Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lake Erie Monsters Game

Tonight I went to the Monsters' hockey game against the Grand Rapids Griffins with my friend Corey. It ended up being a really exciting game going into OT tied 2-2 and then to a shootout. The Griffins scored in the first round, but the Monsters scored in the 3rd and 5th round to win it! The best part was we saw John Adams, the drummer at the Cleveland Indians' games, in the crowd with his drum sticks. I talked to him for a bit and he said he would be at Opening Day drumming away as long as all goes well with the AT&T stike where he works. Only thirty-seven more days till Opening Day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kent to Stow

This morning, I mapped out a route to do a long run from Kent to Stow. I ended up doing an out-and-back 16 mile run in 1:50(6:53/mile). I was really happy with this since I had a strong wind in my face and a steady drizzle on the way out. I ran a pretty even pace, about 55 minutes out and 55 back.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bedford Reservation

"You can't tell how far a frog will jump by looking at him."
-ancient saying

Tinker's Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook

I really wanted to run somewhere different today so I looked on a map of the Cuyahoga Valley and saw the Bedford Reservation(pics) in the Cleveland Metroparks to the north. It took about 35 minutes from Kent to get there.

I parked at the Egbert Picnic Area and ran southwest on the Bridle/Buckeye Trail. The views of the gorge and Tinker Creek down below were amazing. I got off track for a bit and followed a section down into the gorge. The steep walls were pretty cool. The stream drops 220 feet over a course of two miles!

I really wanted to go down this slide of ice!

I retraced my steps and followed the trail to the western-most edge of the park by Tinker's Creek Rd. near a park office. From there, I turned around and took the paved All Purpose Trail back to get back quicker.

Bridal Veil Falls Overlook

Frozen Falls

Today's run gave me a good hill workout since most of the Bridle Trail had pretty large rolling hills. I really enjoyed the falls and creek overlooks. That frog quote above was on a memorial rock at Bridal Falls and I really like it!

Summer & Winter (mouse-over)

Spring & Fall (mouse-over)

I ran for about 1.5 hours (alot of time wasted taking pictures and exploring). I measured the distance on the trail map and got around 8 miles which seems reasonable, but probably on the lower end. I always hate over-calculating for my running log! Below are a few more pics from the run.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Miles

Today I finished off the week with a 10 mile run to give me 40 for the week. I felt great pretty much all week and ran 6 of the 7 days. I ran from my parents' house today through downtown Warren to 422 and back. Some sections of road and sidewalk were icy, but for the most part the snow on top made for good footing. There were some strong off-and-on gusts of wind again today with windchill at 17 degrees. I feel like my training is in full swing now. I've been stretching after runs religiously and have noticed a difference with more flexibility and runs feeling easier.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oh Deer!

Tonight I went on a run around campus. I ran across campus and then did 2 big loops around the perimeter of campus which are close to 3 miles each. On the first loop, I was surprised to see two deer run across Loop Rd. over by the Tri-Tower dorms. They looked just as surprised as I did. They sprinted at me and then made a sharp left back across the road about 15 yds in front of me. I ended up with 7.5 miles and felt surprisingly good despite the cold, snow and very strong wind. This was a good morale booster because lately I've been feeling a little flat.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beaver Creek State Park

Today Brian told me about Beaver Creek, a state park he found online located in East Liverpool in Columbiana County. We decided to go explore the park since the map showed multiple trails throughout the park.

On our way there, the small towns seemed very creepy and run-down. To get to the park office, you have to drive on this small two-lane road which has steep drop-offs with no guard rails. The road is very uneven with bumps and some loose asphalt and gravel.

We were both surprised how pretty this park was when we got down to the creek and parked. A steel bridge crosses the creek and on the other side is the park office, Gaston's Mill (which looks alot like Mill Creek's), an old wooden covered bridge on display, a few nature center houses and multiple historical displays. The area is meant to resemble a pioneer village.

Beaver Creek contains part of the North Country Trail which is a premier footpath that stretches for about 4,600 miles linking communities, forests, and prairies across seven northern states including NY, PA, OH, MI, WI, MN, and ND. The NCT has been developed by the Buckeye Trail association and runs portions of it on the Buckeye Trail. The area we ran on travels 6.25 miles along the Little Beaver Creek. The goal is to have the trail entirely off roads, but this will be a long time coming due to highly populated areas and private property. To read more about the NCT in Ohio click here.

