Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finished!

The basement project is finished!!! (Well, some minor paint touch-up remains)

The sofa arrived yesterday afternoon and we all worked and had it assembled shortly after-wards. We are pretty happy with the way the basement turned out and it kept me busy for most of the year.

I guess the next project is the upstairs bathroom; the only part of the house that we have not touched. A fresh coat of paint and a tile floor will provide a nice makeover. I guess that project will start after the holidays...well after the holidays!

Running has been hit-and-miss with more missed than hit. This break feels pretty good and it gives me time and energy to focus on other things that need attention now. I'll get next year's plan(s) in place in a few weeks.

For now, the rest feels pretty good!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Night run: "whoo...whoo..who is out there"

I met Paul and his dog Corky at Liberty park for an early evening run. He is training for the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman, and I am more than willing to help him get his third IM finish! It was dark when we started and the remnants of a rain squall were fresh in the air and on the ground. A quick lap around the meadow and into the woods we went.

The fallen leaves made trail navigation interesting since the ground all looked the same. Instead, we ran by 'feel'. If we got off-track, the ground was much softer; on track, the ground was packed hard. After a while we realized that Corky knew her way pretty well and stuck to the trail; except when she darted off after a deer.

We were pelted with some sleet for a few minutes and then the clouds blew away and the stars came out. We were making our way back to the car when I noticed something fly through the trees in front of us. It was too big to be a bat and I immediately thought owl! Sure enough, it flew past us and lighted on a tree limb 20ft up and just off of the trail. We stopped to get a better look at this nice-sized barred owl and (s)he just looked at us back.

Good company, great trails, and wildlife sightings!! It doesn't get much better than this!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Run With Scissors Race Report

Short version: It took me 11 hours 22 minutes to cover 53.7 miles of mud and hills! It was an incredibly wonderful and beautiful day in the woods! Thanks to Roy and all of the volunteers for a great event!!

Longer version:

This race was advertised as a “double marathon+” distance, and a last minute course change provided a 53.7-mile course. The race application also said that there was a chance of “really crappy weather” too! Fortunately, the crappy weather stopped the night before, but its effects were felt for the entire day.

The course consisted of two laps, each a marathon-“ish” distance, and was divided into the following segments:

  • Ledges Shelter to Pine Hollow (approx 4 miles)
  • Pine Hollow to the Covered Bridge (approx 7 miles)
  • A loop of the Riding Run and Perkins Trails back to Covered Bridge (Approx 5 miles)
  • Covered Bridge to Pine Hollow (approx 7 miles)
  • Pine Hollow to Ledges Shelter (approx 4 miles)

The 5am start found us lined up at the Ledges Shelter in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where Roy Heger, the race director, shouted “Go!” Off we went into the woods with headlamps blazing! It was really neat to see the snaking stream of headlamps as we went down and up and around the trail in the dark! The night sky was ablaze with stars and frost was forming on the exposed grassy areas! The temperature was a few degrees warmer under the cover of the trees in the woods. I spent way too much time before the start fretting over how may layers to wear and eventually settled on shorts, my tri-singlet, and a long-sleeved shirt. Headband and gloves completed my outfit. This combination turned out to be perfect!

I paused for a quick bathroom break at Pine Hollow and got separated from the group I was running with. I then fell in behind a couple of guys and started on the Wetmore bridle trail. There is a reason this trail is named “WET-more.” The rain over the past couple of days provided for a muddy, slippery mess! Of course the fallen leaves did their best to mask the true nature of the surface until you were ankle deep into the mire. It was pretty fun to be at the BACK of the group and listen to the shrieks as another mud pit was discovered! It paid to be a little slow… We finished the Wetmore trail section and then traveled around the muddy corn field(s) on our way to the Covered Bridge aid station.

Roy’s instructions were for us to get a pair of scissors at the Covered Bridge aid station and then start looking for ‘Red Skeleton” on the Perkins Trail, who would be holding a book. We then had to cut a picture from the book and hand in the photo to the aid station workers at the Covered Bridge upon our completion of the loop. As I turned onto the Perkins Trail, I made a note to myself to start to look for Red. It was not hard to find him since he was sitting in a chair, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A STREAM CROSSING! I laughed pretty hard when I saw him and then said a few words as I balanced on some rocks, trying to keep my feet semi-dry. Yes, they were muddy, but not totally soaked, yet!

Daybreak had arrived and I was able to turn off my headlamp and enjoy the colors of the woods! It was absolutely stunning with the leaves both on the trees and on the ground! The sky was clear and the sunshine felt good when I arrived back at the Covered Bridge. I knocked the frost off of my drop bag and left my headlamp there. I also grabbed my hat but kept my headband with me, just in case.

I started back to Pine Hollow via the hilly and muddy Wetmore trail. I was starting to feel tired and decided that I needed to back off my pace a bit if I wanted to complete lap number two. It was mentally difficult as the marathon runners would pass by, but I tried to just keep moving. Finally made it to Pine Hollow after what seemed like a very long time, and knew that in only 4 more miles I would have to do this all over again… Not a good thought so I admired the scenery some more at Kendall Hills as I ran!

I was leap-frogging a guy from Pine Hollow to the Ledges Shelter and when we arrived, he quickly went back out for lap two. I wanted to change my shirt and poor planning had me going to my car to retrieve it instead of leaving a drop bag at the shelter! I started off on lap two and caught back up with Frank. I would catch him on the up-hills, he would leave me behind on the down-hills. I started to feel really bad here; no energy, my knees were achy, and I was just tired of the mud. I tried to think ‘happy thoughts’ but it wasn’t working. I then remembered a lesson I learn from Ironman: Whenever you feel the least bit negative, eat/drink something. So I ate a Tri-berry gu. Tasted pretty good and a few minutes later, I ate a few bites of a powerbar. Suddenly, my second-wind was arriving and I was starting to feel better I took another Gu, just to make sure and I was soon arriving at the Covered Bridge aid station once again! The best part was that Denise, Gina, and Abby were waiting for me there! My friend Kirk surprised me by also coming out to see us running!

I arrived just after Frank did and we departed together. I explained that I felt pretty good again and was “going to make hay while the sun was shining!” I was feeling ok and made sure that I kept eating and drinking. I was running by myself now since the runners were spaced pretty far apart. It was a constant battle to keep telling myself to "just run" whenever I would want to stop. These ultra runs are as much of a mental test as a physical one.

I cut another picture out of the book and completed the Perkins loop for the last time. I arrived at Covered Bridge aid station, changed into a short-sleeved shirt, grabbed some food, and said good-bye to my family. Denise said they would meet me again at Pine Hollow. Off I went myself towards the finish...

There were lots of people on the trails due to the nice weather and I felt like an Ultra-public-relations person explaining what we were doing out there in the woods. It was fun to watch the expressions on their faces as I said we were running a double-marathon! I would just smile and keep moving... I was running alone now and the mental battle was ongoing to just keep moving and to remember to eat and drink. Pretzels, ginger snaps, and bananas all were tasting pretty good. The occasional GU was thrown in also for good measure. It was working and I kept moving.

Pine Hollow the last time was a very welcome sight since I only had 4 more miles to go. The sun and fall colors were blazing and it was a fantastic day! The girls were having a blast running up and down the hills, reliving the Cross-Country meet held there a few weeks ago, and Denise just loved soaking up the sunshine. Quick food stop and off for the final leg.

I was pretty happy to see the ledges trail sign and to be able to run the final section across the field to the finish! It was nice to see Dave Peterman, the overall race winner, hanging around to cheer for us slow-folks! I received my coffee cup from Roy and enjoyed some great food from Chef Bill. A perfect day!


Surprises:

I knew that the Wetmore and Perkins trails would be muddy and I was not disappointed. What was suprising however was how slippery the Kendall Hills section was. The grass/mud combo was like ice in places and pretty sloppy.


Lessons learned:

Keep on top of my nutrition. It seems that I am always learning this... Pretzels. ginger snaps, and bananas worked well for me.

I should have backed off the pace a bit earlier on the first lap. I may have saved myself some time on the second lap had I done so...


