Home » Posts tagged 'Running'

Tag Archives: Running

Virtual Runs Made Real

I began training in 2022 for all of the runs (“races”) that I did virtually in 2020. I wrote about my training for the Cincinnati Flying Pig half-marathon in 2020 and then, due to COVID, running virtually (but still running) in my neighborhood. I am thankful that it was an option. However, running loops in my neighborhood does not compare to running an in-person race, so I was determined to run the formerly virtual events in person.

I ran a test in-person Flying Pig 5k in October of 2021. After participating in that event, I thought it was a safe bet that all runs in 2022 would be in-person. I knew that with training, I could run all of the events that were virtual in 2020 as in-person runs. So, I signed up for the training program I began in 2020.

2022 Training:

The winter of 2022 was cold as I prepared for my in-person half marathon, and I was again thankful for the support of a training group.

Doing any activity with others is motivating and rewarding. As Shawn Achor wrote in the book Big Potential: “If you look at a hill alone, your brain perceives it at 20% steeper than if you are standing three feet from a friend. Our perception of challenge literally transforms when we include others in our pursuit of happiness and success.”

A big thank you to my training buddies, my coach Karen and the Tri-State Running Company Shoe stores for getting me ready to run the half marathon. We spent quality time running in the dark and on cold mornings preparing for all of my upcoming events.

The virtual runs that I wanted to complete were the Heart Mini (a 15k run), the half marathon (a 13.1-mile run) and the Big Ten Network 10k run. My training group was dedicated to training for the Cincinnati Flying Pig half marathon on May 1.   

The training surprise for me was that the only event from the 2020 training plan I did in-person was postponed 3 weeks in 2022 as the weather was too cold and “frozen” on the planned race day in early February. The Frozen 5k put on by the Cincinnati Cyclones  originally fit in nicely to our training program. The revised event pushed onto the training program created “the need” for a 9-mile run that weekend. My coach, and most of the others in our training group, weaved in a 9-mile run with the 5k event. We finished the last mile running back to our starting point in Kentucky. I had never done a “race” with a 5-mile warm-up run prior to the start.

I was happy to arrive at the starting line for the 2022 Cincinnati Heart Mini-Marathon on a cold day at dawn in March. About 1,500 runners were present at the start of the 15k run. I ran mostly with my coach and the running group, only getting separated on the one big hill during the run. This event gave me the confidence that after this run that I could keep my tempo (11-minute miles) on longer runs in the Cincinnati area. The training was paying off.  

Spring eventually came and warmer temperatures replaced the cold temperatures during the training. I was impressed with the training group practicing the “big hill” from the half-marathon course as well as running a lot of the course as part of our training prior to the event. Since it was training, we could spend all of the time we wanted looking at the river, enjoying the sights downtown, so we could concentrate when we were running the event.

The in-person Cincinnati Flying Pig was more exciting than I had anticipated. The buildup began with the Expo that was a few days prior to the run. Yes, you can pick up your bib and shirt. It was so much more than that with running accessories for sale, goodies from vendors available and a lot of people having a good time together because we are all runners and walkers.

The expo had a fan friendly Photo booth that allowed us all to see ourselves crossing the finish line. The expo was well worth the time to visit and see the sights. I was psyched up for a great run after leaving the expo.

The day I had been waiting to experience for about 2 years was here on May 1. I did enjoy the training runs, getting to know my fellow runners and more about myself. The event with all of the people everywhere and all of the excitement just radiated energy. It was so good to experience.

The half marathon is on the first Sunday of May. Running the event was an experience that I was totally prepared for physically, although I did not anticipate the crowd and all of the people running the event with me.

In preparing for the run, I realized that one of my running problems is starting too quickly. I really enjoyed the large crowd at the start of the Heart Mini because the crowd of runners and some walkers forced me to slow down at the beginning. The same thing happened on the marathon day as we started 11 minutes after the official start due to the large number of people running faster than I can. Others behind us took even longer to get to the starting line. We were so far away from the start that we did not hear the announcements. I think there were about 10,000 runners between the half and full marathon participants.

We are all looking good and ready to run. The sign helped keep us together for the first 2 miles.

For the first 8 miles the full and half marathon runners were together. The crowds were all along the route, even after the half group split off. The encouragement was contagious. I was so happy with my pacing and run management that I actually ended up exactly at my goal time of 11-minute per mile pace. I was tired, happy and sore at the end of the run and somehow sad it was over. Because of all of the other runners and the presence of the training group, I had the confidence in my training and was able to finish the half marathon.

