Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Cleaning Challenge - Running Edition

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As a runner and an Eagle Scout, I truly love the outdoors.  Any chance I get to be outside doing something, I do it.  It's why my wife and I moved into a house that is very close to the Cuyahoga National Valley. There are great trails throughout the valley system and a lot lightly used roads that meander the hills around it that make for great running.  One thing that ruins great places like this: Litter.

It is just unfathomable to me how much trash I litter I see while I'm out running.  What kind of person just throws trash out their window while driving?  What type of person dumps a ton of trash on the side of the road instead of taking it home or throwing it out in a trash can anywhere?  This really grinds my gears, especially when I hear people complain about how much trash runners create at races.  I know almost every race I've ever been in either has strict rules about trash and littering or, like the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, does the utmost to have volunteers and staff clean up trash along the race course to ensure the place is cleaner then they found it.

Well, I've had enough.  I usually pick up a piece or two of trash when I run.  If I am running with a pack I will try to pickup more.  Just yesterday (Sunday, March 10th) I picked up 8 pieces of trash while I was running on a road near my house, picture below.  The most disheartening part is that I passed up at least 5 times this trash that I could easily see on the side of Riverside Road.  This road runs right next to the Cuyahoga National Valley, leads up to a lot of nice houses and is great to run or drive on. Litter left around this area can end up in the Cuyahoga river and eventually make it's way into Lake Erie, both of which require a lot of effort to keep them clean and free of trash.  Maybe it just looks worse now since all the snow is melted, but that is no excuse for this type of behavior.

Because of this I'm proposing my own Spring Cleaning Challenge: Collect as much trash as you can while out running, hiking or even walking the dog and share it.  Let's clean up our neighborhoods, parks and trails and hopefully guilt the litterers into stopping this horrible behavior.  Sure it might only be one can or one piece of plastic, but it's one less that is disposed of properly, won't hurt and animal or cause harm to our environment.  If you're feeling really green, recycle it.  Here is a list of how much energy recycling can save us by Popular Mechanics that is worth the read.

I'll post picture updates to this blog throughout March and early April to show how much litter I've collected on my runs.  You can follow my runs on Strava, if you like to see where I collect it all. Please post your own pictures in the comments and let's see how much of an impact we can all make.  If there is one Spring Cleaning Challenge that catches on, I hope this is it.

This is the 8 pieces of litter I picked up off the roadside while running near my house.  I had no pack, I just carried it all in my hands while running. The cars passing by either thought I was partying hard or a weirdo.  Either way, I'm glad I picked it up to help clean up the area in which I live.

Lastly, I am still giving away a free race entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon good for any distance.  Comments posted by 3/17/19 will have a chance to win.  You can also comment on my previous posts by then as well or share this on social media. If you miss out, use code EG2019 for a 10% discount on any race.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Running at Night

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Running in Cleveland during the winter can be tough.  You have to layer up correctly so you stay warm, but not too warm.  You have to watch for icy spots that can lead to slips or falls and therefore an injury.  As if that weren't already enough to deal with, it stays dark longer which means cars can't see you if you running on the road.  That leads me to the topic of this post: Running at Night.  I'll provide some of my best tips for running while it's dark and anyone who comments is eligible to win my free entry for any distance race in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race weekend, May 18-19th, 2019.  There might be favoritism shown to the runner who provides the best advice! 😉

1. Run with a headlamp - At first I was hesitant to do this mainly because I knew I could see any cars heading towards me, since I always run facing traffic.  One day while out running, A driver was not paying attention and I was forced into a ditch while running. Angered by this near collision with a mid sized SUV, I muttered under my breath and carried on.  After running a loop down a side street I was flagged down by a man frantically waving his arms and yelling at me. This man ran up to me apologizing for running me off the road and admitted that he wasn't paying attention.  He then pulled out a headlamp and told me he wanted me to have it. The man was a runner himself and just wanted me to be safer while running.  I refused his offer, stating I have one at home, which I do.  The man made me promise him that I would always wear one while running on roads at night.  This gesture made me realize, that he was right and that something so simple could mean the difference of life and death for a runner.

2. Make sure to have a rear facing light - While a headlight seems obvious, this might not.  I usually wear red armband LED lights that strap around my arms that might not seem like much.  What I've noticed since wearing them is that cars coming from behind tend to slow down, which always makes running on the roads safer.  They also are more conscientious towards oncoming traffic who can see me running and also slow down or move over.  Being able to be seen by all drivers really does make the roads MUCH safer.

