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Running with other people will improve your performance and it may even improve your running experience (it has for me).
The Tuesday Night Race League, an informal weekly “race” league that is free and open to anyone & everyone of any ability (walkers welcome, too) has a Facebook page now. “Like” it to stay informed about all the group’s happenings and each week’s location and distance options. Not on FB? TNRL news is also posted on Jim Lang’s Big White Trailer website.
This coming Tuesday (June 3), TNRL is at Lake Erie Speedway at 7 p.m. Meet in the parking lot. There is always a longer & a shorter run option.
The Monday beginners trail run group at Penn State Behrend is going to be moving from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Park in the Junker Center parking lot and look for the folks gathering in the corner near the soccer fields. It’s “real” trail running with a mostly single-track course and plenty of mud if there’s been a recent rain. Plan accordingly! If you’re on Facebook, join the Erie Trail Runners group to stay up-to-date. More info on the trail run here.
If you’re looking for a group to run with…or you have a group that you’d like to invite more runners to, request to join the Erie Runners Club Running Groups Facebook group.
With summer upon us now (or close enough, Jim Lang, owner of Big White Trailer timing, is resurrecting the Tuesday Night Race League, a casual and totally free weekly “race” or run series (depending on how you want to handle it) held in various places throughout Erie County.
Me, you, and anyone else that wants to get out
An opportunity to get out and run a “race” at various locations in Erie County. There will be at least one REAL race this summer, perhaps more. They will be announced well in advance.
Tuesday Nights, 7:00 pm. from Spring to Fall.
Locations throughout Erie County.
Why not? This is an opportunity to get out, run a different race every week, and generally have a good time.
It’s what happens afta the race. If you don’t get the reference, check out “The Karate Kid“. Mr. Miyagi is a real hero here.
So, it basically works like this.
Jim picks various locations all over Erie County and plots an informal course for runners to “race.” (I put that in quotes because while it’s called the “race” league — some of us just show up to run with other people). There is typically a shorter distance (3 to 4 miles) and longer distance (5 to 6) for you to choose from.
It’s very informal. For instance, there are times you will finish & write down your own time if Jim’s out running.
It’s basically an opportunity (a standing invitation) to have fun and run in different places with friends.
There’s no cost to participate in the TNRL events and, so, there are no t-shirts, race refreshments, etc., though Jim typically brings water and the other racers bring beer or whatever (depending on the location, of course, some locations are alcohol-free zones).
1. It’s a fun way to get some mid-week speed work in.
2. It’s also a good way to get to know some other runners.
3. It’s refreshing to race somewhere other than Presque Isle.
The first TNRL is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 27 at Harborcreek Community Park , 5800 Firman Road. If it’s the same as in past years, you’ll have a choice of doing a 3.2 mile course or a 6.2 mile course. More info & course descriptions here.
A schedule of upcoming TNRL race locations can be found here (not updated with the 2014 schedule yet, but it will be soon).
The single most important thing you can do to stay motivated to exercise—especially through an Erie winter—is to make fitness friends.
Were not for my running friends, I wouldn’t be out running (and laughing) through five frigid and hilly miles in the dark on a Wednesday night after a long day at work, I wouldn’t be running 55 hill repeats on a lakeside golf course on a snowy-blowy Tuesday night, and I wouldn’t be laying on my back in six inches of snow doing leg lifts in a snowstorm.
I consistently tell my running friends that I hate them for making me do this stuff, but…you know I secretly love it, right? You know you would, too.
Wondering how to make fitness friends that will keep you motivated?
Look no further than Lawrence Park where chiropractor and fitness enthusiast Steve Krauza heads up Team Adrenaline.
I first met Steve Kruaza when I interviewed him for a story for the newspaper in 2011. (Read it here). A study had just been released (don’t recall what it was now), identifying Erie county as home to the least healthy people in the state. He was really bothered by that and it inspired him to start Team Adrenaline.
He told me that his goal was “To make Erie County the healthiest county in the Commonwealth by 2024,” and I remember thinking “I love your spirit, man, but that’s an awfully high bar.” Despite my skepticism, however, I admired his gumption and, as a former fat chick who had experience the life-transforming power of regular exercised, I hoped he would succeed.
While he may have a ways to go to make all of Erie County fit, he’s sure made a dent in east county.
The last workout I attended (yep, I finally “drank the Kool-Aide” and bought a punch card), 23 people showed up to workout in near-blizzard conditions. That’s dedication.
