Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 Cleveland 10 Miler

Cleveland 10 Miler – April 24, 2010

Yesterday, my wife and I ran the Cleveland 10 Miler ( I have been running this race since day one (2005) and they even list my name in their web site as part of the 50 or so runners who have run every 10 miler. The first 4 years it was downtown, but starting last year they moved it to Edgewater Park, which makes it an easier course, mostly flat with a bit of elevation loss since it starts at Edgewater's "upper deck" and ends at the "lower deck".

Here is a picture before the race. We are walking from the front deck, where we picked up our registration stuff, to the lower deck where our car is parked. A long line of people. The lake is on the left. Cleveland downtown straight ahead:

This has become a very popular race (5K is also an option) and this year it hit the limit of 2000 runners. The location is easily accessible and there is plenty of parking. Organization (by Hermes) is first class, in my opinion.

Here is a picture from the start line:

I see a little kid and a bunch of chubby guys, clearly not the kind of material that will win the race. WHY are these guys in the front line? I don’t understand what is going on through these people’s mind. Are they so ignorant?  PLEASE show some respect for the fast runners behind you who are trying to run 5 minute miles.

The weather was nice for running. Cool (50F), cloudy, with some sprinkles. After a short warmup I realized that I did not need a long sleeved shirt so I went back to the car to drop extras clothes. Liz, as always, started overdressed and wasted valuable seconds trying to undress while running. That’s where I say “I TOLD YOU SO!”

My goal was to run 7 minute miles, and I succeeded! Mile splits: 6:52, 6:53, 6:55, 7:01, 6:57, 7:05, 7:04, 7:03, 6:53, 6:29. I am especially pleased that the last two miles were fast, resulting in a negative split. I was running under pressure with a group of runners, everyone trying to move ahead, so I pushed as hard as I could.

My final time: 1:09:04, was faster (by 1 1/2 minutes) from the previous best time which was last year. I finished 4/49 in my age group and 57/1665 overall.

Liz had a 10 Mile PR with 1:31:48. Here is a picture of Liz storming ahead in the last ½ mile of the race:

There are no pictures of me. I wish I had one while eating my 4th plate of scrambled eggs. I don’t say this with any pride, but I usually eat like 2-3 runners after the race. That’s my portion, Liz’s portion, and some more. I hope there was enough food for everyone.

My next important race is the Cleveland Marathon, where I hope to improve last year's time of 3:22, or at least do better than 3:30. More about this in a future blog.

Old Oak Run 5K - 2010

Old Oak Run 5K – April 17, 2010

This is a small race (435 runners) in Middleburg Heights. The only reason we signed up for this is that it is part of the Hermes Road Racing series.

After a week of warm weather, it turned cold (30s) and windy for the race. The race was nicely organized, but I did not feel I was at my best. My mile splits were about 6:30 per mile (I was wearing a new Garmin watch, my previous one broke, so I don’t know my mile splits.) Interestingly, the finish line was past the start, so when you thought you were done, you still had a while to go.

My time was 20:42. I had no expectation for an award, especially since my age group for this race was 46-50, so I was the oldest in the group. Surprisingly, I got a 2nd place award. On the other hand, Liz was in the 51-55 group but finished 4th (her time was 26:32). What was more heartbreaking, she lost to her competitor in the Hermes Road Racing series by ONLY ONE second!

Here is a picture of both of us after the Awards Ceremony. The picture was taken by Lloyd Thomas (director of the Fools 50K and fellow Brecksville resident). Both Lloyd and his wife Andrea won first places. Lloyd’s time was 17:39 (7th overall).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Athens Marathon 2010 Closed?? WTF??

I cannot believe it!!!

Last year I ran the Athens Marathon (in Greece) and enjoyed it. This year (2010) it is the special anniversary of 2,500 years from the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) so I was thinking of doing it again.

Then, my wife, who has not run a marathon yet, threw the idea of making this her FIRST marathon. I told her that she is crazy (it is a very hard course)but we talked about it and became comfortable with the idea, and started making plans. Sounded like a wonderful idea to go and enjoy the experience together. I loved it!  I even got a stack of books and started reading about the history of the Battle of Marathon.

The registration opened a month ago. They sent me an email saying that I should register early because of the increased interest due to the anniversary. They said something like the race could fill by the end of Spring. Last year I waited until the last minute, just a couple of days before the deadline, sometime in October (!), and there were openings. There were about 3,500 runners last year. This year they said they will limit the field to 12,000 runners.

