Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Trot Packet Pickup and Other Important Details

Of course we're Turkey Trotting tomorrow! Participants from the Ebensburg area, 18 states, and the District of Columbia are helping to make this the biggest Turkey Trot ever. Snow and cold just add to the fun and adventure and make the post-race hot apple cider and goodies all the better.

And let it be known that this race is amazingly efficient. We aim to start on time (9:00 a.m.), buzz through the awards, and wrap everything up so that you can be home for your Thanksgiving celebrations.

So before the big day arrives, here are four things to know:

  1. NEW Pre-Race Packet Pick Up on Wednesday – Stop by Dauntless Fire Station (209 W. Sample St.) on Wednesday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. to pick up your race packet.  If you can’t make it Wednesday, you can pick it your packet on Thursday beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  2. Don’t Forget Dorothy Day! – Please bring canned goods and personal hygiene products for the Dorothy Day Center at Saint Francis University. In addition to race proceeds, we’d like to provide the Dorothy Day Center with an entire truckload of supplies to help with their mission to serve local families in need.
  3. Got Old Sneakers? – We also will be collecting gently worn shoes for Soles for Souls, a global not-for-profit institution that fights poverty by distributing shoes and clothing. If you have old running shoes, bring them laced together or attached as a pair. 
  4. Be Thankful! – This race would not be possible if it weren't for our fantastic and generous volunteers. As you're running and enjoying the Turkey Trot this year, please take the time to thank our world-class volunteers.
That's it for now. We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for what promised to be a memorable event!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Turkey Trot: Remember to Bring Non-Perishables!

Let's fill a truck (or two) again!

Now that we have reached 700 runners, final preparations for the Turkey Trot are in full swing. We're marking the course, getting shirts printed, and assigning jobs to all of our generous volunteers.

While Team EARC gets ready for you, we would like to remind you to PLEASE bring non-perishable food items and/or hygiene items for Saint Francis University's Dorothy Day Center. We will be collecting them outside of the fire hall, and our volunteers will have bright smiles so that you can't miss them.

We started the food drive in the first year of the Trot, and it has grown alongside the race ever since. So let's keep on helping the DDC, Turkey Trotters!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Strong. Vital. Human.

Do yourself a favor and read this beautiful reflection on running and prayer from Joe Simmons--a Jesuit, blogger, and philosopher at Creighton University.  A segment...
As I trudged up hills and coursed down slopes, my mind ran to prayer.  Running and prayer are, I think, equal parts attractive and repulsive.  Attractive because I want to enjoy their fruits; repulsive because to commit to either means giving up some quality sloth time.  Attractive because I’ll feel better once I’m in a good rhythm; repulsive because a good rhythm is almost always a delayed return on investment.... 
A friend new to running once told me, “my body actually feels different now.” Well, I assure you, his body actually was different; he really thinned out.  Running makes you breathe differently, sleep better, and start to desire healthier foods.  No amount of caffeine can ape the alertness of sustained physical activity.  When you fall out of a good rhythm of running, you don’t feel the inertia seduce you – until you are lying (literally) at its feet.  For me, this looks like a lot of yawning, fatigue despite sleep, and craving salty crunchy junk food because, well, because it’s salty and crunchy... 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why are Kenyans so Fast?

"There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon,"  says journalist David Epstein. "There were 32 Kalenjin who did it in October of 2011."

The Kalenjin are a tribe of approximately 5 million in the African country of Kenya.  While "Kenya" has become shorthand for distance running greatness, the majority of that country's great runners have come from this tribe.

All of this has led researchers, journalists, and curious onlookers to ask the obvious question: Why?  Is it genetics? Climate? Culture? All of the above?

One of my favorite podcasts, Radiolab, looked at all of these questions in their latest episode, "Cut and Run".  Give it a listen. And be prepared to wince, because it gets... well... disturbing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Turkey Trot: Last Chance for Reduced Registration!

A quick Turkey Trot update to let everyone know that the price goes up $5 on Friday.

Also, if you want to guarantee a shirt, you must sign up by November 1. We have hundreds of registrations already and we are nearing our limit. So.... 

We REALLY appreciate if you could register online HERE.

And if you must, the paper form is HERE.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Help Wanted! Turkey Trot Volunteers

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a little over a month away! And that means we're getting ready to TROT!

If you haven't already checked it out, register online for the Ebensburg Turkey Trot.

And if for some reason you are not able to run, we are ALWAYS in need of volunteers! Most volunteer jobs require standing on a street corner to direct runners in the correct direction and slow/stop traffic. We will provide you with an orange safety vest and specific instructions. The race begins at 9am and, last year, all runners finished by 10am.

If you live in town, we will do our very best to position you at a point along the course closest to your home. We also have tasks related to stuffing race bags, setting up/tearing down the course, and race day registration.

If you are willing to volunteer could you please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kate Remillard (  Even better, round up a group of family and friends to volunteer together!

When you respond, please be sure to indicate your t-shirt size (S,M, L, XL), so we can order you a volunteer Turkey Trot t-shirt.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DiSepio 5k & Laps for Laurin 5K

A reminder that this Saturday is the 5th Annual DiSepio Institute 5K Fitness Challenge at Saint Francis University. If you miss that one, or if you want to tour the course one more time, sign up for the Laps for Laurin 5k. It will be held on Saturday, November 16th, at 9:00 AM.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween 5k Run/Walk

Help support the Northern Cambria track and field team by participating in their Halloween 5k on Saturday, November 2. Follow this link to the entry form. The race begins at 9:00am at the Northern Cambria High School.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Tyrone Fall Classic Race

If you're looking for a local race next week (October 12), check out the Tyrone Fall Classic Race, which hosts a 5k and 15k. For kids 8 and under, they also have a 1 mile lollipop run.

