Wednesday, January 30, 2008

42 Laps

It was way too cold to run out and the windchill was around -6, so where to go? The rec of course. Whenever I end up running there I usually only do 4 miles because of the boredom running around the track or on the treadmill. Well, tonight I wasn't sure how far I would go but I did want to get some decent mileage in.

I got on the indoor track, which is about 228 meters (7 laps = a mile) and started running. I figured the more I did on the track, the less I would have to do on the treadmill if I decided to hop on it. I got three miles done and thought, "Hey maybe I'll just go for 6 no matter how boring it is."

So, I kind of zoned out and just repeated the lap number I was on in my head for every lap around. I ended up finishing the 6 miles and was glad to be done! The winter sure requires alot of mental toughness to get workouts done whether it's outside or in. Afterwards, I did 3 sets of 10x20lbs curls for each arm and called it a day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunshine in Ohio?!

Going past the stadium

Today I went for a 6 mile run starting from the rec. It was nice to actually see a clear sky and the sun as well as a high in the 40s. The temp. actually felt warm since we've been in the teens and 20s lately. I decided to wear shorts since you don't get too many opportunities to in the winter in Ohio. I did, however, wear a hat and gloves and was glad I did. The air still had a little bite to it and felt a little cooler the longer you were in it. Also, my mitts that I have make for a nice storage spot for my camera while I run.

The rec center is on Summit Rd., so I just took that east towards Ravenna. I've done this route before when I ran 12 miles to Rootstown, so I was already familiar with it. The road is moderately busy and the speed limit must be around 45 mph, so it isn't the safest route but it does offer a change of scenery since there are only so many runs you can do around Kent. One good thing is that the berm on the side of the road is pretty big so I just run against traffic and stay far to the left. You really gotta keep your eyes open though for road kill! I almost stepped on a raccoon or possum during the run. YIKES!

This run has some nice rolling hills, not too big, but challenging enough. I went out 21 minutes since I figured I was doing 7 min. pace. It just so happened that this was right at the sign of Lake Hodgson (which I believe is Ravenna's water supply), so that made it convenient. When I turned around, I felt a slight wind blowing against me. I always try to run faster on the way back of an out-and-back run, but today I was sure I would go slower.

When I got back to the rec, I noticed my time was 41 minutes, a minute faster than 7 minute pace. I didn't get too excited because I figured it might not be exactly 6 miles. But when I got back to my dorm, I measured it online and it came up 6 miles. I was pretty happy since that meant I must have averaged 6:40 pace on the way back. Lately I've only been getting about 20 miles/week in, so hopefully this week I can push it up near 35. Boston is still a ways away in April but I'm sure it'll be here before I know it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kent/Akron Basketball Game

Being my first year at Kent, I heard a little about the Kent/Akron rivalry but did not know how intense it actually was. Right when I stepped in the arena, I knew this was a big deal. The place was sold out with over 6,500 people and I had to find a seat along the side since the student section was full. Kent going into this game was in 2nd place in the MAC conference (14-4) and Akron was in 1st (14-3).

In the first half, both teams swapped the lead many times, but Kent seemed to have it more. Towards the end of the half, however, Akron began nailing three's from all around the arc. Nick Dials, Akron's leading scorer, was 4-7 for 3's. Kent finally changed their defense some at the end of the half to guard Dials more, but we were down 35-25 at halftime.

In the second half, Kent slowly chipped away at the lead shooting 68%. One of our forwards, Haminn Quaintance had some pretty exciting blocks down low and ended the game with 5. With less than a minute left, it looked like we had it pretty much in the bag. Then with 4.5 seconds left, a fight broke out! Below is a video of it (you can't see too much).

video

After the commotion died down, Kent shot 2 technical fouls and Akron shot one. We ended up winning 75-69. I'm already looking forward to next year's game and am thinking of heading to Akron when Kent plays them in March for the last game of the year! Below is another video of how loud it got in the arena after a big 3 by Kent.

video

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brrrrrrrrrr

Outside my dorm

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busy days with classes (4 total) from 7:45 to 6:45 with little break in between, so it really makes it hard to run those days. However, I have a break between 3:30 & 5:30. Today I decided I needed to run (especially if I want to get my Boston training going). I didn't run yesterday or Sunday and I really hate not running 3 days in a row so today was the day despite the crappy weather.


Once class let out at 3:30, I rushed back to my dorm. It didn't give me much time since that class is in the business building (all the way across campus). Plus, I had to allow time to get ready and get a shower afterwards, as well as leave at 5:10 to get to my 5:30 class in the business building.


