Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bad Blogger

Okay, to catch up on old times, I know....... I am a bad blogger. Hopefully I will do better. Not to make excuses but I was having computer problems along with the fact that I type about 10 wpm. Those together make for a BAD BLOGGER!Here is what I have been up to.

For the last 86 days I have been running at least 25 minutes everyday. Some days are longer than that but none are shorter. I have found myself running at 4:30 in the morning and 11:00 at night to keep the streak alive. I have never been a big fan of "making" myself run, but if it weren't for forcing this habit, some days I would not run at all when I should. So in the next two weeks I will approach my milestone of 100 days.

This being said, my son Taylor's streak is 366 days ahead of mine and he is approaching his 2000 mile for the year! I average about 29 miles per week but most of my runs right now occur at practice for the McDonald Junior High cross country team. I try to get a longer run in on the weekends and so far I have felt fine.

We attended my daughter's first cross country meet of the season last week and she had a fourth place finish. She ran well and she seemed strong throughout the race. It is nice to see your summer work pay off. Here is a video of the start of the race:

Here are some other pictures that I have been waiting to upload:

Progressive Field View from Our Hotel

Tronk, Bill Rogers, and Taylor

Bill, Taylor and Bart Yasso

Kyrsti "after race" and smiling!

Kyrsti and Pavlo - her boyfriend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Week Before; The Week Of; and The Day of the Race

Well I held off writing week 17 for a couple reasons. The first is I worked way too much. The second is, I felt like crap and was trying to ignore it. My legs were both sore and I developed a sinus infection, so the thrill of running a marathon became more of trying to get myself better to make the run as best as I could.

From May 5-11 (week 17) I only ran three times and struggled on two of the three runs. The muscle behind my left knee was so tight and sore that I could barely stretch it out in front of me and actually felt like I was limping while running. I managed a 4 mile run, a 2 ½ mile run and a 7 mile run. I decided that was enough.

During the final week (May 12-18) I decided I would run twice and that would be it. I did two four mile runs early in the week and actually my legs did not feel too bad. Unfortunately, I developed a sinus infection and that zapped me of a lot of energy. I rested up Thursday, Friday and Saturday and prepared for my run on Sunday morning in Cleveland.

My whole family traveled to Cleveland on Saturday afternoon and checked in at the Hilton Garden Hotel right next to Progressive Field. We had a great view of the stadium and were not too far from the start of the race.

After checking in we went to the Expo Center and checked in for the race. This year the race director chose to use a new “chip” technology that is disposable. It fastens to the lace of your shoe and at the end of the race you throw it away. Taylor and I got out goody bags and then went in to peruse the vendor area. We walked around the whole Expo looking at all the new stuff out for runners and bought some stickers and stuff like that.

Just as we were getting ready to leave the Expo, we ran into Bill Rodgers. Bill is a really nice guy and we talked for a bit. I reminded him that I met him in Youngstown a few years ago at the Peace Race but I got the idea he did not remember me. We shared some laughs and I told him that this was Taylor’s first marathon and he wished him well.

Bill then introduced us to Bart Yasso, who is another well known distance runner. Bart has run all over the world and is probably best know for a workout known as the Yasso 800’s. The Yasso 800’s are essentially a track workout for distance runners to increase speed and endurance. I did them once and remember how hard they were. Bart was another great guy who talked with us for a while and wished us both well. Taylor ended up buying Bart’s book and has since finished it.

After the Expo we went back to the hotel and crashed for about an hour. I then called my cousin Brian and we drove to his house to meet him for dinner. Brian had picked a small Italian place called Pepper’s in Lakewood that was recommended to him by several of his co-workers. They had a table and sat us immediately. We laughed at the sign that said maximum occupancy 28. It was a real small place! Pepper’s had great authentic Italian food with great service. We were all stuffed when we walked out the door. Brian did good and I thanked him for doing his homework.

After returning to the city from dinner we drove to make sure we knew where the start was. We also ventured down to Cleveland Brown’s stadium, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Science Center. All of them were closed but we checked out the area.

Sunday morning came early and it was raining hard. I showered and woke Taylor up to let him know the weather forecast – RAIN! We went about out morning routines and prepared for a long wet run. I pulled my favorite red “Headsweats” hat out of my bag. It is my signature for running in the rain and I was glad I brought it.

We ate a quick light breakfast (A Power Bar and a Bottle of Gatorade) and headed for the nearest parking lot to the start of the race. When we got out of the car I would describe it as pouring. The four of us huddled under two umbrellas and we hustled down the street to where the action was. It took us about 10 minutes to walk to the line and we got there about 6:45. Taylor and I shook hands, wished each other well, and headed to our respective areas within the crowd. Taylor went forward to the 2:55 group and I went backward to the 4:00 hour group.

As we stood there for what seemed an eternity, it seemed like the rain got harder and harder. I was getting soaked and so was everyone else. At about 7:05 they finally started the race. It took me about a minute and a half to reach the actual start line and that is where I started my watch.

The pace started out slowly because of the crowd and I was happy to run along easily. I was stretching out my sore leg and actually enjoyed jogging along through the city streets. After a short while it thinned some and we started to get in those comfortable pace groups that seem to form at every large race. Each person moved along in their own world, some talking, most not, and some with the look on their face like why am I out here running in the rain. I jogged along taking in all the sites of the city.

When I reached the 10k point I was right on pace at about 53:00 minutes. I remember thinking that I would be fine if I just stayed relaxed and ran easy. In my mind I wanted to be at 1 hour 30 minutes for 10 miles, 3 hours for 20 miles and then whatever it took to cover the last 10k. At 10 miles I was at 1:29.00 and I smiled to myself. The next 10 miles got a little harder and I reached the 20 mile at 3 hours and 3 minutes.

I was now in the heart of the race and the rain had stopped and the sun and wind decided to join in the fun. I was getting tired and we reached probably the worst part of the race. Down along the edge of the lake and between the highway is a road that cuts along the airport. It was here that I really decided I hated this run. The headwinds picked up to about 15-20 mph and the fatigue set in quickly. Everyone that I was running with began to slow down, including me. I could not move any faster and the conditions were not helping.

I pressed on to the next water stop and walked for about 2 minutes. My legs were on the verge of major cramping and I wasn't sure how hard I wanted to push it. I looked at my watch when I reached mile 23 and I was at 3:35.00. I then knew that being under 4 hours was most likely not going to happen. I jogged and walked some for the next couple miles with my shoes squishing and squeeking with every step. When I finally reached the end of the road we made a sharp left turn and went up a hill. I was never so glad to see a hill.

I pushed up the hill and stretched my calves as I went. It felt good. I told myself "NO MORE WALKING TODAY" and pressed along slowly. Every time I would try to go faster I would feel a cramp in my right groin area and in my left calf behind my knee. I decided to jog as fast as I could and not walk. It was ugly but I was moving.

After we made a turn in the city I heard one of the volunteers yell out, "One more turn and a half mile to the finish" Those were magical words. I ran with determination but careful not to let a cramp catch me in the last half mile.

I turned the corner, saw the finish line and smiled. It is the greatest feeling knowing it will all be over soon. I made my way along and just prior to getting to the line I saw my wife and daughter there cheering me on. I crossed the line with a finish time of 4:12.57 and was very content with that.

As I walked through the recovery area I saw Taylor standing along the fence. I gave him the thumb's up and he returned it to me. I said "Boston?" and he shook his head no. Taylor had run his first marathon ever in 3:23.00 and he was happy too.

He came in to join me and we grabbed some food and drinks. I was exhausted and we headed for the car.

No one can explain the feeling each person has on a long run, whether it is 20 miles, a marathon or ultra-marathon. You find out a lot about yourself. You dig deep and find strength in areas that you did not know you have. As for me, I was thrilled to have run in a marathon along with my son in his first. I know it was a special day for him and we talked about it all the way home. I hope to run many more races with my kids and I have already promised my daughter to join her in her first marathon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Week 16 - Pain in my leg is a pain in the butt!

I am late writing my report. It was a fairly decent week but I have been down since my 20 mile run. My legs are sore and I have some pain and discomfort behind my left knee that makes it difficult to fully extend my leg while I run. I have stretched, used Ibuprofen and have decided to try and take a few days off to see if it helps. I am fearful of starting a marathon feeling like this.

In the past week, I walked/ran on Monday for a total of 25 minutes. That was after I hobbled around all day at work. My leg feels like a constant charley horse. I took off Tuesday and Wednesday and jogged for about 30 minutes on Thursday with some pain but not as much as Monday. On Friday I walked again and stretched trying to loosen this knot up in my leg.

