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

We, as a family, press on towards the goal

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 I’d run a half marathon?  Who would have thought I’d 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.  That’s 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 weren’t 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 I’d 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 Sunday’s 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 I’d 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 don’t have a long sleeve technical shirt or else I probably would have chosen to wear that.  (Don’t 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 wasn’t surprised at all but I wasn’t 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 I’ve spectated in the past and what I’m going to do differently in the future.  In fact, here’s a list of Marathon Posters you’ll 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, we’re cold!”

“Toll booth ahead. Exact change only.”

“What’s 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”

“It’s OK to cry”

“You’re running the wrong way”

“Bus station, —–> That way.”

“Think of how many calories you get to eat today!”

?”I’m 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 maximus’s 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, “Let’s 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 didn’t 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.  I’m so thankful to have Sarah as a friend and as my favorite running partner.

Anyhow, here’s a few pictures of the awesome day because I’m sure you’re 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, “I’m 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.  Sarah’s 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’.

Here’s me. All cute.  Wearing my bling, Zensah Sleeves and my favorite SweatyBand.

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

Here’s 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 Mulnix’s (Mulni) and we’re a running family.

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 I’m 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?  It’s 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 didn’t 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.  I’m sure I looked pathetic to them.  Oh well.

I wasn’t sure if I was in last place, but I didn’t 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, wouldn’t 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 it’s just me and another slow runner behind me and I’m 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!!! HE’S RUNNING BAREFOOT!!”   =)  I knew he’d 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, there’s 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 wasn’t because I hadn’t 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 wasn’t 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 you’re 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 I’ll 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, that’s a different story.  =)

Pink Arrow Quiver Run – 10K Barefoot

Posted on September 11th, 2011 by Brandon

Pink Arrow Quiver Run – 10K Barefoot


Brandon Mulnix Family

My family

Pink Arrow Pride is a huge deal in Lowell,Michigan.  Over the past four years the community has raised over a million dollars by turning the town pink.  Last year one of their fund raising additions was adding the Quiver 5K.  A year later the organizer added a 10K and a kids run.  The community really showed up today to support this run.  With over 85 runners in the 10k and 244 in the 5K walk/run the organizers must be proud. 

Todd McMyler - Saranac High School

Todd and I went to High School together

 I signed up for the 10K earlier this week with the idea of running for the 4th consecutive weekend since my jaw surgery.  The night before my wife decided to run it as well.  My daughter would join us to run the 1K fun run.   To wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday does get old, but worth it when its for a good cause.  We arrived at 7:15am to so many familiar faces.  There were so many people running that I didn’t know ran.  Many signed up for the 10K!  My wife got registered and I picked up my packet.  I was hoping for a Pink shirt like the flier let on to, but it ended up being a white long sleeved.  As temperatures fall I will appreciate their decision for long sleeve.  As I walked around in my Invisible Shoe Sandals I got many of the same questions I got during the Labor Day run, “Are you going to run in those? (Insert a slight hint of judgment added in).  I took advantage of knowing most of the people who were asking and replied “No way I am not running in these I am running barefoot” (Insert Sarcasm).

 This race had many great attributes.  The first being a professional sound system that you could hear and a local Radio DJ to do the professional announcements.  The safety and course instructions were clear and planned out like they were reading a script.  The 85 runners gathered at the start line ready to run.  Hanging out at the start with people I see daily was really refreshing.  One girl stood out when she asked “Isn’t running barefoot not good for you?”  I appreciated the question, but didn’t know how to answer in an about to start manner. 

Pink Arrow Quiver 10k 2011

Waiting to start the 10K

 A number of local celebrities joined us in the race.  We had the Lowell Red Arrow Football coach, a Boston Marathon Qualifier, that one guy, my sister in law (in certain circles she is famous), and that guy who ran 50 miles with his jaw wired shut.  I was fortunate enough to run with the Football coach as we started and ran with him (around him) for the first 2 miles.  The course was asphalt for the first 3 ½ miles.  Some of the asphalt was horrible for my bare feet.  I found the road patches were the smoothest to run on.  It was a great learning experience since most of my barefoot runs are on smooth fresh asphalt.  By the time I got to the 2 mile turn around I decided to increase my pace and start working my way through the runners.  It was nice catching fast runners. 


