Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monumental Day

It's weird when the "Running Week" ends. I do this every Sunday after my run is finished. I think to myself, "ahh, this week is over." In reality, nothing is finished about it. The week might be over, but tomorrow I will be doing the exact same thing as I did today, running. It is a continuous act and it is only over when, well, you decide to never run again, or at least for a long period of time. But, the way my mind works, I will continue thinking the same thing after every Sunday run. This is due to the log I keep that ends the week on Sunday. (

Coming into this week, I knew it was going to be one of the toughest weeks of my life, if not THE toughest. Not only did I bump up to 100 miles with a 19 miler today, we did two really hard workouts that made me press very hard. With that and all the school work and actual work, I am sitting here thinking about how hard of a week it has been. But, something I have been doing lately is not thinking about what you just did or did in the past. I just need to look forward to the next day and the next run and not think about how tough the week before was. After thinking though, I feel really well right now.

On Friday, we did a 4x2k workout on the course. I experienced something with my body that I had never experienced before that day. My legs just did not want to run! This was probably due to the combination of little sleep the night before due to a Typography project and the inability for the trainers to have the ice bath ready when I need it! I went in there to get in and it was empty and I asked what the deal was and they simply said they didn't feel like filling it up because they had to go to the soccer game. I was furious, because I couldn't wait the 20 minutes it took to fill up because I had class! Anyways, back to the workout. I felt fine on the first two 2k's, but the third and fourth ones were bad. My legs were heavy and they were locking up when I put heavy force on them. A total bonk, if that is even possible in that type of run. I wasn't mad though. I just tried to relax and finish at a decent pace. With what I am doing, my legs are bound to be tired and it just happened during a workout. The next day I ran 15 miles, broken up into two runs, and my legs felt recovered and back to normal.

Today, Sunday, I finished up my highest mileage week with a 19 mile run at Hangover. I really cannot get over how nice these past Sunday runs have been. Not only have I been getting in the most quality running possible, it is awesome running with my teammates and hanging out at the Buckeye Dairy Bar afterwards. The only thing is though; some of the guys have pretty much gone against our team goal of running Hangover every Sunday. Some of us are mad, because they are guys that should be there, and even are leaders of the team. There is no excuse, especially since they all are in town anyways, running on their own, on the concrete roads of Portsmouth. The benefits of running Hangover are undeniable, and it is their loss. Besides that, my run today was fantastic. This was my longest run ever, 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 22 seconds. I ran 30 minutes before the guys got there and headed out with them. The weather was perfect, a cool 72, and I kept it at a moderate pace.

Next week will be an "easy" week. After tomorrow’s 3x2 mile workout, it is easy running until our meet on Friday. I am looking forward to racing again! Can't wait to see how everyone does. One other note, we got ranked 18th in the pre-season polls. Cedarville is 12th. So, who needs motivation?

I am Michael Owen, and I am Running Free!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sticking to the Goals. . . .

Now that school has started, I find it harder and harder to find time for the small things to help my running. Something that I started doing during the week of camp, was getting in the ice bath at least once a day, even twice when I could. Now, with school, I have to get in in between classes or after practice when the trainers room is still open. So far, I have been in the ice bath at least once a day since school started and I want to make that my new goal: Every weekday, get in the ice bath at least once. (I only say weekdays because the trainers room is rarely open on the weekends if at all). I also have another goal set out, something that I have never did in the past: Get on a set sleeping pattern. Go to bed the same time every night and wake up about the same time every morning. So far, this has been successful. I have been going to bed at 10 pm every night. This has made me feel great in the mornings and less tired during class and workouts. This is with the exception of Sunday night, I work until midnight, but I am in the process of getting my schedule changed for that day.

It has always been the small things that make someone go to the next level. I just listed two things that I have not kept true in the past years in my training. Sure, I would go to bed early, but maybe only 2 or 3 times a week, and I might of got in the ice bath once a week. Now, I have set these goals in attempt to become a better runner. And it is also helping my education in a way of not being tired during the day.

