Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged race

I am putting this up here for my brother-in-law who does not run (yet), but wants to do the Tough Mudder next April.

My method is basically what I’ve used in the past for my own training, and also when I was “coaching” my little sister when she was running, but I also took a lot from the couch-to-5k and some half-marathon training books in terms of using “run/walk” ratios. I think the combination of all these should actually yield a very good result.

Some things I will try to remember to tell him:

  • The most important thing is to DO IT.  It’s really important to keep it up.  I know you can, and I know you will be ecstatic with the results.
  • The first few weeks may seem incredibly easy and you may want to do more than what I’ve set down here.  However, I would really recommend trying to follow the spreadsheet as closely as possible, even if you feel better on a some days and feel like you could go farther. Talk to me if you deviate from it and based on where you are at, I might be able to make a new one for you to still get you there in time, and hopefully without injury.  We can reevaluate it around February to see where you are at and if any changes need to be made
  • Nearly all the workouts have stretching before and after each workout.  Here’s the ones that I would recommend:
  • The “fourth workout” of each week will be the one that will require the most time from you, so set aside either a Saturday or a Sunday for that one.  The rest of the workouts shouldn’t take longer than an hour to an hour and a half though you may want to plan for two hours as we get into march and april.  It will take less than an hour as you start out, but keep in mind not to schedule yourself too tightly.
  • As I’m sure you know, the best way to train is to spread the workouts out as evenly as possible with rest days/”off-days” between workouts.  However, given that there’s four to five workouts per week, you will have to double-up on some days.  I designed it so that for the most part, the best time to double-up would be between the first and second workout of the week, but most of the other days should not be too strenuous if they work better with your schedule.
  • I would recommend running a 5k one to two months before the tough mudder.  Though the tough mudder is a different animal entirely, I find it really helpful to have people I know go through at least one race beforehand to get a feel for running with others.  My suggestion is the Shamrocks and Shenanigans race downtown Ann Arbor.  It’s situated perfectly on March 11, 2012.  There’s more info on that here:
  • I have at least one day of walking each week.  That might be a great time to get the whole family walking.  I’ve found that even if it’s once a week, if I walk or run with people, it helps me train better during the rest of the week.

One thing not on here is the cross-training that he might want to do on one or two of his “off-days,” but I will leave that up to him. I’ve found in the past that what I like to do to cross-train isn’t what other people like. I think that it’s important that it’s something they want to do since it’s hard enough following the four (or five) day workout prescriptions.

Any further comments or critiques would be appreciated!

Spreadsheet link:

Update: He did very well at his first ever Tough Mudder!


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This morning, I biked in my first ever cyclocross race at Veterans Park in Ann Abor, Michigan. Last night, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to do it. I had felt a little sick, but also I was a little scared to try it without proper training.

From what I understand, Cyclocross races are mostly off-road bike races with a few obstacles, like hills that are so steep that it’s nearly impossible to bike up them. Most racers un-clip from the pedals and then pick up their bikes and run up the hills! There are also twelve to fourteen inch high blocks of wood which are stood on end, and then you have to run over them while carrying your bike.

This race was a timed event where you try to finish three laps in a half hour. I think each lap was a mile and a half, but I’m not sure. The “track” is about eight feet wide and is roped off. There were hairpin turns, s-curves, ninety degree turns, and many other kinds in each lap. I found the hairpin turns where you are already on a hill the most challenging of the turns. The hills were also pretty tricky.

As I lined up to start, a race official came up and told me that my bib number was on upside down. I was supposed to to have it on my left side near the back, but I had no idea what kind of orientation I was supposed to have it on. He fixed my bib, and then I lined up with the lowest class 29-under group.

The race started, and I made a few of the turns with relative ease. But soon, some riders behind me bunched up and the turns became more tricky as I was also trying to avoid hitting people. Some of the riders were really quick and maneuvered really well around the turns. I was a lot more hesitant and though I knew it was costing me time, my need to be safe won out over my competitive nature. That didn’t mean I stopped trying by any means, but I could tell myself that this race is also about learning, not getting injured.