Brandon Mulnix, Pink Arrow Quiver 2011

Narly Asphalt

The pavement paused for the next 2 miles as we ran on the WittenbachWege Center trails.  This is where the 5K walkers and the 10K runners mixed.  I was proud at how respectful the 5K walkers and runners were as we passed.  The sandy trails felt great on my feet and I used it to push my limits.  Passing so many 10 K runners really put a pop in my step.  The course had small inclines and lots of roots and rocks.  The largest hill on the trail was right before we popped out into the parking lot.  With only ½ mile to go I started to shift into a new gear.  By this point I knew I over ran my feet and I could feel blisters.  The last ½ mile was asphalt that went downhill into the Bob Perry Lowell Red Arrow football stadium.  Once my feet hit the rubber track the sprint was on.  I was able to finish in a reasonable time for me of 52:38 good for 24th place. 

I will give the Pink Arrow Quiver props for having the best post race refreshments, Chocolate Milk!  They had pints of it, and you could have more than one.  So I refueled on my favorite drink right now.  I enjoyed two pints while hanging out till my daughter was able to run the fun run.  She ran really well and again the Pink Arrow Quiver race spoiled the kids with lots of great swag. 

 I will make it 5 consecutive weeks of racing; I signed up to run the Mercy Run 8 Miler.  This is the first race on the new trail that encircles the Greenville,Michigan.  Join us!

Mackinac Bridge Run – Labor Day 2011 – Meeting Governor Rick Snyder

Labor Day in Michiganis all about the Mackinac Bridge.  As a little boy I experienced the bridge from the back of a wagon pulled by my parents.  A couple of times through my early years I walked it with my parents just for the Fudge at the end.  This year I was finally able to share the experience with my wife and daughter.

Brandon Mulnix

My family

Our original plan for the weekend was to bike across the state, but that was scrapped when I was picked to run the bridge.  Unlike most short distance runs I really got excited to run the bridge.  My goal from the start was to run it barefoot.  The number one question asked was “Won’t the grates hurt your feet?”  Thankfully the grates only take up the middle lanes of the 4 lane bridge.   Prepping to run the bridge didn’t take much.  I hadn’t planned on my jaw being wired shut, but that didn’t slow me down. With hotel prices being outrageous on the holiday weekend in Mackinaw we decided to stay inHoughtonLakewhich is less than two hours drive.  It wasn’t theCrownPlaza, but the prize was free and the time spent with family and friends was priceless.  The distance did require us to get up before 3 am.  We only had to make one stop on the way and that was to pick up my parents who opted to stay in a hotel about thirty minutes into the trip.  I thought we would be able to make only one stop, but there is nothing open at 3:30 AM inNorthern Michigan.  We finally found a 24 hour McDonalds, but they were not prepared to take care of one car, let alone the five cars that showed up at that time of morning.  You would think they would be prepared for the 30,000 people about to show up to walk the bridge.

Brandon Mulnix - Short Bus

Waiting for the bus to ride to the Upper Pennisula

After the longer than expected stop we got back on the road and made it to the Mackinaw Recreation center right at 5am and I was able to get my race packet which included my Bib, my shirt, ID Band, and coupons for dinner that I chose not to attend (carb loading with jaw wired shut is not possible).  The cool morning air was already starting to get to me as we stood and waited for the buses that would take us to the starting line.  While in line I was blessed to run into Michael Grant who I had the pleasure of running with a year ago during a winter training run.  Michael and I had the pleasure of catching up on the bus ride to theUpper Peninsulastart.  He told me of his 100 pound weight transformation and his Grand Rapids Marathon finish.  It was such a motivator as I readied myself for the race ahead.

