Saturday, December 29, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - A New Year's Challenge and a Wish!

Since we're all about staying fit, and most runners like new challenges, we thought it would be fun to put out a little New Year's Resolution challenge. We welcome you to join us at Up-N-Running for our group runs and walks. And starting Saturday, January 5, Up-N-Running will challenge you to meet your New Year's Resolution. Since a resolution can encompass many different things, we will keep it in one of three categories: Run-related, fitness-related, or weight loss. We ask you to write down your resolution and put it in a sealed envelope (Please make it challenging - It is an honor system). Drop it off at our group run on Saturday, January 5. And we ask that you perform a reasonable amount of participation with the run group (Honor system!). In return, come December, 2013, we will have a small party where the sealed envelopes will be opened. If you met and exceeded your resolution, we will give you a $50.00 gift certificate to Up-N-Running!

As I indicated, it has to be a bit of a challenge. And more important, hopefully something that continues through the years, maybe even through life. I will let all in on my resolution. And it has to do with both weight loss and run-related. I have run a few marathons. And so my goal isn’t to run another (Although I will be running Pittsburgh again for the Alzheimer’s Association, my favorite charity). As I near my 60th birthday, my goal is to run at least 1000 miles for 2013. And to lose 20 pounds in that time period. So I will record my miles every day. And I will weigh myself in on January 1.

If you plan on running your first marathon or half marathon, you definitely want to join us! Our coach is the greatest. And the group has fun training together. If your goal is something other than the marathon or half, you still can join us as we will have other distances in both running and walking.

Are you up for the challenge?

And my New Years Wish for all! We at Up-N-Running thank you all for your support over 2012. We hope your experience here has been pleasant, educational, and you have been very satisfied with our service and staff. We look forward to continued service to the community in 2013. And hope all of your goals for the New Year are met.

I do want to also thank our staff. It just doesn’t work without these knowledgeable and passionate runners!

Have a Very Happy New Year!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - The Solitary Runner

The holidays are now here. The hustle and bustle of people making their way through the stores trying to find that perfect gift. It can be overwhelming! And it is no different for yours truly. There are deadlines to meet and people to visit. And here I was with all of that hovering over me. Plus I had to get my newsletter out. What to do?

What else? Go for a run! With my Breath Thermo and Elmer Fudd running hat on, I ventured into the dark, overcast, snowy/rainy streets in my neighborhood. What a refreshing run! Not only did I get my mandatory 5000 meters in. But I cleared my head of all the clutter to concentrate on what really matters; family, friends, the true meaning of the Holiday, and to reflect on the times we live in. I won’t dwell on the dreadful current events. But only to say that our deep felt thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families of those touched by the Connecticut tragedy. Keep them all in your prayers.

Everyone at Up-N-Running wish you and yours the most blessed and peaceful Christmas!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Injuries: We've All Been There. Here are some pointers.

During your training, you may run into down time due to injury. We all pray it doesn’t happen. But due to repetitive motion from the miles, natural physiological flaws such as an uneven leg length, or that stone on the road or trail that just happens to be there to twist your ankle, you are suddenly strapped with an injury. What to do??

Well, you can take some time off. But if you are in the middle of say marathon training, it sets you back. Sometimes preventative maintenance will go a long way. And there are many PT tools available to you. Some are right in your kitchen cabinet:

Shin Splints - Usually occurs when you stray from that rule of thumb, no more than 10% per week increase in mileage. Some of the best tools to handle shin splints are to try and work the damaged tissue out of your system with the use of The Stick, Foam Roller, or even a rolling pin. You can also use compression from a compression sleeve or sock. Most people can run through the shin splints. And often times it just involves getting some new shoes as your old ones may be “dead.”

IT Band problems - Often times the IT Band becomes tight. This creates added stress on the outside (lateral side) of the knee. Use of a foam roller to loosen the iliotibial band will generally take care of most issues. You can also use a simple foam swim noodle. Although it isn’t quite as dense as the PT Foam Roller. There are also IT Band straps which work quite well, and allow you to continue training.

