Thursday, September 28, 2006

Running in circles, Part 3

Today's track workout:
7mi total (52:14)
2mi warm-up
3mi straight @ LT pace (1600 splits: 6:37/6:30/6:28)
2mi cool-down

Planned: 5x1mi @ LT pace
Actual: 1x3mi @ LT pace

What a difference a track partner makes. Mine had a scheduling conflict this week, so I had to go it alone. I find it hard to hold my concentration when trying paced runs on my own. My mind wanders without a fellow runner to pace off of. Short on time, I turned the plans for a longer cruise interval session into one standard 3mi tempo run.

I couldn't have been happier to be out there in the rain and wind this morning. This week has been stressful at work. I've been offered a new position at my company and they're packaging it as a "lateral move," even though its not. I've been playing the cat-and-mouse negotiation game and I'm not much into gambling my job. I strung it out as long as possible and the dialogue has weighed heavily on my mind for the past couple days. I even took a couple days off from running this week to spend more time at work. felt good to get outside today to run and forget about work, even if it was only for one short hour. As I ran in circles, my mind wandered ahead to October 21 when I'll really be running in circles.

First things first. This weekend is the awesome Akron Road Runner Marathon. Only in its fourth year, Akron has become a gem of a marathon and an event that their city should be very proud of. Akron was one of four finalists (behind NYC, Boston, and Minneapolis) vying for the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials. The trials were finally awarded to NYC and Boston, but I can imagine someday having the country's best marathoners toe the line here in NE Ohio. For me, this year is Akron #3 and it will become my first marathon three-peat.

The weather looks great for marathoning: mid-40s at the start and maybe some light rain. If you're out there this weekend, look me up. For the third year, I'm the marathon pacer for a 3:40 finish time. (If its not too windy, I'll try to hold the "3:40" sign throughout the race.)

And the job. While I didn't get everything I asked for, the good news is I've accepted a new position and I'm going back to 8-5. Yahoo! I've been on west coast hours for almost two years and have not left the office before 8pm for quite some time. I feel like I'll have to reinvent myself. I look forward to it. Compensation aside, I look forward to the team and project where I'm headed. Lateral or not, its a move in a direction more suited for me.

The season for Thursday night trail runs is coming to an end, but I especially look forward to getting back to the Tuesday night group workouts at the Rocky River track. Yes, you guessed it. I've missed running in circles...with you all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Leave a trail...

What is it about the trails? I can't think of a better place to go exploring. Though I'm not sure he's exactly talking about trail running, here's a tune Carlos wrote last year. I hope its on the new album.

Someday I hope to ask him what inspired the song, but I can imagine that leaving a trail means something about how we each make our mark in this world. Not the big events in life, but more about the choices to do the best we can with the small everyday tasks. The implication is we're using up more of our planet's resources than what we really need.

I guess that's the point: Individually we each decide how to leave a trail. Its a choice. Of course, Carlos Jones chooses peace, love, and unity.



"Leave a Trail"
Lyrics and music by Carlos Jones, 2005.
Carlos' MySpace

Audio Link to "Leave a trail"

Why don't you
Leave a trail of peace now wherever you go?
and then there will be a path for the next one to follow

Why don’t you
Leave a trail of love now wherever you go?
and there might be some thing left for them tomorrow

Sometimes it so overwhelming
when you see how much wrong is going on
That you don’t think you can make any difference
and your confidence has gone
But if you just do the best that you can do
to make it better where you are
It can create a positive example
and that is always a good start

I'm going to
Leave a trail of cleanness wherever I go
And then there will be a path for the next one to follow

Why don't you
Leave a trail of kindness wherever you go?
and there might be some thing left for them tomorrow

If you're worried 'bout your future
well you've got good reason to
Cause we've been using up more than we put back
and the bill is coming due
I said I don't know how long its gonna last
but I'll just do the best I can
To shine some light in this darkness
For every woman, child and man

I'm going to
Leave a trail of peace now wherever I go
so that there will be a path for the next one to follow

I'm going to
Leave a trail of love now wherever I go
and then there may be another day for them tomorrow

I say the world is in a crisis
we better wake up before it's too late
If we don’t stop and change the situation
well then destruction would be our fate--hey!

