Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crunch Time

That time in the semester is here again which I really dislike. We only have one more week of classes left, then finals week, then SUMMER!!

It was so nice outside that I couldn't pass up going for a run. I wasn't sure if I should or not since I've only had six days off since the marathon, but I was feeling pretty good. I ran all over Kent and even ran on a trail that I accidentally did a couple months ago with 15 inches of snow on the ground. This time I could see there was actually a stone path which made it easier to follow. It weaved in and around the woods, but ended abruptly in some places. By the end of the run, I was getting pretty sore and was glad to be done. I ended up doing about 6 miles. I went in the hot tub at the rec afterwards which felt really good!

It was nice to clear my mind running today. My grandma fell and broke the ball in her hip a couple days ago, so we were at the hospital anxiously awaiting and praying her surgery went well. That, on top of all the school work I've been having, has made for a very tiring few days. My grandma got through surgery well and is now recovering. We were all so relieved and happy for her. She has been through so much and is the most amazing person I know.

Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon

We flew out of the Pittsburgh airport Friday morning and arrived in Boston around 11 o'clock. We got on the T Line to our hotel. My parents booked a place for us at the Marriott Renaissance Waterfront Hotel located on Boston's Inner Harbor, just minutes away from downtown. It just opened in January so I was pretty excited. When we got there I was stunned by how nice it was.

Our hotel

After checking in, we decided to go to the expo to pick up our race packet and bib. At the expo, Jamie and I met Dick Hoyt from Team Hoyt. For those not familiar with their story, you can read about it here. It truly is an inspiration and it was a pleasure to meet him in person. We also met Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to ever enter and run the Boston Marathon.

Dick Hoyt

Kathrine Switzer

After walking around the expo for awhile getting free stuff, we got something to eat at a restaurant across from the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston St. Later that night, my dad and I went to the Red Sox/Rangers game while my mom and sister Jamie went to Revere Beach to meet a friend that Jamie graduated college with.

The game was awesome! Fenway has so much history and even though the stadium holds about 35,000, it seems like it's much smaller. Our seats were the first row out in the center field bleachers right in front of the Red Sox bullpen. I got the feeling any seat in the stadium was a good seat. I wore my Cleveland Indians shirt to the game and was surprised (and relieved) that I only got a couple comments about it.

On Saturday, Jamie and I went for an easy run around downtown Boston. We got lost a little bit and ended up with about 6 miles. Later that day, we actually went back to the expo and walked around for a blistering 3 hours. We were going to leave earlier, but as soon as we were about to, they announced that someone famous was signing autographs. I was glad we went back today because we ended up meeting Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Dick Beardsley and Steve Jones. The expo really had a great atmosphere to it.

Bill Rodgers

Frank Shorter

Dick Beardsley

Later that night, my family and I went out to eat with John Davis and his wife in the North End (Little Italy). John had been hit by a car running awhile back so he couldn't run the marathon, but it was great to see he was doing well after a long recovery. It was nice of them to come up and watch the race and cheer us on!

Out to eat with John Davis and his wife

On Sunday, we watched the Womens Olympic Marathon Trials. Deena Kastor won the race with a time of 2:29:35 and the great Joan Benoit-Samuelson, at the age of 50, ran a record time of 2:49:08.

Deena Kastor (on the left)

Joan Benoit-Samuelson

After watching the Trials, my parents and I took a ride out to Revere Beach so I could see it. We then went Quincy Market and relaxed for awhile. Later that night, my family and I went to the marathon pasta dinner. The atmosphere there was awesome too as well as the food. We met this guy named Greg who had a very inspiring story. He had a stroke at the age of 3 and has been recovering ever since. He was running the Boston Marathon as an inspiration to people who had similar problems.

Revere Beach (first public beach)

Jamie and Me at the pasta dinner

Finally (if you're still reading), it was Sunday night - the night before the race!! I was pretty nervous. We got to bed early because we had to get up early to catch the bus to the start line in Hopkinton. I had trouble sleeping with all the excitement.

