Monday, December 20, 2010


I went to the Medina Community Rec Center tonight and swam half a mile. I split the first 24 laps into intervals of 4 laps. I swam each group as fast as I could then cooled down with the remaining 8 laps.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Snowshoes

After work today, I met Dan Bellinger and my brother at Kendall Hills to go snowshoeing. Both Brian and I had just bought Atlas 925 snowshoes for $100 and wanted to try them out. Dan and Brian had already gone an hour. We walked around the Kendall area for another hour. I thought the new snowshoes worked great!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm Alive

I haven't posted much lately, actually in two whole months! But then again, I haven't been running much either. The last time I ran any significant distance was more than two months ago when I did a 50K with Brian and Kirk Harrison from Pine Lane to Brecksville and back. Ever since then, my IT Band has been hurting. Even though I finished that 50K strong, it was still a stupid thing to do with hardly any training.

During my time not running, I have been swimming laps every once in awhile at the Medina Community Rec Center. I usually do 1/2 to a mile in the pool. I've also been stretching a lot and using the foam roller. When I was at Clarion, I used the foam roller a few times in the athletic trainers' office and it seemed to work really well. So I bought a giant one from Second Sole for about $25. Pretty pricey for a piece of styrofoam, but I figure it should last a lifetime.

So my only running goal right now is to get healthy. I hope to be able to run a loop of URINEO coming up in December since that's always a tradition. I would like to get completely healthy by January and be able to start training for a Spring mararthon (probably Cleveland) and get a new marathon PR. I'm also thinking about getting a semester membership at the Kent Rec Center from January to May and mix swimming and lifting in with my running. Kent is 10 minutes closer than Medina from my place in Akron so I could go a lot more often.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beer and Hike

This afternoon my brother, parents and I met my sister at the North Country Brewing Co. for food and drinks. This was my first time here and the atmosphere was great. The inside had wood everywhere including carved wooden doors, beam supports, and bar. We ate outside on their backyard patio which had a nice stone wall with an outdoor fireplace. I got a couple beers and the The Leroy Brown burger which had BBQ sauce, sugar-glazed peppercorn bacon, onions, and American cheese....delicious!!

Afterward, Brian, Jamie and I went for a hike at Moraine State Park just 15-20 minutes south of the brewery. We parked at the Marina and hiked on the North Country Trail and some mountain bike trails. We got a good 2 hours in and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. All three of us agreed we needed to visit this park again for a run.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

6th Annual YUT-C

(photo by Nick Billock)

I signed up for the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic again this year, but decided not to run it since my IT band has been hurting. Instead I helped out at the log cabin aid station at the start/finish line, refilling water bottles and handing out drinks. I had a great time helping other trail runners reach their goal. I realized how much a few words of encouragement can help someone when a runner finished and thanked me for pushing him along out of the aid station and telling him to do another loop. Click to see results and photos from today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


People come and people go
Life is short, don't say it's so
Do your work, do your chores
Not today for there is more
Love your brother, love your neighbor
Fill your belly and always savor
The joys of life and sound of nature
Yesterday was once a today
So live for today before it goes away.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Long May You Run

Today Brian and I drove to Pine Lane to run a 50K to Brecksville. We waited in the parking lot till a little after 8 in case anyone showed up then headed out. The day was perfect, cool temps with a nice breeze. At the Boston Store, we met up with Kirk Harrison who planned to go to Brecksville with us. I've only run once with Kirk a year ago and had a fun time running with him today.

When we got to the halfway point, we stopped at Heinen's grocery store to get lunch. On the way back before Snowville Road, Dan Bellinger met up with us to run back to Pine Lane. I felt great the entire run and feel confident about my training 2 weeks before YUT-C.

Run on!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Treadmill Incline Workout

Tonight I did one of my brother's signature incline workouts on the treadmill. I walked 3.3 miles at 15% incline and 3.5 speed for 30 min then 2 miles at 11% incline and 4 speed for another 30 min. A couple days ago Tom Jennings graciously switched me from the 50K to the 100K at Oil Creek. I wanted to get a 50 mile qualifier in, so I can enter the MMT lottery this December. I can't wait for the challenge!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Towpath 20

This morning, my friend Marc and I met bright and early at 7 AM at the Boston Store to go for a 20 mile run on the Towpath. He's training for the Columbus Marathon in October and I'm getting ready for YUT-C, Akron half, and Oil Creek.

