Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oak Apple Run Recap

Armed with his new "fast shoes", Little Dirt Dawg was ready to run this year's edition of the Kids Fun Run with blazing speed. After watching his old father pace a friend to a 10 minute PR in the 10k, Little Dirt Dawg did a pre race warmup or the beginnings of a mini duathlon by riding the 1.25 miles uptown to the start of the race. Dirrty Feather, armed with her "hand me down" trail runners and catching a ride in the Doodlebug took a more leisurely warmup.
Fearful of clowns (Read Ronald McDonald) who was the official starter, Dirrty Feather would not leave my side and was pretty tearful and pissed until she could run far away from that dude. Little Dirt Dawg on the other hand was cruising and showed really good form.
The dude with enormous nose, ME, was able to guide Dirrty Feather down the course and away from the clown as I told her of all the riches she would accumulate at the finish.

Post race, Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather were pretty proud of their ginormous awards, and Little Dirt Dawg completed his mini duathlon for the day by rolling home another 1.25 miles.
These are the days I will remember not only as a parent, but as a runner. Sharing my passion, my love of the sport on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pass it on

In this " I want it now" generation that has instant access to just about anything, I would be a failure as a parent, if I did not at least impart to Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather the virtues of honesty, hard work and having a passion among others. 

My passion, my love of running, is something ideally, I would love for both of them to pick up and run with.  I loved nothing more  the other day then going to pick out  some new "fast" shoes with Little Dirt Dawg for his upcoming Kids Run @ the Oak Apple Run. The joy in his face as he ran down the aisle to test out their quickness is something I can take with me through the miles  when I am faced with self doubt or in the "hole" of a long run. By having a passion, something they can call their own they can learn the values of being honest of where they are at in terms of fitness, goals, etc, but also that hard work can take you places you never might have dreamed of. More than anything, I want them to find something they can call their own to be healthy, active individuals. 

Have a passion. Pass it on. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Medals 4 Mettle

“Medals 4 Mettle”

What do you do with all of your racing hardware? You train for months and sometimes years in all types of conditions to get your body in peak physical condition for your event. You compete hoping to reap the results of all your hard efforts. Finishing, you are rewarded more often than not with a medal.

You may wear them proudly post race at the event, but then what becomes of them? Could you and would you be willing to give a token of something that you have worked so hard for to someone who is a fight for their life? Their finish line is not measured in PR's, Boston Qualifiers, distance or time limits. Often times, their finish line is making through the next round of chemo, surgery, or therapy, and hopefully, eventually being able to go home.

In my latest podcast, I was able to sit down with Slow Joe who runs the Michigan chapter of Metals 4 Mettle.

Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2005. Its mission is to celebrate and reward the individual and collective courage of all human beings by facilitating the gifting of marathon finisher’s medals from marathoners to people who have demonstrated similar mettle, or courage. The recipients can be any age and might have exhibited such mettle by dealing with disease, handicaps or any similar challenge. (via the website)

My decision was an easy one. Hanging in my man cave, these medals are better given to someone who is fighting a battle far more important than on the day I raced. On that day, I earned those respective medals and I was proud of my accomplishment, but knowing I could give something to another that is a fight far more important that my running is more important.

So take a look at your medals. Even a donation of one medal could lift a spirit, inspire a soul, and perhaps drive them on to their finish line.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Dark Side: Ultra Running…Not as hard as you think

* The following is my article which was in this week's Just Finish Newsletter*

What is an ultra? The standard definition, courtesy of Ultra running Magazine, is anything past the marathon, or 26.2 miles. However, the shortest standard distance that is considered an ultra is the 50 kilometer distance, or 31.07 miles. Other standard distances are the 50 mile, 100 mile, 100 km, and a series of events that last for specified time periods such as 6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, 48 hour, and 6 days.

Based on the distance being covered, some people refer to it as the “dark side” or “extreme” side of running and think that anyone covering this distance is nuts, loony, or otherwise has a screw loose. The fact is that ultra running is a great way to see the planet and often on a much varied terrain (trails, tracks, rails to trails, etc) than your standard 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon course. Besides that, given the distance often being covered or attempted, it is often covered at a much slower pace and with far fewer people. A slower pace often means less wear and tear on your body and a quicker recovery considering the pace and the fact that you will be not at your top end speed and redlining yourself. Yes, that means there will be walking; even “elite” runners competing do it. You don’t have to run the entire distance. Think of it as time to see the things you are running around and over rather than focusing on mile splits.

Another misconception is that you have run “crazy” amounts of mileage to be able to compete in one of these ultras. Not all of us are a Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek, or Pam Reed and have the time and financial backing to run full time. In general, if you are able to complete a marathon, then you can do a 50k with ease. It is only 5 more miles, and remember, you are going at a reduced rate of speed. Stepping up to a 50 miler or beyond will require you to extend your long run a bit, with a general rule of thumb that you can compete in an event/distance that is two times the distance of your longest run. If your mind is willing, the body will follow.

If for no other reason to try an ultra, then do it for the food and camaraderie of fellow runners. Food normally reserved for the finish line at a normal race, are a mainstay at aid stations. Cookies, potatoes, soup, sandwiches and other assorted goodies are often there along with the normal gels and drinks. Think of your run as a strolling buffet. You will need the calories to keep the fires stoked as you are out there enjoying the scenery and that of your fellow runners. That being said, runners at ultras are probably one of the friendliest and gregarious bunch of people out there. They are out there to have fun and are willing to share not only their experiences, but tips and tricks to get you through the miles. Since ultras tend to have less participants, little mainstream exposure, and little or no awards there is less pressure and that is reflected in the overall atmosphere.

Embrace the “dark side” and consider an ultra. A relaxed pace, strolling buffet, and a merry cast of characters. What more could you ask for out on a run?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tilling the land

In an effort to be greener and to show the kids what a "small" garden is all about, we headed over in the morning to our local farmers market. Buy local.
Somehow, besides the requisite tomato and lettuce plants needed for planting, little dirt dawg ended up with ladybugs (which apparently have to stay in the refrigerator for a week because it is still a bit chilly) and dirrty feather ended up with a praying mantis. Both swore that they would be valuable additions to our garden.
In my own mechanical ineptitude, I had to borrow a saw from my neighbors and several trips made to Home Depot in order to come up with the right combination of wood and nails to frame it in.
Little Dirt Dawg proved to be an able "right hand man" and helped to both measure ....
and drill.
Dirrty Feather provided sideline assistance and feedback.

After nearly a week of tearing up shrubs, tilling the land, cutting wood and nailing it all together, the team had accomplished its goal. All that was left was for Dirrty Girl to plant.
Here's to watching it grow and eating the goods!