Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Frills, Just Hills FA

Today a bunch of runners met for the 4th annual No Frills, Just Hills FA. I've done it every year and was glad I didn't have to miss it due to some recent Achilles aches. This FA starts at Pine Hallow and does a 2-mile loop around the Kendall Hills area. Runners see how many loops they can do in the 6-hour time limit (or 12-hour option if you had your Wheaties).

My brother, sister and I all got in 8 loops for 16 miles. I was very happy with this and felt I got some good hill work in for Laurel. Everyone had a great time as always. It seems like every year I always meet some new runners. This year I met some friendly people from Michigan. I ran a lot of the day with this guy named Kevin. He was preparing to complete the ultra grand slam this summer. This consists of the Wasatch in Utah, Western States in California, Vermont in uh...Vermont, and Leadville in Colorado - all 100 milers. The 100 mile distance still amazes me, but I've become somewhat immune to the shock of the distance just because I know so many people that have completed it. However, doing 4 100 milers in one summer is just insane. Best of luck to him.

I also ran an easy couple laps with Cyrus Taylor. He was taking it slow because he was opting for the 12-hour option, the only person to do the full thing this year (and any of the prior 3 years as far as I can remember).

Another new face I met was Jerry Williamson. It was great talking with him for a few laps. He also signed up for Laurel, but is doing the 77 mile race.

There were also many others I ran with along the way that made the day enjoyable. It's cool seeing the progression of this event that started from an idea that Brian and I had during a run one day through Kendall. It's turned into a nice event that I look forward to every year. Sometimes you don't need any frills, just good friends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Born To Run

My dad had let me borrow a friend's copy of Born To Run awhile back and it had just been sitting in my apartment for the past few months. Last week, I met someone at the Crooked River Trail Runners group run that was wearing Vibrams. Soooo, I decided to read the book which is about a Tribe in the remote regions of Mexico who are super ultrarunners that run barefoot. I got to this excerpt (which is mentioned in reference to a man's attempt to get members of the Tribe to run organized races such as Leadville) in the book and really liked it, so I thought I would share it...

When Ken (Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100) met Aron Ralston, the rock climber who sawed off his own hand with the chipped blade of a multitool after getting pinned by a boulder, Ken made an astonishing offer: if Aron ever wanted to run Leadville, he wouldn't have to pay. Ken's invitation stunned everyone who heard about it. The defending champ has to pay his way back into the race. Heroic grand master Ed Williams still has to pay. Ken has to pay. But Aron got a free ride - and why?

"He's the essence of Leadville," Ken said. "We've got a motto here - you're tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can. Guy like Aron, he shows the rest of us what we can do if we dig deep."

You might think poor Aron had already suffered enough, but little more than a year after his accident, he took Ken up on the offer. New prosthetic swinging by his side, Aron made it to the finish under the thirty-hour cutoff and went home with a silver belt buckle, thereby stating better than Ken ever could what it takes to toe the line at Leadville: You don't have to be fast. But you'd better be fearless.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


After getting in some good mileage yesterday, I decided to go on another long run today. Before the run, I drove over to Vertical Runner to get a handheld water bottle. I tried a few on and decided to get the Nathan 10oz one for $10. I've been meaning to get one of these because every time I go on a longer run, I always wish I had something to drink. The 10-12 mile distance, for me, is too short to wear a camelback, but long enough to get dehydrated. Even when I've done 50k races, it seems that distance is short enough for me to be "stupid" about rehydrating and refueling. I'm able to finish the distance, but would probably finish feeling a lot stronger if I properly refueled. I'm starting to finally see the importance of staying fueled during longer runs. The more I test it out now, the smarter I'll be in the future.

Anyway, I drove over to Pine Lane from Vertical Runner and started my run there. I had no doubt this would be another muddy run; the first few steps were a clear sign.

I ended up running to Snowville Rd for 18 miles. I started the run with gatorade in my water bottle and refilled it twice with water at Boston Store. I finished the run tired, but feeling great about the effort and back-to-back long runs I got in. This run gave me 43 miles for the week! By far the highest weekly mileage I've had in a long time.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Days Run

My sister was in town this weekend from Pittsburgh, so we met at Happy Days to go for a run. The sky was cloudy, but it wasn't raining for once and the temperature felt pretty comfortable. We started out on the ledges trail, then did Pine Grove. From there we ran a loop around Kendall Hills, then did the Salt Run Trail. We figured we probably got in about 11 miles. With all the mud and hills, we got a good workout in. We've been getting a lot of rain, but both of us couldn't believe how green everything was. It almost looked fake!

Afterward Jamie and I went to the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for some food out on the deck. For all the pics of the run click here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Find Your Passion

Tonight I went on a run from Boston Store to Snowville Rd and back for 10 miles. This run always seems challenging no matter how well trained I am. It was especially difficult today with the muddy trail conditions. I got out of work a little late today and really didn't feel like running. I forced myself to drive out to the CVNP and was glad I did. The hardest part of a run for me is usually deciding to do it.

I was thinking today during my run how odd it is that something so exhausting and taxing on the body can be so rewarding. I'm fortunate to have been exposed to running at an early age. It's something that offers so many adventures and opportunities and can teach so many lessons.

I always laugh when I tell someone, who doesn't run, the distances I go. They always give the same crazy look. I guess they give that look because they couldn't imagine running that far. I don't take pride so much in the distances I run, but in the dedication and consistency it takes to do it.

Whatever your passion is, give it your all. It's amazing what can be accomplished by never giving up. If you need proof, just watch the news....10 years and we caught bin Laden. Things worth having or accomplishing rarely come easy.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Towpath - Manchester Rd

I knew that the Towpath had been expanded through downtown Akron a couple years ago, but I didn't realize that the bike path went so close to my apartment. I had noticed a path while driving past the Manchester Rd exit off of 224, so today I went for a run there.

The weather in Ohio has been cloudy and rainy and today was right on par. I still wore shorts, but had gloves and a hat for the first part of the run. I went north towards downtown Akron. I think it's always cool trying out new trails and paths. The scenery and wildlife was actually pretty interesting, but signs of the city were never too far away. The path went past a couple of industries including the water plant. This section was old and rusty looking and had a couple railroad bridges over top.

Further down, the path went across Summit Lake which is right next to I-76. They had a sign that explained how back when they were using the Ohio-Erie Canal, the lake had shores that were too shallow and swampy to allow for a path along the canal to be built. To fix this, they took over 12,000 dump trucks of mud from the lake and built a floating path above the water. The current path also floats above the water and gives a cool feeling when running over it since you're surrounded by water.

The neighborhoods around Akron aren't the best or safest, but I enjoyed the new adventure. I couldn't make it all the way to downtown Akron since they were building a bridge, but I got about 6 miles in today.