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Jul 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 7/31/13

A little present from the trails when I fell on Sunday. I wondered why my leg hurt?
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3 miles today; took it easy as well.  I also did pre-run weights and post run yoga.

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

Jul 30, 2013

Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area - Trail time!

Over 14 mile on Sunday on the trails.  Ouch.  Tough.  We had a good time though running.  It was Alexis, Kevin, Sherri, Josh and I out there.  We only saw a few bikers and I only saw a couple runners.

It was like our own personal trail out there.  These pictures don't even do it justice.  This trail is an incredible resource in the area.  I really wish it was closer to me.

The views at the top are really pretty.  It was a cooler and overcast day - perfect for running.  I did trip once on a tree root and went tumbling down on my left side and shoulder but thankfully the only thing I hurt was my thumb.  Phew!!!  That could have been a disaster.  It's the first time I've ever fell on any trail so I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Pontiac Lake Trails
There is some great hills to train on here especially if you are training for a trail half.  The prize at the end of the climb is this:
Great views!
In fact, we decided to make a stop at the top and grab a quick picture of everyone running, except me, since I took the picture although Josh did take a picture of me as well.
Kevin, Josh, Alexis, Sherri
As you can see below, much of the trail is single track.  It's set up for mountain bikers but also a perfect course for runners as well.  Nice and technical in parts of the trail.  Lots of rocks and roots to watch out for.  In fact, I'm not sure how you get through some of it with a bike!
Josh and Alexis in action
The loop is a 10 mile loop but Kevin and I did a bit more than that.  Check out the map:
Elevation per Garmin
Map per Garmin
So if you have not been out there, get out there now.  All you need is a State Park pass and it's free otherwise.  Michigan does have some incredible parks.

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

Jul 29, 2013

The Road to Indiana.....week #4


Week 4

Week four is in the books.  One month down and 14 weeks to go!

Monday - 3 miles(Actual - 3.11 miles, weights, yoga)
Tuesday - 6 miles(Actual - 6.01 miles, yoga)
Wednesday - 3 miles(Actual - 3.14 miles, yoga)
Thursday - Rest(Actual - yoga)
Friday - 6 miles(Actual - Cross Train 13.45 miles on the bike) - road the trails at Stony Creek
Saturday - 13 miles(Actual - 6.01 miles, yoga)
Sunday - Cross train(Actual - 14.31 miles) - Pontiac Lake Trails - tough run

Total Run miles - 32.58 miles

A really tough week for me.  I had a tough time meeting my pace on Saturday's pace run and while I really enjoyed running on the trails on Sunday, my IT band is hurting.  I didn't even do that much more than I was supposed to but I think the back to back running is wearing on me.

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Rest day today - I was supposed to run 3 but still feeling yesterday's run.  I did do my yoga and weights though.

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

Jul 27, 2013

The Pace Run

The pace run.  It's exactly what it it says it is.  It's a run at marathon pace(7:44 for me) to help you get used to running that pace.  It also helps you the following day when you run on tired legs for your long run.

Today's pace run sucked!  Haha!  Ok, really, no run for me ever sucks because I love being out there.  I'm happy to be able to be out there running and know that I'm lucky to be able to run.  Regardless of weather or pace, I'm happy.....however!!!!

I did miss several splits on today's run.  My first mistake?  I went out way too fast.  I mean - look at that first split.  There's no reason for it.
Splits
Essentially what that did is slow me down for the last half of my run.  Stupid - just stupid.  I will say that the route I did was a little big hillier than I've been doing for my pace runs.  Not that it's trails or mountains but hillier nonetheless.  Here's the elevation:
Elevation
My original plan was to start in downtown Utica right next to the library and run the full way on the paved trail as an out and back.
Utica next to library
That plan changed as I got further out on the trails.  Because the route is next to the Clinton River, it's not uncommon for it to be flooded in this area.  It was not fully flooded but there was a spot where I would have had to run through quite a bit of water so I took a different way and looped around to Van Dyke.  After that, I headed back to the trail and ran through downtown Utica. 
Route
Since I had six miles to do, I made my way up to Utica High just North of Utica and then back to my car in Downtown.  Of course, I would have rather stayed on the trail but you have to adapt sometimes(or run in wet shoes)

The river is down but still flowing well.  Here's a quick video I took next to the river after my run.
video

It's really a nice area in Utica and I enjoy the occasional run here.  You have to change it up a little to keep things interesting so while I didn't meet the paces I wanted, I'm happy to be out there.
River area in Downtown Utica
Next to Downtown Utica
Up next, trails!  Yeah!  I'm SO looking forward to a slow long run on the Pontiac Lake Trails tomorrow.

