Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday Throwback...

Ok, so I'm only throwing back less than 24 hours to yesterday's post, but this popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today and it made me laugh.  Fitting, given yesterday's post.....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cheaters Never Prosper....or Do They?

Ok, it's time to get something off my chest that has been bugging me for a long time.  I've bit my tongue on this for years, but after having five different people brought to my attention in the last week, I can't be quiet anymore.

I don't know care what they do:  cut courses, falsify finish times, let someone else run using their bib, jump corrals, make up races, [insert offense here] and I don't care why they do it:  to qualify for Boston, to qualify for the Guiness Book of World Records, to avoid being swept, [insert reason here], they are all the same thing:


Now let me put one disclaimer in here right now.  If anyone reading this blog post uses anything I say as an idea of how to cheat in the future, know there is a special place in hell for you because that is not my intent at all.

Does your cheating affect me?  No, not necessarily and this is the number one reason why I haven't been vocal about this before.  Some of my friends don't care because it doesn't directly affect them and they're right.  Technically it doesn't diminish my accomplishment or all of my hard work.  It does, however, put a black eye on our sport and that affects us all.  Also, in cases where it means someone is in a corral they shouldn't be in, it makes dangerous conditions for those runners that deserve to be there....and that does affect other runners.

Let me be perfectly honest, I am not 100% innocent.  I have bumped myself up in corrals in the past.  I was worried about the dreaded sweepers/balloon ladies.  I made sure I stayed to the side and out of the faster runners' ways, but it still wasn't right and I take full blame for that.  In retrospect, after seeing it from the other side, I know it was wrong and wish I hadn't done it.

If you've made it this far in my rant to hear me name names, you're going to be disappointed.  I'm not going to out anyone here, but I am going to list a few examples and the guilty will probably recognize who they are.  I will take the high road and not name them, however.

Course Cutters
It's ridiculous and I don't know how you can honestly accept a medal or a finisher time knowing you did not go the full distance.  I've seen this in both running events and triathlons.  Do you really think that people are going to believe your pace was twice as fast in the first half of the race than the second?  There is nothing wrong with being in the back of the pack - I've been last in many a race, but at least I can hold my head high knowing that I did the full distance.

Make Up Your Own Course
I'm sorry, but if you missed a cutoff and they wouldn't let you cross the bridge that had to be opened to traffic, you didn't finish.  I don't care if you know the city and can find an alternative route to the finish line.  You did not run the designated race course and should not be celebrated for all of your hard work.  It's great you followed thru and put the miles in, don't get me wrong, but you did not finish the race and do not deserve the same medal or official time that those that made the cutoffs get.

Running Under Someone Else's Bib to Get Them a Faster Time
When you regularly run a 14+ minute mile, do you really think people are going to believe that you suddenly have a 10 minute pace race?  It's possible, but probably unlikely.  When your significant other, who normal runs a 10 minute pace has a 14+ minute pace in the very same race....then things really start to look fishy.

Falsifying Races/Times to Qualify for Guinness/Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics
Yes, people do this.  Unfortunately, I know one personally that made up races just to qualify for one of the above distinctions....and there are many others that I don't know personally, but have heard about.  If you don't believe me, google "Kip Litton".  Unfortunately, this notorious cheater also shares my hometown.

Using Virtual Races to Count as Real Races
A few years ago, I was bored and did a google search on either "Half Fanatics Virtual" or "Marathon Maniacs Virtual".  I can't remember which I used, but the point is the same.  It came up with several people that were counting virtual races as their races to qualify for one of the groups.  Virtual races are NOT RACES.  They are training runs that give you a medal.  A race has a designated start and finish and is run with other people.  Yes, that describes some training runs too, but there is a distinct difference.

Do cheaters prosper?  Well, considering there are two cheaters that made it into the Guinness Book of World Records and I've seen some today brag about corral placements in major races, maybe they do.  However, there are also many groups out there lately that have made it their business to out cheaters and it may be that your prosperity from your cheating is short lived....for the rest of us, I hope this is true.

One last thought to leave you with....One of my good friends has twin 15-year-old sons that are runners.  They make fun of cheaters, it has become a common running joke among them.  How can impressionable young runners, individuals that should be looking up to us adult runners as role models, have a better moral compass than some of the adults that they should be looking up to?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Year, New Goals (a little belated, I know)

More than 1/6 of 2016 is behind us, so it may seem a little late to be setting my running goals for the year, but I think it's the perfect time.

