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Detroit marathon/half marathon

Monday, October 19, 2009

As I was in the waiting room today for my physical, I was pondering what I would write in this blog. As excited I am by my PB in Detroit, I am also sad because three runners lost their lives, and I want to put some perspective on this tragedy with some numbers. From the local NBC affiliate WDIV I found this:

'According to a Toronto study, which was published in a Runners World December 2008 article, there were 26-heart-attack deaths among 3,292,000 American runners who competed in 750 marathons over the past 30 years. That's a risk of 1 death per 126,000 runners.' (Published in 1996)

A study by Dr Donald Redelmeier (University of Toronto, ON) of more than three million marathon runners showed the rate of sudden cardiac death to be 0.8/100 000 participants (Redelmeier DA, Greenwald JA. Competing risks of mortality with marathons: retrospective analysis. BMJ 2007; 335: 1275-1277)

In addition I looked at some other data. Although from 1996, there is a paper in the Journal of Cardiology which reads in its summary:
"Although highly trained athletes such as marathon runners may harbor underlying and potentially lethal cardiovascular disease, the risk for sudden cardiac death associated with such intense physical effort was exceedingly small (1 in 50,000) and as little as 1/100th of the annual overall risk associated with living, either with or without heart disease. "

That is of little comfort to the families, friends, and fellow runners who were there yesterday, and to all who get the unfiltered news through the web or on TV. The deepest sympathy to the family, friends, fellow runners of the ones who departed us.

Unfortunately this tragedy has also lead to bashing of running marathons and - not surprising - the city of Detroit - and let me leave it at that.

This was my third half in Detroit. This year there was about 19.300 participants, and the weather turned out to be spectacular. It was chilly in the morning and stayed that way most of the day.

The route was changed this year, some of which I really liked (the run through Corktown was spectacular and I missed running in Mexican Village, and I missed finishing on the 40 yard line of the Lions stadium).

As a result of the weather there were several spectacular views on the route, and the supporting crowd seems to grow every year.

Yes, I did run my personal best (2:08), however, it is with mixed emotions I celebrate it today. I am keeping the race report short as a respect for those we lost and their families.

May they rest in peace, and may their families find the answers they are looking for, understanding this terrible tragedy.

Respectively posted.

I found a link to this elsewhere on SP website

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEEHOLZ 10/21/2009 5:04PM

    Freaky things happen and it stinks that they create a huge media frenzy and distort some very favorable statistic, rather than having the media follow all the heart attack deaths caused by bad nutrition and lack of exercise! It's like flying.. plane crashes are horrible and sad and freak people out and scare them to fly, yet people get into a car without second thought...
Congrats on your PB!

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AMCG2002 10/20/2009 12:44PM

Congratulations on you PB!!! I love reading about how you continue to push yourself and improve. I'm also interested to hear more for a selfish reason - apparently I will be running the Cap City HM in Columbus next May. I want to know what I'm going to be up against and how you train for it!

As I would expect of you, you are very respectful of the three men who finished a different race that day. Their families are being comforted by many, many of our thoughts and you honor them with your writing.

Congrats on a race well run and good luck in Pittsburgh!

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MIAMIA7 10/19/2009 7:49PM

    Hi Jan-I too mourn the loss of these racers. Yet as the others say..better to go doing something you love. Four years ago I had serious health issues...not knowing if my heart was working correctly. Now after losing the weight and learning to exercise I am as healthy as I can be and did my first half in September! I will run until the doctors tell me I can't. My sister immediately sent me the a warning of sorts I guess. She doesn't exercise and just doesn't get that she is the one at risk. Our hearts go out to the racers families and friends. Anne

Also-great job on your PR!

Comment edited on: 10/19/2009 7:50:36 PM

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TAMZTIME 10/19/2009 7:45PM

    Jan-Great job on your pb for your marathon yesterday! Like Bill said, we've discussed it and it does weigh heavy on my heart to know he pushes himself and that he wants to start training to do a half marathon. However, I will not hold him back from doing it because of the un-known of when his time will end and knowing this is one of his dreams. May God bless the family's of the individuals who passed yesterday.

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LESSISMORE4ME 10/19/2009 7:16PM

    Great job and congrats on your time! I too am saddened by the loss of the runners. It does beat wasting away from a dread disease - just sad that the families didn't get to say goodbye.

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BILLALEX70 10/19/2009 6:16PM


I heard about these 3 gentlemen late yesterday and they weighed heavily on me. It may have weighed more heavily on TAMZ who knows that I tend to "push the limit" more times than not. We both totally agree that when it's your time to go it doesn't matter where or what you're doing; it's your time to go. As hard as that would be to realize if it was ME who had just died, it is just that; their day.

