Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rock the World Training (or lack thereof)

Rock the World Logo So. I’ve got this race this weekend. An obstacle 5K. Rock the World in Lansing. Now, I fully intended on properly preparing and training for this event. Really, I did.

The running of course, isn’t so much a problem. I can handle a 5K. I ran a hilly 10 miles last weekend. I’ve got a long run of 16 this weekend. For crying out loud, I did 30ish minutes of  hill repeats bare foot up the Sleeping Bear Dunes yesterday FOR FUN. My monster thighs could crush almost any 5K.


Just ONE of the “hills” my husband & I ran. That’s us post work out. Why post? Because we look like teeny tiny little ants in the during pictures.

It’s the whole, scale a wall, climb a cargo net, bushwack a trail, balance yourself across a cable, that I’m a little concerned about.  I mean, have you seen these chicken scratch arms? And as far as balance goes, well, let’s just say I had a hard time keeping myself upright just holding a baby and STANDING STILL in the waves on the shore of Lake Michigan this week (no I wasn’t drunk. Just clumsy). Yeah…I might be in trouble.

What can I say? Time got away from me. The initial plan was to start doing some lifting/core/balance exercises in May so I’d be fully ripped and ready to go by the time this race rolled around. But we were busy with the end of school and well, life. So I scratched that plan and figured as long as I got started in the beginning of June, I’d at least be kind of prepped to handle the obstacles. Thirty days, would be enough to get these spindles I call arms chiseled into some fine looking guns right? Only one problem, I never got started. And now the race is this weekend. Oops!

But you think I’m gonna let that stop me? NOPE. Not a chance! This is all for fun boys and girls. So here’s my new strategy, I’m not going to train at all. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Ziltch. Nada. (which is convenient since I’ve only got two days left to finish carrying out this master plan and I’ve done such a bang up job so far ;-) )

I’m not exactly sure what that’s going to mean for me on Saturday, but I can tell you this much, it is CERTAINLY going to be good for a laugh and I’m definitely going to write all about it. Pictures too, but only if you all spend a little time in the comments relishing in the brilliance of my training strategy a bit. (You know I’m a sucker for a good ego stroking.)

So wish me luck. Not that I’ll need it. I. Got. This. (I think? :-P)


'Til next time...

P.S. That post I mentioned the other day, How to Run Races for Free, is still coming. Promise. I’ve just been really busy, you know, not training and all.

P.P.S. I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention the BIG NEWS around our house. The Little Miss lost her first tooth while we were on vacation! That sucker has been wobbly FOREVER. The poor kid started kindergarten with it and watched almost everybody else lose a tooth this year except her. She was devastated every time, but she finally wiggled and wiggled and wiggled until she pulled it right out, just as we were about to head into the visitor center at the sand dunes. Fortunately for her, Mommy knew the tooth fairy’s number and she got a little visit even away from home. **PHEW**

chloe tooth

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Solstice Run and The Danger of Using Races for Training Runs

First of all, I was a good girl. You'd all have been proud. It was tough, but I stuck to the game plan, barely.

I ran my first race this weekend since baby #3. She's 8 months now. Actually, if you factor in pregnancy and that I'm not a fan of running races in the cold, it's been more like TWO years since I've run in a race (I know! I can't believe it either, but it's true. Time flies.) It was the 10 Mile Run at the Solstice Run. I was a little on the fence about running it because as most of you know, I'm mid marathon training (Marquette, Sept 1st for those of you who don't) and the weekend long run called for 14 miles at an easy pace, not 10 miles at race pace, but I was getting a FREE race entry thanks to Renewal by Andersen of Detroit who's sponsoring A TON of local runners at various races around Metro Detroit this summer (how cool is that? More on that to come in my next post: How to Race for Free. Don't miss that one!). And how do you turn down a free race entry?

So I figured, "eh...what the heck?! I'll run those 4 miles pre-race as a warmup and big ole experienced racer I am, I won't get caught up in the race day adrenaline." (Easier said than done.)

Then my cousin and her husband joined forces with the Renewal by Andersen team too. There'd be people in my race that I KNEW. "No problem! I'm not racing them. I'm just going for a little training run. I won't start with them. It'll be fine."

