Thursday, December 15, 2011

Great Reward

I linked my last post to the "Head Goat" of Running Fit and he rewarded me with 2 free race entries and a Running Fit Gift card. So awesome. Then I got a letter and certificate from more of the Running Fit Adventure crew with a free entry in to the Triceratops triathlon. I love Running Fit. I'm going to frame and hang up my certificate to remind myself I'm pretty cool on those days I'm just not feeling it.

Unfortunately, I just haven't been feeling it this past week. I acquired a horrible cold. It's quite hard to decide when it's better for you to workout and when it's better for you to rest. I took more time off than usual this illness because my throat was painfully sore and I couldn't bear the thought of passing more oxygen past the irritated skin than absolutely necessary. I'm feeling significantly improved this week and eager to get back to the bike, swim, run, core, and yoga.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Summary - Running Fit Adventure

Holiday Hustle - 5k race results:
Time: 22:30 (post-partum PR)
Place: 118 of 1076
AG: 9 of 84

The Holiday Hustle last night brings my 2011 Running Fit Adventure to a close. In summary:

  • 16 Running Fit races completed along with two extra events
  • Volunteer at 1 Running Fit race
  • 3 Running Fit races missed: Dances with Dirt - Devils Lake, Pterodactyl Tri, and Run Vasa. The first two missed because I was preparing and taking my preliminary exam. Run Vasa missed because it was too close to my ultra.
  • Completed my first triathlon and first ultra
  • Dropped 1 min/mile off my best 1/2 marathon and 5k times from 2010
  • 11 age group awards
  • Favorite race - Dances with Dirt - Hell 50 mile
  • Favorite event - Run Woodstock
  • Race I wish I could afford to travel to again in 2012: Dances with Dirt - Green Swamp
  • Least favorite race - Shamrocks and Shenanigans - needs some traffic management to deal with the fact that runners need to be able to pass walkers in the multiloop course
  • Proudest accomplishment - finishing my first open water swim (800m) without stopping or panicking
  • Over $1k spent on race registrations - but at least I have a ton of new tech shirts, beer glasses, mugs, and awesome memories
In addition in 2011:
  • I fell in love with yoga
  • Started running and working with with an awesome group of people at PR Fitness
What is up for 2012? More triathlons, shorter distance races (to focus more on speed and to have more time for other aspects of life), picking up the Running Fit races I missed in 2011, going for 10k and 1/2 marathon PRs.

All of this is subject to change if I end up going to Vancouver this summer and get a lottery place in the Knee Knocker - 30 mile race.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lots of Updates

I've been quite neglectful with my posting duties.

Run Woodstock:
The race was unofficially renamed "Mudstock" this year. I made an unwise decision to run sock-less for the 1/2 marathon, in old road shoes (read: no traction). I did more skating than running and ended up with some very large and painful blisters. The runs without results were informal, non-timed events. Despite the trail conditions, still an awesome running weekend.

Friday night: 5k

Saturday morning: 1/2 marathon
Time: 2:27:26
Place: 108 of 326
AG: 5 of 20

Saturday night: short 10k ~ 5 miles
Sunday morning: 5 mile

DwD Hell:

My first ultra. I had an awesome time. I just kind of got into the zone and didn't think about anything. Kept my goal pace of 12 min miles until the 1/2 way point and then I started to drop off. Larry O'Sullivan pulled me in the last 10 miles. This was an awesome experience.

Time: 11:25:30
Place: 41 of 67
AG: 2 of 2

Spartan Sprint Tri:

I'm still not a swimmer, but with short pool swims, it barely matters!

400m swim: 9:35 (29 of 36 collegiate females)
T1: 1:49
20k bike: 37:46 (9 of 36 collegiate females)
T2: 1:18
5k run: 22:53 (10 of 36 collegiate females)

Total time: 1:13:18 (9 of 36 collegiate females)

Arbpocalypse 5k:

Maybe the first race I've won?

Time: 24:32
Place: 10 of 52
Gender: 1 of 28

Run, Scream, Run 5k:

Fun course!