Plantar Fasciitis - Extremely painful. Especially when first getting out of bed. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing. We have found over the years that with runners, it often occurs due to wearing the wrong shoe style. If you need new shoes, go to your local specialty running store, and bring your current shoes with you. That way, we can help determine if the shoe style will help to eliminate plantar fasciitis. In the meantime, try rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle, a golf or tennis ball, or one of several items for sale that help to break up the scar tissue in the foot.

Stop by Up-N-Running, or any of the other specialty running stores in the area. The associates would be glad to help you out!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - You Can Never Be Too Safe

Went out for a run on Monday morning. It was a pretty day in the 30’s with the sun shining. And very little wind. I normally run a small 3-mile loop near my house which is somewhat rural. It suddenly dawned on me that I was not alone. The fields and woods in Pennsylvania were full of people hunting that elusive whitetail buck. Although I don’t hunt, for the most part hunters in PA as elsewhere are very respectful of others’ rights to be out and about during this most revered of hunting seasons. But I find it doesn’t hurt to take some precautionary measures. Florescent orange (And VisiPro Pink for you women) or safety green are not only great to wear on the roads for high visibility. They also let the hunter know you’re in the area. For these next two weeks, and the subsequent doe season, please make sure you stay on the roads, and make sure the hunters know you are there.

It was brought to my attention that it would be great to maybe do an evening fun run through the local neighborhoods to view the Christmas lights and just enjoy the company of fellow runners during this holiday season. Sounds like a plan! We will keep you informed, and let all know the specifics; when and where.

Please make sure you take advantage of our Saturday group runs. They are free of charge. And all the “goodies” are provided. And keep Saturday, December 8 open for a great little event here at the store. We will be joined by Michelle Smith, the Saucony Tech Rep. She will provide test run ProGrid Guide 6 and PowerGrid Triumph 10’s (shoes) for you to all sample! And that goes for our walkers as well. Following the run, Michelle will be available for questions and answers, along with some great Boldy’s donuts and other refreshments! And, we will have a drawing for a free pair of Saucony shoes for all who attend. And everyone gets a free pair of Up-N-Running gloves! It starts at 8:00 AM. The distances vary. If you plan on attending, please RSVP by calling 724-898-2525 or email us at And give us your shoe size. See you all there!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Notes from the Foot Whisperer - Gearing Up For The Marathon

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here! And it is equally hard to believe that it is time to start shoring up your base miles in anticipation of the Spring marathons and half marathons. Just as a rule of thumb, if you’re planning on training for your first marathon, you should have a base of no less than 15 – 20 miles per week. A 25 – 30 mile per week base is ideal. Starting in January, the miles build up on a weekly basis. For me, they peak at around 40-42 miles in mid-April. So get started on those base miles. And I’m already behind!!

Take advantage of our free marathon training program! It is very informal. Basically, you put in your base miles, shorter miles, and tempo runs on your own during the week. Then we all meet at Up-N-Running every Saturday morning at 8:00 AM for a nice long run. It’s a great time to compare notes and join in some running camaraderie, as you jog through the hills of Middlesex Township. We will also get a few runs in through the streets of Pittsburgh on the marathon and half marathon route. And Up-N-Running provides all of the “goodies” from water, Gu, and Gatorade during the run, to post-run coffee and “carbs.” Come join us! Call or email with any questions.

Speaking of marathons, a big congratulations goes out to my son, Kevin and his wife Julie! The both finished the Richmond Marathon (Their first). Kevin finished at: 2:32:45, and Julie ran a 4:03:35. Congrats to both!!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Notes from the Foot Whisperer - Nothing Like a Trail Run

Anyone for a trail run? The leaves are down. The weeds and bugs have disappeared. And the weather has turned brisk. Perfect for a nice quick run through the woods of Western Pennsylvania! Yours Truly has spent so much time on the roads, sometimes you forget just how different a nice trail run can be. I recall when Lazlo and I went on a trail run in the mountains of the south central part of the state, the first thing I noticed was how much more aware I was of my surroundings. You have to, out of necessity. On a road, it’s just eyes ahead, and maybe every so often, dodge a pot hole. With the trail, not only do you have to be aware of the surface with its rocks, logs, streams, etc., but you also have to watch for the occasional branch sticking out in front of your face. It is invigorating! I literally feel stronger as I run longer.

