September 11, 2010
I have been wanting to run some kind of ultra marathon for a while. (An ultra marathon is any event greater than 26.2 miles.) So when a couple of friends asked me to run the Dances with Dirt Hell 50 km (31.1 miles) race, it did not take a whole lot of arm twisting before I gave in.
Dances with Dirt Hell, also known as DWD Hell, is a one day race event at the Pinckney State Park in Hell Michigan. There is a 100 km (62.2 miles) Relay race, a 50 mile race, and a 50 km race. The event is called Dances with Dirt because the races are not your typical paved roads. The majority of the course is trails. Any by trails I don't mean the nice gravel packed trails you find in the suburban areas. I mean the kind of trails that are about 12 to 24 inches wide and littered with obstacles such as tree roots, fallen trees, and large rocks. The course includes multiple shallow (up to waist high) river crossings and an one tenth of a mile run upriver.
Normally before I run any kind of long race (more than 20 miles) I create and follow some kind of training schedule. Unfortunately, I did not decide to run DWD Hell until about 1 month before the event, so there really wasn't anytime to properly train. Factor in that I also spent most of the summer with my longest run of the week typically not more than 10 to 12 miles, I would have to say that I was definitely trained for running 31 miles. Therefore my goal for DWD Hell was just to finish the race, have a good time, and not get injured. And that is what I did. I completed my first ultra marathon in 7:57:14 (hh:mm:ss).
Dances with Dirt Hell http://www.dwdhell.com/
August 28, 2010
Today I ran the 10 Mile Race at the Crim Festival of Races. This was the third consecutive year that I have run this race. And just like the year before, I set a new PR (personal record) by finishing in 1:18:20 (hh:mm:ss).
Getting a new PR is great, but I really do think I had a better time in me. Unfortunately it was just one of those days when everything before the race did not go the way I planned. By the time I started to run, my heart wasn't in it anymore. Oh well, I guess this means there should be no reason why I don't PR next year.
Crim Fitness Foundation http://www.crim.org/
July 18, 2010
Another running goal of mine this year was to participate in the Great Lakes Relay. This is a 3 day event that spans approximately 270 miles of trails and dirt roads across the state of Michigan.
To compete in this race you must establish a team with no more than ten runners. There is a Men's Division, Women's Division, and an Open Division (mix of men and women). In order to level the playing field, each team receives a handicap that is based on the gender and age of each member. I was part of an Open Division team with nine other friends.
Hot Hands & Short Shorts Team Roster
- Jean "Mamamoto" (Team Captain)
- Tom "Hot Tamale" (Team Captain)
- Belinda "B"
- Cheryl "Nemo"
- Frank "Hot Hands"
- Jan "Queen B"
- Joe "Chicago Joe"
- Karen "Special K"
- Lisa "Brownie"
- Shawn "Son"
In the spirit of keeping things fun, we decorated our vehicles with our team name "Hot Hands & Short Shorts", and the nicknames of all our team members.
We also had custom t-shirts made with our team name on the front side and our nicknames on the back side.
To complete this race, each team must run about 90 miles each day. The miles are divided into legs that are as little as 3 miles and up to 10 miles long. There are a lot of rules about when each time must start and finish each day, how many miles each team member must run, how many vehicles can be on the course, and etc. Some of this can be a real pain logistically. Fortunately for me, my first experience was really smooth because six members of the team where GLR veterans.
I don't recall exactly where we finished in the rankings. I know that we were not last, but definitely far from first. Nonetheless, I didn't run GLR hoping to win. I ran GLR for the experience and to have fun with my friends. I'm hoping I can make it again in 2011.
Great Lakes Relay http://www.greatlakesrelay.com/
June 19, 2010
The majority of time I run a race, the work and pleasure of it all is for me. But this weekend I signed up to be a pacer for two of my friends, Karen and Rick, at the The North Face Mohican Trail Run in Loudonville, OH.
My first pacer assignment of the day was to run with Karen in the The North Face Mohican Trail 50 Mile Run. For this race Karen had to complete her first 37 miles solo before anyone could join her for the last 13 miles. I remember waiting at the Fire Tower Aid Station with the other pacers. It seemed to me that every runner who emerged from the woods wore a smile. My first thought was wow, I can't believe that everyone looks so happy after running so many miles. But I guess after you have been running trails for 9 hours, seeing a friendly and familiar face does wonders for your morale.
My second pacer assignment was to run a 16 mile leg with Rick. Because Rick was running The North Face Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run, he was allowed to have pacers after 67 miles. By time Rick reached me at mile 71, the sun was already setting and he had been running for about 16 hours. At this point my job as a pacer was not only to keep him motivated and moving, but it was also to make sure that he stayed on the course and did not get lost. I have to say that despite the responsibility, I really enjoyed running in the near perfect black woods with nothing but a headlamp and mini mag lite. It's amazing how much the forest comes alive at night.
I am proud to say that Karen completed her race in 12:05:03 (hh:mm:ss), number 40 out of 108 male and female runners. And Rick completed his race in 25:34:08 (hh:mm:ss), number 16 out of 133. It was a lot of fun helping them complete their 50 Mile and 100 Mile runs. I'm contemplating trying something similar in 2011.
The North Face Mohican 100 Trail Run http://www.mohican100.org/
Mohican Adventures http://www.mohicancanoe.com/
May 29, 2010
Running the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI has been a goal of mine for a couple of years. One of the reasons I've wanted to run this race is the course. It's an out and back course along the east side of Grand Traverse Bay. It's mostly flat, with some shade, and usually a good breeze off the water.
But my primary motivation for running this event is the group of people I run with. Every year about 10 to 25 of us from my running group participate in this event. There are some in the group who run Bayshore almost every year, and then there are the first timers like myself. After the race, everyone meets at one of the local resorts for a post race beach party. We eat, we drink, and we share race stories.
Overall I am happy with my performance. I ran my best Marathon (26.2 miles) with an official time of 3:35:59 (hh:mm:ss). This was 1:27 (hh:mm) faster than my first marathon.
Bayshore Marathon http://www.bayshoremarathon.org/