Jasen is a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio. He found his passion for radio while at WBWC at Baldwin Wallace University. He then went on to Kent State University, where he earned a Master's Degree in broadcast journalism and served as Morning Edition Producer at WKSU. Before becoming the host of The Jasen Sokol Show, he served as morning news editor for AkronNewsNow.com and traffic reporter for 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE, 94.9 WQMX, and 107.3 The WAVE. Off the air, Jasen is an avid sports fan (he lists NASCAR, football, and horse racing among his favorites), a news junkie, and a member of the Young Professionals of Akron. You can reach Jasen by phone at 330-869-9800 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be at the start line of an 8K, I would have called you crazy. Yet that’s where I was on Monday morning.
As the race announcer for the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, I can’t race the National Interstate 8K on race day. Instead, the Akron Marathon staff set up a “race” for me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled into the Infocision Stadium parking lot, but I arrived to see not just the Marathon staff waiting for me, but a contingent of Blue Line Beginners who would serve as our cheering section and water stop crew throughout the run. There was even pump up music and an introduction like we’ll do for the runners on Saturday!
At 7:00 a.m., it was time. Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen, Social Media Manager Lauren Toole, and George McFly from 94.9 WQMX took off from the start line with me to start the 4.9 mile trek around the University of Akron campus and Downtown Akron.
I knew the first 1.5 miles would be important. In the Blue Line Beginners test run a few weeks ago, I walked the first half mile before running the next mile. I ended that run with gas in the tank, so I decided to try running the entire first 1.5 miles this time around. This challenge was compounded by the fact that there was still some lingering soreness from when I tweaked my leg a few weeks ago. Much to my surprise, the pain went away and we flew through it faster than I thought I could. Our cheering section was set up right where we were going to start walking, so we decided to keep running a bit longer.
After walking to the two mile mark, it was time to run down the hill to Main and Market and start the trip down King James Way. It was here where the advantages of run/walking came into play. My watch had been showing a sub-10:00/mile pace for much of our running, but there was no way I could keep that up for nearly five full miles. Instead, we walked a bit near Canal Park and again on the three major uphills on the back half of the course: Broadway near The Depot Apartments, the bridge on Exchange St., and the hill leading to the UA Student Union. It was around a half mile of walking in all, but it made all the difference in getting me through.
When you reach the UA Commons portion of the course around mile 4.3, you can see Infocision Stadium and you know the finish line is close. I was pretty spent by this point but I knew I had to keep pushing.
I thought back to the first training session I did in February when I found myself huffing and puffing after a mile of walking, a mile that happened to be the first mile of the 8K course. I thought back to a month ago when I suffered my first major setback when I tweaked my leg so badly that it hurt to walk. After coming all this way, I couldn’t stop now. With Brian, George, and Lauren cheering me on, we made it around the stadium and to the field.
Turning the corner onto the field at Infocision Stadium was a moment I’ll never forget. Seeing the Akron Marathon staff and the Blue Line Beginners crew waiting for us, getting my very first race medal, and downing some postrace Chick-Fil-A and root beer was awesome. We finished the 8K in 55:41, more than six minutes faster than the time I put up during the test run.
But the work is far from over. I’ll be back on the road later in the week getting ready for the Goodyear 10K and the Akron Half Marathon. I’ll also be on the mic this weekend, encouraging the runners at the National Interstate 8K and 1 Mile. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
Ohio's richest thoroughbred horse race is at JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall Saturday.
The 84th running of the Ohio Derby features a $500,000 purse, several horses that ran in Triple Crown races earlier this year, and one Akron area native looking to score in a race that he says would mean more for him to win than the Kentucky Derby.
Jasen caught up with Loooch Racing Stables owner and St. Vincent-St. Mary alum Ron Paolucci, JACK Thistledown Racino handicapper Rich Ruda, and track announcer Matt Hook to preview the big race during a live broadcast of the Jasen Sokol Show at Thistledown.
It seems like just yesterday that I started this journey toward the Akron Half Marathon, yet in less than three weeks I’ll take to the National Interstate 8k course to complete the first race of Akron’s summer trilogy.
With coaching from Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Race Director Brian Polen, I’ve gone from walking a mile to run/walking six miles. Earlier today, I put in a 5k workout in honor of Global Running Day.
Until today, I hadn’t run on two consecutive days, and my legs didn’t let me forget about it. The first half of the 3.1 mile workout went well, but I could tell that doing the whole thing without walking any of it was going to be a challenge. I wound up having to walk about a half mile in all.
While the workout didn’t quite go as I planned, I couldn’t help but think back to February when I did that very first mile walk. At that time, I would have called you crazy if you said I would be doing anything close to a 5k. It’s amazing how far you can come with a little time and a little effort.
Stick and Ball Sport
Yes, you read that right. Sticks and balls do have a place in running.
A few weeks ago after putting in my first six mile run, I noticed a sharp pain in my right lower leg that wouldn’t go away. When I was sitting or standing it didn’t hurt, but anytime I tried to walk it was painful. The issue didn’t go away as the days went on, so I wound up not running for nearly a week.
Eventually I met with Brian to talk through what was going on. He told me the pain in my shin was likely because the rest of my leg was tight. He suggested two pieces of recovery equipment that got me back running the very next day.
