Category Archives: running

Why I did it

On Friday, almost on the spur of the moment, I signed up to run the Meteor 10K on Saturday, part of the Martian Invasion of Races in Dearborn. I had originally played with the idea of this race as a tune-up midway through my training for the half-marathon, but those hopes were dashed by my misunderstanding of when exactly the race fell. I was expecting it to be at the end of April, but when it turned out to be at the beginning of April instead, I lost a little interest in it.

Last week was a fairly good week for running, after completing the treadmill challenge with an 11% improvement and a successful short run earlier in the week. I was vacillating a little back and forth with deciding on this race. I thought that I was capable of running the 6.2 miles of a 10K, but I wasn’t sure. After the last few failures, I think I had a lost a little bit of confidence that I was on track for half-marathon goal.

One of my co-workers had been training for the Martian Half-marathon, and my supervisor had been planning to run the Meteor 10K as well. By Friday morning, I was feeling good, and decided I should just take the plunge, and do it. I hesitated throughout the day, not really sure if I was going to do it. At one point, I pegged it at 95% certainty, which is like saying yes, but with an escape hatch if I chicken out. After work, I went over and registered.

At that point I got the pre-race jitters, even though I was focused on making this a training run and nothing more or less. That, I think, is also an important part of practicing for a run. But I was in, and at the very least, I had my new technical running shirt (which for me is a huge motivator).

As it turns out, I’ll do almost anything for a Technical Shirt. Isn’t this one wild?

It turns out I was exactly capable of running 10K. The race went very very well. I stopped for short walk breaks at 2 and 4 miles, just like my plan has me doing. I maintained a fairly consistent pace, right at 10 minute miles, right on plan. The race started out cold and windy, but after about mile 2 you stop noticing that. Around mile 4 and a half, we ran by the Henry Ford Estate, and there were delicate bluebells blooming alongside the road. In short, it was a beautiful day for a race.

More importantly, however, was the sense of accomplishment that came with it.
March, as you may have heard, was a difficult month for goal achievement for me. I struggled with my writing goal, and I struggled with my running goals. The two long runs that I attempted failed. In fact, I was supposed to have been at 7 miles by now, and I hadn’t successfully completed anything longer than 5. Tackling this 10K, for which I hadn’t specifically trained, and actually feeling good at the end of it was validation that things would work out.

Here’s the race. I got a new toy: a Garmin Forerunner 305, which is a GPS watch that will let me track my runs better.

Treadmill Challenge update

Today I did my final run for the treadmill challenge. I was a little shin-splinty, and I’d taken a week off because of it, but it was today or never.

I spent most of my training time on the road, and had a few failed runs in there. I didn’t get as much running in as I wanted. But I did in fact feel really good while I was doing my run today.
My final run was 2.32 miles in the 20 minutes allotted for the treadmill challenge. Since my baseline was 2.09, my improvement was a solid 11.00%. I think that’s fairly respectable.
So how are the rest of you doing? Sometime this week or next let me know how it went.

20 Minute Challenge Reminder

Hey folks-
Just a quick reminder that the 7th is coming up quickly. Don’t forget to record your baseline. I know that several of you have talked to me about doing this. Put your baseline in the comments to the original post.

You can follow my progress on Twitter. I compulsively tweet my runs. Join me! You can follow me at:

Go, Fight, Run!

20 Minute Treadmill Challenge

I was sitting here, thinking what I could blog about, and then I Tweeted about the 20 minute treadmill challenge. I figured, what the heck, I’ll throw the gauntlet down and see who picks it up.

Jousting Competition - Let the games begin

I’ve been participating in the 20 Minute Treadmill Challenge with the Ford Runner’s Club for the last few years. I’m trying to remember if I did it in 2007. I know I did in 2008. I am again this year. I ran my baseline today, and managed 2.09 miles in 20 minutes.

I’m inviting all of you, dear readers, to participate in the challenge with me this year. (Yeah, I know, short notice. Deal with it. You’re tough, right?)