It was nice and cool when we started and never got very hot during our run. First we ran North to mile marker 21. We then came back to the Boston Store and headed South to mile marker 31. Marc had been getting some good training in and I've been slacking a bit so I was unsure how my body would handle the distance and pace.

I felt pretty good for the first half. My calves got a little tight before the turnaround. We both needed to use the restroom, but decided not to stop since we knew it would be hard to start back up again and get in a rhythm.

As each mile passed on the way back, I progressively felt worse and worse. Near mile marker 29, we got some water at an aid station for the Buckeye Half going on this morning.

As we got to Lock 29, I told Marc that I was going to stop to get a drink of water. I split off the Towpath, but thought about this decision quickly. I knew I would go slow if I didn't have someone to push me and my muscles would tighten up if I stopped. So, I quickly turned back onto the Towpath and sprinted back up with Marc.

We finished the day's run in 2:30 (7:30/mile). I was spent! Afterward, we went to Fischer's for an omlette and a beer!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

YUT-C Loop

Jamie and I drove to Mill Creek Park this morning and ran a big YUT-C loop around all three lakes for 12 miles. The humid air made us both pretty tired. On our way back, we did a stream crossing by the dam at Pioneer Pavilion.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pine Lane to Boston Store

Jamie and I drove over to Pine Lane tonight for an 8 mile run to Boston Store. Same old story, hot and humid out! I wore a bandanna to catch the sweat. On our way to Pine Lane, we saw Jim Christ running in the opposite direction. Once we got to the Boston Store, we were about to leave and Kellie Truesdell came out of the restroom. She was running Pine Lane also so we all ran together. Kellie stayed with us for about a mile and then took off. She was moving at a good pace and Jamie and I were content with taking it easy in the heat, so we walked most of the hills back to our car. Below is a butterfly we saw before our run.

Monday, August 09, 2010

3 Musicks and a Bellinger

Tonight Jamie, Brian and I planned on meeting at Happy Days at 6:30 for a run. Jamie is on break right now from grad school at Pitt and visiting for awhile in Warren. When I got to the parking lot, I saw Dan Bellinger would be joining us also.

We headed out on the main trail and turned left to go around the ledges. After a mile or so, Brian bolted off trail and into the woods. We did some off-piste running for awhile and ended up back on the trails on the other side of the ledges. We kept up a quick pace despite the high humidity and ended up with 4 miles. We were all drenched in sweat, but it felt great to get a good workout in.

Afterwards, Brian, Jamie, and I met our parents at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for dinner on the patio.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

BR 100 - Happy Days Aid Station

This evening Brian and I drove over to Cuyahoga Falls to park his car at the Burning River 100 mile race finish line. Tonight he was going to be pacing Mike Keller from Happy Days to the finish or a few miles over 50K.

We got to Happy Days around 7 and saw a lot of familiar faces since this was a NEO Trail sponsored aid station. This always seems to be a favorite stop for runners at 64 miles in. There was plenty of good food and music playing.

Mike showed up a little after 11 looking pretty tired. He took his shoes off and we helped him put Dr. Sholl's inserts in. Mike relaxed for a bit, then Brian and him were off.

All of us broke down the aid station as the midnight cutoff time for Happy Days approached. Jim Harris went out to sweep the course with Rich Vrbonic, who had been sweeping most the day. I got changed into running clothes and caught up with them to get some miles in.

We ran with a girl named Jennifer from Canada from the Pine Grove trail to Kendall Lake. She was in great spirits and had a good attitude. When we ran into Brian at Kendall Lake, I knew Mike wasn't doing well. Jim and Rich stayed with Mike and I kept running with Jennifer. She told me about HURT 100 in Hawaii which sounded extremely difficult. She also said there was another runner with them from Canada who was trying to beat her own record of the most 100s in a year. This year she was going for 30!!!

After a few miles, Brian ran up behind us. He was running to the Pine Hallow aid station to let them know Mike was done. So I joined him and both of us ran quickly to the aid station. They were surprised to see two runners running up the hill at them, but soon figured out we were pacers.

Brian and I rode with Gailanne (also from Canada) to pick up Mike. We talked shortly to Mike and Jim, then Brian and I headed back to Happy Days where my car was parked.