This morning's run was definitely a turning point run for me.  Yesterday, we hit a high in the mid 50's, today we're projected to be nearly 70.  Yesterday, there was still some ice and definitely a lot of wet patches on the road to be careful of.  Today, it was melted and the roads were clear and dry.

I've been running for 412 days straight now, so why would today make such a difference?  I finally feel like I am going to be able to run outside daily again.  No more (at least greatly reduced) treadmill runs.  Last year, I absolutely loved the treadmill and hated the idea of running outside.  On the treadmill, I could throw a DVD in and watch that to occupy my time.  However, over the course of 2015, I really fell in love with running outside.  When I was forced to go back to the treadmill for the brief winter that we had, I hated it.  It's not the treadmill's fault - it was complete user error.  I got lazy.  I did my 4 miles a day, but rarely more than that and rarely at more than a power walk.  Now that I feel like I can finally get outside on a daily basis again, I have a renewed sense of determination and with that comes new goals.  Some of these have been in my head since the first of the year, some are new today, but either way, putting them out here for the world (or the 1-2 people that read this blog) to see, makes me accountable.

Marathon Goal:  Sub-5 marathon
My current marathon PR is 5:14:52 at the Detroit Free Press Marathon last fall, so this is less than a minute per mile improvement to hit my new goal.  Totally doable (I hope).

Target Race:  Bayshore Marathon, May 28 (current course PR:  5:28:46)
Backup Race:  Chicago Marathon, October 9 (current course PR:  5:17:11)

Half Marathon Goal:  Sub-2 half marathon
This will undoubtedly be my hardest challenge this year, but it was also the first goal I set at the beginning of the year.  My current PR is 2:18:24, so I'll need to shave more than a minute per mile off my time, but I'm optimistic.  I don't see myself being a consistent sub-2 half runner, but would like to do it at least once to prove to myself I can.  After a lot of thought into what race I will attempt it at, I think I have it figured out.  I'm not sure of a backup yet and a lot can happen between now and September, but Running Flat is one of my favorite race companies (I need to do a blog post dedicated to them sometime - they are amazing) and their Run for the Heros Half Marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario is top notch.  That race is where I achieved my first ever sub-3 half marathon and I would love to get my first ever sub-2 there as well.

Target Race:  Run for the Heros Half Marathon, mid to late-September (current course PR:  2:53:53)
Backup Race:  TBD

25k Goal:  Sub-3 25k
This is HUGE!  There is only 1 25k race I run, the Fifth Third River Bank Run.  It has a strict cutoff of 3:30.  I have run it twice and been allowed to finish both times, but I was between 3:30 and 4 hours each time, so I have never received an official time.  I vowed not to go back until I could come in under 3:30 and not only am I shooting for that - I'm shooting for less than 3 hours!

Target Race:  Fifth Third River Bank Run (because I have never gotten an official time, no current course PR (I didn't keep track))
Backup Race:  No back up race - 25k is an unusual distance

10k Goal:  Sub-60 10k
My current 10k PR is 1:03:55, so if I can get back into shape, I see this as a totally achievable goal.  I don't run a lot of 10k's though, so my options for a target race are limited and not ideal conditions to shoot for a PR (crowded course or a night race on the 4th of July), but I'm still going to give it a shot.  I can always add something in the Fall if I need to.

Target Race:  Tinker Bell 10k, May 7 (current course PR:  1:08:38)
Backup Race:  Ryan Shay 10k, July 4 (current course PR:  1:08:29)

5k Goal:  Sub-30 5k
My current 5k PR is 30:55, so I'm right on the cusp of breaking this goal.  I actually have one 5k time that's a few seconds faster, but it was not a timed race, so I don't count it.  Unfortunately, most of my 5k's are untimed, so I have not decided which timed race to do to achieve this goal, but I will definitely be figuring that out soon.

Target Race:  TBD
Backup Race:  TBD

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What A Difference A Year Makes

It's been over a year since I've made a blog post.  I've had the best of intentions and had some great ideas during my hiatus, but never took the time to actually write them out.  However, today was a day that I couldn't let slip by without commemorating.

Today marks one full year of running every day...a streak of 365 days!