3. Where reflective clothing -  This may sound like a simple thing to do, but we all have our favorite running gear and not all of it is reflective enough and warm enough to run in during the long, cold dark days of winter.  This just helps augment any light you have, any light in the streets and  any light from cars.  I like to this of this as a way to highlight myself while running.

4. Use sidewalks whenever possible - Winter around Cleveland means snow.  Snow means unshoveled sidewalks or snow plows that push snow on to sidewalks.  These can create issues with trying to run through knee high snow and thus can force runners into the roadways.  Whenever possible use the sidewalks, even if there is a couple inches of snow.  This might mean running slower than one wants, but it's better to be slow and safe than fast and seriously injured.

5. Run bridle paths or well groomed trails - When in doubt, just avoid the roads all together. Trials are super fun and very peaceful to run in the winter and provide no chance of being hit by an unobservant driver.  They do pose the risks of ice, rocks and roots so a headlamp is vital to do this and it helps to stick to trails that are wider and better groomed. As a side perk, often roads around these trails are less traveled and drivers are more observant due to the risk of hitting animals like deer, so stepping off a rugged trail and onto a road that connects to smoother trails is an option.

6. Shorten your stride and pick up your feet - At night it may not be possible to see every pothole that may be there, or tree root if on trails.  Shortening your stride and picking your feet up a little higher, helps to mitigate this risk and if you do stumble on an unseen obstacle, your body is in better position to catch yourself without causing and injury. Running in conditions that may have icy conditions means you need to shorten your stride to prevent slipping.  This helps keep your weight over your feet and minimizes the chance of twisting an ankle or knee, if you do slip. If you slip and there is a car coming, but it doesn't get over quite far enough, well I just hope that doesn't happen.  Here is a link to some advice from Runner's World

7. Wear proper shoes - In the winter trail shoes is often a good idea as they provide more grip that most street running shoes.  This again might result in slower times, but can really help prevent falls and sprained ankles.  Microspikes are a good tool to use on trail runs, since they dig in more and can help ascend icy hills.

8. Keep a cell phone on you - If something does happen, this is your lifeline. Always carry it while running at night, no matter where or what time of year it is.

What are some of your running at night tips?  Did I leave any off? Comment below to help your chance to win a free Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race entry or use the discount code EG2019 for 10% off any race!

See you May 18th and 19th!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Recap, 2019 Look Ahead

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with code EG2019!

Last year, 2018, was full of new running challenges for me.  I decided in December of 2017, I would attempt 12 marathons in 12 months.  I was coming off of a DNF at the Leadville 100 in August, both bummed I was unable to complete it and amazed I was able to make it through 70ish miles of running through and over the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains.  I had never taken on a challenge that involved this many races in a calendar year, let alone so many marathons.  For me this was a chance to see what I could do, knowing full well this would take up a lot of my free time and weekends.

With 2018 in the rear view mirror, I can say I finished 7 marathons and 3 races of other distances.  The biggest factor that held me back from running 3 races was time.  Family has to come first, yes even over running, and trying to balance these two was always tough.  Time has finite limits and skipping out on time with those who matter is not an option, running can always be done at a later date.  The two other marathons I skipped out on was simply due to lack of recovery or injury.  While I enjoy running and pride myself on being able to go for running for long periods, I'm not a professional and avoiding injury is always my number one goal.  In the end, I still need to be able to go to work and pay my bills.

Here are my races from 2018:

2018 Marathons:
Run for Regis - 1/20/18 - 5:00:52 (2nd overall, 1st male)
                          - ran self supported due to a government shutdown.
Olde Girlded Grit - 2/24/18 - 4:40:17 (7th overall, 7th male)
Glass City Marathon - 4/22/18 - 3:48:06 (435th overall, 308th male) PR!
Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon - 4/29/18 - 3:59:28 (213th overall, 163rd male)
Flying Pig Marathon - 5/6/18 - DNS - time issue
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon - 5/20/18 - 3:56:49 (568th overall, 418th male) 2nd fastest time ever!
Youngstown Marathon - 6/3/18 - time issue
Mohican Marathon - 6/16/18 - 5:14:14 (14th overall, 10th male)
Air Force Marathon - 9/15/18 - DNS - inured/recovering
Akron Marathon - 9/29/15 - DNS - inured/recovering
Towpath Marathon - 10/7/18 - 4:29:28 - (89th overall, 59th male)
                           - reaggravated hip injury, officially end race season
Columbus Marathon - 10/21/18 - DNS - time issue

