Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after Christmas

Since the weather was supposed to get warm and wet later, I decided to run earlier in the day while the ground was still frozen. I always struggle with where to go for my long runs and today I decided to once again, stick close to home and venture over towards Liberty Park. I meandered around the open field at the end of Post road and ventured over towards the park. I ran down behind the park along the ledges and the little waterfalls along there were quite nice with the frozen water cascading over them. To help pass the time as I ran and to keep track of everything I saw, I made up a little song: (to the tune of the twelve days of Christmas)

On the day after Christmas while running in the woods,
I saw a red fox jumping through the leaves.

On the day after Christmas while running in the woods,
I saw two red-tailed hawks and a red fox jumping through the leaves.

(I'll spare you the repetition and get to the items...)
  • three crows a cawing..
  • four little water-falls
  • five white-tailed deer
  • ran six miles with Denise( she called me as I was getting close to home and we ran together)
  • seven colors of the rainbow ( A rainbow appeared as a small sleet storm passed by! )

That's the end of my creativity...

Today was a good 3 hour run and I feel it! I wish I had a couple more of those this fall for the winter 50K but it will have to do. I will take race day easy and just finish. I will not PR like I did last year, that is for sure. The weather of course will be the wild-card, but that is what makes this race so fun.

This has been an awesome week of vacation and holidays! We have shared a lot of laughs together as a family and are ready to tackle 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Catching up! (or at least trying to)

It has been a very strange month with the economic situation hitting closer to home. My employer announced in November that any pay increases for next year would be deferred until April. They also had a small staff reduction. This news was not too bad, we still had jobs, the project is going well, and things in the electronic industry are always cyclical, this is no different. Just taking steps to help ride out the storm.

Then along comes December...

More "cost savings measures"... No 401k match, no raises at all this year, they are offering early retirement packages, and taking volunteers for unpaid leave-of-absences. They are looking for a 7% staff reduction, so depending upon how many people take the buyouts, there will be layoffs in January. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the 10% pay cut for everyone across the board. Merry Christmas...

Good news: Things could be worse...
Bad news: They may just get there...

The more I read about how this financial mess started, the more upset and disappointed I get with our government and 'supposedly smart' business leaders. I guess this is yet more evidence that the world is pretty messed up and there is only one real solution. It also amazes me how the media is playing all of this. It is all doom-and-gloom, perpetuating the spiral... Yes, things are bad, but it is not the end of the world... that is coming later! :) A little common sense can go a long way... but there seems to be lack of that too!

Enough of the bad stuff!

We are planning a simpler 2009 as a family. Sticking close to home and enjoying all that NE Ohio has to offer. We still want to take our annual trip to the Adirondacks, it will just be a matter of when and where. Denise and I have suggested to the girls that we camp this summer.... that did not go over too well, but it does sound like fun! Racing: Denise is thinking either Cleveland or Buffalo as a spring marathon and of course, Columbus again in the fall. See the post below for my schedule...

Gina will run track in the spring and Abby is excited about cross-country in the fall. The dogs continue to keep us busy and this cold weather is a joy for them. Forrest just loves to lay in the snow on the deck...

Well, I hear the family starting to wake up. The best part of the winter break is sleeping in...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I was tagged!

Thanks to Nick, via Clara, I was tagged. This means that a list of questions has been presented and I will attempt to answer them honestly and with SOS (spouse over shoulder!)

1. What was your 2008 running highlight and running low?
Highlight: Finishing my first 100 mile run, the Burning River 100. Honorable Mention: Sharing an awesome trail in the ADK with a 350lb black bear! I am not sure who scared who the most!
Low: Inconsistent running and lack of motivation this fall and early winter...

2. What race are you secretly planning on doing (or contemplating) for 2009 but haven't made it known to the public....until now?
Running w/Scissors double Marathon.
Actually, I am thinking of cutting out the Mohican 50 mile run...

3. Where would you like create and direct an ultra that (to your knowledge) none exists? Our family really enjoys the Adirondack Mountains and to my knowledge, there are very few trail running events up there.

4. What is your "primary" race for 2009? The "Forget the PR 50K" and doing whatever it takes to get JP across the Burning River 100 finish line in good enough condition for his wedding 2 weeks later!

5. What is the most exciting thing about your upcoming race schedule? That training for the races will help maintain my sanity in this crazy and unpredictable economy. Not planning for a huge event for 2009 will provide extra time and energy for me to spend time with my family on the trails. This will help to instill into my daughters a deeper love for the outdoors and help them connect with why fitness is so important to me and Denise.

6. List your planned races for 2009:
Winter Buckeye Trail 50K
Forget the PR 50K
Mohican 50 mile???
Volunteer/pace at Burning River 100
Running w/Scissors double Marathon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Gina had day 1 of the Shaker Sharks swim meet at CSU yesterday morning. The early-morning drive down was uneventful and we arrived at 7:10am. As we waited in line to get into the parking garage, we hear a loud crash/thud. The Ford Expedition in front of us rear-ended the mini-van in from of it. It was just a temporary loss of focus on the driver's part but air-bags deployed and everything. Not a good way to start the morning for them....

During one of the boy's events, a father of a swimmer was sitting behind us in the stands and was shouting/cheering for his son. Now for those of you that swim, you know that you cannot hear a word that anyone is saying while you are in the water. As parents, we always forget this and shout/yell/cheer loudly while our children are swimming.

Anyways, this man was cheering for his son, who I will call Tommy, "GO TOMMY! GO! GET HIM AT THE TURN! GREAT JOB! GO TOMMY GO! NOOOOOO!!! STOP BREATHING!!!" Denise and I started giggling and was almost laughing out loud! I am sure what the dad meant was "Stop breathing every stroke!" But in the heat of the moment, "Stop Breathing" is what he said.... Pretty funny...

I swapped my weekend run schedule with next week and completed 10 mile yesterday afternoon in the woods. Cold, blusterly, but an enjoyable run. I actually had ice/snow in my eyebrows, which was a first for me. Today's weather looks to be similar.

Ah, winter has arrived! Back to CSU this morning for day 2 of the swim meet. At least it is warm at the pool.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hunk-a-hunk-a-Berner Love!

This photo is one of Abby serenading Denise and Forrest with her cello. Forrest is our rescue Bernese Mountain Dog who thinks he is a lap dog! Too bad he does not realize he weighs close to 100 pounds... He has been an amazing addition to our family for almost 4 years now!

We took another trip to the Cleveland Botanical gardens this afternoon. They had the annual Gingerbread house display there and it was amazing to see what these people had created. Here are a few photos to wet your appetite.

We left the display area feeling pretty hungry! We then ventured into the green house where they were just ready to do a butterfly release! That was pretty fun as a few dozen butterflies of various sizes, colors, and types were released. We managed to have one light on Denise for an up-close view!

This was a perfect way to spend a grey and dreary afternoon!

I managed to get a nice short run in this morning before the rain started and am so glad that I did not wait. This will be another challenging week training-wise with a customer visit all week at work and lots of other evening activities for home. I sense some night running in the near future!

This was a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend break and I am almost ready to go back to work, almost...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't kick the snowball.

Denise and I took a nice 4 mile run thursday morning after we put the turkey in the oven. We were running along the bike path and there was a snowball in the middle of the path, all by itself, just screaming to be punted into the woods... So, I did, or at least tried to...

