Posts in the category

Things I found — 9/25/14

By | September 25, 2014 1:39 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

Now…here’s a truly unique place to go 26.2: Americans can now legally run a marathon in Cuba

Runners World has The Untold History of the Beer Mile.

No surprise to me, but a recent study reveals that runners run better companies.

Give your smoothie a boost with seeds.

Funny Stuff

The 7 Worst Theme Races Ever

T-shirt of the Week


Just Write 52 ~ Strength in numbers

By | September 23, 2014 1:15 am | 0 Comments

“Ok, we’re going to finish up the night with a little fun,” he says with a devious smile.  Everyone groans. Doc’s idea of “fun” usually involves pain.

“We’re going to have a plank-off. Last person planking wins a 6-punch workout card,” he says.

I had run four miles at 5 a.m. that morning and a half marathon two days before that. No way I’m going to outlast the 20+ other people here tonight, I thought as I got down on all fours.

“I’m going to cap it at 7 minutes.”

At that, I snort out loud and say to no one in particular, “SEVEN minutes. He’s insane. Three minutes is the most I’ve ever done.”

“And….Go! Remember keep your butts down.”

It’s one of those odd nearly-autumn days where it’s sunny, but cool and strangely humid. Sweat drips off my face into the grass below. I keep my head, like my butt, down. I have no idea that half the field has dropped out before three minutes.

At three minutes, I think I can hang a little longer. I lift one foot and put it on top of the other.

Four minutes.  I switch feet.

May as well go to five. I can’t believe I can actually go to five minutes.

Everyone is cheering and offering encouraging words for the remaining plankers: “You can do it. You got this.”

I don’t know how many are left. I’ve got my head down.

“What happens if more than one person goes to 7 minutes?” someone asks.

“Anyone who makes it to 7 minutes gets a card,” Doc says.

At that, Kristen who is still planking next to me says, “We got this, Heather. We can do this.”

I can only groan in response.

“Six minutes.”

I’m shifting my weight from foot to foot every 10 or 15 seconds. My back is starting to hurt like hell, but I can’t quit now.

“45 seconds.”

Our fellow Team Adrenaline members cheer louder.

“You can do anything for 45 seconds,” someone yells.


Oh my God, my back.

“…3, 2, 1. Done!”

Seven minutes. I planked for SEVEN minutes.

A personal record and a personal victory over that doubting bitch in my own mind who tells me what I cannot do.

Even better, I got to share the victory with two equally determined and tough girlfriends. Had he said only one could win, I’d have quit at five or six minutes.  I don’t really like to win. It embarrasses me. I’m uncomfortable being the center of attention. I don’t like the spotlight.

Unless I can share it with others.

There’s strength in numbers, you know.



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.”

Things I found — 9/18/14

By | September 18, 2014 1:21 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

* 12 signs you need to eat more protein.

* Forget biking to work…run to work. Here’s how some people make a running commute work.

Funny Stuff

* 25 worst questions to ask a runner

This poster  (below) speaks to me. I’m a mean marathoner. Also don’t ever tell me I’m “almost there” at the 25th mile (and definitely don’t do it at 24, 23, 22 or any mile before 26).


T-Shirt of the Week

Because kittens. And barbells. And sweatbands on kittens.


Just Write 51 ~ Qualified

By | September 17, 2014 11:18 am | 0 Comments

The cellphone in the pocket of my hot pink Her Times 5K hoodie – a large because I like them big (the sweatshirt, not the phone)– vibrates. A new text message from friends cheering on the marathoners: Dan just passed us at Beach 10.

I glance at the finish line clock. 2:40-something.

He needs a 3:10 and he’s less than three miles out.

Holy crap, he just might do this. He might qualify.

Since I know I can look away for a bit, I dig through my backpack for a pair of gloves. It’s nearly 60, but the wind is blowing off the lake behind me and I’m freezing. It doesn’t help that the layer under my sweatshirt is wet with (now cold) sweat from the half marathon I’d finished a half hour before.


I can’t see very far down the road because the spectators beyond the finishers chute fencing are closing in, narrowing the running lane, and making it hard to see past them.

Lean in? Lean the f$%# out, people. ARGH!

I’m seriously thinking of throwing on my yellow tye-dye marathon volunteer shirt from working at registration the day before and clearing that shit up with some hand signals & barked orders: Move back! Move back! Move back!

