Brandon's (and his family's)Big Adventures

We, as a family, press on towards the goal

Grand Rapids Marathon 2011 My first Repeat Race

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Brandon

Grand RapidsMarathon 2011 My first Repeat Race

No Photos sorry- (My wife posted them on her report)
I can say I have a new Personal Record that really counts.  The Grand Rapids Marathon last weekend represented my 2nd attempt at a road marathon.  Last year the marathon represented something more.  It represented a one year anniversary of getting healthy, and learning to run again.  This year it didn’t represent much for me going into the race, but it was definitely something I am proud of running.

Going into the race on Sunday I was hurt.  My right foot was killing me from a last minute 7 mile run just 2 days before the race.  Limping around at a wedding I was photographing on the day before demonstrated to me that I was not just hurt, but possibly injured.  I told myself I would make a race time decision as to if or how far I would run on Saturday.  I didn’t want to hurt myself further, but also was really upset with owning a really cool blue tech shirt and not being able to wear it because I didn’t even start the race (Roger Bonga’s superstition of DNF’s).  I thought about the problem long and hard and realized that no matter what distance I ran I would wear the $95 shirt.

The morning of the race brought with it cold and wet pavement that would deter me from running barefoot.  I wore my Soft Star Moc3’s that protected me from the cold and the wet.  I made every attempt to not use my right foot hurting as an excuse and toed the line with the 2500+ runners for the marathon and the ½ marathon.  While waiting around for the race to start I saw Mike Grant whom I met at the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge run and this was going to be his first marathon.  The smile of anticipation must of hid the fear inside.  He was so positive about the morning and was ready for a great race.   Another friend (mentor) Phil was also in the same pace group 3:57 so time was flying by as we all waited for the race to start.

I hadn’t taken too many steps on my sore foot leading up to the start of the race, but I took many after the start.  Talking to Phil made me forget about my foot.  I would feel the pain every so often, but I would purposefully shorten my stride and make a quicker cadence.  The faster my cadence the less I felt it.  We ran together for the first 6 miles keeping a very conservative 9 minute mile.  Phil’s pacing strategy was to start slow and speed up throughout the race.  We started speeding up about mile 4, and were quickly picking up the pace.  When Phil left me at mile 6 to use the “facilities” I was running a very easy 8:30 pace.  Less than a mile later through the hills I was running a 8:16pace and within a few miles I had clicked off a 8:03 and another 8:04.  That was just plain stupid of me.  I was feeling good, and ignoring my still stimulating foot, but thought I had a 3:40 within.  The course is pretty level after mile 11 and I expected to cruise into the finish.

I made it through the 13.1 mile mark at 1:51:35 ish for the ½).  Last year at the ½ the wheels fell off and I fell apart both mentally and physically.  This year my body waited till Mile 18 and that is when I thought it would be a good idea to take my shoes off and enjoy the paved road along the river.  “TOO FREAKING COLD” I yelled at myself after only ½ mile.  I put my shoes back on taking the time and energy to do it.  My times started falling apart there after.  It wasn’t long before I was passed by the 3:57 pace group.  That hurt bad.  I really wanted to run a sub 4 hour marathon and I felt done.  I was so hungry and couldn’t get anything from Gu.  Luckily at mile 21 I saw a box of Oreos on the table and I took a pack.  They were not being handed out by the aid station volunteers, but the box was open, and there was a number of other packs of them.  I felt guilty for only a few moments, or as long as it took me to chew up my first one.  I ate 8 Oreos over the next 2 miles.  With a full stomach and an empty soul I trudged on.  I started feeling a little bit better, but my legs started cramping.  This is the point where I realized marathons are so much “stupider” than Ultras.  When I run an ultra I consume S-Caps from the beginning to prevent cramping later in the race.  I also eat along the way to keep me from being hungry.  In a span of 3 hours I would normally consume 1000 calories in an Ultra.  In a marathon I am a “Stupid” runner.  I run against myself.  I run fast, I don’t eat enough calories, and then I cramp up.  If I would just eat more, and start salt earlier I wouldn’t have the cramps.

