Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Top Ten Events In The Life Of The Enckster, 2008

Family Vacation, Rehoboth Beach, DE

10th Anniversary, Finger Lakes Region, NY

Camping With The Boys, R.B. Winter Sate Park, PA

Blue Monkey Sojourn, Schuylkill River, PA

1St 5K With My Son, Millersville Turkey Trot, Millersville, PA

The Boston Marathon, Boston, MA

3rd In My Age Group, Got The Nerve Triathlon, Mount Gretna, PA

Yellow Springs Rendezvous, Appalachian Trail, PA

Myriad Outdoor Activities With My Sons

10th Consecutive Polar Bear Plunge

Oops, I guess there were actually 11 events. Livestrong Philly 2008


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training Update

Last week, the weather interrupted my scheduled swimming days, so I resorted to biking and lifting only. I'm looking forward to getting back to running, but I'm holding to my plan of not starting up until the 1st of the year. I had a dream two nights ago that I was running a marathon. When I woke up, I had the crazy thought of running Boston again. Well, not so much crazy, but the thought was unexpected. The only thing about Boston is the cost. Maybe it is time to consider another spring marathon, Perhaps "God's Country" Marathon.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 40 minutes on the bike trainer; hammered during commercials
Wednesday: Weights, circuit routine
Thursday: 40 minutes on the bike trainer
Friday: Weights, circuit routine
Saturday: overcome by holiday events
Sunday: overcome by holiday events

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jingle Bell Run Race Report

Kyler and I decided to do one more race together this season and chose the Jingle Bell Run 5K. This is probably one of the biggest races in Lancaster County. Today, we helped set a record as over 1300 runners participated.

Kyler set his PR three weeks ago at the Millersville Turkey Trot which was a tough, hilly 5k course. We were sure he could shave a at least a few seconds off that today on the Jingle Bell course.

The race went off at 1:00 and we were in the middle of the pack. It felt like the start of a large marathon as everyone moved forward. We went out at a good pace and were able to open it up a little after the first quarter mile. Kyler was really excited being in such a big race, and he opened it up a little faster that I thought was good for him. I decided to let him go and only eased him back slightly. We hit the mile mark in 9:38, and I knew then he was going to shatter his PR.

The second mile was going well and we were holding pace, but I noticed Kyler was weaving a little, and seemed to be struggling. At mile two, I knew he was fighting a side stitch. We dialed it back, and even walked for about 20 seconds, but he quickly got back up to pace when he realized his one friend from soccer was starting to gain on him.

At the 2 1/2 mile mark, he wanted to walk again, but I told him the finish was only 1/2 mile - 4 minutes away - and he decided to push it home. We made the final turn and at that point he could see the finish and put on a strong kick. We crossed the line in 29:30, almost 3 minutes off his old PR. Needless to say, I was quite proud of him, especially for toughing it out at the end.

Pre-race goofing off
We had hats, but no bells

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Training Update

It was tough, but I didn't run this week to give the piriformis a rest. Seems to be working, because I didn't have any issues with it. On the day that I would normally have run, I did a circuit training routine that I read about a few years ago:

Barbell with 40 lbs; do each set for 45 seconds except the bench, do twice as many reps as you can do in exercise #1 ( I also use more weight); never change weight, and no rest between exercises. Repeat the circuit three times with a 45 second rest between each circuit.

1. squats w/ shoulder press
2. curls
3. upright row
4. bench
5. dead lifts
6. toe raises
7. plank

Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 40 minutes on the trainer; hammered during commercials
Wednesday: 1 mile swim, then kick drills with fins
Thursday: Weight routine
Friday: 30 minutes on the bike trainer
Saturday: 1 mile swim, then kick drills with fins

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Mount Hoodmore"

Three other teachers and I have our rooms in the most remote part of our building. We have come to refer to this area as the neighborhood. Another teacher down the hall, decided to have a little fun with photoshop and created the soon to be iconic "Mount Hoodmore." Guess who is Teddy R.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lancaster Science Factory

Took the boys to the Lancaster Science Factory yesterday. I've been meaning to check it out, and a cold Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time. They absolutely loved it. The exhibits were perfect for kids their age. I'd be a liar though if I said I didn't have a good time. If you're in Lancaster, I highly recommend checking it out. Admission is relatively inexpensive - $5 for kids, $7 for adults.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Training Update

I thought I ran, rode, swam my last event for the year after I crossed the finish line last week at the Dirty Bird 15K. Now, I think I'm going to run the Jingle Bell Run with Kyler next weekend. We're planning on wearing our Christmas hats. As I've mentioned before, I've been having some issues with piriformis. I thought I was over it, but after Thursday's run it flared up again, so I think I'm done running for the year with the exception of the Jingle Bell Run.

Sunday: Dirty Bird 15K
Monday: off
Tuesday: 30 minutes on the bike trainer, easy
Wednesday: 1 mile swim
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: weights
Saturday: 1 mile swim in the morning; 15 mile "big ring" ride in the afternoon. Brrr, it was cold.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dirty Bird 15K Race Report

Stayed at my in-laws last evening, which is only about 25 minutes from French Creek State Park, the venue for Pretzel City Sports Dirty Bird 15K trail run. As I was driving to the race, I couldn't get the Grateful Dead Tune out of my head, "Cold Rain and Snow" - Run me out in the cold rain and snow/ Rain and snow, run me out in the cold rain and snow.

While there wasn't any snow, there was definitely cold rain as in about 38 degrees and a steady drizzle. I arrived at the park around 10:00, which was an hour before the 11:00 a.m start. I checked in, then immediately went back to my car to stay out of the rain. Around 11:10, my buddy Chris R. showed up. We touched base and decided to go for a warm-up run around 10:30.

Warm-up went well, and we met up with two other friends Andy G. a former student of Mine, and Eric D. who ran the dam half with us a month ago. After the warm-up, it was decision time as to what to wear. I decided with the conditions to go with tights, a wicking top and a running jacket as an outer layer. I also wore cotton gloves and a hat. This was the first mistake of two that I made today. I was over dressed, and the extra clothes just got heavier as it got wet. I would have been better sucking it up at the beginning and just going with the tights and a lighter top. I could have ditched the gloves, and the hat. They served no purpose after the first climb.

