ERC Turkey Trot info

By | November 21, 2014 12:33 pm | 0 Comments

tureky trot shirt

The ERC’s Turkey Trot early packet pickup party is Monday and Tuesday  at the Bel Aire Hotel (2800 W. 8th St.) from 4-8 p.m. both nights.  Please note — these are the only times/days you can pick up your packet before race day. The BelAire will not be able to hand out packets–they are simply the venue the club is renting for the packet pickup party.  If you can’t pick up your packet on Monday or Tuesday, you’ll have to do it on race day morning.

Here are all the details.

Packet pickup party details

WHERE: Bel-Aire Hotel and Conference Center, 2800 West 8th St.

DAY/HOURS: Monday, Nov. 24 and Tues., Nov. 25 from 4-8 p.m.

ABOUT THE EVENT: There will a party this year at packet pick-up. Mini expo, snacks and refreshments. Party will benefit the Erie County Diabetes Foundation (ECDA).

QUESTIONS: or 814-881-0060.

There is a “Hungry Games” theme (a play on “The Hunger Games”) and just like in the books and movies there are different districts all with a different color. The colors will come out in district order and when that color is gone we will go to the next color. Please do not ask volunteers to look for different colors. However, you are free to trade with others and look at the extra for sale shirts to trade.


Online registration is now CLOSED and don’t bother mailing them either…they will NOT get there in time. The only option now is to register at the packet pickup party….if there are still spots left.

Picking up for a friend? A few tips

You are allowed to pick up packets for friends. As someone who routinely helps at packet pickup (I’ll be there Tuesday evening), here are a few tips if you are doing that:

1. Write all the names down on a piece of paper that you can hand to the person working registration.

2. Make SURE the people you are picking up for know you’re picking up for them. (Lots of people show up and find that they have no packet because a friend picked it up for them).

3. Make sure the people you think are registered are actually registered. (We spend a lot of time looking for people who never followed through & registered).

Day of race registration/packet pickup

You can pick up your packet on Thursday morning before the race beginning at 7 a.m.

No shirts will be mailed and will be forfeited at the start of the 10K on Thursday.

The race is not sold out yet and if and when it does sell out you will see it on the Facebook page and our website. If you know anyone who wants to sign up they can do so at the Bel-Aire during pickup There are limited premiums for sale.


Race Day Parking

There will be parking at beach 1. When it is full, there will be “lot full” signs and you’ll need to park at one of the shuttle bus parking spots. There will be shuttles from Rainbow Gardens, the Tom Ridge Center , Beach 6 and the West Erie Plaza. Be aware that you should only park in legal parking areas only to avoid ticketing. Do NOT park on the side of the road.

Race day notes

If you pick up early your packet early, you can tie the timing chip into your shoelaces and you are set to go on race day. You must bring the timing chip and it must be near the ground for it to register (don’t carry it in your pocket ….tie it to your shoelaces). There will be a party with a DJ at rainbow gardens after the races, you can pick up your awards there. Be on the alert for “tridents” and “hatchets”, if you see one pick it up and bring it to rainbow gardens for a prize.

Things I Found — 11/20/14

By | November 20, 2014 3:00 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

The Runner’s tool box: 5 Best recovery aids for runners.

Beware: Today is GO HARD: A Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day. Here’s are a few videos, including a humorous how-to. 

Used bikes….not cheap. Bikes from Lance Armstrong film are up for sale.

FKT — the story behind the newest acronym in running. That’s one combination of letters I’m just never going to need.

New York Times: Wearable gear & apps to make running more fun.

T-shirt of the Week


Run Across Erie County Saturday

By | November 19, 2014 6:16 pm | 0 Comments


The 10th Annual R.A.C.E. (Run Across Erie County), an informal group run from — you guessed it — one border of Erie County to the other is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 a.m. There is no charge to participate. No application to fill out. No shirts, awards or timing. The course is fully open to traffic and there will be no marshals or course markings to guide you.  In fact, it’s not even really a race…more of a big group long run.  Everyone is welcome.