It was actually a baseball-sized chunk of ice frozen to the surface of the path! I almost executed a face-plant right there as I tripped! Needless to say, Denise got a real 'kick' out of this and chuckled for a while afterwards...

Kirk and I met with the VR group at Happy Days yesterday. We started with the 7:30am group for a 3 mile warmup on the Boston Run trail and then off at 8am to the Ledges. Kirk and I wanted to run the Fool's FA 50K course and left the group after the Pine Grove section as we continued to Kendall Lake/Hills.

The trails were in great condition and it was a nice morning to be out. Both Kirk and I consumed way too much turkey thursday and felt pretty flat. We still ended up with a good 15.75 mile run.

Started setting up the Christmas decorations. It will be here before we know it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just get out the door....

Whew! My mantra this weekend was the title of this post: "Just get out the door!" I had a terrible lack of motivation this week regarding running. I managed just one 4 mile morning run and realized that something has to change if I am going to finish the 50K in January!

Yesterday morning, I bundled up and headed out on the Twinsburg trails for a nice 8 mile slog through the fresh snow. There were flakes of snow/ice hanging in the air and at one point, the sun broke through the clouds, making the woods erupt with color and sparkles from the snow! Very very cool to see. Then the clouds took over again...

I waited until this afternoon to run the same 8 mile loop and managed to shave 5 minutes off of yesterday's time. It helped that a few more people had packed the trail down after I had broken the snow yesterday. It also helped that the sun was out and shining brightly!

Since winter has come upon us faster than usual, I need to "Just get out the door" regarding running. Once I am out and moving, it is very pleasant. Sure, the footing can be a little tricky at times and you have to worry about wind-burn instead of sun burn. But getting the blood pumping and letting the mind wander a bit from the daily noise, is a great alternative to watching the seemingly endless stream of bad news on the TV.

Denise is now suffering from the cold that Abby had last week. So far, I am safe. I figure that if I have not caught it by now, I will probably be ok...probably... We are all looking forward to Thanksgiving break. We always like to cook and enjoy the day together in the kitchen. It takes all morning to prepare, and we joke that it seems like the meal is over in 15 minutes, but Thanksgiving is one holiday that we stay home for.

This week's weather looks to be another hodge-podge of NE Ohio mix. I read somewhere that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. No excuses!

Just get out the door...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great running weekend

The week went by just as fast as the other weeks this year! I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Kirk and I met JP at Egbert Shelter in Bedford reservation yesterday morning. The weather forecast for the day was rain, increasing wind, turning to snow. Perfect weather for staying in bed, maybe not for running... An interesting quote I read somewhere was "There is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing."

Anyways, we started the run in approx 45 degrees with a light rain. We each debated about how many layers to wear since we were planning on 14 miles on the trail. We all opted for shorts and a waterproof shell. A bit warm for the start but was perfect by the time we finished. We followed the Burning River 100 course through the park to Fraizee house and back. The trails were in suprisingly good shape considering the rainfall we had overnight and the rain managed to hold off to a mild drizzle for most of the morning. A good run with some good friends; the start of a great weekend!

Denise and I went out again this morning. There were random flakes of snow being blown around by the brisk wind and we were really not looking forward to the arctic blast. It is very difficult to get out the door this time of year when the weather is changing for the worse. But, once we were running for 5 minutes, it was pretty nice. The hardest part is just getting out the door...

As we were running down the bike path, I was relaying to Denise a story that Kirk was telling yesterday about seeing two bucks fighting in the woods. We looked ahead and the "King of Twinsburg" was about 30 yds in front of us on the side of the trail. I have seen this 8-point buck a few times before and he is a majestic animal. Most of the deer you see around here are so scrawny and small, that you kind of feel sorry for them. This boy, on the other hand, was very solid and strong. He looked at us and literally jumped over the path in one leap! It was one of those jumps where the deer seemed to hang in the air forever... Oh how I wish I had a camera!

Denise turned for home for a total of 4 miles and I went up the hill to CVS and back for an extra 1.4 miles. Another great start to a day!

The miles are starting to come back again and it feels pretty good. It will be difficult to get the miles in this week due to some extra evening events. I will have to get creative with my scheduling.

Abby and Gina are both fighting colds and Denise and I are bracing for our turn. We are an "equal opportunity" family when it comes to colds. It seems like we always pass it around, no matter how careful we are. Oh well, shared suffering... :)

Speaking of which, a local high-school runner here in Twinsburg, Stuart Edmonds, was chosen as the Plain Dealer Cross-Country runner of the year! He placed second at the State meet a week ago and will be going to nationals. He mentioned that he did not feel bad at all about getting second place. The sport of running has that camaraderie between teammates and competitors that is very unique. I guess when we are out there together running and pushing ourselves in all kinds of conditions, it creates a special bond and respect.

Yet another reason I like to run...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Touring Twinsburg...

First of all, where did last week go?

Kirk and I met yesterday for an early-morning running tour of Twinsburg. We started at the Glenwood end of the bike path and ran the trails to Post Road. We then went exploring on the new path to check the construction progress and it is looking great! A short run down Rt 91 to the railroad tracks and up Canon Road hill. We both commented that was just as hard running up this hill as it is biking up!

A run down the gas line at Liberty Road to the ledges behind the park. A short bushwhacking excursion back to the baseball fields and then a nice trip around the perimeter of the fields across from Blue Jay farm. Back along Post road to the trail head at the park. Down the hill, across the tracks, and back to Glenwood where we started 2 hours earlier!

Nice morning for a run! I had not run behind Liberty Park since last winter and it was nice to go back. Kirk had never been back there so it was fun to share some new trails with him.

Denise and I ran together this afternoon. She went 6, I went up the hill, after a pit-stop, to CVS for 7.4 total. Let's just say I almost had a "Paul moment!" Paul knows what I mean...

Gina had a swim meet this weekend and managed to drop some time in 4 of 5 events! This is awesome considering that she is just now getting back in the water after cross-country. She was pretty happy and has some additional motivation for practices.

I purchased a bike lift to hang the tandem from the garage ceiling. It has two sets of hooks, one for the handlebars and one for the seat, and a rope with a pulley system that you can pull and suspend your bike. The tandem just makes it under the 50# weight limit. I installed some safety ropes as a back up, just in case. I don't want our bike crashing down! That would not be a good thing...

As a result of getting the bike suspended, and some other cleanup in the garage, I think that I can get BOTH cars in! It would be a tight squeeze, but possible. I probably will not take advantage of it, but it is nice to know .

I am glad the election is over. (No more phone calls or campaign commercials) It was exciting the see the evening unfold and to see the turnout of voters. Now, if everyone will remain engaged in the process, something may actually change, instead of just talking about it... If not, well there is another election in two years for congress and four years for President.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


There is nothing like a race looming on the horizon to get you motivated to train! I printed out a training plan from the Santa Clarita Runners web site and realized that I am a week behind plan for the Winter Buckeye Trail 50K! I am not too worried since I have been running a little, just not structured.

I sent an email to JP and Kirk earlier in the week and they were able to meet me yesterday at Boston Store for a nice run on the course. The weather was perfect and enough leaves have fallen from the trees to hide most of the roots. Each of us kicked several and had some near stumbles as we enjoyed the trails.

Denise and I went out this afternoon for what was supposed to be an easy 4 miles but turned into a bit more. She wanted to investigate the new trail and the construction crew had bulldozed the path for final grading. Unfortunately, this left the trail very muddy and sloppy. This in combination with the leaves on the trail/mud made for a less than desirable experience for Denise. We opted to return home via the sidewalks and bike path. A good run nonetheless, but not what we originally planned.

