Runners Notes

Things I found — 12/18/14

By | December 18, 2014 4:01 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

In poor form? Don’t know?  Here 5 of the most common running form mistakes.

Useful and timeless: Runner’s World’s 25 Golden Rules of Running

Think it’s too cold to ride your bike in Erie in winter? Tell that to this guy.

Unbroken opens December 25

The film Unbroken, which is based on the book about the life of Olympic athlete Louis “Louie” Zamperini and his struggles as a WWII prisoner of War, opens in theaters on Christmas Day, December 25. (P.S. If you’ve not read the book, you should — it’s just…amazing).


T-shirt of the week


Product review: RunPhones

By | December 17, 2014 4:01 am | 0 Comments


Earbuds aren’t for everyone. In fact, some people—particularly those with small ears (like me)—can’t wear any sort of earbuds at all. Even Yurbuds would slip out of my ears once they got sweaty. So when I heard about RunPhones, which allow you to listen to music without inserting anything into your ear, I  was all about it. Even more so when I found out that RunPhones are assembled right here in Erie (support local). You may have seen the display the company had set up in Rainbow Gardens at the ERC’s Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.

What are RunPhones?

RunPhones are speakers embedded in a lightweight, washable headband.

How do they work?

You put the headband on, adjust the location of the thin speakers to match up with your ears, and plug them into your music player (iPod, MP3, Smartphone, Walkman if you’re really old school ;)

Do they work well?

Yes, and I thought the sound quality and volume was pretty good, too. I had some trouble with volume at first, then I figured out I needed to wiggle the speakers in place to align with my ears.

Does the band stay in place? What is it made of?

I ordered a small and the band did not slip at all during my run. If you have an odd-shaped or large head, I can see how you the band might slip or pop off with all the bouncing of a run. If you’re trying to decide between size, I’d go with the smaller size.  The band itself is a thin, moisture-wicking, mesh material that will keep your ears and forehead warm in the winter, but is lightweight enough to be worn in the summer, too, i.e. it’s not polar fleece, which would be mighty uncomfortable in humid Erie in August. That said, polar fleece RunPhones (called SleepPhones) are available, too.

Can you wash them?

If I have one complaint, it would be that, yes, I think it would be a pain to continually remove and reinsert the speakers to wash the band. And…not washing the band after each run is not really an option. Given that most people run four to five times a week, if you love the RunPhones, I’d suggest you buy some extra bands. I did wash my band and it washed well. Reinserting the speakers was a little tricky, but it would be something you’d probably get better at with practice. The speakers are clearly marked so you know which end is up and which speaker goes on which side of the band.

What about rain?

Here’s what the RunPhones folks have to say:

Yes, you can wear them in the rain. If the speakers get wet, they will start to sound funny. It would not damage them. Just take them out of the head band and hang them up to dry. They should work fine once dried. We don’t recommend dunking the speakers into buckets of water for long periods of time, but if they get a little wet, they will recover.


The basic RunPhones Classic are $40. Other options include: Wireless RunPhones ($100), Microphone RunPhones ($60), and Volume Control RunPhones ($50).

Where to buy?

Online at or at

Background story

By the way, the story behind the SleepPhones and RunPhones is an interesting one. Check it out:

You asked, I answered: Running with a cold

By | December 17, 2014 1:56 am | 0 Comments


Q. I have a cold — should I run or rest? I was always told if it’s in the head, run. If it’s in the chest, rest. — K.C.

I’m almost never sick. But, when I’ve had a mild cold, I’ve always run through it.  In fact, I’ve found that a run in the brisk winter air can really clear things out. I’d suggest that you carry tissues if you’ve not mastered the snot rocket (5 tips on that here), though.

I do not, however, run with a fever/body ache kind of cold/flu. I usually feel so drained and lacking energy that I just don’t think running would do me any good. And, I figure my body is working hard enough to fight off infection without me forcing it to slog through a 5-miler.

More info on running through illness from Runner’s World here.



