Our Beacon Journal photographer Karen Schiely - also a new runner who is going through the Akron Marathon Race Series with us - got a bit of a late start due to vacations and work. But she's thoroughly in full swing now and ready to share her musings as well as her talented photography. Hopefully we'll talk her into a Karen's Korner guest blog every week!


Running along the Towpath downtown is an awesome experience, and bring a small camera for the visual overload. Or don’t, because it often leads to stopping to appreciate the scene - as if stopping to pet dogs isn’t enough of a distraction for me. Seriously, as if I would pass up French bull dogs Fritz and Boo walking along the downtown Towpath Trail with their owner. Awe!! I need to have “I stop suddenly for dogs” printed on the back of my shirt to benefit those running behind me. (Now there's an optimistic thought!) I know... move along.

The murals at Lock 4 definitely require a walk or run along the path to be appreciated as they’re framed against the simple beauty of the rustic architecture with the steel, brick and mortar surrounding Lock 4. Artistic renderings from the past peer out from the boarded-windows-turned-canvas, as if to hear the collage of jazz performers gloriously playing from the opposite wall.

And then, the stairs. Well, we were told to add hills to our training! This workout begins with the flight of stairs leading out of the Lock to a hilly run, thanks to the detour caused the by the construction of the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel. That starts at the Mustill Store trailhead on West North Street and goes north to Memorial Parkway. "Detour." That irksome word. To a beginning runner such as myself, who can turn a bit whiney when provoked, it feels as if I was just dropped from the sky into a Navy Seals boot camp. This is going to start getting fun right? This quickly became an interval walk/run training session.

I vowed that at some point I would be able to tackle these hills, just not this day. I was ill-prepared with no water to take on the steep terrain and, at this stage, I’m just trying to get moving again. I’m definitely not like the amazing student athletes I photograph competing in cross-country championships who give it their all and then lose their breakfast at the finish line. My goal as a running wimp is to no longer be a running wimp. So hill training is now going to be on my running schedule starting tomorrow. Really…it will be.

- Karen