Thursday, August 14, 2014

Plumbers and Pipefitters 5K

Last Saturday several people were talking about a 5K on Monday night.  I was kind of surprised because most of them are serious, competitive runners and don't usually do the funsy type races.  The race is the Plumbers and Pipefitters 5K.  It's put on by the Plumbers and Pipefitters union and raises money for wounded soldiers.  The Plumbers have to have education every year for their licenses and this past week was a big annual week-long plumbers convention type thingy. 
Sunday evening, my long time running group friend, Larry, texted asking if I was going to go.  He was going and said that I should go.  I looked up the details and ended up registering because, surprisingly, online registration was still open.  It rained all day Monday and I found myself wondering why I was so quick to register for this thing.  It rained all the way as I drove to downtown Ann Arbor before the race.  It stopped raining as I was pulling into the parking lot where I parked.  I walked a few blocks to where I picked up my number and shirt.  Bonus - a neon yellow shirt which I will wear for biking!  It started sprinkling while I was in the race area.  I walked back to my car with the shirt and to wait to hear from Larry.  I suddenly had my doubts that he would show up.  I was sitting in my car and it began raining again.  Lovely.  Larry called saying he was on his way and asked where I was parked so I told him and he arrived a few minutes later.  We walked in the rain to the race area.  He still had to register.  It did stop raining before the race started and didn't rain during the race.
I had a pretty good race!  I even won my age group!  When running a race put on by plumbers what would you expect as an award but a plumbing wrench!  Yep, age group awards were plumbing wrenches!
This is a real wrench! 
I came in at 26:40 for an 8:36 pace so this is counting as my tempo run for this week! 
Doug Kurtis, Detroit running celebrity who I talked about in my last post, was also at this race.  I was walking with Larry when they saw each other and talked for a few minutes before the race.  During the race, he was near the finish line with a portable PA system calling out to the runners.  It was a two loop course so we had to pass by the finish line on the first loop.  He said my name as I was coming up the street; I can't believe he remembered it!  He also put out his hand for a high five.  I found a picture in the race photos of me as I was putting my hand up to high five him!  I am pretty sure that both my feet are off of the ground in this picture!  I've always wanted a picture of me running where both feet are off the ground! 
High-fiving Doug Kurtis!  Both feet off the ground! 
When Larry was talking to Doug Kurtis I told him that I discovered his two page story in the July Runner's World magazine after the Red Carpet Run and said that I hope to get him to autograph my magazine article someday and he said he would love to!  He actually told Larry to bring it to the next meeting of the race that they are both on the staff of!  This could possibly be my first celebrity runner autograph! 

After the race it got chilly and I ended up driving home with the heat on in the car.  Yes, heat on August 11th.
After it was all said and done, I'm glad that I ran this race! I can't wait to find something to use my wrench on!

Runner Nerd
runs to win cool prizes

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Running in a Prom dress

Wednesday night was one of my favorite events every summer - the Red Carpet Run in West Bloomfield, Mi.  I wore the same prom dress that I wore last year because I just think it's that awesome!
Once again, it was a nice, hot night for running in a long dress!  I was drenched in sweat when I finished my 5K run.
I rode to the race with one of my running group friends.
Here we are upon arriving at the Prom, I mean race:
This is normal
He wore a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie with running shorts and running shoes!  I posted this picture to Facebook after it was taken and all his friends are commenting that he has no pants on!  It does kind of look that way!
I am in my sapphire blue sparkly prom dress with my running shoes!
This is what a person looks like running in a full length prom dress:
This is how it's done!

I was a sweaty mess after running in the dress!  I could feel sweat pouring out of me and running down myself inside the dress!  (sorry, that's really disgusting!)
sweaty prom queen!
Here is a group of us after the race.  This guy wears a dress every year!  It's so funny!
My friend, Jocelyn, always finds the best dresses!

Very strange picture!
And, of course, what would an event called the Red Carpet Run be without a running celebrity in attendance:
I got my picture with Doug Kurtis who was featured in an article in the July Runner's World magazine! He has a record for something (I'd have to look it up).  He's won a bunch of marathons and has run 200 sub 3 hr marathons.  He's run sub 3 hr marathons in every age group from 20's to 60-65.  I guess there are only a few people who have done that.
My running celebrity pic!  Doug Kurtis, Detroit famous runner.

Upon finishing this race, there are finisher champagne flutes.  You can see people holding them in a couple of the pictures above.
I placed second in my age group!!  I had a time of 27:26, pretty good for running with a dress swishing all over the place.  

Hard to believe that it's August already.  I start my new job in a little over a week. 

