Tag Archives: Crim

Not So Selfish? And a Perspective on Gratitude

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m sure all my running friends put the gear on and went out for a few miles before dinner to get in some healthy exercise and free up some calories for that second piece of pie. I was in downtown Ann Arbor Thursday morning for the Turkey Trot, joining 3,000 people in turkey costumes and ugly sweaters (there was a contest) for a fun, untimed 5K. (A good thing, given it was snowing at race time).

Turkey hunting, 2013: First you make friends, then you invite him over for dinner...

Turkey hunting, 2013: First you make friends with him, then you invite him over for dinner…

Did I mention there was an ugly sweater contest?

I sure hope she won something for that effort.

I sure hope she won something for that effort.

So in my last post, I mentioned that the “baby boom” generation can be accused, with some justification, of being overly self-centered and “wanting it all.” For this particular weekend where we focus on being grateful, here are some examples of the kind of behavior we ought to recognize more often.

 Runner’s World article – Helping Hands Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Ken Hopper, an ironworker in San Francisco, noticed some years ago that a fence at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge was a popular turnaround point for runners. So in 2000 he put up a sign with a painted pair of hands on it, to give the runners ‘something more inspiring’ to touch than a rusty fence. The sign remains there to this day, although it is replaced every few years, and touching “Hopper’s Hands” has become a tradition for area runners. (Click the link above to see photos.)

But Hopper is involved in something else more significant – he is involved in trying to prevent people from suicidal jumps off the bridge – an unfortunately popular activity – and has saved many lives by either talking them down or physically restraining them. So the painted hands have taken on an association with saving lives, as though the hands are reaching out to stop the jumpers.

Running for Charity

Today I signed up for the late December Rock the Clock 5K which supports the Gerad Meteyer Foundation, a volunteer-run charity that supports sending underprivileged diabetic children to summer camp. I didn’t sign up just for that, but it’s nice to know that at least some of my entry fee will go to making other lives better.

Most of the running events I participate in, either as a racer or pacer, support one or more charities. Many marathons provide entries to those who want to run on a charity team. To get the entry you must raise a certain amount of money for that charity. And perhaps the most well-known race in Michigan other than the Detroit Marathon, the Crim Festival of Races was created to support a fitness foundation and has been going strong since 1977.

Quality Digest article: Statistically, How Thankful Should We Be?

This one has no relation to running, but quality improvement is pretty much a part of everything I do (and is my full-time job), so I was pleasantly surprised to see some actual statistics regarding world income levels and the state of poverty. Here are a few highlights. Read the articles for details and graphs (I promise they aren’t too thick-headed.)   Links to articles:   Part 1     Part 2

– Using a “poverty metric” of $1 U.S. dollar per day income, researchers found that the world poverty rate fell by 80 percent from 1970 to 2006, and the total number of poor fell from 403 million to 152 million. Even more impressive considering the world population continues to grow.

– Income inequality is increasing in most countries, but is decreasing overall. In 1970, more people were very poor (i.e. more “equal” in income terms). With fewer people now living in poverty, income inequality has increased. So it’s not necessarily a bad thing. How about that?

– In 2000, an income of $2,138 U.S. dollars put you in the wealthiest half of the world, and $61,000 put you in the top 10 percent.

Are you feeling just a little more grateful after all this? I hope so. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Crim and Pun-ishment

The inspiration for this post.

The inspiration for this post.

I have a friend who is fond of puns. I shall not name him, for he is more fond of them than is right for a man to be. Nevertheless, he remains my friend, and when he believes that our Dungeons & Dragons game needs an additional dose of depravity (which is all the time) he does not hesitate to contribute a pun or ten [1]. So this post is dedicated to our anonymous punmaster. He knows who he is.

At any rate, last Saturday was the 37th running of the Crim Festival of Races, and over 15,000 runners turned out for it. Most of them took part in the signature race, the 10-miler, although there was also an 8K, 5K, 5K walk, and a Teddy Bear Trot for the little ones. The 10-miler draws top-flight runners from all over the area, and even some of the world-class elites. The top 16 finishers ran the 10 miles in under 50 minutes. That’s better than a five-minute mile the entire way, including the famous “Bradley Hills” that occur around the halfway point. That’s seriously fast, folks.

And this is what we look like when we're sober.

PR Fitness post-race. (And this is what we look like when we’re sober.)

I’m happy to say I met my time goal, which was remarkably close to the elite times – if you consider the current age of the universe. And how did I do in my age group? Did I mention what a beautiful morning it was for running?

Teddy Bear Trot

After I finished and refueled with a lime Popsicle and an Arnold Palmer, I wandered around the area to see what was to see. Despite my daughter’s snarky comment, which you can read in the previous post, security was visible everywhere and downtown Flint had put on its best face for the event. It’s no secret that the city suffered heavily in the recession, and the signs are still quite evident, but there are also signs of recovery and rebuilding going on.