Time: 24:05
Place: 46 of 724
AG: 3 of 85

Thursday, August 18, 2011

T-Rex Triathlon

Race Results:

0.5 mile swim: 20:08 (71%)
T1: 1:17
12 mile bike: 37:57 (46%)
T2: 0:42
3.1 mile run: 24:08 (25%)
Overall Time: 1:24:13 (40%)
AG: 4 of 17
Overall Place: 165 of 413

*Percentiles based on the entire field (men and women)

I dropped my time by 5 minutes from the last triathlon, with pretty much the entire improvement coming on the swim portion. This time I was much more confident on the swim, so I pushed myself a bit harder. I also did a better job of watching the buoys and staying on the course. Transitions went better as well, with the exception of forgetting my towel (to dry your feet before you put your socks on) and having one of my research samples in my bike shoes.

I was quite surprised to hear my name called for an age group award. It's not too much to brag about though, as the field for this triathlon was weaker than it was for the first one.

Triathlons are a lot of fun. I look forward to continuing to do them. Maybe even moving up to a longer distance.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Red Carpet Run - 5k


Time: 23:19 (7:31 pace)
Place: 39 of 245
AG: 5 of 40

Barely made it to the race on time, weekday races are hard. I got stuck in stop-go traffic 1.3 miles from the race start. I needed to (a) get to the race, (b) warm up for at least a mile, and (c) use the facilities. I parked at an abandoned K-mart, ran into Duncan Donuts for a pit stop, and then ran to the race start for my warm up. I picked up my number just as they were calling 5 minutes for the start. A nice volunteer let me leave my glasses with her, as I had forgotten to take them off at the car.

The race itself went okay. My pace was steady the whole run, and I was spent at the end. I had my best 5k time this year, though it probably would have been faster if my bum wasn't crazy sore from squats in yoga class yesterday.

At the finish I got a wine glass (with wine) and I also got a diamond shaped prism for placing in my AG.

I was lame and didn't go with the theme of the race, which was to dress up like you were on the red carpet. I hate dressing up, and if I was on a red carpet for some reason, I might just wear my workout clothes. I did wear a necklace, which was annoying, and earrings, so some effort was made.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Long Time, No Update

It's been a long while since I've updated, mostly due to the fact that it's been a long time since I've raced. My goal of running all Running Fit Events in 2011 will not be realized, as I missed two races (Dances with Dirt Devil's Peak and Pterodactyl Triathlon) due to needed to devote more time to my preliminary exam. I'm still aiming to finish all of the remaining races, with the intent of picking up the two I missed this year in 2012.

Race Results from The Legend 1/2 Marathon:

Time: 2:02:43 (9:22 pace)
Place: 25 of 196
AG: 5 of 17

The race didn't go quite as well as I had hoped, but I didn't take into account heat and humidity when setting my pace goals. There is really nothing to do when the weather is bad, besides to hydrate property and to change your expectations.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hurts so Good

I started a new yoga class yesterday and it was a whole new experience. Robin, my previous instructor, was soft spoken, played soothing world music, and slowly led us through posses. My new instructor, was a bit more like a drill sergeant. I felt bad towards the people to whom she displayed open disgust towards, because they could not hold the poses for long enough. I did well, though I would have been discouraged if I was a yoga beginner. Today my shoulders are more sore than they've ever been due to the pushups we did. She kept having us hold the pushup in the down position (halfway). Pushups are not my forte. I'll just have to view this yoga class more as an extra core class than as a relaxing experience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1/2 Done

Over half the year has passed, and I'm half done with my races. Only 10 (maybe 11) races to go. I'll have another tough couple weeks in early August (3 races in 11 days), but this time I'm going to sleep and eat excessively well.

I ran 8 miles pushing Cedric today. He held up quite well, though he got really fussy a few times. At mile 6 I found myself gasping "Victors" up a hill to entertain him. It reminded me of trying to blast out M Fanfare after doing entries into the stadium. I need to run with him more often, though on shorter routes, for both our sake.

Monday, June 20, 2011

National 24 Hour Challenge

The National 24 Hour Challenge is a bike race in Middleville, MI where the goal is to bike as many miles as you can in 24 hours. I was planning on doing the first loop of this race, 120 miles, with my Dad. Unfortunately I fell ill the night before. My dad still completed the loop on his own. Way to go, Dad!

