace groups) excitedly yelled, “Eight o’clock group! Yeah! Go eight o’clock runners!”

In addition to being entertained, I must have gotten swept up in the magic of race day. A couple of days before the race I struggled to finish the last mile of a run at an 8:00 pace. Yet somehow when race day rolls around, it becomes easy and natural. I’m not sure how that happens, but I love when it does. I think getting into a rhythm with other runners who are running a similar pace really helps. Part of it is about going with the flow. I ran an 8:06 mile to start, then the rest of my miles were 7:50 or faster. I’d glance at my watch occasionally and be surprised by the pace, but my breathing wasn’t labored so I kept rolling with it. I used my breathing and perceived effort as a guide, not my watch.

The Bradley hills are built up as one of the most challenging parts of the course, where several climbs come between miles five and six. I powered up them, and although I was breathing a bit heavily at the end of the third and final hill, I recovered quickly. I’ve made a point of including hills in some of my runs over the last couple months. Fortunately, living in Rochester *Hills* is good for training. Some of Crim’s hills seemed minor compared to the long, steep hills I’ve been running during training. When I ran Crim a couple years ago, I actually thought the rolling hills that came later were more difficult than the Bradley hills. Somehow I barely noticed them and they didn’t really bother me this time.

All around, I had a great run. After shaking off some tightness in the first mile or so, I felt strong and smooth. I consciously tried to pick up the pace the last few miles. When I looked at my watch for the 9-mile split, I realized I could hit 1:16:00 (my 2015 time) if I ran a 7:00 mile to finish. That motivated me to give it everything I had right through the end. I didn’t account for the extra 0.09 mi I ended up running, so I finished in 1:16:15 – so close. Only 15 seconds slower than my last Crim time!

2017-08-26 - crim results

Since I didn’t look at my watch much during the run, I hadn’t realized what a solid cutdown/negative split I had run. I was pretty excited about these splits!

2017-08-26 - crim splits.jpg

I’ve had some of my best racing experiences when I’ve started slow and sped up. I wasn’t aware that I’d done it so successfully during this race. I ran by feel and I guess this is what came naturally. Everything just clicked. I wish I could bottle it up and figure out how it happened so smoothly, then always execute that well!

I got some water, chocolate milk, a couple of granola bars, then noticed a free photo tent. I waited in line for five minutes or so and they texted the picture immediately. Pretty cool!

2017-08-26 - crim hap photo

I went to the post-race celebration area next, where I got a bag of sliced apples from McDonald’s on the way to getting my free slice of pizza and a drink. I ran into a couple of friends and chatted for a bit. Before heading home, I stopped by the expo and got a pair of shoes for 15% off.

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2017-08-26 - crim medal

I’m thrilled with the results of this race. I honestly didn’t know I had it in me. My 5K and 10K triathlon times have improved as the season has gone on, but I didn’t know if it would help me enough for the longer distance. I’m sure the cool weather gave me a boost. I guess triathlon training has really worked in my favor. I’ve been running four days a week, totaling 20-25 miles most weeks. In the past, I’ve been used to running five or six days a week, doing tempo runs and speed work, and running double my recent weekly mileage. I thought I was underprepared for this race, so I really shocked myself.

This race also reinforced what I’ve found in the past – that Greg McMillan’s McRun app does a great job calculating my potential race times. I ended up running 21 seconds faster than it estimated, so it was pretty darn accurate.

Crim was a great boost to my confidence. I have the Brooksie Way half marathon coming up in a few weeks, and now I realize that I may be more prepared for it than I thought. I hope to do a couple of longer runs before then so I feel more secure, but this race left me feeling confident that I’m getting my speed back. Now that the weather is cooling down and I’m probably done with tri season, I’m looking forward to getting back to running-only events again.

– Janet

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