Saturday morning, Kyrsti, Taylor and I went to Mill Creek to run in the rain. Taylor chose to run on his own and Kyrsti decided graciously to run with her “old man”. I was happy because I wasn’t feeling it and left to my own devices I may have called it an early day. The goal was to do two loops from the Lily Pond up to the Mill and back on the roads and add Bear’s Den loop onto the end. It was a 7.5 mile loop with a stop at the car half way.

Kyrsti and I started out slowly. The first 30 steps for me were the hardest. By the time we started climbing up to the East Cohasset Trail my leg was stiff but feeling somewhat better. Climbing hills is easier than running down hills or running flats. I can’t explain it but I am sure it has to do with angles and technical stuff. I just know when it hurts and when it sucks!

The rain was steady and never let up the whole morning. In fact, there were times when it rained harder. I loved every wet minute of it. I love watching the water drip from the brim of my hat. I would shake my head occasionally just to see the drops fall off. Kyrsti and I moved along nicely and with some good conversation I hardly noticed my leg. We got to the Mill and I remembered that on the Google Maps it was about 4 miles to this point. I looked at my watch and we were at 31:00. Not bad I thought…… 7:45 miles at what felt like a very leisurely pace climbing almost the entire way.

When we got almost all the way around Kyrsti told me she was only doing one lap. I kind of knew that before we started. She also opted out of Bear’s Den so at the three-way split we said goodbye and up I went. I pushed this section somewhat hard to see if the uphill climb/leg theory still held true. It did. I went all the way to the top and around the road by the cabin. It was pouring now but I was feeling pretty good. I gingerly made my way back down the long hills and headed towards the car.

I got to the car, changed into a dry top, put on my iPod for the second loop, refilled the water bottle, and ate 3 Oreo cookies. Off I went, but this time the other way around. I was running okay but realized the stop was not good for my leg. I slowed a bit and waited until I got to Big Bear.

At the bottom of Big Bear I started to press again. I wasn’t going fast but I was determined to run this hill with some determination. Before I knew it I was at the top and thinking that wasn’t so bad. I remembered about 15 weeks ago I would have walked up that hill.

My leg again started to feel okay. I made my way to the Mill and got an encouraging beep and a thumbs up from guy passing by in a car. I don’t know if I knew him or he knew me but I waved anyway. Maybe he was another nut out running in this rain and thought I needed a little pick me up.

Before I knew it I was heading toward Lake Glacier and was about done with my run. I was feeling pretty good and I was looking at the split of my first loop, which was 1:01.00 from where I left Kyrsti at the three-way split. I had taken another split there on my second loop just to check my pace. As I was crossing the bridge at the end of Glacier I was at 57:00. I knew I could get in a negative split easily so I thought about maintaining my pace all the way to the car. As I crested the hill and rounded the bend I could see Taylor sitting in “Elle” waiting for me. I smiled and finished the run. I was soaked and finished the second loop in 59:30.

On Sunday I ran easily in the morning but was extremely stiff and sore. I stretched after my run and will start stretching and taking Ibuprofen more regularly. I have to shake this before May 18.

Here are the numbers:

Minutes Run/Walk – 280 minutes
Long Run = 15 miles
Pain in my leg is a pain in the butt!
Weight = 197.

Next week will be easier than originally planned. I got to rehab!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

15 Will Get You 20!

A Couple of Runner Dudes!

I was thinking big this week for running. But underlying it all, I was thinking of a 20 mile run or bust. It was something that I had to do or my confidence going into the marathon would not be too good.

I had several short runs around town during the week that amounted to about 12 miles. What I was focused on the whole week was doing a solid 20 miles in Mill Creek Park on Saturday. Taylor and I got up early on Saturday and made it to the park by about 8:15. It was somewhat cool but I knew it was going to warm up fast.

The run would consist of two loops from Lanterman’s Mill to 224 and back. Each loop is 9 miles and then I would add the hills for the last 2 miles. In my mind, this would add a little challenge and a little fun to my legs at the end of the run.

Taylor started out going the opposite direction again and would run around to me. I was planning on running conservatively after last weekends “bonk”. I did not want to go too fast and feel like crap at the end. The weather was perfect. It was sunny, cool, breezy, and occasionally the sun would go behind the clouds and things would cool off. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

I traveled along without much trouble and enjoyed seeing countless runners, cyclists, dog walkers and everyone else out using the park. I thought about how many times I had made this run in the dead of winter with absolutely no one else around. Now that it is spring, people have once again discovered the beauty of the park.

Before I knew it Taylor was coming the other way towards me and soon he turned around to join me going in my direction. We ran together to the edge of the golf course and soon he was gone as fast as he came. I plodded along. As I ran along with other people on the hike/bike trail, I came upon Tom Gratonic and his daughters out running. Tom is the Branch Manager at the Davis YMCA and I have known him for years. He is also a very good local runner. I was stopped eating some GU and he asked me what I was up to. I told him I was about 5 miles into it and had about 15 more to go. He wished me well and I was on my way.

I ran easily back along Lake Newport and made my way back to the car in about 1 hr. 21 minutes or about 9 minute miles. Just perfect I thought for pace. I fueled at the car, talked to Taylor a bit and then headed back out in the opposite direction. Taylor chose to run towards Lake Cohasset and run some hills and maybe catch up to the McDonald high school boys. I ran along Newport and again enjoyed the weather. It had warmed up some but was still nice overall.

Once I got to the hike/bike trail I was amazed at how many people were now on this thing. It was almost hard to run without saying excuse me while squeezing between people. It was really great to see this many people out exercising!

Soon I was back over by the golf course and caught myself watching a foursome tee off. I jogged along watching where the ball landed and thinking it was a pretty good drive. I reached Shields Road and crossed over and immediately got onto an old trail I ran on years ago. I followed it and came out by the Newport boat docks. Back onto the road I ran into another guy who asked me if I was going all the way around the lake. I said, “no, just to the Mill”. He smirked and ran with me for a bit before picking it up and leaving me behind.

Just as I approached the Mill for the last time, Taylor was again coming back around toward me and asked how I was feeling. My left leg had started to cramp and I was starting to feel the 18 miles. I was not going to let a little stiffness stop me so we crossed Canfield Road and made our way down towards Chestnut Hill.

We talked and ran easily as Taylor had probably covered about 23 miles already. Just prior to reaching Chestnut Hill, a trail cuts off to the right and we took it. We got on the trail and ran along the river until we reached the Silver Bridge. After crossing over the bridge we ran along the road and got back on the trail at the bottom of the Monkey Trail. We ran along the other side of the river again all the way up to the decking. Once we reached the deck, we decided to walk up to the car and use this last bit as a cool down.

I was tired but not exhausted. I had covered 20 miles in about 2 hrs. 54 minutes so I was pretty happy with this. My goal is to be under 4 hours for the marathon so I think that is very attainable.
20 Mile Foot "OUCH!!!!!"

On Sunday the stiffness in my right leg had gotten worse so I elected to walk with my wife. We strolled around town for about 2 miles and my leg felt somewhat better. We also traveled to Seton Hill on Sunday to watch Kyrsti be inducted into the Honor Society. After the ceremony, we went to the Texas Roadhouse and indulged with a huge lunch/dinner. I was still full Monday morning! Kyrsti with her Honors Award

Here are the numbers:
34 miles for the week
290 minutes of running
Long Run 20 miles
Weight before long run = 198
Weight after long run = 194

This week I hope to get my left leg loosened up and do a 15 mile run with hills to give a little extra effort! Nice and slow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Month to Go.......

Week 14 went okay. I planned on doing about 35 miles and ended up with 33. I had several short runs around town early in the week and had planned on a 20 mile run on Saturday morning on the Bike Trail in Champion. My son Taylor decided to join me as he too wanted a long run.

The plan was to start mid-way on the bike path, run out 7.1 miles to route 305, and then turn around and head back to the car (14.2 miles). We would then re-fuel etc. and head in the opposite direction and run 3.2 miles to route 88 and turn around for a total of 20.6 miles. I had never been on this trail and thought it would be a good way to track my miles. What I did not take into consideration was the lack of tree coverage this early in the spring and the temperatures rising to nearly 80 degrees.

We started out slowly and planned on running a moderate pace. After about a ½ mile, Taylor said he was going to run his pace and pulled away from me. I plodded down the bike path looking at all the swamp land and bare trees next to the trail. This was about it for scenery. It all looked the same. The trail is essentially a straight, flat line with nothing really to look at and NO MILE MARKERS. I knew this was going to be a long day after the first few miles.

