After a painstaking recount, verified by a third-party auditor, we are finally prepared to announce the winners of our 2022 club election:
Winning a staggering 100% of the vote, Michelle Henry was re-elected to continue as our President for another year.
Board of directors
Re-elected to another 2-year term, Brandon Beane will continue to serve on the Board.
Blair Hogg, Lisa Domeshek, Kelly Ammon, and Cody Harris were all newly elected to the Board, and they will also serve from January 2023 to December 2024.
Beth Kohl, Ellie Alderfer, Karen Rule, and Steve Vida are the remaining board members, each of whom are in the middle of a 2-year term, which will end in December 2023.
Want to do more?
Interested in taking on a leadership position with the club in 2023? There are several committees and appointed positions that could benefit from your time and energy. Reach out to Michelle or come to our January general membership meeting to see what positions you might be well-suited to.
As the year winds down let’s take a moment to wrap up and celebrate our 2022 club wins:
We spread awareness of the Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club to the community at local events such as:
Guts & Glory Wellness Expo
Berks Nature’s Tails, Trails, and Ales
We collaborated with Berks Parks & Recreation Department and Fleet Feet West Reading to promote running in our community by leading:
Trail Running 101 – An Intro to Trail Running to celebrate National Trails Day
We encouraged youth interest and participation in the sport of running by providing the young runners of Berks County with a first-class event: The Berks County Junior High Cross Country Fall “Run Off” Invitational
We saw many new and returning faces at our group runs this year
Wednesday Night Runs – Implementation of guided long and short routes was a success throughout the year. We had many weeks when WNR also meant Wednesday Night Ride, as members coordinated a bike ride to go along with the run.
Weekend Long Runs are back! This year we’ve hit up Wissahickon Park, Trexler Preserve, and Green Lane.
Giving Back to our community
Opportunity House Dinner – Members of our club came together to organize, prep, and serve a nice hot meal to those in our community who are less fortunate.
Trail clean-up and maintenance on Mount Penn, Horseshoe Trail, and Blue Marsh
Scholarships to four very deserving, bright, and talented high school seniors who participated on a Berks County high school cross country team
Through the success of our 2022 PPAC races, we were able to give back approximately $6,000 (possibly more–with a couple races yet to come this month!) to our local community by way of donations to Special Olympics, Friends of Nolde, Blue Marsh Trail improvements, Oley Ambulance Association, PPAC Scholarship Fund, and Berks County Cross Country Coaches Association.
We kept busy with a variety of social events this year including:
Yoga outdoors at Fawn Hill Hopyard
Pool party with both a pre-ride and pre-run
What, no Wine & Cheese this year?! Have no fear, it’s coming back on September 16th, 2023!
A big THANK YOU goes out to each and every one of you who have had a hand in these successes. Without you and your dedication, none of the above-mentioned things could happen. Looking forward to 2023!
Come out and join us for the 33rd annual SHIVER by the RIVER 5K & 10K!
The first one is December 11th at Jim Dietrich Park in Muhlenberg. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., both races start at 10:00 a.m.
Pre-registration is only for the series. Race day registration is available for the series or individual races. Runners can pre-register online at www.pretzelcitysports.com until midnight on the Wednesday before the race, or by mailing the app and a check.
New this year – we are offering a knit hat and gloves instead of a shirt with registration. Register early to guarantee a hat and gloves while supplies last!!
If you choose not to run the race, please consider volunteering. We need volunteers before the race, for parking and registration; during the race – on the road, at the finish line and in the farmhouse; and after the race – for cleanup. If you can help prior to the race, please plan to arrive between 8:00 – 8:15. If you can help with the race itself, please arrive no later than 9:30. Look for one of the race directors somewhere around the farmhouse. Thank you in advance for your support!
by Jason Karpinski, Pagoda Pacers Membership Coordinator
Another year of Pacer history is nearly in the books, but do not forget to commit to next year! This year brought the club a lot of the classic get-togethers and races, as well as some new faces and spaces. Next year is sure to not disappoint. We look forward to some new twists on time-tested events and of course we are excited about the endless possibilities that a new year and new members bring to the club. Over the next couple weeks there will be several emails and reminders to renew your membership for 2023, including the opportunity to renew at the annual Christmas party being held this Friday, December 2nd. As always, details pertaining to pricing and benefits are listed on the website at the following link:
The year begins to wind to an end; the sometimes dreaded, but always highly anticipated, task of reviewing your year and planning the next begins to take hold. As runners, this means looking back at a year of triumph, tribulation, and many miles shared with countless friends. This time also means planning out the upcoming year of races and personal challenges. I will look back on this year as by far my most challenging year of running. Fortunately, it was also a year full of successes.
