Saturday, January 31, 2009

West Branch Lake Run

Brian and me out on the lake

Brian and I met at the West Branch boat docks today to do a run ON the frozen lake. Our plan was to run/hike on the eastern side of Michael J Kirwan Lake. When we started out, we were a bit cautious trying to reassure ourselves the ice was solid. I got a stick and hit the ice every once in awhile to check it. We got to a couple different points along the way where our feet sunk down a bit and water filled our footsteps. This got us pretty nervous, but after checking it with the stick we found out that it was just some slush on top of the solid ice. Nonetheless, we didn't want our feet to get wet with temperatures in the teens so we had to be careful.

The day started out cloudy, but cleared up into a beautiful sunny day with a clear blue sky. It felt great being out there doing something out of the ordinary. We tried to stay close to the shore on the way out in case something did happen. Most of the lake was covered by 3-5 inches of snow with drifts in certain spots up to our knees!

After running in a few of the inlets, we got to the beach and had lunch at a picnic table. I brought a PB&J sandwhich and pretzels and Brian had a pre-made Subway Italian sub. We noticed the wind pick up as we were sitting there.

Very happy to eat!! haha

We then made our way to the dam where we saw a few ice fishermen and talked to them for a bit. They reassured us and said the ice was at least 12" thick and safe to walk on anywhere. The one guy's eyes bugged out when we told him we had come from the West boat docks. He said "I can think of alot better places to hike then here...Hawaii, Las Vegas....."

Brian and I then started running/hiking back to our cars. The wind made it pretty tough, but we were expecting this since it had been at our back the whole way there. We followed our footsteps somewhat, but made more of a direct path back skipping a few of the inlets.

It was great to get back to the cars as we were both pretty tired. We finished with 9 miles total. Below is a slideshow of some other photos we took during our run.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Streetsboro Workout

I went over to Brian's apartment complex tonight to do a treadmill workout with him and watch the Cavs game. I wanted to get more than the 5 miles I got yesterday, but knew it would be very boring. I ended up running 7 miles total with the last mile just under 7-minute pace. I was drenched and sure glad to get off the treadmill. Brian did an incline workout. He walked for 1 hour with up to a 15% incline and then ran a mile. Afterwards, we went to the Winking Lizard in Peninsula to enjoy some good food and beer and watch the second half of the game.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day!!

Classes were cancelled today at Kent due to all the snow. I only had one 3-hour class later tonight, but I'll definitely take it. I decided to go to the rec and run on the treadmill. My car had a layer of snow on it then a thick layer of ice and then snow under that. After finally clearing it off, I headed out. The roads were pretty terrible, but luckily the rec isn't too far away. The parking lot was pretty empty as expected.

On the treadmill I did 5 miles in 37:52 (7:35/mile). I wanted to do more, but just couldn't stand it any longer!! They say you have to run faster on a treadmill to do the same workout as on solid ground. I always feel pretty tired even doing an 8-minute pace though when I usually run around 7-minute pace outside. Must be mental!

After I got done with that, I was pretty soaked. I got my swim suit on then did half a mile (32 laps) in the pool, nonstop this time. I have swam the past 3 days half a mile each. Monday I did sets of 10 and Tuesday I did 20 then 12. I concentrated more today on relaxing my stroke and making sure I got a good breath of air each time. Afterwards, I hopped in the hot tub. Nothing better than sitting in there looking at the blizzard outside!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oil Creek Run

Last night, I spent the night over my sister Jamie's apartment in Meadville, PA. We planned on meeting some people at Oil Creek in between Titusville and Oil City which is about 35 minutes southeast of Meadville. This park is home of the WORLD'S first commercial oil well! Also, the first Oil Creek 100 miler will be held October 10-11. Click here for a map of the park.

Drake Oil Well

When we got there 2 people, Don and his wife Becky from Cortland were already there along with their Husky. We waited a little while longer and Jeff, who ran with my brother and Jamie last time, showed up. Unfortunately, he was having problems with a disc in his back, so he couldn't run.

After talking for a bit, we got running. Their husky came along for the run and navigated the trails much easier than everyone else. They said that it has gone up to 20 miles before!

It was pretty freezing out with temperatures in the low teens. However, it didn't take long to warm up as the trail started up the side of this hill (or should I say mountain). The trails were especially tough running through the deep crunchy snow. Some parts had footprints, but even with those it was tough. I was relieved when we finally got near the top and had a great overlook of the valley and creek.

We then turned around and headed down the side of the hill towards the Swinging Bridge. It felt good running downhill even though we had to make our own footprints.

After crossing the bridge we hopped on the bike path and headed back to our cars. The bike path was a little better since snowmobiles had run over it. We probably got in 6 miles for the day even though it felt like 20!

I had a great time meeting new people and talking to Don about various ultras and running experiences. Oil Creek is a beautiful park and I highly recommend it. I look forward to exploring more trails in the future and seeing what the place looks like without snow!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

West Branch Off-Piste Night Run

My friend Marc and I drove over to the West Branch boat docks to meet Brian, Jim and Bob. I told Marc that we might just run on trails, but to be prepared to run off-piste since you never know what to expect with Bob and Jim.

Well it turns out that I got surprised too. We started on the road towards the lake, then Bob veered off into the woods. Soon we were running on the frozen lake. I thought this was funny because when were driving there, we saw an ice fisherman on the lake and Marc said you could never get him to do that. Running on the lake was actually pretty peaceful, but a little weird knowing you were running on a lake.