Spilts for the geeks in us that care:

Lap #1

Ledges to Pine Hollow: 44:43

Pine Hollow to Covered Bridge: 1:20:47

Riding Run/Perkins: 1:02:37

Covered Bridge to Pine Hollow: 1:21:18

Pine Hollow to Ledges Shelter: 54:11


Marathon time: 5:23:37 (would have been 16th out of 48)

5:47 spent changing shirts...

Lap #2

Ledges to Pine Hollow: 54:24

Pine Hollow to Covered Bridge: 1:22:40

Riding Run/Perkins: 1:11:57

Covered Bridge to Pine Hollow: 1:31:45

Pine Hollow to Ledges Shelter: 52:21

Total time: 11:22:36 (12th out of 22)



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A PR at Columbus!

No, not me; Denise!!! This was the 9th Marathon that she has run and was not really sure of what to expect. She loves the Columbus course and as always, was shooting for a sub 4-hour finish. The day started off COLD, at least for us watching, but perfect running weather with sunshine and 30-something degrees.

Gina, Abby, and I watched the start and then waited for all of the 15,000 runners to pass by so that we could get to the Starbucks across the street! The plan was to get coffee/hot cocoa and then catch Denise at the 8 mile and 12 mile points on the course. These locations were within 3 blocks of the starting line, making it pretty easy to get around. The line at Starbucks was loooonnnnnggggg, but we had plenty of time to get to the 8 mile marker. We watched as E-Speed flew by on her way to a 3:05 finish and saw Jim pacing the 3:20 group. I would like to be able to run that fast, yet alone pacing that fast....wow!

Denise came by and said that she was going much faster than expected but was going to hang on as long as she could. I exchanged some full bottles for her empty ones and she was off! We walked the short distance to High Street and listened to the National Guard band as they played for the runners. Denise came by again and this time said, "I am going to crash and I don't care! This is fun!" Oh boy...

We made our way back to the car and made the short drive to the 19 mile point. The sun was shining bright and it was a great morning! Denise came by again and said "I am dying here..." I replied, "Just keep moving!" Back into the car we went and drove to the finish line.

It is fun to watch the expressions of the runners as they complete the last few tenths of a mile. Some look overjoyed, others look like death warmed over.... The crowds here are great and almost every runner gets that "I am almost done" grin on their face. Other who realize a PR is near or a BQ is in hand, have even bigger smiles!

We see Denise coming and a quick glance at my watch shows that she is well under 4 hours and dangerously close to a PR. I borrowed/modified a line from Lance Armstrong and shouted "Run like you stole something!" She turned the corner towards the finish and we started down the hill to meet her, all with smiles on our faces!

As we waited for Denise, Abby received a 'tweet' with the finish time and we realized that Denise PR'd by 11 seconds!!! Whoohoo!!!

Two days later, Denise is still smiling....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The "REAL" Run with Scissors Route...

Of course, after I posted the route/map yesterday, I discovered that the route has changed. The Run With Scissors site contains all of the details...

The route will be much better than the earlier one since the towpath section is eliminated! Instead, we will be treated to the Riding Run and Perkins Trails, in reverse direction than usual. Should be a fun fun day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

26.2 mile route Map and Description

The course description is what Roy handed to us on one of the "Run with Scissors" training runs. I have updated this post to reflect the fact that the course for the race has changed but I will leave this here as a reference. This is a great loop to run regardless...

The start/finish line is at the Ledges Shelter, on the right-hand-side of the map, halfway down... This is also the start/finish line for the Winter Run for Regis race (Winter BT50K).

Course Description

The run begins at the Ledges Shelter. Follow the Ledges Shelter access road, cross Truxell Road, and turn right.
Enter Kendall Lake parking lot and make an immediate left onto the Lake Trail.
Follow the Lake Trail until it intersects the Cross Country Trail and turn left.
Stay on the Cross Country Trail staying to the right when you reach the Little Meadow Fork. You will turn left at the trail post and run two large, steep hills ending at the Pine Hollow Aid Station. (Mile 4 and 30.2) There is crew access at Pine Hollow.

Leave Pine Hollow Aid Station to the South on the grass next to the parking area. You will pass Crowfoot Gully and turn right at the the south end of the Little Meadow parking lot.
After crossing Quick Road, take an immediate left onto Wetmore Trail.
Make a left turn onto Langes Run Trail at the orange fence marking the closed area of Wetmore Trail.
Upon reaching Robinson Field, exit over the bridge and down the driveway to the Akron Peninsula Road crossing at the entrance to the Valley Bridle Trail.
The Valley Bridle Trail section ends with a short Bolanz Road section, crossing the Cuyohoga River, ending at the Bolanz Road Aid Station. (Mile 9.9 and 36.1)

Depart Bolanz Road Aid Station to the north on the Towpath Trail. Stay on the Towpath Trail ending at the Boston Store Aid Station. (Mile 15.7 and 41.9) There is crew access at this aid station.

Follow the Towpath Trail south to it's junction with the Valley and Buckeye Trails, turn left on Valley/Buckeye Trail and left again on the Buckeye Trail. The Buckeye Trail section ends at the Pine Lane Aid Station. (Mile 19.9 and 46.1) There will be limited aid at Pine Lane.

CAREFULLY cross State Route 303 on the Valley Bridle Trail and proceed on Valley to the tower, down the gravel driveway, and make a left turn onto the dirt trail leading to the next Akron Peninsula Road crossing at the Golf Course.
When the Valley Trail intersects Akron Peninsula Road again, turn left onto Akron Peninsula Road, facing traffic.
Enter the Salt Run Trailhead and turn to the left when you reach the main trail.
Salt Run will return you to the Lake Trail.
Turn right onto the Lake Trail, keeping Kendall Lake to your left.
Follow the trail through the tunnel ending at the Kendall Shelter Aid Station. (Mile 24.6 and 50.8 )

Head north into the parking lot, cross Truxell Road and climb the trail to Ledges Trail.
A rocky climb will take you to the overlook and on into the open field ending loop one at 26.2 miles. There is crew access at the Ledges Shelter Aid station.

Double marathon runners repeat this loop.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It seems like yesterday...


I seems like just yesterday that I was changing her diapers! Last night was Gina's first high-school home-coming dance and she looked magnificent! (Yes, I am biased, but I have every right to be!) She had a good time with her friends and we are all pretty tired today. The rain finally stopped yesterday and the fall colors are in full bloom! We are trying to enjoy this as much as we can before the snow starts flying!
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Friday, September 25, 2009

0-dark-thirty

"O-dark-thirty" is a phrase that I heard a while back that typically is used in context of very early morning... The Twinsburg High School Band was on Fox 8 news this morning, meaning that Gina had to be at school at 4:45am! I decided to take advantage of this and started my run this morning at 5am. 10 miles of trails, in the dark, watching the eyes(deer) watching me, listening to the owls call out to each other, and trying not to trip too much on the roots!

It was a great run! I had a mild bout of stomach upset from the cup of tea I drank but a Tums quickly calmed that down. I felt good running and it was nice and quiet in the woods. I attached my smaller headlamp to my waist belt and the extra contrast helped me miss most of the roots. A single headlamp, on your head, will usually wash-out the roots due to lack-of-contrast from the line-of-sight and line-of-illumination being the same. Having another light at a different angle helps to illuminate obstacles better. I just have to pick up my feet enough to avoid them...

Another crazy weekend in store for us. Cross-country meet, football game, basement painting, etc. It will be busy but fun. The leaves are really starting to drop from the trees and

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It is dark out!

I will try to recap the past week or so since I have been blog-slacking a bit.... Last friday I used my last vacation day and ran a lap of the Run With Scissors course. I managed to run the correct course! and also managed to shave approx 30 minutes of time off too! I will not run the race at that pace but my estimate of sub-10 hours seems realistic, depending upon the weather/trail conditions. A nice 10 mile follow-up run Sunday went very well and I was able to hold a great pace throughout.

I have been running in the mornings before work and this means that my headlamp is required. My pace is a lot slower in the dark, but I don't have to worry about crowded trails either! An interesting encounter this morning occurred as I exited the woods onto the bike path. There was an elderly couple standing on the bike path looking back towards me. Of course, I turn to look behind me to see what they were looking at! The gentleman stated "That is what we saw in the woods!" They were looking at me! They had seen my headlamp as I ran along the ridge and could not figure out what it was. We had a short walk/talk together and I turned off into the woods again to complete my 8 miles.