The group is meeting at Avonia Park (at the lake) in Fairview at 7:30 a.m. They will then shuttle to the start near Crossingville, Pa., for the 19-mile run back to Fairview. After finishing, they’ll gather at the Avonia Tavern to carbo load!

Race organizer Mike Vieyra said the weather should cooperate. Forecast is for a warm spell (39 to 43 degrees).  Mike also said they are also looking for volunteers to help with shuttling to the start and providing a mobile aid station to give out water, electrolyte and GU gels.

You don’t have to do the whole 19 miles. You can jump in at some point along the course. See a map of the course here.

Runners & Dogs: Q&A with Erie Animal Enforcement officer

By | November 19, 2014 2:04 am | 0 Comments


Dogs can be a runner’s best friend and most loyal running partner. But, loose dogs can be a runner’s worst nightmare. Though I’m a dog-owner and animal-lover, when I am on a run, there is nothing that upsets me more than a loose dog and nothing that frightens me more than the jingling of dog tags behind me. I worry for the dog’s safety. I worry for my safety. And I absolutely resent having to change my course or avoid a favorite route because I routinely encounter a loose dog there. It’s just unfair.

It seems to be worse in the county because people in the country think it’s just natural to let dogs roam. Less traffic on country roads means the dogs typically get away with it for many years before they are struck.

I’ve been running for more than 15 years and have been encountered and truly frightened by dogs at least ten times. The owner (when they finally come out & yell at the dog) always says the same thing: “Aww…He won’t hurt ‘ya.”  But that’s not what the dog’s bark, eyes, fur and tail are saying.

Fortunately, I’ve never been bitten or attacked (knock on wood), but I have had to alter my routes many time to avoid dogs (there are some roads near my house today I still will not run without friends, nor will I run unfamiliar back country roads without friends.) and did file a report one time (more for the dogs’ safety than mine as they kept running out into Shannon Road).

As runners, I know we sometimes don’t want to “cause trouble” for our neighbors by reporting loose dogs, but…it’s really in the best interest of the dog. Sadly, I’ve watched three dogs die when they ran after me and were hit by cars. It’s horrible.  And, you should know that you can report dogs/owners anonymously.

I talked with Erie Animal Enforcement Officer Robert Culbertson Sr., who has 15 years of on-the-job experience with all kinds of canines, about Erie’s dog laws, how to report loose dogs, and how runners can stay safe when approached by a loose dog.


Erie Animal Enforcement Officer Robert Culbertson

What is the area you cover? Is it just the city (if so…who handles complaints in the county)?

I handle all calls for the city of Erie and the state dog wardens handle the county and Millcreek has their own officer

What is the law regarding lose dogs in the city/county? They must be leashed? They must be contained? Are the laws different in the county/city?

Dogs must be leashed at all times especially in public places and when they are being walked. If a dog is not leashed and is running loose in the city or county and we pick up the dog, the owner can be charged failure to control their dog, which carries a maximum fine of up to $300.

If a dog is outside on its own property then it must be chained if the yard is not completely fenced or protected by invisible fencing, which must be posted. This is true for both the city and the county.

OK….so what are the dos & don’ts for runners when approached by a loose dog?

If you are approached by a stray dog while walking or jogging, stop where you are and don’t move. If the dog comes up to you, stand still and turn your body sideways. Dogs can sense fear. Never try to run away. Running is an invitation to the dog to chase you and it could lead to the dog attacking you and causing some serious injury. If  the dog sniffs you and walks away, just stand there for another minute to make sure he is moving on, then proceed with your walk or run.

What if the dog is aggressive…or seems to be aggressive?