I was planning on finding another long bike ride to do this summer, to make up for missing this one. Once I started looking at my calendar for a weekend that would work, I remembered how many events I already have on my plate this year. Aside from the stress on my body, it is also stressful for my family to plan around these weekends. I think I'll just aim to do the National 24 Hour Challenge again next year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Triceratops Triathlon

Felt great the whole races. Made some mistakes, including leaving my socks inside out, forgetting where my bike rack was when I came in from the bike, forgetting to take my helmet off before the run...but I think those are to be expected for a first timer. My goal was to finish in the top half of my age group, and I did (8 of 16). I would have placed better except I'm worse at the swim than I had originally expected. The good news was that I never panicked on the swim, and "swam" the whole thing without stopping. Percentiles in results are given as the % of people better than me (so 100% for the swim portion in my AG means I was last).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flirt with Dirt

First of all, thanks to my parents who saved the day. They drove all the way from Sturgis to watch Cedric so that I could run and Greg could go to work. Here are the results:

Time: 54:13 (8:45 pace)
Place: 112 of 327
AG: 3 of 24

This is a huge improvement from my 1:05 time last year. Not only was I in better shape, but I improved my strategy as well. A good portion of the course is single track, meaning that it's difficult to pass. I made sure to start in a faster pace group and I was more aggressive with passing. I still got stuck in lines a few times, but most of the time I was going at my own pace.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Triathlon Approaching

My first triathlon is coming up. I wanted to provide a description of how these things work.

You generally wear the same outfit the whole race, called a tri suit. It's pretty tight, to avoid drag as you swim and bike, but quick drying so that you aren't water logged after the swim. It has a padded chamois, like bike shorts, but much less padding, so it dries faster and so you don't feel like you are running with a diaper on. You are labeled, by marker, or temporary tattoo, with your number on your biceps and quads, and perhaps your age group on a calf.

Most triathlons have open water swims. The start is often staggered, so there aren't too many people swimming in a clump at once, though it still gets congested. You are required to wear a bright swim cap with your number. You want googles as well. If the water temp is below a certain temperature, you can wear a wet suit without being penalized (the buoyancy makes you faster), but no wet suits are allowed above 78ºC. When your wave starts, you run into the water, swim around the buoys as instructed, and come out where indicated. The swim distance in the races I will be doing this summer is a half mile.

You then run into the transition area. The next segment is the bike. You put on your shoes (and socks if desired), sunglasses (if needed), and helmet. You then run your bike out to the mount line until you can get on and start riding. The Running Fit races have a bike distance of 12 miles.

Once you reach the dismount line (usually the same as the mount line) you have to jump of your bike and run it back to your place in the transition area. You place your bike on the rack, take off your helmet, change your shoes, and grab your race tag. Then it's just the running segment, in this case a 5k (3.1 Miles).

You are timed on all segments of the race; swim, transition 1 (T1), bike, transition 2 (T2), and run. The total time determines the winners, so you need to be quick at all aspects to succeed. We'll be practicing more of the transitions and starts in the triathlon class I started this past week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dances with Dirt - Gnaw Bone

Time: 2:22:41 (10:54 pace)
Place: 35 of 105 total, 8 of 51 women
AG: 2 of 9

This was an amazing race. I would have never thought southern Indiana (near Bloomington) was so beautiful? The first couple miles had clay mud that came up to your ankles, but since the last 1/2 mile was in the creek, your shoes ended up pretty clean. In between were some gorgeous trails, though with frequent downed trees, many of which it was hard to decide whether it would be quicker to climb over or crawl under. Crossing a couple of times through Brown Country state park, where we camped, you found water and Gu stations.

I did well this race, and finished feeling that I could have gone faster or further. Instead of the usual mug AG award I got a "Run Wild" canvas chair. Definitely going back next year.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fit 5k Summary

Cedric decided that he was not interested in running in the kids race, though he though it was very funny when I carried him and jogged it. I guess I'll wait until he asks before I sign him up for another race. Of course, he ran tons afterwards. He's stubborn like his mommy.

