Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Milford 30K : Race Report

I decided to run this race back in June, when I saw a booth for it at the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run expo.  They gave Jeff and I free T-shirts from past races.  I figured it would be a good way to do a long training run for the Detroit Marathon.  (30K is 18.6 miles, but I'm sure you already figured that out by thinking of it as six 5Ks like I did).  At the time, I didn't really know anything about the race at all.

Fast forward to a little over a month ago, when Detroit Runner posted a contest for a free race entry from Renewal by Anderson of Detroit on his blog.  Milford was one of the races you could choose if you won, and win I did.  Yay!  That was a $50 race entry!  Thank you Renewal and Detroit Runner.  I know a lot of people who have been sponsored to run races by Renewal, so I'm glad to be part of the "cool crowd" now.  :).  There were three other runners sponsored by them at this race, but I only saw two of them, and I already knew those two.  (Josh from clippinalong.blogspot.com, who I finally met in person in Hell last month, and Steve, who is an organizer of one of my running groups, and who is also known as "Michigan Running Man".   I also got to meet Brandon, from Renewal, who organizes all these race sponsorships.  He's great.  I met @mbsnyder for the first time in person too.  She is one of my tweeps.  I love seeing people at races.  :)

After I arrived at the race and picked up my packet, the first order of business was to cut the sleeves off the Renewal T-shirt.   I had bought green velcro sleeve-ties just for this race, because I knew I wouldn't want to have sleeves, but I felt that I would have serious discomfort and chafage after I tried them on.  The ties weren't the problem, it was bulkiness and tightness of the rolled up shirt on my shoulders and under my armpits.  I had also brought scissors as a back up plan, so I asked Brandon for permission to mutilate their advertising, got it, and then went to work.  During the shirt-cutting process, I dropped my hero, which I had frozen to help keep it cold.  And the cap shattered!!!  I was in shock.  
Seriously, you have no idea how devastated I was in this moment.  The only reason I was feeling even remotely okay about running almost 19 miles on a hot day on a hilly course, was because I felt I had mastered the art of running in the heat last week at the Crim.  The water bottle + buff combo allowed me to dump water on my head or take a sip whenever I wanted, and to have a cold towel to wipe my face and neck with.  Also, the race website didn't say how frequent the water stops were, and in the summer, it doesn't matter, because it's never enough for me.  *Maybe* I could be okay with every 1 mile, but most races don't do that.  If it would have been more than 10 minutes before the race I would have driven to a running store to buy a new one.  But there was nothing to do.  I was already planning on taking it easy at this race, and now doubly so.  I sweat so much, and need to hydrate a lot, so I was seriously worried.  I still brought my Buff to use as a sweat towel, I just had to wrap it on my hand instead.

Here are all the pre-race photos we (Irina!) took.  The top one is everyone who was there from the A2Runners meetup group.  We all did the 30K.
And then we were off!  Josh stood along the start and gave me a starting cheer as he waited to start the 10K.  Then I realized that I had once again failed to get any pictures with him, and figured he'd be long gone by the time I finished my race.  It's because I never take my own photos, I rely on everyone else's :).

I had downloaded an audiobook the night before the race and decided to try out running with that, since I was trying to keep the pace slow (I had been warned about the difficulty of the course, thanks to all the hills).  It definitely is not a good idea if you want to run even remotely fast, but I may do it again on long runs.  I listened to that for the first 9 miles, and then switched to music for the last 10, thinking I could run the last 10 a little faster.  The course was beautiful.  Not a lot of spectator support, but I don't mind that.  It was mostly dirt roads through woods. The tree cover was wonderful, because it meant most of the race was shaded.  The worst part of the race was around mile 12-14 when we ran through the town and were in direct sunlight, even though that part was pretty flat.  
Michigan Running Man got some good pics of me during the race!   This was somewhere between miles 6 and 10.  
The water stops were the hardest part.  I made sure to stop and walk through them, and drank at least a full cup of water at each one, since I wasn't able to hydrate between.  Often, I would do a gatorade, followed by a water, and then another water on my head.  Sometimes the stops would be pretty far apart, like 2-3 miles, and then other times they were really close together, like less than a mile.  I did end up getting some side stitch things, I think from drinking such large volumes at a time, but I didn't feel like I had a choice, with no idea when the next stop would be, and nothing to use to drink or cool off with in between.  At mile 13 or 14, somebody had set out a package of bottled water, so I took one of those to carry the rest of the way. (Thank you!) It was actually cold too!  It was great to be able to pour that on my Buff and have a cold towel like I had planned in the first place.  The water people at the top of the big hill between mile 15 and 16 refilled it for me and it was ICE COLD then.  That made the last 2-3 miles like heaven.  