If the dog is or seems to be aggressive, start yelling as loud as possible. You should do this for two reasons: 1.)  it will distract the dog for a minute or two, and 2.) It might get the attention of the dog’s owner or someone else who can come to your assistance. Dogs are very unpredictable. Look for some kind of object that you could use as a deterrent/barrier between you & the dog or weapon to defend yourself.

What if the dog attacks? What should the runner do?

I suggest not fighting back. It seems to trigger something in the dog that can make the attack worse because then the dog feels even more threatened. Drop to the ground and curl into as tight of a ball as possible. This is a sign of submission and the dog should stop attacking if you do this because he has then proven to be the Alpha dog.

That said, not all dog attacks are the same, so follow your instincts and try to “read” the dog. I always suggest that runners and walkers carry something, such as an umbrella or a stick, that they can use to protect themselves. In the case of an attack, you can put that object between you and the dog.

What about pepper spray– should runners carry it?  What would it do to the dog? (I’d say most runners don’t want to hurt the dog permanently…just protect themselves)

A lot of people carry pepper spray. Using it will give you enough time to get away from the dog and hopefully to safety. When using pepper spray always know which way the wind is blowing so you don’t spray yourself, too. The pepper spray effects the dog as it does a human. The effects will wear off, and it does not do any permanent damage to the dog.  I have used it in some situations. On some dogs, the pepper spray can stain  their fur an orange color, but it eventually fades away.

Be aware that pepper spray may not work on all dogs. I’ve run into dogs that were trained to be immune to the spray. But the chances of running into a dog like that are very slim.

Some runners carry dog bones to “make friends” with dogs…is that a strategy you’d recommend or not?

I would not recommend carrying treats to make friends with the dogs because it could backfire. Also, you don’t know what will happen if you run out of treats.  I do use treats, but I know what to look for in a dog’s body language and have the equipment to capture the dog.

What if they get bit? What do they need to do after that?

Go to the hospital as soon as possible and get your wounds cleaned and checked out. Also, call the police so someone (likely me) can go to that location to try and find the dog.  The dog must be located and detained. We typically take them to shelter until we can locate the owner to make sure the dog is up to date on its rabies shots.

What happens if a runner reports a dog that is repeatedly lose? (Walk me through the steps you take with the owner at the first report, 2nd report, etc.)

If a runner or walker reports seeing the same dog at the same location, I will try to be in that area at the time they see the dog so that I can catch the dog and try to locate the owner. Again, the dog’s owner can be charged with failure to control their dog, which carries a maximum fine of  $300.

Can you report dogs anonymously (some don’t want their neighbors to know that they complained) or will they know who “turned them in”?

Yes, you can report dogs anonymously.

How do they report a dog? What information do they need to have when they do so?

When reporting a loose dog please call the Erie Police Dept at 814-870-1125 and give them the location of where the dog is running loose and a description of the dog so I know what I’m looking for. If you know where the dog lives, give us that address and we’ll follow up with the owner.

In Erie County, contact Brian Froess, 814-934-2983. If you can’t in touch with him, call the police that service that county or the State police. I have done calls for them when the State Dog Warden is not available

Are there any breeds runners should be more wary of than others? (I’ve heard small dogs are more likely to bite, but I am positively terrified of large pit-looking dogs).

I won’t say that there is a certain breed of dog to be more cautious of, but I will say that all dogs have the potential to bite, whether they are 5 pounds or 150 pounds. If a dog has teeth, it can bite.

Any other safety tips they should know/be aware of?

I would just stress that any dog can bite, no matter how cute they are. There are different factors that determine whether a dog will bite or attack, such as a fear bite in which the dog is scared and you approach it. Dogs are more prone to bite when scared or cornered.

Also, never stare a dog in the eyes, as it’s perceived as a form of aggression. Some dogs assume staring to be a challenge and will bite you. Look down or the the side or in another direction that allows you to see the dog in your peripheral vision, so you can see what its doing.

Anything else I left out that you want to tell runners/walkers?

