Monthly Archives: March 2008

A reassuring sign of spring!

The buzzards have returned to Hinckley. Spring may commence now.

Buzzards back to roost
Posted by Maggi Martin March 15, 2008 14:04PM
Categories: FYI
If the flooded rivers are not enough to convince you spring has sprung, there’s the buzzards back to roost.

Cleveland Metroparks “Official Buzzard Spotter” Bob Hinkle surrounded by his faithful buzzard boosters announced the first buzzard was seen at 11:05 a.m. Saturday in Hinckley Reservation.

Despite a dense fog that lingered in the late morning the haggard-looking fowl did not disappoint.

They arrived, like they always do, at the first hint of spring.

The annual return of the Hinckley buzzards is considered by many to be a tell-tale sign that spring has returned to Ohio.

Don’t let those melting snow piles fool you.

On Sunday, the Cleveland Metroparks invites fowl and folks alike to celebrate its 51st annual Buzzard Sunday event from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Hinckley Reservation with nature hikes and buzzard-oriented entertainment.

Along with the wacky hats and crazy costumes there will be storytelling, live buzzard displays, Buzzard bingo and Buzzard bean bag for children

I grew up in the next town north of Hinckley, and the buzzards returning to Hinckley was always a big deal. Of course, we teens, drinking beer in the metropark, usually spotted some buzzards the weekend before there.

I learned in school it was the first reason stated below why they return year after year:

“Legend has it that they were first attracted by the tons of butchering refuse and unwanted game left behind in the great Hinckley Hunt of 1818, but additional historical research among the records of the Sylvester Library of Medina uncovered an old manuscript by William Coggswell, who as a youth with his uncle, Gibson Gates, were the first white men to set foot in the township in 1810. This manuscript told of their expedition from Bath and Richfield through Hinckley, and of finding the “vultures of the air” at the gallows at Big Bend of Rocky River around the foot of the ledges where the Wyandots had hanged a squaw for witchcraft two years before. This indicated that these turkey vultures had made their home on Hinckley Ridge long before the white men settled west of the Cuyahoga River, and it moved their occupancy back into the midst of the Indians legend.”

Our local kickass radio station in the 70-80s was WMMS 101 FM the “Home of the Buzzard”

“Partially inspired by an annual event at Hinckley Township, the tenuous economic state of the city, and its’ reputation as a “bird of prey,” WMMS adopted a buzzard as its’ mascot, a co-creation of Gorman, Sanders and local artist David Helton. From the onset, Helton’s streamlined artwork resulted in an aggressive, yet family-friendly symbol for the station that endured for 35 years. “The Buzzard” became synonymous with WMMS, Cleveland radio and the city itself, spawning a series of T-shirts so numerous that they are now impossible to catalog.”

FA 50K Mill Creek Park

This is the Covered Bridge at Mill Creek Park, in Youngstown Ohio. This was part of the running route for the annual FA 50K.

I got to MCP at 0730 to find the parking lot still locked. I knew some runners had started early. Rather than park on the street, I drove over to the Lily Pond parking lot, which is anothe spot where we originate runs from.

Nobody was around, so I gathered my gear quickly and got on the trail. It was a beautiful, cold morning, but not too cold. Youngstown still had alot of snow left on the ground. I quickly encountered all four types of footing out there: muddy, icy, snowy, and mushy.
I made a stop at the other parking lot, and encountered Slim, OPod, and Frank coming in from their first loop. After a quick hello, Jim said he’d give me a head start and then the guys would chase me down. I took the challenge, although I really wanted a bathroom break!

I’ve run a number of times in MCP, and have no problem following the trail. When I got down around the creek, the footing was a bit treacherous. The snow was coming down right to the edge of the water, which means we were breaking trail through snow.

I made this pic in B&W to try and highlight the closeness of the river. You had to be really careful on the trail beside the creek. A water dip in these temps would not be good.

Slim finally caught up to me on this first section, before we hit the infamous Monkey Trails, and we had a nice talk. Slim is so doggoned fast that we’re never running at the same pace together. It was great that he dropped down to a crawl to spend time with me. We ran through the CB together, then Slim sped off to get to his son and daughter’s track meet in Akron! Thanks for the time together Slim, I enjoyed it!

The water was really way up in the park; in fact a little bit of the trail was feet under water, and *gasp* we had to substitute an 1/16 mile of road to get around it.