Back in 2021, I attempted, and DNF’ed, World’s End 100k. It was my first attempt at that distance, and as some may remember, it was a day that would challenge even the hardiest of runners. Somehow, with very minimal training, I managed to complete 58 miles before being pulled for time. But as many failures do, this propelled me to push my limits by attempting “The Blacklist”. For those of you who are unfamiliar, as I was in 2021, the Blacklist is a series of what are claimed to be the toughest trail races in Pennsylvania: Hyner 50k, World’s End 100k, Eastern States 100, and the Black Forest 100k. Each of these races presents its own challenges, and each requires a fair amount of training and preparation. I have shared my experience at a couple of these races in the newsletter earlier in the year; however, I failed to recap the race which finished off this incredible ride of a year: The Black Forest 100k.
Midnight, October 2nd: 70-ish anxious runners toe the line just mere feet outside a pavilion at Hyner Run State Park, surrounded by a surprising amount of cheering family and friends. For about a dozen of these individuals, it marks the final start to a year-long mission. (Spoiler alert: only 9 complete this grueling task.) What lies ahead of all these individuals is 7 hours of non-stop rain brought by the remnants of Hurricane Ian, 64 miles of constantly undulating hills, minimal aid stations (5 fully equipped; 3 water-only), and a couple dozen swiftly moving water crossings. In case you missed it, this race starts at midnight. This reason alone starts to show why the race slogan is “Diabolically Epic”. The other part that makes this race a bit different is that the racers are not allowed any outside crew or spectators from the moment the race begins until they cross the finish line. You truly do have to rely on your drop bags or of the ever-helpful strangers that run the aid stations.
The first 15 miles seems to breeze by as we get accustomed to the soaking conditions, muddy terrain, and pace of those around us. Although in my experience there were not many fellow runners to be seen after about 5 miles. As with most ultra trail races, you get to spend minutes and often hours at a time alone in the woods with only your sloshing water, your crinkling gel wrappers, and your own thoughts (sometimes the best and oftentimes the worst company).
As I approach the next aid station, I begin to feel tired. Throughout the year I have learned to know this tired. It is a tired not due to lack of sleep or accumulation of mileage, but rather the dreaded blood sugar low. I arrive at the aid station and proceed to have a feast: 3 pierogi, half a grilled cheese, an Uncrustable, a cup of chicken noodle soup, Coke, Mountain Dew, and water. I restock my pack with gels, and I am off to traverse the next 13 miles to the next aid station.
After my gluttonous undertaking at mile 18, I begin to make the next climb, which is about a mile and a half of switchbacks, and about 500 feet of elevation gain. It takes about 3 miles until the food begins to take hold, and I swing from the extreme low to an extreme high which leads me not feeling tired, but rather half unknowingly sleepwalking for 2 miles. I recognize it is happening as I catch myself opening my eyes a couple dozen times just as I am about to take an ill-fated step into a rut in the trail or a small boulder. After this passes, my legs and body begin to click again until about mile 24-26, when I do not manage to avoid said small boulders. I kick three rocks all with my left foot which leaves my 2nd-4th toe feeling as though the nails have been lost, only being held in by the Injinji toe socks. Anyhow, this is trail racing after all, and the show must go on.
Fast-forward to 5 miles left in the race. I have all but decided I am going to “walk this one in,” knowing that I was well ahead of the 17-hour time limit. While powering up a hill of switchbacks familiar to those who have run Hyner, I look down to see two brightly colored shirts making their way up. In my head I was tired of the race and tired of seeing people pass me and I told myself that no one will pass me from there to the finish line. I took off running and somehow managed to run the fastest 5 miles of the entire race. There were only two miles to go, as I started to make my way down the final hill. It was a technical descent with plenty of roots and rocks; however, my legs, mind, and body told me to let it all go for broke and simply let go. I passed the final runner I would see on course.