But I’ve been hanging around finish lines long enough to know it won’t last long if a volunteer doesn’t stand in the middle of the road and police it. They’ll lean in again. Then one behind them has to step in just a half step further to see around the guy leaning in and the one behind that person has to take a full step in…and so it goes until the runners have a narrow path funneling them into the finisher’s chute.

And, besides, putting on a t-shirt would mean taking off my sweatshirt and I’m freezing, even more so because the layer under my sweatshirt is wet from the ½ marathon I’d finished a half hour before.


I step up on a sandbag that’s holding the fencing in place. It improves my line of vision a little – at least I might be able to see him before he’s right in front of me.

I keep shutting my camera off & then turning it back on. I want to be ready, but I don’t want to drain the battery. The lens cap stays off.


Come on. Come on. Where is he?


I catch his silver hair, black t-shirt and slightly tilted running form.

I try to stop shivering long enough to get a photo.

“Dan! You did it!” I yell out.

3:13:33 the clock reads as he runs under it. Nearly 90 seconds less than what he needed to earn a ticket to Boston.

Now all he needs is a little luck (they fill the slots with the fastest qualifiers first) and a lot of money. Boston is no cheap date — $175 for registration, $200 for flights (each) and $300 a night for a hotel.


My friend Eloise made this sign for my husband, Dan, who she calls a humble hero. He really kind of is.
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.”

Her Times 5K Race News & Notes (FAQs)

By | September 17, 2014 1:16 am | 0 Comments


I typically include these race notes & instructions in the race packet, but….since I’m too lazy impatient  pressed for time to stuff bags, which I actually don’t have anyway….I thought it might be good to just post them here and maybe send an email to the registered participants (assuming I can figure out how to do that).

A few registration notes:

1.) Early registration deadine is THIS FRIDAY. You must register by then to be guaranteed a shirt on race day. After Friday, the prices goes up to $20 and shirts are no longer guaranteed (it’s likely you’ll still get one, but…we don’t guarantee it).

2.) If you’ve mailed in a paper registration, you’re not in the system yet. I have to manually type all those in myself and…well, I’ll be honest…I haven’t even opened the envelopes yet. (I’ll get it done before race day).

3.) When you register online…it will tell you the race is $12…on the next screen you order a shirt, which adds on the $5 which brings the total price of the race (pre-deadline) to $17 (We have to do it that way if we want to give you the option to opt out of a shirt altogether).

4.) There is no additional fee to register online (the race absorbs the cost). Please register online. Please.

Packet pickup:

* Pre-race packet pickup will be held at Best Fitness on 12th street from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, October 3. These are the only hours you’ll be able to pick up your packet — Best Fitness is just letting us use their space — they will NOT have the materials before or after 4-7 p.m. on Friday. Packets will not be available at the Erie Times-News (as they were in past years) either.

* You CAN pick up for friends. If you plan to pick up for a LOT of friends (more than 4) — please, please, please, send me an email (hertimes5K at in advance and I’ll do my best to have the separated & ready for you to pick up in one lump on Friday — be sure to tell me which name to have them under.

* If you can’t make it to packet pickup, you can pick up on race day morning at the Rotary Pavilion starting at 6:30 a.m.


OK….so…here we go….things you need to know about the  HER TIMES 5K — Oct. 4, 2014 at Presque Isle State Park’s Rotary Pavilion (located between beaches 6 & 8 on the lake side):

• The race goes on rain, shine, snow, sleet or hail. No weather will stop the race with the possible exception of lightening, in which case, we’ll have a rain delay.

• There will be NO water stops on the course. Please carry water with you if you think you might need it. There WILL be water at the finish line and in the Rotary Pavilion after the race.

• If you picked up your shirt and race number on Friday night, you need not check in anywhere on race day morning. Just report to the start line in front of the Rotary Pavilion before the start horn at 8 a.m.

• You must have your bib number and it must be pinned to the front of you (on top of your clothes/jacket).

• You must have a bib number to get results and to be eligible for awards. There is a computer chip in your bib. You need your bib.

• We start at 8 a.m. sharp.

• There are restrooms at the Rotary, but not many, so expect LONG lines. Do what I do and stop at the Ranger Station or McDonald’s on your way down.  I will try to get some porta potties again
this year.

• Park at Beach 6 and walk .3 miles to the start (Rotary is between beaches 6 & 8).

