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Bastille Day Race – Fenton’s Midsummer Classic

This Saturday, July 14th, marks the annual return of a mid-summer Genesee County Road Race classic – The Genesee County Habitat for Humanity Bastille Day Races, in Fenton. The 17th edition of the race offers a 5k or 15k distance for runners to test themselves over, and since its inception, the Laundry, the landmark Fenton eatery, has partnered with the race to provide French Bread (usually baguettes), kegs of root beer, and an all-around picnic-style feel to the post-race festivities.

Both courses are of interest to the avid and beginning road racer alike. The 5k is a nice course that spends most its time in downtown Fenton. The 5k start and finish is at the prominent gazebo park adjacent to city hall and in between the course meanders through town and climbs a surprising amount between the 1.6 and 2.2 mile marks as the course heads south of town on East St. Runners and walkers alike will do well to conserve enough energy to tackle that portion, although once the turn is made from Jayne Road back towards town via Leroy, a great net-downhill finish awaits to bring tired racers home at blistering speeds (well, at least comparatively blistering to the preceding mile). There, at the Gazebo, the post-race spread, family, and friends await the triumphant 5kers.

The 15k course has gained no small amount of notoriety through the years. The course heads south of town via Hartland/State Road to hit some of the more impressive paved hills in the area. Denton Hill, just before the 8 mile mark, gets the lion’s share of attention from racers, and rightly so: perhaps the area’s most challenging paved hill, the main section climbs 157 feet over 800 meters at an average gradient of 6%. Grades towards the top max out between 12-15%. Long story short? It’s a brutal hill to hit at mile 8 of a 9.3 mile road race.

But Denton Hill is not the only hill 15k racers have to contend with. Sizable climbs on Westbound White Lake road, Southbound Carmer Road, and Eastbound White Lake Road – amongst others – give the 9.3 mile course a whopping 532 feet of climbing in total. This humble race reporter considers 50 feet of climbing per mile run in training to be a substantially hilly effort, so racing Bastille with its average of 57 ascending feet per mile definitely makes its presence felt on the legs.

Both distances are great mid-summer tune ups towards larger goals, with a great post-race atmosphere to boot. Those runners planning on running the Crim 10-miler can almost guarantee their pace/mile will be faster at Crim than the Bastille 15k, despite its own notorious hills and longer distance, so finishers in Fenton on Saturday will have a good checkpoint for their Crim aspirations. The 5k similarly is a good fitness check – its 2nd mile largely uphill makes it tougher than the average race, so a good time at Bastille’s 5k bodes well for similar efforts elsewhere. Throw in the delicious bread and root beer, the friendly folk who gather in the park, and the Art Walk through Downtown Fenton that follows the races, from 10 am to 8 pm, and one has ample reasons to race, celebrate, and enjoy Downtown Fenton the entire day!

17th Annual Bastille Day Races

15k: 7:45 Start

5k: 8:00 start

Race Link: https://www.geneseehabitat.org/bastille   (includes race maps, sign up link, race info)

Strava.com 15k Course Profile: https://www.strava.com/routes/14241196

Strava.com 5k Course Profile: https://www.strava.com/routes/14241602

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Garmin Watch Gift Guide

Garmin Gift Guide
Garmin Gift Guide

Garmin watches can be a great gift for someone special on your list this year. Garmin watches can track steps, heart rate, sleeping patterns, and much more. With all of the different options Garmin has to offer, it can be a bit overwhelming. Technology is always evolving and the watch market is no exception.

Below, we explore four popular models and hope to help make your choice a bit easier.

The Forerunner 25

$140

The Forerunner 25 is an easy to use running watch that gets down to the basics. This watch can track distance (indoor and outdoor), pace, and personal records. All of that, at a low price. With that being said, this watch isn't just your grandma's watch. It is still capable of smart notifications from compatible smartphones. Text, email, and other alerts can be forwarded to your watch, keeping you up to date without taking your phone out of your pocket or bag.

The vivoactive

$220

The vivoactive watch includes basic running features, such as pace, distance, and personal records, but adds a few more activities to the mix. The vivoactive also has functions for indoor swimming, biking, golfing, and more. 

When swimming, it can measure lengths, pace, stroke rate and calories. When on the bike, distance and speed can be measured. When your out hitting the links, this watch can measure shot distance, yardage to the front, middle and back of green, and yardage to doglegs. 

The vivoactive HR

$250

The vivoactive HR is very similar to the vivoactive, as one might guess. The major difference between the two models is that the vivoactive HR includes a wrist based heart rate monitor. Years ago, heart rate monitoring was achieved by wearing a separate device around the chest that monitored your heart rate. These chest strap heart rate monitors, although accurate, were cumbersome and irritating for many athletes. The new wrist based heart rate monitoring is much less intrusive, but does give up a bit of accuracy for it's convenience. 24/7

The Forerunner 235

$330

The Forerunner 235 is a watch for the runner. Swimming and golf features are not present on this model, but the watch has a VO2 max estimate, recovery advisor, and a race predictor. One of the more unique features this watch has over the others is the ability to create custom, goal-oriented workouts. This watch also features the wrist based heart rate monitoring system.

