Latest reviews by Grant deBruin

(2015)
"2015 Race Season Kicks Off With Wind, Snow & Chili!"
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Having run this race last year through the Tremont neighbourhood, I was looking forward to the downtown route they had selected for this year. It's a route that Hermes has used before with other races and takes through part s of Downtown Cleveland, around FirstEnergy Stadium and then back up near where the race kicked off.

Not so amusingly, the weather was almost exactly like last year: Cold, windy and snowing. All of those factors are why I did not take this at a brisk pace like I have with other races.

There were a good several hundred on-hand for the race which got going right at 9:30am and I wasn't complaining one bit about the slightly later start time! Some parts of the course through the city had been properly plowed by Cleveland's DOT crews however around the stadium, it was a very different story. Clumps of thick snow made for a tricky run in those parts and even more difficult up a slight hill going back towards downtown.

Yet these niggles were worth it as this year they had a finisher medal for the first time! One more piece of bling for my medal rack at home. Overall, I was very happy to come in at 29:35. My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes and for that reason, I'm happy with how it went. Hope to run it again next year too!

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(2014)
"My First Half Marathon: An Experience I'll Never Forget"
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If you had told me three years ago That I'd be running in my first half marathon, I'd have laughed at that notion. Yet, this past Saturday, that's exactly what I did and boy what a day it was.

I signed up for the inaugural Grand Lake Half Marathon back in April as it was in the same area where my girlfriend lives (she did the 5k incidentally & was the top overall female finisher!). As for training for this, lets just Say I did not put in the required work that I should have. Sure I ran a 15k two months prior but I did not put in the long runs that I should have. Despite that, I still managed a solid time of 2:30:52. I went into the race saying I would take this as a leisurely jog and was not out be be Superman and that paid off with my time.

I arrived in Celina, Ohio the day before on Friday to check into my hotel and get settled. I already had my bib as I went with the option of having it mailed to me ahead of time. Celina sits right on the shores of Grand Lake-St. Marys. It's an absolutely gorgeous lake sadly spoiled by algae blooms which prevent folks from swimming, etc. Despite this. I would highly recommend visiting the area if you have the chance. The night before, I laid out my gear & attached my bib so I could get out the door quickly. Lets also say that I did not get much sleep as my nerves were out of control.

Race Day! having not really slept, I was up before my alarm at 4:45. Got into my gear, had some breakfast in the form of leftover pizza from the night before (I'm sure that's a big 'No No' in someone's book) and was out the door to head to the start line at 6:00. Thankfully, my hotel was only about 1.5 miles from the gathering/startling line area. On my walk over, I was amazed by how quiet and peaceful the area is. Looking up, you could see so many stars from a lack of city lights. As I got closer to the starting line, I wondered if I went the wrong way as I hadn't run into anyone else. Finally, I saw the starting grid and was relived I had made it. I sat on a sidewalk and soon ran into my girlfriend, so we passed the time chatting (and trying to keep warm as it was on 55 at the time!) until my race got going at 7:30.

The half marathon course was one that took us out of Celina and would end up at Memorial Park in St. Marys. Early on, the course went through residential neighborhoods before opening up onto country back roads. There was lots of fog in those early minutes that soon burned away thanks to the sun rising.

The aid stations were well staff and several also had Gatorade, energy gels and food items too! Plus, lets not forget very amped up volunteers (big thanks to them!). At almost each one, I got complimented on my Zensah argyle compressions socks and that definitely helped my morale! By mile 8, we had reached the lake and the water was so still and peaceful. It was such a beautiful area to hold a race.

My strategy through this was not to run too fast or slow but be steady throughout. My pace was around the 11:15/mile mark through about 85% of the course. It was towards the 11 mile mark that fatigue was setting in and I had to take 2-3 long walk breaks that were desperately needed. Yet, in the final mile, I got myself back into a running groove and powered through to the finish. A sailor handed me my finisher's medal and congratulated me. I responded by thanking him for his service.

This was without a doubt one of the biggest challenges that I've ever undertaken in my life. It has further instilled in me that I can do something as epic as this so long as I put my mind and body to it. You can definitely expect me to be running more halves in the future. Perhaps a full one day too!

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(2014)
"The Boilermaker 15K: CNY's Best Race...Period"
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I worked in Utica from 2008 to 2011 at the NBC TV station WKTV as a producer. Coming in, I had no idea at the time what the Boilermaker was or just how big a deal it is to the city of Utica. During those years, I wrote web stories and uploaded finish line video, albeit very begrudgingly at the time.

