Friday, September 16, 2011


It wasn't until 4 days later that I was willing, or ready, to remember. It always sat in the back of my mind. I would overhear people talking about it but I didn't actively pursue it...remembering. I didn't watch any of the television broadcasts. In fact I was so involved with my own day I only thought about it when I saw certain things that forced me to remember. The people around me never really said anything about it either and seemed to go about their day as it was any other.

I flew to Denver Thursday afternoon, yesterday, for work. The Sunday paper was still around the house so I stuffed it into my backpack and would read it on the plane. I now find it rather ironic that I would read that particular issue of the paper on an airplane flight.

The front page pictured the new memorial pools in downtown Manhattan.

A special section had two hands reaching up to the sky in apparent grief while looking like two towers. Inside were selected stories of what people remembered from September 11, 2001.

As I read those stories I found myself reflecting back to that day as well.

I was working from home. No customer appointments required me to be anywhere. I was listening to the radio when the DJs started talking about the first plane crash. It was background noise. I don't know at what point I finally turned on the TV but it was after both planes had hit the towers.

The images were mesmerizing. I called Aimee to check on her and see if she would be leaving her office in downtown Cleveland. Not evacuation orders had been given so she was going to stay at the office working with an out of town consultant.

She was more concerned about her sister, Becky, who was flying into New York that morning for work. Becky could see the smoke coming from the towers as she rode in the cab to her hotel.

I continued to watch the TV and hear what could possibly be provided from the newscasters.

My most vivid remembrance from that morning was when I was standing in front of the TV and saw the first tower collapse.

I yelled at the TV, "NO!..NO!..NO!"

As if my words would stop the crumbling and everything would be okay. I sat down on the coffee table and couldn't believe my eyes. An entire building was gone.

The next two days was spent watching the TV as updates were given as soon as they were available. It was very exhausting.

The weekend of 9/13 - 16, Aimee and I had scheduled a trip to West Virginia with my brother and his friends for some white water rafting. There was no need to cancel the trip since we weren't flying.

Actually the white water rafting was the best thing we could have done. It was a two day trip with some remote camping and rock climbing.

We were able to get away from the media overload following the attacks. We would get small updates from the people driving us from point to point but otherwise we were isolated.

It allowed us to laugh, share good times, celebrate some birthdays and decompress.

There is no doubt that the past decade has further defined this country. Some of it good and some of it bad. We have also changed as a people, but unfortunately time allows us to slip back into old habits and forget the positive results that surfaced after the horrific events on a sunny Tuesday in September.

No...I wasn't directly affected by the events on 9/11/01. But we all were affected in some way.

I do remember. I'll never forget. They will be a part of my memories until I die and a part of history forever.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Unmiserable Cleveland

I came across this picture from one of my travel days. We had just taken off from the airport and were heading east to CT. Ignoring the fuzziness of the window I really like this photo.

Click on the picture to get a larger view

Despite all the bitching and moaning about Cleveland, the region and Ohio in general, I like living in Northeast Ohio.

If someone takes the time to look around, Cleveland truly is Unmiserable.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Classic at Mastick - Race Report

Found this race report saved under draft mode. This race was held August 10th....enjoy the read.

The annual Classic at Mastick 5k Run was held this past Wednesday. I had seen the race director (John) around town and he reminded me of the race. I haven't run this race in years and seeing John motivated me to participate.

The race is primarily for the kids.....high school cross country runners getting ready for the fall season. The race feeds a scholarship fund which is awarded to kids after the XC season is over.

So quite a few high school teams come out for the event which means the old guys (those over 25) are severely outnumbered. But I just wanted to come out and have some fun.

I saw some friends and coaches before the men's race (women raced separately) and did a 3 mile warmup. I haven't done a fast 5k in a long time so I needed a lot of warm up time.

The course starts by running across an open field. I needed to watch my footing so I wouldn't twist an ankle. I was holding my own as we looped around the grassy sections and headed toward the bridle path. I was still running with quite a few people and the path was full. It was hard to move around other people due to the rocky terrain.

We hit the first mile marker in 6:40....holy crap. I wasn't expecting to be that fast. Was the first mile accurate? I don't know but I was feeling the effects of the pace. I just needed to hang on for 14 more minutes and it would be over.

