Tag Archives: Flint

Doing a Brick, Tastes Like a Brick, Iron Lady, Iron Legs

ALL SET FOR THE CRIM this weekend! Outfit and gear selected and packed, maps printed, and bike cleaned and lubed, checked and ready to go. Friday afternoon I ride the 60 miles or so to Flint, pick up my race packet, then head to my hotel. Saturday morning I bike to the start, run the 10-miler, then get back on the bike and head back home. (Okay, maybe a bite to eat first.)

I’ve done many “bricks” before (run & bike combinations), but this marks the first time I’ve incorporated an actual race into one. Should be an interesting experience.

Crim 2013 - PR Fitness team photo

2013 Crim PR Fitness runners. (We have fun.)

Why do this? Well, I could say it’s good training for my Run Woodstock 100K, where I expect to be on my feet for 14 hours or so, and that it’s a good test of persevering while fatigued. But the real reason is that the PR Fitness bus leaves Ann Arbor at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, and I just hate getting up that early. This way, I don’t have to get up until 6:30. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Chris - Itchi-Bon Bakery - CloseupOne part of my cunning plan won’t be happening, however. The route will take me near Durand, which I’d visited on a weekend bike trip in 2013. I’d hoped to revisit the Itchi-Bon Bakery and its sweetheart of an owner, who restored my soul on a cold, wet morning. But sad news – after over 25 years in business, she closed the bakery last year. Now where am I going to find red velvet doughnuts?

On a positive note, super kudos to my friend and fellow PR Fitness runner Tracy, who came back from an injury this year to finish Ironman Boulder, knocking two hours off her best time despite two flat tires.

Tracy and me at last year's Dances with Dirt Green Swamp. (She's the good-looking one.)

Tracy and me at last year’s Dances with Dirt Green Swamp. (She’s the good-looking one.)

Also kudos to fellow run blogger Kevin, who just finished his first-ever 50-miler on a really tough course. Check out this elevation profile!

IronLegs 50-mile elevation profile

And finally, a cautionary tale. I was browsing the obesity-inducing counter at Whole Foods – the desserts where you gain weight just looking at them. I was trying to choose between the half-pound chocolate mousse cake and its vegan equivalent when I came across this – a faux chocolate pudding made with chia seeds and almond milk. Way too healthy, but I was intrigued, so I gave it a try.

Yeah, tastes about as good as it looks.

Yeah, tastes about as good as it looks.

Frankly, it was pretty disgusting at first, but after a few bites I realized it just needed a couple of tweaks to improve it significantly:

Chia Seed Pudding - Improved

Much better!

The moral of this story: Life is short. Eat real desserts.

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.”