Fellow Grand Rapids Runner

Fellow Grand Rapids Runner

The cool air really hit home as the 243 runners waited just off the shore line on the north end of the bridge.  Thousands of walkers were all ready there for their 7am start when we arrived at 5:45.  Our start wasn’t till 6:40 and many dressed as if they were running a summer marathon instead of a fall 5K.  The temperature was around 42 degrees!  We all huddled behind a sign that blocked the north wind and we waited.  I was on the lookout for Lt. Governor Brian Calley.  His wife had facebooked me the night before instructing me to look for him, because he wanted to chat before the run.  The Michigan State Police motorcade arrived about 6:30 and Governor Rick Snyder came walking up with Brian right beside him.  As the Governor went to the front of the pack to give a speech I was able to spend a few moments with my friend talking about his daughter and how she was recovering.  To have Brian take a few moments out of his duties to catch up really meant something to me.

Rick Snyder giving speech Mackinac Bridge

Pre-race speech by Govenor Snyder

Governor Snyder led the wheel chair racer and the Fitness Ambassadors to the starting line and sent them off for their less than 5 mile trek.  The organizers led groups of 20-50 out at a time to start the race and space out the runners across the bridge.  I stood around and waited.  Purposefully wanting to be in the last group, not knowing how it would be to run barefoot across the bridge and run fast with the jaw being wired.  My invisible shoes kept my feet from touching the ground which got me lots of questions.  “Your going to run in those?” with my response “Heck no, I am going to run barefoot”.  It was fun having conversations with people that couldn’t understand me, and thought I was nuts. As the groups took off I made my way over to the start.  Brian was back doing his civic duty next to the Governor.  I was surprised when he waved me over to introduce me to the Governor.  To be introduced as a family friend also made me feel special.  Photographing Brian’s family on more than one occasion would make me his photographer, but a family friend was cooler.  Rick Snyder shook my hand and smiled while Brian took my picture.  The only thing I regret was not getting someone else to take the photo and getting Brian in there to.  He is the one who introduced me, and is just as important as Rick is.  I wasn’t paying much attention to the group of runners I was with, but someone else told them to “GO” and they were off.  Before I knew it I was the only one left standing at the starting line.  I forgot to take off my sandals before getting out to the start, so I just reached down and took them off as I started to run.  The race was chipped time with no awards so I didn’t really care about when I started.  Dead last meant I had lots of people I could pass.  As I started to run I heard about 10 people say “He’s running barefoot” from the Governor’s direction.  I just laughed and ran.

