Saturday, September 29, 2012

Akron Marathon Relay

Since FirstEnergy is a sponsor of the Akron Marathon, we get free entries into the marathon, half and relay.  I did the relay with a team from work last year and did the same this year.  A few runners had to drop out from our team, but we found replacements pretty quickly.

By default (since I'm basically known as the Forrest Gump running freak at work) I got the longest leg: 7.5 miles.  The other legs ranged between 3-5.5 miles.  The race started at 7 AM and I had the 3rd leg starting by the Akron University football stadium and would take the baton from Tara Schweitzer.

I haven't run roads for quite awhile and knew it would beat up my legs a lot.  I felt really good though and fast.  It also helped that we were around the 10:30 pace group when I started my leg, so for most my leg I was flying past runners weaving in and out.

I had a couple of minutes added to my time in the beginning since Tara had already gotten to the exchange zone.  However, I figure I probably ran close to 7 minute miles and was happy with that.  I killed myself trying to go really fast last year and just tried to enjoy it a little more this time around.

Afterward, I met up at the Aeros Stadium with Tara and her sister, who finished her first half marathon.  I also met up with Tom, the anchor leg of our relay, and got a bite to eat in Portage Lakes at Hook, Line & Drinkers afterward. 

I had a great time doing a non-ultra road event, something I've grown away from a little.  The weather was perfect and it was awesome seeing many familiar faces, which included a lot of local trail runners actually, including Dan Bellinger, Dave Peterman, Ron Ross, Joan Cottril and a few others.

You can tell the race directors, including Jim Chaney, pay attention to every detail.  From the police officers blocking the roads to the shuttle buses busing you back to the finish line party at the stadium, everything took great planning and I think is why it attracts so many runners including trail runners!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


This weekend, I went on a road trip to Detroit with my friend Adam.  He's trying to see all of the Major League baseball stadiums in the country, so we got tickets for the Tigers game on Saturday.  We left Saturday morning and drove back on Sunday.  It takes 4 hours from Akron, so we were literally in Detroit for less than 24 hours.  We stayed with Erin, a girl from our Clarion cross country team, who lives in Rochester Hills now and runs professionally with Brooks.  I hadn't seen her since college, so it was nice catching up.  We all went to the game at 4 o'clock and then went out to a sports bar afterward around Greektown.

If you haven't been to Detroit post-recession, I recommend it for an eye-opener.  I had seen pictures of the abandoned buildings there, but to actually see in person city block after city block of boarded up houses with caved in roofs, broken windows and grass up to your waist really made me realize how hard this city was hit.  The city looked far more depressed than anything I have seen in Warren, Youngstown, Cleveland or Akron.  Graffiti was everywhere, entire office buildings had every single window busted out and apartment complex towers had been abandoned.  It's hard to believe one of America's great cities is now just falling apart.  It's also scary to think that cities in Ohio and across the U.S. may not be far from following Detroit if things don't improve soon.

A lot of times it's easy to take the simple things for granted such as a roof over your head or a job.  Seeing the depression that has taken over much of Detroit reminded me to be thankful for those small things in my life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just Do It

After leaving work today, I was pretty tired.  On the way home, I started debating whether I should do a workout or not.  I had skipped yesterday for the same reason I was debating skipping today.  Even though I've learned over and over again that doing a workout makes you feel far better after than not doing one at all, my mind still wants to take the easy way out.  It's a constant battle, but one that gets easier and easier to make the more fit I get.  Each run feels less and less like a workout and more like a scramble through the trail bouncing off rocks and just having fun.  With each step, each incline, each downhill, I notice the previous workouts, the swimming, the lifting all helping me along the way.

So when I got home, I sacked out for a bit but then got my stuff together after a short while and drove to Kent.  I got to the rec center in my running clothes and took off for a 4 mile loop around campus.  This loop has a nice mix of hills and flats.  usually I'd rather run trails, but when school's in session, the activity across campus always makes the run go by fast.  When I got back, I was drenched in sweat despite the cool day.  I'd gone out faster than I planned, but that wasn't surprising since I was running on concrete sidewalk and by myself.

I stretched a bit then went inside to lift some with my legs.  I did my regular routine of leg presses and curls as well as the ab machine.  Following that, I got my suit on and swam half a mile in the pool.  My kick felt stronger and more consistent than it had in the past and made the laps go by quicker and easier. 

I'm looking forward to the challenges and possibilities that await, running-wise.  I can't remember exactly when doing a seemingly impossible feat became possible mentally, but I have a feeling the seed was planted with going to my dad's marathons as a kid.  From there, the biggest challenges were initially being able to run a mile or two, then further down the road, maturing physically and being able to handle the runs I wanted to do.  As far back as I can remember, I never thought that a half-marathon, marathon, 50K, 50 miler, 100K, 100 miler or whatever the distance seemed impossible.  Just something that might not be possible at the present time.  The body can do far more than what the mind thinks it can do.  It often makes me wonder what percentage of my physical ability I'm using, or what anyone's using.  I can say very few times, if at all, that I've given it everything....EVERYTHING....I've got.  As nice as it is to think you gave it everything, there always is that little more you can squeeze out of a race or run.  usually you can defy the mind for so long before you give in, whether it's at the last 10 miles, mile or 100 meters of a race.  The "giving in" used to be more important to overcome during the race, but now, to me, it's more important during the moments after leaving work and deciding to do a training workout.  When not giving in becomes a habit during training, it'll make you that much stronger on race day to not give in when it hurts.

So that's my rant for the night.  I haven't been posting as frequently as in the past, but haven't felt the need to as much as in the past.  Before, it was a good motivator to keep up with my training schedule.  Now, my running log seems to do that just fine.  I still enjoy throwing random thoughts out here, though, as well as all of the races and bigger training runs I do, as a record to look back on.