2015 Brooksie Way Half Marathon - course PR of 2:26:17

Considering my last (and only) streak consisted of 97 days about 2 years ago, I'm in disbelief that I have lasted a full year on this one.  Honestly, the streak didn't even start intentionally.  I just got on the treadmill January 22, 2015 and then decided to get back on it the next day, and the next, and just kept going.  After about a week, I decided I should try to best my previous streak.  What I found this time around, though, was that as the streak got longer, my pace improved....drastically.  So once I hit 100 straight days of running on May 1, 2015, even though I had achieved my goal of beating my previous streak, I had no intention of stopping because I liked what it was doing to my pace.

When I started the streak, I was burnt out from racing and planned on not doing near as many races in 2015 as I had in the past.  However, as my pace got faster, I found my love for running again, and although I didn't do as many races as I had in past years, I still did a fair number.  I feel like I traded in quantity for quality and the higher quality gave me a new appreciation for the sport.

2015 Detroit Women's Half Marathon-my current PR of 2:18:24
This was a new concept for me because, traditionally, I have been a very bad trainer.  Most of my miles in previous years were race miles and I just relied on muscle memory to get me through.  Even today, I'm still awful at doing long training runs.  However, I have really begun to love my shorter daily runs, especially when I can do them outside.

When I started, what I wasn't expecting was that this streak would lead to my best racing year since beginning to run in 2006.  2015 was, without a doubt, my best race year ever.  Going into 2015, I only had 3 (out of 100) half marathons that were under 3 hours.  I now have 21, and haven't seen a half over 2:44 since May 1.  Prior to 2015, no matter how I tried, I was never able to break that illusive 6 hour mark in the marathon, but now I've done it 5 times, 3 of which were even under 5:30!

I think my performance has begun to plateau and I don't expect the same drastic effects in 2016 as I saw in 2015, but I'm still hoping to see some improvement as the streak continues.  I have some aggressive goals that I hope to attain this year and we'll see if I am able to.

How long will I continue the streak?  I don't know.  I've gotten to a point where I'm afraid to break it now, so barring any injury or illness that renders me unable to, I will continue for the foreseeable future.  As of mid-February last year I decided that I needed to do at least 5k (3.1 miles) everyday.  As of January 1, 2016, I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions would be to up that to 4 miles everyday, and so far, I've held to that.  Only time will tell how long this will last though.

NOTE:  In full disclosure, not every day is an outright "run".  Most days are intervals, lately those have been 60:30 (run:walk) or 45:30.  Some days I just run with no walk breaks (usually 1 day per week) and some days I walk, these are my rest days (usually 1-2 days a week).

2015 Chicago Triathlon Triple Challenge-Super Sprint, International, and Sprint completed in a total of 7:33:00 with both Super Sprint (0:59:47) and International (4:03:47) PRs

By the Numbers...

Anyone that knows me knows that I can't do something like this without crunching the numbers every possible way.

First Day:  January 22, 2015
Days So Far:  365
Miles:  1849.44
Average Miles/Day:  5.07
Minimum:  2.44 (Only 9 days were less than a 5k and the last one was 2/17/2015)
Maximum:  26.2

Training Miles:  1322.14
Racing Miles:  527.30

Treadmill Miles:  678.50
Road Miles:  1140.37
Trail Miles:  30.57

As of....

22-Jan-15 21-Jan-16 Difference
Streak Day # 1 365 364
5k PR 0:37:51 0:30:55 0:06:56
10k PR 1:22:23 1:03:55 0:18:28
10 Mile PR 2:33:37 1:52:56 0:40:41
Half Marathons Completed 100 119 19
Half Marathon PR 2:53:53 2:18:24 0:35:29
# of Sub-3 Half Marathons 3 21 18
Marathons Completed 50 55 5
Marathon PR 6:07:31 5:14:52 0:52:39
# of Sub-6 Marathons 0 5 5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sponsorship has its Privileges

I apologize for the extreme delay in this post.  The last few months have flown by and updating my blog has gotten pushed to the side in favor of other activities that needed to be done.  Because of the delay, instead of the sponsorship announcement that I planned on doing, this post is going to be more of a sponsorship review.

I was honored to be selected as one of Tri to Finish’s 2014 Sponsored Athletes.  When I originally applied for the spot on Team Tri to Finish, I did it because it meant that the registration fees for the majority of my 2014 triathlons would be paid for.  What I didn’t expect was all the other perks that came with being part of the Tri to Finish family.

