Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nov. 22 - Nov. 28

Monday 11/22
PM:  8.5 miles (1:01:44).  Portsmouth, Morning Run + Bear Run
Ran with Alumni All-American Corey Culbertson when I got back into town after the flight back into Ohio.  Glad I got this run in, being cooped up on a plane all day isn't very fun.

Tuesday 11/23
PM:  16 miles  (2:00:33).  Shawnee State Forest
Parked at Camp Oyo and started on the North side of the Main Trail and turned left onto Silver Arrow. Got onto Forney Ridge and ran on road #6 until Silver Arrow again. Cut off onto the Day hike trail and added a small loop when I got back to Oyo.

Tried to go hard in some sections, up hills mostly. Felt decent. My quads have been so sore lately but it feels good. Cramming in mileage in the next few days because it makes me feel good... and I want to feel good.

PM:  5 miles (36:30).  Crabtree-Cemetery

Wednesday 11/24
AM:  28 miles (4:17:52).  Shawnee State Forest South Loop
Cramming some miles to "train" for the 50. Did the South Side of the Main Loop (said to be 27.5 miles but since I parked a little ways from the trail head, its about 28), connecting it with the Day Hike Trail at the start.

Car to Camp 3 (5.3 mi.): 46:56 (8:51)
Camp 3 to Camp 4 (5.2 mi.): 44:30 (8:33)
Camp 4 to Camp 5 (4.6 mi.): 44:21 (9:38)
Camp 5 to Camp 6 (3.0 mi.): 26:55 (8:58)
Camp 6 to Camp 7 (5.0 mi.): 58:53 (11:47)
Camp 7 to Car (4.5 mi.): 36:15 (8:12)
*The splits really show which sections of the trail were harder and hillier. That section from Camp 6 to Camp 7 was treacherous.

Felt really good most of this run. I didn't really know what to expect. The only section I felt down on was from Camp 6 to Camp 7. There were so many trees down over the trail and briers everywhere. I was getting frustrated at having to stop and climb over trees every couple of minutes.

I carried only 2 packs of PB Gel Blasts and only ate about a pack and a third. That's about 250 calories. Carried one bottle with me, was able to fill it up 3 times. So, about 60 ounces of water during this. I was dry at the end.

I stopped quickly 3 times to fill my bottle, twice to pee, and once to tie my shoes, besides that I was running the entire time (although I probably could have walked faster up some of the hills.)

As for technical running, I felt smooth, the rocks were floating beneath my feet. I always get pretty good at this with a couple of days on the trail. If I take a few weeks off from running trails, then my first run back on them I am a little clumsy.

As far as time goes, it says I was 9:13 pace. Its probably accurate but with how rugged and hilly these trails are, its going to be that way. There is no way the trails in San Fran are this hard. I pushed really hard the last 4 miles.

It rained from about 13 miles to the end. I wore gloves, and after almost being mad about wearing them, I was glad I did because it got cold. Getting home and taking off my shoes and getting a shower was so good.

Longest solo run ever.

Thursday 11/25
AM:  12.5 miles (1:35:12).  Meigs County Gravel Roads
Ran before the family met for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Was going to run a bit more but I lost track of time and ended up leaving the McClure house later than expected.  Probably good to have a down day.

Friday 11/26
AM:  10 miles (1:13:52).  Meigs County Gravel Roads

PM:  6 miles (44:55).  Meigs County Gravel Roads
It is getting colder at night.  I probably saw 50 deer tonight.

Saturday 11/27
PM:  17 miles (2:07:30).  Strouds Run:  Thunderbunny and Sundown Trails
The trails around Strouds Run are spectacular around this time of year.  It seems as if there has been a lot of maintenance on them since the last time I ran there in the summer.  There are more signage and even a new trail I think.   

PM:  6 miles (43:20).  Crabtree-Cemetery
Peculiar quick run under the stars.    

Sunday 11/28
PM:   15 miles (1:55:39).  Brush Creek Trails from House
Legs felt a bit fatigued on this run.  I had a big week of mileage so I decided not to run a second run for the day.  I can use the time for writing papers anyways.  

Total Miles:  124 
Total Time:  16:17:17

This week was my first week ever of not being considered a college athlete.  I suppose I might run some track meets in the spring, but as far as being at SSU for a varsity sport, it is over.  The good thing about this week was not doing a workout.  Week after week of hard, grueling workouts under Eric Putnam really get to you after a while and the first week of not doing one feels good on the body.  Even though I am not taking any time off from running like the majority of people will do, the time off from workouts will take the place of 0 mile days.  Plus, I have something else to train for, as a lot of you may know....