When I got to about a mile or so away from route 305, I saw Taylor coming the other way. He got to me and decided he would turn around and run back with me to 305. W jogged and talked about the run, lack of scenery and the excess of bugs. Not a good combination! We reached 305 in 1:01.00 and I was pretty happy with the pace, about 8:30 or so and I had taken two pee breaks so all in all not too bad. My left hamstring was tight so I sprawled out on the picnic table and stretched out.

After a few minutes we were on our way back. Taylor pulled away and I told him I would see him at the next turn around. I jogged along by myself and started to notice how hot it had become. There were parts of the trail that were completely in the sun and were very hot. After a few miles I saw Taylor standing by the trail stretching out. He said he was cramping and so he jogged along with me for a while. Then once again, he pulled away and I plugged along.

Somewhere in the next mile or so I got attacked by a swarm of little black bugs and one of the little kamikaze’s crashed into my eyeball – a direct hit. I was paralyzed. This little bugger not only hit his target but felt like he was digging in. I stopped and started to try and dig him out. The harder I tried the worse it got. I was starting to worry that he was going under my contact! As I walked and dug, a cyclist coming the other way happened by and could tell from my body language and facial expressions that something was wrong. He stopped and helped and after a few moments the pesky invader was removed ~ still alive and kicking until I squashed the little perpetrator between my fingers. I thanked the guy over and over!

I started running again but the temperatures were increasingly warming up. I was now covered in salt and just about out of fluids. I moved along slowly thinking about the water and drinks in the car. After 1:06.00 I returned to the car to find Taylor sitting in the shade under the shelter. I asked him how he felt and he said “it’s a four letter word that starts with an s and ends with t” We decided we were both done for the day. I returned home, showered and felt nauseous for the rest of the day. I was totally dehydrated and three pounds lighter than when I left in the morning.

Just when you think you’re done, good things happen. Saturday afternoon my friend Brian Musick calls and asks if I want to run on Sunday. I say yes and we agree to meet at West Branch State Park for an enjoyable paced run.

After meeting in the parking lot of the West Boat dock, Brian says he thought he saw blue blazes on a tree down the road and we can pick up the Buckeye Trail from there. Neither of us had run this section of the BT so we decided it will make a worthy adventure. Just in the first few miles we found a dead snake, a vertebral column out of a deer, a slug and a whole bunch of mud and water. It was a great time. The trail is in very good shape and has about 10 creek crossings, each that present a different challenge.

We ran along until the trail reached a road and we followed the blazes up the road for a short while. When we realized the trail was going to stay on the road longer than we would have liked, we decided it would be a good time to turn around. We ran the trail back to the car and enjoyed crossing the creeks and the mud all over again. There is something about when you know you are almost done that you stop worrying about getting wet and muddy and just run right through it. That’s just what I did. It was a blast!

We ended up covering 10 miles in about 2 ½ hours which was just what the doctored ordered after Saturdays crash and burn. It was fun, relaxing, soft surface and very enjoyable. Brian and I shared a beverage in the parking lot after the run and then headed home. All in all, it was a decent week.

Here are the numbers:
Miles Run 33
Long Run 14.2
Minutes Run 345
Scariest moment: Bonking at 14 miles 4 weeks before the marathon!
Goal this week: 20 miles or 3 ½ hours of running – whichever comes first!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Week 13 - You Know What I Mean!

Week 13 was good, but not as good as I had hoped. The week consisted of running in McDonald on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Each run was of about 4-5 miles and was run at about a 7:45 pace.

The “funny” of the week was on Saturday morning before leaving for Kyrsti’s track meet at Slippery Rock University. I told my wife Pam I was running to the bank and when I came back 35 minutes later she asked where I had been. I said that I “ran” to the bank in Girard. Anyway, it was a beautifully clear morning and I enjoyed running across the viaduct to the neighboring city.

At Slippery Rock Kyrsti ran in the 3000m Steeple Chase again and also the 1500m. She is not running the times she would like, but she smiles after each race and is happy to still be competing. Accompanying us on the trip to the “Rock” were my son Taylor and his friend Sophia and Kyrsti’s friend Paul. After the meet we all ate at Hoss’s in Grove City.

On Sunday the plan was to run 20 miles in Mill Creek. I decided I would run the section around Cohasset and Glacier and include the trip up Bear’s Den to add on a few extra miles. Once I reached the Mill I planned on going to 224 and back and that would be right around 20 miles.

Word to the wise……. Sometimes plans change.

I got out of the car to a steady cold drizzle and about 36 degrees. The Weather Channel showed no rain before I left the house, but here I stood in a weather vacuum of some sort as it steadily drizzled. No big deal I thought as I put the hat on along with the Under Armor jacket. I optimistically figured that it would quit and that it would clear up.

I made my way towards Glacier and my legs felt dead. I wanted to run the hillier section of the park while I was fresh and then enjoy the flats for the second half. I have done it the other way around before but it really sucks. I pressed on and after a while did not feel too bad. My legs were loosening some and I was feeling okay. The rain continued.

I was to Lake Glacier in no time and decided to visit Fellowship Gardens. They are getting prepared for the season but I was happy to find the bathroom open. Sometimes the littlest things bring joy in life. I made my way along and soon I was heading up Bear’s Den counting each step. I enjoy this part of the park but it is a difficult climb. In fact, it may be the hardest climb on the roads in the park. When I got to the top I detoured around the loop by the Bear’s Den Cabin and climbed out of the hole and back onto the main road. It rained on.

I ran along Cohasset and up Big Bear and made my way back to the car. I changed water bottles and took in a GU. I had in a little over 10 miles and was set for the run to 224. I started running and noticed that since I had stopped the discomfort in my right upper inner leg had come back. I had this pain about week or so ago but had not noticed it lately. I don’t know how to describe it other than something like “hip fatigue”. It doesn’t feel like a cramp or muscle pull, but just discomfort. I decided the flats at an easy pace may do it some good so I backed off the speed and focused on making my leg feel better.

I ran along the straight side of Lake Newport first and was watching the ducks and geese land and take-off on the water. It was great except for the fact that now the steady drizzle had turned into a mild downpour. Water was dripping off the brim of my hat and my leg wasn’t feeling any better. When I got to Shields Road, I had a decision to make. Go around to 224 or cut back and head towards the car. If I headed back I would have about 15 miles in. If I went to 224, I would get my 20. I opted for the conservative side as I don’t want to get sick or injured this close to the marathon.

I ran back to the car in the steady rain and finished the 15 miles in 2:09.00. I was happy with the time but more concerned about the way my leg was feeling. I decided stretching was in order when I got home. I will definitely be more vigilant about this for the next several weeks leading up to the race. Hopefully next week I will get in my 20, as I plan on at least 2 -20 mile runs before the marathon.

Here are the numbers:

32 miles for the week
349 minutes of running
Long run = 15 miles
Weight = 198 and feeling great!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Week 12 - 6 More Weeks Until Marathon!

Week twelve was a good week. I had planned on cutting back my mileage some after the 18 mile long run and 39 mile week. I took Monday off because my legs were pretty well spent. I decided to run Tuesday and went out for a 4 mile run in 34 minutes. My legs were heavy at the beginning but felt better the longer I ran. I started thinking I would have been alright to run on Monday. Lesson learned I suppose.

On Wednesday I ran another 4 miles in 33:00 around town. It was a warm day and I felt good. I have started to develop some tenderness in on the top of my right leg, kind of near the groin. It actually hurts more when I walk than when I run. Possibly overuse?

Thursday I chose to go on a walk with my wife around town and we managed about 2 miles at a leisurely pace. The walk felt good and by the end I thought I had worked the kinks out of my leg. Friday I got off work early and ran around McDonald again. I had things to do that evening so I figured I would get my run in before I ran out of daylight. This was probably my fastest run of the week as I covered 4 ½ miles in 34:00.

Saturday morning I ran in McDonald in the morning as I was traveling to Washington PA to watch Kyrsti run at Washington Jefferson College. I had bought a Tom Tom GPS on Friday night and decided to put it to the test. It performed flawlessly! Once again she competed in the 800 and the 3000m Steeple Chase.

Cameron Stadium Scoreboard - Washington Jefferson College

Kyrsti Running the Steeple Chase

Kyrsti ran so fast she blew her shoe off!

On Sunday my training schedule had a 12 miler planned for me. What better place than Mill Creek on a sunny Sunday morning is there to run? I packed the fuel and liquids and headed to the park. I was actually eager to run as 12 miles would seem like a breeze compared to the 18 miler the week before. I decided to make it a hard twelve and pick all the hills I could think of. I also decided to mix in some trails and some roads (maybe it would help with my leg).