Holiday Gifts for Runners

By | December 15, 2014 1:56 pm | 0 Comments

Just 10 days till Christmas! Need some more items for your wish list…or ideas for the runner in your life? Here are few cool things I found while Googling around:


1. FlipBelt. This tubular waistband sits sung on your waist and has four pockets that allow you to carry your phone, keys, gel packs, credit cards, etc. Put your stuff in the pockets, flip the belt inward, and your gear is secure. Made of a moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial spandex-lycra blend, the belt is machine-washable, and made in the USA. $29 at or Amazon.

Not into belts? Try this:


2. RooSport. The RooSport is a magnetic, attachable running pocket. The pocket has a magnetic flap that attaches over your waistband and “locks” into place. Runners say it works well and doesn’t move or chafe. It’s not waterproof, but you they do sell “snack bags” you put your electronics in (or you could just….you know…use an actual snack bag). $25 Available at or Amazon.

arm sleeves

3. Arm sleeves. Arm sleeves are a great idea for Erie-area runners because, as you know, the temperatures here range wildly — sometimes even in one day. Sleeves are great because you can easily take them off or put them back on as needed. I love mine. About $20. Available at running shops or online.

runners glasses

4. Runner glasses. Sold in various styles — Pilsner, beer mug, wine glass, stemless wineglass (above) and coffee mugs — these glasses also come in a variety of saying. This one is my favorite. $15 to $30 at WulfCreekDesigns Etsy shop.


5. Running sunglasses. You can get away with cheap sunglasses, but actual running glasses are worth the investment because they will protect your eyes (UV), cut glare, and good ones won’t fog. Running Times has a pretty comprenhensive rundown here. I’ve never paid more than $40 for mine — I usually pick them up at a marathon/race expo.

print    inspiration

6. Inspirational art. There’s no end to the inspiration, wit, and/or fun running-related art you’ll find on Etsy. I love this Etsy shop by Stephanie Lawson.


7. Shoe jewelry. Because, as Race Kred says “medals won’t fit on your laces.” These little “medals” are available to signify achievement in various running distances, including tris, duathlons, ultras, and trail running. You can even make a custom bead. Most are less than $10 each.


8.Race Weekend bag. I’ve been traveling to races for years and I’ve determined that 22″ is the perfect size for weekend race travel. This Samsonite duffle with wheels is on my wish list. And, at $30, it won’t bust the holiday budget.


9.  RunPhones. Do you know a runner who complains about their earbuds always falling out? Forget the buds and get him or her a pair of RunPhones. These are headphones embedded into a moisture-wicking headband. Available in a variety of styles, the classic is $40.  I recently tried these out & will post a full review soon. The short version: For those who have earbud issues…these are really great! BTW — these are assembled right here in Erie.

compression socks2

10. Compression socks. It’s hard for a runner to spend $50 on socks (or maybe it’s just hard for cheap-a#@ runners like me to spend $50 on socks), so that’s why it’s nice to get them as a gift. Compression socks help aid recovery and Pro Compression is having a sale right now — 42% off everything AND free shipping.

LED slap bracelet

11. LED slap bracelet. I saw these cool LED slap bracelets recently at Home Depot for about $8 and am now kicking myself for not picking up a couple of them for stocking stuffers. You can, of course, get them online though.


12. Running journal. I’m a sucker for race journals and race logs. Most runners are. It makes our accomplishments seem more concrete and it helps us remember our P.R.s and keep track of mileage. You can pick one up for less than $10 and they make a nice stocking stuffer.

peac love run

13. Tote bag. For the tree-hugging runner – this whimsical tote is a little over $20.


14. Pedicure. Any woman — and even some men — who puts hundreds of miles on their feet each year could use a pedicure gift certificate or a pedicure kit.

seat wrap

15. Transition seat wrap. Check out this product which is a changing towel and seat cover in one.  Sure, you could get away with doing this with your own beach towel, but this one has some nice features — a “hood” to keep it over your headrest and a “clip” to keep it in place while you’re changing. $40.

tough girl tutus

16. Tough Girl tutus. Tough Girl Tutus are cute, but functional. Designed by running women, these tutus have a built-in race belt, material that won’t interfere with your pace, a wide waistband that keeps the skirt in place, and they can be worn with shorts or tights. $30.


Want more ideas? Runner’s World has more than 100 and Women’s Running has 18 unique ideas, too.

