Saturday, May 30, 2009

No Frills, Just Hills FA

Today I took part in the 2nd Annual No Frills, Just Hills FA. This event takes place at Kendall Hills and consisted, this year, of a 2.25 mile loop that goes up and down pretty steep hills. The course had to be re-routed due to construction on the dam.

The morning started with pretty heavy fog, but it soon burned off for clear blue skies. Jim Chaney provided a clock to count down from the 6 hour time limit. We had a great turnout this year of 24 runners beating last years mark of 11. This was my first run since the marathon and I felt really good. I ended up doing 6 loops (13.5 miles) and my brother had a good day with 11 loops. Jim Chaney took the crown with a record 15 loops. I had a fun time today meeting new runners and relaxing in the sun afterwards. I will definitely mark this event down on my calendar for next year!

Click here for complete results. Click here for pictures of the event.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

San Francisco/Yosemite Trip

Following my graduation, my dad, mom and I took a trip out to California. My dad and I left Tuesday (May 19th) to go to Yosemite and my mom planned on meeting us in San Francisco on Friday since she couldn't take off more days from work.

My dad and I got into the SF airport in the afternoon, got a Nissan Altima rental car and drove to Groveland, CA, an hour from Yosemite National Park, where my dad's former running buddy and his wife live. We stayed 3 nights with them and had a great time. Some of the highlights were seeing a bear, seeing the high country Sierra Nevada mountains, and climbing Half Dome.

Click here to view pictures of Yosemite. Click here for pictures of our 14 mile Half Dome hike.

On Friday, we left to SF, checked in our hotel, and picked up my mom at the airport around 11 PM. The next day we ventured around downtown SF. We walked alot, or at least it seemed with all the hills!!

On Sunday, we drove down the coast on Highway 1 (PCH) down to Monterey. We stopped by Carmel-by-the-sea, Big Sur, and Pebble Beach. Big Sur was beautiful! The sun managed to come out which made the water a really bright blue.

On Monday, we drove 17-mile drive around Pebble Beach and saw some of the golf courses. We then drove up to the Napa Valley. It was amazing how many wineries there were along the main road. We ended up stopping at 3 or 4. The weather was warm and sunny with blue skies. On our way back to our hotel, we drove up to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and got a nice view of the bridge.

On Tuesday, we took a tour of Alcatraz. We all thought it was really interesting and well worth it. We then walked to Mama's Restaurant, a famous place to eat in SF. Their french toast is covered in fresh fruit and tastes great! We then drove to the corner of Haight-Ashbury to see the center of the hippie movement. After that we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. The view from the top was beautiful, but a little scary looking down. We then drove to Muir Woods and walked on the trails to see the Redwood trees. After that, we finished the day with pizza at an Italian restaurant in Sausalito.

Click here for pictures of the areas listed above.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cleveland Marathon

Yesterday afternoon I graduated from Kent State University. We quickly drove back to Warren after the ceremony and pictures to take my Grandma back home. Then my parents, sister and I made our way up to Cleveland to eat at Bruno's Restaurant to load up on carbs. We went to this place a couple years back and they have the BEST lasagna I've ever had. The place is really small inside, but has a nice local feel.

On our way up to Cleveland it hit me that I forgot my race number. We were too far to turn back and pretty hungry, so luckily my parents were nice enough to drive back later that night to get it. We stayed at the Renaissance by Tower City since the race started bright and early at 7 AM. The beds there were amazingly comfortable leaving me well rested.

In the morning, my mom and I walked down to the start while my Dad went with my sister to the press area since she was writing and article for the Runner's Gazette newspaper. The temperature felt great out, very cool out but a little windy. I made my way up to the 3:10 pace group and said hi to Nick Billock and Steve Hawthorne. Shortly after, the National Anthem was sung and everyone was anxious to begin. Just then I noticed that I had to take a crap. About 20 seconds later I hear the announcer say "OK RUNNERS, 30 SECONDS TO THE START!" Guess I had to forget about it!

The beginning of the race went well and I felt great. I ran with this kid from the University of Toledo for the first half of the race. It helped pass the time talking. It was his first marathon and he had an awesome goal of running a 3:03.

The course goes west of Cleveland then loops back around and goes east of Cleveland then back downtown for the finish. The wind wasn't terrible except a little bit along the lake. I went through the 13.1 mark in 1:32:45 with close to 2 minutes in the bank to reach my goal.

The second half of the race was tough as usual, but I didn't crash as hard this time. I trained harder than I have before for this race and could feel it as I was able to keep driving my legs forward and maintain 7:10-7:25 minute miles. I was really surprised when I got to mile 23 and saw a split of 7:10 on my watch.

I never backed off until the finish and crossed the line in 3:08 (chip time) with a new PR by over a minute and a half, got 10th out of 272 in the 20-24 age group and qualified for Boston!! I also clinched the Musick Family record :)

All in all it was a great day and perfect weather for the race. I wasn't sure how well I would do today, but was really happy that all the training paid off!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gone A Fishin'

Yesterday I decided to go fishing at the West Branch Reservoir. I got some minnows at a bait show close by and then went over to the boat docks by the campgrounds. I ended up catching two fish, a bass and a crappie.

