Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged running

On Sunday, I had my yearly joyous fun of running the Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k to benefit Save a Heart. My wife, my mother, my brother, my sister, my sister’s boyfriend, my niece, and two sister-in-laws also came out for the fun!

The day was MUCH warmer than the week before. I had done a run a little bit longer than a 5k exactly one week before, and I was disappointed with how out of shape I am. I tried pretty hard and ran 3.62 miles in a little over 30 minutes. There used to be a day where I’d run a 5k in 12 or 13 minutes less than that, so I was a little disheartened. Because of this, I set my goal for the 5k to be under 25 minutes.

We all lined up a little after 9:30am and waited for the race to begin. I felt excited to run this race, and I remembered all the times I’d ran that race in the past. Wonderful memories wafted through my mind like colorful fishes swimming through the sunlit corals. I was as ready as I could be and in a good mood. I had already made the peace with myself that I would not do as well as I did in years past, so I was relaxed and ready to really enjoy myself and have a good bit of diversion.

The race began like it always does. Feeling like a cow in a herd being led to the slaughter, I meshed into a large group of people going through “the narrow gate” of the timing pad. Then, I was off!

I passed a bunch of people and bobbed and weaved to the corner, and then after that I settled into a fairly nice pace. I passed a few people, checked my heart rate, and kept on running. Soon, I arrived at the 1st mile marker. I hit my stopwatch and saw a 7:30 sitting on my watch. That was actually a little ahead of where I thought I’d be based on the previous week’s run. I certainly was elated with that, but my high school cross country coach’s words echoed in my mind, “You can’t win it in the first mile.” I laughed at myself to think of that. My high school self would never have been impressed with a 7:30 first mile, but the me that lives today was quite happy with it!

The course has a long stretch that doubles back on itself, which is kind of fun because you can see people ahead of you on the way out and behind you on the way back. I saw my sister’s boyfriend quite early on, so I yelled and told him great job. He was near the top ten runners overall, so that was super exciting for me.

I turned around and saw my sister, to whom I also yelled encouragement. What fun!

I hit the second mile with a split of 7:36. As I passed the marker, I did a quick overview of my feelings and heart rate, and felt that I could up the pace a bit. So, that’s just what I did. I saw my mother not far thereafter and I cheered for her. This is the first time she came out for this race. It certainly was a fine thing to see her do it!

I rounded around a few streets and before long, I saw the 3 mile marker. I started pushing myself into the anaerobic range. I passed a group of people with a good bit of authority. I hit my stopwatch right at the 3 mile marker and saw a split of 7:01. “Yay,” I thought to myself. I was feeling pretty worn, but I knew I only had 0.1 miles to go. That’s nothing!

I charged up the last hill and turned the corner to see the finish line! I sped up a little more. Then, I heard some footsteps coming up quick behind me! I was NOT going to let whoever was behind me pass me without a fight! I gave all my energy and will to my legs to move faster. The person came up almost astride of me and then I pushed it even more and beat him to the finish line by just a few feet! That was super exciting for me! My old competiveness was back in full bore, even if I was quite slow!

My final time on the race was 22:48. I’m pretty sure that’s the slowest I’ve ever ran the Shamrocks race, but I tell you truly that I had a lovely time!

Catching Kayla

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A teen diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis found a way to run, and run mighty well at that!

On Saturday, I was able to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Detroit. It was a perfect day for a race. The sun was shining and there was a slight wind to keep cool in.

I spent the night before in Ferndale which was quite near Detroit. My friend Adam drove us there because he was able to park where he works in the city. We walked from his parking garage to Comerica Park. There were A LOT of people downtown, and it was fun to mozy through the crowds like a small ant walking amongst a whole host of other ants.

We made our way to the starting line and before we knew it, the race began. Like a school of fish escaping the net, 50,000 runners and walkers shot out of the small opening that was Woodward Avenue. I felt pretty good, and my breathing was constant as we got about a half mile into the race. There were tons of people in front of me and many more behind me, and I felt like I could feel them all breathing and working in the same way that I was. Before long, I got near the one mile marker. I hit my stopwatch and saw that I ran it 6:24. “Not bad,” I told myself, “but I think you can do better.” I tried to push myself a little more as we rounded off on a side street and onto John R for a moment. The wind was “mostly” at my back by the time I curled back over on another side street and headed down Woodward the same way I came. I saw the two-mile-marker ahead, and there was a man calling out splits as I ran past. I hit my stopwatch and checked mine. It was 6:21. “Not bad,” I told myself, “but you might be able to do better.” However, my legs were starting to feel like gelatin and I was starting to fatigue. My heartrate was a few bpm over my normal race rate, so I slowed down a little bit and started taking longer, deeper breaths. After a while, it subsided and I soon found that I could run proper again. By this time, I was running along the north side of comerica park, and I knew that the finish line was on the other side. I started kicking it in a bit, and passed a few people. There was a great downhill on the course for a minute. So, I tried to push myself to lengthen my stride a bit. At last I made the final turn for home. I saw the finish line up ahead. I looked straight ahead and then ran with all the speed I could muster at that point and finished strong.

