Running can be a team sport

Although I generally enjoy running alone more than running with a group, I do miss team sports at times. I don’t play softball anymore, and it’s been many years since I was on a basketball team. So I decided to join the Running Ahead 2018 in 2018 mileage game team competition.

2018 in 2018 has ten teams of about sixteen runners on a team. Each person sets a mileage goal for the year and teams score points based on actual miles over goal. Yes, it’s on the honor system. Runners are trustworthy.

My 2018 goal is 1000 miles so about 20 a week. Some people on my team have higher goals, some have lower. That’s why this team sport works. We’re all trying to beat our own goal but together we have team totals.

i don’t really need motivation to run, but if I do feel like taking some time off this year I now have to think of my team.  And since I’m not planning to let them down I do plan to reach my 1000 mile goal.

Game on!




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2017 Mission Accomplished

Last week I achieved my 2017 mileage goal of 1000 miles and it feels good. When I set that goal a year ago I felt it was attainable but would take effort and consistency. It was not an easy goal especially since I wasn’t training for a full marathon this year. Reaching 1000 miles with just normal weekly runs and not high-mileage training doesn’t allow much room for error.

2017 running total
2017 Mileage thru Dec 1.


As the graph below shows, my weekly mileage had some ups and downs. Overall I mostly stayed in a range of 15-25 miles a week. It’s obvious which weeks I was fighting some illness and missed several days those weeks.

2017 milage

Weekly totals thru Dec 1

I still have the month of December to go so I’ll probably end with about 1100 miles for the year. For an old guy like me trying to balance a demanding job, home life, social life, volunteer time and more, I’ll take it.

Now, what about 2018…?

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A Sprint to the Finish

I’m cutting it a little close this year. Wednesday is November 1 so I have two months to meet my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2017. With holidays, travel and other commitments these remaining nine weeks will go by quickly. running log Nov2017Through today I’ve logged 928 miles this year. So 72 to go. I’ve averaged 20 miles a week for the first 43 weeks so I should be able to get 72 more in less than four weeks but for some reason I’m not feeling confident. In part because my schedule this week is crazy with work, some church board work and I’m getting ready for a vacation out-of-town next week. I usually get some good runs in while traveling but I also don’t want to take time away from my wife while on vacation so it’s a balance.

Goals are great. And for me, a running goal isn’t something I “hope” to do, it’s a commitment I make to myself. So it’s not an option. I’ll hit it. It’s just a matter of time.


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Race for the Conditions

When I decided to run a late September half-marathon I didn’t think there was any risk of it getting canceled due to high temperatures. But that’s what almost happened at this year’s Brooksie Way in Rochester, MI.

Instead of running the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank race in October as usual, I entered the Brooksie Way. I had heard it was a scenic but hilly course so that didn’t surprise me. But the unseasonal temps pushing near 90 degrees had the race organizers worried. At the expo on Saturday everyone picking up their race packet was warned the race may be cancelled if the temps were as high as predicted. The plan was to still let people run if they wanted but it wouldn’t be timed, that way people wouldn’t be encouraged to race it hard.

Fortunately Sunday morning was not quite as warm as predicted. So we started at 8:00AM in full sun and high 70s but it was a race. The organizers did a nice job of adding more water stops along the course so we had a station almost every mile.

Knowing the hills would be tough and the heat would add more challenge, I was smart enough not to shoot for a PR. I ran a nice, easy pace and finished in 2:04:30, a 9:31 pace. Good enough for 40th out of the 100 in my age group. And good enough to walk comfortably to the beer tent knowing I ran a smart race for the conditions.


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Faster Time. Worse Finish.

Last year I placed first of the 48 men in my age group at the Cruise in Shoes 5k. It’s a nice, well-organized race that kicks off the Woodward Dream Cruise, a rolling 10 mile celebration of classic cars. My pace of 7:30/mile last year was the best I had run in several years. I was averaging 45 miles a week then as I was training for an October marathon. This year I’m averaging 30 miles a week training for a half Marathon. So, I didn’t expect to race as well in the 5k on Saturday.  But when the gun went off I found myself sprinting toward the front to get ahead of the crowd before the first turn about 100 feet from the start line. As we ran past the crowds on Woodward Avenue, I kept that pace and hit the one mile mark at 7:15. Then I had a decision to make. Keep pushing and see how long I could hold that pace. Or, ease up a little and run strong but consistent for the rest of the race. I decided to see if I could hold the pace. The sneaky hills in the next mile slowed the second mile to 7:30 but I made up a little in the last mile. Hitting the finish line at 22:55, a 7:22 pace, I felt good. Although I had seen a guy that calls himself Captain America who wins many local races finish just ahead of me and I knew he was in my age group this year. He’s five years younger than me so we only compete head to head every five years. When they posted results I was surprised that someone else had beaten Captain America and I was third. My 7:22 was my best finish time in many years so I won’t complain about a third place medal. I had bettered myself and at my age that’s accomplishment enough.


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Hills and Cows, or Woodward Ave. and Cars?

Recently, I spent a few days in central Wisconsin attending my niece’s wedding. The wedding was great and it was fun to connect with family gathered from many states. It was also fun to get to run in a different setting than normal. There are no hills near my home just outside Detroit so the rolling hills of dairy land gave me a much different workout. I also have never seen a cow while running near home, but in Wisconsin I passed several farms where anywhere from five to fifteen cows would maintain eye contact with me and slowly move their heads to watch run by until I was out of sight. As I was running those mornings I thought “I could get used to this.” But once I got home and was running along Woodward Avenue being passed by hundreds of cars and passing stores, homes, and businesses I was glad to be back in familiar territory. I enjoy watching the activity in a city as I run. People busy coming and going mostly oblivious to the world around them as I run by.

An occasional change of pace like the hills of Wisconsin is good but I realized that for the most part I prefer cars to cows.

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How Quickly Things Change.

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was putting on layers of clothes and a hat and gloves to go out on my morning run in single digit temperatures. And this week I’ve been dripping with sweat after running in technical t-shirts and shorts with the temps near 80 degrees. That’s Michigan weather. From one week to the next, or even one day to the next, we can experience all four seasons. I’ve never lived in another state but as I look at the weather reports of hurricanes in the east, tornadoes in the plains, and earthquakes in the west, I think I’ll stay here in the Midwest. Swings of forty or fifty degrees in a few days makes life interesting. I can dress for that weather. Harder to dress for a hurricane.

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