The summer is heating up, and here are some fun ways to get outside and enjoy the warm weather:
Outdoor Membership Meetingand “Prediction Run”: July’s monthly membership meeting will be held on Thursday, July 14th, at Birdsboro’s Rustic Park (1314 Haycreek Rd., Birdsboro, PA 19508). We will be set up at Pavilion #4. The club will provide pizzas and soda. Show up early (6:00 p.m.) to participate in a special “prediction run” organized by Swamp and Mike Gallen. Food and drink at 6:30pm. Meeting starts at 7:00pm. All members are welcomed.
Outdoor Yoga with Yuriko: Get your vinyasa on as you groove and flow with Yuriko on Saturday, August 6th, at Fawn Hill Hop Yard (141 Wilma Ave, Reading). Practice begins at 9:30 a.m. — all levels welcome, including “yoga virgins.” More info at https://www.pagodapacers.com/Group-Runs/Social-Events.aspx
Gring’s Mill Run: The classic 5k and 10k races will take place on Sunday, August 7th, at the Berks County Heritage Center. Races begin at 9:00 a.m., as runners take off along the scenic crushed-stone trail with views of the picturesque Tulpehocken Creek. Interested in volunteering? Contact race director Jason Karpinski at email@example.com. Interested in racing? Register now by clicking the button below:
Guest speakers: Sandie and Stephan Kincaid of Berks Trail Works. They maintain many of the Berks County trails for the support of outdoor enthusiasts. They are a non-profit organization with membership options. Please review their social media accounts to gain more information on the outstanding work they do (Facebook, Instagram). Berkstrailworks.org is best place to go to learn about membership options and what is going on. At Blue Marsh, they take care of 20 miles of trail—it’s a lot, and they need help, especially due to a decrease in Corps of Engineers summer employees.
Treasury Report – Shaun Luther – 184% of target. Taxes are filed. Constant Contact pricing discussed—went to an annual subscription due to cost of the monthly payment. A few reimbursements for Charlie Horse still outstanding.
Charlie Horse Half Marathon – Shaun Luther – there were 91 runners for half marathon and 35 for Dirty Pony 5K. This was less than the number expected. Shaun cut back on some expenses – such as timing the race (Tiffany and Polly handled this), canceled the DJ, and provided fewer food options. FYI, since Charlie Horse is the only race that uses the Pacer-owned timing clock, Shaun will keep it, rather than return it to the trailer, where it takes up space.
Run for the Ages 10K Trail Run – Donna Hey – 135 registered so far. And hopefully some same day registrations. Volunteers needed of course. Charlie will lead the parking. Donna increased the advertising a lot, which added about 60 registrants.
Grings Mill 5K and 10K (Sunday, August 7, 2022) – Jason Karpinski – registration still kind of slow, but hoping for a big push to get more entrants.
June 23 – Wilshire pool run, bike, swim — 2 ride routes and 2 run routes. Then the pool will be open at 8 p.m. Free for Pacers, $5.00 for guests.
Wine & cheese – is this going on?
E-mails – messages are going out to the membership – but some emails are ending up in people’s junk email. So, check there if you think you are missing emails you should be getting.
Weekly runs – great turnout for the Oakbrook WNR
June 22, park at the mansion parking lot for a Nolde Run, and then the after event is Oakbrook brewing.
Trail Maintenance – Nolde Forest has trees down, and they are open to have help with trail maintenance. Contact Blair for further details. Stephan Kincaid will contact Blair, and go out with his equipment. Larry reports that the Horsehoe trail section that the Pacers maintain is up to speed.
Membership committee – Jason Karpinski – he has seen some local bikers become Pacer members, and also joined the biking co-event. He is seeing some new names on the membership list. We had two new members attend the monthly meeting.
National Trail Day – Mt Penn – they had about 20 people there, and did a short trail run.
Jane Setley – planning a night to serve food/dinner to residents at Opportunity House. Likely a Monday is best. The service group provides the food, and the meal is served at 7. Jane will look for available evenings. This effort would require about 6 to 10 people. Volunteer options exist for some events outside of the scheduled evening.
July meeting, renting the Pavilion at Rustic Park, Birdsboro. Michelle is requesting an easy pre-meeting run be arranged. This will be done by Swamp and Mike Gallen.