The rest of the weekend was spent visiting with my parents and getting some of the outdoor furniture put away for the season. It was a good summer and it passed by quickly. I hope that the winter does also.

Congrats goes out to Nick for completing the Mountain Masochist 50 mile run. This race is on my "To-do" list!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Columbus Marathon Weekend

Denise's 3rd Columbus marathon is in the books! She had an awesome day with a 3:58:01 finish, giving her another sub-4-hour finish. A well-executed race by her and she had smiles all day long! It was fun to meet her at various points along the course and to see a LOT of vertical runner shirts and jerseys. I always come away from that race wishing that I was running it too. Denise's master plan is to run this race 10 years in a row and have Gina and Abby run the 10th one with her. That will be fun!!!

My running however has been very hit and miss, with more miss than hit. I am trying to keep consistent with at least 3 runs per week, but am honestly having a motivation problem.. The cooler temperatures are great and the fall colors are also a nice change, it is just the problem of getting home from work and sunset is a mere 20 minutes later... I guess I need to become "one with my headlamp" again..

Gina had her last cross-country meet last night and she finished her season with a PR. Perfect way to end her first year of cross-country. It was fun to watch her get better each week and to enjoy running more and more.

Forrest is back to his poor night sleeping and as a result, Denise and I are also not sleeping well. We are about to resort to the radio up loud and ear-plugs so we cannot hear him barking... Tell me again why we have him??? Actually he is a great dog, just high need. As a rescue dog, we expected this, but the rewards of having him as part of our family is well worth a few sleepless nights... Besides, sleep is over-rated anyways...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Perkins/Riding Run trail and "crunchy" french fries

We took a family hike yesterday on the Perkins and Riding Run trail. in the valley. We parked at the covered bridge and enjoyed the 4 mile hike through the fall colors in the valley. The girls enjoyed the 'strange' oak tree with all of the branches sticking out every which way on the Riding run trail. They said it looked a bit like the Whumping willow from Harry Potter! It was nice to see this trail again since the last time I was here was at 2am during the Burning River 100.

After the hike we stopped at Slazys farm market for some fresh produce and then to the Winking Lizard for dinner. We were pretty hungry after being outside in the fresh air and I was biting into a steak-fry and noticed that it seemed a bit 'crunchy'. One of my right molars decided to fall apart! A nice piece had chipped off, explaining why my tooth has been a bit sensitive the past couple of weeks... So I get to make an unplanned trip to the dentist; not one of my favorite places to go.

I had a great 9 mile run yesterday before our hike and another 4 miles today. It was a perfect weather weekend and one that the whole family was able to enjoy!

Next stop: Columbus Marathon! This will be Denise's third time for this race and 7th marathon overall. We are all looking forward to putting on our Buckeye's Best!

Monday, October 6, 2008

10 miles of fanny-kickin' hills

I sent an email to JP last week and we were able to meet for a trail run saturday afternoon. I met him at Sand Run and we ran the 'infamous' Mingo trail. I have heard a lot about this loop and it was a very pleasant trail with lots of ups and downs. I have not been running hills lately, in fact, I have not been running much at all lately, and those hills kicked my fanny pretty good. We finished the Mingo and then started off on the connector trail to Cascade park, which is also a nice trail. JP was trying to explain to me how the various parks are all interconnected and how you can string them together into an all-day run if you wish. I need to see a map before it will really click for me but I am anxious to get back down in that area again.

Sunday, Denise and I ran 4 miles together and then Abby and I took an hour-long tandem ride. She is growing so fast now and her legs keep getting stronger and stronger! It almost feels like Densie back there pedaling away! After the bike ride, the combination of the exercise and fresh fall air was too much to overcome and I fell into an 'exercise-induced-coma' for an hour. Gee, that nap sure felt good!

Tomorrow morning, I'll bundle up and get out for 4 miles before work. I really like running in the coolness of the fall mornings. The air is so crisp and the sky so very clear. There are even fewer people out on the path when the temperatures start to drop and I'll probably have the trail all to myself, except for the deer...

Ah, yet another reason why I run...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trying to hang on...

Oh my are things crazy around here... Let me try to recap the last few days.

Saturday: Gina had a cross-country meet at Kendall Hills. Fun fun fun! I left the house at 6:15am for the drive to the valley. I ran two laps of the Salt Run trail with a loop of the cross-country trail thrown in between for a great 10 mile run. It felt great to be on the trails again. Then I met Denise and Abby and we cheered for Gina and the other Twinsburg Middle School girls as they ran what someone said was the toughest cross-country course in Ohio. Don't quote me on that - but that's what was later said! It was really great to see that incredible place jam-packed with people who enjoy running. The last time I ran through there was during BR100 around midnight and things were definitely more subdued at that time! I definitely prefer the solitude, but there was a lot of excitement and energy flowing through there on Saturday morning. Gina ran well and later remarked that it was such a fun course - she is a great storyteller and made a big funny about how during the race there was a small "thornbush" caught around her ankle so it was digging at her while she ran. She finally managed to set it loose but she was cracking up with fits of laughter as she retold the story. She also found it hilarious that the entire middle school team was later "racing" by rolling down the sledding hill as fast as they could. I am sure that in a few years this would be considered inappropriate but at her age they still found the humor in hot-dog rolling down a big hill. Oh to be 13 again.

After that I made a solo drive down to visit my family in Dayton. Denise and the girls stayed home as they had much to do and Denise has not been feeling quite well. With her 20-mile long run due this weekend, she opted to rest and ended up doing 21 miles on Monday morning.

I was able to run again on Sunday morning as my Dad rode his bike along side. I ended up with 12 miles for a whopping total of 30 miles for the week!

So I have toyed with the idea of Towpath marathon for a week or so now. Quite honestly, I am still on the fence. I am underprepared but know that I can cover the distance. Same story as last year! Part of me wants to show up just to heckle Paul a little bit by threatening to pass him. The other part of me wants to put the money and energy into something else on my incredibly long to-do list.

What would you do!!??

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thinking ahead...

to Thanksgiving!!!!

This photo was taken from our van as we returned home from NY last weekend! We wanted to stop and get apples from a road-side stand and I noticed something ahead in the ditch. Low and behold, these two turkeys came strutting out of the grapes and spread their tail feathers and proceeded to march two laps around our van! It was pretty cool to see these very ugly but beautiful birds up close.

Those of you that know me, know that I cannot sit still for too long. Well, it is time to plan some events. The preliminary list is:
  • Winter Buckeye Trail 50K
  • I assume that Lloyd will have his FA50K again in the Spring??
  • Mohican 50 miles?? in June
  • Maybe pace at Burning River 100 or at least volunteer, or both!! (Are you running JP?)
I am trying to get some more running in during the week for stress relief and it is feeling pretty good! I love this fall weather with the leaves turning colors and the crisp snap in the air. Too soon the snow will be flying, but that is ok. If the weather was constant all year-round, it would be a bit boring.

Gina ran well at her XC meeting tonight. They will run at Kendall Hills saturday morning. I am going to go down early and run myself before her meet starts. I'll change and then head south to visit my family. The "annual" get-together is this weekend and my aunt and uncle are having their 50th Wedding Anniversary too! It will be a great opportunity to see everyone again. There are not too many occasions where the entire family is together anymore. Not like it was growing up...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Give it your all...

