Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today was the second skate of the season.  On Monday, Pepper and I ran through Gorge Metro Park and longed for the ice we passed by.  So Jennifer and I broke out the skates yesterday and went for a glide.  It was great getting out again - it's been a few years.  The three of us headed out again today and skated for an hour.  With the warm weather coming, it will be a while before we get out again.

After the skate I ran the 1.8 mile loop twice.  The first was in Aqua and cotton socks.  The second loop was barefoot.  I also took off my lined pants leaving tights - a hell of a site.

Here are clips from yesterday.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Chrismas Run

Merry Christmas!!

Pepper and I ran a lightning 3 miles today.  The weather was perfect - 28 deg F, one inch of freshly fallen snow, no wind.  We both went barefoot.  It got dicey when I had to wait for her to live up to her nickname - standing, waiting in ankle deep snow.  But the feet warmed quickly once we began running again.

This was our first run since the URINEO FA We took a week off due to my sore foot.  About a mile in to the run I stupidly let Pepper drag me down a hill that hid a tree branch at the bottom.  My foot found the branch, rather abruptly, and I cursed myself for the rest of the run.  I bruised my foot between the heel and the ball.  Pepper and I continued running and finished two loops of the URINEO for a 16 mile run for the day.  The next day I could hardly walk.  Today, a week later, it was a little tender, but nothing to slow me down or worry about injuring again.  As I said, today I was lightning.

Happy Christmas to all.

A few pics from last weeks URINEO

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls
Pepper and I ran the Buckeye Trail from Boston Store to Blue Hen Falls today.  A total of three miles since we went further than the falls following someones footsteps in the snow.  It was very nice and very long.  Half was uphill.
Blue Hen Falls

Icicle Falls beyond Blue Hen

Race Report

I ran the Ohio Outside Trail run last Saturday.  I was slower than last year, but I had the vff's on because of the snow.  I should have run it barefoot.  Had fun.  It was a good showing.

Product Review

Check it out.  I found the best thing for cold weather running.  And by that I mean when it's colder than 25 deg F or if I'm running through new snow.  I got the thermal socks (2 mil neoprene) at Gander Mt. and the auqa socks at the chinese store.  I cut a section from the back and sewed it into the toe I cut.  I used upholstery thread.  Believe it or not, even thermal socks are too narrow.  I've run in them three times and the feet stay very warm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I was weak today and put on the Vibrams.  Pepper and I had a nice, slow 3 mile run.  More to follow tomorrow.

A quick Pepper clip:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quick 5.9

So, when I say quick, that means sub 11.  Lightning is sub 10.  Today was just quick.  Pepper and I ran barefoot down to the VW dealer to pick up my car.  I'm at 49,700 miles, so this is the last free service from the warranty.  Yes, I said barefoot.  It was 31 deg F when we started but dropped a couple by the finish.  She just never complains about the weather.  She'll stop for a rest if it's too hot.  But the cold never bothers her.  It doesn't get that cold here.

It's been 10 months since we've run in the cold and I noticed something interesting.  As this is my second winter season running barefoot, what I learned last season was sort of chalked up to newbieism.  This summer I was feeling quite tender of foot and though I was just being a wuss.  But running in the cold again has me rethinking my feelings.  I am a wuss. And, when it's cold, the bottom of the feet get just numb enough not to be concerned about the little pebbles.  The larger rocks of salt are another matter.  They always hurt.  I'm sure the towpath will feel like silk like it did last winter.  When I ran the towpath this summer, I spent maybe half the time on the grass to the side because my feet were getting sore.  Or is this all in my head?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finaly Winter Is Here

I love running in the cold.  I wore my Jr. Kings jersey today in the 27 deg F gray wonder that is North East Ohio.  Pepper and I ran a short 3.2 miles.  I'm still recovering from a cold that I caught in Cinci.  Damn kids (kidding, I would gladly suffer a cold every week if it meant I could see them all the time).

It was fun running barefoot in the cold again.  I've been spoiled by our very nice summer and fall.  The pads were cold for the first half mile, then stung for the second half.  The last two were not terribly different than any other run.  Believe me people; it can be done!

I signed up for a few runs.  Check out my "Future Runs" list to the right.  What the hell was I thinking?

We'll see tonight how a dethroned King handles the weather again.  Hopefully that sunny Miami heat has made him soft.  And while I'm on the subject: Questions have been raised as to our reaction to his return.  I would politely clap when he comes into the building, just as I would with respect for any other visiting team member.  Nothing more or less.  And yes, he did handle things wrong when he made his decision.  That whole thing was juvenile and self aggrandizing.  What other leading athlete has booked an hour on ESPN to announce his decision.  As a fan of the team, I laughed at his antics.  That's not what upset me.  It was the fact that we fans finally had hope that we could win a championship.  He sent us back to the drawing board.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Product Review

The Cincinnatti rain has required a new outfit.  To keep out the rain, I chose the much vaulted Hefty Poncho.  The beauty is the versitility afforded by the necessary customization.  The neck and arm holes were custom fitted to my fizzeek.  My 6 mile run today was interupted by many inquireies as to the quality, fit and comfort.  If I was home, I would have taken orders.  Another advantage was the cost: 20 ponchos for $6.95.  Now that's a deal.

