Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

Since I started blogging over half way thru the year I decided to put together my “Best of 2012” photo album. This only covers January thru September to let all of my awesome readers, followers, and fans know what else I’ve been up to this year. It’s been a very tough year, but it was filled with some unforgettable times and valuable lessons. I look forward to the many amazing journeys coming up in 2013 and sharing them with you. Thanks to everyone for your support. Best of luck to all of you. I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Tim

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LA Marathon with Mary and Jason.

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Let's Move Festival Half Marathon - New personal record of 1:25:48

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Color Run Chicago with Andy and Andrea. That was one amazing weekend with my 2 best friends.

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Run for C.H.U.M. Half Marathon - ANGELRUNNERS.COM

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Warrior Dash Michigan - Jessica's first race! She did great and we had a blast!


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Crim Festival 10 Mile - I high-five random spectators. That's how I roll.

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Run Woodstock - Jimmy and Jason ran their first 50k and I ran my first 50 miler. I think it's safe to say this day changed our lives forever. I'm grateful to have shared this experience with such awesome people.

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Run Woodstock - My hippy-bus for placing 4th in my division, awesome peace sign medal, and a well-deserved cold beer

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Thanksgiving is a very big day for running races in the United States. Here in Detroit we have the Fifth Third Turkey Trot. It is the largest road race in the U.S. on Thanksgiving day. This year was the 30th anniversary and for the first time they offered medals to all finishers of the 10k, 5k, and 1 mile races. Last year there was an incredible 20,000+ runners that took to the streets of Detroit to take part in it. After running the 10k in 2011 I knew I wanted to come back and run it again. I learned last year that this definitely wasn’t a race to enter in hopes of getting a personal record. The course is extremely crowded, there are tons of walkers, people with strollers, and people walking and running with their dogs. Since a PR was out of the question, I had to come up with a way to challenge myself, but still go out there and have a good time. After all, this is a fun run.

While having a few drinks with my 2 closest friends, the idea hit me. I was going to run backwards for the entire 5k. Maybe it was the alcohol talking, but it sounded like a lot of fun. I had never run backwards in my life. The next thing I needed to do was find a friend to run with me and help navigate. I knew if I ran solo it would be insanely difficult to weave thru all of the other runners so I needed an extra set of eyes. My friend Jessica agreed. She isn’t really a runner, but she did her first race earlier this year when we ran the Warrior Dash together. Neither of us trained at all. She did absolutely no running recently, and I didn’t even train myself to run backwards. It was going to be a huge challenge for both of us, but we welcomed it with open arms.

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We lined up at the back of the slowest corral not knowing what kind of pace we would run. Immediately upon starting the race, there was an enormous traffic jam. This was going to be tough. We had to weave our way thru tons of walkers and slow runners. I really couldn’t believe it, but we were actually passing a lot of people. The runners had mixed feelings about seeing someone running backwards for the race. Some of them cheered, high-fived me, and shouted “Go backwards guy!”. Not everyone was that supportive though. I had a few people call me a show-off. I was kind of taken back by that. After all of the races I’ve done, I’ve never had people say negative things to me. I wasn’t running to make others look bad. I just wanted a challenge.

Within the first 1/4 mile my quads were on fire. My legs can handle very high mileage, but they were almost instantly rebelling. My neck and my eyes were hurting from looking over my shoulder constantly. I now knew just how hard this race would be. If it started to hurt that quickly, it was only going to get exponentially worse. I kept moving backward (or forward depending on your perspective) and continued on. Jessica and I started to develop a good system for navigating. At first she would say “go right, go left” but that didn’t work too well. She started pointing in the direction I needed to move. That was a much better system. Things got much smoother as we gained some experience and the crowd spread out a little bit. Now I just had to grind thru this race and deal with the pain.

About half way thru the race my legs were dead, my neck was kinked, and my eyes were severely fatigued. Turning around and running forward was not an option though . I committed to this and I was going to finish it no matter what. As we got close to the end we ran into an enormous traffic jam right before the finish. The last tenth of a mile was jammed. Everyone was waiting to cross the finish line. Somehow the race staff and voluteers were not moving the crowd along fast enough. We ended up waiting about 5 or 6 minutes to finally cross the finish line and claim our hard earned medals.

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It was finally over! I actually made it without falling. We went inside Cobo Hall to get some post-race refreshments and meet up with my friend Jason from my running group. He also ran the 5k, but he ran solo. Jason, his wife, and I went to the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade but Jessica had to leave after the race.

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We hung out along Woodward Ave. and watched the parade, sharing our individual experience with that day’s race. After having a few beers, the parade was almost over so we went on our way.

What I learned…
Running backwards is tough! The next day the pain really set in. I haven’t hurt that bad since my first full marathon but I do not regret going into the event without training. It was an incredible experience and a load of fun. Maybe next year I’ll run the 10k backwards!

