Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category
Posted: March 28th, 2014

Finish this sentence: I Run to_______________.

…maintain my ability to run. — Pat Krott

…get away. — Jodi Herman

…stay fit and have fun. — Tom Madura

…challenge myself! — Christine Kalie

…my car when it’s pouring down rain. — Rob Engelhardt

…stay in shape. Lose weight. Be able to keep up in soccer game. Feel a sense of accomplishment. To explore unknown territories. And finally EAT ICE CREAM!!! — Jessie Zahner

…counteract criticism, to feel comfortable with myself, to be able to keep up with others, to not have my ass kicked by running girls. — Tom Twohig

…get the last chicken wing. — Doug Oathout

….fit into my clothes. — Lisa Shade

…socialize and check something off my to do list. — Renee Uht

….socialize (beer, ice cream and pancake runs rock!), Destress and challenge myself! — Leslie Cooksey

…think, pray, gain perspective, develop perseverance, de-stress, feel strong, express joy, relax, focus, and to just be me. — Karen Beebe

…feel strong. — Carol Crandall

….drink more wine!  — Tracy Jenks

…get my daily high. — Barb Armour

…reduce the stress that build up from the aggravation of work. The run clears my head & gets me ready for “what next?” — Jim Lang

…feel better about everything. —Kristen Currier

…because I’m a parent!!!  — Jenn Bauer-Pinzok

…stay sane. — Michael Morris

…beat the clock. — Jack Byers

…relax. — Amy Cronk

…stay healthy, have some me time, and model a healthy lifestyle for all the children in my life both at home and at school. — LeAnne Morton

…train, get in shape, spend time with my hubby, de-stress, & socialize. — Lisa Meyer

…relieve stress, catch up with friends and burn enough calories to eat ice cream and drink beer :) — Stacey Hammer

…stay healthy and also because my dad, who is no longer with us can’t run anymore! — Kristen Carpenedo

… go to the bar and the coffee shop and to hang out with with friends. Also to consume, coffee, food, and/or beer. — Matt Kleck

…feel a sense of accomplishment. — Lauren Kelly

….relieve stress. —Melissa Bessetti

….hang out with friends and to decompress. —Debbie Humphreys

…stay sane. —Bri Hodges

…collect my thoughts, relieve stress, and to socialize with friends!!! — Brenda Carr

…socialize. That is all. —Jen Kelly


Posted: March 28th, 2014


According to ERC runner and contractor, Joe Dobrich, the Beach No. 1 pavilion at Presque Isle State Park is now officially the Erie Runners Club pavilion.

How awesome is that?!!!

The pavilion includes and enclosed kitchen space, a covered picnic space and a two-sided stone fireplace.

Come and help the ERC celebrate — and dedicate the pavilion– at the first official event there — the Poker Run 5K on Saturday, April 19th. Even better, it’s a FREE RACE for ERC members. All the details here.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2014

Worth Reading

Screw up like a pro: With a little stubbornness and stupidity, you can injure yourself the way the elites do.

Best headphones for running.

Katherine Switzer launches race series to get International women running.

Researchers from the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory in Luxembourg say Cushy running shoes don’t reduce injuries.

5 things runners should know about knees.

Video of the Week

Imagine a world transformed:


Funny Stuff



Posted: March 25th, 2014

I considered blowing the run off when my alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. Sunday, but I knew I’d regret it when I saw all the photos on Facebok later. I told myself what I always do when I get up early on a weekend: I can take a nap later. I never do though.

“What’s the temp?” I ask Dan. He’s going this time because it’s gawd-awful early and that’s how he likes it.

“17″  he says.

“Awesome,” I say.

Why did I even ask?

We are 15 minutes early but there are already two or three cars full of friends there. Several cars, trucks and vans pull in until the little parking lot next to Findley Lake is full. Two dozen runners jump around in the dark and cold, hopping from foot to foot to stay warm. I stay in car, reading the Sunday paper by dome light. I can’t bear to spend one more minute out there than I have to.


We didn’t even get out of the car for this photo.

When they start running up the road, we jump out and join in. Dan runs ahead. Way ahead. He’ll do two loops (10.5 miles) in the time it takes me to do 1 and 1/4 loops (8 miles).

“If he laps us, we all get to punch him,” I say to the 4 or 5 runners I’m in line with.

We come up on something in the road. The headlamps of the front runners reveal it to be a squashed opossum. We weave around it with an “Ewww…”  and run on.

A minute or two later, we hear “Oh, gross!  Ewwww!” and lots of laughter. The second group must’ve reached the critter’s corpse.

It wasn’t the only roadkill we came across.


I graduated with CJ, above, who — surprise — was our class clown. You can always count on CJ to lighten the mood, for example by casually running past you while petting and talking softly to a flattened, frozen-solid muskrat.


See why I love these people? Who else is this happy to be running around a frozen late at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning?


The sun comes up while we’re running, but I never see it.  Lost in conversation and a constant internal dialog (“I’m freezing. Run faster and get this done,”), I suddenly notice it’s light out. If the sunrise was pretty, I wouldn’t know. I was head down, moving forward. Running only to stop.

