Category Archives: NOVEMBER 2015

All the posts created in NOVEMBER 2015.

Shawn Sullivan: Pine to Palm 100 – 23:03:42

Nov15_Sullivan002Question: Hi Shawn, congratulations on finishing the Pine to Palm 100 miler in less than 24 hours and getting 9th place! That is a huge accomplishment! What motivated you to enter this particular race? Is it the longest race you have completed so far?

Answer: This is the longest distance I’ve raced but this would be my third hundred miler…I was actually at this race last year crewing and pacing another runner. I knew before my runner was even halfway through the race that this was a race I wanted to do – it’s beautiful course, great vibe, and great people .


Running 100 miles means you have a lot of time to think about things on the trail. Do you have a strategy for keeping your mind focused?Does your mind sometimes attempt to convince yourself that you should stop and give up? How do you deal with the psychological aspects of running so far?

Well although you’re thinking about the finish line, you should really run aid station to aid station, and breaking it in smaller chunks helps a lot. Your mind tells you not to even show up at the start line…haha, but yes it can be a battle in your head at any moment or the entire time! I have started using an iPod on these long ones – I’ll usually have an audiobook and a bunch of different music .

Nov15Murdoch07How did you survive the “three epic climbs of 7000 feet” with over 20K of elevation gain? Did you ever have to walk?

Oh yeah, you walk or power hike, although I don’t think I walked a step up until 35-40 miles in. If you’re running slow enough that you could be walking the same speed then you should be walking and keeping your heart rate down. The first climb was really good and I was fresh, my adrenaline was going (on 2 1/2 hours sleep even),  plus running at the front you kind of feel like you’re being chased. The second climb was pretty awesome as well – I was really excited to get to the top of Dutchmen Peak because I had just climbed back into third place (after losing about six spots) and I would be getting a pacer when I got to the top. The third climb was not so great.  I had quit eating about 10 miles before this climb, apparently my stomach was not OK with me eating around 25 Roctanes and a few other gels. Although the view at the top of Wagner Butte is pretty awesome it looks down on Medford I believe, and this was the toughest part of the race for me.


Do you “enjoy” these long races? How would you describe the experience and the outcome? Is it the challenge that it is seemingly impossible? Is it the special belt buckle you get at the end?

Oh definitely I love these things, there’s such a sense of community and family in trail running. The experience itself is kind of hard to put into words, how you feel from moment to moment during the race isn’t necessarily the same as when you reflect on the overall endeavor. You may have extreme lows that seem unsurpassable in the moment but slightly less significant when you look back at the big picture. And yeah the belt buckle is pretty sweet too.


What does your body experience after twenty miles……forty miles……sixty miles…..eighty miles………?? Do you find that your body goes through various stages ranging from feeling ok to feeling like your entire body is rebelling against you?

Oh man that’s so hard to answer! It’s always different, I don’t blister so that’s never an issue.  Depending on how long I’m out there the sleep monster tries to get me at some point or maybe multiple points.

And yes my body has rebelled in so many ways, and although seemingly impossible at the moment most things can be overcome, barring causing permanent damage of course.


What is your hydration and nutrition strategy? How often do you drink and eat, and what? Do you ever get sick, meaning either diarrhea or throwing up? Anything special in your drop bags at the aid stations?

Nutrition is a constant learning process for me. Up to the 50 K distance I used to just drink Cokes and eat Oreos. These days I’m trying to use just mixes and gels, they’re so convenient in so many ways. For me I try to be consistently eating and drinking, a slow steady flow into my stomach works best. I’ve gotten sick a few times, nothing too bad, but it’s just convincing yourself to eat afterwards that’s the hard part. Drop bags hmm – depending on the course layout and crew availability maybe a light rain jacket and headlamp. Individual wet wipes can be very handy…….you get pretty dirty out there.


During the race itself, do you have any stories of anything that happened? Something interesting that happened along the way?

Ha!  Yeah we were just talking about this – one of my pacers/crew who shall remain nameless (Jeff Knapp) apparently took a projectile bottlecap to the face. Apparently when you take a homebrew up a few thousand feet it might not respond well? Hopefully I can get you a picture one of the course photographers snapped.

During a standard 10K, basically everyone is out there running for themselves and it’s over pretty fast. In a long race like this, do the competitors help each other?


