Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wolf Creek Winery

This afternoon Tami, my brother, and I drove over to Norton to meet my parents at Wolf Creek Winery. Once the skies cleared up it turned out to be a beautiful fall day with temps around 70 degrees. This is a nice place to check out if you're looking for somewhere to relax and have some good wine. The views are incredible and you're also allowed to bring in your own food. While you're there you might also get the chance to meet their friendly cat and pet goats. The highlight of the day was when one of their goats jumped onto a picnic table (shown in the picture above) and knocked a lady off her seat while trying to get some of their food. Here's a few other photos I took...

Thought for the day:
Why are the pupils of a cat shaped vertical, a goat's horizontal, and ours circular?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Boston Store to Kendall Hills & CC Race

Today my plan was to start from the Boston Store, hop onto the Buckeye Trail and run to Pine Lane. From there I ran to the Happy Days Visitor Center parking lot and met up with my brother Jeff. We then ran the Ledges Trail to the Pine Grove Trail en route to the Kendall Hills area, where a cross country meet was taking place involving a friend of ours - Jim Harris' son, Heath. I finished my run today with a total of 13.5 miles. The temperature felt good (upper 60's) but the humidity was very high.
Here are some pictures from the day as well as a few videos of the cross country meet...

Ledges Trail

CC meet @ Kendall Hills

Lakeview CC team pre-race huddle

Race Start

Tyler Ames and Heath Harris finishing for Lakeview

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Days to Kendall Hills

Today was another gorgeous day... sunny and upper 70's. We've been enjoying a really long streak of nice weather lately in N.E. Ohio so I've been trying to take advantage of it. Some trees are changing color though and daylight is getting shorter each day, indicating that winter is not too far off.

I parked at the Happy Days Visitor Center tonight and ran the ledges trail up to the overlook. I stopped for a moment and took this photo as the sun was beginning to set...

I then continued towards the Pine Grove trail and did the 1.5 mile loop before heading over to Kendall Hills. As I was on this loop, "This is the End" by the Doors started playing on my iPod and the combination of it getting dark outside and the psychedelic rhythms of Jim Morrison got me pumped up and moving faster. I think this song might cause me to have scary hallucinations though if I listen to it on a 70+ mile run.

On my way back to Happy Days I enjoyed some fast-paced techno music and it kept me in the groove. I was pretty happy with how I felt tonight since this was my 3rd day in a row of running following my 50K run on Sept. 13th. Tonight I finished up with a total of 7 miles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oak Hill & Plateau Trail Run

Jeff and I decided to go for another run this evening but wanted to try and find some new trails to run on. While I was checking out the Cuyahoga Valley National Park map online tonight I noticed some trails to the west of Riverview Rd. and south of Peninsula called the "Oak Hill Area". Click here to view a map of this area. You will see that this area consists of 3 or 4 loops that are connected together. The longest stretch of trail here is the Plateau Trail which is 4.9 miles, with the next being the Oak Hill Trail at 1.5 miles.

We began our run at the Valley Picnic Area parking lot next to Riverview Rd. and headed west along the Plateau Trail towards Chestnut Pond. This trail starts off going uphill for a good 1/2 mile or so and then levels out and winds back and forth. It is nicely maintained and wide enough most of the way for two runners to run side by side. There are also sections where the trees/plants grow tall enough on each side of the trail to make a neat enclosed corridor. This reminded me a lot of the Mosquito Lake and West Branch trails.

With the sun gradually setting faster each night (tonight's sunset was 7:20), we wanted to try and see what the Chestnut Pond looks like while there is still some sunlight, so we kept a decent pace for the first mile and a half. Unfortunately when we reached the pond we noticed that it resembles a swamp more than a pond...

After this we then came across a nice section of trees which lined the trail on each side in a straight line. It reminded me a lot of the Buckeye Trail as you're heading towards the Boston Store with all those tree roots.

Soon we reached the Oak Hill trailhead which has a fairly large parking lot and a nice outdoor bathroom like the one at Pine Lane. After Jeff made a pit stop , we continued running south on the Oak Hill Trail, hoping to go the right way to get back to our cars but also trying to get in some mileage as well. Along the way we ran into this guy that was walking his dog and he told us to take the 2nd right (just after the sign directing you to the Hemlock Ravine) to get back to our cars at the Valley Picnic Area. We were both curious where the first trail to our right went though and decided to take it and then backtrack to where we came from. Surprisingly when we reached what is known as "Hemlock Point" on the Oak Hill Trail map we came across a sign that you won't see very often...