“Stupid is as Stupid does”- Forest Gump

The last miles clicked away and I started walking less and ran some okay miles, but not good enough to make up for an 11+ min/mile.  I wasn’t going to break 4 hours, but I was going to break 4:29 minutes by a lot.

I finished 4 hours and 7 minutes, and was not very okay with that.  I had forgotten about my “hurt” and was frustrated by a stupid number.  I walked through the final feeding pen and ate and drank way too much.  My awesome wife had finished her ½ marathon in a much better time than she thought she would.  I was proud of her, and was extremely grateful to her for taking care of me and driving home.  After eating way too much, I started to feel really sick on the way home, but wrote that off as well.  I made it home in time to puke in the shower (a first for me, but not a first for many college kids).  I also started to loose control of my bowels, another post race first.

As I look back, the race was awesome, fun, and a great experience.  I can say I didn’t let a “hurt” keep me from starting a race.  I didn’t pay $95 for a shirt I couldn’t wear.  I am more proud of my wife for finishing way faster than she imagined then my 22 minute PR.  Maybe now that I can’t walk without limping, maybe I will take a few more weeks off before I start training again.

Mile Splits:
13-8:54 (1:51:35 ish for the ½)

Design Your Own Moc3s My Favorite Shoe in LIVING Color!

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Brandon

Design Your Own Moc3s My Favorite Shoe in LIVING Color!

Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants so long as it is black.- Henry Ford


Red Moc3's from Soft Star Shoes- Minimalist Running Shoes

Red Moc3s from Soft Star Shoes- Minimalist Running Shoes

Gone are the days of just black Moc3s.  After running over 100 miles in a pair of Moc3s this fall I have come to call them My Favorite Shoe.  Now they have gone and one upd me.  They just announced Deign your Own Moc3s and had drooling at first sight.  I love the red color!

This last weekend I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon and was blown away at how many people called me a barefoot runner while I was wearing a pair of black Moc3s.  Either my form is that good, or the shoes are noticeably different than traditional running shoes.  I had two runners speed up once I passed them to ask about the shoes.  One guy even knew they were made by Soft Star once I said Moc3s.  Brand recognition for minimalist shoes is getting better.  Soft Star shoes is still a small business compared to Merrell, Vibram, and New Balance.  The shoes they produce are amazing.  I wear my Moc3s everywhere.  The only time I take them off is when I go barefoot, or when I put on a pair of Merrell Tough Gloves to work in.

I now want a pair of Red ones What color do you wish they made?

Check out all the Design Your Own Moc3 Colors at


Outrunning the battery life on your cell phone? Power Solution!

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Brandon

Outrunning the battery life on your cell phone? Power Solution!

Battery Phone Case- AP1201 - Enegizer

Battery Phone Case- AP1201 - Enegizer

Have you said to yourself “I wish my cell phone would last longer while I ran”? I know I have so many times while I am out trail running. There is something about the safety of a cell phone while running in the rugged outdoors. Have you ever killed your cell phone by listening to music, tracking your Nike Plus miles, or updating Facebook while running? Needing more battery life is a big deal.

Thankfully there is a solution to this problem for runners who run farther than the life of their cell phone battery (that does not qualify you as an ultra runner). Energizer Energi to Go makes a phone case with a built in battery to extend the life of your phone when you are on the trail or road.

iPhone users can choose the AP1201 to power their phone while also providing a outer protective rubberized case to all but the screen of the phone. Blackberry and Android phone users are not left out, because Energizer also makes portable battery chargers that will do the same thing for their phones but without the case.

When running the last thing that I wanted was more weight to carry. Minimalist running means minimalist in all fashions. Not wanting to compromise safety I jumped at the chance to test out a product that might be able to outlast my legs. The testing process started with a challenge. Could the Energizer product last long enough to get me through an ultra marathon? The AP1201 specs claimed an Extra 5 hours of battery life for my iPhone 4 and knowing my phone can normally last 12+ hours in everyday non trail conditions I questioned this challenge. I ended up getting two batteries- AP1201 for the first challenge- 100 Miles through a mix of Roads and Trails.