Here’s how it works:
1- You decide to participate, because you are (wo)manly, tough, brave, competitive, or whatever, or because you are bored of treadmilling without purpose, just to get through the winter (that’s me.).

2- Sometime before February 7th, you run 20 minutes on the treadmill, and you write down how many miles you went. During your run, you keep the pace above 5.0 mph to the best of your ability. (The Ford Runner’s Club is more strict than I’ll be. They have a walker’s division which you have to keep the pace below 4.9 mph.) NO SANDBAGGING. This is your baseline distance.

3- You report back here, in the comments, with your distance.

4- For the next 8 weeks, you run faster and longer workouts.

5- During the week of March 29th to April 4th, you run the challenge again, and report back here what your new distance is.

6- We calculate who is the most improved and cheer for them.

If more than 5 people complete both parts of the challenge with me, I’ll throw in a $25 prize (for local Michiganders, a gift certificate to Running Fit or the Tortoise and the Hare, for non-locals, a gift certificate to eastbay or something similar.) for the most improved non-me runner. If there’s any interest in a walker’s league, we can do that too.

How’s that sound? Who’s in?

Running: A history

I recently crossed an important milestone… According to my Nike+ iPod system, on November 8th, I ran my 500th mile since I started using the system back in November 2006. So 500 recorded miles in 2 years, plus some amount of non-recorded miles. Not too shabby!

Mike made me this logo in celebration of my 100 miles since his last run. Awesome what you can do with Paint and WordArt, isn’t it?

To me, what is really impressive about all of this is that amounts to approximately 475 more miles in those 2 years than in the previous 8 years. In high school, I was a runner. Ok, kind of a runner. I did run cross country for two and a half seasons, and long distance track for a season. I was consistently middle of the pack, but I’m pretty sure it was in the front middle. The important part was that I enjoyed running, and was at least in enough shape to do it regularly.

Some persistent injuries and high levels of stress during my senior year forced me to drop cross country that year, and I fell out of the habit of running. Over the next several years, I tried occasionally to run again, but I was never able to hold the habit consistently. My best attempt was during my last year of grad school. My roommate over the summer, Adam Miles, was crazy into running, and he talked me into a nice pair of running shoes, which I did in fact really use to run in multiple times. But grad school was more important, and I didn’t have a real goal in mind, so I fell off the bandwagon again.

With this in mind, once I moved to Michigan to start at Ford, I decided that for once and for all, I was ready to become a runner again. I had a good deal of time on my hands, as I was living by myself in Canton, and hadn’t really integrated myself into the ward here yet. I decided that beginning in September of 2006, after the completion of a travel audit in New York City, I would buy myself new shoes, and reacquaint myself with the road.

I did some research, being the meticulous type, and decided to use the Coach Potato to 5K training program. It is designed to ease you into running. My failures in the past were probably from trying to do too much too fast, and this program, which I highly recommend, keeps it simple by moving from walking with jogging to jogging with walking to jogging. I made my own music mixes with the timing built in, and eventually found that someone else had done that too.

To keep myself motivated, I have used running to bribe myself. For example, I really wanted a new iPod nano to replace the clunky iPod classic I had that would skip after exactly 20 minutes of running, and of course, if I was going to get the nano, I wanted the Nike + to go with it. I determined that if I could consistently make progress on my Couch Potato plan, I could have the whole setup for my birthday in 2006. It did, and I got my running bling. (Leilani once asked if I liked running for running’s sake, or for the gadgets… I’m not ashamed to say that its for both.)

I also used it to earn my Wii, which I officially earned last Saturday when I crossed the 500 mark. I decided that if I was showing adequate progress, I could open the Wii at 400 miles… which I also did, as long as I made it to 500.

One of my tricksiest motivation techniques to keep myself going, and to remind myself that I was a runner again was to take out a 4 year subscription to Runner’s World. On eBay, you can get anything… even 4 year subscriptions for less than $10. Now, I get a monthly reminder to get back on the boat.

