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.