Know the lingo: Stability

By | October 22, 2014 1:47 am | 1 Comment

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.


The ability of a shoe to resist excessive foot motion.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

Weekend race results

By | October 20, 2014 7:56 am | 0 Comments

Peak Mountain Challenge

Henry Sullivan, 14, of Clymer, won the Peak Mountain Challenge run, barreling up the mountain in 2 minutes and 30 seconds to win the season ski pass. Desiree Thomas, 26, Fairview, won the women’s pass in 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

Complete Peak Mountain Challenge results can be found here.

ERC Personal Endurance Classic

Seventy people took the endurance challenge and participated in the ERC’s Personal Endurance Classic on Saturday morning. Rain in the first few hours of the 12-hour event, didn’t dampen enthusiasm or stop the runners/walkers who did 1-mile loops around the Presque Isle ponds.

I intended to do 12, but ended up doing 21.  (More on that later).  Of special note were the Urso sisters — Jenna, just 10, did 20 miles! Her little sister, Jessica, 6, did 11!


Jessica, 6, Jenna, 10, and my daughter, Lauren, 11.

Complete results can be found here.

P.S. If you’ve never done the Endurance Classic…you really should give it a try next year!

Here are a few photos:









Monday Motivation: You

By | October 20, 2014 1:38 am | 0 Comments


Guest Post: Getting to Know Elliot Spaeder

By | October 17, 2014 3:56 am | 0 Comments

By Larry Kisielewski


On July 22, 2014, ERC member Elliot Spaeder joined a very exclusive club. Departing from Long Point, Ontario, Canada at 7 a.m., the lean, well-trained, 30-year-old progressed south across Lake Erie to Freeport Beach in North East, PA, arriving 11 hours, 28 minutes, and 5 seconds later to become only the 16th person in the world to swim the 24.3-mile distance.

And so, departing from our usual GTKY format, here are 20 questions answering the who, where, what, and why of that monumental endeavor:

When did you first get the idea to swim the lake?

I’ve been swimming since I was three months old, so it’s always been in the back of my head. My dad, Tim, first suggested it in 1999, but last September (2013) was when I decided to go for it.

What was your typical training regimen and when did you start?

I started serious training that November, swimming 8,000 yards per day I the Prep pool [where he is swim coach] before starting work. I progressed to 5-7 hour swims with running supplementing my workouts on off days. I basically followed a 16-week marathon program (adapted to swimming) which physically and mentally helped my training.

Any training partners or mentors?

My wife, Molly, would get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. on weekends and paddle the kayak with GPS and timing once the weather broke and we started workouts in open water at Presque Isle, Edinboro or Findley Lake. Ryan Morrow kayaked for me during the week, Eric Mizuba and Sonya (Pyle) Wittman answered a lot of my questions and (previous lake swimmer) Bob North had me over for dinner, looking over scrapbooks and film. (Two-time lake swimmer and record holder) Josh Heynes was invaluable with his coaching.

What was your longest previous swim?

I’d done a 16-mile training swim and planned an 18-miler on July 4th that was cut short because of bad lake conditions.

You had a one-week window you’d decided on. How did you decide on that day?

Our team of 12 people on stand-by had a 40-foot boat and four single kayaks and one tandem kayak. The long-range forecast didn’t look good, so the Friday before, I went to the Indians/Tigers game with a long workout on Sunday. That night, I got a text from Josh saying Tuesday was a go.

What was it like getting to the starting point?

Lonely. The 40-footer took four hours to go across the lake, so it left the night before. I went across that morning in a motor boat with five other people that took about an hour to get there. I wore a hoodie, with my head down, listening to music through my headphones, alone with my thoughts. The Border Patrol helped with the arrangements, previously contacting the Canadian authorities.

How were the conditions?

Perfect! About 70 degrees, surface like glass, crystal-clear visibility to about a 15-foot depth.

What was it like wading in and taking that first stroke?

I went ashore and prayed. I thought, “I can’t believe I’m finally doing this!” but I wasn’t going to let everybody down. I kissed my wife, waded out, and started swimming.

What did you wear?

Wet suits aren’t allowed. I wore a USA Speedo and a swim cap, goggles, and a heart-rate monitor for a Gannon study. I lubed with a lanolin/Vaseline mix and sunscreen.Two months later, I still have the tan line!

What were breaks like?

Unlimited, but you can’t touch anyone or anything. I took 10 breaks (about one per hour). The longest was two minutes. The rest were about a minute. I’d tread water and a kayaker would toss me a water bottle of high-cal electrolytes called “Hammer Nutrition,” which is basically a strong Gatorade mix we’d decided on in training through trial and error to provide nutrition and prevent cramping. Bathroom breaks were on the fly. I had a kayaker play music during the breaks.

