Here, There, and Everywhere

Sitting in front of my computer, thinking about what I should write for this post (maybe one of the 10 ideas I have written down…), I started to look through my recent pictures. What I realized is that I’ve been running here, there, and everywhere.

I recently wrote about my trips to pace races, but that isn’t the only travel I’ve been doing lately. A few weeks ago, I headed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for work. The highlight of Milwaukee is the food. I absolutely love German food, and I made sure to get a lot.

Bratwurst

Running in Milwaukee is great. The streets have wide sidewalks with well-timed walk lights. The drivers are Midwest nice and allowed me to run across the street pretty much whenever I wanted. The best part about running in Milwaukee is the great scenery at the Lakeshore State Park. Lakeshore State Park is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and features miles of paved trails and amazing city and water views. I made sure to get there for my morning run and had a great time running along the waterfront for miles and miles. I saw fish jumping, bait fish schools moving, and lots of fishermen. It was the perfect lakefront run.

Just last weekend I was in Washington, DC for the Marine Corps Marathon. I had never run the Marine Corps Marathon before and was thrilled to finally get my chance. I ran as part of Team BEEF, a team of runners who use lean beef as part of their fueling strategy for a protein-rich training diet.

Team BEEF

I had been looking forward to Marine Corps for some time, and flew in early Saturday morning for the Sunday race. Saturday was a day for packet pick up and touring. My crew got to packet pick up bright and early and were greeted by a really, really long line outside of the Armory. After waiting about 45 minutes, we made our way into the pickup area, which was well organized and easy to navigate. I got my bib, did some shopping, and met up with friends. After the packet pick up, my crew and I headed out for sightseeing. I couldn’t be in DC and not enjoy the sights.

DC

After a delicious dinner, it was early to bed for this marathon girl. I got up Sunday morning ready to run. I donned my Team BEEF gear and made my way to the race start. There was more waiting in line for a bus, and then even more waiting in line for security checks to get into the runners’ area. I hadn’t really anticipated the amount of waiting in line, or walking. The race start is more than a mile from the bus drop off and most of that time was spent barely moving in a crowd. By the time we got to the line to get into the secure area, the lines were crazy. We stood in one spot for over 30 minutes. Suddenly, an hour into our wait, the line started moving. They had abandoned the checks to get everyone to the start (still a half mile away) and we all rushed in, dropped bags, and hustled to the start minutes before the race start.

The start of the race is really special, with paratroopers and flyovers from military members. It was really exciting.

Fly over

The race started on time and within minutes I was on the course. The course was more crowded than I expected, but everyone was running about my pace and seemed to be having a good time. It was organized chaos. There were plenty of spectators with great signs, loud cheers, and lots of high fives. I ran with a friend and we chatted easily for most of the race. I loved seeing all the spectators and the huge crowd support in every part of the course. The course itself is beautiful, winding through some of DC’s most important landmarks and best neighborhoods.

Around mile 20, I started to have some cramping in my left hamstring. The whole thing was tight and randomly hit me with charlie-horse type pain. I slowed to a walk, stretched, and hobbled along through the final miles of the course. Even thought I had a tough race, I loved the Marine Corps Marathon. The course is beautiful, the crowd support is amazing, and the scenery can’t be beat.

MCM finish

Janji Projects Launch!

My friends over at Janji are simply amazing people. Aside from designing, producing, and managing a popular clothing line, they are always looking for ways that runners can tie back. The Janji line donates a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every item to amazing charities across the world. Now, they’re taking it one step further by launching Janji Projects.

Janji Projects is a crowd funded giving platform that allows runners to help others. Here’s how it works – the Janji guys will post a campaign to Projects.RunJanji.com and works kind of like KickStarter. The campaign will feature a particular apparel item that is linked to a specific cause. If the campaign is funded 100% the apparel will be manufactured and the cause will be funded.  It’s that easy. Anyone who backs the campaign will get one of the limited edition shirts and will know that their money went to an amazing cause.

The first Janji Project is the Uganda Run for Another shirt. The shirt is made of performance blend of polyester and rayon and features a pattern inspired by Ugandan basket weaving. The linked cause is the construction of water access points in rural Uganda. If the campaign is funded 100%, production of the shirts will begin along with parallel construction of the water point. Awesome! The water point will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water. Backers will get their limited edition shirt, and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make a real difference for Ugandans.

Clean water dispenser

The crowdfunded project launches at noon EST on October 27th on Projects.RunJanji.com. The design is exclusively available for preorder and, once the 100% mark is reached, the project will be taken down from the site. The shirts are expected to ship before December 20th.

Clean water dispenser 1

A little background on Janji from Dave:

The idea for Janji began at the DIII Track Championship meet, where Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfer raced the 10k on a stifling hot day. Needing copious amounts of water to just finish the 25 lap race, they were inspired to use their sport as a way to give people access to something they too often took for granted: clean water. After the meet, the two college teammates launched Janji. Now sold in over 100 stores around the country, every piece of Janji apparel has a design inspired by a country and, when a runner buys it, the runner gives clean water to that country.