I do agree with Mere though. I've lived most of my life as a 'sloth', but no longer. I'd much rather 'go out' doing something I'm passionate about than eating myself into oblivion.

Great job on the PB. Hopefully you can improve on that in Pittsburgh!

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PATRICLES43 10/19/2009 4:53PM

    congrats Jan! it is a shame about the runners who died. I will keep their families in my thoughts and prayers.

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DSHRUBS3 10/19/2009 3:36PM

    Congrats on running the half!!! I did it one year and eventually want to work my way back up to it!!

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LIMELITESHINES 10/19/2009 3:08PM

    Jan . . . if there is any way to go, I think a marathon would be one of the best ways to do it. Not alone, on a couch, eating potato chips . . . but out, giving it all they had surrounded by people who love the sport just as much as they did.

So be proud of you, and of them! For being out there, and doing your best every day. Fantastic job.


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DDOORN 10/19/2009 2:36PM

    How terrible that these people should die at such a life-celebrating event as a marathon!

But kudos to you just keep SPARKIN' away there! :-)


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Earlier this summer I went down to ride with Bill (BILLALEX70) Anne (AMCG2002), Nancy (ROOKIERIDER) and Bill's buddy Ed (not a sparker). We had a blast and you can read my version in the blog titled 'Sparks flying in Mansfield (Ohio)'.

Bill and I have talked about riding together again, and finally we got together this morning for another ride. This time Anne, Nancy, and Ed were unable to join, but John, some other strong dude Anne and Bill ride with, came along. I think they are trying to find all these strong riders to see if they can leave me in the dust ... and some day it may happen.

Actually I was an easy target today. I ran 12 miles yesterday and I have not been on my bike for about a month - in fact I have not been much on my bike this summer, so I am an easy target.

We had talked about not riding if it was raining, so when we looked at the weather yesterday, it looked pretty decent. Well, I want to say - it was a gorgeous day for a bike ride. Not only was it great weather (some may disagree when I tell we started with a temperature of about 34), but the sun was out, and the fall colors were phenomenal. I live about 90 miles from where the ride started - and it was a gorgeous drive, and then the bike ride was just so pretty.

I could certainly feel that it has been a while since I rode on rolling hills, let alone be on the bike. But we did well. I think most of the time I looked the avg speed was 16.5-17 mph. At the end we did some spinning and the avg came down.

Bill and John - thanks for a great ride.... while I am writing this - I got a txt message from Bill (he went out to do the entire 69 miles (John and I did 37), and in retrospective that was a smart move on our part... I won't steal the thunder from Bill.

Ride on friends...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACE612 10/12/2009 10:15AM

    Glad you enjoyed your ride....It was a gorgeous day day yesterday!! We took the Cuyahoga Valley train to Pennisula and then hiked on the towpath...simply beautiful!!

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AMCG2002 10/11/2009 9:26PM

    I'm so glad to hear you had a great ride. I was really wishing the colors had been better last weekend in the Hocking Hills. But, you got to meet John; we met completely by chance when we were riding in the BikeColumbus in May. Neither one of us had done an organized ride before. By the middle of June Bill, John and I had become the three amigos!

I really do think the best rides have been in the fall. Hope to have a chance to ride with you again, in the not too distant future.

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BILLALEX70 10/11/2009 7:19PM

    It's probably best for us that you ran 12 miles yesterday and haven't rode your bike in quite some time. Otherwise, you'd have run away from us; not that you didn't at times anyhow. The fall colors were in full bloom and words can't do it justice. I'll post pictures to the Cycling and Ohio teams.

The ride was great and the company even better. It's always enjoyable meeting up and 'soaking' up your knowledge.

I look forward to our next encounter Sparkfriend.

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PURPLEALLY 10/11/2009 4:34PM

    sounds like a great bike ride; and you did great especially since you ran 12 yesterday! emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 10/11/2009 4:32PM

    Had a great 8 mile walk today in the autumn chill...kept warm by moving right along around 4 mph pace...super to enjoy the season's colors with a good dose of sunshine!

Great to take advantage of good weather by getting out and SPARKING along! :-)


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Akron marathon/half marathon

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today I ran the Akron half ... I sent out a little report to my friends - I am copying and pasting it to you:

I have had a couple of people ask me for a race report from Akron half marathon, so I am sending out a bulk mail to a bunch of you honorees, friends, runners, and anyone else .. did I forget anyone?

