My favorite marathon shirt ever

By | September 15, 2014 1:34 am | 0 Comments

As seen on the sidelines at the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle State Park:


Erie marathon results & photos

By | September 14, 2014 8:33 pm | 0 Comments


More to come on today’s marathon, but..for now, you get results links & photos. (I’m tired). :)

Erie Marathon at Presque Isle full results here.

Erie Times-News photos here. (Hey…I know that guy in photo No. 9)

GoErie Street View marathon photos here and half marathon photos here.

Area runners tell us about their first time going 26.2

By | September 12, 2014 1:01 am | 3 Comments

In honor of this weekend’s Erie Marathon at Presque Isle, I asked area runners to tell me about their first time running 26.2.

Here’s what I remember about my first marathon:

first marathon

My first was Erie in 1999 and, at that time, it was run all through the city. I couldn’t tell you where we went, but I think we did loop the peninsula. It finished in Perry Square.  I remember getting to the 25-mile mark, which was the final water stop when some guy said “you’re almost there” and I had an overwhelming urge to punch him because I thought…a MILE is not almost there. STOP LYING TO ME. When I got to the courthouse, I could see the finish line which was set up right across from the Erie Police Station on Perry Square & I was like…oh, thank God…there it is. Thank God I can stop running soon.

Then, the volunteer told me I had to go around the block. I was like…what? uh…ok…so I got to State street & tried to turn over and another marshal said…”No, no, no….you have to go all the way around…go to French Street up there!” I nearly cried. I think I did cry, actually. I felt so entirely sorry for myself.

When I finally got to the finish line, I was relieved and happy to see that that my time was, like, 4:15 or something (I’m probably the only runner on earth who doesn’t remember their race times or PRs). My whole family — my parents & all my brothers and sisters — had come down to surprise me.

I remember trying to sit down on the curb and my dad (a former runner/marathoner) told me I couldn’t…that I had to keep walking and…again…I wanted to punch someone. :0)  Apparently, I get mean when I’m in pain.


Here’s what everyone else had to say:

If I was going to run one it had to be big, so my first was in New York City in 2009. An unforgettable experience and the start of my obsession. Marathon/ultra #24 & #25 coming up in October!!  — Karen Manganaro


The Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2013 was my first marathon. It was an amazing experience. I’m registered to run it again this year. They do such a wonderful job of organizing it and the city is so supportive (I can think of very few stretches where there wasn’t anybody cheering us on). The neighbors vie for the best entertainment along the route, which makes for a wonderful race.

The experience was so positive that I registered for and ran the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon in Canton, Ohio, half a year after Toronto. Despite being an inaugural run, this race, too, was extremely well organized.

Because of these great experiences, I’m a marathoner now until my body gives out. ;) The training program, I find, helps me organize the rest of my life. I have to get the running in, so I better be clear about how I’m getting everything else done! — Rob von Thaden


Sunday (Erie Marathon at Presque Isle) will be my first. I did all the training, but I’m still nervous as heck. — Dennis Albrewczynski


Pittsburgh, 2009! It was the first of two for me so far. Great course, a lot more hills than expected, but definitely enjoyable and I went back for a 2nd time in 2011. I would like to do more, but the training is so time consuming that it may be awhile before I can train for another one. — Amy Cronk


Pittsburgh in 2001. I had trained in San Francisco and was a nervous wreck. I had trained using the Galloway method. I remember how hard it was to walk in the early miles. I was afraid I would never catch up. Then, something really cool happened. Around mile 21, I realized I did not have to walk anymore. My 24th mile was my fastest and I had a kick at the finish line. I loved the fans and the cityscapes. — Paul Bressen


Dublin, Ireland, 2001.  Just 2 months after 9/11 and 6 months after losing my mom.  I was so nervous, but the race was full of folks from around the world wearing FDNY caps, and long-lost family members were at every water/Guinness stop.  It was an amazing atmosphere, and I made friends I still communicate with today. I had the time of my life! — Mary Connerty