Dry Running
Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Woo Hoo

Well now I have a goal.

After Pepper and I ran an easy 4.7 today, I sat down to map my run and write this.  As I opened my blog I clicked on BFJ's site to see what's up.  Along with the Boozehounds it's one of my favorite sites.  It so happenned that BFJ was announcing the winner of the drawing for a free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon.  I was the "lucky" winner.

Ok, I've got to go.  I have some hill work to prepare for.

Did I mention this would be my first marathon?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pepper and I finished the week with a nice 8 mile run on the Towpath.  It was a beautiful day for a run.  Here is our start and end point.

We ran north, downstream to mile 26 and then back.  Here is a short snippet.

The river in the fall.

I ran the first half slow.  I was struggling to get into the run.  The second half was better, even though it was uphill.  On the way back, I decided to focus on the pace Pepper was setting.  It was very consistent.  She would occasionally stretch it out a bit, and go into a full gallop.  But mostly, it was an easy trot. Focusing on her, I hardly noticed the miles.  My fastest mile was the last. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chasing Ducks

Pepper loves chasing ducks in the river.  She jumped right in while running through Water Works.  We had a nice, late afternoon 5.6 mile run.  Our pace was decent.  It was 66 deg F and sunny.  Oh, yea, the feel of goose poop squishing through your toes is to die for!  These days are getting short.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Legs Still Work, Lungs Now Hurt

Ran for the first time in 5 weeks.  I was disappointed in my performance at the YUT-C 50K, so I took a break.  The weather is cool, my legs are tired and my lungs are surprisingly sore.  Shouldn't expect more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cool 77

The Pooper and I - how many times have I started a post this way? - ran the 8.2 mile run to waterworks,
Brust Park, then around Silver Lake and home today.  This was the same route as the Swimming Silver run last week.  It was a "cool" 77 deg F with low humidity, so Pepper didn't need a rest and swim as she did last week.  We ran it faster this time, but still slower than my goal.  I want to finish this run with a sub 10min/mile pace, but I think I'll need to do it without the sniffer/squatter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1'st

A new month.  The Pooper, me, heat and 3.8 miles:  we did good.  Not fast.  But, solid.  She had a solid on the way as well.  I love the looks from the drivers passing by (as we're running, not while she's stooping).  I worried a little as I was leading her most of the way, but she proved to be a trooper.  We ran at dusk so the sun didn't effect us, but it was still very hot.  This is the hottest summer I remember.

Thought I would show a recent lunch from the garden.  I love lunch time in the summer!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Botzum to Everett Rd Covered Bridge

Pepper & I ran a leisurely 8.4 miles from the Botzum trail head to Everett Road Covered Bridge and back today.  We averaged a leisurely 12.3 mi/min pace.  With about 3 miles to go, my feet got hyper-sensitive on the cinder trail and I slowed down.  I tried to find as much grass to run on as I could, but there were sections of the trail where it just wasn't productive.  Besides, I'm looking forward to my upcoming 50K on technical trails that make the towpath seem luxurious and comfortable.  The coolest part of the trail was when we left the towpath just after Hunt Farm and followed a bridal trail to the covered bridge.  I will actively seek out these bridal trails in the future.  They aren't paved as the towpath is - they're just dirt kicked up by the horses and are therefore much easier (and more natural) to run on.  We took a break at the covered bridge - I wanted to make sure Pepper didn't have any overheating issues - and I spent some time reading the info on Mr. Siberling and Ralph Regula.  Some very good info.  We benefit from their care for the natural wonder that the Cuyahoga Vally provides.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swimming Silver

The Pooper and I ran an 8.2'er today.  We started at the start, ran to WW, then to Burst Park.  Then retraced our barefoot footsteps along the bike/hike trail to Silver Lake (SL).  Ran around SL and had to rest about 8/10th's of the way through.  It was hot - 82 deg F with a lot of humidity.  She just plopped down in a tree lawn.  I pushed her too hard.  Black and tan double coat isn't meant for the summer heat.  She needs a sled, and snow to really shine.  So, we rested, drank some water, and started again.  A few yards later we found the "public" access to the private lake.  She was eying the lake with desire so I let her at it. 15 minuets later, a belly full of water, I knew she could run the remaining 1.5 miles home.  Every time I run, I learn something.  Every time I run with Pepper, I learn something more.  I am so glad to have the privilege to run with such an instructive partner.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hot Silver

The Pooper & I ran a hot 6.5 today.  We started from the usual start line - our house, then ran to Water Works to Silver Lake, around Silver Lake and back home to the Falls.  It was hot.  I sweated as if it was 85 deg F out - and it was.  Thankfully, we had cloud cover most of the way.  The Pooper held up well.  We didn't have to stop to lay down and hydrate - although we did hydrate on the way.  I was worried she would need a heat rest as we did last Wednesday.  She made it through without a hickup. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Today is my one year running anniversary.  I began a new life, my running life, on August 13, 2009.  I remember it well.  I ran 2.5 miles through the streets of Cuyahoga Falls, with walking spells every half mile or so.  As I progressed, I decided to only walk "that one block" and to run at least 3 or 4 blocks.  It didn't take long to get the walking spells down to 2 or 3 blocks per run.  Pepper ran with me from the beginning.  However, last year was not as hot as this, and we were able to run together always.  I have left her at home for the last few runs because of the heat.

