Tag Archives: Ann Arbor Turkey Trot

Running Cold and Hot (Chocolate)

IT’S GETTING A BIT NIPPY OUT THERE, as they say. Seems like we went from warm sunny evenings to cold and dark just like that. Even had our first snow on Monday. But that doesn’t stop the PR Fitness club. As we’re fond of saying, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just insufficient gear. Tuesday and Wednesday nights were business as usual.

Wednesday night's group at Lululemon. Zip up the warm tech shirts, put on the headlamps and hit the road!

Wednesday night’s group at Lululemon. 34 degrees and dark? Zip up the warm tech shirts, put on the headlamps and hit the road!

Cold weather running actually has a few advantages; for example, hard training like tempo runs and hillwork can be easier. I did both Tuesday night, and I was in no danger of overheating. But I overdressed a bit and got sweaty – not good, since as soon as I slowed down, I was wet and cold. Nothing for it but to keep up the pace to the end.

Wednesday night, by contrast, was a real pleasure from start to finish. We went out for a steady run at a smooth, casual pace. After a hectic day at work, it felt really good to switch off the mind and put the body into cruise control. During the run I talked with Coach Marie about last weekend’s 10K race at the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot. I’d run a good time – not a PR, but decent – and crossed the finish line feeling I’d given it my best. Knowing a friend was a few minutes behind me, I went to get my camera from the car, and found that I was able to run there and back. This actually bothered me. Had I ‘left something on the course’ after all? Not run as hard as I could?

All right, it's not easy to take this race seriously. But I tried.

All right, it’s not easy to take this race seriously. But I tried.

She told me not to worry. Bouncing back quickly after a short race is normal, as the heart rate gets down. For me to keep improving, I need to train the body to maintain a faster pace. In other words, the only way to run faster is to run faster. She said she’ll get to work on more tempo runs and intervals for me. Me and my big mouth.

Here’s another way to deal with the cold weather:

800px-Truffles_with_nuts_and_chocolate_dusting_in_detail

David Leggett | Wikimedia Commons

Chocolate has a longstanding association with runners, and chocolate milk is often touted as the perfect ‘recovery food’ following a race. If so, then the people at the Kona Chocolate Run this Sunday in Plymouth will be in fabulous condition. Runners will get in some healthy morning exercise and celebrate with hot chocolate during and after the run! Sorry, online registration is closed, but a limited number of new slots will become available on Saturday. See the website for details.

If you can’t make it to Plymouth, then go running anyway. And have some chocolate. For anyone in and around Ann Arbor, I can recommend Zingerman’s hot chocolate, which is sans doute the best chocolate I’ve had outside Paris. Take that, winter!

Talking (Iron) Turkey

Don’t be scared, Bobbie, come and say hello to next week’s dinner.

ELEVEN SECONDS. That’s all that now separates me from my goal of running a 5K in under 20 minutes. With my new personal record (PR) time of 20:10.9 in the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K last Saturday, I got ever closer to the magic number. I’d say I feel like Roger Bannister trying to break the four-minute mile, but no way I’m going to lay claim to anywhere near his effort and dedication.

Speaking of Sir Roger Bannister, I highly recommend The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb, a terrific account of three great runners trying to become the best in the world, and how a one-mile race featuring all three was very nearly organized. Bascomb details the training and study Bannister put into his goal; his was as much a scientific endeavor as a physical one. And I’m not sure how many people know that Australian John Landy was also trying to break the four-minute barrier at the same time, and ran a 3:58 mile just weeks after Bannister ran his historic 3:59.4.

My Saturday 5K translates into a 6:30 pace per mile, so I’ve got a ways to go yet to catch Roger. But hey, one goal at a time.

He runs really well for an old dead guy.

Two newly minted Iron Turkeys!

Last month I followed up a then-PR 20:14 5K with a 10K race the next day. So how do you top that? By running a 10K half an hour after the 5K, of course, to claim the coveted “Iron Turkey” award. Signing up for and running both races on Saturday morning gets you a special T-shirt and medal. The overall Iron Turkey winner, Alex Russeau, ran a superhuman combined 47:20. Look out, Roger!

So I figure I have two or three more cracks at the 20:00 mark before my birthday. The Thanksgiving morning turkey trot on North Campus is a likely candidate, and perhaps something this weekend. Finally there’s the Holiday Hustle in Dexter on  Dec. 1, my personal favorite because the 2008 HH was my first-ever race. Look what one little 5K can to do you…