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!