Athens Marathon 2012. OK, Athens, Ohio but still…. It starts with a downhill first mile, more or less…I never got over that and it crippled me in later miles. Live and learn. — Al Warner


My first marathon was at Presque Isle in 1977. I had a 3:20. My last marathon was in New York City with Bruce Yount in November of 1997. Bruce died two months later in Mexico. I’ve run 103 marathons and am one of six runners who ran their 100th marathon at Boston! — Mike Filutze


My first marathon was the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2014. I was worried that I was going to be swept, but ended up with a time I was very proud of. I never had that “I will never do another marathon” thought. I was very surprised how sore I became around mile 22. I’ve signed up for the Dopey Challenge for 2015 at Walt Disney World. Jay Williams


Pittsburgh in 1991. Started at 9:45 a.m. and it was hot as hell. I walked A LOT. It was awful. I had no idea how to train. 17 was my longest long run. What a fool. I said I’d never do another one. Ha! I did 6 more. — Ginny Sackett


My first was in Pittsburgh this past May. My Garmin watch did not work so I just ran with no idea how I was doing. Thought the hills were easy after running in Erie. Wanted to finish in four hours, finished at 3:48. Was ready to sign up for another marathon on the car ride home. Running my second one in less than a month. — Susan Ellsworth


Baltimore Marathon in October 2013 with my mom, Cyndie Zahner, and her friends – Robin Smith, LeAnn Parmenter and Heather Cass. It was the best running experience I’ve had, although it was also the toughest. There is nothing like running your first marathon alongside your mom and some of her best friends who become some of yours. They really inspired me the entire way, kept me happy and laughing and brought me through the difficult miles. Although I wish it was my first and only, I am running the same marathon again this year! — Jessie Zahner


Chicago 2012 with Tracy Scotch, Tina Gruber, and Julie Watts. The whole experience was fantastic!! We had no idea what to expect, or if we trained well. The course was fun, people cheering with signs and bands the whole way, it was a great marathon try for the first time! — Kristen Currier


My first marathon was in Erie in October of 1984. It was a cold, gray day and the race was 2 loops around P.I. Survived pretty well with a 3:30. 14 miles had been my longest training run. I guess I didn’t know any better because I didn’t hurt too bad….until I got home and had to crawl up the steps to my second floor. — Ron Krystek


I’ll let you know mid-day on October 5th. — Jen Kelly (running her first 26.2 at the Wineglass Marathon)


Marine Corps in 1987. I was woefully undertrained. Collapsed at the finish line and spent time in the med tent. Walked downstairs backwards for days. Redeemed myself a couple years later in Erie. — Chris Borgia


Marine Corps in 1982, and I LOVED it. I was very nervous going into it, so I started really slowly, just jogging along with the huge crowd. I started feeling good and picked up the pace. The crowd was fantastic. When I finished, my first thought was “I can’t wait to do that again!” I ran nine more, and each of those times, I swore “never again!” — Fiona Branton


Presque Isle Endurance Run…don’t know the year. I finished and went to a wedding feeling very accomplished. First “real” marathon was the first Baltimore marathon in October of 2001. Security was very tight as it was just after 9/11. There were helicopters patrolling the course. — Jan Vieyra


Pittsburgh, 2002, I think. My marathon PR. There were only about 2,500 runners – enough that I never ran alone, but few enough that after the first mile I had open road ahead of me. — Jim Lang


Erie Marathon in 2005. It was warm out during the month of September, so I was struggling and my Uncle Mike jumped in and helped me finish. My 2nd one in 2012 was much worse. — Adam Rowe


I did my first marathon being undertrained (I thought running one day a week was enough – LOL) and with a lot of prayer. Often succumbing to despair, I continually had to remind God that he needed to “help me out a little down here.” I also panicked as I thought they might sweep us off the course for going too slow (no watch) until a really nice RATIONAL guy assured me we were doing great. We finished in 4:19. When I saw that finish line I was overjoyed with a sense of accomplishment! I felt even better when everyone was impressed that I was now a “marathon runner!” That was 8 years ago and I’ve been doing them ever since. — Carol Crandall