This happened. That’s me in the pink polka-dot hat.
It best be described as an “organic” or “urban” workout. All the workouts are done outside year-round using minimal “equipment” beyond what nature or the venue provides (curbs for box jumps, bleachers for running, etc.). See video below.
Workouts are offered on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. at Iroquois High School, Thursday nights at 6 p.m. at Liberty Park and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. at various locations (Check before you go on Saturday…these workouts are often held at Harbocreek Community Park, Shades Beach, Presque Isle, etc.).
Workouts typically last an hour and they are never the same (though you will see the same elements — planks, sprints, pushups, etc.).
The workouts can be done at your own level and modifications are given, so these workouts are good for people of any fitness ability and/or age.
I’d also say that this is perfect for people who have trouble staying motivated. The team makes you accountable…and they make it fun…so you’ll want to show up.
Your first workout is always free…and feel free to bring a friend, too.
Then, if you like it and want to join the team, you’ll need to buy a “punch card” with a specific number of workouts on it, each workout is one punch. Cost of the cards range from $7.50 to $10 a workout, depending on the size of the punch card purchased.
BUT….Right now the punch cards are on sale for 1/2 price until January 1st. The half price breakdown is this: 6 workouts = $30. 12 workouts = $54. 24 workouts = $96. 35 workouts = $122.50.
The nice thing is that you only “pay” for the workouts you come to (and Doc is know to throw freebies in there from time to time), and the cards never expire.
Camaraderie. Inspiration. Motivation.
But…primarily because this “team” is like a family and that’s one of the big reasons why it works. You’ll end up with more than workout buddies, you’ll end up with friends — the kind of friends who are really good for you — who inspire you to laugh and sweat and live in the moment….and to do pushups in 7-degree weather and to try a triathlon and to dress up like characters from “A Christmas Story” and run through the streets of Erie.
Read Eloise’s take on T.A. in her post: Better Than I Used to Be
Visit krauzachiro orcall 898-2346 or email: frontdesk (at symbol) krauzachiro.com (NOTE: I don’t put the @ symbol in email addresses in my blog posts or the person ends up with gobs of spam, but you need to use it in that address if you email Steve).
Marathon race directors, Mike & Jan Vieyra are, once again, putting on low-key, just-for-fun Race Across Erie County and you’re all invited to participated. Here are all the details:
R.A.C.E. – 9th Annual Dec 14th
The Run Across the County of Erie this year is nearly the shortest distance possible – 10.5 miles. Previous years have been up to five times that distance – join us for the shortest run of RACE. We will be running country roads in West County beginning in State Game Lands 101 and finishing at Lake Erie in State Game Lands 314 – half the run will be in state game lands. We will meet somewhere in West County at 8:00 AM to car pool to the start. After the run will meet at Avonia Tavern (11:00) for a post run social hour. More specific run details will be posted on the ERC FB page by December 10th.
Email us at Eriemara@gmail.com before December 10th if you are interested so we can finalize the car pooling plan for the point to point run. Car pooling volunteers are needed.
Thanks – Mike & Jan Vieyra
Sunday afternoon when it seemed the rest of the world was putting up holiday decorations and Christmas trees (at least based on what everyone was posting on Facebook), 19 of us were running from a Harborcreek winery to a Lawrence Park tavern…for a beer tab necklace.
The 3-mile downhill run was the first event in the 2013/2014 winter series cooked up by our fun-loving, lollygagging, lovin’-life, stop-and-smell-the-roses friend, Eloise (she’s in the orange vest in the group photo below). Last year we ran from 6 Mile Cellars winery to all the other area wineries listed on the directional sign out front.
“The Six Pack will consist of six different runs, beginning Thanksgiving weekend. The runs are planned for Thanksgiving weekend, January, February, March, April, and May. Each month distance will be added.”
Then she teased us with this: “Prizes will be awarded for each run, and a grand prize will be given for those completing the entire Six Pack.”
With Eloise, there’s always a twist. She’s probably one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. I don’t know when she sleeps and still manages to work full time, raise three kids, take care of the lamp post, dream up creative winter series runs, and make Scrabble boards from Pinterest for her renovated bathroom:
But….I digress (which I know Eloise would totally approve of). But…back to Sunday afternoon….
Nineteen of us are running in clumps toward Route 5 on a gray, but otherwise, perfect running-weather Sunday afternoon. Cars honk. People wave. Shoppers rush by with their treasures.