Start went off promptly at 11:00 and for the first quarter of a mile or so the race went down a park road. I went out at about a 6:50 pace, too fast for the total race, but I didn't want to get cut off from the pack as we entered the woods. as it turned out, I started too far to the back, and when we got to the woods I had to contend with a long line of single file runners, which were hard to pass - this was my second mistake. After turning into the woods, we started a long climb. It wasn't as steep as anything at the Dam half, but it was long, and people started slowing down. I passed when I could, but pretty much was trapped, so I just stayed up with whoever was in front of me, then passed when I had an opportunity. After we crested the the first hill, we had a long stretch down on single track. I decided to go 'balls to the wall," and barrelled down the hills. It paid off as I picked up a few places.

The trails were extremely muddy, and I was gaining weight as I ran, because my clothes were soaking up rain. My shoes felt like ankle weights. I settled into a hard, but sustainable pace, and kept with my strategy of conserving my energy on the uphills, and barreling down the backsides. This was working well, and I picked off a runner here and there, but I was nowhere near the main pack, so resigned myself to maintaining my position and trying to prevent being passed. This worked well, until I got to one steep section, which I was forced to walk. I was passed by a runner close to the crest of the hill. I thought I wouldn't see him after the top, but he ran conservatively downhill, so I barreled past him and stayed ahead until the next hill, where he passed me again. I thought I would catch him on the next downhill, and almost did, but he was able to stay ahead of me.

With about two miles to go, I opened it up, and was wondering where Chris and Eric were. Chris is strong on the hills whether we are biking or running, but I didn't know how far behind me he was. I thought he would have caught me, but there was no sign of him. I really felt good the last two miles, and although I couldn't catch the guy I was back and forth with on the hills, I did manage to reel in 4 or 5 more runners. I pride myself on my sprinting ability, and sure enough the last 300 meters provided me with enough space to catch and pass three more people as we headed into the finish. I finished with a 1:21, which was good for 58th place.

View Larger Map

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Training Update

This was a nice week for getting some exercise as I didn't have to do all of it before 5:00 a.m. Of course, Thanksgiving gorging didn't help all that much. Oh well, I have the Dirty Bird 15K tomorrow, so that should help me work off some of the extra calories.

Sunday: Millersville Turkey Trot with Kyler, 5K
Monday: off
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 1 mile swim a.m.*; 45 minutes on the bike trainer p.m.
Thursday: 5 mile run @ tempo pace, 7:10 per mile
Friday: 21 mile bike ride, "big ring"** ride at 16.5 mph
Saturday: 1 mile swim

* Tried something a little different on this swim based on a tip from my buddy Doug A. Rather than try to count laps, I just swam for 36:00 minutes, which is my average mile time. It was so nice to just daydream, and not worry about laps. Did it on Saturday too.

** Stayed in my big ring up front; great strength workout.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Millersville Turkey Trot Race Report

Kyler and I arrived at Millersville University an hour before the start of the race. We registered, received our numbers, then went for a little warm-up run on the university track. We also went through the stretching routine that Kyler learned in school.

The race started promptly at 1:30. Kyler set his goal for 35 minutes, so we set out accordingly. We fell to the back of the pack, but not the whole way back. by the quarter mile mark, Kyler smelled a little blood and picked up the pace a bit to pass two runners.

I had never run this race before despite having attended college here. I forgot how hilly the town of Millersville is, and we started hitting hills early in the race. I was a little worried for Kyler's sake, but he pushed on and over the early hills with no problem. We were hoping to hit splits of around 11:20 per mile, but after the first mile we were running 10:45. This encouraged us both, so we kept that pace and maintained it over the next series of hills. From mile one to two, we passed four more runners. Our split for two miles was 21:30.

After mile two, Kyler indicated for the first time that he was getting a little tired. We dialed it down a little, but then we started downhill and began our way back to the finish. Kyler realized this and picked up the pace slightly. When we were about 300 meters from the finish, he wasn't sure if he wanted to kick it home, so I told him we didn't have to. But then, when he saw the finish, and heard people cheering he went into a sprint for the finish. Our final time was 32:15.

I was a very proud father running with my son, especially when people cheered, "Go 125!" It was my favorite race of the year. We even won a frozen turkey in the raffle after the awards ceremony. To celebrate the experience, we went to the House of Pie in Millersville for Pizza.

I'm looking forward to seeing the official results tomorrow, because I'm sure Kyler at 7 was the youngest runner by at least three years. Unfortunately, he had to compete in the 14 and under age group.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Training Update

Had a great week of running, biking and swimming, but the piriformis issue flared up a little after Thursday's fartlek run. Probably shouldn't have opened it up, but I want to be ready for the Dirty Bird 15K next Sunday. Also on the race calendar is the Millersville Turkey Trot tomorrow. I'm looking forward to this 5K, because it will be the first race that my son, Kyler, and I run together, *and* it's on the campus of Tina's and my alma mater, Millersville U. of PA.

Sunday: 1.5 hours of mountain biking with Eric D. at Rocky Ridge Park
Monday: 3 mile run
Tuesday: 30 minutes on the trainer; hammered during commercials
Wednesday: 1700 yards in the pool w/ 6 x100 yard intervals @ 1:50 w/ 15 seconds rest
Thursday: 4 miles fartlek
Friday: 30 minutes on the trainer; hammered during the commercials
Saturday: 1.25 hour run @ 8:00 per mile.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keller Williams Rocks

Just got back from the Keller Williams concert and I can't sleep, so I'll post a concert report.

This is the third Keller concert we attended, and it was at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster. The last two times we saw him was at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg. The Chameleon is a great venue for getting close to the performer, but the problem is everyone can get close and after awhile it gets a bit claustrophobic. The problem with the Chameleon is that the venue tends to be narrow and deep thus if you are not up front, your view of the stage is limited.

