Category Archives: THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

Dale Peterson’s musings on running, life, and happiness.

The Long and Short of ER Uniform Changes

At the last Empire Runner’s club meeting held Thursday August 25th at Round Table Pizza in Montgomery Village, it was proposed that a graphic artist be secured to produce a new Empire Runner’s logo.

My first thought was “why?” and my next thought was “no”. I was a bit surprised that anyone would even think about doing such a thing.

I admit that I am a sports traditionalist. I don’t like rule changes. I don’t like the DH in baseball. I don’t like the Oregon football uniforms.

So, after a lengthy and spirited discussion at the club meeting regarding the logo, tradition, club identity etc. I went home and thought about writing something up about the issue.

On Saturday I pulled out all of my club singlets going back twenty-plus years. In my mind they had all been very similar and yet when I pulled them out of the drawer I saw that although there have been some constant themes, there have also been quite a few, not always subtle changes.

Looking at my collection here is what I found:

In the early to mid-nineties when I was first introduced to the sport of Cross-County the basic singlet was white with the blue logo and lettering over blue shorts. This featured the now classic sunrise, mountain, trees and male and female runners. This singlet was some sort of synthetic fabric though I can’t be certain exactly what as I cut the tag out years ago. There was also a cotton version of this singlet that I bought but that I never really raced in for obvious reasons.


Bob Merritt working hard back in the 90’s

During this same era, many of the faster runners in the club were sporting a black version of this same design – intimidating but I imagine hot.


Preston and  Gibbons – classics sporting classics

During my third or fourth season of Cross-County in the late nineties a new singlet was introduced. This design had bold black and white panels on either side of a pale blue front and back and very large, bold new Empire Runners logos including the “ER sunburst”. As I recall, this singlet was initially well received but then got low marks as the 100% nylon material tended to be hot and sticky. You don’t see this one often any longer as I imagine they are tucked deep into drawers that seldom see the light of day.


Darryl Beardall running in ER colors

The next iteration of the Empire Runner’s singlet brought back the older logo, now in white on a simple but hard to mistake deep blue polyester body. The new uniform called for black shorts. This combination became the essential ER team uniform for about a decade. Though classic and easily identifiable, it was updated a few years back with script vs block letters and a more realistic graphic of trees and mountains along with the now traditional sunrise. The male and female runners disappeared. The “official” uniform was blue but I own a white version of this latter design that I purchased on special order with the intent of wearing it in hot-weather marathons.


Megan Johnson and Val Sell in the blue

About the time that the latter version of the uniform described above became available, the decision was made by the ER Board to allow ER singlets and gear to be sold to the general public.


Gil Moreno – back in black

The other interesting thing that occurred at this time was that you could now buy ER gear in pretty much any color of the rainbow. Don’t like deep blue and white? No problem, get a chartreuse ER singlet and pink cap… Argh. But to each his or her own I guess.

Just a couple of years ago… though it could be longer I suppose, the club racing singlets saw their arguably most radical change ever which included completely new and/or altered logos, lettering, colors, tones and fabric. The current racing singlet retains a brighter sunrise but only proclaims “Empire” on the front as opposed to Empire Runners and there is no longer any mention of Sonoma Co. The back has a simple ER graphic. The blue is muted. The lettering is outlined in yellow. There are white and gray “flames” or stripes or whatever they are blending in and out. I would describe the overall design as “contemporary”. The fabric is light and breathes well but it is a little course for my taste and I think it could result in chaffing issues in longer races such as the marathon.


(Note that the third singlet from the left is actually hanging backwards.  For a front shot of this singlet, see the picture of Darryl Beardall earlier in this post)

So there is your unofficial, incomplete and totally biased history of the ER club uniform over the last twenty years.

All of this thinking about the club uniforms and logos combined with an actual inventory makes me realize that although we have had some constant themes – the sunrise and “blue” for instance – we have not really kept to a single long-term design.

With all of the above in mind, I would make just a few simple recommendations to the club – 1) adopt a classic logo design and stick with it. 2) If there is a way to tie into some of our earlier themes such as the sunrise motif, do it. 3) Have separate lines of official club racing apparel vs casual apparel. The former should meet strict guidelines and not be altered on a whim. The latter can be in any color, cut or design subject to the winds of fashion.

If you have a passion for what constitutes a strong club logo or uniform design, now might be a good time to get involved.


The Long and Short of It – Solo, a poem by Dale Peterson

Escape the chatter.  Unplug.

Put away want – put away need.


Stop thinking.  Just drift.

Hear the birds.

Feel the breeze.


Hear the foot-falls.

Feel the air moving in… and moving out.

Hear the water-song playing over stones.

See the marsh-hare – sense the bobcat.

Feel blood moving and muscle contracting.


Feel and hear heart-beats.

Feel the sun and the shadow.

Smell the ocean.   Waves crashing.

Hear the sea-lions.

No past, no future – only now.





