Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mill Creek Park Run

This morning my brother Jeff and I met Stacy (2nd from left) and his son Taylor (4th from left) at the Lily Pond parking lot for a long run at Mill Creek Park in Youngstown. We weren't sure whether or not we'd be on the trails or the road, but we started out on the trail. It didn't take long however to figure out that we'd be heading onto the road for the rest of our run. The trails had a good 3-4 inches on them and we knew that if we wanted to get in some good mileage today that we'd have to hit the pavement.

Once we got on the road we then headed towards the Old Log Cabin and ran around Lake Glacier. On the east side of Lake Glacier we continued over towards Pioneer Pavillion. It was around this point when Taylor, my brother, and I looked back and didn't see Stacy. We figured he had taken the all purpose road up high on the hill and after looking up, we noticed that he was up there. We yelled to him and said we'd meet him further down in the park. So the three of us then crossed over to the west side of the lake by Pioneer Pavillion and continued heading south. As you can tell from this photo, the roads in the park weren't cleaned off as well as they usually are and caused us to slip quite a bit going up hills...

Along the way we ran into another one of our running buddies, Bruce McMurray, around the Steel Bridge. This is a beautiful piece of work and I'm glad that the park was able to recieve grant money to restore this bridge to its original state last fall. Here's what it looks like...

Soon we were getting close to Lanterman's Mill and still no sign of Stacy, so my brother and Taylor turned around and ran back to see if he was heading our way. I ran with Bruce for a little bit more until he had to turn off and run back to his car and then I turned around and headed back to meet everyone. Just as I got past the bridge near the Mill I saw them coming.

Once we met up, all of us then continued south towards Lake Newport (which is connected to the other two lakes - Glacier and Cohasset) and ran around it. Stacy and I stuck together while Jeff and Taylor pulled ahead. The slick roads were starting to tire out our hips and muscles that you don't usually use at this point, so we made it a point to stop a couple times and stretch. As we reached our turn around point at Shields Road we were around 8-9 miles so we knew we'd have some decent mileage once we finished up back at our cars. Soon we were back at Lanterman's Mill and I stopped to take this video on the bridge above to show how nice the scenery was today...

As we arrived back at our cars, Jeff and Taylor were already there. I looked down at my watch and it said that we were just over 12.5 miles so Stacy recommended that we run around the Lily Pond to get an even 13 miles.

Once we were finished we noticed that the clouds in the sky had almost completely gone away now and we stood around and talked for a bit to savor the moment. Yes folks, believe it or not here are a couple pictures to prove that blue skies still exist in N.E. Ohio...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cavs complete 11-player trade

At 2:59 pm, one minute before the trade deadline, the Cavs completed a blockbuster deal that involved the Chicago Bulls, the Seattle Supersonics, and 11 players. Here's how things shook up:

Cavaliers get:
Bulls F/C Ben Wallace
Bulls F Joe Smith
Bulls 2009 2nd-round pick
Sonics G Delonte West
Bulls get:
Cavaliers F Drew Gooden
Cavaliers G Larry Hughes
Cavaliers F Cedric Simmons
Cavaliers G Shannon Brown
Sonics get:
Cavaliers F Ira Newble
Cavaliers F Donyell Marshall

Personally I think this is a great trade for the Cavs. There will be some risk involved since the four key players we traded helped us to get to the NBA Finals last year. But, with "Big Ben" Wallace under the hoop with Z and Varejao, Smith and Wally's good outside shooting , and Delonte West as a point guard, this should definitely help to give Lebron a supporting cast. Plus, we still have Devin Brown, Damon Jones, Sasha Pavlovich, and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson. The only thing we might lose is some good perimeter defense from Hughes and Newble.

It should be an exciting second half of the season, especially since we face the Bulls for the first of four games on March 1st... GO CAVS!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Treadmill

After work I went over to my apt. complex fitness center and hopped on the treadmill for a run. I really dislike running on the treadmill, but I'm starting to get tired of winter and sometimes it's easier than bundling up to go outside. So, I started off at a 7:30 pace (setting 8 on the treadmill) for the first 2 miles and then bumped it up to a 6:40 pace (setting 9) for the 3rd mile. When I reached 2.5 miles I was ready to be done, so I cranked the treadmill up to a 6 minute pace (10) and finished the 3 miles in 21 minutes. I was surprised how relaxed I felt throughout this run and was pleased that I felt no soreness during or after. I can tell my mileage throughout this winter is starting to help me on these short, fast runs and I'm looking forward to when spring arrives so that I can do more speedwork outside.