I started out by running around Lake Glacier, and then headed towards the East Cohasset Trail. I then ran up towards the Mill and was grateful to find out that these bathrooms are now opened on the weekends in April. The water fountain is also again hooked up! I made my way down the trail and crossed over the second bridge. After some trail running I got back on the road and ran all the way to the top of Big Bear. I made my way down the decking and back onto the trails. I followed the trails towards the Silver Bridge and back onto the trails around the other side of Cohasset. I was running well and felt strong.

I made my way along this trail and realized that if I headed back to the car it would cut my run short. I followed the trail and passed Pioneer Pavilion and headed towards the car. As I ran by the car I was at about 70 minutes. I traveled up the road and decided to run Bear’s Den. What a better way to end a run than by climbing some more hills? I pressed up these hills and could feel the effort. I wasn’t going fast, but I was running. I now try to run every hill no matter how I feel. I got to where it leveled off and felt myself going faster. I prepared for the next hill and climbed it fairly well. I was now thinking about the fun of running back down these hills. I went up the last hill hard and turned around at the entrance to the Morley Pavilion.

I started going back towards the car and felt like I was on a roller coaster. I was running hard and kind of letting it all go. Usually I do not run down hills hard but today for some reason I was. I smiled as I poured down the hill. I was back to the car and stopped my watch at 1 hr. 35 minutes. I am guessing I averaged about 8:30 miles as I know a few points on the course I ran that are a mile but I try not to get all caught up in that.

Overall it was a good week of running. This upcoming week my long run will be 20 miles but I may go longer (22) if everything feels right.

The numbers:
Total Miles = 32
Long Run = 12 miles
Pace 8:00-8:45
Weight = 198 (but my pants are loose now!)
Fuel Intake (2 Hammer Gels on the 12 miler plus a bottle of Succeed) I had dried salt all over my face at the end of the run. I may need to start taking salt tablets on these longer runs with the weather heating up.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Some Pictures of Kyrsti's First Steeple Chase!

The press box at Carnegie Mellon's Gesling Stadium

This is an excellent facility located in downtown Pittsburgh. They have great seating, a wonderful track, and a great concession stand. We had a fantastic time this afternoon.
Start of the race Kyrsti running with Andra

Kyrsti coming around the track

Clearing the steeple

All smiles after the steeple chase!

Running the 800.

This Saturday we head to Washington PA for Washington and Jefferson College. Kyrsti will once again be doing the steeple chase and the 800. She has practiced all week and now knows how to actually "jump" over the steeple instead of jump off it. We are excited to see her progress!!!
Stay Posted!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Week 11 and doing fine!

Well week 11 turned out to be a good one. I got in 6 runs and managed to feel fine the whole week. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday were all 4 mile runs around town that were at a little faster pace. I tend to push the shorter runs a little harder to make them more interesting and challenging.

On Friday I treated myself to a nice trail run of 5 ½ miles at Mill Creek. The trails were almost clear of ice and I had no trouble navigating without wearing screwed shoes. It was great to get back on the trails and my legs needed a nice easy run on a soft surface. It was a little colder than I had thought but I still was running in shorts and it wasn’t too bad.

Saturday morning I ran around town again for 4 ½ miles. I chose to run early as we were traveling to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for Kyrsti’s first outdoor meet and I knew I wouldn’t feel like running when I got home. Kyrsti competed in her first ever Steeple Chase and she also ran in the 800 meters. She enjoyed the Steeple a lot but found out very quickly that one wrong step can land you in deep water. She fell in the water pit the first time around and had to run the next 2500 meters or so completely soaked. She kept a smile on her face and finished the race. We are very proud of her!

Sunday was the day for my long run. I had used Google Earth to map out a course that was exactly 18 miles. Starting at Lanterman’s Mill in Mill Creek Park to 224 and back on the roads was exactly 9 miles. By parking at the Mill, my car was at the half way point. I started out at a comfortable pace and it was cooler in the morning but the temperature was perfect for me. I wore shorts with a cool-max short sleeve shirt covered with my lightweight Under-Armor jacket. I was in a sweat about 15 minutes into the run so I was plenty warm.

My plan was to run counter-clockwise the first time around and then clockwise the second loop. Despite my best laid plans, as I was running the first loop my obsessive compulsiveness coupled with my perseveration dictated that I run the two loops in the same direction so I could more accurately measure my pace and how I felt at certain spots in the run. I broke the run down in my mind into 8 sections. From the Mill to Shields Rd. was the first section, Shields to the top of the Hike/Bike Trail on 224 was the second, from the bike trail to Shields Rd. was the third and from Shields back to the Mill was section four. By far the worst section was the second section which travels along the length of the Mill Creek golf course. Do all of this twice and you have 8 sections.

The first loop I covered in 1 hour 15 minutes for an 8:20 pace. I was pretty satisfied with this as I felt I was running pretty conservatively. I refilled my bottle and took in some fuel at the car and continued on my second loop. I was having a little tightness in my right upper leg but nothing that was too bad. I continued on my way and noticed about the time I reached Shields Rd. that the temperature was starting to warm up. I unzipped my jacket and contemplated taking it off. I thought better and kept it on as there were sections that the wind seemed colder than other sections. I made my way by the golf course and walked a bit to try and stretch out my stiffness.

When I reached the top of the Hike/Bike trail I felt that I had this run in the bag. I ran along smoothly and wasn’t feeling too bad. I said “hello” to a lot of the runners/walkers on the trail but noticed that not too many of the people would respond. So in the best Tronk way, I would say real loud as I would run towards them “GOOD MORNING!!!” Now they responded! I once told Brian Musick that no one refuses to say “hi” to Tronk in the park. I laughed as I ran down the yellow line looking for my next victim.

I got back to the car in 1 hour and 21 minutes for a 9:00 pace for the second 9 miles. I actually thought I had maintained a better pace than that but obviously I fell off somewhere. I was quite tired after 2 hours and 36 minutes of running and walked to my car to stretch out a bit before driving home. It was now close to noon and the sun was shining and blue skies were bright above my head. What a great day for a run.

I climbed into Elle and plugged in the iPod for the ride home. I cranked some Dave Mathews Band and it gave me a feeling that spring was here as I rolled down the windows so everyone could enjoy the tunes. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I noticed my face was completely caked in salt, dried around my ears, my ears, my nose and cheeks. Those people on the bike trail must have thought I was crazy or something.

Oh well, I had a great week anyway. Here are the numbers:
Total miles = 39
Total minutes running = 360
Long Run = 18 miles (2:36.00)
Fuel consumption on the long run = 2 Power Bar gels, 1 pack Shot Blocks, 2 bottles of Clip 2, and a bottle of water and pack of peanut butter crackers on the way home.

Next week longer (short runs) if that makes sense and a meager 12 miler for distance run.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Week 10 - More than half way there on the 18 week training plan!

Would you pick these guys up?
Tronk & Son Taylor after long run!

This week started out so-so. I ran on Monday but really didn’t feel like running at all. I was exhausted from the weekend in Cleveland and wanted to relax more than anything. I was slated to run 5 miles but I managed only 3 ½ before calling it a day. I then went to fire drills and worked with 5” hose. That was a workout in and of itself.

I took Tuesday off as scheduled and had planned on 4 miles on Wednesday. Unfortunately it rained all day Wednesday and instead of risking getting sick, like half on my co-workers, I scratched the run and made it up on Thursday with a 4 mile run around town.

I took Friday off at work being Good Friday and my son Taylor had planned on doing his long run in Mill Creek. I told him I would join him but we would have to come up with a plan to do this. I cannot run his pace and I was planning on 16 miles or so and he wanted to run 20.

We parked at the Mill and decided that he would run the east side of Newport and I would run the west side. When he got around to me, he would turn around and run with me until we got to Shields road. After crossing Shields, he would run his pace again and follow the road along the golf course, cross the bridge onto the hike/bike trail, and then turn right and run to 224 and turn around. I would cross the bridge and turn left and run until he caught back up with me. When we got back to Shields road, we would run opposite sides of Newport and he would again run around until he met up with me and then turn around. This didn’t quite work out the way we planned as the bridge to cross over to the hike/bike trail was flooded and there was no way to cross over. We both ran to 224 so he was in front of me by quite a bit.

I ran by myself from Shields road to 224 and back and had made my way almost all the way to the Mill before I saw him coming the other way with a smile on his face. We made it to the car and re-fueled and got something to drink. We had been running for an hour and a half and both of us were feeling good.