Something else I have been thinking of these past few days is my training from here on out to November 21st, the day of Nationals. Right now, I am at a level where I have never been in the past. It is something I need to hold on to and do right, because if done right, great things will happen. We have 88 days until the National meet. During those 88 days, a lot will happen with my training. We will have races, long runs, morning runs, mile repeats, time trials. trail runs, recovery runs, minute runs, and the list goes on. It is my job to manage these, and coaches, to where I have my best race on November 21st. I think one of the most important things to manage is the peaking process, especially for someone like me at nearly 100 miles a week. I have been studying my log to see how I should go about the season mileage wise. I have also studied Nik Schweikerts log (from last fall), a runner that graduated from Malone, he finished 2nd in the nation last year. I usually do not like to copy other peoples training, but I am not doing anything except looking at how he went about his mileage per week, the week of races, and how he situated his long runs. I am not going to copy anything, just get my own ideas on what to do with my mileage. His mileage going into last cross country season is very similar to my mileage, and I think he did a very good job at peaking last year. I have decided to keep my high mileage until pretty late in the season (was going to do that anyways). I have set out a rough weekly mileage plan for the weeks to follow:

My previous week was 96 miles
August 24-30: 100
Aug. 30-Sept. 6: 85 (race)
7-13: 100
14-20: 85-89 (race)
21-27: 94
28-Oct. 4: 85-89 (race)
5-11: 85 (race)
12-18: 92
19-25: 78-80 (race)
26-Nov. 1: 73-75
2-8: 70-73 (race)
9-15: 58-60
16-22: 55 (NATIONALS)

So, thats how it looks for me. I am very excited about the next 88 days, and am confident with the workouts Eric has planned, running Hangover and Trails once a week, and the amount of miles I am doing and will be doing, the season will be my best season ever.

Michael Owen

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Shadow Follows Me....... Far Behind

Last post, I talked about our teams Alumni 5k. It was a very successful race. But for me, I have to leave the joy of winning in the past. I think sometimes people reflect on the past a little too long. We can't live in a life where our memories outweigh our dreams. That would mean we are living in our past, and right now, there is nothing more important to me than my future. With that said though, I am taking one day at a time, articulating a plan for each of those days to get the future, which for me is one goal that will take place on November 21st.
Since the race, running has still been great. I recovered well over the weekend, even with an 18 miler out at Hangover. I really believe the sleep pattern I have right now and the amount of times I have spent in the ice bath have speeded my recover to amounts I cannot even describe. It is always the small things that make a difference.
Wednesday I woke up and ran an easy 6 miler in the morning. Later, we had our first interval workout of the year. We did 3 x 2 miles with 4 minute rest and a minute jog in the rest. I figured going in, that this type of workout played into my hands better than any other workout we do throughout the course of the year. Plus, it is on our grass course, where I love to get the legs spinning.
The first 2 mile, Linkous, Corey, and I led through the mile, at 5:03. I was surprised at that because I did not think we were going that fast. I ended up coming through at 10:17. The general trend for everyone is that the second mile was slower than the first one. That is not uncommon with this team, we run hard, at all times. The second 2 mile, I was a few seconds back from the front group at the mile, at 5:13. I then tried to push it harder on the second mile to bring our guys through and finished it at 10:29. So, 5:16 was my second mile, closer to an even split. The last 2 mile I took the lead from the start. I had 8 seconds on the group at the mile, 5:08. The second part of the interval was much slow, as I came through at 10:40.
Even though all my intervals got slower, I was very happy with the workout. The weather was very hot, 90 degrees. What I liked about the workout was the way I ran each interval. The first one I was with the front group at the mile, second one I was a few seconds back, and third one I was in the lead. So, a different style of running one each, all getting the same finish in front of the group. This workout made me feel even more confident about my level of fitness.
Today was our recovery run. Shane, Dirk, and I drove out to the forest to get a light run on trails in. It is always my favorite thing to do midweek: get out of Portsmouth and the concrete runs, and get a soft footed trail run in! The run went good. We probably picked the worse trail possible for today. We parked at the pond on Pond Lick Road and headed out to the trail on the left. It was very grown over and briars were very thick in some areas. My legs are very itchy now and scraped up. The good parts were the up and down hills. They were nice and clear. But, the run was very good. Dirk fell on his first run at the forest. Everyone falls at least once out there. Milkshakes were a great reward afterwards!
Now that school has started I really have to focus on my running. I actually have been planning my day out the night before in order to plan out time to run in the morning, get ice baths, lift, and all of that stuff. I am finally trained to go to bed before 11 every night. Well, it has only been 3 straight nights, but I think I will continue doing so because I feel so good in the morning! I have a couple classes that will be boring but my two Sports Management classes are going to be fun. School is always school for me no matter how hard I try to enjoy it. I like to read, but when it comes to reading about the Rise of Gilgamesh, I could care less.
So, now that I am on a routine schedule, my days are pretty much a constant flow. I already have time periods set out for the things that are going to help my running. I am VERY determined right now. I really am.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Winner(s) Winner(s) Chicken Dinner(s). . .

