My 2012 Oil Creek 100

Paula and Me!

Race day is done and gone!  We did it!  100 miles straight!  Woohoo! 

It took me 30 hours and change.  It was a long day and an even longer night!  I’m feeling pretty good overall just a little tired, slightly swollen feet, and a swollen and sore ankle that I don’t think is too bad.  In a few days, maybe a week, I should be back on the trail.  A race summary is below if you want to see what the race was like.  I tried to capture it as best as I could remember…I hope you enjoy it and if you are inspired, please pass it on because we still have some work to do!  Thank you so much for all your help!


Our website is up to $3,235.  Thanks to recent donations from Dana Zanville, Jim Hunt, Tom and Linda Gorey, Paula Massey and Don DeSloover!  I also have donations in hand from Debby Peters, Gerri Leonard, and Grace Bell!  All of that along with what our corporate campaigns are working on should bring us to about $4,000 total and 80% of our goal!  Woohoo!  Thank you so much to Everyone for helping fight the good fight!

We can still take donations till the end of the month so let’s keep pulling!  Every little bit counts!  If you can take a minute, forward this email on to 5 people that you know that might be inspired by our efforts.  Put in a good word for me, the cause, and our Honorees.  I appreciate it and our 151 Honorees appreciate it too.  Chances are good they know someone on our Honoree list!

Finally, if you don’t have your donation in yet, please consider it.  Thank you to all our donors to date and everyone sending words of encouragement.  I appreciate it more than I can say!

Help save a life and find a cure!

You can donate online at:

Or, you can send a check made out to:  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 3936 Elmhurst Road, Toledo, OH 43613

Run Steady, Run Strong, Help Others! (My mantra for the race!  It worked!) – Ernie

Oil Creek 2012

2 Days Before – I am jumping out of my skin!  Race day is getting close and I am getting anxious.  Haven’t slept much for the last few days.  Been tapering the last two weeks, reducing my training mileage, and really feeling the need to run now!  Like right now!

1 Day to Go! – Didn’t sleep at all last night.  Nervous as hell now.  Trying to relax.  Doing a Friday morning last minute gear check.  Pretty sure I have everything but triple checking.  Paula calls me to do a picture before I go.  She’s not feeling that great but wants to use the picture to help the fundraising.  Pretty cool!  I throw everything in the car (being careful not to throw my back out this year!) and head out.  We meet up at Wildwood and some nice people take a few pictures of us with our TNT sign.  Later, Paula posts it to FB with a super inspiring message.  Take a look at it and at all the posts from the weekend at:

New friend Dave Noe is running the 100 mile as well.  It’s his first and my third.  Dave was going to drive out on his own but I invited him to go with me since he lives close by.  I’m pretty sure he has no idea that driving home after a 100 mile race is not going to be easy with company let alone doing it by yourself.  We drive out together and we meet my brother John at Titusville Middle School in Titusville PA where the race starts and ends.  John signed up for the 50K race when I signed up for the 100 mile.  Yes, he’s almost as crazy as me!  He’s also volunteered to pace me in my last 31 mile loop after he runs his 50K.  I’m thinking that’s not a good idea…he’s thinking the same since he didn’t really train for that distance (it would add up to 62 miles for him if he did!) but he wants to be there for me in that third loop, it’s the hardest part of the race, so we decide to just play it by ear.  That’s my big brother looking out for me!

The race begins!

Race start in 15! Woohoo! – I post this to FB…don’t know if it went through and there’s no time to figure it out.  Getting my gear together to get started finally!  Wake up was at 4 a.m., didn’t sleep a wink, it’s 24 degrees outside, and I’ve only had one cup of coffee!  Need more coffee!  There’s about 100 some people at the start line…all 100 mile runners.  The 100K runners start in an hour and the 50K runners, including John, start in two hours.  The staggered start helps spread the field out for safer running over the mostly single lane track of the course.

The course is a 31 mile loop 3X’s and then a 7 mile loop all starting and ending at the middle school.  The trail is covered in rocks and roots like you wouldn’t believe.  It’s also up and down the mountains..up one side, down the other, then up and then down over and over again!  It’s rough!  There is absolutely nothing like it here in northwest Ohio.  Sections of the loop even have names such as Wolfkill’s Descent, Rockefeller’s Revenge, Stairway to Heaven, and Switchback Mountain.

The race starts at 5 am, it’s pitch black!  Everyone has on headlamps for night running.  The gun goes off right on time and we start moving out.  The first 1.5 miles is on paved asphalt which leads to the rough trail.  When we get there, we start climbing up and right away over rocks and roots.  Luckily the weather has been dry so no mud this year!  Yea!  It’s cold and I can see my breath with every step.  After a few minutes I start to warm up and fall in to a nice rhythm behind some other runners.  We cruise along for quite a while.  I go slow until I get used to stepping over the rocks and roots.  Trying to acclimate and hoping that it keeps me from falling or twisting something!  It’s 7 miles to the first Aid Station, AS#1.  Seems like it’s taking forever, can already feel the burn in my quads since I am not used to high stepping over trail hazards!