Now this particular part of the trail for me is the most exciting. I get to run on part of the original Forbes Road! What a neat feeling to know that your steps are following the same steps that George Washington took when he was with the British army crossing the Alleghenies! Go out for a trail run and open all of your senses!!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Thinking Of Those Less Fortunate

Have we all had enough of Sandy? I don't think I remember what the sun looks like! It's been so long. And it really made a mess of the weather in the area. But all joking aside, there are people to the east of us who are really suffering. Our hearts go out to them. If you can find it in your heart to donate anything to getting these people back on their feet, I'm sure they would appreciate it. I know the blood bank called me and the Mrs. We'll stop down and give them a pint of A+. Soon, we'll be seeing the Salvation Army people outside the department stores. Make sure you put a little more in the pot for those less fortunate.

Last year, I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for my favorite charity, The Alzheimer's Association. We run as the ALZ Stars , a great group of people, all of whom have been touched by the disease in one form or another. If you want to help us elim.inate this terrible disease, sign on with the ALZ Stars, and challenge yourself to become an inspiration for those affected by Alzheimer's disease. Go the distance with ALZ Stars, an active event program to benefit the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. Sign up to run the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon with us today!

For more information, attend our no obligation team kick-off:

2013 Pittsburgh Marathon ALZ Stars Team Kick-Off November 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM Panera Bread 7217 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, PA

To RSVP or for more information, contact Melissa at 412-261-5040 or

Register for the marathon, half marathon, relay marathon or 5K today at -


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Racers Never Cease to Inspire!

Congratulations to all who ran the 7th Annual Buffalo Creek Half Marathon! It was another successful Half on a quick and easy downhill point-to-point course. I have to say, the weather early on, did not look promising. Forty degrees, dark and rainy! That was Lernerville at 6:00 AM, when yours truly arrived for pre-race duties. But by the time I got to the starting line in Winfield, the clouds moved out, and thus began the makings of another perfect race! And we had a new Women’s record when Sara Raschiatore crossed the finish line at 1:18:25.7! Speaking of women, there were almost 150 more women than men crossing the finish line! Hats off to the ladies!

There were so many inspirational performances and stories of first-time half marathons. People like Saxonburg’s very own Margaretta “Peg” Lutz, who at 83 is ranked second in the nation in her age group. Or Lou Alaksin from New Galilee, PA, who ran a 1:50 at age 72! To me, the most inspirational performance was made by a young lady named Heidi Wolanin. Heidi had just undergone a painful series of chemo treatments, came up to yours truly with that contagious smile, and told me her last treatment was over, and she’s ready for the Half! What a winner!!!

Thanks go out to Chris Ziegler, president of the Butler-Freeport Trail Council, and the over 200 volunteers that made this happen. It’s time to start thinking about The 2013 Buffalo Creek Half! Sign up early.

And if any of you dropped off any apparel while running the race, it was all retrieved by the volunteers, and can be picked up here at Up-N-Running. We will hold the items until November 1, and then donate any remaining articles to a charity.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Big Mouth? Me? Why of course!

Happy Halloween! Hope you're all getting your costumes together for all the big Halloween races coming up. Don't eat too much candy.

With the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon upon us, yours truly is busily getting prepared. Not as a runner, but as the "Big Mouth!" That's right. I'll be at the finish line with microphone in hand, calling out the finishers. It's a lot of fun. And I get to see a bunch of my friends run one of the faster half marathons in the western PA area. If you're running, good luck! And enjoy. If you aren't running. come on down to Freeport to cheer on the finishers. (And don't forget to grab a cup of hot apple cider!). Because of the Half Marathon, there will be no Saturday Morning group run.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Hellooooo October!

