Sunday, March 28, 2010


I was driving home from a night of hanging out with some friends when about a  mile away I noticed flashing lights and cars moving into the left lane as if they were directed to. As I got closer I realized there was a vehicle moving at a rather slow place for a road with a 40 mph speed limit. Closer yet I realized a couple bicycles in front of the cars...odd... and in front of the bicycles a couple of runners. after I passed the convoy of runner/cylcist/vans I saw another group a little ways up the road, and I also started to notice the increased police escort that these runners/cyclists were getting. Now I'm intrigued so I circled the block to get a better look. When I got back to the main st. they were running along I sat back a bit from the cross walk (since I noticed a couple of runners nearing the intersection) I put my window down to try and hear but nothing was being said, just the familiar sound of pitter patter on the pavement. Now keep in mind that this is just after midnight, so I was rather shocked to see what appeared to be a long distance relay race taking place. I say relay race because I noticed the batons in the runners hands as they waved at me when crossing the street in their bright yellow shirts. At this moment I was well beyond intrigued and I was excited! A relay race at midnight! Presumeably across at least the state of Michigan with police and bicycle escort! Call me a nerd but I think that's awesome and it made me excited, I had to know more. So I called my best friend who happens to be a city police officer and on duty tonight. Seeing as how they had a police escort he surely would have some idea of what was going on. No such luck, they hadn't heard anything about it, apparently only campus police and township coppers were in the know. Curiousity running wild when I got home I had to know what was going on so I googled a few things and finally found some results! It is a relay across the state of Michigan that began this morning in Detroit and ends in South Haven, Michigan and is a fund raiser for Girls on the Run. How cool is that! A relay across the state, in less than 24 hours! I'm not 100% on the details of who but it looks like running clubs from University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Central Michigan University are behind it. Last year they completed the 181 mile journey in just under 23 hours and 20 minutes.

I think this is a pretty awesome idea and a great charity to raise money for so I thought I would pass it along. The website with all the information is I think it is a very awesome thing they are doing and I would love to be a part of it. It looks like each runner is covering distances between 10 and 15 miles. I will definitely be looking into this for next year to see if there is a way I can get involved more than just by making a monetary donation. It seems like a great cause and a lot of fun. Congrats and thanks to those who have given their time and efforts to make this possible.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flu 1, Me 0

This was supposed to be a race recap post. Unfortunately I came down with the flu on friday afternoon, and after vomiting and the "hershey squirts" all night Friday, a race early Saturday morning just wasn't in the cards.

Lucky for me I had someone special taking care of me Friday night and all day Saturday :-) Aren't I lucky! So I spent pretty much the entire weekend on the couch watching tv/movies, drinking water and eating applesauce.  Not at all the way I thought my weekend was going to go. Oh and on top of the flu, apparently I slept funky or something because saturday night my neck and shoulders started to hurt, even worse than the rest of my body ached.

Thankfully today was much better, I was able to eat meals of real food, not just apple mush and water. Yay for real food! It always tastes so much better when you haven't been able to eat it for a couple days. Went for a run with my buddy after work tonight and it felt great so I'd say this illness is safely behind me. Speaking of my buddy, he did run the race this weekend and set a PR! He broke under 24 minutes which is more than 2 minutes faster than he was last year at the same race so congrats to him!

Well now it's time to start looking for my next race and illness be damned I'm going to run it!...... Just as soon as I decide when and where it is! I'll keep you posted, happy running and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here Comes the Sun!

Now that I got the past six months updated we can move on to better topics like how AWESOME today is! The sun was shining all day long and the temp reached the mid 60's! On top of the great weather, I got out of work an hour early and knocked out a four mile run that felt pretty damn good. Spring is almost here and it couldn't come soon enough.

I also found my chapstick in a drawer at work today which was another bonus to the day. I lost it at the end of last week and was pretty bummed because it is almost completely used up and everytime I buy a chapstick I end up losing it before i'm even halfway done with it. So far this one has survived and I'm determined to make this the first Burt's I've completely used up. Hey what can I say, it's the little things in life that bring me joy!

I checked the forecast today for the race saturday and even though it's supposed to hit mid 50's in the afternoon, they're saying it'll only be high 30's at the time of the race. Not optimum conditions but oh well, what can you do, this is Michigan. I learned my lesson last year and at the marathon; gloves, hat, long sleeve shirt and don't ditch any of it along the way! I'm also going to focus on not going out too fast since that seems to have been a problem in the past.

Oh I almost forgot, my buddy and I went for a 5k yesterday and finished right around 24 minutes flat so it looks like beating last years time is definitely possible for both of us. I'm excited for the race, it should be a great time, now I've just got to find my gloves and a green t-shirt. I mean come on it is the "Shamrock 5k" after all. I'm taking tomorrow off like I usually do and planning on an easy three or four miles for thursday, and a nice easy mile or two on friday.