Remember that oftentimes a loose dog is lost and is just as scared as you are. Call the Police and let us get the dog back home and remind the owner of his/her responsibilities to keep the dog (and the public) safe and contained.


Officer Culbertson on the job. Erie Times-News photo

You asked, I answered: What to do when you have to, um, poo

By | November 18, 2014 2:23 am | 0 Comments

Q. What happens when you have to go #2. Asking for a “friend” who had a terrible experience one time. — K.M.

This question made me LOL, but it’s a legitimate problem for most runners at one time or another. I’ll say this: If there’s one thing you can’t really run through for long it’s an “urgent request” from the bowels.

I’m lucky in that this doesn’t happen to me very often and when it does, I usually can force my body to ignore it as long as I’m running. But, when I stop, I know I’ve got about 5 minutes to find a restroom. It seems that you can trick your brain into forgetting you have to go when it’s concentrating on all the processes needed to run. Once you stop, though….things get desperate quick.

If things get desperate while you’re in the middle of a run and you’re with others, you have no choice but to make and excuse to bag out and head back to the car early or cop to your dilemma and plead with your friends to help you find the nearest restroom…or stand guard while you “take care of business” in the woods, behind a tree, etc. Running friends will understand and never tell (what happens on a run stays on run).

If you have this problem in winter in Pennsylvania and you can’t find a restroom, you’re at a real disadvantage as the leaves, which offer coverage and, um, cleanup, are gone.  You’re going to have to do what most runners have done at one time or another and sacrifice a sock…or one sleeve…or underwear.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And, of course, if nature calls you could do what the pros do and just crap your pants, but I wouldn’t recommend that…and I’m sure your running partners wouldn’t either. ;-)

10 must-haves for winter running

By | November 17, 2014 4:07 am | 0 Comments

me in winter

I was snowshoeing here, hence the poles, but this is how I dress to run, too.

Don’t let winter keep you from running outdoors. You just need the right gear!

I can’t remember the last time I actually ran on my “dreadmill.” I know I didn’t run on it once last year — yep, even our epic polar vortex couldn’t force me onto the rat track (I hate the dreadmill THAT much). On the worst days, when bitter winds, sheets of ice or the most dreaded of all winter running surfaces – mushy slush—were present, I decided to take an extra rest day or I would cross-train (swim laps, weight lift, take a class, etc.).If you’re a newer runner or a really competitive runner, you may be horrified at the thought of taking a few extra rest days. I get that. I’ve been there, done that. I used to be like you. In fact, I was SO anal about never missing a run that I used to have two — count ’em two — treadmills in my basement, a “new” one and a “backup” treadmill.

But I’ve been running through Erie winters long enough to know it’s not going to kill me to take an extra day off, or two or (gasp) even four. And, in fact, it usually helps me—a lot. This is the time to let your body rest and heal. The racing season is over till spring.

The bottom line: I give in when Jack Frost really sticks it to us. That said, you’d be surprised how infrequently that happens. Rarely — very rarely — is the weather too bad to run outdoors. All you need is the right gear.

Here are 10 things I find essential to running through an Erie winter:



1. Yak Trax and/or STABILicers. (About $30 each)

These are both traction aids that fit over your running shoes. Think of them as studded winter tires for your feet. Many runners use Yak Trax. After having been knocked to the ground in the middle of a run TWICE by broken Yak Traks, I switched to STABILicers. BUT, I have found that I really need to have both. Yaks are best in snow & slush. Stabilicers are best when there’s not much snow, but still a lot of ice.

I just bought some new Yak Traks made especially for runners that seem to be both of these products in one (ice cleats on the pad of the food & coils on the heels for snow).

You may think these would be hard to run with, but they are not terribly bothersome, even when you hit stretches of pavement. You barely know you have them on.

Also….be advised that if you run a lot, these are probably something you’ll need to buy annually. I buy a new pair at the start of each winter because the rubber straps get worn through (likely when you hit those stretches of pavement) and break.