Yeah the community feeling in these races is awesome, you’re all out there to get it done and cross that finish line, just some faster than others. And yes, as a matter fact, I was getting dehydrated about 35 miles in due to overshooting my crew by 45 minutes and not being able to get an extra bottle for the exposed section coming up. I figured when I got to the aid station I would just drink extra and take some salt with me but that aid station hadn’t gotten any salt tabs yet so a few miles out from that aid station a fellow competitor passed me and asked “Do you need anything?” and gladly offered up some salt tabs. This is one of the many reasons I love ultra running. I don’t think any of us would leave a fellow runner in distress if we could help,  just for the sake of beating them.

Based on the results, I counted that 120 people started the race, but only 75 finished – that’s a 37% drop out rate. Almost all of them quit at 52 miles or less. Why do you think so many people drop out?


Hundred mile races are tough and this course is no joke. To start the first 10 miles is just a consistent climb followed by a 10 mile dissent and then mile 30 to 50 was pretty exposed.  That could have something to do with why most runners dropped at 52 miles.

What was your greatest high during the race? And compare that to your worst low?

Greatest high would be running up to the top of Dutchmen peak after taking several spots back and now being back on the podium …biggest low was probably climbing Wagner Butte – it’s not even that long of a climb but it just never seemed to end.

Did you do anything to reward yourself after the race?

I took a nap ….


Would you recommend this run to someone considering their first 100 Miler?

Sure – it’s a very doable course in a beautiful area, and you can’t beat a point to point race.


Here is the link to the Pine to Palm 100 website:  

Here is the link to the results:

2015 Ilsanjo Classic 10 Miler, Neo-Classic 4-Miler, and Newt Scoot, March 8th, 2015
2015 Ilsanjo Classic 10 Miler, Neo-Classic 4-Miler, and Newt Scoot, March 8th, 2015

Kim Conley: Empire All Star, By Alex Wolf-Root

Nov15Alex_Kimmy02(An ongoing series of interviews of redwood empire runners by Alex Wolf-Root)

To be honest, this intro blurb is likely a bit unnecessary; who in the running world, especially our Redwood Empire running world, doesn’t know Kim Conley? Excuse me, Olympian Kim Conley. Her dramatic finish in the 5,000m at the 2012 Olympic Trials will be forever etched in the history books, as will that look of excited disbelief. However, Kimmy is far from a one-race wonder. As a prep at Montgomery HS, she was a member of the Viking’s State Championship team (2000), a two-time NBL champion on the track, a state qualifier in the 1,600m, and still 6th all-time in that event. While at UC Davis, she was the first Aggie to qualify for the NCAA XC Nationals since they moved to Division I, and since her Olympic experience has captured US titles in the 10,000m and half-marathon.

However, the last 10 months she has been a bit off of the radar…

Question: After many years of consistent, steady improvements, this year you’ve finally seemed mortal. Can you tell us a little bit about how the year has played out since your injury earlier this spring?

Answer: I spent the winter and spring doing everything I could get healthy and be ready to toe the line at the U.S. [Track & Field] Championships. There were a lot of stressful moments as I travelled around the country seeking medical advice and looking for the “magic bullet” (that doesn’t exist!) all while trying to build fitness cross training and on the Alter-G. The more I pushed myself, the more it seemed my body pushed back against me and eventually I had to take a step back and look at the big picture of what I was doing to myself and how it could affect my goals in the long term, specifically looking beyond the World Championships and into the Olympic year.


Being the reigning 10,000m National Champion and having made the finals in the 5,000m two years ago, this couldn’t have been easy. How tough was it to make the call?

It was very difficult to make the decision to not have a track season and give up the opportunity to compete for the US at the World Championships. Putting on the USA singlet is always a huge honor and what I look forward to most when I set my goals.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by a great support network, and between conversations with New Balance and [Coach] Drew [Wartenburg] I was finally able to decide to forego the track season and allow my body to heal on its own time. It still took longer than I had hoped, but fortunately I am past that rough patch and moving forward.

Notably, you’ve PR’d on the track every year of your career. While clearly not as big a deal as qualifying for Worlds, it’d be sad seeing that streak end!

We still have a few months of 2015 left and I have a track 10,000m scheduled for December 6th, the Pacific 10,000m Pursuit, so there is still a chance I can keep the PR streak alive!

Track in December?! While not common in the US, it’s great to see your club NorCal Distance step up to change that. Care to tell us a bit more?

