Meet my new running buddy!

When I was a kid, growing up we’ve always had a dog and up until 7 years ago? (I am so terrible with time) I’ve had a dog in my adult life as well.  The kids have been asking for another for quite some time now and I’ve been putting it off.  Well, I finally broke.  Maybe it was the fact that I felt guilty cuz I told them we MAYBE we could get one after I got back from our Grand Canyon run, maybe it was that I really wanted one.  Whatever the case may be — I love our new pooch and am so glad that I caved.

I had an idea of the kind of dog I wanted us to get, the kids did too.  Although their requirement was; it had to be cute.  My requirement was a little more particular.  I wanted a dog that I could run with and I don’t mean 5-10k’s. I wanted a dog that, after properly trained could run a 50k plus with me!  So we started checking all the local shelters and some not so local ones.  There were so many dogs that needed adopted and it was so hard not to just adopt the first few we found.

After a while of searching we thought we finally found one.  It was in a kennel just over an hour away.  He was a Blue Tick Coon Hound and would’ve fit perfectly with our family.  I visited him, told the shelter about our house, our cat and played with the dog for about 20-30min.  I thought it was a good fit, so I told the kids about him and a couple days later we drove back down to visit.  I again told the kennel about our house and cat and we played with the dog outside for about 45min.  I asked the kids if they wanted to take him home and they said, “YES!!”  So we went inside to fill out all the papers.  I filled them out and the kids played with the dog through the glass door he was behind.  It was then when one of the workers noticed our form and quickly came over to let us know we couldn’t take him home because he wasn’t good with cats!  I was kinda pissed and the kids a little heartbroken.  But as I keep saying — everything in my life seems to happen for a reason.

So our search continued.  One night I was on our local “Buy/Sell/Trade” Facebook pages and came across a post from a family that had to get rid of one of their dogs.  I checked out the pictures and their description.  Many people that are getting rid of dogs on those sites get harassed about doing so and a few quite deserving so because it seems they are trying to make a buck or are basically a “puppy mill”.  Not this family.  They adopted two puppies from the same litter and as the dogs got older they began to experience “litter-mate syndrome”.  I’ve never even heard of that before, but apparently male dogs from the same litter will become combative and fight.  Which is what they were doing.  It was obvious that this family loved these dogs.  They’ve already had them fixed, put them through obedience training, had an invisible fence, plus their kids loved them.  They didn’t want any money for the dog, they just wanted to find it a good home.

I showed the kids the pictures of the dogs and submitted our “resume”, telling them about our family, our home, and how we would love to come meet them.

Our first glimpse of the dogs

Our fist glimpse of Cato and Finn!





We scheduled a time to come meet Cato and Finn and at this time weren’t sure which one they were going to part with.  When we got there the kids and I were so hoping it was going to be Cato.  Not that Finn wasn’t cute or playful, but it was something about Cato.  Maybe it was his two different colored eyes but when they said it was Cato that they were willing to part with before we even said anything — I had a feeling he was going to be ours.

The kids played with the dogs for a little while, while I chatted with their current owners (Joe and Lisa).  Well… long story short (yeah right, huh?  Too late.)  We took Cato home.  Their kids were pretty sad to see him go, but I think since they knew he was going to a good home they were able to deal with it easier.  Not to mention that I’m now Facebook friends with Joe and Lisa and their kids are Instagram friends with Jeremy and Emily so they’ll be able to see what Cato is up to.  Plus we suggested meeting up from time to time with them at the dog park for visits.

Well… without further ado.  Let the barrage of photos begin — say hello to CATO!!!!!

Cato's first night at his new home

Cato’s first night at his new home

Cato is an amazing puppy.  Well behaved (except maybe barks a little too much), attentive, obedient (as much as a puppy could be) and is turning into quite the runner!  I’ve started him out slow.  First with just a few miles building him up to where he is now — 10miles.  He won’t be a year old till the end of March so I’m not going to let him go any further till after he’s one and gets a check up.  Properly trained, he should have no problem busting out a 50k with me!





I’ll end this post with a quick little video of Cato testing out one of his new harnesses.  Such a well behaved dog – love him and yet again, proving what I always say — Everything happens for a reason.  More exciting news along those lines later, very exciting happenings!!



OUTRUN 24 version 2014


The third running of O24 took place on April 26th and once again – it. was. amazing.  The turnout this year exceeded what we expected.  The inaugural running of O24 in 2012 had 66 runners toe the line, 2013 there were 85, and in 2014?  ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR!  Love how this race is drawing so many new folks into the world of ultra running.

