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!!