A Weekend in Detroit

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eric, Mom and I went to Detroit over the weekend to visit family.  We had a great time. We got to Detroit right at dinner time Friday night. We met Charlie and Donna at Big Boy restaurant. Marie is one of the managers. Dinner was good and we got caught up on plans for the weekend. Charlie I’ve met a couple times, Donna I met at the 2008 family reunion and Marie I had never met. All these cousins of mine!

Oakland University
Saturday morning Mom, Eric and I ventured up to Oakland University to pick up our packets for the Brooksie Way 10K we were running on Sunday. It is a very beautiful campus and very hilly! You can read all about that run in my review here. After picking up our stuff we headed for Greenfield Village. All I can say about Detroit is some areas are beautiful; others are boarded up and kind of scary. Also the signs and roads are confusing.  It took quite a bit of turning around but we eventually got to Greenfield Village.

Greenfield Village
It was quite expensive to get into the Greenfield village. Eric and I was $88! We bought the unlimited rides pass so we could ride the Weiser Railroad, in a Vintage Model T, the 1931 Ford Model AA Bus and the Greenfield Village Omnibus Shuttle (horse drawn carriage). If you are going to relive the past, you have to ride in the transportation of the past. We covered quite a bit around in our 4 hours there. I didn’t expect to stay that long but there was so much to see and do, plus we stood in line forever to get on a Model T. It is a popular attraction! We walked around the train roundhouse. Trains have always fascinated me so that was really cool for me. We walked around some of the old farm houses and cottages where the women were making meals. There was a beer demonstration too. It was a very neat place. Not at all what I remember!

Comerica Park

Eric and I crossed another park off the list with the visit to Comerica Park. There about 20 of us that went to the game. We met at Nemo’s first for some food and took the shuttle to the game. The stadium is really nice. They have a water fountain that I didn’t want to see because it meant something good happened for the Tigers. The seats were band considering we were sitting in the upper deck. The game was great as the Twins won!  There was a carousel for kids that had all tigers on it. Ha! And I found a Torii Hunter Tigers jersey on the clearance rack…I’m not paying $80 for a jersey of an opposing team! 

HealthPlus ​Brooksie Way 10K

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Michigan race is in the books and it was a hilly course! The course ran on beautiful Oakland University in Rochester, MI. That is about 45 minutes north of where we were staying in Southgate, MI. The race included a half marathon, 10K and 5K. There were about 6,000 participants in the 3 races.  The weather was nice at 61 degrees but a bit humid at 77%.

The Start
They started the 5Ks and 10Ks together. The start was downhill (which meant the finish was uphill!). There were a lot of people running this and quite a few strollers. It was a massive herd of people. Unlike most races where I can get a good pace at the start, this race there was nowhere to go so I was stuck at a slower start. Finally we got on the street and I was able to speed up a bit. I knew going into this race that the course was hilly but I wasn’t quite prepared for the hills that were to come. I decided to test out the Galloway method for this race. I run a half mile and walk a minute. However I refuse to walk a downhill. As a result I ran a lot during my “walk time” and walked some of the “run time.” The first mile had a nice downhill as you can see in the elevation chart below. My first mile pace was 11:40 and that was with a walk break! I was happy with that. There was a drum line that entertained us during this stretch.  That was fun. The second mile had some steep hills that I tried to run most of them but ended up walking a lot of them. :( Our first water stop was just before a mile and half marker. I walked through that even though it was a “run time.” My mile 2 pace dropped to 12:14 but with the hills and water stop, I’m impressed I only lost 35 seconds.  We had a cheer squad for us somewhere along this mile.