Runner Nerd
runs in a prom dress

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The BEST race photo ever

The photography company that was at the race I ran on Sunday posted this picture on Facebook today!  I am going to be paying for the picture once they have the race photos ready for sale on their website but I did "steal" this one from their Facebook page today. 
He had no idea I did this until he saw it on Facebook!
He had no idea that I did that until he saw it on Facebook today!  That is fellow running group member, Larry.  We've been running together since 2008, I think.  The photographer and the course marshalls who were in the same place were laughing and I thought they'd give it away that something was going on but he never knew.  It took everything I had to catch up to him when I saw the photographers; I was a little ways behind him.  It looks like I'm wearing shorts but I'm wearing a skirt.
The location is part of my favorite running route.  We had come through Argo Park and are heading into Riverside Park.  The pathway we are on is the headrace trail.  The headrace is the water barely visible to our left (on the right looking at the picture).  The headrace is like a canal; it is the path for canoes, kayaks, and row boats to get around the dam.  The Argo Dam is not visible in this picture but is behind us at the other end of this segment of trail.  The Huron River is to our right (on the left looking at the picture).  The bridge just behind us is over where the canoes get back on river after going around the dam. 

In other news, I ran "naked" tonight!!!!  Noooooooo, not that kind of naked!  I walked out of the house to go to the track workout without my Garmin or watch.  I had put Garmie on the counter so I wouldn't forget her just before going upstairs to change.  I see how well that worked!    Tonight was a combination of 200s and 400s. 

Runner Nerd
race photobomber

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pure Michigan

This is a post that I've been planning for a while but just haven't got it written.
The idea for this started one day last year when I went running around 9pm and got back around 9:30 pm and found a text message from my friend who lives in New York City.  My reply began, "I just saw this, I just got back from running."  My friend then asked if I had been running in the dark and I said that it's not dark yet.  He said that it was completely dark there.  I had to go outside and take a picture and send it to prove that it was still light out and then he thought that I must be in a different time zone!  I'm not; we're in the same time zone.  Michigan is on the Western edge of the eastern time zone so the sun sets later here than on the eastern edge of the time zone where New York is.
This is my favorite time of the year - when we have the most hours of daylight.  It's light until 9:45ish and you can still see at 9:55 pm.  I remember when I worked 6 pm - 6 am and it was full sunlight when I drove home at 6 am.  I hated it in the winter when it was dark when I drove into work at 5:30 pm and dark all night when I worked and still dark when I drove home at 6 am.  In the summer, I drove to work in the daylight and worked several hours in light and then it became light again before my shift was over.
I know I once read that Michigan either was or was supposed to be in the central time zone but someone with some authority, governor maybe, thought that it was important to be in the same time zone as Washington, DC and fought hard to get Michigan in the eastern time zone.  I can't remember all the details and I can't find this information now but I KNOW that I read that. 
Anyway, I wanted to take a series of pictures between 9:30 pm and 10 pm at the time of the year when we have the most daylight.   I took these on June 30th.  I'm already noticing a little difference around 9:30.  It's already getting dark earlier.
These were taken with my cell phone.  It's the barn across the road from the house.
This first picture was taken at 9:30 pm.  It's still fully light out and the barn is easy to see.  This is the time when my friend in NYC said it was completely dark there.
9:30 pm on June 30th in southeast Michigan
Next, 9:45 pm; it's beginning to get dark now.  Once it starts to get dark, it gets dark fast.  Most cars would  now have their lights on. 
9:45pm on June 30 in southeast Michigan
Now, 9:55 pm, it's almost dark but you can still see the barn. My solar lights are on now.  (that's what the little blue dot is.)
9:55 pm on June 30 in southeast Michigan
Finally, 10 pm.  It's pretty much dark.  You can just barely see the barn.
10 pm on June 30 in southeast Michigan
By 10:05 nothing showed when I took a picture.
So, that is late Spring/early Summer in Michigan!  It's my favorite time of the year!  It doesn't last long so I enjoy it while I can.  

Today I drove to workout class at the Y with the heat on in my car.  Huh?  At the end of July?  It was only 63 degrees.  This is so not fair.  I want my summer!   It looks like it's going to warm up for the rest of the week.

Runner Nerd
loves summer

Monday, July 28, 2014

Electric Bolt 8K

Yesterday I ran the Electric Bolt 8K.  It is put on by Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (A2A3) which is an organization that raises funds for research for a cure for ALS.  My Grandfather had ALS so it has affected my family.  They also put on the Twinkie Run on April 1st every year. 
This race was run on parts of my favorite running route in Riverside Park, Argo and Bandemer Parks! 
Since I had run my long run the day before, I was planning to just run easy.  I normally run three miles easy on Sundays.  Sometimes my legs are still sore or tired from the day before and my Sunday runs can be really slow. I thought that if I ran the race at a pace anywhere near 9 minutes that it was going to count as my tempo run for this week.  I usually do a tempo run on Mondays. 
My running group friend, Larry, was there and said that he was going to run with me since he hasn't been running much lately.  Of course, I went out way too fast.  My first mile was 8:14.  Mile two was also fast at 8:38. The remaining miles came in at:  9:12, 10:12, and 9:15.  That fourth mile was the hardest part of the race.  It ran along the boardwalk from Bandemer Park to Longshore Dr.  It's a gradual uphill rise and I'm usually running along it in the opposite direction which is downhill!  There was also a hill on Longshore that was part of the fourth mile.  I was very glad to be done.  The medals were nice.  I also got a glass for first place in my age group. 
I found this picture on their Facebook page.  I'm not sure what I'm doing with my hands!  I look like I'm going to grab something.  Maybe I'm in the process of bringing my hands together to shut off Garmie, who knows.  I also think I look huge in this picture.
I don't ask anyone for contributions but I do try to talk people into participating in the events.  I was able to get two friends to do this event! 
I did decide to use that as my tempo run for the week.  Today I had a dentist appointment in the morning and then I came home and have been trying to get some cleaning and organizing done around the house.  I'm starting a new job in two weeks (more details on that later) so I want to get some things done before I start.  I'm pretty excited about it but that's all I'm going to say right now. 