Later in the evening around 10:00 there was a total lunar eclipse which took place. Since this is the last total lunar eclipse to occur until 2010 I figured I'd check it out. Thankfully it was in the right position to be able to watch it from my window and stay warm inside.
Here are a few pretty neat photos I took. The strange thing is that once the moon was completely covered by the Earth's shadow it still looked primarily white to the naked eye, but when I took a photo with my camera on "night mode" it really seemed to capture the redness on the moon. According to an article I read on Yahoo, it says, "The moon doesn't go black because indirect sunlight still reaches it after passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere filters out blue light, the indirect light that reaches the moon transforms it into a reddish or orange tinge, depending on how much dust and cloud cover are in the atmosphere at the time".

And if you haven't figured out my blog title yet, Click Here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy President's Day

Since I had today off work, I decided to take advantage of it and get in a run with my brother this afternoon. We drove over to the Happy Days Visitor Center parking lot next to Rt. 303 and started our run from there.

Head to head with one of President Roosevelt's CCC workers

Although the air was cold, the sun was out when we arrived and it felt great to actually be able to see a good amount of blue sky. Looking towards the west though we could see some dark snow clouds that were headed our way. It was one of those days when one minute you had wall to wall sunshine and the next minute you were in the middle of a blizzard. As they say in Ohio, "if you don't like the weather, wait a little bit and it will change".

We figured since the trails were probably too sloppy from all the rain/snow we've had lately that we'd run up by the ledges to avoid any low lying areas and then head over towards the Kendall Hills. (If you haven't already figured it out by now, this is one of my favorite running routes.)

Sure enough, as we got up by the ledges and turned left to head towards the Ice Box Cave, the clouds opened up. The snow came down as small pellets, very similar to those ice cream Dippin' Dots (which are great in the summer if you haven't tried them). Here are a couple pictures we took up at the Overlook. The funny thing is, the second picture was taken immediately after the first. Notice the difference...

On our way to Kendall Hills, we also did the 1.5 mile Pine Grove loop. The trails were very soft today but weren't too muddy so they actually felt pretty good to run on. Every once in awhile though you would step on a piece of ice that would sink down into the ground and kind of surprise you. The only area with a lot of ice was over by the ledges, but even that section improved as the snow came down. I was glad I wore my screwed shoes today though!

As we continued on, the snow really started to pick up... as you can see from this video...

Once we reached Kendall Lake we decided to head straight for the biggest hill at the Kendall Hills area, run up it, and then head back to Happy Days since my brother had to get back to KSU to work in the evening. This is always a tough hill to run up, but even harder when your feet are slipping...

On our way back to the car we continued to push it and even ran hard up the last hill to Happy Days, finishing up with a total of 7 miles. I was happy that my legs felt pretty fresh for the entire run today and I associate that with all the rest I've had the last week or so. Now I need to get in some more mileage and prepare for my upcoming long runs/races.

Chat Live with Matt Carpenter

Tonight - Monday, February 18th, Matt Carpenter will be chatting live on the TeamPR live chat room at 8:00 PM EST. To log-in to the chat, click here and enter the password "teampr".

Some background info on Matt...

Since 1986 Matt has been one of the premier mountain runners in the United States and is considered by many the best high altitude mountain runner in the world. Matt is the current course record holder of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon with times of 2:01:06 and 3:16:39. In 2001 he became the first person to win the Ascent and Marathon on back to back days. He repeated this feat in 2007. He is also the record holder of the fastest times for a flat marathon held at altitude - 2:52:57 at 14,350' and 3:22:25 at 17,060'. In 2004 at his first 50 mile race he broke the course record by over 40 minutes. At the 2005 Leadville Trail 100 he lowered the course record by over 90 minutes to 15:42:59. So far in 2007 Matt has won the 10K trail championships at Vail in 45:23, won the Barr Trail Mountain Race by setting a new course record of 1:29:33, won the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2:12:56 and doubled up with the Pikes Peak Marathon the next day, winning with a time of 3:48:41. To view Matt's complete bio and race resume - click here

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kelly Pavlik remains undefeated

Pavlik sporting the Youngstown State "Y" and penguin on both his jacket and shorts

Tonight I headed over to Champps Sports Bar in Valley View with a few friends to watch the rematch of Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik vs. Jermain Taylor. Kelly has been Youngstown's hero ever since he beat Taylor last September to become the world middleweight champion, and tonight was no exception. It was not an easy fight but Pavlik managed to win a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision to remain undefeated and thwart Taylor's bid for revenge. He is now scheduled to defend his title on June 7th at Madison Square Garden in NY against an opponent not yet named. Great job Kelly!


