Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Running Ohio

The Buckeye State is where I met Michael Hayward, who felt compelled to help because of the purpose of the run. Michael crewed me starting from Van Wert, Ohio just east of the Indiana state line - a small Americana town even Andy Griffith would be proud of! Here I run pick up America's oldest and longest highway, the Lincoln Highway 30. Mike has a home in Findlay, Ohio and is quite sharp with the Ohio roads. Each state that I have run through is having its own geographical personality. Long lonely farm roads stretching for miles, dotted with beautiful red barns- all symbolic of the Ohio landscape. Trans USA Runner Phil Rosenstein and fellow ultra marathoner join me for a day of running on Halloween. We encounter kids in their costumes trick or' treating before dark with their families. We are offered candy, hot chocolate and cider.One family took a keen interest with our run and the grandfather was a well -versed historian on the Lincoln Hwy -knowledge which he proudly shared with us. He and his wife offered coffee, candy and even dinner and a shower if we wanted-we graciously declined and kept to our running schedule. Running with Phil was a real treat and honor having him run with me-he ran the same route I was following, two years earlier! Phil was always a very humble and encouraging person- with crewing and generally helping runners to achieve their best- all part of his good nature and big heart. Phil briefs me on the latest news in ultra running and friends which I enjoyed hearing..

We spent a night in Findlay, Ohio at Michael's home. His wife Leni cooks us a great pasta dinner and went out of her way to ensure that were fed and rested. Phil departs back to Akron, Ohio to see his girlfriend. Phil's company and encouragement made my day and will always be appreciated.

Farmers are working late to plow their fields for next years crops, amazes me how big their farm machinery is and the control they have over them. Like an artist, they landscape their fields, their income and livelihood. Running lonely stretches offers its dangers too-dogs! Man's best friend-well stated and true. However any mailman, meter reader,runner and cyclist will tell you differently-dogs can be your worst 'nightmare' too! Unsecured they can pose a danger - dog bites can ruin you day and even cause serious harm. I've had close calls with dogs during the run, no bites-knock on wood! Been chased and charged at many times-my line of defense has been my water bottle which I have 'squirted' them with-works most of the time-no pepper spray, although it's been suggested I do carry it. Rocks also most of the time check their 'charge'.Running in a real rural section of Oklahoma I carried a rake pole which I was told by the locals to keep because of unchained mean dogs wanting a taste of your calf muscles. Never had to use it-maybe it was an intimidating object to them, who knows? Had a lab puppy follow me in Missouri-about a mile before his owner came looking for him.

Micheal waits 6 miles up the Hwy for me. Now parked in a drive way, a family is awaiting me to come by, Michael being the very personable person he is, struck up the conversation with the young family, as they were very curious about our run and The Way to Happiness Foundation we both support. The young father, who was a welder by trade - shows us the 'robot' he made out of pipes, parts, wires and how it was the main Halloween 'attraction' on the block. We are invited in for homemade pizza which was quite good. Michael and I felt part of the family, very kind people we will not forget, accepting two strangers into their home.

The following day Phil refers us to a fellow Badwater runner David Corfman's brother and wife Richard and Sue who live near Orville, OH, home of the Smuckers jam, let us spend a night at their beautiful home. Richard, a former bike mechanic was kind enough to repair my baby jogger wheel bearings and made it like new! Richard treated us to a nice dinner at a local eatery with some of the best homemade breads and soups and gave us a 'cooks tour' of Orville. Sue, his wife, set up a great breakfast the next morning before leaving to run. Great family!

We are fortunate to spend another night 40 miles further east at Gail Vance's home who crewed David Corfman during the Badwater race this past summer. Lance loves running, very upbeat guy. He shares with us that he weighed over 250 pounds, had a double bypass heart operation and has now run four marathons and is now training for another with his wife Gail! Very inspiring man-Vance is inspiring to anyone who meets him. He treated Michael and I to a nice dinner and was just great company and a unique person who has overcome major health issues.

Ohio now tends to become hillier as we enter West Virgina and cross over the Ohio River. It's always a great feeling crossing into a new state. We did receive some nice press in Ohio which carried over into West Virgina. People quickly recognized us and told us that they enjoyed the news article and thanked us for running for youth and The Way to Happiness Foundation. West Virgina and crossing into Pennsylvania was quick. Didn't get to see much of West Virgina.

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