I can't believe we are into October! What happened to the Summer? Picnics, Outside grilling. Swimming, Running in shorts and short sleeve shirts! The nice thing is; it'll be back. And the nice thing about October? Cool crisp running! Wearing that new windproof/waterproof running jacket! And wearing pink!! That's right. It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And it's now cool to wear pink. That includes you guys!!

I can't tell you all how many breast cancer survivors come into Up-N-Running and are some of the best female athletes I have ever known! It is truly inspirational. And shows us all just how far cancer research has gotten. Hats off to all of my special heroes! (Check out our October specials highlighting this special month!)

Congratulations to all who ran the Great Race! It sold out quicker than last year. And guaranteed to sell out even quicker next year. This guy is going to sign up for next year's Great Race at the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo, just to make sure I'm in. And speaking of the Pittsburgh Marathon, on October 2nd, they opened the marathon registration up, and had the single largest day of registration in their history! Yep, running has really gotten popular. And for many, it's a way of life.

See you on the trail!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - A Few Races Near and Dear to my Heart!

There are two big running events within the next month. On Sunday, September 30, the Pittsburgh Great Race takes place. Now a classic 10K (And a 5K starting in Oakland), the Great Race brings in some of the best runners in the Tri-State Area. Not only are there individual winners. But several team competitions take place. And the Great Race has a truly great little Expo taking place on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 28 and 29) on the South Side at the IBEW hall. Stop on down. All of the local running specialty stores will be there offering great deals on running gear and shoes! Up-N-Running will be there as well. Stop by our booth and check out the deals. Or just stop by to say hi!

Locally, on Saturday, Oct. 20, we will run the 7th Annual Buffalo Creek Half Marathon. This race is a fast point-to-point downhill run on a mostly crushed limestone Rails-to-Trails. Most who have run this Half say it’s the fastest Half they’ve ever run in. They offer a nice swag bag with lots of goodies including a technical running shirt. And this year, they are providing finishers’ medals! It is a beautiful run through historical and scenic Buffalo Creek Valley into the city of Freeport. They will shut down applications at 1000 runners. And there will be no race day applications. You can pick up entry forms at Up-N-Running or go to their website: And yours truly, the Foot Whisperer, will be the MC! Hope to see you there!!

Congratulations to the Saint Francis University Men’s Alumni Cross Country team as they blew away the competition at the Reach the Beach 200 mile relay race in New Hampshire. Of the 400 plus teams that ran in this race, the SFU Alums averaged better than 5:50 a mile beating last year’s champs by an average of 5 seconds a mile. Way to go, guys!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Blisters, Shorter Days, And Our Beloved Glade Run

I’ve run four Pittsburgh Marathons over the past ten years (Starting in 2003, then again in 2009, 2010, and 2011). Almost throughout that entire time, I always felt very fortunate that I didn’t get any blisters. I attribute that to wearing the proper socks. We always tell our customers to wear non-cotton socks. The reason? Cotton socks retain moisture from perspiration or rain, thus creating more friction and rubbing. When you wear a non-cotton sock, the moisture easily wicks away, keeping the sock dry, and decreasing the chance of friction. And if you have a two-layer sock, there is absolutely no friction. As I indicated, I “almost” never got blisters. My very last marathon was different. I decided to go with a compression sock instead of a two layer one. The combination of rain and a one-layer sock was enough to create some blisters. My suggestion? If you know it’s going to rain, try a two-layer sock. Or wear two pairs of non-cotton socks. The best two-layer sock that we’ve found? The Wrightsock. Check it out here at the store.

As the days get shorter and colder, we have to adjust our training to the changing climate. We start adding more moisture-wicking and warmer clothing, gloves, hats, and high-visibility accessories. It’s a matter of safety. And I know in my many years of running, I have had literally run-ins with raccoons, skunks, dogs, mail-boxes, and cars! Over the last couple years, it seems the people driving often have their cell phones to their ears, and really aren’t paying much attention to what’s in front of them. My goal? Make sure they see me a half mile away! We have visibility items as sophisticated as safety green, orange or pink vests with reflective piping and flashing rechargeable lights. And as inexpensive as a clip-on flashing strobe that runs on AAA batteries and costing as little as $6.95. Any way you go, definitely get a couple Hi-Vis items. It’ll put yourself and your family at ease.

