Wednesday, May 30, 2007

10K+ photo finish

From the photo, guess which one is running at a sub 6 minute mile pace to the finish line at the Cleveland Rite Aid (suppose to be 10K) race. Two guys are finishing at an 8 minute mile pace.
The problem was that I was with a group of lead runners and was directed off course early in the race and did not get back on the correct course until the 5 mile mark. I was then blowing by all kinds of runners who were trying to finish in 48 minutes for 6.2 miles. My finish time was also 48 minutes but I had to run an additional 2.7 miles.

The race directors are doing their best to resolve the error and will let us know what they will do about it on June 6th.

Here is an update from an email I received today from the Cleveland Rite Aid race director.

Dear 10K runner, We now have sent either an email or letter to every registered 10K runner asking anyone who ran off course to let us know, and emails and phone calls continue to trickle into our office. At this time we have had 78 runners contact us. To bring this to a conclusion, we are setting a deadline of June 6 for any runner who went off course to contact us.
We have spoken to USATF as well as several marathon race directors about the mishap, and we've received plenty of advice from them as well as our runners. Shortly after the June 6 deadline, we will notify you of our decisions regarding this year's race as well as changes planned for next year. Our goal is to minimize the likelihood that this can happen again. "Minimize" is key, because we have learned that Cleveland was not the first race where groups of runners went off course. We just want to make sure it doesn't happen again in Cleveland.
Thank you for your patience. For those of you who offered advice, know that we are listening. We will contact you again shortly after June 6.
Sincerely, Ralph A Staph Race Director

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Backpacking Minister Creek Hiking Trail

My wife and I were driving to Allegheny National Forest this past weekend, with three 9 year old boys in the car, and when they were acting like silly little crazy boys, we looked at each other and asked, 'and why are we doing this'? We were taking them on their first backpacking experience for the weekend. If we had our druthers we would have been doing our own little weekend getaway trip, but this time was for us to have fun with the boys.

We chose to backpack the Minister Creek Hiking Trail which is considered a family friendly hiking trial. The trail is a 7.3 mile loop. We hiked about 2 hours on Saturday from the trail head to our camp site.

I let the boys lead the pace and if they wanted to stop and pick up hiking sticks, pick up a newt, climb huge tree roots that were growing on the side of a cliff, or jump in the creek it was all up to them and about having fun. I also wanted to teach them some backpacking skills. The first skill I wanted to show them was how to use a water purifier to pump out water from the creek. The only problem was I forgot to bring the filter cartridge. oops. The lesson learned was you almost always forget something on a backpacking trip. We had enough water for Saturday and for Sunday's breakfast but then we had to divided the remaining water among us for the hike out on Sunday. We only had about 4 ounces each with about 3 hours left to hike. I knew we would have to do something to survive the hike. Another lesson I taught them was to be friendly with other hikers especially if you notice a family out backpacking. We did find a father and his son at a camp site and we began to talk with them. We mentioned our water dilemma to them and they were more than willing to let us use their water pump so that we could fill up our water bottles. We were all elated that we had water to enjoy from the mountain stream. And the boys got to see how to purify water from the stream.

We were able to finish the hike with plenty of water and time to enjoy the scenery and the boys got one last time to jump in the stream to cool off and have some fun.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Letter from Race Director.

I received this email this morning from the race director.

Thank you very much for responding to our email. Let us tell you what we know so far, and what we are doing.
We have heard from about 65 runners who went off course, and many have different reasons for taking a wrong turn. We know that elite runners were led off course by the lead vehicle, and it looks like it snowballed from there. Those in sight of the elite runners followed, and then well-meaning bystanders, volunteers and police misdirected others. We learned of the problem from a race official as it happened, and we were able to get it corrected as quickly as possible. This is no excuse, and we sincerely apologize.
We are talking to USATF, the governing body of road racing, to help us determine the correct course of action. This may take a few days, so please be patient with us. We will do what is right, and we will make whatever changes are necessary to ensure that this never happens again. Under consideration already are a course change and greater separation in the start time between the marathon and 10K.
We appreciate your comments - even the harshest and most critical. We are listening, and we will make changes to make our race better for you, our runners. Many of the people who put this race together are runners, too, so please know that we feel your pain and we care.
Again, thank for responding and sharing your experience with us. We will be back in touch with you as soon as we have a decision about the best course of action we can take.

Ralph A Staph Race Director

I'll post any new information I get from the race director as soon I get them.

I guess the Marathon director is receiving all kinds of complaints from not only the 10K runners but also the marathoners as well. Runners were directed to run on the sidewalks after 5 hours on the course and after 6 hours aid stations were gone, police support gone, and race cones gone but according to race information, quote "Official times of the 26.2-mile competitive foot race are maintained for 8 hours". People will be calling this 30th anniversary of the Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon & 10K race as the "marathon mistake on the lake" for sure.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cleveland "not a" 10K Race report.