In the morning, we took the T to Boston Common and waited for the bus. On the bus, I sat next to a lady from Nova Scotia and had a nice talk. We got to Athlete's Village a couple hours before the race and just hung around. Jamie and I both did not bring a dropbag. Instead we wore some old clothes and planned on giving it to charity. We were really cold since we made the mistake of wearing shorts, but were lucky to have some garbage bags to use as a sleeping bag and keep warm. They had bagels, powerbars, bananas and drinks at the village for the athletes.

Waiting for the bus

What seemed like an eternity at athletes village came to an end. Jamie and I ran down to the start line (less than a mile away) and went to the 13th corral. My number was 5017 meaning I was in the 5th corral, but I wanted to run it with my sister so I moved back. I was amazed by the sea of people flowing down the street. As we walked to our corral, someone yelled out our names. It was Greg! He smiled and gave us a thumbs up. Soon some fighter jets flew over, the national anthem was sung and off we went!!

It took about 10 minutes to get to the start line and even when we got to it we were still shuffling for a bit. All along the way, the crowds cheering were great. Almost anywhere, you could find someone handing out something including orange slices, water, sponges, face wipes, licorice, M&Ms, jelly beans, Dunkin' Donuts, name it. One highlight for sure was Wellesley College at mile 12. The girls screamed really loud and I got a few kisses and pictures before heading on.

I helped get water and gatorade for my sister for most of the race and tried to pace her the best I could. I felt great until we got to the Newton Hills. I could feel my legs start to tighten up. Then came Heartbreak Hill. It might not have been as bad if I had trained a little harder for Boston, but I hadn't planned on running too fast so I slacked off a bit. Well, it sure broke my heart and busted my legs up. After cresting the top, downhills followed all the way to the finish. With my quads and calves locked up it was tough even going downhill. I tried to stay with Jamie, but finally had to let her go. I was a little nervous since I was only at mile 22 and had 4 left.

My running got slower and slower and turned into a shuffle. For the last couple miles, I ran close to 11 minute pace. Around Boston College, I girl gave me a beer and yelled "Chug it!". It was gone within seconds and I continued on. I saw one kid shuffling like me and talked to him for a bit. He was from Utah and ran a 3:06 to qualify. This made me feel good that I wasn't the only one in this boat.

As I neared Fenway and the finish, the crowds got bigger and bigger. One guy ran next to me and told me to just put one foot in front of the other. I sped up with him for a bit and was thankful for the encouragement. I finally turned on Boylston St. for the finish. I waved my arms up a few times and the crowd screamed.

As I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with a great feeling of accomplishment. I still get chills thinking about it now. My finishing time was 3:42:24 and my sister finished in 3:32:02. Good job Jamie!! I'm really proud of you!

We finished!!

My time didn't matter to me because the effort and experience was great. We met people from all over the world including Nova Scotia, New Zealand, Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Korea. We met elite atheletes and watched the Womens Olympic Trials. And most importantly I was able to run the Boston Marthon with my sister.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Tonight my brother Brian, my dad and I went to Cleveland's Playhouse Theatre and saw the Banff Mountain Film Festival. This event features short independent films about extreme sports, rock climbing, skiing, etc. Brian and my dad both saw it last year and had a great time so I figured I would go this year.

Otto's Moser (with tons of construction in front of it on Euclid)

We got to Cleveland a little before 6 and ate at Otto's Moser, a restaurant/bar by the theatre. At 6:30, the doors opened. It was alot more crowded than I thought it would be. Mustard Seed Market & Cafe had a table with some pretty good unusual types of food. I can't remember exactly what the samples were called, but they had mushrooms with sauce on them, pierogies, tofu, and some Asian sauerkraut-type stuff.

I really enjoyed the films they chose this year. They showed 3 films, had an intermission, then showed 6 more. It started at 7:30 and we got out of there close to 11:00. My favorite films were Searching For The Coast Wolves, It's Fantastic, Entropy and Trial & Error (hard to pick a favorite). Here are the films that were shown, a description of them and a video (if I could find it on youtube). Enjoy!

1) Entropy

Norway, 2006, 11 minutes

Entropy documents the most progressive season in snowkiting so far. Join a couple of the world's best riders as they search for the ultimate snow and wind conditions.