Over the last several years, Up-N-Running has been quite fortunate to have some of the most beautiful running trails and training runs right in our back yard in Middlesex Township. One area where we would always take a run, was to the Glade Run Lake. It is a 52 acre PA Fish and Boat Commission lake on a 150 acre tract of land. The lake supports many waterfowl, flora and fauna. And it has been a great resource for boating, fishing, dog training, running, and just communing with nature. In 2011, the DEP determined that the earthen dam was unsafe, and the lake had to be drained. This was a huge blow to the community, as well as the wildlife that called Glade Run Lake, “home.” There is an effort underway to help provide funds to repair the earthen dam. The costs are approximately $4 million. And the Glade Run Lake Conservancy was established to work on ways of raising the funds. The GRLC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Please help to bring back the Lake with your ideas and financial aid. Up-N-Running has committed to providing GRLC shirts for sale to help raise funds. And we are working on some other ideas, possibly a 10K that would start and finish at Glade Run. You can learn more by going to Thanks!


Notes From The Foot Whisperer - Time Changes The Way I View Running

As I approach the beginning of my 60’s, I find my running prowess to be waning slightly. I no longer look at who my age group competition may be. Instead I seek them out for the pre-race or post-race advice and camaraderie. My goals of beating my old times are replaced by goals of trying new races in different cities and towns. And just being able to run and enjoy my surroundings. I find that I don’t run up the hills with the vigor I had when I was in my 40’s. And sometimes, I walk the hills and listen to the birds chirp instead of my gasping for air! One of my favorite runs these days is with my dog, Lazlo (Actually, he isn’t my dog. I’m his human!). We run the beautiful mountain ridges of Bedford County. And I keep track of the local flora and fauna that I see.

Has my running gotten better? Not really. My times are slower. And anymore, I chicken out of the big races. But I would say that what I lost in speed, I gained in shear joy! And I still have my challenges.

Next year, I plan on running my fifth Pittsburgh Marathon to celebrate my 60th birthday (And as usual, running for my favorite charity, The Alzheimer‘s Association!). I am also planning on running in the Dublin Marathon in October of that year. Neither will be all that fast. But I guarantee you, I will cherish every “agonizing” minute!!

Pleasant running to you all!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Follow Shelly To Her First Half Marathon Part IV

We've been following Shelly as she trains to run her first half marathon in Pittsburgh in a couple weeks. This is her last post before the actual race. GOOD LUCK SHELLY!!!

Two weeks to go . . . where did the time go?

I can't believe it is already April 21st . . . and only two weeks until the BIG day!!!! This past Wednesday I ran 11 miles in a fairly hilly terrain in just over two hours in my last long run before tapering off in the final two weeks. I felt strong throughout the run. However, at the end of the run, I felt like I could not run another 2.1 miles, and I am very nervous and scared for Sunday, May 6th (where 13.1 long, hard miles awaits)! I have overcome so many obstacles in my training this past year, from plantar fasciitis to peroneal tendonitis to a torn calf (not to mention the difficulties that running as a diabetic entails); and I am scared that I might not meet my goal of finishing the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

Also, my shoes are definitely worn out. I felt pain in the balls of my feet in the 11 mile run, so I am not sure what to do about breaking in new shoes. I did buy a new pair of running shoes today (I have been training in Brooks Adrenaline GTS11's, and I just bought Brooks Adrenaline GTS12's). My plan is to stop wearing my worn out shoes and try to break in the new shoes over the next two weeks. If, on race day, I don't feel the new shoes are adequately broken in, I will run in the old shoes. However, I am not sure what the best plan is here. Any advice from more seasoned runners would be welcomed.

. . . and any encouraging/motivating words are always appreciated! Wish me luck!