The first set that he did was with two other musicians (Claude Arthur on bass, Jay Starling on dobro) and he performed a "grunge grass" set, which I had never seen him perform before. He covered popular grunge tunes from the 90's, but with a twist, he performed them blue grass style. Try to imagine Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilot songs with a blue grass beat. It's hard to do, but Keller made it work, and it was awesome. I can't remember all the songs that he did, but some that I do remember were "Smells Like Teen Spirit,' "Jeremy," "All Apologies," "Alive," "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town," and "Daughter." He had the place rocking, and his musicianship was superb.

After this set, he took a break, then came back on stage solo. By this time the venue was extremely crowded. He opened with "Freaker," which is one of my favorite songs then continued to jam and get the house rocking. We stayed up front for two more songs, but then we decided to move back. There was just two many people pushing and shoving that it was no longer enjoyable. Keller was great, but the invasion of personal space was off-putting. We stayed for a few more songs, but decided to leave half way through the set. Honestly, we felt that we got our money's worth by this time, so we decided to call it a night.

I would definitely see him here again, but prefer the Whitaker Center over the Chameleon. At this point in my life, I'd rather focus on the music as opposed to the scene.

"When the World is Running Down...

Make the best of what is still around." I was listening to and thinking about this song as I was driving home from mountain biking last weekend at Rocky Ridge Park. Even though open space is decreasing around my home town and developments are springing up all the time, there still is open space to enjoy an array of outdoor activities if you're willing to make the best of it, or suspend value judgements and comparisons.

So, in no particular order here are my favorite outdoor destinations within 20 minutes of Mount Joy, PA.

1) The Susquehanna River: a great place to kayak and fish. It used to be a great place to fly fish for bass, but in years past the bass population has declined. This past summer I began fishing for catfish and had a blast doing it. Bald eagles are a common sight.

2) The Donegal Creek: arguably one of the best fly fishing creeks in Lancaster Co. for trout. Wild browns and some wild rainbows; brook trout are stocked. A Donegal hat trick is always a possibility.

3) Chiques Rock County Park: great place for rock climbing, hiking and trail running. The overlook at sunset is impressive.

4) Rocky Ridge County Park (York County): great place to mountain bike and trail run. Also a great place to scramble around on boulders

5) Governor Dick Park: great place to hike, trail run and mountain bike. Any trip here must include a walk up to the observation tower. On a clear day you can see, I think, 12 different counties. Also great rocks for bouldering.

6) Mount Gretna and the surrounding Game Lands: contiguous with Governor Dick. My favorite place to cross country ski. Also a great place for trail running and hiking. I used to hunt here frequently, but haven't done too much hunting in the past couple of years. Mount Gretna is also home to the "Got the Nerve" triathlon.

7) Conewago Rail Trail: great place for long bike rides and runs. Also a great place for birding in the spring time.

8) The Chiques Creek: An interesting place to fly fish if you don't mind catching numerous species of fish that are not usually pursued on a fly rod. Rock bass abound, and an occasional 15-17 inch smallmouth can be brought to hand.

9) Samuel L. Lewis State Park (York County): great place for a picnic, or to a fly a kite. Highest hill in the area. Great views of the Susquehanna valley. Cool boulder field to scramble around on.

10) Country Roads: This is not so much of a destination as a benefit of living in a rural area. I can raise the garage door and within 5 minutes be biking in the country. I have one ride that allows me to cross four covered bridges. I call it my "Covered Bridge Metric Half Century" as it is about 31 miles total distance.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Just a Post

This was a short week: normal day Monday, club schedule Tuesday, normal Day Wednesday, early dismissal Thursday and no school on Friday. The only thing about weeks like this is the following week seems so damn long.

I'm back to my morning routine as far training goes, I just couldn't make the after-school thing work. So, it's "up in the morning *before* the rising sun." I've decided to run the Dirty Bird 15K at the end of the month. I did a 1 hour run today, and had no real piriformis issues. In prepping for the Dirty Bird, I probably won't do too much interval, or tempo work to reduce the stress on the muscle. This week's schedule was as follows:

Monday - 3 mile run
Tuesday - 30 minutes on the bike trainer
Wednesday - 1500 yards in the pool
Thursday - off
Friday - 1 mile in the pool; 30 minutes on the trainer
Saturday - 1 hour run

If getting up early and exercising is good for Barack Obama (He wears Asics, I wonder if he rides a Felt), then it's good enough for me. Speaking of Obama, he was my choice for President. I have never spoken of politics on my blog as it is primarily a journal of outdoor activities and events, but in the spirit of the election and facing a dearth of activities at the moment, I'll espouse my views.

I live in a very conservative part of PA, so voting Democrat is a breach from tradition and almost unheard of in these parts. I can't recall when there was ever a serious democratic challenger for any office. I'm convinced that the republican party could run a farm animal for any election and win.

A few years ago, I changed my party affiliation to Independent to try to add some objectivity to my voting. In the last three presidential elections I voted Republican, Democrat and now Democrat again, but I think the real reason I voted Democrat this election was that I just liked Barack Obama more than John McCain. It came down to choosing a person for me and not a political party. Political parties are all the same in that they pretty much drift towards the center in most cases.

In viewing McCain and Obama, I saw a young man, my age, who while not sharing the same experiences or world views as me was the same age as me when the past and current issues shaping our nation took place. I also saw an old man, who should be respected, but just looked, well, old (old in the sense that he seems like the kind of guy that would yell at kids to get out of his yard. I'm actually a fan of Joe Paterno, so I'm not averse to people who are old holding positions of leadership, but just not when they seem grouchy-old). I also like the fact that Obama was not born into privilege, and actually had to study to get through college. I can relate to this, because I had to study to get myself through college while working 20-30 hours a week to pay for it. My parents held no sway over my professors, or the the University I attended. Finally, I feel Obama is a better fit for a changing world, a world that is becoming more global and connected. Whether you like it or not, that's the way it is.