100 Miles: With two easy to change out phone cases and a 30 hour race cut off I questioned if my phone battery would still be alive after the race. I started off the race with a fully charged phone and AP1201 attached to the phone. The second fully charged AP1201 was in my back pack ready whenever I needed it. My usage of the phone was minimal with photos and Facebook updates making up most of my usage. The first battery pack helped my phone last over 18 hours, and after switching out battery packs around mile 76. I was nervous about one AP1201 recharging my phone and making it last for the remaining time. I finished the race in less than 27 hours and I still had enough phone charge left to update my Facebook, take a few photos, but soon after the 28 hour mark the phone was too dead to stay on. The conclusion: 28 hours with two units was impressive. The weight of one AP1201 is 1.9 ounces (55 grams) of added weight and is worth its weight in gold.

50 Miles after using the battery pack daily for three months: Fully charged phone and one three month old AP1201 for 50 miles of really under the trees trail in a very rural area. With cell phone coverage being limited and the trees covering the trail I didn’t expect one unit to keep my phone alive for the distance. The first 50 miles of the 100 miler where not nearly as tough and overgrown as the 50 miles I ran in northern Michigan. Again I didn’t expect one unit to hold the charge, but again I was wrong. From start to finish I checked Facebook, captured video, and texted back and forth with my crew. The phone lasted the 12 ½ hours it took me to run the race and another hour after the race for a total time of 13 ½ hours. I was blown away with the results.

Other factors that came up in the test were moisture and heat. With temps over 95 degrees the battery unit worked without noticing any loss do to the temperatures. It rained a couple of times I was training with the unit and the unit didn’t show any signs of shorting out. It worked well in all conditions.

I continue to use the AP1201 daily to maintain a longer battery life on my iPhone. I use it when I am at work or play. It has a Mini USB plug on it that is compatible with a Blackberry wall charger, or it can be plugged into any USB port with the cord that it comes with. I would recommend this product to anyone who can out run the battery on their iPhone or any the other portable battery chargers if you can outrun any type of cell phone.

Safety is critical when running and having a charged cell phone will help you more than a dead cell phone.

Purchase your own Here- Energizer Energi to Go Portable Case Charger for AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 (Black)

Stop Babying our Kids! Its not helping

Posted on October 20th, 2011 by Brandon

Stop Babying our Kids!  Its not helping

I am not surprised to read an article today about an increase in knee injuries in pediatrics.  Why wouldnt kids get more adult injuries?  Kids are not kids anymore.  When I grew up we could go anywhere, climb anything, and wear nothing on our feet.  If we got hurt, we got hurt.  We didnt have artificial surfaces on our playground to protect us from skinning our knees or falling on rocks.  We got hurt and yes some kids got really hurt.  Not today I have witnessed many kids not being able to be kids.  Parents holding companies or places liable because their kid got a Boo boo.  Sure there are times we need to protect our kids from themselves, but running around putting bubble wrap on everything they might fall on isnt helping.

Shoes and kids is a huge pet peeve of mine.  I see infants with running shoes on with a raised heel and arch supports.  Why?  When did the kids start needing arch support?  Please parents let your kids be kids and run around barefoot, or in sandals.  Allow their bodies to grow naturally and not with splints that shape their feet and change their form enough to hurt their knees!  The foot is connected to the ankle which connects to the shin, which connects to the knee!  Putting kids in shoes with support is almost as bad as Chinesse Foot Binding.  Dont get me started on children wearing high heals!

The article can be found here: Science Daily:
Sports-Related Knee Injuries in Children Have Increased Dramatically Over the Past Decade

So enough of my rant (or is it?)

2nd Half Marathon Grand Rapids

Posted on October 19th, 2011 by Emily

This past Sunday I ran my second in my life half marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I look back over the past 32 years of my life and am amazed at the depth of change from just this past one year.  Who would have thought Id run a half marathon?  Who would have thought Id be a runner at all?? Certainly not myself!! And yet, here I am, a runner, a half marathoner.  It still blows my mind.

Sarah and I signed up for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on August 14th.  Thats exactly 9 weeks that we had to train for this crazy adventure.  We had run only 3 mile runs ever and no longer.  13.1 miles is a few miles longer than 3 if you werent sure about that.  We knew that too, so we searched the internet for a 9 week training program for a 1/2 marathon.  We found one that would *probably* suit our needs and fit into our schedule pretty well.    Sarah was awesome and took the time to create a pretty fun and motivational calendar.