• Beach 8 is also available for parking and is also .3 miles from the start.

• Don’t park on the road or side of the road, or the rangers will ticket you.

• There will be absolutely NO PARKING at the Rotary Pavilion. The race takes up the entire width of the road, so no cars are permitted.

• Day-of-Race registrants may not get a shirt on race day. We will give you a discounted price or you can choose from the shirts that are leftover. We won’t order for size unless we need dozens.

• Babysitting will be held in the first cabin to the right of the Rotary (if you are facing the pavilion from the road) – it’s just a few hundred yards from the pavilion and will allow us to keep
the kids safe and contained (and out of the race “traffic” in the pavilion). A troop of Girl Scouts and their leader will be babysitting. You must sign in and you must pick up your child by 9:15 a.m.

• DJ Kelly will be playing all your favorite women’s power songs to get you raring to race.

• Kids races are informal and start about 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. with the Toddler trot, then the ¼ mile, then the ½ mile, then the 1-mile race.  Kids can do whatever distance they want. They will not be timed.

• The race course start/finish has changed is a loop (of the main road) with a dog-leg start/finish. Stay on the inside lane at all times.

• Road marshals will help guide you. If you have the energy/breath, please thank them. They are all volunteers.

• There are no separate divisions (or awards) for the run/walk. You can run, walk or do a combination of both. Walkers will be asked to line up in back at the start.

• 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.

• Bring a warm, dry shirt or sweatshirt to change into if you’re staying for the kids’ races/awards. You’ll get very chilled after running when your body cools and sweat dries.

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

• Its’ IMPERATIVE that you not go back through the finish line chute (or go in & come back out) once you finish so that results are accurate. If you go back to finish with a friend, please
don’t go through the chute again — it really causes problems.

• There will be water at the finish line.

• There will be fruit, coffee and refreshments in the Rotary Pavilion after the race.

• Run results will be posted at the Rotary a ½ hour or so after the race. They’ll also be posted online at and and

• There are age group & overall awards. In past years, we’ve begun just handing them out at a booth/table after the race when results are finished, rather than wait for a formal ceremony since few want to wait around for the ceremony. We’ll likely do that this year, too.

• There will not be an ambulance on site.

• The people helping at the race are all volunteers — please be patient & courteous.

• Race feedback is welcome at hertimes5K at

Also…here’s a course map:

course map

~ Heather Cass, Her Times 5K Race Director


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!)


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.”

Put the Beast on your must-do list next year

By | September 8, 2014 6:01 pm | 0 Comments


I said I’d never do another Beast on the Bay after last year’s race – 16 miles on sand. But, then, I also said I’d never give birth again, I’d never drink again (haven’t we ALL said that one) and I’d never do another marathon and I’ve got two kids, party photos, and marathon finisher medals that say otherwise. So there I was on Saturday…running the Beast on the Bay again — this time with a team TWICE the size of last year.

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And, you guys, it was awesome.

Here’s what I am most impressed with: The Beast organizers listened. I’m a race director and I can tell you, that it’s not easy to do that. Your tendency is to get defensive immediately (do you know how much work I put into this!?!), but….props to the Barber folks & race organizers because they were nothing but gracious for the feedback (even negative) that they received. AND THEY FIXED IT. ALL OF IT. They fixed every single thing I — and others — complained about last year.

And, for that,the Beast has earned my love & loyalty. I’ll run the Beast as long as my body and shedule allows and I’ll recruit as many other runners as I can. So…with that full disclosure (read: I’m not impartial)…let me tell you, dear reader, why you should do the Beast next year:


Sister versus sister: Beast & Beauty’s team captain — Karen “Kenyan” Groshek, left, and her big sister (and my high school classmate) and Krazie’s co-captain, Eloise, right. Their hilarious, awesome, and colorful mom is in the middle.

1. It’s for a great cause. All fun, joking, and shenanigans aside…the benefactor of this race is one of the very best reasons to do it. True story: I work with a member of the Barber family and recently visited the Barber National Institute with her for a story I was doing. She said: “You know, a lot of people think this is a sad place, but, Heather, this is a happy place. It’s filled with joy and love and people who truly care about these children and their futures. Do you know what would happen to these kids if not for this place? They’d have a very different life.” I’ve never forgotten that. It makes me tear up every time I think about it. The fact that one of my team leaders & our rival team leader (they are sisters) both have children who have benefitted from the Barber Center, makes me all the more weepy. I’m glad they are here. I’m glad they have the love & patience for those children that few do. I’m glad my race entry fee helps them accomplish their mission.


