Saturday, March 29, 2008

The hills are alive...

... with the sound of my wheezing!!! Whew! I ran one lap of the FA course this morning. 15.75 miles. There are hills in the valley! All of my flat asphalt running has reared its ugly head. I knew this would be an interesting run and it lived up to expectations!

It was a beautiful morning! 25 degrees, sunny, the birds were singing! I think that spring is coming after all. The route started at Happy Days Visitor center and traveled around the ledges trail to Kendall Lakes. There are some great hills here with one reminding you of the opening scene of the "Sound of Music" (minus the Alps of course) I just 'had' to run up to the top of that hill today and it was all I could do to not do the 'slow twirl' and burst out in song at the top! Ah, what a little sunshine will do to lift my spirits!

I finished my run and was feeling ok. Denise and the girls said that they were going to the Bike Path for a short run and that we would meet at home. As I drove by the path, they were just getting started, so I pulled into the parking lot and ran/walked another 2 miles with them. They brought our Golden Retriever, Mia, along so I ran w/her. She became a little anxious when Denise and Gina ran ahead and disappeared from view.

Quick shower, lunch, and off for some shopping! More sun tomorrow and I can't wait!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


This picture was taken two years ago when we went to Charlottesville, VA where Denise ran the Marathon over Easter Weekend. This sign was outside the Gelato shop downtown. I don't think that Jesus really wanted gelato, but He is risen! That much is true!

Great week of running! I ran a fast 4 miles after work thursday in under 29 minutes. Remember all of you speed freaks, fast is relative! Yesterday I ran 20 miles in 2:53 and today I ran with Denise on her long run of 15 miles. This week's total mileage stands at 51 miles, and there is still tomorrow. I may try to sneak in 4 miles to flush the legs a bit. However, we may go the the zoo so the walking there will count for recovery.

This string of three runs back to back was huge confidence booster. I really felt good each day, no foot problems, just some tired legs today. I am sure that tomorrow I will be even more tired, but with some stretching and active recovery, things should be good. I am getting antsy to get back on the trails and off of the asphalt.

Things I need to work on:
1) Nutrition. Yesterday I ate only one clif bar and ~32 oz of gatorade during the run. That is not enough. Today, I just had 1 banana and ~16oz of gatorade for the 15 miles... One part of me wants to burn the fat, which is good, but another part of me wants to start the food experimentation to see what will work, what will not, what stays down, what will not, etc. There is plenty of time for that but I need to get my plan/stategy together.

2) Head games. Yesterday was not too bad for 20 miles since the weather was nice and conditions were pretty good. It was very quiet and empty for most of the run yesterday and today both. I have decided that I am tired of running by myself. That is why today's run was so good to spend over two hours with Denise running! Reminded me of the old days of riding the tandem together! Getting people to go out for 20 mile runs is not too easy either. I will have to get my schedule sync'd up with the group runs in the valley.

The Fool's FA run is coming up April 6th. This will start at Happy Days and provides 25K to 50K of some of the best trails in the valley. I am going for the 50K and maybe more. If I continue to have weeks like last week, it will be more!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I had a great 4 mile run this morning with a light rain falling and 50 degrees. I just finished a nice 2 mile walk with Denise and we were covered with snow by the time we returned! What is wrong with this picture?

I have a very bad case of spring fever and just want to see some sunshine and warmth! I know that the temperature and weather will improve, probably overnight, and I just need to be patient. Come August, I will be wishing for snow again...

Let's see, what else is happening around here? Gina's track tryouts were cancelled today due to weather. Abby is feeling better after her weekend bout with the bug. Denise's training for San Diego continues to go well.

We have decided upon a new sofa. We just need to get back to the store to order it. We have also decided to go with hardword flooring in the family room. Again, we just need to get the material ordered and I can spend a weekend hammering out some work stress! Nothing like a home improvement project to help reset the mind and attitudes.

Well, time to go brush a dog....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Where did last week go?

Oh my does time fly! Sorry about the lack of posts, the week just got away from me; let me see if I can summarize correctly...

I went on a field trip wednesday with Gina's school class to the University of Akron's Polymer Research facility. It was pretty interesting to see what they are doing there. I have to admit that the best part of the tour was the computational lab where the computer modeling occurs. Nothing like the sound of a couple of racks of servers screaming to get your motor running! (Ok, I'm a geek, I'll admit it...)

Took a nice 8 mile run after I returned home. That felt good to double my run milage of the previous week.

The temperature thursday after work was near 50 degrees and I enjoyed a 4 mile run in shorts!!! THAT really felt good and I had a smile on my face for the rest of the evening.

Yesterday morning I went up to South Chagrin metro park for my long run. My goal was 15-20 miles, depending upon trail conditions. I started at Shelter house and proceeded on the BR100 course backwards to the Polo fields. The trail conditions were marginal at best. There was still a lot of snow with a 'path' somewhat packed down. It really was not too runnable since it was so uneven. I ran at times in the untracked snow for easier footing. There were several sloppy parts and I was not really enjoying myself. I pushed on to the Polo field and then returned back via Chagrin River Road.