Life just keeps getting crazier and crazier this fall. School activities for the girls, home projects, work, etc. are all adding up to make training very challenging. Denise and I are becoming more creative than usual in an attempt to get the miles in. Fortunately, there are only a few short weeks left before Columbus(Denise) and Run With Scissors(me). This is both good and bad: Good because we can take a break, bad because we never feel like we have trained enough!

This is where experience comes to play: Trust the training, have a plan, and be prepared to adjust/adapt when things don't go as planned! Because rarely does a race, or life, go as planned...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kamikaze groundhog

I am still out here, just not blogging much. The family schedule this fall is crazier than expected, leaving little spare time...

A funny story from yesterday's run: I was running in the Center Valley Park in Twinsburg for a fast 6 miles (fast for me anyways) and as I rounded a corner of the trail, a groundhog was running full-speed straight at me! It took a moment or two for me to realize that indeed, this stupid critter was running at me! I started my attempts at stopping/slowing down/changing direction to avoid this thing when suddenly he darted into his burrow at the edge of the trail, just 3 feet from me! I guess that he thought it better to run to safety toward the threat than away from it... Anyways, I had a good chuckle from this and I am guessing that the groundhog was feeling pretty good about himself also.

I am taking my last vacation day this friday and am going to run one lap of the "Run With Scissors" course again. I should throw on a few extra miles at the end for 30, but we'll see how I feel. I love this fall weather and will try to take advantage of it as long as I can.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Run with Scissors" Training run...

Yesterday was the first familiarization run for the "Run with Scissors" double marathon. This is the 3rd year for the race and it will be held October 25th. Twenty-four runners met in the Ledges Shelter parking lot where Roy passed out route descriptions and explained the course a bit for us. Shortly after 8am, we started running.

The morning was nice and cool, more like late september rather than the end of August, but I was not complaining. A short road section to Kendall Lake and then the trails begin. We stopped at Pine Hollow for a refill of water and then off to the Wetmore trails! I have only run on the western part of this area and the route covered the eastern section. Very nice trails and the mud was not too bad. Roy would periodically run ahead and do his best Scarecrow imitation to help show us where to turn.

Before long, we arrived at the Hunt Farm visitor's center on Bolanz road. This is the 9.9 mile mark of the loop and started the 5.5 mile slog on the towpath to Boston Store. Most people love the towpath for its even surface and flat terrain. Exactly the reasons that most trail runners dislike the towpath. Denise and I had just recently run 20 miles down here and it was all too familiar to me. However, the miles passed quickly as our group headed north towards Boston Store. I left the lock 29 area before the group and ran with Roy for a bit to Boston. That guy can move!

Back to the trails at Boston Store. I left Boston Store with Dave and we headed to Pine Lane on the Buckeye Trail. Once again, the conversations help the miles to pass quickly and as we entered the pine root section, there was Roy pointing the way for us! We left him at Boston Store, how did he get here so fast? Dave and I had a nice pace going and arrived at Pine Lane to be greeted by, you guessed it, Roy again!!! This time he had food! Some pretzel sticks and chips-ahoy cookies really hit the spot! Thanks Roy!

By now, Dave and I were wondering where Roy was going to show up next and made our way towards the Salt Run trail. Here is where I misunderstood Roy's directions and we ran on the road from the Golf course to the trail-head instead of taking the Bridle trail and back-tracking a bit to the trail-head. This shortened our day a little, but neither Dave nor I complained.

We headed back towards the Ledges after a quick stop at Kendall Shelter. Brandon caught up with us along this section and the three of us caught up with Suzanne and Sharon as they were climbing up to the Overlook. A nice run across the field to the parking lot ended lap #1. (26 miles) Race day will see us running this loop again... Oh yeah, Roy met us here too!

It was a great day: The trails were fantastic (as usual), the rain held off, and lots of good conversations! Just a bit over 5 hours elapsed time, 4:48 running time.

Just think, that was only 1/2 way...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just about as good as it gets...

Nice 4.5 mile run this morning in the cool fall-like conditions. However, the woods were very dark and there were lots of 'strange' noises! Some deer eyes were reflected by my headlamp along with a raccoon in a tree. There was something else off in the distance that I could not recognize and I just kept running, with an elevated heart rate!!!

I had a great run sunday afternoon with JP to close out a 45 mile week! I am looking forward to a lap of the "Run With Scissors" course this weekend. I am feeling good and the miles are ramping up well. I just want to keep it that way!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"BOOMING" on the towpath

I took friday as a vacation day from work and went with Denise down to the towpath for a run. Her training for the Columbus Marathon had her doing 18 miles this weekend and she decided that 20 was better. Humid start to the morning and we started heading north from Boston Store towards Station Road. The towpath was empty and quiet and peaceful and before we knew it, Station road was here. Quick break to refill water bottles and we start the return trip back to Boston Store.

A few more people had started to venture out and the sun was trying to poke through the clouds. I was hoping that it would stay cloudy to keep the temperatures down a bit, but the humidity was more than making up for it.

Stopped at Boston Store to refill water and kept going south. The plan was to turn around at Bolanz Road to make the 20 mile distance. There are several sweet corn fields along the towpath and the farmer has placed noise-makers in them to keep the birds/deer at bay. These sound like shot-guns going off randomly and needless to say, kept Denise on her toes!

We turned around at Bolanz and started back. We knew that this last 5 miles would where the real training would occur for today. Once again, we were running past the corn fields when all of a sudden BOOM! one of those guns went off right next to us! I jumped, the two guys on bikes that we approaching us jumped, and Denise let out a scream! We kind-of chuckled a bit after this and I asked Denise if she wanted to walk a bit to settle her nerves. She stated that she did not want to waste the adrenaline and to keep running!

Once back to Boston Store, we changed clothes and noticed that the "Trail Mix" store was open. All of a sudden ice cream sounded good and we each had a Starbucks icecream bar! By far the best treat that I have had in a long time!

We are going back to the valley today for a family hike around the Ledges and then a Birthday Celebration for Denise! I am meeting JP for a run tomorrow afternoon which will wrap up a pretty good week!

Monday, August 17, 2009

20 miles in the valley

I managed to get back to the Buckeye Trail for 20 miles saturday morning. It felt really good to get back onto the section between Boston Store and Ottawa Point. I have not run that section yet this summer! I know, slacker...

The trail was pretty quiet and saw only a couple of hikers and Paul L. who was running the opposite direction. I had dropped water at Snowville road and was glad that I did since the temperatures climbed quickly. I arrived at Boston Store with 19 miles and took a short out-and-back on the towpath for the 20th mile. I thought 20 sounded better than 19, and I felt good in spite of the heat.

Good run and I am looking forward to the first group training run for the Run with Scissors race on August 30th. Should be a good time!!!

The basement project is in the sanding phase. Lots of drywall dust and I think that I am finished with the first half. Now it is time to move everything over to the other side so that I can continue the spackling process. Maybe I'll be done by thanksgiving...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Its Hot Outside: Finally!

Wow! The august heat arrived overnight and my run this morning felt like a sauna! We have had a very cool summer so far and it is good to finally have the heat! It actually felt good to sweat so much that my clothes clinged to my skin. I also have to admit that after 2 hours, I started to get tired of it!

I ran over towards Liberty Park again this morning. The woods were steamy and there were peaks of the morning sun piercing through the trees, making for some very cool looking beams of light. I scared out 7 very large wild turkeys and a few deer. The woods were actually pretty quiet and it was nice to be able to just run and clear my head of the daily noise that seems to get louder and louder. 3 hours of running this morning was a good start...

I filled out my application for the "Run with Scissors Double Marathon" today and can't wait to spend another day running in the valley. I want to use this race to start my training for next year's Burning River 100.