After running Dirty German 50M in May, my plan for the summer was just to take it easy. No goals. No training schedule. No races. The plan was going smoothly until one day a notification popped up on my Facebook feed. (Damn you Targeted Ads!) Big Woods Running Club was having a Memorial Day special on their TrailFest. I could now suffer just as much but for less money! Perfect!
I immediately texted Andy Styer, fellow Pacer and one of the race directors.
Me: I can’t decide if I should sign up for your 10k or do the 3 hour one. Lol.
Andy: Well…the 6 hr sounds like fun : )
Me: Hahah. I’m trying to be responsible/take it easy
The morning of the race, I couldn’t have asked for better weather. I mean, I guess I could have, but it was mid-June in Pennsylvania and the humidity was less than 300%–in other words, ideal. Jokes aside, the weather for race day really was perfect and made the day much more enjoyable. I arrived at the course about 45 minutes before start time, made my way to check-in, got my race bib, and was handed the softest t-shirt I’ve ever owned. After moseying around for a little while before start time, I made my way to the port-a-potties and then the start line. The line really was magnificent: someone’s heel dragged across the ground to indicate a clear “start” and “end.”
I know my tone does at times lean towards sarcastic, but sincerely, the dirt drawn start line really was one of the best things about the day and a great reminder of why I love trail running. It doesn’t need to be fancy. If you’ve got a love and appreciation for nature– and at times like to saunter, walk, jog, hike, run, dance through it–that’s what matters.
My goal for the race was to complete 3 laps in 3 hours, and I knew the course would make that a challenge. In the early spring I did a group run at Coventry with the Big Woods Running Club, so I was familiar with the course. There is a lot of climbing in the first half (~900 feet of vert/lap) and the second half, while downhill, has plenty of rocks and roots to keep you on your toes. I really, really love this particular type of course. I knew if I could make it through the first part with its challenging climbs, then I’d be able to make up some time on the latter half of the course. Since it’s a time-limit race, I knew my biggest challenge would be the clock. In order to complete 3 laps in 3 hours, I’d have to push it each and every lap. Typically, I like to ease myself into a race–start a bit conservatively, get faster gradually, and then, if all goes well, hammer at the end. With a 3-hour limit, I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to ease into it. What if my first comfortable lap made it impossible to run 3 in 3? I decided the best strategy was to hammer from the start until the wheels came off, and that’s exactly what I did.
The first lap of the race I ran as much as I could, only power hiking on the steepest climbs. I definitely pushed, making sure to set myself up with enough time to finish my third lap. On the last half of the first lap, I shared a few paces with the guy who would go on to be the first male overall for the 6-hour race. (Important to note first male overall, because our very own Karin Tursack was the real OVERALL winner for the 6 hour race! #goals #You’veBeenTursacked)
He mentioned how he wasn’t usually into “racing” but, damn, he really wanted to get the dinosaur trophy. At that moment, he perfectly summed up my feelings towards this race. I usually race against myself: I have my own personal goal I’d like to beat. Then I have goals B,C, D, E, F etc. if/when the wheels fall off. Never do my goals for a race include finishing before x # of competitors or in xth place. It’s always me against me. Except maybe when there’s a 3-D printed trophy of a velociraptor on the line, and, in that case, hot damn, I wanna win.
I made it through the first lap comfortably under an hour. I knew I had set myself up for success for the second and third laps, but I didn’t want to relax too soon. I cruised through the aid station and on the next climbs, tried to toe the line between all-out aggressiveness and being too conservative. It’s usually the mid-race miles that I struggle with the most. The first few miles, I am high on the energy of the crowd and the event. The last few miles, I am driven by the idea of being over this sh*t. The middle miles can be a cesspool of pain, doubt, and stomach agitation. This is usually the point of a race where I begin reciting a mantra. Science extols the benefits of a positive mantra. Sometimes mine is “happy pace, happy face, happy race.” However, more often during this point in a race, my mantra is “pick up your feet, dumbass.” In these middle miles it becomes so easy to get lulled into complacency and tiredness with your feet; the next thing you know you’re doing a Superman sprawl into the rocks. (I always seem to fall during the “easy” parts of a race. Give me a technical downhill and I’ll send it; I’m much more likely to trip over my own feet on a marginally bumpy gravel section of trail.) Fortunately, my only fall in this race came as I was slowly walking uphill and only resulted in some slightly skinned palms. Shout out to fellow Pacer, Fred Foose, who fell, finished his 6 hour race, got beers, and ONLY THEN got four stitches in his finger. What a BEAST!!