I called my friend Bill from college (Michigan State University) who marched with me in the MSU Marching Band and asked him to join me in running the Big Ten Network 10k. I was thrilled when he agreed to join me to train.

Wearing the school colors, just no E flat Cornet and music to play and no plume on our hats!

In 2021, I ran this run virtually on the campus of Michigan State University in celebration of my graduation 40 years prior. That was the second year I had run this 10k virtually. 2022 was the year to return to in-person running, so we needed to go to Chicago and run the event. Bill was in, and we joined together for the Big Ten Network 10k run in downtown Chicago.

Hard to believe this is the first time we have been together in over a year. And only a few years from graduation!

The 10k excitement began with the packet pick-up. Chicago had positive messages for us even during the packet pick-up.  I was happy that my oldest could join me for the run, and I got to spend some quality time with him on the ride up and back. He ran much faster than us older guys, so we saw him prior to and after the run, and once we glimpsed him on mile 4 as we were completing mile 2.

The day began walking from the hotel; we stayed on Michigan Avenue so we were close to the start of the run. We liked the look of Grant Park and followed several other runners to the start of the run.

Not quite sure how many runners were involved. Some reports say 6,000 runners participated in this year’s event. No matter what the number, it looked to us like there was a lot of Big Ten supporters running on Sunday morning in Chicago. We were at the back of the run, and two waves of runners began prior to our start. MSU was the second most represented school behind Illinois. We were happy to be well ahead of Michigan and all other big ten schools. Bill joked during the run that next year we can run a 10 miler and have a 16.1k run due to the Big ten expansion to 16 teams.

The course wound along the shores of Lake Michigan, and it was a clear, sunny day. A perfect day in July for a run along the Lake.  All told, we did well during the run ending about half-way timewise for our age group. Bill and I finished together, and we were happy to have run the event and shared some more in life together. I was inspired by him as he pushed me to run this event during the event. He was in great shape for the run and I am sure that I held him back from running a faster race.

My son cheering us on at the end

Other Fun

My two oldest also ran half marathons on the same day as I did. I finished first, having started first. Their times were faster than mine. What great support they provided to me by running a half marathon on the same day as I did. Next year I am hoping we can all run the same event.

I participated in a virtual 5k with my daughter. I was at home and she was out in North Carolina. So, she did the run live, and I did another virtual run.

I was able to walk around downtown Chicago and explore the area with my son and Bill. We had fun in the windy city. I reminded my oldest that I took him and his brother here by train when they were 6 and 3. He did not remember. We had a blast visiting the city from a new perspective.

While in Chicago at Grant’s Park, named after US Grant, I was surprised to see the statue dedicated to General John A Logan. He was impressive, but I did not see a statue for Grant in the park.

General John A Logan

One of my kids joined me for a practice run (just about 1,000 runners) over the July 4th weekend getting ready for the 10k run. I set a PR for a 5k. Although I started too quickly, I did feel good running with the crowd and some of my running buddies from the half marathon training.

No bike rides but one more actual (bike) event coming soon.

No bike riding for the running blog

Golden Isles of Georgia

As a kid I went to summer camps. I think a bike tour is a lot like summer camp for adults. Fun and adventure in a new place with new experiences and new friends along the way.

I am not sure I knew that Georgia had islands. Not that I had really thought about Georgia and islands prior to this bike trip. I did know that Georgia has a coast line on the Atlantic. Now I know that Georgia has “barrier islands” on that coast line and some of them are called the Golden Isles. We discovered that the Golden Isles are almost due south of Buffalo, NY. I did not realize, before my visit, just how far inland the Georgia coast is located.

We took the Golden Isles of Georgia Charleston Bicycle tour this year. It is fun to let someone else do all the planning and just go along for the ride. This is our third tour with the Charleston Bicycle group and we really appreciate their first-rate rides, hospitality and dining selections.

Live Oaks entryway to the Lodge at Sea Island

Our travels started in Savanah; we drove south from there onto St. Simons Island where we stayed at a “base camp” (hotel) the rest of the week. We rode around all of the beautiful barrier islandsSt. Simons IslandSea Island, and Jekyll Island. We were enchanted seeing the stretches of marshland that create the appearance of a continuous stretch of land.

St. Simons Island, GA St. Simons is the largest island; we devoted two days to exploring this isle on our bicycles, including seeing the Bloody Marsh Battle Site, where, in July 1742, British and Scottish soldiers protecting colonial Georgia defeated a larger Spanish force in a battle that helped end Spanish incursions outside Florida.

