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Jul 31, 2012

Thinking of dialing it back?

Unplanned rest day on the schedule today.  Since I ended up running yesterday, I have not missed anything.  Another thunderstorm this morning but I can still get in my miles.

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Speaking of miles, I've been thinking of scaling back on my marathon training plan.
Grand Rapids Marathon 10/21/12
I'm currently following Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan but there's only one thing.......it's hard!  When I first started the plan, I did not think that it was much different from Intermediate I which I have done for my last two marathons.  I really wanted to get in more miles this time around but my body is showing signs of slowing and little aches and pains that have made me questioning the amount of miles.  I'm attributing this to three reasons:

  1. The miles are much higher for this plan overall
  2. The weather has been horrible - even morning training has been difficult due to high temps.
  3. I've tested many different pairs of shoes over the last couple months(still testing two outside my normal kicks) and thinking perhaps my body does not like that change

This week I have Rest,8,4,8,4, cross train and 16 on the schedule and I'm only on week 7 of 18 weeks.  I would not hit that for another three weeks on the Intermediate I schedule.  If you look at week 7 on the Intermediate I schedule, I would be doing Rest,7,4,7,4,cross train, 14 - only 4 miles more.  FOUR miles?  Does it really change things that much?  Yes, because I have another 11 weeks of training that progressively get harder.

The reason that the Intermediate II plan is about three weeks ahead is that the plan allows you to get in an extra 20 miler for three total in the plan.  My worry is the way I'm feeling now, I'm not sure I want to get an extra one in.  I think the toll of running four marathons in two seasons is starting to catch up to me.  I'm also thinking I like Winter training so much better. Ha!

Of course, that's how I feel at this moment in time.  I'll take the day to rest and see what tomorrow brings.  I just don't want to get hurt and end up missing more running.

Maybe it's time I start swimming and biking more and running less to prepare to run my first triathlon next year?  Not that I'm saying that's easy but replacing high impact exercise with more low impact exercise  can't hurt.


Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 30, 2012

Michigan Race Entry Winner!!!!

8 miles on the schedule today....done!

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Well, it's been about two weeks since I ran this contest.  We had 17 official entries into the contest for a free Michigan race entry sponsored by Renewal by Andersen of Detroit.

I used Random(dot)org to pull the lucky winner's name and it is:


Lucky #7!!!!

and that person is.....

Tyacie from Ty Runs!!!!  She has a great blog as well so go check it out!

Congratulations Ty!  I hope you enjoy whatever race you end up choosing.  Maybe I'll even be running it?  Please contact me via e-mail and I will get your contact information over to Brandon at Renewal by Andersen of Detroit.

I look forward to seeing you in this:

For those of you that did not win, please continue to follow Renewal by Andersen of Detroit and/or Detroit Runner for information on upcoming contests for more free race entries.  In fact, they have a contest going on right now on their Facebook page.

Thanks again to Renewal by Andersen of Detroit for sponsoring this great giveaway.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 29, 2012

Reminder, reminder

10 miles on the bike today and a weights workout.  Happy to be done and really happy for a rest day tomorrow.  I could use one!

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This is your last reminder of the Michigan race entry giveaway.  You have until 8pm today but that's it!  Go HERE and enter.  You'll be happy you did.  You've got lots of choices thanks to Renewal by Andersen of Detroit.
And you get to run in one of these too!  People love them.

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40!
Next week is a big one for me.  I've got 40 miles on the schedule - yikes - 40!  Ok, now I know it's not the 100 mile weeks the amazing Jim is doing over a 50 after 40 but for me that is a lot of miles!  Go check out Jim's blog - I am completely amazed by his training this season.  If you were ever thinking that you might want to change the way you run and move from a heel striker to a forefoot striker - that's what he did.....and got better!!!

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Are you guys watching the olympics?  I watched a little beach volleyball yesterday.  Those guys are good!  I have a friend that I went to high school with that lives in London.  He's had some amazing shots of things going on there like the torch runners.  Wouldn't it be exciting to live in the City where the Olympics take place?  Has anyone been to the Olympics before?  Did you live in the City?

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Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 28, 2012

Brückeläufe Half Marathon Inaugural race

10 miles on the schedule today.  It was a nice long slow run today over at Stony Creek.  Exactly what I needed to remain fresh for running.