I get to Wollfkill’s Descent which is right before AS#1.  It’s a steep drop!  I slip a few times, take it slow.  My fear of heights doesn’t help much here…yea, I know…it only takes a few minutes to get down but it seems like forever!  LOL!  At AS#1, I get some food and some coffee.  The coffee is nice, hasn’t warmed up at all out here.  Still dark.  I head back out for the next 7 miles to AS#2.  First though is Switchback Mountain!  It’s so steep here we have to travel a series of switch backs to get to the top.  It takes about 15 minutes of non-stop climbing and a lot of heavy breathing.  Then it’s across the ridge and back down the other side with another couple of switch backs…steep the whole way so much so they have to post a “go slow here, dangerous!” sign on both sides.  Crazy!!

Finally to AS#2, the turnaround point of the trail.  Doing well!  Twisted my ankles a couple of times and a knee but nothing too bad.  Able to keep going just fine.  Can feel the temperature rising slowly and the sun coming up.  It’s so much easier in the day light.  Can’t wait for the sun!  I eat, get some more coffee and get going again…

9 miles to AS#3, there are some good open trail segments here, make good time, but then another set of steep hills right before the AS, takes forever again!  Climbing climbing and more climbing!  And, no coffee!  I eat as much as I can, getting hungry, grilled cheese sandwiches, raman noodles, pretzels, I tank up.  Going to need the fuel!  I head out for AS#4, the start/finish of the loop, and the next 8 miles…

…starting with Stairway to Heaven and Rockefeller’s Revenge…seems like it’s straight up…forever!  I climb till my lungs are burning.  After the hills, there’s a couple of miles here that are pretty rough with rocks and roots, I twist my right ankle again, again not bad, but I feel it.  Have to be more careful.

Somewhere in here, I get hit on the top of the head!  “Owwwwww!” “What the F***!!”  I yell!  really loud!  It hurts, makes my eyes water and actually gives me a headache!  I look around, there is no one in sight…the field has spread out…but I swear someone just hit me with a rock!  I keep looking around then I realize there are acorns falling off the trees!  OMG!  LOL! I have a welt on top of my head due to an acorn!  Too crazy, we have to dodge acorns now too!  Geez!!

31 mile update! – I post this to FB:  Looks like it goes through.  Hope so.  Temps up from 24 to 50 degrees, tweaked an ankle, a knee and got hit by a 10 lb acorn! Cruisin the next lap enjoying the beautiful scenery! Everyone should try this!!

That was the first loop!  2 more to go!  Overall the first one went well.  I’m tired and sore but feel good mentally and physically.  I keep running by asking one very important question:  “Why are you here?”  and that pops my race mantra into my head: to “Run steady, run strong, help others!”  I think about Paula, Karen, Herb, Jason, Nataleigh, Mom and all of our Honorees.  I ask the question every time I twist an ankle, slip and fall, feel tired wet and cold.  It helps me keep my mind in the right place.  This will be over soon…a little over a day…our Honorees deal with cancer for months, years, a lifetime…I can do this just fine.  There is no pain.  I keep running…next loop!

AS#2 again…they say rain is coming in an hour or so.  I take my rain gear, hope it blows over or at least doesn’t last too long.  Not much luck there but then two hours go by, no rain.  The sun is going down as well as the temperature.  Could they have been wrong about the weather forecast?  No such luck!  It starts to rain lightly, then it eases up and then it’s back.  Lasts a few hours.  Everything gets muddy and slippery and cold.  Great!  I slow down but keep on running…”Why are you here?”…

61 mile update! –Posted to FB:  Sore feet and tired legs, high spirits, running in night mode, it’s like the twilight zone out there!