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I’ve only been running for 2 1/2 years, and in that time I’ve earned a few medals. They’ve just been piling up on my mirror one by one, not even highlighting some of the nice ribbons they hang from. Like any other runner, I’ve worked very hard for each of those and they should be displayed in a much better way. For about a year I’ve contemplated getting a medal hanger but all of them that I’ve found were severely over-priced. The nicest hangers I saw were made by Allied Medal Displays, but the couple of them I wanted were priced between $60 and $80. Although they were very nice, I would have to spend almost $200 to display everything. There had to be a different way – Something more cost effective.

I came up with an idea to simply use 2 hooks and a dowel in between. I didn’t want it to look cheap, but after all, the display should highlight the medals rather than the rack they hang from. I went to my local Lowe’s to take a look at some ideas and hopefully see something that would work. It almost made sense to start with the dowels and find one that would be strong enough without being too thick. They had some 3/8 inch dowels made of oak that looked pretty nice and they were certainly strong enough. Only $1.19 for a 36 inch cut. That’s a great start, so I grabbed 2 and searched for the hooks. That place is enormous, and it’s hard to find anything so I ended up asking an employee where they were. I have to say, he was pretty rude. He didn’t even stop walking past me as he told me where to find them. That attitude didn’t make any sense to me. Anyone that knows me would agree that I’m very friendly when I approach people, and this case was no different. Maybe he was really rushed on other tasks. Next week is the kickoff of holiday shopping season and I’m sure he had a million things to do, but that’s still no excuse.

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Okay… I’m done venting now. Back to the hooks. I scored a 6 pack of some 3/4 inch cup hooks with a shiny brass finish for only $1.18. The dowels fit perfectly. This brought the grand total to $3.77 with tax. At that price I can scrap the whole idea if it looks bad.

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I cut the dowels in half and screwed the hooks into the wall. I think it’s a huge improvement over the way it looked before.

TOTAL COST: $3.77

TOTAL MAN HOURS USED: 10 MINUTES

I’d say this was completetly worth it. Hopefully my idea helps someone out there.

Tim

Although I was not able to run the 2012 Detroit Free Press Marathon, I wanted to go to the race to cheer on all of the runners and hopefully meet up with some friends of mine who were running. My good friend Jason was running it with his wife Dawn, and our friend Mary. This was Dawn’s first attempt at running a full marathon. Jason and Mary were both battling injuries so I really wanted to be there to show my support for them.

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One month earlier, Jason and I were running the Akron Marathon and Jason would get completely pumped up whenever we ran past anyone ringing a cowbell. So, on my way to the race I stopped at a local music store to buy one. I told the clerk that I needed the biggest, loudest one they had. He set me up with a really nice (and very large) cowbell made by Pearl and some Vic Firth drumsticks. I figured even if I wasn’t able to find my friends, I would still enjoy cheering on the other runners and have some fun with my awesome new cowbell. Around 11am I arrived downtown. As I walked toward the race route, I could feel the excitement in the air. About 24,000 runners were participating in this year’s race. I weaved my way thru barricades and crowds to make it down to the Detroit River Walk near mile 23. I knew my friends were not quite there yet, so I walked the race route in reverse in hopes of finding them. A short while later, I crossed the Belle Isle Bridge to take in a great view of the city and continue my search.

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As I strolled along, I rang the cowbell and cheered for the passing runners. They greeted me with smiles, high fives, and the occasional thumbs up. I was loving it. My disappointment from not being able to do the race diminished and I was full of happiness. Although I have run many races, I never attended one as a spectator. I quickly learned that being on the sidelines was a ton of fun. Two guys ran past with Indian headdresses on and one of them called out my name. It was my friend Eddie and his buddy. After shaking his hand and wishing him good luck I continued on. Not even a quarter mile later I noticed a former running buddy of mine. This was also her first attempt at a full marathon. I trained her from the ground up, so I was very proud to see her out there running strong.

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Near mile 18 I finally ran into Jason, Dawn, and Mary. I was so happy to see them. Lucky for them, I had a some Blue Moon beer, pain cream, GU, and salt and vinegar potato chips. We had a beer together and then they were off. I walked back to the bridge to cross back over to the river walk. I ran into them again near mile 22 and they were at a very slow pace. Their pain was getting unbearable so I decided to tag along with them for a little bit to give them moral support and refreshments if they needed them. I was definitely not dressed to run, and I had a backpack and cooler that I was carrying, but none of that mattered. What mattered was my friends finishing this race safely.

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I decided to stick with them all the way to the finish. They battled thru all of the pain and completed the race. I was so proud of all of them, but especially Dawn for completing her first full marathon. It took me back to that race the year before where I did my first 26.2. The pride and sense of accomplishment I felt after crossing that finish line was unexplainable. I could see it in Dawns eyes. She did it. And, although she was in a tremendous amount of pain, she felt that amazing feeling of victory. The marathon is something that will change your life. Somehow, everyone who finishes comes out of it a stronger, more confident person. As I drove home that day and reflected on the event, I realized that I should attend more races as a spectator. It means a lot to a runner when people encourage them and cheer for them. Even if you have never met and will probably never see each other again, you can still make a diffence by simply encouraging them. I look forward to more events in the future where I can bring out the cowbell and lift people’s spirits.