Category Archives: NEWS

Miscellaneous Empire Runners news!

I took steroids – by Catherine DuBay

I watched the Olympic Marathon Trials and was so impressed by Galen Rupp’s performance and then was so deflated listening to Kara Goucher’s claim that his success is due to Performance Enhancing Drugs. This accusation led me to the BBC special on this subject-focusing on Alberto Salazar and his Oregon Project and their purported use of PED’s. The whole thing makes me sad. Sad for the athletes, sad for the amateurs and sad for the sport of long distance running.

I am not a professional athlete. Far from it. I have never had a sponsor or paid a coach. Sure I earned a few bucks in the PA cross country series and one time won a race sponsored by Chevy’s and got free Chevy’s meals for a year. But even as an amateur I can understand how a professional might be tempted to partake in PED’s. Running is very hard. Training day in and day out, often twice a day, can be grueling. To keep this up over a long training cycle likely will result in injury, burnout or both. If a trusted coach suggests a pill or injection to aid your recovery and boost your workouts without compromising your promise to stay clean, I think we would all be tempted.

I was on steroids before and can attest to their power. I am going to sound like Maria Sharapova, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and a host of other professional athletes, when I tell you that I was “prescribed these drugs for a medical condition and had no idea that they were banned”. The difference is that unlike these athletes, I am not a professional and my steroids were NOT for athletic performance but were given for anti-nausea prior to chemotherapy infusions. And man, were they powerful! I took the drugs the 3 days leading up to my infusion and I would get so fired up (some may say wound up) these 3 days that despite the ill effects of chemo I was able to run, swim and/or cycle and feel pretty darn good.

So yes, I can understand how professional athletes who are relying on speedy recoveries from increasing mileage or demanding workouts would be drawn to the power of these drugs. But it makes me so sad to know our sport is tainted by cheaters. I wanted to believe that running was so pure and required such discipline that those capable of this could not stoop so low. I should have known from professional cycling that no sport was immune.

I would like to believe that the cheaters are the exception. Please pro’s, help me believe this. As we enter this Olympic season I want to watch you all glide around the track and through the streets of Rio with the confidence that you are clean and have earned your way to Rio through hard work, smart coaching and sacrifices alone. I will cheer for you and celebrate with you and sadly now have to question you.

Run on my friends.

Come Up And Play With Us!

Editor’s note: It seems like every week brings a new race to Sonoma county, and training groups are sprouting everywhere, from Empire Runners and all the local running stores. Some are informal meet-ups, others are expos with demos from shoe vendors, some are paid groups targeting a specific type of running with a goal race to work towards. This all bodes well for our local, vibrant community.

In the first installment of an ongoing series, we are highlighting some of the options from Healdsburg Running Company. In coming months we’ll hear from other running stores about their training offerings, plus an expanded roster of fun events from Empire Runners.

Come Up And Play With Us!: 1970’s Empire Runners Values Are Healdsburg Running Company’s Founding Principles

A number of new running shops are turning back the clock and using the guiding principles that stem from running clubs and shops from the 1970’s. From Frank Shorter’s win in the Olympics, to women starting to run, to trail running, and other events that spurred on the start of Empire Runners club still holds true for specialty running stores and running clubs today.

40 years later, the resurgence of running is a re-creation of some of the same values that Empire was founded on. At Healdsburg Running Company (HRC) we call these values the 4 C’s: Community Building, Charity, Commerce Everywhere, and Camps & Tours.

Community Building

One of the oldest practices of community building is creating a welcoming environment and tapping into a common interest like trail running. HRC has community runs every night, but the shop focuses on three weekly runs: “Ladies Night”, “Family Night” and the Saturday “Trail Runs.” All of which start at HRC and end at a favorite winery, brewery, restaurant, yoga studio or community center.

Every week has a different locale or theme. Ladies Night gathers 80+ women to run every Tuesday in a fun and safe environment. Family night of over 100 runners focuses on the kids and dogs joining the run and has themes like “running for gelato” while ending at a family-friendly bar or restaurant. HRC Trail Runs center on amazing places and parks – like Lake Sonoma, Armstrong Woods, Riverfront Park, or on private trails in the vineyards – with beer and food to follow at a community breakfast spot. To keep the runs open to all paces and types of runners, there is as much focus on the food and drink as much as the pace!

