Posts in the category

Women’s Couch to 5K training program starts Aug. 9

By | July 29, 2014 2:10 am | 0 Comments

I just learned that Best Fitness in Erie is going to offer a free women’s Couch to 5K training program again this year. I hadn’t heard anything & thought maybe they had decided not to do it this year, but…I just learned yesterday that it’s on! And the same woman — the lovely, sweet Emily Smith — will be coaching again this year.

I know that several dozen women participated in the program last year and had a great experience. You run or run/walk at your own pace from Beach 1 with the encouragement of coach Emily and the other participants. It’s a very supportive environment and a great place to take your first steps to lifelong fitness.

The program runs on Saturday mornings at Beach No. 1 at Presque Isle at 8 a.m. starting Aug. 9th. You must register in advance. Here are all the details:

PowerPoint Presentation

Her Times 5K course & shirt

By | July 28, 2014 1:02 am | 0 Comments

As you may or may not know, I’m the founder and race director for the Her Times women’s 5K in Erie. This will be our 9th year and I know dozens of women (hundreds?) who got their start by training for this race and accomplishing something they thought they never could!

I shared the following info on the Her Times 5K fan page on Facebook (go ahead, like it….then “follow” it so you see all the posts…liking it is not enough anymore since the overlords at Facebook control the Internet…but, I digress…) but I figured I should share it here, too, in case any of you want to train on the course in advance.

The Course

Here’s the course for the Her Times 5K — same as last year:


The Shirts

This year’s shirts will be charcoal gray with a teal & white logo. Very sharp looking. (Note the shirts will be the same as we did last year, which were a last minute departure from previous years. They are just a wee bit more snug, so if you like a looser shirt, order a size up).


Babysitting changes

Also…new this year…babysitting will be moved to one of the cabins right next to the Waterworks area. It’s only about 500 yards from the Rotary pavilion. Moving babysitting accomplishes two things: It provides a more secure location for the children and the babysitters who are charged with watching them, and it allows us to use the Rotary Pavilion fully before & after the race — providing more room to gather, talk, chat, share, socialize…cause we women tend to like to do that.

ERC (and more) news & notes

By | January 10, 2014 1:28 am | 0 Comments

Random notes from/about the Erie Runners Club:

Spring 1/2?

Are you interested in a no-frills spring half marathon? Jim Lang from Big White Trailer timing is trying to gauge interest in an event.

On Sunday, March 23, 2014, I’m looking for interest in a revival of the TNRL Spring Half. Weekend after St. Pat’s on the multi-purpose trail at PI. Start & end at the cabins. I’ll need 25 people who WILL do it (not probably) and I’ll go through the effort of putting it on. $15 to register online, $20 to mail it in. Very low budget. Probably chipped & split.

On the trails. 3 road crossings that will probably NOT be manned – you’ll be responsible for crossings. (I’ll try to get marshals to cover them, but no promises.) Respond here or DM me ( Twitter @BigWhiteTrailer.

Time to renew

ERC membership renewals are due by February 28. The fastest, easiest and cheapest way to do so is online by you can also fill out a printable application and mail it in, too.  Remember to indicate whether you want paper or a emailed newsletter. (I think you can still choose both.)

Quad ski race postponed

The Quad Ski Race has been postponed to Sunday, January 19th. yes…on the very week of the polar vortex. Forecast for Saturday is rain and 45…not good for cross country skiing (or golf courses who don’t want 300 cross country skiers tearing up their greens!).

St. Pat’s Day -  online registration is cheaper

The ERC’s Saint Patrick’s Day Distance Festival is now online and ready to go. To encourage online registration, the price is discounted $2 from teh print application fee. Online registration also has later deadlines than the paper app. The paper app, when available, will be here.

ERC Winter Series notes

You need to know your bib numbers from the Turkey Trot & the New Year’s Day race to sign up for the Winter Series when you register for St. Pat’s. you can find the numbers in the results listings (Turkey Trot here, New Year’s Day here). The premium this year is a beach towel.