One more week of summer vacation for the girls before school starts. The tension level has gone up a notch this weekend. Gina started band camp last week and Abby will start cross-country this week. Both girls are excited about school, but the first couple of weeks are always a huge adjustment.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 Burning River 100 Crew/Pacer Race Report

Our family had decided to help Maria crew and I would help pace JP for this year's Burning River 100 race. JP had paced me the last 30 miles of last years race and this was my turn to reciprocate. His training went well and he was optimistic for an expected 27 hour finish time. The weather was a bit warmer than what we had been used to with temperatures in the mid-80s and a chance of rain overnight.

I went to the Shadow Lake aid station to see how he was doing. He was right on pace for 26-27 hours and feeling good. His shoes got wet in the earlier stream crossings and he already had some blisters forming. A quick lube of the feet along with a shoe/sock change and he was off. So far so good.

Denise, Gina, Abby, and I then went to the Station Road aid station where the runners would come through twice, giving us a good perspective on their condition. Again, JP was on track for 27 hours and was starting to feel the heat a bit. His feet were not getting worse, but not getting better either. But, he was moving well and still on track.

We went home for a nap and would see him at Boston Store. As we were leaving home, Maria texted to say that JP just left Boston Store the first time. We arrived and setup camp to await his return. Still on pace, still looking good, and still confident. I was getting anxious to run with him and asked if he wanted me to start pacing now instead of waiting until Happy Days. He said he felt fine and would wait until Happy Days, per the original plan.

We drove off to Happy Days and I was able to see Nick depart, Brian storm in and out, and help Lori get her headlamp set before she started to pace Kirk. Kirk was tearing up the course for his first 100 mile run and said he was not very happy with me for getting him involved in this race! He and Lori ran into me last year randomly during the day and the ultra bug bit Kirk pretty hard!

JP arrived at the aid station just before midnight, a bit later than we expected, but still on 27-28 hour pace. He downed some food and off we went towards the ledges trail. JP's stomach had started to go south and he was feeling pretty nauseous. After the climb to the ledges trail, he finally was able to purge his stomach and felt much better. But now of course, his nutrition was gone. Still feeling queasy, we continued towards Pine Hollow. JP's legs were now feeling the effects of 70+ miles and his feet were becoming numb from the blisters.

Maria and Denise met us at the aid station and off we went towards the Covered Bridge. We had a great pace going through the woods and the rain started to gently fall. We could hear the rain hitting the leaves but we were not getting wet. The perfect kind of rain! JP was not able to eat anything due to his nausea and the inevitable "bonk" began. The only food we had with us was some gels/gu, clif bars, and gatorade. None of these would stay down for JP. Even water was causing the dry heaves and it was getting ugly real fast.

I knew that if we could get to the aid station, he would be much much better. The problem was that the aid station was 1.5 miles away! We would walk a bit, pause and regroup, walk a few more steps, regroup, repeat. It was real slow going, but at least we were going! I became more concerned when JP would start to throw in some weaving, shivering, and feeling light-headed. This was a deep bonk... I started to discuss options with JP: Quit now! (Not an option but I had to say it.) Keep doing whatever we had to to get to the aid station and get the nausea under control. Then eat some calories, let his body absorb them, and get outta there. We now had another enemy approaching: The cut-off times...

We finally arrived at the covered bridge and Tanya got some ginger ale and saltines for JP. These were just the ticket. As JP was regrouping, two more people arrived and I overheard a volunteer say that they just made the arrival cutoff by 6 minutes! Oh boy... I knew the next 4.5 miles were some of the toughest of the day even without having the rain falling! We had 1.5 hours to do this loop. I knew that a miracle would be needed in order to pull this off, but we had to at least try. We would not let JP quit, they would have to pull us from the course.

We left the aid station and started the climb up the Perkins Trail. It was raining. It was muddy. It was not very pretty... Without the mud, without the blisters, we had a small chance, but this was not our day. We exited the woods to cross Everett road and decided to just walk down the road to the aid station. We missed the cut-off, so what if we cut the course now... As we were walking, a park ranger pulled up and asked if we needed help. (we must have looked bad...) We told him what happened and he offered a ride back. Of course we took him up on it! He dropped us off and we reported in with Tanya and our day was over.

The good news: JP completed 82 miles and set a PR for the first 50 miles. He is still able to walk and will be able to run again. They say that DNF means, Did Nothing Fatal...

The bad news: JP will probably lose most of his toenails, and he has some unfinished business with this race.

What did I learn from this? No matter how much we prepare and plan, something can always go wrong, and probably will. Keep moving, keep trying to recover, and do what you can. If it turns out that you are not successful, well, at least you did not give up. We now know what to do, or not to do, the next time it happens.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"...and they're off!"

The third installment of the Burning River 100 mile race is underway! It is a beautiful morning here now with clear sunny skies and temperatures are expected to hit low t0 mid 80's; a bit warmer than what we are used to this summer, but at least it is not 95!

There is a slight chance of rain tonight so maybe I'll get to finally run in the rain, in the dark! I am going to pickup JP at the Happy Days aid station, somewhere between 10:30 and midnight, and pace him for the last 30 miles! He got me to the end last year, it is my turn now! He is targeting a 27-hour finish time and my job is to get him to Cuyahoga Falls by 8am tomorrow morning!

I am going to head over to shadow lake in an hour to watch some runners come through and hopefully see JP and Kirk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BR100 pre-race planning

Denise and I met JP and Maria tonight at Panera to discuss the Burning River 100 race-day plans. I am planning on pacing JP for the last 30-40 miles and we will show up at some earlier aid stations to help Maria crew JP. It was fun to discuss the plans for the day knowing full well that things will not go as planned! But JP has the contingency plans in place and we will see what the day throws at him! He is so ready for this!!!

I have been exploring the local trails and have discovered some great new ones at Liberty Park! Nice ledges and caves along with some great single-track. Summit County Metro Parks have been busy with trail building and I cannot wait for them to be finished! I want/need to borrow someone's garmin to see how to connect two the sections of the park together. I have not been brave enough to bush-whack my way to make my own connection. I would rather have a bird's-eye view first to see how close the two sections are. I think a spring FA in the park would be a fun thing to organize...

Summer is going fast and we have been enjoying the crazy-mild weather! I am sure that the hot-humid stuff is coming, probably in October! We are all running the Monastra 5K saturday in Hudson. I really don't like 5K races but this is for a good cause and it will be fun to have the entire family participating!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Additions...



We have been talking about getting another cat for a while and had decided to wait until one of our other pets passed on first...to much chaos in the household... But, there always is a but isn't there?, Abby spotted this guy's picture on Pet-Finder and we decided that we could not wait!

We drove out to Middleburg Heights wednesday evening and picked up "Gilbert". He is a black and white long-haired bundle of energy! He is adjusting well to the other pets, and they are accepting him also. Abby and Gina both are having a blast with him and have assumed the daily chores of caring for him. He is a blast to have around the house...

I took a run towards Libery Park friday morning where I was going to meet Abby, Liv, and Josh for their CC training run. They wanted me to show them the new trail that winds down towards the ledges. As I was making my way over there, I discovered that the Metro Parks have been very busy with trail construction. There is a new trail going in behind the old field off of Post Road. A boardwalk is under construction that takes you into a marsh area. It is really remote and looks to be a great place for bird watching. The trail then goes back into the woods and winds along the base of some other spectacular rocks and ledges! Very green and lush back there.

I then continued towards the park and found what I thought would be a connector trail that headed south towards the park. There were the little 'dots' on the trees that the Metro Parks seem to use for trail markers and it was a nice single track going through the woods. Then, suddenly, the trail just disappeared... I scouted around a bit to see if I could find it again, but I did not have the time to explore since I needed to meet the kids. I want to get back there soon and continue that route. That area could make for a nice 5-10K trail run for Twinsburg!

We took a trip to Farm Park with our neighbors and went to Blossom for the 4th of July concert. Traveled to Solon last night for fireworks and we are off to the valley today for a run/hike on the "Riding Run" trail. Maybe dip our feet in the creek at the covered bridge afterwards!

Great weekend so far! More to come...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Burning River night run

Last night, JP and I started at 6:15pm from Happy Days to run to the finish line of the Burning River 100 course. My co-worker, Marty, started with us and was going to turn back "whenever he felt like it".