Charity

In order to remain authentic and keeping with 1970’s running roots that started Empire Runners, charity work is needed to reaffirm and provide a sense of community. This also creates social capital to capture some more common interests beyond the running activity itself like changing lives. In a year of hosting film screenings, fun-runs, and participating in numerous fundraising events, HRC has raised nearly $14,000 for a few specific charities that club runners chose. This has included Wear Blue for Fallen Soldiers, Girls On The Run, Vineyard Workers Scholarships and Russian RiverKeeper, along with many local fundraisers for kids track teams and events.

Commerce Everywhere

 Similar to many running clubs, retail activity is not the sole focused at the retail store or club itself. Having a running lounge and meeting spot emphasizes the sense of community and education. Running shoes, apparel and nutrition are, of course, sold, but the focus is bringing the running store or elements of it out to all the events we are sponsoring, hosting or running. In a 24/7 online world, all new running stores sell in a multi-channel environment. Running store products today are sold online as well as at alternative partner retail locations like wineries and bars that sell co-branded HRC running gear. The new emphasis is on integration along with education and awareness, not selling. Amazon sells, but specialty local shops educate!

Camp & Tours

Being forward-looking and capitalizing on Ultra running and Sonoma County wine growth, HRC intends to host more “Running Camps.” Healdsburg Running Camps are four multi-day running vacations starting this fall along with two-day versions for the weekend visitors from the Bay Area. As America’s wineiest running store the camp’s focus is on running but also includes four different professionals runners, sponsored athletes, chefs, winemakers, and other local running guides. For example, a camp will include runners from Hoka One One, a chef from the famous Spoonbar Café, the California winemaker of the year, along with our top local Ultra runner who —–all will run with our campers.

We plan to show these running campers the unparalleled beautiful trails, amazing food, award winning wine and charm of our small town with a quaint stay —all centered around the trail run. It is the run, food, wine and stay of your life!

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Empire Party in Retrospect! by Shirley Fee

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.The Empire Runners end-of-year Award Party started off with a few refreshing beverages and some socializing. It was fun seeing everyone all cleaned up and shiny.

As we crowded around the raffle prize tables, trying to decide what items we hoped to win, I think a little competition developed over the prizes. Quite a few tickets were purchased and good-humored discussions as to who was going to win the coveted items abounded. We had some great prizes donated by generous businesses and individuals.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

The dinner, catered by Tagliaferri’s Deli, was (as usual) very good, with a nice variety of dishes served by Empire Runner helpers Val Sell, Lisa Isabeau, and Tori Meredith.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.Member Emily Fisher entertained us by singing and playing guitar. Who knew we had such a great talent in the club! I heard comments like “She sounds like Joan Baez,” and “She reminds me a little of Emmy Lou Harris.”

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.Bill Browne was honored for his long-time service to the club and got a big round of applause plus a standing shout-out from his wife, Jeannie, who, in turn, got her own round of applause and laughter. We should all be so lucky to have such a fan in our corner.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.Peter Kirk showed off his speaking skills as he honored newsletter editors over the past 20 years. His presentation included a slide show that illustrated how the newsletters have evolved over time. It was interesting to see what was and now what is. Larry Meredith, in his usual humorous manner, gave a short cross country talk and kept the mood upbeat.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.Throughout the evening, raffle tickets were pulled and winning numbers announced amid some happy yippees and some disappointed groans.

The Grand Prix awards went by fast, the last tickets were pulled, and it was time to go. It was a lively party and it was great to see new and old members enjoy the evening.

Stay tuned…. I hope to make next year fun and surprising.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

ERC Annual Party, Feb 6th 2015, at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa, California.

 

Heel Strike – New Fiction Novel by Empire Runner Bruce Koepp

March2015HeelStrikeLocal medical professional, Bruce Koepp, has published his first fiction novel: Heel Strike. Set on Oahu, the story is a compelling thriller/mystery involving two veteran trail runners whose lives are tethered together in a tense story of deadly deceit. Caught between them is the devoted wife and mother not willing to wait at the Finish line any longer. Koepp explains: “For those of us beset with this sport, it’s much like a descent into an addictive love affair that constantly tests personal relationships where the expectations don’t always equal the outcomes. Our need to personally compete is way beyond the need to participate.” Bruce invites fiction path finders to share the visual escape and pick up the narrative at Reader’s Books in Sonoma. “It’s not a lite jog around the Plaza,” he adds.

____________________________________________________________________

HEEL STRIKE

A Novel by Bruce Koepp

Eminent tropical storms are lining up off the Oahu shores like anxious runners awaiting the starter’s pistol. The competiveness of trail racing draws them together while a desperate love triangle tears them apart. Both visual and metaphorical, the suspense builds with each treacherous step toward the Finish line. Not a niche story, but rather a surprising cornerstone chase into survival.