I came up to the first obstacle and tried to do what I saw other bikers doing, namely unclipping their right legs, swinging that leg around from the back and coasting for a second before unclipping their left leg and rolling fluidly into a jog over the obstacles. I almost fell over as I tried that, so I just stopped and unclipped, and then ran from there. I know that this method costed me a lot in terms of time and place. Throughout the race, I was able to pass three or four people, but some of those same people would pass me as I slowed down over the obstacles. That part was rather frustrating, but also a great learning experience!

The course wound up and down Veterans Park Hill, which is quite steep. I found that on the steepest parts, I was able to pass people because of my uphill running training. But again, I was hampered by the fact that it took me a few seconds longer than my competitors to unclip from my bike pedals.

During some of the hairpin turns and the smaller uphills, I noticed my back wheel slipping in the mud. That was a bit scary when I was going down hill and trying to make a turn.

I was able to complete three laps of the course in about twenty nine minutes. My bike and shoes were caked with mud. I am extremely happy with my performance considering I wasn’t sure if I was going to run it, and also because I’ve never trained for that style of race. It really was a lot of fun, and I hope to do that sort of thing again soon!

This past weekend, I was able to take a road trip to Darlington, Maryland for the first ever Run for Your Lives 5k ( The basic premise is that you start out with three “flags” (similar to flag football), and run a race with obstacles and obstructions. That sounds like a pretty good time, right? “But wait, there’s more!” The whole time you are running, there are zombies stationed throughout the course trying to grab your flags!

My friends John and James came with me. We left on a Friday afternoon and drove through the night. I can’t say I did a lot of sight-seeing because I fell asleep in the back seat, and hardly stirred a wink. We arrived at our hotel around 3am, and crashed hard. However, we were up by a little after 9am to get some of the “free” breakfast the hotel was offering!

We then got our costumes together (yes we dressed up!). John and I dressed up as “Braveheart,” while James dressed up as Woody Harrelson’s character from the movie “Zombieland.”I had a lot of fun painting my face, and I know John did as well.

Afterwards, we headed to the parking area (which the organizers had said was a mile or so from the race location). When we were about three miles away, a backup of cars had formed…three hours and fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the parking lot. There were buses that were shuttling people to the race, but they had a very long line! After spending more than three hours to drive three miles, we were done waiting, so we jogged over there instead.

Once we arrived at the race location, we saw that there were hundreds of people being funneled into the main gates. We were trying to rush as the “heat” we had signed up for started at half two in the afternoon, and we had arrived around quarter past! We rushed through but one of the organizers told us that we would still be able to run if we missed our heat (because of the parking situation). After hearing that, we relaxed a little bit.

We stretched out, checked our bags, and then proceeded to the starting area. There were three gates to choose from. The first said “Appetizers” and was for people with a pace of around eight minutes per mile (or less). Another line was for eight to twelve minute pace and was called “Main Course.” The third line, called “Dessert” was for people with over twelve minute mile pace. We chose to be “Appetizers.” There was a long burlap-covered chute that led us to the starting point.

As we lined up to start, I saw that there were only about fifteen or twenty of us in the “appetizers” line, while the “main course” probably had a few hundred participants. During the latter parts of the race, this caused some craziness because the zombie to racer ratio was highly in favor of the zombies!

The race itself had lots of hills, obstacles, and zombies like I had expected. What I guess I hadn’t counted on was the trickery! There were mazes with dead ends where you get trapped by zombies. There were places that confused and funneled us right into the gaping hungry hordes of zombies! I lost two flags because a zombie blocked my path in a very tight space. I tried to do a quick turn maneuver, but she grabbed two of them outright. I lost my last flag by dodging one zombie and jumping into another one, who happened to be a really big zombie. He wrapped his arms around me and held me up until he found my last flag. Then, I was as good as dead.