The Pacific 10,000m Pursuit is intended to fill a hole in the schedule for distance athletes who are coming off fall road seasons or getting ready for the Olympic Trials in the marathon. We’ve found over the past couple years that early December is a time when my fitness is very good but I don’t have a race on the schedule to use it, so Drew reached out to several coaches across the country to see if there were other athletes out there who had found themselves in similar situations. The feedback was very positive, so he went about creating this opportunity for us.


And it looks like you’re priming yourself to be ready for that opportunity, as you’ve shown some useful fitness at the recent US 5K and 10mi championships. How do those play into this 10,000m, and the upcoming year as a whole?

I am using the fall road season to simply compete against other top U.S. athletes and integrate myself back in the competitive arena. In December I’ll run the Pacific 10,000m Pursuit with the hope of putting up a decent track 10,000m time while we’re still in the 2015 calendar year. At that point I will turn my attention to the track and race a couple indoor races (probably a mile and a 5,000m), before hitting reset and then gearing up for the 2016 outdoor season.

Speaking of the mile, you ran a ridiculous middle-distance indoor campaign in 2014, including a scintillating 4:24 mile. Do you have any desire to drop down in distance sometime and focus on the 1,500m? Or will you continue to view those middle distances as support events?

I don’t think I will ever fully focus my training and racing around the 1,500m, but I definitely think there is a place for it in making me a more competitive athlete over 5,000m and 10,000m. From a big picture view, it will always be a secondary event, however in the moment when I am racing a 1,500m or doing a mile specific workout I approach it as though that is my primary event and try not limit myself by not completely owning it.

Well what about the other side of the spectrum? Obviously your 1:09:44 got people talking about the marathon, and you’ve made clear that you’d like to run one someday. Should fans keep an eye out at LA 2016 just incase, or, assuming not (I assume not!), when do you think you may make your debut?

I really enjoyed racing the US Half Marathon Championships last January, and the experience definitely made me excited for a future where I can continue to move up in distance. There isn’t a definite time line set, other than that it will be sometime in the next Olympic cycle. As long as I take well to the training and the race, I would love to be in the 2020 Olympic Trials for the marathon and competing as a marathoner in Tokyo.

Well for now we’ll just have to keep our eyes on the track! Speaking of the oval, the US just went 3-4-5 in the 10,000m at Worlds, the best finish I can remember. How was it watching that?

It was very awesome! When I watched the 10,000m at USAs I knew we were sending a great team to the World Championships. In championship races you have to be open to the possibility that anything can happen. To watch Emily [Infield] finish third in the US and then finish third in the world confirmed that women’s distance running in the US is in a great place and made me very excited to be a part of it.

And much of that greatness is now flocking to Sacramento, California, in the form of your NorCal Distance Project. Can you tell us a little about how this group has grown from just Drew coaching you post-graduation to now having top post-collegiate women moving down to train in your squad?

I guess you could say it began when Lauren Wallace graduated from UC Davis, decided to continue running as a professional, and asked Drew to coach her. Drew and I already had developed a routine and it was easy to integrate her into that system. Once there were two of us running well in that system other athletes took interest. It didn’t take long for us to desire more formality, in terms of being an official group with a name, logo, website etc rather than simply a group of professional runners training together. Creating that formal, professional environment is a full-time commitment though, and so the biggest evolution came when Drew decided to resign from his position as the director of track and field at UC Davis to pursue developing a post-collegiate group. The group continues to evolve, but the core principles of creating a professional environment to develop athletes to compete on a national and international level will remain constant.


And unlike other groups, yours has the ability to compete in a wide range of events, from Lauren at 800m, to Kate Grace at the 1,500m, all the way up to you in the half. How is it working with athletes who excel at the shorter stuff instead of just working out with other long distance women?

Our training is designed such that we touch a variety of paces throughout a week and training cycle so we often have room for overlap. I enjoy any opportunity to be pushed and love it when I get the chance to workout with both Lauren and Kate.

But before you had such a strong group, and before you were an Olympian, you were living the tough post-collegiate life. What were those years between June ’09 and July ’12 like, without a major sponsor or team?


Looking back on it now, I can see how hard it was (especially compared to my current situation), but at the time I didn’t know any better and I was very happy to be chasing that dream. Each year I ran much faster than I had the year before and I was quietly working my way up the ranks of US distance running, and I was enjoying that process of improving and having a big picture vision that culminated with the 2012 Olympic Trials.

And it was at those 2012 Trials where we first saw that New Balance logo on you, and now we see they’ve joined forces with your squad as a whole. (Though you do let athletes have other sponsors, like Oiselle, which is pretty awesome.) How is it having such a huge brand so intimately involved with you and your squad?