The Long and Short of HS Runners in the Park

Living in Santa Rosa we are blessed with an abundance of fine parks and trails. Our local X-Country team coaches are obviously well aware of this and you will often find their teams training in one of these parks. Living on the east side of town and less than a mile and one-half from Spring Lake I often will literally run into the kids and their coaches.

Windsor's Lucas Chung works his way up a hill on the Spring Lake course during the first NBL center meet, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.   (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)
Windsor’s Lucas Chung works his way up a hill on the Spring Lake course during the first NBL center meet, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.
(Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Recently I have been having these kind of run-ins with Piner HS and their great coach Luis Rosales near the Oak-Knolls picnic area in Spring Lake Regional Park.

I will often stop to wave and sometimes chat briefly with Luis. His enthusiasm is infectious and I always enjoy talking to him about running and his team.

What really gets me going however is the palpable energy coming from his runners.

I typically get off work around 4-4:30pm, ride or drive home and quickly change into my running clothes and shoes and head over to Spring Lake. Although I almost always look forward to my run, I will often be mentally tired and less than 100% motivated when I arrive at the park.

Casa Grande's Adria Barich races in the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.  Barish finished second in the varsity girls race. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)
Casa Grande’s Adria Barich races in the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Barish finished second in the varsity girls race.
(Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Once I see Luis and his runners or any HS runners my mood starts to change. It’s not always easy to tell what school the kids represent, especially the boys who seem always to be shirtless, but it is easy to see that they are young and full of energy.

Most of the time the kids I see up in the park are pretty focused but even when they are obviously goofing off (and I can actually match their pace for a short time) they are just so full of life it’s hard not to feel some of it rubbing off on you.

Casa Grande's Matt Salazar runs comfortably in fourth place during the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.   (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)
Casa Grande’s Matt Salazar runs comfortably in fourth place during the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.
(Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Without exception the kids I see are friendly and respectful. As I look at them and realize all the things that they will experience in running and in life and all of their incredible potential I also imagine that they might think it is pretty cool that an “old man” is still out there doing something that they can do.

One of the biggest and best changes in running since I was in HS, is the rise of the female runner. I see the boys and girls running together and interacting as team mates and can’t but help feel a little envious of the easy and natural banter between them. What a great thing.

There is a tendency to think that all kids are lazy and obese, bad students and poor citizens. These kids I see training at the park are none of those things. They for the most part seem to embody ambition, fitness and discipline. With those traits nailed down, they almost certainly must be good students and good future leaders and citizens.

Cardinal Newman's Kasey Braun finishes in third place during the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.   (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)
Cardinal Newman’s Kasey Braun finishes in third place during the first NBL center meet at Spring Lake, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.
(Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

When I see these kids in the park, my pace quickens and I become briefly somewhat younger and less cynical and I feel good about the future.

The Long and Short of a Marathon Running Life

Stages in the life of a Marathon Runner, by Dale Peterson 

Sunday August 23rd I finished the Santa Rosa Marathon and thus notched my eighteenth marathon. Full disclosure – I have done fourteen marathons, two 50Ks and two twenty-milers. This comes to 468.8 miles or 2.8 miles less than eighteen marathons. So, to the purists out there, I have done eighteen races of twenty miles or more.  I promise to run an easy 5K a week after my last marathon to make up the difference.

At any rate, it is a lot of running and by the time I notch number twenty I will have covered roughly the distance between Santa Rosa and L.A. which is not even 20% of the distance spent training for these races.

Inspired by a large contingent of Empire Runners who ran the 100th Boston in 1996, I ran my first marathon in 1997 at age 40 in Sacramento at the California International Marathon (C.I.M.) in a pouring rainstorm. I ran 4:22:19 and I was definitely in the “all I want to do is finish stage”  (part I).

I would not run the next one, again at C.I.M. until 2000, but by then I had the idea that I wanted to finish under 4 hours. I easily broke that barrier in 3:47:27. I shaved six minutes off of that time the following year at Humboldt Redwoods. By now I was deep into the “how fast can I go?” stage. I peeled off three consecutive 3:38 and change marathons over the next three years with a 50K interlude at Way Too Cool in 2005.

But it was after the 2004 Chicago Marathon where I realized that I was probably not going to break 3:30 and qualify for Boston before age 50. At that time I made the decision to try to get a bit faster and a bit older and shoot for the then-qualifying standard of sub-3:35 as a 50-year-old. This was the beginning of the short but sweet Boston qualifying stage.

With a lot of hard work, the support of the large contingent of Empire Runners shooting for Boston that year, plus a little luck, I was able to run what turned out to be my marathon PR in Portland 2006 in 3:33:06.  I had no idea at the time that I would never come close to this kind of time again.

Having qualified I had no idea that I was about to enter a new phase of marathon running – the dreaded post-qualifier slump. I suffered through an epic at Grandma’s in 2007. I was on 3:30 pace at the half only to have a series of horrible cramps starting at mile 15 and finishing in 4:29:15. Dumbest thing I ever did.  Believe me when I tell you to avoid the medical tent like the Tower of London.