The Stick is exactly what the name suggests: A long, flexible stick with handles on each end. Eight plastic rings surround the stick and act as massagers. It's basically a rolling pin for tight, sore muscles. Along with a foam massaging ball called The Orb (apparently they don’t spend much time coming up with names for these things) and a plan to rotate shoes between the support shoes I was wearing with a more neutral pair, I was able to get back to my training program.
Three Weeks To Go
It seems like it has come up fast, but the National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile is three weeks from Saturday on June 30. Because I serve as the race announcer for that race, I’ll be running the course on Monday, June 25. For anyone looking to get a taste of the course before race day, the Blue Line Beginners are planning a test run on Saturday, June 16.
The organizer of the effort to place a crocheted mural of Sojourner Truth in Lock 3 is speaking out on the controversy over its unveiling.
Cindy Michael of Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium worked to secure matching funds from the Knight Foundation for the mural and recruit people to crochet individual pieces of the mural. She says the unveiling held Monday, which was criticized for a lack of diversity, was to be for the people who helped make the mural and was not intended to be an event for the community at large. Michael says she reached out to African American groups to include them in the project, but was not able to reveal that the mural was to be of Sojourner Truth due to her agreement with the designer. A community event was held Wednesday evening at Lock 3.
Michael joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Wednesday to talk about the situation.
Two Akron City Councilwomen say not only were they not invited to the unveiling of a new crocheted mural of Sojourner Truth at Lock 3, but that few in Akron's African American community knew it was even happening.
The controversy erupted after pictures of the unveiling posted to social media appeared to have very few people of color in them. Truth, an African American woman, gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech in Akron on May 29, 1851.
Another event will be held at Lock 3 Wednesday from 5:15-6:15 to allow more people to take pictures with the new mural.
Samples and Sims joined the Jasen Sokol Show to talk about the situation.
The addition of girls to Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts was controversial when it was announced, and the controversy erupted again when it was announced last week that the Boy Scouting program for middle and high-school aged children would change its name to "Scouts BSA" starting in 2019.
The Great Trail Council, which oversees Boy Scout programs in Greater Akron and Greater Youngstown, will begin accepting girls into the Cub Scout program on June 1. Girls will be allowed into what is now known as the Boy Scouts next year. Scout Executive/CEO Pat Scherer joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about how they plan to keep boys and girls separate in the program and discuss whether the council is ready to have girls join the ranks.
Several hundred runners from Ohio will be among the more than 30,000 taking part in this year's Boston Marathon. Jasen talked to second time Boston runner Scott Hinkle of Loudonville and first time Boston entrant Lindsey Beachy of Glenmont about what it takes to qualify for the big race, getting the official word from Boston, and their experience in getting ready to run one of the most famous races in the world.
In what is believed to be the largest meth bust in Ohio history, authorities confiscated 140 pounds of methamphetamines last month from a warehouse in Boston Heights.
Three men, including one from Cleveland and two from Mexico, are in custody facing charges of conspiracy to posess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Keith Martin, Assistant Special Agent In Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration, talked to Jasen about the bust, a recent large heroin bust on Route 8, their connections to Mexican drug cartels, and how the drugs continue to flow into our area.
"Slow down to go faster."
As a fan of auto racing, I've heard that phrase a lot. Don't be so aggressive on certain parts of the race track and your lap times will actually get faster. It turns out the same is true in running.
Over the last couple of weeks, Akron Marathon race director Brian Polen has been slowly adding more running to the run/walks in my training program. At first, I was running as fast as I could for the one minute at a time. Needless to say, "fast as I could" wasn't so fast by the end. For the first mile or so I felt fine, but after that I would notice my running pace falling off. By about the 1.5 mile marker, my walking pace was completely gone as well. As the two mile mark approached, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the end of the workout.
It took a few times running myself into the ground to realize that I had better back off my pace a bit so I could make it as far as I was supposed to go. But once I did, not only did I feel better but I saw noticeable improvement in my overall pace.
Lt. Dan wasn't lying
In the film Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan reminds Forrest and Bubba about the importance of socks. He was talking about the Vietnam War, of course, but I've found that socks really do make a big difference in running too. When I was trying on shoes at Vertical Runner of Wooster, I couldn't get anything to fit right and not slide around too much until I had on compression socks. There are a bunch of different brands, but the best ones are designed to help people avoid blisters and wick away moisture. The ones I bought cost around $15 per pair, but it was worth it.
Better with friends
In talking to people about my plan to run the Akron Half Marathon, I frequently hear things like "how can you run for that long by yourself? won't it get boring?"
I can't answer that question yet, but I can tell you it's a lot more fun when you get to run with other people. I did my longest workout yet (3.5 miles) with Brian Polen and Lauren Toole from the Marathon staff. Being able to talk with people during the run helped me forget how much work was ahead of me, and I actually felt better than I had at the end of most of my runs in spite of the distance.
Not too late to start
If you still want to get involved with this year's Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series but haven't started training yet, that's okay! This is week one of the Blue Line Beginners program for 2018, and the workouts consist only of 15-20 minute walks, run/walks, or runs. The group will be meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Botzum Trailhead, 2928 Riverview Road, Akron, for their weekly group run. Members of the Akron Marathon staff are usually in attendance, and there are frequent guest speakers to address various topics related to running.
Did you miss 1590 WAKR's Opioid Roundtable? If so, you missed a great conversation featuring some of the people who are making a difference on the opioid epidemic in our area, including:
You can hear the entire roundtable, plus bonus interviews from the Jasen Sokol Show, in the playlist below.