Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Race Reports Catalog

This post will be updated as I write "official" race reports as a quick access point to locate current and past race reports for those interested. Newest first by date.


January 4: Frozen Sasquatch 50K

2013 - "I'm back!"

October 11-13: West Virginia Trilogy (50K finish and 50M DNF)
September 2: Cleveland Oktoberfest 5K Bier Run
August 24: Moebius-Green Monster Trail 50K
July 13: Buckeye Trail 50K
June 15: Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run / Public Photo Album
April 28: Forget the PR 50K
April 20: On My Own Two Feet Marathon
March 23: Buzzard Day 50K Trail Run
January 13: Run for Regis 50K Fun Run

2012 -  A new life, a new runner

September 15: YUT-C 50K (no race report)
July 14: Buckeye Trail 50K
June 30: Run Between the Suns 12hr Endurance Run
April 1: Fools 50K

2011 - Afghanistan deployment

September 17: Air Force Marathon (from Afghanistan)

2010 - Injured and Surviving

July 19: Buckeye Trail 50K
March 28: Fools 50K

2009 -  Year of the 100s

November 8: Bobcat Trail Marathon
October 10-11: Oil Creek 100 Mile Trail Run
September 26: Akron Marathon
September 19: YUT-C 50K
August 1-2: Burning River 100 Mile Trail Run
June 6-7: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Trail Run Part 1 / Part 2
April 5: Inaugural Fools 50K
January 18: Winter BT50K/Run for Regis


December 6: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
November 1: Mountain Masochist 50+ Mile Trail Run
September 27: Akron Marathon
September 20: YUT-C 50K
August 2-3: Burning River 100 (attempt / DNF)
July 19: Summer Buckeye Trail 50K
May 25: Buffalo Marathon
May 3: Green Jewel 100K / Photo Album
April 6: Athens Marathon
January 26: Winter Buckeye Trail 50K

1997 thru 2007: pre-blog and pre-race reports

Monday, December 30, 2013

M-Cubed for 12.30.2013

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for December Thirtieth, Two Thousand Thirteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Yea, yea, yea...I know. It's Monday afternoon. I've been busy so cut me some slack, will ya? I slept in until 7 today, too...that was like 3 1/2 hours of bonus sleep.

- So it was mid-40s and sunshine over the weekend. I wake up this morning...BAM! 19F and 10F with the wind. It was raining last night, turned to ice, and then to snow this morning. FAT FLAKE SNOW at that...beautiful. I headed out on my last road run of 2013 (trails tomorrow!) and on the way back, I was getting blinded by the fattest flakes of all. Wet, fat flakes. Chock that up as Reason #4,583 why I run outside and #justsaynototreadmills. Here are two photos from today's run.

- Got collision insurance? I sure do. So I'm doing some running around the day after Christmas then went out for lunch on Friday..the 27th. I look back at my car while locking it, I noticed something on the trunk lid. DANGIT! Someone hit me! Upon closer examination, paint was missing and they hit me pretty hard yet didn't hit the bumper which didn't make sense unless you're a big TRUCK! A few calls and today, I visited a local collision repair place to determine the cost of repair and collision vs. comprehensive claim. I have a zero deductible for comp but $500 for collision...crossing fingers for comp! In the end, I can't really sell this being a comp claim...someone most certainly hit me...wait, let me rephrase: some COWARD most certainly hit me and left. Not a note, not anything. No way they didn't feel MY car stop THEIR car/truck/tractor/whatever. So fixed it will be next week upon which time I will shell out 500 bucks. Great, isn't it?! Let me tell ya...this hurts more when you have the title in hand and own the car outright. That's my baby! (not the bank's!)

- 2013: Well, it's not like 2011 where I wanted to drop an atom bomb on it...2013 hasn't been too shabby. 2012 was a year where we travelled a LOT. In 2013, we did much less. I ran less races, too, but ironically, I'm going to have my highest mileage year EVER and this month will be my highest month EVER...even higher than my peak training for my 100-milers back in 2009. With one run to go this month, I'm at 224.9 miles and for the year, I sit at 2,062 miles. Tomorrow will hold a muddy, trail 8 or 10 with friends on Buckeye Trail...but no decimals!!! #runnersOCD Pretty happy and injury-free!