That’s not like me. I usually enjoy the journey. That’s why I run, but this winter has beaten me down. Wore me out. Froze me into negativity. This winter’s mantra:  Let’s just get this over with.

There’s a reward though: This winter will make us truly appreciate those first days of spring (when it actually arrives here in mid-May).

There’s a reward after Sunday’s run, too: Buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup and smoked sausage at Red’s Best Pancake House in Sherman, N.Y.


All you can eat for $9.25. There are no menus. You sit down and they serve you coffee and OJ and then bring everyone a the table a plate of pancakes and country sausage. The atmosphere is country eclectic. The tables are thick wood with bench seats and the griddle is in full view of the kitchen. There’s a fireplace roaring and next to it are books and games and couches that make waiting less painful for families with kids on busy mornings. Judging by the packed pancake house crowd at 8 a.m. on Sunday, I’d say waiting is probably to be expected at Red’s.



Who knew Eric Carle wrote a book about pancakes, too?

When we arrive, most of us are shivering uncontrollably, which is normal after a long run in 14 freakin’ degrees. I grip my styrofoam coffee cup in both hands for the warmth and to keep from spilling it all over myself when I shiver.

Eventually, we warm….from the body heat of our friends on the benches next to us, from the pancakes with warm maple syrup, from the hot coffee, from the laughing and joking, from the sense of accomplishment…but, ultimately from the camaraderie of like-minded running friends who warm up even the coldest of winter days.





Hat tip to Eloise for this photo…with the perfect sentiments.

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.

Posted: March 25th, 2014


If you’re up for a last-minute, low-budget (but high quality) half marathon, check out the Prep for Pittsburgh 1/2 at Goddard State Park, which is an hour to 90 minutes from Erie. With a race start time of 10 a.m., that means you won’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn to get there in time.

The race course circles Lake Wilhelm and is a paved trail like PISP’s multipurpose trail, but not flat. Dan and I did this race two years ago & I remember it being pretty hilly. Some may see that as a bad thing, but I have found that hills are helpful in a long race — the variation seems to hurt less (admittedly, that could all be in my mind, I guess ;) .

The Prep for Pittsburgh half marathon is just $20 (though, that does not include a shirt, so bring extra cash if you want a shirt) and there’s a 5K, too.

Two cautions: porta-potties are the rule (restrooms aren’t open yet) and the trail is now plowed/maintained, so if there were a freak snowstorm (which, you know, could totally happen here this year), the race could be canceled.

More details and race info here.

Posted: March 21st, 2014

I asked: Are you training for any big spring races? What’s on your schedule?

Boston!!!! — Amy Cronk

I’m training for the women’s half in Niagara Falls on June 1st. Looking forward to running with a great group of friends! — Stacey Hammer

Tough Mudder, the Presque Isle half marathon and Beast on the Bay! — Lisa Meyer

Pittsburgh marathon relay and the Marine Corps historical half marathon. — Jameel Gavin

I’m excited to say I’m training for the Tough Mudder, a half marathon this summer and Beast on the Bay. Every time I see a 13.1 sticker I think ” I need to earn that ASAP!” And I will probably wear the orange headband from the Mudder to bed every night. — Erin Ryan

Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC and the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia! — Jessie Zahner

What Stacey Hammer said….and I’m also training for Wineglass Marathon in Oct. — Jen Kelly

Wild Trail Half Marathon on April 19th, the zombie run in which I’ll be running the morning extreme race and converted into a zombie for the Black Ops event, and the Buffalo Marathon on May 25th. — Carolyn Michael

Tough Mudder, Niagara Falls Half, PI Half, Beast on the Bay, and the Wine Glass Marathon! — Bri Hodges

Tough mudder in May, Beast on the Bay in September, and that stupid Presque Isle full marathon in September. — Matt Kleck (who totally got talked into the marathon by a friend)

Pittsburgh Half Marathon… the first time I ran it in 2011, I was 30 pounds heavier and had just quit smoking. So, I figured I can’t run it any slower than I did in then–the pressure’s off! Plus, I’m running for a charity for the first time ever (a retired racing greyhound adoption group!) It’s been a fun opportunity to meet fellow the dog owners before I fill out the application to adopt one this summer. I told myself no dog before the 13.1, but… after meeting these great people and some great dogs … I might break my own rule. — Abby Badach

Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon! And Tough Mudder Ohio! — Leslie Cooksey

Citifield Spartan Sprint April 12th then More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon through Central Park April 13th, TM Ohio with Run Hard Finish Wet… Tough Mudder Ohio 2014 group, Glow Run, and more through the summer! — Amy Fuchs

Tough Mudder Ohio! — Crystal Nicholson

I’m training for 3 – Boston in April, Pittsburgh Marathon in May and in June the Cayuga Trails 50! — Karen Manganaro