Friday we had our Alumni 5k and honestly, there could have been about 5 or 6 guys that could have won that race. I came out with the victory but I had 5 other guys that also broke 16 minutes. This year was the best turnout, not just with the number of participants, nearly 200, but with the quality of low times. There were 7 guys under 16 minutes, plus three more under 16:10. That is phenomenal for a 5k race. It is also important to note that the top fifteen were SSU runners, and Blake Jones, who is a coach. That aspect is awesome as well. Even though I took the first place spot, there were many other guys that on any given day could have won.

The race started out with Blake and Shane taking the lead. It is awesome that Shane is taking that kind of initiative this year. Corey and I were right behind them and the rest of the team was cruising in a huge pack behind us. At the mile, we were right at 4:58. Corey got up with Shane and Blake and those three looked to run side by side for the nest 2 miles. I was still about 5 meters back. I wanted to get up with them and pull my weight, I don't like to be a "moocher" and sit on people. It was not my objective in this race, I just could not get up there. The pace was quick. My second mile was 5:06, so just about even. They were still about 10 meters up on me at this point, but I kept telling myself that I could reel them in. Through the starting field I could tell I was gradually gaining on them and I quickly caught them on the downhill after the field. My long legs came in handy there. I waited a few seconds and put a strong surge to pass Shane and Blake, Corey had a little lead at this point. So, with 800 left, I was in second with Corey a few steps ahead. I got side by side with Corey and started putting little surges in but he kept matching them. I absolutely could not break him. Finally though, I got a gap down the last hill before the finish and charged up the hill to finish first. Me and Corey really pushed each other and battled the last 800 meters of the race.

Corey ended up finishing 3 seconds back from me at 15:42. Shane was close behind at 15:46, Blake was 15:50, Link was 15:53, and Galen and Chuck were somewhere around 15:55. During the race, I did not realize there were that many people within 20 seconds of me. I was too wrapped up into catching the lead pack and then too wrapped up with racing Corey in the last part. Any little mistake during the last part of the race could have resulted in getting passed by 5 guys. That is how good our team in right now. Plus, we had Hornick PR at 16:06 and Hickey and Joe were right at 16:10. So, I am really happy with my time and result, but I cannot dwell on this. I have to look forward to the real season and Remember November.

The of the weekend was pretty laid back. Saturday morning I just did 8 miles, served as a great recovery. That was the only run that day. Today, Sunday, we went out to Hangover as a team to get a long run in. The freshmen did an hour out there, everyone else did the 11.5 mile loop, CC did 15, and I did 18. Me and Corey ran most of the last miles together. He is easy to run with, never pushing the pace and really understands what a long run serves for. We shared a PowerGel at about mile 12. I didn't want a whole on since it was so hot out. It went down nice and I am glad I packed it in my shorts. The last three miles by myself were hot and I was running pretty slow. But, the main thing is that I got a long run of 2 hours and 10 minutes in. It is my first run over 2 hours since last cross season. These types of runs benefit my fitness so much.

Corey, Lisa, and I stopped at the Buckeye Dairy Bar on the way home and I slurped down two Slushies. They were so good and I needed the sugar back in me. Me and Corey lost a lot of nutrients and water on our run. I feel nice and recovered now, only about three hours after the finish of my run. My weekly mileage totaled 92, the most ever for me and I am feeling the benefits of running that amount of miles.

We have two more days left before school starts. Running has been easy up to this point, now it is time to juggle schoolwork, work, and running. I am really determined and I am really looking forward to getting the season started!