I don't agree with Obama on every issue, but I think he has the intelligence and drive to be a good leader. I also feel he is respected by the rest of the world. I hope we as a nation can rally behind him, and put our differences aside now that he is in office. And if things don't work out, well, in four more years, we can choose again.

Finally, and unrelated, GO PSU!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So, now what...

Sitting here this morning in a bit of a funk as a result of PSU's upset yesterday. Oh well, you win some, you lose some, and what ever other cliches come to mind.

I haven't been training for anything since the Dam Half three weeks ago. I thought I was going to enjoy not running a fall marathon, but as I hear about them and look at the results, I feel somewhat left out. This, of course, is of my choosing. There is an excitement and sense of accomplishment that goes with finishing a marathon, but my body does need a little break. Next up for me will be the Tri To Help Indoor Triathlon in February. I also plan on running the Millersville Turkey Trot with my son in two weeks. To those ends, I have been riding my indoor bike trainer, running easily (piriformis is still bothering me a little) and I actually got back into the pool yesterday. I didn't seem to lose anything; I'm still a middle of the packer, and doubt I will ever improve much in this endeavor.

On another note, I dropped my skis off at the Ski Tunes this past Friday. I'm looking forward to some cold weather and fluffy snow. If the weather forecasts are correct, it could be a great winter for the slopes. Hopefully it will also be a great winter for the annual Yellow Springs Rendezvous at the end of January.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Dam Half Race Report

The Dam Half was held yesterday, 10/19, at R.B. Winter State Park at 10:00 a.m.

I awoke around 5:30, and immediately had breakfast and a sports drink along with some coffee. My buddy Eric showed up around 7:00 and he and I along with the boys headed north. We dropped the boys off at My dad and step-mom's, then proceeded to R. B. Winter State park where we met our other buddy Chris. We arrived around 9:15, and checked in then worked on staying warm. The temperature was the coldest of the racing season so far.

Race went off promptly at 10:00. I was up in the front and went out with the pack at around a 6:45 pace. Way to fast, but I decided to stick with it at least until we got into the single track. A mile into the race was the first climb, and I do mean a climb. The mountain was directly in your face because of the rapid elevation gain. My lungs were already screaming because of going out fast, now they were ready to explode. I got to the top and the course levelled off, but I had a hard time getting my heart rate back down.

Around the 3 mile mark, Eric caught up to me and passed. I kept him in my sights, but he was able to run over the rocks faster than I could or wanted to. When we got to our first downhill, he descended like a skier. At this point, a group of three runners who were drafting me, passed.

After the descent was climb number two, which was like the first climb only in a two step process - climb, level, climb. As I started up the second climb, Chris yelled to me. He now had caught up. My jackrabbit start was not paying dividends, but at least I got my hear rate back down and felt better. At the top of the climb, we immediately descended, and Chris passed me, but I managed to catch back up to Eric.

I stayed behind Eric for about two miles, but couldn't make up any ground. Again, I just couldn't manage a decent pace over the rocky terrain. Around the 7.5 mile mark, we came out of the woods and ran on a forest service road. Here I was able to open up and dropped to a 6:50 pace. at 8 miles, I caught Eric and passed him, but Chris had too much of a lead on me.

From mile 8 to mile 11, it was pretty smooth sailing, but it was broken up by stretches with rocks. I managed to navigate the rocks well, but on a smooth stretch, I was tripped up by a tree root and went ass-over-tin-cups. I fell well, and avoided injury. around 10.5 miles we broke out on another forest service road, and I could see Chris about 300 yards in front of me, but there was no way I was going to catch him. I looked back and there was no one behind me. There were two runners about 25-30 yards in front of me, but I was certain at this point that I wasn't going to get caught, nor was I going to pass anyone, so I settled into a comfortable pace to save myself for the "Stairway to Heaven."

The "Stairway to Heaven" was the hardest climb of the day, because it was not only steep and through a rock garden, but it was at the 11.5 mile mark. The only nice thing was that the race crew had Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" blaring at the base of the climb. It used to be that I could never hear that song and not think of high school dances as it was always the last song of the evening. Now, I associate it with cramps, because my calves knotted up like golf balls as I made my way to the top. Once over the top, it was all downhill, but my calves kept reminding me that perhaps the couple of beers I had during the Penn State game weren't really a good substitute for a sports beverage.

I managed to keep it together, and hold my position and crossed the finish line in 2:12. I wanted to cross in under two hours, but I just wasn't ready for a trail race of that difficulty. The biggest hindrance was the rocks and my lack of a good trail shoe to deal with the terrain. That's going to change as I plan on returning next year and lowering my time.

Results and Final Comments

* Finished 27th overall; 10th in my age group 40-49 (would have been third if they went in five year increments)

* Was only beat by one person older than me, that's worth something (in fact it was worth a fine beverage at Selinsgrove Brewing Company, a place that is listed in a national magazine as one of "50 places to have a beer")

* Trail Shoes, Trail Shoes, Trail Shoes!!!

* The Mid-Penn Trailblazers are an awesome group of runners and put on a great race. I hope to do more of their races in the future. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this both a challenging and successful event.

* Keep your eye on this site for photos: The Dam Half

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kyler's Big Weekend

Kyler, my oldest son, had a big weekend in sports. On Friday, he had his "Race for Education" event at his elementary school. Last year as a first grader he completed 19 laps, or 4 3/4 miles, which earned him a spot in the "4 mile" club. We knew he could improve, so we established a pacing strategy and stuck to it well. In the end, he completed 22 laps, or 5 and 1/2 miles. He is now in the "5 mile" club. Guess we need to look for a few 5ks to enter.

Today was his team's - the Raptors - final soccer game. They prevailed 8-0 to conclude an undefeated, untied regular season. Next weekend is their end-of-the-season tournament, which they have a good chance of winning. In honor of the Raptor's season, I present this for your viewing pleasure:

Urban Soccer - video powered by Metacafe

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dam Half Training Update

Reviewing my blog, I can tell I have been busy with school, because there is nothing of any substance lately (maybe there never was, but this is my attempt at maintaining some type of a journal in the digital age).

