Martian Invasion of the Races 10k Race Review!

martian-marathon  This past Saturday, I got to run my first 10k of 2014! The Martian Invasion of the races 10k in Dearborn, MI! As I had talked about in my previous post, I hadn’t been training all that much this year, so I was pretty nervous.  We got up and out by 6am with enough time for a stop at Tim Hortons for my Pre-race bagel with peanut butter and Breakfast for the BF. Turns out I just got a plain, untoasted, pre-race bagel. They forgot to give me peanut butter! How rude! ANYWAY…. We arrived with no issues and I found the lot that I had parked in last year and we hung out in the car until 7:15, so as to avoid the start of the marathon.

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Ford Field was where the start and finish were located and there were LOTS of people all excited and ready to run! Luckily, this year, the weather decided to be awesome. I remember standing in 2 layers of pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a hoodie shivering like crazy. This year, it was mid-high 50’s at the start and about 65 by the time I finished! It was the perfect day for a run!

We stood around for about 45 minutes and people watched. I think that’s one of the great things about themed races is all of the people watching! There was a group of ladies all in silver, a guy in a green full body suit with a silver bike helmet (he was also a pacer!), a lady dressed like Marvin the martian…! It was all really fun to take in.

1533766_10100400783838050_2766834600006194512_nWhen it was finally time to line up, they provided a jazzy version of the National Anthem before the start. It was nice to hear something a bit different for once!  I was feeling ready to go and excited to give this a try!

Last year, I got my 5k PR at this race and was really looking forward to seeing what the 10k route looked like. With the sound of the horn, everyone started to inch forward until they hit the starting line and the beginning of the first hill. I know I spent a lot of time weaving around people last year, but I think at this point, I knew to take my time up the hill and keep my pace slow for the first mile.

There was still a good amount of weaving because of the walkers in the 5k…but honestly, for some reason it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does. (Maybe the weather just fixed everything?!) But I also think that this was because they lined everyone up with pace signs at the start. It was extremely helpful to know, that, for the most part, the people around you were going to be going about the same speed as you. I love when races do that!

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I wish I was able to take some pictures of this course because for the most part, it was really great! The course went through the really nice neighborhood around the Dearborn Golf Course.  REALLY big beautiful homes. One looked like an old English Mansion and right next to it was a building that looked straight out of the French Quarter of New Orleans! the route then proceeded onto a highway for a short time and then onto an entrance/exit ramp (?) which was a round and slightly bowled shaped area (right after mile 2 on the map) and onto a road for the out and back portion. This part was a bit difficult on my knee and hip, but I tried to adjust my form accordingly. I hear it had an effect on other people’s injuries as well. The road was slanted on either side, so it didn’t get too much better on the way back, but after this was over, it was a really enjoyable course! The 10k went onto a bike path and back roads and sometimes sidewalks and parking lots. But it was all really nice, and at some points the path went through wooded areas. There were also two bridges along the course that were a little difficult to run over, but it changed it up a bit! The only part I didn’t really enjoy was near the end of mile 6. The course went out onto a busy main road and while it was nice running on a flat and wide surface, it was hot and the car exhaust wasn’t awesome.

I had a little bit of an issue with pain for the first 2 miles or so, but I adjusted my form and kept my pace steady and didn’t push too hard and it seemed to help. I was even able to pick up the pace here and there to pass some people that I needed to. The last .3 miles were great! Everyone was out cheering and enjoying the day, and all the Aliens lined the streets to welcome you back to Ford Field!

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Just after I crossed the finish line!

In the end, I didn’t get a PR…but I’m really, very okay with that. When my dad asked me how it went later in the day I said “I finished and nothing hurt!”. I think that’s a good goal for me to have this year with 3 half marathons ahead of me (June, August, October) I just need to focus on that. That being said, I got 1:07:27, which is almost 10 minutes faster than I thought I’d do! So that was a pleasant surprise! The race had the usual Running Fit post-race foods…cookies, bagels, and bananas along with Water…which I was SUPER excited about. and I got my Alien medal…which, let’s face it, is a big factor for a lot of people when they decide to run this one. It’s SO COOL! Also, the shirts were really awesome this year and the second I saw it I knew I had to run it for the shirt! (I wear my 2013 one all the time!)