Ride to the Bloody Marsh Battle Site on Old Demere Rd.

We were struck with the beauty of the tree lined entryway into The Inn at Sea Island. We had a good time exploring the hotel and grounds as well as biking around and exploring St. Simons Island.

Since I had not heard of the islands prior to the trip, I did not remember a battle from 1742 or the National Park Service Fort Frederica National Monument, which preserves archeological remnants of a  British colony and its defense against Spain. The purpose of the fort reminds me of cold war deterrence by strategically placing (weapons, missiles…forts) military installations away from population areas and near the perceived threat to protect possible invasion by that potential enemy. We enjoyed the tour and were happy to be inside during a rainstorm. The bicycle tour was timed just right for an inside visit of the fort, and then the rain passed for an outside tour and ride back to our hotel.

On St. Simons Island, we played disc golf at Gascoigne Bluff. This was not part of the official tour. We played well on the course as liked learning the history of the area. The bluff was one of the first possible landing areas for a ship entering the harbor in Georgia. Gascoigne Bluff was the headquarters for a military invasion (if you were paying attention in July 1742), a Sea Island cotton plantation, the site of a lumber mill and a shipping point for timber. We played under a forest of live oak trees. It is interesting to think that live oak timbers from this area were used to build “Old Ironsides,” the U.S.S. Constitution

Jekyll Island, GA

Welcome to Jekyll Island State Park

Home to the formerly wealthy and famous group of 50 or so industrialists, this island is now owned by the state of Georgia.

View on the bike path around the Island

We had a good time circling the island on a paved path. One of the highlights for us was seeing Driftwood Beach on the north end of the island.

After the ride around the island, we stopped at the museum and enjoyed reading about the history of all that we had seen on the ride.

Sea Island, GA

We were delighted to ride our bikes from the hotel on St. Simons Island onto Sea Island. We rode across the causeway to the island. I always think that you have to go across a “big body” of water to have an island. However, that is not the case. I found out that many of the Golden Isles are close to each other and only separated by small inlets and rivers.

View from St. Simons Island Looking at The Cloister on Sea Island

As we were biking along on Sea Island, our tour stopped to gawk at the island’s biggest home, called Entelechy II, which was undergoing some renovation. The home is not opened to the public; we just stopped by to look and wonder at this interesting house on this exclusive island.

We rode to the end of the island and then onto the sand beach.

Beach on Sea Island

From the beach we went on a tour of the Cloister hotel. This hotel once hosted the G-8 summit, and the hotel and grounds were very impressive. 

View from inside the main lobby

After riding around the island, we took advantage of the Sea Island club and enjoyed swimming and walking along the beach. We made it down the beach far enough to see the back of the Entelechy II. This was the perfect spot to break up a day of bike riding. Lunch on the grounds was delicious.

Another island bike tour: We took a short boat ride as part of the tour to Sapalo Island, GA. This island was really different from the other islands.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources manages the island and runs the ferry service. Imagine having to take all of your groceries to your home on a ferry. A small population lives on the island full time; the lighthouse, R.J. Reynolds mansion and the Georgia research facility are the main areas on the island. Georgia research facility are the main areas on this mostly undeveloped island.

We arrived on the island and found the bikes we would be using for the day. Our bike trip on this island was on asphalt, sand and gravel roads. It was a good ride for the bikes that were provided as a part of the tour, as our road bikes would not have worked too well.

We managed to see a small portion of the island on the tour and were taken by the beauty of the island, largely unspoiled by development.

We did manage to see a few alligators; fortunately, we left each other alone.

Sighting Alligators

We had lunch at the lighthouse grounds and enjoyed the view from the top of the lighthouse.

We finished our tour with a stroll through the R.J. Reynolds mansion. We really liked the circus room and all of the modern devices in the mansion. It was similar (although much smaller) to the Biltmore with the bowling ally in the basement.

Other Fun

Running on St. Simon’s Island and seeing some of the wildlife.

Walking near Columbia, SC. On our way to Savannah, we spent the night near Columbia, SC. On our evening walk we saw some turtles swimming. A Fun sight. We tried to go to the Harbison State Forest and ended up walking on the Harbison Place walking trail. Maybe next time we will go all the way to the State Forest.

Walking and running in historic downtown Savanah.

