Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mill Creek Park

Jamie and I went to Mill Creek Park around 4 o'clock for a run. We knew we would be cutting it close with the daylight, but the snow covered trail would still be easy to see at night. We started at the Rose Garden and ran clockwise around the inner YUT-C loop.

There were hardly any people out on the trails so it was very peaceful! A little further into the run, however, we heard another creature joining owl! Below is a video clip with the owl hooting (turn up the volume really loud to hear it).

I gave a yell a few times and each time, a few seconds after, the owl started its eerie hoot! We continued on towards the Monkey Hills and the Mill. As we got on the lower section by the creek before the boardwalk, Jamie mentioned how dark it was. We also wondered if we would make it back before the park police locked us in the Rose Garden parking lot. So we decided to turn around here and take the roads back.

When we got back, we found the gate was locked!! We slid through the gate, got in my car and drove to check the other gate. Locked! So I called 1-800-GOOG-411 (Google's free 411 service) and got the MCP police number. They sent an officer down very quickly and we were free!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Days to Salt Run

This morning I met my brother and Jason McMains at 10 o'clock at the Happy Days parking lot for a run. We ran around the ledges, to Kendall Hills, then did a loop around Salt Run Trail for a total of 10 miles. We kept a pretty good pace. Below are some pics from the run.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Boston Store to Snowville Rd

This morning at 9:00, my brother and I ran from Boston Store to Snowville Rd for 10 miles. I turned my ankle a few times but it seems to be fine. The snow-covered Cuyahoga Valley made for beautiful scenery! Below are some pictures of the run.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let It Snow!

This morning my sister and I met at West Branch State Park at 9 o'clock for a run. The ground was covered in snow, but we only had at most an inch. Luckily we missed the brunt of the storm. On my way to West Branch I noticed all the trucks parked and remembered it was hunting season. Jamie and I headed out towards the lake trail and saw many hunters along the way. We ran a bit on the trails then decided to play it safe and run the rest on side roads. On the way back, we ran down the main trail, Snowmobile Rd, and saw 5 or 6 more hunters. In total we got in about 5.5 miles.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Medina Community Recreation Center

I've been looking for a lap pool to swim in a few times during the winter to cross train. A lot of the places I looked at were either too expensive or did not offer partial memberships. However, I heard about the Medina Community Rec Center and decided to check it out. They offer very reasonable prices - $236/year or you can get different size packs of daily passes. I decided to go with 10 passes ($50). They give you three months to decide if you want to get a full membership and the price of the passes is knocked off the $236. Since Medina is about 25 minutes from my apartment, I doubt I will get the year membership.

Today I swam half a mile in the 25-meter lap pool. I felt really good and never got too out of breath. Afterward, I went in the jacuzzi to relax. They also have another pool with a kids area and a waterslide, a sauna, small indoor track, weights, and basketball courts.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12/12 Group Run

This morning I met a group, including Nick & Bill Billock, my brother, Mark Anson, Rob Lisey, and a few others, at the ledges shelter at 8 o'clock this morning. A few of them had already been out as early as 6:15, but I decided to sleep in a bit. We headed out towards Kendall Hills and then onto the Salt Run loop. The temperature was in the 20s..brrrrrrr!! I finished with 8 miles.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

URINEO 2009 - Monkey Trail Madness

This year for URINEO (Ultra Runners In Northeast Ohio), Jim Harris, my brother and I decided to take a crack at the first ever Monkey Trail Marathon. Mike Dobies, from Michigan, came up with this sick idea, but was not able to attend.

We planned on meeting at 5 AM at the parking lot at the top of the Monkey Hills. Brian and I got there a few minutes late and saw Jim had already started. It was dark and cold out, but no snow on the ground for this year's URINEO.

Brian and I yelled for Jim and saw a light and a holler a few minutes later coming our way. Jim was finishing his first loop. I had forgotten a light, so Jim let me borrow one of his. This is a must for running the Monkey Hills in the dark due to all the steep downhills, turns, rocks, roots, trees, mud, etc..

Climbed and slid down this 20 times

I started out with a sweatshirt on, but warmed up fast and took it off after the first loop. An out and back was a little more than .9 miles. We planned on doing this 28 times for a marathon.

