Monday, December 21, 2020

Running Dialogue Podcast

I had a good chat on the Running Dialogue podcast about the Arctic Frog 50 Mile, the ($)100k for Crim, and how running was different in 2020.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Arctic Frog 50 Mile

The Arctic Frog lived up to its name with the kind of temperatures you'd expect in Wisconsin during December. This was the first year the race was held in this location (it was previously in Illinois) and the new course is what piqued my interest. I had heard that the previous course was very flat and fast, but this new route had around 4,500' of elevation gain and loss, which is much more in my wheelhouse. I also liked that this route was 5 x 10.3 mile loops. This made it very easy for my wife to crew for me and I appreciated that, in true ultra-marathon fashion, the race was actually 51.5 miles.

Some solid climbs allowed my to break free from the pack early. At the 20 mile mark I was in second place, but took the lead shortly after and continued to socially distance myself all the way to the finish. I was pleased with my splits, holding around 8 min pace for the entire race and the last few miles were my fastest. I fell just shy of breaking 7 hours (I ran 7:01:48) but this race gave me the confidence and hunger to get it next time. My 50-mile split was 6:50, so I know I can do it.

The cold and the hills seemed to be the real winner of the race, with a finisher rate of around 25% (only 9 finishers out of 35 runners).

Thank you to my beautiful wife for crewing for me, Frog Hop Sports for organizing a very safe and competitive race, and congrats to the runner-up Dave Janet (IL) and Amber Hardwig (MN).


Monday, September 14, 2020

Crim Fitness Foundation 100K for $100K Success!

We did it! Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of people who offered both financial and moral support, we raised over $110,000 for youth programs in Flint!

This event was a real celebration of the love of the Flint community and our passion for running and fitness. Dozens of runners came out to join me for sections, with countless more cheering us on. (My training partner, Chaz Hornburg, joined me for the full 100K.)

Check out this story from ABC 12 for a good recap and some video of the finish.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Crim Fitness Foundation 100K for $100K

In 1977, my grandfather founded the “Bobby Crim 10 Mile Road Race” to benefit the Special Olympics. To this day the race continues to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation, which now directs its efforts toward fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity and encouraging lifelong healthy habits among our youth. The race has taken place every August for the past 43 years…until this year. None of us could have foreseen the devastation and disruption that the COVID-19 crisis would bring, but it has fundamentally changed nearly every aspect of our lives. The Board of Directors, Race Committee and Race Team made the difficult decision to move this year’s Crim to a “virtual race.” The race typically draws a crowd of tens of thousands of runners and spectators, raising funds to support the Crim Fitness Foundation, showcasing Flint’s vibrant community to the world and providing a much-needed boost for downtown businesses. However, crowds of this size pose a serious health risk during a pandemic, and no race is worth risking anyone’s life.

I had the good fortune of growing up in a family that encouraged an active lifestyle, with a father who coached my youth sports teams, and a mother who made healthy, home cooked meals. I grew up in a community with an abundance of parks and trails and attended a school which offered a wide array of athletic programs. These opportunities provided me with a clear advantage, allowing me to develop lifelong healthy habits and earn an athletic scholarship to further my education. I strive every day to provide those same opportunities to my daughter, but many children aren’t so lucky. Many have parents who work multiple jobs to make ends meet and, although they want to ensure their children have the tools to live a healthy lifestyle, other more pressing matters take precedence. They simply don’t have the time or resources to set a positive example through healthy diet and exercise, provide the opportunity for their kids to play youth sports, or cook nutritious dinners every night. Many school districts, especially in urban areas, have been forced to eliminate physical education and athletic opportunities due to the underfunding of our public education system, placing many children at a further disadvantage.

The Crim Fitness Foundation has worked to provide thousands of children with the knowledge and opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle through after school programs which encourage mindfulness, physical activity and nutrition education. A healthy lifestyle is a family affair, so CrimFit Adult Training Programs provide parents with guidance on their fitness journey and The Crim Fitness Foundation is continually working to ensure active families have places to enjoy the outdoors together through improving local trails and parks, as well as providing safe routes to school and bicycle-friendly streets. All these things add up to a quality of life and environment that have tangible socio-economic benefits. A healthy community encourages our youth to stay in Flint and help build our 21st century economy, as well as attracting energetic and creative people from everywhere to make Flint their home.

While this year’s HAP Virtual Crim is giving thousands of runners and walkers the opportunity to continue their commitment to the Crim, the community and their own health, the race’s lower pricing and simplification will result in a significantly reduced budget for the Crim Fitness Foundation’s many programs vital to the continued health of Flint families. The work that is funded by the annual Crim race is very important to me, which is why I have decided to run 100K (62 miles) from our state’s Capitol in Lansing to the Crim finish line in Flint to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation and awareness of the significant ways in which they help improve our community’s health.