That My Life, Michael Owen Running Free!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hangover At Its Best. . . Time Trial Edition

Today marked one the most pivotal traditions for Shawnee State Cross Country: Hangover Time Trial. This consists of, in my opinion, a 5 mile time trail on the hardest course in Ohio. The elevation changes on this run is unmatched by anything that can be found in Ohio, rising up to 1,200 feet in spots and dropping to 600 feet. It is located about 20 miles from campus in the Shawnee State Forest, on Bridle Trail #5. To give an idea of how hard this course is, there have only been 3 people in the history of Shawnee State to break 30 minutes on this. Keegan Rathkamp has the course record at 29:02, Erock has ran 29:30's, and Chris Roush ran 29:30 or under. Keegans regular 8k pr is 24:37, so this course is about 4:30 harder than a regular course. That list changed today.

The two years I have been in college, we have left the campus at 5:45 am and started our run early in the morning. This year, due to medical physicals needed by the team, we waited until late. We planned on 4 pm, but that changed to 7 pm since the temperature was nearing 85 during the day. Luckily the rains came and it was a damp 75 degrees by the time we got started.

We ran our warm-up, which is uphill for a mile and then downhill for a mile, and got ready for the time trial. The rained had stopped at this point and we all started pouring water over our heads and getting our last second sips of water. Some thought the course would be real sloppy and muddy but the course held the rain very well and it didn't affect the times at all. If anything, the rainy weather caused faster times.

The first mile was relatively moderate. It was a very slow start, no one wanted to take the lead, but our assistant coach, Blake Jones jumped up front and did a good job of getting the race rolling. Shane, Blake, and I came through the mile at 5:58, my first ever sub 6 mile at Hangover, and the rest of the pack came through behind us at 6 flat. After that the pace was picked up a little more, with Blake and Shane leading me by a step. I kept thinking I was going to fall off because I was having a hard time getting back in the lead; I didn't want to make them think I was just drafting off of them, but I really was trying to get up there. It was us three at the 2 mile, it was about 5:46, a total of 11:44. I couldn't tell where anyone else were, I did not look back much during the race but I imagine most of the pack was 15 seconds back or so. Shortly after the 2 mile mark, Blake dropped off a little and it was now only me and Shane.

Shane is probably the best hill runner I have ever ran with. It is like he doesn't have any sense of pain because he can simply push through it like no other. With that fact I thought I would have a hard time hanging because I was still feeling tired. Luckily, the tiredness went away and I was soon 'floating.' Me and Shane ran the rest of the race side by side. There were not many words said between us two. Once, he rolled his ankle and I asked if he was ok and he answered with a quick yes. Then about 30 seconds later he said 'ankle dexterity.' I laughed and not another word was said until after the finish. Ankle dexterity is something that mean and Shane credit our trail running giving us. It has been a phrase we have used when someone would roll their ankle, a simple 'ankle dexterity.'

Me and Shane continued through the 5k mark at around 18:30, a time faster than my 5k time trail times in the past. Our third and fourth mile were most likely close to 6 minutes flat, or a little above. I checked my watch but my mind was to into the run to determine the mile splits, and now I forget the times. Coming through the 4 mile mark, a mile left, I think we were both aware that we were going to break 30 minutes, and join the list, but by how much. By this point, no matter who you are, you are simply running on guts or dumb legs. The last downhill, about 800 meters left, me and Shane we flying, knowing the finish was very close. We were not trying to beat each other at all, due to a mutual respect, but we were both trying to run the fastest time we could. We were just running together, at a very high speed, and neither of us would drop off. I had the feeling of dropping of several times, and later Shane said he felt the same way, but we kept going. We finished the last downhill and a 400 meter uphill, and right hand turn separated us from the finish line.

The finish line felt like it took forever to get to after rounded the last turn. Felt like that little incline was just going to never end and we would never get to finish. But, as we kept increasing the pace, we finally made it there. Both crossing the line, side by side, at 29:33, earning us a spot on the list described earlier and having the third fastest time on the course. Out last mile was well under 6 minutes, completing a very well ran race. We gave high fives and congratulated each other and were defiantly glad to be finished.