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler is in just 6 days.  I did not exactly know what to do for the two weeks in between Nationals and the 50 miler, but I like what I did in this week.  I will more than likely cut back the miles in this upcoming week.  I have a good plan for the race and I am anxious to see what happens.  I know what I want to do about fuel intake and water intake and now I just have to execute it and see if it will be productive.  None the less, this will be a huge learning experience for me.  Here is a simplified preview of my goal:  stay with the leaders for as long as possible. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov. 15 - Nov. 21 : Week of 2010 NAIA Nationals

Monday 11/8
AM: 9 miles (1:09:41).  Fire Tower + Trails 
PM: 10 miles (1:10:34). 2 x 1 mile at the course.
6 mile w/u: 45:33
1 mile: 4:52 - 1 min. jog/2 min rest
1 mile: 4:52 - ...
2 mile c/d: 15:10

Felt solid on the two miles. On the second one coming back through the finishing field, I dug pretty deep and found an extra gear. Felt really strong and in control.

Air was a lot colder today, so the lungs were working harder than they have had to do. Breathing was deep but my heart rate was back down to 80 after about 4 minutes of resting after the second mile hard.

Tuesday 11/9
AM:  8 miles  (59:10).  Flood wall
PM:  12 miles (1:25:49).  Portsmouth + Barefoot

Wednesday 11/10
AM: 12 miles (1:25:00).  2 x 1k at Race Pace.
The team met at 7:30 and ran before we headed to Columbus for the flight to Washington.

Thursday 11/11
AM: 9 miles (1:04:00) Fort Vancouver, WA
Ran the course in the morning with the guys.  There were minor alterations on the course that eliminated the sharp turn after 800 meters.  Wet and muddy.

PM: 3 miles (23:00).  Night Run in Fort Vancouver, WA
Snuck out on the course with my headlamp to keep my jittery legs from being uncontrollable.  Rained.

Friday 11/12
AM: 5 miles (37:00).  Fort Vancouver, WA
Ran the to the course from the hotel, did three laps, barefoot sprint drill, and ran back to the hotel and stretched.  This suspense of this run was nearly unbearable. 

Saturday 11/13
AM: 14 miles (1:33:00).  2010 NAIA Nationals Championship

Sunday 11/14
PM:  23 miles (2:46:00).  Forest Park Trails, Portland, Oregon
Drove to Forest Park in Portland Oregon with Paul, Schroeder, and Wysocki and met up with Mueller, from Paul and Adams area.
After running with them for 12 miles Keegan and Erock met up there and I ran another 1:18 with them.
The trails were simply amazing and so well maintained. The foliage and greenery were breathtaking and so much different than Ohio. I had a great time on the run and it was just want I wanted after yesterday.
I only took about 5 gels and no water on the entire run. I felt good still, and the pace was actually fairly quick.

Total Miles: 105
Total Time:  12:33:08

Natural low week of mileage because of Nationals.  I like the approach I did up to the race.  But still, I didn't race the way I wanted to.  I won't go far into the race on here, I already wrote about it once.  I am at ease in my mind now.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where Few Lonely Feet Made Paths

As I was running around the park in Fort Vancouver, I gazed over the open field.  It was only about an hour after the final person crossed the line.  Even then, that field that hosted Nationals was empty... still... free from people.  Likely how it likes to be.  The course, which is a 2k loop ran four times by the guys, was non existent.  The flags that lined the course were not there, cones were no longer present, and officials were not telling me which way to go.  But yet, I could still follow its path, blackened with the cold, gritty mud that we all tilled with our 3/8 inch spikes.  It was still there, at least for now.

It was then that I realized that it is not merely the sport that I liked.  Not... the game.  It was all just a game after all.  In and out, out and in.  People going every which way, not truly knowing which way to actually go.  Everything happened so quick.  It was there, but so quickly.... it was gone.

I came into my freshman year not nearly knowing what to expect.  I did not expect to run the fastest time as a freshman at Shawnee State (at the time).  I didn't even know what a decent 8k time was at the time.  Then, later in the season, I did not expect to lose to Cedarville by one point at conference and not receive a bid to go to Nationals.  After that, I did not know that it would take such a toll on me.

I did not know my sophomore year would not show any progression, but yet, somehow have a good year as a team.  My junior year, I did not expect to improve so rapidly, only to finish 156th at Nationals, but 4th as a team.  I did not expect to pound out 100+ mile weeks.  I did not expect as a senior to.......