2018 Other Races:
Buzzard Trail Race 25k - 3/17/18 - 2:34:57 (8th overall, 8th male)
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 8k Challenge Series - 40:04 (65th overall, 51st male)
Leave No Trace Half Marathon - 8/31/18 - 2:14:00 (44th overall, 39th male)
                           - hip injury aggravated during this race, cut down from the full marathon mid race

Pretty happy with my results overall, other than the little bit of injury that slowed me in prime fall racing season.  Any year I can set my two fastest times in a marathon, I'm happy with the results. The pleasant surprise of the year for me was seeing how highly I placed in the trail races.  This clearly reflects the amount of time I spend running trails and my love for this venue. Some other highlights include: setting a near PR at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon while running the race with friend to her first marathon finish, setting a personal record for the most marathons done in one year,

I'm sad to hear that the Run for Regis is now canceled due to changes in how the National Park Services allows for use of certain areas of the Cuyahoga Valley. I hate seeing the government stop a sport that has so many supporters of it's services, but they did cite some valid reasons as to why.


I've decided to tackle some new challenges and start doing more diverse races.  Here are my immediate goal races for 2019.  I also hope to do a race or two with my wife, one with my dogs and tackle some ultramarathons.

Here is what my rough calendar looks like as of 1/8/19:

February: Olde Girdled Grit Half Marathon
March: Buzzard Day Trail Race 50k
May: Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series (Full Marathon and 8k) GOAL: PR
June: Mohican 50, (maybe also the Green Jewel 25k)
July: Burning River 100 (backup in case I am not fortunate enough to make Leadville), Muddy Paws 2 Mile Dog Run
August: Leadville 100 (pending the lottery of course) GOAL: FINISH
September: Northcoast 24 hour Endurance Run (backup to the previous two races)
December: Regal Beagle 50k or 25k

There will hopefully be some smaller races throughout, but this calendar will keep me enjoying the outdoors and all Ohio has to offer, with some possible high altitude racing as well.  I'm always one to aim high but I think everything listed is achievable.

Who's going to talk me into other/more races?

So here's to a new year of running in 2019!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

How To Run In A National Park During A Government Shutdown

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As of the writing of this blog post, we are in day 15 of a partial government shutdown.  While many parts of the government are still functioning, this shutdown directly impacts runners due to the shutdown of our National Parks Services (NPS).  As a runner who lives near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, I use it multiple times a week.  This national park practically buts up to my house and is one of the main reasons my wife and I bought a house where we did.  

To quote the NPS website, "The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world."  Sadly, a lot of park rangers are working without pay or not working at all and our naturally beautiful lands are not being cleaned and protected. This means facilities can be closed, trash may not be picked up and in some races may be canceled.

While the races may be the least to worry about here, this concerns me.  For some, if not many, people, races in national parks may be their first interaction with a park.  This was true for me when I flew out west to visit the city of Leadville, Colorado and race in some of their awesome races.  I grew to love their little city and the expansive national forests (yes, this is different than national parks but the National Forest Service is also shutdown) that surround it. In my trips there, I have visited other national parks, like the Great Sand Dunes, and always had an immense amount of fun and time to find myself.  Isn't that what national parks are for?

Below is some of my advice of how to enjoy the national parks (or forests) and things you should do while you are there:

1. Stay on the trails  - I can not say this enough.  The trail systems these parks provide are there for many reasons, to provide a fun and safe path for visitors to enjoy, to prevent erosion and to protect plant and wild life areas.  Staying on the trail is not only for the safety of nature but for the safety of the visitor as well.  Sure 99% of the time, you will be fine stepping off the trail, but if you wander too far or get lost (which is easy enough to do on the trails) you could get seriously hurt and it will only be that much harder to find you.

2. Pick up trash - I know, this isn't your job.  The problem is, that with the government shut down, it's no one's job.  If you see trash where it shouldn't be, pick it up.  I try to make it a personal goal of mine to pick up 2 pieces of trash every time I visit any park, though I am not always successful.  With the shutdown, I have kept my eyes on trash containers, with the intent to empty it if it is full by putting it into my SUV to take home or to a local facility to dispose of.  Full trash containers risk litter spilling out into the surrounding nature reserves and animals learning food may be present there and thus increasing encounters with humans. Maybe it's just my inner boy scout but I was always taught you should leave it better than you found it.

3. Be respectful of the land - This sounds similar to #2, but this includes staying on proper roadways.  Again, this is for everyone's safety. If you see an area that is in disrepair, avoid using it to worsen it further.  Make a note and contact the park services. 