Shane and I weren't the only ones to run good today though. Unknown to our knowledge there were other guys behind us, and gaining. Corey also joined the sub 30 list, coming in at less than 20 seconds behind us at 29:51. Hornick came in fourth with 30:06. Joe was after that, and then Eric. There were also many guys in the 31's. Running under 32 is an amazing time at Hangover, I even think a time under 35 is impressive. Linkous, Galen, and Kammler we all in the 31's. Hickey, Little Hornick, Holbrook, and others were in the 32's. So, this was the best result of any Hangover Time Trail in the past. Another great run was by Blake Wysocki. He was right with Linkous with 800 meters to go and sprained his ankle and took a hard fall. I think he would of finished under 32 as well if that would not of happened. He did finish, but with some scrapes on his back, he looked like he was in some pain.

Corey, Shane, and I talked after we all finished and took our heart rates. Mine was 30 and theirs were 33, for 15 seconds. That is a heart rate that we normally have after a regular run. So, we recovered very quickly. I might be more proud of that than finishing tied for first on the team. Having that low of a heart rate after one of the hardest runs of the year shows that running 85+ miles a week is really beneficial. Same thing to Corey and Shane.

So, we all ran really well, adding 3 new names to the sub 30 list, and many more getting closer. But now, the fun was not over. We still had 5 miles to cool down and it was dark! It was also cloudy and looked like thunder. We soon found out the hard part of the day had just begun. Most of the guys took off, but a few of us started a little farther back to run with Blake, who was hurting, plus some of the freshmen were not finished with the 5 miles or just getting their breathe back. The rain came shortly after we started back and it got really dark. With all the rain clouds, not much light was on the trail, making it hard to run very fast. There was also lightening. This lightening was so close that I couldn't see anything for about 3 seconds after it stopped. Just white! It was very scary. Word can't even describe how dark and scary the cool down was.

When it was all said and done, everyone on the team made it back safely. Coach headed back up the trail to find Warren, who had a rough time, and I was the only car that waited around. They finally got back and we headed home. A good finish to an even better run. This run produces many memories every year and this year was full of the them. The first run with the new runners could not have been any more epic. Hangover is truly a special run and I feel special to have it. It was a big part to our success last year and it will be again this year.

This was the opening run of Cross Country camp. We had our goal setting session earlier in the day. This was something Keegan did with us last year and it lead to a great finish so Corey got us all together and we did it again. Everyone had very good goals and results. Our team goals were:
*Run Hangover Every Sunday
*Finish Top 2 in the Conference, Beat Cedarville!
*Finish Top 5 at All-Ohio
*Top 10 in the Nation

Those are very good goals that we all need to keep in mind throughout the season. Doing that, will lead to great things. I am going to continue Running Free and helping the team in any way I can. Now, we have another 9 days of camp, and I am ready to have some Fun!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Old Goals, New Goals. . . Summer's Endings

Well, the summer is soon coming to an end here and I am in the process of reevaluating the goals I made out at the beginning of this summer. With most people, summer still has a month left, such as students at Ohio State or OU. But here at Shawnee, we start school early, August 19th, and the Cross Country team reports on the 9th. So, officially I have 3 days left of summer.
Here are the goals I made at the beginning of summer:

  • Get into a wicked awesome fitness level.
This goal, I knew would be obtained if I simply stuck to the plan. The plan that coach set out at the beginning of the year for a few of us 'higher-mileage' guys to run 80 miles a week by the end of summer. Well, I have went beyond that mark and will be running my fourth week of 80+ miles, a total of 87, maybe more. I feel that I am in a 'wicked awesome fitness level' just based on that. Plus, a few weeks ago I could actually feel my body transforming. It was telling me I needed more food, a higher level of energy intake, and so on. I even felt like I was entering the fitness level (a feeling that I get when I first begin getting in shape), even though I was already in shape. My runs feel easy and I have ran a dozen or so 15 mile days. That is all a recipe for success and a succeeded goal!

  • Complete the bike I am building.
This goal, I knew, would be my most expensive and most hard earned goal. At the beginning of summer I really began getting into biking. I brought the old Western Flyer to school and began riding it to class and such. I knew that is was not road worthy, since it is so old and hardly capable of switching gears. So, I began looking to buying a nice road bike. After research and several attempts at buying a bike, I thought of a nice plan to build up my own bike. From that point, I had the goal of building my own bike. A lot of research was done over the following weeks. I asked question online to professional dealers and started buying the parts. Of course the first part I bought was the frame and fork. Everything then on was based on that. The measurements, the brands, and so on. So, after $930 I finally finished it. It ended up being $230 more than my projected cost but in my opinion it has all been worth it. The few rides I have taken on it has been flawless and smooth and I plan on making a lot more rides this fall!