Then my 3 year old spilled cottage cheese all over my bib. "Surely, these fancy schmancy bib chips have been tested not only to be water proof, but also cheese proof right?"

Then I found out the course was REALLY hilly with, according to the website, a "challenging hill at the 3/4 mile mark" called "The Kona Hill."  You know it's got to be substantial if they've gone on and NAMED it. "I'll just run even slower. Maybe take an extra rest day. No. Big. Deal."

Then I found out the race had a time limit, 12 minute miles at least or you were boarding the paddy wagon to take you back to the finish. "Uh...I can do that on hills. Right?"

Then race morning I lost my running sunglasses (don't worry. I found that right where I put them, on the floor underneath my computer desk. Where else would you put sunglasses?) "NOOOOOOOO!!! I guess I'll just squint." (Thanks RunNana for loaners).

AND since I was wasting time trying to find them I was late getting out the door, which meant I was late to the race and didn't get those 4 miles in pre-event. "Pssssht. Whatever. I'll just do it after."

Are you sensing the problem yet?

When I got to the race with precious little time to spare, I just went on the hunt to find Brandon, the head hauncho and brains behind the idea to sponsor runners,  to collect my Renewal shirt and snap a few pre-race photos with the rest of the team. Then we all watched the start of the 10K which my mom was running (missed her. She's a  quiet sneaky little runner) and the excitement was beginning to mount. I could feel those butterflies fluttering like crazy. It had after all, been a looooong time since I'd run a race. Just a few minutes after the 10Kers passed, the 10 milers started lining up.  I headed to the back of the pack, as far back as I could possibly go. No way was I gonna let that inner competitor even start to peek out. Much like when The Little Miss & I are in a head to head Angry Birds match up on my phone, there was no place for her at that race. Just. A. Training. Run. In the back, I couldn't get caught up with the fasties and be forced out of my game plan right from the start. The goal was 10:30ish minute miles, no slower than 1:50, no faster than 1:40. We were off and running around that cinder dirt track before I knew it. The butterflies were still not quite in formation, but they'd get there eventually.

By mile 3, I figured that "no faster than 1:40" was NOT going to be a problem AT ALL. That Kona Hill, yeah it was a challenging hill, but I really couldn't tell why they singled out THAT ONE hill to make a big deal about, because there were a WHOLE BUNCH of them. In fact, they were pretty much one right after the other. My hill training, is sorely lacking. (Note to self: run more hills). The paddy wagon, at that point, seemed much more of a reality than the finisher's medal to be perfectly honest. "These hills are gonna OWN me," I thought. But rather than just give up (remember, I'm a pass out or puke before I'd quit sort of runner). I decided to come up with a strategy. So instead of wallowing in the misery of the 7 hilly miles I had left, I started running hill to hill.

Now, I'm no fan of running uphill (who is?), but I truly love downhill running. "Just get up this hill" became the mantra, then I'd breeze down the back side. A mile later, my legs were finally warmed up and I had found my groove, running a pretty steady 10:15. Still the uphills were tough, but I was actually having a lot of fun running those hills. It is AMAZING how time flies when your course isn't boring and flat as a package of hamburger buns when my 3 year accidentally gets a hold of them. Before I knew it, I was on the last mile headed through downtown, and ok...I might have gotten a little pumped with the music and the spectators and the downhill to the finish, so don't tell anybody, but I did let that last mile fly a little.

I crossed the finish in 1:41:47. Yes, within the game plan, but considering the course (and the sore shins, quads, and right achilles today), the coach in me thinks it may have been a tad on the quick side. I probably would have done better to stick a little closer to the 1:50 end of the spectrum. But therein lies the danger of using races as training runs, it's really really REALLY ridiculously hard to keep yourself in check and not get swept up into all that is race day, at least in my case. The problem is they're just so stinkin' fun, what are ya gonna do? Especially when you get to do it for free AND get a really cool shirt. Ahh...C'est la vie!

I'll tell you this much though. I. AM. BACK!

'Til next time...

P.S. My cousin and her husband did GREAT! I do believe the runners in them have been officially awoken and I'm excited about seeing them at more races in the future. RunNana was also trying to take it easy, she's been battling a bit of a bum knee lately, but I think she's finally on the road back. RunPapa ran too, the 5K and PR'd by 5 minutes!