It was a great evening, the heat of the day had started to drop off and we were moving well. I had not been able to run with JP for a while and it was good to catch up. We made it to the turn off of the Salt Run trail at the entrance to the Wetmore trail and Marty started back towards Happy Days. JP and I continued, not sure of how muddy the Wetmore Trail would be. It actually was not too bad since we were able the follow the packed trail of the two groups that ran the course earlier.

We stopped to take pictures of the goats and to eat some early black raspberries. Before we knew it, we were at the Covered bridge and still had some daylight. Once we entered the Perkins trail, the headlamps were turned on and we proceeded up the hill. Once again, the mud was not too bad and we were able to reminisce about last year's race through this section.

The run along Ira Road towards Hale Farm was fun since there were lots of deer in the woods with their eyes glowing with the reflection of our headlamps. There was a party going on at Hale Farm with the music echoing through the valley. The stars were out but not as bright as they were in the Adirondacks!

The climb up into ONeil woods seemed bigger this time and my lack of long run training was starting to rear its head. I was looking forward to a small can of Mountain Dew that I had stashed at Bath Road and we pushed on toward the tow path.

We refilled bottles and I drank my Dew. Shortly after, my stomach turned south. I fought this feeling for the next hour or so and think that it was a combination of having my waist pack belt too tight and the acidic soda in my stomach. I did not have the best nutrition before the run and was feeling the effects. Fortunately, JP had almost 100 miles for the week already and did not mind my slower pace. We continued walking/running south on the towpath.

Finally at the Memorial park aid station I started to feel much better. We entered Cascade Metro park and started looking carefully for the trail. Neither of us felt real sure of the route through here but we manage to find our way with only one minor detour.

The final run through the Gorge was beautful as always and we finished our 31 mile run after 8 hours on our feet. It was a great night-time training run!

JP was running strong and is so ready for August! I will have some more long runs under my belt by then and will not start pacing sleep deprived and hungry like I did last night!

Abby and I ran 25 minutes this morning in the rain which was a lot of fun and helped to loosen the legs a bit. Rest day tomorrow and back at it tuesday!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lake Placid Marathon (Short story)

Awesome day in the ADK! The rain stopped and the sun was shining on us today as we ran in our favorite place in America. We completed the Marathon Relay in 3:46:11 which was a PR for all of us!

Detailed race report with photos coming soon...

After the race we decided to go kayaking on the Ausable River. We were treated to a personal tour of the local wildlife rehab facility before retrieving our kayaks. Here is one of the Great Horned Owls. Pretty cool raptors!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ho Ho Ho


Day 1 in the Adirondacks found us driving by "Santa's Workshop" in Wilmington, NY on our way to Catamount Mountain (photo above) for a hike. This hike has been on our list of "to do's" for a year or two and its 3.6 mile round trip distance seemed like a good warmup for the week. The ADK Trail Guide book said there would be some rock scrambling, a chimney, but the views of Whiteface mountain and the high peaks were stunning from the rocky summit. Sounded great!

We registered at the trail head and started our way into the woods. Nice level trail through the trees and then we started to climb. We crossed a small brook that was flowing briskly from last night's rainfall.

The trail continued to climb and become more and more rocky. During a break, Abby noticed a "lady slipper" on the side of the trail. We looked closer and there were several of them. These wildflowers are a cousin of the orchid and are very beautiful and delicate.

The trail kept climbing and the views from the various outcrops of rocks were indeed spectacular.

Remember the bit about the Chimney? Well, we managed to get there after several scrambles and managed to coax Denise up the gap. Once though, we still were faced with a significant rock face to climb before we reached the summit. We decided that enough was enough. Denise is not real keen on open rock climbs and I was thinking that the views from here were great already and the climb down would be challenging enough. Besides, we have a race to run sunday!

Denise said they they would wait if I wanted to go on to the summit. I left my pack with the girls, took the camera, and proceeded to the summit. After some very challenging scrambles, I managed to reach the summit, the south summit that is. There was still .3 miles left to go to the actual summit with more open rocks and climbs ahead. Good choice to stop where we did because I don't think that Abby's arms/legs were long enought to climb up one face. I had to be creative myself to get this far...

I snapped a picture and started back down.

The photo is of Gina and I climbing down the Chimney. Oh yeah, Santa would not have made it through the top part! We had to remove our packs to squeeze through the narrow gap!

We made it back down the mountain and to the car, all in one piece. The girls would butt-slide down the rock faces, make the return trip much faster! We stopped at the A&W in Wilmington for ice cream and spotted this snapping turtle along-side the road on our way back to the cabin!


Below is a picture of our home for the next week!



We will hate to leave...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

HEADS UP!!

I took Gina and Abby over to Liberty park this afternoon for a run. We wanted to get 30 minutes in and decided to do a simple out and back. Shortly after we started, we decided to go into the woods for some shade instead of baking in the meadow sunshine. As we prepared to exit the woods, I noticed a trail that veered south and looked like the deer trail I followed last winter. We started down it and it indeed connected with the ledges area and came out back near the gas wells making for a nice loop.

The girls liked the area and we had a good run through the woods. We had to traverse the meadow again to get back to the car and as we passed by a ball field, the batter hit a foul ball and everyone shouted "heads up!" I looked up to see the ball coming down near us as Gina and Abby did the "duck and cover" routine! The ball dropped harmlessly 4 feet away but it was close enough.. That would have made a good story: "Tell me again how you got that lump on your head?" "I went running with Dad..."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just get out the door! (again)

I am still having a motivation problem with my training. I guess I really do need an event to train for or to scare me into training. The 'plan' for the Running with Scissors race starts in two weeks so that will be good.

I managed to get out this morning before work for 4.5 miles of the local trails. It was very quiet and very enjoyable. It started the day off well and as usual, once I was out the door, it was great!

Just get out the door...

Our Lake Placid trip is very near and we cannot wait! The weather looks to be near perfect for race day with clear skies and high of 70 degrees. We will probably have to build a fire in the cabin with the lows in the high 40s... However for the mountains, this is as good as it gets!

Adirondacks, here we come!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wildlife weekend...

Ok, not the 'party' wild-life but nature wild-life sightings...

One my way to work yesterday, I was sitting at a stop light and noticed something crossing the street in front of me. I quickly recognized a possum and then took a second glance. She had 8 babies hanging off of her as she ambled across the street. One of the babies fell of and she stopped and waited as it scrambled back to her and climbed onto her back. The mother possum then continued her trek across the street. The funniest thing was the expression on the face of the lady in the car next to me. She had this look of disbelief as she moved her sunglasses down her nose to get a better view... It was a true laugh-out-loud moment.

I have been hearing barn owls hooting on some of my runs lately and finally was able to see one a couple of weeks ago. Last week during an evening run, I heard the owl call across the way and then heard another call back the other direction. It was pretty cool to hear them call back and forth but they were both pretty far off. Last night, I once again heard a owl call some distance off and then the response startled me because it was real close. I stopped running and started looking up. I then spotted the owl up in a tree not 10 yards away. It turned its head and then flew away. It was very beautiful to both hear and then to see fly away.

Shortly after the owl sighting, I noticed a turtle digging a hole right in the middle of the trail. She was probably going to be laying some eggs later and I suggested to her that she may want to move to a 'less traveled' location, but she just pulled her head inside her shell and didn't listen. Oh well, living with a teen-aged daughter, I am used to that reaction...

This morning, all of us went out for a nice 4 mile run. It was really run to have the entire family out together on this beautiful day. We then decided to give both dogs a bath to help us cool off. After a nice lunch, Abby spotted something in the woods next to us. Was it our dog? Was it a deer? No, it was the local coyote wandering through the neighborhood. Gina let out a scream when we tried to get her attention from her ipod, and the coyote decided to stay in the woods instead of crossing through our backyard.

We are looking forward to a good hike this weekend. I am planning on taking the girls down to the Buckeye Trail north of Blue Hen falls for a nice jaunt. I really enjoy this section and want to share it with them. Should be fun...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Extra protein

I have been trying to get back into the habit of running in the mornings before work. I feel it helps the day to go better and I have my evenings free to do other things, like work on the basement project. Mornings are my favorite time of day, I think because it is a new day, full of the promise of things to come. Some days, this feeling lasts until noon, typically, it lasts until I open my email at work...