I had not been training a whole lot before the 13.1, but I figured I could do it anyway.

Last night I went for the package pick up (which is where you get your race number). I also spent an hour and a half at the Team in Training booth attempting to recruit new participants to the program. I had a good time doing it, and met some really interesting people. Then drive home - dinner - get everything ready and get to bed, because 4am would be there soon.

I need to back track a little. A couple of days ago I got an email from one of my cycling friends from a previous bike ride that he would be running, and I got an email from one of my team mates from this years Cleveland Marathon who was also running, and we decided to meet and perhaps run together. Around the same time I learned from someone that her best friend of many years - her lymphoma had relapsed for the 4th time. Well, even though I was not running FOR team in training - I decided to dedicate the run to this person.

I got up, did my usual routine, and got in the car and drove to Akron. Parked my car. And found my friends at a preset place. Met some of the other team in training runners and two coaches. (there were 30 fundraising TNT participants).

Well, 7am the bell rang and ~11.000 runners were on their way. About one mile into the run a lady was fiddling with her ipod and slowed down right in front of me, and she went down. I saw her get up again, but I felt really bad about it (and it still bothers me). I did see her get up again, but in that mob-scene there is not really a way to turn around. - I hate to say it - but I was rude and did not stop. The run continued and I did a pretty good speed, until about mile 4 when I had to slow down... I am not sure why. It lasted for about one two miles - not sure .. but then I picked up speed, and kept the speed ... getting me across the finish line at 2:08-2:09 (unofficial) ... which shaves about 7-8 min off my previous personal best. How can you not be happy with that?

I got my medal, got my bag (with change of clothes) ... and made a quick exit to the car, and drove home. The weather forecast yesterday called for rain, but during the time I ran it was perfect. I left - got on the freeway - and there was the rain WOW.

It was a good race - I feel really good - and I hope I transitioned some positive energy to the person who is currently going through chemotherapy. Next weekend is a two day bike ride in Ashtabula county, and then October 18, back on my 'happy feet'... half marathon in Detroit.

Jan Frandsen

- three disciplines - one mission - one goal

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 9/29/2009 1:23AM

    I have to agree with Purpleally. . at the beginning of a race everything is chaotic & from this the IPod runner will be READY before the off. I've had similar situations when I raced on inline skates. We've all had crashes & had people pass us by, but we all know it isn't personal.

CONGRATS on beating your PB! emoticon You're making great improvements with each run. I'd love to see a spreadsheet showing your runs based on distance & finish time across say 6 months. I bet you'd be seeing a steady rise in that red line. Fantabulous!

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BILLALEX70 9/27/2009 6:21PM


Any day out in the sun is better than the alternative. I'm no where near as accomplished as many of the other runners here, but any run/walk that has that many people will be tough to run a good race. It shows great compassion that you cared enough to mention this gal who fell. Most people probably didn't even give her a glance, but you thought enough about her to mention her here.

I'm sure you'll rock that half in Pittsburgh.

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SEEHOLZ 9/27/2009 2:51PM

    Way to finish! I did that training run Labor Day week-end along the Blue line -- it was my first time down in Akron and it was so fun that I'm considering the race for next year!
Anyways, make sure you get to celebrate your accomplishment!

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JOPAPGH 9/26/2009 7:17PM


Sounds like a great run.

You hitting your 2 hour HM target in Akron, or planning to save it for Pittsburgh?

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DDOORN 9/26/2009 6:19PM

    Jan, you are the BEST!



SPARK! :-)


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IRISHLASS117 9/26/2009 2:30PM

    Run on Warrior!


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PURPLEALLY 9/26/2009 1:59PM

    you weren't rude, it is a mob scene at the beginning with 11k people, you know she got up, its ok.
sounds like a good time--are you going to shave another 8 minutes off in Detroit?
I ran a 5k trail in the dark last night, five mile trail this morning and my half is tomorrow morning.

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Read your labels

Thursday, September 24, 2009

For some reason I started to gain weight last week. The gain was at a rate which made me puzzled. Today I reached approximately (for my eyes only) lbs, and I started looking at what I ate, what I had changed, until I reached an ah - ha moment. I found the culprit. A food which was low in calories (and I should have known better) turned out to have a LOT of salt in it - WOW ....

the morale of the story - read your labels and be very careful with the amount of sodium. This particular item would have given me a total of 420 cal if I ate the whole thing - but at the same time it would also give me a whopping 3000 mg of salt. And I wonder why my weight increased. It is all retention of water.