Runner Nerd
runs for a cause

Monday, July 14, 2014

Volunteering at races

I've volunteered for races quite a few times.  I usually do jobs that still allow me to run the race but there have been times that I volunteer during a race.  I used to put packets together and help with some of the office stuff for Running Fit races but then they moved all of that to one of the other locations.  I've volunteered for the Clark Lake Triathlon for the last four or five years.  Yesterday was this year's triathlon.  I reported for duty at 6am and it began raining.  I usually help with parking cars and this year I did that in the rain.  I'm so glad that I dug out my winter trail shoes because I was pretty sure it was going to rain.  I was soaked but my feet were dry!  It stopped raining about 15 minutes before the race began.  After the cars were all parked I was sent to the finish area where I found out that I was going to hand out medals!!  I was so excited!  I unpacked the medals out of boxes and got them all laid out.  Finally, the first finisher came around the corner and up the final stretch and crossed the finish line!  I put the medal around his neck!  I was told to be happy and congratulatory and to put the medals around the racers' necks.  Some people reached out and grabbed them but most let me put them over their head.  After the final finisher came through I was off to the transition area to take down bike racks as they became cleared.  I also picked up trash from ground - such glamorous work!
The medals ready for finishers:
medals for triathletes
A friend who had been out on the bike course walked by and took this picture of me being silly waiting for the next finisher to come through:
medal girl
Back on June 1st I volunteered at a water stop of a half marathon, the Dexter to Ann Arbor half marathon.  The Saturday running group does a water stop at mile 6.  It was the first time I'd ever volunteered at a water stop.  I had to learn how to hold the cups and let go of them at the moment that the runner takes hold.
We arrived at the location early to set up.  A truck had just dropped off the tables, cups, big jugs of water and Gatorade mix.  We filled the cups and set them in rows and then a thick piece of cardboard on top of each layer.  This is what it looked like when we were done:
aid station all set up
layers of cups
It was really neat to see the whole entire field of a half marathon from the first one to go through to the very last.  Once the runners slowed down to just a few at a time and were becoming spread out I went to picking up the cups from the road and sides of the road.  (once again, a trash picker upper!) 

A couple of Lululemon reps were also helping at the aid station.  One of them wore a lemon suit:
Lululemon rep dressed as Lulu the Lemon! 

Yesterday I was inspired to go for a long bike ride after I got home from the triathlon.  I rode 11 miles.  I haven't rode much since May 24th when I rode 30 miles around Mackinac Island which I fully intended to write about but never did.  I went up there with the same friend from school who I went up with during our break in the summer of 2012.  It was a lot of fun.  It was the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and was the first big weekend of the season for Mackinac Island but there weren't nearly as many people there will be once summer is in full swing.  I had a great time but I wasn't really ready to ride 30 miles!  We didn't ride 30 solid miles, we stopped at some of the sights such as the highest point on the island and an old fort, etc.  We also rode on some of the trails, both paved and dirt, that wind through the wooded parts of the island.  We had dinner in the late afternoon and then decided to do one more circle around the island because we had ridden 22 miles and the perimeter road is 8 miles.  It sounded like a good idea but I wasn't very far into the ride when my butt had had enough of the bike seat!  I was so glad to be done when we finally made it around the island.  We headed back to St. Ignace with enough time to sail under the Mackinac Bridge which was fun for me.

Tonight I attempted another tempo run.  It went much better than last week's sorry attempt.  I didn't have to walk!  Mile 1 and 2 were both under 9 minutes but then I slowed down but the 3rd mile did have a big hill.  I'm feeling much better about my half marathon training now.  My long run on Saturday also went much better than the one 2 weeks ago.  It got tough the last 2 miles but I never had to walk.

Well, that is about all for now.  Tempo runs make me tired!  It's time to go to bed.

Runner Nerd
race volunteer

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Catching Up - Races, Travelling, Training