Her Times 5K Date set

The Erie Runners Club/Her Times women’s 5K date is now solid. Date is Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Rotary Pavilion. This year, we’ve also reserved the closest cabin for babysitting. This way, the caregivers can keep the kids more securely and the women can actually use the pavilion before & after the race. Yay!


Just Write 31 ~ Winners

By | October 8, 2013 1:58 am | 0 Comments

In 2005,  shortly after developing and launching Her Times magazine at the Erie Times-News, I said to my boss:

“You know what we should do some day? A woman’s 5K. Just for women. Encourage them to get fit and run or walk it. We could run a story and a training schedule in the magazine. They used to do a woman’s race here and it was awesome. I really miss that race. It’s really empowering.”

Running had changed my life. I knew I could help others change theirs, too.

I don’t remember my boss saying much about it. I didn’t expect her to. I was just sort of tossing it out there as a “someday” idea.  But she must’ve mentioned it to her boss.

Later that week, the executive editor of the newsroom said, “I hear you’re putting on a women’s 5K.”

“Uh…uh…um…well, do you think I should?,” I stammered. “I mean, do you want me to? Uh, um…well, I mean, I guess I can. Let me make some calls.”

Nearly 400 women signed up for the inaugural Her Times 5K in October of 2006 and all but a handful of them finished the race despite freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Yes, snow…in October.


Eight years later, at the 8th annual Her Times women’s 5K on Saturday, we have perfect weather –sunny and warm with no chance of rain. I’m in the kitchen of the Rotary Pavilion, checking on the post-race refreshments when, out of the corner of my eye, I see a woman streak by the windows outside.

Oh, crap. I think I just missed the winner.  Dang it.

I finish up inside and jog out to the finish line, camera slung over my shoulder. Hopefully Greg, the Erie Times-News photographer, got the winner’s photo. By the time I get there, the fastest women are starting to stream in.

“Go Ange! Nice run!” I yell.  6th overall.

“Pam! Nice race, girl!” 8th overall.

And so it goes. I know many of the women by name. Maybe even most. Definitely the majority. They are my friends, my running partners, my family members, my coworkers, my former high school classmates, my loyal blog readers…and my daughters. They were just 2 and 4 when this race started. This year, at 10 and 12, they are running the 5K by themselves.

I see my friend Dave near the finish line and I ask, “Hey, who won?”

“There were two winners,” he said. “They came in holding hands.”

“What?” I ask. “Mother & daughter? Was it Pam McCormick and one of her daughters?”

“No,” he says. “I don’t think they knew each other, but I don’t know. I didn’t recognize them.”

Huh, that’s weird. Competitive women at that level don’t do that.

When I get the results from my timing guy a half hour or so later, I recognize the winner.  Jill Brugger, 34, of Erie, has won before. I look to see who is in 2nd place — Aimee DeYoung, 40, of Saegertown. David must’ve been mistaken. If she’s from Saegertown, it’s unlikely she and Jill knew each other. But, then, maybe they were friends…or family members.

They have the same finish time: 21:01 (a 6:47 per mile pace).


On Sunday morning, Dan and I are up early again. We’re off to another 5K, this time to run it, not direct it. I get the newspaper out of the box and pull out the sports section to look for the Her Times 5K coverage.

There’s a photo of Jill and Aimee (of course Greg got it) crossing the finish line. According to the story below the photo, the two women had never met until they were trading positions back and forth for the first two miles of the race. They started talking and, at some point, they decided to share the victory and cross the finish line hand-in-hand. Two winners.


My tears wet the newspaper.

It’s all so perfect. I can’t believe it happened. Compassionate competitors. Gracious winners. At my race. It’s everything I stand for. It is every reason I do the race. Every reason I started the race. Women supporting each other. Cheering each other.  Women growing stronger and more powerful by sticking together.