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I had a really great time this year and because of that I would totally do it again next year, and I think that you should too! Even if just to dress up fun and skip along the 5k route with friends…it’s just a really fun atmosphere!

Have you ever run this race?
Would you run a race just for the swag?

Things I Love Thursday

I googled "Busy Bee" and I couldn't not use this.

I googled “Busy Bee” and I couldn’t not use this.

It’s been a while…I know. What have I been busy doing? A lot.

Quick Rundown-
-My BF and I Cosplay and attend Comic Book Conventions. In March we went to Indiana and in a few weeks I’ll be taking my first trip to Chicago for C2E2. We have 2 more planned after that. This involves spending lots of time making and putting together a costume. My time has been spent working on this damn frock coat. I’m an advanced beginner level sewer and beginner pattern user…so I’ve been spending all my time trying to finish on time for C2E2…the good news is I should be done in the next few days! Then on to the next project…

– I’ve been taking RCIA classes since September and they are starting to come to a head. Every week I have at least 2 things to attend and that makes for a very busy schedule added to my regular schedule. I just have to get through April and I’ll be able to breathe, I think.

– Not running as much as I should be. My busy schedule makes it difficult for me to get to be early so I can get up early and run. Especially because Michigan has been so crazy cold and snowy for so long that it’s a treadmill or nothing. And really…That’s not a hard choice for me to make when I’m already curled up in bed and exhausted.

BUT! Things are starting to slow down and warm up a bit! I’ve managed the odd run here and there and have started to run outside again (which is really not easy after such a long break)! And I have my first 10k of the year this weekend, which I’m equal parts nervous and excited for. And then I start to train a bit for a Half Marathon, which I will be doing on June 1st! I’m pretty determined to run it with no issues this time around. So I’m going to have to be really good about training and stretching and foam rolling and the whole nine!

okay…with THAT out of the way, here are some things that I’m loving lately:tilt-1

♥My little Family ♥ Warm Weather ♥ Driving with Windows down ♥ Spring/Summer plans ♥ Puppy cuddles ♥ Sunday big Salads ♥ Reading calming blogs and getting back into that lifestyle ♥ New Friends ♥  Easter Candy ♥ Thinking ♥ Captain America: The Winter Soldier ♥ Re watching all of the LOTR and Hobbit movies while working on crafts ♥ Caffeine ♥  Finally getting a legitimate key card at work ♥ Getting stuff done ♥ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ♥

What have you all been up to?
Anything particularly awesome that you’re loving lately?

Things I Love Thursday!

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Now that the whole “Polar Vortex” has passed and things are getting back to normal around here, it’s time to talk about what makes us happy bunnies!

♥ Puppies in Boots
♥ Central Heating
♥ Caffeine
♥ My new blog banner
♥ My little Family
♥ Tiny Shovels
♥ New Cosplay Ideas for the 4 comic cons we plan to attend this year!
♥ Catching up on TV shows
♥ Brownies
♥ Snow Days
♥ Race Plans
♥ Tall Boots
♥ Automatic car starters

What do YOU love this week?

2014 Plans

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My rest period is complete! After dealing with some injuries and general fatigue I decided that after my races were done for 2013, I would give it a rest for a while…and I did! Somehow I’ve made it since November 17th (my last race…) until now without running. It’s been kind of nice to sleep in the extra little bit every day and not have to go out in the cold to try to fit in gym time. But now I’m a bit stressed out about starting back up.

I’m worried that I’ve lost a good chunk of my fitness and that my injuries will flare up due to me not doing any kind of rehab exercises over my break (oops!). I’m sure I’ll catch back up in time for my first race (more on that in a sec.) and if I do my exercises, they will help more than not doing them at all…so I just have to start. I might hit the gym before the big snowstorm starts tomorrow night. Fingers crossed!

SO! My goals as far as races go this year…Here’s what I’m thinking so far…

April- Martian Invasion of the Races 10k
A medium type race to get me started, if I don’t randomly run a 5k sometime in March.

May- Kona Novi Half Marathon
I’m really going to focus on getting my half Marathon distance up to par this year. I tried last year, but was a bit naive when it came to how my body was actually feeling and functioning. But now that I know, I think I can do it. Plus everyone tells me that this is a flat course with no scary hills!