It was 2 AM when we got back to my and around 4 by the time I hit the sack. I had a fun time helping at the aid station and running in the wee hours of the morning in the Cuyahoga Valley. Congrats to all the participants of the Burning River 100 this year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Nike Aurrs

I stopped by Vertical Runner after work today to pick up a new pair of Nike Air Pegasus I ordered last week. These shoes are great! This is my 11th pair and they always feel comfortable right out of the box.

So from Vertical Runner, I drove over to Happy Days to go for a run. I ran to Kendall Lake and did a No Frills loop around the hills and back to my car for 6 miles. My right leg hurt a bit on the shin from bruising it yesterday during the kayak incident. Having had two stress fractures in the past, the slight discomfort by the bone made me nervous, but I feel pretty confident it is only a bruise.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Time Kayaking

Dan Bellinger, Beth Miller and I met today at 41° North Coastal Kayak Adventures in Lakewood to go kayaking. I've been wanting to try it all summer long. This morning it rained a bit, but stopped by the time we got going.

We started from the 41 North Yak Shack and headed up the Cuyahoga River to Lake Erie. I did well on the calm river, but I could tell it wouldn't take much to flip one of these with the little experience I had.

When we got to the mouth of the river, I knew we would be in for quite an adventure. The waves from the lake were a little intimidating at first. We paddled around and out a bit further into the lake. The waves were 1-2 feet, but quickly grew to 3 feet. The big waves really rocked the kayak and were a little much for a beginner.

In the distance, I saw Beth in the water. Earlier she had said she might go swimming, but I knew something was wrong when she was holding her paddle in the air and her kayak was flipped. She got hit by a big wave on the side and turned over. Dan and I paddled over there and tried to help her get back in to no avail. The best thing she could do now was swim back to shore. I took her paddle and Dan tried to drag her kayak, but this is a pretty tough task.

Dan paddled back to the Yak Shack for help and I paddled around to see Beth made it to shore. My boat was getting more and more unstable as more water got in from the increasing size of the waves. Just then, a wave hit the front of my boat and turned me over.

By now, a family who lived on the lake was helping us get ashore. I dragged my kayak to the dock and doggy paddled back. The one lady called 911 and a coast guard had arrived to make sure everything was alright. An officer also came in a car and ended up giving us a ride back to the Yak Shack.

Beth and I were a little shaken up, but mostly just tired! It's amazing how tiring it is swimming in a rough lake. The workers from 41 North went out to get our kayaks. One was on the dock and the other, along with a paddle, was still in the lake getting washed ashore. We found out later that luckily no damage was done.

I learned a few lessons about the danger of kayaking, especially on Lake Erie where conditions can change quickly. Despite the mishap, I had a great time today and plan to go again in the future.

Check out photos from today here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pine Lane Run

Tonight Brian and I met at 5 for a run starting from Pine Lane. Brian had already run 10.5 miles ealier this morning with Dan Bellinger, but decided to tough it out for another one. We kept the pace pretty easy and walked many of the hills. I drank a lot of water from a gallon jug on my way to the run, so I felt pretty hydrated despite the oppressive conditions. We ran to the Boston Store and back and ended up with 8 miles total.

I haven't been running consistently lately, but plan to start this week. With YUT-C 50K, Akron half, and Oil Creek 50K creeping closer, I would like to be in great shape for all three and have a chance to get some new PR's.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls & Switchfoot

Tonight a few of us drove up to Cleveland for the Goo Goo Dolls & Switchfoot concert at Tower City Amphlitheater. We had bought tickets online during their one-day special for only $10! I had a great time and enojoyed listening to the Goo Goo Dolls play many of their hits from the 90s. The venue isn't my favorite acoustically and we stood the whole time, but hey, it was only 10 bucks.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Akron 10

I haven't been running much the past week due to the intense heat , so tonight I decided to run from my apartment to downtown Akron. I looped around behind my apartments on Turkeyfoot Rd. to S Main St. then took that all the way to Akron. The first tenth mile is a little busy with traffic, but there's sidewalks for the rest of the way.

As I neared downtown, I saw on a building it was still 81 degrees after 7 o'clock! Plus the humidity and extra heat from the concrete, asphalt and buildings made it even worse. When I got back and mapped it out online, I was pleased to see I had done 10 miles. I haven't run the roads for a long time and now I see why. It sure makes you appreciate the trails!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Family Run

This weekend, Jamie and her boyfriend Dave visited from Pittsburgh. This morning we met Brian for a trail run at Happy Days. All four of us are running Oil Creek this fall - Jamie, Dave and I running the 50k and Brian doing the 100 mile race.