Today's run was 5.6 miles past the clocktower and Rockin' on the River; from there on to the Glens trail, then city streets to State, to Broad and back home.  It was a satisfying run with sweat, blood and cheers - a few teenage girls were impressed with my svelte physique and naked feet and couldn't hold back the appraise.  OK, so maybe some of that is in my head?

When I began, one year ago, it was without shoes and the idea, planted by Christoper McDougall, that if we were born to do this, I had better get to it.  Today I am so much better off than the day before I started.  Like many, I had "run" before.  As part of my high school hockey team, we went out for 2 mile runs, on occasion, before the season started.  I "hated" every minute.  Today, I consider running fun.

I consider barefoot running essential.  I bought my vff's in December and used them mostly for that month and the following January and February, with a few bf winter runs sprinkled in.  I do like the Snow.  Otherwise, all of my running is barefoot.  I try to do most things outside of running barefoot as well.  I get told off by the "establishment" on occasion, and usually argue the merits of a barefoot lifestyle with them, or just let it slide and get out of there with my beer.

On to the Blood!
Today's run was also fret with injuries.  I smashed my left big toe on a rock on  Glens Trail, then dragged the same on on the sidewalk on State Road.  These two injuries got the juices flowing.  Then I dragged my right big toe on the Broad Street Sidewalk, but it was only a scrape and no blood.  I think both Barefoot Josh and Viper are playing Opposum (see picture above) and aren't actually hurt.  Since they have shown no proof, I believe they are only trying to psyche out their potential competitors, lulling them into a sense of confidence with stories of broken toes.  So, here is my gory photo of the day:

No one can say I'm faking it!  This stuff ain't always easy or pain free.  But I'll take this pain any day over the pain of a heart attack.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot 3.7

I ran a "fast" 3.7 late today - after the heat subsided - a bit.  Just me; no Pooper.  The first mile was at a blistering 8:45 mi/min pace, but the total was 10:30.  If my math is right, that should put my last mile at ~12:30.  I may have mentioned I'm slow.  It felt fast though.  And I did have a hiccup when a dog was chasing me near the end.  I stopped to say hello, quickly.  So, that was my first run for the week.  I need to apply myself more!

My pledge is to surpass Viper's mileage by the end of the year.  I'd better get to it, 'cuz he's been racking the miles up as of late!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hot Poop

Yep, it was a hot one Wednesday.  Pepper and I went for an "easy" 6 miler today.  Right at mile 4, Pepper had enough and laid down on the grass to take a breather.  There was no moving her.  I sort of figured this might happen eventually.  It was 82 deg F with 90% humidity.  The first 4 miles were shaded; we ran the Glens trail and then shaded City streets.  The sun was intense when we reached State Road.  The Pooper lasted about 4 blocks 'till Sackett Ave.  There, she decided to lay down and pant.  I got her some water.  About 10 minuets later, she decided running would be ok, so we headed home.  She definitely prefers the winter - I think I do too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Burning River 100 Volunteer

I volunteered for the Burning River 100 this weekend and, can I say, "what an experience."  I had a wonderful time.  This race is a "fast" 100 with a 30 hour cutoff.  I worked the aid stations at mile 28.4 and 64.1 starting at 8 am and finishing around 10 pm.  At 28.4 (Alexander Road Aid Station) I logged the racer numbers and times.  This got a little nerve-racking as the runners started coming fast and furious.  At 64.1 (Happy Days Aid Station) I filled water bottles, suggested food and encouraged the runners.  The big hit was grilled cheese sandwiches.  The runners faces lit up when we told them we had grilled cheese.  It was interesting to see the difference between the runners attitudes at mile 28 and 64.  At 28, only a handful stayed beyond 3 minuets, while at 64, only a handful left within 3 minuets.  I'm not sure the runners would have named the station at mile 64 "Happy Days."  The runners were very thankful for the aid we gave and most went out of there way to say so.  As an aid station worker, I felt they were the hero's and tried my best to get them what they needed.

I didn't get too many comments about being barefoot, but when I did, I explained my story.  The other volunteers were interested since they are runners too - and the barefoot word is out.  I had only one comment from a runner who asked where are my shoes.  I pulled out a stock answer, " I'm wearing the shoes my Mom made for me."

I enjoyed working with all the volunteers - it's a wonderful feeling when people pull together and do what is needed with the only motivation being the runners health (mental and physical) and to see them get to the finish.  This was easy at mile 28, as most runners could go on.  At 64, things got a little more dicey.

Side note: can a volunteer get fired?  Apparently so, as the pit boss at 64 and I had issues.  I appenently was putting too many potatoes in the cup for runners and couldn't stand in the proper place with out her direction (or hand/arm pushing me out of the way).  I left  2 hours before the close of the station due to her inadequacies at recognizing true and honest help.  Incredible, but c'est la vie.