After a few minutes, we started down the road away from the Mill towards Cohasset and onto the east Cohasset trail. Once we were on the trail, we decided that he would run his pace and go ahead of me and go along the east side of Lake Glacier and I would go along the west side. I would run until I got to him and then I would turn around and we would finish the last 2-3 miles together.

As I approached Lake Glacier I was trying to spot him coming from the other direction but I could not see him. He was wearing a bright yellow Livestrong hat so he was pretty easy to spot. I started down the west side of Glacier towards the Old Log Cabin waiting for him to come. As I rounded the corner towards the Cabin, I spotted him coming the other way. I stood and waited for him and when he got to me he said he needed to walk a bit. He had pushed the hills hard on the other side and was starting to feel the pain of running for over 2 hours. We starting running again after a bit and decided we would run to the bottom of the hill by the flats and we would power walk the last climb. We got about half way up the hill and I remembered there is a trail that goes off to the right that will take you down to the decking by the Mill. We opted for that and enjoyed the scenery from the trail perspective. We reached the car and had run for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Taylor guessed he covered 20 miles and I figured I almost had 17. We were both tired and were glad to sit down. We enjoyed pretzels and water in the car on the way home.

Mill Creek on Saturday Morning! New Snow.

On Saturday my legs were feeling the pain and the new snow on the ground could have easily made me say I am not doing anything today. Instead I cleared the driveway, changed my clothes and headed back to the park for another run. I parked at the Lily Pond and headed immediately towards Bear’s Den. I wanted to climb and see what I had left in my legs. It wasn’t much, but I got to the top and the longer I ran the better I felt. I covered about 8 miles in 65 minutes. The park looked beautiful with all the new snow and I enjoyed every bit of it.

My Back Yard Saturday Morning
Sunday was Easter and I got up and went to church with my family. After church I had about 90 minutes before I had to be at dinner at the in-laws so I took advantage and got a 4 mile run around town in. I was somewhat stiff but again, the longer I ran the better I felt.

This was a great week of training. I had the opportunity to run with my son on the longest run of his life, and I got to get in some quality miles.

Totals for the week:
317 minutes of running
35.5 miles
Long Run = 16+
Weight = 198.

Next week I am scheduled to run 18 miles. I am looking forward to a 3 hour run.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Zone Swim Meet 2008

I spent the weekend in Cleveland Ohio at the Zone Swim Meet. This is a swim meet where the best YMCA swimmers from five states compete against one another. I have the distinct honor of coaching some of the finest swimmers in Northeast Ohio who did very well at Zones. Here are the pictures I took of these great kids.

Cleveland State Natatorium

Ashley and "Old Bear"

Coaches Jessie and Jeff

Taylor, Tre, Dannielle, and Jessie


Kayleigh, Kayla, Becca, Rachel, and Mikayla

Mikayla, Danielle, Meryl, and Jessie

Kara Shows off her "sound system"

Joe shows off his Neptune Pride with an "N" on Justin's back

Neptune Men - Ryan, Tom, Nick and Coach Jeff

Alicia and brother Ian

Neptune Women - Katie, Steph, Morgan and Ashley

Alec, Alex, Justin, and Joe - Neptune Strong!

Katie, Steph, and Ashley

Coach Sue and Coach Jessie

I am very proud of each and every one of these swimmers. They had a great season and I can't wait until next year.

Week 9 and Doing Fine!

What a busy week. I knew going into this week I had a lot of extra things to do besides run, so I planned accordingly. On Monday I dropped off my car at the Honda dealer to have a rear strut replaced. I attended my fire department meeting and training and then headed out the door at 8:00 p.m. for a run around town. I went for 28 minutes of hard running, pushing every hill. It was a warm 33 degrees and I ran in shorts for about 3 ½ miles.

On Tuesday I went and coached swimming until 7:00 and decided I would run on an unscheduled day in case plans changed later in the week. I needed to get my miles in and I wanted to remove all the possible excuses that could come up. I again ran hard around town for 38 minutes and at one point I passed Taylor and his girlfriend who were out walking and Taylor asked me why I was running so fast. That felt good so I continued to run fast until I was home. I covered 4 ½ miles. I got to run in shorts again and it felt great!

On Wednesday I picked Elle up and she sounded great. No noise. I went to the YMCA and coached my final swim practice for the season and went home to relax. I was tired and enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

On Thursday it was a beautiful day. At 50 degrees and sunshine it was one of the nicest days I had seen in a long time. I didn’t feel like running. But instead of sitting on my butt, I put on my shoes and headed out the door. I really believe that everything happens for a reason. As I was about 10 minutes into my run, I happened upon one of my friends (Ed Robinson) in McDonald who was also out running. He asked if I wanted someone to run with. I said absolutely! We ran for 41 minutes and covered about 5 miles. Thank God Ed came along or I might have been home in less than 20 minutes. I thanked him for making my run better.

On Friday I had taken the day off of work so that I could get my long run in. Knowing that I would be gone all weekend and would have little chance to run, I knew it was Friday or never. I would run 16 miles this day in 2 hours 30 minutes. I chose a loop around Lake Newport (clockwise) and then a loop around the “historic” district of the park and then another loop around Newport (counter-clockwise). By having my car parked at the Mill parking lot, I could stop and refuel if needed. It was a very comfortable run. It lightly drizzled the whole time and I enjoyed every minute of it. I passed by one other person out walking the whole morning. There has always been something peaceful about Mill Creek to me, but this was a special day. I hope to have many more long runs in the park prior to the marathon.

Later in the day, I traveled to Cleveland for the Zone Swim Meet, which is the greatest YMCA swimmers from 5 states. We had 30 swimmers representing the Youngstown Y-Neptunes. The kids all did great and I will be posting pictures later today of the meet.

After the swimming was completed on Saturday, we got back to the hotel around 5:30. I decided that gave me just enough daylight to get in a run in downtown Cleveland. What an adventure. I would run straight if I caught a cross-walk with the “walk sign” lighted or I would turn if was a “do not walk” sign. I criss-crossed and zigzagged all over downtown Cleveland in an effort to reach Lake Erie and see the sights that this great city has to offer. After about 10 minutes, there it was….. Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I made my way there and ran by each of them. I thought to myself, in about two months from now I will be running by these places again in the marathon.

I made my way back to the hotel by traveling different roads but much in the same way. I cut back, took a turn, and zigzagged all over town again and made it back to the hotel in about 30 minutes. I was quite satisfied.

Total Miles Run = 32
Long run = 16
Total Minutes Running = 285
Weight 200 (too much food at the swim meet)

Interesting Notes: Next week I am slated to run 29 miles. I hope to do more now that I have a little more time on my hands. 32 miles last week did not leave me sore and a 16 mile run actually felt very comfortable.

Later today I will post some pictures of the Zone Meet. Stay Tuned!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Week 8 - A Short Week

The week started off great. On Monday the 3rd we were treated to some great weather. I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and ran 4 miles in McDonald (in shorts and t-shirt). Even if it was short lived, I needed this for my sanity. I was somewhat stiff from the half-marathon the day before, but it felt good to be out running on a warm sunny day.

On Wednesday I had another good run. The weather cooled off some, but it was still a pleasant 32 degrees. I got out and ran 5 miles at an easy pace. I could still feel the hills of the Mill Creek half-marathon every time I pushed a little harder or ran a hill, but again it was enjoyable not running in single digit temperatures.

On Friday the snow came. It was described as a winter storm of epic proportions. It lived up to its billing. It was “THE PERFECT STORM”. Unfortunately, running was not going to happen. On a weekend of activity cancellations, road parking bans, and rescheduling of about every major event in the area, it was hard to convince myself that I would no be running this weekend.

Friday there was no way. I did not even venture out of my house. On Saturday, I went out and cleared the driveway and decided to go see how bad it was for myself. I got into Elle and we traveled over to Mill Creek Park. From my house, the park is about 15 minutes away. After a 35 minute ride, I was starting to doubt I would be running. Once I got to the park, I thought maybe I would run around Lake Newport twice for my 10 mile run. This is a heavily traveled road and I figured it would be one of the first roads cleared. Big Mistake! The roads in the park had not been touched. There was a foot of mashed up brown and white snow covering the roads. Reluctantly I drove home. I stretched out and sat and watched a movie pissed that I could not run.

