Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Run with a Friend and Some Marathon Changes

First, I was lucky enough to have Neophyte TriDuRun for my 16M (he had 17) on tap. We had better weather than expected and only had to deal with the 17MPH winds for the second half of the run. We covered much of the LM course. Only later, did I discover something new.

They changed the LM course…again…I’m pretty sure. Now, before everyone grabs their pitchforks and torches, let me explain that the change (if it is an official change) is slight. But, we are 8 weeks out from the marathon and the course should only be changing because of some unforeseen event such as massive flooding or some equivalent act of god days before.

First, I discovered the change when I was clicking around on the LM webpage, noticing how they had not updated the ‘interactive map’ but discovering a PDF of the ‘new’ course was available on the marathon page. Only, it didn’t announce the course contained within was new; or even altered in any way. More like the casual—I hope you don’t notice—manner in which I answer the Redhead’s questions about how many Girl Scout Cookies I’ve ordered. “Yes, I only ordered 11 boxes from my niece.” Completely failing to admit I’ve secured those little combinations of joy and deliciousness from other enterprising Girl Scouts as well. So, I quickly check my email account because I’m sure, since they confirmed my registration via email, they sent out notification to all currently registered participants about the change. Only, they never sent me a confirmation email, they only took the money from my account. No email.

Nope, the LM dropped this in the most ‘just a take a look in case you are interested’ manner possible. Well, I am interested. And it was then that I noticed the added bulge just west of Pennsylvania and the missing ‘Potter Park loop.’ Hummm. I quickly go back to the ‘interactive map’ and notice the word-only course description remains unchanged. Ugh.

Then, in small lawyerly print on the bottom of the PDF I notice this little gem: “This route is preliminary, pending USATF certification.” Ugh.

Is the change huge? No. Does the change drastically alter the elevation by including or excluding a hill? No. Why make the change? I have no idea, but I’d love to find out. Does this make me worried that the route may change again in the next 8 weeks? Extremely. Why? Because one of the selling points to running this race is the opportunity to train on the actual marathon course. My own personal experience is that, small modifications to any of my usual running routes will take it from easy to difficult or extremely hard to average.

Even if this change does not alter the difficulty of the marathon, a final route would be wonderful.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just To Keep Things Honest

It is impossible to get 'up' for every run, so I find it best to make sure I get 'out' for every run.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Soup, not Super 5K Recap

I forwent my (mostly) annual running of the Super Bowl 5K this year for two reasons: 1) B.o.B. was going to be away from Front Street* and up to Michigan only a few weeks after the SB5K to run the Soup’r Chili 5K; and 2) having started my marathon training without any real base training and only 14 weeks before the marathon, so I needed a little extra time to relearn how to run.

Like always, I did my typical thorough prerace scouting by not once looking at the webpage for the race or even discussing it with the Redhead. So, when I discovered only days before the 5K that it was a ‘fun’ 5K where there would be ‘no official timing’ or such silly things as age group awards or even a winner, I was a little disappointed. I mean, it is the first 5K I was attempting to race in months. Oh well, at least Michigan’s mild winter means a dry course unencumbered by snow and ice.

But the Gods of winter decided that B.o.B. would get some snow for her Winter Wow! Fest and dumped about 8 inches of snow the night before the race. Race temperatures were in the teens and a nasty lake wind is one thing, but the course itself was a 4 loop run along the harbor and—although cleared earlier that morning—was recovered by an additional 2 inchers of lake effect snow. Wonderful.

Race plan gone. New race plan: do. not. fall. You can read the Redhead’s recap for a better description of the course, but I’ll just get to the important part—my disputed finish. While I claim that I finished third, others in the car ride home claimed I came in fourth. So, the technical finishing order is guy in grey shirt, black and white dog, guy in Ohio State (Boo!) shirt, then Spike. But that was a fast dog. Seems Nitmos was also going to be in town for the WWF, but he was too busy with the RUTA to be at the 5K.*

Also, my 10M step-down long run on Sunday went well.


* I know this isn't exactly what it means, but oh well.
** Congrats on your 500+ posts!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Lansing Marathon Preview: The Race Overview

This is what the original Lansing Marathon course looked like.

Then, somewhere around the beginning of the year, they changed it. Now, I’ll be fair. This is the inaugural running of the LM, so I don’t expect them to have all of their ducks in a perfect row…like say a particular marathon with over 100 years of history. So, when the LM webpage describes the starting and finishing locations differently on two different unique pages, I can live with that. What bothers me is the supposed 'interactive map’ is simply a list of directions written out. That’s all. First, there is nothing ‘interactive’ about that map. Now, it does say that the ‘interactive map’ is ‘coming soon,’ but it has always said that. Second, they need a lesson on what the word ‘soon’ actually means. I mean, how hard is it to cut and paste a map of the course onto your webpage? In fact, please feel free to steal the one I've provided below. These Michigan marathons, also in their inaugural running, seemed to have figured it out.

