Friday, July 26, 2013
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Hey, it's been a great training summer! Not too hot most of the time. Nice.
Now, as you lengthen your long run, especially those of you new to the marathon, you'll notice new muscles you didn't realize you had. Your first 10-mile run hurts. So does 12. And 14, 16, 18, 20, ....
But then you back off. After you've done 12 miles, 10 doesn't seem that hard. When you hit 18, then back off to 16 the next week, it's not nearly as bad as the first time you ran 16.
What you're feeling is your body getting stronger. You're allowing the AWESOME to come out. It's FUN. Race day will be even better. The next day you'll be able to walk, but you really won't want to. By Tuesday night it will feel better and you'll actually be able to do stairs without that stupid grimace on your face. After that, you'll continue to heal and feel better.
But you get to keep the finisher medal forever! Bragging rights, accomplishment, officially awesome and loving it.
We're almost ready to order the race shirts. This is fun. Lots of good stuff planned for our 10th running.
I'll see you at the finish line in October.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Especially if Randy Step has anything to do with it.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Sunday, June 09, 2013
And this past Saturday, I ran. I ran because I could, I ran because this moment was here and now, I ran because it is a gift I've been given. I smiled through a good portion of the race. I even made myself run the entire "damn Niles hill" (that's what I like to call it :-) ) at mile 12. The joy of coming through the tunnel onto Notre Dame field this year was second only to finishing GR.
And wouldn't you know it.... I still finished 3rd in my age group and 18th woman overall. My time was not my best, it was even slower than what I ran last year when I was injured. But NONE of that mattered, the "goods" or the "bads". All that mattered was that I had the chance and ability to run and I didn't take either for granted.
So thank you Don for the inspiration you have given me once again. Thank you for the reminder of how precious life is and to embrace every moment. I thought of you often as I ran even though we've only met through newsletters and a finish line hug!"
Friday, May 31, 2013
The big "Milestones" serve to remind us how special life is. They help us to connect to our roots.
We're not always going to do things that are of a spectacular nature. But even the little things we do go a long way to affecting the lives of those around us. I learned that in part from my little sister. As RUNNERS, we know that. We run for personal reasons, of course. We run to stay healthy and to achieve personal goals.
We also run to connect with friends, and in doing so we help each other through our various problems and challenges.
We run, and set a great example for our families. They see the benefits of setting goals and working through a plan. They learn the joys of physical fitness.
We run, so that we'll still be there for the people we love far into the future.
Now is the time we have. Use it wisely.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
She was the self proclaimed president of the "Marathon Don Fan Club." She bragged about me all the time, and even thought almost ALL of my jokes were funny. She's my little sister. I got a call from my brother-in-law, Brian, on Friday just over a week ago. It wasn't good news.
and the adventure continues ...
The next generations go on - after the funeral on Monday, Tuesday was a three-day trip to Mackinac Island with my middle granddaughter, Amber, for a third-grade field trip. Friday night, her brother Cody graduated from Hopkins High School.
The lovely Francine and I spent the weekend in Cheyenne, Wyoming with my good friend, Brent Weigner, and his wife, Sue. Brent directs the Wyoming Marathon, and on Sunday we celebrated my sister Lauraine's life by running the marathon in her honor.
I had LOTS of time on Sunday to remember the 53 years we spent together. Time to smile, cry, sometimes regret that we didn't do more together. Time to reflect on the things she left behind. She was the one who kept up on the family stuff, keeping track of everyone. She drove up to visit my Grandma once a week. (Grandma will be 99 in July.) I called her once just to recruit her to travel on a marathon trip with Francine so she wouldn't have to road-trip alone.
We have right now.
This past week has been a great reminder that we shouldn't waste the time we have. Right now we need to pay attention to the things and the people who are important. Right now, we need to work on our goals and our relationships. Right now is the time we have. We need to use it wisely.