We decided to try out the Vondergreen Trail which runs along Little Beaver Creek. There is a lower and upper trail; we took the upper trail of course! This made its way up a huge ridge on the north side of the creek. The view was amazing when we reached the top!

Along the way, there were markers that talked about the abandoned canal locks (like the Cuyahoga Valley). The trail was in pretty good condition. There was a good mix of rocks, mud and hills. The technical parts never lasted too long and the hills seem to go by quick. I was surprised at how fast we gained elevation at multiple times during the run. We made it to Hambleton's Mill and then tried the Fisherman's Trail. However, this was pretty muddy since it looked like it was more of a bridle trail.

A couple surprises during the run included a dead dear carcass on the trail with hair spread everywhere. This startled Brian when he looked up and saw it. I thought he had just seen a ghost. On the way back, I got just as startled by it since my head was down focused on the immediate trail ahead of me. Also, one of the locks we came across was named Gretchen's Lock. The park marker read:

Gretchen, for whom the lock is named, went to her death with fever and hallucinations. It is said her spirit still wanders these hills crying, "I want to be with my mother."

This brought back great memories of our adventure at West Branch with the witch.

The way back to the car seemed alot faster since I think we did more uphill going out. We got back to the car with 7 miles and called it a day. I had a great time! I love exploring new areas and can't wait to go back to check out the other trails. I forgot my camera today, but Brian had his and took a bunch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

14 Mile Towpath Run

This morning I drove to Peninsula to do a long run on the Towpath. It was about 32 degrees out, cloudy and little or no wind. I started out slow and then worked the pace up slightly as I warmed up. Peninsula is in between mile 23 and 24, so I started out going south to mile 30, turned around, and ran to mile 23 and back to the parking lot by Lock 29 for a total of 14 miles.

The river was really moving today from all the snow melting. It was fun exploring new parts of the Towpath that I had never been on. I'd like to run to the new section they built in Akron sometime. Below are a couple videos.

Below are some more pics of the run.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

6,000 Miles

I started my run today with 5,999 miles logged online since 2004. I decided to run east on Summit Rd to Lake Hodgson which is 6 miles round trip and then added .5 extra to go to the bathroom at the athletic building. It felt great being able to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the 55 degree weather. I finished in 44:15 (6:49/mile). Afterwards, I swam half a mile in the pool. I was pretty whipped after this, but had a good runner's (and swimmer's?) high going that motivated me to go to my night class :)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

50 Degrees in February

Brian and I met at the Rose Garden at MCP today at noon. He went to the Dirty Dog 10K at Mosquito Lake this morning at 9. Bob and Jim (the race director) always joke about how I should get technical gear to run in. So Bob gave Jim an old windbreaker for Brian to give to me. Thanks Bob! I wore it today along with my Captain Morgan sweatband. I felt like it was a flashback to the 80's.

The temperature felt really nice out at around 50 degrees with blue skies. The wind was strong sometimes, but felt good. We ran one URINEO loop for 8 miles. Certain sections of the trails were pretty icy, but for the most part it was fine running on.

At the northern most part of Mill Creek is the Ford Nature Education Center (below), a stone mansion donated by the children of Judge Ford in 1968. I've seen this before, but never went inside. Today we did. They had some cool animal exhibits including an owl, garter snake, and turtles.

Below are some more pics of the run.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Towpath Run

I drove over to Boston Store in the Cuyahoga Valley today to run a long run on the Towpath. The path was still covered in snow, but had some tracks from snowshoe walkers. I ran South towards Peninsula. The path was alright, but after Peninsula it got pretty bad. Every few steps, I slipped off the edge or stumbled. I ran to the 26 mile marker then did an out and back between mile markers 22 and 23 for 2 extra miles. I finished with about 11 miles total in 1:38:09 (8:56/mile). I didn't feel out of breath or tired at all, just a little sore afterwards. During the run, I saw 2 snowshoe walkers, 2 deer, 3 snowmen, a flock of gigantic turkeys and a partridge in a pear tree.

I have been increasing my mileage/week little by little and I think I finally have a good base to train for Cleveland. I'm hoping to have 30-35 miles this week and hold that range for most of February. I figure there's no need to get up to 45-50 yet since the marathon isn't for another 3 months.