Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 BR 100

Wow, over two years since my last bolg post. Anybody read this? I had everything laid out the night before so I could sleep in late. The alarm woke me at 3:30am. Perfect! Heating water for my oatmeal took longer than anticipated so I departed a couple minutes late at 3:47am. I ate my oatmeal while driving to where I work, Progressive Insurance Campus II. My office is just a few miles from the start, so my plan was to leave my car in the parking garage at work all weekend and have co worker and fellow Brecksvillian Brett Bartolet give me a ride into work on Monday. My brother Dale was working at one of the early aid stations for the race and he would be giving me a ride from Progressive to the race start. I was 2 minutes late and Dale was 15 minutes early. Dale thanks for waiting! At the start area, Squires Castle I talked with Suzanne Pokrny, Marie Bartoletti and Mike Kazar while in the "line" before the start. I was shocked to learn that Marie and Mike had both completed The Lake Placid Iron Man Triathlon last weekend. The first five miles are on Chagrin River Road south from Squires Castle to Gates Mills, where we cross the river on an old (1922) Iron Bridge. I met and ran with Northfield resident Mark Chaloupka. It's a little strange Mark and I live so close to each other and have this unique passion, yet we are only now meeting for the first time in the initial miles of a 100 mile race. John Quinn was at his usual post doing safety patrol at the Mayfield Road intersection. At the first aid station I knew every volunteer, Rich and Steve Novak, and Jerry Tomko. Miles 6 to 10 are also south on Chagrin River Road. The sun was coming up just before we hit Fairmont Bvld. I ran with and got to know Mel Terwilliger. She has a fascinating job with Lake Metro Parks Wildlife Center and works to help rehabilitate injured animals. She also filled me in on her Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run that she shared with Melissa Cairns. Progressive co worker Sara Curran was at the road crossing just before the Polo Field Aid Station. I was pleased to see my brothers Rick and Dale working behind the tables keeping food bins full. We had someone take a photo of us. Someday I may get to see that picture! I don't know the woman who took it, but she said she would put it on the internet. This is a funny comment, kind of like saying, "you can find me in the United States!" Miles 10 to 18 are the first trail miles, all on bridle trails. I met and ran with Dustin Burkholder who was also working on a four time Burning River 100 finish (which he did). I ran a little with Frank Duchossois and got my left foot wet in Wiley Creek, one of the few stream crossings. I ran with John Buehrle through south Chagrin Metro Park all the way to Route 91 crossing. Celeste Wagner was at the Harper Ridge Aid Station. Just after crossing over Ohio 422, we went past the Stouffer food processing plant and smelled some kind of Italian sauce spice. At Shadow Lake Aid Station I picked up my Nathan two bottle water belt, hat, sun glasses and i-pod. Miles 18 to 28 are still on mostly bridle trails. I ran with Ron Ross and Brad Polman. I talked to a woman and her husband along Tinkers Creek multi-use path while they were out for a Saturday morning 3 mile jog. She was amazed to hear what the race was all about. In Bedford we caught up with the barefoot runner Jason Robillard and he was having a heck of a time with the gravel bridle trails on this section. It looked incredibly painful to me. He was also running in a kilt. I saw my track coach Glen Alexander and Barb Broad at the Alexander Road Aid Station. I also remember seeing Celeste Wagner there as well. I didn't ask her about her husband Bill, but I knew she was there for him, and also helping other runners. Mile 28 to 33 has some single track followed by 2.5 miles on tow path. I talked with Judy on the phone while running along the Sagamore Run canyon. I got to Station Road Bridge before she could meet me. Dave Janasko helped me at the aid station. I changed sox and put on trail shoes. I left my sun glasses there since it was mostly overcast and there is a lot of shade in the trails. I saw Celeste again and noticed she had a boot on her injured foot. Miles 33 to 39 are all in Brecksville, where I live. I departed Station Road running a few hundred yards with another Progressive co worker Darryl Mika. Judy, Angie and Miriam met me at the Overlook by Hinens Grocery Store. I ran more with Brad Polman Cody Knepp and John Hnat. Kevin Landis and his family were at Ottawa Point Aid Station. Miles 39 to 44 are also in Brecksville on the Buckeye Trail. I was starting to get upset stomach and had to take an e-cap to feel better. I was passed by Kinga Miklos just after Bridle Valley Trail at the base of the BIG hill. She was just stung by a wasp. I was passed by Yosuke Murase on the flat field 10 minutes before Snowville Road Aid Station. He is Japanese and speaks very little English. Miles 44 to 49 continue south on the Buckeye trail and we cross into Summit County. We also pass through Columbia Run canyon on this trail and the hemlock grove makes for a scenic section of trail. I ran the access road all the way from the towers view to the first stream crossing. This is a slight up hill and I am almost never able to run this even when I am just doing the BT50K. At mile 49, Judy Angie and Miriam were at Boston Store. I made sure they met Elizabeth Hanson. I wasted some time in the bathroom. My son Spencer called me on the Brandywine loop after the falls and I was able to tell him about my tracking device. I passed Frank Duchossois just before Stanford Hostel. He was walking and really down. He talked about being finished at Boston Store II. At mile 55, Judy and the girls were still at Boston Store when I came through the second time. I wasted time in the bathroom AGAIN! I stopped taking vanilla gu since it was making my stomach upset and forced me to take some e-caps. Which I hate doing. Miles 55 to 59 cross under I-271 and over I-80 (The Ohio Turnpike.) As I crossed the turnpike I gave the horn signal to a trucker and he responded! I ran a little with Mark Elderbrock just before Pine Lane Aid Station. There was major cowbell at Pine Lane Aid Station! It was nice to see Debi Glinsek and Cindy Antenucci. Miles 59 to 64 are mostly on paved surface. I did a lot of fast running on Akron Peninsula road and the bike-n-hike. My cell phone was off and I was only able to check one voice mail before it died altogether. The message was from Spencer and