Monday, April 30, 2007

Pinckney Trail Half Marathon

With the Riverbank run just 2 weeks away I decided to run the Pinckney Trail Half Marathon with Paul, Jim, and Matt this weekend as a training run. Paul's friend Jim had discovered the race a few months back and talked Matt and Paul into running as well. I didn't really know what to expect for a "trail" run but I thought it would be fun.
As it turns out, trail runs are brutal. No road running comes close to the amount of hills that are present in a trail run. The half marathon was up and down the whole way with punishing climbs and steep, painful descents. It was run in the Pinckney Recreational Area near Brighton, MI in a beautiful wooded reserve with lots of lakes and streams. Also, it was a nice sunny morning with temperatures around 60. The trail looked a little like this (but usually hillier)
The first 7 miles were constant hills with some very steep and tough climbs. Miles 8 to 11 actually weren't that bad as we had extended flat sections and time to catch our breath. During the first half of the race I overheard another runner mention "cardiac hill" at the end of the course and I hoped it wasn't as bad as it sounded...but mile 12 was. It was a huge, steep, never-ending hill that couldn't have come at a worse or more painful time. Finally, we emerged from the woods at mile 13 to finish on a grassy area along one of the bigger lakes (Map/Elevation of course)
Despite the difficulty of the course I was very happy with how I ran. I felt like I had lots of energy and was able to push the whole time. At the 6 mile mark I was running slower than a 2 hour pace and didn't think I could break that barrier but I began making up ground and by mile 11 I was ahead of a 2 hour pace. Then I hit cardiac hill and lost any time I had gained so I knew I had to push hard the rest of the run to come close to breaking 2 hours. I gutted it out and ended up finishing in 1:59:26, good for 7th place out of 50 in the Clydesdale division (195+ lbs).
Paul and Jim raced well and finished at 2:09 and 2:14, respectively. But Matt was the real story. After running medium distances all winter on his treadmill he just up-and-decided to run the whole marathon, which is 2 full laps of the punishing course. He did 3 long training runs but never on trails prior to the race. The whole time I was running I hoped for his sake he didn't attempt the second lap. But if Matt is one thing, he's determined. Not only did he finish, but he posted an amazing time of 4:23 and finished first in the Clydesdale division. Very impressive.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Parties

It was a terrific weekend to live in Michigan and Erin and I were able to enjoy the weather and hang out with friends all weekend. On Friday night Jeff drove up and joined us for the weekend.On Saturday Erin hosted a wedding shower for Julie who is one of her work friends. They decorated our house with a Mexican theme and even had a pinata in the back yard.

Later we all hung out downtown for the night.
On Sunday I put together the new grill Erin let my buy so that we could host another cook-out that night. It is pretty amazing how far put-it-together-yourself items like this have come. The package came with tools and all the necessary accessories. I didn't have to use any of my own tools and it only took 90 minutes (which includes 15 minutes to fix my mistake of putting half of it on backwards).

Two rounds of golf completed an excellent weekend. I played with Duby and Jeff on Saturday and Erin, Jenny, and I were beaten by Egypt Valley on Monday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I have Bradycardia

This week we had our yearly employee physicals at work. I found out that I have Bradycardia! Part of the physical was an EKG, which is a continuous strip graph of the electrical voltage in the heart. Part of the test is measuring my resting heart rate.

Average men my age have resting heart rates of 70-75. With training, athletes can bring their resting heart rates down in to the 50's. A chart for typical ranges is here.

This year I've been very good about exercise and was looking forward to my EKG. The results were better than I expected. I had a resting heart rate of 36! I must have some good genetics mixed in with the good training.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


On Saturday I played in a charity poker tournament in Benton Harbor. I've always enjoyed Texas Hold-Em, but usually I only play with friends. There is a big difference when you play with complete strangers because you have to figure them out before you can make your moves. I was happy with the tournament for the most part. I played patiently in the beginning until I got some good cards and eventually took advantage. I may have played too cautiously, however, because I never build a big chip stack. As players get weeded out the average chip stack grows and I wasn't keeping pace with that so I found it increasingly hard to play against the big stacks. I finished 9th of 54.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April Snow

What is going on? We are getting doused with snow right now...and it is April 11!! About 2 weeks ago I geared up to go for a run and thought to myself that I might not have to wear gloves while running again for the rest of year. Since then it has been in the 20s or 30s every time I've run and I've had to dress as warm as ever.

Because of the weather my current running streak is in jeopardy. I've run 2+ miles every day for 34 straight days, by far my best record ever. The streak has saved me on several occasions from laziness. I usually talk myself out of a run once or twice a week but my motivation to continue the streak has gotten me out there every day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring Break

Spring is finally coming around, but for the first time since I was 2 years old I won't be going to Florida this year. I was lucky enough to have one set of grandparents take me to Florida every year through middle school and then the other set of grandparents took over after that. One year neither side went, so I went with some college friends.

So instead Erin and I have been bumming around GR. We've gone to some excellent comedy shows lately and Jenny had a fun April Fool's party this weekend.

Five weeks after returning from Thailand Erin is finally starting to get over her jet lag. It is much more difficult to get back to "normal" when normal is working the night shift 3 times a week and sleeping at night 4 times a week. Thank goodness for modern medicine.