 Hope your day has been as great as mine was!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Must be this tall to ride this rollercoaster

The sunday following the marathon I was still feeling the joy of accomplisment, almost as if walking on air. So we headed out early in the morning to Cedar Point to ride the rollercoasters and check out all the fun Halloween stuff they had set up like haunted houses.

When I was a kid I loved riding rollercoasters, the higher, the faster, the more loops the better! That's kind of how I am some might call it being an adrenaline junky, I don't know all I know is everything I do it seems I want to go faster, and the time I went sky diving in Atlantic City was no different. Free falling from 14,000 feet was an incredible rush and I can't wait to do it again! Anyway back to the story at hand, I hadn't rode a rollercoaster in eight or nine years so it had been a while. First up was the raptor, which was brand new last time I was at CP, which might date the trip a little bit. It was just like I remembered it fast and fun! Now here is where things got shaken up a bit. Next up was well I don't remember what it was called but I know I didn't like it! It's a giant pendulum that not only swings back and forth (which I was okay with) but it also rotates at the same time, first one direction, then the other. Oh boy did I wanna hurl on everything when we got off. Luckily after sitting down for five minutes or so seemed to help, but from then on the slightest thing would make me queasy. Of course immediately following my ride induced naseau we headed to the Millenium Force, and guess what felt like I was gonna yak on some poor innocent bystander. I decided to be smart and sat out from the mantis and after that the rest of the day seemed a lot better. The haunted houses and other attractions were awesome and I have to say that Top Fuel Dragster is the best ride I've ever been on! I'm just glad that the queasy feeling went away and I was able to enjoy the rest of the trip. Little did I know it wasn't going to be the last time I felt sick before the day was out.

All day long I was noticing that my girlfriend seemed distant, and just kind of off. By the time we dropped of  our friend that went with us and got home it was getting close to 2am. Every part of me wanted to go to bed, but first I wanted to make sure everything was okay, and know why she was acting so odd at the park. Here comes the sick feeling, I got dumped, right then and there in the kitchen. Hit me like a ton of bricks, now I'm not saying it was a perfect relationship leading up to this point, we had differences here and there but we we're always able to talk about things and work them out. Not this time though. In an instant all the good feelings I had felt from all I had accomplished over the past year flew out the window, and instead was replaced with feelings of failure and hurt. The fact that we still lived together didn't make things much easier, luckily our opposite work schedules allowed for minimum contact to be easily achieved.

I had originally planned on taking a week or so off from running after the marathon and then get back into training. Instead I felt like my life was a poorly played game of jenga and someone had just pulled out the one piece that had been sitting there precariously balancing it all out. After the pieces hit the floor I turned to what I felt was the easiest option, drowning my sorrows with friends at the bar and of course as the drinks kept flowing the will power to not smoke dwindled until there was none remaining. I had fallen back into the life that I had been so proud to have left behind. Not nearly as bad as before but bad enough. More than once I found myself leaving the bar at closing time on week nights and waking up the next day with a hangover and a mouth that tasted like an ashtray. Thankfully before things got completely out of hand I was able to get the late bar nights out of my system and I realized I wanted something more out of life, I realized I was worth more than that. I attribute this realization to great friends and an amazing family. Since then I've made peace with the fact that it wasn't going to work out with the ex, and that we are both happier going our seperate directions, but it was hard for a while. I've relearned my self respect, and have started running again, no more crazy late weekday bar nights and no more smoking! This time I'm doing it for me, not for someone else and I think that's why it failed so easily at the slightest setback.

Like I said I started running a couple months ago, and this time I've got a friend who has also taken up running. We run together two days a week and I always try to get at least one more run in during the remainder of the week. It has been so much more fun to have someone to run with this time around. So here we are today, all caught up with my disappearance, my joy, and my frustrations in life. It feels like I've started all over again and for all intents and purposes I have, but it feels good. My buddy and I are running a 5k at our old high school this Saturday, and we're both excited. We ran it last year and it was a lot of fun, and memorable at the same time. You see two years ago on the 14th of March, we were both in motorcycle accidents less than a mile away from eachother and less than ten minutes apart, both on our way home from work. His injuries were much more serious than mine. I only had to spend a few hours in the ER having my knee stitched up due to the two gaping holes where you could see my knee cap, and having other wounds cleaned out. I hit a guard rail on the highway, he hit a car that turned in front of him. His pelvis was split in two right down the middle, and he spent the next month in the hospital with a series of rods sticking out of his waist which were attached to the plate that now holds his hips together. So last year when we ran that race we both realized how close we had come to not being there. Both of us are looking to better our times from last year, and I know for sure he is much more prepared this time around. The future looks great and I'm looking forward to another great year of running.

Holy delayed recap batman!

Where do I begin? Well how about where I left off. Six months ago I was training to run my first marathon. I was in a steady relationship, and had been cigarette free for almost 9 months, and had moved on from my previous life as a bar rat. I was happy, life was going in a good direction.