Several of my club mates were running the race, but I was cheering for Barefoot Jason.  He started the race barefoot and I'll let him tell his story when he gets home.  But I'll give something away - he set a PR - YEAH JASON.

After a few hours of sleep, I went to the finish line - only a half mile away - and watched as many of the runners came in.  Seeing the same runners at 28, 64 and 101 was a study in humanity.  There were tears and cheers.  To me the most thrilling part was when the 15 year old son of a club mate, who was volunteering at the Happy Days aid station, also volunteered to pace a runner to the finish.  The runner only made it to mile 93, so Eric decided to pace another runner to the end.  He crossed the finish line at about 9:45 am this morning.  This wasn't in his plan when the day started, but I am sure his father is proud.

A few Pics:

Greg at Mile 28.4

Some of the lovely ladies at mile 28.4

More lovely ladies, but at mile 64.1

Barefoot Jason and his pacer at mile 64.1

Race Director Joe, the ubiquitous Shawn, and a cutie volunteer at the finish line.

Dan at the finish line

Barefoot Jason and crew at the finish line - NOTE THE BUCKLE!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Burning River 100 Section V

Yesterday I ran section V of the Burning River 100 course.  This is the last section of the course beginning at the Memorial Parkway Station, then following the High Bridge trail and ending up in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.  I ran it there and back from my house as I am about a half mile from downtown.  Some of it is technical, some delicious mud and grass, and some road.  I ran it in the late afternoon at the height of the heat.  I ran through the Italian fest and dunked my head in the fountain both there and back - had to knock a few kids out of the way to get my own spout, but they got back up.  The heat didn't slow me down as much as the rocks and gravel.  I taped up my foot for precaution, and it helped, but it is still sensitive.  My lack of mileage over the last few months also slowed me down.  I walked a lot.  Barefoot Jason will run the entire 101.1 miles barefoot (and in a kilt) next weekend.  He's got my complete admiration and respect.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hello Again

It's been a while.  I've been busy building a deck, landscaping an vacationing at the Outer Banks.  So, my posts as well as running miles have been way down as of late.

Running on the beach was wonderful.  I only ran a couple of times since I ripped a chunk of skin from the ball of my right foot.  I was playing with kids at a July 4th party, twisting around and caught it on a corner of the sidewalk.  That sidelined me for the next week.  At the beach, I taped it and ran fine.

Today was my first run without tape and it felt good.  I ran 6.9 miles through waterworks park and then around Silver Lake.

Last month I met with Barefoot Ken Bob at a workshop he held in Medina.  There were about 8 of us there.  Only a few had run any significant miles barefoot.  The rest were curious having read Born to Run.  Like Barefoot Josh, much of what was covered was familiar, but I did learn a few things.  Apparently, I haven't been holding my head high enough.  I tend to tilt my head to look down at the path in front of me.  BF KB suggests holding your head steady and upright, looking forward and scanning down with your eyes.  Running from the hips is important too.  Focusing on this helps me run upright with better form.  I didn't think I would ever have the chance to meet the guru of barefoot running, but there you are.  It was a privileged experience.

Future races are nill at this point.  But I have volunteered to help with the aid stations for the Burning River 100.  I'll be there to help and cheer on Jason Robillard along with a few of my club mates.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Proper Fraction 5/12

Work, work, work.  I haven't found the time to blog lately, so here's a catch-up:

The Pooper and I went for an easy 5 miler early yesterday morning.  To water works, through silver lake and back.  Easy, slow, and it felt good.  After that I repaired the breaks, front this time, on the new P.O.S.  Have I mentioned cars suck?  It only took me a few hours as apposed to my marathon 4 day ordeal with the rear breaks a few weeks ago.  Nothing went right with the drums.

Oh yeah, Race Report:
I was disappointed in my performance at the No Frills, Just Hills last Saturday.  I started the morning with little sleep the night before.  Guess I was nervous as well as anxious and excited.  Got up at 6 and made a big salad.  Packed all my stuff; change of clothes, food for the run, chia fresca, water, sunglasses.

The turn-out was impressive.  Over 30 people showed up.  I spoke with Bob and Brian and complemented them on their recent completion of the MMT 100.  We had 6 finishers from our club in that race.  This club is more extreme than I thought.

The air was clear and warm and the sun would soon beat down on our efforts.  Luckily half of the trail was in the woods so there would be relief. The reason the race has the word Hill in it wasn't just for fun.  There were many hills that no one ran.

My plan was to complete 2 loops an hour.  So if I lasted 6 hours, I would complete 12 loops for a total of 24 miles.  The "winner" of the race completed 17 loops - 34 miles!  My first loop was under a half hour: so far, so good.  I felt good.  I was lightly running the trail, exploring my endurance and strength.  The trail surface turned out to be mostly a pleasure to run on.  The first half mile was grass followed by another half of dirt through the woods. Then more grass and the gravel began.  The section around the lake was mostly gravel with a little bit of pavement and some dirt.  And then - the horror, the horror - we ran across the dam holding back the lake.  It was paved with #57 limestone.  This is the absolute hardest surface to run barefoot.  Oh well.  I ran very gently.