My first attempt was at Cleveland in 2012. It was a DNF. At mile 23, I had severe cramping due to lack of water/electrolytes. Following week I ran Buffalo, no troubles, nice race. — Pat Krott


Cleveland Marathon 2010! I loved it! I ran a 3:48:39. I ran Cleveland because that is where I was born and raised!!! — Allison Jeric-Carroll


Marine Corps marathon in 2013. Training went really well, stuck to the program decently. Didn’t miss any long runs. Race day mistake, knew I would need to stretch after we got started since it was 40 degrees in the corrals, but a mixture of adrenaline and the elbow-to-elbow course for the first 3-4 miles prevented me from making myself pull over to stretch. Finally stretched around mile 5-6 but it was too late. Felt tight and crampy at the halfway point, wondered how I would keep going, but knew quitting wasn’t an option. The spectators, my awesome family at various mile markers, and fantastic signs got me through. Finished much later than I wanted to or planned to, but I high-fived the Marines lining the hill to the finish and powered through to the finish line on my own two feet. Was also running in memory of my uncle who died from ALS and had collected donations from supporters….so that was a huge motivator! — Tracy Jenks


Erie marathon in 2002. First big item on the bucket list after my mom died. I’ve been chasing down the other bucket list items ever since. — Doug Oathout


My first is 10/4/2014. Going to learn a lot, I’m sure. It’s a trail run that is almost 6,000 feet of ups. I’m going to walk a lot, but that’s OK. — Stephen Haeseler


My first was the Pittsburgh Marathon this May. It was my first time running anything more than a 5k. I trained for six months and ended up tearing something in my foot at mile 18. I walked Miles 20-21 and ran the rest in severe pain. I’m looking to redeem myself at the Cleveland Marathon in 2015. — Jon Wolff


I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 40 and I ran my first marathon 3 days before my 40th birthday. It was the God’s Country Marathon in Coudersport, Pa. I was only there to run the half with my friend Jan, but when I finished the half, I decided to keep going! People say the course is extremely hilly, I would refer to it as mountainous! But, after crossing that finish line, I wanted more. I couldn’t wait to run my next marathon! — Cathi Mitchell

Things I found — 9/11/14

By | September 11, 2014 1:18 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

File this GOOD news: According to Atlantic, wine & exercise is a promising combination

This is fantastic: 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

So is this: Stop Telling Women Their Bodies Suck (Amen. Seriously…stop. I’m so done with it. All of it. Including “women’s events” in which they do nothing but try to sell you things to fix all the sh%^ that’s wrong with you).

If the short film on the Kickstarter page is any indication, this film is going to be pretty cool.  (What moves you?)

True ‘dat (or ‘dis):


Tshirt of the week:


Girl talk PSA – Sale alert on summer skirts & capris

By | September 10, 2014 8:51 pm | 0 Comments

I fell in love with running skirts nearly the minute they hit the fitness fashion scene. I like the additional, ahem, coverage (running shorts used to be super teeny tiny). Also,  I’ll just go ahead & say it…I like the feminine look. Yeah, I’m a girl…so sue me.

The first running skirts (and, yep, I’ve been running long enough to remember when they first started cropping up) were expensive — like $50. But, then everyone started making them and they came down –way down — in price. Today, you can pick up nice running skirts at discount retailers (Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, etc.) for about $20.

This summer, I noticed some really sweet Fila skirts at Sam’s Club on upper Peach Street for $17 — they even have a zipper pocket in back for keys, gels, etc.  I bought three and texted every running friend that I knew liked skirts and, so, you’d think those skirts would be long gone, but…a friend posted a message on Facebook last week that the skirts were marked down to $6.71!   Life intervened and I didn’t get up there for days, but was still rewarded when I did get there on Monday night. There are lots of skirts left (mostly larger sizes now). I bought three more.  If you, too, like skirts and wear a L or XL (or larger) or you may want to get yourself to Sam’s before I find occasion to be there again. (Cannot. Help. Myself).