I didn't really feel like seeing how much ice there was on the trails today but I knew I would be eating at Quaker Steak & Lube in the afternoon for my brother-in-law's birthday, so I decided I better head over to my apt. complex fitness center for a short treadmill workout. The first 2 miles I did at a 7:30 pace and felt pretty relaxed, so I decided to crank out my 3rd and last mile in 6 minutes. It felt good to get my breathing and heart rate up but it sure does get hot trying to run that fast indoors. Afterwards I lifted some weights. Good workout overall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BHTM on March 1st

Tonight I purchased my ticket online to see Big Head Todd & The Monsters at the House of Blues in Cleveland on Saturday, March 1st. Last year my friend Bob and I saw them perform at the same venue and they put on an excellent show. If you're looking for a rock band that knows how to jam, you will definitely enjoy this group! Click Here and scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to all of their albums.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where in the world is Gombobu?

Check out Bob's new blog at
He's going to post all the adventures he encounters on his way across the country as well as during his stay in California. Looks like he's done some interesting stuff already!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I was looking for something to do tonight and remembered a movie that I read about in some local magazine or newspaper. It was called "Steep" and is a documentary that traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the daredevils of today. The tagline of the movie, which I really like, is "Without risk... There is no adventure." Once I remembered the name of the movie I checked out their official website and saw that the only place it was being shown in Ohio besides Cincinnati was the Solon Cinemas. So, I called up my friend Steve to see if he wanted to go and after he agreed we decided to meet up for the 10:20 pm show.

From the start of the film I could tell this was going to be a good one. It started off with a discussion of the sport from one of the country's greatest adventure skiiers, Bill Briggs. He was the first to ever ski the Grand Teton on June 16, 1971. In the film he is older now and it was very interesting to hear him speak about his desire and passion for adventure. There are a ton of good motivating quotes throughout this film.

As the movie went on more first hand stories were offered by other top adventure skiiers. This is a great film to see in the theatre if you get a chance to see it, with all the terrific scenery and jaw dropping views. I was really amazed at the enormous mountains that these guys went down. They even showed one guy towards the end of the movie that wears a parchuate on his back so that when he comes to a section that is a sheer dropoff he can just jump off the mountain, do flips in the air, and then release his chute to land.

Being a trail runner I can really appreciate the ambition that these guys have to do what they love to do. Even if this sport does come close to being suicidal, at least they are enjoying themselves and living life to the fullest because you never know what day might be your last. One guy says it best - "Some people die in car accidents and others die falling down mountains. I'd like to think that dying in a car accident is more painful." The amazing thing is that these people are willing to exchange that immediate thrill for the high chance of losing their life.

Ironically, after leaving the movie theatre there was a major snow squall passing through the area along with much colder temperatures. The closer I got home the worse the roads were getting and I was surprised how fast the roads went from being clear and wet, to being completely snow covered and near white-out conditions. The snow was coming down so hard that there was even a flash of lightening followed by some thunder. After seeing this movie though, I thought to myself... hey, it's not that bad. At least I'm not at the top of a 14,000 ft. mountain in Alaska waiting to fly downhill on a pair of skis!

Happy Days to Kendall Hills

About a week ago I talked to Wilma, a friend of mine from Youngstown, and she said that she wanted to run some different trails besides the ones in Mill Creek Park. So, this morning she drove over to my place in Streetsboro and met my brother and I to carpool to the Happy Days Visitor Center in the Cuyahoga Valley. Since Wilma hadn't run here much I decided to take her on a scenic tour past the Ice Box Cave, the ledges and along the ridge by the overlook, and up towards Kendall Lake and the Kendall hills. The weather was great for running today. Around 32 degrees and actually a little bit of sun (the first glimpse of sun in a week). When we started there was a very light rain but that quickly went away. The trails were in pretty good shape today despite all the rain we've had lately and there was a slight coating of snow which provided some traction.

I love this view as you approach the Overlook

The butt kicking Kendall Hills

I felt pretty energetic today and actually ran a lot of hills that I don't usually do. When we reached the Kendall Hills area off of the Salt Run trail we ran the first long hill that you can see after coming out into the clearing. After a bathroom break and some water we then ran up the hill that you can see in the distance on the picture above. This hill is awesome training and we all pushed it to the top.

We then headed back to Happy Days after running around Kendall Lake. Once we got back to my car my watch said we had run 7. 5 miles which was pretty good, but now the question was whether or not we wanted to do more. If we did the Boston Run trail next to the parking lot we would add on another 3 miles which would give us an even 10 miles, but we remembered these hikers telling us before our run how muddy that section was. After a minute of contemplating we decided to give it a shot and see just how muddy it was. The first half of the trail wasn't too bad, but on the second half the ground was pretty saturated and we found ourselves sinking pretty far down into the mud on some of our foot strikes. Once you get dirty though you tend to not pay any attention to what you are actually running through. We ran hard up the last hill which takes you up to the field next to the parking lot. I looked down at my watch and it said we were at 10.6 miles, so we figured we might as well run a loop around the grass field to make it an even 11 miles. When we arrived back at my car we were all very glad that we decided to do a little bit extra, even though we could've easily quit.