On my second and third loop, I ran with Julie.  She finished 10 loops.  She's a nurse from Dublin, Ohio.  She came up with her husband Sam who sat in his easy recliner, mocking us every 2 miles.  We had a great conversation and were perfectly matched pace-wise.  I asked if I was holding her back, but she insisted not.  On the second and third loops, I tried to find a path on the edge of the dam that wasn't paved.  There was a small section that was grass, but it was knee high and therefore hard to run through.  I did run through it and proceeded to open the scab on my toe.  It's amazing how sharp grass can be.  The toe started bleeding.  We finished the third loop in 1:32 and I told Julie to go ahead because I needed to repair the toe.

15 minuets later I had a new toe bandage.  I checked with the race director to make sure I still qualified as "barefoot" with the bandage.  He assured me that I did.  I grabbed my cornbread and headed out for the fourth.  Other that the toe blood, my feet were holding up great.  Bruce the Moose and I ran togeather for about half the loop.  He is an awesome runner.   He looks so effortless.  I finished loop 4 in about a half.

I grabbed my bean and rice burrito at the start of the fifth felling good and ready for more.  The hills were starting to get hard to walk up and the heat was building.  On the last hill climb for the loop, I realized I was having an allergic reaction to something I ate - and no, Julie, it wasn't the morning glory.  I finished the loop and hung out for a bit to see if it was going to be a full out reaction, or just a minor annoyance.  Turns out it was full on.  Fuck!  I had to call it a day.

So I finished 5 of the planned 12 laps in 2:45.  I feel I didn't "represent" as a barefooter.  All the same, it was a great race and a great day.  I will last next year.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hot Tuna(p)

I needed a tuneup for my No Frills, Just Hills run tomorrow so Pepper and I ran a quick 2.5 miles.  This was my second run for the week and a hot one at that.  Total mileage for the month is low because it got busy on me all of a sudden.  No Frills is a 6 hour timed run on a 2 mile loop trail in the CVNP.  I'll check it out later today to see what I'm up against.  My personal goal is a pace of 15 min/mile.  That would make for 24 miles total if I can last that long.

I poked my foot yesterday while at the farm.  I stepped on a real pokey stick.  That and the toe dragging incident on my previous run will test my gentle running capabilities on the technical trails tomorrow.  While at the farm, I wrestled a 6.5 hp behemoth of a tiller for about two hours yesterday trying to get the wet clay looking like fertile soil.  I'll have to add more manure and compost.  We planted about 15 tomatoes and plan for the corn and potatoes today.  It's coming along.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brookledge Night Run

After a full day of break repair and late day mulching, I needed to get out for a run.  This was my first run in the dark.  As a barefoot runner, I fear the dark when I cant see the ground.  But it wasn't all that bad.  The streets of course have streetlights so I was able to see big obstacles.  Little pebbles can't be seen, but they didn't cripple me either.  I was tired, so I made a mistake I've done in the past - I dragged the tip of my big right toe on the pavement and ripped the skin off.  I haven't done that since last fall.

I went off road and ran about 10 holes of the Brookledge golf course.  It was very quiet and peaceful.  None of that usual cussing and frustration that happens during the day.  And, although it is still in the city, the stars were brighter.

I figure it was about 5.5 miles in an hour and a bit - I stretched out on one of the tees for a few.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rain Run

Pepper and I ran an easy 3.6 in the rain this morning.  I have worried about running in the rain and getting blisters.  No blisters today.  Feet feel good.  As you may be able to tell from my "weekness log," I've been "tapering" to get ready for the upcoming "No Frills, Just Hills" in a week and a half.  I'll run a many more times before the race.  I was considering the Tallmadge 5k on Monday, May 31, but nixed it, so the FA will be my race for May.

I'm planning on a 5-bean soup with sausage for post race re-fueling.  Standard bean and rice tortillas, cornbread and chia fresca during the race.  I'm slow, so I shouldn't offend too many runners.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cleveland Cavaliers

Really?  WHAT THE FUCK??
I am so disappointed!  Disgusted is more appropriate.  Vomit in my face and my throat.

Why should I ever watch them again?
I don't feel any better!!

Weather and Work Making Me a Slacker

February was my best running month so far this year.  I've been a slacker.  I need to run more.  It has been raining a lot.  I've been busy landscaping (though not enough - if anyone needs a mow or mulch, let me know).  It was easier to get in a two mile run when I started.  But now, I'm just starting to slow down at two miles.  It's too much work putting on the running clothes, putting on the dog collar, blogging, taking off the clothes, washing the clothes, showering, to justify running for a measly two miles.  I feel better if I get 5 or 6 in.  But that takes more time (a lot more time at my pace).

I ran early today at a 10.5 min/mi pace.  Around Silver Lake again.  Nice, but I'm getting a little bored with this run.  I left the Pooper at home to see If I could blame her for my pace.  Nope, it's me.