Gina had a cross-country meet last night at Nordonia and ran her best race. The photo above is her making the final push to the finish line. Everyone was screaming and yelling as these two girls fought it out for the finish. The Nordonia did girl pass Gina only 10 feet from the line!

As Gina was replaying the finish to me later last night, she was very disappointed that she was passed at the end. Gina said "I tried but I could not have run any faster!" I replied, "You ran your best race then. If you have enough energy to sprint that hard at the end, then you did not run the rest of the race to your best ability for that day!" She then realized that she did indeed have a great day!

Running is one of those sports where winning is not the only way to achieve victory! Pushing yourself to the finish, dropping time, or even just completing the event, are all ways of winning! Just starting a race is a lot of times a victory in itself. Seeing these kids run gives me hope that maybe the future will be alright after all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The next event: Work-a-thon

I have been asked several times what my next event is going to be: I am going to be spending a lot more time working! Boring, I know, but necessary. We have a lot of tasks to complete in a very short amount of time and the only way to achieve this will be to treat this as an ultra: "Relentless pursuit of forward motion!" Keep on checking tasks off of the list and move on to the next one. Just like aid-station to aid-station...

I realize that I need to keep running and I want to. I will stick to shorter 4-6 mile runs and focus on running them fast! I did not run much last week and I could feel it friday.. I was one huge bundle of nerves and stress... not good for my long-term sanity. Some would argue that my sanity left me a long time ago, but I think that you know what I mean.

I want/need to get some consistency back in my running. A random run here and there is worse than not running at all. I started this weekend with 7 miles in the rain yesterday and 5 today with Denise. I feel really good about running two days in a row and the distances are just right, given the current circumstances of life!

I printed the application for the "Running With Scissors" double marathon. This race is at the end of October and sounded like a fun excuse to train but not practical for this fall. Maybe next year...

I sit here listening to the remnants of Hurricane Ike blowing by outside. I cannot image what it would be like in a real hurricane! Northeast Ohio is not too bad after all...

Denise's training for Columbus Marathon is going well. She completed her 18 mile run Friday on the tow path in the pouring rain! A true "character run" for her. She was really glad to get the run out of the way and not have it hanging over her all weekend. We always try to make the weekend as family-friendly and efficient as possible, so having the long run completed friday made yesterday much less hectic.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What a weekend!

This was a very busy weekend for us. Friday night had Gina playing in the pre-game show at the high school football game. The 8th grade band joined the high school band on the field to play the fight song! She had a blast and we stayed to watch Twinsburg defeat Aurora.

Saturday was Gina's first X-Country invitational at Brecksville. Gina is on the right in the photo above, #1189. She dropped a minute off her time on a wet and muddy course. She enjoys the mud and had a lot of fun. There were lots of schools there at this meet and both Denise and I were inspired to see these middle-school kids running as fast as they do! I had no desire to run when I was in school, and it is neat to see these kids catching the 'bug' so early in life. Now if their parents would let them run w/o yelling at them...oops, that is topic for another day!

We drove her home instead of her riding the bus because we then had Abby's Birthday party! 8 of her friends met at our home and we loaded everyone up and went to "Hands-on Pottery" where they each selected and painted their own pottery piece. Back to house for pizza and Cake! Lots of laughing and screaming as only 8 11-year old girls can do.

This morning Denise and I ran in the Buckeye Half Marathon. Denise wanted a test to see how her training is going and a test of her marathon pacing. I went too because it sounded like a good idea... I have only run 36 miles total since Burning River and wanted to run with Nick who was pacing the 1:45 group. This is an 8-minute per mile pace... I have not run fast in a year and I knew that the distance would not be bad, but the 'speed' would be difficult.

The morning was cool and overcast; perfect running weather. Around the 10 mile mark, a light rain began to fall, helping to keep us cool. Both Denise and I elected to run w/o hats so our visbility was hindered by the rain drops on our glasses. At least this was a road race and you really don't need to see too much... :)

I held on to the pace group for 9 miles and then was not able to bridge the gap back after a water stop. My goal became to stay ahead of the 1:50 pace group. I managed to finish just under 1:47 and Denise was not far behind at 1:56. A very nice morning.

I feel worse after this 13.1 mile run than I did after 100 miles... I am not used to asphalt and I really should have run with the 1:50 pace group instead. But you never know unless you try.

We all learned in school that nature abhors a vacuum. This includes time. I look back and can't believe that I was able to run 50+ miles per week with 4-6 hours runs on the weekends. I do not know how I fit all of the training into life. I guess that the garage was not getting cleaned, I was not working as many hours, not attending some of the girls activities, etc. :)

Endurance training and participation is a constant battle of balance between family, work, and sport. Some days we get it right, some days we don't...

I am very thankful that Denise, Gina, and Abby tolerated the training of this past year. It is time to swing the pendulum back the other way a bit and catch up with some neglected items. Something growled in the basement... time to clean!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

STOMP and the zoo

Here is a photo of Abby and I before we started the 2008 edition of STOMP. This is a ride sponsored by the Summit County Metro Parks and this makes our 4th consecutive year of attending. We elected for the 25 mile option this year due to our lack of long rides.

After I changed the front inner tube, we started the ride. The valve core popped out as I removed the pump and I could not find it in the grass! I don't mind these things when they happen since they provide memories. Besides, it happened right beside the van, not 30 miles from the van!!

Denise and Gina met us at Howe Meadow after the ride where we shared birthday cookies. Monday was Abby's birthday and we started the celebration early.

We took our first ever trip to the Akron Zoo yesterday. It was a nice small zoo. What they did not have regarding the quantity of animals, they made up for in quality. The jellyfish room was amazing along with the bats. Denise, who is terrified of bats, even enjoyed seeing them with 1/2 inch of glass separating them from her!

We then celebrated with birthday brownies last night! Here is Forrest trying to help blow out the candles.
With all of the cookies and brownies and no more 50+mile run weeks, I had better start running again!

I completed few runs last week. My legs are quickly fatigued but feeling ok. Denise and I are going to run the Buckeye 1/2 marathon this weekend and it will be interesting for me to try to not walk the hills! I have gotten so used to running ultra-style that a race on asphalt will seem very very odd... I miss the trails and am looking forward to some nice short forays into the woods later this fall. I would like to keep running enough to maintain some modest fitness but still have time to catch up with the home projects that have been neglected.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Burning River 100 Race video...

Gina and Abby took some great photos during the race. Denise and I created a slide-show that captures some of the day, night, and morning of the race.

It is our first "you-tube" posting and it was fun to put together. We hope that you will enjoy it.

Running, music, and school....

Denise is training for the Columbus Marathon and needed to complete a 17 mile training run this weekend. I ran 8.5 miles with her and I have to say, it felt pretty good. We followed that up yesterday with a nice 40 minute trail run. Denise wanted something different to flush the legs and the trail was just the ticket.

We took Gina and Abby to the Jonas Brothers' Concert friday evening... It was fun to see Blossom Music Center packed with a sold-out crowd of screaming teen-age girls. The stage show was pretty cool from a technical perspective. The music....well... Gina loved it! It was pretty fun to see/hear her screaming and jumping up and down with the songs. Abby started to get into it a bit too and it was a pretty fun evening. Denise and I always enjoy any kind of live music. We just don't get out enough to hear it.