After 10 or 15 minutes, we darted back into the woods and ran a mixture of off-piste and on trail up and down hills. We finished with an hour. My brother thought of doing a run around the entire perimeter of the lake while it was still frozen. Now that sounds like an adventure! He measured it online and it actually came close to a 50K. Stay tuned for a blog post soon or comment here or on the forum if you would like to come!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pine Lane Run

Since I don't have class until 5:30 on Wednesdays this semester, I decided to go for a run at the Cuyahoga Valley. I started at Pine Lane and ran to Boston Store for 8 miles. I followed the deer tracks along the Buckeye Trail and wondered if I would run into any. Sure enough when I got close to Boston Store, I saw about 4 or 5 deer in the woods. Below are some pics of the run.

After running, I went to Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson and got a Cookies N' Cream cupcake!

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day Run

With school off today because of Martin Luther King Day, I met up with Taylor Sowers at the West Branch bock docks at 10:00 this morning. We ran a mix of trails and finished with about 45 minutes of running. The trails were mostly packed down, but still gave your feet and ankles a workout.

Some people ice fishing

Sunday, January 18, 2009

BT50K Training Run

My brother was running the Buckeye Trail 50K in the Cuyahoga Valley today. We planned on meeting up at Boston Store at 11:00. He would already have 18 miles in and I would run the 8 mile Pine Lane loop with him and maybe the 5 mile Brandywine loop if I was feeling good. Right on cue, only 6 minutes after 11:00, Brian showed up.

The trails weren't in great condition and you really had to watch your feet. There was mostly a single track trail of packed down snow, however, it was pretty uneven. It was great to see alot of familiar faces since this is a must-do trail race every year for local ultra runners.

Jim Harris & Brian (Jim ran 39 last night and 31 today = 70!!)

After we got done with Pine Lane, I decided to do the last loop and push Brian along. He seemed to be feeling great, but any motivation definitely helps. Frank Dwyer was following behind us and we knew it. When we got to the Brandywine aid station, Brian got some quick fuel then we were off to finish the last 2.5 miles. As we were leaving, Frank was just coming. He told us to watch our tail and that he was gunning for us. This gave us extra motivation. We sprinted the downhills and ran some uphills. Brian finished in 6 hours and 33 minutes. Shortly after, Frank rolled in laughing at how fast we must have gone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mill Creek Park Group Run

Me, Bruce, Jim & Brian

Tonight I met Jim Harris, Brian and Bruce McIntosh at the Lily Pond for a group night run. With all the snow we've gotten, I knew it wouldn't be any easy run. We decided to do a URINEO loop clockwise for 8 miles. My left foot arch seems to be getting gradually better. I've been limiting my recent runs to 5 miles because any more has aggravated it too much. I was a little worried with tonight's run being 8 miles up and down the snow covered hills at MCP, but I have trouble not running for 2 or 3 days straight so I had to run tonight!!

During the run, Bruce told me he was also running the Cleveland Marathon in May. Today he only wanted to get in an hour or about 4 or 5 miles, so he split off from us a little after the Stone Bridge trail. The trails were in pretty good condition considering. The main trails had a single-track trail worn in by other people, but we had to trudge through 8 or 9 inches of snow on the Monkey Hills. It was fun running through the snow and not having to worry much about where you landed since the snow covered most of the rocks and uneven parts.

Our pace picked up alot throughout the run. I'm glad Jim pushed it because I probably would've just dogged it otherwise. We got back to our cars in 1:57. I was happy running a URINEO loop in that time with all the snow on the ground and even HAPPIER my foot didn't hurt!

Afterwards, Brian and I drove over to the Boxcar Lounge right next to the B&O Station where Rust Belt Brewing Company brews their beer. However, their tap wasn't working for the Rust Belt beer so we drove over to University Pizzeria. We both got pizza and tried Rust Belt's blonde ale. This had a nice refreshing taste. Ken Blair, a Youngstown officer and the owner of Rust Belt Brewing Company, was in the building so we talked with him for awhile about his plans with the company.

Next we went to Inner Circle Pizza to try the Rusted River Irish Red. This beer had a very dark color, but we were both surprised that it wasn't as heavy or hoppy as we expected. I enjoyed both beers and look forward to supporting this local brewery after MCP trail runs :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No Run? Snow Run!!!

With about 8 inches of snow on the ground today, I decided it was perfect conditions for a run. After helping my dad clean ours and my grandparents' driveways, I got something to eat then headed out. I started from my parents house and went downtown to the old Imperial motel for 5 miles. It was really tough most of the run but a good workout nonetheless! I couldn't help but laugh in my head everytime I passed someone walking or sledding because I could tell by the look on their faces that they thought I was crazy. Below are some pics of the run.

Mouse over picture (1st - taken last Tuesday, 2nd - Today)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

West Branch Run

I drove over to the West Branch boat dock parking lot and ran on the trails today for the first run of the new year. There was a sign that said the trails were closed because of deer hunting, but the dates had already passed. I did however see a bow hunter as I was running down Snowmobile Rd, but didn't see any others the rest of the run.

I ran on the Kitchen Sink trail, the Yellow Loop, and the Single Track MTB that weaves in and out along the lake. The single track trail is probably my favorite at West Branch. The trail conditions were pretty good. I had to be careful with the roots and frozen ruts because of my tender foot arch. I got back to the car and did a little extra around the parking lot to get in 56 minutes which I figure is somewhere around 7 miles.

My Route (along the bright red line)

The lake looked nice and blue!

Everything AND the kitchen sink