It was funny running with the young guys. I would start to pass and they would surge ahead. They didn't want to be passed by some old guy. But I held steady and they eventually would fade off my shoulder.

I had my eyes on another "old" guy in front of me and slowly reeled him in. As we popped out of the woods he sounded like an exhausted horse snorting and grunting. Knowing he was spent I dropped him with a quick sprint up a small incline. After the 3 mile marker we turned toward the finish chute were two young guys sprinted past me.

I crossed the line in 20:43 which gave me a 6:40/mile pace. I guess that first mile was accurate.

I hung out for a while to watch the girls race and then headed home. It was a great night and showed me that I still have some speed in my legs.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Oktoberfest 5k Race Report

Aimee and I have had a great labor day weekend with family and friends. We finished our weekend at the Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest 5k Bier Run. Our friends Mandi and Dale have made this an annual race on their schedule. Aimee and I decided to join in on the fun.

Race morning was a far cry from the hot temperatures on Friday and Saturday. It rained overnight and the temperature was around 65 degrees.

We showed up an hour early to register and warm up. I saw our friend Joe V and we did a warmup run on the course. Since I had never done this race I wanted to see the entire course. I've been feeling that my knee has required some long warmup time since the surgery. We caught up with each other during out warmup just chatting away.

Back at the start area we started seeing more friends. Snakebite teammate Jason Z showed up with his family and Mark from Spin/Second Sole Multisport team was my age group competition.

We saw quite a few fast runners so I didn't know where I was going to wind up overall or in my age group, but the odds were looking pretty good.

I started the race at a good effort. Despite my "good" effort the front runners were pulling away step by step. It didnt' take long for the lead police car and speedie guys to be out of sight. I focused on the people around me and within my line of sight.

Mark passed me after the first half mile and I stayed on his shoulder. Together we passed some other runners and hit the first mile marker at 6:17, I hit my split button but didn't look at my watch. I looked ahead and needed to push the pace.

My strategy during mile 2 was to catch and pass as many people as possible. Each person was within easy striking distance with little surges to each person. One person I was trying to catch was 50 yards ahead of me and it took my a while to catch him. Of course I was stuck in no mans land and the winds coming from the north were stiff. I caught him and started going after the next target.

I passed the water station without grabbing anything to drink. My focus was on the person in front of me. The pond in front of me had a fountain shooting water into the air. The only reason I mention this is because the water was being sprayed 10 feet to the side. Of course I had to make a left turn into the wind. Beyond my target I could see Joe V. and John Z. (Jason's dad).

Into the wind I push hard to catch my victim. Once I pulled up next to him I continued by him. I could here him try to go with me but I wasn't going to give him a free ride. I passed him with authoritay......

It's part of the strategy of running I like. If you are going to pass someone make it hurt them physically and mentally. Crush their spirit and don't allow them to hang on. I know I have been crushed many times that way.

A couple hundred yard more and we turned right and were out of the wind. The rest of the course, under 1 mile, would be south and east in direction. Ever so slowly I was catching up to John Z. but time and distance was running out.

We entered the parking lot of the county fairground where the finish line was. I had actually managed to get within 10 yards of John. I kept pushing towards him and was right on his shoulder at the final turn with 50 yards to the finish line. He picked up his pace and I tried to stay with him. I crossed the finish line just off his shoulder and half a second behind.

Funny thing about races these days. Most are also chip timed. When the results were posted it turned out that I had actually beat John by .3 seconds. I had started about 2 rows behind him. Good thing were are in different age groups because it didn't affect our age group finishes.

My finish time of 19:36.9 placed me 2nd in the 40 - 44 age group and 11th overall. I managed a 6:19/mile pace which is the fastest I have seen in a couple of years.

Since this was an Oktoberfest Bier Run the awards were these awesome bier steins. Aimee and I stayed around for the Oktoberfest with some friends. I drank my beer from my award and had some very tasty bratwurst, sauerkraut, and German potato salad.

I just don't know why we haven't done this race in the past. I think this was a very well executed race. I kept my head in the game and raced strategically. And the effort definitely paid off.

We will be back again next year for more fun on the run.