By my watch, my final time was 19:51. I would say that wasn’t too bad…not too bad at all!

This Sunday, I participated in the Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k through downtown Ann Arbor! It was a lovely time, and I was able to be with a few good friends and run a lovely race on a grand day. The past few weeks had been quite cold and snowy, but it warmed up just in time for the race!

I started out near the middle of the pack, and I didn’t even hear the start of the race! Nevertheless, I slowly made my way past the starting line and started my watch. I then skirted a few people and dodged a few others. Before long we turned onto William Street, and I jumped up on the sidewalk to hopefully pass some people. As I did so, I almost ran over a girl who I later found out was my friend Juliann. It was quite funny for me to hear her say, “Oh, that must be John” and I yelled back an apology for almost running her down.

We turned back north and then circled back around to Main Street. I felt pretty good, and I felt like I was passing quite a few people. I had only run once before this race, so I wasn’t sure how to pace myself. I know that somewhere in that stretch, I passed the one mile marker, but I completely missed it. It was joyful for me as we reached the stadium and turned around. I ran like the wind down the lightly rolling hills and pushed myself a bit on that particular stretch. Somewhere there too, I didn’t see the mile marker for mile two. However, I just tried to keep up my pace.

I waved to some friends as I came up to the intersection of Main and William, but they didn’t see me. Soon, I turned the corner of Washington and I knew I was quite close to the finish line. I passed my friend James around this time and told him that he was almost there! The one mile marker I did see was the 3 mile marker, and I knew I only had a tenth of a mile to go. I kicked it in as best as I could and crossed the finish line with kilt a-flying.

My chip time was 20:06.0, and I came in thirtieth out of two thousand forty runners and walkers, and for some reason, they put me in another age group in the official results. I should have came in ninth out of one hundred and eighteen men in my age group. I’m quite happy with that result overall considering I haven’t been running very much of late!

On Saturday, I was able to participate in the Run Scream Run 5k to benefit Hope Clinic. It was a fun race, especially because I hadn’t been running in a while. I didn’t have any sense of where I was at in terms of pace, and I think that made it kind of fun.

The race started out in a back corner of Wiards Orchard in Ypsilanti. I started out pretty quick and went with the flow of people that were around me. The course wound around a little bit of gravel and up towards the entrance to the orchard. A little before the first mile was done, we went across the street and continued on a paved trail out there. It was quite nice, and I felt pretty strong. We passed the first mile point, and I hit the “lap” button on my stopwatch. It said 5:20. I had been hoping for something around the six minute range, so I was a bit surprised. I told myself to slow down a little bit because I know that a race isn’t won in the first mile.

The second mile wound around a field on the south side of Merrit Road, and was fairly flat. I went slower than the first mile, but I still seemed to be passing a lot of people. As the second mile approached, I hit my watch again. This time, I ran 6:44, which was just about right in terms of my overall pace that I wanted to achieve.

I started kicking it in for the last mile when I passed a kid about half my height. He was struggling a little bit, so I said a few words of encouragement, and he then ran up and started running with me. It was fun to hear his feet stamp because he was taking two or three strides to every one of mine, but he was able to keep up pretty good. We wound around for what I thought was the final sprint, and I told him to start pushing it. He did, and then we found out that we still had another quarter mile to go! This quarter mile went through the “haunted” portion of Wiards, so there were people with axes, rolling barrels, monsters, spooks, and all kinds of haunted stuff to run through. It was kind of fun to run through, but I just wish that I had known that I would have had to run through that versus just running to the finish line.

At last, I turned the corner for the finish line! The little kid was a little ways behind me. “Come on,” I said. “We’re there! Let’s sprint!” I started pumping my legs and I could hear him breathing hard and doing the same. There was a crowd of people at the finish line, so I couldn’t hear him after a short while, but I finished quickly and turned around to congratulate my new little friend. He ran a great race!

I came in 19:33 for my final time, and twentieth overall (out of seven hundred and fifty five runners). Overall, it was a lovely race, and I was proud of all the donations I got for Hope Clinic. What fun!