What did you think about? Did you relax and “zone out”?

Music (I-pods or radios) isn’t allowed. I went through a U2 concert in my head, but that didn’t take too long. It was hard to relax with all the yelling (encouragement). I usually swim competitively and breathe on my left side, but for this, I lengthened my stroke and breathed bi-laterally (both sides, one breath every three strokes).

How was your pace?

I started out way too fast. My first mile was 17 minutes. My crew slowed me down then, and I averaged 25 minutes per mile, with 31 minutes my slowest mile.

What was your weight loss, if any?

I lost 15 pounds during training, but on the actual swim, nothing.

Was this a sanctioned swim?

Yes. Josh Heynes is a certified observer for both WOWSA (World Open Water Swim Association) and LEOSA (Lake Erie Open-Water Swim Association).

At what point did you know, “I got it!”?

I’d told the crew that I didn’t want to know for how long or how far I’d been in the water. After awhile, I could see landmarks on shore but they didn’t seem to get closer. I didn’t know for sure I had it until I actually saw shore.

You raised a lot of money with this swim.

Yes, we raised $20,000 for the YMCA. They’ve done a lot for me, and I wanted to give back.

How bad was the recovery?

Not bad. I knew there would be a crowd on shore so I told myself to be strong. I waded out with steady legs, kissed Molly, and had a beer on shore. The next day, I went to work a half day, swam 500 yards at the Y, and did the Presque Isle Mile lake swim at Discover Presque Isle that Saturday. That Monday, I was back to my routine of running and lifting.

Will you do it again?


Any other challenges?

Maybe an Ironman.

If you did it over, would you do anything differently?

Seeing that I was only 11 minutes off the record, I may have re-thought the strategy of not knowing my time or distance.
Last words: I’m happy I did it and happy it’s over. I’m glad to get back on my running program and looking forward to the Turkey Trot. Thanks to my crew and everyone who supported me!!

Video here & here

** Getting To Know You is reprinted with permission from the October 2014 Erie Runners Club newsletter.

Things I found — 10/16/14

By | October 16, 2014 2:32 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

Can you train your brain to crave carrots instead of carrot cake? New research says yes.

A truly unique (though probably smelly) way to marathon train.

10 secrets to make you a faster, happier and stronger runner.

Forget ice packs and ibuprofen for sore muscles. Move them.

9 Ways Eating Processed Foods Made the World Sick & Fat  (Bottom line: Eat real food)

“Your body is designed to naturally regulate how much you eat and the energy you burn. But food manufacturers have figured out how to over-ride these intrinsic regulators, designing processed foods that are engineered to by “hyper-rewarding.” According to the “food reward hypothesis of obesity,” processed foods stimulate such a strong reward response in our brains that it becomes very easy to overeat. One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as “sensory-specific satiety.”

A different kind of marathon training plan

A friend posted this on Facebook this week and commented on what an unusual plan it is — running a 22, a 24, and a 26. Plus, it doesn’t appear to follow the standard — two increasingly long run weeks followed by a fall-back (recovery) week.


Know the lingo: Ride

By | October 15, 2014 1:46 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.


The ability of a shoe to provide a smooth transfer of a runner’s weight from heel-strike to toe-off. Ride is a largely subjective quality, but shoe wearers know it when a shoe has or lacks a good ride.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

Win the race, get a season ski pass

By | October 15, 2014 1:42 am | 0 Comments

peak mountain

This Sunday, October 18 (11 a.m.) is the Peak Mountain Challenge. Winner takes all — and by all, I mean a season ski pass for the Peek ‘n Peak Ski Resort.  Age group winners get a cool prize, too. Here are all the details:

Join us for the 2nd annual Peak Mountain Challenge! The area’s STEEPEST RACE! This is a footrace straight up the challenging ski terrain of Finsbury Field.

Runners will have plenty of incentive to reach the top first. The winning male and female finisher at the summit will be awarded a full-season ski pass! Spectators can ride to the top of the mountain before the event begins, to cheer on the racers.

The race begins at 11am on Saturday, October 18th. The location is the ski run adjacent to the Sugar Shack (Chair 8). At the sound of the horn, the race begins. In addition to the overall winners, prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finisher in these age groups: 8 and under, 9-11,12-15, 16-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55 and 56 on up. The age group winners will receive their choice of a day pass to Peek’n Peak Ski Resort, Tubing, Splash Lagoon Water Park, Peek’n Peak Adventure Course, or Zipline.