We helped at the water station. Greg held Cedric on his shoulders while he held out a cup for runners. Cedric thought it was awesome when somebody took a cup from Daddy. He had his own little cheer too, though we're not sure what it was. Afterward, he had a lot of fun running around picking up the dropped cups, stacking them, and throwing them in the trash boxes.

In summary, it was fun to volunteer at the race, but not really worth a 45 minute drive. We'll stick closer to home if we want to help out in the future.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trail Marathon Results

Time: 5:06:04 (11:40 pace)
Place: 96 of 181 overall, 12 of 34 women
AG: 5 of 6

A fun race, though I wish I had only done the 1/2, or trained better for the full. Even though my time isn't what I would have liked, it is faster than my 5:20 finish there in 2005. This is the first marathon I've done twice. However, in 2005 the trail was covered in snow from a late April snow storm.

I added my gender place in the statistics above just to showcase how skewed the gender distribution is for long trail races. For road 1/2 marathons, and shorter, it's usually pretty even.

I fell just before mile 10, but I didn't want to take the time to stop and look at my knees, so I just kept running. Then a couple of spectators and the aid station volunteers were commenting on how bad it looked. I was starting to get concerned, but once I got finished I found out that my left knee is just a little skinned up. There wasn't even dripping blood. I had them clean it at the first aid tent, and they said it was nothing compared to some of the stuff they'd seen this morning. People who commented made me worry for no reason.


I'm cheating a little bit for the next race, a 5k on Wednesday. I made my goal "to participate" in all of the Running Fit races, not necessarily to run them. I'll do the kid's dash with Cedric, and then we'll give directions to runners on the coarse. I probably wont be up to racing so soon after a marathon, plus when you volunteer you get a $30 coupon for another race, which I could certainly use. It's a nice thing to do, and fun, unless you are helping with parking. People are very grumpy when you tell them the closest lot is full.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Go Team!

I almost forgot to recognize the accomplishments of some of my team/running mates. Last weekend was the USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Al. The UofM mens team placed 10th overall, with one gent getting a top 50 finish. The women's team did quite well too. Tomorrow (Monday) is the 115th running of the Boston Marathon. Several runners from PR Fitness will be there to represent. Best luck to all of them.

My coach gave me a shoutout in this months PR Fitness newsletter:
"PR of the Month:
Congrats to Tracy Berman, who has made great strides in her running. She has gone from a 2:13 half to a 1:56 half marathon time. This is an amazing jump! Great job Tracy!"

Lululemon, which hosts the PR Fitness Saturday runs in Ann Arbor, gave me a couple pairs of socks to promo. I just have to give them feedback on what they could do to make them better. According to Greg, I'm picky about my running socks, so it will be a good job for me. I will have something to say if I get blisters!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exercising, More Fun Than Homework

Instead of working on my now past due lab report, it's more fun to think about new things that I have coming up.

Starting in May I'll be taking a triathlon class where we'll focus on transitions and open water swimming and all sorts of new stuff. They already sent me a training plan to use, though I'll probably only use the swimming portion as my coach already gives me my running plan and I need to follow a much different plan as I train for my 120 mile bike ride in mid-June (the bike distance in a sprint tri is only 12 miles). I'll need to make sure to get a bike rack for our car before then!

Also starting in May are new UMove classes. I'm definitely taking Vinyasa yoga again, I just have to decide during which time slots. Too bad I don't have time to do all of them. Yoga is really awesome because you can work on so many things, strength (e.g. squats and planks), balance, stretching, and my favorite part is ending class in savasana (resting pose).

AND since I wont have class anymore, I want to start going to my coach's core workout class. It's held at a bar, how cool is that? Running in Golden,CO (home of Coors) I got used to the smell of beer when working out.

I just have to squeeze this all in with PhD research and being a mother. The first step is to finish this darn report.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Half Marathon PR!