There are no touchscreen features on this watch, which many athletes prefer. Rain and sweat can create less than ideal conditions when operating touch screens. This watch eliminates any issues arising form touch screens by opting for physical buttons instead.

 

For more detailed information, visit the Garmin website or contact us at Red Fox Outfitters!

 

We carry the above models from Garmin along with many more.

If you have any further questions, or would like to purchase a Garmin, feel free to contact us and we'll be glad to help!

Quick Compare

Forerunner 25
$ 140

Battery Life: 9 days, 11 hrs in GPS mode

Lower Price Point

vivoactive
$ 220

Battery Life: 3 weeks, 10hrs in GPS Mode

Golf and Swimming Features

Forerunner 235
$ 330

Battery Life: 8 weeks, 8 hrs in GPS mode

Advanced Running Features

Wrist Based Heart Monitoring

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Fall Marathons

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Michigan’s summer can have a handicapping effect on runners. Efforts feel tougher, paces feel slower, and races rarely produce PR’s given an equivalent level of fitness, especially over longer races. Once fall hits, however, it can feel like a veil has been lifted. Suddenly it’s clear how much miles put in over the summer have helped. There are few experiences in running like that first seminal long run when cooler weather finally comes – you feel strong as an ox, the pace is effortless, and the miles feel like they could stretch on indefinitely.

A fun part about fall’s newfound strength is great races around here to demonstrate it. Popular ones for our area are the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, The Capital City River Run Half, the Applefest 5k, Diehl’s Ciderfest Run 4 mile, and the ultimate fall tests: a full marathon.
Marathons take a special type of preparation. There are way too many articles to count online detailing all the ways you can screw up a marathon, and way too many on how to run your best. Instead of getting too far into that, here are what I see as keys to preparing for a marathon properly:

Consistency
Running more will you prepare more than anything else when it comes to doing well at a marathon. That means missing as few days as possible. One of the most underestimated gains one makes in training is the huge improvement in running economy that comes from consistent “practice” at the art of running. Whether you’re comfortable with 15-30 minutes the majority of your runs, or an hour plus, try to do one every day that you can!

Picking The Right Race
Destination marathons are fun weekends, and it’s easy to structure a vacation around them. However, if you want to run a certain time, you’re best off following three rules of thumb:

  • Pick a race close to you, and limit travel time and concerns in the days leading up to it.
  • Pick a race in the fall or at a place where cool weather is almost guaranteed.
  • Pick a race with terrain you’re familiar with. Flat is the way to go if time is the goal.

Fueling
There’s a plethora of articles circulating the web, often detailing different strategies on fueling before and during a marathon. I take a pretty simple approach.

Glycogen Loading
I shift my diet to one emphasizing carbs in the days before the race. Try not to take in extra calories. Instead, shift the ones consumed to a larger percentage of carbs. Even simple carbs are ok in the days leading up to the race.
Two reasons for this…

    1. Each gram of glycogen stored also stores an average of 3 grams of water – and as you’d probably guess, you’ll need some water in your system to run a good marathon.
    2. From a fueling perspective, a marathon can be seen as a race between getting to the finish line and avoiding depleting your glycogen stores, the most available and efficient source of energy the body has during the race. Deplete that level too soon in the race, and you hit what marathoners affectionately call, “The Wall.” (note the capitalization. not a fun time) “Carbo-loading” before the race helps maximize the amount of available glycogen stores you have to draw on at the beginning of the race. Combine that with good fueling during the race (generally 100 calories of carb heavy energy food for each hour of running), and appropriate pacing (not going out too fast, picking a sustainable pace), and you can get through the race without even hitting the dreaded “Wall.”

 

Don’t Get Too Hung Up On Distance
I get a lot of questions along the lines of “how long should long runs be?” What’s the furthest I need to train at to race a marathon? My answer: it’s not distance, it’s time. Consistent, frequent efforts of continuous running are the most effective strategy for building a good running economy. If you can build up to it, long runs of 1:45 – 2:20 are the furthest one needs to go to train at a glycogen depleted state before significant muscles breakdown, thus boosting marathon fitness. So in short, pick a plan that seems obtainable, stick to it, and try to run as frequently as you can. Work up to 1:45 – 2:20 long runs, once a week, if you’re able. The more you can run, the more prepared you’ll be. It’s “money in the bank,” and you want a nice account to draw from at mile 20.

Fall marathons are magical races – there are few feelings better than the hyper-relaxed, near euphoric state that follows in the hours and days after finishing – it can often feel like turning a chapter in the book of life – an apt metaphor for a race that can feel like a momentous journey in and of itself.

If you ever want to shoot the breeze about running, marathons, and life, pop into the store and ask for a marathoner – Red Fox is lucky to have several who have been successful in their endeavors. And we love to talk running!

Happy Running, and for those racing – get after it, and have a fun time doing so!