Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Water Heater and Pacing at the Buckeye Half Marathon

The week started with the awareness that the water was no longer hot coming out of the shower. In a house just 4 years old, it was a surprise to us that we needed to replace the heating elements. Not being mechanically inclined with hardly any tool, I got through that just fine...that is, until I flipped the breaker to turn the heater back on. I flip the breaker and I hear a "crackling" accompanied by an electrical burning smell and a little stream of white electrical smoke rising from the top of the water heater. I quickly returned to the breaker box and tripped the breaker. Further investigation revealed wires totally submerged in water on top of the heater....not good. It turns out there had been a leak for sometime and it literally ate through one of the wires. To make a long week short, we had to order a new water heater, under warranty thank goodness, had it delivered, it was badly damaged, had another one delivered, and by Friday night, hot water was flowing once again. I actually ran less this week because I just didn't want to take an ice cold shower. (pitiful excuse, eh?!) So last week it was the shower door replacement and this week a new hot water heater. What's next?

I also gave in and finally took the dive head-first into Facebook. Marjie's been on it and has since been telling me I should open an account...and that I did. It was amazing to me that immediately, it told me that 52 people in my e-mail address book had Facebook accounts! I have to say...pretty cool site. A great way to connect with family from afar (or near if you don't see them much), find old college classmates, and a plethora of other cool things. Just search for me if you want to hook up. Many of you have already done so.

I skipped the Saturday long-run due to the Buckeye 1/2 Marathon today. It sure was strange being home on Saturday morning. Today brought a perfect morning for a race. A few months back, Vince asked for volunteers to be pace team leaders. Vertical Runner sponsors the pace teams for the Buckeye 1/2 Marathon. I signed up for the 1:45 pace group leader thinking this would be a great way to get the legs turning over again and inject some confidence back in me heading into fall marathon season. Vince gave us these blue tech tees which made it super easy for participants to locate us and latch on, so to speak. We also pinned our target time to the back of our shirt. Basically, our "job" as a pacer is to hit the target finishing time within a minute. For me: no faster than 1:44:00 and no slower than 1:45:00. That equates to an average pace of 7:57 - 8:00 min/mile. I set up my beloved Garmin and prayed it didn't pick today to malfunction. Start weather conditions were perfect with temps in the upper 50s and overcast. It started to sprinkle around the 6 mile point and continued for the rest of the race...perfect! As I like to say: "race day weather with a big fat red ribbon wrapped around it." Kinda like what we got at the Akron Marathon last year, minus the rain. Hopin' for a repeat this year! In the end, I finished perfectly on target at a finish of 1:44:34, avg. pace of 7:59. (full results here) This was a blast and I'll definately do it again. Lots of fun being around people at the finish who are setting PRs and celebrating with them. I also gotta give a big "Job Well Done" to Jim Chaney, Race Director of the Buckeye 1/2 Marathon. Great new/fast course, great water stops, great volunteers, super hooded sweatshirt and artwork, and heck, some fine pasta and rolls at the finish! I don't know the last time I had pasta at 10am in the morning! Thanks a ton, Jim!

Afterwards, I zipped up to Peninsula and met Marjie and my girls for brunch at Fisher's. Their vegetable scramble just hits the spot so well after a, I've been trying to get my family down there for some time. Great, as always. The weather was clearing so on to Part 2 of today. I've also been trying to get my family to Blue Hen Falls. This just happens to be the EXACT parking lot where Marjie picked me up at Mile 55 at Burning River....ahhh, the memories! Well, the parking lot was roped off so we couldn't park. We instead headed back to the Boston Store then took Hines Hill and headed to Brandywine Falls. By this time, the skies were clearing and humidity dropping...perfect. We took the stairs down to the falls viewing area and kids read the information signs telling the history of Brandywine Village that once existed in the 1800s. The falls are VERY dry right now. I'm used to a huge veil of water coming over the top and because of an incredibly dry August, it was weak at best. We headed up out of viewing area and then over by the Inn at Brandywine Falls. If you ever want a quiet night away (MINUS the kids!), I highly recommend this Inn. Great inn-keepers and a SUPER breakfast. They have goats behind the old house and the girls fed them fallen leaves which they loved. We headed on down the Stanford Trail...again, an area that I should have tread on back on August 2nd during the BR100. I actually found an orange streamer still attached to a tree. I retrieved it for use next year...wonder if I'll see that streamer again?!?!?!?? Anyway, we headed on down to the stream crossing, snapping pics along the way, and amazingly, there is VERY little water passing through. I clearly recall my last time past here when we got soaked. All the rocks were covered with rushing water. Not so right now. The entire line of boulders are fully exposed as you can see in this picture. Amazing how dry it is. We then connected with the Brandywine Trail and headed back up to the parking lot (also the turn-around point for the winter Buckeye Trail 50K.)

OK, one last tidbit to get done. I noticed that Szalay's Farm Market was coming to life as we passed it on Bolanz during the 2nd loop of the 1/2 marathon today so we headed on down to see what good produce we could find. We'd never been there before, either. All I can really say is "GO!" If you haven't been there, go there and go soon before the first snowflake falls. We got the biggest plums you've ever seen, "strawberry" apples, nectarines, peaches, fresh strawberries, corn-on-the-cob, and some cider. Good, quality, LOCAL produce. Cash or check only....ATM is on site, though. They are open right now 9am-7pm every day. They also have a ton of other produce items, breads (awfully tempting!), and different spreads. Afterwards, we grabbed a roasted corn-on-the-cob and some fresh-squeezed lemonade. Each was worth every penny of $1.75.

It was great to see so many of you this morning! We sure do have a great network of runners/friends here. Good luck to the group heading up to Erie for the marathon next weekend. QUALIFY, Rose!!! Stick to the plan!

Have a great week and as always, Happy Trails!

“Stotan, a word coined by Percy Cerutty, a great Australian coach from the 1960 Olympics, is about toughness. The stotan must be willing to stand on his own, to resist pain, to stick to his ideals. A stotan is quietly self-sufficient. He accepts the challenges of training, injuries, races, and disappointments without complaining, because he understands that simply by keeping on, by sticking to the path he has chosen, he will get stronger and better.”

(from Amby Burfoot’s “The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.”)


Sensationally Red said...

I know who you are now. Someone pointed you out to me. I was one of those "great" volunteers! Great job pacing. I like your blog. Very well writtern and so detailed!! Thanks for helping us out by pacing.

Nick Billock said...

Thanks, Red. Pacing was a blast! Hey, I like your blog, too...appears we have many common friends but I still don't think I know who you are! If you see me at Akron, say "Hi!"

Thanks again for volunteering!