One of Bob's bridges

It didn't take long for us to realize how tough this would be. Throughout the first half I felt pretty good. Around loop 7, I got feeling tired but got a second wind soon after. Dan Kuzma joined us for the 8-13th loops. Jim was trucking along at a faster pace, lapping us once or twice. Also, the other runners, who started at the Lily Pond at 7 AM, began to appear. Among them were Kim, Gavin, Shaun Pope, Chris, Nora, Jacob Draa, Bruce McMurray, Lloyd Thomas, Todd Hanks, Dave Peterman, Bob Combs, and Kim Boner. I always have a blast at this event seeing everyone.

The "love log" in all her glory

When we got to lap 13, Brian and Dan split off. Brian planned on doing a loop around Lake Glacier. I continued on with the Monkey Hills. Every loop, Jim and I would cross paths going the opposite direction. This was a good motivation to keep going. As I got up towards 16 loops, I made it a game to see how much ground I could gain on Jim. For the next couple loops, I made it further and further before I saw him. On the next loop, Lloyd joined Jim and Jim gained some more ground back on me.

Slim Jim

Finally loop 20 came upon me. This loop was very difficult. My legs were feeling like spaghetti and it was hard to focus. As Jim and I crossed paths, I could tell he was feeling really tired himself. He was already on his 27th or so loop. I ran to the turn around and then started heading back to the parking lot once again. Every hill seemed steeper than ever!! I laid down a few times right on the trail trying to build some energy back to climb the hills. On my way back, I decided this would be my last loop since going downhill on my tired legs was becoming treacherous now. I was also 8 loops away from completing the marathon distance. I saw Jim again and told him I was done.

Afterward, I went to McDonalds and got a McChicken, McDouble, fries, and two apple pies. I then drove to the Lily Pond to hangout with finished runners. Bob and Kim Boner were there all bundled up cooking and eating soup. Brian and Jim Harris soon showed up. Jim was looking the most tired I had ever seen him. He finished with 30 loops of the Monkey Hills!! Also, Gavin came striding in finishing his first ultra.


It turned out to be another great year for URINEO. I always enjoy the great company and challenges that Mill Creek offers. This year the Monkey Trail Marathon eluded me, but I'm sure another attempt will be in store!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mill Creek Park

I drove to the Rose Garden in Mill Creek Park at 9:00 this morning to go for a run. My plan was to do a 7.75 inner YUT-C loop from the Rose Garden to the Covered Bridge by the Mill. I started clockwise around the loop.

Early in the run, I saw another runner ahead of me. He was running a decent pace and was running alot of the hills. I wanted to take it easy today so I felt no need to sprint up to him. I finally caught him at the beginning of the Monkey Hill extension. I knew he must have heard or run YUT-C before since he took the Stone Bridge Trail as well as the Monkey Trail.

Stone Bridge

He said his name was Brian Klase and he was from McDonald. I saw he had an Akron Marathon hat on from a few years ago. He told me he was coming back from a knee injury. The rest of the run went by fast as we ran together and talked up till the Lily Pond where he was parked. This morning's weather was spectacular with temps in the 40s, just warm enough to avoid hat and gloves.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2009 Warren Turkey Trot

This morning my brother Brian and his wife Tami, my sister Jamie and I headed down to the Kent Branch to participate in another classic Turkey Trot race. All of us signed up for the 5 mile race which was set to start at 9:45. However, it was pushed back due to all the traffic this year. Another record was set with nearly 2,200 runners!!

I haven't gotten too far into my Boston training yet, so I wasn't expecting a PR. Before the race, we walked around and talked to the many familiar faces. I talked to a high school teammate and friend Brian Gilson a bit. I always kid him about how he catches me at the turn-around and ends up beating me every year. I also talked to NEO Trail members Jim Harris and Bill Losey.

When the race started, my brother lined up right behind Heath Harris razzing him that he would be right behind him. He stayed up front till about Mahoning then dropped back :p

From Mahoning to about the first mile, I ran and talked with Taylor Sowers. We ran through in 6:45. A short bit later, I sensed Brian Gilson coming up behind me and peered over my shoulder. Sure enough, there he was! We talked for awhile as I tried to keep up. Soon enough he left me in the dust. He caught me too early this year!