Friday, May 17, 2013
You know what's worse than sore legs after the River Bank Run? It's the mosquito hatch that usually happens the next week. It's nature's way of telling you that you need to do tempo runs. Because, if you stop running for even a second or two, you suddenly become a blood donor. Your only hope is to keep moving. What a great training opportunity!
I try and write something that will inspire people in this newsletter. But this time I can't really come up with anything better than the article that the lovely Francine wrote in her GRRC Mentor Group newsletter. (Incidentally, she won her age group at the Fifth Third River Bank Run)
Individual Success is Really a Group Effort
by Francine Robinson
"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." Alfred North Whitehead
I was trying to find just the right quote to express myself this week. As many of you know, I had a very good River Bank Run on Saturday--it was my best time (2:02:29) since 2004! I was very pleased, and surprised, to learn that I also placed first in my age group, 55-59. I've received all sorts of congratulations, and I appreciate them all. My good friend Sue, whom I run with throughout the week, sent me a very complimentary e-mail, crediting me for "setting my sights high, working hard to achieve my goals, and proving to myself and everyone what I am capable of."
But while I will acknowledge that I train hard to reach my running goals, and constantly work at drawing on my inner strength when the going gets tough, I can honestly say that my success WOULD NOT be possible without the continual support and encouragement from family, friends, fellow runners, running coaches--and even the occasional stranger! Allow me to elaborate by sharing with you parts of my journey at last week's race and the "Lucky Seven' lessons I learned.
So I leave you with this thought that occurred to me after my race last week. While I have written many times about being successful in your running and your life through your own efforts--by having a positive attitude, by recognizing your inner strength, and by digging deep when you're struggling--don't think you ever have to "go it alone." Let the people who care about you be your support and your strength when you need it. Then make sure they know that you are grateful to have them in your life!
Don't stop dreaming, and always keep moving forward!
Monday, May 06, 2013
It's here! The Fifth Third River Bank Run is this Saturday. It's like a holiday for runners here in Grand Rapids, with many people challenging themselves to a 25K distance for the first time ever.
It also has a special place in my heart. In 1995, somewhere out around six or seven miles on Indian Mounds Road, I listened as a couple runners talked about marathon training. Before we turned off Indian Mounds, I decided training for a marathon that fall was my next big goal.
The next day was spent with very sore legs. But the summer was spent building up my long runs and visualizing that first marathon medal hanging around my neck. I'd get up super early on Sunday mornings so I could run longer and longer on the back roads around Martin, Michigan. It was an exciting time of life.
THE RIVER BANK RUN CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE! It sure changed mine. Hope to see you out there this weekend.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
By Don Kern
Sunday, April 14, 2013
On my "Life List," there's an item that reads, "Make a pilgrimage to Mecca." No, I haven't converted to Islam or anything like that. But I am a marathon runner. In my world, I'm in Mecca right now.
Which is known in these parts as....
It's the annual pilgrimage that happens every April by marathon runners from all over the world. It's a Patriot's Day celebration of our sport.
Many thousands have purified themselves through much sweat and physical training. Many have trained their bodies hard just to get here. Others have sacrificed and raised funds to help others by finding cures for diseases and other physical problems.
Tomorrow morning, they'll take part in the annual ritual. The 26.2-mile journey from Hopkinton to Boston.
I'm not running tomorrow -- but I have enjoyed the race before. In 1996, for the 100th running, I was picked in the special lottery held to select runners for the "open division." Even as a fairly new runner, the magic of the event didn't escape me.
There's a respect here. A love of the sport unlike anywhere else. It's special. Can't wait for the starting gun.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Recently, I finished a book called "Naked in the Stream" by my good friend, Vic Foerster. His stories of adventures that center on Isle Royal exemplify the thinking-ahead mentality that has to happen before embarking on any epic challenge. His story about how he and college buddy Ken Glupker, who ran his first race at our Groundhog Eve 1/6 marathon, executed a spring break hike around Keweenaw point is a story of planning, determination and overcoming obstacles.