On Sunday I noticed that the Village of McDonald had done a real nice job of clearing my road. This was a good sign. I waited until the sun came out and then I prepared to get out for my run. I went out at about 11:30 a.m. and it was great. Sure there was a little ice and a little slop, but it is March in northeast Ohio. I trudged on and ran for almost 50 minutes. I chalked it up to 6 miles of running.

Not a great week of marathon training, but sometimes you have to take what the good Lord gives you. Here are my unimpressive numbers for the week.

Total Miles = 15
Long Run = 6
Inches of Snow = 10

Monday, March 3, 2008

Week 7 - Mill Creek Park Half Marathon!

Week 7 started out slowly and once again I was battling the weather. Monday after work I got in a 4 mile run in some frigid conditions. It was snowing, blowing, and really quite miserable.

Tuesday brought freezing rain and snow and we cancelled swim practice. I took the opportunity to get in a short run in some bad weather. I ran for about 30 minutes but did not enjoy even one minute of it. I am now at the point that I am getting frustrated putting on all the clothes, walking down an icy driveway to run in really crappy conditions. I keep telling myself it is going to get better, but with the snowiest February on record, this has been a challenging year to train for a spring marathon.

On Friday it seemed warmer so I went out for a run right after I got home from work. It was raining a little but it did not seem so bad. It was probably about 34 degrees so it actually felt like a heat wave. I ran around McDonald and decided to run roads I don’t normally run to break up the monotony. As I was heading down Iowa Avenue, I ran into one of my friends Ed Robinson who was out running also. He was just finishing up so I walked with him for a few minutes as he cooled down. It started raining harder so I told him I better get on. I ran for about another 25 minutes or so and as I was walking to cool down a little, Chris Rizer, a runner from the McDonald cross country team, came up behind me and walked with me a bit as I stretched out. It was nice to see some of my friends out running in the rain with me.

Saturday brought an all day swim meet at the Canton Natatorium. The Youngstown Y-Neptunes swam well and I was proud of all of them. Needless to say, leaving at 6:30 a.m. and getting home close to 9:00 p.m. meant no run for me. I did however stop in Alliance on my way home and met my son Taylor at Mount Union College. We went and ate at Don Panchos in Alliance for some Tex-Mex. It was good and he enjoyed the company and getting away from college for a bit.

Sunday morning I had planned on running the Mill Creek half-marathon. I got up at 7:00 and had all of my stuff ready from the night before. One of my Junior High cross country runners had called me on Saturday night and wanted to do the run also, so I left at about 7:45 to pick up Kyle and his mom Rita. As we were driving to Mill Creek, I tried to give Kyle an idea of the hills he would be running. Mill Creek is hard to describe to someone that hasn’t run there much. Some hills are steep and long, some are on gradual grades, and some of them just make your legs burn while going up them. I told him this would be the hardest run he has ever done. I knew Kyle was a good runner, but I hoped he would have enough energy for this.

The race started promptly at 8:45 a.m. I started off by staying conservative and running with a group of people. I talked with Jim Harris and his son Eric and wife Beth. I also said hello to Kelli Maheu and her daughter Audrey. Lenny Maheu, who I had run with a couple of weeks before, was feeling sick and chose not to run today. He was out there to support his family and friends.

The half marathon course stays within the historic district of the park and winds throughout the hilliest sections. I don’t think there was ever a point longer than a half mile that we were not either going up hill or down hill. I enjoyed every mile, every hill, and everybody I talked to. I ran a very comfortable pace and at times was just waiting for my legs to cramp, or to start feeling like I was running out of energy. That never came. The only hill I chose to power walk was Big Bear, and that was about mile three of the race. I ran half-way up and thought to myself, why am I killing myself here? I power walked and actually passed a few people. Kyle was with me at the time and we ran together to just before we got to the Mill. He seemed like he was doing okay, so I kept on my pace. I did not see him again until the end of the race.

I pretty much ran by myself for the next 9 miles or so. I remained within the same group of people, but we all kind of kept to ourselves. This was good with me, because I like to run by myself. I like to look around at the park, occasionally talk to people, and take it all in. You miss a lot if you are busy talking and gabbing. The miles went by quickly and I enjoyed each one. They were all different, but when you are running hills, in your mind you are always preparing for the next one. When you reach the top of the hill, it feels like you have reached another milestone. When I crossed the Silver Bridge, I laughed to myself. Just a week ago I stood on this bridge while Brian Musick took my picture. The King of the Winter-Wonderland I thought to myself!


On the final loop, coming from Lanterman’s Mill, I climbed the long hill from Scholl pavilion. At the top of the hill there was a bunch of people cheering that had been out there the whole morning. They were there when I passed this area over an hour ago. When I got to the top I noticed they were all jumping up and down. I was so happy after climbing that hill that I ran right towards them and started jumping with them. They went crazy and started cheering and patting my back and giving me high fives. I was so pumped when I left that group I felt my pace quicken. What a great group out there at that tough spot on the course.

I had about 3 miles left to go and thought to myself, It's just a 5k. I looked at my watch and decided that if I stayed on pace, I could get in under 2 hours, which was my goal. I kept checking my watch so much that finally I took it off and put it in my pocket. I decided not to look at it again until I got to Bear’s Den and the final climb. At the bottom of Big Bear I saw my eye doctor Bob Gerdes for the final time of the day. He had been there all morning and it was good to see a familiar face out there.

I continued along the course and I felt a lot better than expected. I felt like when I started to push a little harder that I could feel it in my thighs. I wasn’t cramping, but my legs definitely had done their work today. I had one more climb to go and I knew it was not going to be fun. Bear’s Den is a series of hills that resemble a staircase. You climb one hill, level off a little, climb another hill, level off, and then climb another hill and then a gradual climb all the way to the finish. All of this while enjoying some mammoth rock formations and the beauty of Mill Creek Park. I shortened my stride and was determined to climb these hills. I pushed up each one. I wasn’t going fast, but I was going as fast as I could. After the last big climb, I knew the finish was less that a ½ mile away. I checked my watch and it was 1:54.00. I now knew barring any catastrophic thing from happening, I would be under two hours. I pressed to the finish and completed the run in 1:58.24. I was ecstatic.

After finishing I went inside to get warm and have something to eat. I came back outside and found Rita standing near the finish line waiting for Kyle. I waited a few minutes, but then I told her I was going to change out of my wet clothes. I went to the car, changed and came back and Rita was still standing there. She said she was starting to worry, so I told her I would go back out on the course and see if I could find him. I jogged from the finish line back down the course and offered encouragement to those that were making their final push to the finish. I was greeted with several smiling faces.

I traveled half way down Bear’s Den and decided to perch at the top of one of the hills so I could spot Kyle. I continued clapping for the runners as they made their way up the hill and I think my support was appreciated. After about 10 minutes, I spotted Kyle at the bottom of the hill walking along the edge of the road. I yelled some encouragement and after a few minutes he made it up to where I was waiting. He said his legs were hurting bad and he had nothing left. I asked him to jog a little and he made it about 100 yards before apologizing and started walking again. I told him he was less than a half mile from the finish and he started to smile. We turned the last turn towards the finish and I told him that the finish was just on top of the hill. He said he would walk until he reached a pine tree on the right and then he would run the rest of the way up. When we reached the tree, he took off and made his way to the finish. He completed his run in 2:34.00. I was happy he finished and ran to finish line.

This was another unusual week of training for me but it was capped off with a good, challenging half-marathon. Swim practice times are being shortened the next two weeks so I hope to increase my mileage. Here is a run down of this week.

Total miles = 28
Long Run = 13.1
Weight = 198
Attitude: Can’t wait to run on Monday the 3rd. I got some stiffness the day after the race and am looking forward to working it out in my new Asics Gel Nimbus shoes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Week 6 - Training on a Pergo Floor - NOT!

Well I had some good runs this week. I started out on Monday with a 4 mile run around town on a cold wintery morning. It was about 10 degrees and it actually felt warmer because the wind did not seem as bad.

On Wednesday I ran for about 50 minutes but given the conditions I suspect it was only about 5 ½ miles. The roads in town were slick and I never felt like I could get any momentum while running.

Friday at work I watched it snow all day and could not resist the temptation to cross country ski instead of run when I got home. Cross country skiing is definitely harder to do than run, so I did not feel like I was sacrificing any conditioning. I was supposed to run 5 miles so I figured if I skied for an hour or so I would be good. I skied for 60 minutes around town and quickly remembered that cutting tracks in while skiing is hard work. After making my first loops which took about 40 minutes, I went back and skied over the whole thing again in about 20 minutes. It was quite exhausting but a nice break from running.