We did the first month of training pretty well.  I proudly crossed of the days that we ran the scheduled amount.  I added the days we walked miles too.  Just for fun.  It felt awesome to see our accomplishment and cross off the days and see just how many miles we had finished every week.  The long runs were difficult and less than fun, but we did them nonetheless.  I dreaded them for nearly the entire week but once they were over I did have a huge sense of awesomeness right along with the quad pain and general leg fatigue.  I remember our first 6 mile training run and how I dreaded it for days before.  Again, who would have thought Id run a half marathon? ?

I ran the Quiver 10K on September 10th, and then Sarah and I ran the Mercy 8 mile run on September 17th.  After that eight mile run my knee was no longer happy to be a runner.  It was insisting I stop torturing it.  So the long runs were out.  Sarah, her sister-in-law Bridget, and I were planning a 12 mile training run and I set out on it only to turn myself back towards home after a mile and a half or so.  Sarah and Bridget finished the 12 on their own.  The longest I ran between September 17th and this past Sundays 13.1 was 3 wimpy miles, if that. Instead there was a lot of walking.  It was just pathetic.  And I was getting extremely worried that this 1/2 marathon was going to end tragically.  I had no idea how Id make it that far with my knee hurting as much as it was.  I did end up waving the white flag of surrender and going to Hadley Clinic where Scott (the owner) was able to show me how to work out my muscle issues with a rolling pin and a softball.  It helped even though I only had three weeks left before the race.

Race day came, Sarah, Bridget and I lined up in the last 1/4 section of the runners.  It was EXTREMELY chilly out at 7:45 when we lined up in the chute.  Thankfully I was wearing my Zensah arm and leg sleeves.  A jacket would have been way too much once we started running and it would have driven me nuts if I ended up tying it on my waist.  I dont have a long sleeve technical shirt or else I probably would have chosen to wear that.  (Dont get me started on how disappointed I am about the Grand Rapids Marathon changing to short sleeve shirts this year.. Their long sleeve shirt was one of the major reasons I was geeked to run this race.) The arm sleeves I borrowed from Lily ended up being the best part of my running attire.  Well, those and my sparkly piggy tales.  :)

About 3 miles into the 1/2 my knee started hurting me.  I wasnt surprised at all but I wasnt going to let a little knee discomfort (*read extreme knee screaming*) get me down.  Sarah, on the other hand was battling her own demons, which was shocking since she never seemed to have bad days like I frequently had.  We were in desperate need of motivation about 9 miles into the 12 and, thankfully, we got it.  The motivation that helped us the most were the spectators that were different.  The ones that stood out and were obviously having fun.  The ones with loud, peppy, fun music.  The one with the Rockband air guitar.  The ones with fun signs.  Those ones were the best motivation that we were in desperate need of.  Which made me think of how Ive spectated in the past and what Im going to do differently in the future.  In fact, heres a list of Marathon Posters youll see me sporting in the future.

“In our minds, you’re all Kenyans.”

“Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”

“Your legs will forgive you…eventually.”

“Don’t stop — people are watching.”

“That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”

“If it was easy, I would do it.”

“Run like you stole something.”

“This is easier than labor and delivery.”

“You’re not slow. You’re just enjoying the course.”

“Stop reading this and keep running!”

“Puke and rally!”

“Don’t worry, toenails are overrated.”

“Run like someone’s chasing you.”

“It’ll feel better when it stops hurting.”

“Mortuary ahead….look alive!”

“If I ran it, by God, you can, too.”

“Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.”

“Staying up all night making this sign was hard too.”

“You are NOT almost there.” (seen at mile 1)

“The end is near.”

What path does a crazy runner take through the woods? A Psycho Path!

Hurry, were cold!

Toll booth ahead. Exact change only.

Whats your favorite part of Star Wars III?

Run Total Stranger, Run

Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na (Chariots of Fire).

Free Piggyback Rides

Its OK to cry

Youre running the wrong way

Bus station, > That way.

Think of how many calories you get to eat today!

?Im a total stranger, but I am SO PROUD of you!

Running is a mental sport and we are all INSAINE!

and my favorite.