Dave had never been to the CVNP, so we showed him the Ledges Trail, Ice Box cave, and the Kendall Lake area. The temperature wasn't too bad in the shade, but when we got out in the open at Kendall all of us were soaked in sweat! We ended up with 6 miles.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Pine Lane Night Run

Tonight I planned on meeting Shaun Pope at 8:15 at Pine Lane to run to Boston Store and back. When I got there, there was a green car with a BT50K sticker on the back that looked like his. I thought maybe he went out and did some extra before. So I waited about 15 minutes and still no Shaun. I decided to start running and maybe catch up to him if he had already left.

I ran a good pace out to the Boston Store. As I got closer to the turnaround, still no Shaun. I started running back and up the huge hill when I see Shaun running down with his dog. He got out of work late and I missed him at Pine Lane by 5 or 10 minutes!

So the three of us ran back, not walking any hills. By myself I would've been dead running all these hills, but tonight it felt easy. It was nice and cool out and we both had our headlamps on. He told me about his 100 mile race at Mohican and all the highs and lows you go through. I enjoyed listening to all the advice he had from his first 100 and mistakes he learned from.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Carlos Jones at Howe Meadow

I met a bunch of people over at Howe Meadow tonight for the free Carlos Jones concert which was rescheduled from earlier this month. It was a perfect night out with cool temps. After, we went to the Winking Lizard for some drinks.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Frazee House to Viaduct Park

My brother, Greg Murray, and I met at the Frazee House this morning at 9:00 for a 16 mile run. Bob Drake also showed up, so it was nice meeting and running with him.

We took the Buckeye Trail 8 miles northeast to Bedford, past the Egbert Pavilion, and to Viaduct Park. At the viaduct, Bob, Brian and I crossed the stream and went through the tunnel. The water wasn't very high, but still moving quickly through the viaduct. Greg told us he would meet us on the otherside, but we couldn't find him and decided to head back thinking he might have already left.

The heat was starting to tire us out on the way back, so we did a mixture of walking and running. I had a good time out there and enjoyed seeing some new parts of the Buckeye Trail I've never run on.

Click here to view all the pictures from today's run.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Getting Hot In Here

Tonight Brian and I planned on meeting at Happy Days at 6:30 for a run. I got off work early today so I drove over to Pine Lane at 5 to get some extra miles in. I ran to the Boston Store then took the Towpath back to my car for 7 miles. It was 85 degrees outside and very humid. I was beat! I turned on the air condition in my car full blast and drank some Gatorade. It turned out to be a good idea not to take the Buckeye Trail back for 8 miles because I would've really cut it close to 6:30. I had 15 minutes to relax before heading down the road to Happy Days.

I then headed over to meet Brian. We ran 5 miles there which gave me 12 total for the day. I was exhausted afterwards, but happy to get the distance in on such a tough day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day MCP Run

This morning I woke up at 7 and drove over to the Lily Pond at Mill Creek Park to go for a run with Taylor and Kyrsti Sowers at 8. I was still a little tired from my long run on Friday, so I didn't plan on doing too much today. We ended up running a loop to the steel bridge. It was nice to get the run done early and beat the heat. This run gave me 38 miles for the week so hopefully I can build on that next week.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

18 Miles

Today was a beautiful day so I decided to take a half day at work. I went over to my brother's pool to relax for the afternoon. After that around 3:30, I went for a run starting at Pine Lane. The plan was to go to Snowville Rd and back for 18 miles. Once I got to Boston Store, I ran with a couple guys my age from Medina and southern Texas. We ran to Blue Hen Falls then split from there.

At every stream crossing, I poured water over my head and soaked my bandanna. The heat was starting to wear on me, especially since I was stupid and didn't bring any water or fuel along.

It wasn't until I got back to Boston Store when I really started feeling pooped. My legs felt pretty tired and I could tell I was low on hydration and salt. I ran for a bit, but after tripping on a root and falling hard, I decided to walk the rest back.

I finally made it back to my car and was thrilled to be done. The first 14 miles were good training physically and the last 4 were good mentally. I would've rather not crashed, but it should help me later for Oil Creek if things get tough. Good lesson learned - Always bring fuel for a long trail run.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Keep Up

After work, I went for a run over at Firestone Metropark. I was half-thinking of running down Main St. into downtown Akron, about 4 miles, but I decided to leave that for another day since it was really humid out and the Metropark scenery would be much better.

