• thomasallen63
    By thomasallen63, October 23, 2016


    Have you ever dreamed of dragging yourself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning for the chance to run nonstop for 2 hours? If you’d asked me that question a few years ago my answer would have been, “No!” However, that’s exactly what I did on Sunday October 16th. I set my alarm and woke up at 3am to run the Priority Health International Half Marathon (in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank International Marathon) in Downtown Detroit. I first heard about the race last year when a friend did it. I was relatively new to running, had just lumbered my way through the Borgess 5K in Kalamazoo (34:53 / 11:12 mph) and thought, “I could never do that.”

    Never say, “Never.”

    In May of this year, after running all winter long (a first for me), I was all set to run the Borgess 10K. My goal was to destroy my 2015 Lakeshore Miracle Run 10K, turtle’s pace finish of 1:25:15 / 13: 68 mph (I was still seriously out of shape)! Then a friend told me that she’d registered for the half marathon and I caved to peer pressure. My reasoning: “It’s only 7 more miles!”

    With only a month to go before race day, I pushed myself and wound up making the same mistake many new, gung-ho runners do—I increased my level of activity too quickly, ran too hard and injured my knee. After taking a few days off, I showed up at the starting line with a road map of kinesio tape snaking up my leg and around my knee. I finished in 2:10:24 / 9:57 mph. I was happy!

    After that I thought, “Now what?” With the Detroit Free Press Marathon 5 months away, I had plenty of time to follow a training schedule so I did some research and decided on the Hansons Half Marathon Method. In addition to scheduled easy, tempo and long runs (which included plenty of hills), I did speed and strength training at a local track with my running club. I also worked with a physical therapist for 3 months to fix my runner’s knee and improve overall core strength, balance and mobility. On October 6th, after checking my leg strength and extension, she said, “You’re ready!”

    Now it was up to me to apply everything I learned over the past 4 months:


    • Start slow, establish your pace and focus on negative splits (runners who start strong waste energy and finish poorly). To make this happen, I created a playlist for my TomTom Spark Cardio + Music watch based on beats per minute (bpm). I started the race at 84bpm and finished with songs clocking in at 100bpm. It sounds geeky and obsessive, but in the end, the strategy worked. Out of five total splits, the first one was even, but the other 4 were all negative! Friends who were tracking me during the race were amazed. “You kept getting faster!”
    • Take short, quick steps to reduce the amount of time my feet touched the ground. Bounding strides lead to injury.
    •  inclines slow and steady
    • Stop, walk and drink at every water station.
    • Re-fuel every 4 miles.

    It was still dark when my wave left the starting corral with Eminem’s LOSE YOURSELF pulsing through loudspeakers and bouncing off the surrounding buildings. I could see the Ambassador Bridge connecting the United States to Canada in the distance and began the long, steady ascent to it at mile #2. When I reached the entrance ramp something completely unexpected happened—I started crying. For the first time in my life, I focused on, stuck to and followed through with an exercise plan in order to live well and keep an illness in check. It wasn’t easy. In fact, there were plenty of days that sucked, but I never quit. Seeing the red letters illuminating the top of the bridge made me realize that the summer-long, 700 mile journey to get here was worth it. I passed everyone who wasn’t prepared for the uphill portions of the race and high-fived border patrol officers as I entered Canada! From there, the course ran along the river through downtown Windsor, returned to the U.S. (under water) via the Windsor Tunnel and then dipped under Cobo Center while hundreds of people cheered from above. I finished the race at 2:06:08 / 9:38 mph—a new PR! While the race may be behind me, the adventure is just beginning.





    Gabriella Dyer
    Best of luck GR runners!
    By Gabriella Dyer, October 22, 2016

    Wishing everyone a good race tomorrow! Its going to be a great day. Such a beautiful time of year for a race! Cant wait! Rest up, carb up, pick up anything you might need off the floor for the next few days, get to the expo and visit PH!

    James Fellinger
    Talking about Priority Health and Healthy Living
    By James Fellinger, October 18, 2016

    Last week I was on The WGVU Morning Show hosted by Shelly Irwin to talk about the Priority Health Run Camp and some other fun topics. Read more

    Katie Rowe
    Question: How to increase “lung stamina” after being sick for weeks?
    By Katie Rowe, October 17, 2016

    Okay, has anyone else had this nagging bug this fall.  Started off with the sniffles and plenty of sneezing and now for the last 2.5 weeks I am constantly coughing.  Nothing serious, but terribly annoying.  It has kept me from talking, exercising, and even falling asleep… so here is my exercise related question – Read more

    Betsey Ingraham
    Sharing Team Priority Health!
    By Betsey Ingraham, October 17, 2016

    What an awesome experience it was for me today to meet two outstanding fellow Team Priority Health Members; Gabriella Dryer and Samantha Ringler.  Hearing each of them share a little bit about their journey and their “why” was such a joy.  It was a fantastic way to start our week preparing for the Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon on Sunday.


    Read more

    Holly Lynema
    Detroit Marathon 2016
    By Holly Lynema, October 17, 2016

    Yesterday I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon. This race is definitely one of the best I have ever ran. Read more

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