Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer So Far

The summer has been very eventful so far, and I'm enjoying the time off with the boys and Tina, now that she is unemployed. After out trip to Slate Run we headed to Rehoboth for a week. We stayed at a new place, which was only a half block off the beach, and it was very nice being so close to the ocean and the boardwalk. We fished, played on the beach, and did the other Rehoboth activities that we enjoy including going to the water park and visits to Dogfish Head Brewing (okay, I enjoy that more than the others).

Kyler and I also ran two races: The Rusty Rudder 5K and the Seashore Striders 5K. In the first race Kyler set a new PR, 23:53, and finished 6th in his age group, 10-14. I ran a 19:07, which was my fastest time on that course and good enough for 2nd in my age group. At the next race Kyler ran 24:20, and finished 4th in his age group. I had one of my best races ever, and lowered my PR to 18:43. This won the age group, and I picked up a $75 gift cert. to the New Balance Store.

Since vacation Kyler has been playing soccer, and is looking forward to two upcoming tournaments. Tristan will soon be playing again as well, and before we know it, the fall season will be in full swing. Currently, both boys are at camp, which has given Tina and I the opportunity to get away a little and catch up on chores around the house. Before the boys left for camp, Tina went to California and the boys and I went on a great camping trip to trough Creek State Park, which is near Raystown Lake. Looking forward to some more camping, fishing and daytrips before having to head back to school.

Slate Run Backpacking

Took both boys on a backpacking trip into Slate Run the third weekend in June. It was Kyler's 4th trip with a pack, but Tristan's first, so I picked a short hike into Slate Run. Joining us was Andy B. and my friend Kyle F. and his son Jackson.

The weekend was a bit rainy, but there were periods of clearing and we had a great time camping on the creek. The boys found many diversions, and had a blast playing in and around Slate Run.

On the way up, we stopped at Bullfrog Brewing for lunch, and on the way home we stopped at Selinsgrove brewing for lunch. Nice bookends to two days of camping.

Pasta Run

Ran this race two years ago off of City Island in Harrisburg. Then I won my age group, and almost won the masters, but for letting a guy pass me mid-race.

Conditions were brutal, 97 degrees at the 6:00 p.m., which was start time. Went out well, but wilted around the halfway point. The guy who beat me two years ago was behind me, so I mustered a little acceleration and opened up a gap, which I was able to maintain. Had a nice kick on the bridge, but came in at 20:03. My streak of sub-20 5Ks ended, but it was good enough for the Masters win, and a pair of Oakley sunglasses.

Bridge Run

Ran the Bridge Run on Memorial day weekend. This was well over a month since running the RACC Run. It was a hot morning. I was hoping to go under 19:00 again, but the course finishes with a major climb.

I ran well, but the heat got to me a little, and I lost time climbing the hill at the end. Also, running approximately 2 miles on a bridge was not the most pleasant event in the world. Ran 19:20, and picked up a second in the 40-49 age group.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Shenandoah National Park, May, 2011

Last weekend Kyler and I departed for the Shenandoah National Park. We left Thursday evening and stayed in Winchester, Va. Friday morning, we got up early, had breakfast then drove to the Old Rag Mountain parking lot for our hike up Nicholoson Hollow.

The week was nice, but Friday it was raining, however, it stopped during our hike in. We were on the trail by around 11:00, and we met Kyle F. and and Andy B. in camp around noon.

We rigged up a great tarp shelter, and had a place to get out of the rain. We dubbed our shelter the "tarp mahal."

Spent Friday afternoon exploring the Hughes River and it's many rock formations, and I did a little trout fishing. After supper, we had some beers, and played a game of UNO. Kyler was quite pleased with himself, as he won in comeback fashion.

Saturday we explored Hannah Run, and found a beaver colony/dam. This is the first time since coming down in the early '90's that I ever saw evidence of Beavers. Later in the day we went fishing using both the Tenkara rod and traditional fly equipment. Had realy good luck fishing a bead-head green weenie.

Saturday evening was similar to Friday evening, and again, kyler was the UNO champ. UNO might be one of the best backpacking/camping card games ever invented.