I didn't have a set distance I wanted to do and definitely did not plan on pushing it. However, right when I crossed Main St and got into the park, this guy, probably in his lower 40s, was turning the corner about to head up the big hills at Firestone. I said hi to him and then realized he wasn't walking up the huge hill. So I decided to hang with him and have him push me along. He told me he had some arthritis in his feet, but he was moving pretty good. I ran and talked with him for a loop around the park (about 2 miles) and then split off to do the hills again.

Halfway through the second loop, I caught up to a younger runner who looked like he was in high school. I was feeling good and passed him, but heard his footsteps following behind. We ran for half a loop and pushed each other along. He was a senior at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary training for his final cross country season. He had big goals this year of dropping his PR by a couple minutes and getting into the 17s.

We finally split off and I headed back home. I was sweating like a pig and exhausted, but it felt great! It's amazing how much faster you can run when running with someone else.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mill Creek Park

This morning I drove over to the Lily Pond parking lot at Mill Creek Park to go for a run. I started at 8:30 and decided to do an 8 mile YUT-C loop. Even though it was pretty humid out, it was great to be back on home ground. Click here for all the pictures from today's run.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Moose is Loose

Right after work today, I quickly got changed and drove over to Pine Hallow parking lot. Joe Novicky (aka Moose) and my brother met at Happy Days at 4:45, so I planned on meeting up with them. We ran some on the Salt Run Trail then back to their cars for about 5.5 total (for me). Afterward, we stopped by the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for some brewskies and food.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Pine Lane Group Run

Tonight I met Shaun Pope, Bob Clark and my brother at Pine Lane for a run. I knew this would be a quick one with Shaun there. We had a good time on the trail tonight and finished 8 miles in about 1:26. Shaun and I sprinted the last section of Pine Lane back to our cars. It's amazing how easy a fast pace feels when you run with someone else who pushes it.

Afterward, Brian and I stopped by the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for a beer. We both got a Sierra Nevada Torpedo and sat outside on the deck.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

No Frills, Just Hills FA

This morning Kyrsti Sowers and I drove over to Pine Hallow for the annual No Frills, Just Hills FA. Neither of us planned on running many loops and ended up with 3 (6 miles). Each year there are more and more people. There was a record 31 this year, plus a new course record of 17 loops (34 miles) set by Bob Pokorny.

Click here for results and photos.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

MMT 100 Pacing

This year my brother Brian was taking another crack at the MMT 100 mile race after timing out last year. He faced epic conditions in 2009 and seemed extremely focused this year. Leading up to the race, he was 48th on the wait list, but moved his way up to a spot in this year's race as others dropped out.

I wanted to help pace him for a portion of the race this year and get a view of the course, so we decided Moose (Joe Novicky) would pace from Camp Roosevelt (63.1) to the Picnic Area (86.9) and I would pick up the last 15 miles to the finish.

I drove down Saturday morning at 8 o'clock and arrived at around 2. I was happy to spot Moose pretty quickly since I really had no clue where their tent was located. We talked for a bit and then decided to head out and fill my car up with gas and familiarize myself with the course some.
Moose showed me where the Picnic Area and Visitor Center aid stations were and possible places to park. It was good we did this because everything would look different once it got dark out.

We then drove back to camp and I napped for a few hours. I took a hike down to this lake near our tent that Moose told me about. It was beautiful and very serene.

When I got back to the tent, Moose was getting his stuff together to pace and we headed to Camp Roosevelt around 8. We gave ourselves plenty of time before Brian would arrive there. As we were waiting, we talked to Tanya Cady and saw many local runners come through including Bob Combs, Bill Losey, and Dave Peterman (with his pacer Lloyd Thomas).

Brian came in soon after Bill around 11:00. He was looking pretty fresh and in good spirits! It was good to see him come in 4 hours ahead of the cutoff time. He quickly got some fuel and was on his way with Moose.

After they left, I went back to camp to try and catch a few ZZZ's. I figured I wouldn't have to arrive at the Visitor Center until 4 o'clock. I ended up not getting very much sleep, but it was good to relax.

Before long, it was time to head out. On my drive down, it started raining a bit. Luckily there was no lightening and the rain didn't last long or become too heavy. I parked at Sonny's Restaurant across from the Picnic Area and hiked to the Visitor Center. I laid down for awhile and took a little nap thinking Brian hadn't come through yet. I began to wonder when it started getting light out, though, and asked an aid station worker. He said Brian had already been through just before 4 AM, just minutes before I got there!