I have had a great relationship with New Balance since partnering with them in 2012. Putting on their singlet at the Olympic Trials was an important component of what helped me believe that I belonged in that field and contending for a spot on the Olympic team. Since then, they have been extremely supportive of the vision Drew and I have for my career, in terms of experimenting with different distances, expanding my range, and developing a post-collegiate group. Their support of the group allows us to give the developmental athletes with us access to resources that I didn’t have at that stage to help make their path a little smoother in pursuit of the Olympic Dream.

While you’re clearing making waves in the national scene, to this audience back home you’ll always be a Viking. Let’s go back to those HS days. As many know, you were a freshman on that amazing Montgomery HS team led by Sara Bei (now Hall, look for her interview in future months!) that captured the California D1 Title in 2000. How did that introduction to running effect the trajectory of your running career.

Winning the state title in 2000 was a great introduction to the sport of cross country. That season taught me right off the bat about the importance of setting goals, working with and for teammates, and maintains belief in ourselves and those goals even in the face of obstacles. Those lessons have served me throughout my career and I can still call upon my experiences that season for motivation to this day.

Thinking back to those prep days, who would you say were some of your biggest role models or positive influences?

My coaches, from my youth days with Santa Rosa Express, to Jr. High at Slater Middle School, and of course at Montgomery High School, definitely had the most profound affect on my career. I will never forget when I was graduating from Montgomery and looking forward to running at UC Davis, a conversation with Larry Meredith where he asked me to promise him that no matter how rigorous or challenging running became in college, to never lose my love for the sport. I never have, and even though I treat running very much as a profession now, at the core I train and compete because it’s what I love to do and I love what it brings out in me.


To what would you attribute your transformation from that new Viking runner back in 2000 to the world class runner you are today? What advice would you give to the current prep runners reading this today who want to see how far they can go?

The trajectory of my career is due to steady progress over many years. I have been fortunate to have sustained very few injuries and I have stacked together weeks, months, and years of consistent training. I am always learning about myself and looking into ways to continue to refine my approach and get more out of myself. It is a process I really enjoy and makes me excited for my continued development.

And the question I’m expecting most of the club wants me to ask: when will you come back and reclaim your Kenwood 3K title?!

One day! July 4th falls in the heart of the track season, so as long as I’m competing as a professional track athlete it’s unlikely I’ll toe the line in Kenwood. Once I have retired it will make it back into the rotation.

Thanks for the chat Kimmy, and I can’t wait to see what you do on the oval in the near future, be it in Sacramento or Rio!

To follow Kimmy as she continues on her amazing journey, your best bet is really to just pop on over to the American River Trail in Sacramento! But for the rest of us all around the world, you can follow her journey on Twitter, Facebook, and her personal blog, complete with discussions and all!


In the last blog we discussed some of the theory about stretching and why it’s important and why you may not need to stretch as much as you think. Now I intend to try to give some practical advice on how to put that knowledge to practice. I know some people treat foam rolling as stretching since it can help range of motion; but because it facilitates a different physiological effect than traditional stretching so I won’t be addressing it here. That may be a discussion for another post if people are interested.

First of all let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with some stretching terminology. Static stretching is what most people think of when talking about stretching. This is when you go into a stretch and hold it for a given period of time, usually around 30-60 seconds. Dynamic stretching is when you go through a range of motion and don’t hold. I tend to approach static stretching as working on flexibility and long term mobility, and dynamic more as part of a warm up to help range of motion for short term benefit.

  1. Pre-Run (Part of Warm-up): I don’t recommend doing much stretching before most runs. For most runs the best thing to do is just start your run nice and easy, and ease into the run. For a point of reference, most Kenyan runners will start their runs 8 minutes per mile or slower and end their run sub-6 minutes per mile. It doesn’t need to be that extreme, but I would recommend starting a minute per mile slower for the first 5 minutes before you settle into your intended pace for the run.

There are some times when doing a little stretching isn’t a bad idea, if implemented correctly. When doing a harder workout and you need to be more warm and ready to go adding some dynamic stretching can help. Usually adding dynamic stretches can be a part of the drills you do normally. By adding dynamic stretches into your drills you can facilitate improved range of motion to achieve better running technique as well as “waking up” certain muscles to help them engage better improving efficiency.