Also….my favorite summer capris are now on the clearance rack at the Target on Peach Street.

$14 for these super lightweight C9 Power Core capris. They’re thin enough to wear under your running skirt (if you like even more coverage), but they’re solid enough to wear alone, too. I bought two more pairs, so I’m not going back (luck you!) and there are lots of sizes left — from Small to XL.  They’re on the clearance rack in the workout clothes section.  (Tip: Use your Target Credit card and you get another 5% off. I always go home & pay my bill online – you’ll get no interest from me Target!)


Erie Marathon at Presque Isle this weekend

By | September 10, 2014 10:16 am | 0 Comments

It’s marathon weekend in Erie! Thousands of runners from across the country will descend on our fair city this weekend for the annual Erie Marathon (and half marathon) at Presque Isle. I’m working packet pickup on Saturday (Rotary Pavilion) and always enjoy talking talking with race visitors, answering their questions, and introducing them to the gorgeous park we have the good fortune to run around anytime we want to. (You do realize that not everyone has a 13-mile asphalt trail or a giant body of water to run around, right?).

Dan is taking on the full marathon, I’m doing the half and, I”ll be doing it half-heartedly as I haven’t made racing much of a priority this year. Sometimes I tire of the competition. But I never tire of the camaraderie of group runs and you could argue that a marathon/half-marathon is just one big-a#$ group run.

For the first time, there was a cap on registrations for the Erie marathon & the half. This surprised a lot of folks, particularly local runners who are used to registering for everything at the last minute — but it’s going to result in a better event for those that got in under the wire. For instance, with a cap, the organizers were able to order marathon & half-marathon shirts — something they haven’t done in the past because the quantities were always so in flux with people registering late. Also, you’ll find plenty of running room, adequate facilities, and, in general, a smoother operation overall.

The bad news: the race directors — Mike & Jan Vieyra — who have worked for years to perfect this marathon and build it into a well-known, and much-loved destination race, won’t be returning as directors next year. It’s unfortunate, but understandable. As the race director for a 5K, I know the amount of work that goes into that race and cannot even fathom the work involved in putting on a marathon (not just by the directors, but the entire marathon committee, volunteers, ERC members, etc.).

Here’s hoping someone steps up to the plate for the 2015 marathon and agrees to continue what Mike & Jan (and all their helpers) have worked so hard to build.  Personally, I think the ERC should make the marathon director a paid position — it’s grown to the point where it’s a lot to ask of a volunteer and it makes enough money to pay someone to take responsibility. Plus, that person would, ultimately, answer to the ERC board, so they’d have control over the quality and management of the race.

ANYWAY….here are  a few notes about this weekend’s event from Jan & Mike:

Your training is done and race day is only five days away and you might be nervous and are probably now trying to do everything possible to maximize your performance on race day.  We want to help maximize your Erie experience so that is what this note is all about.

We are planning to start each event on time: 7:00 AM marathon and 7:30 AM half.

Arrive at the park earlier than you think you might need to on race day:  enter the park no later than 5:45 AM as traffic will become congested.  Carpool, stay in lanes and follow parking volunteer’s directions.  Do not stop to ask questions!  Glow sticks will guide you the 0.25 miles from your lot to the start.

“Everything happens at the Rotary Pavilion” is what we like to say – packet pickup, pasta dinner, expo, starting line, finish line (half and full), post race Lake Erie dip, post race party and results/awards.

You will receive a timing chip and a race bib that you will need to wear on race day.  You will not be an official starter or finisher without the chip being worn on your shoe or an ankle strap.  The bibs are color coded to assist our volunteers to properly direct you on the course and to identify you for our event photographer.

Tired of hanging around for awards ceremonies?  We are going to have an awards tent/booth near the finish area, where results will be posted, and where you will be able to claim your award within 30 minutes of finishing.