2) Inner Balance

Canada, 2007, 5 minutes

Riders from Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Australia take unicycling to the next level with amazing drops and trials riding in a massive indoor bike park.

3) Searching For The Coast Wolves

Germany, 2006, 52 minutes

Gudrun Pflueger is an ex-world champion cross-country skier and long-distance runner. She goes in search of the mysterious coast wolves of British Columbia.

4) King Lines: Es Pontas

USA, 2007, 13 minutes

A segment from King Lines, filmed on location in Mallorca, Spain. Deep water soloing at its best.

5) Cross-Country With The Snakes

USA, 2007, 7 minutes

A short film about a nordic-skiing punk band. It documents a tour with the Black-eyed Snakes as they ski all day and play rock at night.

6) The Western Lands - Hoy

UK, 2007, 9 minutes

Writer Jim Perrin's attempted climb of the Old Man of Hoy on his 60th birthday. A poetic documentary of love, loss and landscape under the dying of the light.

7) It's Fantastic

USA, 2007, 19 minutes

From the ski slopes of Europe to the volcanic island of El Hierro, some of the world's best speedflyers risk their lives to find the limits of their abilities.

8) Trial & Error

Canada, 2006, 8 minutes

Mountain biker Ryan Leech sets out to ride an incredibly difficult trail in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, in a valley slated for clearcut logging.

9) Ain't Got No Friends On A Powder Day

Switzerland, 2007, 5 minutes

Loris is a "classic" freerider. Jean-Yves, however, has a more or less "accidental style.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boston Tune-Up Run

I went running today with my friend Marc after class. This week has been insanely busy with school and work so I only got to run 8 miles on Monday.

We ran around campus and through some neighborhoods. After that we ran over to the bike trail over by the stadium. Marc wasn't feeling too good at mile 6, so he told me to go ahead. I picked up the pace a bit and headed over to the track. I did a mile on it in 6:42 and was pretty pumped with that considering the strong winds today.

After running on the track, I did the bike trail in reverse and back to my dorm. I was feeling pretty tired and was happy to finish. I figured I did about 9 miles in 7:20 pace. This made me feel good that I still had some training, endurance and speed in me even though my past few weeks of training haven't been very high mileage. I'm starting to get pretty excited for Boston and can't believe it's only a little more than a week away.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Frills, Just Hills FA Info

My brother Brian is planning a FA run at Kendall Lake in the Cuyahoga Valley. It'll consist of a 2-mile loop that you run as many times as you can in a 6 hour period. The catch is that there are 3 major hills in the loop as well as some other rolling hills. You can check out more info about it here.

Also my post below is a run my brother and I did to measure out the loop. There are some pictures if you're not familiar with the area.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hills, hills, and more hills

My brother Brian and I went out to Kendall Hills today to go for a run. This has become one of my favorite spots to run at in the Cuyahoga Valley. The hills make for an intense workout and the view from the top of them is pretty cool.

We decided to measure a two mile loop that goes up and down the many hills. During the run we talked about a potential FA run that would be run on this two mile loop. You would get 6 hours to complete as many loops as you could. We spent alot of the run thinking of a name for the FA. My brother thought of "No Frills, Just Hills." Stay tuned to TeamPR for more info on this.

Anyways, we ended up doing 3 loops of the 2 mile loop for 6 miles. I tried to make it a point to run all the uphills. By the 2nd loop my legs were already feeling a bit weak and the 3rd loop was pretty tough climbing the hills.

Going downhill

Ugh! Going uphill.

The weather was great. Clear, warm and sunny! There were alot of people hiking and fishing today, trying to take advantage of the warm weather. It seems as though winter is finally over with high's in the 60s and upper 50s next week, but I still won't be convinced until late April rolls around.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Retiring from Running

Well after running in high school and college and completing a few marathons and ultras, I have decided that I will retire from running after Boston. I am satisfied with what I have done and will maybe take up cycling or some other sport. I've had a great time running with everyone on the trails and roads, but it's time for something new!