Sunday, November 29, 2009

10 Miles in the Sun

This morning I headed over to the Happy Days Visitor Center and got in a great 10 mile run that included the Ledges trail, Pine Grove trail, Kendall Hills, and Salt Run. It was sunny out, close to 50 degrees, and there was a very nice breeze. No one showed up to join me so I just put on my iPod and enjoyed leaping from rock to rock while listening to a straight hour of non-stop techno music. When I got to the restrooms at Pine Hollow though I saw Roy Heger running with someone and joined them on the Salt Run trail before heading back to my car. Today was definitely one of those days when you wished the run would never end. I wanted to stay outside longer but figured that 10 miles was enough with the URINEO FA coming up this weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Warren Turkey Trot 5 Miler

Today I continued my annual Thanksgiving tradition by participating in the 31st Annual Warren Turkey Trot 5 Miler with my brother, sister, and wife. This race is held each year at the Kent State Trumbull campus in Warren, Ohio and always draws a lot of runners. This year, between the 5 mile and 2 mile races, the event set a record crowd of nearly 2,200 people. The weather definitely played a role in this with temps around 40 and sunny.

After my 64 mile ultra marathon last weekend I really wasn't anticipating that fast of a time today. I figured I'd get about halfway and my legs would suddenly turn into concrete. Well, I hit the first mile in 7 minutes flat. I thought to myself... Hmm, I'm probably starting off the race too fast again as usual. However, I hit the second mile again on a 7 minute/mile pace. At this point I was beginning to near the turnaround point and was anticipating a gradual slow down, but I tried to continue focusing on the pace that I was moving at and see how long I could hold it. Once I reached mile 3 I was surprised to see 21:30 on the clock. At this point I told myself, OK... let's try to turn this into a race now.

I knew the 4th mile would be the toughest, both mentally and physically, since it brings you just about to the last long road to the finish. In my head I kept thinking about the David Goggins video I watched last night where he says, "In a race you will hit a wall and you have a choice to make. You can either stop right there or you can go parallel left or parallel right. You're looking for that door and when you reach that door you have a decision to make. Should I open it? Or should I keep it closed? If you keep it closed you've made the decision to quit. If you choose to open it then you've decided to continue on with your plan or mission."

Thinking about this quote and the fact that I've done many races much longer than this kept me mentally tough at the end. There have been times when I've decided to take the easy way out and ended up regretting it afterwards. So, I told myself... not today. Before I knew it I was making the final turn to the finish and was able to sprint in with a time of 35 minutes, 50 seconds. I was very pleased with my finish and glad to be able to share this day with my friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving! I definitely have much to be thankful for!

Tami, Jeff, Me & Jamie

Monday, November 23, 2009

Awesome Weekend

This past Saturday I headed over to Pennsylvania with members of the N.E. Ohio Trail Club for the 4th Annual Slim Pickins FA. This free, no frills members only run took place on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. I ended up completing a total of 64 miles in 19 hours and 48 minutes! Report to follow...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bill's Bad Ass FA 50K

This morning I woke up around 5:30 and headed over to the Covered Bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley for the 1st Annual Bills' Bad Ass 50K. This free FA run consisted of six 5-mile loops of the Perkins/Riding Run Trail with the last mile going up a bunch of steps to the top of Oak Hill.

The drive over this morning was very nice with the sun rising and a very thin crescent moon in the sky. My plan was to meet Mike Keller and Brett Shriver at 6:30 so that I could get in an early loop before everyone else started. Mike & Brett had already finished one loop when I arrived. The temperature this morning was pretty chilly, but as the day progressed the high temperature got up into the mid-upper 60's! We are still having unseasonably warm weather for this time of the year but nobody is complaining.

So, after parking at the Church in the Valley I jogged about a quarter mile down the road and met Mike and Brett at the Covered Bridge. Mike had to move his vehicle over to the church lot so Brett and I took off ahead of him. On this loop we probably saw about 3-4 deer with one of them having a nice rack. Since we've been having a lot of warm, dry weather lately, the course was in pretty decent shape. Very unusual for this trail since it's usually muddy and rutted due to horses traveling on it. The only thing we had to watch out for were the stream crossings and all the rocks and roots hidden underneath the leaves. A couple times I thought I was heading for the ground but somehow saved myself from falling.

Brett and I got back to the parking lot after our first loop just as everyone was beginning to gather for the official start. It was awesome to once again see so many familiar faces and be able to catch up with those that I haven't seen for awhile. After a brief course overview from Chef Bill Bailey he gave us the go ahead and we were off.

My first and second loops seemed to go by pretty quick since everyone was together and chatting. The third loop I began to feel a little fatigue but it mainly hit me on the fourth loop as I figured it would. Overall though my body felt pretty good and I was able to run almost every loop in around an hour. I can tell that my endurance base from my recent ultras is paying off and helping to keep me strong during and after my runs. The weather today also made it very enjoyable to just be out there in the woods.

Me & Kirk
The middle part of the run I spent some time with Kirk Harrison, Bob Drake, "Pacer Marie", and both Bills'. The 4th loop I was alone for quite awhile but then ran into Mike Kazar on the trail. When I arrived back at the parking lot to start my last loop Mike Keller was there, so I decided to do the entire 5th loop with him since he lives in Columbus now and I don't get to see him as often as I used to. After finishing our last loop we now had to head up to the top of Oak Hill and pick up a Dum Dum lollipop (I chose the Pink Lemonade flavor) to prove that we had finished. This last climb wasn't too bad today, but if the course is muddier in the future it will definitely add insult to injury. I ended up finishing with a time of 6:53. Not bad considering all the breaks I took.

Mike & I
Overall, I had a blast today and would like to thank Bill Wagner & Bill Bailey for organizing a great run which included free aid and a free tech shirt to those who finished the entire 50K. Here's a picture of what this year's shirt looked like. I thought the logo was pretty cool and am already looking forward to next year's event...

Afterwards I stopped by the Winking Lizard in Peninsula with Bob Combs and we enjoyed a couple microbrews on the patio. Then later on Tami and I then headed over to Chagrin Falls for a free clambake with a bunch of other runners. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Friday, November 13, 2009


My friend Don Brown, who lives near Yosemite, emailed me this photo today. When he used to live in Cortland, Ohio he ran a lot of marathons with my dad and his running buddies. This photo shows my dad and I coming down the final stretch of Superior Ave. during the '98 Cleveland Marathon en route to my first marathon finish of 3 hours and 44 minutes. Ironically, I was wearing a yellow shirt on this day to celebrate Don's 100th marathon finish. On the picture Don wrote "The first and last time Brian & Joe will run together". He was right in his prediction, but I will always cherish the memories that I have from this race.
Before my dad switched over to cycling after having hip surgery a year ago, he had run somewhere around 40 marathons and 1 ultra marathon. I grew up as a kid watching him finish many road marathons in different cities and it's because of him that I know a lot of what I know today about running.
One of these days I'll scan a bunch of other old photos I have and post them on here...