That’s me…second from left…going Loco

2. It fun! The obstacles were much improved this year and were waaaaayyy more fun than last year. My fave: Go Loco — the G.E. sponsored & created obstacle. Leave it to the engineers to come up with one of the most unique obstacles I’ve seen at an adventure race. I was thankful I’d worn my hat, which shielded my eyes from the lake water cascading down at eye level for us shorty girls. ;-) There was a backlog at this obstacle…particularly in the later waves. I know some of our later team members skipped this one because the wait was reported to be an hour or more. Room for improvement for next year, I guess. Maybe have two “trains” going?

3. It’s cheap, compared to other adventure races. If you sign up early, the Beast is only $50…and it’s money well spent. You’d pay twice that (at the earliest bird pricing) for a Tough Mudder and you’d also have to pay for gas & a hotel, so…it’s worth $50 to do one in your own backyard. Hint: Friend the Beast on the Bay on Facebook and you’ll be alerted to “sales”. Also…I believe you get a discount if you’re on a team, which leads me to….

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4. It’s a great team event. Teams are not required…and you could get through this event without them (the obstacles aren’t “impossible” without help), but…being a part of a team makes it that much more fun.

Don’t have a team? Join mine…Krauza’s Krazies welcome participants of any age or ability. There are pre-Beast training sessions led by Dr. Steve Krauza ($5 donation per workout…all money goes to the Barber Center!) and we finish as a team (small groups of participants ran at their own pace, but everyone waited at the top of Peninsula drive to cross the finish line together).

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This year, one of our team members even got a SPONSOR for our team! Fireball Whiskey bought our shirts — for the ENTIRE team! How awesome is that?! Why? Well…let’s just say that some of us “stoke the fires” before we go beast slaying. (Oh….don’t worry…we’re not stupid — one shot only before fighting the Beast! After? Well…hey, now…you work up a thirst slaying beasts for 10+ miles…don’t judge.) ;-)

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5. It’s a workout. Marathon schmarathon. Yeah, I’m going there. I’ve done the old 26.2 more than a few times and I truly think the Beast is more physically demanding. It’s also WAAAYYYY more fun. JMO, of course…take it for what it’s worth. (I will say I think the marathon is more mentally challenging, but..that could have to do with the marathon being a singular pursuit and the Beast being more of a group thing).

6. You can get all competitive, if you want. The Beast organizers offer a timing option. I’m not sure why anyone would want to be timed because you can’t control the backup at obstacles (and other variables), but if you’re into beating the clock (or your friends)…it’s an option for you.

If you want more information on the race…or on Krauza’s Krazies, feel free to email me at zipdang22 at aol dot com (spelled out to avoid those dang spammers!). I’d love you have you on the Krazie train!

* Here is a GoPro video one of my Krazie teammates (Jon Wolff) made of the event in which you can see many of the obstacles …and if you watch closely you’ll see the husband an I taking on the half pipe (2:54 mark). I basically ran like hell and threw my arms up and the guys on top yanked me up onto the platform (tip: Recruit some tough guys for your team). Yeah…you can find us where the party’s at.

* Here is a blog & slideshow that another teammate — Captain Eloise — put together -- she and her sister (Beauty & Beasts team captain) had rival teams. We had a lot of fun teasing each other in the months leading up to the event. Read all about it here and here.

* Here are XXX photos from GoErie’s kick@#$ Street View team.

And, finally, here are my photos from the event in a completely unorganized manner (sorry…you know I have no patience to put these all in order, right?):

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Things I found — 9/4/14

By | September 4, 2014 2:05 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

5 Ways Running Makes us Better Parents. I know this (below) is true for me:

“Parenting can be lonely or challenging. The more you have people around to support you, teach you, challenge you, show you, talk with you, laugh with you, and love you, the easier things will be.”

If you can master the art of running negative splits, you’ll have a huge advantage over 90% of your competition in races. Here’s how to finish strong.

Like to go long…really long? Heed Hal Koerner’s ultrarunning commandments.

While it’s not really practical for long distance runners, I assure you it works: A Call For a Low-Carb Diet that Embraces Fat


T-shirt of the Week