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

Jul 26, 2013

Pro pics Charlevoix Half Marathon

Only $10 for all of them so I figured why not?  These are all uncropped and unedited but I'm sure I can make them look even better after that.
At the 5k point
At the half point
On the path - pretty!
Chasing down!
Another on the path
Front of the crowd - I love this picture!
Cruising!
Waving!
What do you think?  I wish more professional photographers would offer deals like this.  I'd buy more pictures.  You will also notice I am running with my camera - more proof I do take pictures while running.  Haha!

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Over 13 miles on the bike today with Kevin out at Stony Creek.  Had a great time riding on the trails and loved the tougher trails as well too.  Just getting ready for my tri!

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

Jul 25, 2013

Shoes, shoes, decisions, decisions

So as I go through marathon training, I'm in the process of deciding my next marathon shoe.  I've worn Saucony Ride's for three of my four marathons and I ran in Mizuno Wave Rider 15's for my other marathon.
Saucony Ride 6's
I just received the Saucony Ride 6's and I'll have a full review in a few weeks -- they might be my next marathon shoe.  I really love the feel of these so far but I need to get more miles in them to know for sure. 

I've also been running more in the Kinvara 4's and am considering these as well.  It's really surprising but I've transitioned quite well to the lower drop(4mm) and believe I can now handle them for longer runs.  I've only run up to 6 miles in them, with no issues, but I'm planning on racing the Crim 10 miler in them and if that goes well, I'll also run a half in them to see how it goes.
Saucony Kinvara 4's
My other thought was to try out the new Saucony Cortana 3's that are coming out August 1st.  These are a hybrid of sorts combining the cushioning and minmalist features into one shoe.  Check them out.  These look incredible and the description of them seems to fit perfectly with what I'm looking for in a shoe(although they are a bit expensive - $150!) Even the Cortana 2's are $105 on liquidation at Running Warehouse - yikes!
Saucony Cortana 3
The other thing I want to do is get some new trail shoes.  I've been torn on what to get.  I've been looking for the last month and just cannot decide!  I keep moving towards Saucony again because they've been so good to my feet but I'm not sure yet.  The two choices I like are the Peregrine 3 or the Kinvara TR 2.
Peregrine 3
Kinvara TR 2
There are so many other brands of nice trail shoes as well and given I'm looking at a 50k next year, I'm going to need to train in them during winter which means I'll need some near the end of the year.

Given the 50k distance, I probably want to have something with a bit more cushion than the Kinvara but just don't know.  The New Balance Leadville 1210 look interesting but they are classified as stability but so are many trail brands.
New Balance Leadville 1210's
 Also, what about the Inov8 series?  I've heard great things about these shoes.  They are more minimal but have some cushioned choices as well.  I like the 255's.  These have a 6mm drop which is what my current trail shoes are.
Inov8 Roclite 255's
Salomon also have several excellent choices and I like the Sense Mantra.  I've got a pair of Salomon shoes that I run in for the winter that are Goretex and they keep my feet warm but they are too warm for summer.  Here's what the Sense Mantra's look like:
Salomon Mantra Sense
For those of you that run trails, what kind of trail shoes do you run in?  There are so many choices to pick from.  I think the biggest thing is that I've mostly run in Saucony and Mizuno on the roads so I'm really having a hard time with this.

Shoes, shoes, shoes.  There are so many choices and I'm really confused!!!!  You would think with all the shoes I've gone through, I'd know by now but the trail side has some big differences.  Give me your thoughts!

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Just Yoga today for training since it's supposed to be my rest day today.  Also, my hip is a little sore and I want to make sure it feels better for my pace run this week.