Results from the Martian Invasion half marathon:

Time: 1:59:18 (8:54 pace)*
Place: 688 of 1836
AG: 35 of 136

* The course was 0.3-0.4 miles too long, somebody put the turn around point too far down the road. The 8:54 pace is calculated assuming as distance of 13.4 miles (a half marathon should be 13.1). If you do a percentage based adjustment, my time for 13.1 miles would be 1:56:38. However I'll leave my PR at my official time, it is what it is.

The race went very well, aside from me getting there late and without money to pay for parking (three cheers for one of the guys in my running group for loaning me a $20). I got to warm up by running to the start line and jumping in the already departing crowd. Most races use chip timing these days, which means your race time is calculated between the time the RF ID in your shoe tag triggers the start and finish mats. If you start in the back of the pack, or even late (I was 10 minutes late to my 2nd marathon) your time doesn't start until you reach the starting line.

My goal was a sub-2 hr time, so I paced myself to run at 9:09 pace for the first 7 miles, even though it felt pretty easy. My plan was that if 9:09 was felling too easy, I was then to run 8:50 pace for miles 7-10 and 8:35 pace for miles 10-13.1. I held to that pretty well. However, once I realized that the course was going to be too long (I knew the mile markers were off after mile 6, but I still assumed the finish line would be at 13.1), and I still really wanted a sub-2 hr time, I managed 7:47 pace for the last 1/2 mile. That's only 2 seconds slower than my most recent 5k pace. Being that I had that much left in the tank at the finish, I probably could have pushed harder earlier in the race, but I'm still very happy with the results. Maybe next year.

I held up really well mentally for it being an out and back road race. I swore off all road marathons last year, they're just to painful and boring, but this wasn't bad at all. It will be fun to do at least one a year and see if I can get my times to improve. Trail races are still better though.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Still not a fish

We did some hard swim intervals (100 yards) at triathlon practice last week, and I had 1:50 repeats when everyone else seemed to be under 1:15. Even if I'm slow, it's still exciting for me that I can even swim 100m at a time. I'm proud of myself for participating, even if it was slightly embarrassing.

This week I actually finished the whole beginner workout, over a mile of swimming. Usually I run out of pool time. The way swim workouts are structured is a little bit different than running or biking workouts. It is believed that the biggest improvements in swimming come from doing drills (exercises focused on improving form) and short repeats. Below is what tonight's workout looked like, for reference 25 yards is one length of our pool. I did backstroke for the cool down, just for some variety, but everything was freestyle (crawl).

Warm up: 200 yd
kicking w/ kickboard: 5 x 50 yd
drills: 5 x 50 yd
3 x 200 yd
6 x 100 yd
Cool down: 100 yd

We worked on flip turns a lot during my swim class this week. I'm pretty terrible at them. Watch the video to see how it should be done:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrocks & Shenanigans

The race was right in downtown Ann Arbor, and didn't start until 11:30am, so we didn't have to worry about an early race morning. It was a multiple loop course, with lots of turns, and hills. The worst part was dodging walkers and slower runners that either started ahead of you or whom you were lapping. There was one hairpin turn right in front of the house Greg and I lived in towards the end of our undergraduate careers.

Greg and Cedric hung out at Borders while I ran. Afterwards we went to Ashley's (a local pub).

Time: 24:09.6 (7:47 pace)
Place: 196 of 1687
AG: 11 of 216

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Registered - 50 Mile Ultra

According to the special Cosmopolitan horoscope section I found in the seat pocket on my flight home, I would do something challenging, "like run a 5k," this September. They were only off by an order of magnitude. I now have until September 24th to get ready for my first 50 mile race.

I've had two cold, wet long runs back in Michigan so far. I was spoiled by the sunny 60º weather I had in San Diego last week. Thanks Michigan, for bringing me back to reality as quickly as possible.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just Breathe

My long runs are getting faster and swimming is getting easier.

On Monday we did a swimming drill that we had done before last semester as well. You swim 300 yards (12 lengths of a 25 yd pool), taking one breath every 3 strokes for the first 100, one breath every 5 strokes for the second 100, and one breath every 3 strokes again for the last 100. It's still most comfortable for me to breathe every 2 strokes, so when our instructor outlined the drill last semester, I was terrified. Once you panic and tense up, you start using more oxygen, which makes the drill even more challenging. This semester I did just fine, it wasn't scary anymore, and it wasn't that hard. I have yet to master the 1 breath drill though. You get to take one breath during the 25m length, ideally in the middle. You can breathe at the start of the lap as well. I can always make the first 1/2 on one breath, but I have to sneak in a second before I reach the wall.