The road was much faster, but my feet took a beating in my trail shoes. There is great stability in these shoes, but minimal padding. Made it back to the car and I changed into my road shoes. I traveled the multi-purpose trail up the hill towards Harper Ridge Shelter. Then back down the hill to Aurora Road. I turned around and then headed back to the car.

I am guessing it was close to 16 miles, at least I am calling it 16 miles. 2 hours 45 minutes. not speedy, but time on feet.

This afternoon Denise and I ran 7.1 miles together. It was windy and cold,when facing the wind, but a good run. I enjoy running with her whenever I can. Denise's training for San Diego is going well for her. Like me, she is also getting anxious for warmer temperatures. It is going to feel good to sweat!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Week in review

Well, there is not much to review, running-wise. A meager 8 miles running, 17.5 miles of biking on the trainer, and approx 3 hours of snow shoveling... I guess this was a nice recovery week.

The storm this weekend was pretty neat, once Gina and I returned safely from Akron... There was a lot of snow and it was really pretty this morning with the sun shining and clear sky. The neighborhood was buzzing as everyone was trying to dig their cars out of the snow drifts and clearing their driveways. Our driveway was completly cleared today with the sunshine melting the remnants of the snow.

It was actually nice to ride the bike again for a change of pace. Maybe a triathlon would be fun to do again someday. I need to get back into the water first!!! That is scary...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Some snow pictures

Gina and the snow cave

Abby and the snow cave

Gina and Abby

Mia looking a bit frosty!

Plan "B"

Running this week has been crazy! Ice, flooding, more sleet, and today, near blizzard conditions! Ah, spring is just around the corner!

I took Gina to University of Akron this morning for swimming Silver Champs. She was supposed to swim last night too but we skipped the drive down in the crappy weather. We made it down ok this morning with the roads being ok, not great, but do-able. The drive home this afternoon however was a different story. Much more snow and wind, making for some 'interesting' driving. On top of it all, our Honda mini van has to be the absolute WORST vehicle for winter driving! We could not even get out of the parking lot at the swim meet. I parked on a slight incline and the silly van was not able to get out of its own way. Fortunately, a couple of college students pushed us out. Thanks guys! Gina and I made it home after stopping at Subway for lunch and we picked up a couple of extra sandwiches for dinner.

My planned 20 mile run for tomorrow is scratched unless I get some snowshoes! Instead, I decided to go for plan B: Bike in the Basement! I dusted off my bike and training stand and completed a 30 minute ride. That was all that my bottom was able to stand. It was sad that I cleared my bike computer of the 56 mile ride that Abby and I completed on the tandem during STOMP last september... I obviously have not been cycling much. It was a nice ride and I will ride again tomorrow! After I dried the sweat off, I went outside and shoveled the driveway. I cleared the path and 2 inches had already fallen... At least I will not have as much to clear tomorrow!

The girls just came in from outside! They were playing "I should not be alive", which is a TV show that tells various survival stories. They were "in Alaska" and had to find shelter during a blizzard. They created a snow cave in the pile of snow beside the garage and were having a blast! Denise was just shaking her head but I said there is no better place to practice these things than in your own yard!! It was good to see them outside, laughing, and just being kids!

Notice Gina's feet coming out of the right side of the snow cave ...

Oh yeah, they just announced that the swim meet for tomorrow has been cancelled! Now we can sleep in...

One day closer to spring!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Swim, Run, Sleep, Run

Gina had Gold Champs yesterday at CSU and she dropped 4 seconds off of her 100 backstroke!!! Incredible race and I am so proud and happy for her. She works really hard in practice and it is good to see the efforts pay off for her!

I was supposed to do 20 miles saturday and 10 miles today, but due to scheduling issues, I flipped them. My friend Paul joined me for a bit over 6 of those 10 miles. I have to say that Paul still runs like a gazelle, even though he says that he is 'out of shape'. Those were some of the fastest 6 miles I have run in a while. I completed the 10 miles with a 7:48 avg pace... It was great to catch up with him. Paul was my main training partner for Ironman and I miss those "14-Hills" bike rides together.

After dinner, Denise and I laid on the bed to listen to a violin concerto together. I promptly fell asleep and the next thing I know is that it is 10pm!!! I changed out of my clothes into some pajamas and continued to sleep until 2am when Forrest started barking to be let out... Since I already had 8 hours of sleep, I went down stairs with him. (This was the most sleep that I have had in a long time and it felt pretty good!)

I completed my 20 miles today in just under 3 hours. It seemed like "National walk your dog day" on the bike path but I did not mind. It was boring doing laps but it was better than slogging through the snow or fighting the icy parkway paths.

Random thoughts:
Paul asked me how my body was holding up to the training. I am tired, but I feel pretty good. It is the mental part that is getting to me. I am tired of the cold and wind. The work project is getting crazier and crazier. This time of year is always tough. It seems like "Yippee! We made it through February!" But there are those "10 weeks" of March to get through before Spring really arrives. (Along with the mud!!)

But, I have lots to be thankful for:
A great wife
Two great daughters
I am healthy
I am able to enjoy running in the crazy weather that NE Ohio throws out!

All in all, I guess that I cannot/should not complain.