So I headed back to the Picnic Area and waited there for him. I took up camp right by the trail because I really didn't want to miss him here! At 8 AM, Moose and Brian came down the trail. They both had a rough night on Kern's Mountain, so Moose was glad I was there to pace.

The last 15 miles included many boulder fields and a couple climbs. This was my first encounter with VA rocks and man, they are aren't joking about these rocks! I had my cell phone with me to give updates to people. My parents and sister both called, so I put them on speaker and they cheered on Brian as he gingerly danced around the many rocks going downhill.

We eventually got to the last trail section leading to the finish. I sprinted ahead of Brian to get a finish line photo. He came in at 32:53:13 and finished the toughest 100 east of the Mississippi! I'm proud of him for coming back this year and conquering some unfinished business. Click here to view the pictures I took from the weekend.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tree Farm Loop

This evening, I drove to Lock 29 to meet up with the Crooked River Trail Runners group. About 25-30 runners showed up including a lot of familar faces. We ran a loop around the Tree Farm Trail and came back. The temperature felt great. The whole run we joked about it being a race and for the last mile or two we picked up the pace and had a dead-sprint to the finish :) Afterward, we went to the Winking Lizard to enjoy beer, food and company.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chippewa Creek

I drove over to the Brecksville Reservation after work today and did a few miles on the trails, some hill climbing and some water trekking. It was a beautiful day with temperatures reaching the mid-80s and sunny.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Everett Rd Covered Bridge

Ran some hills tonight by the Covered Bridge with Wild Bill, Tara Schweitzer and my brother.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Boston Marathon

On Friday evening, my parents and I flew out from Pittsburgh to Boston for the 2010 Boston Marathon. I was happy to be able to make the trip out knowing I would be able to start the race because just 7 weeks ago I sprained my ankle really badly! It was a stupid mistake, but hindsight is 20/20 right?

My ankle swelled up like a balloon and ended up getting black and blue all the way up to my calf. I iced it religiously for weeks and just waited. I swam a few times at the Medina Rec Center to keep some fitness up. After 3 weeks of rest, I was able to jog a couple miles slowly. My ankle felt great, but my calf and leg got pretty tight and sore quickly, not to mention I felt totally out of breath.

Flash forward 2 weeks to the marathon and I was actually back on the trails able to run a few longer runs over 10 miles. At this point, I felt pretty confident I would be able to toe the line in Hopkinton.

We landed in Boston around 8 o'clock or so. We booked a few nights at the same hotel we stayed at last time. After dropping our luggage off, we quickly got back on the subway and headed to the North End to each get a cannoli we'd been craving at Mike's Pastry shop. The best cannolis I've ever had!

On Saturday, we stopped by the expo to pick up my number and walk around. The Boston Marathon has a great expo with tons of giveaways, promotions and famous runners signing autographs. I was able to get my picture with Khalid Khannouchi, the current American marathon record holder. On Sunday, we walked some on the Freedom Trail and then took the subway out to Harvard. Sunday evening, we met some friends at the North End for some pasta.

The weather was miserable with rain both Saturday and Sunday, but we still enjoyed ourselves! All I cared about was that the forecast for race day held - partly cloudy, high 55, low 45.

I didn't get much sleep the night before the race, but that's always common. We headed down to the Boston Commons at 6 to catch a bus to the start line in Hopkinton. I love the buzz and anticipation of all the runners down there. Some running it for the first time and others seasoned veterans.

I sat next to this guy from Long Island, NY and talked to him for most the ride down. We shared stories about past races, future goals, and strategy for today. This is one of my favorite parts of Boston is being able to meet so many different people.

We arrived at Athlete's Village 2 hours before the race. I found a comfy spot in the grass and hung out. I was smart this year and brought a tarp to sit on, as well as warm clothes and some food.

Before I knew it, we were headed down to the start line which is about a mile away. Of course I had to take a leak from all the nerves and excitement. I looked for somewhere hidden in the woods or behind a dumpster since most the johns had big lines, but scratched that idea when I saw a cop writing up a runner for going in the woods...haha busted! As I was waiting in line, the national anthem played and a couple fighter jets flew overhead. The guy behind me was from Canada, but sang our anthem with more enthusiasm than most Americans do.