One of our friends on Facebook adds the following...
The 5K course is a fast and beautiful course starting and finishing at Reservoir Park. The 15K course is a beautiful course with a few challenging hills (Hoovers Lane & Clay Ave) but is worth the run. 
Medals to first time 5K & 15K participants as well of awards to top overall runners and top three in age class. The tirst 100 runners registered are given a long sleeve performance shirt. The first 75 runners registered get a sport bag with our Race Series logo. 
Tons of give aways such as: 2 - $25 Gift Certificate to GARDNERS CANDIES, Subway Gift Certificates, Shoe Fly Stores (Corporate) Gift Certificate, $25 Gift Certificate from Mac's Market, $25 from the Bull Pen, SilverScreen Movie rentals, PRO Compression Socks ($40 value), Fox Trot Runners items and a bunch more. 
Refreshment and food tables provided by Sheetz! 
Well worth signing up just for the swag!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Run for Renewables!

Our friends at the Saint Francis keep rolling out the races! This time, the university's Renewable Energy Center is hosting a 5k and 5 miler on Saturday, October 5, at 9:00 AM in Glencoe, PA.

Click here for information and registration. They also post updates on their Facebook page.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Sixth Annual Alpha Phi Delta 5K Run/Walk

Here's another Turkey Trot tune up that also happens to be at Saint Francis... The Sixth Annual Alpha Phi Delta 5K Run/Walk, held on September 28 at 9:00am. It's $10 if you register before the 23rd, and $15 thereafter.

Here is a pdf of the registration form if the one below isn't doing the trick.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The 5th Annual DiSepio Institute 5K Fitness Challenge

Stop what you're doing and sign up for the Ebensburg Turkey Trot. As Phil Knight would say, "Just do it." The race will fill this year, and you don't want to miss out.

After that, start looking around for tune up races.  We recommend the 5th Annual DiSepio Institute 5K Fitness Challenge, held at Saint Francis University on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 9:30am.  The cost is $10 if you send your registration by September 23. After that, it's $15 until October 24, and $20 on race day.

Here is the race website and a link to the race brochure.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Morley's Run 5/10 Miler

Another local race for your calendars...

Morley's Run, a 5 and 10 miler in Johnstown on November 2. The course map indicates that it begins at the Inclined Plane and finishes in downtown Johnstown. So this promises to deliver fast times. You can find the registration form here.

And if you're wondering about the name of the race, read this article or watch this video.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Advice for New Runners and Pictures from the Brother Shamus Shuffle

If you're a recent C25K graduate or if you're new to running, check out this blogpost: "10 Best Pieces of Advice for Beginner Runners (in 3 words)." Some highlights... 

10. Pace doesn't matter- Tim McConnell (owner, West Seattle Runner, WA)
Too many people believe that they need to be “fast” to get out there and run. But as nearly any runner can tell you, the beginning is tough and it’s ok to go slowly—and even walk—as you’re getting started. The goal of running isn't to win races, but to enjoy yourself, feel great, and watch yourself get better. The pace is irrelevant.

9. Get Running Shoes- Desi Lynne Rottman, (runner, Grand Rapids, MI)
I used to work at Big River Running, a great specialty running store in St. Louis. It was amazing how many people would start out running in Nike Air basketball shoes, get hurt, and then claim that their body didn't want them to run. Big mistake. Getting the right running shoes is incredibly important and will make starting out that much easier and pain free. Head to your nearest running store to get fitted for the pair of shoes that feels great and matches your stride type.

8. Don’t stretch before- Nick Welch, (assistant coach Tufts University Cross Country, MA)
In gym class, you were always taught to stretch before exercising. But science says otherwise. It’s a common misconception that you should stretch muscles before a run, when in fact that’s the worst time to stretch. When you do this, you’re tearing cold muscles that lack any sort of give—a surefire way to get hurt early in your running career. We recommend stretching after warming your muscles up, either 5 or 10 minutes into a run or shortly after your run.
Next up... The Brother Shamus Shuffle was a great success last weekend! There were plenty of EARCites among the crowd of approximately 200. And the event raised over three thousand dollars for the Dorothy Day Center at Saint Francis University. Here are some pictures from the event.

Lastly, tonight is track night and the weather looks great. So plan on joining us at 6:15 at the CCHS track!

Happy trails, friends!

Runners from the Saint Francis University cross country teams showed up to support the Brother Shamus Shuffle.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Patton Park 5K Run/Walk

If you're looking for a 5k this weekend, check out the Patton Park 5K Run/Walk. The entry form is here, and they also have a Facebook page.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances."

Robert Krulwich, a science correspondent for NPR, alerts readers to a "beautiful, and less than obvious" meditation on running. "It comes from artist/cartoonist/essayist Matt Inman who writes a strip called The Oatmeal. This is the final chapter of his newest essay, one that he calls 'The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances.'"

Do yourself a favor and read through the entire series. It is a unique blend of profound insight and whimsical imagery, which results in one of the most compelling stories of "why we run" that I've ever seen.

Happy trails, friends!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Track Night and Two Upcoming Races

This otter disaproves of any and all excuses for missing track night. 
Tonight we expect to see our C25K graduates out at the track, gearing up for another 5k or maybe setting their sights on something longer.