The weather was horrible. Strong winds, some snow, and freezing temperatures. There's some kind of thrill in running in bad weather like this since many people think it's crazy and won't even walk around in it. I did a big loop around the perimeter of the campus and then went out and back a little ways past my dorm to give me 4 miles in 28:04. I was very happy with the time considering the conditions. I'm really hoping the weather gets better soon because it's hard to get motivated! Below is a map and elevation changes of where I ran.




Saturday, January 19, 2008

Deer Run

Brian and I went out to the Cuyahoga Valley today to do a run. We knew it would be a really cold one since the high was supposed to be in the 20's. The thing that made it really bad was the wind though. When we went down in valleys it didn't feel too bad, but up on the ridges it was very windy.
We started at Kendall Lake and headed up onto the trail towards Camp Manatoc. Right when we got on the trail, we saw a deer not too far from us. Then we saw another one and two more in the distance. We decided to go off-piste a little and try to follow the deer. We did for awhile, but then they got too far away, so we started running along the yellow-marked trail that the Boy Scouts made. We ran this with Jim and his son Heath on New Year's Eve, but it looked a lot different now with no snow on the ground. The valleys and hills on this trail are amazing. The only thing is that some of the trail is not kept up and has a lot of fallen trees and brush. Below is a video of a deer running away after Brian scared it.

video
Early on in the run, we heard some people yelling. We went up on a ridge and saw that there were some people at Camp Manatoc. We figured some scouts must be camping or having a get together but thought it was kind of funny considering how cold it was. We looped around on the yellow trail and ended up on the other side of the camp. We could see tents set up and a fire going. After that, we got to Rt. 303 and took some funny pictures with the big chief statue at the entrance of the camp.
After goofing around there, we headed out on Rt. 303 for a little bit until we got to the Happy Days Visitor Center. We got back onto the trail by the ledges and headed back towards Kendall Lake. We ended up with only 6 miles, but it was a very enjoyable run (other than the cold) and it was fun to see all the deer running around out there with us!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Little Bit Of Everything

Tonight I decided to run inside at the rec since I really didn't feel like venturing out into the cold. I ran 4 miles around the track (which is 28 laps..ugh!) and listened to music on my mp3 player. I wanted to go farther, but the monotony got to me so I jumped on the bike. On the bike, I did 4 miles not really fast but just kind of cooling down from the run. Then I got off there and felt really ambitious, so I went down to the weight room to lift some. Kent just replaced all its lifting machines with new ones and it really looks nice. I was a little tired from the run so I just did some curls: 4 sets of 10 reps at 20 lbs. After that, I hit up the hot tub and sauna to relax.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kent Bike Trail Loop

Tonight I decided to head over to the rec center and start my run from there. I headed out onto the bike trail near Kent State. It isn't very long and cuts off at some points, which gets annoying when you have to run on the edge of the road, but the mile and a half or so in the woods is pretty nice. Below I got a picture of a rabbit that was off the trail a little bit. Last time, I saw a deer staring at me not too far away.

I ended up doing a big loop around campus, eventually heading up the steep hill to the business building and back to the rec. The hill is a pretty good workout in itself and would be a great place for hill repeats. I always push it up the hill and try to impress the people driving past since there's a busy intersection at the base of it.

I noticed my time was only at 33 minutes when I got back to the rec, so I continued on to repeat part of the bike trail I did in the beginning. I have a few runs that I have marked out online on a map, but for the most part I just got by time and how fast I think I'm going to figure out distance.

It was starting to get pretty dark out when I got back to the rec, even at 6:00. Now for the fun part of the run, which has become a tradition after alot of my runs up here at school: the hot tub! Kent has a really nice rec center and it was rated one of the top in the country. It feels like a vacation resort and is a really good way to end a run. You can buy a day pass for $8 (which is a little pricey) but if you go on a weekend and make a day of it, it could be worth a visit. Below is a video of some of the highlights of the rec center.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

City Night Run

Tonight I ran to downtown Warren for a night run. The temperature was really nice, cool but not too cold, at around 38°. I went through Courthouse Square and saw a bunch of people skating on the ice rink. Tomorrow is the last day it will be up this winter.

I ended up doing an out-and-back 7-mile loop that we have measured in the car. I decided to really push it the last mile and see how fast I could run. I sprinted all the way to the finish (our house), looked down at my watch and saw I ran it in 6:14. I was happy I decided to get out and run tonight since I really just wanted to stay in and be lazy earlier!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunny Day in January

Today the nice weather and high temperature was too good to pass up for a run. So I decided to do the usual 5 mile Imperial run to downtown Warren. The bank time & temp sign said 68°. It was a little windy but the breeze felt nice. My leg started to get sore by my ankle halfway through, but that happened last time the run after URINEO so I wasn't too worried. Hopefully we get some more days like this before spring!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Art Moore's FA 50K

This morning my brother Brian and I woke up around 7:15 to get ready for our 50K. I spent the night before so I wouldn't have to drive up to the Cuyahoga Valley this morning. We went to eat in Hudson last night at Dave's Cosmic Subs. It's a really cool place that has a real hippie atmosphere to it. They have 60's and alternative music playing pretty loud inside. You can even write your name or a message on the walls with a permanent marker.