This Sunday is the "Dam Half. It looks like it is going to be every thing that I hoped it would be: a crisp fall day in the mountains of Central PA. I'm not concerned with time, however, I would like to finish in under two hours. But, goal number one is to enjoy the scenery.

I have been dealing with what I believe is piriformis syndrome and have received three ART treatments since last Saturday. They have definitely helped and I feel less tight/sore on my right side. Because I was dealing with this, my last week of training has been at a greatly reduced volume and intensity, but then again, that's not a big deal as this is a taper week anyway.

Sunday: 1 hour run
Monday: off
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: weights, circuit training; 18 mile bike ride
Thursday: 3 mile run
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: rest
Sunday: Dam Half trail half marathon

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dam Half Training Update

Well, I'm a week behind posting training updates, but things are going well. In the last two weeks I have increased mileage including a 12 mile long run that I was able to run averaging @ 7:50 miles. I have also done two trail runs: One at Chiques Rock County Park and one at Rocky Ridge County Park yesterday. Yesterday's run was with my buddy Chris after a grueling (to me) mountain bike ride. I recently bought a new mountain bike, and have been out on it twice. I was always amazed at how Chris was able to climb so well when we were road biking, now I know. Mountain biking is great cross-training. I just wish I could navigate rock gardens better. At least I can half-ass manage bunny hops, so I guess I should be happy.

Looking forward to the weekend and my last long run before the trail half. Hopefully the sciatica will give me a little break over the next week. I'm planning on an ART session tomorrow and probably next week as well.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Dam Half Training Update

I officially dropped my registration form in the mail for the 2008 "Dam Half" to be held at R.B. Winter State Park, October 19th. This race is my fall "Marathon." I wanted to do something this fall, but I didn't want to train for a full marathon. This is my compromise, a trail run in the Appalachian Mountains.

I have been training consistently for events all year, but in the last week I shifted my focus back to a longer running event. I'm doing a FIRST style program, but I'm not adhering strictly to the plan/distances/times. I have also shifted some of my training to afternoons as opposed to strictly morning runs. To do this, I have to utilize a quarter mile loop around my house, because I have to keep an eye on the boys after school. I get them situated then I run around the house. At no time am I ever out of view for more than 30 seconds. I had to switch to afternoon training because of work requirements. I can't say that I relish running quarter mile loops, but I can get a consistent workout, and stay in shape. I also find that the benefit is that I run better in the afternoons.

Sunday: 20 mile bike ride @ 16.5 mph
Monday: off
Tuesday: 5 miles with 3 miles at short tempo pace @ 6:40
Wednesday: 18 mile bike ride @ 16.5 mph
Thursday: Ran with the XC team, 7 miles total with 4x800 run "Indian Style." 21 minute cool-down
Friday: off
Saturday: 10 miles @ 8:15

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marshman Triathlon

I ran my last triathlon of the season yesterday, the Marshman Triathlon held at Marsh Creek State Park in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.


Got up at 4:00, ate a bowl of cereal, loaded my bike and took off for Downingtown around 4:30. The transition area was scheduled to open at 6:00, so I wanted to be early in case it was first come first served. Arrived at Marsh Creek around 5:45. Parking was a pretty good distance from the transition area, so I loaded everything in my bag and made my way to the starting area. Check-in was easy. Spots in the transition area were marked and luckily i got a primo spot located near the bike in and bike out area. It was also on the end of the rack, which gave me a little more room.


The water temperature was 75 degrees, so wetsuits were allowed. I decided to wear mine for two reasons 1) to gain a little advantage and 2) I bought the thing, so I wanted to get some use out of it. Start was in-water, and I was in the second wave, 5:00 minutes behind the first wave. Got off to a good start, but couldn't get a real good rhythm going after that, and seemed to be struggling more that I should have been. I was swimming straight though and rounded all the buoys close to the left side without having to swim in. Came out of the water a little disoriented as usual, but not too bad. had a long through the transition area, and was working my suit off on the go. Ended up on the wrong side of my rack and for a few moments could find my bike until I realised what I did. Got the suit off, changed into my bike attire and I was off.


The course is short, but hilly. I rode well, shifted at all the right times and was only passed by one person, which was somebody on the 20-25 age group who must have started late. I got in a few battles on the flats, but dropped everyone I was riding near on the hills.


Got my legs under me fairly quickly, but there was a fairly large hill - the biggest hill yet that I have had to face in a triathlon. I lost time going up the hill, but so did everyone else. It was an out and back course, so I made up some ground/time going the other way. I wasn't passed by anyone on the run, but did manage to reel in a few competitors before the finish.

Results and Final Comments

* 48th/497 - top 10%; 6th in my age group.

* The top 6 places in my age group were only separated by around 6:00 minutes.

* the wetsuit helped me on the swim, but my transition was slower, so I guess I didn't really gain anything.

* I should have pushed on the bike a little more, or at least pushed a little bit more on the downhills. I was off the pace of those in front of me by around a minute to a minute and a half. I coasted a little more than I should have.

*Run time was 4th best in my age group, bike was 6th best and swim was 6th best at least among the top 6 in the group.

* I was happy with my performance, and happy with the organization of the race. Piranha Sports does a great job.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

An Afternoon Afield

Having been cooped up all day yesterday compliments of Ms. Hanna, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather today and do some hiking with the boys and their friend Nick.

We first hiked up to Governor Dick Tower. The boys enjoyed climbing to the top, but weren't as impressed with the views as I was. They were more thrilled to simply climb up and down a few times and count the the number of daddy long leggers that were on the side of the tower.

After Governor Dick, we made our way to Dinosaur Rock. The boys love climbing on, over and under the the large boulders that make up the "dinosaur." It was good exercise for them and I had a peaceful ride home as they were either sleeping or looking out the window with that far-away stare.