August- Camp Chingachgook Half Marathon
I used to work at a YMCA Camp on Lake George in Upstate New York…They have a very small Half marathon and 10k every year. If I can get back to NY for the weekend, I will run this race. The road it goes down is so scenic. I’ve been dying to run this one!

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October- Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon
I’ve already registered for this as an early bird (Got in about an hour before it sold out…PHEW!)! After “running” it last year…I want to redeem myself. And since it only cost me $55 this year, there is no reason not to. Hopefully I can actually physically run it this year!

Everything else will be filled in with what I can do and what I have time for! I’m excited to try a few new races and see how it goes. But I’m not stacking my calendar for 2014 until I know what I’m capable of doing (considering injuries). I know that my new shoes help a lot and the last 10k that I ran went great with no issues. So if I can just keep it all up again, that’s what I’m going for this year!

Also, Look what I did last week! Wall

My 2013 race wall! I’ll add to it when I can this year..but those are all 11 of my bibs and all 6 of my medals (also a pin and dog tag) from my races! I’m quite excited to have it going and it looks so nice. Just makes me happy looking at it!

What are your goals for this year (fitness & otherwise)?
How long do you usually rest for (if you do)?

2013 Race Superlatives!

ANNND WE’RE BACK! Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. December hasn’t been too kind to me. I got sick right after Thanksgiving and had a week that I wasn’t sick, but was working really odd hours, and then right after that ended I got sick again! This time, WAYY worse.  It totally put a damper on my 30th b-day. But it still worked out to be a good one, in the end!

I did a lot of races this year… 11 total. That’s quite a few more than I originally planned on doing. But I’m happy I did every single one, even if they didn’t always turn out the way that I had planned! Here is  a rundown of some of my favorite things about my races in 2013!

Best 5k- Mustache Dache

1459212_10100302516177230_353771843_n  This race was pretty fantastic! It was smaller, so parking was a breeze. The mood of everyone was great! The spirit of the theme was easy to see and people had an awesome time getting into it!

Part of the awesomeness of this race was the course. It was along the Detroit Riverwalk and it was a beautiful (kind of cold and windy) Sunny day, so it was awesome being out there and enjoying it with everyone!

The after party was great too! If I had more time that day, I would have stuck around longer! There’s a strong possibility that I’ll run this one again next year!

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Best 10k- Kona Chocolate Run

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Despite there being some issues with the weather and the whole acquiring chocolate part, this was a really great race! I had done pretty much the same course for my first 10k earlier in the year, but this one was different. The crowd was bigger and more excited. There were some great costumes and the signup process was pretty simple to figure out.

Taking all of that into consideration, and the fact that it really was the best 10k that I ran (not a PR, but that doesn’t matter to me). It rained a bit, but it was warm out. Everything felt good and the feeling of it was one of fun. It made for a really great morning in the little town of Plymouth!

Hopefully they work out all the kinks that they had this year for next year’s race, because it was a really good one to round out my year and wouldn’t mind running it again!

Best Overall Race- Crim 10 Miler

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This race was fantastic. Not just for me, but in general. I love the sense of community that I saw in Flint during this race. Sure there were some neighborhoods that the course went through that wasn’t the nicest, but the people were out spectating and getting into the whole thing. It was very well organized (besides the fact that people were in the wrong corrals…) and the volunteers were all great! As for me, personally, it was a great race! I went into it never running more than 7 miles and nervous about finishing, but I kept a good pace throughout and didn’t have any issues with injuries and though the last 2 miles were really tough, I managed to finish WAY before I thought I would! I hurt for days afterword, but I really didn’t mind because it was a major accomplishment!

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Messiest Race– Gopher the Gold 10k

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Heavy rain the night before + Trails=
One messy race!

The first half included 6 inches of water covering the paved trails at a few different spots and the 2nd half included all dirt and mud made for a slow and messy 10k. Was a little annoyed about this, but in the end, it was really fun!

(Honorable Mention- Color Me Rad)

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Intentionally messy… And Rad.

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Best Crowd Participation-
Crim 10 Miler/Detroit Freep half 

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I mean….I was smiling for the entirety of the Crim simply because the people watching were so awesome. Entire neighborhoods got together to show their support. There was music and hoses and extra aid stations set up along the whole route. It was pretty fantastic.
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The Detroit Free Press Int’l Half Marathon was probably my worst race this year. But the bright spot in a terrible no good very bad race was the really awesome signs that people made and the fact that they were out there just as long as most of us were cheering everyone on! Even when we crossed over into Canada, there were so many people supporting everyone, it was a really great environment to be in! All the support was a huge reason why I kept going even though I felt like I was dying.