This ultra trail race is probably one of the most runner friendly, walker friendly, family friendly events there are.  For those that haven’t read my posts before about O24 and have never heard of it; a brief description.

A race for beginners and ultra veterans alike, the unique Outrun 24 Hour Trail Race is held in the Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Reservation in Kirtland, OH approx. 30 mins East of Cleveland. With its distinctive rock formations and mature woodland trails, the park provides a scenic setting for the endurance run. Runners will follow a 1.00244mi USATF certified loop and may run any distance or time up to 24 hours. If you are looking for a great atmosphere to come out and test yourself, come and check it out! Course The USATF certified (# OH11035MW) and IAU Bronze Labeled course is a 1.002445 mi loop on trails that consists primarily (93%) of crushed limestone, dirt, and a short bit (7%) of asphalt. The loop is rolling with one main hill. There is approximately 65 feet of elevation gain & loss per lap. Please see additional tabs for course photos, video, directions, and other information.

Zack Johnson, the RD for this race and the head of OUTRUN,  puts an amazing personal touch on this event.  From before the event starts with email blasts to all registrants, to a prerace video –


To running laps along side participants –

zack running

To finally making sure he personally hands each finisher their well deserved medal and takes a photo with them, no matter what time of day, or night, or well… even the next day.  I mean, after all, the race does start at 8am on Saturday and doesn’t end till 8am on Sunday.








My goal for this race when I registered was 100 miles.  My plan is to run at least one, 100 mile race each year.  Two years ago it was BR100.  Last year it was supposed to be NYM100 – but you know how that turned out.. So, after Yo Momma kicked my ass again, I decided that O24 is the perfect place to knock out 100 miles and ensure I get at least one in and then tackle YM again with a hundo under my belt for the year already.

That quickly changed when my training wasn’t going as planned.  I really hate talking about things that ail me because I don’t want to be labeled “that guy who makes up excuses”, or be “that guy who always has something wrong”, but I couldn’t ignore this much longer.  I finally sucked it up, went to get checked out, and get myself back on track.  I have to admit that it was quite relaxing to go into this race with no goal at all – talk about no pressure!  I charged up my GoPro camera and after my race committee responsibilities were completed I made sure to get some footage.  Here is a glimpse at the start of the race.

Here a few other pics from the race —

No that isn't a real tattoo but an arm sleeve.  I do have three tattoos and actually never wanted a full sleeve.  Hmmmm. until after seeing this picture - now I want one! LOL

No that isn’t a real tattoo but an arm sleeve. I do have three tattoos and actually never wanted a full sleeve. Hmmmm. until after seeing this picture – now I want one! LOL

Peg getting her leg rubbed out...

Peg getting her leg rubbed out…

Cheering on all day and night!

Cheering on all day and night!

Over the last few months, quite a bit of my training has taken place on the road or even worse the dreadmill, so I bought a pair of Hokas to help ease the pain.  I LOVE the Bondis I bought but unfortuantley they didn’t last very long.  I blew both shoes out and took them back with just over 100 miles on them.  They didn’t have the new version of the Bondi’s in (apparently improved because many people were having the same issue) so I took home a pair of Hoka Rapa Nui’s — big mistake.  I started out the race in my regular Saucony Exodus shoes and was feeling pretty well.  Around mile 18 or so I decided to change out of those and put on my new Hokas.  I only wore the shoes walking around a little bit to try and get a feel for them and after only a few miles I started to get a pain in my left foot which progressively got worse; to the point where I was only able to limp around the course now.  I know I didn’t have a “goal” for the race but I had to at least finish a 50k!  So I walked the last 8-10 miles and finished with a new PWR (personal worst record) of 9hrs 58min! YIKES!  Click here for my Runkeeper data for this run.  Took those Rapa Nui’s back the next day and ordered the new Bondi.

So what do you do after you complete a 50k in 9hrs at a 24hr race?  You hang out, cheer on your friends and have a good time.  Also, while your friends are out there trudging along, you get to do this —


Hey —- I wasn’t the only one!


Click here for a full list of 2014 race results.  There was a new record set this year. Jim Van Orman cleared 120 miles!  Every time I saw Jim he would smile and wave.  He made it look so easy!

Huge Congrats Jim!!

Huge Congrats Jim!!

Amanda Mowry completed the most miles for the women.  Covering 84 miles

Amanda Mowry completed the most miles for the women. Covering 84 miles – Way to go Amanda!!!

