Friday question: Best running advice

By | October 24, 2014 1:54 am | 0 Comments

Veteran runners love to dole out advice to newbies. I asked some area runners (some long-time runners, some fairly new to the scene) to share with us the best running-related advice they’ve ever received. Here’s what they had to say:

You can run too fast. But you can never run too slow. — Benjamin Reitz

Ditch the shoes and start running barefoot! I would have given up running years ago had I not taken that advice. — Tom Madura
Trust the Gear. When I doubted that a thin looking wicking shirt could work better than a heavy sweatshirt. —Christine Vassen (editor’s note: Good running clothes are worth EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR..and items usually last for years.)
Don’t do anything in the race you didn’t do in training. — Susan Ellsworth
Lean into the run. Don’t fight it. — Theresa Konzel
The first mile always sucks. This doesn’t mean the whole run is going to suck. Just keep going. (I had no idea!) — Rhonda Berlin
You can do it! — LeAnn Morton
Find a group of friends to run with & do fun runs. — Lisa Meyer
Put your sneakers on & go! — Renee York
Train in all weather conditions…never know what the weather will be on race day. — Megs Shearman
Small achievements lead to big goals. Run small increments set small goals and work your way up. Each step is one more step towards a better finish. This has helped me to not be discouraged at my limitations from being unable to do it. Instead each new achievement has motivated me to do more. It’s been an awesome journey… only regret is not doing it sooner in life. —Dawnmarie Dumond
From a trail sage friend of mine: If you fall down, the best thing you can do is just get up and get moving. — Sean Donachy
Get the miles in don’t worry about time! — Laurie Bruce
Vary the pace. Run slow runs very slow so you can recover and be fresh for the hard workouts. Too many people just run everything at “medium” pace and remain stagnant. — Pat Krott
When running, stay hydrated. I learned that  lesson the hard way when I did my first half. If you don’t stay hydrated, there is a lot of pain that comes after. — Mary Krysiak
Know your body. Know how you breathe. Know how your body moves. Don’t listen to anyone else – listen to your body. — Jim Lang
You will feel better. — Tim May
Even bad runs are good runs. Learn from them and move on! — Leslie Cooksey
Good running shoes are vital. — Amy Morrow
The first mile is a liar. Keep going, it will get better. — Bri Hodges
Give yourself permission to go as slow as you need to…miles are miles. (I often repeat this in my head while wanting to stop) — Karen Forcht
Starting is half the battle. Just go. — Debbie Humphreys
Spend the cash on good shoes. Get fitted. Don’t cheap out. Get new ones by the recommended guidelines for miles. Invest in your feet! — Eloise Hawking
Don’t run every day or you’re more prone to injury. And cross train on non-run days. — Karen Beebe
As for me, I’d have to say the best running advice I ever received was from my father, a former runner, who told me to not to go out to fast in a race & to hold back in a race for the first half mile or mile because it’s easy to get caught up with the excitement and run too hard…and then you’ll flame out in the middle. It’s solid advice that has served me pretty well over the years.
A few other bits of advice from friends that have helped me over the years:
* Don’t put sunscreen above your cheeks (it always runs into your eyes)…put it on from cheeks down & wear a hat & sunglasses to protect the rest of your face.
* Don’t bother carrying water on a long run…drop it in advance (or plan a route with water stops/fountains along the way).
* Everyone occasionally has a really crappy run. No big deal.
* Runners make ugly hood ornaments (i.e. wear reflective gear).


ERC Turkey Trot scoop on shirt colors/theme

By | October 23, 2014 9:05 am | 0 Comments

The Erie Runners Club president and Turkey Trot race director, Dave Comi, always comes up with a cute theme for the artwork on the Turkey Trot race premiums (sweatshirts or long-sleeve cotton t-shirt).

This years theme is….drumroll….The Hungry Games. (A take on the Hunger Games, of course).

Color of the shirts? Well…that depends on when you pick up. Here’s the scoop:

12 colors. One for each district.  Color is based on when you pick up. Cotton t and usual sweatshirt

Things I found — 10/23/14

By | October 23, 2014 2:13 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

Muscle imbalances can lead to injury. Here how to fix them.

It’s not easy, but if you can master the negative splits strategy, you will enjoy a real advantage in races.

Crack a few: Eggs are GOOD for runners.