School has started again and it is looking like a busy year ahead! Gina and Abby both like their classes and it will take another week or so to get into the school routine. The schedule will really get packed when swimming starts again next month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting the 'itch' again...

Ok, it has been 1.5 weeks since I have run and I have not taken that many days off from running in over a year! My feet are healing nicely with the skin slowly peeling off from the blisters. I will spare you the photos...

I actually feel like running again! I thought before the race one of two things would happen; I would never want to run again, or I would not be able to get enough! I am actually somewhere in-between.

I want to continue 'recovery' mode for a week or two more before I enter 'fitness' mode. I have to decide if I want to do a fall race or not which will determine the 'fitness' level I choose. It is tempting to try for a 'fast' marathon, but I really don't want to do the speed-work necessary. Besides that takes a lot of effort and I need to focus on other life issues instead. So, 4 mile runs seem pretty good right now. Maybe this weekend, I'll take one...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Burning River 100 Race Report

Where do I begin? First, some big Thank You are in order:

  • Denise, Gina, and Abby – for supporting me this past year as I trained for this event and for being there at the aid stations, cheering me on and helping through the day. Also to Sylvia for coming out this weekend and supporting Denise…
  • Andy – for the well-timed signs along the course and the support/encouragement at the aid stations. Oh yeah, that cheeseburger at Boston Store tasted GREAT!
  • Marty, Scott, Purwanto, Kurt, and Lori – for coming out and cheering me on. Those random events kept my spirits high!
  • Paul – for pacing me through miles 60-70. Usually you are so far ahead of me that I can’t even see you!
  • JP – for getting me through miles 70-101.2. Thanks for the company, laughs, advice, and encouragement through the night.


I have never been so nervous before an event before. I think that the magnitude of the distance, the endless list of things that could go wrong, the fact that I could fail to finish, and how in the world I would stay awake all night, weighed heavily upon me. My plan was to run 8 minutes and then walk 2 minutes. If there was an uphill during the 8 minute run section, I would walk the hill. I would also walk any steep downhill sections since they beat up my knees and feet. I would repeat this for 101.2 miles, or until my body gave out, whichever came first.

I also knew that I had to run my own race and not get caught up with racing someone or deviating from my plan. Ultras are not so much about racing other people, but rather competing against the course and discovering what we are really capable of accomplishing.

Gina and Abby each took a sharpy marker and wrote words of encouragement on each of my forearms before I went to bed Friday evening. Gina wrote “Go Dad Go” and Abby wrote, “Run” with a smiley face next to it. If I only knew then how much I would lean on those simple words…

The Start

Multiple alarms were set for 3am and Denise and I only needed one! We jumped out of bed and got dressed. Denise fed the dogs who wondered why in the world they were eating breakfast at 3am! Grandma, Gina, and Abby were sleeping soundly since we knew the day would be long. We were on our way to Squire’s Castle by 3:30am and listened to the Harry Potter sound track as we went over last-minute logistics. Parking was not a problem since we arrived with plenty of time to spare. As I climbed out of the van, I looked up and the stars were shining bright. It was a pretty cool sight to start the day with. Before we knew it, it was time to line up in the grass and Denise mentioned that it looked like an Easter Egg hunt for grown-ups! Right on time at 5am, the siren sounded and off we went.

I had programmed the interval timers on my watch to chime at 8 and 2-minute intervals. I waited until we started running down River Road before starting the timers since I did not want to trip in the grass less than 200 yards into a 100 mile race.

Several people had headlamps or flashlights as we ran. I elected to not carry one for the start since it was on the road and I figured that the light from others would be enough. I was amazed as I ran that some people were walking already within the first few minutes. This made me feel pretty good about my 8/2 plan since others had similar ideas.

As my watch beeped to signal a walking break, I heard another beep next to me. Paul, from Connecticut, was on a 4/2 plan and we had started within 2 seconds of each other. We were able to talk as we leap-frogged each other for most of the first 10 miles.

I made a crucial decision here. As nice as it was to chat w/Paul during these times, his run pace was a bit faster than mine. My walking pace however was a bit faster than his. I decided to not try to match his pace simply for company. I needed to run my own race and stick to my plan.

Shoe change #1

Denise met me at the Polo Field aid station (mile 9.6) where I changed into my trail shoes. Several people would wait until Station Road before changing out of their road shoes but I wanted the extra support of my trail shoes for the bridle trails that we would be running on for the next 20 miles.

I departed the aid station and Denise left for home to get the girls. The plan was for them to meet me at the Shadow lake Aid station at mile 18.6. Everyone was there and Gina was running around w/o shoes since she had forgotten them at home. It was good to see familiar faces and chat for a minute or two with them. Another part of my race plan was to get into and out of the aid stations as efficiently as I could. There were 22 aid stations for the entire course and just 3 minutes in each is over an hour of time not moving forward. I refilled my bottle, grabbed a couple of pretzels, got sprayed with sunscreen, and off I went down the trail.

Denise and the girls stopped the van in a parking lot off of Richmond road and shouted some additional words of encouragement to me as I ran towards Bedford Reservation.

I passed through the Egbert aid station and my stomach started to turn south. I am not sure what happened, but I felt bad for a while and then felt good again. This sensation would unfortunately last for the entire race. I would periodically look down at the messages on my arms that Gina and Abby wrote to help pull me back up to the proper attitude.

As I exited the park I noticed a green sign hanging on a telephone pole. I read it and then realized that the sign was for me! Andy had left it for encouragement and it worked! I called him during a walk break and thanked him for the gesture. He was waiting for me at the Alexander Road aid station and I unfortunately did not see him standing there until I was ready to leave. He had some food for me and offered several different things. My stomach was just starting to come around to the good again and I did not want to risk shoving something too sweet down. I grabbed some pretzels and continued running.

There were two parts of the course that I was dreading and the first one was fast approaching; the towpath from Frazee House to Station Road. This is a 2.5 mile totally exposed section of gravel towpath. My plan for this section was to walk and conserve energy. As I was walking I came up upon Paul from CT again. He had the same plan as me, walk the entire section. We soon arrived at the Station Road aid station. (mile 33.3) So far, so good.

Quick refill of my bottles, grabbed some food and off to the towpath again for the Carriage Trail loop. I called a co-worker, Marty, to see if he wanted to meet me at the top of the hill since he lives near by. I climbed the hill and Marty and his family were waiting by the unmanned water stop. I topped off my bottles as I chatted with them. I started to leave and Marty said that the lady that filled the water containers was coming back with popsicles. Yummm. I had to decide to wait or to keep running. I started to leave and saw Tanya running down the trail yelling, “I have popsicles!” I waited the few extra moments for a deliciously cold grape pop-ice. Thanks Tanya!

Finished the loop and returned to Station Road again. (mile 39.7) As I crossed the bridge, I saw another co-worker, Scott, standing at the side of the path. Totally unexpected visit! He had phoned Denise to see where I was. He watched as I changed shirts, checked my feet, and generally took a nice break from running. This was the first time I had set down in a chair. There is a phrase used in Ultra races, “Beware the chair!” One can become very comfortable sitting in a chair after running far and it makes starting again that much more difficult.

