Tag Archives: Ann Arbor

Super-worthy Causes, and Super Offers For My Readers

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME – I’M FEELING GENEROUS!

One of the great things about running is its power to bring lots of people together for a good cause. Running events routinely donate at least part of their proceeds to one or more charities. Not only is money raised for people in need, the participants engage in a fun and healthy activity instead of sitting in some stuffy ballroom eating rubber chicken, or on their couches eating – well, I don’t even wanna go there.

One great cause from 2013 - the Boston Unity Run in Brighton.

One great cause from 2013 – the Boston Unity Run in Brighton. Huge turnout, lots of money raised, and tons of positive vibes.

One such event I will be part of next week is the Crim Festival of Races, where the city of Flint surrenders its downtown to thousands of runners for a day. Proceeds support the Crim Fitness Foundation, which offers programs on fitness and nutrition for kids and adults. Some of the best runners in the world come to the Crim, and the PR Fitness club fills up an entire bus and more each year.

Last year's PR Fitness team photo at the Crim.

PR Fitness at last year’s Crim.

But right now I want to do more than just tell you stuff – let’s act! I have special offers for my readers that I hope some of you will take advantage of. Without further ado, here they are.

Update: Running for Water – Rick Matz and Team World Vision

Team World Vision - 2In this guest post by fellow blogger Rick Matz, he told us of his plan to support Team World Vision by running a half marathon this fall, even though he isn’t a runner. According to the World Health Organization, over 3 million people die each year from diseases related to poor sanitation. Saving lives by providing access to clean water is what Team World Vision is all about.

Rick is trying to raise a total of $1,310 (get it?) and, frankly, he could use a boost to help him along. So here’s my offer. If any of my readers feels inspired to toss a few bucks his way, please email me after you donate (jeff@runbikethrow.net) and I will match it. Double the power! Click here for the direct link to his page.

And speaking of power…

Get Your Super On

Dress up as your favorite superhero and run!

The Super RunThe Super Run has races all over the country, and it’s coming to Ann Arbor on September 6. It’s a very reasonably priced 1K or 5K, fun for all ages. You also get a superhero cape, “I’m Super” temporary tattoo, and awareness bracelet with registration!

The Super Run supports charities like adoption and foster care, World Animal Awareness Society, and the Children’s Hospitals National Foundation. See their web page for more details.

If you’d like to be a part of this race, you can get a 2-for-1 deal! Sign up for an adult registration and email me the confirmation code, and I will send you a code for a free second registration! Supply is limited for this one, so it’s first come, first served until they’re gone.

And here is a coupon code for 20% off at www.superflykids.com where you or your kids can make your own custom superhero gear. It’s SUPERRUNFAN.

So there you go, and I hope some of you will feel inspired to support one or both of these very worthy causes. But if not, I hope you’ll keep in mind how fortunate the great majority of us in this country are, and consider supporting those who could use some help. And why not do something for yourself while you’re at it? Sign up for an event near you!  If you’re not a runner, most races offer a walking option. You’ll be amazed at how good you’ll feel.

Next up: a recap of my three-triathlon experience this summer, and a 5K romp in a vineyard. No, not a beer mile. But we’ll see what wild and crazy stuff might happen.

It’s Hard to Take it Easy

THIS STANDING AROUND BIT IS TOUGH, MAN.

The Ann Arbor Marathon was last Sunday. Sounds like a natural for me to be in it, right? But it was too close to my next race. So instead, I biked downtown to join some of my PR Fitness friends in cheering on the runners.

I only felt a little guilty.

Cheering them on at mile 10, just before the monster hill.

Cheering them on at mile 10, just before the monster hill.

Rest is important. Rest is vital to improvement. Rest is underrated. All runners know this, or at least we’ve heard it plenty of times, and even repeated it amongst ourselves. But how much of this wisdom is actually internalized is up for debate. Consider, for example, a conversation that might happen at a Saturday morning group run:

Fellow runner: “So, Jeff, how far are you going today?”
Me: “Oh, just a quick eight today. Resting up. Race next weekend and all.”
Fellow runner: “Smart choice. Rest is important. Good luck at your race.”

Now, the same conversation as translated by my ego:

Fellow runner: “So, Jeff, how far are you going today?” Please ask me back, so I can tell you about my upcoming double Ironman.
Me: “Oh, just a quick eight today…” Boy, that sounds lame. Bet he thinks I’m a world-class wimp.
Cat smirking - wallsaveFellow runner: “Smart choice. Rest is important…” I shall smirk inwardly at your wimpiness during my 20-mile warmup.

Now this is NOT how runners think. We all train at our own level, for our own goals, and support each other in accomplishing them. But that didn’t stop my competitive nature from whispering why aren’t you out there in my ear Sunday morning.

Yeah, Jeff - wouldn't this be lots more fun than standing there shivering?

Yeah, Jeff, wouldn’t this be lots more fun than standing there shivering?

It didn’t help that it was cold enough (25 degrees) that I’d have been far more comfortable running. And that later in church several people asked me what distance I’d done. (Well, that was my fault for not changing out of my bike gear and 2012 marathon shirt.)

But there was a bright side. As the temperature neared 60 in the afternoon, I got back on the bike for another 14 miles. I’ve been itching for weeks to get back to cycling, and that ride was just the scratch I needed. Looking forward to more!

The lead marathoner (and eventual winner) as he approaches the monster hill for the second time.

The lead marathoner (and eventual winner) as he approaches the monster hill for the second time.