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If you guys/gals have not heard about this, there is a Inaugural half marathon coming this October 6th in Frankenmuth called the Brückeläufe Half Marathon.  This sounds like an incredible race.  For those of you that don't know, Frankenmuth is about an hour north of Detroit.  There are many Barvarian themed restaurants and shops for you to enjoy.  It's a fantastic tourist area and a very unique town.  It's home to the famous Bronner's all year Christmas store and the famous chicken dinners at Zehnder's and various other restaurants.
Bronner's - Christmas 365 days a year
Zehnders Famous Chicken Dinners
Due to the great location of this race, you should consider this two types of race.  First, because it's not that far to Frankenmuth from the Detroit area, you could go to the race that morning, run the race and enjoy the rest of the day there and come home the same day.  If you are out of town/out of State or do not want to go there in the morning, I would, however, also seriously consider this race a destination race.  This is a great opportunity for you to come and stay at one of their hotels for the weekend and really make this into a race-cation.  My family and I often come up there every year and really enjoy the city.  It's a great weekend trip.
Bavarian Inn - Downtown Frankenmuth
Brückeläufe -- the bridge race -- should really give away what this race will be all about.  On October 6th, You will run over 11 bridges over the course of 13.1 miles including the most known wooden bridge there, the Holtz Brücke 239 ft wooden covered bridge.  How fun is that?  I have to say it's one of the most unique ideas for a half marathon that I heard of.
Holtz Brüke Covered bridge 
The race is put on by the Frankenmuth Jaycees.  Some of you may have run some of the other races that they put on including the Volksläufe and the Winterläufe.  I have not had the pleasure of running these races but have heard really great things about both so it's a natural progression for them to organize a half marathon.

I also believe that this fits in perfectly into a marathon training plan so you can use this race as a training run before your marathon.  In my case, I had 12 miles already planned that day to prepare for the Grand Rapids Marathon, so as I said -- perfect timing.

Over the course of the next several months, I'll be doing posts about the race as it's race ambassador.  Not only will I be discussing more of the details of this race but I'll also be running it and doing a detailed race review for those of you that will not be able to run it this year.  I would encourage all of you to consider running this inaugural race with me!  I think you will be happy that you did.

If you are interested in registering for the race now, go HERE and sign up.  The cost is only $40 and this price will run through September 15th.  It's an awesome value and also includes a t-shirt and finisher's medals.  Wow!  Also, go to their Facebook page(click HERE) and "like" their page.  It will ensure you don't miss any new information about the race.

Much more to follow.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 27, 2012

Completing the season and giveaway reminder!

7 miles on the schedule today.  Hot, humid mess that it was, I still got it done.  I can only imagine what 50 mile weeks are going to feel like.

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I have finished out my calendar for races this year!!!  Here's the line up:
It kind of looks like the beginning of my season.  Two half marathons and a full marathon in four weeks(except I did 3 half and 1 full in spring - which was too much).  I will have run seven half marathons this season and two marathons.  Yikes -- that's a lot of running!

Of course, there's no more racing after 12/12/12, right?

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I also was to remind out that the contest for the free Michigan race entry sponsored by Renewal by Andersen of Detroit is going to end on Sunday.  If you have not joined the contest, go HERE.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday....

Not sure I've ever done three things Thursday but I think I'm going to add it to the weekly schedule.

1) The other day I saw a guy running in LONG sleeves and LONG pants....when it was 85 degrees.  Huh?

2) I've been completely obsessed with my Camera lately.  I really wish I could take better pictures but I'm learning.  It's like my golf game, I need to hit 100 shots but that one good one keeps me coming back.
Part of Detroit Skyline near Hart Plaza

3) This morning I woke up to this:
Lightning in my backyard
So no run this morning before work but I'll be running today after work.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


Jul 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Ducklings at the end of my long run on Sunday
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 24, 2012

This and that and giveaway reminder

3 miles on the schedule today.  It was a hot, sweaty, humid run today.  Felt very tough.