At the start of the race, I had placed an Apple Airtag in my pack in hopes that Michelle and my mom could track my whereabouts throughout the race. It was at this moment shortly after seeing this final runner that I heard the ping of the Airtag for the first time. This sound broke me out of my extreme focus and pace and reminded me of why I do these adventures. It is a reason many of us do these races: to prove to ourselves and those around us that the limits we set are only limited by our minds, because our bodies have so much more to give than we know. I proceeded to spend the next half mile with tears of joy and gratitude streaming down my face. These tears were replaced with childish joy, yells, and laughter as I made my way out of the woods, across the gravel path, and finally rounding off into the air across the finish line. My legs immediately hurt, my body tightened up, my feet screamed, but my mind was calm, quiet, and fulfilled.
This year was one I will never forget, and one that I owe so much to those around me. From friends joining in on many training miles, veterans giving me advice about the races and strategies, my family for telling me I am crazy while also telling me they are confident I can do it. And finally, to Michelle, for sacrificing so much of her time which allowed me to leave the house, oftentimes well after my bedtime, to get a run in. All these folks have heard my thanks but deserve to hear them repeatedly. The year was memorable, but the best is yet to come; 103 miles only opened the door to possibilities, and I know I have so much more to give!
Treasury Report – Shaun Luther – We are at 148% of target. Blues Cruise expenses are almost all accounted for. More income for Oley, Shiver and Kris Kringle are coming in.
Oley Valley Country Classic (recently completed) – Lenny Burton – There were a total of 237 registered runners. 144 of those ran the 10 mile race, the rest ran the 5k. Estimated revenue was $8800 with an estimated profit of $3930.
Shiver by the River 10k and 5k race series (first race Sunday December 11, 2022) – Sue Jackson – 100 pre-registered runners so far which ahead of last year at this time and 2019. Swag will be a hat and gloves this year. Soup and pre-wrapped snacks will be served this season. There will be a 50 minute first loop time limit this year. This is due to scheduling with the farm house at Jim Dietrich park which needs to be available for other afternoon events.
Kris Kringle 5 mile race (Saturday, December 31st 2022) – Lisa Domeshek – Everything is going well and on schedule. About 140 pre-registered so far. She is looking for a few more volunteers on race day. Please email her at email@example.com with your preferred responsibility.
Charlie Horse Half Marathon (Sunday May 28, 2023) – Shaun Luther- date for 2023 is confirmed and the Dirty Pony 5k will also take place the same day.
Blues Cruise 50k – Michael Whalen and Elaine Cook – Will offer a nonbinary gender category for 2023’s race. They are also applying to become a RRCA affiliated race.
Social Committee: The annual Christmas party is scheduled for Friday, December 2nd 6 – 11 pm at the Grill Fire Company Social Quarters. $10 for members and $20 for non-members.
Brad Sinnen has two dates planned for Wallyball this winter since it is a member favorite, Friday, January 20th and Friday March, 10th 2023.
The Pacers are still looking for someone to head the social committee. Please contact Michelle Henry if you are interested.
Trail Maintenance – Shaun Luther – As discussed at our last meeting Larry Sundberg is retiring from his work on the Horse Shoe Trail. Shaun has contacted the Horse Shoe Trail Organization and the Pacers will now be responsible for a different portion of the trail. The new section is 7.4 miles between Route 625 and Rt. 10. 5.2 of these miles are part of the Charlie Horse race course and are already relatively maintained by the pacers due to the race. The club will be sending Larry a thank you card and gift for all his hard work.
Race Mates – Michael Whalen – IM ABLE’s main fundraiser The BASH is scheduled for March 18, 2023. This event will be held at The Plex at Alvernia. Michael is hoping many Pacers will want to attend. Please contact him if interested it tickets so that we can have a Pagoda Pacer table.
Jason Karpinski – Email reminders will be sent soon for current members to renew. New and current members can also pay their annual dues at the Christmas Party. He also is working on reinstating the welcome packets that are sent to new members.
Was all discussed during committee reports.
Michelle Henry was reelected for a second term.
Board Members – Brandon Beane was reelected for another two year term. New baord members are, Kelly Ammon, Lisa Domeshek, Cody Harris and Blair Hogg.