I have a reoccurring nightmare where I am running effortlessly with my feet hovering off the ground and I'm passing all kinds of people, but the only problem is that I don't know where I am running. I am lost. I would always wake up from my dream race experience extremely agitated and frustrated. My dream or rather my nightmare came true today.
This morning at the Cleveland Rite Aid 10k, for some unknown reason, the lead vehicle led us astray. The runners all followed the vehicle the WRONG way and some were exchanging expletives unsure of what to do anyway. I figured if we are all being led down into the flats, then no big deal, we'll all run the same distance and get our respective times at the finish. I thought lets make the best of it and continue to the finish. The 2 mile marker was the last one we saw until we were directed back onto the original course at the five mile maker.
Between the 2 and 5 mile maker we had, no crowd support, no aid stations, and no police support. And we managed to run probably an additional 2 + miles. Sometime during the race the officials realized the error and made the correction and had the rest of the runners diverted back onto the correct course. But the damage was done and some of the runners were so mad that they didn't finish. My focus was to continue to run tough and stay with one of the lead Kenyan women (Leah Kiprono) who was running a sub 6 minute mile pace. But while I was chasing her, people driving in their cars were beeping and yelling at us to get off the road. They were probably wondering why this old white man was chasing a young pretty black girl. I wasn't going to hurt her. really. She was my inspiration to the finish. Her stride was poetry in motion. I thanked her and shook her hand at the finish for a run well done. I did manage to finish ahead of Leah by 17 seconds. I was happy.
I emailed the race director to let him know how upset I was and requested a refund. We'll see what they say.
If anyone ran the misdirected 10K run and was wearing a GPS and knows the correct distance please let me know. I think my next watch will be a Garmin 205. Anyone have one on sale?

Friday, May 11, 2007

What's your style?

We all have our own unique style of running. Some runners glide effortlessly across the ground as poetry in motion and others move in a suffering waddling way. Over the years of running I am amused that I can spot someone running in my direction, who may be several hundred yards away, by their particular movements as a male or female, a friend, or someone else I recognize.

I have heard of different methods of running by using the Pose or ChiRunning methods. I have tried some of the techniques they teach but eventually I revert back to my particular way of running where I feel comfortable with. Maybe if there were some mechanical issues with my legs and I incurred injuries regularly then I would have to learn some new form of running. But thankfully, I have been injury free for the past 21 years and I think I can run fast so there is no need for me to change my running style. Though, I do enjoy reading and learning about things I can do to improve my running I sometimes give them a try. I realize there is always room for improvement when it comes to running. Knowledge and experience come to a runner over the years of training and racing which is why we keep running.

If I did change my running form then you might not recognize me when we cross each other on the trails. I want you to remember me by my style. See you out on the roads.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Vo2 Max & Fitness test

A definition of cardiovascular fitness can be explained as the ability of the heart, lungs and circulatory system to supply oxygen and nutrients to working muscles efficiently, and allows activities that involve large muscle groups (walking, running, swimming, biking, etc.) to be performed over long periods of time. From a health standpoint, cardiovascular or aerobic fitness is generally considered to be the most important of the fitness components.

I had the opportunity to get a fitness test and my maximum oxygen consumption (Max VO2) measured last Friday at the Human Performance lab here at CSU. A fitness test along with a Max VO2 test is part of the fitness for life class that students take at the end of the semester.
My fitness test results included the measurements of:
**Blood Chemistry's - Total Cholesterol -203 mg/dl, HDL - 65 mg/dl, LDL - 120 mg/dl, Triglycerides - 86 mg/dl, and Glucose - 95mg/dl,
**Muscular Strength Assessment - Grip (L) 53 kg, and Grip (R) 49 kg
**Flexibility Assessment - Sit & Reach - 9.3 in
**Body Composition - Body weight 144lbs, Lean Body Mass 134.5 lbs, Fat Mass 9.5 lbs, Basal Metabolic Rate 1915, Body fat percentage 6.6%.
My Body Age is 39 compared to my chronological age of 47. I finally caught up with my father who still claims to be 39. Now I can say, 'I'm turdee-nine too (said with a Hungarian accent).

The Max VO2 test was performed on a treadmill. I started with a warm-up run at a 7:30 pace for 10 minutes and the incline set to zero. After the warm-up a head piece with a mouth piece connected to hoses and a nose clip were put on and I was hooked up to the machine to begin the test. The test began with me running at the 7:30 pace and the incline increased to 3 percent every 3 minutes. I hit my max of 60.8 ml/kg-min ten minutes into the test and the incline was set to 9 percent. At eleven minutes the effort began to wane and my VO2 went down to 58.6 which meant I wouldn't get any better than 60.8 and the test was completed. I think I might have done better if the nose clip didn't keep flying off my sweaty nose and the head piece would have stayed on better. I was a bit distracted with those issues and lost my concentration to push it a little harder. Overall I was please with the results which indicated my cardiovascular fitness to be in the 99th percentile and the Elite classification.

I have been in the program for the past 6 years and have been tested every year. I find it interesting to review the results and compare it with pervious years.