Category Archives: May 2017

One In Five Marathon Relay

18664656_10212904215657966_8959291915773945403_n

On May 27 myself and four other amazing women got together to run. We ran for ourselves. We ran for each other. We ran for mental health. The Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay focused on and assisted in benefitting services for those currently battling mental illness.

(Megan, Tina, Me, Ashley, Debbie) Before the Run18671159_10158688113745291_8598569898377047907_n

Now many of you know that I myself suffer from severe depression and anxiety. Over 40 million individuals within the U.S alone will experience symptoms and episodes of  mental illness. That is one in five Americans. With that, I am One in Five. This is also true of my four teammates who ran to support  others who suffer as well.

The unique aspect of the One in Five Marathon Relay is the fact that it is not a true relay in the sense of what we know. There are five legs of the relay. The first four runners run 5 miles each, with the last runner running 6.2 miles. This runner represents the one in five. The biggest difference, however, is that there is no hand-off. Starting at 8am, the first runner leaves. At 8:15am, the second runner. Then every 15 minutes until all runners are on the course. All runners, running together, different paces, different abilities, some going 5 miles, some 6.2 miles. All of us representing some part of the statistic.

The day was beautiful, the course was beautiful, the cause was beautiful and the people were wonderful. The four other women on my team, Phoenix Rising, came together that morning before the race to “officially” meet. While some of us knew each other, we had all never been together until that day. Sporting our green (the color of mental health support) in various ways, and making our own “one in five” mark, we prepared. We would wear green bandanas, one of us wearing white. We would sport white star stickers on our faces, one of us wearing green stars. And our amazing connector, Sasha Wolff of Still I Run, made us all bracelets to represent our own words of strength.

18698096_10212879414917963_2201348042441531624_n

The take-away from this day? We are all who we are. We are the one in five. We are unique. We are slow. We are fast. We are determined. We are women and moms. We are runners and Spartans. We are triathletes and marathoners. But what none of us are is our mental illness. Yes, it is a part of us, but together we are so much more!

18664355_10158688114345291_3119088600068186935_n

Advertisements

Fifth Third Riverbank……No More.

So this year I ran the FIfth Third Riverbank Run for the third year. I have run the 5k and the 10k twice. This third year was quite a decision maker for me regarding my future choices on Riverbank. If the race itself remains the same as it has for the past three years of my experience I will not be running the race again. There are many factors that have broght me to this decision.

untitledhh

  1. It is geared towards the Elite 25K Runners and 2-Hour Club.

I get it, 25K is quite the distance, and is not a regular distance race. But even for your “everyday” 25K runner, there is more emphasis on the elite and 2 hour club runners. With that, the 10K and 5K runners/walkers…….low people down on the totem pole.

2.  It could be set up better to accommodate the people and runners.

There are a lot of people that come down to spectate and race. However, trying to get to those places can be difficult. It can be even more difficult for runners of the shorter distances to get back out to support their other runner friends.

Also, is it necessary to put the water, chocolate milk and post race food like, 1/2 mile away from the finish? Seriously……

3.  The time limit is ridiculous.

I have never seen a race have a “2 Hour Club” for runners. But, I can see where they would since they would really like runners to be done by a 3.5 hours race time mark. Now, to the credit of the race itself, this is a stipulation placed on by the City of Grand Rapids. Saturday races need to be done quickly to accommodate the traffic and businesses. However, if the race were on a Sunday………One reason, even if I would run Riverbank again, I will never run the 25K is because if I pay for a race I want an official finish time. To go through all of that then get nothing……hard pass.

4.  Just because the 3.5 hour time limit is up, along with the timing mat, doesn’t mean ALL FREAKING STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS NEED TO BE GONE!

Dear lord, to get through all of that hard work and get to the finish with no one there is tough enough. But to get to the “finish” and have some bottles of water and a box of medals to get yourself on the ground…..fuck that.

Now I may catch some flack for all of this, but, we have all been in races that we will “never do again” for some reason or another. A race isn’t a race without runners. Riverbank will always have their share of runners. But when a 10K runner is coming to the finish and the Race Director is waving for us to hurry across the finish so they can get the tape up for the 25K winner, I wanna punch you in the mouth.

When racers are to be announced as they run across and celebrate their finish, but 10K racers are coming across and do not get announced because a certain Olympian is “coming around the bend”, thanks people. Fuck you too. But it wasn’t Danthan Ritenzhein that made the race a third time decision maker. I really think there could have been more emphasis on other people or parts of the race.  Gazelle Girl celebrate Grand Rapids better. Bridge Run celebrates Grand Rapids better. I my experience, many other races within our wonderful city do things way better.

So with all that being said, next year I think it will be time for me to see what Bayshore is all about.

 

Much Love!

Keep Running!

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon or…. WHY MY RUNNNG PEEPS ARE SO GREAT!

Okay, so this is a little late, but, better late than never, I suppose. Gazelle Girl weekend was great! Volunteering at packet pickup the day before was fun. Great to see all the amazing women whop come out for such a great race! Whether is was to do the 5k, the NEW 10k addition, to the half marathon, simply empowering!

This would mark my second half marathon. I had trained,. I had hopes. I just wanted to be done in under 4 hours and not cramp. It was warm. It was long. And around mile 6.5, my calves gave in. It was frustrating. I had been hydrating well. I made sure to get in enough electrolytes. My nutrition was on point. My legs just were not having it, though. So, I walked. ALOT. I cried. I yelled. I laughed. I smiled. But, I was not……WAS NOT going to give in no matter how much I wanted to stop. At some point they started the progression of opening the roads up to traffic. My main concern was the need to cross the road and have to stop to wait for cars. I knew if I stopped my calves would seize up and I would fall. Luckily, that did not happen. Luckily, around mile 8 was my Gazelle Guys….. Tim, Mark, Andy, Barry, Matt and all the others talking me through my tears and reminding me of who I am. And around mile 10 my Road Warrior savior, Jim Bomhoff, who was finishing at the aid station and walked with me. He talked me down from the ledge. Got me to continue to keep up a good pace of walking. Got me to my training coach, Rob Andro, who had to listen to me complain about the fact I DID NOT want to go up Scribner hill. He reminded me that “hills help make legs”, so……I went. My team leader, Katie Olson was just ahead of me making sure to tell traffic officers that I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO STOP MOVING!

Then, as I got closer and closer to the end, it all got great! No, my legs did not stop cramping, they were not releasing that hold. But it was my people. MY PEOPLE were there! The last half mile. One, then two, then five…..cheering, in my face telling me how awesome I was, getting me through that forward movement. Colleen, Amy, Joann, Stephanie, all of my girls pushing me enough to deal with the severe calf cramp pain and actually manage to run across the finish.

Was it pretty? HELL NO! Was it fast? That is not even a serious question. Did the race feel good? Physically? NO. Mentally? Eh. Emotionally……YES!

As someone who is frequently at the “Party in the back”, it is SUPER difficult to come to the end of a race that tested every ability within you as a person, to no one. I can honestly say, however, that does not happen with my people. With my group. And at this race, with my girls. Because as someone who would rather run alone, listening to music, releasing all my demons and frustrations out into the environment…..the end is where you need those people. Because it is hard, but it is the hard that makes a finish fabulous!

 

Much Love

Keep Running!