- Thrilled to be starting 2014 with both Brooks and Hammer Nutrition. I picked up a skull cap and a long sleeve tech tee from Hammer so I can begin promoting the brand at races like the one this Saturday. I took both for a test run today, especially since most hats don't fit over my big head. Test passed!

- I saw a headline today (click here to view) about how the violence may increase from the insurgents when the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan next year. MAY?! For those who have asked me my opinion since I'm in the military and did take a "vacation" to Afghanistan in 2011, I have said for years that when we leave there, the Taliban will take it back over...just like they did when the Soviets left a few decades back. You see...Afghanistan's chief crop is opium poppy...and on the globe, they are the #1 exporter of it. MONEY and lots of it. Money to control the poor and uneducated of Afghanistan, money to build bombs, money to buy weapons, money to inflict terror to the "infidels" of the world, all in the name of their (g)od and religion. So yea...they are going to rule that country when we leave and you know what? There is NOTHING we can do about it. That is why I support a full withdrawal of every troop, airman, sailor, and Marine from Afghanistan. Shedding U.S. blood in a war that has the same outcome, regardless of our involvement is tough to support. That does NOT mean I don't support my country and Commander in Chief. If they ordered me to go again....I'd go. No questions asked. But as a human being, citizen of the U.S., and service member whose heart aches every time one of our own dies...I say "BRING THEM HOME....NOW."

Enjoy your last few days and hours of 2013. The clock's not stoppin' so regret nothing, make a difference, and choose to bless someday today and often in 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Winding Down 2013

Winding down 2013, it's going out well. Over the past week, I've passed up 2000 miles and 200 miles for the month and still going. As it stands today, 2013 will be a banner year...not for race accomplishments, per se, but from the vantage point of miles covered, being injury free, and running purely for the joy of running. I'm quite happy with that. It's such a backwards way of the mainstream running world, in my opinion. So many people are wrapped up in training schedules, pace of their runs, how well they place, etc. I'm NOT saying those are necessarily bad things at all...that was me for YEARS. But for me personally, it's just not that important to me anymore. I do love races, I do love competition, and I have a pretty well padded 2014 schedule, but it doesn't rule me. Make sense? Anyway, I posted on Facebook last night about this topic and a good friend and fellow Navy lieutenant posed the question: "How do I stay injury free and log all of the miles?" I actually had a tough time answering that question and scratched my head a bit...perplexed by what the answer really is. Here is my response and maybe it'll help explain where I'm coming from here:

So 2013...about to end quite well and 2014 will start awesome, too, as a 50K is a mere 6 days away, down in the mountains of West Virginia once again. Before that, though, the Highlands Sky 40 Miler registration opens up on January 1st. I'm absolutely returning to that race next year over Father's Day weekend. They just opened the new lodge for my family and after my experience in 2013, another trip is certainly warranted. Details Here.

Yesterday, I hosted my annual WaterFalls Group Run. 7 years ago, I started it with 7-10 fellow runners as a way to celebrate 2007 and kick off 2008 by seeing the 3 main waterfalls of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and just having fun. We also stopped for photos at each waterfall. Well, it's grown a bit and 300 +/- 100 runners showed up yesterday. I didn't run for the first time, though, because I was a one-man show and did a joint collection for charity. I collected used shoes to be donated to those in need and also filled my wife's SUV up with food and household goods for the Freedom House, a veterans homeless transitional home in Kent, OH. They house 14 men at a time who show up with nothing. I took the full load of goods and nearly $500 in cash straight there and the men helped me offload the goods. That absolutely made my day! ALL worth it! The rest of the day, I was sent photo after photo of the waterfalls run. It absolutely lived up to the reason it exists. Hundreds of smiles and breathtaking waterfalls. You can see them all here at the public Facebook page: http://facebook.com/waterfallsrun. Next year's date is set for December 27, 2014!