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I'd like to do an upcoming blog post on "Before and After".  I'm looking for people who would not mind sending in their photos of themselves before they lost weight and after they lost the weight.  Like this:
195 to 135; 8 months to lose; complete change of diet and exercise(walking then running)
First picture is about 3.5 years ago; second picture is last month
I know there's more inspiring ones out there than me.  Let's see what you got.  Send it to me via e-mail and I'll compile a list for the blog post.  Don't be bashful - you earned it!  A great tool to do this is PicMonkey - it's what I used here.  It will hopefully be an inspiring post.  Give me a couple details like I did here(dates, pounds lost, how you did it) so I can put something about each of you.
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Click HERE for their website
I've already signed up for a half marathon next spring - the Lansing half marathon.  Huh?  Yes, got a deal on the race so I decided to sign up for it to see how it goes this year.  You can still join me for only $55.  This race got some good and bad feedback last year but it was the first year so I figure there's always room for improvement.  Looking forward to it since it will be a new race for me.  I guess I'll be running in winter......again:
I could go for this about now(of course, it was about 10 degrees-yikes)
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Just a reminder to sign up for my race entry contest.  Hey - what's with you people?  I've got a FREE race entry to give away in Southeast Michigan?  People always complain about spending the money to race and they don't try to win a free one?  Go HERE now for a great chance thanks to Renewal by Andersen of Detroit.  It won't take you much time to sign up.  You only have until July 29th - hurry up!  I've only got 5 people signed up!  five!!!!  Lots of races to choose and a great chance to win.

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Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 23, 2012

Race expectations

Rest day on the schedule.  I sure do need it.  35 miles last week along with cross training equals a well deserved rest day.

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The other day I was reading another running blog(sorry, I can't remember who since I follow so many).  Anyway, it was about racing.  The popularity of it.  The overcrowds.  The race bling.  The race so large you don't know anyone.  Not the way it used to be Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Some of the comments related to race bling and do we really need it?  Now of course we don't NEED it, there's very little in this world that we do need.  Food, shelter, etc.  That's about it.  But the question came up about what is needed at a race.  As you know, I've reviewed many races over the last few years.  I enjoy racing.  I do it often enough and I think I know what makes a good race and a bad one.

Race bling is part of that.  I love receiving a medal at the finish.  I think most people do.  It gives me something to take home, hang in my office and remember what I accomplished.  Even if it's a short race, like a 10k, I like it because I have that memory when I see the medal.

 It's just like when we go on vacation, we buy shot glasses.  No, we don't really drink but that's not the point, it brings up a memory for a vacation we took and we've got lots of them.  Each time I look at one, I remember something about that vacation.  Maybe races should start giving out shots at the end?  Haha!
Detroit Marathon 2011 medal - every time I look at it I remember my PR
Ok, where was I?  Oh, yes, the bling - I also enjoy getting a t-shirt.  I sure don't need another one as I've probably got 25 in my closet but I use them to train with and I always see people training wearing their race shirts.  Is it advertising for the race and/or the sponsors - sure but who cares?  Actually, I do because they help keep the race costs to a more reasonable level.  Plus, if you really like the race, why not help promote it and the products of the sponsors.  The more people at the race, the better chance the race will grow and continue each year.
Race shirts
I've heard suggestions about making the t-shirt optional and some races do that but I enjoy getting it and I think most people do.  I also think as the number of races continue to grow, they have to do things to stand out from each other.  For example, The Back to the Beach half marathon I did in May had cold wet towels at a couple aid stations and it was a really hot day - fantastic!!!  It stands out from the other races because most do not have this.  It's ideas like this that are needed to bring people back each year.

Food at the end of the race - expected.  Medals for half marathon or longer - expected.  T-shirts - expected.  Timing - expected.  A great course - expected.  A marathon expo - expected.  If we are going to use our hard earned money to race, many of these things are expected.  I'm not saying I expect them all or any of these for every race but I think the majority of runners these days want all this so they feel like they are getting something for their money.  They want to walk away with something.  They need to walk away with something.

So what do you expect in a race?

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 22, 2012

Vasque Mindbender Trail Shoes

The Vasque Mindbender
A couple months ago Vasque via Darby Communications sent me a pair of Vasque Mindbender Trail shoes to test and review.

As all of you know, I've been getting into trail running.  I love being on the trail as it's so tranquil out there and sure beats the pounding of your feet on cement.  I was really excited to test these shoes because they are made for long runs.  When I mean long runs, I mean LONG runs as in Ultra runs.  Now I haven't worked up the courage to run an Ultra just yet but someday it will be in the plans.  For this review, I'm referring to my trail runs which have not gone more than 20 miles.