Saturday night brought the most rain of the trip, but the new Sierra Designs tent performed well, and we stayed dry. Sunday, broke clear and we were able to pack up in sunshine, however, it didn't last. Fortunately it lasted long enough Sunday afternoon to dry out all the gear.

This was another great trip, and I'm so glad we were able to continue the tradition. Next year, both boys will be with me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hibernia Off-Road Duathlon

I have always wanted to do a mountain biking event, and this seemed like the perfect one, because I could get my son involved. We formed Team 2K to compete: Kyler would run, and I would mountain bike. The distances were 2.6 mile run, 12 mile bike, 2.6 mile run. Also competing with us would be Team Runkle consisting of my friend Chris and his son Zac. Both Zac and Kyler are on the same soccer team.

The day before the race, we received 3" of rain throughout the area, so we were expecting muddy conditions. The weather Sunday morning was clear and windy with temps in the 50s.

We arrived about an hour early, and Chris and I warmed up on our bikes then went for a run with Kyler and Zac. During the warm-up we realized just how muddy the course was going to be. Start time was 9:00, and we were ready to go.

Kyler and Zac went out strong and were hanging mid-pack before they dropped out of sight. Chris and I figured we wouldn't see them for at least 25 minutes. Around the 23:00 minute mark, Zac came out of the woods heading for the transition, but Kyler wasn't in sight. Zac tagged Chris, and Chris was off like a shot. About a minute later Kyler came in. I asked if he was okay and he informed me that he had to stop, because his shoe got sucked off in the mud. We tagged and I was off.

I have done many bike legs in triathlons, but never off-road and never in the conditions like yesterday. It was by far the hardest race, or leg of a race that I ever competed in. I don't do that much mountain biking, and fortunately the course was a good beginner course, and wasn't too technical, nonetheless, it presented many challenges.

I was able to stay on my bike for almost the entire loop, but there was a section that I had to dismount to negotiate. There were also two section where I spun out and had to dismount, because I lost forward momentum. I was able to negotiate the loop more efficiently the second time after learning how to get in the right gears and spin up the steep sections. Mud, however, was the word of the day, and I'm surprised that I didn't go down in a few sections that I could feel the front wheel wash out on me.

I came in at least 20 minutes down to Chris, but I knew that would be the case. He is a former mountain bike racer and could fly on this course. I tagged Kyler, and he was off. about 21:00 - 22:00 minutes later he came out of the woods. There was a runner on his heels and we told him to kick it in, which he did. I was proud of his guts and determination, and was happy that he had a grin on his face.

I highly recommend this race. It was well organized and laid-out. If time permits, we hope to do some more off-road events with Mid-Atlantic Events

Monday, April 11, 2011


Great race yesterday. No wind, flat course, cool temps. It was held in downtown Reading; the start was near the RACC campus. The student center was open for registration, which meant access to bathrooms and water fountains.

I arrived about an hour early, and began my normal warm-up procedure including a 1.5-mile run. My goal was to go under 19:00, but I felt a little sluggish. The race went off at 10:00, and I went out at a fast pace, and found myself in the top ten. I hit the first mile at 5:40, and actually felt good. After mile 1, another runner passed me, and that was the last person to pass me. I had another runner about 5 yards in front of me that I kept my sights on, but I never was able to close the gap. My paced dropped off a little by mile 2, but I was able to hang on the last mile and finished in 18:48, which was: 12 below my goal. The finish was a little tough. I like a long straight, which gives me a clear view to the line. This finish passed the original start then made 3 hard lefts to the line.

18:48 ties my PR from two years ago, which made this race special. I still have room for improvement, and I’m still improving despite closing in on a half century. I was 7th overall in the race, and second in my age group (40-49). The runner in front of me beat me by :02 for the age group win.

After the race, I ran my cool-down with Curt M., who finished ahead of me, and Tim H., the guy who finished behind me, and who knocked me off in the last mile of the Kris Kringle race back in December. We also ran with the woman’s runner up, Katherine D. It’s always nice meeting new runners and sharing the camaraderie.

The timing and direction of this race was superb, and the course was nice except, like I stated earlier, the finish was funky. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it.