A different kind of 400s track workout. Change your 400s speedwork up a bit with this workout.

Why you should start loving and appreciating your body as it is right now.  (And, as runners, we should REALLY appreciate it because it does some kick-a#$ stuff for us!)

What does it mean that so many voices out there insist that the body is something to despise because it is too fat, sinful, ugly, sexual, old or brown? That we teach each other, in thousands of blatant and quiet ways, to think we are shameful? That our bodies are something to be overcome, beaten into submission or to be despised?


Gear of the week

Ladies, check out this new Bia Sport watch designed just for you by a female triathlete. At nearly $300, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see it on my wrist, but….a girl can dream, right?


 T-Shirt of the Week


It’s just common courtesy, right?

Know the lingo: Stability

By | October 22, 2014 1:47 am | 1 Comment

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.


The ability of a shoe to resist excessive foot motion.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

Weekend race results

By | October 20, 2014 7:56 am | 0 Comments

Peak Mountain Challenge

Henry Sullivan, 14, of Clymer, won the Peak Mountain Challenge run, barreling up the mountain in 2 minutes and 30 seconds to win the season ski pass. Desiree Thomas, 26, Fairview, won the women’s pass in 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

Complete Peak Mountain Challenge results can be found here.

ERC Personal Endurance Classic

Seventy people took the endurance challenge and participated in the ERC’s Personal Endurance Classic on Saturday morning. Rain in the first few hours of the 12-hour event, didn’t dampen enthusiasm or stop the runners/walkers who did 1-mile loops around the Presque Isle ponds.

I intended to do 12, but ended up doing 21.  (More on that later).  Of special note were the Urso sisters — Jenna, just 10, did 20 miles! Her little sister, Jessica, 6, did 11!


Jessica, 6, Jenna, 10, and my daughter, Lauren, 11.

Complete results can be found here.

P.S. If you’ve never done the Endurance Classic…you really should give it a try next year!

Here are a few photos:









Monday Motivation: You

By | October 20, 2014 1:38 am | 0 Comments


Guest Post: Getting to Know Elliot Spaeder

By | October 17, 2014 3:56 am | 0 Comments

By Larry Kisielewski


On July 22, 2014, ERC member Elliot Spaeder joined a very exclusive club. Departing from Long Point, Ontario, Canada at 7 a.m., the lean, well-trained, 30-year-old progressed south across Lake Erie to Freeport Beach in North East, PA, arriving 11 hours, 28 minutes, and 5 seconds later to become only the 16th person in the world to swim the 24.3-mile distance.

And so, departing from our usual GTKY format, here are 20 questions answering the who, where, what, and why of that monumental endeavor:

When did you first get the idea to swim the lake?

I’ve been swimming since I was three months old, so it’s always been in the back of my head. My dad, Tim, first suggested it in 1999, but last September (2013) was when I decided to go for it.

What was your typical training regimen and when did you start?

I started serious training that November, swimming 8,000 yards per day I the Prep pool [where he is swim coach] before starting work. I progressed to 5-7 hour swims with running supplementing my workouts on off days. I basically followed a 16-week marathon program (adapted to swimming) which physically and mentally helped my training.

Any training partners or mentors?

My wife, Molly, would get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. on weekends and paddle the kayak with GPS and timing once the weather broke and we started workouts in open water at Presque Isle, Edinboro or Findley Lake. Ryan Morrow kayaked for me during the week, Eric Mizuba and Sonya (Pyle) Wittman answered a lot of my questions and (previous lake swimmer) Bob North had me over for dinner, looking over scrapbooks and film. (Two-time lake swimmer and record holder) Josh Heynes was invaluable with his coaching.

What was your longest previous swim?

I’d done a 16-mile training swim and planned an 18-miler on July 4th that was cut short because of bad lake conditions.

You had a one-week window you’d decided on. How did you decide on that day?

Our team of 12 people on stand-by had a 40-foot boat and four single kayaks and one tandem kayak. The long-range forecast didn’t look good, so the Friday before, I went to the Indians/Tigers game with a long workout on Sunday. That night, I got a text from Josh saying Tuesday was a go.

What was it like getting to the starting point?

Lonely. The 40-footer took four hours to go across the lake, so it left the night before. I went across that morning in a motor boat with five other people that took about an hour to get there. I wore a hoodie, with my head down, listening to music through my headphones, alone with my thoughts. The Border Patrol helped with the arrangements, previously contacting the Canadian authorities.