Once again there were so many amazing people who came out and pushed themselves to their limits.  There were those that were running the race to raise money for charities, those that were walking the entire way to a distance PR, to the Grandmother, Mother, daughter trio that rocked it!  I could go on and on but rather than taking just my perspective of it, here are a several other blog posts about it.  Enjoy!

HOLY CRAP!!!  I almost forgot!  As was the case last year, this year Chef Bill catered an OUTSTANDING breakfast for everyone again on Sunday morning after the race.  Check him out here at Playing with Knives and Fire.  Have an event you want catered, a party with some friends that you want a rockin’ meal for, or a date with that special someone — he’s your man.  Look him up.  Plus, he’s a fellow ultra runner – as the other half of Bills’ Badass 50k.

Breaking the Pace

Through a Running Lens


Kim’s Low Down on the Runs


Another Hodge-Podge Post; Fresh20 / ANOTHER 50k and a whole lot more fun!

With everything going on in our lives I could probably make a new post every other day — but then again, with everything going on in our life – to quote Sweet Brown, my kids’ and their favorite internet video – “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I can’t believe I watched that whole thing for the first time just last week.  Just goes to prove that with audio mixers you could make a song out of anything!

Jeremy and Emily’s version –

Anyways —  back to my post.

I guess I’ll start with a Fresh 20 update.  This week’s dinner menu consisted of Lemon Herb Roast Chicken w/ cauliflower and chard saute and black-eyed peas, Thai Style Tilapia in coconut broth with brown rice, Creamy Cheddar and chicken macaroni, Sausages and black-eyed peas with carrot ginger soup, Coconut Tofu Rice Noodles with carrots, cilantro and fresh lime.

Unfortunately Jeremy was sent home from school sick on Monday so I brought him to work with me for a few hours then we headed home so he could rest – and I could start dinners for the week.  Another thing I like about The Fresh 20 is how easy it is all laid out and the page that gives you all the “Make ahead” items so you could save some time during the week.  Today I only chose to roast the chickens as a make ahead and then we would have the Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken for dinner.

Prep work for Lemon Herb Chicken

Prep work for Lemon Herb Chicken

I honestly think this was the first time I roasted a chicken – or actually, anything for that matter.  Roasting time took quite a while, I had to add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan too.  Not sure if I missed something, but there just didn’t seem to be enough juices to baste with.  In any case, it turned out wonderful!  You would think that sooner or later, I’ll get better with presentation 🙂

How do they cut it so well in magazines w/o smearing the seasoning??  Maybe I need a sharper knife.

How do they cut it so well in magazines w/o smearing the seasoning?? Maybe I need a sharper knife.

Next time I make this I think I am going to have to add something else to the cauliflower chard saute.  Just seems to me that it needs more color.

Looks a bit bland - but it was very tastey!

Looks a bit bland – but it was very tastey!

The kids absolutely loved this one... "Best chicken ever"

The kids absolutely loved this one… “Best chicken ever”

I was extremely pleased with how well this turned out and the fact that I now had two more dinners almost done because two more this week use the chicken I roasted today.

Tuesday’s dinner I was a bit nervous about.  Jeremy is up for trying pretty much anything but Emily takes a little bit more persuading.  That said, you could imagine her dismay when she saw this on the stove.

Tilapia - YUM!

Tilapia – YUM!

Thai Style Tilapia in Coconut Broth w/ Brown Rice – again, I have lots of white rice on hand so until I need to buy more – I’ll substitute white for brown.  I’ve made tilapia before for Emily, but it was breaded so when she saw this cooking she was not a happy camper but as the cooking progressed the house started smelling so good, I think she was secretly anxious to taste it.

Coconut broth - green onions, red bell peppers, carrots, ginger, garlic cilantro.....

Coconut broth – green onions, red bell peppers, carrots, ginger, garlic cilantro…..


Getting better with presentation, no?

Getting better with presentation, no?

A little sloppy with the sauce, but it’s pretty easy to make something this good, look good.  The ONLY complaint I got out of this dinner?  “Do I have to eat the green stuff on the rice?”  They loved this dinner too!  They also had a lot of fun sucking on the limes and making involuntary funny faces 🙂

Dinners like the past couple and most of those that I’ve made lately bring me great satisfaction.  I love the fact that my kids are more adventurous eaters than most.  I love the fact that they eat so healthy and enjoy it.  I love the fact that we sit down to dinner every night together and that our typical dinner conversation still takes place and many times isn’t prompted by me.  Typical conversation – “So xxxx, how was your day?  What was your favorite part?” then the person asked, asks someone else.  That’s how dinners are supposed to be.

