Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preview: 2010 Fools Trail Run

Article below published in the March 2010 WRTR newsletter.

With registration reaching full capacity late last week, the field is set for the 2010 Fools Trail Run. The second year race will be held on March 28 starting and finishing at Pine Hollow in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Remembering last year, clear skies and a brilliant sun produced a memorable day for NE Ohio trailrunning. The race became an instant hit with 192 Fools, including 67 in the 50k, conquering the trails of the CVNP's Virginia Kendall park. Had the event been held one day later on Monday, runners would have faced a snowy, muddy mess.

After rave reviews from last year, no course changes are expected for this year's race. The route remains a diverse 25-km (15.7 miles) loop of the Kendall Lake area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park comprised of the Cross Country, Lake, Ledges, Boston Run, Haskell Run, Pine Grove, and Salt Run Trails. The 50-km runners repeat the entire 25-km circuit.

Plan to get dirty. Seasonal average temperatures, ranging between a low of 30F and high of 55F, combined with muddy, wet conditions are expected on this course that features little to no pavement. (Estimated at 99.9% pavement-free.)

Starting and finishing from Pine Hollow, the 25-km route follows a color-coded course that offers a variety of surfaces. Runners will contend with grass meadows, pine groves, and some rocks combined with a descent into and climb out of the valley. Course highlights include the grassy terrain of the Little Meadow and Cross Country Trails, the rocks in and around the Ledges Trail, and the pines of the Boston Run and Pine Grove Trails before returning to Kendall Lake to tackle the Salt Run.

Out-of-town guests will not want to miss the Ledges Overlook vista near the 10 mile mark at the southern end of the Ledges Trail. After a view across the valley, runners experience a dramatic shift in scenery with a stair decent into the greenery of the Pine Grove.

Near the Pine Hollow finish line, the landscape provides a natural amphitheater to gather and watch the action. Spectators are treated to a special viewing area of the 20-km mark where the course passes the sledding hill within view of the finish. The last trail the Fools face is the often muddy Salt Run. This final 5-km stretch includes a descent to the valley floor followed by a two-mile climb up and out of the valley. I look forward to greeting each finisher as they cross the line.

Defending champions and course-record holders Mike Ryan of Strongsville (4:36) and Beth Woodward of Orrville (4:56) lead the 50k field. Several others are capable of pushing the pace even faster though wet weather might neutralize any assault on the course records. Sixty-percent of the field are comprised by runners registered in the 25k.

Generous sponsorship by The North Face and the Vertical Runner provided the race apparel and prizes, featuring the North Face's latest "Single-Track" shoes to each of the winners of the 50k & 25k races. Finishers will enjoy hot soup provided by Chili's.

Lyceum series: Ultrarunner Pam Reed, two-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon and author of The Extra Mile, is speaking at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association's Lyceum Series on Friday, March 26. Reed is signed-up to compete in the 2010 Fools 50k and is scheduled to join us for a meet-and-greet session at the Vertical Runner during the Saturday afternoon packet pick-up.

Lloyd Thomas, Race Director

Friday, March 05, 2010

Green Jewel tomorrow

Saturday marks the third running of the Green Jewel, a 50-km road run connecting the westside paths of the Cleveland Metroparks. The run starts near the mouth of the Rocky River on Lake Erie and follows the river south and west connecting the Rocky River, Mill Stream, and Brecksville Reservations.

I was there for the inaugural running in 2008, when the event was 100-km and continued east through Bedford and South Chagrin Reservations before heading along Chagrin River Road to complete the "Emerald Necklace" with a finish in North Chagrin. Sore muscles lingered from running the Boston Marathon twelve days prior, yet my search for the Green Jewel was a memorable one.

Last year in 2009 the course was shortened to 50-km with a finish in Brecksville. I ran conservatively as part of training for the MMT100.

This year the course stays the same. The mostly docile paved route shows it's teeth after about 21 miles of gentle grade. Miles 23-27 offer the steepest climbs through North Royalton and Broadview Heights before a gradual downhill finish.

The weather outlook is not bad compared to the recent weeks but will be cold at the 7:00 a.m. start with a forecast of 20F and reaching into the low-30s by noon. It might take a couple extra miles to warm-up.

With course knowledge, I've identified a few road crossings for checkpoints:

- Bagley Rd (13.5 miles)
- Pearl Rd (17.0)
- West 130th (21.0)
- Ridge Rd (24.0)
- Broadview Rd (26.9)

I have no idea what I'm capable of but after last year's run in 4:14, perhaps a sub 4-hour is possible? Just in case, I've calculated the splits at the above checkpoints for a 7.5 minute pace.

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Yearly goals

What is a personal blog without a "yearly goal" post?

Here are a few running related goals I'll shoot for this year:

- 12 months x 250 miles

- 2:55 or better marathon (April or May)

- Return to Laurel Ultra (June) and improve time from 2006

- Continue to improve at races of shorter distances 5k to 10 miles, events yet to be determined

I'm taking college courses in preparation to start a Physical Therapist Assisting program this fall. I hope I can get the marathon mark so that I don't have to chase it once school commences.

No idea what I'll strive for this fall, yet.

Heart rate zones for for runners

Here is a nifty calculator from to help determine heart rate zones, given the inputs of Maximum HR and Resting HR.