With that background information, the new course looks like this. (Yes, pictures are all you get for now, as I’ll go into the elevation and nuances of the course in another post.)

Because Red and I live so close to Lansing (and yes, my new header picture is of the Lansing skyline) I’ve scripted as many of my long runs to take place on the marathon course itself. Last week was my first go, and aided by the unseasonable warm temperatures of 42 degrees and sunny, I did a 13M run. Much of the marathon curse is on roads that do not have sidewalks (or even bike lanes for that matter), but with weather like we had last week it doesn’t matter as the streets were open for business.

Sadly, last Friday the skies opened up and dumped enough snow to make my 15M on Sunday a very difficult run. Just the typical Michigan winter training long run full of approximately 30% of sidewalks cleared, forcing you to slow and try to avoid turning your ankle as you run on partly crushed and frozen packed snow/ice. And where there were no sidewalks, any shoulder was covered in that two inch deep thick slush that clings to your shoes and soaks your socks while providing no grip, creating that wonderful slip and slide feeling. Still, I got my second consecutive long run on much of the course itself (13 of my 15 miles were on the actual course).
Finally, for those who care. Adidas has begun to sell the 2012 BM gear, and the colors are red and black. They also seemed to have fixed the embroidery problem they had with last years official jackets.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Know Your Blogger

Today, my friends, you get to play ‘Know Your Blogger.’

This round features the Redhead and me. And although I’ve been known to give away fabulous prizes on this blog, there will be none for this particular contest; unless you count getting to know us better. To play, simply submit who you think exhibits what trait in your comment.

Category One: One of Us is Gentle and One is Rough

One runner is gentle with their running shoes, always taking time to unlace them and air them out after a run. The other runner prefers to never take the time to untie or tie the laces. Instead, this runner prefers to shove a foot into the shoe, jamming the shoe tongue deep in to the shoe and simultaneously bending the backing for the heel. So, who is rough and who is gentle?

Category Two: Politeness While Running

One runner goes about the business of running, listening to music and moving along. Often this runner will not look at the beloved Garmin until after the run is complete. The other runner has been known to fart, bark back at barking dogs, slam a hand on the hood or trunk of an inattentive driver’s automobile, and even intimidate other people on the street by cussing at the beloved Garmin. So, who is a kind and sociable runner and who is rude?

Category Three: The Smell of Success

One runner hangs used running gear on the drying rack (the rack not labeled clean) and then puts the dried but dirty clothes in the hamper to be washed. The other runner will also put used running gear on the drying rack, but in lieu of putting said dirty clothes in the hamper, this runner will wear the ‘recently’ used clothes one or two more times before the clothes make their way to the hamper. So, who smells like a winner and who does not?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New Year, a New Adventure, a New Race, and New Sponsors

I am pleased to announce that I am now officially sponsored. But more on that in a moment. First, I want to wish a (slightly belated) Happy New Year to everyone. On New Year’s the Redhead and I partook in the Eve on the Ave in Jackson, where we had an aggressive race strategy of run .5, walk 1M, run .5, walk another mile, then bring it home for the last .1. And I’ll tell you what; I’m a fan of the late night New Year’s Eve race. The AG winners got pie, real home-baked pie. If I had won my age group, I would have closely inspected the apple pie, the chocolate mousse pie, and then selected the cherry pie. I would have then immediately dumped the pie over onto the table so that I may hoist up the empty round tin as my victorious AG medal…alas, I was not the AG winner.

I’m excited because this year the Redhead and I will be married. And currently we are looking for interesting and novel ways to incorporate some running themes into some of our wedding plans. But, mostly, I’m extremely excited that she is running again and looking forward to a hopefully healthy year together.

In racing news, the Lansing Marathon soon approaches and… just when I thought I knew you--you went ahead and changed on me didn’t ya? Well, I’m not giving up on the Lansing Marathon, but it sure did change on me. A few weeks ago it announced it had altered its route. In a future post I’ll give a greater discussion into the changes and a description of the new course.

And finally, my sponsorships. Now, before I get into the awesome details, I should give you a training update. I’m out of shape. This isn’t the first time I’ve begun marathon training out of shape, but I’ve got a long way to go before I’m even in decent running shape. But I’m happy and I’m dedicated, and that is enough to get me through the difficult and disheartening days that surely await.

Still, difficult days are made easier by sponsors, and I’m happy to announce nonofficial partnerships with Stuffy, the Oreo mascot and Twinkie the Kid. I’m also in negotiations with The Hamburglar. Sadly, because of this misunderstanding, a sponsorship with the big clown himself is precluded. My sponsorship deals include no free products or other perks. But I’ve got unofficial sponsors, and as of now you don’t.

Yep, it’s going to be a wonderful year.