2. Stretchy gloves and a couple pairs of cheap mittens. ($1 or so, each)

I probably have 15 pairs of black stretchy gloves. They’re perfect for running because they are lightweight, easy to put on/take off, small enough to stuff in your pocket or waistband if you get hot, they’re inexpensive, and you can toss them in the washer when you’re done sweating all over them.  I always buy black, so if I lose a glove, big deal…I match it up with another orphan glove.

I have a couple pairs of cheap mittens, too, because on the coldest of winter days, one little pair of stretchy gloves isn’t enough, but stretchy gloves topped with mittens will do the trick. On VERY cold days, you can put a Hot Hands pack between your gloves & mittens — warm hands, warm body.


3. Reflective vest or jacket. ($20 to $100).

I have a few types of reflective outer layers so I can A.) wash it between runs and B.) dress for the weather (by the way, dress for weather that is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually  is…you heat up FAST even in winter!).

I have a lightweight Nathan reflective vest that I can put over a long-sleeve shirt or fleece vest and I have a couple of Illuminite windbreakers and an Illumnite vest for colder days.  An Illuminite jacket is worth the investment (I mean, seriously, how much is your life worth anyway?)



4. Turtleneck. ($10 to $50 )

You’ll want to cover your neck. Some runners like to use a scarf or a gaiter, but I prefer a good old fashioned turtleneck. You can get away with regular old cotton t-necks from Target, but when Under Armour sent me one of their ColdGear Mock Necks to try, I fell in love — LOVE, I tell you — and I shelled out the big bucks to get a couple more. I’ve never gone back to cotton T-necks. Note that the ColdGear Mock Necks come in two styles —  compression (which means it’s very tight to the body, which I like, and a new “fitted” mock neck, which doesn’t squeeze as much as compression. Check the size charts and order accordingly!


5. Winter-weight tights.($50 to $100)

Lightweight summer tights are going to cut it in winter. You need thick, preferably fleece-lined, tights. I like the ColdGear CompressionTights from Under Armour and, at $50, they’re pretty reasonably priced, as tights go.  (And, yes, I’ve sold my soul to the great and powerful Under Armour, but I’m telling you…it’s truly some of the best stuff out there and it lasts through lots of washes).

WalMart, Target and a lot of the other mass retailers have really stepped up the quality workout gear they offer…so you may find tights there that you like, too.

TIP: Word the wise, don’t dry your tech running gear. Tights, compression tops, bras, etc. should be drip dried. The heat of the dryer breaks down the material that makes your running gear fit tight/compress. Nothing will turn your sports bras and tights into saggy not-so-tights faster than a dryer.


6. Windbreaker ($20  to $50) and/or a lightweight soft shell jacket

I rarely run in more than a turtleneck, tights and a windbreaker in winter.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on a special waterproof windbreaker — most of them are water-resistant anyway. I have several so I can wash them after each run. Try to get one with a hood…never know when you might need it.

On very cold days, I will sometimes wear a lightweight tech jacket. This one, from Walmart, is just $3o and offers a bit more protection than a windbreaker. It washes well, too.



7. Winter hats.($5 each)

These get sweaty and super-gross, so you want a few of them if you’re going to run outside regularly. I sewed up a bunch of fleece hats several years ago. They were super-easy to make. I toss them into the washer after my run and they wash well.  Want to whip some up? Here are the instructions we used.


8. Sunglasses. ($5 to $50). Glare from the snow can be blinding, so sunglasses are a great idea if you’re running in the daytime. Sunglasses also help prevent your eyes from watering on a cold day. You can get away with el-cheap-o sunglasses, but real runner’s sunglasses are a good investment because they won’t fog.


9.  Fleece vest. ($10 to $30)

This is a nice layer to add on very cold days. I layer one between my t-neck and windbreaker and it provides just enough of an extra layer of warmth. I like fleece because it’s cozy and it will  hold up to lots of washings.