I've been quite negligent with biking lately. Next week will be no exception as I will be in San Diego for a conference, and thus without a bike.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Gadget

For Valentine's day I bought myself a Garmin watch. Using GPS it calculates the distance you've run, which allows it to also determine pace, approximate calories expended, ect. I only have mine set up with 2 training screens right now. The first has average pace, total time, and total distance. The second is called virtual training partner, and it shows you a cartoon of you vs. a virtual partner who is moving ahead at your goal pace. I also have it set to automatically stop the timer if I stop moving, for instance, at a stoplight. One of the features I think will come in handy, is a compass to guide you back to your start point, in case you get lost. Not that I do that all the time when I run somewhere new...

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We returned home last night from a stay in Walt Disney World. Running at the resort wasn't as fun as I expected, as the exercise trail was only 1 mile long. Tuesday and Wednesday I ran on the trail and around the Fort Wilderness campground. Thursday Magic Kingdom opened early, so I ran around the park, and cooled down by riding Space Mountain again.

I got in a tiny bit of swimming in Typhoon Lagoon on Wednesday. Swimming into the waves wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I'm feeling more confident about open water swimming this summer. Now if I could just get used to starting out in a giant crowd. I suppose I could try this method:

The Dances with Dirt Green Swamp 1/2 marathon was awesome. The course wasn't actually that challenging, which is a bit of a disappointment. The most difficult part was staying on course, I missed 2 turns, so I ended up running an extra half mile. The last mile lived up to expectations, bushwhacking through stake-like stumps and prickers and having to wade through a river. I felt great the whole run.

Green Swamp Half Marathon Results:
Time: 2:15:30.4 (10:21 pace - 9:53 pace if you count my off-course distance)
Place: 27 of 78
AG: 3 of 7

I got another mug for my AG place. We are going to have to make room in the cupboard.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl 5k

A quick update as Greg and I are on the road.

Superbowl 5k:
Time: 24:42.2 (7:57 pace)
Place: 357
AG: 12

My coaching seems to be paying off.

I'll post results from the Dances with Dirt Green Swamp 1/2 marathon when we get back from Fl.

Monday, January 31, 2011


The Triathlon Club helped time the University of Michigan swimming and diving teams at a meet this weekend. They are amazing athletes. The women can swim 1000m in the same time it takes me to swim 500 yards. We even got to see some platform diving, which takes more guts than I'll ever have.

My first half marathon this year is coming up in a few weeks, and I wanted to bring attention to a challenge I signed up for towards the end of last year, half2run. Members of half2run have a common goal of running a 1/2 marathon (13.1 Miles) in at least half of the states. I expect it will take me 6 or 7 years to finish, but it's a fun goal, and a good way to explore more of the country. This year I should be taking care of Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. For the other races I'm going to focus on the coasts and west, basically places with mountains. Two races I will certainly be doing are the Pikes Peak Accent and the Humboldt Redwoods half marathon. I attempted the Pikes Peak half in 2008 and was not allowed to summit, due to bad weather. I want a rematch. I've been dreaming of running between the redwoods since I first saw the race profiled in Runners World many years ago. Hopefully I'll have the resources to get to Hawaii and Alaska during this mission as well.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bigfoot Snowshoe 10k

It was a beautiful race this morning. The temperature about 10ºF and there was over a foot of snow on the ground. I stayed comfortable though, only my feet were slightly cold. I was glad a wore my Gore-Tex® pants over my tights as they protected me from all the snow I was flicking up my legs with the snowshoes.

When I first put on the snowshoes I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run in them at all, but it turned out running was easier than walking. I fell twice, but since it was in nice fluffy snow it was no big deal. It was a 2 loop 10k course, and mostly single track, so I walked a good portion of the first lap as I was stuck behind slower runners. Once the 5k participants finished, the course was empty and you could enjoy the scenery while running rather than focusing on not stepping on somebody else's snowshoes.

