Saturday, February 23, 2013

Guest post: Colors make running fun! - Bethlehem Color Run

by Diana Skowronski


As a Lehigh Valley transplant of almost 3 years I am always looking for things to do in the area with 2 goals in mind: to build my social circle and to have new experiences.  Last year I decided to make one of those new experiences running a 5K! I was never a runner so if you’re new to running too I hope I can inspire you!  I would jog here and there but I had always counted myself out of the running game based on my asthma diagnosis and the onset of shin splints in high school.  Then I realized the only reason I wasn’t running was because I said I can’t… but what if I said I can?

And so began my journey to completing a 5K, and I took advantage of all the Lehigh Valley has to offer to get there.  First, I signed up for the Runners World 5K that took place on October 20, 2012.  Next I went to Aardvark Sports Shop on Main Street in Bethlehem as recommended by a friend to get supportive running shoes.  Unbeknownst to me this would alleviate pain from my shin splints!  The employees there are great and I left with a pair of sneakers that completely changed my running experience.  Finally, I trained on the great trails here in the Valley!  I ran mostly on the Saucon Rail Trail from Hellertown because it is closest to my house, and occasionally on the Muhlenberg College track because I love any excuse to visit my alma mater J

Fast forward to the 5K.  The morning of October 20th at the Runners World Festival setup in front of the Steel Stacks was awesome!  I heard people talk about the energy of a race but I didn’t really understand it until I was there.  I had set my goal at 32 minutes (ten minute miles) and I was anxious to see if I would make it.  After a great run around Bethlehem’s South Side I came in at 31:57, just under goal.  I felt very accomplished and proud of myself, yet I continued to tell everyone it was my first and last race.  It was just something I wanted to check off my bucket list and I’m not competitive by nature so I wasn’t concerned with running again and beating my time.  I was just glad I did it, had fun and achieved the goal I set for myself.  But as it turns out, I lied.  I will be running my second 5K this coming May, but this one will be a bit… brighter?

Color Me Rad is coming to Bethlehem.  This is a race in which runners are blasted with “Color Bombs” throughout the course, leaving you looking a bit like spin art when you come out.  Maybe I wasn’t interested in participating in another race to beat my own time, but interested in getting covered in colorful paint and having it be socially acceptable? Absolutely.  So with no more than 2 seconds of thought I signed up for a team captained by a friend of mine.  I feel like there is no way this wouldn’t be a blast and I am hoping the fun atmosphere of this event will bring out some more new runners like myself!  Setting a goal and having something to look forward to is the best way to get started.  If nothing else, it will provide you with some great photos to impress all of your Facebook friends!  I hope to see a lot of you Transplants (and natives!) out there – be on the lookout for me. I’ll be running with Team: Do these colors make my butt look big? And hopefully the answer to that will be no J

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Let the Brain Drain go

There's a brain drain going on, and it's going to get "worse."

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission's latest projections of future population for the Lehigh Valley include data about the population growth as well as the migration data for the region. In its projection of population growth from 2015-2040, every cohort from 0 to 75+ has a net gain in our region, except 20-24 year olds.

The region’s economic development experts would love to stem the Brain Drain. Keep them here! Tap their knowledge base! Make the area more welcoming to young people and their interests!

I challenge that mindset and instead would suggest – LET THEM GO. What those 10,000 recent college grads want does not exist here. They want to live in close quarters with other young people. They want to walk into a bar or art gallery and not recognize a single face. They want to sit on the lawn and drink coffee and debate politics or throw the Frisbee around. They want to experience new cultures and walk or take public transportation home from where they drink. Kind of like… college…?

Let them have their brain drain. Let them experience life in the big city. Let them work for a big company with lots of other young people. Let them learn things they could never learn here. Let them “get it out of their system.” THEN, let them bring it back home. Let them make the conscious decision to return to the Lehigh Valley when they want to return, whatever the reason. To be near family. To be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. To start a business. To buy a house. Let them raise their own families here. Let them incorporate the experiences they had in Philadelphia, New York, LA, Austin, DC, and Pittsburgh, and bring them into their classrooms, their workplaces, their small businesses, their nonprofits, their neighborhoods.

Many young people want to spread their wings after college. I say, fly. Then fly again home to nest when you're ready. What do you think?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lehigh U Harlem Shake

Filmed tonight at the Bucknell game...