Anyways, as I was running along the bike path, listening to the woods come alive with bird calls and other sounds of morning, I ran through a small cloud of bugs! Since I was also running a lot faster than usual, trying to get some leg speed back, I was gasping for air and ingested a nice healthy dose of insects! After stopping for a moment to cough, gag, etc in an attempt to clear my throat, I continued on my way, wishing I had water to drink...

Needless to say, I ran the rest of the loop with my mouth closed...

Monday, May 4, 2009

6 weeks!

6 more weeks until the Lake Placid Marathon! I cannot wait to get back up to the mountains again for a week of relaxation. We are all pretty excited about the race and trying to pick which summit we want to bag the week after the race. So far, Giant mountain is leading. The view from the summit is supposed to be great and there are some exposed areas on the way up to provide good viewing opportunities, (distractions) on the climb up.

Denise and Abby are going to run in the "Run 4 Life" 4 mile run this saturday at Hudson Community Chapel. It will be Abby's longest run to date and I think that she will do great! Denise and Abby ran 3 miles yesterday and Abby felt good afterwards. Denise and I ran 12 together early yesterday morning for her last long taper run before Cleveland marathon next weekend!

I am going to try to get back into the basement project this week. I am ready to rough-in the light fixtures and run the wiring. It should not take too long, it is just the 'getting started' part that is the most difficult. I also have some outdoor projects to complete. Since the weather has been nice, the outdoor items have superseded the indoor ones.

Only 4 more weeks of school for the girls! May will be a whirlwind of end-of-year activities and then "let the summer begin!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Forget the PR50k Race Report (Oh Deer, what a day!)



Executive Summary:

I finished! 6:33:45

No blisters; just tired legs and a huge smile on my face!


Paul arrived at my house at 4:55 am and Kirk pulled in at 5am to pick us up. We headed towards Mohican, looking forward to a great day. It was fun to catch up with each other’s training, or lack there-of, and to share plans for the summer.


We turned off of the interstate and started the trek down the State highways toward the park. We were passing through some nice farmland when all of a sudden, Paul shouts “Deer!” and then that sickening “thud” of something striking the van. All I saw from the back seat was I think a deer leg fly across/over the windshield!

We pulled over into a barnyard and assessed the damage. The left front of the van, hood, fender, and driver’s door was damaged. The radiator was hissing and steam was coming out from under the hood. Kirk said “Let’s at least see if we can get to the park before it overheats” and away we drove.


Less than 2 miles later, we hit another deer, this time on the passenger side of the van. Kirk doesn’t even stop for this one… His only comment was “Maybe I’ll run into a turkey on the trail and make it a hat-trick for the day!” Nothing like some humor to help the day…


We arrive at the park and get ourselves checked-in. Great swag was included with a nice race shirt! Before we knew it, Rob was making the pre-race announcements and away we went!


After a short run through the parking lot with the Galion Girls Softball teams cheering us on, we started the first climb of the day. (Only 2 miles!) I had never been down to Mohican before and the views and scenery were stunning! No wonder people like this park so much!


I had to stop and adjust my shoelaces and I lost touch with Kirk and Paul. I would see them a couple of times later in the day on some switch backs, but never managed to bridge the gap back up to run with them.


One of the many highlights of the day was the trek to Little Lyons Falls. Roy Heger caught up to me as we were nearing the falls. He stated that this is his favorite part of the Mohican 100 course and I understand why. It was so green and lush, almost Jurassic Park-like. Then, we hit the root ladder. The trail ascends a rock face via several tree roots that have formed a natural ladder. Very, very cool… Oh yeah, Roy was long gone by the time I made the climb up the falls. He is a machine!


The trails were in very good condition except for a section near the lodge where we had to slog through 3-4” of mud. I started off trying to pick a clean line through but quickly realized that it was faster and easier to just blast down the middle. It was only mud.


The weatherman had forecasted overcast skies with a chance of showers. We had overcast sky, peeks of sunshine, and about 60 degrees. Almost perfect conditions. The bugs were also taking advantage of the weather to stretch their wings and to feast on the moving buffet of ultra runners! It seemed as if I always had a swarm of them flying around me as I climbed up the endless supply of hills.


The steep downhills were taking their toll on my legs. I was really looking forward to the last segment of the course, which followed the river back to the start/finish line. Rivers are flat right? Well, not here…Rob threw in one last HUGE hill at the end. Just when we could almost see the finish line, we turned left and up-and-over one last hill. This one hurt…


Finally, the last downhill, back through the parking lot and I crossed the finish line. The race director was there to shake everyone’s hand as we finished! Paul had finished 2 minutes ahead of me, and Kirk, 20.


We changed clothes and piled into the van. Kirk had checked the van and it appeared that there were no leaks of important engine fluids. After a stop at the Highway Patrol station in Ashland to get an accident report, we made it home.


Great venue, great Volunteers, great aid stations (Thanks Kim!), very challenging course, great day! Regardless of the race title, I did set a PR since this was the first time I ran the course. Now, I’ll have to see about beating my PR next year!


Photo: Right to Left, Paul, Kirk, Jerry (and Forrest licking his lips thinking about all of that venison!)


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taper

My taper for the "Mohican Forget the PR50K" is complete, and I guess that I have tapered from blogging also... Time has just gotten away from me.

I feel good about tomorrow's event. The only blemish is that there is a good chance for rain. I don't mind rain, but the temperatures are supposed to be near 50. That is not a good combination for me. I am struggling with the clothing decision: wind pants or shorts, long sleeves or short sleeves with a rain jacket, gloves or no gloves? Actually, the gloves decision is the easiest one.

My goal for tomorrow is simple: Finish and have fun! I hope for a sub-7-hour finish time and really don't know what to expect since I have not ever seen the area/course before. I am riding down with Paul and Vince and I will just run my race. They can wait for me at the finish line; at least I hope that they wait for me.... it would be a long run home!

Denise, Gina, and Abby returned yesterday after a short visit to her parent's in NY. I miss them when they are not home. It is just too quiet around here to be comfortable. Yes, the dogs and cat are still here, but they pretty much are just floor-mats most of the time until they are hungry, then they seem to want attention.

Today is supposed to be sunny and 70! Time for some car cleaning and mow the lawn. An early night is in order before our 5am departure tomorrow!

It will be a great day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Chicked" at the finish

Yesterday was the "Run for the Orphans" 4 mile trail race in Hudson. We all signed up for the 2-person relay: Denise and I for one team, Abby and Gina the other. The "Kids vs the Old folks"! The duel was on...

Actually, there was not much of a duel. This was Abby's first race and the plan was for Denise to run w/her for the first leg of 2 miles. Abby has been run/walking for 2 miles and this 2 mile leg would be a stretch for her, especially since she was sick in bed two days before the race! Before you call Social Services on us, we did give her the option to bag the race but Abby really wanted to run it... She is as stubborn as her father...

She did very very well! Denise and her ran the first mile and then took a short walk break. Then they ran again. This cycle continued for the second mile and as they started down the hill before the exchange point I shouted out to them "Go Denise and Abby!" We high-fived each other and Gina and I took off.

I planned to run with or just ahead of Gina to help push her a bit. I was having a blast running with her and she was telling me about how the Cross-country course meandered through the park. Her talking stopped when we hit the hills. I would pull away from her a bit as we went up hill and then I would let her catch back up during the down-hill section. As we neared the finish line Denise and Abby were there cheering us on. I was just running my pace when all of a sudden this white flash passed me! Gina had kicked in the after-burners and passed me just before the finish chute. I kicked it in a was just on her shoulder when we entered the chute...

I was "chicked" by my 13-year-old daughter! For those of you that don't know, being 'chicked' is when a girl passed you at the end of a race... Pretty funny term, and some guys take it much harder than others. Gina had this HUGE grin on her face as we walked through the finish area together. She said, "Of course I had to pass you at the end!" I honestly did not even think about it... I just know that it was a great morning and I would not have wanted it any other way!

