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