Or perhaps they'll give the interval workout a try. As always, our more advanced runners will be doing 2-3 miles of quality running. While this might seem intimidating to a new runner, Team EARC firmly believes that EVERYONE can benefit from track workouts. In addition to improving your times, track workouts give variation to your running routine, and they help to develop a more efficient stride.

Find out more at the "Beginner's Guide" for track workouts at Runners World.

And if you're looking for your next race, here are two more to consider.

A description from the website reads...

The race will offer two challenging courses: a 5 mile for the beginner trail runner and a 30K for the more experienced. This diversity will draw racers from many surrounding areas. Last years race, runners from 6 states and every section of PA signed up for this event! 
Runners will start from the Clubhouse at the Blue Knob All Seasons Resort. Racers will then conquer the ski slopes, enjoying beautiful vistas along the route. The 30K racers will then split from the 5 mile route, linking with the Lost Turkey Trail to begin their assault on the State Park side of the mountain. The 30K runners zigzag up and down the mountain accumulating over 9,700 ft. of elevation change! This race will be the most challenging in the area, putting even the most hardened trail runner to the test.
30k Racers will start at 8:30am and the 5-mile race will start at 9:30am.

One tip if you're planning to run this one... put away your watches. This isn't the sort of race where you worry about time or mile splits. Just go out and have fun instead!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thank You, New Runners! And Where Do We Go From Here?

Team Remillard, getting shirts and certificates ready for our "graduating" new runners.
Thirty minutes. The workout for our new runners tonight couldn't be much more simple. But if we think back, we'll remember the program beginning with 60 seconds of jogging, inter-spliced with 90 second walk breaks.

So you've come a long way, new runners. Congratulations!

Over the weekend, Kate and Abe spent a few hours getting packages together for all of the nearly-graduated runners. With a shiny new EARC shirt to wear and a finishers certificate to display, they can now show off their accomplishment.

Over the past few weeks, Kate and I have repeated that our new runners are an inspiration. They inspire themselves, each other, and their friends and family through their positive new habits. And they inspire us. Kate and I have both been running for the majority of our lives. We met through running, and continue to organize our life around the sport. Our mornings are divided in to "her time" and "his time" on the road. We mark time with terms like "intervals," "long run," "recovery phase," and "taper." And we quite often vacation to marathons, since I have the loopy goal of running one in every state.

But of all of the running memories that we have, the new runners group ranks near the top. To have the opportunity to share this gift with other people; to see folks progress from barely being able to finish a lap on the track, to crossing the finish line of a 5k; to see new friendships form on the track. It is all quite...well...inspiring.

My only disappointment is that I will not be able to attend the Homecoming 5k this Saturday. I will be in Denver at a conference. But I look forward to seeing you the following Wednesday, and for the many Wednesdays to come. Now that you're part of "the club," it is our hope that you continue making the habit of running, your habit of running.

Along these lines, once you finish on Saturday, take time to celebrate your accomplishment.  Then--after about 5 minutes--set new goals. As I see it, you have three viable options.

  1. Maintain. Keep doing approximately 30-minutes of jogging at least 3 times per week.  And keep running 5ks. This second step is important. Races help keep you motivated. They give you something to train for.  Each winter, I hit a point where I DO NOT want to step outside for a run. It's usually around this point when I sign up for a spring marathon. If I don't have something forcing me out the door or on to the treadmill (or as I call it, the "dreadmill"), then I'll pack it in. So keep an eye on this blog for upcoming 5ks, or bookmark sites like Miles of Smiles, the Runner's High, the Indiana Road Runners, the Nittany Valley Running Club, and the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA.
  2. Improve your 5k. The 5k is a great distance. It's long enough for the challenge of a distance run, but short enough that you don't wreck your body. If you're at a point where you'd like to improve your 5k time, then start exploring training programs like Hal Higdon's "Intermediate" 5k program. If you scan the schedule, you'll notice that he has Wednesdays reserved for interval training. I know of a certain club that does intervals every Wednesday...
  3. Go longer. How about a 10k? Or a half-marathon? Yes, if you've done the C2K5 program, you can do either of these distances. And the Hollidaysburg YMCA hosts a 10k and half on October 5th. Or maybe you'd like to travel to a race. The website Marathon Guide is the most comprehensive source that I know of for races of all distances (despite the site's name) across the nation. Again, for training programs, I point you to Hal Higdon's website.
So the message here is quite simple: Keep on running! As the weather turns colder this year, we are hoping to maintain our Wednesday runs in some form. One idea is to meet each week at the gazebo in the middle of Ebensburg for "Winter Wednesdays." We could run the Turkey Trot course, do hill repeats, or something along these lines.  

For all of this to be successful, we will need some help from our new EARCites. If you're interested in training for a 10k or half-marathon, organize a training group. Find times to meet as a group for runs. We'll get the word out on this blog and on our social media sites. If you're hoping to maintain your current fitness, take over the leadership of Wednesday workouts. And become our "new runner liaison" for anyone who comes to the track for the first time.

What ever your ideas are for helping EARC grow and include more people, share them with us. We welcome innovation and new ideas.

Happy trails, friends!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Chat with Coach Greg McMillan Podcast

Coach Greg McMillan, is a runner, exercise scientist, and coach who created the famous online calculator to help runners determine training and race paces. In this podcast he talks with Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, authors of Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother. He gives injury prevention advice, offers help to accept your pace slowing as you age, and explains race pace versus tempo pace. The podcast is geared toward women runners, but the advice is good for all runners: female, male, newbie, and veteran alike.