Sometimes nice guys girls do finish first.

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.”

Monday Motivation: Stronger together

By | October 7, 2013 1:29 am | 0 Comments

aimee and jill copy

Much more to come on this story, my friends.

Her Times 5K results & photos

By | October 6, 2013 6:25 pm | 0 Comments


Me (in the green shirt in forefront) with an airhorn in hand…ready to start the race!

Oh, where to start?

There’s so much to say/cover/reflect on…. and, well, friends, it’s late Sunday night and it’s not looking good for me to put together a profound blog post, so let’s just go with a straight results & photos post for now:

Two inspirational winners

For the first time ever, the Her Times 5K had not one, but two winners.  Jill Brugger, 34, of Erie, and Aimee DeYoung, 40, of Saegertown, crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, in 21 minutes, 2 seconds to win the 8th annual Her Times 5K.  According to the Erie Times-News, “the two had never met before, but were batttling back and forth throughout the race. They decided to help each other finish strong and end the race in a tie.”  Read the story here.

I’m not sure I can put into words how much I love that. What a wonderful and visible demonstration of the spirit of this race, which has always been about women coming together to support each other and grow stronger together!

Kudos to Jill and Aimee for being not only awesome athletes (that’s a 6:47 mile pace!), but really awesome women, too.

Complete 5K race results can be found here

Note: We had some issues with the timing system and several runners times were not recorded. As we hear about them (please email jimlang at, results are being updated. This, of course, can mean some shuffling in the age group winners, as some runners that were not recorded may now be added and bump previous award winners down. I’ll do my best to make it right for everyone. I can make new awards (and, no, I won’t be asking for any back).

Got an award coming? Still want a shirt?

I’ll be at the Plymouth Tavern (State Street, Erie) on Monday night at 7 p.m (till about 8 or 8:30) to help with the Erie Runners Club’s newsletter stuffing. I will bring race awards & leftover shirts to sell ($5 each, mostly smalls & mediums left). First come, first serve on the shirts.

If you have an award coming and you plan to pick it up (anyone can pick up for you), please shoot me a quick email at hertimes5k at so I can be sure I still have an award to give you (see the “note” above). If I don’t, I will happily make one (but it’s likely I will then need to deliver/mail to you, so email first so your trip downtown isn’t wasted).

See 91 photos from the GoErie Street View crew here.

Here are the photos I took….steal whatever you like, ladies. My photos are your photos. (I soooo wish this version of blog software would let me do a slideshow, but it won’t…so I have to put them in here like this…which is highly annoying, I know.)







Spoke to soon: Her Times late registration fee is $15

By | October 1, 2013 4:57 am | 0 Comments

My bad. I wasn’t thinking when I announced a $10 registration fee for late registrants for the Her Times 5K. I was thinking I’d give the discount because we’re out of shirts and, frankly, it’s easier to deal with nice round figures on race day morning. But, my timing guy pointed out to me that it’s unfair to those who registered early & opted out of the shirt and only got a $5 discount (So they paid $12).

While I hate to retract my words, I’m going to do that because it’s only fair to those 70+ who registered early & opted out of a shirt.

So…late registration fee is $15 with no shirt.  (Still a nice “round” number to deal with from a cash standpoint…and it covers my other race expenses — timing & food, etc.).




What I did instead of Just Writing

By | October 1, 2013 4:52 am | 0 Comments

This week’s “Just Write” was preempted by Her Times race preparations:

race2 race3



Her Times 5K News & notes (Important/helpful stuff here!)

By | September 30, 2013 1:18 pm | 0 Comments

Wow! We have over 800 women registered for the Her Times 5K! This is going to be our biggest race yet!!!

A few notes:

* The race is Saturday at 8 a.m. We WILL start on time, so plan accordingly (the park will be down to one-lane of slow moving traffic, so plan accordingly…I’d plan to get there early).