Although I wouldn’t normally suggest much static stretching before runs, there is a bit of an exception. If there is some sort of injury going on that is being caused by a muscle tightness somewhere, it may be advised to add a little bit of stretching (static or dynamic) before your run. An example here would be if you have some lower back pain caused by tight quadriceps, you may need to do some static stretching of the quads. Because of how the two affect your muscles, static stretching may be better for longer runs and dynamic may be better for shorter. But my best recommendation would be to go ahead and try both and see what works better for you.

  1. Post Run (Injury Prevention): It is a good idea to take a few minutes, a few days a week, or even better, after your runs to work on general flexibility. Here is a good time to do some static stretching. You should go through and work on major muscle groups that are worked while running; holding each stretch for about 30 seconds. I have most of my runners do a short yoga routine after each of their runs. This includes exercises that target: hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus group, hip flexors, abdominals, and calves. Doing a quick Google search can find you plenty of stretches to achieve this. And then beyond a normal routine, you should also spend a little extra time on anything that seems particularly tight or bothering you that day. Side Note: It is really easy to add in some basic core exercises such as planks or bridges to most stretching routines. If you look into some yoga moves to work on your flexibility, many of them double as strengthening exercises as well.

Andrea runs the Red Rocks! by Andrea Guzman

You never know who you will run into on a business trip….


Sometimes my work life takes me on the road to different travel shows and I never forget my running shoes. I often run into someone I have seen on the trade show floor out on the roads. Sometimes I get the opportunity to conduct business on a run just like a golfer would do on the golf course.

This week my travels took me to Las Vegas. A friend, Doug from Boston rented a car and invited me to join him and three ladies for a run. Five strangers started the day at 5:45am with a half hour drive to Red Rock Canyon. We all were from different parts of the U.S. and share our passion for tourism. As the sun was rising, we marveled at the beauty of these rocky trails. We would regroup and do sets of planks and push-ups to get a good workout in. We were only there for an hour but this is such a spiritual place that it energized us for the long day ahead.





How Normal People Find Time to Run, by Catherine DuBay

I know I am lucky because I live in Sonoma County. I have a great family. I am very healthy and I have great friends. I also have a great job. I manage a health club in Santa Rosa. I come to work in sweats most mornings. I check emails, make my rounds talking with staff and members and then I go for a run. I clean up and then put my sweats back on, add a staff shirt and name badge and spend most of my day encouraging others to stay/get healthy.


I may slip out mid-day and teach a cycle class or test out a new massage therapist in our spa. I am not telling you this so you try to steal my job or to make you jealous. I tell you this because I have a new found appreciation for each of you that do not have the flexibility that I have. Last week I was forced to live like the majority of the world and work an 8-5 day. I was stuck in a computer training class for 2 days and by the 3rd hour of day one I was ready to throw my lap top at the instructor I was so antsy.

I can’t stand to sit for more than about 5 minutes. My job allows me to sit, stand, run, and spin throughout the day. This 8-5 computer training forced me to not only sit all day but to find a time to run outside of the 8-5 workday.

Let me break down the available run time options and give you all the reasons they didn’t work for me:
Before the training meant get up at 5am, run in the dark, by myself so I could be home by 7am to get in a shower and breakfast before the training. I don’t do well in the dark. I am confident that every sound is a mountain lion and every crack in the road will trip me and take me down. So forget running in the morning.

Running during our lunch break wasn’t an option as our lunch break was only 1 hour and I need at least an hour run not to mention changing and cooling down time. Plus when would I eat? I was already starving at 10am so to skip a meal at lunch to get the run in was not going to work.

That leaves running after the training as my only option. However, one kid has a Volleyball match at 5pm and the other kid has a soccer game at 6pm. I guess I could skip those to get my run in. But, the season is so short and one daughter is a senior so I don’t have many games left to watch.

Forget it. I just will have to skip a run today. And tomorrow too since the same obstacles will be before me.

This is why I came to the conclusion that you normal people have it really, really hard! You 8-5’ers have to really work to make it happen. I see you in my 5:45 am cycle class every Thursday and admire your ability to get up before the sun, day after day, so you can get your workout in. I see you at my noon cycle class on Mondays racing to get there on time and then cooling down with a cold shower and rushing back to work still sweating and chomping on a banana as you drive away. I see you at the Empire Runner workouts on Tue/Thur evenings after a long day at work, sacrificing dinner time and kids sports so you can get your run.

