Sunday, May 30, 2010

Air Force Run, Race Report, 2010

This year's Air Force Run was a 100% improvement from last year's race.  The race committee is to be commended for pulling out all stops to inch this race towards excellence. They listened to the running community (including See Mike Run) and fixed all the errors from last year. The Air Force Run is still in its infancy, but I predict it will be a premiere running event, on par with Cops For Cancer, within 5 years.  The only thing missing were the runners... 246 registered Half-marathoners.  Shame!
To be fair, the timing of the Air Force Run is challenging; one week after Fargo Marathon which draws a thousand or more Winnipeg runners, and three weeks before Manitoba Marathon which draws about 15,000 local runners.

Now for the the scores...

The Fly-by... didn't happen this year. I assume it was because of black clouds about 10 feet off the ground... too dangerous.  Last year's score A+, this year n/a.

The SARS demonstration... again, didn't happen for the same reason... crummy conditions.  Last year's score A+... this year n/a.

Running on the tarmac amongst Hercules aircraft, a variety of smaller military aircraft, and a huge hanger door wide open... simply AMAZING!  This is a real treat and makes this race unique.  This is an absolute MUST for future races.  This year we did two laps of the tarmac, last year only one... last year's score B+... this year A+.

Volunteers were plentiful, helpful, and very cheerful.  There seemed to be way more volunteers this year than last.  The atmosphere was positive and vibrant despite the grey skies.  The Jazz band and pipers added to the vibe.  Last year's score A... this year, A+.

Port-a-potties like last year were clean and plentiful.  I also noticed a few more on the course which is always handy for those in need (Cop's Run take note).  Last year's score A, this year A.

The Indoor Facilities were much better organized than last year.  There was a bag drop-off, ore volunteers directing traffic, and a much better flow of traffic. Last year's score A, this year A+.

The Course was the biggest improvement from last year.  No more nasty gravel trails, no more lonely turn-around points, no more 13.5 miles.  Two laps on the tarmac was a GREAT touch.  There were a lot of twists and turn so keeping tangent lines on track was a challenge.  The course felt like a serious race.  Last year's score F, this year B+.

The Medal  is excellent!  Good weight, good size, cool design, sharp lanyard.  Last year's score C-, this year A+.

The Food  was plentiful and of a good variety (love the chocolate milk).  There was even a pork-in-a-bun barbecue for all runners (hmm, make that all meat eating runners, not a vegi-burgers in sight).  A hot cup of coffee would have been very tasty especially on such a cold day.  Last year's score C, this year A.

The Half-way Turn Around Point was improved.  There was a crowd of friendly volunteers at a water station exactly at the half way point which was nice and a huge improvement from last year's single volunteer and a lonely pylon in the middle of nowhere.  The trouble was I couldn't tell where to turn around.  I rounded what I thought was the turn-around point only to be yelled back by about a dozen volunteers.  It turns out the designated pylon was an additional 5 meters beyond.  I did a quick turn back and rounded the correct pylon.  I politely mentioned to one of the dozen or more volunteers that the turn-around point isn't clearly marked.  I received a negative reply from one volunteer which was intended to shift the blame to me.  Not nice.  The volunteers should have directed runners.  Last year's score C, this year's B.

The After Burn... Congratulations to the race committee and the volunteers.  this was a superbly organized run with good spirit abounding.  I will return next year and I'll bring as many runners with me as possible.

Overall Score... last year B, this year A.

It was, and still is, a good day to be alive.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Air Force Run, 2010

Good luck to everyone running the 2nd annual Air Force Run tomorrow.  Let's hope the rain holds off!  I'll be running the half, but I don't plan on running for time.  It's a scheduled 16 mile day for me so I'll run a mile or so before and after the race.  The race committee made a few planning errors last year so it'll be interesting to see if they have listened (go here for last year's race report). The biggest two errors last year was the extra o.4 mile and that nasty 1 mile gravel path near the finish.  This year's tee-shirt is a huge improvement over last year's.  It's quickly going to be come my favourite running shirt.  A+ on the shirt.  Let's hope the rest of the race holds up to this standard!