Two guys standing outside of Bootlegger’s Bar (destination for run No. 2 in The Six Pack) watch use stream by and shout, “What are you guys doing a race or something?”
“We’re running to the bar,” I yell back.
One of the guys who is holding a 12 pack, yells back….”Well, alright…now that’s a good reason to run!”
We thought so.
But, it’s not about the drinks…or the destination…or the post-run chicken wings…or the bragging rights…or even the beer tab necklaces that Eloise awards to each of us (collect a tab at each run), it’s about the camaraderie and friendship of shared experience. Making new friends. Catching up with old friends. Hooking new folks who may never have believed that running could be fun.
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.”
“OK, there are rules in group running,” Chuck said as we ran along in the semi-light of a cool spring morning a half dozen years or more (?) ago.
“One: We pick an pecking order and stick to it. If a car comes, I’ll fall back behind you, every time. You fall behind Lisa every time. That way we’re not bumping into each other trying to figure out who goes where when a car is coming up over a hill.”
“Two: When it’s dark, wear a reflective vest and bring a flashlight. Hold the flashlight down so that it shines on your feet so that drivers can see that the bouncing light ahead is a runner. Runners make ugly hood ornaments.”
“Three: The slowest runner sets the pace. If there’s four or more, it’s normal to separate by pace and the faster ones will go ahead, but never leave a runner behind.”
After many years of nothing but solo running, I was immediately hooked on group running. It was such a change of pace, figuratively and literally. They made me faster. They made me run the hills. They made the miles fly by. They shared their lives, as did I. They gave me a good reason to out of bed at 5 a.m. on cold winter mornings — I couldn’t disappoint my friends, they’d be waiting for me.
It was all good for a year or two, but then Chuck quit running and the slower members of the group stopped coming. Those that were left were too fast for me. I was running at my race pace and still felt like I was holding them back.
One of them would always stay behind with me, no matter how much I insisted they go ahead. “No, really, guys, you can go ahead. I know the way back,” I would say.
But they never left my side, even if it meant sacrificing their workout.
I ended up finding new running friends who ran at a pace that was better for me.
That’s normal. Running groups change frequently. Members come & go. Some quit running, some get injured, some slow down, and some get faster and need a speedier pace group to push them further. It happens.
Runners join groups for different reasons, but, for most, it’s primarily to get faster or farther. Group momentum, pride and peer pressure will get you pretty far.
At this point, for me, 15+ years into my running life, it’s all social. As a busy working mom, what other uninterrupted time do I have to chit-chat, make new friends, get advice, and bitch?
I run to hang out with my friends. And, I have a ton of them, including four informal groups — a Monday night speed work/track group, a Wednesday night (hills) group, a Saturday long run group, and a group of newer runners (I call them the winery runners, because that’s when we started running together) that I occasionally run with when I can fit it in.
The Winery group used to be a slower/easy-pace group that I ran with purely for the fun of it — to meet new people, make new friends and to get reacquainted with old friends. But the fastest members of that group are now matching my pace, and I have a hard time holding back and resisting the urge to keep up. So I’m typically in the lead pack, even when I don’t really want to be.
And that’s where I was on Wednesday night.
“Should we wait?” Leslie asks as we run on the bayfront connector trail on our way from Penn State Behrend to a bar in downtown Erie.
Stacey and I agree that we should. What’s the point of a group run if you don’t run with the group, right?
We wait at Broad Street to let the two or three smaller groups of women join us. I count 9. We started with 10.
“Where’s Eloise?” someone asks.
“Oh, she’s always behind. Probably taking pictures of the clouds. You know her, she’ll catch up, she always does. Let’s just go. She probably turned around with Sarah and is driving down to the bar now.”
Instinct told me to wait. But, the group assured me that running behind was typical for Eloise. Nothing to worry about.
So we went on.
I followed with an uneasy feeling in my gut. As one of the faster members of the group and a wise, veteran runner, I should’ve ran back to look for her, but I didn’t. I should’ve insisted she not be left behind. Not here. Not in the middle of the city at nearly 8 p.m. at night. I know better.
At 8th street, a large loose dog runs at us. I don’t see it until Leslie screams. We run faster and the dog runs off, back to it’s owner.
Eloise is terrified of dogs (we’re alike in this way…and many more). Again, I think,”I have to go back. What if that dog comes out again when she runs by?”