Working out is hard. Finding a good time to do it can be even harder. Something always has to be sacrificed – sleep, lunch, family time. Sometimes all three! The payoff is huge and I suppose that is what keeps you going. I admire all of you who get out there day after day despite the challenges you face with schedules and life!

Keep up the good work and hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails!

Santa Rosa Express Youth Running Club, with Mark Drafton

Nov15_SRExpress010Question: This is the iPad generation. Is it difficult getting them to put down the screens and run wild like when we were kids?

Answer: In this day and age children use more technology in their daily lives than ever before. With that said, we invite the parents to join us in all of our activities. We try to make it a family affair.


Do parents primarily encourage their kids to join, or do some kids find the club on their own?

We have a little of both. Parents who encourage their kids to join have heard about us through current or former parents. We do have that group of kids who seek us out on their own because they want the training for other sports.


Who are your current coaches and what are their backgrounds?

Our current coaches include Dawit Tessfasilassie who was a track and cross country stand out at Piner High school,  Caroline Gonsalves, who is a local elementary school teacher with extensive marathon experience,  and the head coach Mark Drafton, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and former high school 400m specialist.


How do your coaches make running “fun?” Even a common comment from adults is that running is boring.

We try to make each practice an event by changing the routine often. And we invite parents to join in our workouts. We use games for the younger group with prizes and competition for the older kids.


Bob Schor can often be seen as the “starter” for both track and cross-country races in the north bay. What is his connection to Santa Rosa Express? And why is there a scholarship named after him?

Bob was a former Santa Rosa Express Coach and continues to be involved in coaching during track season. He was instrumental in keeping the club together and brought it back from the brink of fading away four years ago when the coaching support was no longer there. He reached out to me and with the help of Kelly Gaab and Caroline Gonsalves we were able to right the ship and it has grown exponentially every year.


Do you have any well-known alumni?

Julia Stamps, Sara Bei, Jacque Taylor, Jenny Aldridge, and Kim Conley.

What do you want to tell parents that are considering getting their kids involved?

The mission of Santa Rosa Express Youth Running Club is to encourage young athletes to learn and appreciate running in a fun, safe and healthy environment. Runners learn good sportsmanship, a strong work ethic, and self-motivation while receiving training and coaching from a team of dedicated volunteers. Our coaches believe in providing a dynamic environment in which our athletes can develop at a rate designed for each individual. Running is a great opportunity for young runners to get in shape, try new distances and build self-confidence. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. It doesn’t take long to feel good and see improvement, but it does take regular practice.




Going out with a Bang, by Paul Berg

With the time change after summer, the kids back in school and the holidays fast approaching, life seems to reach peak velocity. And so it goes with the last two months of 2015 for the Empire Runners.

The XC season is coming to a head, with record participation and several close division races. With one more regular race on Nov 15 at Carmichael, November 22 brings us the PA championships in Golden Gate Park. Always a very competitive field, the excitement continues, as we’re fortunate to have the USATF Team Nationals in San Francisco this year on December 12. Even if you’re not racing, it’s worth coming out for the day to cheer your teammates and see some of the best adult runners in the country.

Not to be outdone, the Empire Runners club hosts several races in the next few months. My favorite antidote to Thanksgiving is the McGuire’s Breakfast run on November 29, a low-key (but hilly 10k) members-only event to help you re-enter the real world after the holiday. In mid-December we’ll be having our annual Jingle Bell run and potluck dinner. This is a great event to include your kids and/or non-running partner, as we walk and jog a few miles trying to sing on key, and then celebrate with a great meal. Back-to-back are two of our most popular races, the Last 10k on Dec 19, and the Resolution Run on January 1.


Not to be forgotten, we have some very important club member business, with elections for the new Board of Directors on December 17. You can vote online or by proxy ballot, or in person at the club meeting. This is direct democracy; help choose your representatives to assure that your club continues to prosper.

Last but not least, just as you’re thinking, “how can I get involved?” we ‘re looking for a party person to lead the organization of the annual Member Appreciation dinner on February 6. This is a fun event to organize, as it can be broken down into manageable chunks to delegate to eager volunteers. We need to find someone in the next two weeks to get rolling, so contact me at for details. Get involved; it’s YOUR club!


The Destination Race Soliloquy, by Brad Zanetti

When was the last time you had a destination race experience? Has it been awhile or are you wondering what is he talking about? Well for those new to racing or those just happy to get it over with and on with your life already, the destination race includes some travel and some pre and/or post race timeframe hopefully with some other like minded runners. Living in Sonoma County we are so lucky as Empire Runners with 12 FREE races a year and another race available weekly within a 25 mile radius. Add in the PA racing schedule for XC and Road racing and there are more races to run in close proximity than any sane man or woman should consider running.