The Crim believes that health and well-being is a fundamental right for everyone. Even so, today running is a privilege. I have the social and economic freedom to dedicate time each day to running, a freedom that many don’t have. Traits outside of my control allow me to run without fear - I don’t have the same worries that female runners and runners of color do when I step out the door. The ability to run ultramarathons is even more of a luxury. I seek out difficult challenges because I live a relatively comfortable life, and that is never lost on me. For many children, hardship is an inescapable reality they face daily, and I want to do what I can to level the playing field by working to provide everyone with equal opportunities. As a runner, the concept of giving everyone a fair start is important to me. Using my ability to run long distances to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation is one small way in which I can do that.

To learn more, visit

You can also join me virtually! But don't worry, you don't have to run your 100K all at once.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lakelands Trail FKT

Some runners have a supercharged V8 for an aerobic engine - they burn hot and fast, their muscles gobble fuel and are able to put out a ton of power for a short period of time. That used to be me. However, as I put in more miles, I find myself running more like a Prius - quiet and efficient, able to hum along a steady pace for a very long time.

Today was my birthday and my wife said we could celebrate however I wanted, so I asked her to crew for me on a long run and she graciously agreed. I think she expected that is how I would want to celebrate. Today is also exactly one month out from the Crim Fitness Foundation 100K, where I will attempt to run from Lansing to Flint to raise $100K for the CFF, so it seemed like a perfect time to test my nutrition plan.

The Lakelands Trail is a 22 mile rail trail stretching from Stockbridge to Whitmore Lake. I ran it out-and-back for a total of 44 miles. There are quite a few easily accessible trailheads along the route for crew and I was able to see my wife 3 times along the trail (around miles 13, 21 & 31), which allowed me to travel relatively light compared to my last unsupported effort. I began at the Stockbridge trailhead shortly after 7am and carried a 10oz bottle in each hand, consuming 1,300 calories over the duration of the run. That's a few more calories than I would typically take in for a run of this distance, but I tried my best to follow my 100K nutrition plan. The route is roughly have gravel/dirt and half pavement, so road shoes worked fine.

Although this route has been on the FKT website for a while, I am the first person to attempt an out-and-back, so that record was a given. However, I was also able to set the one-way record on my way out, which was a nice surprise. Although, my one-way time is not particularly fast for obvious reasons, so I doubt it will stand for long.

It was a cool morning when I started and I was feeling good for most of the run, passing the 50K mark in 3:57, but as the day wore on the temperature rose to the upper 80's. I've been training at a pretty high volume lately so I wasn't sure how my legs would respond, but they held up well until my left hamstring began to cramp up around mile 35, I believe from dehydration. I was definitely taking in enough electrolytes, but  I was excited because I was making good time and failed to stop and drink some water at the last aid station, which was a mistake. I made a few brief stops to stretch out my hamstring and finished in 5:43:28.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Manistee River Trail Party

While in northern Michigan, I decided to check out the "Manistee River Trail Loop" I've heard so much about. It includes a section of the North Country Trail, along with some scenic bluffs, solid climbs and beautiful views of the river. I was joined by Zach Sayre, Jonathan Alsip and Chaz Hornburg (who holds the FKT on this route).

Monday, July 20, 2020

Polly Ann Trail FKT

The Polly Ann Trail is a 37 mile trail stretching from Lake Orion in Oakland County to North Branch in Lapeer County. I attempted an "unsupported" FKT, meaning I would have to carry all of my nutrition and water because there were no viable water sources along the trail. I set off around 7am, carrying 48oz of fluid and 860 calories. The first 28 miles went very well, but the last 9 miles were like eating glass. I made the fatal mistake of failing to respect the trail. I thought, "I've ran further, I've ran more difficult trails, and I've ran in hotter conditions." But every ultra is difficult and challenging in its own way, and this trail was no different.

The first 20 miles or so were on very well groomed trails and even some pavement, which allowed me to make some good time. I passed the marathon mark in 3:15, putting me on pace to hit my goal time. However, apparently around the 28 mile mark I made a wrong turn because the trail abruptly disappeared. I checked the gps map on my watch and had to run through the woods to get back on track, crossing
two streams in the process.

I was feeling a bit defeated because I was now behind the goal pace I had set for myself, when I began the most challenging part of the trail. The last 8 miles or so consisted of unmowed and seemingly rarely traveled paths adjacent to farm fields. The grass and weeds were knee-high in most
places and there was little shade. The foliage made every step I took feel like a thousand tiny hands grabbing at my ankles and my pace slowed significantly. I ran out of water and the temperature rose to the mid-90's as the final stretch became a death march. I slowly made my way to the finish and the welcome sight of my wife with a cooler full of water and snacks, finishing in 5:11:22.