But, I keep running.
When we get to the bayfront, we wait for the rest of the group to catch up so we can cross the highway together. Still no Eloise.
We stop at the parking lot below the Tap House. We cool down, sip water, stretch, and ponder what happened to our happy-go-lucky Eloise.
“She’s probably down at the dock, taking pictures of the sunset,” someone says. “No, she’s probably on someone’s yacht by now, catching perch. She’ll come back with some great story,” another speculates. “Oh, please, she’s probably sitting at the bar right now, making friends and taking pictures.”
Sufficiently stretched and cooled, we walk a block up the road to the restaurant.
Eloise is, just as her best friend called it, sitting at the outside bar with a beer in hand. But she is not smiling. Our laughter and smiles fade as it become apparent, she’s not happy with us. “You left me! You guys left me. I had to run 12th street, by myself. I was terrified. I could’ve been killed. I …”
S@#$. I knew it. I knew it. I knew I should’ve went back. Twelfth street? Why the hell did she take 12th street? By herself? At night? This is all my fault. I know better. I’m the veteran here. Dammit.
We stand in an awkward group 20 feet away. Who is brave enough to approach angry Eloise? Her bestie takes the bullet. She calms her down.
Within 15 minutes, Eloise is telling us all about her terrifying run through the bowels of east Erie — a place I wouldn’t run at 8 p.m. at night even with 10 friends. Most of the group is sitting around, laughing at her tale and the treasures she collected along the way — an American flag, a crumpled Burger King crown, an empty pack of L&M cigarettes, a picture of a dead mouse.
I manage to smile and laugh a bit, but mostly I feel sick to my stomach. I worked at the newspaper for 12 years. I know the terrible things that happen on those streets she ran. By herself. At dusk.
I sleep fitfully that night, bothered by thoughts of what could’ve happened. Chuck’s voice is in my head: “…never leave a runner behind.” I know better. We were lucky.
I owe Eloise, our sweet, “crazy” (and I say that with all love and affection) cheerleader and friend a big apology. I hope this will do. This and the promise that it will never happen again.
I’ll happily chase butterflies, stop for photo ops, and pick up trash with her on future runs. I’m not in it for the speed or distance these days anyway. Been there, done all that. All I really want to do now is enjoy the journey, not race to the finish.
Though, this run does go down as the one in which Eloise beat Heather Cass:
Read Eloise’s much more humorous take on her East Side Adventure run here.
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.”
This is my circle of speed work running friends after a recent night of too many 400s to count (I totally lose track, so I need all of them to remind me what number we are on).
For many of us, running with other people gets us much faster and further than we ever would alone, but…how do you meet people to run with?
1. Join the club. A good place to start is by joining the Erie Runners Club and maybe attending a few membership meetings (2nd Monday of the month at 7 p.m., currently at Asbury Woods park…they move indoors in fall) and/or newsletter stuffings (1st Monday of the month at the Plymouth Tavern at 7 p.m.). The newsletter stuffing nights are actually a lot of fun, believe it or not, and the club provides free wings, pretzels & beer after! Admittedly, it tends to be the same people who show up at all the meetings and newsletter stuffings, but…trust me when I say, they know everyone in the area who runs. Ask around. Find out if they know anyone in your area who runs about your pace.
2. Friend the Erie Runners Club on Facebook. Then, request to join the Erie Runners Club Running Groups group (say that three times fast). This is where you can learn about some group runs in the area. Or post the time/distance/location you’re looking for someone to run with.
3. Chat up your competition. When you do a race (oh..and racing is a great way to meet other runners and make friends), make it a point to chat up the people in slightly in front of you (after the race, of course). Just simply say…hey, nice race…I was trying to catch you the whole time. They may just invite you to join them on training runs. They are the ones you want to run with. You’ll get the most out of running with other people if you run with those just slightly better than you.
4. Attend a 5K training program. Harborcreek Township offers a great learn-to-run program every summer (it’s over now, but look for it next May!) and there’s one for women that started Saturday. It’s not too late to join. Details here.
5. Ask me. I know tons of people who run in the Erie area. There’s a pretty good chance I can find someone that runs your pace that you may be able to meet up with for weekend long runs (or whatever). You need to tell me a few things: gender, age, pace-per-mile, what kind of distance you want to do (if you’re training for a race…tell me the distance). You can email me at zipdang22 at aol.
