Thursday, December 31, 2009

15% Effort

With temperatures rising above freezing and light rain in the air, I decided to stay away from the messy trails and headed over to my fitness center for a treadmill workout. I set the incline at 15% and the speed at 3 mph and managed to stay on for an hour and a half.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Off-Piste Exploration

This afternoon I met Kirk Harrison at Kendall Lake. Once we crossed over Truxell Road our trail run began with some exploring over by the Boy Scout’s Camp Manatoc. We climbed up and slid down many hills in this area. It wasn’t easy because the ground underneath the 3-4 inches of snow was still wet and muddy. We had a lot of fun though and got to see a lot of things inside the camp that I never saw before, such as the obstacle course and climbing wall.

Once we left the camp we headed back to Kendall Lake and ran up to Pine Hollow. There were a ton of sled riders up there today enjoying the fresh snow.

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We then ran the Salt Run loop and headed back to our cars just before sundown. Finished with 8 miles and 2 1/2 hours of time on our feet. It was a great day!

Click Here to see the rest of the photos I took along the way….

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Days to Salt Run

This morning I met my brother and Jason McMains at the Happy Days Visitor Center parking lot.  The temperature was in the 30’s with a moderate breeze in the open areas.  We ran the Ledges Trail over to the Pine Grove loop and then continued to Kendall Lake and Salt Run before heading back.  The dam that was under construction for awhile by Kendall Lake is now finished so we ran across it on our way over to Salt Run.  Considering all of the hills, we kept a pretty quick pace throughout the run and I felt great from beginning to end.  When we got back to our cars we had finished 10 miles.

DSC00006Dam next to Kendall Lake

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Heading uphill on Salt Run


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Trail Run

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This morning I met Dan Bellinger at the Valley Picnic Area parking lot for a run on the Oak Hill and Plateau Trails.  It felt pretty cold at the start with temperatures around 20 but once we got moving it wasn’t too bad.  We ran the outer Plateau Trail first and then mixed in the Oak Hill trail on our 2nd loop.  Dan stashed some water and Gatorade at the Oak Hill trailhead so that made for a nice stopping point. 


We ended up finishing with a total of 8.5 miles… Now it’s time to put back on the calories!  =)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

7 Miles in the Valley

I met my brother tonight at Happy Days in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a 7 mile trail run to Pine Hollow and back.  The trail was snow covered but was packed down enough to make for very nice running.  There was probably only an inch of packed snow.  Just enough to hide any ice underneath.  Temperature was around 30 but it felt very comfortable in the woods without any wind.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Boston Store to Snowville Rd.

DSC04270 This morning I met my brother at the Boston Store at 9 o’clock.  We headed north on the Buckeye Trail and turned around at Snowville Rd. to give us a total of 10 miles for the day.  The temperature was close to 30 but there was no wind so I actually felt pretty warm throughout the run.  I had a lot of fun today getting used to the new footing since this was probably only my 2nd run of the year on snow covered trails.  There was only about an inch of snow, if that, but it was enough to make things interesting in a few spots.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is always beautiful year-round and today certainly did not disappoint!  Here are a few pictures of my favorite section between the Boston Store & Snowville Road….




Saturday, December 12, 2009

13 Miles & 20 Degrees

That was the temperature for most of my trail run this morning. Once you got moving it wasn't too bad though if you had the right clothing on. I met Nick Billock, his brother Bill, and some others at Happy Days around 7:00. We ran the Ledges Trail and Pine Grove Trail, before meeting some other people, including my brother, Kurt Osadchuk, and Mark Anson at the Ledges Shelter at 8. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise and had mostly sunny skies throughout our entire run. From the Ledges Shelter we headed over to Kendall Lake, did the Salt Run loop, and then headed back to the shelter. My IT Band on my right knee had no issues today so I was glad that I rested it enough between last Saturday and today.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


"Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense." - G. Zukov
My brother and I woke up bright and early this morning and headed over to Mill Creek Park in Youngstown for the 4th Annual URINEO FA. This event, which is pronounced "yer-een-o", is organized each year by the N.E. Ohio Trail Club and stands for "Ultra Runners in N.E. Ohio" or "You're in Ohio!". If you're not familiar with FA runs, click here to read a description.
This run, which takes place on the YUT-C 50K/25K course, begins at the Lily Pond parking lot and features many items of interest along a 8.3 mile loop (lakes, waterfalls, creek crossings, historic buildings, the infamous "Love Log", and the infamous "Monkey Trail". The ultimate goal set each year for URINEO is 50 miles. However, since this is an FA everyone is allowed to run as much or as little as they wish.

This year a new option was on the table after NEO Trail Club member Mike Dobies came up with the "brilliant" idea for anyone interested to run twenty-seven .9 mile out and back sections on the Monkey Trail over and over again until the "Monkey Trail Marathon" distance was reached. For anyone that doesn't know, this section is the toughest part of the YUT-C course and includes many undulating climbs. Coincidentally Mike was unable to join us today, but since the idea was now stuck in the minds of Jim Harris, my brother Jeff, and I, we were committed to the task at hand.

Jeff and I arrived at the parking lot on top of the Monkey Trail hills around 5am. We saw Jim's van already parked there since we were a few minutes late, but after a few quick whistle blasts from the emergency whistle that Tanya Cady gave me two weekends ago at Laurel Highlands, we heard Jim yell back at us. He was on his first lap and headed towards us, so we waited and met up with him.

The first 3 laps or so didn't seem too bad since my legs were still fresh and I was trying to stay warm, but around lap 6 or 7 I could tell that this was going to get real old real fast. By repeating the same hills over and over again it definitely became a mentally challenge. Somewhere around this time Jeff and I decided to get the aid (cookies, Pringles, gel, water) that I brought out of his car and set it on the picnic table located in the middle of the Monkey Trail. This became a great re-fueling point on each lap.

As I approached my 13th lap on the Monkey Trail I started to reconsider completing the entire 26 miles here. I've been putting in a lot of big mileage runs lately and thought to myself that it might not be a good idea to run my body too far into the ground. My main decision for getting off the Monkey Trail hills though was just the monotony of not having new scenery to look at. So, as I reached mile 13 I told Jeff and Jim that I was going to finish the rest of my mileage on the standard URINEO course which loops around Lake Glacier and Lake Cohasset.

I was slightly disappointed to be abandoning my original plan of finishing 26 miles on the Monkey Trail, but once I got off of these hills I could feel my IT band on my right knee starting to get sore and tighten up a bit. I guess my body wasn't too happy with me doing 4 1/2 hours of non-stop climbing 2 weeks after a 64 miler. So, at this point I realized that I had made the right decision. For the rest of the day I did a lot of walking on the URINEO course to give my IT Band a break and it seemed to help quite a bit. Yes, I was slightly disappointed to abandon my original plan for the day. But by the time it was all said and done I was still able to finish 26 miles and live for another day.

Click here to see the final results and other blog reports. Congrats to Slim Jim for being the first and only finisher of the Monkey Trail Marathon! Also congrats to Todd Hanks and Gavin White, who both completed their first ultra marathon distance today!

Afterwards we all enjoyed hot soup and beverages in the Lily Pond parking lot and had a great time talking about trail running and anything that came to mind. This fun run is just one of many NEO Trail Club events that truly exemplify what ultra running is all about!