The pacers would like to thank the retiring board members, Matt Brophy, Tom Chobot, Jon Durand and Sue Jackson for their numerous years of service.
Ray Ingaglio ran the Philadelphia Marathon (26.2 miles) on November 20th, 2022 in 4:02:04, just a couple months after welcoming his first child into the world!
Click HERE to follow Ray on Strava, and HERE to see his splits for the race.
December 16th, 2021: I recommitted myself to health and fitness. In the past 7 years since graduating college, I have been up and down with my weight and my overall fitness. I was 188 pounds, and I committed to losing 25. At the time, I knew that my body couldn’t handle running without injury without losing weight. I got down to 163 by mid-June. At the same time, I started running 2-3 times a week for 6-9 miles total. On July 4th weekend, down in Wildwood, NJ, I ran 6 miles in just over an hour–a max effort at the time and my longest run since 2009. My head started to contemplate checking a marathon off my bucket list. My wife was pregnant with our first child, and I said to myself, “Do it now, or you will find a million BS excuses not to.” I sat down with my wife and explained the time commitment this endeavor would take, especially Sunday mornings which were my long, slow run days. She agreed and training began immediately.
I looked through different training plans and settled on the 16-week Runner’s World sub-4:30 plan. I chose this plan because it called for 4 running days / week. I refused to give up weightlifting, which I enjoyed way more than running at the time (now it is pretty even between running and lifting). Training went pretty smoothly overall. I worked up to peak training weeks of 30-36 miles which included a final long run of 20 miles in Philadelphia on the latter half of the course. Training was overall enjoyable because after the first few weeks, each week’s long run was a new distance PR for me. Before the training block, my longest run ever was 7 miles. I did miss about 2.5 weeks of training during the block. Mid-September my daughter was born, and I lost about 3 runs during that time. Mid-October I got COVID, which knocked me out for two weeks. This was a turning point for me mentally in the block.
I was pretty confident from the start that with proper training, sub-4:30 was doable. I had the Reading Hospital Half Marathon on October 16th. After not running for two weeks, I did a Peloton class that Friday. I was absolutely torched lung-wise. I said to myself, “No way I can do the half marathon.” On Saturday, I woke up, lifted as usual, and that night decided to go run a 5k to see if maybeeeee I could do the half marathon, as I was seeing people post about it and the FOMO was getting heavy. I ended up running a recent 5k near PR albeit with an elevated heart rate. Signups were open until midnight so I signed up. I ran a 1:59:17, which was encouraging, since sub-2 hours was a goal for the block to hit 4:30 in the full. This was a turning point because mentally I started to believe that 4:30 wasn’t a good enough goal for me. I like a goal that is seemingly out of reach, a goal that is something to work towards. I decided that sub 4:15 was my new goal with a dream/stretch goal of sub 4 hours.
I tapered pretty drastically… by accident. I thought it was a good idea to do a low-weight, high-rep leg day the first taper week. After not lifting legs for 10 weeks due to running volume, I didn’t run that entire week due to severe DOMS. 0/10 would not recommend.
I carb-loaded according to the free calculator by Featherstone Nutrition. 600g a day for 3 days leading up to the race (I only did it for 2). I actually gained back about 7 pounds throughout the training block, as I was super-focused on recovering properly and staying injury free. I’m 5’ 6”, and my weight was 171 pounds on race day.
Pre-Race was definitely different than I imagined. I figured I was being very conservative and would be sitting around waiting for the race to start–this was not the case. I got in line for security at 6:15. I didn’t get through the fence until 6:45. After a porta-potty stop and gear check, it was already 7:10. (The race was officially supposed to start at 7 a.m.). I realized I didn’t have to stress at all because all corrals started very late. My designated corral started 20 minutes late. I found the warming tent, did my normal warmup, took my first gel, and started the race at 7:32.
My race strategy overall was to run my dream-goal pace (9:08) pretty consistently. I did not want to go out too fast nor too slow. I ran my half marathon the same way. I picked my pace and did what I could to hold onto it to hit my desired time
Miles 1-8: It was pretty cold the whole race, but I honestly didn’t notice too much. Other than splashing water on my hand in water stations, I was pretty comfy. I had compression shorts, running shorts, long-sleeve dry fit, regular running hat, and a pair of gloves. Gloves were shed after the first water station. As someone who is 95% a solo runner, I was not expecting to feel so boosted mentally by the crowd atmosphere. It made most of the miles fly by, and I was so calm, happy, and grateful to be there running the race without any major injuries.