Ok – back to our next dinner – I used some of the roasted chicken for this one so it was almost done already.  Creamy Cheddar and Chicken Macaroni.

Jeremy believes that he is lactose intolerant – whether he is or not is yet to be determined.  Maybe/maybe not – doesn’t much matter.  He eats, right?  He could eat cheese on tacos and cheese on pizza, but he will not touch regular milk – only drinks soy, will not eat chocolate, ice-cream, and any other kinds of cheeses besides what I mentioned.  So when I made this dinner I substituted vanilla soy milk for the milk called out in the recipe, but left in the shredded cheese – reasoning with him that it’s the same cheese he likes on his tacos.


Slightly different in color, i think due to the soy milk

Slightly different in color, i think due to the soy milk

I probably should have thought about this one a bit more before deciding to make it.  I think that once the kids heard, macaroni and cheese – they had a preconceived notion as to what it was going to be.  They loved the chicken, tolerated the swiss chard, but the macaroni and cheese – wasn’t received as well.  They ate it, it was good – but not a two thumbs up and probably won’t be a repeat dinner.  I liked it and I think that the vanilla soy milk gave it a nice sweet taste to it.

There are a couple more dinners that I’ve yet to make with this week’s menu, but I’m going to have to go to the store and pick up some additional items.  My only problem with this program is I keep forgetting which ingredients are shared with recipes so I end up using up some of them in dinners – so back to the store for some more carrots, red bell peppers, and ginger.

As far as my running and training program goes – training for my next 100 mile races doesn’t really start for a couple more weeks, but I’m trying to maintain a base of a 50k.  If I could run a 50k at will without any training – I think training for my next race and the race itself should be much easier than it was last year. This weekend, I didn’t have an official 50k race planned, but I didn’t have my kids this weekend so I planned my own.

North Chagrin Metroparks is about a 7-9 mile run from my house (depending on which way I go).  I was supposed to meet a friend up there at 9:30am so I thought;  I’ll run there, run 8 miles or so with her then run home – would put me at about 26-27miles.  Then later in the day I was meeting some more friends up there, running another 5-6 miles before we hit the Firehouse for some “refueling”.

I left my house around 7:30, ran to the park.

Gotta love catching the sunrise on a run -- except for the fact that i ripped my shorts on the guard rail i hopped to take this picture.

Gotta love catching the sunrise on a run — except for the fact that i ripped my shorts on the guard rail I hopped to take this picture.

'Boardwalk in the woods' - approx. a qtr. mile long.

‘Boardwalk in the woods’ – approx. a qtr. mile long.

Cant say it enough --- love these trails.

Cant say it enough — love these trails.

When I arrived at the park I was excited to see Charlie, Michele and Laurie.  I was a little early (almost 45min) so the four of us headed out for a quick 4 miles before circling back.  Unfortunately my friend’s schedule is crazy hectic and she tries to squeeze in so much – I received a txt from her apologizing but she wasn’t going to make it.  Next time 😉

Charlie and Michele still had another 9-10 miles left to run so I joined them in their journey through the park.  We ran through some trails there that i wasn’t familiar with and had a great time, circled back to the parking lot where they parked after about 9 miles and chatted some before they departed for home.  I tended to a blister that started, ate a bagel, downed a bit of Coca-Cola and started my trip home.  I took a little different way but it was nice to finally have the 20mph windgusts to my back!  I arrived home after 4hrs31min and 25.93 miles, grabbed a few bites to eat before heading out for run #2.  Check out the data for this run here – Run#1.

Run #2 was really just an excuse to get a group of us together, head up to The Firehouse for some food, drinks and lots of laughs – as if our group needs an excuse to do that.  Laurie came back for the second run, Doug was there as well as Jason and Jocyeln – whom it was really nice to see – been too long.  Surprisingly enough I don’t have any photos from this run.  We covered 5.88 miles no emphasis on speed at all – just fun!  Here is the data for run #2.

Although I took about a 2hr break in-between runs, I’m still considering this a 50k for the day – 31.81 miles, covered and even including my break at home – done within the usual amount of time a 50k gives you to complete it.  Now – 4,345 calories burned, including the 2,500 I’m allotted for the day give me 6,845 calories I need to consume today — off to the Firehouse!  Three 50k’s completed in three weeks?  Love it!