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Phil In The Blank


Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio


Crim runner, finally



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August 20, 2014 - It was nice to read in the paper about local kids training with the Crim folks from Flint.

Maybe I'll see some of them this weekend at the race. I've been training for the Crim for months now. It's a great course, with hills, long straightaways, and lots of enthusiastic supporters, some offering beer.

My training's been good, too, not like before, when I'd barely work up to four miles the weekend before the race.

I've completed four Crim 10-mile races so far, the last one about 10 years ago. I never quite managed to actually run them, though. The farthest I got was just past the five-mile mark, the Bradley hills, before I would give up and start to walk.

This time, for my fifth, I'm ready. I hit 10 miles in training runs in early July, and been pushing it a bit farther ever since.

So if all goes well, I should be able to post a significantly better time this year, like at least half an hour's improvement, with no walking, not even on the hills of Bradley.

I won't be taking much of a break after that, either. That's when training for the Back Roads Half Marathon starts. The route for the second annual run up in Independence Oaks County Park is close to where I turn around during my longer runs. There are hills up there, too, but I'm getting used to them.

I've become quite spoiled with the sidewalks and safety paths throughout the Clarkston area. I live up in Flint Township, where I have to run on the street the whole way, relying on lighter traffic on weekend mornings to reduce the risk.

Here, I can run the entire way without having to share the road with cars, except when I have to cross the street.

And for max safety, I can use the Clarkston Junior High track. I went up there for a run a couple weeks ago Ė 30 laps, which gets pretty tedious.

As I ramp up my training-run distances, I'll start coming down to Clarkston on Saturday mornings more, to run with the fleet-footed Wolf Pack club members. I ran with them last weekend, and was almost able to pretty much keep up with the guys in the lead.

They run in the street, but there's safety in numbers, I guess.

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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