10.  A flashlight. ($2 to $10)

When a car is approaching me, I turn on my flashlight and point it toward my feet (or just to the right of my feet) so they can see where I’m at.  I have a couple of mini-maglites that I use, but I find the metal gets cold (to hold) in the winter and I typically leave it in my pocket unless I need it.

Monday Motivation: Soul food

By | November 17, 2014 2:32 am | 0 Comments

I took this photo on our run at Presque Isle on Saturday.


Want a Trot shirt? Register by Monday

By | November 16, 2014 12:38 pm | 0 Comments

The Erie Runners Club posted this note to the club’s Facebook page:

There are now over 3,000 signed up for the ERC Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The theme is the “Hungry Games” and the artwork for the shirt is below. The registration page is still open online but the mail in deadline has passed. The shirt order will go to Creative imprint on Tuesday morning. The shirt options will disappear online when the quantity for the size is sold out. There will be 12 shirt colors, one for each “hungry games” district. The art department at Creative and the race director have created another really fun shirt this year. If you want to order a race shirt in the correct size please register before the cutoff to avoid disappointment.

tureky trot shirt

Things I Found — 11/13/14

By | November 13, 2014 3:12 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

Knee problems? Strengthen your hips.

Thinking about getting inked? 38 Amazing Running Tattoos

Women’s beer mile world record shattered.

T-shirt of the Week




Hill repeats from H@#$ starts Nov. 23

By | November 12, 2014 2:22 am | 0 Comments


The Hill Repeats from H#@# Challenge is back again for the third year and….when better to tackle some hills, than November when we ALL need a push to get out there and workout. Here are all the deets from the official Facebook Events page:

Quick and dirty:
Week One (Nov 23 – Nov 29): 25 hill repeats
Week Two (Nov 30 – Dec 6): 50 hill repeats
Week Three (Dec 7 – Dec 13): 75 hill repeats
Week Four (Dec 14 – Dec 20): 100 hill repeats

IMPORTANT: That is 25, 50, 75, and 100 hills for THE ENTIRE WEEK, not each day! For example, during Week One, you could do five per day for five days, or twenty in one day and five on another day. Do whatever works for you!


Pick a hill that’s relatively short (but not too short!). Remember, you’ll want to be able to do 100 repeats in the fourth week (but obviously it should be VERY challenging). Going outside your comfort zone is essential for growth!

Be sure to warm up before starting your hills. Run the hills at 5k effort, or about 90% of maximum effort. Maintain good form while going up the hill. Eyes forward, upright posture (maybe a slight forward lean, but you should not be hunched). Drive your arms forward and back, not side to side. Try to maintain good form throughout each of the repeats. Dig deep!!

To recover, you can walk or slowly jog back down the hill.


GET STARTED EARLY in the week. Each day you put off and say “eh, I’ll just do more the next day” makes it much more difficult. And no, you cannot start on the next week’s hills until you reach the start date for the next week.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER WITH FRIENDS! Find a hill, grab a few crazy like-minded friends, and get out there and run! It’s especially helpful to do it with friends on the cold blistery winter days that you’ll likely encounter.

If you’re running on trails, use a stick to keep a tally in the mud (or snow!). It’s sometimes hard to keep track after a few!

Post updates on the Facebook page! Let’s encourage each other and help one another stay accountable. Additionally, if you’d like to post about other training you’re doing, and successes (or failures) with your diet and nutrition, you are more than welcome! We do this as a group to stay moving and stay strong during a time of the year when it’s often too easy to slack off.

Above all, HAVE FUN!!!

I took the challenge last year and actually enjoyed it. I did some of my repeats on my lunch hour at work. Penn State Behrend offers plenty of hills to choose from, of course, and November’s cool temps mean you can get away with a lunch run without tooooo much sweating.