My friend John lost all his flags at about the same time, but James still had one flag remaining. So, John and I tried to run cover for James. I would pretend I had a flag around my back, and then try to trick the zombies into following me so that James could make it through. I think it helped, but James did have some pretty good spin-maneuvers and like which really helped! He was able to make it through the rest of the race with that last flag intact, so he was counted among the survivors! I was very happy that at least one of us made it! There were quite a few more survivors from the “main course” heat, but I think it was because the zombie to human ratio was a lot lower for those guys. At least that’s what I tell myself.

During the race, I had a point-and-shoot camera (that takes video) strapped to my chest. I had it recording the whole time. I edited down the video to a short clip, which I put on youtube here:

Overall, it was a really cool experience, and I am very grateful for being able to do it! Throughout the day 7046 runners ran the race. In terms of finishing the race, John came in sixty ninth out of those 7046 runners and James came in ninety third. I came in eighty ninth with a time of 25:47. I am very happy with my time and the race experience itself was an adventure that I won’t soon forget! I would highly recommend this race to anyone looking to do a little more than the normal “mundane” races! It was a whole lot of fun!

Yesterday, I was able to run the Big House Big Heart five kilometer race. As I rode my bike to the race, I thought that it was a great day for the race as the sun was listing lazily on the horizon. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was still a little sick. My throat was mostly clear, but my nose was still runny in the crisp air.

I got signed in at the Hope Clinic stand that was just inside the stadium gates. By the way, my thanks to all those who donated to Hope Clinic on my behalf! I met up with Adam and Sarah for a minute since Sarah had also participated in Team Hope. Then, I lost them in the crowd.

I was able to meet up with Andrew and Brittany a little after that. This was going to be Brittany’s first ever 5k, and she was a little nervous. I knew that she was going to do great, though!

I said goodbye to them, and lined up near the start of the race on Keech Road. We listened to a few speeches from various people who were involved in the race or were getting awards. After that, a gentleman named Laurence (I believe) came up and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” There was a few more announcements, and then it was time to start.

We huddled together for a few moments, and then we were off. There were lots of people, so the first turn was a little tough as we all jockeyed for a good position. I tried to stay loose and just enjoy myself.

The course wound up on Division, and as I climbed the hill, I was feeling pretty good, so I opened it up a little. The course turned onto Madison, and I decided to back off a little bit while I climbed up that hill. From there, I knew it was a fairly level and fast course, though I couldn’t remember where the mile markers were or anything.

We turned onto State Street and passed by a steel drum band. The rousing melody and beat definitely helped me along in my race. I soon spotted the 1 mile marker just a little bit south of North University. As I passed the marker, I hit my stopwatch: 6:15 was my time for the first mile. That was a little slower than I had been going out in some of my races earlier in the year, but I chocked it up to my cold. Nonetheless, I told myself to press on hard for the second mile to see if I could catch up on my time.

The second mile was a lot tougher than I expected it to be. I think that I pushed hard for the first half of the second mile, but as the course made a right onto Church Street, I could feel a very heavy tiredness in my legs and my breathing was coming a lot harder.

We turned onto South University, and I heard the sound of bagpipes. There was a gentleman playing a Scottish tune dressed in a kilt. I told myself that the marching tune he was playing was a good one for a race like this, where I feel so weary so early in the race. So, I pushed ahead on South University for a while.

As I came up on State Street a girl started to pass me with a pretty good stride. I couldn’t keep up with her though, so I spit some phlegm out and tried to keep her in my sight in case I might have some “kick” left at the end of the race. Soon, I let her get too far ahead and a few more people passed me. I didn’t like it, but my body was telling me I couldn’t do much faster of a pace.

I don’t know where the two mile marker was, but as I was halfway down State Street, I realized that I had to have passed it. I told myself to try to push it for the last little while. I turned into a lot that was going to go to the stadium, so I tried to speed up for a little while there. I sped up, then faltered on that speed. Then, I sped up again as I saw the stadium looming ahead.

The course went right into the stadium, and I tried to push myself as I ran down into the stadium and onto the field. I knew the race was nearly over, but I didn’t have the “kick” I am used to . I still pushed hard as I ran across the finish line.