Worst parade EVER.

Anyhow, back to the run.

At one point, somewhere around mile 11 or 12 we took a minute to walk and rest our leg muscles only to have a very rude awakening when we started up again.  Our quads, calves, shins, feet and especially gluteus maximuss were in serious pain.  As Sarah perfectly described, it felt like someone was clawing their way out of the back of our pelvic bone or butt bone, tearing our pelvis apart.  Yeah,  it was painful.  So we decided that walking was going to be very minimal from here out.  It just hurt way too bad to start running again.  Besides, we only had less than a 5K left to run.  We could totally make it to the end now.

As we rounded the last corner and we had the finish line in sight we started to get a little bit emotional.  Sarah had warned me that she was probably going to cry at the finish line and she warned me of the impending hug there too.  Thinking about our huge accomplishment together had me starting to feel extreme sadness that it was almost over and happiness that we had done something so huge.  I told Sarah that I was getting emotional, she admitted that she was too, but it made it to hard to breathe so we stuffed those feelings down until a later time and pressed on.

We got to about 50 yards before the finish line, and there was only one lady in front of us before the finish line.  Throughout the last half of the run we were deciding who we needed to make sure to pass and beat to the finish.  The one chick in the white who ran weird,  the one guy in the green that had a walk/run form, the foot scuffing old lady, the hard breather, the guy who looked to be in extreme pain, the really big lady in blue, the really tall chick in pink, and the one with 13.1 on her back.   We lost track of a few of those runners along the course and we are sure we conquered all but two people.  But here we were at the finish line and there there was only one lady in front of us right then so Sarah said, Lets take her!  and we took off in a sprint to the finish line to finish our 1/2 just a few seconds in front of her.  That felt awesome to have beat one more runner, one last one at the last possible time.

I didnt even have the time to look over at the clock and see our time.  I had no idea how long it took us to run the 13.1, I just knew we were finished.  WOOHOO!! Huge smile.  No tears, no hugs, just a humongous sense of accomplishment and excitement.

I must say running my second 1/2 marathon was much more enjoyable because I had someone to run with the entire time.  Someone to push me when I needed pushing and someone for me to push when she needed it back.  Im so thankful to have Sarah as a friend and as my favorite running partner.

Anyhow, heres a few pictures of the awesome day because Im sure youre super bored from reading my race report.  :)

Here we are keeping warm in the car before the race.  Brandon joked about me writing on the back of my shirt, Im here for the 13.1 mile wet t-shirt contest. It stopped raining, thankfully!

Bridget, Sarah, and I pre-race.  Getting ready to line up and freeze for a few minutes before the start.

Here we are crossing the finish line.  Sarahs husband, Robert, caught us AT THE EXACT moment we went across the mat.  How awesome is that.  Official finish time 2:46:46.

The Bling!  :) Best Bling EVER!

Brandon and I after he finished.  We rock.  Just sayin.

Heres me. All cute.  Wearing my bling, Zensah Sleeves and my favorite SweatyBand.

I have to say, Im super proud of my bling.  Can you tell?

Heres my awesome marathon family.

Lily was able to run the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids Kids Marathon on Saturday where she finished the last 1.2 miles with all the other kids.  She was VERY proud of her accomplishment of running the entire way. Many thanks to Jennifer who allowed Lily to join her family to do the marathon while we photographed a wedding. This was her third time doing the kids marathon and she loved every minute of it.  :)

Yup,  we are the Mulnixs (Mulni) and were a running family.

The Four Hour Work Week- Book Review

Posted on October 11th, 2011 by Brandon

The Four Hour Work Week- Book Review

The Four Hour Work Week

The Four Hour Work Week

What would you do if you only had to work four hours a week and could travel the globe doing what ever you wanted to do.  Well I would probably go nuts.  Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss was an audio book I decided to listen to after I started hearing about how its ideas changed peoples ideas and concept of retirement and work.