The Middle
Right around mile 2 is where the 5K runners split from us and went up a hill to their finish.  We had to run that hill eventually but first we had to run 3 more miles of hills.  Mile 3 was mostly downhill with a few short up hills. I gained back some of the time I lost with mile 2 but not much as it was still 12:09. There was a jazz band playing that was cool. Mile 4 is when it fell apart for me. I was still doing the run/walk method but my legs were tired. The downhills seem to always happen during a walk break and like I said above I don’t walk down hills so than my run breaks would turn into 3/4 miles instead of a half mile. Maybe that caused my exhaustion too? A week before the race I did over 6 miles using this method and did great, most of my half mile run portions were under 6 minutes. That wasn’t the case with this race but I think that is mostly because I trained on flat surface and this course wasn’t flat at all. Mile 4 was probably the flattest of the course except for the long up hill to get to the end of mile 4. This was the worst hill on the course, I think. I’m not sure there were a couple pretty bad ones. My time for mile 4 was 12:32. There was a guy playing his guitar and singing on mile 4. He was ok but the jazz band was better

The Finish
Miles 5 and 6 were constantly going up and down but not really long hills. You would think I could do well on this but that didn’t happen.  Mile 5 had a women singing what sounded like Karaoke.  I think part of my problem with mile 5 was I started out walking when it wasn’t a walk break because I just conquered the long hill at the end of mile 4. My legs were so mad at me at this point that I was not too happy. Somewhere was another water stop. I can’t remember where.  Mile 5 came in at just under 13 minutes at 12:58. Mile 6 was worse at 13:09. My hope that I could do better than my Valleyfair 10K was gone at this point and my main goal now was to finish strong. I did a lot more walking during mile 6 than I should have but I knew that the finish was an uphill climb and I wanted my legs to be rested for a strong finish. I finished with a “sprint” and did the last tenth of a mile in a minute which is somewhat fast for me considering I was at the end of 6 miles.  My finish time was 1:18.29. That was exactly 1 minute slower than Valleyfair’s 10K. I’m disappointed but it was a very hilly course where Valleyfair was flat. My next true test for the 10K is at the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. My next 10K is in Mankato but it is almost entirely downhill so that isn’t a fair test.

The Food and Parking
The finish area had plenty of food and water. They had a huge assortment of potato chips including Fritos and Cheetos! There were Oreos, Rice Krispy Treats and of course bananas, oranges and apples. It was a good spread. We made our way to the car and realized we were in for a long wait. The parking lot exit is onto the race course and we had to sit at least 45 minutes to get out. It was bad. That was really the only bad thing about this race. Normally it wouldn’t have been a big deal but we had a hotel 45 minutes away that still had all our stuff in the room and the checkout time was noon. If we didn’t get out of the parking lot soon, we would have been in trouble. Thankfully we got back to the hotel with enough time to take a quick shower and pack up our stuff.

Splits and Pictures

Running, Partying, Drinking (1919) and Cannons

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A weekend of family and fun (and some relaxation too!)

Suds Run
Saturday morning we ran in Suds Run 5K again. My performance was less than spectacular. It was worse than last year’s race if you can believe that! I didn’t even have bronchitis this year and I sucked. Where has my speed gone? Argh!! Oh well.

New Ulm
After the race we rushed home, showered and were on the road to New Ulm. Danielle and Bradley had a party at their new house. Most of my family was there except for Mike who is in Vegas. Bradley’s parents and brothers were there as well as his grandparents from Pittsburgh. It was a nice group. We had lunch and they played cards. I watch football. I did play two rounds of Farkle with Mom and Bev and got killed each time.

Hermann Fest
Everybody else was engaged in card playing so Eric and I decided to walk do to Hermann Fest which was in the park a few blocks away from Danielle and Bradley’s house. It was so much fun. We got some 1919 rootbeer and watch the New Ulm Municipal Band and Battery put on a show. It was music with cannon fire. It was so cool. There were 10 cannons I think and they would shut them off at appropriate times during the music. A couple of the songs I recognized were The National Emblem, Stars and Stripes and 1812 Overture. The show lasted about an hour and we heard the cannons fire off a lot. Here is the National Emblem:

When the show was over, we bought mom some German potato salad and walked back to the house. Everybody was still there…playing cards. Mom shared the potato salad and everybody loved it. Shortly after we got back was time for fireworks.  They had a great view from the street in front of their house. The fireworks were shot off from the hill and surrounded the Hermann statute. We capped off the night eating pizza.