<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>> 

ORDER FORM

NAME:

Address:

City/State/Zip:

Phone:

Email:

Cost:               $17.00   /      Number of Books Requested:

Total Due:                            $ _________________

Money Order or Check, payable to:  Bruce Koepp

Mail to: 17651 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

koepp4@yahoo.com

Running is not punishment, by Catherine DuBay

It happens on the soccer field. It happens on the basketball court. It happens in PE classes. It happens in our Armed Services and probably got its start there. It even happens on the track. And IT drives me crazy. IT is the use of running as punishment.

As an athlete or parent of an athlete you have probably seen it or experienced it yourself. You are at soccer practice and your team is goofing off. The coach has had it and so he/she sends the team out to run laps. Or you are late for basketball practice so while the rest of the team does warm up drills you are sent out to run around the gym 2 times. And my favorite of all is the PE teacher who has the kids do pushups who aren’t behaving. I thought I had mellowed out on my frustration with this until I recently witnessed another misuse of fitness as punishment. I caught the tail end of a practice (sport, location, etc. need not be revealed) where several of the players were running “lines” while a few were standing and watching. I asked why this was and was informed that the team that won the last practice game didn’t have to do the run. What is this teaching about our view of exercise? The losers do drills and the winners watch? When in reality the reason the winners are winners are that they DO the drills and they work hard and it pays off!

Why are coaches, teachers and fitness professionals using running (and exercise in general) as a punishment? What message is this sending to the kids about how the ambassadors of sport and fitness feel about exercise? No doubt my friends, that running is hard and so are pushups, burpees, raising kids and most everything else in life that is worth the effort. This concept of hard work should be celebrated instead of used as punishment. Wouldn’t we be better served if we could find a different punishment for misbehaving athletes? Pick up trash around the field or gym? Sit out the first 10 minutes of the next game? Go sit in the corner by yourself for 15 minutes. Go play chess for an hour. Stop-I am kidding! Chess shouldn’t be used as punishment-it is really closer to torture.

What’s the solution? I believe it is not a matter of changing how coaches are coaching but simply in the message they are delivering. A coach should use running laps to settle down his/her athletes that are distracted and not focusing. Running has a way of settling restlessness and sharpening our focus. A coach should send kids out to run laps to settle them down a bit. Just don’t call it punishment. Tell the athletes why they are running; it will sharpen your focus. It will settle some of your extra energy. It will warm you up. All this is true and accomplishes the same task but with a different message about exercise.

I came across a story about Deangelo Williams, an NFL player with the Steelers this year, who grew up with coaches using exercise as punishment. He said that every time a kid got “punished” and had to do push-ups, suicide runs, laps around the field, etc. he would join in with them because he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to get extra conditioning and certainly didn’t want any other kids getting an advantage because they were doing work while he watched.

In conclusion; I have a great appreciation for our youth coaches and PE teachers. I have been a coach and know that it is a huge amount of work for a little amount of money (if any). I have seen how coaches have changed people’s lives and instilled a lifelong love of fitness and athletics in our youth. Keep this love of sports and activity alive by showing kids how hard work and physical discomfort are not punishment but necessary aspects of achieving great success in sports and in life.

Run on my friends.

Jim Crowhurst’s Running Blog!

The following is from  Albert Caruana at Cross Country Express –  http://www.crosscountryexpress.com/2016/01/covering-high-school-track-cross.html

For those of you that were faithful visitors to Jim Crowhurst’s sites that covered Cross Country and Track & Field in the Redwood Empire (NBL, SCL and CMC), you are in luck. Jim has the site back up which you can find at the link below. The site includes tons of statistics dating back many decades and will be a great resource for those 3 leagues for this coming track and field season.

http://www.redwoodempirerunning.com/

The site is no longer associated with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat so donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the site. Check the link on the site for more information in regards to donations.

 

Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now!

Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now!

In October, the Santa Rosa City Council took a big step forward to realize the vision of a Greenway to Spring Lake. The City Council voted unanimously to begin a General Plan amendment process for the Caltrans right-of-way property – the future Southeast Greenway. This process will launch in 2016 and there will be many opportunities for the community to participate and provide comments and ideas.

One of these opportunities will be on Saturday, February 20, 2016, when everyone is invited to attend a free two-hour public meeting at Montgomery High School to find out how to participate in the City’s General Plan amendment process.