I haven't posted since May 9th.  
I haven't been a very good blogger lately.  I haven't been doing anything out of the ordinary or anything; I just haven't been keeping up on blogging!  All of a sudden, my iPhone won't email pictures to me anymore and I have no idea why.  That makes it harder to get the pictures I take on the phone to use on the blog.
I've run a few races, volunteered at a race, taken a couple of short trips, tamed a feral kitten, had some great runs and had some really bad runs.
A week ago Saturday, June 28,  was one of the really bad ones.  I ran eleven miles but after mile 7 it got tough.  I walked a couple of times up hills.  I was so upset.  I don't know why it was so hard.  The next day, Sunday, I only ran three miles but that was very difficult.  I wasn't quite back to my car when I hit three miles and I just walked the rest of the way back; I never do that.  Monday I tried to do a tempo run but that didn't quite go as planned.  I ended up doing mile repeats.  I made it two miles then had to stop and rest about a minute and then again at the third mile before running the fourth mile.  I guess it's better than nothing!  I wasn't looking forward to Friday which was the Hanover Firecracker 5 miler at all.  I was very surprised that I ran good and never had to walk up any hills, and there are three big ones on this course!  I came in at 44:20 which is an 8:52 pace.  I even got third in my age group!!  After the race I changed in my "changing room" in the backseat of my car behind the tinted windows and raced over to Grass Lake where the rest of the family was getting lined up for the parade with our vintage tractors.  We pulled our church float with one of them and I walked along beside the float passing out invitations to the Vacation Bible School.  I still had Garmie on so I reset her and started it again and I walked 1.84 miles in the parade!
My cousin who lives in Alaska was home visiting his parents (my Aunt and Uncle) so we had a get together there yesterday so I didn't go to long run group.  My sister who lives in California was able to come and attend the party so I got to see her too!  My sister-in- law and I talked about our plans to run the Vegas Half Marathon in November!  She hasn't been running since we ran the Chicago Marathon but she's getting ready to start training again.
Today I was going to head to Chelsea to go for a run when I saw on Facebook that one of my running friends was running on my favorite route and posted a couple of pictures so I decided to drive 15 minutes more and run on my favorite trails!
Argo Pond was beautiful today with the sun shining on the water.
Argo Pond
I always love passing this sign:
Do not enter 
This is an old road that has been closed for a long time.  The do not enter sign is for cars.  It is ok to walk, run, or bike on it.  It's just kind of fun to run past the "do not enter" sign!  I only run through here occasionally; it adds about a mile to my run.
There is also an old leftover sign from when the road was still a road.  I love this sign:
sharp curve ahead

I'm now training for my four half marathons this fall.  I am training for my goal race which is the Women Run the D women's half in Detroit on Sept. 21.  It's 11 weeks away now!  I ordered a book called, "Run Less, Run Faster".  I somewhat followed the first week of training but had to make some changes because of the 4th of July race.  I also spent an entire day helping my very pregnant niece with  some things she needs to do before the baby comes so I missed the speed work out that day.

I can hardly believe that the 4th of July has passed.  After the 4th of July summers just seem to fly by.  After the winter we had I want this summer to last a very long time.
Tomorrow is back to normal life.  I have a corner piece of cake, too many pulled pork sliders, more cake, cookies, two oversized meals on the 4th, and ice cream twice to work off and recover from!  It's always a fun weekend when the 4th falls on a Friday!

A big storm is brewing; what great timing, right when the holiday weekend is over and it's time to go to bed!

Runner Nerd
celebrates the country's birthday

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Virtual Race Swag

Today, this arrived in the mail:
Las Vegas Virtual 5K shirt - FREE!
I really didn't think I'd ever see this!  As the day that registration opened was coming up, the Vegas Half Marathon was posting on their Facebook page about kick off night which was being held in several cities.  For those not in one of those cities there was the virtual option which was to register for the race within the first few days of registration being open and then run 5K anywhere, take a selfie showing a Garmin, phone app, or treadmill screen and upload it to the special post that would appear the evening of the kick off events.  I did all of that and uploaded the photo but wondered how in the world that I would receive a shirt from that.  I honestly didn't think I'd ever see a shirt.  I vaguely remember something during registration that had to do with Facebook.  It must be that I somehow linked my FB with my registration because I got my shirt today!!  It is the strangest color.  That picture makes it look gray but it is a weird green color.  I'm not complaining!  It was FREE!!!  It's a nice shirt; it's even a women's shirt, not the usual unisex t-shirt.  

This is the photo "results" I submitted:
Vegas Virtual 5K results
Notice the snow on the ground!  Notice the headband on my head!  Notice the winter running shirt which is my heaviest winter shirt!  I think it was cold that day! 

Las Vegas, here comes Runner Nerd!!! 

Runner Nerd
got a shirt in the mail

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Track Workout

Today, I did a track workout for the first time in a long time.  I went to the group led by the trainer whose classes I take at the Y.  (I've been doing his track workouts for years.)  We run at a high school track.  He has been running workouts for a few weeks this season but I haven't been to one yet.  When I saw the workout in an email I knew I was in trouble! 
We started with 4 easy laps warm up and then 4 laps fast on the straights and slow on the curves.  Then it was 4x400 on 3 minutes.  I did ok for those first 4 repeats.  I had 1:57, 1:59, 1:57 and 1:57.  Then a lap slow and then on to the next set of 4x400 on 2:40.  That was tough.  I wasn't getting much rest.  All 4 of those laps were 2:01-2:03.  Another slow lap and then to the next set - 4x400 on 2:30.  This is where it got ugly.  I might as well have done a mile repeat because I got very little rest between repeats - about 15-20 seconds.  The last two 400s were 2:09 and 2:08.  There was actually a fourth set but only two people attempted that - 4x400 at 2 minutes.  I did the first one then a slow lap in which time the other two did almost two repeats so I joined them on their last repeat.  Then two slow cool down laps and I had just run 7 miles with 3.5 miles of fast running. 
I was worn out but I actually felt really good afterward.
Before we started, I told the coach that it was going to be hard after the first set because I don't think I can run a 400 in two minutes right now.  He said, "oh yeah, you were running 1:47s last year!"  It was at the END of the summer that I was ran a couple of 1:47 400s.  (I was also 10 lbs lighter at that time but I didn't mention that.)
So, that was my fun and games for the day! 