We then hopped back onto the Oak Hill trail and had about a mile to go before reaching our cars and finishing our run with a total of 4.5 miles. There are still some sections in this area that I'd like to explore, but I'm sure that I'll be back here again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Buckeye Trail Night Run

Tonight my brother Jeff and I met at the Pine Lane parking lot next to Rt. 303 and ran the Buckeye Trail to the Boston Store and back via the Towpath. Jeff's quad was not bothering him so hopefully he's gotten past the nagging injury that has been bothering him for awhile. I felt pretty good tonight too. It was a nice cool evening with temps around 60 and low humidity. Our total mileage tonight was 7.5 miles.

Can anyone guess what this is?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ravenna Balloon-A-Fair

This evening Tami, my brother, and I drove over to Ravenna to watch the end of the Ballon-A-Fair which took place at the SUNBEAU Valley Farm. 25 hot air balloons lifted off around 5:30pm to bring the festival to a close. It was pretty neat to see.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K & 25K

Sunrise before the start of the race

The 4th edition of the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K & 25K (new distance this year) took place yesterday. The event was once again a huge success, with a record turnout and a new 50K course record set. You can check out race results, photos, and videos on the race website.

50K winner Tadd Morris & 25K winner Lloyd Thomas

Saturday, September 13, 2008


From left to right: Jamie Musick, Bruce McMurray (right before a car came and hit us), Dan Kuzma, and me

Since I will be volunteering at next week's Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K & 25K I planned on running the course today to keep my 4-year streak alive. Here's the short story... My sister Jamie (who ran her first ultra today) and I met up with Bruce McMurray (he's doing YUT-C next week), Dan Kuzma, and his friend Jesse (who also ran his first ultra today). It rained steady for about 5 hours. The trail was completely water covered in many places. Temperatures were in the mid 70's with high humidity. But everyone managed to finish with a time of 7 hours and 52 minutes. It was a tough day of trail running, but a lot of fun!

Me, Jamie, Jesse, and Dan after the run

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Autumn is coming soon

Well, I haven't been running as much as I'd like to lately but today was just too nice of a running day to pass up. Once the morning rain was over with, the afternoon was sunny with temperatures in the upper 60s. As soon as I got home I got my running stuff and headed out the door for the Boston Store. Vince from Vertical Runner and a couple others were starting their run from Pine Lane at 6 so I told them that I'd run towards them from the Boston Store until I met up with them. Along the way I tried out my new iPod Classic for the first time on a run. I had some techno music blasting so I got into a good groove and probably ran a bit faster than I usually do at the beginning of a run.

It wasn't long until I met up with Vince, Rob, and Nick. I turned around and went back to the Boston Store with them and then we took this bridal trail that runs alongside the Ohio Turnpike back to Pine Lane. I have to say, that hill next to the Turnpike is brutal. But I pushed myself and ran the entire length of it, along with some other ones. Not all of them by choice... but rather because Vince would pull too far ahead if I slacked off.

When we got back to Pine Lane everyone was done, but I still needed to run back to my car. Since I pushed it for the first half I decided to run the Towpath back to the Boston Store to give myself a total of 8 miles for the day. I was happy to get in this run since I'll be running the entire YUT-C 50K course this Saturday. Unfortunately the weather on Sat. doesn't look as dry as today.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Folk Alley in the Valley

A few months ago my dad told me about which streams folk music online 24 hours a day and is based out of Kent, Ohio. They have a very nice website and surprisingly I enjoyed listening to their music, which offers a nice break from your usual everyday music. Plus, being a trail runner this kind of music fits in perfectly with the outdoors.

Earlier this week I got an email from Folk Alley that said they are celebrating their 5th anniversary this month and that they were having a party at the Happy Days Lodge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park tonight. I decided to check it out. The festivities from 6:30 to 8:00 included free music by Northeast Ohio's rising Americana singer/songwriter and Folk Alley Open Mic favorite - Chris Castle joined by Joe Linstrum and Tony Schaffer. They also had cake, ice cream, and refreshments, along with some drawing prizes.

These events that the CVNP puts on are a great thing for the community and a good way to promote the resources that we have here in Northeast Ohio. Click Here for a list of upcoming performances in the concert series.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Run

This morning I met up with Gombu, Slim, and Moose in Mill Creek Park for an 8 mile trail run. We started at the Old Log Cabin (start/finish of the YUT-C 50K / 25K) and ran to Lanterman's Mill and back. It was another great day of sunshine with temps in the low to upper 70's. On our way back to the cabin we ran the "Big Bear" trail section and decided to head down this hill to explore a large rock valley which has been grooved out through the years from lots of flowing water. Here's a picture of what this section looks like during the fall...

We've always wanted to jump into the water beneath the upper waterfall during a hot summer day, but just never got around to doing it. Well... today the temptation was just too much for all of us to ignore. Here's an aerial shot of the upper waterfall, along with a video of Slim and I jumping into the water...