If you could spend live like you are retired when you are thirty instead of waiting till you are 60 how much better would it be.  What does it take to become the New Rich.  At first I thought this book was foolish.  Truelly another book about someones gimic to get rich quick.  I am pretty sceptical when it comes to getting rich quick, and believe hard work will get you places, but will it?  My views of work have been installed and supported since the beginning of my life.  Knowing only hard work and sacrifice of family and friends to work myself to retirement was the only perspective I have ever known.  This book was a huge shocker for me.  Kinda like who Jesus was to the Jews.  I am not saying that the Four Hour Work Week is the next savior, but I am saying that the perspective it puts on the world is 180 degrees from the norm.

The book asks a lot of questions about If you only had 1 day to live, how would you live it? and If you had a gun pointed to your head and you had to get rid of everything you owned, how would you do it.  Very unique questions about material belongings.  STUFF that you have worked your entire life for, but dont have time to enjoy it.  The main priciple in the book is not creating more time in an already busy life, but simplifing your life, prioritizing your life, and making sure that 20% off your life isnt controlling 80% of your personal satistfaction.  From goal setting, to vagabond traveling the subject of minimalist life is described and case studies of successful New Rich are disected. 

The principles of the book are simplified and given in a way you can learn them.  Two of the main principles I am trying to apply are the 80/20 rule and setting goals and achieving them when I am young and have the energy to achieve them.  How I do it will be helped by many of the tips and suggestions the book provides. 

One of my dreams is Dancing with my wife on top of a Mountain 
One of my dreams is taking my Daughter on a Date in Europe
One of my dreams  is traveling to Third World Country for a Month and working for a Mission Organization with my Family.
One  of my dreams is running across America
One of my dreams is Flying an Airplane

These are my dreams What are yours?

Eight Days till Grand Rapids Marathon

Posted on October 8th, 2011 by Brandon

Eight Days till Grand Rapids Marathon

Its only eight days till the running of the Grand Rapids Marathon and again I am not ready.  Its not that I cant run the distance, or that I feel I am going to fail.  Its the little things.  I signed up for the race after my wife decided to run the 1/2  with her friend.   I dont know what it is this year, but I dont look forward to this race.  Life has been so busy and I have only been able to put in aobut 10 miles of running over the past two weeks.   I just havent felt the Oh boy I am running a marathon Joy.   Where does that JOY come from? 

After running about 7 miles barefoot this week I made the decision to just go for it and run as far as I can barefoot.  I dont have a time goal other than to run faster than last years 4:30. 

How do I get the Joy back?

Mercy 8 Mile Run Emily

Posted on October 6th, 2011 by Emily

Brandon signed up for the September 17th Mercy 8 Mile Run in Greenville and mentioned it to me.  I figured it came at a great time for Sarah and I because we were scheduled to run 10 miles that weekend.  An 8 mile race is somewhat equivalent to a 10 mile run since you generally push yourself harder during a race.  So I signed us up.  =)

We rode together, Robert and Sarah, Brandon and I up to Greenville, it was a nice brisk morning for a run.  Brandon was instantly a celebrity, they saved race bib #1 for him, cut out his Daily News article and had him sign it, and took pictures with him.  *Awkward*  We waited around for the race to start and a few more people to show up.  Turn out was quite small but it wasnt advertised much, so thats expected.  Sarah and I started in the back because thats just easier that being passed constantly.  Were runners, but were kinda slow ones.

There was a guy who was running RIGHT BEHIND US and I figured it was the sweeper or bike.  Since the 5K started shortly after the 8 mile run, we werent quite sure.  But he stuck right behind us and uncomfortably close.   Once we got to the 5K turn around and he was still right behind us, we knew the answer.  Sarah joked before we started that we were going to come in last place, I agreed that we probably were since it was such a small race, so we were prepared for our fate.

Being the guy was so close, talking was nearly impossible because it would have felt pretty odd talking about personal stuff, or even life stuff, with someone within hearing distance.  So we barely talked besides to say, This is a nice trail.  Which way do we go? or Its such a nice morning for a run. Are we done yet? And finally, Hes KIDDING right? When there was a guy who said we were at mile 5. He wasnt kidding. *sigh*

For some reason my Nike+ has a hard time calculating distance around water or trees.  It told me a LONG time before now that we were at mile 7.  I knew from our past runs to not listen to it, but I figured it was somewhat right.  Oh no.  It was VERY wrong.  By the time we were done running my Nike+ said that we had gone 12 miles, not the 8 that everyone else had done.  It sure did feel like 12 miles though.  By it telling me that we were at mile 7 so early it messed with our psyche pretty bad.  We thought we were much further along than we were for a very long time.  At one point we saw our running friend Ben and his Dad who had waited around to cheer us on.  That was super awesome and encouraging and took our minds off the length of the run for a minute or two.