For a person like YOU, who is determined enough to think ahead, make a plan, work through adversity, and cross the finish line of a marathon, it's a pretty good read.
Not everyone gets to experience one of those "epic win" moments in life. Unless, of course, you're a marathon runner. If you can run 26.2 miles, it's because you've done the planning and the follow-through that are critical to your adventure. Crossing that finish line? Now that is an epic win.
Whatever your epic challenge is, it's exciting to be a part of it.
I'll see you at the finish line in October.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Frogger 5.5K
Hair of the Frog Brewery
13 April 2001
If you were one of the dozen who ran the Shawn & Don 5K in December 2000, you no doubt saw it coming. An excellent microbrewery. A guy who runs a marathon every month, another who knocks the mirrors off passing vehicles with his bare hands, and an over-speedy Yooper. Then throw in some beautiful nature trails. It had to happen. Jake and Holly were geeked when Shawn initially talked to them about it. The team was now complete. Now to pick a good Friday to have a race. THAT'S IT! GOOD FRIDAY! It was also Boston weekend, so we didn't have any competing races.
It turned out that our new friend, Jake, was quite the artist. Next thing you knew, we had posters and a really kickin' T-shirt design. He also had some family involved with Gazelle Sports, who agreed to be one of our sponsors, providing numbers and gift certificates for the race.
Figuring on maybe 30-40 people, we were totally blown away by the numbers that showed up. We ended up with 62 runners in the race. We had runners from as far away as Portage, Ludington, Lansing, and even three guys from New Zealand. We ran out of numbers. Shirts too.
At the whistle, the anxious runners headed for the nature trail. But Big John had a plan. He knew he couldn't outrun all those slender fast guys, but he did know he could block. Running his butt off for the first 30 yards to get a lead heading into the trail, his plan worked like clockwork. With his size working for him, nobody could get by him on the trail. That wouldn't work for long, however. There was another John -- soon to be race winner John Lipa -- who, after his third attempt, dove through the trees, blew by the big guy and let him eat some dust.
The runners followed the trail of toilet paper hanging from the trees, chalk marks on the trail and road, and signs made by Jake and Holly with a really cool running frog on them. The kilometer marks were on the road in chalk. We figured that kilometer marks would be better than mile marks. After all, no self-respecting American has a clue what his pace per kilometer is supposed to be. So who would know if the course was short? Or long? On the streets coming off the trail, we did a 2k loop through a residential neighborhood, then back to the trail and past the starting line. The second loop was one lap around Lamberton Lake. Out on the street, take a right on Lamberton Lake Road, and a couple hundred yards to the Duck Crossing sign. Down a driveway, skirting the bottom of the hill and back onto the nature trail. Duck one log, jump another one, and the runners head into the home stretch.
John Lipa emerged from the trail way ahead of the pack, finishing in a blazing 20:36. At 23:38, our women's winner Amy Wing came in. And the good news was, EVERYBODY set personal records for this distance. The bad news is, we aren't quite sure what this distance was. We did know, however, that all the people who paid for 5.5K got more than their money's worth.
Big John stopped for a cigarette. The more svelte runners he was blocking earlier took a look at him and decided not to try to beat him mercilessly. Wise choice.
Awards in the Pub. Winners Amy Wing and John Lipa received gift certificates from Gazelle, and random drawings were held for a bigger variety of frog prizes than we previously knew existed. Everyone was treated to some of the best microbrew to be found in the city of Grand Rapids.
The Start of Something Big
From "off-the-wall" little races held at various breweries around Grand Rapids, we grew into something big. Ten years of our marathon, the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon. From our first event with around 20 friends at Founders back in December 2000, we've now grown to a weekend of running that involves over 6,000 people.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Friday, March 08, 2013
Six Foot Track, from Katoomba to Jenolin Caves in Australia (2007) and Speight's West Coaster at Bethel's Beach New Zealand are both tougher than a couple of the list above, incidentally.
Anyone else do better than 5?