If you're worried about your future
I say you've got good reason to
Cause we've been using up more than we put back
and the bill is now coming due
I said I don't know how long its gonna last
but I'll just do the best that I can
I'm gonna shine a little light in this darkness
For every woman, child and man

I'm going to
Leave a trail of cleanness wherever I go
So there will be a path for the next one to follow

I'm going to
Leave a trail of kindness wherever I go
and there might be some thing left for them tomorrow

Why don't you
Leave a trail of love now wherever you go?
So that there will be a path for the children to follow

Why don't you
Leave a trail of peace now wherever you go?
So that there may be another day for them tomorrow

So why don’t you leave a trail…
Leave a trail…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Havin' fun at the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50km

Run results at Team PR
Run photos by Brian Musick

Whew, I survived the Browns game. What a game, and what a fun-filled weekend. I don't know exactly why, but I've had a hard time putting into words how this race went. Oh well, here goes...

I can't say enough good things about the trail crew, volunteers, and runners that participated in Saturday's Youngstown Ultra Trail - Classic 50km race (YUT-C.) Now in its second year, the hilly and rocky trails of scenic Mill Creek Park has proven itself as a venue worthy enough to host a challenging 50km ultramarathon. The best way to describe this run was that it was small event, with a hometown feel, through a beautiful park, and with gorgeous views of the lake. The aid and amenities were top notch. Its a run of the best kind--Hosted by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.

The 50km course was broken in to 3 loops of 11.6, 11.6, and 7.9 miles each. The first two loops were identical, but we switched directions after loop one. I liked this format so that we could see all the participants once or twice along the trail. The big loop was a figure-eight shape with the Covered Bridge aid station placed strategically in the middle of the figure-eight. The third and final loop turned back at the covered bridge, which we passed five times thoughout the course of the run. The terrain was a good mix of dirt, rocky trail, and a few paved roads. I estimate the ratio as 85% trails and 15% paved surface.

Starting in front of the log cabin:

The run started off with a small field of about 50 runners at the north end of the park with a short road section before entering the trail. I started off with the usual suspects: Dave Peterman, TJ Hawk, and Chris Meanor. Jim Harris was not far ahead. We ran as a loose group for most of the first loop before the field thinned out. I ran most of loop one with a fella from Memphis named Bill. Of course I had to mention my favorite dry-rub rib joint in the world, The Rendezvous. Bill concurred with my sentiment.

In loop two I leapfrogged with Jeff from Seattle. I enjoyed chatting with Jeff as I recalled my years in Washington state. I wasn't an ultra runner back in those days, but I can imagine now what I'd do if I lived near the Cascades or the Olympic Peninsula. I can dream, eh?

Finishing up Loop Two:

I'm no geologist, but Mill Creek Park sure does have its fair share of rocks. Like the Buckeye Trail and its trees and roots, the character of Mill Creek's trails are defined by its rocks. I'm not sure if the Teva trail shoes were the right choice because by the end of the run my feet felt tender. I missed the protection of my trusty Hardrocks.

I wish I had some photos of the trail itself. Two highlights are the "Love Log," and long boardwalk along the East Gorge Trail.

After the run, most everyone commented on the huge log that blocked an uphill trail during loops 1 and 3. On the first trip, crossing this log was not as much of a feat. But during loop 3 on dead legs it was different story. The only way to get over was to give the log a little love with a bear hug and to roll up and over. Hence the "Love Log" nickname.

The coolest moment for me that day, was along the boardwalk just north of the covered bridge on the East Gorge Trail. The East Gorge Trail is a long boardwalk with steps that runs along side sandstone outcroppings and with a view of Lanterman's Falls. As I headed along during loop 2, a squirrel hopped up on the rail and ran along side me for about 20 seconds or so. The experience amazed me. It was so unreal. I could have reached out and grabbed him. Mr. Squirrel left my side with a backflip off the rail and right onto a tree branch and up the tree. Yahoo, that's what I'm talkin' about!

East Gorge Trail with Lanterman's Falls in the background. One of serveral falls along the course:

I was happy with my run on this day. I started with smart pacing and I seemed to get stronger as the day went on. I finished in 5:18 with loops of 1:56, 2:01, and 1:21. Loop 2 included an 8-minute pit stop for restroom and to fix one blister. The fact that I was running strong and felt good at the end bodes well for the 12-hour. I'm gaining confidence and I look forward to the next challenge. All-in-all, my day was a success.