he found the tracking web site so he could see my progress. Just north of Camp Ledgewood there is a nicely kept home and there is always a Semi tractor parked in the drive. This time the truck driver was out in his yard. I told him he had a nice place! Miles 64 to 71 go through a large outcropping of limestone with a great view over the Cuyahoga valley, where we were able to see the beginnings of a great sunset. I met Maria Cala the Aid Station captain at Happy Days. My pacer, Joe Novicky started running with me. I was SO GLAD to go around the limestone ledges and not through the middle of them. There were two dope smokers in the parking lot next to their parked motorcycles at Virginia Kendal. Joe and I made some loud (friendly) comments about the smell. I used the bathroom at the chalet and forgot to refill water bottles in the bathroom. I ran out of water about 20 minutes before Pine Hollow I and I had to walk due to dehydration concerns. Roy Heger passed me at the base of Sound of Music Hill. Miles 71 to 74 is a shot loop section on the Sault Run trail. I wasted some time as I sat at Pine Hollow and drank 20 oz water along with some soup. It got dark and had to start with the head lamp. I ran way too slow on the Sault run loop. Miles 74 to 81 is the longest segment between aid stations. It was real dark and the trail was rough in spots from heavy horse use and poor drainage so I ran slowly. I felt a hot spot on my left heel as we went by a field with goats. The goats were not out. I stopped on Bolanz Road before the bridge over the river and sat on the guard rail to apply body glide to my heel. Miles 81 to 85 are technically among the most challenging miles on the course. The Perkins loop was not bad with the addition of the riding run section. I was slow on the first part of the loop. I stopped at a stream crossing to sit on a big rock and apply more body glide to the ball of my right foot. I was able to run fairly fast on the riding run section and passed Kinga Miklos. She was tired so I gave here a bunch of chocolate covered espresso beans. We talked a bit and I found out she is from Romania and currently lived near Toronto. Miles 85 to 89 start with two miles of road followed by two miles of single track trail. I changed sox and put on road shoes at Covered Bridge II. Added more body glide to both my feet. Joe was not able to stay with me on the road. I was about 11 minute per mile pace for those two miles. He caught me on the trail in O'Neil Woods. I passed about 4 runners on the road. Miles 89 to 93 start with about a mile of single track followed by a short road section and then about four miles on tow path. We run right past the Akron Sewage Treatment plant compost facility. Yucky smell! I was slow going out of O'Neil Woods Aid Station down the big Hill. One of my favorite places on the late part of this race is where the trail runs along side Yellow Creek. On my first BR 100 I was at a very low point going through here and the sun was coming up. I'll paraphrase what Joe Novicky told me right then and his words pulled me out of the funk, "Mike, get your head out of your ass and look at how beautiful this place is, where else in the world would you rather be?" Again, I was able to run fast on the road and tow path after O'Neil Woods. I passed more runners. Miles 93 to 96 are all tow path. I was about five minutes ahead of Joe Novicky at the Merriman Aid Station. I used the five minutes to dump my pack and pull out the hand held bottle carrier. This was a mistake as my two backup lights were in the pack. And it was still real dark. My primary light failed about five minutes out of Merriman and I could not get it to go back on. My light batteries were good, the light housing was not seating properly. I ran the next two and a half miles by the small light of the moon. It was all on tow path and my night vision is good, so I pressed on ahead of Joe. I passed more runners. Mile 96 to the Finish are mostly on road, with about a mile of single track and another mile of wide flat trail. Maria Cala was also captain at this aid station. I jokingly asked how far to the next aid station – I have a strange sense of humor. I did some adjustments to the flash light head lamp at the Memorial Road Aid Station and moved out before Joe Novicky got there. I was starting to worry about the two miles of Chuckery trail that was a head of me. I was ok on road and tow path in the dark, but trail would be impossible this time of night with out a light. I could get mine to work but it would go out after just a few steps and I'd have to readjust it to work again and after a while I was afraid it would stop working altogether like it did just out of the Merriman Aid Station. I walked and walked and walked. There was another runner a couple hundred yards in front of me. They kept getting further and further away until I lost sight. Joe caught me just before the Chuckery trail. He had a spare hand held light. We ran the trail super slow. At the top of the stone stairs there is a one mile flat and wide trail where I was able to run fast again. Joe was unable to keep up. Dusky dawn was starting. I passed Yosuke Murase. A runner was coming toward me with a flash light. It was Steve Godale. He ran in with me and let me know how all the fast runners finished. We talked about being a vegan and bacon. I could smell it cooking at the Sheraton Inn restaurant. I finished just after sun rise. At the finish, Race Director Joe Jurczyk was there to shake my hand and hand me my buckle. I sat in a chair next to John Hnat. He finished about 50 minutes before me. My finish line gear was not there. I looked through all the bags and it never made it there. Melissa Liebling heped me look with no success. So I had no cloths, sandals, etc. I found a long sleeve shirt and put that on over my race singlet. I took my shoes and sox off to let my feet air out and found that the blister on my left heal was big and it was full of blood. The next shift of podiatry students was just setting up and I was their first customer. I used Joe Novickys cell phone to call Judy. By the time she came to get me I had eaten a couple of egg and cheese wraps and gathered all my gear from all the aid stations. I was still not able to find my finish area gear which I found out later was stored in the Vertical Runner Store trailer and I did not get it back till Monday which was ok since I didn't need anything. I am grateful that God has allowed me another BR 100 finish. His willing, there will be more.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Update - Doing Much Better