So, I go today to the web site, and what do I see? The race is filled and the registration is closed!!

("as the best race ever" you did not run!)

I did a bit of research and found that it closed in 2 weeks! (by April 1 - no joke!)  In two weeks they filled 12,000 spots, while last year they only had 3,500 runners? Hard to believe.  But they say that only 4,000 registrations were open to the general public.  The rest were distributed to different groups and tourist organizations outside Greece, ahead of time. I really don't understand this.  2 out of 3 registrations go to organizations and let the general public out of the race? 

They also say that around June (no date specified) they might free some registrations from cancelations (no specifics, nothing), so check the web site around this time.  This is unacceptable and irritating.  One needs to make plans, make flight reservations, train for the race, etc., so now we have to wait until June, just in case we get lucky?  I say, screw them!  Who needs that?

Who would have thought that the 2500 year anniversary from the Battle of Marathon would generate such an interest? Someone said that the anniversary is really next year (2011) since there is no year zero :) So I decided to buy the commemorative medal this year (anyone can buy it at - only 10 Euros each, they come from South Africa from all places) and run the race next year (ha, ha!). Actually I bought 3 medals, one for me, one for my wife and one for ebay (50 years from now it might be in high demand).  Here is a picture of it:

So I missed Boston 2010 and now Athens 2010. It's a terrible year!!! This puts a lot of pressure for people to register early for key races. Like the Summer Buckeye 50K. Some people put an alarm to wake up and register in the middle of the night. As if we did not have enough stress already. Running is supposed to be fun and here it becomes a source of stress and disappointment. Oh well, at least this shows an increased interest in running.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Classic 2010

We had a good time at the Spring Classic today. It was a bit cold at the start (32F) but sunny and warmed nicely to 40F by the end. I wore shorts, a long sleeve shirt, hat and gloves.

My goal was to improve last year's time (1:34:51).

I started a bit fast, banking time :) (First mile was 6:30 according to a fellow runner). My GPS watch broke last week so I had no idea what my pace was. Miles were marked but no one was calling times and I did not carry a stopwatch.

I got passed by my friend Michele early on and by a couple more guys during the race, but overall there were not many people and soon a large gap developed between the guy in my front and the guy in my back, so basically I was running alone. That’s not very good for pushing the pace.

The course is a real torture, good for building character. All roads. You go up, then down, finish one loop, and then repeat for a second loop. When finishing the first loop, the thought that you have to repeat this is a bit demoralizing, but you soon get over it.

Michele was the leading woman from the beginning to the end, so she got first place with a time under 1:30. She is 47 and a great runner. Here is a picture of her that I snapped during the race (I was running with my Fuji 3d camera):

I crossed the line at 1:34:30 (7:13 pace), barely improving my time, but happy with my effort. The big surprise is that I got a 3rd place award! I have been running the Spring and Fall Classics since 2005 (11 races total), and I have NEVER EVER won an award. So I was double happy! :)

My wife (Liz), as expected (remember, she "owns" this race) won first place in her age group at the 5K. My daughter (Lea) was 4th in her age group.

Here is a picture of all the happy runners with their awards:

From left to right: George, Liz, Lea and Andrew. Andrew is Lea’s friend from Toledo and won first place in his age group at the 5K.

There is another race (5K) next week and then the Hermes 10 miler the week after. This is the year of the races! Next long race is the Cleveland Marathon in May.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trails !!

The weather has been beautiful (warm & sunny) for the last week and I love running trails again!

Last Saturday we had a group trail run, starting from Boston, through the Buckeye trail to Snowville (5.2 miles) and then 4.8 miles to the Brecksville Stables, and back. Total of 20 miles done at about 3 ½ hours.

It was rather chilly at 6:30 am at the valley at Boston but at least 10- 20F warmer higher in the hills. I had stashed a bottle of Gatorade at Snowville, which proved to be a very idea. I was running ahead with Bob Clarke. Everyone else was behind.

At first we thought that the turnaround point was the Pavilion in Brecksville, but the GPS watch showed only 9 miles and there was no water there. So we continued for one more mile and found the Stables. We got some water and turned back. We met the rest of the group near the Pavilion and Nick Billock took this nice picture of us:

Later, Bob and I passed some runners who turned around at the Pavilion. They were dehydrated since they got no water and their supply had run out. I offered to share my Gatorade at Snowville with one guy. For the last couple of miles we ran out of water too, but made it to Boston OK.

Overall, it was a nice run. The weather was beautiful and the trails not too wet.