Completed The Crim — But Disappointed

Greg just before the start of The Crim

Greg, without his glasses, already looks like he’s run 10 miles, but really he’s thinking about running 10 miles and wonders if he’ll finish because of his cold and nagging cough.

After I ran the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan in May, I needed motivation to continue running. So, I set my sights on the Crim 10 Mile Road Race in Flint, Michigan. I grew up in the Flint area. In 1982 I ran The Crim. At 16 years old, not much of a runner, I ran 10 miles in 1:17, that’s about a 7:40 a mile split. I was 2, 224 place. That was better than half, I guess. That was 30 years ago to the day.

Well, I’m not 16 any more. And, I’m probably 50 pounds heavier. But, I competed and I finished!

On Saturday, August 25 I was hoping to finish at 90 minutes, or a 9 minute mile pace. Unfortunately, I had a couple of things going against me.
1. I have been battling an upper respiratory infection and my cough has prevented me from training the last 10 days.
2. I’m older, and I had forgotten about all the hills on this course.
3. My will to push on this day was — well — NOT THERE.

I started my day with little sleep. My cough from my cold kept me awake. I maybe got five hours of sleep, if that much. An hour here, 90 minutes there, not very restful. I woke up tired, not very excited, and worried whether or not my body would let me run, let alone meet my goal.

My dad dropped me off on the U of M, Flint campus and I walked the rest of the way to the starting line. There were surprisingly few people there one hour before the race. I watched the wheelers start, then the 30 year runners, and then it was our turn.

I was in wave C, based on the pace I had select when I registered. So, about three minutes after the front runners started, our wave was allowed to start. I actually felt pretty well. My fist quarter mile spit was about 2:15. My first mile was 8:50ish. And, no coughing at all. I made it to mile four and I was still at about a 9 minute pace. Then at mile five I hit a gradual hill. Then, turned a corner and there they were — the dreaded BRADLEY HILLS. This is a section of the race course that has a series of three hills that climb about 100 feet in about three quarters of a mile or less. These hills kicked my tail. When I saw them, my goal was to run up all oft them.

I did it! But, I was spent.

I got to the top of the last of the three hills and there was another one — a gradual one — but a hill none-the-less — and WATER. The last four miles of the race my body kept saying, STOP, walk a little. So, at each water break I walked through them. It was so frustrating. I had trained all summer to RUN the Crim, not walk it. Not just run it, but do it at 90 minutes.

So, how did I do? My official time was 1:41:44. Not what I was hoping for. 11 minutes and 44 seconds slower than I had hoped.

But, I did finish and I did my best. Next year, IF I run it again I will do a couple of things differently.
1. I will do more hill training.
2. I will do everything in my power NOT to get a cold.
3. I will conserve a little more for the dreaded Bradley Hills.

I will say this, going back to where I grew up was kinda sad. A town that used to call itself, “Buick City” or “Vehicle City” isn’t much of a city anymore. Most of the GM plants have been completely torn down. The home of the famous Sit Down Strike is gone. GM and the Unions have pretty much destroyed a city that was once a bustling city full of hope and pride. Now, the main focus of downtown Flint, colleges and universities.

I’m glad I was able to do my part to give this city a boost. If you remember to, pray for the city of Flint. It really needs it.

Finishing the Firth Third Riverbank Run

What an experience. Two years of work came to a conclusion this weekend. What a weekend.

It all started about two years ago when I blew out my knee playing basketball. After surgery ended my basketball playing days. I began strengthening my damaged knee. Elliptical, bike and the running on a tread mill were the tools used to get me to even consider running. I worked hard. I worked my way up to 3 miles each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In January, my sister Laura challenged me to start running a little further. Then she started talking about running in the Fifth Third Riverbank Run.

In January, we run four miles. A few weeks later five miles. Then I thought, Hmmm, I might be able to do it. So, I started training for the 25k.

Laura and Greg finish Fifth Third 25k

Laura and Greg finish Fifth Third 25k

Thanks to Patty Riva at CU Radio, she was able to get me a complementary registration and I registered for it. I ran four times a week…running up at 13.5 miles in preparation for the race, which is the largest 25k in the United States.

The day before the race, my sister and I picked up our registration and took a tour of the course.

Then, on Saturday May 12, we ran. And, ran, and ran. 15.5 miles later, we finished the race together. It’ll be something I’ll never forgot. An overweight 46 year old guy was able to finish 15.5 miles. Not too many people can say they did that.

I just thank God for allowing me to do it. Pretty cool stuff. Even though I still hate to run — I loved the discipline that came with it. It’s really taught me a lot.

Will I do it again? If my body holds up, absolutely!

I would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their Saturday to help give us water, Gatoraid, Oranges, and ice.

It was an amazing day. Hard to believe it’s over already. I can’t hard wait to get back to running 9 miles a week. That sounds so much better than 25 to 30.

MSU wins now plays UNC

For the first time in my adult life, I have taken my family on a spring break trip. My sister and brother in-law are serving at a church in North Carolina. So, we decided to leave the cold of Michigan to travel to NC for a break.  To tell you about this, I have to go back a week.

A week ago (March 27). Because I was going to be away on a men’s retreat, my wife decided to go to New York to see our married son and grand kids. Unfortunately, when she go to Port Huron, MI (three hours away), the transmission in our car went out. Forutnately, the day before I decided to buy her a GPS to help in her navigation. When the car broke down she could just barely limp along. The GPS got her to a Chevy Dealer by taking the back roads. She got there safely. The dealer, gave her a rental, and sent her on her way.

Fortunately, the transmission was covered by an extended warrantee that we had purchased when we bought the car. But, because it was a Japanese transmission they weren’t able to get parts quickly. Long story short, it took them nearly a week to get the parts they needed and they weren’t able to get the car done in time. So, we had to take my 2001 Buick. It has nearly 100,000 miles. So, at 8:30 pm Friday, we started on our way…a 13 hour trip.

I love driving at night. I decided to would try to make a little past Cincinnati and look for a hotel. We made it there at around 1:00 am, but there weren’t any hotels available. Not thinking EVERYONE would be stopping around Cincinnati because of SPRING BREAK, we kept driving. We drove another hour before we found a Motel 6 who, “left the light up for us.”  We slept until 8:00 am and got back on the road.

We drove to Gatlinburg, TN where my wife, Ann, visited with an old friend. We had lunch and spent some time laughing and got on our way to NC.

We arrived at around 5:45 and traveled directly to the cabin we rented. Through the winding roads in the foothills of the smokies. We passed horse farms and streams. It was so beautiful. Our cabins are about 15 minutes from town, but it feels like it’s out in the middle of no-where. The great thing is the cabin has cable and wi-fi. So, as soon as I got the car unpacked I turned on the Michigan State vs UConn game. To my utter joy, MSU was in the lead.

What an exciting game. We watch the first half, leaving the cabin to go visit my sister and her family nearby. It took the entire half to get there and we arrived JUST in time to watch the second half. It was a great battle, but MSU got the upper hand with it’s up-beat style offense and tough defence and pulled off a great victory to win the semi-final game of the Final Four.

So, Monday will be a lot of fun. I’m in NORTH CAROLINA. I’ll be cheering for MICHIGAN STATE with my Green and White MSU hat and shirt. My goal is to go a location where there A LOT of North Carolina fans and be the ONLY MSU fan cheering my loudest for the Spartans.  Wait — no, I have a wife and kids.  I think I just watch it with my sister and her family. No, I’m not a chicken — I just don’t want to get hurt while I’m on vacation.