I stood on the line at 11:40 a.m. at Fort Vancouver.  The crowd was deafening.  I was ready, we were ready.  But once again, I didn't know the race would be over just like that.  It was only 26 minutes long to be exact.  To long for my liking actually.  But I wish it could go on and on.  I would have liked to not lose my shoe 2k into the race.  I would have liked to be an All-American at least, even top 10.  I would have liked for us to win.  But instead, I ran 6k of the race with one foot bare, I got 46th, and my team got fourth.

What am I feeling now?  Disgust... sadness... loneliness... emptiness... freedom...

But Michael, isn't it all a game?  Once the game is over, isn't it just over?  Well, yes.  But what is left empty will never be over.  I have accepted it, but it will never be over.  You see, the game we are playing goes on and on and on.  The paths we leave will forever be enduring.  No one can just erase them.  They are memories burned in our minds.

I would like for it to be over.  For me, to never have to think of what I never did, what I did to well of, or what I wish I could have done... that would not be everlasting.  But now, it is everlasting.

As the course disassembled, so did my thoughts.  I casually jogged through what used to be the starting field of my last meet ever as a college runner.  Was I really smiling?  I was putting a final footprint on the best four years of my life.  How could I be happy?

I knew that I did everything possible to make me the runner that I wanted to be..... and still will be.....

Farewell for now.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov. 8 - Nov. 14

Monday 11/8
AM: 6 miles (45:30).  Fire Tower
PM: 13 miles (1:37:44). Flood wall out and back

Tuesday 11/9
AM:  6 miles  (45:21).  Flood wall + 3 Barefoot
PM:  12 miles (1:20:00).  3 X 2k at Earl Thomas Conley Park 
5 Mile Warm-up: 37:00
2K: 6:05 - 1:30 jog, 1:41 rest
2K: 6:08 - 1:30 jog, 1:25 rest
2K: 6:08 - Done
3 Mile Cool-down: 22:00

Felt really good on this workout. Galen and I ran this up front the entire time. I felt relaxed, comfortable, and responsive, which are things I always have when I am running good.  

Wednesday 11/10
AM: 8 miles (1:02:44).  Fire Tower + Trails
PM: 12 miles (1:31:39).  Shawnee State Forest
Parked at camp OYO and ran the first part of this on the Day Hike trail. I turned right on what I believe is one of the many sections of the Silver Arrow BT. This ended up being new to me and a total surprise. I loved the section and found some new stuff. Wore my new 101's and liked them, could wear a 11.5 though.  

Thursday 11/11
AM: 6 miles (44:04) Fire Tower
No school for Veterans day.

PM: 9 miles (1:04:00).  Morning run + 3 miles Barefoot
Friday 11/12
AM: 3 miles (24:00).  Crabtree-Cemetery Rd.
PM: 10 miles (1:04:00).  12 x 1 minute hard at Earl Thomas Conley Park
Felt strong on all the minutes, unleashing some of my inner foot speed that people don't see much. 

Saturday 11/13
AM: 12 miles (1:31:00).  Brush Creek Main Trail + Ski Slope to Fire Tower
Casual run from the house on the trails.  Weekly mileage was pretty high so this is just a single run for the day.

Sunday 11/14
PM: 10 miles (1:14:00).  Kentucky Hills, B-Dub Trails, Flood wall + Barefoot
Ran about 40 minutes in Kentucky before I met the team at 4.  We ran an hour on the path behind b-dubs, then I added on a couple miles on the flood wall + 10 minutes barefoot.

Total Miles:  115 
Total Time:  14:04:12

This week was highlighted by the unlikely beautiful weather that came over Southern Ohio in the second week of November.  It was cool and crisp in the mornings, but by the evenings, it was time to strip the shirt off and enjoy the bright sun.  The week was just as good.  This was my first week in a while that I did not increase my mileage the week after a race.  It might not seem like tapering, but mentally I feel like I am and physically I am feeling stronger than ever.

The workout Tuesday was good.  I felt in control of my stride and very responsive.  Those are two things I like to have in my running arsenal.  On Friday, we did 12 x 1 minute hard and I was able to get the legs rolling, unleashing my ever so hidden leg speed.  Just a few short days until we fly to Washington and then another couple days after that until Nationals!         