Have you seen any great local Harlem Shake videos?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Allentown, PA: Where the Single Men Are/Where are the Single Men?

According to Jed Kolko at The Atlantic Cities, the Lehigh Valley and nearby NJ municipalities has one of the best male/female ratios (in favor of women) in the country.

The number of men living alone per woman living alone is 1.19, and that does not include anyone over 65 or the gay and lesbian population. That's pretty close to Silicon Valley (1.23) and Las Vegas (1.34)!
"To figure out where the gender ratio is most skewed in each direction, we went right to the data. We know from our consumer survey about love and housing that not all singles are equally in demand, at least when it comes to dating. Among unmarried adults, 62 percent prefer to date someone who lives alone; only 14 percent prefer to date someone who lives with other people. Perhaps living alone sends the right signal about independence and availability – or perhaps living alone just makes dating easier (does anyone really want to hear their mom ask, "Honey, can I make you and your friend some pancakes?").
Whatever the reason, we get it: so we looked at the ratio of men living alone to women living alone in order to assess the dating scene."
If that's the case, why do so many women complain about not meeting good guys in this area? 

I have a few theories, so here are my sweeping generalizations.
A lot of single men who are FROM the Lehigh Valley are tight with their families and friends from growing up. Come Friday night, you will find them hanging out with the same crowd as always, either at somebody's house or at a neighborhood watering hole. They aren't meeting you, fabulous female transplant, because you are checking out the new hookah bar with your girlfriends. Want to meet these guys? Get in with co-workers or friends-of-friends who are from the Valley, and ask them to introduce you to their high school friends.

A lot of single men who are NEW to the Lehigh Valley roll with their co-workers. That means their day and night life is shared by the same small group of people. I have observed this among people I've met who work at a number of large and small companies in the Valley. If they moved to the area for the job, the first people they met and spent time with were co-workers, who in many cases were also transplants. They travel a lot to see old friends and family. They also tend to have fewer roots in the area, and are more likely to want to "move back home" at some point, or plan to leave for the big city soon. Want to meet these guys? Put up an online dating profile, chat up the guy in the line for the Bieber bus to NYC or Philly on a Friday night, pick him up in the produce section at Wegman's on a weeknight, or ask your pals who work for large companies to invite you to their group's next happy hour. 

Then there's the population of single men who still live with their parents, who are not counted in this ratio but are similar to the native male type. They are extremely close with their families (obviously) and are probably driving a nice car. They may have very legitimate, practical reasons for living under their parents' roof - saving to buy a house, roommate got married, helping out their parents with bills/heavy items. Want to meet these guys? You'll find them at the gym, church, and private clubs (e.g. Northside Republican Club in Easton, Jeffersonian in Bethlehem, Pomfret Club in Easton). If you date this guy, you will likely "meet the parents" pretty early on, and if you want to play house, it will have to be at your place.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yianni’s Taverna


There are a few restaurants in the Lehigh Valley that I consider to be “on the way” to other places. They aren’t really near anything I go to, but they are halfway to one place or another or centrally located enough that it doesn’t take most people more than 15 minutes to get there from anywhere else in the Lehigh Valley.
Yianni’sTaverna (3760 Old Philadelphia Pike  Bethlehem) is one of those places for me. (Cactus Blue is another one.) It’s located on the side of South Mountain, just off Route 378/Broadway/Old Bethlehem Pike, on the way from Bethlehem to Saucon Valley or vice-versa.
The beauty of Yianni’s is that it is casual enough for a friend-lunch, formal enough for a business lunch, ethnic enough to impress foodie types but not inaccessible for picky eaters, and trendy enough for a post-work cocktail. Service is reliably good and quick. The dining room is rarely full. And you never know who’ll you see lunching there… as I did last week. (Laura Bennett!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's a fastnacht and why is everyone in the Lehigh Valley talking about them today?


For those of you who are *brand* new to the Lehigh Valley, today may be your first Fastnacht Day.

Regardless of whether you are Catholic, observe Lent or celebrate Ash Wednesday, natives and transplants alike indulge in a tradition the Pennsylvania Germans/"Dutch" called Fastnacht Day (literally, "Fast Night," or the night before the fast).