Denise and Gina went to the swim team awards banquet where Gina once again won "Most Improved Swimmer". I am pretty proud of her and how hard she works in practice. She does what she is told and always seems to peak at the right time.

I then went out for 20 miles of trails. I took the first part way too fast and paid for it the last 2 miles. Good run, I am bored with the Twinsburg trails, but a good run nonetheless. I saw a wild turkey running through the woods, several deer of course, and a kamakazi squirrel. He was about head-level on the back-side of a tree as I ran by. I reached out my hand to steady myself as I slipped in the mud and almost grabbed the squirrel. I think I scared him as much as he scared me. As he tried to scurry away, it appeared that he was going to jump on me. He was just trying to get himself turned around as fast as he could. I chuckled for a while after that....

Denise and I went back out today for a 10 mile run together. I had some tired legs, but it is a good tired. This was the last big weekend before Mohican. Am I ready? We'll see. It is taper time and all I can do now is mess it up...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Williamson Family Marathon Team

Its a go!! After narrowly escaping shutout, we received word from the race director of the Lake Placid Marathon that they would accept our registration for the June 14 event. We had been sitting on our registration to ensure that everyone was on-board and then checked the web site and realized that the relay team entry was CLOSED! Denise sent an email this morning to the race director asking if they would allow one more team. He said YES!

We are going to run this weekend in the "Run for the Orphans" trail run in Hudson as a two-person relay. Gina and Abby are one team, Denise and I are another. Kids vs old folks... who will prevail? We all agree that it will be fun, which is why we do this...

We have tried to promote fitness as a way of life for our family. This is just one more way...

I had a great 6 mile run tonight after work and it was warm enough for shorts and short sleeves! That was very nice. Denise and Abby ran 2 miles together and Abby is getting a nice base built up for next fall's cross-country season. Gina had a good track practice that included fartleks on the bike path. I think that we will all sleep well tonight!

It is fun to see the summer start to unfold with plans being made and weekends filling up quickly. The summer Blossom concert schedule looks to be great and cannot wait to spend some evenings under the starts listening to the best music and orchestra in the world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vacation week recap

What a great week! I needed this break more than I thought that I did. I have not taken a week off to just "do nothing" in a very very long time. Well, those of you that know me, know that I cannot just "do nothing" for very long, so here is a summary of my week.

First, the running part:
The last 11 days I have amassed a total of 82 miles! 57.5 miles this week alone... I know, not big miles by some standards, but this week's total is just shy of my record of 60 miles. Seeing that I am finally over the flu and that I am building my base back, this week was a great confidence booster for Mohican. My legs feel tired, good and tired. It is a good feeling.

I ran 18 miles with Denise on Monday and 17 miles this morning for my 'long runs'. Lots of other 6-8 mile runs with Denise during the week. That was the best part; being able to run with my wife as she is training for Cleveland Marathon!

The basement framing is completed except for some minor access door frames. Next is the electrical work, insulation, and then drywall... I will need to hang 28 sheets of drywall for the walls which will keep me busy for a few evenings. Not to mention getting those sheets of drywall into the basement. Anyone wanting a workout is welcome to stop by... :)

Denise and I set up the trampoline Friday afternoon which made the girls very happy! They can now go out and bounce out some extra energy. Of course, the weather is looking to get cool again for a few days, but that is alright. The nice days are starting to out-number the bad days. April is just around the corner and nice weather will be here for good very soon.

A very good week. I am ready to get back to work and am already looking forward to the next break!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another great day, another 8 miles....

Today's run felt surprisingly good. My legs felt the 18 miles from yesterday in the form of soreness only, not loss of strength, so I ran 8 more today. More sunshine, more solitude on the trails, more of those post-run endorphins... love it!

Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, and I need a rest day, so the timing will be perfect. Time to continue the basement framing...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh what a beautiful Morning!

What a great way to start a week of vacation! Denise and I started from Boston Store this morning at 8am for an 18 mile run together. A bit frosty at the beginning but when the sun rose high enough to shine into the valley, things were about as perfect as they could get! It felt so good to be outside with the sun hitting us, crisp air coursing through our lungs, and all of the sounds and sights of spring all around!

The 3 hours passed very quickly and I was encouraged that I felt as good as I did. It always feels good to run with Denise and we had a very nice time together. We cooled down a bit at Boston Store and headed back home via Hudson's First and Main. A cup of coffee from Caribou and some veggie wraps from Aladdin's for our post-run feast. Denise commented that we were "Hudson Hobos" with the perfume of 18 miles of running and wearing our running garb. We did not quite fit into the normal Hudson Decor...but, who cares?!

Showers and a quick nap and I can't wait for day #2!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning...

I am feeling better but now have a nagging cough that I am dealing with. I wanted to get some long runs this weekend but have elected to rest a bit more in an effort to get rid of this flu once and for all. But having said that, I did run yesterday for 8 miles on the local trails.

Tinkers Creek had flooded again a week ago and effectively swept the trails clean. Any fallen limbs, leaves, brush, basically anything that wasn't rooted down, was swept away. It looked like someone had come through with a broom and cleaned up the woods. It was nice running, a bit cool, but nice running.

I seemed to have no energy during the run but kept going anyways, taking more walk breaks than I cared to admit. I returned home and Abby and I continued to work in the basement framing the walls for our remodel project. Pretty fun and we made good progress.

Denise wanted to get a 4 mile run in, Abby wanted to get 2 miles, so the three of us headed back to the bike path. Abby and I ran together and Denise caught up with us as she finished her 4 miles. As we were passing by a clearing, I noticed something in the brush and motioned for the others to stop. A red fox then jumped out of the brush and bounded across the clearing. It was pretty cool to see and we all were happy that we could experience this.

Denise and I ran another 6 miles together today and are planning a 18 miler tomorrow! I am taking a week of vacation to catch up on some home projects. I cannot think of a better way to start than a long run with my wife!

Now, off to bed to rest up for tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vegetarian Update

I wanted to provide an update to our family's vegetarian experiment. I posted earlier about us giving up meat for Lent and living without meat has actually gone pretty well. We still eat eggs, cheese, and other dairy so we are not going true vegan.

We are all feeling good and actually like not having that bloated feeling you get after a meal of meat and potatoes and everything with it. It is like eating Chinese food, you eat a big meal and 1 hour later, you feel hungry again. I have lost a few pounds already, and am sure it is a combination of healthier eating and ramping up my running mileage again. I find myself snacking every couple of hours with an apple or piece of fruit. Again, these are things that we should be doing anyways but never seem to be able to do.

Denise has it the hardest with planning the meals and shopping. Since we are eating fresh as much as possible, it means more frequent trips to the store as well. We have a list of meal ideas posted on the fridge which helps somewhat. We found a really good lentil-loaf recipe that was a huge hit, although next time a double batch will be made to help offset the time of the prep work. Throw the extra into the freezer for a meal next week!

I read somewhere that good nutrition is really the simplest thing to know, but the hardest to implement. It takes planning and time; which is an investment. We are treating this as an investment into our family's health and just another way to encourage healthy choices.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bad Timing....

Absolutely beautiful weather this weekend I had to come down with the flu or cold! Argh! Gina had swim champs this weekend and I went down yesterday to watch. We left at noon and pulled in the driveway at 8pm.... A long day at the pool! Today, just Denise and Gina went down and I stayed home with Abby. She pretty much read and I pretty much slept... We did get out twice to walk the dogs which felt really good.

This week was a planned recovery week so it worked out well getting sick now.... but, I really would have liked to run today in the sunshine! There will be more sunny days I am sure, and some snowy ones too, but that first warm day of spring is always so so nice.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Signs of Spring

A great weekend comes to a close. Warmer temperatures and spring-like weather provided great conditions for running and just brightened our moods. Last minute changes allowed JP and I to run 20 miles yesterday at Bedford Reservation in a light rain. The temperatures were warm enough that we ran in shorts which felt really good.

Denise and I ran together this morning in slightly cooler temperatures and a heavy rain. Once we got started, it was actually fun. The rain was wet, but we were warm and moving; it was all good.