I quickly ran over to the 4th starting corral and within about 10 minutes the gun was off! This year it only took 2 or 3 minutes to actually cross the start line. The beginning of the race is downhill, so you really have to watch how fast you go. After about 7 or 8 miles, I got talking to this guy and he said we were running 3:15 finishing pace. Way faster than I wanted to go, so I backed it down a lot. My plan was to enjoy the race and finish somewhere between 3:30 and 3:45.

During the first 11 miles, I had to use a restroom to go #2 two times! Other than that, the race went pretty smoothly. The highlight of the race is always Wellesley College, an all-girl's school at mile 12. You can hear the cheering from half a mile back and the girls line up for kisses. I got a few then pressed on.

My legs had started feeling tired early around mile 7, but they never got to terribly bad for the entire race. After Wellesley College, I ran with this guy who had a "Wellesely Alumni" shirt on. I had a blast pumping up the crowd with him and giving high fives to the spectators. This kept me going faster than I would've by myself for about 4 miles.

Around mile 16/17, the Newton hills begin. My first time at Boston in 2008, these hills killed me. This time I took it easier up them and felt stronger. I didn't have to walk at all and passed a bunch of people. Before I knew it, I had crested the infamous Heartbreak Hill at mile 20. It seemed like nothing this year!

The last stretch of the race is very enjoyable, downhill and tons of drunk college kids going crazy. This year, I made sure to yell and high five them as much as possible. It's amazing how loud they get when they see someone who is feeling good this late in the race, or at least acting like it :)

Fenway soon came up and I knew there was about a mile left till the finish. The crowds really thicken up, especially with the Red Sox game going on. As I turned the corner onto Boylston St, I got the same feeling I got in 2008...goosebumps, a couple watery eyes and a realization of how awesome this race is.

I finished in 3:45:15.

I will most likely do this race again sometime in the future, but would also like to try out other marathons and races. I feel so thankful to be able to take part in such a great event, especially this year when even making the finish line was a big question mark.

To view all my pictures from the race, click here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Last Long Run

This morning I planned on getting one last long run in before Boston. I drove over to Pine Lane and ran the BT to Boston Store. I then added 6 miles on the Towpath before taking the short way back to Pine Lane through Peninsula and up the brick road. This gave me a total of 13 miles.

There were a lot of people out today due to the nice weather. It started out cool, but got pretty warm in the sun. I talked to this lady running on the Towpath named Marilyn and ran with her for a couple miles. She said she was running the Cleveland Marathon.

Next week the plan is to taper with a week till Boston. I probably won't back it down as much as I usually do since my training never got very intense due to my ankle sprain injury.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring is here!

Tonight I drove over to Lock 29 around 6:00 to go for a longer run. I decided to run past the Winking Lizard, up the brick road to Pine Lane, then ran Pine Lane to the Boston Store. From there I ran 4 extra miles on the Towpath, then took the Towpath back to Lock 29 for 11 miles total. I tried to run most of the hills on the Buckeye Trail and picked up the pace on the Towpath for a few miles. There were alot of runners and cyclists out today enjoying the beautiful weather.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Egg 10

Me, Jamie, Brian and Mike

This weekend my sister Jamie came up from Pittsburgh to visit. This morning we drove over to the Cuyahoga Valley around 8 o'clock to go for a run. The plan was to meet Brian and others at the Brecksville Stables. However, we got lost for a bit. We ended up driving down Snowville Rd where the BT crosses and happened to see Brian and Mike Keller headed down the trail. I honked and Jamie and I parked quickly and caught up with them.

Brian jumping down into the stream

The weather was beautiful today!! The sun was shining and temps were in the upper 70s. There were alot of runners out on the trails today taking part in the Easter Egg 20 mile group run which officially started at 6:30 this morning at Boston Store.

ATTENTION! FORWARD MARCH! All of us paving the way for the Admiral Nick Billock to pass through :)

I haven't seen Mike in awhile so it was good to catch up! We had a great time joking and goofing off on the trails. We turned around at the Brecksville Stables. Jamie and I split off at Snowville Rd. for 10 miles while Brian and Mike continued back to Boston Store for 20 miles.

We saw alot of Garter snakes today!

Click here for more pictures from today's run.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools Day Run

Brian and I met at 6:30 at the Happy Days parking lot. We ran the ledges trail to the Pine Grove Loop, then did a loop around Kendall Lake for 7 miles. We were both tired and sweating alot since we weren't used to the warm weather. Felt great though!!