Holly Rec Fall Triathlon Swim Start - photo credit:  Tri to Finish

 This year marked my ninth year of racing in running events and I have made many friends over the years at various runs.  Triathlons have been a little different, though.  Part of this is because of the volume of races I do.  Prior to this year, I had done a lot fewer triathlons than runs.  I also have “only” been doing triathlons since 2009, 3 years less than running.  A typical tri “season” for me was the Chicago Triathlon and that was it, and it wasn’t local, so anyone I met was unlikely to be someone I would see again.  So, when it came to my triathlons, I very much felt like a loner.  In fact, my friend Lowell, who is the person who coerced me into my first Chicago triathlon, lives in North Carolina and we haven’t raced together since that first race 5 years ago.  Last year, I did a handful of local races, but not enough to really know anyone else racing around me.

That all changed this year.  As a member of Team Tri to Finish, it was like having an instant family.  I was fortunate enough to compete in 6 Tri to Finish events this year (so far) and each one brought a sea of friendly faces, encouragement on the course, and more fun than I could have imagined.  Even if I wasn’t racing a Tri to Finish event, I was greeted by my Tri to Finish teammates at other local and regional races.  Even if I went to the race by myself, there was always a friendly face there.

Before the Holly Rec Fall Tri with fellow teammates Sara and Kelly - photo credit:  Sara H.

In addition to the camaraderie of my Tri to Finish teammates, I have never been so inspired by a group of people in my life.  They make me want to become a better athlete just by being around them.  Team Tri to Finish includes:

·        New York Marathon qualifiers (for those of you not aware, it is actually harder to qualify for New York than it is to qualify for Boston)
·        Ironmen (2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking, 26.2 miles running in less than 17 hours)
·        Athletes training for the Double Anvil next month (a race that covers twice the distance of an Ironman in a mere 36 hours….4.8 miles swimming, 224 miles biking, and 52.4 miles running
·        A paratriathlete that was given 6 months to live 20 years ago, defied the odds, and will most likely be representing the US in Brazil at the ParaOlympics.  I wish I could even come close to finishing a race on my two legs as fast as she can on one!!
·        Athletes who spent their Labor Day weekend biking from Lansing to the Mackinac Bridge (400+ miles) in 4 days over some of Michigan’s hilliest roads….not for a race, just for fun

Those bullet points above make it sound like Team Tri to Finish is a bunch of elites, but it’s not.  There are just as many newbies as there are experienced athletes that make up our team….and no one comes off with the elitist attitude that you would expect from some accomplished athletes.  One of the most inspiring things to me all season was watching two of my teammates walk in a third on Sunday during the run portion of the Holly Rec Triathlon.  The two men are FAST and will be running in the New York Marathon in November, but as soon as they finished, they went back out on the run course to walk in a teammate that was completing her first ever triathlon and was in pain after an extremely tough bike course.  To me, that’s more impressive than the fastest of finish times.

I am honored and humbled to be on a team with all of these fine individuals.

Some of the Team Tri to Finish Athletes - photo credit:  Meaningful Moments

I thank the Tri to Finish organization for selecting me to be on their team and for putting on the highest quality races within the state of Michigan.  In future posts, you’ll see some of their great races highlighted and I hope that everyone reading this considers one of their races in the future.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'M BACK!!!!

I hope you're having a great summer!!

I apologize for the extended absence.  Sometimes life gets in the way and it definitely has the last few months.  Over the next few days I plan on posting several blog posts updating the world with what's been going on lately.  Please be patient and stay tuned.

In the meantime, I need to get some packing done for an epic running weekend coming up.  Yes, I realize it is technically tri season, but no bikes or goggles for me this weekend.  My current running mileage record for a 48 hour period is 57.7 miles when I did the San Francisco Marathon last year followed by 31.5 miles at Tracy's Fat Ass the next day.  My plan is to beat that record this weekend.  First up is the Christmas In July race where I plan on doing a warm up 5k followed by the 12 hour race (my first ever time based ultra).  Assuming I am still able to walk after 12 hours straight, I'll be following that up with the 10k Saturday night to keep my legs loose since I have the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon bright and early Sunday morning.

If you're interested in following me at Christmas in July, they are planning a live video link which will be available at  Don't expect to see me running by the screen, this weekend is more about endurance than it is about speed.

Check back soon - I have some exciting news to share as soon as I get this weekend's packing complete!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Funnies

Happy December, everybody!  I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.  I used the extended weekend to catch up on some blog posts.  Look for them in the coming days as I finish some editing, add some pictures, etc.

In the meantime, I know many of us hate the treadmill, but in these colder months with little daylight, it often becomes an necessary evil.  Check out this video of a puppy that is truly loving the dreadmill!

Have a great weekend everyone!