I try to keep my mood light.  Stay in high spirits.  The next loop is the hardest both physically and mentally.  It’s cold, wet, and dark.  The continuing rain and mud will not help.  John is not coming, his legs are hurting from his 50K.  He ran it hard, did really well!  But now he needs to rest a while longer.  He might jump in later…that’s fine, I’m doing good here, I go it alone into the night once again…into the mud, over the rocks and roots, “Why are you here?”…

Nearing the end of the third loop!  Maybe 5 miles out now!  John jumped in half way and has been pacing me for the second half of this loop.  Keeping me company…we’re both tired so we’ve been taking it easy, walking, jogging…chatting along the way…talking about how we’re never going to do this again (but full well knowing we probably will!)  bonding time with my big brother!  And, I am sick of running in the dark and being cold and wet and he is too!  LOL!  I can feel the sun coming up, can’t wait!  We stop at an unmanned water station by the side of the road, stop for too long, my right ankle seizes up!  And, blisters on the bottoms of my feet hurt like hell!  Not sure where all that came from all of a sudden then I realize all the little twists along the 90 some miles of trails have added up.  My ankle is swollen!  Big time!  The blisters were forming all along.  When I kept it moving I didn’t notice it…now I do!  Never had an ankle hurt like this before either…shit!  “Why are you here?”…

I start walking hoping it will loosen up…it does a little after a mile, I try to run on it…hurts big time now…feel the blisters on both feet…almost done…keep moving!  We make it back to the Start/Finish area after what seems like forever.  No FB post here…I’m exhausted.  I want to chuck it all!  I’m hurting and losing my 100 Mile Mindset…just need to keep moving, get this done, I am tired of running, tired of hurting, tired of being cold, tired of everything!…I eat a little bit but can’t stomach this trail food they have here anymore…have to keep moving otherwise the ankle will seize up again…doesn’t really work, it seizes up anyways..I start walking to finish the last 7 mile loop…right up another hill with switchbacks and rocks and roots again too!  I have just under 4 hours to make it.  Why do we have to have another 7 miles?!  Shit!  I walk/jog best as I can…keep moving…all I have to do…plenty of time…just finish…no problem…this is easy…cancer is not.  “Why are you here?”…

I come off the last mountain onto the paved asphalt trail again..there is about 1 mile to go.  The asphalt hurts now so I just walk…on the edges of my shoes…nice and slow to ease the blisters…my ankle is screaming…plenty of time.  “Why are you here?”…I get there eventually.  I walk across the finish line in 30 hours something…out of 138 starters, 87 of us finished, 51 did not.  My brother John ran the 50K (31 miles) then he ran another 17 miles to take care of me…

Because of John, Paula, all our donors, all our Honorees and everyone helping fight the good fight… all through the race, I kept in my mind that, “I am here today not for me, not for a finishing time, not for another race completion.  I am here today to help others…to raise money for cancer research…to find a cure.”

Thank you Everyone for helping fight the good fight!  Thank you for helping me!  Love and hugs to all! :-)

Run Steady, Run Strong, Help Others!

Help save a life and find a cure!

You can donate online at:


The Pace of Leadership

As a marathoner, I’ve learned a little about the importance of pace.  To run the 26.2 miles of a marathon well, maintaining the right pace is critical.  Your pace needs to be steady and it needs to be one your body and your mind can handle for the entire distance.  Go too fast and you’ll tire early and maybe even end up walking to the finish line.  Go too slow even, with the hope of saving your strength and speeding up later, and you may miscalculate and still miss your finish time goal.

Pace is just as important for shorter races.  Whether 5K races – 3.1 miles, or 8K’s or 10K’s or half-marathons, runners need to keep the right pace.  Each race is different and requires a different pace and pace strategy.  It can take years for a runner to get to a point where they are proficient at pacing.

I remember my first few years of marathoning.  I ran a marathon a year for three years and it wasn’t until that third marathon that it started to click how important it was to keep the right pace.  Walking much of the last few miles to the finish line was a little embarrassing.  It took a couple more years before I could hold a steady pace and the correct pace for the race I was running.

I’ve found leadership is the same.  There is no one best leadership style or one best way to be a leader.  Every situation is different and each one requires the proper leadership style or in essence, the proper leadership pace.  Go too fast and you’ll “hit the wall.”  Go to slow and you’ll miss your finish time goal.  Early in my career, I held leadership positions with little experience, and sadly, little training.  I learned the hard way and made mistakes just like in my first few marathons.  Over time, often through trial by fire, I learned.

Some situations require leadership to be more fast paced or direct, “Please get this done asap,” or, “Fire! Evacuate the building immediately!”  Other situations require leadership to be a bit slower paced or supportive, “Let’s talk this through,” or, “Why don’t you sleep on that and get back to me.”  Knowing which leadership style to bring to a situation is critical to being an effective leader.  Go too fast with a new employee and you may overwhelm them or leave them without the proper knowledge, tools, or training to do a good job.  Go too slow with an experienced employee and they may feel micromanaged.

Just like training for a marathon or some other race, it takes a willingness to learn, practice, and persevere, to get to a point where you can confidently provide the correct leadership style for a given situation.  Your first few tries may not turn out quite the way you intended, but over time, maybe even over the course of a few years, you’ll learn which pace is best for each race and which leadership style is best for each situation.  Lead on!

If you would like to learn more about pacing either for a marathon or for leadership, contact me at:

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