Rick Snyder Brandon Mulnix Mackinac Bridge

Meeting the Govenor of Michigan

The Mackinaw Bridgeis cold at 42 degrees on your feet.  My toes were used to 60’s and 70’s over the past weeks, but the cold made it kind of nice.  I didn’t want to leave my feet on the cement very long.  My pace started out really fast.  The excitement of the morning had made its way to my feet and I started passing runners.  The first ½ is all uphill to the crown of the bridge.  Since I wasn’t caring so much about my time, at least that is what I told myself, I tried thanking all the soldiers lining the bridge.  That only lasted so long.  My breathing had picked up with the quick pace and sucking in oxygen was my only goal.  Clearing your airway is tough when you can’t spit.  I usually spit a couple of times in the first miles to clear out everything, but I didn’t have that option.  I did my best to blow my nose “farmers blow”, but that was tough as well.  I didn’t want to hit anyone and I didn’t want to get to close to the edge.  As I passed runners I heard a lot of “Oh my God, he’s barefoot”.  I questioned why God would care that I was barefoot, but appreciated the fact people were praying while running. One runner called me out, before I even passed her.  She said that she was about to be passed by someone running barefoot, because she knew the sound.  Later she revealed that her running partner ran barefoot or minimalist and it sounded differently.  So that is what natural running sounds like.  One guy wore Vibrams and said there was another guy he saw in the staging area with sandals.  Who would run in those I thought?  He then figured out it was me.  The soldiers lining the bridge were cool and were usually surprised to see me running by.  I argued that they were much more hard core by serving our country, but they yelled it anyways.  The bridge crested and the by the time I started the decent my feet were alive and I was feeling the smooth concrete.  I was surprised to see my sub 20 minute 2.5 mile split.  I felt like I was flying and my time reminded me of that.  A hot spot started to develop the pad of my right foot.  I assumed it was because I was running too fast.  I adjusted my stride length to adjust for the decent and the hot spot started to feel better. The last mile is totally deceiving.  Up ahead you can see the finish and the turn off, but you don’t really know how far it is.  I never really sprinted.  I kept one guy in my sights the last half, but didn’t really care to pass him.  Being a social runner and not being able to really talk to anyone kind of sucked, but it gave me time to think about the run.  The crowd at the finish line was incredible.  There were hundreds of people there to see us finish.  My watch said I finished in just over 32 minutes (results here).  The distance 4.3 miles according to Garmin.  I was trilled since my last 5K was over 26 minutes.  While waiting around for the other runners to finish I had the opportunity to answer a lot of questions about barefoot running.  The number one question: “Does your feet hurt?”  Nope, they felt great was the best answer I could come up with.   It was the truth.  Nothing feels better than running with bare feet.  Sure there is the occasional stone bruise, but I wouldn’t trade them for all the shine splints in the world.

Mackinac Bridge Run, Finishing photo

Barefoot finish photo

Being 6’3” also has its advantages.  As we waited for the runners to finish they formed us up into groups based on our wrist band color.  I was given the blue sign to hold, and I held it proudly.  Like any first grader would I held it up high, yelled out our color, and made sure we were all the same color.  Yes I am that obnoxious.  I also had the pleasure of standing in the background of every other team’s photo.  Yup I am that guy to.   Our photo was taken and as I walked away Wilx News 10 fromLansingput a camera in my face to ask me how the run was.  What is my luck? Stay tuned:  The Labor Day Bridge Walk 2011- A new family tradition?

Just give it to HIM?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Emily


What’s keeping you from your dreams?  Just give it to him.  Anything is possible!!


Cat-calls and other degrading things (some) men do- Emily

Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Emily

My  running partner, Sarah, and I took a nice run this evening.  We haven’t been able to run as much lately due to vacations and the heat and various schedule differences.  So we were finally able to get together tonight for a quick run.  It was nearly the perfect weather for it, both of us were quite thankful for that! We’ve decided we are tired of running the roads of Saranac, we’re board.  We tired to change it up a little bit, but there are few options available to us.  We went out the dirt road and around back to town.  It’s still a 3 mile loop on mostly back roads, but it also still goes down the roads in Saranac.  One of these days we’ll end up driving somewhere else for a change.

Anyhow, back to the title of this blog post.  We were almost back to town, but still on a dirt road when we were coming up over a hill and behind us there was a truck.  A truck with two men in it.  Those men, apparently haven’t learned a few simple things in life.  It’s truly sad.  So we were almost over the hill when this truck passed us and the driver yelled out a “Woo-hoo” followed by a wave, and then a classic (not to be confused with classy) cat-call.  Sarah and I looked at each other and asked one another at nearly the same time, “Do you know them?”  Which neither of us did that we knew of.  We laughed it off and kept on running, we were on a roll finally (it’s been rough running lately, I won’t lie).  It was funny to realize we were just ‘noticed’, realistically, this is a rare occurrence.  Then we rounded the top of the hill and noticed the truck was still at the corner…. *sigh*  When the driver was turning the corner he yelled out something that sounded like this, “Sorry to scare/startle you, (inaudible) ….. but we ….. (inaudible) pussy!” Sarah and I again looked at each other and said, “Did he just say something about pussy?”