Monday nights are speed work and my marathon training program called for 12 x 400s. Mother Nature provided perfect conditions (cool & clear) for a long track workout up at the Behrend track.. There were five of us on Monday and we ran consistently hard, even gaining speed at the end.
I’m telling you all this because it’s my excuse for not “Just Writing” last night. I was just tired. You get that, right? (Of course you do, my running friend).
I had planned to “just write” about our final Winery Run from a friend’s house in Harborcreek to 6 Mile Winery. We went on Saturday at 1 p.m. Yeah, when it was like 80 degrees. The run was long (nearly 12 miles), hot, and hillier than any of us intended or expected, but that just made the reward at the end (box lunch and wine tasting) all the sweeter.
My friend Eloise, who had the grand idea to run to each of the wineries on the directional sign, is a blogger and she wrote all about our/their (I wasn’t there for every run) winery series on her blog: Lessons from the Lamp Post. Be sure to watch hervideo/slideshow, too!
Next up: Ice Cream runs. Ah….now, there’s a sweet running reward. Our first one is this Sunday at 5 p.m. — we’re headed to the Straw Hat in North East.
Harborcreek Township is offering a free runners clinic again this year and it starts next Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Harborcreek Community Park. It runs for 6 consecutive weeks. The goal is to train runners to run the Harborcreek Youth Services Fahey/Ferko Run on June 29th.
“Not only will Sandie offer weekly running tips, but will also pass on information including stretching, nutrition, setting goals, choosing correct equipment, and additional training options for the more advanced runner. In addition to all the knowledge you will gain from Sandie, the location of the clinic offers you many routes and surfaces to run on — from the 7/10 mile paved trail around Community Park to wooded trails that connect into the park. Participants should plan to gather near the Firman Road concession stand and picnic pavilion, using the Firman Road parking lot.
It’s free to participate and you can sign up the first night (or any night). Here’s a Q&A I did with Sandie about the clinic last year.
Need some inspiration? This Harborcreek blogger attended Sandie’s clinic last summer and started running (she had not run prior to attending the clinic) and she just completed her first half marathon! Read all about it here.
You can do it. You are so much stronger than you can possible imagine.
Go! DO IT. Try it. It
can will change your life.
OK, I don’t know what is cooler (coolest? most cool?) about this — that a local gym cares enough to want to make difference, that this class is on the beach, or that it will totally help you train for the Beast on the Bay.
Here’s the deal: Eric Taylor from Best Fitness in Erie said the gym wants to help Erie get healthier and, they are putting their money and muscle where their mouth is.
You may remember that last year Best Fitness offered a free one-month membership to everyone and anyone. FREE. To, hopefully, encourage people to develop the exercise habit.
NOW….they are offering a free P90X class on Monday nights at Beach No. 1. It’s a HITT class — high intensity interval training — that includes things like jumping, push ups, squats, running on the sand.
But, don’t be intimidated by the name or the exercises, Eric is quick to point out that the nice thing is that these workouts are adaptable to ANY fitness level. This class is designed for anyone from uber-fit to just getting off the couch. Note, however,that you must be at least 16 to participate in the class.
Class starts at 5:30 p.m. at Beach No. 1 (meet on the sand) and lasts about an hour. Workouts take place on the sand and using whatever else is around (perhaps jumping over driftwood, etc.).
The class started last week, so it’s going on right now through the end of the summer. This is a “drop in” thing, you don’t have to commit to be there every week or anything (you do have to get there a bit early to sign a waiver though).
By the way — this would be PERFECT training for those who are doing the Beast on the Bay run…or any “adventure run” and…HIT workouts are GREAT cross-training for runners, in general.
How awesome is that?
WAIT….LADIES…it get better! Eric and Best Fitness are planning to offer a free (free, free, free) Couch to 5K program for the community and they’ll train women to run the Her Times 5K! Eric is still working on the details, but they expect to kick the program off in July and will likely be meeting on Saturdays at the peninsula. He’s hiring a trainer to teach this course, so he’s actually paying for it (you’re not) and it’s just because he (and Best Fitness) want Erie to get healthier!
Eric & Best Fitness have a few other things in the works, too, including a Community Health Fair with the River of Life team and a Zumbathon at the Bayfront Convention Center on August 8.
Harborcreek Township is offering their free learn-to-run program with Sandie Sweet again this summer, too. It starts in a couple weeks. Details to come soon!