Runner Nerd
did speedwork

Skechers shoes - now for the elite runner!

Meb won the Boston marathon wearing Skechers and now, I read today that Kara Goucher is now sponsored by Skechers! 
I went to their website and they have some really cute running clothes!!  I never knew they made clothes.  I may have to go to the Skechers store! 
I remember a few years ago when Skechers came out with the shoes that supposedly would tone your legs just from walking in them and all of us runners laughed at that!
I was thinking about trying the new running shoes for work shoes. 

Runner Nerd
wondering about Skechers

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Run for Eli

Today's group run was a little different.  We met in a park instead of the usual fitness studio.  The owners of the fitness studio wanted to have a special run today to remember their son,Eli, who was stillborn one year ago.  Before taking off, we released light blue balloons which we wrote  messages on.  It was very simple, she said one, two, three and we let go of the balloons and they all floated upward. 
The run route started with a 3.1 mile loop that came back to the park because Eli weighed 3 lbs, 1 oz.  They had a lot of family and friends there who walked the 3.1 mile loop and many were pushing kids in strollers.  The run then continued on, for those of us in the running group, another 7.41 miles to equal 10.51 miles because Eli was born at 10:51.  They also asked everyone to wear blue and most people did.  It was really special and even though it was just my weekly long run, it really did feel like I was part of something special.  It was very nice.
After running, they invited everyone to join them and their family members in the park for snacks.  They were also taking donations for March of Dimes.  (Eli had a fatal genetic disorder.) 

While running the first 3.1 mile loop of the run we saw many students in cap and gown headed over to the big house for graduation!  That was really exciting!  We were all saying congratulations to them.  

I really didn't want to get up at the crazy early hour that my alarm went off but I'm now glad I did as this was a very memorable group run day.

Runner Nerd
ran for a purpose today

Saturday, April 26, 2014

10 miles for the first time in forever

I ran ten  miles today!  I went to the group long run this morning.  The course was a 10 mile loop and I couldn't find any good way to cut back for 8 miles other than going out 4 and back 4 and everyone knows how much I hate out and backs.  I've run 8 miles 4 times now so I decided to go for it and do the whole ten mile loop.  It went pretty good, the last mile got tough but I felt pretty good when I was done. 
We got out on roads we haven't run on since the fall.  There was over a mile on a dirt road; it was kind of hard to run on.  I haven't run on a dirt road in quite some time.  Wednesday night the running store group run also went out in an area we avoided in the winter which included mostly dirt roads and I noticed that they were hard to run on.  I think it's the unevenness of the road and this time of year they are full of holes.  I felt like I was always dodging holes. 
This week I'm going to have higher mileage that I've had in a long time.  I've already run 25 miles and I still have one more day! 
I went out to run on Monday after all my friends running Boston were beyond the halfway point.  I ran in Chelsea.  I intended to run five miles but the route I was thinking was five was actually six miles so I ran six miles.  The temperature hit 70 degrees that afternoon!  It was the first time I wore a sleeveless top this year!  In true Michigan style, the next day I needed a coat! 

Soooooo, Meb won the Boston Marathon wearing Sketchers shoes! 
I was so excited watching Shalane lead the marathon most of the race and was sad to see her fall back.  At seventh place she still broke the American female record! 

Most of the people I know who ran the Boston Marathon had slower than usual times.  \

Getting up crazy early and running ten miles makes for a tired nerd so it's off to bed.  I can barely keep my eyes open! 

Runner Nerd

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ten Running Blogger Questions

Just in case someone actually reads this -- I have absloutely NO idea why this post looks like this.  I've tried everything to fix it.  I may try to retype it but not right now.  I'm a nerd but not a computer nerd! 

The following ten questions were questions that a blogger, Runs for Cookies, who I follow, answered for a blogging award that she was nominated for.  She asked her readers to answer the same questions just for fun.  Sooooo, here are my answers to the ten questions.  

1. Who was your biggest role model as you first started running?

 A trainer at the Jackson, MI YMCA whose spinning and strength workout classes I attend, Jeff Beagle.  I call him Coach but most people call him Beag.  He's completed many Ironman Triathlons.  When I decided to run my first 5K in 2004 he was very helpful.  I never intended to run any longer race than a 5K.  I blame Jeff Beagle for the fact that I've run quite a few longer distance races, including six marathons!

