Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Youngstown Peace Race

Well I finally signed up for the Youngstown Peace Race this year.  I've always wanted to run this one since it goes through one of my favorite places to run - Mill Creek Park.  They changed the course this year making it a point-to-point run from Kirkmere Elementary school and ending in the usual finish area at Federal Plaza in downtown Y-town.

I caught a bus from downtown to the start line.  This guy I was talking to in line for the bus happened to be my high school English teacher's son.  At the school I saw a bunch of familiar faces including Tim McNeil, Terry McCluskey and Stacy Sowers.  I walked to the start line with Stacy then worked my way toward the front.  I definitely wasn't conditioned very well for this race so I just had two goals: enjoy the scenery and run under 7 min/mile. 

The course had some nice rolling hills, but nothing too steep.  We ran down to the Mill and worked our way back to the Old Log Cabin and on to downtown.  On my way back to the city, I talked to a real nice Warren runner named Walter I've known from running around Warren and going to the Mocha House.  He's real upbeat, so I enjoyed his company and conversation through the huffing and puffing.  I told him I forgot how quick these short road races were.

I ended up finishing in 42:34 (6:52 pace) and was very pleased.  The finish line was great with a live band and tons of post-race food including Dunkin' Donuts!  At the finish I also saw Dan Kuzma who was cheering on his wife who ran today.

I would definitely recommend this race to anyone and plan on hopefully doing it again next year.  The course is beautiful and Ted Rupe does a great job directing such a large race with over 1200 runners.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"A giant oak is only a little nut that held its ground..."

Saturday, October 08, 2011


Today I drove to Middletown, OH to go skydiving! I bought a coupon on LivingSocial for Start Skydiving a year ago and it expired on the 11th, so it was now or wait another 6 months or so.

I got to the airstrip at 9 AM to fill out papers, watch a video and get suited up. Around 10:30 or so, we boarded the plane to climb up to 13,000 ft. The guy I was going tandem with was pretty cool. He had a Fu Manchu style moustache and had made over 6,000 jumps in his life. Before we went up, he already had 4 under his belt for the day!

As the plane kept climbing higher and higher, I was getting more nervous, thinking WHAT AM I DOING!? I got the photo/video package, so the video guys were in the plane with us trying to ease our nerves. My videographer told me that not going to church today was the worst possible day in your life not to haha!

When we finally got up to altitude, I was the first to go. My instructor connected my harness to him and gave me a few instructions. We inched towards the open door and looked down. My legs were a little locked, but on the count of three, we were gone!

The fall lasted 50 seconds, but seemed to go really fast. The wind was so intense that it was hard to realize how high you were. After giving a thumbs up, yawning, and giving some gang signs to the videographer, my instructor pulled the rip cord.

Things calmed down quickly and we floated slowly towards our landing spot. After the parachute deployed, my instructor told me it was twisted. So, he had me put my arms out so the wind would push us around like a swing. It didn't take long and it was untangled. He told me after that happens 1 in about 100 and one time he had to actually cut the parachute away and use the backup because the guy he was with locked up and wasn't able to follow instructions.

The ride down lasted about 4 minutes. My instructor told me what to do for the landing - lift my legs up, point my toes and we'll land on our butts. As we were landing, I gave the videographer a high-five. We made a soft landing and that was that. I had gone skydiving!! My instructor told me, you now have more takeoffs in a plane than landings :)

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Go unto life like a bull to the streets.
Leave no rock unturned or path untraveled.
The winner in life is not the first to the destination.
In contrast, the golden prize is not making it past first, stuck smelling the roses.
Regrets are opportunities in the present.
There is no blueprint, just a blank sheet of paper.
God gives you a box full of a thousand colored crayons.
Find your passion and draw your Picasso.
If you have but one regret,
Regret there was no time to sign your name
For you were busy drawing more roses.