I finished my second lap well under 2 hours and was feeling pretty good. Even if I resorted to power hiking every single climb of the last lap, I was pretty certain I’d be able to finish 3 laps in 3 hours. The little voice in the back of my mind kept me from taking it completely easy, but I was able to finish my third lap within 3 hours. As I crossed the finish line, I double-checked with the race director and he assured me I was done with the race and confirmed I was the winner of a dinosaur trophy!!! I wish I didn’t care so much about a plastic velociraptor trophy, but I’m sorry, dinosaurs are cool, and I’m glad I have a trophy commemorating them. Without dinosaurs, we couldn’t drive. In all seriousness, Coventry Woods Trail Fest is an amazing event that I would recommend to anyone. The race directors, volunteers, and members of the Big Woods Running Club are some of the best, friendliest, most caring people you will ever meet; the course is great, but the people are what make this race truly special.
I never intended to do these two races the same year, since they take place on back-to-back weekends. The plan was always to just do Laurel Highlands and that’s it. Well, I had my name on the waitlist for Worlds End, just in case I didn’t get into Laurel for some reason. I actually forgot about it, and since I was pretty deep on the list, I never removed myself once I was officially registered for Laurel Highlands. The last 3 weeks before the race I catapulted from 93rd down to single digits. It wasn’t until a week before Worlds End that I actually got in. I had a little help, too, but that’s not for public knowledge : )
So, the real question was, could I actually pull this off ? Worlds End is a course that always had my number. I finished in 2020 @ 18hrs 4 minutes, and in 2021 I DNF’d at mile 35. Laurel Highlands I did in 2019 with a finish time of 17hr 13 minutes. No crew, no pacer.
For Worlds End, I quickly assembled a team of pacers and crew. I secured a camping spot where my good friend and training buddy Kyle was renting a yurt. The race started off great–I wasn’t trying to kill it, just trying to finish it! All was well until my stomach turned south and my pacers & crew had their hands full with a runner in the “pain cave.” They all had explicit instructions from me to not let me drop unless I broke a leg. They didn’t, in spite of my whining and fits. They kept me going and I was able to finish in 18 hours and 55 minutes. 5 minutes to spare!
At Laurel, this time, I just had my crew of Kim (my partner) and Nathan (my son), who met me at every crew access point. No pacers, but the race went well. Laurel Highlands is a similar course in elevation gain, but it has many more flowing, runnable sections. This race went rather well, and I finished in 17 hours and 52 minutes.
I was rather surprised that I could do these back-to-back. There was little to no recovery coming from hard 70-80 mile training weeks to Worlds End, and then really no recovery time head into Laurel Highlands. I really cherished this feat and the support I got from my family and friends.
What’s next on the race calendar you say? Nothing, just rest and having fun on the trails!
The runs this month will have at least two different distance options (3-4 miles and 5-6 miles) with an appointed leader for each route. Each run will have its own Facebook “event,” and the routes will be posted a couple days before the run. After each run, a club member will host an informal get-together, with food, drink, and good conversation. Come for the run; stay (if you can) for the fellowship; bring your favorite post-run snack or beverage. (If you don’t have time to stick around or prepare food, no worries–just come run with us!)
June’s Monthly Membership meeting will be held on Thursday, June 9th, at Mohnton Fire Company Social Quarters, 100 E Summit St., Mohnton, PA 19540. The meeting is upstairs. Enter the front door and go up the stairs to your left. There is no need to ring the buzzer for entry.
Food and drink at 6:30 p.m. | Guest Speakers at 6:45 p.m. | Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. All members are welcomed.
* Members are responsible for purchasing their own beverages. Please bring cash.
** RESCHEDULED: BERKS TRAIL WORKS **
Due to illness, last month’s guest speakers had to reschedule for June. So make sure you come to the meeting early to learn more about Berks Trail Works. Pacer members, Sandie & Stephan Kincaid, will be telling us more about B.T.W. and some of their projects on Berks County trails. They will speak at 6:45. Be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss it.
***NEW FOR JUNE***
Members who cannot attend in person may join us via Zoom!