After leaving, I started running and taking it seriously. During these past three years of running, I decided that I would enter the 15K and return to experience the race as one of the 14,000 participants. I registered on the day they opened it up to folks and just a little more than 2 hours later, it was full! I then booked myself a hotel room asap and was lucky to get a room at the Hotel Utica, literally just blocks from the finish line.

Fast forward to this past Saturday and I drove there from Westlake, OH. A journey of just about six hours on the road. I went straight to the Health & Fitness Expo on the campus of Mohawk valley Community College to get my goody bag, bib & other malarkey. The expo itself was a bit of a faff as there were tons of people, cars, etc and not too much order to the whole thing. Additionally, the parking lot is on the opposite end of where the expo itself was being held. After about 30 mins, I got my goody bag which included a Saranac pint glass, Boilermaker program and my bib.

I then headed back to my hotel room, got everything laid out for the next morning and had dinner at the hotel's restaurant. Amusingly, I turned the TV above my table to my old station and the lead story was a live news conference in which Boilermaker officials said the race was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to possible severe weather heading for Central New York. WHAT?!?! I was not about to let that get me down. A decision would be made on social media at 5AM race day they said. I went to sleep (or tried to) keeping positive.

Race day. I opened up my phone, went to the Boilermaker twitter and read the race was still on but that the post race party at the FX Matt Brewery would be shortened, ending at 11AM. With that, it was on with my gear, down to the lobby for a hearty runner's breakfast of eggs, bacon & orange juice and then walking with other runners to where shuttle buses were waiting to take us to the starting area by ECR International.
Upon arrival, I made my way towards the starting area and the sheer size of this trace started to hit home. Thousands upon thousands of folks all milling about , sitting stretching, chatting waiting to begin the lining up process. I managed to locate one of my former coworkers and fellow runner Bill along with some friends to help pass the time. He's a seasoned marathoner so I bow to his skill (he'd go on to finish in some 68 minutes!). Our bib colors determined where we lined up so he was well ahead of me and others.

As we lined up, I relegated myself towards the back with others. when the gun went off, you hardly knew it was under way but on my tip toes, you could see movement well ahead. It was a good 8-9 minutes until I started moving and got up to speed.
In the first 3 or so miles I finally understood why the whole city literally shuts down and comes out for this thing. There were TONS of people along both sides of the route with signs, shouting cheering, you name it! The same goes for bands, music, DJ's to keep folks moving. The most annoying bit was being that there are so many people taking part, it's hard to really get yourself going because you're constantly weaving in and out of others.
The good thing though is that there were some 21 aid stations along the route comprised of water, ice, POPSICLES (!!), slushies and even folks with their garden hoses to cool you off. IT was very humid that morning and despite being cloudy, I was dousing myself with plenty of water in addition to drinking plenty of it.

By mile 7 after having gone up the steep hill by Valley View Golf Course, I was super sore and had to walk several times. But by mile 9 I got myself back in a groove for the home stretch. I crossed the finishing line in 1:57:32. I had finished my first Boilermaker 15K and I was so pumped! I was also so dead as that was the longest race I had done.

Everyone was being marshaled towards the post race party at the brewery and I got my fill of drink and post race snacks in the form of Freihofer's chocolate chip cookies. After meeting up with Bill & Co. to compare our race stories, we went our separate ways and I walked back to the hotel.
I will say this: I am now hooked on the race and I will indeed be running it again next year. If you have the time to head to Central New York and take part, please do it! It's a true community event that brings out the best that a city has to offer.

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(2014)
"My First 10k was my Best 10k!"
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I ran in the 10 k race that the marathon offered. it kicked off at the same time as the full and half. This was my longest race ever and I had just come off a stress fracture in my right foot a month earlier. While it was not my fastest or best paced race by any means, it was one that certainly had me smiling along the way!

The course for the 10k was relatively flat and fast too. My net time at the line was 1:05:01 which I'm more than happy with considering the injury. The finisher's medal is also awesome and has a spinning guitar in the middle, very cool!

Overall, I'm very happy with how the race went, how well organized it was and that from what I saw along the way, everyone had a great time!

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(2014)
"Inaugural Dolphin Dash is a Flipping Success"
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This was my undergraduate institution's first such race with proceeds benefiting student scholarship at Le Moyne College. The race itself was a combination of both roads and also grass as the course meandered around the college campus. I myself was still coming off an injury a few months earlier at this point. I found the grass/terrain parts difficult as the grass had not been mowed and that slowed me down. Add in some hills on the campus yourself and you have a course that was both exhilarating and challenging at the same time.
Despite all this, the race itself was a lot of fun and all finishers received a pint glass for for their efforts. I intend to recommend to organizers that they should consider finisher's medals for next year in place of the pint glasses as #runswag is what many of us (myself included) are always looking to add to our collections! Still, a very enjoyable time!

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