The podcast can be found at the iTunes store or online at

Friday, July 19, 2013

What to do about Deer Flies?

Here's a timely question that came to us via Facebook:

"Any recommendations for deer fly repellents that actually work?"

I wish I had a good answer here. Now is the time of year when I find myself swatting the deer flies on runs through the woods. Even the Ghost Town Trail isn't safe. A friend of mine in Florida theorized that he could outrun the biting buggers at 6-minute-per-mile pace. I've tried that. Didn't work. I just got tired AND bit.

So I tend to either flail away whilst running through the woods, or avoid the woods outright. But upon seeing this question, I wondered if the internet had any wisdom to offer... because the internet is always right.

I discovered that there are no shortage of products that claim to repel deer flies. Some runners testify that spraying these products on hats and clothes can limit the deer fly bites. But I found no ringing endorsements of this approach.

The "Deer Fly Patch," though, did generate some positive buzz. Looks kinda gross, but runners specialize in all things gross (See: "The Farmer's Blow").

Here's a handy video:


I'm thinking that double-sided tape would work just as well. Or if you're really interested in drawing some strange looks, how about this: 

my friend Jim just posted a picture on Facebook showing a little contraption that he made to deal with the flies so that he could continue to get in his runs on his favorite trails. He coated a plastic cup with some sticky stuff called Tanglefoot, pinned it to his running hat, and took off through the woods. Here's what he had to say: "One 'trolling deer fly trap' + one slow jog on the local trails = 50+ deer flies, DEAD!!! Silly, fun, and effective. I shall reclaim my beloved trails now, thankyouverymuch." 

American ingenuity at its best.

So good luck with the deer flies, Ebensburg runners. And if you have any insights on keeping these winged assassins at bay, please share your wisdom with us.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Upcoming Races from the Indiana Road Runners Club

Our friends at the Indiana Road Runners Club sure do keep busy. Here are three upcoming races that all look fantastic.

  • Citizens Helping Citizens' 5k. Saturday, July 20, 9:00 AM. Conducted by Citizens' Ambulance Service, and times by the Gingerbread Man Running Company. The course is described as follows, "The race course is fast and flat with only gradual hills.  From the start, runners and walkers will go south on 8th Street through Indiana University of Pennsylvania and then onto borough streets, eventually arriving at Mack Park for a lap around the track and a turnaround near the Mack Park swimming pool.  The course then takes runners and walkers back to IUP and then onto 8th Street for the finish near the S &T Bank parking lot."

  • Run With The Deer Flies 15K & 25KSunday, July 28, 8:00 AM. This is one of those "put away your watch and just finish" events. The course takes runners along the trails of Yellow Creek State Park, which includes "plenty of hills, single track trails, rocks, pipeline roads, swamps, and even a few wild boar sightings."  Good times!

  •  Run for the Trail 7k. Saturday, August 10, at 6:00 PM. The uniqueness of this race starts with the distance itself. While it might be a challenge to gauge your effort for the 7 kilometer distance, you're certain to get a personal record--unless you've run it before. Also, there's something inherently festive about evening races. People tend to hang around the finish longer, giving the post-race ceremonies a certain spark of life. Finally, age group winners receive plated railroad spikes, and the top 3 men and women will get wood train engines. Put all of this together, and add that proceeds go toward maintaining our Ghost Town Trail, and you have plenty of good reasons to travel down to Dilltown!     

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Track Night! Wednesday, July 17

We've got heat, humidity, and a chance of thunder storms.  Yep, it must be track night!  This evening at 6:15, the C25K group will be running for 28-minutes. Make sure to hydrate all day, and bring a water bottle with you. Advanced runners will decide on a workout at the track, which will probably be between 2-3 miles of quality.

And remember, it could always be worse. You could be running in Death Valley. Indeed, on Monday, 96 intrepid souls lined up for the 2013 Badwater Ultramarathon. Portuguese runner Carlos Alberto Gomes de Sa won the 135-mile race with a time of 24 hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds.  And no, he wasn't wearing a Darth Vader suit.

Here's a video from the Weather Chanel on Badwater.

Monday, July 15, 2013

"This is a Ludicrously Dangerous Endeavor"

It takes all kinds to make the world go around. Case in point: Jonathan Rice. The headline says it all,  "Darth Vader Runs Across Death Valley in 129-Degree Heat So You Don't Have To." The article begins...
Throwing caution and good sense to the wind, Darth Vader decided to run a mile in conditions not unlike that of Tatooine.  
Really, it would have been far easier to just take a landspeeder.  
Amanda Kooser of CNET  reports Jonathan Rice decided to run across a blazing-hot Death Valley June 30, when temperatures reportedly reached a whopping 129 degrees.  
If jogging in those conditions weren't enough, Rice donned the head-to-toe black garb worn by Darth Vader. . . .  Don't think for a second that the lunacy behind the run is lost on Rice: "This is a ludicrously dangerous endeavor. I don't support you doing it. I don't even really support me doing it." 

Friday, July 12, 2013

70,000 Miles

Need some motivation?  Go ahead and buy this poster from Run Fan Shop.

The accompanying description on the website reads:
Everyone who makes an Olympic teams works really hard but we’d argue that no one worked harder than Brian Sell in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials (held in the fall of 2007). After letting a large early lead slip away in the final stages of the 2004 Trials, Sell buckled down and averaged 140-mile weeks for four straight years leading up his next shot at making the team. All that strength paid off with a third place finish and a trip to Beijing. Famous for his humble beginnings, this poster highlights Sell’s progression from a mediocre high school runner to a 2:10 marathoner.
While Brian Sell now lives in Lancaster, he has close ties to EARC. A few of us ran with Sell when he attended Saint Francis, and cheered as he progressed through his professional running career with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Many of his former teammates traveled to New York City to watch him earn a spot on the 2008 Olympic marathon team. What an amazing performance...and mustache.