Go Cavs!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

If a tree falls in the woods . . .

If a tree falls in the woods, and a runner and his dog hear it, does it make a sound?  Yes it does.  Pepper and I heard a tree falling at the Ledges trail today.  It's quite impressive to hear a big tree falling but not see it.  The rain from last night and the high winds today conspired to bring it down.

We first ran the Boston Run Trail, then crossed below SR 303 to try out the Ledges Trail.  These were virgin trails for us and I am very impressed (Pepper may or may not be impressed - she loves all trails).  Both were magnificent.  The Ledges Trail more so.  The photos below are from the Ledges Trail.  I have been following Brian, a fellow member of my running club and have been dying to try out the trail where his awesome photos were taken as seen here.  So, today we did it.  We are fortunate to have such a wonderful national park within 15 a minute drive.  It was a cool 50 deg F.  The rain started at 5 PM, just as we were finishing.

OK, I mentioned the weather conditions, now lets get down to the ground.  Let me just say, it ain't fun!  Both trails are old, man-made and in the woods.  My preference would have been to leave them natural after cutting the trees and brush.  Yes, they may get muddy, but why import the stone?  It's just not natural.  At least half are "paved" with gravel.  Much of this gravel is river run stone - you know the kind, smooth with rounded edges that was excavated from a creek.  It's not the worst to run on, but not comfy either.  This type of surface tends to slow even a slow runner down.  Some of the gravel was crushed limestone - the worst surface to run on.  The other half of the run was on dirt or mud, sand, bigger stones that you could get a whole foot on, grass, leaf litter and a tiny bit of moss (the caviar of running surfaces).  These parts were the diamonds in the rough.  After a rain, well trodden soil gets cushy and is a dream to run on.

My compatriot, BarefootJosh, is a little worried about a gravel section in an upcoming race he has.  I understand.  It's not easy.  You will sacrifice time running a race barefoot on gravel surfaces.  But in order to win the BareFoot division, it must be tolerated.  It can be done!

Here are the photos:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cool Morning Run

We were out the door by 6:15 AM and back an hour and seven later.  An easy and slow 6.25.  The pavement was cool from last nights rain.  The sun was just coming up and shadows were long.  This was our second early morning run.  I'm starting to like them.  And, although I was slow - 10.7 mi/min pace - I finished strong by sprinting up the hill of Portage Trail East.

I saw something really strange in one spot - broken glass on the ground.  We just stepped around it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Morning Run

Pepper and I went for a morning run.  Couldn't sleep last night (damn Broad Street train crossing) so I woke up early, did the dishes and went for a run.  I have been fortunate to have the luxury to run just about any time in the day (no job) so I usually plan a late morning or mid afternoon run.  That way, breakfast or lunch has settled.  There is a lot to do today, so I decided to take care of the run early.  I ran before breakfast and coffee and was surprised how solid I felt.  I didn't feel as if I were out of gas as I thought I might.  I did get hungry, however.  But it was a short run, so no worries.

We ran the Glens trail and then CF streets.  The first 2.1 miles were at a 12.2 min/mi pace - there was a steep stairway climbing out of the park back to city streets that I had to walk up.  And the trail was "technical" so that leads to slower times.  The second 2.16 miles were at a 10.0 min/mi pace - a negative split.  How about that!  The second part was a little fartlikish as well.  Overall pace was 11.1 min/mi.

So that was the last run of the month, but not of the week.  I plan to run in Cinci tomorrow.  It was a low mileage month as well.  I ran twice as far in February.  And no race this month.  Hmm.  I need to change that for next month.  I have a few in mind but haven't confirmed them yet.

That's all for now.  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flagstone Sidewalks

The silver Lake circuit was pleasant today.  Pepper and I ran 6.3 through Waterworks Park and around Silver Lake.  Conditions were perfect: 50 deg F, sunny.

Some random thoughts:
* I hate lawns that don't have dandelions.  I won't run on them.  Too much support of Dow or Monsanto.
* Mostly, it's rich people that have signs in their lawn reading "no government health care."
* I love running on flagstone sidewalks.
* I'm slow.
* Pepper loves running, and sniffing, and squatting.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Broke 500

Yep, it's true!!! 500 Lifetime Miles!!!

Most have been barefoot.  Some have been with the vff's - winter - cold - wet.

500 is a milestone.  When I get to the numbers Dan is at, that will be an accomplishment.  But the 500  have been an interesting journey.  Most have been solitary, save for the Pepper - she IS my running buddy.  A few have been with friends.  I've run races with strangers.  All runs have been positive.

Pepper & I ran an easy 3.6 today.  Down to the Glens tail & back. It was a beautiful run: 6-7pm 60 deg F, we had the trail to ourselves.  I've since learned that a trail with rocks, roots and other impediments is considered a "Technical Trail."  Cool, I've been running these from the start . . . though not very fast.

Cavs suck!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Pepper & I ran down to Glens trail today.  The total rout was 4 miles.  We ran Glens trail downhill - following the river - and then ran back home on CF city streets.  I was trying to run the trail portion as fast as possible.  Because it's fun getting to the edge of out of control (ooc) downhill.  I wasn't quite ooc but the thought was to get there.