The beauty of the destination run is there isn’t such a hurry to get there, race and go home. The beauty is you can take your time getting to the destination, make the race your priority then take your time heading home maybe visiting other points of interest on the way. In essence the race though important is secondary to the experience of the destination and/or the group whom you share the experience.

In past blogs and issues there have been many stories of destination races some lasting a week or more, most a weekend or long weekend. Some of them have been to exotic locals like Boston(marathon), Carlsbad (5000), Ashland and Vietnam (half marathon) others more local like Auburn (Blood, Sweat and Beers), Dipsea and Lake Tahoe (Decelle Memorial).

These mentioned destinations have had some great history amongst many of the Empire Runners. Ask around and you might be surprised how many people have gone to these and other destination races alone or with groups as many of these have been multiple destinations over many years. Ask yourself if  this is something that interests you or would be willing to try. If so, ask around (races), show up at the group runs or show up at the ER meetings (third Thursday each month). For more info you might ask the famous 2008 Boston Marathon group who spent a week near Boston in the ‘Mansion’, multiple groups who have attended a 4 day weekend in San Diego/Carlsbad in a boutique hotel (cookies and milk at bedtime) or many teams who have spent the long weekend in Lake Tahoe circumnavigating the great blue lake.

Some upcoming trips ALREADY in planning for 2016 include:

1- Carlsbad 5000, 4/1-4/4 – brew tours, Sea World, SD Zoo, Legoland and the fastest 5K in the world.

2- Dipsea Race- Mt Tam- June 2016 one of the classic courses in the U.S. (World?)

3- Olympic Trials – Eugene , OR, 6/30-7/11plus age group miles on the historic Hayward Field track or the Butte to Butte 10K.

Some ideas for future trips. Let me know what you think.

Lilac Bloomsday 12K Race, Spokane, May

Falmouth 7 mile Race, Falmouth, MA, Aug

5th Ave Mile, New York, NY, September

If this is all too much planning or just plain TOO MUCH then how about this. If the planets align like this year, how about the San Bruno Mtn 5K, followed by an afternoon of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. This could be stretched into 3 days of music festival with a beautiful 5K thrown in….It Boggles the Mind!

Running in Prescott, Arizona, by Doug Murdoch

I recently spent a week in Prescott, Arizona and all I can say is that the running trails there are outstanding,  with most trails at  4500 – 6500 hundred feet elevation.


The run that I photographed is at the base of Granite Mountain, which had everything from flat wide trails to small rolling hills, through forested and large bouldered areas, as well as some scenic views. Here is the Garmin link to look at the run on a map:


Most runners focus their attention on Flagstaff to the north of Prescott, and Flagstaff does have some incredible running. But the thing about Prescott is the wide variety of running trails all within twenty minutes of downtown.  The town has really done a great job of creating, maintaining, and marking the trails.


In my opinion it’s a great running destination vacation spot. Plus your  close to Sedona, and it’s not so far to Flagstaff (about an hour and half north).


Here are some other runs that I did while in Prescott:

Pevine Trail: Flat, wide dirt trail that used to be a railroad line.  About 6 miles roundtrip to the Y junction, but it could be extended with the trail below for 14 miles total.  Garmin link:

Iron Springs Trail: This one starts in Prescott Valley and goes west to meet up with the Pevine Trail above.  Another flat rockless trail.  8 miles roundtrip, but you could make it more  or less as desired. Garmin link:

Pioneer Park: Lots of trails to choose from  – rolling small hills to medium rocky trails. Garmin link:

Goldwater Lakes:  Beautiful trail-run passing two lakes – if you go the full distance, it’s about 9 miles round trip. Highly recommended. Garmin link:

Granite Mountain Area:  A fantastic location – many possibilities. About twenty minutes from downtown.  This is where the photos were taken for this blog post.  Garmin link:


Run in a Herd ! Group Runs

Here is a listing of group runs in Sonoma County! If there are more, let us know!

Mondays: No training runs currently scheduled

Tuesdays – 6:00 am – Athletic Soles Retail Store 

  • Location:  Petaluma High School Track
  • Meeting Time:  6:00 am year-round
  • Phone:  (707) 763 0700
  • E-mail:
  • Session Description:  Work with one of our team members to do some speed training in the morning before your work day begins. All skill levels are encouraged to come and work with us towards their goals.
  • Who Should Attend:  Runners of all abilities are welcome.