My first impression of the shoe is that it's a very nice looking shoe.  You might as well have something stylish especially if you'll be running for 3-48 hours in these things.  Plus one for Vasque in providing a really nice looking shoe.
Nice reflective details on the front and back
In regards to comfort, right out the box these are quite comfortable.  Most of my road running shoes, I really need a break in period where I run in these for a few miles at a time before going longer.  For some reason, most of the trail shoes I've tried, I have not had to go through a break in period.  First time out, I ran six miles in them and I liked the feel.  The shoe has a nice wide toe box area which I really prefer in all my running shoes.  In addition, the shoe wraps around the rest of your foot so your foot stays in place.  Also, my heal stayed in place as well.
Heal
Toe - enough protection
It's a very stable shoe; however, one of the drawbacks, is that it's not quite as flexible as many of the shoes I've worn.  Of course, they are made for the trails so one would expect them to be a little more stiff.  I didn't mind that as long as they remained comfortable(which they did)  The upper was very comfortable and the midsole and outsole gave enough cushion but not so much that you could not feel the response of the trail.
The drop on the shoes is 10mm so for those of you that are looking for a more minimalist shoe on the trail, these are probably not the right option for you.

The shoes fit true to size as I wear an 8.5 running shoe which was a perfect fit for the Mindbender.

I really love how the company describes these shoes:

"Running an ultra is a mind-bending experience.  The Mindbender was developed to help you wrap your head around the challenge.  Built on the Perpetuum last, this light but rock solid shoe was created to eat up miles without eating up your feet."

I could not agree more with this statement although I'm still trying to get my mind bent into an Ultra.  Haha!  In regards to eating up your feet, I did not get any blisters from the shoes.  I could not feel any spots that rub incorrectly and my feet stayed relatively cool and comfortable throughout all my runs with the shoe.

While we do have lots of trails to run here in Michigan, I don't have anything comparable to places like Colorado or Vermont but we do have some fairly steep hills in Michigan that give plenty of challenge to test the shoes.  The Mindbender handled the hills like a champ.  My feet stayed planted and I felt I had the stability needed to handle the technical trails.  Take a look at the bottom of the shoe to see how they grip the dirt.  It kind of looks like a tire tread on a mountain bike.
Great sole for any trail surface
One thing that I think I've been spoiled on with other shoes is the weight.  The Mindbender is not bad at all and runs only 11.5 oz for a men's size 9 or 9.9 oz. for a ladies size 7.  Perfectly acceptable for the kind of distance you'll be using these for.  I'd like to see them try and reduce the weight just a bit in the next version and perhaps even start moving the drop from 10mm down to 8mm to help transition to a more forefoot strike.

I also tested these out on the roads too.  They performed great there as well.  I'm not sure I'd use these as a regular shoe to run on roads but if you have a race that also has some roads to it, these would work just fine.   I did a test run on just cement with no problems at all.

Here's some additional details from the company on the shoes:

MEN’S SIZES: M 7-12,13,14,15 WOMEN’S SIZES: M 5-11
WEIGHT: M 9: 11.5 oz. (326g) W 7: 9.9 oz. (281g)
GTX WEIGHT: M 9: 13.6 oz. (386g) W 7: 11.1 oz. (315g)
LAST: Perpetuum, Women’s Specifi c Perpetuum
UPPER: Synthetic Nubuck, TPU Weld, Airmesh Nylon
FOOTBED: Removable Dual Density EVA
MIDSOLE: Stability, Dual Density EVA, TPU Instep Plate, Textile Forefoot Plate
OUTSOLE: Vasque Blur - Slip-resistant Compound
PRODUCT FEATURES: Reflective Trim

The bottom line is that these trails shoes are really comfortable.  Whether your planning an Ultra Trail race or your looking for a shoe to walk some trails, these would be ones to consider.  They have the quality needed to remain on the trails for hours at a time.

Interested in learning more about the Mindbender by Vasque or their other shoes?

For their website, click HERE.

For their Facebook page, click HERE.

For their Twitter page, click HERE.

I want to thanks Vasque and Darby Communications for the opportunity to review these fine trail running shoes.

* Note - I received a complimentary pair of Vasque Mindbender Trail shoes in exchange for this review.  All opinions on this blog post are my own and I was not paid or required to give a particular opinion on the shoes.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 21, 2012

Further testing....Injinji socks

Rest day on the schedule today.....just did a mile today.