* The race starts & finishes in front of the Rotary Pavilion (between beaches 6 & 8).

* There will be NO parking at the Rotary Pavilion because we need the entire width of the road for the race. If you manage to sneak in…you’re stuck there until 11 a.m. There will be way you can get out before that (without taking out runners). Parking will be available at Beach 6 & Beach 8 (both are about .3 miles from the start).

* Whatever you do…do not park on the road. The rangers will ticket you, no matter how many others are doing it. (Trust me: I’ve seen it happen…just park at Beach 6 or 8 and save yourself some bucks.)

* We are out of shirts. There will be NO shirts for late or day-of-race registrants. As of 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, the race price was reduced to $15 and the T-shirt option removed. I have no extras. In years past, I have ordered shirts for late/day-of-race registrants and gotten stuck with a lot of shirts (because they don’t pick them up) or a lot of work and expense if I mail them.

*  The race goes on snow, shine, rain, or sleet. Trust me…we’ve done it all. Lightening is the only thing that will stop the race…and in that case, we’ll just have a delay until it passses.

* This is the course. (Here’s a written description). It is a loop. Stay on the inside lane at all time…until the road marshals direct you to cross (near the start & finish).

* There will be NO water stop on the course. Please plan accordingly.

* There will be water at the finish line and coffee & refreshments in the Rotary Pavilion after the race.

* Early packet pickup is at Best Fitness (W. 12th Street) on Friday, Oct. 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. These are the only times you can pick up your packets (they won’t be available there before 4 p.m.).

* I anticipate parking could be an issue at Best Fitness for the packet pickup party. Please be patient and kind and…plan to walk a bit, K? (Consider it a warm up!). Carpool if possible.

* You can pickup as many packets for as many friends as you want (all the less for me to lug there on race day morning!). Do me a favor…if you’re going to pick up for a whole bunch of people, email your list of names to me (alphabetical) to hertimes5K at and I’ll do my very best to try and get them pulled in advance & set aside so that your person only has to say: “I emailed my list & I’m picking up for packets for…”

* There will be no packet pickup at the Erie Times-News this year.   They will not have packets, bibs or tshirts.

* If you pick up your packet on Friday, you do not need to check in anywhere on Saturday morning. You just need to be at the start line at 8 a.m. when I say “Go!”  (Don’t forget your bib!)

* You MUST have your bib (race number) on and pinned to the front of you. The foamy thing on the bottom is the timing chip…do NOT remove it before the race. We’ll remove it when you’re done.

* You must have a bib number to get results and to be eligible for awards. Please, don’t forget your bib.

* There are restrooms at the Rotary, but not many. I am trying to get porta potties. Do what I do & make a quick stop at McDonald’s on Peninsula Drive or at the Ranger Station to avoid long lines.

* Babysitting is inside the Rotary Pavilion. Racers will not be permitted in there before the race, but you can enter to sign your kids in for babysitting. Babysitting starts at 7:30 a.m. and children must be picked up by 9:30 a.m. A troop of Girl Scouts and their leaders will be babysitting. They typically plan some activities (coloring sheets, etc.), but if your child loves to play games on their iPod or Gameboy…you may want to let them bring it. :)

* Kids races are informal and they will start about 9:15 or so.  This year we will start with the youngest kids first…then move up to the 1/4 mile, then the 1/2 mile, then the 1 mile. Kids can run whatever distance they want. Heck…they can run them all, but we ask that they take only one prize bag so we have enough for everyone (and bear with us if we run out of those, too…sigh…we’re trying!).

* Road marshals will help guide you. They are mostly my family members & friends & friends’ husbands. If you can thank them or smile..that would be great. They’re all volunteers.  (As are all the registration folks, finish line folks, kitchen folks).

* There are no separate divisions for run or walk. You can run, walk…or do a combination of both.

* If you are running, you should be COLD at the start.  If you are comfortable, you are overdressed.

