Preparation is Everything

THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL RACE IS BEING READY FOR IT. Off to the Health and Fitness Expo today at Briarwood Mall to pick up my race bib and shirt for the Ann Arbor Marathon on Sunday. Packet pickup was at the entrance to Macy’s, a major sponsor of the event, and the corridor was stuffed with various and sundry exhibits.

The center court was a study in contrasts, with marathon information and fitness-related booths mixed among the standard occupants pushing sugar-laden and fat-stuffed goodies. Naturally, I visited only the running-related booths, like this one.

Bake sale for the Huron High cross-country team. How could I turn down such dedicated runners? If they happened to remind me of my daughters, that had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

So what sorts of opportunities were being promoted today to turn good runners into even better runners? Here’s a sample:

We will now demonstrate that 10,000 volts applied to the subject’s feet will improve his vertical lift by at least 56%.

Local gyms that will whip you into shape. This one, Applied Fitness Solutions, was offering body fat percentage and vertical jump tests like the one shown here. Then, after you threw your back out trying to be Michael Jordan, you could get your spine adjusted at a nearby booth and sign up for physical therapy across the corridor. And then, once you’re all healed up, you move on to…

More upcoming races!

Along with triathlons, “getting down and dirty” has become more and more popular lately, with Tough Mudder, Spartan racing, and killer trail runs just a few examples. This one, the Swampfoot 4 Mile race, is in its third year and has partnered with a foundation that supports wounded veterans. Challenges in these types of races include crossing rivers, swimming through mud, climbing walls, and other stuff that ending the draft saved most people from. But Kurt (seated) was effusive about how much fun it was. Darn, what a shame I’m up north that day.

There were also more good causes, like this one supporting the Ann Arbor Public Schools. With funding for education so tight, a lot of worthwhile programs need other means of support to keep going. All right, so donating may not directly improve your time in the mile, but you’ll make our community better. See the details at

Passing on a healthy tradition: Jane (left) ran for U-M, and her 3-year-old will be in the 1.2 mile kids run on Sunday.

More to follow after the race!

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