Friday, November 12, 2010

Mid-South Conference Championship Pictures

Shawnee sent a couple of photographers to the conference meet.  They took some very nice shots from the race.  Here are a few.  Check out the facebook album for more.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inside the Lens

I never knew why I initially wanted to be a photographer.  When I declared photography as a major my freshman year in college, I just liked taking pictures, getting a shot that I could work with, making it look great.  Then, I became disconnected with that aspect of it.  I began spending too much time in the dark room, reprinting the same image over and over until it came out to what I thought was perfect.  After a while, I lost that desire to see inside the lens and focused too much on the art of printing and the entire process of the dark room.  Before I was able to move into digital photography, I had switched my major to Sport Management.

I liked the photography program at Shawnee State.  Allison does a great job and really teaches her students well.  The entire time under her, I knew there was something more, something I didn't quite fit with.  I never realized what it was.

I came across this website recently and all of my passion for photography become flashing back in my mind.  Check out there first, second, and fourth video on this page.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life after Luxury

As I finish my second to last semester at Shawnee State, I am thinking more and more about what I will be doing after graduation.  I have never been content with anything I have started, so my plans have been up and down this entire year, but I think I am getting closer and closer to an actual decision on what I want to do.  This blog post is to mainly sort out the complicated thoughts that I have been scanning through my head for the past several weeks.  I don't want to go as far as saying I am nervous for "real" life, but I have been living easily my entire life.  Undergrad is easy compared to anything else I will have to do and being on the cross country team has made things even easier with more resources and instant friends.

I suppose I have two options after I graduate: 

1.  No Grad School
This option is something I was leaning toward last week and many times before.  I often start to think about what it would be like to start my career immediately with no more schooling.  This would be a huge change for sure.

But even then, what career do I want to go after?  I will have my degree in Sport Management, but I am not too fond of the current sports industry and do not see myself working in it.  Although, I am probably more qualified in this field more than any other, especially when it comes to facility and event planning.
Another option is some type of journalism field.  Newspaper reporter, editor, magazine, publisher, etc...??  I have less experience in this, as I will only be receiving a minor in Journalism and Communication, but I am more inclined to make this a career path than in the sport industry.

2.  Go to Grad School
This is the apparent option #2.  The one that I thought all along I would do since my Sophomore year of college, and what I am leaning towards currently.

I thrive on learning more.  I took and entire year of Photography courses my first year of college, learning a lot about it.  Then, I switched to Sport Management and I feel I have a good grasp on this subject.  This year, I am taking the majority of my classes dealing with Journalism.  If I could simply make a living off of going to college, I would.  I guess this is the main reason I am wanting to go to grad school.  To finally actually master a subject.....

But, what do I want to study in grad school?

It would be thought logical of me to go to get my masters degree in Sport Administration.  Like I mentioned above though, I do not see myself working in the sport industry.  I have thought about several  fields of study such as Recreation Management, Land and Resource Management, etc....  I keep coming back to Journalism though, and I am committed to making this my choice (still not sure where I would even want this to take me as a career, but I will figure it out sometime or another).

Now the entire process of Grad School

For me, I would say geographical location is one of my key categories about where I want to apply.  I know that it is not good to be picky about the school I choose, but I feel having a location is something that will make me perform to the best of my ability.  And by this, I mean, I want to be where I can run on some trail whenever I want.  When I am running happy, I am learning happy and my mind is a lot more sharp. 

With that said, I have already found schools that fit that geographical need and are know to have a good journalism school (J-School).  Some of the programs I am finding will have a graduate program in communications but will have a journalism emphasis or track, which looks to be good as well.

After compiling the list of schools, I have been finding the requirements and learning each of their application processes.  This process is strenuous and time consuming.  Luckily, I have found a good method of compiling all of the information.

GRE:  Now that I have made the decision to apply for grad school, I need to take the GRE, which most schools require.  I have never fared well on standardized tests, but I have to do what I have to do.  I will more than likely take this test the week before Christmas.

List of Schools Interested In:

1.  University of Colorado
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Newsgathering Combination Print and Broadcast - Environmental
Deadline: February 1st
-GPA:  2.75
-GRE:  Verbal - 500
-Three letters of recommendation
-500 word Statement of Purpose
-Writing samples
-$50 application fee

2.  University of Reno Nevada
Reynolds School of Journalism
M.A. in Interactive Environmental Journalism
Deadline: March 15th
-GPA:  2.75
-GRE:  Just a score
-Letter of Intent
-Three letters of recommendation
-Recent publications
-$60 application fee

3.  Boise State University
Department of Communication (Journalism Emphasis)
Deadline:  March 1st
-Letter of intent
-Two letters of recommendation
-An original, scholarly paper
-$55 application fee