Dinning with the tour group. We ate at several fancy restaurants as a part of the tour. We dinned in our bike clothes as well as dressing up on the last night out with our group. We shared several meals together as well as a bottle of Kentucky bourbon. Some of our favorite restaurants were Halyards and Delaney’s Bistro and Bar where I had buffalo and others had elk and duck. We enjoyed spending days biking and dining out with our new group of friends.

Walking around St Simons Island (over 10 miles on our own) and finding fun places to shop and dine out.

On our own, we found places we enjoyed (we did not have a bad meal the whole time). The Golden Isles have several great restaurants and shopping areas.  We like to have ice cream when biking or after biking…well you get the picture. We indulged our need for ice cream at both the Moo Cow Ice Cream shop and Certified Burgers and Beverages on St. Simons Island. We liked the shakes at Certified and my wife raved about the “Dixie,” a grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwich, as well as the tots. Some in our group made fun of us for having dessert first on a few occasions. I am sure they were just jealous that they had missed the opportunity.

We biked about 100 miles in the five day biking adventure. We had a fun tour with each day being a good combination of riding, sightseeing and delicious meals.

See you on the road on our next adventure.

A virtual run requires running

Last year one of our sons ran the flying pig marathon and I thought based on running a triathlon with him that I could run the half-marathon as well with him (okay—he could wait for me at the finish line). I joined a running group and began a training program in January 2020, in part so I could finish my planned 5k triathlon actually running the whole time.

The group I joined was motivational for me. I met several runners who ran at my pace; although they had more experience, we were all training for the same goals. Part of the training program was to run the frozen 5k in February and in March we were scheduled to run the Heart mini marathon (a 15k).

 

Forming up as a group prior to the training run. About 200 in the store–prior to social distancing!
With my running group out for a run

The global pandemic had some other ideas for group events and all of the events scheduled for me became virtual as did my running group. Without the training program I would not have contemplated or finished the now virtual runs that I have completed.

As much as I am happy to have completed these runs, I know that it would have been much more fun with the crowd. I ran all of these events in my neighborhood with limited running area; running the same loop can get challenging. Fortunately for me, my wife came out and cheered me on and provided water about every 20-30 minutes as I made another loop. She even wrote with sidewalk chalk some congratulatory notes.

Encouragement with sidewalk chalk

My times are nothing to brag about, but I am pleased with my results. Each week in the training program I would say, this is the farthest I have ever run. Now that I have completed a half-marathon, I think a 10K is a good distance for me.

You still have to run to participate in a virtual running event.

Virtual runs:

Heart Mini: 15k

Flying Pig half Marathon

Real half marathon finishing medal

Big 10, 10k for Michigan State University

After finishing the Big Ten–Michigan State University 10k

Lessons learned:

I have been enjoying running. As the gyms were closed, this was a great way to stay in shape and meet some of my neighbors. Running with others is so much easier the running solo. I will look forward to being in a group if we can figure out how to do it safely.

Walk and warm up. Who cares how fast? My goal was to finish the half marathon.

No bike riding discussed in this blog. I am now able to bike one day and run another day. This has been a good mix as the weather has warmed up and it is better on a bike in the heat, at least for me, than running. I am sure running will pick up in the fall again. 

December in Cincinnati & Christmas in California

Before Christmas, I was able to watch the New England Patriots with Tom Brady as quarterback playing the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. I shared that I thought it may be the last time we see Tom Brady in person in a Patriots uniform and as events unfolded, we were correct. I thought he would retire.

My son joined me for a “fun run” in Northern Kentucky put on by the Arthritis Foundation. The Jingle Bell 5k Run was fun and a challenge (for me). My son ran with me the whole time giving me moral support and slowing down his pace for mine. One of the pictures he took while running backwards.

After a Christmas Eve church service we had a lovely Christmas day dinner in downtown Cincinnati, complete with a walk around town with wonderful December weather.

 

On Boxing Day I flew to California to enjoy the continued nice weather and live out my desire to spend time with family and friends. Our youngest lives in San Jose and we had a great visit. Besides spending time together, watching the MSU Spartans win a bowl game on TV and seeing the latest Star Wars movie, just spending time together was the highlight. We also had a day in San Francisco where we toured Golden Gate Park, visiting the California Academy of Sciences and enjoying the wonderful late December day. We ended up at Ghiradelli Square for some ice cream and good memories.

 

Lessons learned:

Just being together is enough. Listening and respect is also good. I love all our kids!

Other activity:

I did get in my running preparation while visiting prior to joining the running club for the Flying Pig half marathon I plan to run virtually in May of 2020. No bike riding on this adventure.

SFO ending shot bike