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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

Run for the hills

November 06, 2013 - With four days until Clarkston State Bank Back Roads Half Marathon, my training is over.

I probably should have got in some more. My goal is to finish safely, with a secondary goal of maintaining a technically running pace the entire time.

This won't be easy, especially up and down the hills of the Deer Lake neighborhood. I've been up there twice on training runs but neither were the correct route. It winds around pretty good up there! But I've seen enough to know the downhills can be more difficult for me, especially when my knees start to get sore.

It's been about five months of mostly solid training, starting with a couple laps around the Clarkston Junior High School track in March, which seemed like plenty at the time.

My farthest run was from the office in downtown Clarkston around Clarkston High School up to the entrance to Independence Oaks County Park, around Mill Pond to St. Dan's, and back around 10 miles. This would equal 40 laps around that track. That would be difficult to count.

It's also a Crim run the 10-mile race up in Flint every August. I've finished a few of those, but have never been able to run more than half of that.

I cut my weekend short a day last weekend in Detroit in part to get in one more weekend training run. I was at Youmacon, the annual anime convention in the Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall.

I dressed as a zombie on Friday seemed appropriate with Halloween and all and a space marine on Saturday.

I found myself on the other side of the news camera, Saturday a Detroit News photographer snapped a picture of me in my Voyage Trekkers' Marine outfit.

Maybe it was my custom-built raygun, made from a toy bazooka and PVC pipe, about four-feet long and wired with LED lights. I should still be on their website photo album for Youmacon, surrounded by dozens of cartoon, movie and video game heroes and villains, Homestuck Trolls, and other characters.

As the weather gets cold, I've found it harder to stay warm. Last year, I kept my house at 60 degrees I put on a sweatshirt and the cats grew extra fur. This year, two sweatshirts aren't enough. The one good thing about extra weight is it keeps you warm.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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