(Governor Dick Monument)

(Atop the Tower)

(Giant Leaves)

(Behold the Dinosaur! Unfortunately this Jurassic age treasure is too close to a road, and an easy hike, which makes it accessible for any knuckleheads with a can of spray paint)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back In The Groove

School started for me this week, and things are going well. I have a room of my own and it is in a great far from the office as is possible, well almost as far as is possible. There is one room father than mine. I really like the classes I have, and it has been fun these first four days. I'm teaching three sections of sophomores (world history) and two sections of juniors (global perspectives).

I have made the adjustment of getting up at 4:50 to run, lift, swim or bike. It was a little tough at first as I was used to getting up around 6:00. As fall approaches, my biking program is going to suffer as it is growing darker earlier in the evening, and it is too dark to ride in the morning. I guess I will have to start riding on the trainer again, but I do plan on getting out on the weekend. I'm in the process of buying a new mountain bike, so I look forward to some trail riding in the woods when the leaves start to change colors. Running should be fine, and I can always get in for a swim early in the morning.

I have two races coming up. One is next weekend, The Marshman Triathlon, which is rather short - 400 yard swim, 12.5 mile bike and a 2 mile run.

I have decided not to do a marathon this fall for a number of reason, but I am planning on running a trail half marathon in October. This is getting back to my roots, so to speak, as the only race I did prior to my first Marine Corps Marathon was the Evansburg Challenge, which was a 10 mile trail run. I'm planning on doing a 10 mile run tomorrow morning to start preparing for longer distances, but Hannah might prevent that from happening.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Katfishin' with Kyler

Decided to head out on the river last night to do some catfishing. I'm back to the real world tomorrow, so it was my last chance to get out before I'm back in the school routine.

I took my buddy Matt and my son Kyler along. We got to the river just before dark and rigged up. It was a nice cool evening and the river was flowing calmly. It was also down from the last two times I was out.

We no sooner got Matt's and Kyler's lines in the water when Kyler struck into his first Catfish. At first he wasn't sure what happened. It was funny, because he said, "hey, what was that." I took the rod from him and knew he had a fish. I gave the rod back to him. He reeled with all his might, and landed his first channel cat of about 2-3 pounds.

About this time, it started to become dark and the temps went down quickly. I thought it was a perfect evening, but to a seven year old, the world became a scary place. It didn't help that he was tired. So, after his first fish, he was ready to pack it in. I convinced him to stay a little longer for Matt's sake and Matt ended up catching two nice fish. Kyler photographed the one pictured below.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Livestrong Challenge Philly, 2008

(Rob, Mike, Me)

Last year my friend Rob Duffield, a cancer survivor, rode the Livestrong 100 mile ride in Philadelphia. After I read his report, I told him I would join him in 2008.

Well, the year went by, and quite frankly, I forgot about the ride and my offer to be on his team. Two weeks ago, Rob sent out the information about the ride which quickly jogged my memory: "Oh no, I have two weeks to raise money and get ready for a full century." I quickly signed up for the event, sent emails to family and friends and began pedaling like a mad man. Fortunately, I was already signed up for the Covered Bridge Metric Century, so at least I would have a good tune-up ride under my belt.

My fund raising goal was $250.00, enough to cover the minimum required to participate in the full century. I was totally amazed that in two days, I not only met my goal, but exceeded it by almost $100.00. In fact, as I write this, I'm still receiving donations from people.

The ride was scheduled to begin at 7:30, so I left my house at 4:40 to make sure I would be down there early enough to get settled in and warmed-up. Rob picked up my registration packet the previous day, so I didn't have to contend with that, but as a former Marine, I have a hurry-up-and- wait mentality, and don't like to rush. Besides, most races begin early, so I was used to it.

I arrived at Montgomery County Community College, the staging area for the event, at around 6:15. I called Rob, and he was right in front of me in the line of traffic awaiting to get into the parking lot. We got into the lots around 6:30, and got our bikes and other gear ready then rode to the starting line to meet up with the other members of our team including Rob's brother and cousin. After everyone was assembled, we formed up with the other 100 mile riders in the corral.

The staging area was well laid out and there was plenty of room for all riders doing the 100 mile event. Lance came on stage around 7:45 and gave a few words of encouragement and thanks, and then we were off. Well, sort of, a couple of thousand riders on bikes just don't' get up and move. To be honest, this was the scariest part of the event because of having to clip into the pedals in a mass of humanity. Unlike the Covered Bridge Ride, I didn't fall and we got off to a good start.

The first 30 miles of the event were a breeze. We stopped at all "Power Stops," fueled up, and drank plenty of water and Gatorade. The weather was cool and we were making good time. Now, for some reason, I thought the ride was going to be closer to Philly (It helps to check the map) and thus we'd be riding on relatively flat terrain. Well, we rode to the northwest and were in Berks County around mile 30 or so. Berks County northwest of Montgomery County consists of hill after hill and they came at us fast and furious. By mile 50, I knew there was a reason they called it the Livestrong "Challenge". I really shouldn't have been surprised, after all, the event supports the foundation of 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

The mother of all hills came at mile 57. It was a 1 mile climb, and it this point, numerous riders were off their bikes and walking. I was determined that I wasn't going to walk at any point in the event, so I shifted down and sucked it up and made my way to the top of the hill. On the other side of the hill was a rest stop in a little Village called Landis Store. Just like the Boston Marathon when I heard the Pink Floyd song "mother," which got me through some hard times, I was again reminded of my mother, because her maiden name was Landis. so, in a small way, my mother was with me again.

After the rest stop, we were elated that we were over the biggest climb of the course and were expecting it to be "all downhill" the rest of the way home. In fact, it was "all downhill," that is until the next hill. It got to the point where I was tired of riding downhills, because I knew what awaited once I was at the bottom. Mile 60-90 was definitely some of the hardest riding I have ever done, because of the distance and the terrain: a perfect storm of hurt. Actually, my legs didn't feel too bad, and I was able to climb well, but the climbs did hurt. Now, what hurt the most, however, was my a**. I now have a new appreciation for riders on major tours who ride 100 milers on consecutive days. I know my grandpa will be telling me that I need to get a bigger seat.