The best advice we have for spectators is to travel to the race with your runner.  This will let them see you start and then walk only 0.2 miles to see you again at the 5.8 mile point.  Reverse this trek and they can see you at 13.1 (half marathon finish) and then again at 18.9 and the marathon finish.  If they don’t want to leave quite so early, there will be limited parking available beginning at 7:30 at The Cookhouse Shelter and the Niagara boat launch (see maps on website).  If 7:30 arrival is still a bit too early, there are five vistas (parking lots) within the first two miles after entering the park that provide great viewing of the race and Presque Isle Bay.  All five lots are on the right side of the roadway and within a few feet of the race course.

In an effort to keep you fueled, we are adding a third GU gel station near mile 15 in addition to the station that is near mile 8 and 21.  All of the gels will be vanilla flavor.

It appears that the forecast is calling for a cool morning race day so if you wear something to keep warm that you plan to discard, please discard it either to the side of the starting area or at aid stations along the course.  We collect, launder and donate the clothing to the Salvation Army.

May your miles fly by!

Your race directors,
Jan and Mike Vieyra

Guest post: Getting to know Pete Eaglen

By | September 10, 2014 1:14 am | 0 Comments

By Larry Kisielewski

There are many reasons for runners and walkers to practice their particular disciplines. Reasons range from weight loss, to stress relief, to a simple love of running or walking. Another common motivator is change from a previous exercise program for health or interest reasons. Our September GTKY subject is one such individual. But he is more than just a college athlete turned runner, much more. I would like you to meet Pete Eaglen.


Peter Matthew Eaglen is the second of three sons of Jack and Mary-Ella, lifelong Harborcreek residents. He is sandwiched between Mike, who is two years older, and 16-year-younger (!?!) Christopher. All through school, Pete has been well-grounded, focusing on his goal of becoming an accountant. An excellent student at Harbor Creek High, he lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis, and continued scholastically and athletically at Mercyhurst University, where he played football and tennis for a couple of years while earning his degree in accounting.

Since early high school, he had dated Heather Smith, who was one year behind him at Harbor Creek. After Heather’s graduation with a business degree from Westminster, they married in 1996. Pete worked as an accountant at Ernst and Young, and Heather worked claims for Progressive Insurance. When Pete was transferred to Pittsburgh, Heather fit right in with Pittsburgh’s Progressive branch. Things were going smoothly, but all their family was back in Erie. After a year, the Eaglens moved back. Pete became a partner with Schaffner, Knight, and Minnaugh, while Heather was eagerly welcomed back to the Erie Progressive branch.

Pete’s athletic past began to catch up with him during and shortly after college. In addition to his aforementioned sports, he had always been (and still remains) an avid weight lifter. Those 400-lb. bench presses and 500-lb. squats on his 260-pound football-weight frame necessitated two knee operations and a re-evaluation of his athletic endeavors. He started running, and since has dropped 50 pounds and cut back on his weight lifting, although his 300-lb. bench press still makes him a handy guy to know if you need to move a couch. His 210-pound frame still qualifies him as a Clydesdale, a division he pretty much dominates nowadays.

Heather is more than his match in fitness, but as a competitive cyclist. The Eaglens need to be in shape to keep up with four children who are in full spots mode: 13-year-old Cole is on the travel team for MSA (Millcreek soccer), 12-year-old Maggie plays soccer for the Admirals, and six-year-old twins Andrew and Alec play T-ball and Y-team sports. In addition to work-related travel to Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and continuing education for constantly-changing tax law, Pete finds time to coach (13 years and running) T-ball, soccer and MYAA baseball, and chair the financial committees for the YMCA and Develop Erie. In addition to all her other commitments, Heather coaches cross country for Blessed Sacrament.

Now firmly entrenched in his running program, Pete still diversifies his running with duathlons and tris, such as Presque Isle and Edinboro. As a matter of fact, his first competitive event was the Presque Isle Duathlon, where he and Heather teamed up for a first-place finish. He prefers longer races, as evidenced by his 1:40 effort in the ERC Presque Isle Half Marathon, but finishing times like a 40:31 in the Turkey Trot 10K and a 19:34 in the Julie King 5K are proof that he can also handle the shorter distances.