Tuesdays – 6:30 am  – Taylor Mountain Tuesdays/ Justin Borton

Tuesdays –5:30 pm – Empire Runners Club                                            

  • Location:  3390 Princeton Drive, Santa Rosa (unless an alternate site is listed on the ER calendar)
  • Meeting Time:  5:30 p.m., year-round
  • Host/Leader:  Larry and Tori Meredith
  • Phone:  (707) 526-4536
  • Email:
  • Session Description:  A wide variety of interval sessions designed to improve or maintain racing speed.  The total distance of the workout is almost always between 5 and 6 miles.  Most of the workouts between March and October take place on the Montgomery High School track.  Late summer sessions often focus on cross country running that include repeats on grass or hills.  Winter sessions are typically on well-lit streets in surrounding neighborhoods and can range from short sprints to hill repeats.
  • Who Should Attend: Runners of all ability levels that can comfortably cover 6 miles in a workout. This is a good group for beginning racers who want to get faster and also for veteran racers who enjoy running intervals with a group.

Tuesdays – 5:30 pm  –  Heart & Sole Sports  Retail Store                                         

  • Location:  Heart and Sole Sports, 65 Brookwood, Santa Rosa
  • Meeting Time:  5:30 p.m., year-round
  • Host/Leader: Kenny Brown
  • Phone:  (707) 545-7653
  • E-mail:
  • Session Description:  We will explore different routes; both loop and out and back runs. On the streets of Santa Rosa. Distance is usually 4 to 5 miles. With options for shorter distances.
  • Who Should Attend:  Runners of all abilities are welcome.

Tuesdays – 6:00 pm – Healdsburg Running Company Women’s Group – Retail Store 

Wednesdays – 5:30 pm –  Fleet Feet Sports Retail Store 

Thursdays – 5:30 pm –  Empire Runners Club 

  • Location:  Howarth Park, Santa Rosa, upper parking lot near start of bike path
  • Meeting Time:  5:30 p.m., March through October; 4:30 p.m., November through February
  • Host/Leader:  Larry Meredith (when in attendance)
  • Phone:  (707) 526-4536
  • E-mail:
  • Session Description:  Trail running through Howarth Park, Spring Lake Park and Annadel State Park.  Published workout sessions tailored to fit club racing schedule.  Attendees can choose to run the published workout or break into smaller groups for a basic trail run.  Workouts include tempo runs (elevated effort over 2 to 4 miles), repeat intervals, hill running.
  • Who Should Attend:  Runners of all ability levels.  Those who wish to participate in the published workouts should be able to comfortably cover 8 miles in a workout.

Thursdays – 6:00 pm –   Healdsburg Running Company Retail Store   

Fridays: No training runs currently scheduled

Saturdays – 8:00 am – Healdsburg Running Company Retail Store Trail Run –  (TBD) – 8:00 am (check website for location)   

Saturdays – 8:30 am –  Empire Runners Club 

  • Location:  Railroad Square, Santa Rosa (meet at West Sixth and Wilson Streets)
  • Meeting Time:  8:30 a.m., year round
  • Host/Leader:  None
  • Session Description:  An out-and-back run on the dirt-and-gravel path alongside Santa Rosa Creek that flows west from downtown Santa Rosa.  It’s 5 miles to Willowside Road so runners can cover any distance up to 10 miles on this workout.  Runners choose their own distance and pace and typically break up into pairs or small groups.  After the run, some adjourn to the nearby A’Roma Roasters Coffee & Tea for socializing.
  • Who Should Attend:  Runners of all ability levels.

Sundays – 8:30 am –  Empire Runners Club 

  • Location:  Parktrail Drive at Summefield Drive or Channel Drive at Cobblestone Trailhead in Santa Rosa (unless an alternate site is listed on the ER calendar).  See ER calendar for location.
  • Meeting Time:  8:00 a.m., year-round
  • Host/Leader:  None
  • Phone:  For information, call Larry Meredith at (707) 526-4536
  • E-mail:  For information, e-mail Larry Meredith at
  • Session Description:  Trail running in Annadel State Park.  The longest run of the week for most who attend.  Runners choose their own distance and pace and typically break up into two or three small groups.
  • Who Should Attend:  Runners of all ability levels.