I ran into Brian, Jeff and Dan coming the other way on the trail; it seems there were only 7 of us NEO Trail Runners out for the 50K today! After the guys passed me, I spent the rest of the loop in silence, thinking of
Kathleen Keller and her son and my good friend Mike. I have always marveled at Mike’s off the cuff good pictures, and as I ran, I realized he got this artistic talent from his mother. Kathleen was an oil painter (oil painter artist? not sure of the right term) and I was amazed at some of her pictures on display at the funeral home. I have no artistic talent at all and am always amazed and impressed about how people can create. Now I understand why Mike gets some great pics. He just has the eye for it. I missed you out on the trail today Mike. I thought of our last run there, where the lakes had frozen over and you kept looking for a rock to break through the ice!

On the second loop I picked up my music. I realized, with all of us runners spread out, I wouldn’t be running with anyone. The second and third loop were fairly uneventful; although on the third loop through the Monkey Trails my quads were burning. But it was a good burn. It was a “my quads are going to be sore tomorrow and ache when I stand up”. The burn made me smile.

The Monkey Trails themselves didn’t make me smile much! They were slick, muddy and treacherous. On one part downhill, I simply crouched down and slid ten or fifteen feet, it was safer than trying to pick my way down the hill.

My IT Band was complaining loudly to me, probably due to all the off kilter running and slogging through the snow. My ankles turned to throb in the third loop also, due to the uneven conditions.

I am proud to say, I never even contemplated stopping after three. I got back to my car, wolfed down some food, refilled my water bottles and stepped out again for the last round!

I really didn’t get too tired until about halfway through the last loop, where I was trying to avoid falling into the river.

I started at 0735 and finished at 1708. I know this sounds really slow and it was! But alot of this was due to the trail conditions. I was glad to get the training time in, and it was great to see my trail friends again, altough just briefly!
I started home quickly after phoning Slim to let him know I was done, since he wanted to make sure I was safe-thanks Jim, you are a great friend!

Even though we had only been together on the trail, it felt like we now knew each other an entire lifetime; the friendships you make in running, particularly ultrarunning and trail running is something else.”
-Greg, from his 2005 GEER 100K Race Report

Training Plan-or Lack of

A friend emailed me last night and asked how my training was going.

I thought about it for a minute, and realized I really don’t seem to be training.

I’m getting some runs in, true, but the wheels on the training plan seemed to fall off back in February. I seem to be just holding on to “get through” Umstead, and then I added another race right after Umstead. Sigh.

Not much of a post here, but I needed to get these thoughts down in writing so I will get back to this later today. I need to make myself some specific goals and commitments now that the weather is breaking, I seem to be having a more normal work schedule, and I’m slowly getting the weight more under control.

And today’s weather is..

Scattered flurries and snow showers. High 38F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 30%.

Pretty boring! I think a road run is in the cards today, out by my house. The sunshine really helped clean the road up, and I believe I now have more daylight to play in!

5 Miles

I wanted to do more, but got intterupted on the treadmill a number of times…too bad I didn’t hold off until later in the afternoon. The skies were blue, the sun was out, it was 40 degrees, I could have done a nice 4 miler around the block instead of 5 miles on the tread.

13 Miles today

What a change in 24 hours. The snow began Friday morning and has been coming down rather steadily since. We had a period of sleet for awhile, then it turned back to snow.

One look at the road and I knew not even a track run would work today. Our road, although a state route, didn’t get plowed until noon, and then again 4 hours later, this time with an earth mover. (Our state route is a very unimportant rural route; it goes from nowhere to nowhere.)

SO I did it. 13 miles on the treadmill. Thank goodness I have a TV to watch. Not a bad run, actually. I kept to a 4 minute run, 1 minute walk. It was easier to do that way.

I’m seeing another treadmill run in my future Sunday!

Flood Water Run

Since the next impending doom of winter storm was on the horizon, I thought it best to get another outside run in. I went over to Lake Park, which is our local bike/walk trail, which is next to the river. Alot of the path is along the river, and hence, some of it under water.

After awhile, I got bored with running around the water, and opted to go through some of it. Like where these duckies are. I also got ‘caught’ going through some water up to my knees in another area by some other hospital workers out for a walk in the park. I’m sure that must have amused them, seeing me wade through the water up to my knees. Hey, my feet were already wet!