At the meeting, there will a chance to meet the members of the Southeast Greenway Community Partnership, which includes the City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Regional Parks, LandPaths, the Sonoma Land Trust and the Southeast Greenway Campaign itself.  You will hear from:

Dave Koehler, Sonoma Land Trust’s new Executive Director and keynote speaker, who will describe his role in the creation of the San Joaquin River Parkway. His colleagues will explain how the Sonoma Land Trust is playing a leadership role in our negotiations with Caltrans, and coordinating fund-raising to purchase the property from Caltrans. City staff will explain the steps in the City’s process which includes hiring consultants to develop a land use concept plan, preparing a General Plan amendment, zoning designation and an Environmental Impact Report for the Greenway. City staff will also describe the many opportunities for public input and comments.

Based on this meeting and a series of public meetings to be held in 2016, the Southeast Greenway will become what our community imagines. The vision may include:

  • Walking/running trails and bike paths with connections east to Spring Lake Regional Park and the future Sonoma Valley Trail and west to the Joe Rodota Trail and the SMART Trail and stations
  • Safe routes to all the schools in the area
  • Neighborhoods parks and meeting places
  • Community gardens and restored walnut groves
  • Restored oak woodland, creeks, wetlands and Sumner Marsh
  • Opportunities for outdoor education
  • Economic stimulus of the surrounding area.

2016 is a pivotal year for the Southeast Greenway. Come find out how you can play a role in creating a vibrant Greenway in Santa Rosa and share in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for community imagining during the coming year.

 Event:  Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time Is Now!

Where:  Montgomery High School Cafeteria, 1250   Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa;

When:  Saturday, February 20, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm;

Child Care:  Provided by licensed bonded childcare providers (drop off at 9:45 am);

Translation:  Spanish language translation service available;

Refreshments:  Free coffee, tea and light refreshments;

Bike Parking:  Free and secure bike parking by Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition;

Auto Parking:  Available in the Montgomery High School parking lot.

For more information, visit http://www.SoutheastGreenway.org or call 707-703-1922.

Empire Runners Appreciation Party! by Shirley Fee

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_001Once again we are ending another great year for the Empire Runners Club. Many of our members have achieved their goals of running faster, or running longer distances, or becoming involved in club activities by volunteering at races!

Empire Runners Club Annual Appreciation Party

Who: Empire Runners Members and their Guests

What: Awards Ceremony and Dinner catered by Tagliaferri’s Deli

When: Saturday February 6th 5pm to 9pm

Where: Finley Community Center Person Auditorium , 2060 West Colllege Ave. Santa Rosa, CA

Online Registration deadline February 3rd

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_002The annual appreciation party is about awarding members for their participation in our races by running or volunteering. It is an evening we can enjoy, eating great food catered by Tagliaferri’s Deli, being amazed by how well we runners “clean up”. We get to wear something besides sweaty shorts and t-shirts. The women actually get to let their hair down and put on a little makeup, dress up and show the world we can be pretty and feminine too. The men get to wear pants and nice clean shirts showing that they too can look pretty darn good.!

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_008It is a time for the non-running spouses to meet the other non-running spouses. You can get together and commiserate with each other on what you go through while supporting your crazy running spouse. Believe me, you are appreciated.!

The other great thing about this party is the silent auction, there are always great items to bid on. There are great wines, tasty fudge by our very own Chocolate Man, food items, apparel and so much more.!

I always enjoy the entertainment section and the award ceremony where we recognize so many of our members for their dedication and hard work. !

It is a great evening for socializing, telling war stories, getting to know new members and just relaxing with great food and good company. !

I hope to see you there!

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HOW CANCER CURED MY HOLIDAY STRESS, by Catherine DuBay

People talk about holiday stress and I feel sorry for them. The holidays do not stress me out at all. Other things stress me out; cooking, shopping, traffic, but not the holidays.

I actually love this time of year. When the days get darker and I have to wear gloves when I run and Starbucks cups turn red, I get really happy. This wasn’t always the case. I used to feel compelled to do it all. Decorate, bake, buy tons of perfect gifts, get the annual photo book completed, entertain and stay in shape. I was so busy trying to portray the life we see on the cover of holiday magazines, I would get to January 2 and realize I didn’t really enjoy the season at all! Then I got cancer one year and I was forced by chemo and surgeries to slow down a bit. I entered the holiday season with the perfect excuse to sit back and take in the season. My Cancer Christmas was about healing and celebrating life with family and friends. All the ideas on the covers of magazines that look so good and require so much work were not an option that year.

Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.
Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.

The decorations went up but not all of them. We baked but only when we really felt like it. I bought a few gifts but only if I saw something that had meaning or purpose instead of just because gift giving had to perfectly equal between both kids. Kids watch closely. At first they count to make sure they each get the same number of gifts. As they get older they start to calculate the value of the gifts to be sure an equal amount was spent on both kids. The cancer Christmas I bought gifts but my kids went easy on me and didn’t get too angry when they noticed an inequality. We entertained that year, but no one cared that my linens didn’t match or the food was from Oliver’s. They probably preferred this given my cooking!

It turned out to be one of my favorite holidays ever! I swore to myself that regardless of how much better I would feel the next year, I would not go back to my pre-cancer manic holiday state. For the most part I have not! Here is what I learned the Christmas I had cancer:

  • Gifts that matter: Buy 1-2 meaningful gifts for each child. Don’t bother with a score card. Life is not fair. Sometimes one kid will get a spectacular gift because you found something really cool for them and the next year might be a bust. My favorite gift as a child was the year my sister made me a ski outfit-yes, with a sewing machine! Pants and a jacket. I really wanted skis, boots and poles but our family couldn’t afford it. I loved that outfit and still can hear the sound of it as I skied down the mountain. Or better yet, spend a day with your kids. All day. No electronics. Ok, maybe half a day. They won’t forget it.
  • Demand some ME time. I like to run. I make sure to run throughout the holiday season. Some of my best runs are in December running through the neighborhoods looking at lights. Also enjoyable are runs/hikes in Annadel as it is much less crowded. Whatever your ME thing is, don’t sacrifice it this time of year! That quick errand instead of a workout can wait until AFTER your workout or your ME time. Stores open late this time of year.
  • Have Fun. Doing something with your family and friends should be a priority this time of year. That’s the true meaning of the holidays. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Bowling is our family favorite. Holiday light tours are also fun. A family night hike on a full moon is wonderful and even better; this year there is a full moon on Christmas Eve.
  • Slow down you’re moving too fast…Breath. Relax and be in the moment. Blah, blah, blah…you have heard it so much but have you done it? Play a game with your family. Head’s Up (by Ellen) is a blast and everyone in the family can play. You just need your phone or iPad and 10 minutes. It lightens everyone’s mood and will make you smile.

Don’t wait for cancer or some other life crisis to slow you down and force you to enjoy the season the way it was meant to be. Do it this year. And put happy back into the Holidays.

Happy Holidays and Trails my friends.

Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.
Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.

 

 

Top 6 Reasons to join Empire Runners Club over the Galactic Empire! by Trevor Swallow

New Year’s Resolutions are fast approaching and, of course, we know you were planning on joining the Empire Runners Club. BUT, in case you were being recruited to join the Galactic Empire due to the new Star Wars movie coming out, here are the . . .

Top 6 Reasons to join Empire Runners Club over the Galactic Empire!

You’re More Than a Number!

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With tens of thousands of identical clones, it can be difficult to stand out in the Galactic Empire crowd. Awaken your individuality in the Empire Runners Club (ERC). Plus, wardrobe colors and styles are totally up to you! (Hint: More than just white)

Positive Motivation

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It’s shocking, but motivation can be a powerful thing. Get more positive support and encouragement with the Runners Club. With weekly training options and social gatherings, it’s easy to plug in, get going, and stay on target.

Variety of Terrain

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Ever get bored seeing the same things over and over? Try living on a giant metal space station! No way! Explore beautiful natural landscapes with ERC at many different race locations throughout Sonoma County.

Run Together, but Race Yourself

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Rather than duel your arch-nemesis in battle, the Runners Club culture fosters the inclusive community feel. ERC races feel like running with a group of friends. Search your feelings and you’ll know it’s about doing your best and having fun.

Lower Choking Hazard

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‘nough said.

Slim Up for the New Year

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This one is on almost everyone’s resolution list. Don’t let the Galactic Empire crush you into believing the newest fad diet, join ERC. Running burns calories, is good for cardiovascular health, and is proven to relieve stress. Don’t let your thoughts betray you, get running!

So there you have it. Search your feelings and don’t fall for the Galactic Empire trap. The Empire Runners Club is always looking for new recruits. Sign up during your next trip to Tosche Station! We would be honored if you would join us.

And remember, try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.