4. Follow posted instructions - If a park is truly closed, stay out.  If the park is open, you may enter.  I know I can take care of myself out in most wilderness, but if something happens there may be no help available.  Facilities that are often relied on may be closed, which presents further danger than previously thought and thus why you should stay out.

5. Use the facilities before hand - I've had personal experiences with this during a few government shutdowns, which makes me sad to say I've had to experience more than one while running.  Use the restroom, particularly number 2, before you go.  Restrooms are usually locked and this can make a big issue as we all know what runner's trots are.

6. Whatever you bring in, bring it back out - Again, there is probably to refuse service occurring during a shut down. Do not be the asshat who makes a mess and has to leave it for the unpaid park worker to clean up.  An animal make beat them to it, especially now, and get sick off of it. Neither should happen, so pack out what you pack in. The boy scouts teaches you to "leave no trace", remember that and to learn more follow or volunteer with Leave No TraceHere are their principles to follow

7. Be respectful to the rangers - Do not take your frustration out on a park ranger who is doing their job.  They want this less than you do, don't beat them up for it.  They may just not come back until they are paid and then the park suffers more.

8. Be the park ranger - Ok, so don't go stopping poachers (unless you're Dog the Bounty Hunter or something).  Be smart but if you see someone doing something they shouldn't be, say something.  Back off if you feel uncomfortable but we really need to do our best to protect the land from people who are doing things they shouldn't be, whether it's a kid playing in a wetland or a company illegally dumping.  You can volunteer your services to better the parks here for the parks and here for the forest services, once they are up and running again.

9. Donate! - You can donate here, and pick your favorite National Park to donate to.  You can donate here for the National Forest Services.

Here is a list of all of the interior United state departments that are shut down when a government shut down occurs.

Save 10% on any race for the 2019 Rite Cleveland Marathon with code EG2019

Monday, November 12, 2018

Motivational Monday

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It's now November, and Fall marathon season has passed us by.  It's getting colder and sub freezing temperatures are upon us, at least in northeast Ohio.  With this chilly temps it can be hard to keep running.  The temptation of eating a tub of ice cream in front of the fire while rocking some cozy pj's under a blanket with dog at your feet sounds way more comfortable than lacing up some running shoes and layering up to go log some slower miles as the air and wind start to hurt your face.

Motivation can be hard to find and severely lacking.  It can come in some of the most random ways to us.  Many times, an inspirational video or quote can really light a fire under us to get out there.  Other times, something might just remind us that we need to go and do it.  Either way, this is your fall Motivational Monday!

Here are some of my favorite videos, quotes and stories:

Just Do It - Original

Jimmy V's Speech - I'm not crying, you're crying

Al Pacino Inches Speech - This speech is on my running list. Every time it comes on, I drop the hammer and go

Dave Mackey's Story - You don't even need your legs to run. More here.

The bear cub that won't quit - worth the reminder that size doesn't matter

Rocky's Run - How I feel running big city marathons

That's How Winning is Done - Another speech I have saved on my running list

Team Hoyt - This is my favorite running duo. Their Espy's speech is also amazing!

Nike's Just Do It - 2018 - Politics aside, WHOA!

And always remember this...

Use code EG2019 for a 10% discount at checkout of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 
(good for all races)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fall is Running (and Flu Shot) Season

Fall is a great time to run. After putting in miles over the hot summer, it’s finally cooler and much easy to go on long runs without becoming overly dehydrated. The trees are acting like natures own fireworks display to make it all the more enjoyable. Pumpkin decorations are everywhere, football stadiums are packed on Friday nights, people at being stabbed in the arm on every street corner...
That’s right, everywhere you go people are being stabbed. They are being injected with a serum that will make them super humans and provide them the ability to fight off a deadly disease that strikes at different times around the globe. This disease killed about 80,000 US citizens in 2017-18 fall to winter.

What are these people being injected with?

The flu shot

There are many reasons why everyone should get the flu shot, yes even young and healthy runners who think “they can handle it”.  Below are some of the reasons why you should get your flu shot every year, as well as a few, very rare, reasons why you should not.
I’ll save you the trouble of reading all of them right now and tell you this: get your damn flu shot!

Here’s the list:

1. Your family - Believe it or not, a healthy person can carry the flu to others without signs they are sick.  These people act as a vector (explanation with citations here). So if you are around elderly, kids, people with weakened immune systems, or go out in public ever, get your flu shot!