My son Taylor had arranged for a TeamPR group run on Saturday morning so I got up early to find that it had snowed even more. There was probably about 3-4 inches of fresh soft powder on the ground. We drove to the park and met Brian Musick and his brother Jeff there waiting for us.

Brian, Tronk, Jeff, Taylor (pre-run)

After some preliminaries, Brian suggested we run the trails. I reluctantly agreed so we left the Lily Pond parking lot and ran the upper trail around the ridge heading towards the Log Cabin. We were not on the trail long before we realized that the trails were in poor shape. We ran trails for about a mile before we bailed and got onto the roads. I had planned on running 14 miles today and I knew I was not going to do it on trails in these conditions.

Road around Lake Newport

We continued on our path around Lake Glacier and followed the roads around the perimeter of the park all the way to Shields Road. When running around Lake Newport we saw Katherine Bosley running with a few other ladies. Ms. Bosley was a local news personality that achieved notoriety on the internet by having some pictures of her posted. That’s a whole different story.

Brian and I ran together for about 9-10 miles of the 13 today and Taylor and Jeff were out in front of us. We were going to sprint up in front of them but we didn’t want to give the two youngsters a complex or anything. So we just held back, ran our pace, stopped to stretch a few times and enjoyed the winter wonderland of Mill Creek Park. This park is always beautiful but with fresh white powder on it, it gets even better

Lanterman's Mill -Awesome!

Tronk running with the Boys!

When we reached the Lily Pond parking lot, Brian’s GPS showed we had covered 12.5 miles. We decided a trip around the Lily Pond may make it 13 total so we ran through the ankle deep snow. Once we got back to the parking lot, we did an extra little loop and made it 13.0. We ran for 2 hours and 18 minutes. Not a blistering pace, but good time on our feet in some very slippery conditions.

On Sunday I had planned on running 4 miles easy but my brother called with a special request. Pergo floor installation! Needless to say I worked for 10 hours on Sunday putting in a floor and could barely stand erect when I finished. I wanted to run when I got home at 8:00, but I was totally exhausted. I actually thought I was getting sick, as I started with chills and sweats. I took 3 Ibuprofen and went to bed. Good news is I woke up fine, but may back down some next week because this is the point in winter when I get sick every year. I am going to allow myself some flexibility in my training next week and be prepared to run the Mill Creek half marathon next weekend. Tronk - King of the Winter Wonderland!

Total Mile Run = 22 ½
Total Mile X/C ski = 5
Long Run 13 miles
Weight = 198 and holding!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Week 5 When Is Spring?

Well the week of February 11 through the 17 proved to be challenging for my running schedule due to the weather, family obligations and work. I was slated to run 30 miles this week. It did not turn out that way.

I started out running on Monday and ran probably 2 ½ of the coldest miles I have run in a long time. It was 4 degrees and with the wind chill it was -10 degrees. I was supposed to do 4 miles, but as my face chapped I decided to cut it short. It is these constant reminders of why I have never done a spring marathon that drive me crazy. I want to run, but getting motivated to run in the dark in freezing cold weather just sucks!

Wednesday came and it was still cold but I was real determined to run. I ran around town and cruised an easy cold 4 miles in 32 minutes. Some days my lungs don’t seem to mind the cold and other days it seems I pay the price. Today I got in a good run. I can’t help but think how good it will feel when I can get back to running in shorts and cut off t-shirts.

Friday night my wife and I traveled to Oberlin College to watch my daughter run the mile on an indoor track. As much as I hate running outside, I think an indoor track might be worse. Sure it is dry, warm and smooth, but it is also hard to breathe, dry, warm and smooth. It is just not my style of running. On the way to Oberlin, we stopped and picked up my cousin Brian (Kyrsti’s godfather) in Brooklyn, Ohio and he went with us. After the meet we ate at Max and Erma’s and then traveled home. Needless to say I missed my scheduled 5 mile run on this day.

Saturday morning Kyrsti and I got up early and traveled to Mill Creek to get in my long run. We had plans to meet a group of people there and were surprised to see Jim Harris, his wife Beth, his son Eric and the Maheu family (Lenny, Kellie and Audrey). After we decided the route to run, we were off. It was real cold starting off (about 10 degrees). There are areas in the park that seem colder. When you run into low lying areas with heavy tree coverage, it seems like it may be 10-15 degrees colder.

Kyrsti was planning on running 50 minutes. I had planned to my long run so I decided I would do a loop with her and then go for another loop after dropping her off at the car (we drove separately so she could go home). We started out as a whole group but after a few minutes we were in two groups. Jim, Audrey, Kyrsti, Eric and I were in the front group with the others following behind us. We traveled alongside Cohasset and made our way to Big Bear. The climb warmed us all up and by the time we reached the top I was wiping sweat from my forehead.

When we reached the Mill, Jim decided he was going to turn around and run back to Beth, Kellie, and Lenny. His son Eric turned around with him. They were planning on getting in 8-10 miles. Kyrsti, Audrey and I continued on our way around the park. We ran East Cohasset Drive and found it snow covered and difficult to run on. We enjoyed each others company and talked about college, track, cross country and anything else. When we reached the Green Bridge at the end of Lake Glacier, Audrey said she was going to go around. Kyrsti and I split from her and we ran back to the Lily Pond.

Kyrsti ran for about 55 minutes and she seemed happy with that. I changed my tops and put some dry stuff on. I was in a full sweat now. I ate a Hammer Gel and drank some Succeed before heading out on the second half of my run. The second half was completely unplanned. I knew that I did not want to run East Cohasset again because the footing was really bad. I exited the Lily Pond parking lot and decided I was going to run up towards Bears Den cabin. I hadn’t run to the top of this in a while and thought it would be enjoyable.

I made my way up the steady climb and just found myself running on various roads throughout the park to make my run a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes. I estimate that I ran about 15 miles and was quite happy with this run. I did see other runners out on the course and was happy to run along with 3 guys for a short while.

My week ended on Sunday and instead of running I was at a swim meet at Y.S.U. for the entire day. I left at 6:45 a.m. and returned home at 8:00 p.m. (so much for a day off). Instead of running I chose to do some stretching and get prepared for the upcoming week. All in all it wasn’t a bad week, but it is so hard to get in the runs with the weather as a deterrent.

Totals for the week:
190 minutes of running
21 ½ miles
Long run 15 miles (2 hrs. 15 minutes)
Weight 198

Monday, February 11, 2008

Week 4 - Oh the Weather!

Well week four started out great. I got in a hard 5 mile run in Mill Creek on Tuesday afternoon after work and prior to swim practice. It was a warm 50 degree day with a light drizzle. I ran the roads and purposely picked a course that would allow me to run some tough hills hard. I finished in 42 minutes and was quite exhausted.

On Wednesday I chose to run a 5 mile course around McDonald in the morning. I didn’t have to be at work until 12:00, so I got my run in with some stretching when I got home. It was a little colder (38 degrees) with a light drizzle but I got to run in shorts again in February.

Friday night Pam and I picked up my parents and we drove to Slippery Rock University to watch Kyrsti run the 800 on the indoor track. She wasn’t happy with her time but we were there to support her for her effort. Then we all went and ate at Eat and Park at Grove City.

On Saturday morning I traveled over to Mill Creek for my long run. I was scheduled to run 14 miles but did not really feel like running that long. I told myself I would maybe do 9 today and 9 tomorrow. After fussing around in the Lily Pond parking lot deciding what I was going to wear, I decided on shorts and a light rain jacket. It was a steady rain and about 40 degrees when I started. After about 5 minutes into the run, as I was heading up Bear’s Den, I told myself I dressed appropriately. I added this extra loop to increase the mileage but stay within the park and the course I have been running all along. I climbed the long hills steadily and actually felt myself gritting my teeth running somewhat hard up these hills. As I turned around and started coming back down the hill, I said to myself that I will be running 14 miles today. No excuses, no exceptions. I got back to the three way intersection and got back to my usual course. Along Lake Cohasset I enjoyed the ducks practicing take-offs and landings.

It was raining harder now and the sky was bright blue with white clouds. It was real strange. I started to run up Big Bear and thought twice after I was half way up. I stopped running and power walked the rest of the way. I stretched my legs and decided this would be the last time I walked today. I got to the top and proceeded to run for the next hour and a half to complete the 14 miles. I ran pick-ups for the rest of the run, but based more on how I felt at the time as opposed to "by the watch pick-ups". It rained, the sun shined, and at times I thought I underdressed and at other times felt I had overdressed.

My last mile from the log cabin to the car was 8:40. The previous week was 9:00 and felt much more difficult. I feel like I am getting stronger and running these hills certainly are a big part of that.