Football player turned runner, accounting whiz, family man and coach – now you know Pete Eaglen.

Vacations – Disney World (twice); local stay-cations (Presque Isle, Waldameer)
Dream vacation – Hawaii
Outside hobbies – kids’ activities
Music – 80’s and 90’s rock
TV – reality shows
Motto – Keep it simple.
Admires – his Dad
Charities – YMCA, cancer center
Blood donor – Yes
Most famous person met – Herschel Walker
Motivation – competing with himself
Boy Scout – Life scout
Workout regimen – winter: some treadmill, elliptical or XC bike
– summer: about 20 miles per week, 5 miles from Downtown Y
Most memorable run – first sub-20 minute 5K
Last word – “Less than your best sacrifices your gift.”
** Getting To Know You is reprinted with permission from the September 2014 Erie Runners Club newsletter.

Quad ski moves to Wilderness Lodge (rejoice!)

By | September 9, 2014 8:15 am | 0 Comments

quad champs

Good news! The Highmark Quad folks have moved the ski & snowshoe event to the Wilderness Lodge, which means….there’s a real good chance it will actually happen this year. While the drive to the lodge is no picnic (I know…I’ve done it every Saturday from January to March for the last four years), it’s a better venue. I see a few challenges — there are not many restrooms or much parking at the lodge and the width of the trails (fantastically groomed) will no longer allow for a mass start. Some may miss the mass start…I will not. I think it’s better to let the uber-competitive super athletes go first and fight it out by themselves up there.

ANYWAY…here’s the official statement from the Quad folks:

The Highmark QUAD Games Ski and Snowshoe has a new home this year at Wilderness Lodge. Hailed by cross-country ski enthusiasts from around the country as “cross country skiing at its finest”, Wilderness Lodge’s 20+ miles of established cross-country trails are beautifully woven among wooded grounds which organizers say will make the trails more resistant to the changes in weather and temperature.

“The wooded setting helps the trails be more resistant to changes in our unpredictable weather,” said Curt Cardman, Highmark QUAD Games race director.  “As an exclusive cross-country ski resort, Wilderness Lodge has made a significant investment in the maintenance of their course.  This will help us have more control over weather delays.”

Race organizers have named Mike Collins, Jim Samuels and Dan Teed as course designers.

Another change to the event this year will be categories for elite athletes as well as racers taking off in age-group waves.  “Typically, we have had a mass start for the ski, but this year, recognize the opportunity to stagger start times and add categories for elite athletes,” said Cardman.  “The QUAD is a four-season fitness event for people of all fitness levels; that’s in part what makes it so special.”

Wilderness Lodge will offer a ski lesson package, ski rentals and day-of ski waxing.  More information will be made available at

Register for the QUAD here.

Finally, if you haven’t, you really should “like us” on facebook!

Just Write 50 ~ Teamwork

By | September 9, 2014 1:42 am | 0 Comments

If there’s one photo among the hundreds (literally) taken of my team at Saturday’s Beast on the Bay that sums it all up, it’s this one:

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With a team 70+ strong of different abilities, it was all but impossible to stay together for the entire 10+ mile obstacle race. We started together and then broke into smaller groups based on pace. Those who ran a similar pace ended up running together and helping each other over the obstacles and up to the crest of that last dam#$@ hill to Waldameer where we all stopped — every single one of us — to wait for the rest of our team members.

On Saturday, time meant nothing. Team meant everything.

I never played sports in school. It’s one of the few regrets I have in life. Though, I seriously doubt it would have been anything like this. Supportive. Inspirational. Fun. Encouraging.

We cheered for every person slogging up that hill, not just our teammates.

Some of us ran down to meet up with the last members of our group, which meant doing the Peninsula Road hill twice…and I seriously didn’t care. I’d have run it 10 times for them.

Then we finished together….just like we started.

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”