At this point, I was way ahead of my planned 28 hour pace. In fact I was ahead of a 24 hour pace…way too fast. I decided to walk most of the next section since there were a couple of long uphill stretches ahead. I caught up with a couple of guys, Steve and Doug, who were also walking. They too had the same problem; way ahead of schedule and did not want to miss their pacers since they were faster than planned. We caught up with another man and Steve asked him, “Did you go through Station Road twice?” The man looked puzzled and said “no.” “Dude, you just missed an entire section of the course. You have to do an out and back.” The man stopped, turned around, and started back the 1.5 miles to the aid station… Everyone in our group agreed that we would probably have quit if that had happened to us…

The Ottawa Point Aid station (mile 46.5) had great food. In fact all of the aid stations had great food, but since my stomach was feeling good at this aid station I actually felt like eating. I had a turkey sandwich and some pasta salad! I burped the pasta for the next 5 miles, but it was so worth it! Greg was hanging around the aid station and offered some words of encouragement. He said to keep moving and be smart. That was my plan…

The course follows the Buckeye Trail from Ottawa point to Snowville, then to Boston Store. This is the route for the summer Buckeye Trail 50K and a familiar training route for me. Since I was ahead of schedule so much, I walked most of this section. It was nice to conserve some energy and to enjoy the beautiful day. The temperatures were only near 80 and the humidity was pretty low; about as good as it gets for August in NE Ohio.

It was before the Snowville Road aid station that I caught up with Nick. He has also been blogging his travels to his first 100-mile run and I had met him on a group training run. I was disappointed to see that he had sprained his ankle pretty badly and had become dehydrated. He had just started to sweat again, which meant that he was turning it around but he could not run on the ankle. He worked really, really hard to get ready for this race and I found out later that he dropped out. I am sure that this was a very difficult decision but the correct thing to do. There will be other races. I was still feeling good but this reinforced to me that it could all fall apart quickly, at any time.

The Snowville Road aid station (mile 50.6) was one of the only times that I let myself think about the mileage that I had traveled because this was the halfway point of the race. This point had also shattered my previous distance record of 45 miles set last summer. I was entering uncharted waters. I did not think anymore about this and switched my focus back to just getting to the next aid station. I knew that eventually there would no more and I would be crossing the finish line!

There were a couple of runners ahead of me crossing Columbia Road. I stopped at the road to check for traffic and there was a van coming from the right. I figured that I would be able to make it across safely and entered the roadway. As I reentered the woods, the driver started blowing the horn and then they started shouting, “Go Jerry!” It was Kurt and Lori! Two friends of mine from Twinsburg ‘just happened’ to be driving down Columbia road and I ‘just happened’ to be crossing the road in front of them at the same time…coincidence? I don’t think so… This was a “God thing!” I went back to the road and chatted a minute with them before Kurt yelled with an east-coast accent, “Get outta here, you have a race to run!” This event really lifted my spirits higher than they already were. They met me again at the bottom of the hill at Blue Hen falls. I made it to Boston Store where they had joined my family/crew at the aid station. (mile 56)

Once again, my stomach had turned bad and nothing looked good to eat. I refilled my bottles, grabbed a couple of pretzels, and started off towards Brandywine Falls. My first pacer, Paul, was chomping at the bit to get running but I had to complete this loop first.

I managed to catch up with three guys and they were sharing hallucination stories. These involved porcupines, phantom crewmembers, and other entertaining things to help pass the time. I asked their advice about whether to change shoes or not. The response was “yes” because the cushioning breaks down over time and new/different shoes will help your feet. My feet felt fine, and I was considering keeping the same shoes on a while longer instead of changing at Boston Store.

I just passed the Stanford Hostel and who rode by on their bikes? Yes, it was Kurt and Lori once again!!! Too funny!

Boston Store #2 (mile 60.6)

This was a planned break for me. I wanted to change clothes and shoes before the night section started. I was also going to pick up my first pacer, Paul. He and I have trained a lot together for Ironman and I wanted his upbeat personality and running strength to help me. I would be in unknown territory here and wanted all of the ammunition that I could have to help me through. I decided to just change shoes, socks, and my shirt. My shorts were working fine and I did not want to introduce a possible chafing point. My daughter Gina was horrified that my shirt and shorts didn’t match but I did not care…Teenagers!

Andy had his usual bag of food and this time pulled out a McDonald’s double cheeseburger! Now we’re talking! Oh my, did that ever taste good. Denise fed the sandwich to me as I lubed my feet and changed socks and shoes. My feet were starting to swell a bit so I left the laces a bit looser than I normally do. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but this would come back to haunt me later…

Paul and I checked that we had our headlamps, extra batteries, fluids and food, and off we went towards Pine Lane.

It was really fun to run with Paul. He always has some good stories to tell and it was good to catch up with him. His year has been chaotic with baby #4, new job, and life in general. Running and biking has been a good way to keep him anchored. We shared a lot of laughs as we ran, or rather walked, towards Pine Lane. It was getting darker and darker and we finally switched on the lights. This part of the course is pretty hilly and my feet were sliding around a lot in my shoes. I realized my mistake and tightened the laces but the damage was already done. I had some blisters forming. They did not hurt and I was not really sure what I could have done about them anyways so we kept going.

The Pine Lane aid station (mile 64.7) was announced by a string of glow sticks hanging from the trees. It was pretty cool to see these in combination with the pie plates and reflective pins. It was pretty easy to see where to go. Ramen noodles were available at this station and they sounded good. A small cup of noodles, refill my bottles, and off we went towards Happy Days.

We traveled along the bridle trail with some steep down and uphill climbs. My feet did not like this section at all. Eventually we made it to the pavement again for a couple of miles. My cell phone rang and I did not recognize the number. I answered anyways and it was another co-worker, Purwanto, who was waiting at Happy Days for me! (mile 70.3) Another huge surprise!

My stomach had turned south again so nothing looked good at the aid station. I topped off on fluids again, ate some watermelon, and grabbed a handful of fig Newton’s. JP was there and was ready to pace me to the end. We adjusted our lights and started through the tunnel towards the Ledges trail.

We completed the climb up to the Ledges trail and then the markers suddenly went off the ‘normal’ trail into the rocks. JP and I both thought, “What’s going on here?” The trail meandered around the rocks and through a couple of tight gaps in between. I barely fit through one gap and had to turn my waist pack sideways to clear the rocks! I jokingly asked “Who designed this course!? Why I oughta…” Then, we suddenly were back on the trail. A couple of minutes later, JP and both said, “That was actually pretty fun!!” It was a nice distraction and diversion from the norm.

We caught up with Mike George and chatted briefly with him. As we continued on, I realized that I had not seen a trail marker for a while. I knew that the route was going to turn right soon and thought that we may have missed it. We doubled back and ran into Mike again. He said, “No, the turn is just ahead.” Sure enough, it was and off we went towards Kendall Hills.

I was really looking forward to the “Sound of Music Hill” since earlier this year JP and I had a night run here and the lightning bugs were everywhere! They were very pretty to see, but unfortunately this night, the bugs were not out. However, as we exited the woods near the lake, two headlamps appeared on top of the hill, looking like a light house, drawing us up the hill. Two volunteers were there to help direct us down the hill. We paused for a moment at the top and turned off our lamps. The stars were simply stunning on this clear beautiful night! We reached the aid station (mile 75.1) and same story, grab fluids, pretzels, banana, and off again.

