Saturday, August 22, 2020

Crim Fitness Foundation 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 crim.org/100k

You can also join me virtually! But don't worry, you don't have to run your 100K all at once. https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Flint/100KforCrim

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.