2.  What is your best running memory?

 My best running memory has to be the Emerald Nuts New Years Eve Midnight Run in Central Park in New York City on December 31, 2010/January 1, 2011.  It was more fun than people should be allowed to have!  There were fireworks right overhead for nearly two miles.  There were so many people. I got passed by a giant banana about a quarter of a mile from the finish!  I hope I get to do this again someday.  
Running across the Mackinac Bridge on my Labor Day birthday in 2009 is also a special running memory. (My birthday falls on Labor Day again next year so I'm going to apply for the bridge run again.) 
Those two runs are tied for best running memory!  I just can't pick one. 

3. The time you now spend running; what was it filled with before you started running?

I was busy raising kids.  I was a stay at home Mom for eleven years.  When the kids were little,  I played outside with the kids a lot.  I took the kids to a lot of events for kids such as library story hour.  The kids were a little older when I started running.  I used to read a lot more than I do now.  I think I read several books per week back then. 
4. What is your favorite TV show?

I don't watch very much TV but I think my favorite right now is The Pioneer Woman.  I have the thingy set to record it automatically and I watch it every now and then when I get the chance.  I think I have 12 unwatched episodes right now! 

5. What is one habit you won't give up, even though you know it is not the healthiest?
Staying up way too late and not getting enough sleep.

6. If you could have lunch with someone famous, who would you pick?

Ben and Jerry, to thank them for making the world a better place!!! (hopefully, they would bring me lots of their ice cream!)

7. What is your favorite season for running?

Summer!  I love the summer.  I love the sun.  I hate to be cold.   I hate all the layers I have to wear in the winter.

8. Describe the one route you would be okay running over and over for the rest of your life. 

My favorite route is a 4.5 mile route that begins in Bandemer Park in Ann Arbor, MI, runs along the trail along Argo Pond, over the dam and along the trail that runs along the Huron River, goes under Broadway Street, continues along the river through Riverside Park, crosses Maiden Lane and continues along the river in Island Park, circles around the little park, follow the path back to Argo, turn right instead of going over the dam to go into Argo Park, runs along the other side of Argo Pond, through the woods, up the steps to the boardwalk along Barton Road and back into Bandemer Park, circle around by the entrance, over the bridge and back to my car! 
I could run this route every day!  
I tried to get the map from Garmin Connect but I couldn't do it so this is a link to my last run there:
My favorite running route 

9. If time and money were not an object, where would you choose to go on vacation?

Key West, FL.  I've run the Key West Half Marathon the last two years.  I love it there.  It's so expensive to fly there so it's not somewhere I can't just take off and go down there for a few days to go running.   
Running along the ocean in Key West

10. What is your favorite pastime other than lacing up the running shoes?
Playing the piano 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Birthday Party in Chicago

My Birthday party is in Chicago this year!! 
I'm finally registered for the half marathon on my birthday!  This half marathon wasn't as simple as just filling in my information and registering.  They have shuttles from different locations around downtown Chicago the morning of the race.  Tickets for the shuttles have to be purchased with registration.  I had to do some research and find a place to stay close to a shuttle location.  I like to stay walking distance to races but I couldn't find any hotels walking distance to this race.  It's in Jackson Park.  The closest I found is nearly a mile away.  I'm staying near Millennium Park which is where one of the shuttle stops is.  I will probably leave my car at the airport long term parking.  I can take the train from the airport to a stop not too far from my hotel and not have to change trains.

I'm now registered for two half marathons this fall.  Chicago and the Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon in November, as I wrote about in my last post.  I also would like to run the Detroit Women's Half Marathon, also in September but I haven't registered yet. 
That would make half marathons on September 7 and 21, two weeks apart and then on November 16, eight weeks later.  The Detroit International Half Marathon is on October 19, half way between the women's and Vegas but I don't know if I'll add that one in or not.  I did call this my year of half marathons! 

I'm happy that my training runs will be half the distances of last summer!  Marathon training is long and time consuming.  I'm figuring on my longest run being 14 miles this year. 
Researching hotel locations in Chicago is also time consuming!  It's tiring too so I'm off to bed now.

Runner Nerd
spending her birthday running in Chicago

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My First Grandmasters Win

In all the craziness of the dog getting sick, being in the veterinary hospital, and then dying, I forgot all about something.  I heard from the director of the April Fool's Day Twinkie Run a few days after the race that there had been some mix up in timing that night and that I was the Grandmaster winner!  I got age group winner that night.  I got the message about the mix up a couple of days after the dog died and I was still pretty upset over that and still coming to terms with everything. 
I checked the updated results and I beat the woman who was given the Grandmasters win that night by four minutes!! 
I'm glad that the results are updated showing me as the Grandmasters winner.  I hope I am able to win Grandmasters again someday and actually have my name announced as such and get the award designated  for the winner. 

Runner Nerd
Grandmaster winner

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Sister-in-Laws will be in Vegas!