ERC Snowflake 5K results

By | December 14, 2014 1:31 pm | 0 Comments

Saturday’s weather was perfect (for winter) for the ERC’s Snowflake 5K at Presque Isle. More than 200 participated with top honors going to:


Michael Williamson, 22, 16:40

David Cilley, 36, 17;34

Adam Rowe, 33, 17:57


Brooke Adams, 24, 18:47

Grace Trucilla,17, 19:26

Nighthawk’s Wife, 30, 21:02

Complete results here.


Things I found — 12/10/14

By | December 11, 2014 1:23 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

53 marathons in 53 days: Amy Hughes ran into the record books, finishing her 53rd marathon in as many days — not only beating the women’s record, but the men’s, too. You go, girl!

Can we all just agree to never…ever…tell my husband about this running shop?

Rhut Rho….Tennessee has banned runners from a new state park trail. I’d totally run there. What are they going to do?  (I can be like that.) has found 7 “transformative” pieces of running tech for 2015.

 Worth Watching

Keep your eye on 4th place:

Tshirt of the Week

For the angry marathoner….


Also…is it just me…or do her  claws nails freak you out, too?

UA Cold Gear on sale

By | December 10, 2014 9:22 am | 0 Comments


At the risk of endorsing a product, Under Armour’s Cold Gear running gear is one line of products I’m more than willing to endorse because it’s freaking awesome. The Cold Bear base layers are an outdoor winter running essential here in Erie…and with it, yes, you can run through an Erie winter. (I despise treadmills, so I run outdoors year round).

I just got a sale notice that much of their Cold Gear is now 25% off, making leggings & mock necks less than $40 each. These items stand up to repeated wearing & washing (drip dry…never heat dry your compression/running clothes…breaks them down) for years…literally, years.

One note — particularly if you’ve never bought UA gear before, pay attention to the “fit” — compression means compression (squeeze), fitted means tight, but not squeeze, etc. Spend some time looking at their sizing/fit guide so you know what to buy.

These are my staple winter running tights and these are my staple winter running tops (I usually wear another layer too…a windbreaker or tech sweatshirt).

Guest Post: Getting to Know Dave Vickey

By | December 10, 2014 1:59 am | 0 Comments


Dave Vickey

group run2SMALLER

Dave, on the far right

By Larry Kisielewski

Quite often, those involved don’t realize that they are about to be involved in a historic moment. The citizens of Dallas in November 1963 thought that they were watching a routine presidential motorcade. The tourists and residents around Cape Canaveral in January of 1986 thought they were about to view a typical space shuttle launch. And the runners in the 2013 Boston Marathon thought they were participants in an ordinary Patriot’s Day tradition.

As usual, Erie was well-represented that day with a large contingent of runners, but only one was a repeat in 2014. But that man was not only a participant in one of history’s most (in)famous races and its (thankfully) uneventful sequel. He is multi-faceted in his avocations, varied in his philosophies, and an all-around interesting guy. I would like you to meet Dave Vickey.

A native Erieite, David A. Vickey was born March 5, 1949, the fourth of nine children of real estate salesman Jerry Vickey and his wife Mary. Dave attended Cathedral Prep before graduating from Gannon College with a degree in accounting. His stint at scholastic cross country was curtailed in his freshman year at Prep by Osgood-Schlatter disease and running was put on the back burner.

After college, Dave married, proudly fathered two now successful children, and signed on with Lloyd White Realty. He has been a real estate investor for 40 years, built two homes, flipped 10, and pays the bills with his income as a rental property landlord. He rediscovered the running bug at age 53, and currently single, finds his schedule full with training, reading, property upkeep, travel to various races, and visiting his out-of-town children. Son Nathan is a stock trader in Chicago and newly-wed daughter Natalie is an RN at Hershey Medical Center.

I forgot to mention that Dave is also an accomplished pianist since his college days, with years of classical training and a love of the masters, particularly Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Beethoven. He looks forward to his daily hour-plus practices, and is searching for a new grand piano to replace his well-worn 35-year-old one.

A short discussion with Dave will reveal his deep interests in philosophy and psychology, two pastimes that mentally aid his running passion – marathons. His first 26-miler, the 2011 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle, qualified him for his first Boston in 2012, when the temperature was in the low 90’s. The 2013 race was historic, 2014 was a triumphal return, and he plans on Boston in 2015 for his 12th marathon.