On Greatness

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Greatness. It’s just something we made up. Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few, for prodigies, for superstars. and the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that. Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It is not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it, all of us.

Yesterday, I ran in the Ann Arbor Firecracker 5k run through downtown Ann Arbor.

The sun was up, and it was already getting quite warm. Michael gave a run-down of the course and where we were supposed to go at various points. Then, the Star-Spangled Banner was sung, and we lined up to start the run!

They sounded an air horn, and off we went. I started out pretty fast as we ran west down Liberty to Main Street. I got cut off a little bit as we made a left turn onto Main Street. We then ran down to William and made another left. As soon as we turned on William, the sun immediately felt oppressive and hot. I checked my pace and heart rate, and everything seemed to be normal, so I passed a few people and tried to stay loose and in charge of my stride.

We ran up to State Street and made another left. There was a slight wind and that helped move some air in the stifling heat. We made another left on Liberty, and as I passed a younger kid, he sped up to keep pace with me. I always enjoy when people do that because it shows that they have a lot of heart. We ran that way for a while down Liberty and we passed the starting point and headed onwards to Main street. Somewhere in there, I saw the first mile marker and I saw that I ran it in 6:13.3 with an average heart rate of 158.

I sensed that my running buddy was tiring so I encouraged him a little to keep on. He grew a little more tired when we turned off Main Street onto William again. That sun was beating down on us quite heavily. My friend and I split up a little bit as we passed a few people, and somewhere on that stretch, he got behind me. I was sad to see him go because I enjoy the challenge of competing neck-and-neck with someone.

When we arrived at State Street off of William, we made a right instead of a left and ran down to South University. Somewhere in that stretch, I missed the two mile marker, so I didn’t get my time for that mile. We ran down South University nearly to Forest and then turned around. I felt pretty good on the turn-around, and knowing that, I tried to speed up my pace a little bit. There was a guy about twenty yards in front of me, so I decided that I would try to catch him. I started to stretch out my legs a little bit and tried to move my stride a little more to the front of the balls of my feet. This got me going a little bit, but as we were about to enter the diag of U of M (through the Engineering arch), I saw that the course did an annoying little turn around just before you get into the arch and on the diag. Because I was tired, that little bit took a lot out of me mentally.

However, I got back on track pretty quickly and was soon eating away the space between me and that guy I had wanted to catch. Before we left the diag to continue running on State Street, I had passed the man I had wanted to pass. We turned off State and down Liberty for the last time. There was a red-white-and-blue “rainbow” of balloons at the finish line, and even though I was probably a quarter mile away, I could see those balloons. The street has a slightly downhill slope to it, so I sped up and just used the downhill to keep my legs moving.

I started coming up on a couple of people, and I tried to pass them pretty handily. By the time I passed them, I was only a block and a half away! I tried my best to sprint hard and fast into the finish. I hit my watch and found that my total time for the race was 20:13. My face was burning with heat and my lungs were pumping hard! I walked over to the water station and got some water in me. Then, I got a banana and continued to cool down.

Overall, it was a very nice race. I was more than a minute slower than last year, but I still felt like I had a very fun race. I came in third in my age group (out of thirty seven runners) and forty fifth overall (out of eight hundred and twenty eight runners). I feel very content with those results. It was a great way to celebrate Independence Day.

Yesterday, I was able to participate in the inaugural Ann Arbor Marathon (though I did the half marathon). The course was laid out pretty well with a lot of great views of the city.

We started out by the University of Michigan football stadium and headed north on Main Street. We came up Main Street and turned down Liberty. As soon as we turned down Liberty, I saw the sun rising above Burton Tower and I felt very inspired. We passed the first mile marker and my time was 7:21. The route wove around State Street and North University and then started down Washtenaw. I missed the second mile marker, but for miles two and three, my split was 14:48. We continued over the hills on Washtenaw, heading towards Stadium. I hit the fourth mile with a split of 7:38. I was feeling pretty good, though I was starting to tire a little bit. This portion of the course was an “out and back,” so we turned around at Stadium. A girl by the name of Danielle Risner ran up and said hello to me. I wished her a good race, and let her pass by. For mile five, I had a split of 7:52. A little after mile five, I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. It went away rather quickly, but I slowed my pace down. I missed the sixth mile marker, but right around six and a half miles, I started getting a dull ache in my knee. I stopped to walk a little bit and it went away. Then, I started jogging again. For miles six and seven, my split was 17:00. The walk/jog was to be my fate for the rest of the race. Every time I started jogging again, I would get a little pain in my leg, sometimes a dull ache and other times, it was a bit more than an ache. Mile 8 was 10:16. Mile 9 was 12:20. Mile 10 was 13:43. Each of those miles were really annoying for me. People were passing me left and right, but I knew that if I tried to run through the pain, I would only make things worse. I considered dropping out of the race entirely, but walking did seem to help. So, I continued on in that way. Mile 11 went a little better at 9:22. Mile 12 was 10:15. I finished the final 1.1 miles in 11:21.