My Boston was also a semi-disaster as I had to do a lot of walking the last few miles and finished in 4:05:19. New York the next year likewise saw me on the far side of four hours. I was now in the “somehow I gotta break 4 hours again” stage. This was not to happen again until the 2011 C.I.M. when I squeaked under in 3:56:55.

Last year half way through the St George Marathon when I realized I had no chance of breaking four hours, I stopped taking mile splits and entered the current stage of “who cares how long it takes” also known as the “all I want to do is finish stage” (part II).

Around 2000 or perhaps 2001 I got the idea that it would be cool to do twenty “marathons” between age 40 and 60. Today I need to do two more to accomplish this goal.  Of course I also have to survive through two more birthdays.

I’d still like to break four hours again, but more than anything I hope to be entering the blissful “I’m just happy to be here and to still be running” stage.

The Long and Short of North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park

Every runner gets stale.  We all get tired and have times when runs seem more like a chore than the joy that they should be.  Sometimes all that is needed to refresh your running is a little change of scenery.

Recently I was feeling very flat, beat up and literally run down.  Some of this was due to little nagging injuries.  Some to the general bone-tired feeling you get in the middle of marathon training before the body adapts to the mileage, but most of it was due I think to doing the same run in the same place over and over again.

I’d been thinking about returning to the new North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park ever since Robin and I did a run there in early spring but I never seemed to make it.  This past weekend I finally got back and boy was I glad I did!

If you have never been there, it is time you went.  North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park is located off of Sonoma Mtn. Rd. not far from the Pressley Rd. intersection.

The trails are true single-track, mostly shaded and uncrowded.  The best thing is that the main trail takes you up a series of steep but manageable switchbacks revealing fantastic views of Bennett Mtn. and Bennett Valley on your way to Jack London State Historical Park.


On my run Sunday I made it well into Jack London but apparently far short of the storied Beauty Ranch and Wolf House.  My run was over 2 hours in length overall (seven minutes faster coming down than going up).  You can definitely get a nice long run there.  I did not see another human-being for the first hour and forty-five minutes which is the way I like it.

Legs and spirit that had been feeling old and sluggish felt young and energized right from the first step.  When running becomes work, turn it back into an adventure.

The Long and Short of Bi-Focal Running Glasses

Do you wear glasses? Do you wear non-prescription sunglasses when you run? Is it getting harder to see the numbers on your running-watch?

You may be interested in the running-glasses I recently bought online.

Until recently I could still see my running-watch well enough to fake it wearing non-prescription sunglasses. Now I’ve owned a couple of pairs of prescription sunglasses over the years, but I have found them to be quite expensive and worse – they are not always fully covered by my insurance. Consequently I recently found myself without a decent pair to use while being reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars to get a new pair. My close up vision has gotten so bad however, I knew I would have to either get prescription sunglasses, a bigger watch or a longer arm!

One day while surfing the ‘net I strayed upon “bi-focal reading glasses” and finally “bi-focal running glasses” and found the SunCloud Zephyr bi-focal “readers” which are styled like a classic pair of running sunglasses. In addition they are polarized and offer UV protection. You can get the bi-focal “reader” portion of the lens in a variety of powers to suit your eyes (mine are +1.50).

SunCloud is one of a number of companies offering these type of glasses. I got mine at LL Bean for about $79 after shipping.

As soon as I first tried them on I liked them. I was afraid the bi-focals would be a distraction or a safety hazard but these fears have proven to be unfounded. The bi-focals are placed low enough on the lens that you cannot easily accidentally look through them, but when you hold your watch up to check your splits the numbers come magically into focus.

I wore them at the Loop de Loop after only using them for about a week with no issues.

I love them. You might want to check them out yourself.

DM Peterson

The Long and Short of It

May15Peterson2A couple of months ago I read a good book recommended to me by my good friend and fellow runner Dr. Alec “Doc” Isabeau. The book is Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. Although this is not a review per se’, I will say that I highly recommend this book. It inspired me to make a few simple changes to my diet and exercise routine.

  • I stopped buying and therefore eating the delicious chocolate-chip cookies from my local grocery store’s bakery department. It had become a habit to eat one or two and sometimes three of these high-calorie babies every night.
  • I added a third gym workout to my routine. I had traditionally taken Friday’s off. Now I typically run four times per week and do strength-training three times per week.
  • I began doing my very best to go at least 45 minutes in every run or workout. If I can’t make it that long or if I occasionally miss a workout – no big deal, but I no longer plan to take a day off unless I am injured or tapering.

Since I made these three simple changes I have lost somewhere between seven and ten pounds. I used to feel like I had reached my “fighting weight” if I got down to around 156 lbs. Now I am flirting with going under 150 lbs. for the first time in about thirty years. I am running better now than I have in a long time and I feel great.

You don’t have to kill yourself to see positive results. Just make a few changes and give it a little time.

DM Peterson