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


Jul 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 7/24/13

Beautiful Moon on my run this morning.
Moon closeup 7/24/13 morning
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Jul 23, 2013

Alpenfest 10k race review


Short Version
Finished in 45:23(official time); PR? - Yes and no; I'll explain further
Overall place: 19/122
Place for Men: 17/54
Overall pace: 7:19/mile
Age Group place(M40-44): 1/8
Race #49

Official results from Runner's Edge Race Timing
It's always nice to run a small town race.  This is the third time I've run the Alpenfest 10k and I came in first in my Age Group.   One of the best things about running small races is I actually have a chance to place in my Age Group.  Overall a nice race but the organizers made a big mistake and the course was short by 0.10 due to a mix up in the placement of the 10k turn around.  I'd still run this again and hope it does not happen next time I run it.

Registration/Packet Pickup
Registration was very easy.  You could pre-register on Active.   Frankly though, race day registration was also easy as I saw several runners doing that too.  I only saved $2 by registering early since there is a convenience fee on Active.
Packet pick up day before and race day
You could pick up your packet the day before or on race morning.  Given the size of the race, I'm surprised that the race even offers pick up the day before.  There were a few volunteers to help but there were only a few people in line when I got there.   I gave them my name and they had the packets all set up by shirt size.   It was an easy process and I was in and out in no time.

Start Area
The start area really is a great place for a small race.  It's located under the pavilion in downtown Gaylord.  Since I planned to be up there this weekend, I figured why not run a race too.  For those of you that have not been to the Gaylord area, this race is part of the week long Alpenfest activities.  There's a fair with rides, an art fair, food and tons of activities the entire week including concerts.  Click HERE for more information on everything.
Start/finish
As you can see, the timing company was set up by the time I got there.   I was there about an hour early and really could have gone there 15 minutes before the start given the small size of the race.
Under cover
There was plenty of space for family to sit with their runners until start time and also after the race for awards.
Plenty of place to sit
Cold Stone Creamery and Tim Hortons was selling breakfast items before the race too.  It was a beautiful day with cooler temperatures(not 80 and humid) to start and sunny.

Food for sale
Coffee for sale
You can see how large the pavilion is with the picture below.  Plenty of space and a great area to start and finish.  It's also right next to the Alpenfest fair.  Since I was there early, I was able to see the fun run and the walkers start.  The fun run was.....fun.  It was nice to see the little kids run and smile.
Pavilion
Fun Run Start
Walkers start
Course
The course was the same course as previous years.  Well, sort of!  It was supposed to be the same but, it appears when comparing the course with the 2011 course, the organizers had a mixup with where the 10k turn around was supposed to be and I think what happened is they put it where the 5k turn around should have been.  It made the course 0.10 short.  It seems to me, the #1 thing is to make sure the course is set up correctly and whoever was in charge should have double checked it.   Of course, this is not a certified course but they should make efforts to make sure it's correct.  A big miss this year in my opinion and disappointing considering how well I ran this race.  If I adjust for the error, I don't get my PR so I'm not counting this as a PR.
Map per Garmin
Comparison from 2011 - big mistake
Ok, ok! Once again I started out way too fast. That first mile is more like 5k pace or even faster! After the first mile, I settled down a little and got into a good pace that was uncomfortably fast.  My main goal for this race was to just run this as my marathon pace run - a training run.  I only needed a 7:44 split to do that so I really did end up racing.  I'm happy I was able to continue to hit marathon pace for my pace runs so I was happy with the result overall.
Splits
The elevation was mostly flat except when you got into Aspen Park.   The paved trail in the park is not flat and makes for a little more challenge.   I hate this elevation chart because it barely looks like a bump!  As you can see, there's not a ton of runners for this race and I even lined up near the front which worked out well.  It looks like there is only a few runners ahead of me but really there's more like 15 since we stretched across the road.   This put me right where I should have started.

Elevation per Garmin
Runners behind me at Start
Runners ahead of me at start
We're off!
It was a ready, set, go race and we were off.  I started to get in my groove and the guy in yellow below was running at a good pace so I followed him until the park area and then passed him.  At the end, he congratulated me and said he was trying to keep up with me but fell a little short.

Running with the fast runner!
The course takes you by the Elks club where they have live Elk viewing.  It's a nice area to run.

Nice day!
View of Elk area
Out and back
Above and below show the short out and back portion used to get the distance correct.  Unfortunately it appears someone messed up because the 10k turn around below should have been(I'm assuming compared to 2011) at the back of the road and not the middle of the road so the result was a short course.  I can only assume that the 5k runners ended up with a long course as I believe the two spots should have been switched.