By my watch, I finished the race in 2:01:54. That isn’t a horrible time by any means, but I know that I could have done better had I not had that knee pain. I’ve learned that I have to take what the road gives me. It’s far better for me to take it easy with joint pains like that than to just try to “power through” the pain.

Today, my knee is pretty sore and I’m walking with a limp. I am really hoping that my knee trouble from 2009 doesn’t return. I am going to try to take it easy and not do anything crazy for a while. Hopefully, with a bit of ice, anti-inflammatories, and rest, it will not return.

This weekend, I participated in the Fourth(?) Annual Turtle Trot 5k for Re-member, an organization that works with the Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation. From their website, they “improve the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources and volunteer services.” I’ve been very glad to help them in the past, and it was nice to fundraise for them again.

The race itself started in the Oak Meadows area of Hudson Mills metropark, and the course wound around the perimeter of the main area. The miles were not marked off (that I could see), so that made the race a lot more interesting in terms of my pace. I usually like to see how I’m doing, especially between mile markers one and two. However, I had a general sense of my direction throughout the race, and since it was in one large oval, I knew when I was getting fairly close to my destination. Additionally, since this was a smaller race, I didn’t have anyone to pace with or draft off. That was a sharp contrast to the last 5k I did (the Susan G. Komen), where there were tons of people throughout the entire race. It definitely was a lot more peaceful.

Overall, I’m very glad I was able to help out a great organization like Re-member, and I hope they continue to do the good work they do in the future.

Today, I ran the Big House Big Heart 5k in downtown Ann Arbor. It is a great race that finishes on the fifty yard line of Michigan Stadium. I’ve ran it for a few years now, and it has always been a splendid time.

This year, I woke up early to get ready for it, and there was thunder crashing all around with lightning splitting the sky from where I was all the way to west. I considered perhaps not doing the race.

I took a shower and started to get ready anyway, just to see what the weather would be like. Round about half six in the morning, the weather slackened a little bit as the thunder stopped.

I headed out of my apartment about five minutes to seven and it didn’t seem too bad, though it was still raining pretty heavily.

I met a few friends, and we hung out for a bit before the race.

Preparing for the Big House Big Heart race

Preparing for the Big House Big Heart race

When it came time for the race, I peeled out of my rain gear and shivered my way to the starting line. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle, but my body was still pretty cold. While I was listening to the people giving speeches, I touched my hand to my chest, and I was surprised at how incredibly warm my chest felt. So then, I crossed my arms to warm my hands while I waited for the start. Before too long, the horn sounded for the start of the race.

The race itself went very well. I ran out hard from the beginning and especially worked the hill up Division Street. Then, I drafted a little off a gentleman who seemed to have a similar pace to mine. I hadn’t trained too hard for this race because I have had a bit of knee pain since my bike trip to Lansing. I thought I was prepared for that trip physically, but perhaps I wasn’t! But I digress…

As the race progressed, we wound our way downtown and passed the mile marker. Right about this time, the rain seemed to stop, or more likely, I stopped noticing it. My watch told me I had done that mile in 6:30.5. My heart rate was 171.

I slowed my pace a little bit and that really felt good. This one girl and I kept trading positions during the second mile, though. She was pretty fast on turns and could break away from me, but she didn’t seem to have a sense of pace. I would slowly work back up to her and pass her. A little while later, she would pass me, and that went back and forth for a while.

In all that fun, I missed the second mile marker. I realized as I coasted down the hill on State Street that “the end was near.” So, I started speeding up little by little. As I turned the corner into the last half mile or so, I realized that my breath had become pretty ragged and my heart rate was running upwards of 186. I wondered how long it had been that way.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and tried to really kick it in once I got into the stadium. It was a marvelous feeling to sprint hard and finish with a gusto. I didn’t feel all that marvelous afterwards, though. I had worked my body pretty hard and I found myself really gasping for breath.

My final time (according to my watch) was 20:22.3. Overall, I’m very happy with that. As I said, I haven’t been training all that hard since my bike trip to Lansing, so I think it was a pretty decent time overall, and I will say that I really enjoyed myself doing it!

Update: I came in forty second out of four thousand one hundred twenty four runners, and I came in twelfth out of two hundred thirteen in my age group. My “chip time” was 20:18.7!