*gag*  I need to go bathe.  I feel so: Dirty. Disgusting. Wrong. Shameful. Afraid. Gross. Loss for words. Confused. What. Seriously. Ick.  *gag*

Really guys?  Really?  Does it ever work? Would you do that if it were just YOU in the truck? Or do you do that just to show off? Do you feel better about yourself? Why, WHY do you think that’s OK? Because, in reality, it simply is NOT OK EVER!!

Sure, there are those that stare, those that don’t turn away, those that check out, those that take a second look, but there is NOTHING as disgusting as being violated by a strange man in a verbal way.  Please, refrain from doing this, it’s not a pick me up, it’s not flattering, it’s just plain wrong.  And now, I’m sure I’ll think of this event the next time we’re running that loop.  Which is just not the memory I want to have of this evening’s run.  Thanks for ruining it, shameful shell of a man.

(Yes, I won’t lie, that is exactly how I feel.)

Running Skirt – Emily

Posted on August 7th, 2011 by Emily

So I’ve wasted, I don’t know, HOURS looking for the perfect running skirt this past week.  I have one skirt, it works well, but it’s plain black and boring.  So I’m looking for one that’s a bit more fun and stylish.  Plus, I’m looking because in less than a month, *gasp, where did summer go?*, Lily will be going back to school and I’ll be walking her up to the elementary and then going for my run.  It’s no big deal to wear the same running clothes over and over and over and over again, but when the same people see me daily before my run (while they’re in their cars waiting to drop their children off), it’d be nice to change things up once in a while.

Why is it taken me hours, you ask?  I’m looking for a few specific details in a running skirt.

  1. It has to be stylish. Not boring black since I already have one like that, nor can it be a solid color.  It must be a fun pattern.
  2. I’m cheap, I admit it, but the skirts I’ve found that I think are cute only cost, say, $85. There is NO way I’m spending that much on a running skirt no matter how cute the thing is.
  3. I like pleats. I think it’d be fun to have a pleated running skirt. Especially cute pleats on the back of the skirt.  In this case, it’d be OK for the skirt to be a solid color and black.
  4. This is where I’m having a hard time finding exactly what I’m looking for.  I want a skirt that has nothing underneath, so shorties, no mesh briefs, no capri’s, nothing.  The skirt I do have has shorties underneath, which would work OK for a stick figure, but I’m no stick figure and I don’t like thunder thigh chafing.  So I’ve been wearing my own Under Armour shorts underneath my skirt to prevent any chafing pain, which means the shorts that are attached to the skirt are bunched up in the crease of my legs.  That’s not too comfy.  So, nothing underneath.
  5. Long enough to cover my rear.  Lets face it, some people are blessed with a buttocks, I’m one of them.  Some of these cute skirts are a we bit too short to do any good hiding my rear, which to me, is the reason for wearing a running skirt in the first place.  So, length would be important.
  6. Pocket(s). I carry my iPhone on my runs, it’s my music, Nike+, emergency phone. I don’t want to carry it in my bra, nor do I want to carry it in my hand.  I want a zipper pocket to store it in.  The skirt I have has a zipper on the back center.  It works OK, it’s a bit small, but it works.  If I could find a skirt with more than one pocket (not meaning a key pocket, but a real pocket) that would be a bonus. I’m not sure what I’d store in another real pocket, but it would be handy to have one, I’m sure.


Now, I’ve searched all over the internet and local stores for running skirts, but there simply aren’t very many options out there.  There are like, four. Four brands that I can think of, that’s it.  With so many women running and wanting to wear skirts to forgive any self conscious areas, it seems like there would be more than just four brands getting into these.  But there are not.  Which makes a very small pool to choose from.  (If you’re looking for a business opportunity, this is sure to be a winner.)  Sure there’s Lululemon skirts, which are super cute and somewhat coveted by a large number of women who simply cannot afford or will not splurge on an $85 running skirt.  And there’s Nike, which is the brand of skirt that I have, but it’s plain black and no patterns out there whatsoever. There’s Skirt Sports, but I’m not into their current line of styles. And there’s Athletica, which is the only brand that I find truly affordable. And yet, with all of those choices, there’s still not one with the options I’m looking for in a running skirt.