We did really well though and walked once when we crossed the road because we had to wait for traffic, we walked when we crossed over a bridge because I was very tired, and I walked once more when we went under a road towards the end.  Which is pretty well because if it wasnt for the sweeper guy being so uncomfortably close (which at one moment he was running in between us) we would have walked much more, we would have ran slower, and we would have finished much later than we did.

When we saw the tent at the finish line we were VERY excited.  It was almost over.  =)  Once we got there I purposefully slowed down a step so that I came in last.  I figured if I were last place Emily from the Quiver run, I might as well keep my losing steak going and finish last here too.  Sarah, did the opposite, she purposely tried to keep right beside me so that we could finish together.  I think thats pretty funny.  Shes a great running partner. We finished in 1:32:39 (an 11:34 mile pace) which is pretty good considering the 1:17 (12:49 pace) that I finished the 6 mile Quiver just the week before.

Turns out shes such a great running partner that she got 3rd place in the 20-29 womens age group.  Thats a pretty tough age group to get any place in.  I didnt get a medal like Sarah did, but I did place 5th in the 30-39 womens age group.  We rock.

Last place Emily strikes again.  (Although I really wasnt last place in the Quiver.)  Thank the LORD the Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon is HUGE and its going to be tough but Im almost sure we wont be last place finishers there.

Free at last! Unwired and running

Posted on October 6th, 2011 by Brandon

Free at last! Unwired and running

“Free at last; free at last; thank God Almighty we are free at last.” Martin Luther King

For the past six weeks I have bombarded you with Wired Shut articles and stories about me running with it wired shut as if it was a big deal.  At first it was really hard to run with my jaw wired shut and training runs seemed impossible.  By the end, my body had “evolved” and it became considerably normal to run with it wired. 

Every good thing has to come to end eventually, but sometimes better things start because of it.  The wires started popping off on Monday last week and by Tuesday I was free!  What does a person do when their wires break and their jaw drops… No the girl wasn’t that pretty.  I tried brushing the scum of the inside of my teeth and boy was that stupid!!!!!  I almost had tears when the toothbrush touched my gums after being super sensitized over the 6 weeks of liquid diet.  The metal arch bars didn’t fall off so they also started to stretch and hurt. 

My first meal:  Chicken Noodle soup and Pasta.  I went to lunch with my newly promoted supervisor and thought it would be nice to have soft yet solid food.  It was awesome!  It hurt my teeth a little, but assumed the pain would wear off.  I was full sooner than I expected, but then was hungry earlier than expected afterwards.

Running… Not so much.  I have ran one time since being unwired and that was 30 minutes that seemed really easy.  I only know how long I ran, not how far.  I didn’t want to wear a watch because I didn’t really care about how far I ran.  Running seams to take way to much time out of my portrait schedule this time of year.  Now add in the new diet and I am afraid of what my weight will do.  Only losing 6-7 pounds after 6 weeks of being wired I am confident 203 pounds is a good weight for me at 6’3”.  I would rather be under 200, but that is just a number.  I miss the trails and long to run them now that the fall colors are in bloom.  Another huge distraction for me every fall is hunting. 

Sitting in nature and just listening.  Watching for wildlife and being ready to harvest is almost as rewarding as running.  I could sit all day, everyday, and just enjoy nature.  Nature is another reason I run.  Seeing a lot more nature and a variety of it while running is why I run long distances.  When I ran 50K last week I didn’t enjoy it.  I was too distracted by the wires to enjoy the crazy antics the race presented.  I was hoping to find more time to run, but balance of family, photography, and time with God has priority.  Running has been replaced with Soccer, Flying to take Aerial photos, and hanging with the family.  I long to run, but cherish “Making Memories” with the family. 

In hind sight it wasn’t bad being wired for six weeks.  I had warning it would happen so I was mentally prepared.  I used being wired to the fullest, and learned a lot about myself along the way.