The night was cool in the exposed sections but very comfortable in the woods. We were making our way to the covered bridge aid station and had to traverse the Wetmore trail. This section is typically wet and muddy, but the dry weather had allowed things to dry up very nicely. In fact, I had kept my feet dry all day and so far, all night long! We paused briefly at a blackberry patch for a couple of berries to eat. Fresh fruit always tastes good. As we ran along Bolanz road, we heard voices ahead. There was a group of young girls with their parents watching the meteor shower. I needed to take a brief bathroom break at the visitor’s center and JP saw several meteors as he waited! It was turning into a great night!

The covered bridge aid station (mile 81.6) was pretty crowded with volunteers and crew hanging around. JP and I had decided on our way to this aid station that I would change shoes AFTER the Perkins loop. This way, since the trail is pretty muddy/wet, dry shoes and socks would feel good afterwards.

This was the second part of the course that I was not looking forward to. This trail is very steep, technical, lots of horse hoof divots, and it was very dark in the woods. By now, it was just after 1am and I had been moving since 5am, and my feet were starting to hurt from the blisters. I know, whaaa…. I expected some discomfort during this run, but I did not know in what form or how much. My feet would hurt mainly during the transitions from walking to running and back. The fluid in the blisters would shift around and after 10-15 seconds, the pain would diminish; it was still there, but almost tolerable. We were surprised the see that the trail was fairly dry and we were making ok time. We decided to walk in order to help prevent any ankle rolls. It was dry, but still lots of roots and other obstacles. Denise texted a quick message from home and replied that I was ok.

As we went down a steep hill, I felt a squish in my right foot along with a most unpleasant feeling like a knife jabbing into my foot. The blister had popped! After 30 seconds or so, it actually felt better! Keep moving…

Around an hour later, I had another squish as another blister popped. We completed the loop and arrived back to the covered bridge. (mile 85.7) I was amazed that I felt as good as I did but wanted to change shoes and socks. As I peeled off my socks, I was expecting to see some ugly stuff, but actually it was not too bad. JP and I had discussed options before we arrived to the aid station and there really were not too many; I was not going to stop, my feet hurt, but I could still move. So, the only choice was to keep going! I lubed my feet with Body Glide, put on fresh socks and different shoes. I grabbed my long-sleeved shirt and a glass of Mountain Dew. I thanked the volunteer that helped me with my drop bag and shoes, and JP and I headed off towards O’Neil Woods.

The course traveled on the road for a few miles here and the air was clear and cool. JP and I kept running when I could and walking when I could not. We traveled up the trail towards the O’Neil Aid Station (mile 89) and I had to use the bathroom again. The volunteers started cheering as we exited the woods. The bathroom was right there so we stopped. JP told me that he could hear the volunteers asking, “Where did they go?” We finally arrived and enjoyed some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches! Another runner and his pacer had arrived before us and left as JP and I drank some coffee. It tasted pretty good and I wanted the caffeine kick. The volunteers started to brew another pot and when they turned on the coffee pot, the generator revved up suddenly. I was amazed that a coffee pot would draw that much power….

JP and I looked at each other and decided to get out of there since we had what we needed. As we left we had an interesting conversation that went something like this.

JP: You know, I’m not a real competitive person, but…

Me: Yeah, I just want to finish the distance. But I’ll bet that we can catch that other runner.

JP: I agree but we need to be careful that we don’t blow up ourselves…

Me: Game on…

So the rest of the night we played, “let’s see if we can catch anyone.” I was able to keep moving. We would walk and then throw in some 2-minute run sessions. My original 8/2 plan had switched to a 2 minute run with a 4-8 minute walk. But we were moving!!! My feet hurt regardless if we were running or walking. My legs felt fine, so I would try to run as much as possible so that we could get to the finish faster!

The course was now following the towpath. It was very interesting that I could run on the gravel section, but the paved sections hurt my feet much more. JP and I both were looking for gravel. The grass alongside the path was a bit too unstable for my feet so I stayed on the path.

It was around 3am that I hit a low spot… I had been awake for 24 hours and moving for 22 of them. I was tired. JP stopped for a bathroom break and I put my head in my hands as I leaned against a fence. I quickly realized that if I did this for 10 more seconds, I would fall asleep standing there!! I lifted my head and said, “JP, I’m walking!” and I kept moving down the trail. “Just…keep…moving…forward!”

Back at home, Denise checked my progress on-line and awoke the girls at 3am to get back on the course. I phoned them just as they were backing out of the garage and heading to Merriman Road.

The sky started to get brighter and JP said that my second sunrise was fast approaching along with a “second wind”. I had read about this sensation and it was true. I was feeling more and more awake. Denise and the girls were at Merriman Road (mile 93.5) waiting for us. The girls were in the van since they had seen several skunks lurking about. Denise walked with us into the aid station and commented how fast we were still moving. We had continued to pass other runners since O’Neil woods and were sure there were others ahead. Fast stop here as we stepped over someone in a sleeping bag. I assumed that he was a volunteer? We said good-bye to my family and started toward Memorial Parkway, 3 miles away.

I had stopped drinking HEED at O’Neil Woods and went with water and Mt. Dew/Coke instead. I was ready for a change… We arrived at the Memorial Parkway aid station. (mile 96.4) Things were pretty quiet here and we topped off water and grabbed some food. I don’t remember what I ate here, but as we headed out we could see several runners and pacers going up the hill. JP and started off on our walk/run again.

I knew that there were a couple of short trail sections ahead that would be challenging with my feet feeling like they did. But I tried to just block out the discomfort and keep moving forward. This was my simple plan; “Just keep moving forward…” We continued to catch and pass runners as we went. Before long, we were in the Gorge and the final rocky section. I was following JP’s feet as he moved along the trail. There were a couple of rocks that he jumped over and I started to laugh because there was no way I was jumping… We emerged from the woods and had one short road section to go. Gina and Abby met us as we crossed the street and entered the finish chute. Vince’s dog got away from him and the dog darted across the path in front of me! Pretty funny as Joe said “One last obstacle for you…” Time of day: 7:28am !!! Run time 26 hours 28 minutes!

High-fives all around! We watched a few people come in and it was time to get my shoes off and let the Podiatry students have some fun. I had blisters on the balls of both feet, and one on my right heel. The students drained them and placed some bandages on my soles. Things felt much better. JP and I enjoyed a fine breakfast prepared by Chef Bill. My stomach had finally settled down! Maybe it was all of that running!

I changed my shirt and we decided to head home. The awards ceremony was 2 hours away and we were all pretty beat. I got my buckle from Joe and we headed home, dropping JP off at Happy Days to retrieve his car. I fell asleep within 5 minutes and do not remember the rest of the drive home!

Things I learned:

1) Do not ever underestimate what you can do! I know this sounds trite, but it is true.

2) Family and friends make the journey much more pleasant! Having Denise, Sylvia, Gina, and Abby there at the aid stations was priceless! Seeing Andy, Marty, Scott, Kirk, Lori, and Purwanto along the course throughout the day was an added bonus.

3) Lace your shoes properly. Enough said!

4) Just keep moving…

I went into this race knowing that this was a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. Denise and I had both agreed that there would not be a “next time” which was a huge motivator for me during the race. It turns out that everyone had a lot of fun during the day and Sunday evening Denise told me that Gina and Abby said, “We want to stay out all night the next time Daddy does this!” Hmmm, maybe there will be more….

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Well the endorphine buzz has departed and fatigue has set in... I knew this would happen but I did not know when it would.