Since searching for running skirts didn’t find me anything I was really looking for, I turned to Tennis Skirts.  This is where I found some cute skirts with pleats.  However, still nothing that has everything I’m looking for in a skirt.  Most tennis skirts have mesh briefs, or no pockets (or just ball pockets – which aren’t real pockets since they open on the bottom), or they wouldn’t be long enough, and nearly all of them were over $50.  *sigh*  Why must I be cursed with cheapness?

Then there’s just skirts in general, seems like there would be a single skirt out there that would fit my criteria, right? Well if there is I’m still afraid to buy it since it’s not specifically designed for running.  What if a skirt that I do find for running isn’t the right material for the sport? What if the pattern is super duper cute, but completely non functional as a running skirt? Then I’d be out $ and still be looking for the one.  Besides that, there are WAY too many options online when looking for skirts with pockets.  So I gave up that search.

I’ve even turned to looking into patterns for making my own running skirt.  It wouldn’t be that hard, would it?  I could make it nearly any style or pattern or color I wanted… but there are no running skirt patterns that I’ve found so far in my hours of searching.  Plus, there’s the pocket issue.  Granted, Brandon’s Mom is an awesome seamstress, she’s been there to help me with any type of sewing project I come up with.  But I fear making pockets with zippers, there, I said it.  Besides all those excuses as to why I don’t want to make my own skirt, I just don’t have the time (perhaps if I didn’t spend hours looking for skirts I’d have more) nor the drive to want to make my own skirt.

If I continue to hold out will I eventually find exactly what I’m looking for at Goodwill for $3.99?

Does ANYONE know where I could find a skirt similar to that I’ve described above?

Refuel with Chocolate Milk Grant – Emily

Posted on July 18th, 2011 by Emily

Hey everyone, my application has been approved and I’m in the running to win a $250 grant from Refuel with Lowfat Chocolate Milk to use towards continuing my healthy lifestyle.  I need all the votes I can get from now until August 15th.  Vote daily, vote from every computer you have access too, and tell all of the people you know to vote too!!

Go here —-> search for Emily Mulnix or just Emily and vote for me!!!  :)

Many thanks!!

Efficiency- Another great reason to run barefoot

Posted on June 13th, 2011 by Brandon

Efficiency- Another great reason to run barefoot

What is 4%?  Well according to an blog post on Naturally that is how much energy one can save when running barefoot.  I am not referring to electricity or horsepower, but running energy.  4% doesn’t seem like much, but it could make a considerable difference in a marathon or ultramarathon.  The science behind the article says its about oxygen, and stuff like that.  Being a simpleton I believe it has to do with the weight of the shoe.  DUH!

From all the experience I have gained in my 10 month ultra career I can agree with their findings.  My first two ultras and first marathon were run in traditional running shoes.  By the end of each race my feet felt like they weighed 100 pounds and it became more difficult to continue on.  My last three races were ran in minimalist shoes weighing a considerable amount less and at the end of those races I didn’t even notice my shoes.  If I would have just ran barefoot!

Let us do a simple math problem to demonstrate:

I used to run in Brooks Defyance which weigh 10.8 oz per shoe
My last ultra was in Vibram Komodo which weigh – 7.1oz per shoe

The difference is only 3.7oz,
Average number of steps taken in 1 minute at 10 min/mile pace- 300
Number of steps in12 hour race – 10 min/mile average- 12 hrs X 60 Min X 300 steps= 216,000 steps

By shaving off 3.7 oz you are saving 799,200 oz’s of work or 49,950 pounds!
Now image running barefoot you would save 2,332,800 oz’s or 145,000 pounds!

So yes I agree with this article purely on a mathematical reasons alone.

Please decide for yourself by reading the article here and letting me know whether you agree or disagree.

Copyright © 2009 Brandon's (and his family's)Big Adventures. Theme by THAT Agency powered by WordPress. | | | | | | | | | | | | | |