My watch told me that I ran a 19:33. My official time was a 19:35. I came in 5th in my age group (out of 241) and 65th overall (out of 6144). Overall, I am very content with my race, and some of the challenges I overcame to get there!

Firecracker 5k

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On Monday, I was able to take part in the Ann Arbor Firecracker 5k race. It was a pretty fun race!

The course starts in front of the Liberty Street Post Office and winds through downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan’s campus. I saw quite a few people I knew as I ran, and some of the people cheered me on from the sidelines.

I finished the race in 19:02.4 (according to the rf chip on my bib). I am very happy with my time, and I came in 32nd out of 880 walkers and runners, and came in 6th out of 37 people in my age group.

Overall, it was a wonderful time, and I’m really glad I participated.

The Turtle Trot 5k

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This Saturday, I was able to participate in the Turtle Trot 5k for Re-Member: Working with the Oglala Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge Reservation. They are a great organization that plans non-evangelical trips to Pine Ridge to help build and supply basic needs for the poorest of the poor out there. They think they raised over $8,000.00 for their cause, so that was pretty great!

The race itself was very nice. It was at Hudson Mills Metropark over in Dexter. It wound in one big loop around the park.

As the race began, I started out by drafting behind a guy named Greg. I talked to him after the race and he was a really nice guy. We went out hard for the first 3/4 of a mile, but then he started to slow into his pace. I felt like I had a litttle more energy, so I began to pass him.

He told me to stay on the paved area and not go off on one of the side trails. I was very grateful for his concern, so I said, “Cool, thanks” and continued on my way. The trail wound around in a large loop, and before I knew it, I was coming around the back side of the loop and into the finish. I sped up a bit and finished strong at the end.

My time was 18:47, but since the trail wasn’t marked with mile markers, I’m not sure what my splits were. Overall, it was a great time and it was fun to help out such a worthy cause.

The Dirty Dog Dash

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On Saturday, I was able to take part in the “Dirty Dog Dash” at Boyne Mountain.

Here’s an approximate map of the course. It was definitely the hardest 5k I’ve ran. There were a multitude of obstacles, including a river, a small pond, steep sand banks, a 6 foot tall wall, a balance beam, mud and barbed wire, and a few other crazy obstacles.

I made it through it 21:14 by my watch, which isn’t too shabby for me. I found it to be a lot of fun, even when I was very tired running up that last climb. I felt my lungs heaving in my head, and I even stopped to walk (which I normally don’t do). I’m not entirely sure what made it so fun, but I do know that when I got done, I really felt like I had competed and accomplished something. We were in the last heat of the day (there were two or three heats before us), and I actually won the heat by about thirty seconds or so. That was very exciting for me as well.

Overall, it was a grand time!

This morning, I was able to take part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Detroit. I had a very good race. The weather was sunny and a humid and balmy 70 degrees or so. Adam and I made our way to the starting line about fifteen minutes before the race was scheduled to start.

When we reached the starting line, we found that there were already few hundred people in front of us. We shrugged and found a spot. We talked and stretched a little bit and waited for the race to start. While I was stretching, I didn’t notice a young lady had come up behind me and bent forward to stretch her hamstrings. At the perfect moment, I swung my arm back to stretch my back and (BAMM!) I hit her with my elbow. I apologized profusely, and she was pretty good-humored about the whole thing.

The race eventually started, and just like last year, I had to jockey around a tonne of people. It seemed quite the challenge as I pushed, slid, dipped, and dodged around everyone. It thinned out after about a mile or so, but I missed exactly where the mile marker was for clocking my first mile time.

My total time for the first and second mile was 12:48. So, my first two miles were at 6:24 pace. I felt pretty good about it, so I pushed myself on the last mile a lot and finished that final 1.1 miles in 6:07.

My total time was 18:55 (by my watch), which is almost one minute faster than I was last year. At my age, that’s just wonderful! I am very happy with my results!