'Say no to salt"....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIMASTAR 9/24/2009 9:33PM

  I had a lot of nuts recently & along with the water that I drank because of the thirst that resulted from eating the nuts gained 3 lbs overnight.

I lost 2 of the lbs in 2 days, but never thought about salt & water retention having been the reason of the weight gain.

Learn something new every day. Thanks

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IRISHLASS117 9/24/2009 9:30PM

    You have me laughing Warrior! If it was only salt I had to say no to I'd be fabulous in no time.


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DDOORN 9/24/2009 9:25PM

    You betcha! No salt shakers or processed foods in OUR house...! :-)


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JCORYCMA 9/24/2009 9:15PM

    I feel ya! I ate ham all last week -- you know how you make one dinner plus six more with the left over ham -- and I noticed a big difference on the scale!! I watched the sodium this week and I've been in the bathroom every 1/2 hour but the weights coming back off!! Thanks for reminding us!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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It is not about the bike ... or

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I am going to come with some musings I thought of after todays bike ride.

I realize not everyone have the luxury of having health insurance, but that is for a different blog entry.

A couple of years ago I was friendly with one of our environmental services employees. We were talking health, and she shared with me that she was hypertensive but had not seen her doctor for - I can't remember how long. I suggested she saw her PCP, and she did. When he saw her - he had her schedule a physical. That possibly saved her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently she had surgery but no chemo or radiation.

About a year ago I had a conversation with one of our MD's. We talked cycling, and health. Well, I finally succeeded in having him go and have a physical done. We then talked about bike riding ... after 1 year he had a physical and today we went bike riding for 25 miles (I added some miles to the meeting place and home). Of course the MD found his cholesterol numbers were in need of correcting.

I am sure all of us have someone who inspire us in our journey. I certainly do. I have set goals. Those goals are mostly not in lbs, but in healthier behavior, and to brag - my second (preventive) stress test was better than my first.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Look at what this journey have done for you. Then take it and apply it to something you care about and make them healthier, and because of that feel better. We can - each one of us - make a major non-partisan contribution to the health care reform - live a healthier life - feel better ... and if you like bike riding ... well then it is about the bike.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 9/23/2009 11:53AM

    Yep it's about the healthier lifestyle - FEELING better each day, waking up with energy, not getting winded climbing a few flights of stairs, the way your skin & hair look, how you are getting fewer colds & illnesses, that you'll live a long & healthy life without (God willing) the end being a miserable struggle because of all the years of not caring for your body.

Every tiny bit of progress counts. Great blog!

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BILLALEX70 9/21/2009 9:02PM

    It is about the bike, shoes and food. It's living an entirely different life than I've ever lived. I eat healthier than I ever have. I exercise more than I ever have.

I have great Spark friends, like you Jan, who continue to inspire me and push me to my next challenge. It's hard to remember that just 5 years ago I could barely walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes and now I'm contemplating a half-marathon. But, more on that later.

I look forward to our meeting up again.

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JULISABROCAR 9/20/2009 11:58AM

    after doing my first TRI (and grinding it out on a mountain bike) I assure you - it IS about the bike - LOL!

I'm with you - being inspired/pushed/pulled by both Sparkers and cancer patients in my own life circle; it is about the bike/my health/my goals/my life and helping others with theirs.

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DDOORN 9/19/2009 11:33PM

    There's nothing like celebrating the healthy lifestyle we've built for ourselves and then paying it forward so that others can do the same.


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RENA1965 9/19/2009 9:38PM

    Hej Jan,
Super blog post. I spent 5 years traveling back and forth to a heart department with my dad (the New Zealand doctors are good at education about what they did for my dad, I was showed scannings of the cronic heart disease damage and how I could help him eat healthier- still he only got 5 more years) and then my husband the 12 years to and from the diabetes units at århus and dialysis/diabetes unit at skejby with my husband.
This journey for me was a decision of own free will, I now know what hell looks like in the waiting rooms of these two departments and because once you get a lifestyle illness in the door, if you don't act swiftly and do as the doctors say you eventually die. My two fought hard, but you just can't win when things get out of hand. The scarey thing about it was, both these men were thin as beans, never smoked and were very active in outdoor activities..
I now know never to put a price on healthy food, ignore what wise people say and have given the time to this project feel how great a person can have it. I thank the danish social services for keeping me active. I would have still be overweight if they had not pushed me. No regrets, and love my exercise like a old dear friend..

Comment edited on: 9/19/2009 9:40:43 PM

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