P.P.S. I almost forgot! For the record, I DID run those additional 4 miles about 45 minutes or so after the finish. Although, I'd had my fill of hills so I opted for a flat treadmill. I'm not a silly fool. Silly maybe. Fool not so much.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Silly MI Runners: Take 2

As if the slip and slide world record at Rock the World wasn’t enough, runners in Michigan are going to make another attempt at breaking a silly world record at the Canton Liberty Fest on June 16th. The race is being put on by my favorite folks over at Running Fit (the best running shop on the planet with the most some of the most creatively themed races IMO). Many thanks to their extraordinary Mandy H. for taking the time out of her busy day to answer all of my equally as silly questions!

1) What world record is it that you're after? Largest Gathering of people dressed as a Landmark…in our case…the Statue of Liberty :-)

2) What's the current world record? No official record in the books yet, but gather record minimum is set at 250

3) What exactly has to happen in order for this record to fall? How is it made official? Everyone must gather in a set area for at least 10 minutes.  The crowd will be entertained by music, raffles, trivia and more!  There are pages of documentation you have to fulfill and submit.  Photos, checking people in and out, diagrams, etc.  We are lucky we have our own timing system so we are able to use the timing chips on participant’s races bibs to check them in!  How cool is that!

4) Who came up with this crazy idea and how? There is a lot of crazy stuff that happens in the events office at Running Fit when no one is looking ;-) No idea is too silly around here!  We just thought it would be a great way to add some excitement to a new race.  The Canton Liberty Fest is going to be a great host!

5) Of all landmarks you could have chosen, why The Statue of Liberty? Canton Liberty Festival wanted to add a run to their weekend festival and we said sure! The addition of Lady Liberty was just natural :-)  If you know Running Fit …you know we love a good theme :-)

6) The Statue of Liberty costume is part of your registration fee. What exactly is that comprised of? The first 1500 registered will receive a custom gown, custom crown and choice of torch or liberty sunglasses.

7) Do you have any tips on the best running form while donning a gown and carrying a torch? We have been practicing!  The costumes are great! If it’s a hot day you don’t even have to wear anything underneath!  Ha!  Very breathable and they can easily be cut to length if too long!

8) Will the torches be lit? That sounds like a fire hazard! I don’t think it was covered in our permit :-)

9) Are there special awards for the fastest statues? Not this year! There are age group awards 5 deep in 5 year age groups for the 10k and 5k.  The overall male/female in each race will be walking away with a personalized Statue of Liberty Trophy!

10) Can children participate? For sure!  They can run any distance.  There is a 1 mile fun run at 10:00am…anyone is welcomed to join in that distance as well.

11) Only the first 1500 will be part of the world record attempt correct? How close are you to meeting that number and if someone wanted to get in on the action how soon should they register? Registrations are coming in every day.  All we can say is register early to be guaranteed a costume!

12) Do you have any suggestions for spectators who might be coming to support a family member on what would be the most appropriate cheer to yell or sign to make to encourage their statue's best performance?  There is a lot happening at the Canton Liberty Festival for friends and family who are not racing.  Check out the website for the schedule of events.  There are a few places on the course spectators could visit to cheer others one.  Course maps are posted online.  If they don’t want to run they can always sign up for the 1 mile, get the costume,  and then join in for the World Record Attempt at 9:45AM.

13) Will this be an annual attempt? The first of many world records to come? Annual attempt for sure!  And with the record being open to all landmarks…maybe you will see a bunch of Liberty Bells next summer!

14) If all goes as planned and that world record falls, what can the participants expect as newly crowned world record holders? We will receive one official certificate.  The Guinness Book of World Records offers a personalized certificate option if individuals would like purchase their own.  Because of the large amount of records broken every year not all  records are published in the book.  Fingers crossed :-)

If you’d like to take part in this HISTORIC run and be able to save “hey, I once broke a WORLD record,” you can register for the Liberty Fest run here and get to practicing your most statuesque running form ;-)

'Til next time...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Silly MI Runners & Their Silly World Records

MI runners are no longer content to go out for your average road race. Nor will a muddy obstacle course suffice. We want bigger challenges. Greater glory. We want our names to be immortalized in the record books! We want more!