Denise and I celebrated the 20th anniversary of our first date this weekend with a trip to see the orchids at the Botanical gardens followed by lunch at Tommy's in Coventry. It was a very nice day and the flowers were stunning! It seems that every trip we make to the gardens has been in either a rain or snow storm. We are looking forward to a trip with good weather to enjoy the outdoor gardens!

Daylight savings time has thrown us off a bit with our night-time routine, but the extra light in the evening will be very nice!

A recovery week is in store for the Mochican 50k training, and I plan to enjoy it! Big miles are coming and I need to let my body absorb and rebuild from the past couple of weeks. As always, the goal is to stay healthy!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

School days...

Each day this week has felt like the first day of school: New teacher (new manager), new classmates (new co-workers), new classess (new job responsibilities). It has been interesting to say the least. Oh yeah, the best part, I am tasked to complete a project that someone else started. There is absolutely no documentation to go with this. So I am in a new class with no syllabus or text book. Fun!

Fortunately, these are the types of challenges I enjoy. I have been blessed (cursed) with the ability to learn new things quickly, and I have wanted to work with this technology for a while anyways. It is all good...just different.

My running has been going great! Nothing like a having a little stress added to my life to 'encourage' me to get out and run. I am thankful that I can run and have an outlet, otherwise I think that you would be reading about me in the paper. Headline reads: "Man's head explodes after company makes crazy decision!"

Weather is warming up, daylight-savings time is this weekend, and SPRING is coming! It is all good...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No more meat...

We have decided to give up meat for Lent. We normally don't do anything for Lent as a family but this year decided to use Lent as an excuse to turn vegetarian. The girls are very excited about this new adventure and we have been collecting recipes all year to use.

I know that I will be craving a huge hamburger after my long run this weekend, but will have to settle for something else. This will be a great opportunity to purge some bad eating habits and to make a real run towards getting back into shape.

It was great to see the sunshine and feel the warmer temperatures. I took advantage of this for a mid-day cleansing run from a very stressful work-day. I was able to meet Denise and Abby as they finished their run together. I went back for just over an 8-mile run and it felt really good to blow out some stress.

After over 3-years of development, my employer decided to cancel the project I was working on. Needless to say, the project team was decimated and most were let go. I was fortunate? to be moved into another group within the company, so, I still have a job. Although I should feel relieved, I don't feel that way. It hurts....bad!!! We devoted a lot of time and energy to this product and now it will not see the light of day.

I feel the need to run...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snow, wind, and beaver damage...

I met JP at lock 29 today for a trail run. We both just wanted time-on-feet and miles really did not matter. We left and headed up old Akron-Pennisula Road toward the Buckeye Trail. Hit the trail and it was not in as good of shape as we hoped. It was pretty icy and with the new snowfall, hard to tell where the ice was and was not. I wore my screw shoes, which helped, but both JP and I each managed to take a fall.

We crosssed 303 at Pine Lane and took the bridle trail towards Salt Run. Just after the golf course, there was a section of the trail that passed close to the river. There were several trees that had been fallen by beavers. Lots of bark eaten off of the fallen timber and several trees in process... The beavers have certainly been busy! Neither JP nor I had a camera but I want to go back again. There was one tree that was at least 12 inches in diameter that had fallen. That must have taken a while to chew through!

We traveled the Salt Run trail to the Kendall Hills. The snow was very pretty as it fell here and several people were taking advantage of it and enjoying a great day of sledding. We headed down the hill and circled the Cross Country course and compeleted the other half of Salt Run. We retraced our path back to Lock 29 for almost 3 hours.

The snow kept falling and the wind kept building as the day progressed. It was a nice day out and our mission of time-on-feet was accomplished. This was my biggest weekend so far this year mileage-wise. Pretty lame compared to where I was last year, but I'll take what ever I can get!

I'm just thankful for being able to get out and enjoy the day!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

6 miles and a coyote

Managed to sleep in til 7am this morning. Thanks Forrest!!! Fed the dogs and cat, while the rest of the family continued to sleep. I changed clothes for a run and as I was lacing up my shoes, Abby came downstairs. Chatted with her for a while and then I departed for a 6 miles of Twinsburg trails. I ventured up to the new trail and blazed a set of foot-prints in the newly fallen snow. A nice sunny morning and very quiet with no one else out.

I returned home and as I was eating breakfast, Denise said, "There goes that coyote again!" I looked out our patio door and a coyote was just strolling through our back yard! He was very healthy looking with a thick coat of hair. The other coyotes that I have seen have all looked shaggy, maybe because it was summer and their coat was shedding?... He continued to meander down the hill through the neighborhood backyards.

Tomorrow is another run in the valley with JP. We are planning on 15-20 miles. It is raining as I type this and starting to turn to snow... Tomorrow is supposed to be windy and possible snow flurries. At least it was sunny this morning!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

...heavy breathing...giggling....sweat....more giggling.... over 2 hours of joy running with Denise in the Cuyahoga Valley! An awesome way to start our valentines day. We started from Station Road and headed towards the Carriage Trail since Denise has never ventured there. We happened to meet the VR group at the base of the climb and watched them quickly pull away from our relaxed pace. We finished the climb out of the valley and started the winding trail.

As I was approaching the first of the three bridges, I stepped on what I thought was hard-pack snow and quickly realized that it was ice! I told Denise to 'watch out for the ice' as I found myself sliding and realized that I was going down, and hard! I landed on my butt, (lots of padding) and right shoulder. (Not so much padding) It was a strange kind of fall in that I felt as if everything was in slow motion. I slid a bit down the hill, jumped back up and checked for any damage. Just my pride was hurt a bit and I realized that my shoulder would be sore tomorrow...

We completed the loop back to Station road and then decided to venture into Brecksville Reservation for another 6 miles. Neither of us liked the fact that a light covering of snow had fallen, making it difficult to see any ice on the asphalt trail. We turned around and went back to the towpath and headed towards Frazee House. We then retraced our path back to Station road and completed a nice 12 miles.

I cooked dinner and we watched Mama Mia to close out the evening... Fun and relaxing day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Registration

I sent my race application in today for the "Forget the PR 50K" race at Mohican. My back is feeling much better and I have been able to get some consistent 4-5 mile runs w/o any discomfort. (At least from my back!) Now it is time to get back into shape...

The current thaw is really helping to lift my spirits. Although the snow is pretty, I was getting tired of looking at it and driving through it. I know that more is coming but this week will be a good chance for things to clear out and get ready for the next batch.

I was able to get the Christmas decorations put away last weekend! I have also started Phase II of the basement project. Phase I was finishing a corner and moving the laundry room downstairs. Phase II involves finishing the rest of the basement. This will probably take a while to complete, but will provide another means of stress relief! Hammering nails and hammering trails are both good ways to forget about work!

Denise's marathon training is going well and we choose a good winter to invest in a treadmill. Denise, Abby, and even Gina have all been using it.

We have decide to run the Lake Placid Marathon as a family in June. They have a 4-person relay option and Denise and I will each run the 4 mile legs with the girls, and then run our own legs. I will take the 11 mile finishing leg and run up the hill to the Oval where we will all finish together. The course will cover the Iron Man run course along with a lap around Mirror Lake. A beautiful course and just the excuse we need to get back up to the Adirondacks again. We also plan on tackling another 46'r this summer. We are thinking that Giant Mountain would be a good one...

The economy is still crazy and probably will be for a while...It took a while to get into this mess, and will take longer to get out. I am going to stop listening to the news. I mean, how many times do we have to hear about layoffs and how bad everything is... Let's hear some good news for a change, or even better, let's make our own good news!

Spring is coming! Daylight savings time is coming!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Healing....

My back is feeling better each and every day... I am still a bit sore but since I have been working on core strength and flexibility, the aches are from that.

I managed an easy 4 miles sunday and the screw shoes did the trick on the icy bike path. It was nice being able to run w/o worry about sliding. I am getting really antsy to run on a trail but with the snowfall we have now, I'll wait a day or so and let some others pack down a path.

I want to make sure I start back slowly and ramp up in a sane manner towards the Mohican 50K run in April. Time to register for that race to get committed. Time to also get some friends to tag along for the extra peer-pressure!

This has been a long winter already but at least it has stayed cold. Maybe there will be fewer bugs this summer...