We ran across some college students on a field trip.  Probably U of Akron (proximity) and freshmen geology (due to the cooing from the girls at Pepper and the fresh Fraternity shirts).  Glens trail is a wonderful place to study geology.  I'm not an expert, but I have always found the rock formations intriguing.

Glens Trail is about 0.8 miles long, one way.  After running it, I found the tootsies were a little sore, so instead of returning on the same trail, and consequently scarring the few immature students who freaked out at Pepper and scarred her, I decided to run home on city streets.  It was very pleasant.  And it turned out to be another beautiful day here in North East Ohio.  What happened to our normal rainy April?

BTW, the radishes are looking awesome and we're about 2 weeks away from greens.

If anyone is interested: I have for sale a '99 Silverado extended cab 2wd, 230K and a bad transmission - does run in 1st, 2nd & R.
Also a 2000 Mustang convertible, 118k, 5 speed manual, runs great. A little rust and a 10 year old roof.  Check out Akron Craigslist, call and give me the cash.  I love Craigslist.

GO CAVS!!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Sun

Sunny today.  Ran 5 at a decent pace.  Gotta do taxes.  Cars suck.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beansprout Review

My dear sister Booler sent me a gift over the weekend.  I had told her I was looking for a small camera for my runs and she found these beansprouts on

As you can see, it's a small and has a carabiner  for easy attachment.  It takes small pictures ~ 75k on the hi-res setting and has a capacity of 26 pics at this setting.  You can chose a compressed format to increase the number of pics.  This size is about perfect for blogs.  And 26 pics is enough for an average run.  The camera takes 1.4mp shots - very small when compared to today's 12mp cameras.  As you can see from the shakiness of the photos, you need to have a steady hand for clear pics.

Here are some photos of Pepper duck hunting on today's run through Water Works Park.

That's her swimming in the river.
She wasn't quick enough to catch a duck.  Guess I'll have to settle for salad for lunch.

Here's a view of the river from our second crossing.

Here are some picks of our new garden.  We signed up for two city garden plots yesterday.  So we now have a 50' by 25' plot.  Room for plenty of potatoes, onions, squash, corn . . . I need to make a plan.

My blog layout skills suck.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Long Road Ahead

Yesterday I ran to the Nat in downtown CF.  My plan was to run the City's 5k  course and check my time.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm - 83 deg F.  I prefer the colder runs.  Not to worry; there will be plenty of cold days here in NE Ohio to look forward too.

The run was a chore.  I was battling tender tootsies all the way.  I'm surprised at my sensitivity.  At the end of last year, before I started donning the vff's, it seemed as if my feet were invincible.  I feel like I'm starting anew.  And my time was slow.

Enough bitching!

This week, Mrs. J & I made some cold frames and planted lettuce, basil and radish seedlings.  We are sooo looking forward to homegrown salads.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Favorite Numbers

3 - The number of dogs in the house.  We're dogsitting our sisters boxer and new chocolate lab pup.  So with Pepper, that makes a three dog night - also a good band.

455 - The number of miles I've run in my life.  And the cubic inch displacement of my Firebird.

4 - Bobby Orr - need I say more?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So, the last week has been a slow one for running.  My feet were recovering from the CB 50k and therefore I had only one run last week.  This week, I've only run a 5.1'er - more planned for Wednesday.  It was a nice run to Waterworks, the bike path and Silver Lake city streets.  It started raining at mile two.  We saw a six pack on the way - of white tail deer.  Neither Pepper or I gave chase.  They just looked at us as we trotted by.  I think they get very comfortable in an urban environment.  We have yet to chase down a deer or rabbit.  Pepper does have three squirrel kills to her credit.  She got them last year in the back yard.  I would like to see her improve her tally this year - nothing like organic nut fed meat for dinner!

Viper and Barefoot Josh have an elevens challenge with each other.  Sounds great.  I love the idea of pairing with someone for a challenge.  If for no other reason than to push yourself.  This one however, was not for me.  Instead I was checking out Lauren's blog and found a fitting challenge. 12-in-12 - I like the sound of this.  And, I read the same book in January that she did  - "Born to Run."  It's on.  Well, to be honest, I listened to BTR on cd.  I borrowed it last July and have listened to it at least once a month ever since - including January.  Listening may be less involved than actual reading, so I've made a rule: If you listen to a book instead of reading it, you must listen to two per month.  So, I also listened to "The Omnivores Dilemma."   In February, I read:

This was a bit of a tough read due to the names, but very interesting.  A history about the Americas before Columbus.  Our education of why we (the white man) defeated the Indians is incredibly elemental and unfortunately incorrect.  After reading BTR, I found this informative as to the history that lead to the plight of the Tarahumara Indians.  I would recommend this to all who wonder why the Incas (and many others) disappeared, and to those who think tomato sauce is an Italian creation.