And I finally got to meet fellow blogger E-speed who amazinging finished her first ultramarathon only one week after running the North Country Trail Marathon last weekend. Way to go, E! Kim was out there too and has posted some nice trail photos.

Special thanks to Bob Combs and his wife Molly for the countless hours devoted to this event. I applaud Bob and his crew for the tireless (and thankless) effort in chasing down permits, sponsors, and volunteers. To this end, we as runners enjoyed a tech shirt, Buckeye Beer (a finisher's award that one can put to use,) and great post-race chow with hot soup and pizza.

Post race in front of the log cabin: Jeff (from Seattle,) Lloyd, Dave, Brett, and Mike (on the fence)

Special thanks to Brian Musick of Team PR for the Photos.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Quick Saturday update - YUT-C 50km

I'm making a day of the Browns game tomorrow, so here's a quick race update. More to come after I recover from the weekend.

Guess the blogger I finally met today at the Youngstown 50km? (Hint: She ran her first ultramarathon today.)

Today turned out as a fine day for a long run. Weather: mid-60s, a bit humid and overcast. Mill Creek Park as a race venue did not disappoint. I finished intact in 5:18.

After the finish: "Slim" Jim Harris, RD Bob Combs, and moi

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The first day of fall

The Autumnal Equinox isn't for two more days yet. Wow.

Its not yet the the first day of fall and it feels like the first day of winter. Sheesh, did it get cold in a hurry. I don't mind the cold. Colder is better than warmer when it comes to marathon running. But I'm in no hurry. Give me fall!!!!!

Here are some things I did today because it was so freakin' cold:

- Thought about lighting the pilot light.
- Took my winter coat to the dry cleaner cause I might need it like, this week.
- Went for my run today in pants for the first time since spring.
- Got invited to the Browns/Ravens game this Sunday.

Hmmm...its football season. It really is the first day of fall. favorite season.

I'm going to get some good rest for the race. I hope there's not a good reggae gig somewhere tonight to distract me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tempo Tuesday

Work, play, blogging, reading...there isn't enough hours in the day. ACK! Where is all my time? I'm still getting used to the tempo of blogging. Today I have just enough time for a run report and a race preview.

- Today's run: 7miles, with 3mi at Tempo-pace. (4x1200; with 1min rests)

1200 splits: 4:59/4:50/4:41/4:32

I didn't plan on speeding up with each rep, that just how I felt. I'm surprised on how easily the legs were turning over. I guess it bodes well for this weekend. Still, I want to be cautious with the recovery each week. I'm a bit more tired than I was two weeks ago and prior to Punxy. I'm trying to remember that every week is not a "goal" race and that my next one is not until late October.

- This Saturday is the 2nd edition of the Youngstown Ultra Trail - Classic 50 km race. The RD, Bob Combs of Warren, is a multiple finisher of the Massanutten Trails 100 and finisher of this years's Hardrock 100. Hardrock is arguably the world's most difficult 100 mile race and Massanutten is billed as the toughest 100 east of the Rockies. Way to go, Bob.

Bob and his crew have a nice event planned and no doubt the course will be challenging. Anyone whose ever run the Mill Creek Classic (Youngstown Half Marathon) in March knows about the hills. And hills. And more hills. Never big, but these hills just keep coming at'cha. Interesting fact: Mill Creek Park is the nation's second largest urban park behind NYC's Central Park. (Map here)

I'm looking forward to it. In my first try at YUT-C (which sounds ridiculously like Yahtzee!), I'm expecting pretty trails with hills and rocks and waterfalls. Its going to be a small race with about 60 runners registered.


- As an aside, I'm still getting used to the pace of Blogging. Its tough to keep up sometimes. To put it "out there" in words is not always easy. For example, I still haven't written an Erie Marathon report. Where's the time? There's so much I want to say and so little time. It's my hope that blogging will make me a better (and speedier) writer.

I've also spent significant time reading the writing and blogging of other local athletes. Many of you are so very generous with your time by sharing your experiences through your writing. Since I do lean on the stories of others, I do feel like its my small duty to share my experiences with others as well. I dunno. We'll just see how my tempo goes. I can make time for the things that are truly important. Yet life should always take priority over blogging.