After mile 90 it was a pretty smooth stretch to the finish, and we were able to push it home as a team. Some of our team split off earlier and rode the 70 mile event, but Rob, Mike and I rode under the banner with the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that comes with completing a full century, the bikers equivalent of a marathon. After we passed under the banner, Rob split to the right and rode through the survivors chute and received his yellow rose. I was proud of his accomplishment and proud to have rode with him and for the memory of my mother.

After the ride, I made my way to the Livestrong Village and had my complimentary meal, which hit the spot: pizza, subs, salad, couscous and cookies along with beverages supplied by Michelob.

I sat down by myself, because the team all went different ways. As I was eating, a young couple came up to me and asked if they could sit with me. I said, by all means. We struck up a conversation, and I pulled out two buttons that we were throwing to the supporters along the way and gave them to them. They asked about the meaning of "Team Fish," and I explained to them that one of Rob's favorite quotes is "there comes a time in everyone's life when they have to either fish or cut bait." I also told them that "Fish Or Cut Bait" is the name of his blog.

After I told the story, a woman who was seated behind me asked, " did I hear you mention something about team fish?" She then showed me her button that she received from Rob last year. As it turns out, her name is Dianne, and last year on the ride she was between chemo treatments, in fact she scheduled her treatments so she could do the ride. At some point, Rob noticed that she was having a tough go of it and rode with her for awhile. That's when he gave her the button. She did the ride again this year and had the button on her jersey. She is 8 months clear as of yesterday. After hearing the story, I gave her a 2008 "Team Fish" button. I hope that it brings her the luck that the last one did.

On a final note, I'd like to say thank you to all the volunteers who made the ride a success. It was a great experience, and I am planning on doing it again next year. I feel blessed that after 23 years I have the ability to participate in an event that raises money and awareness for cancer research, and that I can honor my mother by raising donations.

Thanks to all who made this possible:

Andy B.
Anita and Brian B.
Brook and Cherry L.
Constance G.
Edgar R.
Gene and Kim E.
Tina E.
Kyle F.
Matt M.
Melinda E.
Phillip S.
Yvette C.
Ed and Jan S.
Bob and Jan E.

(Elevation Profile, note: lost GPS power short of Finish)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kraybill Geocaching Adventure

Our children's school always has a a benefit auction in the spring. One of the auction traditions is the the teacher adventure. Parent's and others bid on an "adventure" sponsored by a teacher. This year, my wife and I, along with 4th grade teacher Mrs. Smith decided to do a geocaching adventure for up to 10 students at Chiques Rock County Park. We weren't sure what it would bring in. We were flabbergasted when the final bid came in at over $600.00.

This past week I went out through the park and plotted 5 caches: 4 for the geocaching event and a fifth cache for the final adventure race. This morning was the actual event. 10 students showed up and I went through a lesson on GPS and geocaching then the students along with a parent and Mrs. Smith broke into two groups and went geocaching. They found the first four caches fairly quickly, so I had everyone report back to home base. When everybody was assembled, I had them turn off their units. I then explained that the next cache sought would be a race. When I said, "go," they turned on their units and quickly made their way into the woods to see which team would be the first to the cache. They both arrived at the cache at around the same time, but the first group found the cache and were declared "the winners."

Afterwards, we had a wonderful lunch prepared by my wife. All the students and adults involved said they had a great time. We're looking forward to offering it again next spring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Covered Bridge Metric Century

I rode the Lancaster Bicycle Club "Covered Bridge Metric Century" this past weekend. It was the second year in a row that I did it. The weather was perfect for riding. It was cool and there was only a slight breeze. The wind, however, did pick up a little towards late morning, but it didn't hinder me all that much. We rode at what seemed an easy pace, but managed over 18 mph. The lunch at 30K was awesome and included Subway subs, fruit cookies and pretzels. Last year I skipped the lunch, because of time constraints. The lunch definitely made a difference in the second part of the ride, and I didn't have to suck down any gels.

I've been riding with clipless pedals now for over a year and have taken pride in the fact that I haven't fell over because I couldn't unclip. Well, it happened Sunday at the worse possible moment... when there were numerous other riders around. Oh well, the only thing injured was my pride.

View Larger Map

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Native American Graffiti"

This past Saturday the boys and I, along with Brian B., Troy S., Tom K. and Kory E., paddled to the Native American petroglyphs located on the Susquehanna River below Safe Harbor dam. It was a beautiful morning to be on the river. The weather was cool and there was little humidity. The Boys got a kick out of finding the various designs carved into both Big Indian and Little Indian Rock.

Here are some photos of our trip. Click on the images and they will appear in a larger window.

Friday, August 15, 2008


In light of my own challenges of learning how to be a faster, more efficient swimmer, and because I too was anxious about the swim qualification at Marine Corps boot camp, I give you this:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Train, train...

take me on out of this town." This is just one of the many train songs that went through my head as we were waiting at the station to depart for Harrisburg and our urban adventure. The boys had not ridden a train before with the exception of the amusement park variety and Thomas (Actually, Kyler rode Thomas, but Tristan didn't). So, I decided that we would go on a trip to the capital.

There is an allure to trains, which I impressed upon the boys by showing them a map of all the routes Amtrak travels. They immediately made the connection that one could walk down the street, board a train and pretty much go anywhere in the United States. I prefer to travel by train, because of this accessibility and it's relaxing nature. Flying to me has become a hassle, and It only appeals to me for very long distances, or when time is of the essence. I wish I could take advantage of train travel as part of my daily commute.

We left Mount Joy at 11:12 and were in Harrisburg at 11:40. We had lunch in Strawberry Square then went over to the capitol building. We strolled around the outside then toured the inside. After the capitol building, we went to the state museum. There, the kids were most fascinated by the rocks, dinosaurs, hall of mammals and of course the skeletons in the archaeology exhibit. We concluded our trip there by making a tile to add to the rainbow mural.

After the museum, it was time to head back to Mount Joy, so we headed back to the train station. We boarded at 3:20 and we were back in Mount Joy by 3:50. The kids loved the trip, and now want to go to Philadelphia and New York.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On Belay...