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Injinji via Scott from Outdoor PR sent me a couple pair of their socks in May.  I had already done a review on them(HERE) but they also sent me a couple more pairs to try out.  I've been running in these for the last several weeks.  Every pair they sent me is a little different whether it's the weight of the sock or the length or the color.  Here's the additional two pair I was sent:
Midweight
Original weight
I also tested a mid weight and lightweight option from the previous review.  Once again, these are really great socks to run in.  Both have Coolmax in the material so they help keep your feet dry.  I've worn them for the last couple months.  I have never developed one blister from wearing these.  My only real issue with these is getting used to putting these one.  Since they have the toes, it takes a little bit of effort.  Not so much that I would not buy them but you(or at least I do) need to get your toes in there just right.

Once they are on, they always feel like they are just made for me.  I'm not sure how they do that since  everyone's toes are different but they feel great when running.  I've even been considering trying a pair of Vibram Fivefingers since I got these socks.  I don't run barefoot in any shoe ever so obviously these would help.  I also like the fact that you can't feel any seams in these so they are very comfortable.
Original Weight
Mid weight
Out of the three weights I received -- that being mid weight, original weight, and light weight -- I actually like the lightweight the best.  Of course, it is summer but I know that will not last and I'll be back to my preference being the mid weight.  I also like the mid weight and they are still great for summer running especially if you are planning on running really long distances.  Helps give you a little extra cushion.  Since guys wear these for the Western States 100, then they are good enough for me considering I won't be running close to this anytime soon.  Haha!  Injinji will remain in my running arsenal for years to come.

So if you have an interest in trying these out, please visit Injinji:

For their website, click HERE

For their Facebook page, click HERE

For their Twitter page, click HERE

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 20, 2012

Not just road racing....

10 miles on the bike today plus a weights workout.  That's four weeks in a row for weights.  Yes, surprising since I hate it so much.  Probably should be doing twice a week but I can't commit.

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The popularity of races has been increasing each and every year.  I've only been running/racing the last three years and even I'm surprised by how much the demand has gone up.  It's nice on one hand to see people being active and enjoying running.

What I've noticed is all the alternative types of races that seem to be popping up.  Are we really bored just running the roads or trails?  Some of my best races have been those?  Here's a quick list of alternative races I can think of just off the top of my head.

Warrior Dash - I think they are the ones that really started this whole trend - I did it...it was fun!(see my post Wednesday for a discount if you're in Michigan)

Mudathlon - yup, you guessed it, a mud run.

Tough Mudder - the 10-12 mile obstacle course they don't call a race.

The Color Run - this is a new one - get colors thrown on you during the race...ah...ok.

Spartan Race - They have various distance - some absolutely crazy stupid(such as no water)

Muddybuddy - Run and bike with mud/obstacles with a team of two.

Urbanathlon - Yes, in the cities with obstacles.

Greaturbanrace - more obstacles in urban settings.

Beach Dash - obstacles at the beach, of course.

XTERRA - run/ride race series

I'm sure there are many more.  Of course, there's also all kinds of triathlons which have been around a long time including the Ironman.  There's also women specific races too.  Or what about Relays such as Ragnar or Hood to Coast?  Don't forget Ultramarathons too.  What, you don't want to run 100 miles?

Of course, from what I've seen, most of these events are at least $50 and many of them charge for parking along with food after the race.  Yet, these races sell out all the time.  I think I'm in the wrong business.
My friend and I doing Warrior Dash Michigan 2011
Have you run one of these events?  I did the Warrior Dash.  Would you do it again or is it a one time thing for fun?  Probably one time for me.  Do you think most of the people that do these are regular runners?  I would say most are probably not regular runners.  Give me your thoughts.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 19, 2012

Allied Medal Displays Detroit....

3 miles on the schedule today.....done!

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I like to think I had something to do with this.  Check out what Allied Medal Displays is now selling and posted on Facebook.  For all my Michigan followers especially, here's a great addition for your medal display or for a gift for a runner you know.

Click to see their webpage

See what they made me and that I reviewed(Click HERE for full review)

Thanks again Allied Medal Displays - you guys make great products!!!

Have a great day and.....Keep Running!!!!

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