We also went to Vertical Runner to pick up some supplies for the run. I got a Pure Energy Blue Blaze bar and a Spiced Pumpkin Pie and a Pear Apple Strudel Clif Bar. I thought I would take a chance with the Seasonal flavor bars and they both ended up being pretty good. I also had gotten a king-sized Snickers bar and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups earlier at Wal-Mart.

We decided to run our 50K for the Art Moore FA on the Buckeye Trail & do an out and back from Pine Lane to Brecksville. This is the summer BT50K course except in reverse. My last 50K, URINEO, was pretty tough being my first one, so I kind of knew what to expect coming into this one. However, I had somewhat forgotten the pain and wasn't very concerned about the long distance even with the cold I was getting over.

Brian and I did our usual tradition and went to the McDonald's in Streetsboro to get some Sausage & Egg McMuffin's (the breakfast of champions!!). We finished eating and were on our way to Pine Lane.

At around 8:30 AM we started our run. I had on Brian's fuel pack which carried one water bottle and had storage to hold my snacks. Brian had on his new CamelBak which was pretty cool. Along the trail between Pine Lane and the Boston Store, we saw a lot of groups of runners. We said hi to this man and woman at the parking lot at Pine Lane. They told us to go ahead since we were fresh. However, along the way they caught back up and we talked to them until the Boston Store where they finished. The man took the picture below of Brian and me running in between the pine trees.

Once we got onto the Blue Hen Falls trail, things became tougher with bigger and more hills. Also, there weren't nearly as many people out this way and almost no one as we got closer to Brecksville. Since there were less people, the snow was not packed down as much. The trails seemed to get worse and worse along the way. The cold temperatures (30's) formed frozen mud ruts along the trail that were hard to navigate. Everywhere else that wasn't frozen was slick and didn't allow for much footing, especially uphill.

The trails got so sloppy towards Brecksville at mile 12 that we decided to turn around and do the extra 7 miles on the Towpath by the Boston Store. Once we got there, though, we didn't feel like going out 3.5 on the Towpath and continued on back to our car at Pine Lane. At this point, we were both exhausted mentally and physically. We were talking about stopping at Pine Lane and just doing 24 miles. It sounded better and better the further we went along.

Finally after what seemed like forever, we reached the parking lot. We gave each other high fives for a good run. It felt great to be done, but we had come out here to run a 50K and it didn't feel complete. I had also thought about this blog post and did not want to write about how we failed to do the full distance.

So we sat down in the car for a few minutes and contemplated whether to stop or continue on and do the last 7 miles. After a lot of thought, we decided to head out 3.5 miles on Rt. 303. It was a mixture of running and walking, but I tried to push more running. We got out to the BP gas station and back to the parking lot. We still had 2 miles left though (according to Brian's GPS) so we headed out a mile. When we got back to the car, we were both so happy to be done! Our finishing time was 7:52.

This was definitely an experience I will never forget. I am happy that we did not quit and take the easy way out. It's amazing how you can push your body farther than you think.

Brian and I drove back to his apartment, got a shower and then headed out to North Olmsted to the party at Coleen's house. I saw a few familiar faces there and met some new people. Everyone was very friendly and fun to talk with. I hadn't really talked to Art too much last year when I went, but this year I learned all about his impressive running history. His friend Leo was also very impressive. He showed us a picture of himself with the worst black & blue eye I've ever seen. He got it at the beginning of an ultra, but still finished the whole thing!

All in all, it was a great day. I'll probably put the ultras aside for now and start training for Boston, but more ultras are sure to be ahead!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mill Creek Rose Garden Run

Today my sister Jamie and I decided to go for a run at Mill Creek Park. We started at the Rose Garden and headed towards the Stone Bridge side first. The air felt especially cold due to a slight breeze during the run. Both of us were a little sick and didn't really feel all the great so we decided to cut it short and go have lunch at the Rose Garden. We probably ended up with around 4 miles, but I didn't want to do too much anyways since I'm running Art Moore's Cleveland FA 50k on the Buckeye Trail tomorrow. I don't know how my brother convinced me to join him (I think it was the food and party afterwards that conviced me) but anways, I will be attempting my second Ultra. Last year I ran part of the 50k with Brian and Bob and then went to the party afterwards. The food and company was great and I look forward to it again this year!

Below is a slideshow of our run, the Rose Garden and some pictures in the art gallery inside.