Next up: the Martian Invasion of Races in Dearborn, where I will do the half marathon, and the Trail Marathon Weekend at the end of April. It’s the logical (and smart) choice to get in some rest while I can. I’ll do my best.

Run to Get Happy, Run to Get Fit

“SO WHAT’S THE MOST DEPRESSING SONG you’ve ever heard?” the girl at the coffee shop asked me this morning. Actually, she was in a good mood. She explained how neat it was that listening to sad songs like the blues are actually a way to feel better when you’re down. Running works well, too, I thought.

But if you ask me, things are turning downright positive around here. After what seems like years, the Ann Arbor Ice Age is finally showing signs of ending. The temperatures are rising and the glaciers are in full retreat. Today I saw my actual deck surface for the first time in months.

My deck, January 9.

My deck, January 9.

My deck, today.

My deck, today.

And last night, despite a threat of rain, I went to the PR Fitness run at the local lululemon. To my surprise, only four of us showed up. It was warm – mid-forties – and the sidewalks were clear of ice. What’s not to like? I put on shorts and lightweight shoes and hit the road, and boy, did it feel good.

One of our group was Dan, a new guy who’s just moved to Ann Arbor from Toledo. He’s running to get in shape and to help kick his smoking habit. “In Toledo, everyone smokes,” he said. “But everyone in this town is fit.” He’d only planned to run two miles, but stuck with us a bit longer, and ended up doing close to four. He only had one beef – our route began with quite a bit of uphill rise. “Is this whole route uphill?” he wondered.

Gee, what makes him think everyone in Ann Arbor is a runner?

Gee, what makes him think Ann Arbor is full of runners?

I told him this was his introduction to the Rob Morgan school of running. For those of you who don’t know him, Rob is one of the owners of PR Fitness (his wife, Coach Marie, is the other) and he has a particular knack for choosing running routes with challenging elevation changes. I’m convinced that one day he’ll discover a route that starts and ends at the same location, but will be uphill the whole way. It’s just a matter of time.

Ascending_and_Descending-Escher-Wikipedia

Why does this famous Escher come to mind… (Source: Wikipedia)

Speaking of time – in my previous post, I related that one of my little tribulations with pacing last Sunday’s ShamRock ‘n Roll was the expiration of my watch battery in the middle of the 10K. It had been on its last legs for some time, but finally gave up the ghost. So what to do?

Other people helpfully suggested a new watch, but I love my Garmin Forerunner 305. It’s an oldie but a goodie, with a nice big display and features I know how to use. But the battery is not easily switched out. It requires taking the watch apart, clipping off the old battery, and soldering in a new one.

My running watch and definitely un-smartphone. Yes, I am a caveman!

My running watch and definitely un-smartphone. Yes, I am a caveman!

Fortunately, I could turn to the fount of all wisdom – the World Wide Web (which is celebrating its 25th birthday this year), and found a terrific video that shows how to replace the 305 battery, step by step. I could buy a replacement 305 battery online, too, but there’s a better option – the iPod Mini battery. It’s the same size, has the same voltage, but twice the capacity. And it’s cheaper. Sold!

The toughest part turned out to be getting the watch apart, which involved about an hour of gently working the tight seam all the way around the watch face to break the adhesive. Replacing the battery was fairly easy, even with my barbaric soldering skills, and I put it back together and charged it up. So far I’ve put over four hours of use on it, with plenty of charge left.

Next up – Saturday’s No Frills All Thrills 8K trail run in Brighton. They tell me “the trail will be groomed.” I’ll settle for ice-free, which would be an improvement over last year. Hoping to defend my age group title, and earn the matching gold shoe!

2013 race finish. What am I supposed to do with one shoe - and spray-painted to boot?

2013 race finish. What am I supposed to do with one shoe – and spray-painted to boot?

Feeling the Heat, and B.C. Meets A.D.

Dad did what?

Dad paid for water? Has someone called 911?

ONE NICE THING ABOUT THIS HOT WEATHER is that it’s made me slow down. Last Tuesday I went out for a tempo run – 7 miles total, with 4 miles around a 7:20 pace. Normally no big deal, it sucked me dry this time. How bad was it? I stopped at Meijer near the end of the run – and paid for a bottle of water. So when Coach Marie assigned me 13 miles on Saturday morning, with the admonition, “Slow it down a bit,” I was only too happy to comply. (A 9:05 average pace. She was so proud of me.)

My training this week also included Aikido on Monday, gym workout on Thursday (not air-conditioned), bike rides Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon (around 90 miles total) and Sunday’s 5-mile recovery run. Sweaty? Yup. Buckets of it. But after that long winter, I’m hardly going to complain. Besides, it’s a good excuse to drink lots of iced coffee and Arnold Palmers.

What I have found uncomfortable in this weather isn’t the motion, it’s the standing around. I wound through the Art Fair twice on Saturday, during the PR Fitness morning run and returning from a bike ride to Dundee in the afternoon. The crowd shambling along the lines of booths could have been auditioning for Late Afternoon of the Living Dead. I felt so sorry for them. But then I saw something pretty unbelievable tooling down the sidewalk.

Solowheel - Art Fair 2013

Yep, a self-propelled wheel. Click here to see a video.

If you’re at all familiar with the comic strip “B.C.” you know about their transportation device. I’d always thought that would be a great way to get around – something small and portable that could cover a lot of ground. And now, here it is. The couple here raved about them. They told me it weighs about 23 pounds, charges in about two hours, and has a range of about 10 miles. The only downside? They’re a tad pricey (click here to see the Amazon.com price).

So along with the Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio, another comic strip fantasy device comes to reality. How long before we see the Hoverboard?