* If you are walking, you should dress for the weather because you won’t get as heated as the runners.

* If you are going to stay for awards and/or kids races, bring a warm dry shirt/sweatshirt. You will get very chilled after the race when your sweat dries.

* When you finish, run into the “chute” next to the clock. Volunteers will tear the bottom portion of your bib number off.

* Do NOT go back through the finish line once you’ve finished (I.e. if you run in with a slower friend…don’t go through the chute again).

* Volunteers will have HT5K stickers (like OBX stickers) for those who want them. If you’re not really into it, you can pass on the sticker…we can use them next year, too.

* I’ll be honest…I don’t know when I’ll do awards…likely before the kids’ races, though.

* Results will be posted on the Big White Trailer at the finish line within a half hour after the first finishers. They will also be posted online at, on this blog and at

* There will NOT be an Ambulance on site.

* Race feedback is welcome at hertimes5K at

* Awards are given to the top three overall, the top master and the top three in 5-year age groups.  Here’s what you’re running for:


Age group winners age 20 & over will also get a Mason Jar with a pink Recap, created by Erie resident, Karen Rzepecki.




Just Write 27 — Sole sisters

By | August 13, 2013 1:05 am | 0 Comments

I’m driving down the Bayfront Connector at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. It’s a gorgeous summer day in the mid 70s—plenty warm, but not too hot. I’m admiring the bright blue skies and big, white puffy clouds, when I realize there’s a friend in the car behind me.

I’m certain it’s Carol. She’s hauled me down this same road in her car as we carpool from the east side to meet our Saturday morning group for long runs at Presque Isle.

We’re halfway to the Bayfront Convention Center when it dawns on me that we’re probably headed to the same place: The Girls Scouts of Western PA’s annual Awards of Distinction banquet.

Oh, she is so sweet. I’m so glad she’s coming.

I’m being honored as the 2013 Woman of Distinction, primarily for my work in starting and continuing to direct the Her Times women’s 5K. The race is worthy of recognition. I know has changed hundreds of lives, encouraging women to discover the power and strength they never knew they had inside. They develop self-confidence and make new friends. They learn to enjoy exercising and many don’t stop with the 5K — they go on to run 10Ks and half marathons and marathons and even ultra marathons.

The race is worthy of an award, but I’m not. Dozens of friends and volunteers help me pull the race off every year. So, while I’m flattered, I’m also sort of uncomfortable, and I’m glad Carol is coming.

A few miles later, it occurs to me they might all be coming. And, I smile.

Sure enough, Carol pulls into the conference center behind me.

“Carol! You are so sweet. Are any of the others coming?” I ask.

“Oh, I’m not ruining the surprise,” she says.  “You’ll have to wait.”

We walk in together, chatting. She successfully distracts me from worrying about what I’ll say or if I should have gotten a new shoes or if I should’ve worn a suit instead of a skirt and summer blouse.

Heather D. arrives next.

Oh, my gosh. She must’ve had to take a day off work to come.

Then, I see Mary Kaye and Cyndie and Robin and Carol and Leann and Dottie and Linda and Jan and Audrey.

Awwww….I love these women!

Of course they’d come. Even though it was in the middle of the work day. Even though it was$40 a plate. Even though I downplayed the whole event and didn’t even really tell them about it because I was too shy to ask them to take off work and spend $40 on me.


They were seated at the table right behind my family and I, which was appropriate since they’ve always got my back. They’re always there for me. And, I for them. We’ve supported each other through the years and miles and races and marriages and  careers and kids.

Running friends are the best kind of friends, solid relationships formed over many miles (and sometimes a few bottles of wine).

me and lisa

P.S. Yes, I do have male running friends, too, including at least two dozen who have supported the ladies for eight years now by helping me at the Her Times 5K with course setup, race prep, course layout, timing, finish line help, road marshaling, and more!

A few more pix from the Awards:

me and thegirls me and dan cookies award
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.”