I ended up finishing in 34:20. This is far off my 30:32 Turkey Trot PR in 2006, but I was happy nonetheless considering. Jamie got first in her age group with a PR of 34:58. Brian also ran well with a 35:50, especially considering he did 65 last weekend at Slim Pickins. The weather, which can be wild for the Trot, was beautiful! I am thankful for all my friends and family and to be able to spend Thanksgiving running and eating with them! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pine Lane to Boston Store

This morning I ran 8 miles starting from Pine Lane and running the Buckeye Trail to Boston Store. I was able to wear shorts and a t-shirt and brought my Camelback along. On the way back, this one kid passed me with about 1.5 miles to Pine Lane. He was moving really fast even on the uphills. I decided to hang with him as long as I could. When I got back, I told him thanks for pulling me along and found out his name was Jake Draa. He won the YUT-C 50K this year and goes to Kent State. We talked about marathons and ultras for awhile before taking off.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Long Night Run

Tonight I went to Happy Days at 7 PM to get in 2 3.5 mile Boston Run loops in before our Tuesday night trail run at 8:15. I felt great during both these loops. On the second loop, I saw 6 eyes in the woods shining brightly from my headlamp. I stood there for a second seeing what they would do then moved on.

Kellie, Jason and Jen showed up for the group run. We ran the same thing we did last week on the ledges and then to Kendall Lake. The ledges trail is pretty technical at night, but no one fell this time! I ended up getting 14 miles in for the night and my legs felt great!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Night Trail Run

Kyle Bowman, Kellie Truesdell, Brian Musick, Jason McMains, Dan Bellinger and me (left to right)

Tonight I met my brother, Kellie Truesdell, Jason McMains, Dan Bellinger, and Kyle Bowman at the Happy Days parking lot for a night run at 8:15. I showed up at 7:30 and ran a loop of the Boston Run Trail. Once everyone else got there we ran on the ledges trail to Kendall Hills and back for 7 miles.

Afterward, Brian and I sat outside and relaxed since the temperature was pretty warm. The sky had a few thin clouds but the stars were mostly out and very visible. A cool thing happened as we sat out there. We were talking about our grandfather who passed away over a year ago and wishing he could send us a sign. One other time when we talked about this, I saw a huge streak in the sky bigger than a shooting star like a meteor. Well tonight, Brian joked about a plane flying high and I started to say "That shooting star is moving slowly." But before I could finish we both saw a shooting star streak across the sky just underneath the plane.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Morning

This morning at 10 o'clock I went for a 5 mile run at Portage Lakes State Park. We've had awesome weather this weekend for November! This morning it was about 60 degrees and clear blue skies. I started on Shoreline Trail for 3.25 miles and then ran 1.75 more for 5 miles

Friday, November 06, 2009

Towpath Run

Today after work, I drove over to Boston Store to do a run on the Towpath. I usually hate running on the Towpath, but just wanted to get in the miles at a quick pace. I ran to Mile 22 and back for about 5 miles.

Friday, October 30, 2009

West Branch Witch Hunt

Tonight I met Todd "Not Tom" Hanks and Tim "Cousin of Slim" Knapp at West Branch State Park at 7:30 for a night run. This has become a tradition to run at West Branch Halloween weekend ever since the witch encounter with my brother two years ago.

It was dark out when we started, but the sky was clear and the moon provided alot of light. The temperature felt great for late October in the upper 60s. I was also glad the rain held off.

We headed out on Snowmobile Rd and turned left onto the lake trail. We ran an out-and-back to Porter Rd and got in about 7 miles. We talked about a little bit of everything so the run went by fast. I found out Todd registered for Boston next Spring after qualifying with a 3:18 at the Towpath Marathon. Should be cool to see a familiar face there since he will probably be lined up close by me at the start.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Days to Kendall Lake

Tonight I met my friend Marc at the Happy Days parking lot at 4:30. We went to Kendall Lake, ran a short loop and ran back to our cars for about 6 miles. We were both a bit disappointed at how quickly the leaves changed and fell. There were alot of leaves on the trail which made for some tricky running by the ledges. Afterward we enjoyed some Cincinnati Chili and coney dogs at Skyline Chili on Steel Corners Rd. Mmmmmmm!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall in the Cuyahoga Valley

Here are some pictures I took tonight from the Overlook at the ledges in the Cuyahoga Valley.