To view all the pictures from our run tonight click here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Glass Harp Concert

Tonight my parents, my brother Brian and I drove to Youngstown to see Glass Harp play at the DeYor Auditorium. Glass Harp was a popular Youngstown group in the 70s and features lead guitarist Phil Keaggy, who is ranked in the top 25 guitarists in the world! Urban legend has it that Jimi Hendrix cited Phil as the greatest guitarist in the world. Below are some videos from the concert.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Towpath & Oil Creek 50K Signup

After work today, I drove over to the Boston Store and ran 4 miles on the Towpath between Mile 21-23. I felt pretty out of breath and my Achilles tendon was a little tight.

Today I also signed up for the Oil Creek 50K in October. I've only run in the park once and loved the scenery and views! Last year I went to watch my brother and sister run the 50-miler and 50K, respectively. I am really looking to taking part in the race this year! Tom Jennings, the race director, does a great job running the race and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back Running Again!

Last Saturday, I ran for the first time since I sprained my ankle exactly 3 weeks ago. I asked Dr. Shah on Vertical Runner's message board for advice. He told me the swelling can last for months, but that I could run before then as long as the pain didn't hinder my form and the pain was 3/10 or less. I drove out to Portage Lakes State Park and ran a mile out to the lake on the main road and a mile back. My calf muscle got tight throughout the run, probably from not running much, but the ankle felt surprisingly well!

So today I ran another 2 mile run doing a loop around the neighborhood across from my apartment. I ran a little faster than I probably should have, but the ankle felt good again. In the next day or so, I plan on stepping it up a bit to 4 miles and see how I do.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


After work, I drove over to the Medina Community Rec Center to swim. I've never gone over a half mile, so tonight I went the distance for a mile (64 laps). I tried to pace myself better this time and felt good for most of the swim. The swelling on my ankle has gone down considerably, but it is still a little stiff. I can't wait until it heals since the weather is getting nice!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sprained Ankle

Saturday morning, Brian and I met at Pine Lane for a potential 50K run. We started down the Buckeye Trail and got to the stream crossing about a mile and half into the run. The temperature was right around freezing, so the stream was not frozen across. Patches of it were frozen with thin ice, but the majority of it was flowing. We ran down stream to look for a good crossing but could not find one. So, we came back to the trail and I decided to try and sprint across the stream. I thought it was shallow enough to attempt it. Before I knew it, I was laying in the stream, pants soaked in water! Brian looked over and could not believe it. I hurried up and got out on the other side. As I was walking, I realized I had sprained my ankle pretty badly and felt a bit dizzy from the shock. I laid down on the ground for a bit to regain my senses. Brian then crossed the stream and we were on our way. I knew if I kept moving it might not tighten up. However as we got closer to Boston Store, I knew I would not be going any further and decided to turn around. I took the Towpath back through Peninsula and back up the brick road to Pine Lane. Brian continued on toward Brecksville.

I got home and took a look at my ankle. It was very swollen and bruised up to a little below my calf. I relaxed for a bit then drove to Heinen's grocery store to meet up with Brian and have a bite to eat. He was glad to have a ride back since he probably would've been out till past sunset to finish the full 50K due to all the snow.

So after work today, I made an appointment at a local orthopedic sports medicine doctor to get x-rays and see if I had broken or fractured anything. He found no broken bones and ruled it a pretty good sprain. Now I'll have to wait and see how it heals to see if I'm ready for Boston in a month and a half. If Boston rolls around and I feel any pain, I definitely won't run in the race and risk a recurring injury.

Click here for photos I took during the run.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Towpath - 20 Miles

This morning I started my run at Boston Store at 7:30. The plan was to go 20 miles. I haven't been doing great marathon training and haven't done a long run more than 13 or 14 miles, so I figured today was the day since Boston is fast approaching.

There were a lot of people out today enjoying the warmer temperature. I started out north and ran to mile marker 14. I had to turn around since the Towpath was closed due to construction. So I headed back to Boston Store and repeated a mile on the way back. I then ran to mile marker 23 and back to Boston Store for 20 total.

I felt pretty good today considering this was my first real long run. I deliberately slowed down today since I always go too fast on long runs. Afterward, I enjoyed a nice juicy Blue Shroom burger and a beer at the Winking Lizard.

Friday, February 19, 2010