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.