October 17th was the day before the marathon, I had been training for five months and in less than 24 hours I would put that training to the test. But first I had a wedding to attend for a close friend. Of course being a part of the wedding party that meant showing up early saturday morning and taking pictures, lounging around with friends and looking handsome in my tuxedo.... well as handsome as I can look, I give the credit to the tux. Thankfully over the past six months I had developed some will power, because if this were the previous year I would not have been able to turn down the party and dancing all night long, and sad as it is to say I probably would have made a regrettable decision. This was the new me though, so I made it through the party and dinner, eating two dinners I have to add because someone  at our table didn't show up so I figured a little carb loading couldn't hurt. I hydrated myself  on water all day and night and left the reception almost as soon as it began to meet up with a friend who was running the half marathon and head up to the hotel in GR. By the time all was said and done it was 11pm by the time we got into our room. Much much later than I had wanted to arrive. My girlfriend showed up at closer to midnight since she had to work late. (she was running the half as well)

Six o'clock came quickly and the nerves were starting to build. I ate a bagel and clif bar before heading to the shuttle. My parents were driving up that morning to cheer us on, it almost felt like a high school cross country race all over again. Being the smart one I am I left my cell at the hotel and of course didn't plan ahead to meet them somewhere before hand so I was hoping like hell I would see them before the gun went off so we could give them our warmups. No such luck, the gun went off and I was still scanning the crowd. About 150 yards past the start line I caught a glimpse of them on the side of the course....the other side of the course. So I side stepped my way carefully through the mob all while trying to strip off my jacket and pants. Success, now I was off and I could litterally feel myself leaving the last bit of stress behind me. Now this was an early October morning in mid-Michigan so if I remember right it was around 40 degrees. Free of my warmups I was now running in a pair of shorts, two t-shirts, an under armor shirt, my brooks hat, and a pair of cheap gloves.
After the start running, up to shed my warmups

The first six miles went by like nothing, I had been checking my watch and trying to pace myself and stay with the right pace group, but then I started talking to someone and that whole pacing thing went out the window. Next thing I knew I was no longer running with the 3:45 pace group, which I thought might be a little ambitious as it is, but I was coming up on the 3:14 pace group. apparently I wasn't paying enough attention to realize I had passed at least one more pace group in the process. As luck would have it the person I had been conversing with was quite a bit out of my league, this was his 4th marathon, but he usually runs ultra-marathons and he's run quite a few of them.... GREAT! Well I'm slightly stubborn and I still felt great so instead of cutting my pace back down to where I originally wanted it to be I kept truckin along. I had seen my parents a few spots along the way, about every 3 miles or so. By the time I was nine miles in it had started to warm up enough that my hands were warm and sweating so being the genius I am, I took off the gloves and tossed them to my dad thinking that if I needed them again I could just get them back. The next time I saw my parents was at the finish line due to a wrong turn they made when going to the next spectator area. To add insult to injury a mile after ditching the gloves the course went into the woods for ten miles and the temp. sure did drop in a hurry.

By the time I hit mile 16 I was feeling the fatigue start to hit my quads and my hands were red with pain. Unfortunately I did one of the two things I swore I wouldn't do. I walked for a couple hundred yards, my legs felt as if they were made of stone. As the pace groups caught up with me around mile 18 I started to get some drive and determination back and I hung with them as long as I could. After that the race was a joint effort of jogging and walking, more jogging than walking but still I felt like such a failure to be walking, especially when I saw people 3 times my age and twice my weight floating past me. finally with three miles to go I had enough with my slow pace and I dug deep and forced myself to leave it all on the course and finish strong. I picked my pace up and started passing people back, not nearly as many as had passed me but it felt good to be going faster again. As the finish drew near I saw my dad on the side yelling my name and that gave me an extra bit of energy. 300 yards left I saw my mom on the other side cheering, and again I felt a rush. 200 yards left i saw my girlfriend of over a year screaming and running along the outside of the course following me to the finish. All at once I felt more emotion than I had in  long time. I felt the pain and the joy, I felt excitement and relief, but most of all I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and not let go. I felt that this was one of the biggest accomplishments of my adult life and I was so happy she was there to share it with me. All I remember after I crossed the finish line was shaking some guys hand, being handed my finisher medal by one volunteer while another wrapped a space blanket over my shoulders and off in the distance I could hear yet another volunteer shouting that cold beer was on the left and hot chilli was on the right. I wasn't worried about either of those locations at the moment. My eyes were too busy scanning the crowd for the girlfriend. Finally I found her and it was one of the most needed hugs I had ever experienced, call me a nerd but it took every bit of remaining energy to keep hold of my emotions.

400 yards to go!
So there it is, I had finished my first marathon, considerably slower than I had hoped to at 4:17:00 on the dot, but even still I was happy. Life was great, even though I had to walk up and down stairs backwards for two days following, it was all worth it, and we had plans the following weekend to celebrate the accomplishment by going to Cedar Point. I had the next day off from work to recouperate and nothing could touch me. Life was going great and nothing could steal my thunder.....or so I thought.........