If you were wired shut and was freed, what would be your first meal?


NOT Last Place Emily Lowell 10K Quiver

Posted on October 5th, 2011 by Emily

So, a while ago, September 10th to be exact, I ran the Lowell 10K Quiver run to benefit breast cancer and the Lowell Pink Arrow Pride.  I decided last minute to run it with my sister.  Somehow, however Im not quite sure, I was talked into pacing for her.  Only problem being that she runs a 10 minute mile and I run around an 11:20 12 minute mile.  No big deal right?  Its not THAT much faster than I normally run.. Oh how very wrong that turned out to be.

So we started out by the football stadium and ran straight up a very long, quite good hill first thing.  That was lovely. Then down turned down Vergennes toward Parnell.  I did pretty well considering we were running quite a bit faster than I normally run, but that only lasted a short time.  I got to where it was hard to talk and run, then the 10 minute mile pacer passed us and my sister asked me if I could go any faster.  Truth was, I was DYING going as fast as we were already, there was NO way I was able to go faster and complete the whole 10K run.  So I had two options, run faster and not be able to finish, or run slower and no longer run with my sister.  I didnt want to choose either, but I went with the second option and my sister went on while I took a short walking break.  There were quite a few runners of the 10K that had already turned around at Parnell and were headed back to the Wittenbach center when I finally did start to run again.  Im sure I looked pathetic to them.  Oh well.

I wasnt sure if I was in last place, but I didnt want to waste time looking back.  The opportunity to see how I was doing came soon enough when I finally made it to the turn around point.  Nope, not last place, *whew*.  But third to last.  *YAY*.  There was a runner in front of me who I could tell was struggling and my goal was to make it to her and ask if she wanted to run together.  (Wow, wouldnt that be bold of ME.)  So I took off running and was slowly catching up to her when I was passed, *sigh* and now in second to last place.  Apparently the lady that passed me had the same goal in mind, because when she got to the person in front of me, they took off together.  BUMMER.  Oh well, at least she has someone to run with.

So its just me and another slow runner behind me and Im determined to NOT let that lady pass me.  Somewhere along here, which was before Wittenbach Center my knee started hurting a bit.  So I decided to run/walk the rest of the distance.  By the time I got up by the school again the 5K runners and walkers and all the 10K runners were turning to go back down to the track.  I saw Brandon and yelled LOOK AT THAT GUY!!! HES RUNNING BAREFOOT!!   =)  I knew hed appreciate that.

The Wittenbach Center had me a bit concerned that the direction peoples had turned me the wrong way, but I finally caught up with a set of walkers way in the back of the woods.  Those two ladies in front of me were no where to be seen. After getting out the woods I started back over to the high school and the cop on the corner was chatting with a volunteer when they yelled at me, Hey, theres a cheater in front of you!!  Apparently someone had cut across the field, but they were unsure if it was a real runner or not.  I guessed it wasnt because I hadnt seen anyone in front of me for quite a while.

Finally I reached the start line only to be told that the finish line was 1/2 way around the track.  CRAP.  I want to be done.  But I kept on,  Brandon cheered me on when I got to the football field, which was encouraging.  I ran over that finish line, dead, but with a sense of accomplishment.  I had finished a 6.2 mile run, alone, and wasnt last.

HOWEVER, the Quiver peoples mixed my time up with the person who came in behind me (THANKS FOR THAT) and put my results as finishing in 1:32 and not the 1:17 that I actually did.  *ugh*  That super sucked because this was our town.  The town we do business in.  The town we have friends in.  The town we go to church in.  And there it was my results being LAST PLACE online.  And many of my friends competed in the run with me, so I knew they would be looking at the results online too.  What do you do when you look at the results for the races youre in?  Look at the first place Male and Female and their times.  Your time, and oh yeah, the time of the person who finished last. Oh well.  Maybe the lady who finished behind me was encouraged by not being in last place.  Maybe it was just what she needed to keep her running going.  I guess Ill take it for the team if it did anything to encourage her and her journey.

I was not last place Emily in this run.  However the Mercy run I did a few weeks later, thats a different story.  =)

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