Tuesday, July 4, 2017

FAITH, FAMILY, FORTITUDE

Following is my column from the Republican Herald newspaper, which was published today.
Paige Stoner is a very talented, dedicated runner. The sky's the limit for this young  athlete.

Faith, family and fortitude.
Pottsville’s Paige Stoner has been guided by these beliefs throughout her stellar running career.
Stoner began running at the Hershey Youth Track and Field competition at the age of 10. By the time she reached eighth grade, she had won the state championship in both the 800- and 1,600-meter races. At Pottsville Area she won the Schuylkill League Cross Country championship all four years, earned the District 11 championship twice, and placed second at states as a freshman.
Her high school track credentials include league championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races from freshman to senior year, a 3,200-meter relay team championship at the District 11 meet as a sophomore, and a 1,600- and 3,200-meter first-place medal as a senior.
At states, she placed third in the 3,200 as a senior with a time of 10:41. In her senior year at leagues she ran her personal-best 1,600-meter time of 4:56.
She credits the high level of competition in Pennsylvania as excellent preparation for collegiate running.
Stoner began her college career at Lipscomb University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, where she competed for a year and a half. During that time, after turning in grueling months of high mileage training, she placed second in the Atlantic Sun Conference Cross Country Championships, as well as second in the 5K and steeplechase at the conference track and field championships. Unfortunately the mega-miles took their toll, and she suffered a stress fracture of her foot during her sophomore year.
Stoner decided to transfer to Syracuse University. Today, however, she still maintains friendships with many of her Lipscomb teammates, who share her deep Christian faith.
Syracuse head track and cross country coach Chris Fox knows a little something about running. He has run a 2:13 marathon and enjoyed a very successful 18-year professional running career.
Stoner credits the rigorous but sensible coaching of Fox and assistant coach Brien Bell as the reason for her success and her good running health at Syracuse. Intense six-mile hilly tempo runs, workouts that simulate the steady pace of racing, speedy track interval sessions and weekly long runs, as well as easy rest days, comprise her 60- to 65-mile training weeks.
During the 2016 cross country season, Stoner earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors, placing 17th in the ACC and 11th at regionals. She achieved a personal best of 20:32 in the 6K and missed nationals by a mere .02 of a second.
After a successful indoor track season in which she ran a personal best time of 16:05 in the 5K — good enough to place third in the ACC Indoor Championships — she set her sights on outdoor track.
Her 2017 outdoor track achievements include a personal-best time of 33:55 in the 10K and qualifying times for nationals in the 5K, 10K and the steeplechase.
At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in June, Stoner placed fourth in her heat in the steeplechase and 15th overall with a Syracuse school record time of 10:02. She missed qualifying for the finals by two seconds.
Stoner’s immediate goals include placing in the top three at the ACC Cross Country Championships and advancing to Nationals. In track, she is not sure if she will run the steeplechase or the 5K, but she would like to place in the top 10 at nationals.
For the long term, she would like to compete as a professional runner and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Although they are extremely proud of their daughter, Stoner says her parents “never pressured me.” Her deceased grandfather, Bob Stoner, a member of the Pottsville Area High School Football Hall of Fame and a track runner, was, according to Paige, “her biggest fan.”
Paige Stoner is a humble champion. Faith, family and fortitude will always be the keys to her success.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Following is my monthly running column, which appeared in the Republican Herald newspaper today.

