Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Detroit Free Press Marathon

Armed with with sweet new shiny socks, I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon for a 5th time. This was the 32nd running of the event, and the first time that the event had sold out. The only reason I was able to run was because they opened up an additional 250 marathon slots during the expo. I entertained no time goal for the marathon other than to have a good time and snap some photos seeing as how I was coming off a "fat ass" style 50k the weekend before.A new start/finish line had been constructed for this year. This was also the first year for wave starts. For the most part, it seemed to alleviate crowd congestion at the beginning and allow runners to get into their groove right from the start.
I never get tired of running up and over the Ambassador Bridge, as runners cross over from U. S. to Canadian soil.
A view of the Detroit city skyline while running in Windsor.
The Free Press Marathon boasts the only "underwater" mile as participants run back into the U.S. via the Windsor Tunnel.
Belle Isle
In the end, I ran it in 3 hr 47 min and had a blast with over 13,000 fellow runners. Despite the happiness I felt at how the city came together for such an event, a moment of silence/remembrance should be given for the 3 fallen runners who died during the event. We should all remember how lucky we are to be out there moving forward

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A runner is born

A little over 3 months ago, I received an email from my freshman college roommate via Facebook. He had heard that I was doing a bit of running, and was wondering if I would be interested in giving him a few pointers about getting back into running. Memories of all nighters, pizza, beer, sleeping in past our 8 am classes and putting on 20 pounds began running through my head. Without hesitating, I asked him for his number and told him I would call him that evening.

Upon calling Trent, he said he needed to make a change. Despite being in the armed services for several years and coaching his son's hockey team, he had fallen out of love with exercise and put on a few pounds. A few pounds I asked? Conservatively, he said, he had put on about 70 pounds. I told him to be ready at 6 am the next morning, we were going for a walk.

The next morning we walked. We talked about the past but more importantly the future. He had reasons for making a change. They were sleeping soundly as we walked around the subdivision. He wanted to feel better about himself, have more energy, and most importantly be able to play with his kids without having to stop and catch his breath every minute. He thought running would be the quickest way to drop some weight, but there was a problem. Running as he remembered it, was punishment during football and rowing.

I told him if he was really interested in making a change, then we were going to start slow. Due to his weight, I told him, there would be no running for at least a month. The first month would be dedicated to establishing a routine with not only forward motion but diet as well. He would begin by walking and building up his endurance. I told him that if he just started running that almost certainly he would get injured and would begin a vicious circle of injury, couch, injury, couch, etc and then where would that get him? Secondly, I had him start writing down everything he ate and when. One of the biggest culprits and I know a lot of parents who tend to do this is to finish your own dinner and then whatever your child doesn't as well. Probably, not what he wanted to hear, but I told him that if he did this then after one month we would start to look at adding in some running. Furthermore, I told him that I would meet with him weekly and we could go over the plan as we first walked and then ran.

A month went by, and Trent stuck to the plan. He walked 3-4 times a week and began to watch his diet. As a result, the weight slowly began to come off and he began asking when he could start running. I told him to pick a local 5k and gave him a couch to 5k program that we modified as he initially had some shin pain. His goal race was the Big House 5k. I ran with him the first time he ran 2 miles without stopping and the look on his face was amazing. I could see he was beginning to love running.

Soon enough the school year began, and respectively we both became sick and busy meaning that we didn't get a chance to run together again until the day of the race. 12 weeks and 25 pounds lighter, Trent had done more than he thought he could. The 5k that we ran was just icing on the cake. From walking to running a full 5k, he embodied what it means when someone is inspired to make a change. A runner has been born.