It took me a year to be ready to run a race after I started running again, but last Thanksgiving, I finally decided I was ready for it, and talked Amy into running the Turkey Trot in AA with me, on a whim and at the last minute. She did very well, and I finished, and that was enough for me. It was possibly the best thing that happened to me in 2007.

Amy placed and I finished! Sweet Victory!

I’ve managed to run 3 5Ks this year, each with slightly better times or finishes (2nd place in my age group at the Tara Grant Memorial!) and I’ve trained myself up to a 10K finally. It took two attempts, but here I come Turkey Trot. Here I come. This may be one of the few New Year’s Resolutions that I actually keep!

That’s me, streaking to the finish line at the 2007 Turkey Trot.

I’ve also managed to conquer new distances, ones that seemed impossible. The day of the Tara Grant memorial was supposed to be my first 7 miler, and I was terrified. But once I knocked it out, those longer distances don’t really scare me anymore. You’ve seen my casual talk of an 8 miler that may have been a 9 miler. I’ve got a 10 miler on the horizon, and I’ve realized that I’m practically at the half-marathon distance. If I can keep myself healthy and running during the winter and into the spring, I’m seriously considering a 2009 half.

This was the run that put me over the 500 mile mark. Amazing!

I have found peace while running, and for the hectic world we live in, I’ll take peace where I can find it. Running has brought me a sense of purpose, as well as a sense of pride. These last 500 miles have been a wild ride, and here’s to 500 more!

So what are you waiting for? Go running!

Guess what I did today

Well, did you guess?

If you answered pretty much nothing, you’d not be far off. But I did do somethings. Like go pick up my latest CSA farm share. Which was delicious looking…

Here’s the take:

1- 1 dozen eggs
2- 2 more honey bears
3- 2 decorative gourds
4- 1 bunch of arugula
5- 1 acorn squash
6- 1 bok choi
7- 1 bunch of small turnips
8- 1 quart of potatoes
9- 1 sweet lightning squash
10- 1 onion
11- 3 carrots
12- 1 carving pumpkin

While at the farmer’s market, I also paid for a Thanksgiving turkey. Locally raised, none of that crazy breeding, and probably twice as delicious. I’m excited, although it will probably be on the smaller side. We’ll see.

I also ran 9.5 miles according to my iPod. I’m not sure if I believe it or not. I was supposed to run 8 miles, so I spent some time over at, trying to figure out how to stretch 8 miles out of my usual suspects. I finally settled on this run:

As you can see, the distance is clearly 7.65 miles. That didn’t phase me because there’s a delightful little back trail through the neighborhood that adds about half a mile to most of my runs anyhow. So I finally got myself ready to go (I had been putting off the run all morning, rationalizing that it was too cold still, and somehow decided that downloading Dr. Mario to the Wii was a good idea instead of running, even after I’m all dressed and stretched… It was a rough morning, I guess.)

It was a beautiful day for running! The roads that I chose were mostly dirt (I honestly didn’t know there was so much dirt road so close!), and they were lined with trees in color. I agree, Elizabeth, wonderful time of year! I did end up choosing a good temperature to run in.

However, my iPod announced that I had completed my 8 miles at a point in my run where I knew I still had over a mile to go. That was a little weird. I decided to keep going, since I’d been at it for over an hour at that point.

At the end of the run, my iPod showed this as my final score:

So which was it? 9.67 or 7.65. The world may never know. My iPod isn’t exactly accurate, but I don’t think that it would be off by a mile and a half either. The funny thing is that MapMyRun and my iPod agreed on the length of my other favorite runs. Who knows? Maybe Steve Jobs does.

Oh, and as a little challenge for my blog readers, I left something aside from the eggs out of the picture above. Can you figure it out?

A run- House Hunting

I’ve become obsessed with the idea of purchasing a home. It borders on unhealthy, I think. Last Sunday, I spotted a house nearby that was a steal. By Tuesday, it was no longer on the real estate website I was looking at. I don’t know if it sold, or if it was taken off the market. I decided to run by tonight and see if there was a for sale sign out front. There wasn’t, but I did stop at a few other houses to grab flyers.