And all it took was grit, determination, unrelenting focus, and 140-mile weeks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Brother Shamus Shuffle

Running, biking, walking for a good cause--that's the "Brother Shamus Shuffle." This non-competitive event will be held on Saturday, August 24 at the Memorial Field pavilion along the Ghost Town Trail.  Bikers start at 9:00am, runners at 9:15, and walkers at 9:30.  Here are the details...

Brother Shamus McGrenra, T.O.R., is well-known in the Saint Francis community. The 66-year old director of international admissions is as much known for his smiling, positive attitude as he is for his annual bicycle ride to benefit the campus’ Dorothy Day Center, an outreach provider to the region. For the past two years his charity bicycle rides raised more than $34,000 that the center in turn used to help local families. Brother Shamus was planning this year’s ride with the hope of traveling five states in five days to raise $25,000. While making initial plans he received news that is temporarily stalling his charity ride.  
Through a routine medical screening, Brother Shamus learned he has colon cancer. He didn’t want to postpone the bicycle ride, but his doctors advised him to begin treatment. He is currently undergoing simultaneous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation for the next two months. He still plans to ride when he is recovered, but his Saint Francis friends want his focus to be on getting well. Knowing how important the event is to Brother Shamus and how much the Dorothy Day Center relies on the race, the university is holding the first Brother Shamus Shuffle on Saturday, August 24.  
The event will begin at the Ghost Town Trail in Ebensburg at the Memorial Field Pavilion. Registration will begin at 8 am. Bicycle riders, runners, and walkers are all welcome to participate and will depart at 9 am, 9:15 am and 9:30 am respectively. There is not a minimum distance to travel. The registration fee is $20 and registrants will receive a shirt, refreshments, and personal satisfaction of helping a good person and worthwhile cause.  
To register for the shuffle, send in the brochure or call 814-472-3004 or 814-472-3150. To receive a shirt, please register by July 29. If you are unable to shuffle but still would like to donate to this cause, please visit and choose Dorothy Day Center and in the "Department/ Scholarship" line, type Brother Shamus Shuffle.
Registration fee and donations from the Brother Shamus Shuffle will go to the Dorothy Day Center. The center contributes clothing, furniture, appliances, and financial assistance in times of crisis to economically disadvantaged families in four counties (Blair, Bedford, Cambria, and Somerset). The center relies mainly on donations from the local community to be able to help others. For more information about the Dorothy Day Center visit

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Track Night! Wednesday, July 10

The weather for this evening remains unpredictable, but the workout for the C25K program is not. This week, after our 5 minute warmup and stretches, we will jog for 25 minutes. The workout for Saturday is the same, and we are still meeting at 8:00am at the Memorial Field.

A week from Saturday (July 20), we will mark the course for the Homecoming 5k. It's nothing all that surprising--1.5 miles out on the Ghost Town Trail, then return to the YPCC. So if our new runners are feeling ambitious, they can get a full preview of the course before race day. Or they can complete the scheduled workout for that day, which is 28 minutes of continuous jogging.

The advanced runners will probably do a lighter workout this evening, since many of them ran the Altoona 15k/5k.  As has been the case, the specifics of the workout will be determined at the track. 

Speaking of Altoona... My standard excuse after running this race has always been, "the heat really got to me." But Ted Spiker over at Runners World thinks that people like me need to stop complaining. Here are the first three of his, "9 Reasons Why I’m Not Complaining About Running in Heat/Humidity." Make sure to check out the entire list...

Because, if you need to drop weight fast (Lose 4 Pounds in 12 Minutes!), it’s the best way to do so, with the exception of eating three-days-in-the-sun potato salad.
Because every step taken at 90+ is a big ol’ slap to the face of the weather gods who don’t think you have the mojo to fight through.
Because few things beat the adrenaline rush of walking up to someone else’s home, turning on a spigot to take one desperate slurp because your bottles have run dry, and praying that the owner doesn’t eyeball you up with a poison-tipped arrow and greet you with a “Something I can help you with, son?” (Hey, I live in Florida; it could happen.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

3rd Annual Jackson Heritage 5k

Mark it down... The Jackson Heritage 5k--Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 8:30am. You can download a registration form here. Need some incentive? According to their Facebook page, the top 3 overall male and female winners will receive tickets to the August 8th Pirates game!

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 Great Post-Run Beers

Running is rarely a topic of conversation among EARCites. Sure it's the thing that we all have in common. But on runs and at social gatherings, we're more likely to strike up conversations about herding kids, Breaking Bad, or our latest music discoveries. For my part, I've made a habit of checking the Pirates scores each morning. If I don't, the chatter that accompanies an entire long run will be lost on me.

Anyway... EARCites are also into their craft brews, which will make this post from Runner World--"8 Great Post-Run Beers"--appealing. Check it out! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celebrating the Fourth of July... On the Streets of Altoona

As promised, it was a hot one. And also as promised, EARC had great representation at the July 4th Angie Gioiosa Memorial Race. Our friends at the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA really know how to put on a superb event, from the marching band at the start, to the elaborate post-race food tent. It's no wonder they drew 1,033 participants this year.