A good day to watch a marathon is a bad day to run a marathon
The 121st Boston Marathon provided excellent conditions for the nearly one million spectators who lined the historic 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston’s Boylston Street, but for the more than 26,000 registered runners, temperatures nearing 80 degrees heated by a tailwind meant slower times and plenty of dehydrated casualties at the medical tent.
Mentally, after training for months and logging thousands of miles in all kinds of weather, waking up to summer-like conditions in mid-April can break the spirit of a marathon runner. Goal times are abandoned and the race becomes an exercise in survival.
Many runners wilt beneath the heat, but for three of our local runners, their drive to complete the task — perhaps inspired by their dedication to training and their devotion to helping others — propelled them across the finish line on Boylston Street and earned them the coveted Boston Marathon participation medal.
Last month we told you about Tower City’s Timmy Harner. A little over a year ago, Harner was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. On Monday, April 17, Harner crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
Harner has not only beaten the disease and run the Boston Marathon, but he has raised over $12,500 for Team in Training, the main fundraising arm of the Leukemia- Lymphoma Society. On June 9, Harner will be the keynote speaker at a seminar for cancer survivors at the Hershey Medical Center.
If you are booking a vacation and you are hoping for warm weather, consult Minersville’s Father Christopher Zelonis. Father Zelonis has run the past two Boston Marathons, braving warm temperatures each time. He also survived tropical conditions at the Run for the Red Marathon two years ago, when temperatures and humidity levels reached 90 degrees.
Father Zelonis donates his time to the elderly at several area nursing homes, as well as serving as a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
Schuylkill Haven’s Rick Devaney is a veteran of nine Boston Marathons. He, too, crossed the finish line despite this year’s heat, and he, like Father Zelonis, serves as a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
Mike Peckman, director of marketing and public affairs at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill, heaped praise on his two long distance running volunteers.
“To think we have two members of our volunteer department who are part of a very special club … those who have run the Boston Marathon,” Peckman said. “We are very proud of the training, dedication and accomplishments of both Father Zelonis and Mr. Devaney for the marathon. We are equally proud and appreciative of all they do for our patients, our friends and neighbors, each and every day here at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.”
Harner, Zelonis and Devaney are special, indeed. Their drive, determination, and dedication extend to both their race training and to their desire to serve.
                                                    Timmy Harner

Sunday, April 16, 2017

EMBRACE AND ENJOY

Best of luck to all the runners who have qualified to run in the world's oldest and greatest
marathon tomorrow.

In my opinion, there is no other race that boasts the history, tradition, and prestige as the Boston marathon.

Enjoy the city, the crowds, and the one-of-a-kind course.

From Hopkinton to Boylston, this is one of the world's most iconic sporting events.

Embrace every moment, and...kick ass!!!



Monday, April 10, 2017

jS RUNNING-WALKING TRACKER AND STEP COUNTER

On most days, we like to get out there and begin our workout with a minimum amount of hassle. We simply want to "Just start" our running or walking.

Being somewhat of a 'minimalist' when it comes to my workouts, I really like the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter because it's simple to use and easy to monitor while running.

At the start of the run, the simple touch of the "Start" button activates the app's running mode, where most activities are controlled by gestures. You can control your music, glance-free by double-tapping anywhere on the screen to play/pause music, swipe right/left to change tracks, and up and down to control volume.

I like the large, easy-to-read running metrics, which are color coded. You can choose to allow the screen to scroll through the metrics, or lock in on one metric, such as distance, pace or duration of the workout. Of course, you can also swipe through the other metrics if you choose.

There is a special mode for armband use where the angle of display can be adjusted to optimize the readout.

And, no other app offers the safety features like the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter.

The personal alarm function is designed to draw the attention of a passerby in case of an emergency. the alarm is easily triggered by pulling the headphones out of the device.

 An instant call emergency or a saved contact number is activated by using a simple tab and hold gesture.

SMS run details and location can be sent to a saved contact or to a loved one at the start of each run.

Finally, you can turn your iPhone to a side light when running at dusk or in the dark.

Check out the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter at the App Store. http://apple.co/2cYbMrU

You'll love this easy to use, safety-loaded app.





Saturday, April 8, 2017

BOSTON STRONG

Following is a story I wrote about a young local runner, which appeared in today's edition of the Pottsville Republican Herald newspaper. www.republicanherald.com