“Our goal at Janji is to help inspire runners like ourselves to give back and run for another,” Spandorfer says. “By launching Janji Projects, the giving is direct. A runner can head out for a run knowing the shirt on their back provides access to clean water to 350 people in Uganda.”

My Pace or Yours

One of the best parts of being a runner is the opportunity to inspire others. I coach other runners and I love seeing them achieve their goals. I also have a great time as a professional pacer. I work with MarathonPacing, a great marathon and half marathon pacing company, and absolutely love the work that I do as a pacer. Recently, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to pace two great races, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and the Wineglass Marathon events.

The Wineglass Marathon and its associated events is a great weekend of racing in an adorable town. Wineglass takes place in Corning, New York, a charming small town famous for the glass company and museum.

Corning, NY

The race runs through nearby towns, past farms and small communities. It runs over small bridges and past forests full of turning leaves. The scenes are lovely and it’s one of my favorite half marathon courses around. This year, like last year, I paced the 2:30 half marathon group.

Wineglass 2014

I had a great group. We ran together, told jokes, and had a great time. I coasted into the finish with perfect timing and a very happy group of finishers.

The next weekend, I was signed up to pace the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, pacing the full marathon group. I had the assignment of pacing 5:30, the course cut off. I was to be the last place finisher and guide runners who were close to the course cutoff. The Mohawk Hudson River Marathon is a great event in Albany, New York. Albany is a great town, with a charming old fashioned down town. The race is well organized and supported by a local running club.

MHRM

The race begins at a  local park, with lovely views of the changing leaves.

Mohawk Hudson

Running the course cutoff is a funny thing. Turns out that no one wanted to just squeak in at 5:30 – they wanted to crush their goals. I ran along the bike paths near the river mostly alone, but enjoyed the views and quiet connection to nature. The course is almost entirely run on bike paths through suburban parks. It’s really very nice with a few gentle hills in the middle. I loved the course and enjoyed working with my team.

Pacing is a wonderful thing and one of my favorite things to do as a runner. Next up for me is the Palm Beaches Marathon in Florida in December. I can’t wait!

Troy Conquers 26.2: Shut Up Legs

Here’s a great piece from my brother about his first run with me!

 

Mistakes were made – that is how I categorize more than half my running. Whether it is signing up for things I shouldn’t (Dopey 2015!), starting out too fast (4 minute miles are amazing!), or running too far out on an out and back. Mistakes were made and now I suffer.

I volunteered to help Rachel move to her new home in Connecticut a few weeks ago as any good brother would. I know how much work moving is and understood what I was signing up for in that regard. However, Rachel decreed that while I was in Connecticut, I would join her running group for a taper run and put up 12 miles. Ok. Fine. Moving is a tremendous amount of work but a decent run should still be possible.

I was wrong. Mistakes were made. While I knew how much work moving would be, I did not know that Connecticut had hills. No one told me about this. I expected gentle rolling valleys with beautiful trees just starting to turn colors. The hills, no these mountains, in Connecticut were more than I could handle and had no preparation for attacking. Behold my normal training run (11 mile in MI):

Michigan Run

 

Elevation change of 28 feet and that is because I purposefully ran down to the river and then back up a hill. I try to add in inclines whenever I do a treadmill workout but those are by no means a HILL workout. There is one course I like to run that does have some gentle rolling hills. But not this – this is CT and this was too much.

CT Run

Garmin tells me 401 feet of gain and 362 feet of loss.

After spending two days moving Rachel I was not able to tackle the mountains of Connecticut for the full 12 mile run. I had to drop out at 8.5 miles and was very thankful to the Fleet Feet coaches for getting me back to the store and helping on cool down. As someone who had never been to Connecticut, let alone run there, I have to give a lot of credit to the running community. Not only are there more runners than I am used to, they tackle these mountains (to me) with an ease I could not.

Next time I will know what I am getting into and come planning to run hills. I just may have to train to come to CT to train again.

 

On The Move

I’m on the move. Over the past weekend I moved from my house of six years to a bigger house a few towns over. I can say with 100% commitment that moving sucks. All of my things have been in boxes for weeks now and it’s getting ridiculous. I’m covered in bruises from running into boxes…

Moving bruises

All I can see are boxes…

Boxes everywhere

And unpacking them just creates a pile of more boxes…

Pile of boxes

I swear that this will ruin cardboard for me for life. I don’t want to see another box again ever!

The worst part of moving is how it has impacted my running. I have only run a few miles all week – and the miles I did run were painful. I’m lucky to be marathon tapering right now, so at least I’m feeling a little less pressure to get in the miles, but I’m missing running. I’m starting to get the no-running taper madness. I feel stressed, sleepy, and sluggish. I need a run, but there seems to be so many other things that need my attention (boxes!). I’m sure the cross training of hauling, cleaning, moving, and unpacking is good for me, but it just isn’t running. It’s time for a real run! I’m just going to unpack one more box first…