(The majority of the world's 100 mile trail races are in North America. Check them out at Run 100s -Stan Jensen's website.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Joseph Hill (1949-2006)

Iron Sharpening Iron

It saddens me to announce the passing of Joseph Hill, the long-time frontman band for seminal roots reggae band Culture. Three weeks ago, Mr. Hill died suddenly while out on the band's most recent European tour. While I don't know Joseph the person, I am familiar Joseph the musician. I'm grateful I got to see my one and only Culture show this March at Oberlin college.

Trod on, my brother Joseph, trod on.

JOSEPH HILL (1949-2006)

On August 19 the reggae world lost one of its most prominent figures. Joseph Hill, the leader of the veteran reggae group, Culture unexpectedly passed away from a sudden illness. At the time, the group was in Berlin, Germany at the mid-point of a European tour.

Recently, Hill had received a number of honors - including an induction into the Jamaican Reggae Walk of Fame and a 2005 Independence Award presented by the Prime Minister of Jamaica. This year the group continued to draw rave reviews with typically upbeat performances at the 'Bob Marley 61st Birthday Celebration' in Ghana and 'Reggae Sunsplash 2006'.

Joseph Hill will probably be best remembered for the impact Culture had on the reggae scene when they first appeared in 1976. During this period the group had a string of highly successful singles for producers Joe Gibbs and Sonia Pottinger. Perhaps most well known was the song 'Two Sevens Clash' which, due to its infectious rhythm and apocalyptic imagery, left a lasting impression on both Jamaicans and UK punks. The 'Two Sevens Clash' album was a landmark in reggae music and was named by Rolling Stone magazine in 2002 as one of the '50 Coolest Records' - the only single artist reggae album to make the list. The group also scored a major hit with 'Stop Fussing and Fighting', a song that addressed the chaotic political climate of the late 1970s and the attempt on Bob Marley's life.

Joseph Hill and Culture quickly developed a reputation as a fearsome performing group. The group put in a stunning performance at the 'One Love Peace Concert' in 1978, and was soon regularly touring the United States, Europe and Africa. In recent years the group has not displayed any signs of slowing down as they continued to perform at least one hundred concerts each year - with Hill's wife Pauline performing road manager duties. Fans of the group know that Hill continued to be an electrifying presence on stage - part deejay as he directed his band to reconfigure songs on stage and part teacher as he commented on Jamaican history and current political issues. In his lyrics, Hill often explored how the legacy of slavery continued to have an influence on Jamaican citizens. Yet, what made Culture unique was that Hill always tempered his messages by having a smile on his lips and a dance in his feet. He was never without a good joke at hand.

Growing up in the parish of St. Catherine Jamaica, Joseph Hill has often recounted how he built a homemade drum as a child. He first became involved in the Jamaican music scene as a sound system deejay. By the late 1970s he was performing as a percussionist for the Soul Defenders group who were based out of Linstead. It was with this group (which included such figures as Nana McLean and Vincent Morgan) that Hill made his first recording at Coxsone Dodd's legendary Studio One - both as a musician and lead singer. Notably, the group backed such Studio One stars as Burning Spear and Dennis Brown.

In the early 70s, Joseph performed with two groups that included future reggae star Glen Washington - C35 Incorporated and Stepping Stone. In 1976, Hill formed the harmony trio Culture with his cousin Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes. The group immediately struck a chord with audiences by combining sharp social commentary and catchy rhythms. Hill has often noted that the group earned their name Culture. The group gained the reputation as one of the most reliable and enjoyable acts in reggae music. They had a string of memorable albums - most recently the album World Peace for Heartbeat Records in 2003. Significantly, Hill was not content to let Culture be a mere oldies act. In recent years he had recorded duets with Buju Banton and Anthony B., and demonstrated a keen desire to be both faithful to his roots and a contemporary artist. Joseph Hill was remarkable for his ability to simultaneously look backward and forward. He will be greatly missed by both Culture fans and the reggae community.

Condolences go out to Pauline Hill, Kenyatta Hill, the entire Hill family, Albert Walker, Telford Nelson, long time agent George Michailow and the numerous musicians who formed the backing groups Dub Mystic, Moja Nya and Forces of Justice.

Biography written by:
Jim Dooley
Ottawa, Canada

Live video clips now available

On the Roots photo blog.