More good running news this past week came from Brooks. Looks like I'll continue my journey with them via sponsorship for a 5th straight year but now under the umbrella of "Brooks Fanatics" vs "Brooks ID." They have done some reorganizing within the sponsorship realm and the ID program has been GREATLY reduced in size and is reserved only for coaches and the elite. I'm honored to be a part of the Brooks Family yet again and excited to begin year #1 with Hammer Nutrition. Got my gear, got my fuel...ready to race!

Have a fantastic last few days of 2013, friends. Whatever you do today, make it count and bless someone around you.

Monday, December 23, 2013

M-Cubed for Christmas Eve Eve 2013

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for December Twenty-Third, Two Thousand Thirteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Snow pack for the last month...nothing but green out our door today. We've had torrential downpours, flooding warnings, and 60F weather in the past few days but it's over now. Big temperature drop overnight and heading down into the teens by tomorrow...but less than 50% chance for a White Christmas. Yesterday, I headed out for a recovery run from Saturday's 30 and this greeted me on my everyday route:
Pardon the poor pre-sunrise quality but that's a driveway to the left and the road I ran through on the right...the rest farmland.
- When I woke up yesterday, it would make sense to the everyday common-sense person to rest after 7+ hours on muddy trails on Saturday. Ironically, though, I had a smashing run. I headed out on legs that said "Stay in bed." and within a mile, I was cruising at a faster-than-normal pace on my regular hilly route. I felt amazing..and actually ached more walking around the house. Note to self?: "Just Run." Today, though...heeding my own advice and resting so I can truly repair and get stronger. Lots of water intake today, too.

- I took some drastic steps within my own social media sphere yesterday...cutting about 100 "friends" that I've been connected to for some time..mostly runners. Like I said on there, I really dislike the term "unfriend"..seems so cold and heartless. While running on Saturday, I ran with a friend who has never stepped into the social media world and guess what...he lives and enjoys life just fine! The thought of that is very attractive to me. HOWEVER, there are some parts of my life (e.g. church, running events, marriage events) where I use Facebook to communicate heavily...so in a sense, I do "need" it which is my own doing. But, I have found that much of the other chatter out there really creates a distraction for me that I don't need in my life and is sort of a "fun sucker" or "life sucker" for me. Hard to explain... Anyway, I know I ticked some folks off yesterday and for that, I'm sorry. This is a boundary in my life that I've needed to erect for awhile. The first step was recognizing and stating the problem and its negative effect on my life and then acting on it to remove it. Kinda like ripping off a scab..and I don't think I'm done, either. I do feel better, though, and have no regrets.

- I've been watching videos lately on a website called "I Am Second." In a nutshell, they are testimonies from folks you've never heard of to testimonies from the Duck Dynasty family, Steven Baldwin, the former lead guitarist of Korn, Governor Mike Huckabee, and even this former prostitute. I watched Annie's story yesterday....wow. It was the first one where I nearly cried for her. Incredibly bad background that she talks about in detail and where it led her. I highly recommend it but I caution you against watching with kids around...not appropriate. Most of their videos are fine but this one is a bit raw. Bottom Line: If you ever think you've screwed up so bad that there is no hope for you...you're wrong. Here's Annie's story: http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/annie-lobert/

- Last year, I became a big fan of Skillet...a pretty loud Christian band you may have heard of. On an annual basis, typically in the Top 3 in sales and popularity across ALL spectrums of music...on the planet. You don't think "Oh...a Christian band" when you see or hear them. They'll tour Christian music festivals but then tour with the Carnival of Madness as well with their secular brethren. In 2014, they are not attending the Alive Festival as I had hoped here in Ohio but I heard last week that they are going to be in Cleveland with Third Day, Mandisa and others in March so when tickets went on sale on Friday at 10am, I snatched up two tickets..very good tickets at that! My daughter and I will enjoy a date night of dinner and a concert...really looking forward to it! (and the flame throwers, too) :) Tickets Here!