Although he runs 40-45 miles a week during serious training, a typical week is 25-30 miles, supplemented by yoga and pushups. He is not only a long distance guy, having impressive 5Ks (21+ minutes) and a 45:03 10K in his resume.

When asked about Boston in 2013, Dave relates how he was half a mile from the finish when the first bomb went off, followed a few seconds later by the other. Both his son and daughter were in the family meeting area, a quarter of a mile from the finish area, and had no idea at first what the commotion was about. Dave, himself, thought that the explosions were natural gas-related, but he eventually learned from fellow runners with cell phones the true source of the stoppage.

Cell phone towers were shut down to prevent any potential subsequent cell phone detonations. He and his fellow runners were held where they stopped for three hours, until communications were restored and he was able to contact and eventually meet up with his naturally concerned children. He never did cross the finish line. His time was projected at 4:30:00, he retrieved his finisher’s medal the next day, and was automatically qualified for the 2014 race. Upon his arrival home, he was interviewed by Channel 12’s Lisa Adams.

2014 was the year of the comeback. Some of the things were the same: the bustle, the bands along the way, and about 200 Wellesley girls packed into 100 yards of “Kiss me” euphoric mayhem. The main difference was the crowds, almost double the usual 10-deep half-million spectators. The last four miles were so jammed that the usual 30-foot wide running lane was reduced to about 18-feet by the last half mile. Dave’s 4:00:15 finish was good for 92nd out of 520 runners in the 60-64 age group. The message was sent – “We are Boston strong!”

Proud father, realtor/landlord, pianist, philosopher/athlete . . . now you know Dave Vickey.

Vital Stats

Vacations – an occasional two weeks in the Bahamas
Fantasy vacations – Paris, Quebec, Vegas
Music – not much listening; plays daily
TV – not much/PBS
Website – mutual funds
Admires – FDR
Greatest life accomplishment – his kids
Memorable run #1 – Boston 2012 in 90-degree heat
Memorable run #2 – 3:45 PR at Presque Isle
Military service – National Guard Reserve 1969-1975
Cool vehicle – Ford F-150
Sports team – Steelers
Hobbies – piano/reading
Pet peeve – negative people
Motivation – Be like a stream; just keep moving.
Motto – Live today as if you’re going to die tomorrow, but learn today as if you’re going to live forever.
You’d be surprised to know – his National Guard unit aided in the cleanup of the 1972 Wilkes-Barre flood.
Last words – Take the word “can’t” out of your dictionary.

** Getting To Know You is reprinted with permission from the December 2014 Erie Runners Club newsletter.

Quad Ski moves to Wilderness Lodge (rejoice!)

By | December 9, 2014 10:49 am | 0 Comments


In case you haven’t heard the Highmark Quad ski event – the fourth leg in the 2014/15 games — has been moved to the Wilderness Lodge this year. This means it’s probably going to happen…and it’s probably going to happen on the planned date (Jan. 11) because the lodge is in some kind of snow triangle and they’ve always got it…and can keep it longer than most.  No word on whether the course is less frightening (or thrilling, depending on your skiing comfort level) than the Peek, but…I’m thinking  it can’t be much worse (though…the lodge trails have plenty of “scary” parts, too).

A note from the Highmark Quad folks:

Calling all cross-country ski and snowshoe enthusiasts!  Wilderness Lodge is now home to the Highmark QUAD Ski & Snowshoe event on January 11, 2015.  Their 20+ miles of established cross-country trails are beautifully woven among the wooded grounds making their trails more resistant to the changes in weather and temperature.  Our course will be designed by Mike Collins, Jim Samuels and Dan Teed.

Participant categories for elite athlete and age group waves for the race start are new this year too. Wilderness Lodge also will offer lessons, ski rentals & day-of ski waxing.  More to come on these details on our website at

Bring the kiddos to participate in the Highmark Kid QUAD Ski sponsored by Wegmans.  Kids 12 and under ski or snowshoe either a ½ mile or 1-mile course.  All kids get a t-shirt and a medal for their efforts.

Stick around following the event for a post-race celebration and farewell to QUAD-father Craig Latimer.

It’s just $20 for a single event. Register online at