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.
"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.
It started as a Beacon Journal project, became a year-round organization, and is now ready to welcome its next batch of running newbies.
Blue Line Beginners will hold its first meeting of 2018 for new members on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library in Downtown Akron. The organization, founded by Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis, aims to take people who have never run a race before and train them to run the races of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series.
Schleis and Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen joined Jasen to talk about the program and how just about anyone can get involved.
I'm well into my second week of training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. While I'm nowhere near ready to hit the Blue Line yet, I've already made a few observations:
We're less than 200 days away from the Akron Marathon, but that doesn't mean it's too late to get started on your own Blue Line journey! One of the cool things about the Akron Marathon Race Series is that they have different distances at different races throughout the summer, so if a half marathon or a relay leg seems too daunting you can start with something as short as a 1 mile and work your way up from there.
The week ahead: Two more brisk walks at longer distances... hopefully with less snow!
Thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to call for a variety of school safety measures in the wake of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month. Now that the children have spoken, what will the adults do?
Lisa Mansfield, member of the Akron School Board, joined Jasen to share her thoughts on the walkout she attended at Firestone CLC and talk about what the board is doing to address school security:
Jasen also sat down with Rosie Craig from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and Dean Rieck of the Buckeye Firearms Association to talk about what they think should and should not be done to avoid another school shooting.
For the last three years, I've been the announcer for several of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series events. It's become something I look forward to every year, but there has always been one thing about it that has been awkward for me:
I've never actually run a race.
Not a marathon, not a half marathon, not even a 5k. But that's about to change.
Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, told me after last year's Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k that he wanted to see me run some races this year. I've never been one to jump at the opportunity to work out, but for some reason I said I would. When the weather began to warm up, Brian decided it was time for me to begin my training.
Over the next six months, I'll be preparing to run the National Interstate 8k in June, the Goodyear 10k in August, and the FirstEnergy Akron Half Marathon in September. I'll still be announcing the June and August races and covering the marathon for 1590 WAKR in September, so I'll be running each course about a week before the actual race. Brian has put together a complete training plan for me, and I'll be visiting Vertical Runner of Wooster (which is owned by Brian and his wife Tammy) soon to get all the gear I need to put the plan into action.
I'll be documenting this journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and here on WAKR.net, and I'd love for you to join me! While you may have an idea of what a runner looks like, I've learned that there really is no one type of runner. People of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels challenge the Blue Line each year and achieve their goals. I'll be taking part in this year's Blue Line Beginners program, and I hope I'll get to call your name when you cross the finish line this summer.
For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.
Brian Polen joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to talk about turning Jasen into a runner
Since the school shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. that claimed the lives of 17 people, many people are searching for a solution to the problem of gun violence. But the political debate over mass shootings is often approached with cynicism after years of gridlock on the issue.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Republican candidate for Governor, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Jasen on Monday to give their ideas on how to reduce the chances of a school shooting happening again.
It's been a week of turmoil in professional fastpitch softball. The future of the Akron Racers has been questioned after the removal of General Manager Joey Arrietta and reports that majority owner Craig Stout has partnered with a Chinese group to bring in a group of players from China to fill a significant portion of the team's roster.
On Thursday, the Beacon Journal reported that the team will become the Cleveland Comets under new general manager Stephen Dunn. NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said in an interview Thursday there was "nothing (she) could do to validate that rumor."
The shakeup has also extended to Texas, where the Scrap Yard Dawgs announced they would not play in National Pro Fastpitch this season. They were later formally dismissed from NPF.
Kempf joined the Jasen Sokol Show for an in-depth discussion of the future of pro softball in Akron:
Cuyahoga Falls is about to open a new main road while preparing to make major changes to another.
Front Street in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls will open to traffic for the first time on February 3 after decades as a pedestrian mall. Mayor Don Walters says the first vehicles on the new road will be school buses from Cuyahoga Falls and Woodridge followed by a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am and a new Tesla to signify the years the street was closed and re-opened to traffic. A formal grand opening will be held in June.
While it will be easier to get around the Downtown area this year, it will get much more difficult to navigate the Chapel Hill area beginning next year.
Howe Avenue will be completely repaved beginning in April 2019. According to the plan unveiled recently, Howe Ave. will be one-way westbound (toward Route 8) from Main St./Home Ave. to Bucholzer Blvd. until the project is completed in the fall of 2020. That will allow shoppers who want to get to the plazas along Howe to use the entrances along Main/Home. Drivers who need to get to Chapel Hill Mall will need to detour down Main/Home to Independence Ave.
Walters joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about both projects and what they mean for Cuyahoga Falls.