And no, I’m not talking your basic boring running records here. The ones that only the fittest of the fit, fastest of the fast, and elitist of the elite can even begin to think about making an attempt at. We’re equal opportunity record attempters over here in the Marvelous Mitten. ANYBODY can get in on the action.

Michigan runners will be making not one, but TWO world record attempts at races this summer.  And because they both made me giggle a little, I’m seriously considering participating in BOTH of them, and I thought this would be right up your good spirited mother runner allies, I thought I’d share.

Matt and Leesa Dykstra, the founders of the Rock The World Race, we’re gracious enough to indulge me and all of my questions about their wacky wet world record attempt on June 30th at their Lansing event (thanks guys!). Here’s the details:

1) What world record is it that you're after?

         Longest distance traveled on a slip and slide in one hour.

2) Slip and slide? We're talking that same looooooong hosed down yellow strip of plastic that you ran full speed ahead and then flung yourself down with reckless abandon when you were a kid right?


chloeslip2  chloeslip

3) What's the current world record?

           82,080 feet (held by the University of Oregon)

4) What exactly has to happen in order for this record to fall? How is it made official?

             We will have the hill surveyed to get exactly a 190 ft slip and slide.  We will have cameras stationed at various angles to capture everything on tape.  The footage will be sent over to Guiness after completion of the event to confirm that we broke it.

5) Who came up with this crazy idea and how?

            This was the result of a monstrous brainstorming session!

6) Of all the world records you could have pursued, why this one?

            We already had the slip and slide, why not make it memorable!

7) Does every Rock the World participant get a chance to slide?

            Yes!  The slip and slide is our 3rd obstacle labeled Victoria Falls.  Every participant will get to take on the hill during their race.

8) Must you be registered for Rock the World to participate or can spectators get in on this too?

            We have closed down our last two waves in order to make room for this special event.  Everyone will be encouraged to get in on this record attempt. Everyone who goes down the slip and slide for the World Record attempt must be at least 16 years of age.

9) Can children participate? How old do they have to be?

            While we allow 14 year olds and up to race, there are restrictions that only allow 16 and up to participate [in the world record attempt].

10) Will there be a limit to the number of slip and sliders or are you going to see just how high you can raise the bar for anyone that might dare challenge you for the title in the future?

           No limits!  We’ll try to put this thing as far out of reach as possible!

11) Is it ok to just come watch?

            Absolutely! Spectators are free of charge!

12) Do you have any suggestions for spectators who might be coming to support a family member on what would be the most appropriate cheer to yell or sign to make to encourage them on to world record glory?

            Ha, a bunch of old rally speeches from various sports movies come to mind, followed by the classic “slow motion” group walk to the start line!

13) Do you have any advice on the best form for sliding?

           Feet first, lie back, and enjoy the ride!

14) Any suggestions on the best way to train for a slip and slide world record attempt?

            Work out those vocal chords you’ll use them on the way down!

15) Most appropriate slip and slide attire to maximize performance?

            Anything!  Come out in costume to maximize the enjoyment by all!

16) How many times do you get to slide?

            Depends on the number of people who show up to participate.  If we only have 100, then everyone will need to go 4 times down the slide.  The key is to get 434 slides down the slip and slide in that hour.

17) Are there do overs?

           Nope, one shot for all the marbles!

18) What if you've never slipped and/or slided before? Is your slip and slide beginner friendly? Or is this opportunity to be part of HISTORY only for seasoned elite slippers and/or sliders?

           This is definitely not a beginners slip and slide, but really, if you can tackle this puppy, you can tackle any of them!

Fun right?! You know you want to join me on that slip and slide don’t you?! And with this race you’ve got the opportunity to be part of history TWICE because it’s the inaugural event! Just think of the look on your non-running friend’s face when they ask you what your plans are for the weekend and you say something like, “oh, I’m just going to Lansing to be one of the first ever people to Rock the World at a landmark themed 5K obstacle course and then I’m going to break a slip and slide world record. What do you have planned?” HA!

'Til next time...


P.S. Don’t forget! If you do want to register for Rock the World, you can get a $10 discount by entering the code Runmom10 at checkout. That’s good for either the Lansing OR the Detroit event. Register here.

P.P.S. I know! I said TWO world record attempts, but I only told you about one. More on the other world record attempt to come…