Each of the more than 26,000 runners who will toe the starting line at Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on April 17 for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon has a story.
Often the road one takes, the hardship one endures, and the obstacles one encounters can be more difficult than the 26.2-mile journey from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street.
Schuylkill County will be well-represented at this year’s Patriots’ Day classic.
New Ringgold’s Lisa Georgis, Father Christopher Zelonis from Saint Clair, Meredith Boris from Schuylkill Haven, Steve Boucher from Zion’s Grove, Schuylkill Haven’s Rick Devaney, Orwigsburg’s Michelle Kemmerle, Ashland’s Scott McCormick and Pottsville’s Rachel Schoffstall all have demonstrated the unique drive and dedication necessary to qualify for the Boston Marathon. All have their own stories of successes and setbacks.
But the most compelling story of all of the marathon runners from our region is told by a young man from Tower City.
Timmy Harner is only 31 years old, but running the Boston Marathon has always been an item on his bucket list.
A veteran of two previous marathons, Timmy was no stranger to hard training and long-distance running. But on Halloween 2015, as he completed a training run, he felt unusually fatigued. Two days later, he was able to run only a block before he was forced to turn around and go home. His training pace, which usually averaged about 8 minutes per mile, had increased to more than 12 minutes a mile.
“It felt like I ran a marathon,” Timmy recalls. “Immediately, I knew something was wrong.”
He visited his family doctor, underwent a series of blood tests, and 10 days after his tiresome training run, on Nov. 10, 2015, he was officially diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Four years prior to being diagnosed, Timmy lost his grandmother to the same disease.
The next few months for Timmy were both difficult and life-threatening. On Christmas Eve he was rushed to the hospital with a 106.2-degree fever.
He wanted to give up. His life, at such a young age, he felt, would never be the same. Instead he valiantly held on, and in March 2016 he received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. Less than a year after his diagnosis, he was cancer-free.
Exactly a year to his diagnosis date, Timmy received the phone call of a lifetime: he was accepted onto the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. After a year in which he suffered, battled and beat cancer, his dream of running the Boston Marathon would come true.
His survival, he thinks in part, is due to the strength of his fellow cancer patients, as well as the help of his friend and nutritionist, Ryan Matter.
Still, he often feels “Survivor’s Guilt” when he thinks about the folks who were unable to beat this terrible disease.
So Timmy has dedicated his effort at the Boston Marathon to “Aidan.”
Aidan was hospitalized in 2009 and was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He lost his battle with the disease and died. He was only 9 years old.
Timmy reached out to Aidan’s parents, and learned that they and their friends plan to run the San Diego Marathon in June and hope to raise $100,000 to fund a research grant in Aidan’s name. Timmy Harner has personally raised more than $12,000 for Aiden. His fundraising site is: http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/boston17/tharner.
Harner hopes to run the Boston Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 45 minutes, which is an average pace of 8:45 a mile.
In Timmy’s words, “I am still here, fighting every single day and cannot wait to cross that finish line on April 17.”
A marathon is a long race, but to Timmy Harner, it may feel like a short jaunt.
He has already traveled a very long road.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE LOSS OF A RUNNING LEGEND

Running icon, Ed Whitlock, died yesterday, at the age of 86. Below is a blog I wrote on November 27, 2015, entitled "In the Presence of Greatness," after having had the honor of meeting and speaking with Ed at the Berwick, Pennsylvania Run for the Diamonds on Thanksgiving Day 2015.

Ed Whitlock was humble and and gracious. We talked about training (he joked about the irony of his daily training route: a cemetery near his home), racing, and injuries. Ed never stretched, or cross-trained. When he got injured, he would take time off and pick up with his running when he felt he was healed.

After I published my blog, I received a thank-you email from Ed. You would have thought I had handed him a million dollars. 

How awesome was this man? Here's a sample of his times at various ages. 5K: 17:23, age 67. 18:21, age 73. Half marathon: 1:20:14, age 69, 1:22:03, age 70, 1:38:59, age 81. Marathon: 2:51:02, age 68, 2:54:48, age 73, 3:15:54, age 80, 3:56:33, age 85. 

Rest in peace, champ.

IN THE PRESENCE OF GREATNESS-November 27, 2015

In this world of overpaid, egotistical athletes, playing their professional sports, shamelessly hawking any product to make a buck, then bragging about their accomplishments, yesterday, in Berwick, Pennsylvania, at the 106th running of the Run for the Diamonds, I had the honor for being in the presence of greatness.

It was my privilege to meet, and speak with 83-year old Ed Whitlock,

In my estimation, Ed Whitlock is the greatest living athlete on the planet.

So, in an effort to be completely accurate, I'll list Ed's accomplishments, as listed on his Wikipedia page.

" In his 60s after retiring he started to concentrate on road racing and latterly the objective of becoming the first man over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. After an initial attempt at age 70, injury prevented another attempt until age 72 when in 2003 he completed the marathon 2:59:10. In the following year, he lowered the record to 2:54:49 and in 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, to date (2013) the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon.
In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon,[2] and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature.
On September 26, 2010, Whitlock ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:34:23.4.[3]
After turning 80, Whitlock improved the marathon world record for his age category by almost 15 minutes to 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011.[4] He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54.[5]
At age 81, on Sunday, September 16, 2012, wearing bib number 1, Whitlock broke the Canadian and unofficial world half-marathon record at his hometown inaugural race, the Milton Half-Marathon, running 1:38:59.[6] In 2013, he lowered the record to 1:38:11 on the same course.
Whitlock also competes on the track, where as of 2012 he holds 15 world age group records ranging in distance from 1500 metres to 10,000 m and age groups 65+, 70+, 75+ and 80+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.[7]"


That's right folks, a 3:15 marathon--at age 80!