This is a small race with a big heart so hopefully it'll be very well attended.  Stay tuned for the race report.  Do come back!

It's a good day to be alive,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hill Work Out

On Tuesday evenings City Park Runners alternate between hill work outs and speed workouts.  The drill last Tuesday evening called for 4 Loops, 2 Humps, 1 Thump, 1 Lump, 3 Triangles, and 1 Snake. The pictures below show Doug completing the switchback portion of the Lump.  There's a couple of hairpin turns on the switchback and the face is very steep so quick and tiny steps gets the job done.  The total workout, including a 1.5 mile warm-up, was about 7.5 miles.  Erick has a beginner workout and an advanced.  After this workout the body is absolutely spent!




Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Geek Alert

Only confirmed running geeks permitted past this point.

I've been looking over my race results of the last four Cops For Cancer half marathons.  It's true, you're only as old as you feel!  Here's the numbers to prove it.

Time: 1.54.35
Pace: 5:26 minutes/ kilometres
Age Group:  42/96
Gender:  323/702
Overall:  428/1461
71st percentile overall

Time:  2.01.30
Pace:  5:46 minutes/ kilometres
Age Group:  46/84
Gender:  443/708
Overall:  696/1569
66th percentile overall

Time:  1:57:22
Pace:  5:34 minutes/ kilometres
Age Group:  30/72
Gender:  294/597
Overall:  383/1173
67th percentile overall

Time:  1:55:33
Pace:  5:29minutes/ kilometres
Age Group:  22/74
Gender:  262/559
Overall:  369/1218
70th percentile overall

Stats don't lie... you really do improve with age!  I'm 58 seconds faster now than I was in 2007.  At this rate I'll qualify for Boston by 2027!
It's a good day to be alive (and kicking).  
:>)  Mike

Monday, May 3, 2010

Winnipeg Police Half Marathon; Race Report

1:54:35.... A new PB by 58 seconds!  I was planning on using Davids tried & true race day strategy -start out slow, pull back, and then fade completely ; >)- but I had a resurgence of energy and confidence after following a very chipper pace bunny for a mile or so.  I surged past this group at the three mile mark and settled into a nice 8:00 to 8:30-ish pace which sustained me pretty well to the end. I ran alongside David and Melissa for a awhile and told them of the eager pace bunny.  We laughed.  I started out taking 10/1 walk breaks, but I decided to ditch that strategy at mile 4.  I walked a few times during water breaks and when my heart rate increased to the uncomfortable zone, but mostly I ran.  The weather was perfect; overcast, + 6 celsius, a breeze from the north, and a light drizzle.  A perfect day for a race!  I crossed the finish line feeling strong.

Waiting in line for dry clothes the rain clouds opened and the wind became stronger.  I felt the chill enter my bones while I stood there exposed to the elements. I was growing impatient with the slow line.  I was cold and wet. I dropped my head and stared at my feet.  I remembered something Anya wrote in The Daisy Chronicles ... sometimes we forget how lucky we are... life is about suffering, but it's also about happiness.  In life there is balance.  Pain and joy.  It's true, we sometimes do forget how lucky we are.

Linda, I ran for you.  You sustained me.  You gave me focus.  Many people asked "who's Lovely Linda" and I told the story of a young mother, her daughters, and a strong family.  We runners sometimes visualize the finish line to ease the pain.  I encourage you to visualize the finish line, Linda.  This will pass and you will hold your daughters once again.  In life there is balance.  My medal is for you.

It's a good day to be alive!  Mike

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Winnipeg Police Half Marathon

Tomorrow I run the Cops For Cancer Half Marathon.  I am running for my friend Linda who is presently battling a wicked series of chemo-therapy sessions following surgery to remove a portion of her breast. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer shortly after delivering her second child. She has been unable to hold her  daughters -the newborn and the 3 year old- since the surgery.  Her life is on hold.

But blessings of blessings
I can still feel the life spark
I can still feel the life spark

Tomorrow I run for you Lovely Linda.  For you.

It's a good day to be alive,


... Life Spark... from a poem by Michael Thaler...