2. You - Sure you are probably healthy and fit, great!  That does not mean you won't get the flu.  of the roughly 80,000 people who died from the flu (or it's complications) in the 2017-2018 flu season, approximately 80% were unvaccinated.  The flu shot does not mean you won't get the flu but it will  help your immune system fight it off better IF you do get it. Odds are you won't even get it, if you get the shot.  Citations here.

3. It’s probably free - Most insurances will cover the shot free either at a local pharmacy or at your primary medical provider's office.  Most, if not all, pharmacies, do not need an appointment.  Most of them can also set up a clinic at your place of employment to ensure less people get sick, less people will call off and herd immunity is better achieved.

4. That person standing over there (points) - As previously mentioned getting the flu shot isn't entirely about you. You need to help create herd immunity for others, who can not get it or are extemely prone to getting it. This is why I am expressing this point twice, it matters that much. Fun link and graphic here.

5. If you do catch the flu, it’ll likely be less dramatic - I often tell patients this, "Even if the flu shot contains a different strain and you catch the flu, it's still better to get it.  It's like training for a football game and then realizing you showed up to a rugby match.  It's still better to be in shape and ready, you'll probably be OK."

6. YOU CAN NOT GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU SHOT - Repeat after me people, "You can not get the flu from the flu shot." It's essentially a "dead" or only part of the virus. Longer explanation here.

7. It doesn’t cause autism - Jenny McCarthy is an idiot.  Her views are flat out wrong and the Lancet article she often cites has been discredited and the man who wrote it is not allowed to even practice medicine because of falsehoods he propagated and made up in the article.

8. Zombie apocalypse (or other world shattering event) - Ok, so you're still on the fringe and think big brother is putting microchips in flu shots to track you (I have patients who actually believe this). Well, Mr. Tinfoil hat, what if the zombie apocalypse comes? There's a high likelihood that zombies could carry the flu among other biological diseases.  Wouldn't you rather be protected with your own biologic weapon to keep the herds of the walking dead from getting you sick from the blood splatter?  I would!

9. Your dog - So you get the flu and go to the hospital, you're incapacitated.  You recover in 3-5 days and are discharged.  Meanwhile, your poor pooch sits at home and misses you.  I know this is a pull on the heart strings but my heart melted when a patient of mine had this happen and wasn't able to get someone to take care of their dog because no one knew about her. 

10. Your work - Not everyone likes going to work.  No one likes being sick.  Sure Michael Jordan fought off the flu to help win a championship, dropping 38 points on his way to greatness.  He also put all of the other players at risk in the process, including his teammates.  A huge group of fans (probably 20,000 plus) were also exposed.  You are not Michael Jordan, and if you are, get your flu shot to help protect others.  That's a real legend.

Reasons not to get the flu shot:

1. You’re allergic to eggs - The CDC still recommends you get the shot unless you've had a known allergic reaction to it or your egg allergy is worse than a rash (i.e. anaphylaxis).

2. You hate everyone and believe in only the purest of Darwinism - Well...    That's your prerogative.

3. Guillian Barre Syndrome -

4. You’re sick right now - Once you've been recovered for a while, you can then get it.  Just don't force more on your immune system now as the vaccine won't work right.

5. You have an immune disorder - This is a case by case situation depending on the issues you have.  Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist and encourage everyone you know to get their flu shot to help protect you. Be your own advocate.

6. You are on a medication - Certain medications may limit the effectiveness or if you can even get the flu shot.  This is a valid reason, so check with your pharmacist or medical provider.  In most cases, simply waiting until after a course of medication is over with will be sufficient and you can get protected by the flu shot.

7.Jenny McCarthy (or some hack like David Avocado Wolfe) said so - Look, I don’t go to a psychologist to get my car fixed, so why would you go to a has been Playboy model for medical advice. She’s wrong, she’s a moron and the evidence she tries to cite has been discredited a million times over. Her own organization funded a study that even proved vaccines do not cause autism. I was actually banned from their Facebook page after proving them wrong and how their goal is literally hurting people. I wish I could remember the name, but I'm blocked and can't even search for them. Guess they can't handle a little prick...

Now some fun flu shot charts, infographics and photos!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Where to run in Cleveland - Fall Edition

Cleveland isn’t exactly the place most people think of when they think of Fall.  Maybe it’s our Rust Belt history combined with our own burning river past.  Thankfully, agencies like the EPA have really helped clean up or waterways. The Cleveland Metroparks, along with some national parks services and even local cities have done an amazing job in really giving The greater Cleveland area some AMAZING places to enjoy the fall colors while out on the run.

Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation

The Rocky River Reservarion of the Cleveland Metroparks truly has something to offer every type of runner. Following the Rocky River from Lake Erie around Cleveland Hopkins Airport and down to Berea, this reservation is full of paved bike paths and dirt trails alike.  The accessibility of this park is unlike any others around the city, making it a real treat to those that live near it.

Beginner runners will love the paved paths, which can easily be ramped up by running up the many roadways and sidewalks that dive from the surrounding cities into thickly wooded river valley. Trailheads will love the area surrounding the Nature Center which has lots of dirt trails that climb up and down over hills and even a steep staircase that gives some of the best views of the Rocky River while getting that heart rate up.

Cuyahoga National Valley

Despite being a lesser known national park, at least nationwide, this is still one of the most visited parks in the US.  It can be a little tough to access but offers everything. With some very technical and hilly sections off of Truxell Road, winding in and around some rocky ledges, and some very flat and easy trails, following the historic Towpath, it has something for every skill level all year long.

This valley is home to many races, including the Burning River 100, which is a better known 100 mile race that occurs each July. Fall is amazing here given the amount of foliage that changes color and will never dissapoint. Some of my favorite areas also include, Kendall Lake, the Ledges, the Towpath, the ski areas and the Camp Manatoc Boy Scout Camp, which is only open to the public on special occasions. 

Here are some other fun places to plan your runs through the valley.

Fairhill Road Rockefeller Park/Ambler Park/Shaker Lakes

These obscure and small parks are located in the heart of the near east side of Cleveland, mostly between Fairhill Road and N. Park Boulevard. They are small and very hidden, yet offers some amazingly technical and hilly single track trails. The park has some amazing views of land that use to be here before development, and seems to have somehow escaped time. This park is even home to a tough 50k, which makes it that much cooler, despite it being relatively unknown. 

Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation

I now consider this my home course. Having moved to Brecskville in part because of the massive parks system that butts up to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, giving me total access to run all the trails I can tolerate. While smaller than the valley, it offers a ton of trails with one even called My Mountain, that overlooks the Chippewa creek. 

The trails here offer a ton of wilderness like feel, while always being fairly close to place you can go to for safety, or an Uber pickup in case your lost or dead tired of running. The hills here can really build a runner’s endurance and simulates some of the courses you’ll see in more mountainous regions, albeit without the elevation.

Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation

This large Metropark is home to the famed Squire’s Castle, a 19th century castle style home, which is the starting point of the Burning River 100.  This unique place is a real treat to the east side of Cleveland and it’s nearby suburbs and a great place to see something you won’t see anywhere else in Ohio. 

With views of waterfalls, bridle trails and even paved path, this is a quintessential place to log some miles while tree gazing. Being so close to the mess that is 271, this reservation offers an amazing reprieve with every amenity the Metroparks offer, sans a beach. 

Hinckley Reservation 

This southern park has a lot of rolling hills and aggressive trails that job across ledges, and is not for the faint of heart. It’s easy to get lost here, but worth the drive and hike to really be one with nature while pushing yourself to the max.

Home of the buzzards, and a rare wintery 100k race, the trails here are great for those train for trail marathons or ultra marathons. Despite being in sleepy Medina county, don’t sleep on the beauty of this park with its large lake and sceneic overlooks.

Girdled Road Reservation 

This far east park system, which lies almost in Painesville, offers a lot of nicely groomed trails that provide quite a few rolling hills. This parks butts up to a few other parks and his home to a very unique bridge, that’s is amazingly fun to run across. 

Trails here are clearly surround by wetlands and dive into the woods leaving a great feeling of solitude, this far our from the "big city".  Despite how far this park is for most people, it’s a great place to plan a long run with a friend and has a few covered areas where you can plan in your own aid stations or a sit down lunch on a long run. Wildlife can abound out here, so who knows what you will run into!

Mill Stream Run Reservation

This Metropark is much larger than most people realize at first. Follow the southern parts of the Rocky River, this winding park has a lot of great river views with paved paths surrounded by wetlands.  Being easily accessible to many densely populated suburbs, this park is a big draw for many West siders. 

Most of this park is fairly flat and great for runners who really want an easy place to stretch their legs and go meander without the worries of getting lost or tackling big climbs. An ideal place for beginning runners, or those who just want a quick run through the park to break up the hustle and bustle of everyday living.