Well, not really, as we didn't have any ropes. We did have a nice day and decided to head down to Chiques Rock to do a little bouldering along the face. One of my goals is to learn the basics of setting up a top rope and then we'll be able to climb a little higher. In the meantime, we enjoy scrambling around on a very large piece of quartzite.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Finger Lakes

(Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake Looking East)

Tina and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this past weekend with a trip to one of our favorite destinations, the Finger Lakes Region of New York. We departed on Friday and made our way north stopping briefly to drop off the boys at my parents place along the way. We then proceeded to Selinsgrove Brewing Company for lunch. This has become a mandatory stop for us when traveling to the Lakes. We also decided to stop at Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, PA to help break up the trip.

We arrived in Geneva, NY around 7:00 p.m. and checked into our B&B, the Bragdon House. We were greeted warmly and enthusiastically by our host Jennifer who was also to be our guide on the next days wine tour. After settling in, we walked into town and had a great meal at a place called Halsey's. I must mention that if you are ever in Geneva and find yourself in Halsey's, by all means order the scallops as an appetizer.

On Saturday we took our time in the morning and had a wonderful breakfast of french toast stuffed with peaches. After breakfast we headed out on our wine tour. Having been to numerous wineries on the western side of Seneca Lake, we decided to hit the Cayuga Wine Trail. We did make two stops on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake before heading to the western Shore of Cayuga Lake. The weather was perfect for a wine tour. There was very little humidity, a cool breeze was blowing and there were cumulus clouds lazily floating by. I'm not an oenophile, so I won't bore you with details of the tastings, but the company and the pleasant day created a wonderful context and I was impressed with the wines we tasted.

Here is a list of the wineries we visited (click on the trail name for winery information):

Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Three Brothers Estate (Stony Lonesome, Rogue Hollow, Passion Feet and Barley Yards)

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Goose Watch
The Thirsty Owl

After our tour, we headed back to the B&B and had our leftovers from Halsey's. We hung out for awhile relaxing and playing with Bubba the pug then decided to go back to Halsey's for the scallops.

Sunday came too fast, but we got up early and drove down to the Lakefront Park in Geneva and went for a nice run along the Lake. Afterwards we had another great breakfast, souffles this time, before having to get ready to head back to PA.

The drive home was easy, and to savor, as well as extend, our anniversary celebration, we again stopped at Selinsgrove Brewing for a late lunch.

We couldn't have asked for a better weekend to celebrate. Our hosts were very gracious and the B&B was, in our opinion, one of the best ones that we have stayed in. Geneva is a beautiful and friendly town. We look forward to going there again, not to mention, another 10 years of marriage.

Here are some photos from the weekend.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Another beautiful night on the river. The air was cool and the sky was clear. I was able to watch Venus move across the sky and the moon drop below the horizon. I also saw two shooting stars. The fishing was a little slower than the last time we were out, but that could have been caused by a front that moved through the area. Both Jonathon D. and Brook caught fish that were over 8 pounds.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Pennsylvania, not England. Spent the middle of the week up at my dad's and step mom's place. They live about 5 minutes from the Susquehanna River and 15 minutes from the Juniata River. We got out on the water a lot over the last couple of days. We even launched the Seahawk 500 which is a rubber boat that I acquired, but never got around to inflating. The boys and I had fun slowly drifting down the current and stopping along the way to catch crayfish and look for other creatures in the shallows. The one day I kayaked with my step mom, and the highlight of that excursion was seeing three bald eagles. I also got to go on two really nice bike rides through the mountains and valleys. In almost 50 miles of riding I think I may have been passed by 20 cars. "I was in the Zone."

Monday, July 28, 2008

R. B. Winter State Park

Tina left for Florida on Wednesday of last week, so the boys and I headed to the mountains along with my buddy Phil and his daughter Makenzie and her friend Amber; and my buddy Kyle and his son Jackson.

We camped at R.B. Winter State Park. We had a great time hanging out by the fire, swimming, riding bikes, fishing and just taking it easy. Campgrounds are great places for kids to experience a little freedom and to go off on their own for a little bit.

On Saturday evening, we had a run in with DCNR. Well, not really, but it was rather humorous. Kyle and Jackson were playing Kyler and me in a heated game of backgammon - as Kyle put it, the first ever father and son "campgammon challenge." Our cheering was a little loud and we were told by the patrolling ranger that we needed to keep it down as it was quiet time. Nothing like those father and son bonding moments when you run afoul of the man.

On Sunday after goodbyes and departure, the boys and I headed west to Penns Cave. I've been on numerous cave tours, but this one was the best. What made it so was that you rode through the cave on a boat. The boys' imaginations were working overtime and they had no trouble seeing the various objects created by Stalactites and stalagmites. I think they were also excited by the fact that they just saw Journey To the Center of the Earth last week.

Here are some more pictures of our adventure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catfishin' In Da Moonlight

Met up with my buddy Brook Landis last evening for some catfishing on the Susquehanna River. We had been trying to get our schedules coordinated for some time and last night things finally worked out.

Brook goes to my church and is an avid angler. In recent years he has been experimenting with various British bait techniques and applying what he has learned to American angling. His recent book in fact is American Coarse Angling: Modern Baitfishing Tactics for the Overlooked Species.

We arrived at the river around 7:45 and made our way to Brook's secret spot. All I can say is that it is between the Maryland and New York borders. Upon arriving, the water was calm and there was an eerie hush over the banks. We rigged up, and he showed me how to assemble my tackle for very quick strike detection. Bait for the evening was shrimp. We cast out into the current and didn't have to wait too long until Mr. Cat found our "treacherous bait." About the time the first strikes started, life on the river exploded in conjunction with the white mayfly hatch. Mayflies were everywhere and everything was feeding on them. From this point on, we pretty much had non-stop action for the next two hours.

All in all, we landed around 15 nice catfish between 20 and 30 inches. Most of them were channel cats, but Brook also landed a huge flathead catfish. This trout fisherman was suitably impressed with the pursuit of overlooked species and plans on taking his boys to the river soon to pursue the same.