How were the conditions?

Perfect! About 70 degrees, surface like glass, crystal-clear visibility to about a 15-foot depth.

What was it like wading in and taking that first stroke?

I went ashore and prayed. I thought, “I can’t believe I’m finally doing this!” but I wasn’t going to let everybody down. I kissed my wife, waded out, and started swimming.

What did you wear?

Wet suits aren’t allowed. I wore a USA Speedo and a swim cap, goggles, and a heart-rate monitor for a Gannon study. I lubed with a lanolin/Vaseline mix and sunscreen.Two months later, I still have the tan line!

What were breaks like?

Unlimited, but you can’t touch anyone or anything. I took 10 breaks (about one per hour). The longest was two minutes. The rest were about a minute. I’d tread water and a kayaker would toss me a water bottle of high-cal electrolytes called “Hammer Nutrition,” which is basically a strong Gatorade mix we’d decided on in training through trial and error to provide nutrition and prevent cramping. Bathroom breaks were on the fly. I had a kayaker play music during the breaks.

What did you think about? Did you relax and “zone out”?

Music (I-pods or radios) isn’t allowed. I went through a U2 concert in my head, but that didn’t take too long. It was hard to relax with all the yelling (encouragement). I usually swim competitively and breathe on my left side, but for this, I lengthened my stroke and breathed bi-laterally (both sides, one breath every three strokes).

How was your pace?

I started out way too fast. My first mile was 17 minutes. My crew slowed me down then, and I averaged 25 minutes per mile, with 31 minutes my slowest mile.

What was your weight loss, if any?

I lost 15 pounds during training, but on the actual swim, nothing.

Was this a sanctioned swim?

Yes. Josh Heynes is a certified observer for both WOWSA (World Open Water Swim Association) and LEOSA (Lake Erie Open-Water Swim Association).

At what point did you know, “I got it!”?

I’d told the crew that I didn’t want to know for how long or how far I’d been in the water. After awhile, I could see landmarks on shore but they didn’t seem to get closer. I didn’t know for sure I had it until I actually saw shore.

You raised a lot of money with this swim.

Yes, we raised $20,000 for the YMCA. They’ve done a lot for me, and I wanted to give back.

How bad was the recovery?

Not bad. I knew there would be a crowd on shore so I told myself to be strong. I waded out with steady legs, kissed Molly, and had a beer on shore. The next day, I went to work a half day, swam 500 yards at the Y, and did the Presque Isle Mile lake swim at Discover Presque Isle that Saturday. That Monday, I was back to my routine of running and lifting.

Will you do it again?


Any other challenges?

Maybe an Ironman.

If you did it over, would you do anything differently?

Seeing that I was only 11 minutes off the record, I may have re-thought the strategy of not knowing my time or distance.
Last words: I’m happy I did it and happy it’s over. I’m glad to get back on my running program and looking forward to the Turkey Trot. Thanks to my crew and everyone who supported me!!

Video here & here

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

Things I found — 10/16/14

By | October 16, 2014 2:32 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

Can you train your brain to crave carrots instead of carrot cake? New research says yes.

A truly unique (though probably smelly) way to marathon train.

10 secrets to make you a faster, happier and stronger runner.

Forget ice packs and ibuprofen for sore muscles. Move them.

9 Ways Eating Processed Foods Made the World Sick & Fat  (Bottom line: Eat real food)

“Your body is designed to naturally regulate how much you eat and the energy you burn. But food manufacturers have figured out how to over-ride these intrinsic regulators, designing processed foods that are engineered to by “hyper-rewarding.” According to the “food reward hypothesis of obesity,” processed foods stimulate such a strong reward response in our brains that it becomes very easy to overeat. One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as “sensory-specific satiety.”

A different kind of marathon training plan

A friend posted this on Facebook this week and commented on what an unusual plan it is — running a 22, a 24, and a 26. Plus, it doesn’t appear to follow the standard — two increasingly long run weeks followed by a fall-back (recovery) week.


Know the lingo: Ride

By | October 15, 2014 1:46 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.


The ability of a shoe to provide a smooth transfer of a runner’s weight from heel-strike to toe-off. Ride is a largely subjective quality, but shoe wearers know it when a shoe has or lacks a good ride.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.