10k turn around - wrong!
As we made the turn around, we got to see the rest of the runners also make their way down the street as well.  This is just before going into Aspen Park.

pretty road
Entry to Aspen park
You can see above, the entrance to the trail in the park.  This is a really nice park that has both paved and unpaved trails which are great for running and biking.  It's a great source for Gaylord residents and visitors.
In park
You can see the park is well maintained and has lots of woods and trees as well as some open areas.  I've run here numerous times over the years and it a great place to run.
Where is everyone?
Nice woods view
Two loops in the park
After we did two loops in the park, we headed back out to make our way towards the finish line.

heading back
It's difficult to see but they had a band set up below at a retirement home.  It was nice to see that out there as I don't remember that last time I ran this course.

band
straight to the finish
As we started to get closer to the finish, there were more spectators that were cheering on the runners. It was nice to have some crowd support at the finish.
Finish(taken after)
Aid Stations
The race had two aid stations stocked with water.  Normally, I would say its not enough for a 10k, however, because we had two loops in the park and headed back the same way, two was plenty.  This meant we passed an aid station five times.  It's actually a great course that requires less volunteers and smart on behalf of the organizers.   I was not thinking and did not get a picture of the other aid station.  All volunteers were very helpful and also cheering on runners which was nice.
ready for runners(sorry it's blurry)
Finish area
After the finish, you made your way to the water and Powerade area.  The race also had food set up including watermelon, sub sandwiches, bananas, and cookies.  I was really hoping for those strawberries that were there last time but they didn't have them.   It was nice to have watermelon though and I thought they had a pretty good selection of food.
Immediate results
Results were already starting to be put up just after I finished and I was excited to see I had won my age group!   Woohoo!!!  The timing company had a board up to see the results.   In addition, they had the QR code on the bib so you could scan your bib with your phone.  There was a volunteer at the finish directing runners where to go and keeping them moving as well.  There was also plenty of room for family to wait and also take pictures.
Volunteer helping at end
The race had all the food set up in a line but, given the small size of the race, you could just walk up to what you wanted at any time.

Yum - coookies!
More food!
Powerade/water
Awards
The girls who won at Alpenfest were giving out the age group awards.  There were no finishers medals for any of the races so you needed to be fast in order to win a medal.

Amenities
For your $25 race entry(or $30 on race day), you received a cotton/poly shirt.   It's actually a really comfortable shirt and I'm happy to have one more race shirt I can wear on a daily basis versus a tech shirt.   I will say that the first time I ran this, we received Under Armour tech shirts that were REALLY nice - the nicest I've ever received from a race.   I'm sure they figured out, you don't have to give anything that nice.  Regardless, I like the simple design on the front of this years shirt.

If you were lucky enough to place in your age group like I did, you received a medal for it(top 3).  It was the exact same medal as two years ago when I ran it.   Haha!  I wish they at least could put the year on it to distinguish the year.  Regardless, I'm happy I placed first!

You also received finish line food and a timed race.   It was a gun start but a chip finish.  It was a semi-closed course meaning the volunteers stopped cars at the stop lights.  I did not see any police support but there was not much traffic so it really was not needed.
Shirt - front
Shirt - back
AG award(1st M40-44)
Medal
Same medal as 2 years ago!
Organization
The timing company was well organized and had results up quickly at the race and also on their website.  The start and finish were well set up.  The race had two port-o-potties set up at the start/finish and also regular public bathrooms(bonus).  The food was plenty for all finishers(I was there until the end for awards)

Obviously the biggest issue with organization was the short course.  It really was a big mistake that could have been avoided with better communication with its volunteers.  Also, the race had no website to answer FAQs and show the course, etc.   Instead, they just put limited information on the Active sign up site although given the smaller race, I can see why they did not have a separate website.  I think it's something they could easily include on the Alpenfest website though.

Overall
Overall, I really love running small town races and its a real bonus when I can come up to my cottage for the weekend and also run in a race.  It's nice to be one of the top runners once in awhile.  Other than the short course mishap(which is the first time it was short in 3 years I've run this), this is a fun race and route to do and not just a plain, flat course.  Perhaps I have more fun because it's in the town where I've been coming up North for years but I do like this one overall and I'm sure I'll be back for future races.

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

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