My feet are feeling better. My legs and lower back are still tight/sore. Stretching will help, assuming I do them! I hope to get the race report posted soon. It was a long race, it will be a long report...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wow! What a day (and night)

I finished! 26 hours and 28 minutes to complete the 101.2 mile course. (Denise drove 160 miles while supporting me!) The photo is my pacer JP and I shortly after we crossed the finish line.

Fantastic course, weather, volunteers, crew, pacers, and friends. It was an amazing day that I will remember for a long long time.

Only 3 blisters; one nickle-sized on my right heel, and a golf-ball-sized one on the ball of each foot. (These hurt!) Everything else feels fine, other than the expected muscle soreness.

Race report with photos coming soon...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scared silly

I do not think that I have ever been so anxious before an event as I am now. I am having race nightmares about going off course, losing my pacer, forgetting to eat, general pre-race anxiety. But this week seems to be horrible...

I have placed some links on the left side of the blog for "Burning River Race info" The webcast should be interesting and let everyone follow the race as it unfolds. 'Race' is probably not the right word for me, I just want to finish! My previous post contains a pace chart with estimated time of arrival at aid stations, depending upon my pace. I would like to run a 27-28 hour pace, but we will have to see how the day unfolds.

Weather. Well, depending upon when you look at the forecast, it is good and bad. I have stopped looking. It looks like it will be hot, humid, with a chance of rain. Typical summer day.

Goals for the weekend:
1) Finish
2) Stay out of the hospital
3) Finish under 30 hours
4) Enjoy the experience because there will not be a "next time"...

Things remaining to do: Pack drop bags. I have all of my stuff, or at least everything that I plan on taking, I just need to organize it into piles for each aid station.

Just start running...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here is a pace chart for next weekend (Click on it for a larger view). It is hard to believe that next week at this time I hope to have finished the 100 miles! My goal for the day is simple: FINISH! This is all that matters. I think that if things go well, I will finish between 26 and 28 hours, but I honestly do not know.

The magnitude of this event is really sinking in. Most of you are probably saying "Duh!" right now, but as with all endurance activites, I cannot think of the entire event in one chunk. My mantra will be "Just get to the next aid station." It will be a true test of "how bad do I want it" and "can I keep going when everything is telling me to stop?"

Oh yes, the taper jitters are hitting me full force!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

42 wet minutes

Took a nice 42 minute run with Gina last night in the rain. We had a blast! Gina has always enjoyed rain and last night was no different. We normally walk to the park entrance from our house but I suggested that we jog easily instead since it was raining and we would keep warmer by running. She agreed and off we went.

Once we hit the cover of the woods, the sound was very pleasent and not quite as wet. We shared a lot of laughs, talked about my upcoming race, her upcoming cross-country season, and just enjoyed being in the woods. We stopped so that she could take her coat off and the rain tapered off a bit also. We made it to the vernal pools and started off on the red trail. We startled a baby deer from the brush and chuckled as it darted left, then right, in an effort to evade us. It did not realize that we really weren't chasing it!

The rain started again in earnest and Gina put her coat back on. The rain was really coming down hard and the puddles were forming on the trail. I told Gina the best part of running in the rain on the trails is that it is just easier to run through the water/mud instead of trying to avoid it. I suddenly heard lots of splashing and giggles as she did just that, ran right through the water and mud. Times like these are priceless!

We made it back home just in time for the rain to stop and the clouds to clear. I would not have changed a thing...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Note to self...

Abby and I rode the tandem 26 miles in the Medina Ice Cream Odyssey yesterday. It was a nice day and we had a really nice time together. I am glad that we only rode the shorter distance since the day turned hot. We returned home to see the recently-returned-home-from-camp Gina! We all missed her last week and it was fun to catch up and hear all about her week.

I woke up early this morning with some sort of flu. Denise then got it around 8am too. It hit me hard for 45 minutes early morning, then I was just feeling off. Denise was not so fortunate and has fought it off and on all day. She was planning on a 10 mile run and I wanted to get 20 in during the heat of the day.

I was feeling ok at 10am so I decided to go for it. I changed and drove over to the Alexander Road aid station with the plan of running to Egbert and back. Then I would run to Station road and back, hitting the tow path during the heat of the day. I have been dreading this part of the course since it is totally exposed and promises to be very uncomfortable for race day. I was doing my 8 minute run/2 minute walk plan today and it was working well. During the open section, I changed to a 4/1 instead. It was not too bad. I ended up getting the 20 miles in and then returned home.

Gina was itching for a run so I then took off for 30 minutes of run/walk with her. It was a very good day in the heat.

Oh yea, the title of today's blog, Note to self: Don't forget the body glide for race day. Lots of sweat and no glide makes for some uncomfortable post-run sensations...

Time to get the final drop bag plans completed, check lists for aid stations, and my "things to get before the race" list created. Time is going fast, confidence is growing. Lots of things to finalize and most important, don't panic!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Golf Clubs

I took Denise for a drive thursday evening to show her where some of the aid stations were located and to work out some logistics of how to get from point A to point B. We started at Happy Days and worked our way down towards Covered Bridge. We were discussing various options of when/where she would meet me during the day.

We stopped at the Covered Bridge and took a walk across it. We were both starting to realize the challenge of just trying to follow the race, yet alone run it. All I have to do is run and keep moving forward. Denise has to juggle driving to the different aid stations to supply me with moral support, extra food, shoes, socks, and other things not in my drop bags, while also keeping the girls and herself fed, returning home to let the dogs out, shuttling pacers if necessary, etc. We have always joked that it is easier to do a race than to watch/support one. In the ultra community the support group/team for a runner is called a crew. There is an acronym for C.R.E.W. that is probably pretty spot on: Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting

We were starting to leave the covered bridge parking lot and Denise all of a sudden stopped and stated, "I know what I am getting you for Christmas. Golf Clubs! You need a different Hobby!"

We drove to ONeil Woods, then to Merriman Road, then to Memorial Parkway. We then drove to the finish line and took a stroll along the sidewalk area at the finish. It will look a lot different August 3rd!

The plans are starting to gel... 2 weeks to go!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A different kind of training...

Gina is at camp. Denise and Abby are in NY visiting Denise's parents for a few days. So I took this opportunity for some guilt-free running. This is where I get to run as far and as much as I want because no one is home. Sunday, I ran two sections of the BR100 course:
  • Station Road to Carriage Trail and back.
  • Station Road to Ottawa Point and back.
20 miles total. I only got lost once when the Buckeye Trail took off from Riverview road. Lots of high grass and weeds hid the trail quite well. In fact, I almost fell into a small ditch and then almost smashed into a fallen log. The grass was covering these obstacles and I did not see them until the last moment. Once I got out of the weeds, I missed a trail marker and wandered for a few minutes before I found the trail again. I simply retraced my path from Ottawa Point to Station road to complete my day.

Monday evening I ran an hour after dark for some night training. I discovered that the new trail near our house has started construction and so I followed it a bit to see the progress. It is going to be very nice when completed!

I have been staying up way later than normal. As long as I keep active and doing something, I don't really feel tired. It is when I stop and relax, then it is "night-night" time... So the plan for race day is that: "Keep moving!" I know that a well timed cup of coffee or hit of Mountain Dew will help me stay awake also.

Tonight, I applied the first coat of stain onto the deck. My hand is sore from holding the brush for 2 hours. Tomorrow night, coat #2. The weather this week is fabulous with sunny days and no rain. Perfect opportunity to let the deck dry between coats.

I am so glad that Denise and Abby will return home tomorrow night. It is too quiet around here...