On Sunday I was supposed to run 4 miles but given the weather I bowed out. The winds were blowing so hard that I decided to do some stretching indoors and recuperate for another long week of running. I think I know now why I have never done a marathon in the spring. The weather is so difficult to train in.

Total Miles for the week = 24
Long run = 14 miles
Average Pace per mile 8:00-8:40
Weight = 198
Interesting facts: During the long run I tried “power beans”. They look and taste like jelly beans but are supposed to pack a punch of energy. I also had 1 hammer gel and 1 power fuel. It all sat well and I had no problems with cramping or dehydration. I once again drank a bottle of water on my way to the run and fueled along the way with Succeed. I may start trying to take a salt tablet, as my face was completely covered in the white grit after my long run.

I have another cold week ahead of me, but hopefully Saturday will be decent for my long run.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Week 3 - Ah the Schedule!

Well week 3 was a little difficult for me. My schedule for the week was hard due to traveling to Morgantown, WVA on Saturday for my daughter’s indoor track meet and having an all day Divisional Swim Meet in Canton on Sunday. I had to make some changes to my running schedule which resulted in fewer miles that I would have liked.

Monday the 28th was a cold day and I went out in the morning for a run before work. I ran for a quick 26 minutes (3 ½ miles) in 14 degree weather with heavy hands concentrating on speed and tempo. It was a good run and I was quite satisfied after I finished. My second run was on Wednesday in McDonald and I ran an easy 36 minutes and completed 4 miles.

I initially had planned on running my long run on Saturday the 2nd but given the fact I was going to Morgantown on Saturday, I decided to head to Mill Creek on Friday after work and get my long run in then. I got to the park about 3:15 and starting running at about 3:30. I left the Lily Pond parking lot and ran the roads around the entire circumference of the park. I stayed on all the major roads and made my way from the Lily Pond to Cohasset Drive, up Big Bear to the Mill, around Lake Newport to Shields Road, and back to the Mill. From there I ran down towards the Silver Bridge but made a right and ran down East Cohasset Drive which is a closed road that acts as a hike/bike trail. From there I went up along Lake Glacier and climbed the hills to Volney Rogers baseball fields. I was getting tired from the climbs but I had broken this run down into sections in my mind and I think this helped. I new exactly where I wanted to be and was confident I would complete this run strong. When I got near Volney, my legs were hurting and so were my lungs. It also had started to sleet a little bit. I was running in shorts and my legs were starting to get cold from the sleet and the wind. I had about a mile and a half to go so I decided to pick it up and take a split on my last mile to check my pace.

As I headed to the Lily Pond from the Log Cabin it really started to come down. The sleet was more like frozen rain and it was sticking to me everywhere. I tucked my head and pressed on. I felt good. I got back to the Lily Pond in 1 hr. 59 min. My last mile pace was 8:40. I was happy to be done and to know I ran 8:40 for my last mile of 13 miles. I dried myself off and put the heater on high for the ride home.

Saturday I traveled to the track meet and really felt like I needed a run when I got home. I was motivated watching all the college runners on the track. After a short nap, I changed my clothes and got in a 4 mile run in McDonald. My legs were tired in the beginning, but after 10 minutes or so I felt myself picking up the pace. This was my last run for the week. Sunday I was at a swim meet from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and returned home to about 12 people at my house for a Super Bowl party. I ate and enjoyed myself.

Total miles for the week were 25 (212 minutes of running)
Body weight 198
Long Day = 13 miles
Training Pace = 8:00-8:40
Interesting notes: On my long run, I consumed 2 Hammer-gels (1 every 45 minutes or so) and drank Succeed in my 26 oz. bottle. Everything sat right where it should and I had no problems with cramping. Next week the long run is scheduled for Saturday…… it will be 14 miles and I am still mapping it out.
Stay Tuned………………..

Monday, January 28, 2008

Week 2 Marathon Training - Looking Up!

Well it was a good week for marathon training. I started out the week with a 4 mile run on Monday as scheduled and then followed that up with running 4 miles on Wednesday and Friday with 2# “heavy hands”. The HH make the run more difficult and provide an increase to the cardiovascular system. I intend to keep using these in my training to make the shorter runs at least a little more challenging.

On Saturday, I headed to Mill Creek Park to get in my long run. It was still cold and I told myself before leaving for the run that if it was too bad, I would cut my run short. It was 10ْ˚ when I got out of the car. I think it was somewhere around “0” with the wind chill. Although the air was crisp, it did not feel too bad (maybe I am getting used to this weather I thought to myself).

I ran into my son and his friends in the parking lot who were there waiting for some more people to arrive. I told them I was leaving and off I went. I started off slowly and was intent to run every bit of this run and climb every hill. I decided prior to getting to the park that I was going to run my usual 10 mile loop backwards just for a little change of pace.

The first mile or so was pretty cold. My hands were cold and when running along the edge of Lake Cohasset I could feel my face tighten up as the cold air blew across the lake. I shook my hands and rubbed my face. I was dressed adequately and knew once I got going I would warm-up just fine. After the first substantial climb up Big Bear, there was not a cold spot on my body. I was actually wiping sweat from my face before it could freeze on my brow. The nice part about this section of the park is that it is closed in the winter, so there was no car traffic and it closely resembles running on trails as the roads were completely snow covered.

I cruised this entire run. I am not sure which way is easier to run, but the elevation increase/decrease would be exactly the same. Towards the end of the run I decided to add an extra loop onto my run. Instead of walking down the steel staircase on the end of Lake Glacier, I ran down Glenwood Ave. to Mahoning Ave. and made my way a few blocks east before turning down a block and heading back into the park. I added at least a mile and it felt good.

I decided when I got back to the entrance of the Rose Garden that I would pick up the pace a bit and see how it felt. I made my way down the road and could actually feel the wind hitting me harder in the face as now I was moving into a headwind. It started to snow just a bit. I put my tongue out to catch the little pieces of moisture. I tucked my head slightly and continued to drive my legs into the wind to get back to the car. I was breathing harder and the cold wind made my breath look like it was white frost coming out of my mouth. Very cool I thought. I made it back to the car in 1 hour 28 minutes for about an 11 mile run. I was happy and actually felt I could have went a little further.

I followed this long run up with an easy 4 mile run around town on Sunday. It is funny but after running in Mill Creek Park, there is no hill around town that even makes me look twice at it. In the fall when I was running around town with the cross country boys, I noticed every hill, no matter how big or small. Now I would describe McDonald as being pretty much flat.

My total miles for the week was 27
Average pace per mile 8:30
Weight still 200 but I feel lighter!
Long Run = 11 miles at Mill Creek (felt great)
Continued use of heavy hands to increase effort on short runs and strengthen my arms and upper back.
I have also incorporated stretches into my routine to loosen and strengthen my lower back. I was given some great routines to do by my physical therapist after injuring my back. So far my back feels great!

So that is week 2. I am keeping my head up and plunging forward. Next week will present me with different challenges, but I am prepared to run at various times to get my miles in. Stayed tuned for details!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Week 1 Marathon Training - Blah!

Well my first week of official marathon training was anything but spectacular. In fact, it should be labeled as forgettable. I started off the week on January 14 with high aspirations of running the schedule I devised. I was pumped. I had planned on a nice easy 5 mile run after work on Monday to recover from the hard10 mile run I had done on Sunday the 13th.

Unfortunately that all changed when I arrived to work Monday morning to find that the Department of Health had arrived at our facility to do our annual Medicaid compliance survey. In simpler terms, this meant that Tronk would be working at least 50 hours this week along with coaching swimming in the evenings. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday amounted to leaving the house at 5:30 a.m. and returning at 9:00 p.m. Not much time (yet alone energy) to even go for a run. I chalked this week up in my mind to getting in whatever I could and start officially next week. One week can’t kill me right? I was grateful that the survey came when it did because I would rather it happen now than in the middle of my training.

So my training for this week amounted to (3) five mile runs on Friday, Saturday, and on a cold Sunday I chose to run on the treadmill (Ughhh!!!). It really sucked!

My weight remains at a steady 200 pounds. One thing I did do was try to use this week as a recovery of sorts. Since I was running less, I did some stretching in the evenings, drank plenty of water, and did some light weight exercises. Next week will be better, and I have already started off well by running my scheduled 4 easy miles on Monday the 21. Boy it was cold out there but I have told myself it is time to put up or shut up.

Continue to follow the blog for updates. It will be at least weekly but may be more frequent if I have an interesting experience that is worth telling the world wide web. See you “On the run”!