Day-of-race registration ($25.00) will be held at the Sugar Shack lodge starting at 9am. All participants pre-registered are guaranteed PMC T-shirts. Day of race participants are not guaranteed a race Tshirt.

Endurance Classic Saturday

By | October 14, 2014 1:53 am | 0 Comments

How many times can you run a mile in 12 hours? Find out on Saturday during the Presque Isle Endurance Classic.

The event starts Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. and the course is simple — it’s a 1-mile loop that starts and finishes in front of Cabin No. 2 (West of the Rotary Pavilion) at Presque Isle.  How many times you want to run that mile in those 12 hours is up to you.

Here’s how race director, Mike Vieyra, explains the Endurance Run:

The primary purpose of this event is to promote cardiovascular fitness in a safe, relaxed and friendly environment. Many individuals will run/walk a distance beyond that they have previously achieved or set a personal goal that is meaningful to them. It is a personal thing and not a competition with other participants.

There are no trophies or prize money to be handed out but we do offer the option to purchase a commemorative plaque that is personalized with your name and accomplishment (miles).

This event was started 30+ years ago by some of the founding fathers of the Erie Runners Club to test the endurance of some of the local runners. It still stands today as a personal test of ones endurance whether it be running or walking or any combination thereof because of the tireless efforts of Rick Ferko and his long time volunteers. Rick’s battle with cancer ended shortly after the 2006 Endurance Run.

Some people do 1 mile. Some do 10 miles. Some do their age (harder when you’re older, of course) and some people do 64 miles.

Two years ago, I participated in this race for the first time, and I LOVED it. I’m planning to be there this Saturday. I have no plan on how many miles to run…we’ll just see what I feel like doing.

You can stay and run for 12 hours. You can come & go. You can run 4 miles in the morning and come back and do 10 after lunch – it’s your race. It’s your challenge.

Race details and application are here.

Oil Creek 100 trail runs

By | October 13, 2014 8:40 pm | 1 Comment

dan young

Dr. Dan Young finished the 100 mile OC100 race in 23:44 — 16th out of 93 finishers! Photo by Lee Ann Reiners.

This past weekend was the premier ultra race in the area — the Oil Creek 100 Trail Runs.  The Oil Creek 100 include three distance choices: a 50K, 100K and 100 miles. Race director, Tom Jennings’ attention to detail, legion of dedicated volunteers, and years of directing experience have put this race at the top of a lot of ultra runners’ to-do list.  Can’t believe people would clamor to run umpteen miles through the rugged terrain of Oil Creek State Park? Um….this race sold out in 90 seconds last year. Doesn’t that just about say it all?

Considering I don’t even like marathons and the first time I ever ran at Oil Creek with friends, I started throwing F-bombs on the switchbacks, I don’t think you’ll ever find me running the OC100. So I have to live vicariously through those who are up for the challenge.

Here are two great reviews — one from Erie runner Pat Krott who did 100 miles & one from the guy who calls himself the Detroit Runner who did the 50K.

Among this year’s local finishers (apologies if I missed anyone!):

50K (31. miles)

Scott Russell, 43, 6:13

Edwin Gray, 59, 6:30

Tom Rinke, 51, 6:49

Christopher Spriegel, 39, 7:21

Katie Beam, 36, 7:36

Tim Augustyniak, 45, 7:38

Jason Johnson, 29, 8:06

Michael McCullough, 35, 8:10

Jeff McCullough, 27, 8:10

Daniel Kalie, 52, 8:17

Sean Donachy, 42, 9:09

Julie Robinson, 9:09

Megan Shearman, 33, 9:09

Jeffrey Corklin, 51, 9:26

Dennis Albrewczynski, 46, 10:27

Tisha Chase, 40, 10:27

Jeff Thomas, 44, 11:02

Samantha Oas, 39, 11:43

Christine Vassen, 43, 13:06

Jane Cooper, 45, 14:03

100K (62 miles)

Melissa Pastore, 53, 13:22

Brian Smith, 49, 13:52

Patrick McMahon, 40, 15:55

Barnabe Gamez, 38, 16:03

Madelyn Hoover, 24, 16:50

Craig Buck, 31, 17:50

Greg Henning, 60, 23:19

100 Milers

Dan Young, 54, 23:44

Pat Krott, 30, 26:54

Karey Elliott, 40, 28:34

Brennan Donnelly, 26, 29:10

Jack Shaver, 27, 29:59

Matthew Gray, 30, 31:31

Complete race results can be found here.