Mudder in May, 1/2 in Niagara Falls, Bay Swim, Tri in June. — Kristen Currier

I’m training for the Miller Mile Run at Christmas. Yep, just one mile. — Jeff Seevers (LOL)

Tough Mudder and the Presque Isle Half Marathon. — Brenda Carr

Well…my physical therapist just informed me that I’m out for the Wild Trail Half in April… :( But I’ll be back on track for Tough Mudder in May, Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon in June, then a triathlon in the summer and more throughout summer and fall. — Karen Beebe

Tough Mudder, Niagara Falls half, PI Tri, Beast on the Bay, & Wine Glass half. And, as a note, I’m doing all of it with an amazing group of friends! — Debbie Humphreys

Posted: March 20th, 2014

Worth Reading

Star Tribune: She found running and left troubles in the dust

How to pick the right running partner (Tip: If your goal is to get faster, your best running partners are those slightly faster than you. This means you may curse them while running because they will push you, but…that’s how you improve).

Because we can: Why we all need to run

Undies for running women (cute concept, but…pricey — 3 pairs for $48. Ouch).

Forget Fitbit -  This T-shirt embeds fitness sensors into fabric (interesting)

Funny stuff


How Are You Training? from Boss Hog on Vimeo.


Posted: March 16th, 2014


More than 700 participated in the ERC’s St. Patrick’s Day Distance Festival this weekend — 452 in the 5K, 256 in the 10K and 10 in the 2 mile walk. It was cold, but the roads were clear (some puddle-dodging required) and there was no precipitation falling…that’s about as good as it gets in Erie in March.

Top honors go to:



1. Andrew Holland,  35, 17:09

2. John Lacy, 18, 17:14

3. Michael Williamson, 21, 17:19


1. Lori Beth Nunemaker, 22, 21:04

2. Kelly Latimer, 30, 21:08

3. Andrea Patmore, 32, 21:15



1. Justin Allen, 25, 35:21

2. Eric Walsh, 45, 35:27

3. Andrew Holland, 35, 35:42


1. Brittany Kaltenbaugh, 22, 41:44

2. Emily Ahrens, 20, 41:49

3. Kelli Proctor, 36, 42:22

There was some complaining about the new awards structure that race director Jim Lang instituted. Here’s what he said about it. AND…he’s welcoming comments):

It was my decision to change to 10% depth (1 minimum) instead of 3 in each age group. I feel about awards the same as I feel about finishers medals – they should mean something. 3rd (of 3) is not the accomplishment that 3rd of 30 is. Awards should reflect that.

In addition, last year’s awards resulted in nearly half of the awards purchased being wasted. Incomplete age groups and folks leaving without them left 2 boxes of plaques with nothing to do with them. That’s wasteful, and a real pain to deal with.

The 10% awards was NOT an attempt to be cheap. It was an attempt to make the awards meaningful and less wasteful.

I would consider 20%, min 1, up to 5 deep. If we were to go back to 3 in each age groups, I would restrict it to pre-reg, so if there are only 2 registered by 1 week out (when awards are ordered), there would only be 2 awards. If there is nobody in the age group, we would get no awards. Or something else.

IMHO – awards/plaques/medals are just clutter. It’s the accomplishment that matters…not the token. As a race director, I know how expensive medals are (that’s why I don’t give medals at my race) and I know that the majority are never picked up.


Complete results for the 5K, 10K, 2 Mile Walk and the St. Pat’s combined 15K (those runners who took the challenge and did BOTH the 5K & the 10K) and the Winter Series results (Turkey Trot, New Year’s Day 5-Miler and St. Patrick’s Day) can be found at

Photos, photos, photos

Photos from GoErie’s Street View here.

My photos are below.

Groooovy beach towels

Speaking of the ERC Winter Series….this year’s series premium was a very cool tie-dye beach towel in your choice of five colors. Missed out on the series prize? Don’t fret, I have it on good authority the club will be selling leftovers at the ERC merchandise table at future races. No word on the price yet.


Also…if you missed out on the ERC flipflops (premium from the Valentine’s Day race), you can now purchase those for $10.


Posted: March 14th, 2014

A couple reminders:

St. Pat’s Packet Pickup

If you’re registered for the St. Patrick’s Day distance festival race on March 15 and you want to pick up your packet and timing chip early, you can do so TODAY — Friday, March 14 — at the Beach No. 1 pavilion from 1 to 7 p.m.

Note that the race is at the Rotary Pavilion on Saturday. There will be no parking near the Rotary on race day — park at the cabins, Beach 6, Beach 8 or the cookhouse.

Try the trails?

If you’re not doing the ERC St. Patrick’s Day race and you want to try trail running, Mike and Jan Vieyra are inviting you to join them and other ERC runners for a training run on a 5-mile loop over the river and through the woods– Asbury Woods, that is. Meet at the picnic shelter (behind the Asbury barn, across the street from the Nature Center) at 7:30 a.m. Several folks are planning on running multiple loops at various paces.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 14th, 2014

Recently saw this posted on FB and found it quite interesting.
for RN blog

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