I have never met a more gracious, humble man. Ed Whitlock is a great athlete and competitor, but he is an even greater individual, He told me he can't wait to turn 85 so he can assault more age-group records.  Even more than the delicious turkey, my meeting Ed Whitlock was the highlight of my Thanksgiving Day.

I just hope some of his talent, dedication, and determination rubs off!


Monday, March 13, 2017

LINKED FITNESS Q&A

Recently I did a Q&A with my favorite fitness website, Linked Fitness. www.linkedfitness.com. Enjoy the read and check out this great site.

1) How long have you been running and what made you start?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityI ran track and cross country in high school and college, but it was after I graduated from college in 1975 that I began to run seriously.
Having graduated from college and knowing that team sports were behind me, I enjoyed the freedom that running afforded me. I could train anytime, without having to worry about a partner or a team to train with.
I ran my first road race in the spring of 1976, and my first marathon later that year. With the exception of a few injuries, I haven’t stopped. I have kept a running logbook since 1976, and it tells me I have run over 122,000 miles in 41 years of competitive running.
Recently, I learned I rank 24th on a list of 38 runners who have run sub-3-hour marathons in five decades.

2) How do you motivate yourself to go out for a run?

Running has always been therapy for me. During my more competitive years, I wanted to train my best in order to race my best.
These days, as an older competitor, I realize that rest days are important, but if I miss an extended amount of time due to injury, I become anxious, and sometimes quite irritable.
In short, I love running so much that motivation has never really been an issue for me.

Related Article: How to Motivate Yourself to Run

3) Should I eat before a run? If yes, what do you recommend?

I adhere to the “2-hour” rule. If I plan to run at 9:00 a.m., I won’t eat anything after 7:00 a.m. I do recommend eating something prior to running as opposed to running on an empty stomach.
Keep it light, but I believe that some food in your body makes you stronger as you run.

4) Which part of my foot should I land on when running?

A distance runner should be running heel to toe, in a smooth, rolling motion. Sprinters should be on their toes; but not distance runners.
Remain relaxed, keeping your arms in the shape of the letter ‘L.’

5) Can I train for a race on a treadmill?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityAbsolutely!
Place the grade on the treadmill on 1% to simulate outdoor conditions, listen to music or watch television to reduce the boredom, and you’re all set.
A few years ago, an American from Alaska qualified for the Olympic marathon team by logging most of her training miles on the treadmill.

6) What tips would you give for running downhill?

Relax, allow gravity to propel you, keep your arms loose, and use the downhill as an opportunity to gather strength for the uphills and the remainder of the run.

7) Should I avoid running the day before a race?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityThat is an individual decision.
I have always run a couple of easy miles the day before a race, but a good friend of mine has run his most successful races when he takes a day or even two days off before the race.
Don’t leave your race out on the roads. Make sure you go into a race fresh and strong. If taking the day off from training the day before the race works best for you, then, by all means, do so.

8) Have you ever hit the wall in a marathon? What is the best way to avoid it?

I have run 54 marathons, and I have been fortunate to never have, “Hit the wall.” I attribute that good fortune to a training method I have adhered to for years.
When training for a marathon, it is simply not enough to turn in the long runs. Rather, my training was based on ‘quality’ long runs. For example, a sub-3-hour marathon averages out to about 6:56 per mile. If I ran four 20-milers in preparation for the sub-3-hour race, I would start with a 7:30 pace for the first 20-miler, then get close to a 7:00 pace for my final one.
Simulating race pace during your long runs can help you to avoid hitting the wall.

Related Article: Half Marathon Training: A Guide for Beginners

9) How do I know when to replace my running shoes?

Ask the Running Coach with Joe Muldowney | Linked Fitness CommunityIf your sole wears down to the white midsole area. If, when you look at your shoes, they lean inward or outward, or simply if you can feel too much of the road beneath your feet, it’s time for new shoes.
Running shoes are a runner’s most important investment. Never try to squeeze extra miles out of you shoes. Doing so is inviting an injury.

10) What is your favourite race distance?

The marathon has always been my favourite event. Running a marathon is like baking a cake. If you use the proper ingredients and mix them correctly, you will create a masterpiece.
I enjoy locking into a pace and grinding it out. The marathon can be a race of attrition, and if you’re properly prepared, you will outlast the competition.