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!