This Month I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  I'll give a simple critique when done (if you haven't noticed, I like simple).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Covered Bridge FA

A light rain began about half way through my hour drive to Mill Creek State Park in Youngstown, Ohio.  The weather report yesterday called for rain, rain, rain.  I was surprised how little we got up to that point, but the future was not looking bright.  When I arrived, the rain had more or less stopped.  Maybe we would get the 50k in without getting drenched.  In fact, by the end of the run, only intermittent light rain washed the sweat away.  The conditions were far from perfect, but could have been a lot worse.  This was a Fat Ass after all, so no whining, right?

When I got to the parking lot, there were already 9 cars there.  These guys were serious about starting early.  The official start was at 8, with the option of an early 6 AM getaway.  Most opted for the early.  Not me.  Only a few of us were waiting for the others to make their first 8 mile circuit by the time 8 AM rolled around.

By 8, we were about 15 strong, a good showing for a rainy FA.  The members of NEO Trail club seemed glad to welcome a new member - me - until the start.

As I removed the Aqua Socks I had on, a look of concern crossed many of their faces.  I got the usual questions: Are you going to run barefoot?  Aren't your feet cold?  I assured them I was, and they weren't.  Their assumption that I was crazy was however, would not be as easy to disprove (and probably still is not).

50k would be completed by making 4 circuits of the northern portion of the YUT-C course.  We all started together at an easy pace.  I worked my way to the back quickly - one of my strengths.  The trail was in pretty good condition considering the rain.  It was a little muddy, rocky, but firm for the most part.  I ran with the back of the pack for the first circuit  but was trying to keep up with the guy ahead of me.  There were three behind.  I was loosing distance at about mile 4 and then the guy ahead just disappeared into the woods.  I kept trudging on and came to the monkey hill section.  I had no one to follow, but the trail seemed plain enough.  As I started up the monkey hills, I started to doubt the path.  There were fresh tracks, but the steepness and precarious footing made it seem unreasonable.  After all, there was a perfectly good path along the valley floor.  Wouldn't it make sense to just run along that?  After my third 200' assent at 45 degrees,(or was it 60?) I saw the three behind on the same path, confirming my direction.  I decided to slow down to avoid getting lost.  It seemed that the sensible rout was never chosen.  No, if the path started looking too easy, I could be sure that a turn up a hill was just around the corner.

Near the end of my first circuit, there were just two of us strongly bringing up the rear.  Tank and I were passed by a few of the leaders who decided to run their next circuit backwards.  Note: Tank is my nickname for the one others call Moose.  I don't know why, I just think 'tank' when I see him lumbering along.  We finished the first in just under 2 hours.  Not quick.  But I was having a good time.  We refueled at the parking lot and started our second circuit in reverse.  After the first mile or so I realized the sharp pain in my big right toe was going to be an issue.  After crossing a stream, washing off some of the mud,  the hanging skin of a nice big blister greeted me with a smile.  Well, that would pain me the rest of the way.  And it did.  I could have stopped to tape it up, but wouldn't that be considered whining?  Something not allowed in these races.

Tank and I finished the second Circuit in just over two hours.  My feet were done for the day and Tank had to leave.  Therefore, my ultra debut was only half realized at 16 miles.  That's alright.  I had fun, meet some great people, and got to run around a very picturesque park.  The weather being what it was, didn't make for the prettiest day, but there is a lot of potential.  There are lots of trails to discover.  I will return to this one for another run.

Here are some shots:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Race Time

First off: did I mention how slow I am?  208/278 at the Shamrock 15k.  Wow.

But I have some questions:
1) The time I saw when I crossed is different than the time in the official results.  No d-tag or chip for this race.  Why?
2) The pace reported does not match the time for the given distance - I am assuming the race was exactly 15k.  This may not be the case as I couldn't jive it on mapmyrun.  Does anyone know if this race is actually 15k?
3) What does agegrade mean and why is it different from actual time?
4) What the crap does age% mean?

I think the answer may in the question I first asked: Did I mention how slow I am?

Good thing the CB 50k FA tomorrow is not timed.  In case you're interested, they changed the venue since West Branch is closed due to mud.  They moved it back to Youngstown in it's original location - at the YUT-C 50k course.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trail Tripping

Pepper was whining to see what the trails looked like today. So we headed out to O'Neil Woods.  The trails are in a transition period - mostly snow and ice.  A few sections of ankle deep mud, warm and gooey.
We ran the 1.8 mile trail in about 30 minuets that included a poop stop, pictures and two falls - by me, not Pepper.  Nothing broke or hurt.  Laughter ensued.

Pepper wasn't impressed with my performance - she always seemed to be waiting for me??  So, I got the message and we headed to Hampton Hills to hit the 3.2 mile Adams Run trail. This trail was in the same general shape as the other.  We ran it in about 44 minuets.  It's amazing how far mud will splash up your shorts.

 Another gorgeous day in the parks of North East Ohio.

We also stopped by the Great Blue Heron Nesting area on Bath road.  They were impressive.  All the nests of all the trees seemed to have a Heron in it.  The picture doesn't  do it justice.  You'll have to check it out yourself.

Neither I nor Pepper chased down any of the giant birds - though she really did want to - probably taste like Bald Eagle, I would think.