Clips of Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band, along with SOJA, now posted. Still photos will follow in a day or two.

Special thanks to Carlos Jones and SOJA for laying it down, and for permission to post these clips.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lumpia (loom-PEE-ah)

Its not often I cook large meals. Uhh...I'll just say I don't cook often.

But today I made the Filipino side dish, or appetizer, called Lumpia with one of my co-workers. What a chore. Lots of veggies to chop. We made several types, all of which had veggies, except one batch where we made some all-meat lumpias. There is a proper name for these, but I'm not up on my Tagalog or Ilocano. So I just call them the meat lumpias.

But the majority of the lumpias were with some variation of the following ingredients: Chopped garlic, onions, carrots, leeks, cabbage, chicken or pork. Preparation is simple, really. Brown the meat, lightly sautee the chopped veggies, let cool, then roll them up with lumpia wrappers. The final preparation is a pan fry in vegatable oil.

Lumpias are yummy. Its just alot of work. Next time, I'll make a lot more and freeze them for a rainy day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Groundhog 50km

My race weekend began on Friday afternoon. I left downtown Cleveland and headed down to Hudson to pickup some last minute gear from Vince at the VR store. Four of us shared the ride to the Groundhog 50km in Punxsatawney, PA. I heard tales of past Groundhog 50km races and how the hometown feel to this race brings them back year after year. This year, and as much as I like the River Run, I opted for Punxy instead. No regrets.

Punxsatawney sure loves its Groundhogs. Thery're everywhere. I found groundhogs in every store, restaurant, and in similar way to Cleveland's guitars, even every sidewalk.

The Punxsatawney Phil (ya know, the weather guy)

The start and finish of the race was in the middle of town at the community center. Right away, I felt the homeyness to this race. The vibe I felt from the many runners and volunteers was one of community. This was a homecoming. The fact that you see many of the same faces at these events makes it feel like being with family.

The highlight of the Friday banquet was the talk given by Dr. David Horton. Last summer, the Liberty University professor set out to break the thru-hike record for the Pacific Crest Trail. He told the tale of some of the difficulties: 40 miles per day, for 66 days, with an average 8000' elevation per day, crossing rushing mountain streams, running out of food, and starting each day off with a good cry. His main theme was, "that the body can go much further that you ever expected," and that "adventure involves risk."

"Great," I thought. This is just what I needed to hear on the eve of my two-race weekend. Friday's party started me off with a super attitude to tackle 57+ miles in the next two days.

Saturday morning started off perfect: Cool and overcast and the forecast was for afternoon rains. The course was 7 miles out, an 8-mile loop done twice, then an 8 mile return trip back to the finish line in town. There were a half-dozen or so steep walker hills. Each had their own name: Two Beers, Yellow Bus, Cry Baby, Water Tower, ESPN Tower Hill. Overall, the course was mostly very runnable double-track trail. Of the 31 miles, about six mile were on roads.

At 7am, John the RD sent us on our way. The first two miles were uphill along roads before finding the trail. I fell in line and its funny how I end up running and chatting with the same folks from past races. This time it was Terry Hawk, Dave Peterman, and local Punxsy-ite Chris Meanor. We made it together down the very steep Two-Beers, which got its name from local mountain bikers, who on average needed two beers to muster up the courage to ride down. It was that steep.

We made it to mile 7 and the start of the loop in about 65 minutes. My strategy for the day was to keep my heart rate low (without wearing my HRM) and to stay aerobic. The loop was pretty trail, sometimes steep, sometimes muddy, but more runnable than the Buckeye Trail. I normally don't look back during a race, but fellow runners insisted I look back at the top of Yellow Bus Hill. The valley view was phenomenal. About midway through the first loop and about 1:45 elapsed, the rains came. I was stunned and upset that I had no hat. But what to do, cry? Nope, just keep trodding on and moving towards the goal. The backside of the loop was a little more sloppy and at one point the trail became a stream. No more dry feet! The loop ended with a 1 mile stretch along a country road with a good climb back up to the start of the loop. Made it here (15 miles) in 2:15. The rains continued, heavy at times, and I repeated the 8 mile loop and made it (23 miles) in about 3:30.

Here's me in the downpour at about mile 21 and smiling.