My time was 1:21:20 which made my place 4 of 5 in my age group (AG), 17 of 48 for sex, and 60 of 105 overall. I awarded a mug with Hersey kisses for finishing in the top 5 in my AG. There may have only been 6 runners in my AG (the woman winner was also in my age group, but they don't count the winners when determining AG awards), but you can't win unless you show up to play. The picture above is myself and two other women from the PR Fitness Livestrong Running Group with our AG awards.

Unfortunately, the race experience ended poorly. During what should have been a 15 minute ride back to Greg's parents, our car went off the road into a large ditch. Luckily the car was fine and we could run the heat while waiting for a tow, because at that point my socks were soaking wet. I spent the remainder of the day in front of the fireplace with a blanket.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A is for Awesome

The super exciting news this week is that I started working with a running coach (the lovely Marie Wolfgram) at PR Fitness. She is going to help me a) stay injury free and b) pick up my long distance speed. I did my first assigned workout last night, a 3 mile tempo (a difficult but sustainable speed) and ended up going faster than expected, the cross training must be paying off.

I registered for several of my A priority races yesterday in case the sell out early. "A" priority races are those in which you are aiming for your best times. For long events, in order to be at your peak performance on race day, you reach your highest mileage several weeks before the event and then start decreasing distance so that your legs feel fresh for the race. This year my "A" races are the Trail Marathon, The Pterodactyl sprint triathlon, The Legend half marathon, and an ultra at Dances with Dirt Hell. I'm most excited for the Legend. The 10 mile there was my absolute favorite race in 2010, and it's really great they are adding a half marathon this year.

I just got myself a balaclava (ninja mask) and some long socks (thanks for the Running Fit gift card Mom & Dad) to prepare for chilly weather in Traverse City this weekend. Look for the results in my next update.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Up and Down

Some weeks are better than others. As you can see from the graph above, which shows my weekly running milage since July 2007, down weeks are pretty regular for me. If it's not homework or research deadlines, it's illness or travel. I got a nasty cold last week, which resulted in me only getting a few workouts in, and only one run.

This week has been much better. It's the first full week of classes at Michigan, which means new U-Move classes and new Triathlon Club workouts. I enjoyed my first yoga class on Wednesday and tonight I got in a much needed track workout.

I've added a new race to my bucket list. After watching Hood To Coast (trailer below) with Greg on Tuesday, we are ready eager to join the insanity. However, as registration fills on the first day (10 months before the event) our first chance wont be until 2012. Let me know if your interested in being on our team!

Hood To Coast Movie Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I donated all but one of my marathon/half marathon metals today to the Metals4Mettle organization. At first I was reluctant to relinquish my bling, but I quickly realized that this was something I wanted to do. When I tell people I run marathons, a frequent reply is, "I could never do that," which usually isn't the case. My metals will be awarded to people who may truly never be able to run a marathon. The Detroit Metals4Mettle chapter visits the Mott Children's Hospital yearly and tries to have enough metals to give one to every child. A metal is a small consolation for the ordeals these children go through, but hopefully it offers a momentary distraction.

Here are the metals I donated:

Sunburst Marathon (2004)
Trail Marathon (2005)
Estes Park Marathon (2008)
Leadville Marathon (2008)
Dexter-Ann Arbor 1/2 Marathon (2010)
Run Woodstock Marathon (2010)
Detroit Marathon (2010)

The one metal I saved? It's from the 2008 Boulder Marathon. It's was not my best time, or my first marathon, or my favorite race, but special in the fact that I was one month pregnant with Cedric. He certainly deserves a share in those spoils.

The notable training accomplishment for the week was swimming a 1/2 mile. I started the beginner 2 swim class offered by U-Move last September and I couldn't swim more than 25 yd. I vividly recall stopping to cling to the wall with every lap at the first Triathlon Club swim practice. Now I can swim a continuous 1/2 mile in less than 20 minutes! I'm proceeding into the intermediate U-Move class this semester and looking forward to improving my stroke.