- This past week I typed up a rant for Facebook then deleted it. I have been letting the fact that people replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" yet don't ever say "Happy Holidays" for New Years, St. Patty's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Father's Day, and every single other holiday out there. Christmas has a huge impact on so much: work schedules, the retail industry, travel, parties, food, Christmas tree industry, presents, and the list goes on and on...yet so many "re-name" it...all in the name of political correctness or whatever. After I typed up my rant...I deleted it. What I knew would happen would be a lashing from others about the roots of the holiday and how nearly all of it is rooted in pagan traditions...and that's true! I wasn't up for the fight...but then my pastor wrote a blog about it the next day and said it so well...and non-offensively at that. So with that, here it is. Such a well-researched post and laying out of the facts...very pagan ones at that but gets to the crux of why Christmas is so important. Here it is.

- The following video is a sort-of flash mob. Regardless, it's one I encourage you to watch. It happened in Boston this past week and is best viewed with your speakers turned to the max...especially near the end. Incredible power in this! Enjoy...and a very Merry Christmas Eve Eve to you and yours!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Race" Report: URINEO 2013

We've been below freezing with a consistent snow pack for the past month but two days ago, the temperature shot straight up and the rain began...and continued...and continued. When I awoke at 3:30am this morning, it was 54F out! On December 21st! Plus, it was pouring rain. Still, there was nothing that would keep me from heading out to Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, OH. NEO Trail Club puts on this annual trail fest called URINEO which stands for "Ultra runners in northeast Ohio" and is pronounced "ur-een-o". Alrighty? Alright. It comes at no cost and it's basically a run what you want..just be done between 1pm and 2pm-ish for a social gathering of food (potluck-style) and spirits. I heard of a 6:30am start so I planned on that and hoped for something in the 30-mile range for the day. No real reason but I did want a feel-good run for my 50K race in the mountains two weeks from today.

The rain fell all the way there and honestly, never really stopped for long all day. Sometimes a steady rain and sometimes sprinkling. We started out in the dark so headlamps were on. I went ahead and wore my screwed trail shoes because I heard ice was still on the trail...perfect. I headed out with Gombu, Kimba, The Professor, and Victor...eventually became myself, Victor and Gombu for most of the day. Before long, we were realizing what a mud run the day would be. So much snow and ice melt made the trail super slick and in the really steep areas, the trees surrounding us served as anchors to latch onto and pull ourselves along....up or down. One thing that was very cool (or warm) was these warm and frigid areas we'd pass through, often touching each other. We couldn't figure out what was causing it but in one moment, we'd feel warmth, like from a dryer and then meat locker air. So weird but pretty cool, nonetheless. Each loop was in the mid 7's and my trunk served as my aid station. Throughout the day, I never felt tired or beat down. It was surreal, honestly. I never know when I'm going to be dealt a good hand but today was one of them.

Mud...so much mud...yet I never fell once today. I racked up 30 miles for the day. That made the last 3 days total 50 miles and 61 miles for the week with two days of rest. Even MORE awesome was that I cracked 2000 miles for the year! WOOT! I actually sit at 2,009.4 miles right now with 10 days left in the year. Not too shabby!

Afterwards, some great food, desserts and spirits waited for us in the Old Log Cabin. It was a great day to see folks I hadn't seen in quite some time and just soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of the trails, waterfalls, and birds flying everywhere. I had a great time...couldn't ask for more.