Only 8 miles to go to the finish with the venerable Water Tower and Two Beers Hills awaiting. Throughout the run, I trailed my training bud Dave by a few minutes. As I approached an aid station, he was just departing. We continued thoughout in this manner, although we never ran together. Later, Dave would say that he just wanted to keep away from me. Good strategy, as Dave ran a PR in 4:36.

As I've become accustomed, running the last part of an ultra is normally alone. I successfully maintained an aerobic pace and I knew I had a reserve in the tank. I scaled Water Tower hill and enjoyed the valley vistas before arriving at the last aid station at the base of Two Beers. Dave was just departing and it was the last I'd see of him. He ran a great race.

Two Beers was steep and not too long. After the ascent, amazingly I was still in good shape and looking good for a PR. I ran on knowing the goal was there to be taken. Concurrently, I was part of the team competition and knowing that helped pull me to the finish. Team VR performed well. I was 6th on the team behind Connie, Bob, Vince, Mike, and Dave. All of us set course or personal records.

The last two miles were the same dirt and paved roads as the beginning of the race. I kept a good pace on the downhill grade and rolled into town and across the line in 4:39 and 19th overall! Whoooo-hoo.

For recovery, I took a good walk to the drugstore for some chocolate milk before taking part in the post-race lunch and banter. I can't say enough about the hospitality of Punxsatawney. It was a great time shared by runners of all types and ability. This was a race I won't soon forget and one that I'd recommend to anyone.

We drove home and I set into motion the refueling and recovery plan for Sunday. Although I was still unsure about running a marathon the next day, I had a positive attitude about it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Amateur night

I really do want to write up a report about Punxy and Erie, but RLC is getting in the way. Go figure...

In the meantime, it's amateur night. Give any Joe a video camera and look out. This was totally impromptu on my part. I had just wanted to snap some photos along the way at the Erie Marathon. As I trodded on, I thought to capture my feelings at various intervals along the course on video. Here's a couple clips. It's part hilarious and mostly embarassing. My camera presence is horrible! These are my first youtube posts. Be sure to check the photo blog for more vids in the future.

This one is at mile 20, my 51st of the weekend and running great.

Yeah, I'm silly. And BTW, Kellie had no problem "hanging." She ran strong at the end and dropped me for a couple miles. Way to go!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Quick weekend update

Trips to PA were tremendous. Here's the quick update while I post the reports, pictures, and videos.

Sat- Punxsatawney Groundhog 50km: 4:39, 19th overall. Team Vertical Runner wins the team award. 50km PR by 14min over '05 BT50k

Sun- Erie Marathon at Presque Isle: 3:32:42 (1:48 & 1:44). I started waaay late. A whole 15 minutes after the gun. But thanks to chip timing, it works out. Legs felt sore from the first mile and they remained sore throughout the entire race, but not worse. I surprisingly got stronger after 20 miles. From mile 19 to the finish, I ran along with Kellie T., who dropped my pace down for the last 6 miles. Thanks Kellie.

* special congratulations to our training bud Tara G. (Second Sole Rocky River & Team Good River) for 1st place with a PR 3:08. Huh? This was a training run for her Columbus marathon try in 5 weeks.

Weekend total: 57+ miles in 8:12. Whooo-hoo!

Don't forget to check the roots pics blog.

The Punxsatawney Phil

Team VR (post race zombies)

Tara G. (Erie Marathon champ)

Erie splits

Total: 3:32:42
1st half: 1:48:29
2nd half: 1:44:13

1- 8:42
2- 8:48
3- 8:19
4- 8:10
5- 8:12
6- 8:04
7- 8:24
8- 8:34
9- 7:59
10- 8:00
11- 8:14
12- 7:58
13- 8:16
14- 8:32
15- 8:11
16- 8:10
17- 8:14
18- 8:08
19- 8:06
20- 7:39*
21- 8:29*
22- 7:55
23- 7:52
24- 7:33
25- 7:41
26- 7:12
.2- 1:25

* miles 20 and 21 probably mismarked

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Running in circles, Part 2

Run log

- Tues: 7mi total, with 3mi at T-pace (6:25 per mile) Workout was 4x1200m; with 1 min rests. Warm-up and cool-down at Easy pace (8:00-8:30 per mile.) The legs felt a bit heavy, but okay. This workout has become my normal week-of-race workout.