Pace and elevation chart below, as well as splits.  The last split is wrong, because I forgot to stop my Garmin when I finished.  Whoops.  
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Here I am coming down the home stretch, smiling and pretending that I'm not about to fall over and die, because Brandon, Irina, and Josh were all standing there taking pictures and cheering.  Thanks guys!!  

My final time was 3:21:40, or 10:50 per mile.  I hope my marathon time is at least 20 seconds per mile faster than that for a PR.  I think it should be doable with the cooler weather, flatter course, and actually being rested.  In my fantasy dream-land, I'd be able to hit 9:59 per mile for the marathon, but I think that's unrealistic, barring some major improvements over the next month.  
Something to think about as you analyze my paces!  Irina bought this shirt at the expo.  But she bought it because she has a pet turtle, not because we run slow .  Haha.  
As I you may have caught, Josh was still there when I finished, cheering me in with Irina and Brandon.  I was glad so we could get some pictures!  Here are all the post-race photos, with me, Josh, Steve, Irina, and Brandon. Dear Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay: I am open to other sponsorship opportunities.  ;)
While we were taking our post-race photos, I saw Mary Beth  coming down the home stretch so I ran over and gave her a quick cheer.  Then I lost her though, so no pics there!

After the race, Irina, her friend Tom, and I went to brunch at a Coney Island just down the street.  I wasn't that hungry yet and couldn't even finish my fries!  Crazy.  At a booth across from us were the people from that water stop at the top of the big hill at mile 15-16 that refilled my water bottle with the most heavenly ice-cold water I have ever tasted.  (I had actually stopped and chatted with them for a minute at the water stop).  I went over and said hello and thanked them again for saving me for the last 2-3 miles.  In the booth next to us was an old guy (I don't use that term lightly, his name was Archie and he was 94 years old), who kept asking us questions about the race.  I sat down and talked with him for a while after our meal.  It turns out he has run twelve marathons himself!  He definitely didn't look 94.  I hope running does that for me when I'm old.  I wish I would've gotten a picture with Archie. D'oh.

Irina drove Tom and I back to the race parking lot to drop us off at our cars, and she pointed out the results sheets posted on the building, and asked if I wanted to go check and see if I won anything.  I laughed her off, but did want to check my finish time, since I forgot to stop my Garmin and was hoping to have come in under 11:00 mpm.  Well, it turns out I did get an age group award!  3rd in my age group.  Haha.  There were only 5 of us, so I was actually smack dab in the middle, but it still counts.  You know what they say: "Winners can't be choosers".  Or something like that.  The age group awards were pint glasses, here I am with mine: 

Oh I almost forgot to show you the race swag.  The official race shirt is the tech shirt in the bottom left, which fits weird and I don't like the material (I like the wide weave tech shirts, like the Renewal one, not the fine weave shiny ones).  They were giving away free shirts from past races at packet pickup, so I got one of those too, that's the one in the top right.  It's from 2010 and says "volunteer" on the back, but I like that one better!  I always love getting bags and medals, so those were pretty pimp.  All in all, a very nice haul, especially for a race I didn't even pay for!  

I had some caps from 4-bottle water belts at home, so I tried those on my hero bottle after the race and it turns out they fit.  I tried running with it though, and don't like it nearly as much as the old cap, so I may buy a whole new bottle if I can't find a replacement cap by itself.  This one has to be lifted to open it and pressed down to close it.  The other one was just a "quick-shot" valve that responded to pressure and didn't need to be opened or closed.  I went on a 7 mile easy run Sunday morning, and afterward put the bottle on top of my car and forgot about it when I drove home.  It flew off after about a mile and I had to turn around and go get it.  It's been a rough week for my poor bottle!  That was random, sorry.  As for the race, I obviously had fun, despite the fact that it was a very difficult race.  Would I do it again?  Probably.  It hurt, but I bet it made me stronger, and it definitely increased my confidence for the marathon, and for all my upcoming long runs.  Once again a huge thank you to Brandon and Renewal by Andersen of Detroit.  I love what you guys are doing for the running community!  Thanks for a great time.    


  1. Yay, great times were had by all!

  2. Sounds like an awesome race!!! Congrats on your finish!!

  3. Nice race! I wish I won a glass *Sniff*. Before the race, looking at last year's results I thought I had a chance, but wasn't really close at all. Oh well. Maybe next year. :)

    BTW, if you decide you want to run the Brooksie Way course, there is a free practice run on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 8 am. No registration or anything. I and several of my Brooksie Half teammates will be there.


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