Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beautiful Fall Day

Today I met my brother Brian and Nick Longworth at the Happy Days parking lot at 3:30. It was nice to meet Nick. I was impressed he drove all the way from Columbus, ran 21 miles this morning, and then drove another hour and a half more to Happy Days to join us! We headed out to the ledges and to the Overlook. Despite raining all day yesterday and some this morning, the weather was beautiful for our entire run. The temperature was a nice cool 70 degrees with a slight breeze.

We then headed to Kendall Lake and Pine Hallow. From there we ran back to our cars for 9 miles. Brian and Nick ran around the parking lot for one more mile to get double digits :p My arch on my right foot was really hurting so I stopped. I will definitely rest this until it gets 100% better since Oil Creek is coming up soon!

Below are some pictures from the day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 YUTC 50K

This year I finally took part in the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic in Mill Creek Park. Every year I usually have some other race going on or I just am not trained enough for it. Well this year, I didn't have another race going on, but I certainly was not trained for it. My mileage for the last 5 weeks starting August 11th were 3, 4.5, 20, 12, and 15.5. My only double-digit run came on September 7th, which was 10 miles. Definitely not ultra training but what the heck, at the very least I knew I would finish it.

Early morning fog on the way to Mill Creek

My dad and I got to the start line by the Old Log Cabin at 7:15, 45 minutes before the 8 o'clock start time. My dad volunteered again to do the timing and my brother also volunteered this year and was there for the early start.

Lake Glacier

It always is a great atmosphere at the start line at YUT-C. There are many familiar faces and local runners. I was happy to see a few "old-timers" who ran marathons with my dad, including Dave Wilkes (50K) and Mark Sorrentino (25K).

After talking for awhile, I got my number and got ready for the race. Bob Combs gave a few race instructions and then started the race with a simple "Go." The pace is always too quick in the beginning (especially with 25K runners mixed in), but by the time I got to the Covered Bridge for the first time, I slowed down to a comfortable pace. My plan was to walk most inclines and run the rest.

The first two loops go counter-clockwise around Lake Newport, crossing the Covered Bridge by the Mill each time. My legs felt really good for both of these loops. My stomach on the other hand felt a little upset. I ended up having to go #2 3 times.

I had a good time running with Nick Billock and Mark Carroll for a good portion of the race. Nick first came up behind me on the first loop around Lake Newport and made some comments about me being a road runner and how he loves passing Musicks'. This made me laugh, but also helped motivate me for the rest of the race. I ended up losing contact with Nick after going to the restroom, but latched on to Ron Ross since I knew he notoriously moves up in the pack as a race continues. For the rest of the race, my goal was to catch back up with Nick.

Ron Ross and me

Once I got back to the Covered Bridge aid station, it was time to head back to the start line and mentally prepare for two tough loops around Lake Glacier/Cohasset (from the Old Log Cabin to the Covered Bridge). This loop is much hillier than the Newport loop and involves the famous Monkey Hills. This section goes up and down the side of a large ridge about 3 times.

As I got to the boardwalk, close by the Mill, I finally caught up to Nick! To his credit, he is running the Akron Marathon next weekend, but I was still excited to catch up with him. Mark Carroll also caught up with us as we got closer to the aid station.

The last loop was tough as expected, but not unbearable. I walked a few more hills, but was able to keep a steady pace. It was a welcome sight to finally be on top of the last ridge along the west side of Lake Glacier. I came through the finish in a PR of 5:33:02 and finished my first official ultra race (I've done 4 50K FA's before).


The food and drinks afterward topped off an awesome day! I had a fun time running with good friends and really surprised myself with how good I felt with so little training. Thanks Nick for motivating me whether you realized it or not. I'm already looking forward to my next ultra event at Oil Creek pacing a friend for the last 30 miles of the 100-mile race.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kendall Lake and Salt Run Trail

Tonight I ran at Kendall Lake running some on the No Frills course and a loop around Salt Run Trail. I made it a point to run some of the steep hills, but backed off on most of the other ones since Saturday is YUT-C!! I really haven't been running much, but I'm looking forward to seeing how fast I can run my first official 50K race. One plus is that I know the course really well from running there so much in the past. Monkey trail, here I come!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Happy Days to Kendall Lake

Tonight I ran solo from Happy Days to Kendall Lake for a total of 5.5 miles. It was humid out from the rain but not too bad. I kept a pretty good pace for the downhills and straights and forced myself to walk the hills. I usually tire myself out by trying to run the hills when I run alone so I was happy with the self-restraint today! On my way back around the other side of the ledges, there was a detour around some work repairing and replacing boardwalk sections. Not sure if it's part of this - After my run, three guys from Michigan asked me to take their picture. They were on their way back from a road trip down to WV to go whitewater rafting. Afterward on my way home, I saw a huge rainbow pictured below.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Run

Today Brian and I met at Boston Store at 3:45 for a run. It felt great having the day off from work and enjoying the Cuyahoga Valley. We decided to run to Snowville Rd. for a 10-mile run. We both felt sluggish in the beginning, but slowly got into it. After we turned around, we could see dark clouds in the distance. We also heard a couple rumbles of thunder that helped speed up the pace. We really stepped up the pace towards the end trying to beat the rain. As we finished, there was a light sprinkle just starting to come down. We both felt pretty happy about the run and saw we averaged 12-minute miles.