  • Go on a few camping trips.
This goal was not quite as successful but it was steal a success. My major camping trip to the Smoky Mountains was the primary trip taken this summer. That trip was not even a part of this goal, since me and Jon planned it after I set these goals. That trip was a once in a lifetime experience and will never be forgotten. 4 days, 3 nights with my best friend and brother making everlasting memories in a beautiful place. I have only taken two more other trips, both unsuccessful but attempted. The first one was out at Hangover. We had the tents set up and had the fire going, but rain got the best of us. We tried to wait it out but ended up going back home. The next one was at Shanes house. Once again, we were all ready until the rains came. But, that trip was fun, getting to run on some trails and seeing some sites in Hocking Hills.

  • Eat good food.
This goal was a small one. It was mainly to just eat more healthy instead of cheap. I have ate healthy this whole summer. I no longer worry about spending too much money at the store because it is all worth it, healthy food at least. Salmon, chicken, hamburgers, fruits, vegetables, milk, and breads are all a part of my weekly meals. It has been better than last fall and spring for sure.

  • Enjoy life.
After all the successful goals, I have Enjoyed Life!

Now that I am entering a new season, I think it is time to make new goals. These will mostly cover this upcoming cross country season and fall semester of school. I think goals are important in life because what else do we have to look forward to without them. Another word for goals could be dream. This reminds me of a quote I heard Ryan Hall once say, "When your memories are greater than your dreams, you are already beginning to die." That is so true. We can't sit here and reflect on our past, but have to keep setting our new goals (dreams) for for life to continue. So, after some reflecting, here are my fall of 2009 goals:

  • Remember November
This is the simple phrase that our team has been saying to keep our minds on November 21st. Our national meet. This goal has been set long ago, so it should have been listed with the summer goals but it still goes on now. We all need to just keep remembering why we are running this summer and what all the hard work leads up to. It is all for one day, finishing high.

  • Keep the Wednesday Trail Tradition Alive
Last year, Keegan convinced Erock into letting us go out to the trails on Wednesday. Keegan, Shane, and I went every time with a few people tagging along every so often. These runs were a big part of our success last year.

  • Run a Hangover Long Run Every Sunday
This was another reason we were successful last year. Paul even credits this to his PR at the National Meet last year. Many times, Keegan, Blake, and I ran 2+ hour runs out here on Sunday evenings, in the dark mostly. These runs were memory filled on the most challengind course in Ohio.

  • Keep My GPA Above a 3.5
This will be my only academic goal for this semester since I will be putting the majority of my focus into running. I have maintained a 3.5 GPA my first two years of college, earning me a title of Academic All-American and I would like to keep it that way. That is a nice compliment to any resume and I am proud of that status.

For now, those are my goals. Many goals are also made up in my mind, such as continuing to eat healthy, staying in a wicked awesome fitness level, and enjoying life. Those goals have just continued over into this set of goals. I did not write down my individual running goals, such as goal times, team placement, and stuff like that. I do have an idea of where I would like to be though. These things I will keep to myself. I do know that the first goal, Remember Nomvember, is a team goal and that my individual running goals all go towards achieving that goal.

Summer is ended shortly and cross country camo starts soon. These 10 days will be some really fun days. We will all meet the new freshmen and evaluate where we all stand based on summer training. There will be time trails, easy runs, easy runs turned into hard runs, hard workouts, morning runs, and many many memories. One of the best times to be a Bear. As for me, I am just Running Free!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writings of a Runner

It has been a while since I have posted a blog, since last Wednesday. My week since then was pretty busy. I made a trip home on Friday evening and when I am home it is hard to do anything on the internet since all we have at our house is dial up. It would literally take two hours to load this website! Now, Monday, I am back in Portsmouth to the modern luxury's, or maybe non-luxury's of fast internet and time wasted on it.

Friday, like I mentioned, I made my way back to Meigs county. I drove through Huntington and picked up my bike! This proved to be one of the happiest moments of the summer for me. Over $920 worth and nearly three months of research and buying came to a close when I loaded the bike in my car. Building my own bike was one of the goals I wrote down at the beginning of the summer. And, this completed the checklist, so summer was a success, as it is coming to a close at the end of the week.