I did snatch a few photos today...shocking, I know. Here are my favorites from the day:
Lake Glacier

A staple of NEO Trail events

One of my favorites

L-R (Me, Victor, Kimba, and Gombu)

Happy Trails!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Screwed Shoes V 2.0, Ice, and Sunrises

Tis the season for ice and snow...and screws. Back in 2009, I screwed my first pair of Keen trail shoes with a dozen plus of hexagonal sheet metal shoes. Those shoes bit the dust last season so a new set was due to be indoctrinated...in steps an old pair of Brooks Cascadia trail shoes. My initial video on YouTube garnered over 500 views but was over 5min long. I snapped some photos last night of this "screwing" and made it into a 55 second instructional video that tells you everything you need to know. Bonus: This will cost you under $2.50. Can't beat it! Looking forward to the first week in January, I have my next 50K in the mountains of West Virginia and I want to be prepared for whatever comes at me...be it packed snow or ice. These shoes will now be my chariot if either present themselves. The goal? Don't fall and pass out like my last venture into the West Virginia mountains. :)
My running is going well for December so far. Very much on track for my 2,000 mile goal for 2013...only about 20 miles to go and will probably hit it by week's end. Tomorrow is NEO Trail Club's annual social run in Mill Creek Park dubbed URINEO...stands for ultra runners in Northeast Ohio. Start whenever you want but target a finish around 1pm for a potluck and some good 'ol fashion social time. Given our rapid warming trend and now rain...it should be a mud pit. However, we've been in a deep freeze for awhile and the word from the trail is ICE and lots of it. No matter how much rain we get, that much ice most likely is not going to melt so good thing I screwed my shoes last night because they'll be on my feet tomorrow. Shorts, too...

I have captured a few fantastic photos over the past few weeks and I'd like to share a few. Click on them to view full screen and/or save.

Morning Run on 12/7/2013
Sunrise on 12/19/2013
Sunrise on 12/19/2013
Run Happy, friends!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sponsorship Changes in 2014

2013 is about to be sealed in history and nothing more than an image in the rear view mirror. I've been a bit silent lately in the writing arena but all is well. I've been running consistently, working, and just enjoying life with my 3 girls. I'm also in a pause as for running races...not a slump...a pause. I purposely did this simply to not have anything immediate on the calendar and enjoy the holiday season while preserving the weekends. I did throw in a Holly Jolly Half Marathon last Saturday. One of my wife's goals for November 2013 - October 2014 is to run a half marathon a month. It can be a real race or simply a run of 13.1 or more. Her and one of our fellow running friends, Amy, are doing it. Amy's son came up with the name of the most recent installation, the "Holly Jolly Half." (#hollyjollyhalf) I wanted 20 on the trails but a big snowstorm was inbound so I instead decided to run 7 miles to the nearby town, location of the "race," meet up with them and run it. 20.3 miles in a fresh snowfall! Gorgeous day to be out there.

So sponsorship: This year completes year #4 with Brooks Running. I have absolutely loved being a part of the Brooks ID (Inspire Daily) program. However, the whole program is undergoing a major overhaul and most are being shown the door with the option of applying to a similar program called "Brooks Fanatics."  Only coaches and elite athletes are being kept in the ID program going forward. Am I disappointed? Of course. But, I love Brooks as a company, the way they do business, give back, and are increasingly earth-conscious. Oh yea, I love their shoes, too. (just bought 3 more pair of Pure Flows!) I will miss the program and hope my relationship with them continues...just on a different "trail," so to speak.

In other sponsorship news, I applied last month for sponsorship with Hammer Nutrition for 2014.  Last night, I found out I was selected! I quickly reviewed and agreed to the contract and couldn't be happier. I have been exclusively fueling and recovering with Hammer's products for years so this is a perfect "marriage" for me. I do hope to do them proud and represent the brand well. If you happen to use Hammer or want to try it out, click HERE for 15% off your first order. "Hammer on!"

46 miles. That's about all that exists between me and my goal for 2013...that being 2000 miles. I stand today at just over 1,945 miles so unless I break a leg, I've got it in the bag. Hardly 96 hours into 2014, I'll be wearing Hammer's colors at my first 50K of 2014. I guess that's one way to get a jump start on 2014, eh?! As for Brooks...regardless of whether they keep me or not, I'll be running happy.

So finish up 2013 strong and regret nothing! Most of all, hug those nearest to you tight and enjoy this Christmas season. Make the very best of it all!

Run Happy, friends!