I had some minnows left over and decided to go fishing again early this morning. It was really relaxing. The temperature warmed up quickly and it was clear blue skies. I ended up only catching one bass.

It was nice to relax since I will be on the go and busy starting tomorrow with graduation, then the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday, and leaving for California on Tuesday.

Friday, May 08, 2009

5 Miles

I went for an out-and-back 5 mile run today in Kent. It was really humid outside and temperatures in the mid-60s. I started sweating right from the beginning and had ate about half an hour beforehand! This was not going to be a good run.

I ran about 17:45 out and turned around back to my apartment. This run had me a little down since it was only 5 miles and I felt tired and I have a marathon coming up!! But I took the heat today into consideration. When I got back, I measured the run online and was really happy to see that I ran 5.4 not 5 in 36:07 (6:42/mi). So I felt better knowing that this was 20-30 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gypsy Dave and the Stumpjumpers

Tonight I went to the Gypsy Dave and the Stumpjumpers concert at the Kent Stage with Jamie. This was my first time seeing them and her 10th time!! They consist of three members: Gypsy Dave, vocals and guitar; Ryan Nageotte, backup vocals and bass guitar; and Lisa Joseph, violin. Their music can be described as contemporary folk.

Also joining Gypsy Dave were Tom Evanchuck, Ty Kellogg, and Jim Snively. We saw a bit of Jim and all of Tom. They were both pretty good. Tom had a Tom Petty/David Grey/Bob Dylan sound to his voice and music. He played the harmonica in some of his songs. Jamie and I got there a little before 8 and the show ended around 10:30. I had a good time! Even though I don't regularly listen to this type of music, it was pretty relaxing.

Below are some videos of Gypsy Dave and the Stumpjumpers.

"Dreamin' "

"Burn On"



Monday, May 04, 2009

May 4th

Today I went to the May 4th memorial service of the Kent State shootings that occurred in 1970 in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia. I've never gone to this, but for some reason I felt compelled to go this year. I think other people felt this way too since there was a pretty good showing of a few hundred people on the hill. It's funny how I've walked by the spot where it occurred many times, but today I had an especially eerie/sad feeling as I walked by the spots where the students were shot and killed.

There were 4 speakers at the ceremony today. They included John Filo, the photographer who took the famous Pulitzer Prize-winning May 4, 1970 photo below, Mary Vecchio, the lady in John Filo's photo, Alan Canfora, who was wounded on May 4th, and Laurel Krause, sister of slain student Allison Krause. I especially enjoyed Laurel Krause's speech. You could tell she was still very passionate about the event and its meaning 39 years later.

For more information on the event and recent news go to May 4th Task Force. Click here to view all the pictures that I took today.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy Days Run, San Francisco Oven and Viking Vineyards

My sister and I met Brian over at the Happy Days parking lot at 10:00 for a run. It was clear skies even though they predicted clouds. We ran along the ledges and out to Kendall Hills. We then did a loop along the No Frills, Just Hills FA course and headed back. The trail is closed by the dam and the water level is lower due to construction. They are set to be finished May 25th, so hopefully all goes as planned and the course remains the same for the FA.

We finished with 6.5 miles and we all agreed that we felt tired during the run. Yesterday's adventure really tired out Brian and me. After the run, we stopped in Vertical Runner and then met Tami at the San Francisco Oven for lunch. In a few weeks I'll actually be IN San Francisco!!

Later on, Brian, Jamie, my parents, and I went to Viking Vineyards by Kent. They have a nice deck outside by a big pond. We got two white wines and had cheese and crackers. Too bad everyday can't be like this!!

Click here to view all the pictures from today.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Off-Piste Adventure

This morning at 10:45, my brother and I met Bob Combs at the parking lot off of Chippewa Rd. in the Brecksville Reservation. About a mile into the run, we ran into Greg Murray and Glenn. Greg had already run some, so he split early in the run.

As to be expected when Gombobu shows up, we did alot of off-piste running. We started out down the creek which was pretty fun. The water was about up to our calfs going out. We then went off trail, up and down numerous hills. Alot of the hills were huge and required the use of both our hands and feet. I would explain where we went, but I kind of lost track during it. I know we ended up near the horse stables and ran on the Buckeye Trail for a bit.

On the way back, we ran in the creek again and along some pretty technical areas. The rocks became boulders and the water was flowing faster than before. We really had to watch our footing since some rocks were pretty slippery. Also in some places, the creek floor dropped off and the water was really deep. Bob and I explored the crevasses between the huge rocks. I climbed through the opening in one, jumped in the water on the other side, and started swimming fully submerged in the water. This was a blast! I looked up and saw Bob standing on top of the boulder about 20-30 feet above me. After horsing around, we navigated along the gorge ridges and back to our cars. I had a great time and can't wait to return sometime for another adventure!

Below is a video of Bob running in the creek. To view all the pictures of the run click here.