Public Art - Marks HouseThe post-race party area contained this structure, which turned out to be a work of public art in progress. You can see what it’s intended to look like at this link. I was told, however, that it’s at least a month behind schedule, which won’t leave a lot of time for enjoying it even if it is finished soon.

I biked to church this morning wearing my Crim shirt, as I knew at least two other people would be there who also ran the Crim. Any worries I had about bragging disappeared as soon as I saw one of them ushering. He was wearing his medal.


[1] He-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless once entered a punning contest to find out if he was really as skilled as he thought himself to be. He submitted a list of 10 of his best puns, and hoped at least one of them would win a prize. But no pun in ten did.

Runners to Invade Flint This Saturday

Man, what a gorgeous weekend it was – sunny, cool weather that just begs you to go out and be in it. And I was, although I actually had to restrain myself a bit. With my next race (the Crim) just one week away, and my 50-miler at Run Woodstock just two weeks after that, it’s time to taper (cut back the intensity) and rest up.

The Crim is big for the PR Fitness group. Really big. How big? 67 runners and a chartered bus is how big. That’s about three times as many of our runners who go to any other race throughout the year, including the very popular Firecracker 5K, Martian Invasion of Races, and the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. We like marathons, too, including Detroit, Boston, New York,  and Chicago, and smaller ones like Grand Rapids, Twin Cities, and even Columbus (mandatory Ohio State jab below) but the Crim tops them all.

Brady Hoke

You know why they don’t have ice at Ohio State home football games? They lost the recipe!

Started in 1977 by former Michigan Speaker of the House Bobby Crim, the Crim Festival of Races in Flint each August attracts thousands of runners and raise lots of money for the Crim Fitness Foundation and other charities. Flint basically turns over its downtown for a day of serious running and equally serious partying. It also attracts some world-class runners, with the 10-mile winner often finishing under 47 minutes. And Bobby Crim still runs it, finishing last year in just over 2 hours at age 80.

The race uses a staggered start to avoid a stampede. This is just one wave.

The race uses a staggered start to avoid a stampede. This is just one wave.

I will be running the 10-mile race as part of a team of 10; the top 5 finishing times of the team (based on age group) count toward the team score. I didn’t figure in the 2012 scoring, but based on my speedwork results this month, I have a decent chance this year. One nice additional perk is a party in the team VIP area after the race, with free food and beer. If only I didn’t have to get up at “dark o’clock” to make the 5:30 a.m. bus departure.

Team Stone Steppers gets down after the race. Click here to view them in action.

Team Stone Steppers gets down after the 2012 race. Click here to view them in action.

Stories and pictures to follow next week. For now, here’s one more thought from last year’s race:

T-shirt - Limits

Her shirt reads, “Find Your Limits – Then Exceed Them.”

In-Crim-inated and Elevated

I’M TAKING A SHORT BREAK in my “500 at 50” bike trip recap to bring y’all up to date on a few recent events.

Saturday morning I ran the 10-miler in the Crim Festival of Races, a hugely popular set of running and walking events to promote fitness and fight childhood obesity (you can read more about it at this link). That meant crawling out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to board a bus to Flint with 40 other equally crazy people in my running group. PR Fitness is well represented at many major events, including the Boston, New York, and Chicago Marathons, but the Crim is our biggest event.

The Crim is apparently Flint’s premier event of the year; the mayor called the start of each race. They put on a really good show for a city struggling so hard just to survive. (I hope they find a way to reinvent themselves; it can be done. Ask anyone in Pittsburgh, for example.)

We were signed up for the Team Challenge, where teams of 10 runners combine their times, and the top 5 times on each team count. Alas, while I ran a decent time (just under 74 minutes) my time did not count this year. But everyone had a good time, and one of the Team Challenge perks was a private post-race hangout area with free barbecue and drinks. So I drowned my sorrows in my annual half cup of beer.

My big running event of the year – the 50K trail ultramarathon at Run Woodstock in Pinckney – is just two weeks out, and I met and ran with many other ultra runners during two training runs on the trails. Most of them are running the 50-mile and 100-mile races. I feel like a wimp.

And in the world of Aikido – I passed my test on July 30, so I am now a pre-1st Kyu! My goal now is to test for ( and hopefully pass) full 1st Kyu in December, and from there to train for a pre-shodan (black belt) test in June 2013, possibly with up to two other Rec & Ed Club students. So even with my “year of being 50” ending all too soon, there’s still plenty to look forward to!

As for my August writing goal, I have actually written a bunch more stuff than my progress bar shows, I just haven’t brought my list up to date yet. Still have some work to do to get there, however. (Funny how the non-athletic goals are proving harder to accomplish. Never would have expected that.)

Still to come: the final day of the bike trip, and some overall highlights and reflections on the trip as a whole.