I saw some really good signs throughout the race. My favorite one was early on in the city: “Girlfriend: Hey, do you want to run the Philly Marathon with me? Boyfriend: *just literally a picture of Ben Simmons*”
Miles 9-18: Running the course 2 weeks before felt really helpful here. I knew the elevation changes and tracking to mile 18; I was slightly ahead of goal pace. At this point, I only had one mile that was above 9:10, and it was the mile (9:28) with the Fairmount Park hill. (Worst on the course, but not terrible really). Up until this point, I was listening to the Trilogy Mixtapes by the Weeknd. This was a good choice as it’s slower pace R&B and hip hop.
Mile 19-24: At mile 19, a mini panic set in. I use gels every 3 miles. I packed enough to have 2 extra with the assumption that I was getting a gel at 3 different spots per the race information. At Mile 18, I had used my last gel as I must’ve lost a few on the way. I panic called my brother and had him lookup what mile markers gels were supposed to be given out. I missed them entirely at mile 12. (Maybe because of my late start?) I asked my brother, who was meeting me at mile 22, to find a running shop in Manayunk with gels or as a last resort something carb heavy. About 5 minutes later, I hit the first gel stop. I was able to grab a total of 2 which eased my mind.
I feel like I never really hit the wall. Don’t get me wrong, the race got much harder at this point. I saved a 90 minute David Goggins Youtube video that I frequently listen to for the end of the race. That helped me push through as my legs were feeling very tired. My brother ended up finding a banana and other food, but at the last gel stop, I grabbed three so I was fully stocked for the finish. My splits for this section were between 9:12 and 9:31. I realized around these miles that I was about .2-.3 miles off on my watch compared to the course. I was committed to finishing as strong as possible
Mile 25-Finish: With about 2 miles to go, I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt that I could finish strong. My mantra throughout the end of the race, when it started to get tough, was stolen from David Goggins. “What if”… “What if I push through here”… “What if I can hit sub 4 after running a 1:59:17 half”…
Since I hadn’t run the perfect course, I knew that an official sub 4 was out of the question. My brain was too tired to do the math on where I stood pace-wise on my watch distance. I ran 9:06, and for the last half mile I had a strong “sprint” at 8:00 pace. On my watch, I had hit 26.2 just under 4 hours, although my official race time was 4:02:04.
Over. The. Fucking. Moon. Extremely. Satisfied.
Crushed my initial goal I set out for and trained for. Hit my dream goal (on my watch). Couldn’t have been happier with my effort and result.
I couldn’t really do a cooldown; I think the fast finish did more damage to my legs than the entire race beforehand. I walked (hobbled) for about 30 minutes to the car which was the first time all day I experienced a side stitch ironically. I had a buddy locally who let me use his shower and then enjoyed a nice lunch at Maggiano’s in KOP.
My legs are still not 100% recovered. On Sunday and Monday, I was having pain and tightness all over including not being able to bend my left leg fully. After those 2 days, all of my joint/ligament/tendon issues went away, but still, my quads aren’t back to normal. I ran/walked 2 miles yesterday, and I was still recovering. Luckily muscle damage recovers much quicker than other tissue. I attribute this to my weightlifting background. I run heavy, but my muscles are able to absorb impacts putting less stress elsewhere.
As someone who always strives when working towards a goal, I was already thinking about what my next goal was going to be. I don’t have anything scheduled, but it’s going to be another marathon with a sub-3:30 goal. I feel as if I have so much more to give and more to grow as a runner. Personally, I enjoy the length of the marathon as a metaphor for life. The cheesy saying “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is so true in my eyes.
Hard work consistently over time breeds results, not only in running, but in life in general!
Our mid-week group runs 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, those who can will stick around for food, drink, and good conversation, either at a nearby restaurant or a club member’s residence. Come for the run; stay (if you can) for the fellowship. (If you don’t have time to stick around, no worries–just come run with us!)
WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR AND BRING A HEADLAMP OR FLASHLIGHT!