The course itself was lined with cheerful onlookers, helpful volunteers, and well-staffed water stops. I especially appreciated the good people at Fox Trot Runners who sponsored a water table near the end of the race. They were positioned along the last major climb, the very place where I usually start to consider faking an injury. Fortunately, the Fox Trotters would have seen through my charade. So I plugged along to the finish, all the better for it.

Indeed, it's hard to complain about the heat and hills when you think about all of the impressive things that this race has to offer. Along these lines, our friend Herb Cratty of Miles of Smiles Timing Services timed the event. From the looks of his own results page, his people were busy on the fourth.

Here are the results for the Altoona races.

As always, the Altoona Mirror was on hand covering the races. Congratulations to the overall male and female winners in the 15k, A.J. Kelly and Sonja Hinish. Same to the 5k winners, Altoona High runner Brad Foust and recent Forest Hills grad, Leah Anne Wirfel. Sam Freet won the 2 mile walk, averaging an impressive 9:42/mile pace.

And congratulations to everyone who competed yesterday. Races like these give us a reason to celebrate life. And the more people who join us, the more we have to celebrate.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

2nd Annual “Mad Anthony Half”

Check out this half marathon in Waynesboro, PA. The course looks fantastic, and this is perfectly timed for anyone doing a marathon in October or November. As to the curious name of this race, the website explains:

 The “Mad Anthony Half” takes its name from Waynesboro’s namesake, American Revolutionary War General “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Does that mean the race has a ‘colonial era theme’?  No!  No three-corner hats, powdered wigs or shoes with big brass buckles. Don’t think of Gen. Wayne’s era, instead think of his moniker, ‘mad‘, and think ‘crazy, insane, bananas, kooky, loony’. OK, be truthful, what does your significant other, family, friends etc. think of your “running interest, hobby, addiction”? Get the picture The “Mad Anthony Half” celebrates our ‘whimsical, slightly off-balance, affection’ for the great sport of RUNNING.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Track Night! Wednesday, July 3

Once again, we find "scattered thunderstorms" in the forecast.  But alas, if this unpredictable weather remains free from electrical disturbances, track night will commence this evening at 6:15. For our new runners, we enter week 6 of the C25K program. After the warmup, we will jog for 10 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, then finish with 10 more minutes of jogging. It's hard to believe that the Ebensburg Homecoming 5k is right around the corner, but here we are!

Kevin wins AND does the "hand-on-hip" EARC pose
We probably won't have many in the advanced runners group this evening, since the July 4th Angie Gioiosa Memorial Race is tomorrow. Fellow EARCites Mike Bradley and Ryan Westrick have already blogged about this race. I can only echo that this is a great event. In fact, the 15k was my first road race, waaaay back in 1990. I had just started running that spring, and decided that I would give cross country a try in the fall. My running that summer was sporadic, and I hadn't run over 6 miles. But for whatever reason, I thought that I could muscle through 9.3. Ah the unformed mind of a sixteen-year-old. I recall very little from the race. If I dig deeply, though, I can see a blur of heat, hills, and fatigue. I managed to cross the finish line, and fortunately I have no record of a time. But I do know that I've been hooked on distance running ever since.

Last year would have been my 5th time running the 15k, and it was a memorable one. My actual race wasn't anything to write home about. But the presence of EARC runners was quite the sight--yellow shirts everywhere. So if you're coming out to Altoona tomorrow, let's make sure to get a group picture. It is my hope that this picture will get larger every year.
Only Sandy got the memo about the EARC pose.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


"Getting healthy means listening to my body"

When something happens unexpectedly, we want to make sense; this is a basic human need.  When that unexpected event is a life-threatening illness, part of that drive is to become reacquainted with your body.  Suleika Jaquad is a cancer survivor who has been chronicling her survivorship through a column in the New York Times: Life, Interrupted.  In her most recent entry, she talks about her plan to run a half marathon in celebration of her survivorship.  Yet, as many cancer survivors discover, that road is filled with still many unexpected surprises and many lessons.

Life, Interrupted: Making Resolutions (June 27, 2013)

The Untold Story: The Hollidaysburg 15k and Wagering

So most of you have read Mike's post about the Hollidaysburg 15k and what a great race it is.  I completely agree: I couldn't imagine a better way to spend the morning of the 4th than running 9+ miles in sweltering heat, running uphill past Altoona High hoping that I don't pass out from dehydration at mile 8. 

All of that aside, allow me to use this post to let you in on the secret, yet-to-be-seen competitive wagering side of this event.  Because the race enjoys a healthy participation rate from the men's contingent of the Ebensburg Area Running Club, it allows us to use our spare time at work (what little there is...busy, very busy) to handicap the race results among our team.  Every day, we gauge each others training and speculate how our group will finish, including overall times and orders of finish.  This, of course, leads to great downplaying of expectations on behalf of our own times (especially Ryan Shaulis who, despite his intense 15 mile-a-day training plus track speed work, insists that he will finish slower than last year) while greatly exaggerating the expected performance of others (Jake Hargreaves: "Westrick will run 6.30s this year").  The posturing and theorizing is almost as fun as the race itself.  Its not easy - you need to be committed to your line of BS...I've been telling the guys I have a bad ankle for six months now...I even throw in a fake wince of pain while out on a run with them to help sell my story.

Yeah - I know I said 'wagering', but there is no real exchange of money.  The currency is pride and the luxury of saying stuff like "Wow...I figured I'd be in at 65 minutes" while finishing at least two minutes ahead of 65.

Anyway, enjoy the race and feel free to use your own wagering board at home with friends you're running with...for entertainment purposes only, of course.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The July 4th 15K

Near the middle of June we all look at each other and ask "Are we running the 15K this year?"  As if it's even a question.