- Wed: 6mi easy trails. I did the golf courses run. Started up the hill at Little Met GC and over to the bridal trail above Big Met GC and also borders Mastick Woods GC. Continued on the bridal trail south of Puritas Road and turned-around at the top of the hill near the I-480 overpass. By the end of this run my legs felt fresh, so I feel in good shape for this weekend's race.

Running in circles, Part 2.

So I got that thing sitting over there in the upper right corner...

"Dreaming of running further than ever before..."

Yep. That's me. But the Presque Isle 12 Hour is only one of three "goal" races this fall. I've plodded away at this blog for 5 weeks now and it appears that I want to keep going with it. Since I'm sticking around, today I wish to introduce my Fall running goals. It's ambitious. Here are my "goal" races:

* Sep 9 - Groundhog 50km (goal is to improve my 50km PR of 4:53)
* Oct 21 - Presque Isle 12 hour (goal to run further than ever before, currently 70.5mi)
* Nov 18 - JFK 50 Mile (goal sub-8 hours)

Yes, the rest of the year's goals are ultramarathons. Relatively flat and fast ultras, at that. Although I enjoy the tough trails, I'm going for speed this fall. But that does not preclude marathons in the plan. Like last year, I'll do a couple marathons as long training runs. For the third year, I'll lead the 3:40 pace group at the Akron Marathon. I enjoy that race very much.

Back to running in circles. Of the three goal races, the one that worries me the most is the 12 hour run. Its unknown territory. I'm not worried about this weekend's 50km race. Nor am I worried about JFK; been there, done that. Two marathons in two weeks does not worry me either. I've done 2-in-2 twice now: Akron-Towpath last fall and Kentucky Derby-Flying Pig earlier this year.

So how to prepare for a 12 hour run on a 1 mile loop? As a student of running, I fall back to the principle of Specificity of training. The principle suggests that in order to be successful at activity x, then one must do activity x in training. Applied to my 12 hour goal, I think of two points to help me.

1) Back-to-backs. I want to have one or more big weekends comprised of back-to-back long runs. It would be ideal to cover about two-thirds of my goal race, or about 8 hours of running per weekend. This weekend I'm going for just that. Conveniently, there's a Sunday marathon in Erie, Pennsylvania. Yes, I'm going for two marathons in two days. This weekend falls 6 weeks out before Presque Isle and I think it’s a good spot to try.

2) Run loops. If I'm going to run in circles for 12 hours, I ought to consider running some loop training runs. Earlier this spring, my city paved a 1 mile loop around Lakewood Park. Living only 3/4 mile from the park, I've run this loop many times. Is this a light bulb moment, or what? Can you imagine what I have in store for future editions of Running in circles?

There it is. I just wanted to get this out there in the open. These goal races have been on my schedule ever since the New Year. The good news is that there's still time to prepare for my Running in circles.

Monday, September 04, 2006



Big ups to those competing at Ironman Wisconsin (aka IM MOO) in Madison, WI on September 10.

In honor of the occasion, today I went for a long bike ride. 32 miles total along Lake Road past Avon Lake before returning home. It beat my previous long ride of the year (25 miles.)

If you thought I was a maniac athlete, get a load of what Ironman triathletes endure. They sign-up a whole 365 days beforehand for a race that consists of the following events:

* Two-point-four miles of open-water swimming (2.4 miles)
* One-hundred-twelve miles cycling on the road (112 miles)
* Twenty-six-point-two miles running. Yes, that's a whole marathon folks. (26.2 miles)

It all adds up to a distance of 140.6 miles with a 17 hour time limit.

Part of the reason I'm here on Blogger is because I started reading and admiring the training blogs of several local (and not-so-local) triathletes:

qcmier (Tri Al)
Iron Wil
Tri Eric Tri

These folks are just a few of the many triathlete bloggers out there. I regret not finding you all sooner. I arrived to blogger late in the game and I'm now I'm playing catch up with each of your stories. Not only are they all great athletes, but wonderful writers as well. I wish to believe that they have spurred on my new writing habit.

I'm not totally unfamiliar with the life of an Ironman. My old Army roommate did Ironman Kona a couple times. He was the one who encouraged me to run my first marathon in Portland, Oregon back in 1998.