Honorable Mention-
YMCA Father’s Day 10k

People were out having breakfast on their lawns and cheering everyone on. The kids with the drums were my favorite. A lot of support from the community made this an enjoyable race!

Best Medal- Mustache Dache/ Detroit Half

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Best shirt-
Martian Invasion/ Lucky Dash

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I know they are both green…but they are both awesome shirts that I actually wear quite a lot!

Honorable mention- Detroit Half/ Kona Chocolate Run

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Best Expo- Detroit Free Press Marathon

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This was the best organized expo with the largest amount of booths and stores for people to stop at! They also had the best selection of quality things there. I would go to this even if I didn’t plan on running the race even if it’s a bit out of the way. It was really awesome and had lots available to participants!

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And that does it! Those are some of my favorite things about the races I ran in 2013! I hope to run a few of these again and a few new ones in 2014 (More about those soon!). I hope you guys all had a great year and have another one ahead of you!  See you next year! 😉

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What were your favorites in these categories?

What was your favorite overall race you ran this year or in the past?

Any fun plans for New Years?

Best Race Theme Ever??!

What if I were to tell you that you have the chance to run the best holiday themed race ever this year??  Yes, you! Wherever you are in the world, YOU can run it along with people everywhere! “What is this magical holiday race?”, you may ask…Well! Let me tell you!

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Movie “A Christmas Story”!  The main event takes place on December 7th in Cleveland, OH and benefits the community that the movie was filmed in ! If you go, you can even go visit the actual house! It’s a museum!

BUT! The really awesome thing about this race is that you don’t have to be in Cleveland on December 7th to run it! They have a virtual option! Regular virtual, as well as International and International military options!

What I think is the best thing about this whole race, and what clinched it for me, is the amazing medal that you get for participating!

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Guys….GUYS! It’s A MAJOR AWARD! How can I NOT want to add that to my medal collection for this year?! How could YOU not?!
The virtual race, for $45 entry, includes: commemorative race bib, official long sleeve race shirt, and the commemorative limited edition race medal. (The cost is higher for the international race, but you still get all the awesome swag! ) You can choose to run the 5k or the 10k and let’s be honest…you don’t really even HAVE to run, since it’s virtual…but why wouldn’t you?

If you aren’t quite sure about the premise of the virtual race, basically you are registered on the race roster, get all the stuff (shirt, bib, medal) sent to you and you can run it wherever and whenever you want! You could even hit a treadmill at the gym to complete it. Just make sure you show off that Major Award, after!

You also might want to consider dressing up as your favorite charecter! Randy in a Snowsuit? The local Bully, Scut Farkus? Best Buds, Flick and Schwartz? Ralphie in Aunt Clara’s Pink Bunny Suit?! Or you could go a little more obscure and dress as the Leg lamp, “Fragile” box, Mean Santa, or one of The Bumpuses’ Hounds!

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I heard about this race from fellow blogger Detroit Runner, who is planning a meetup to run the 10k (or 5k if you’d rather). All the info is on his blog and he also has a Facebook Event  for easy RSVP (if, of course, you are within driving distance of the Metro Detroit area)!

If you want to sign up to run with us (or put together your own group!), All the info you need to know can be found HERE. Registration links and FAQ are also found on that site! International registration cutoff is November 1st, US Virtual and Actual race registration cutoff is November 15th! Race packets will be delivered no later than December 1st!

I TRIPLE DOG Dare You!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?
What character would you dress up as??

Things I Love Thursday!

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This week I am grateful for…

♥  Candy Corn (although I haven’t had any yet this year…I just like the thought of it.)
♥  Stretching and Resting
♥  My Little Family
♥  Lunch at work with my guys
♥  Warm Sunshine
♥  A good night sleep
♥  Apple Cider with Butterscotch Schnapps
♥  Being back at my desk at work
♥  Productive Sundays
♥  Stocked Refrigerators
♥  Tentative Race Schedules for next year
♥  Cake.
♥  Laughing Cow Cheese and Grape Jelly on Toast
♥  Pumpkin and Apple Flavored things!

How about you?! What are you loving this week??