My family spent the night and left early the next morning after breakfast. We also left as Danielle had to study for her exam and had correct homework. We got home and watched a couple of our movies that have been collecting dust. Eventually I went out for a 5 mile run and then called it a night. It was a relaxing day.

Suds Run 2015
(I have dorky sunglasses)
The Actual Start
The Finish
Hermann Fest 2015

Minnesota State Fair

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Here it is the Tuesday after Labor Day and I haven’t written in a while. I’m not sure how I forgot to write about the State Fair!  I’m so bad! Well, this past Saturday my mom, Mike, Eric and I went to the “Great Minnesota Get Together” also known as the Minnesota State Fair. I have talked about the state fair many times. It is really one of my favorite things about summer. The only bad thing is it signals the end of summer. :( 

Hop the Bus
We left the house a little before 8 am to get to the State Fair bus. It is such a big deal that most of the Twin Cities park and ride lots have State Fair bus service. It is really the easiest and cheapest way to get to the fair. You park your car, hop on the bus and it drops you off basically by an entrance…awesome!

Milk and Cookies
The morning was rainy, hot and humid. Not the best state fair weather but what can you do? I grabbed a couple of umbrellas but we never used them. The first stop was Sweet Martha’s cookies and from there you make a beeline to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk for $2. They doubled the price this year! The milk booth doesn’t open until 9am. Big mistake on their part since Sweet Martha’s opens at 7:30. That is a solid hour and half of missed sales. We waited for about 5 minutes for the milk to open and I was standing under an awning as it was raining pretty hard. The window opens up and I get Eric’s milk. Well I managed to piss off a couple people who think I cut the line. I’m not sure how I did that as I was standing right there the whole time, but whatever…and not only that I knew exactly what I wanted, one white milk. When I left they were still grumbling that I cut in front of them but the best part was they still didn’t know what they wanted! “Do we want 2 white and one chocolate, oh no wait, 2 chocolate and one white.” Give me a break people!
Trees, Apples, Pumpkins and Beer
We walked through the Horticulture/Agriculture building. One wing had Minnesota Grown Christmas trees; they were amazing and the smell…ah. We walked around the apples and the vegetables. The largest pumpkin was 1,400 pounds. It weighed 300 pounds more than this year’s largest boar! Another wing had Minnesota brewed beers. Mom, Mike and Eric shared a flight of 4 different beers.

The Needle, Tractors and Apple Dumpling
We left Mom at Leinie’s Lodge/stage and went up the Needle Ride. I’m not sure what it is called but it goes up and down this needle and get 360 view of the surround area. Very cool! We went to the Education building and Machinery hill. Of course Mike knows somebody working the John Deere tent. Everywhere we go, he finds somebody he knows. Crazy! Somewhere along the way we found the best apple dumpling ever. I was so delicious!
The Willis Clan, Cheese Curds and Pineapple
We eventually made our way back to Mom and watch The Willis Clan perform. They were really good. We watched the rest of the first performance and when they had a 30 minute break, we headed to the food building for lunch. I went straight to the cheese curds. Eric got the 1919 Rootbeer, Mike got a wrap (of course!) and Mom got a drink in a pineapple. OMG was that good. It was like a thick Pina Colada without the alcohol with chunks of Pineapple.  We went back to the Leinie’s for the second performance of The Willis Clan.
The Skyride, Blue Grass and Shopping
After the last performance we took the Skyride to the other side of the fairgrounds. There was a bluegrass show at the Schell’s amphitheater (all the stages/amphitheater seemed to be named after beer!). We didn’t stick around there very long, after the great performance from The Willis Clan these guys were just not that great. I tried the new “Snicker Salad” from the Blue Barn. It was pretty good but expensive. We walked around the shopping area of the Grandstand before eventually making our way back to the bus. It was a fun-filled, food-filled day.