I have not posted in a while. Why? Because I am too busy running. YES, I AM RUNNING AGAIN?

About 5 weeks ago I was with the PT (Lorie) going over hand exercises and I lamented that while I would be able to run in August, (I am registered for BR100), I would be unable to TRAIN for it, therefore I would not be running it. After a brief discussion with her, where I explained how relaxing the longer training runs would be, she left me alone to consult with the Surgeon, Dr. Drew Engles. After a few minutes, she returned saying, "Mike you better not mess up, I went to bat for you and Dr. Engles, who is strictly by-the-book, would allow me to run ONLY if I wrapped my hand in a protective "tendon-relaxed" position. So for the next 4 weeks I had gradually increased my miles and included some LONG runs. Two weeks ago I did 50 at Mohican. It was slow, but I completed with out major problems. Here I am at Lyons Falls about 28 miles into the race - Last night I ran from 7pm to about 4am with some friends through BR100 and Vertical Runner. A week ago Dr. Engles allowed me to start running with out the splint and wrap.

Now, the REAL good news. At my last appointment with the PT and Dr Engles, BOTH were astounded at my recovery progress. Dr Engles told me that my hand use is way advanced. He said, "you are better then the average patient at 12 weeks post surgery." The real cool thing is that I was just 8 weeks post surgery when he told me that!

Here is a new photo of my hand. A recap of my running since the hand injury - May Miles - 12 June Miles - 200

Saturday, May 3, 2008


This is real difficult. We are packing this week for the trip to Czech Republic. We is not the correct word to use - (Judy's not getting much help from me or the 3-yr old). I am still not running the marathon. I have almost no use of my right hand. No physical pain. Just some discomfort with the current splint, and discomfort when I do the two physical therapy exercises I go through EVERY hour. I am avoiding the pain meds as much as possible. Only taking 1/2 dose in the evenings the past couple of days. Here are two photos. CAUTION - the second one is a close up of the surgeons art work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Post Surgery

Tendon repaired. Call me lefty. Typing difficult. Starting to feel better about my condition. Hope to have full recovery. Dr says all went well in surgery. Only one tendon (of 3) was severed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bad News

I am now on a forced 8 week rest from training (running). This really hurts since I am registered for the Prague International Marathon on May 11, and also for the Burning River 100 the first weekend of August. I hurt my hand on Saturday, April 26, and it involved a severed tendon. The orthopedic surgeon that will repair the tendon tomorrow has told me, "NO STRENUOUS EXERCISE FOR AT LEAST 8 WEEKS, MAYBE MORE!" No Marathon in Prague. Technically, I could run Burning River 100, I just can't train for it. I am sad.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I ran the Disney Marathon one week ago today. I did what I expected but not what I wanted. No excuses; I just did not prepare as I should have. I expected something just under 3:30 and I finished with 3:27:55. I felt great up to about 18. The next 4 miles were tough but I kept my pace about 7:40 per mile and pushed through the pain. The last 4 miles were not much fun and my pace dropped-off significantly. My last 2 miles were 9:46 and 9:55. Not great but I didn't walk!

Here is a photo of me at mile 10.5. With the way the castle shadows fall - it looks like I have my mouse ears on?

About 19 miles into the race we were running on the parkway between Animal Kingdom and the MGM Disney Park, I caught view of a runner in FULL Minnie Mouse costume. I was gaining on Minnie and was planning something quippy to say to her. As I passed her, I realized it was a HIM! I kept my mouth shut. It was a welcome diversion from my pain.

My wife Judy got a photo of HIM in the finish area.

Here is a family photo in the finish area:

L to R: Back Row, Mother-in-Law (Dolly), Wife (Judy), Donald, Daisy, Me; Front Row, Daughter (Angie)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007