The July 4th Angie Gioiosa Memorial 15K Race is probably the best roadrunners race in the area.  While the Nittany Valley Half Marathon in early December and our own Turkey Trot 5K have been very popular in their tenures they don't have a fraction of the history and the names that the Fourth of July 15K has garnered over the years.
And they're off!!

The race started in 1973 when its namesake Angelo "Angie" Gioiosa got together with some of his local runner friends for a friendly race the morning of the 4th of July.  Angie was a great man and a great runner who went on to run 10 Boston Marathons and set a course record in the JFK 50 miler.  Angie probably didn't think the race would become so popular so fast.

The race quickly became a favorite of all the local runners and even some of the nation's elite runners.   Famous runners such as Bill Rodgers and Penn State All American/Olympian Greg Fredericks were among the big names in the late 70's and early 80's.    The names weren't that big through the 90's but in 2003, EARC member and 2008 Olympic marathoner Brian Sell showed up and broke the course record with a time of 48:47.

Kate getting it done in '08.
EARC has had a strong turnout for the 15K in both numbers and winners, with Kevin Doyle winning the race in 2012 (51:32) and Kate Remillard winning the women's race in 2008 (1:00:32).  Also worth noting is grey-haired EARC member Bruce Schettig's 4th place time of 51:43 in 1980 when Bill Rodgers and friends decided to show up.  

So, if you're not traveling on the 4th follow the sounds of the marching bands and the cheering fans down to Altoona.   This year marks the 38th year and there is bound to be a great showing.

The 14 Best Things To Eat After A Workout

Here's a good list of post-workout foods, courtesy of Buzzfeed. Don't miss the parsley hummus recipe--this could become a standard at future EARC gatherings.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

So, you want to run a half marathon

"Ah just felt like runnin."
-- Forrest Gump

Why run a half marathon?  I have recently been asking myself that same question.  It was only last year that I took the couch-to-5k challenge offered by EARC.  After too many years from high school track, with sporadic running since, I decided that the time was right.  Through gentle encouragement from friends and support from my family, I finished the program and I finished my first 5k.  What was surprising, is that I didn’t want to stop running.  I searched out other 5ks.  Learned the “fun” of running during the winter months in Ebensburg.  As the warmer weather returned, the running desire returned.  Then my eye caught a glimpse of an advertisement for a half marathon.  Can I do that? “Yes, you can” said a friend.  How? Set a goal and find a training program.

As an university professor and a developmental psychologist, much of my professional time is spent researching and reading.  One article that caught my attention was written by Michael Putman, an assistant professor of elementary education from Ball State University.  Not only is Michael a university professor but he is also a marathon runner.  In this article, he makes an association between the skills of running a marathon and teaching students to enjoy reading.  Both of these activities he asserts rest on the idea of self-efficacy.  This concept was defined by the psychologist Albert Bandura in 1986.  The essence is our personal belief in our abilities.  Bandura makes an important distinction is between our beliefs and our actually abilities.  Our sense of self-efficacy can be either beneficial and detrimental.  If my inner voice is positive, based on past experiences and successes, then I am likely to continue with an activity, even when it becomes challenging.  However, if the voice is negatively oriented, perhaps through obstacles and perceived failures, that can create a negative self-efficacy (i.e., I can’t do that).

Putman suggests some steps to strengthen your sense of self-efficacy.

  1. Develop short-and long-term goals.   While my goal is to run a half-marathon, it would be foolhardy to just jump into that event.  My short-term goals should lead me gentle to my desired long-term goal, while providing me with measured opportunities to evaluate my progress.  Achievement of short-term goals also allows for memories of successes to be stored and incorporated into my sense of self.  For me, I am following the Hal Higdon training program.  This 12 week program allows for a gradually increasing routine towards your goal (a half-marathon), very similar to the couch to 5k program.
  2. Choices.  We rarely like it when someone tells us to do something.  Although there are times when we must tolerate these demands, it is always better if we believe that we have choices.  While the Higdon’s program sets daily and weekly goals for you to achieve, remember to make them your goals.  The half marathon advertisement that caught my eye, is going to run in Key West, Florida.  That is a win-win situation: first half marathon experience in the tropics in mid-October and a stronger motivator to keep up the training program during the heat and humidity of the summer months.  A quick check of the airline prices called for a modification of plans.  New target race, the Baltimore Running Festival.  Baltimore, Maryland is a city that holds many pleasant memories for me, including meeting my wife. While distance running is not her cup of tea, she plans to run the 5k; a weekend getaway.
  3. Feedback.  While I was one of those runners who would plop the earbuds in and play motivational music on my runs, in preparation for the half-marathon where earbuds are strongly discouraged, I have gone natural.  I must admit, it is a different experience.  As I am running the Ghost Town Trail I am more aware of my surroundings and perhaps more importantly, I am more aware of my body and my inner voice.  Higdon’s training program is widely available as an app for smartphones.  His voice replaced my inner voice.  I listened to him measure my distance and time.  In between, my music allowed me to lose myself.  In the absence of this distraction, I have found myself listening to my breathing and my muscles.  While I still use a gps watch to measure my distance and time.  I rely more on that inner voice, my personal cheerleader, who encourages me.  I establish short-term goals on my runs, so that I can feel the thrill of success, which feeds into my sense of self-efficacy.
  4. Finishing.  As with my first 5k, my goal was simple: just finish.  I look back and see where I have come from and use my successes to build a running language.  Not simply words, but stories and beliefs that I have incorporated into my sense of self.  I am a runner, expressed in my own unique fashion.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I am a novice to running.  I do not speak as an expert, rather as a fellow runner.  While my weekdays are filled with shorter runs, Saturdays are my long runs.  This past week I ran 5 miles on the Ghost Town Trail, with sight on that end goal of a half marathon in Baltimore, MD in October.  I welcome anyone who would like to join me on my Saturday morning runs at 7:00 am starting at the Ghost Town Trail.  Once again, this coming Saturday, will be a 5 mile run.