4.  University of Oregon
School of Journalism and Communication
Deadline:  February 1st
-GRE:  Verbal + Quantitative = 1100
-Letter of intent
-Three letters of recommendations
-$50 application fee

5.  University of Wisconsin - Madison
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Deadline:  January 3rd
-GPA:  3.0
-GRE:  Verbal + Quantitative = 1000, Analytical Writing- 5.00
-Statement of Purpose
-Three letters of recommendation
-$56 application fee

6.  University of Montana
Environmental Science and National Resource Journalism
Deadline:  February 15th
-GRE Score
-Statement of Interest
-Five examples of professional or academic writings
-Three letter of recommendations
-$51 application fee

7.  Washington State University
College of Communication
Deadline:  January 10th
-GPA:  3.25
-GRE:  Verbal- 514, Quantitative- 643, Analytical Writing- 3.75
-Three letters of recommendations
-500 word Statement of Purpose
-$50 application fee

Those are the schools I have looked at so far.  I just need to start applying, getting my recommendation letters, compiling a portfolio, and writing all the letters each school requires.  I also need to contact the faculty at each of these schools, ask them questions and see more about their program.

This is a long process, but I am glad that I actually know what I want to do now.  Who knows though, something might come up that will make me change my mind.  But as of now, time to study for the GRE.....

As I was finishing my run today, the sun was setting below the western hills of the forest; I realized then, I am not chasing the sunset, it is chasing me.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nov. 1 - Nov. 7

Monday 11/1
AM: 6 miles (47:00).  Fire Tower
PM: 13 miles (1:29:04). 1 mile, 4 x 400, 1 mile at the course.
Warm-up: 48:41
1 Mile: 4:53 - 2:45 jog, 2:32 rest
400: 1:06 - 1:00 jog, 37 rest
400: 1:09 - 1:00 jog, 38 rest
400: 1:06 - 1:00 jog, 43 rest
400: 1:09 - 3:00 jog, 2:00 rest
1 Mile: 4:41 - Done

This was a good workout for me. I did not press real hard on the first mile. Then, on the 400's, I just kept the effort even. On the last mile, I went hard. The miles were ran out and back on the first mile of the course. It was nice to negative split those.
Tuesday 11/2
AM: 7 miles (53:57).  Flood wall + 3 Bare Foot
PM: 12 miles (1:30:30).  Shawnee State Forest
Ran from the Day Hike Trail to the Orange Trail. Did that loop and added on 10 minutes up the Main trail. Felt really good today. 

Wednesday 11/3
AM: 8 miles (1:03:18). Fire Tower + Trails
PM: 12 miles (1:24:40).  Flood wall, 2 x 1k at Race Pace  

5 miles before, 2 x 1k on the flood wall, 3:10 and 3:05, then about 6 after. 2 barefoot.

Thursday 11/4
AM: 6 miles (44:00) Flood wall
Ran in between class.
PM: 9 miles (1:04:00).  Morning run

Friday 11/5
AM: 2 miles (15:35).  Loop Behind House
PM: 5 miles (36:00).  Earl Thomas Conley Park
Saturday 11/6
AM: 2 miles (15:35).  Loop Trail + Strides
AM: 13 miles (1:25:26).  Mid-South Conference Championship : 25:26
Conference of my senior year.  We knew we weren't there to race anyone else except ourselves. The move from the AMC to the MSC was not a benefit to us. We took the top 5 of this race and 9 of the top 10.

I honestly did not feel comfortable from the start of the race. Stomach was heavy feeling and I just didn't feel relaxed like I normally have been feeling. But, none the less, it was still my 4th fastest 8k time. Keegan and Galen beat me, I never could get with them. Then, I got stuck in no mans land and lost even more distance on them. Brad and Linkous were only 5 seconds behind me.  We are looking strong.

It was really cool to have conference of my senior year at our home course.  I love running at Earl Thomas Conley Park and will truly miss it after I graduate.  There have been so many good memories on that land.  

Sunday 11/7
PM: 20 miles (2:40:00).  Hangover
Team run at Hangover. I decided to hit the trails since I had to stop early for a bathroom break and was already far behind the guys. Weston joined me until Campsite 6. I ran the Orange Trail back up to the end of Hangover and from there I ran on some deforestation trails. Ended my last 6.5 on Hangover. Felt great. I took some PowerBar Gel Blasts throughout this run, they do make a difference.

Total Miles:  115 (18th consecutive week at 100+ miles) 
Total Time:  14:08:24

Good week.  The season is starting to come down to a close.  Now that Conference is over, there is just two more weeks until Nationals.  It is crazy how fast this year has gone by.