Later in the evening I took this sunset photo looking across the street from my apt. complex. The lake effect clouds in the winter always look neat when there is a little bit of sun added to the mix. I guess this is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow we're supposed to have some snow and sub zero wind chills.

Friday, February 8, 2008

KSU Rec Center

Late this evening I headed over to Kent State to workout with my brother at their rec center. Each semester he gets one free visitor pass so I decided to use it tonight. Rather than run on the treadmill we decided to run on the upstairs indoor track which overlooks 3 basketball courts. The track surface is pretty nice. It has a little give to it but it's still a lot harder than trails. To complete a mile you have to run 7 laps, which seemed easy at the beginning but eventually we could both feel our left shins getting a little sore. I guess that's because you are constantly turning left to make a turn on the track and over time it starts to wear on your body. So, we called it quits at 3 miles and used the hot tub and the sauna. This is by far the best part of using any rec center. It helps make your recovery time a lot shorter after a run.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

And miles to go before I sleep...

Bob and I went for another one of our usual runs through Packard Park in Warren tonight after I got off work. Although there was a steady mist in the air ahead of a big storm front, the temperature was near 50 which made it nice enough for me to wear shorts and a short sleeve top. It was great to not have to wear all of my winter clothing, making me feel a few pounds lighter. Bob's son Shamus rode his bike along side of us and helped to keep us moving at a steady clip. We did 3 loops around the park and got in some additional mileage in my parent's neighborhood to give me a total of 5.5 miles. Unfortunately this might have been the last time for me to run with Bob for quite awhile since he'll be heading out to San Diego on Sunday for a new job. He's not sure how long this job will last but it's supposed to be at least 8 or 9 months. We will definitely miss him out on the trails but he has already said that he will be back this fall to continue his duties as race director for the YUT-C 50K & 25K.

Once I got home tonight I then logged onto my website and talked with top ultra runner Dean Karnazes who was the guest speaker for tonight's live chat. There were a lot of good questions asked and a lot of good advice given by Dean. I will make sure to post the entire chat archive here soon. All this talk about running got me pumped up and later on in the night I decided to head over to my apt. complex's fitness center and use the treadmill to crank out a few additional miles. I ended up adding on 3 more miles to give me a total of 8.5 miles today. The first 2 miles were somewhat easy. Then I really turned it up on the last mile and was able to do a 6 minute mile to end my workout at midnight. Usually these urges to do a 2nd workout in the same day don't come around too often for me so I'm glad I acted on it. Well, it's time to head to bed... tomorrow is another day.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chat Live with Dean Karnazes

Tomorrow night - Tuesday, February 5th, Dean Karnazes will be chatting live on the TeamPR live chat room at 8:00 PM EST. To log-in to the chat, click here and enter the password "teampr".

Some background info on Dean...

Athlete and bestselling author of "Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner", Dean Karnazes, was recently ranked by a TIME magazine poll as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World." A passionate advocate for healthy, active living, his message has been so well received not because he runs hundreds of miles, but because he inspires others to be the best that they can be. One of his most recent endeavors was running 50 marathons, in all 50 states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he completed in three hours and thirty seconds. He has run a 135-mile ultramarathon across Death Valley in 120-degree temperatures and a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. Dean has also run a 200-mile relay solo, completed a 350-mile run, won the Vermont 100-Mile Run, swam across the San Francisco Bay, climbed Half Dome in Yosemite, mountain-biked for 24 hours straight, surfed the gigantic waves off the coast of Hawaii, and is an accomplished windsurfer. His incredible adventures have been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, CNN, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Howard Stern Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and is a recipient of an ESPN ESPY award for best outdoor athlete in 2006. For more info visit Dean's website.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular

Tonight my friend Steve and I headed to downtown Cleveland to see the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular at Playhouse Square with my other friends Derek and Brian. Before meeting up with them we stopped over at the Winking Lizard for dinner and some drinks. Then we drove over to Playhouse Square and met up with them. Derek had won these tickets through a radio station contest and they turned out to be great seats. The retail cost was $18 each. We were in the first row of the upper section as you can see from the photo above.

The show consists of 3 large screens with multiple lasers, lights, and other effects to the music of one of my favorite all time groups Pink Floyd. I wasn't really sure how good the show would be but once it got started I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone got 3D glasses to wear that basically refracted the light from the lasers and made everything appear larger and more dramatic than it actually is. While wearing your glasses the 3 big screens on stage appeared to be 6 screens instead. I guess it's basically like an acid trip without being on any drugs. I would be willing to bet that there were quite a few individuals in the audience that were on something though.

Here are a few videos I took during the show. I would definitely be interested in seeing this show again if it comes back to Cleveland next year.