Stephen Baker is a novice runner and member of the EARC.  You can follow him on twitter @shb1991 or Facebook.

Track Night! Wednesday, June 26

Track night resumes this evening at 6:15 at the CCHS track! There's only one problem--as of right now, "scattered thunderstorms" are in the forecast. If it's just raining, plan on us being there. But if there is thunder and lightening, then consider avoiding the wide open space with metal all around it.

Assuming the weather works to our favor, the new runners will be doing day 2/week 5 of the C25K program. You will notice that this week's workouts change slightly from day to day. Each day inches closer to more continuous running. So for tonight, after our warmup, we will be doing 8 minutes of jogging, 5 minutes of walking, and 8 minutes of jogging.

Our advanced runners will be doing 2-3 miles of quality, to be determined at the track.  The group has not done hill repeats yet, but that might be in order. The hill next to Admiral Peary Vo-Tech is the perfect length, roughly 400 meters. Depending on your preference, you can climb the hill either on the road or on grass. At the top of the hill, there is a walking path that leads you directly to the bottom of the hill. We find that 6-8 repeats on this hill makes for an excellent workout.

Mixing hills into a training routine is a good choice for any runner. They help your form, build strength, and give you a mental edge--after you've finished a hard hill session, the "burn" at the end of any race doesn't seem so foreign. Plus, a recent study showed that hill repeats of any sort help improve 5k times.
The story goes that Kenyan running legend Henry Rono was once espousing the value of hill workouts when a listener pressed for details: How long of a hill? How steep of a hill? How fast to run up? "The hill," Rono responded. "Any hill." That's more or less the conclusion a new study out of New Zealand has reached. It assigned 20 well-trained runners to do one of five types of uphill workouts for six weeks. At the beginning and end of the study, the runners did a 5-K time trial. Regardless of which of the types of hill workouts they'd done during the preceding six weeks, their time on the second 5-K time trial was about 2% faster. For a 20:00 5-K runner, an improvement of 2% would mean running 19:36.

Read the rest of the article here.  And happy trails!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ultra Runners and Zombies

Courtesy of my Tallahassee friend Michael LaBossiere--philosopher, runner, and now stick figure cartoonist... 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Introducing the EARC Blog!

Well, it's about time...

As more and more people become interested in running in the Ebensburg area, it has become more and more necessary for us to find ways to get the word out. So, we humbly offer to you the EARC blog.

Here, we hope to post about everything from training runs and local races, to running advice and random thoughts. So please bookmark this page, or sign up for e-mail updates.

For this first post, we thought that it might be helpful to address some frequently asked questions. So off we go...

Wearing this shirt makes you run faster
What is the Ebensburg Area Running Club?

We are a club for runners, walkers, and joggers in the Ebensburg area. We hope that our club can become a magnate of sorts, drawing in anyone interested in the sport, whether they are casual joggers or experienced racers.

What does EARC do?  

Our most notable project has been the Ebensburg Turkey Trot. Now entering its fourth year, this 5k has grown beyond any of our expectations. When we first imagined the race, we had hoped to attract 100 runners. Much to our surprise, nearly 300 participated in the first Turkey Trot, despite miserable weather. The race has grown every year since, and we have made every effort to make it a memorable experience. From live music along the course, to Vale Wood ice cream as prizes, the Turkey Trot has quickly become a Thanksgiving tradition in Ebensburg.

The success of this race indicated that Ebensburg could be a vibrant running community. To help build this community some more, we started a Beginning Runners Group.  In the summer of 2012, we used the popular Couch to 5k Program to prepare people for the Ebensburg Homecoming 5k.  Much like the Turkey Trot, response to the Beginning Running Group exceeded our expectations. The 2013 turnout has been no different. Currently, we have over 70 new runners in the group, and we are in our fifth week of training. Each one of them has been an inspiration to us.  We look forward to seeing them cross the finish line.
Track Night: It's not a workout. It's an experience.

The Beginning Running Group meets on Wednesdays, at 6:15pm at the Central Cambria High School track. At this same time/place, we also have a training group for more experienced runners. These folks do a track workout that ranges anywhere from 2-3 miles of quality. So a typical workout might include 8-12 400-meter repeats, with :60-:75 rest. It must be noted that interval work is not just for elite runners.  EVERYONE can benefit from some raising the intensity level. Plus, track night is a great social event!

How do I join EARC?

The "EARC pose"=hand on hip
We are a "club," but only in a loose sense. We don't have an annual fee, nor much of a hierarchy of officers. "Joining" EARC, then, is quite simple... come out to our events. Join us at the track, and bring a friend. Run or help with the Turkey Trot.

Or if you're feeling REALLY ambitious, help us do something new. Everything that we do now is the result of someone taking the initiative to bring an idea to life. So let us know if you have ideas for a training group, local race, destination race, novelty run, etc. At the very least, we'll help you get the word out.

I think we can stop here with the FAQs, but if you have any more questions, please post in the comments or find us on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send us an e-mail.

Happy trails!