There will be another Sister-in-Law running adventure!!  This time it will be a half marathon.  We're running the Strip at night!!  We will be running the Las Vegas Half Marathon on November 16th!
We came up with this on the train on the way back to her cousin's house after the Chicago Marathon.  I was texting with a friend about my marathon and then he said that I should register for the Vegas half which was a month later.  I told my Sister-in-Law what my friend said and she said, "maybe next year!"  An idea was born! 
I was really disappointed that we weren't able to run the whole Chicago Marathon together and cross the finish line together.  We talked about it again at Christmas when her and my sister were here and she said that she still wanted to do it. 
Registration opened the 2nd and I registered a few days ago.  The price went up after only a few days.  She hasn't registered yet.  Today I got an email with a discount code for the 13th, tomorrow, for $13.00.  This means that she will be able to register for $3.00 less than I did even though the price went up by $10.00!  So much for early registration!  This will be fun and the training runs will be half the distances of last summer's training runs!

I ran eight miles this morning with a long run group.  It got tough at the end just like last week.  There were five of us who stayed together the whole distance; it's been a while since I've been in a group of that many.  Today was the best weather we've had in a really long time.  It was in the low 40s.  A large number of the group are headed to Boston next week for the Boston Marathon. 
My run went well but I've been super tired and sore the rest of the day.  My feet hurt and I'm stiff.  That happened a few weeks ago. 

A couple of day before the dog got sick I had bought a 42 lb bag of his food.  It never got opened and I planned to donate it to the Humane Society.  I found out that the Humane Society has an urgent need for Puppy food so I was able to return the dog food and exchange it for two 25 lb bags of puppy food.  I took them to an event they were having at a pet store this afternoon.  They were calling it a puppy shower.  They had a "baby registry" of things they could use so I also bought some kitten toys that they were asking for. 
We are adjusting to life as a non dog household.  We are still finding things here and there that remind us that a doggy lived here until recently.  For now, we just leave them where they are.  His dishes are still in their places.  I did dump the water but I put it right back.  We will eventually put them away but for now they are fine. 
reminders of a doggy
This afternoon was so nice.  I took the Christmas lights down from the front porch and from around the garage door! Yep, it's April 12 and I took down the Christmas lights!! It was too cold to do it before now.  I also got some lights that were stuck into the ground pulled out and brought in.  They were completely buried under snow all winter.  I unplugged the cord after the holidays but I couldn't even pull it out of the snow; it was frozen in.  I had a set of three little trees that I was setting up by the steps of the front porch back in December and my hands got so cold that they hurt and I was to the point that I couldn't continue setting them up.  I had two of them complete but didn't get the third one done.  I intended to come in and warm up and then go back out and finish the job and get them plugged in to the timer that I had out there but never got back out there and then it snowed and completely buried them so they never even got turned on.  I had forgotten about them until the snow melted and there they were! 

Getting up stupid early, running, donating puppy food, and taking down holiday lights makes for an exhausted me!  I think I'm going to go to bed now. 

Runner Nerd
needs to sleep

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale in Fort Wayne, IN

Yesterday my daughter and I loaded up and headed on down to Fort Wayne, IN for the annual Vera Bradley Outlet Sale.  This was our first time.  Vera Bradley is a manufacturer of all kinds of bags made of quilted cotton, usually floral or paisley patterned.  Bags (purses, tote bags, travel bags, etc) are their main product but they also make other products too.  My daughter and I have several Vera bags.  Every April they have a big outlet sale at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, IN.  The sale runs yesterday, Wednesday,  April 9th through Sunday, April 13th.  The first three days are divided in 2.5 hour sessions which a ticket must be purchased.  Those sessions are limited to the number of people permitted to be in there at one time so that everyone is admitted at once at the start of the session.  I know, how silly to have to pay to go shopping! 
It was an easy two hour drive down I94 west to I69 south to Ft. Wayne.  We had lunch at a Red Robin right down the street from the Coliseum.  We had to wait twenty minutes to be seated.  It was crazy, the place was packed and most of the women in the restaurant were carrying Vera purses!! Our waiter told us that they are very busy during the sale every year.
After lunch we drove to the Coliseum; it was only 1:10 and our session time was 2:30.  We saw some people going in but we didn't go in until 1:45.  We didn't plan to go in until 2:00 but we began seeing a lot of people going in so we decided to go.  We couldn't see the front of the line but someone said that we weren't that far back.  Soon after we got in line the place really started to fill up.  They had a large area roped off in rows.  We walked past that but it wasn't long until they were filling the rows up.  A man came though at 2:25 and said that the doors would be opening right at 2:30 and that everyone should be in by 2:45.  We didn't start moving until after 2:45 and we were finally in the doors at 2:50.  We got a guide as we were entering the building.  It listed products and gave the section where they were located.
Everything was on tables with a sign with the sale price on the top:
The best deal I saw
As we entered the sale, each person is given a large pink bag to carry their items in.   The space was huge.  It was crowded but not so bad that you couldn't move.  I tried to get a picture of the crowd.  This doesn't really show what it was like since it was a huge space. You can see the pink bags.
Vera shoppers
The best deal that I got was a garment bag.  They were the biggest discount I saw.  Regular 135, on sale for 50 which is 63% off.  I found one to match the travel bag I have!  I was a bit disappointed in most of the prices.  I've heard people talk about this sale and the prices being so low.  They are selling retired styles and patterns at this sale; it's not the latest styles and patterns.  I did some googling last week and found some blog posts people made last year after the sale and they all said that the prices weren't as low as they used to be.  (These were people who had been going to this sale for years.)  One lady said she had went for seven years but probably wouldn't go again.  I know they can't give the stuff away but they promote on the website and in emails that prices are 40 - 60% off.  I was seeing things right away that were less than 40% off.  I even used the calculator on my phone to make sure my brain wasn't malfunctioning.  My daughter bought one of the duffel bags in the picture above.  The regular price is 85 and the sale is 55 which is only 35%.  It was the one thing that she really wanted and she found it in the pattern that she really wanted so she bought it. 
We found the things that we wanted to get and then we went up and down all the rows just looking at all the stuff.  After we did that, we were off to the checkouts which were in a different area.  We got in the line.  The line moved right along but it was nearly an hour before we checked out.
The checkout line:
I don't know how many checkouts they had but there were a lot of them.  We were finally at a checkout!
almost done!
After we left the checkout area there was a picture background.  My daughter took a picture of a couple of ladies and they took our picture for us.
Mother & Daughter at VBOS14 
We took pictures of each other pointing to our favorite pattern on the wall.  This is me pointing to my fave:
fave Vera pattern