Now, I had to wait another hour and a half until I got back home to test the bike out. I was itching at the bone the entire trip home. That is no lie. Once I got home I unloaded the bike, popped the tires back on and took it for a first time spin. This was by far the best bike I had ever ridden. The gears worked for a change, so did the brakes, and it was simply smooth on the road and very efficient. A large upgrade from the Western Flyer to say the least. Later I road over to grandpa's house to show him the bike, the trip was fast.

Later Friady night, Jon got back from work and we cooked up a delicious meal. On the grill, we had chicken with a little lemon and Italian herb topping it along with fresh cut up squash getting a little crisp. Inside, we made a fresh salad topped with fresh tomato's, peppers, soy beans, and a little balsamic vinaigrette dressing. To add to the main course, we quickly microwaved some home grown potatoes and. The meal was very delicious and it was another piece to my summer goals, eat and fix some good food.

Friday at around 10 pm, I went for my run. Due to the traveling, riding, cooking, and eating, my run was prolonged to the darkened back roads of the Rocksprings area. I had planned on running only 5 miles since I was racing the next morning. But, once I got going, my legs were as fresh as fresh could be and night time running is an amazing feeling, so I ended up doing 10 miles instead. nighttime running is almost as good as running in the rain, maybe better. Strides feel smooth and everything around the road seems to not even be there, just an image in the blackened night. So, the run ended after 11 pm and it was bedtime for me!

Saturday morning, I woke early and got a quick breakfast. I then headed up to Tuppers Plains for the second annual Eagle 5k. The trip up there was unusual, because the road was blurred by some of the most intense fog I had ever seen. I was literally driving only be able to see five feet ahead of me. last year at this race I got second place, behind Chris Davis. This year, he came again and brought Soorma and another kid names Matt from OU. So, the competition was tougher than last year. A quick overview of the course: It starts at the Methodist Church in TP, the first mile makes it way though the Arbould District, which had one big hill and many 90 degree turns. The second mile has two big hills, including the one that goes through the industrial park. The last mile goes through the first mile with the same big hill and slow turns. So, what I am trying to say it that, THIS COURSE IS SLOW.

The race started, and the 3 OU guys, me, and Cody Wolfe, a freshman from Southern took the lead. We were all together through the first mile and a half when the freshman kid dropped off. I was surprised that he stayed with us that long. He ended up running 17:30 and getting 5th place, very impressive. So, it was just the OU guys and I for the rest of the race, which is how I figured it would be. Soon after the biggest hill in the race and the two mile mark, Matt and I fell off of Soorma and Chris. I was dead. I kept them in a close view in case I felt better at the end but that view got farther and farther away. I held off the other OU kid and ended up getting 3rd. I was 10 second behind Soorma and Chris, Chris took the win for the second year in a row. My time was 16:40, slower than last year by a few seconds, but with a 5k course comparable to All-Ohio, I was pleased. Plus, 5 minutes after the race, my heart rate was down close to a normal beat. I am in a great fitness level, another summer goal. I cooled down, received my plaque, and chatted with some old friends and the day was complete.

Sunday, I woke up and quickly dressed for church. Seems like I have been in a hurry on Sunday mornings ever since I can remember. I sat in for Jeff's lesson, which was really good. After that, Brother David delivered a great sermon.

After church, Mom, Dad, and I went to the Mexican restaurantn for lunch. I scarfed down my Pollo Ranchero (my normal meal there) with great delight. Food is one of my favorite things in life, all types of food. When we got home I began to pack my bags and load my car. I rode my bike over to Andrews real quick to show him my bike. Visited there for a while and road back. Loaded my bike, said my goodbyes, and headed back to the great city of Portsmouth, I met Blake to run at 7, we did 5 miles and met with Kammler and Erock at 8 to run 8 more. Except they were planning on running 12 so we tagged along. Me and Blake ended up doing 15 miles, I felt amazing. One of the best long runs this summer for me.

So, the weened was a great one. Met my goals for the summer and got some quality running in. Those words have been dominating my life the past 3 years now. 'Running, runner'. That is me, Michael Owen, defined by the word 'Runner'. I am much more than just a 'Runner', but that is what people see me as. And I will take it. Because, I enjoy Running Free; this is my life.