Although I've done several "sprint" triathlons and many marathons and ultramarathons, I cannot fathom travelling the road of an Ironman. Here I am, trying to do my best in one event. It takes up a great deal of my time. In my running I try for 6-7 runs per week. Yet IM triathletes are known to go for 10-13 workouts per week! What dedication. What I admire is the methodical planning of an emmense volume of training, then going out and doing it. Planning and executing, so to speak. These men and women make the impossible seem possible by juggling family, career, and training.

For better or worse, I'll continue to admire all you IM triathletes from my vantage point. At this point in my life I don't have the urge to become an Ironman...yet. But by reading the trials and successes of these triathlete bloggers, the Ironman task seems a bit easier to contemplate.

Maybe...someday. For now, I'll stick to my running goals.

Sunday, September 03, 2006 - The consummate roots reggae catalog

This is it. No more looking for the roots. Its all there at


DJ Bahilman has a roots catalog of over 5,000 tracks from mostly the 1970-80s era. He sprinkles in some newer artists, but you can be sure that its all wonderful. I can't believe I haven't found him sooner.

I've set my radio to SKY.FM and now its stuck.

Is it possible to download streaming audio so I can listen on the run? I haven't figured that one out yet.

Today's run: 12.5 easy miles on trails. Just under 2 hours. Started from Cottonwood/Mastick on the bridal trail to the Nature Center, added the 4-hill trail loop, and returned to Cottonwood. The new Teva shoes are a go for next week's trail race.

Happy Labor Day. In honor of those Ironman Wisconsin (Sep 10) peeps, I'm hoping to go for a long bike ride on my day off.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Celebrate Westlake 5 mile race

I entered the local 5 mile race today. $1000 to both men's and women's winner. Not that I was a threat for the cash, but it made for some great competition out there. Its been relatively cooler here in NE Ohio and it drizzled much of the morning. Lucky for us, the heavy rain held off until afterwards.

In prep for next week's 50km, my training over the past month has primarily been runs of easy pace and a tempo run session once per week. No fast speedwork. Last Tuesday, I did 4x1600 at (6:22 pace,) so I thought that 6:22 pace, or sub-32:00, might be a good target for today's 5 mile. My PR is 31:40 from year 2004 Bay Days.

The course was virtually flat. The first and last miles were a perfectly straight, wide road. The middle three miles wandered around the Bradley Woods metropark with about a 5/8 mile stretch on a dirt and grass trail.

After a good warm-up and a set of strides I was ready to go. Everything went okay.

Mile 1 in (6:09) as I was just a bit fired up. I found myself within a group of fast runners. I corrected my pace in mile 2 (6:18) as the field started to spread out. This was only my 4th attempt at the distance, yet I knew that the race doesn't start until about the 3 mile mark. I remember that's where the pain really begins, and today was no different. Mile 3 (6:24) was my slowest one, but I managed to keep a small reserve in my pocket for the finish. I hit mile 4 (6:21) in 25:12 and at that point I knew I had a shot at my PR, if I could only run 6:30 for mile 5. We hit the last final straightaway. I pushed on, trying to relax and concentrate at the same time, and broke the tape in mile 5 (6:17) for an 11 second PR.

Final time: 31:29 (6:18 pace)
Splits: 6:09/6:18/6:24/6:21/6:17

Course records broken for both the men in (23:1x) and women in (26:1x.) An extra $1000 each went to a Moroccan and a Russian, respectively. After the race, the heavy rains came and no results posted. I figure there was at least 500 runners, if not more. I'm not sure of my final placing, but I don't imagine I was better than 40th place.

I'm happy with the result, yet it makes me wonder what I could do if I added some faster interval workouts. I certainly felt the pain in those middle miles. Those negative thoughts popped into my head that said "Why are you doing this?" But as normal, once I break the tape the discomfort subsides and the sense of acheivement quickly erases any and all pain I might have felt during the race.

One other comment for today. I can tell that I'm carrying some around extra fat on my body. I have a jelly-belly because with ultramarathons I've drifted away from extreme carb-loading and I've gravitated towards more fat and protein, as a higher percentage of my overall diet. (Translated: I keep a stash of kettle chips handy.) While I can rely on those fat stores to help out in the longer races, it did me no good today. I felt the extra weight dragging me down.

Oh well, on to bigger and better races......fall marathon mania is around the corner.