So, that was our Vera Bradley Outlet Sale experience!  Geez, I'm as tired from typing this out as I was yesterday when we were leaving!   I'm glad we went and we had a good time but I'm not sure we will be in any hurry to go again next year.

Runner Nerd
attended #VBOS14

Monday, April 7, 2014

Remembering a special doggy

Today would have been our dog's 6th birthday.  It's only been five days since he left us and we still miss him a lot.  We keep finding things that remind us of him. 
He loved watching the farming action.  

watching his boy chisel plow
The vet called today with the pathology results of the mass that was removed from his abdomen.  It was a rare type of dog tumor.  It was a cancerous tumor even though they didn't think it was to begin with.  I did some googling and found out that it's usually seen in older dogs and once it's removed, the dog either recovers or doesn't.  He was one of those who didn't.  It does help to know that we made the right decision in not doing another surgery because it doesn't help the dog much and most will still die within three months. 
I am glad that we took him to the MSU Veterinary Hospital.  They are wonderful there.  They even have social workers there.  One talked to me on Wednesday when I was visiting the dog and one called the next day because he had died.  She said that they will call again in about a week. 

Well, I just wanted to remember him on his birthday.

Runner Nerd
misses the dog who drove her nuts

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sad day

Yesterday I wrote briefly about our dog having to have surgery.  He was beginning to recover and seemed to be doing much better this morning.  I visited him at the MSU Veterinary Hospital at 1pm.  He was much more with it today than he was yesterday.  He wouldn't eat for me but he was alert and looking around much more than yesterday.  Then, I got a call about 4:30 pm.  He had begun having some problems and was not doing so well anymore.  They needed to open him up again but even if they did there still wasn't a good prognosis so we had to make the very difficult decision to not go ahead with any more surgery.  He died shortly after 5pm. 
He would pose for selfies although we had to be quick!
He would pose for selfies
He would wear a Halloween costume:
Pumpkin dog  
He was a naughty dog who liked to take things off the counters and island in the kitchen!
Oh boy!  I got a sleeve of crackers! 

He liked his John Deere Tractor toy:
Of course, John Deere toys were his favorites!
We will definitely miss this dude.  He drove us nuts sometimes with his howling and barking at nothing.  I guess that's what hound dogs do.  He was a happy dog who had a lot of fun in his 6 years.  I know we gave him a good life.  He got his own couch, he got a hot dog and a piece of bread every day when the boys got home.  He flipped waste baskets over and scattered the contents whenever he got the chance.  He swiped my bananas off the counters, he could stand with his front feet on the table and beg for food (see picture in yesterday's post!).  He occasionally got into trouble and got sent outside for a while but we weren't too hard on him and he got away with a lot.  He had a bunch of toys but his favorite thing was to raid the recycling bin for plastic bottles that made a lot of noise when he chewed on them. 
He's buried at the farm he loved with a couple of toys that he loved (and the squeaker that he worked hard at for a long time to get out of one of them) and with a brand new Pioneer hat that he got a hold of and chewed holes in the day his boy brought it home.  We decided to keep the John Deere tractor toy to remind us of him.
Pioneer Mr. Dog Faist
4/7/2008 - 4/2/2014
Pioneer Mr. Dog Faist

We're really going to miss you.

Runner Nerd
had a sad day

Dog surgery

The last couple of days have been crazy.  Our dog is in the Veterinary Hospital at MSU.  He had a mass in his abdomen that had to be removed.  We go to visit him.  He will be there at least one more day.
He was fine and then suddenly, around 5pm on Sunday, was just lying on the floor and wouldn't move.  He wouldn't even eat his favorite doggy treats.  Later in the evening my son noticed that he was starting to look bloated.  We ended up loading him up and taking him to MSU shortly after midnight.
The Beast

He can look very handsome when he wants to

trying to get my dinner
He's a 105 lb Walker Coon Hound.  In the picture above, I'm sitting at the dining table and his front feet are on the table.  That picture was taken two days before he got sick.
Hopefully, he will be home in a couple of days.