To prepare for the fast and use up the good stuff people traditionally give up for Lent, bakeries and fire houses fry up doughnuts made of potatoes, sugar, shortening, and butter or margarine. Yes, I said shortening! I found a great recipe for making them at home in the deep fryer, but I usually get one from my neighbor (ironically, she offered one to me this morning after my four-mile run). If I don't get one from Cara, I usually hit up Wegman's to buy them, since I always forget to pre-order from Schubert's Bakery (49 N. Broad St., Nazareth) and Egypt Star Bakery (2225 Macarthur Rd, Whitehall). The Morning Call suggested a few other places to get your fastnacht.

I'm not a huge fan of fastnachts, but I do like to have one (or part of one) every year on Fastnacht Day for good luck. If you want to feel like a true Lehigh Valley native for a day, talk about fastnachts like having one is an annual tradition you look forward to and put one in your mouth.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lehigh Valley IronPigs


In all my time writing this blog, I have only mentioned the Lehigh Valley IronPigs once, which surprised me when I checked. By no means are we 72 home-game-season-ticket-hardcore fans, but we end up going to about a half dozen games every year, in some combination of group outings on the picnic patio, private suite gatherings, and to hear my MIL sing the National Anthem with her choral group.
I really enjoy going to games. I liked going to Washington Nationals games at RFK Stadium when the team first moved to DC. Now that team has a fancy stadium in Anacostia which we hope to visit this summer while we’re in the city visiting Holly & Steve. My husband and his friend Alan go to Orioles games a few times a year. “We” are Phillies fans, and so is my dad. When the Iron Pigs moved to the Valley, we were excited to have our own team.  I can’t wait to take Ellen to her first baseball game this summer. Do you think they sell baseball caps small enough for a 9-month old? How's that paragraph for a stream of random baseball thoughts?

The point of this blog: I saw some interesting statistics today that I thought might impress even the most casual ‘Pigs fan:
Attendance at Coca-Cola Park topped 688,000 last year, which puts the Iron Pigs ahead of Penn State Football (677K), the Philadelphia 76ers (577K), the Philadelphia Eagles (553K) and every single other minor league baseball team in the country. This year, the team will host the Minor League Baseball World Series.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Voting in the Lehigh Valley


I’ve written a few times before about voting. I consider it both a right and a privilege, just like controlling the radio station when I’m the only adult in the car. (Then WHYY it is. Sorry, Ellen.)
So why is it that so many of my fellow citizens choose not to exercise their right to vote, particularly in local elections? Do they not feel informed enough to make a choice? Do they not realize that many local elections are “decided in the primary” since members of the Other Party are rarely elected to certain posts?
The first time that I registered to vote, it was in the District of Columbia. DC’s license plates don’t say “Taxation Without Representation” because it’s a witty rhyme. It’s because the residents of DC don’t have any voice in the US Senate, and their one Congresswoman can only vote in committee. I marched up to the elementary school near my dorm (later, apartment building) and voted in every election. I loved that DC’s Wards each elected their own representative to City Council. It bugged me that Eleanor Holmes-Norton never garnered enough respect/pity/attention to advocate for the voting rights of half a million US citizens.
I changed my registration to PA when I moved here in 2006. I own property, pay school district, County, City, State, Federal taxes. Local elections are often decided by a couple hundred votes, and the elected officials often make decisions that directly affect my family and me. Why on Earth wouldn’t I vote?
Primary elections are coming up in both Northampton and Lehigh Counties, and there’s a mayoral election in Bethlehem that I’m closely connected to. I encourage you to carefully consider the candidates, and have your say on May 21. If you aren’t currently registered to vote, there’s still time to contact your County voter registration office.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Valley loses three great transplants


Marlene Linny Fowler. Inez Donley. Priscilla Payne Hurd. Individually and together, these three women made an impact on the region that will be felt for generations. They made the Lehigh Valley their home, despite being born and raised in New York, Tennessee, and Illinois, respectively. And sadly for us and for their families, they each passed away recently.

They saw need and filled it, not just with money, as they are well known to have done. They rolled up their sleeves and spent time and energy to fix problems. They created new things, saved things from disappearing, helped renew things that were worth preserving. What was their secret? What did they have in common? True, they were educated. They each married and stayed married. They were often the “first” or “only” to take notice, take action, be asked. They surrounded themselves with like-minded people, who shared their passion for community service. They asked those people to support their causes and listened to others. They each had their own way of doing it, but each woman made her mark on the Lehigh Valley.

I have copied their obituaries here for you to marvel at. I ask you, transplants: who among you will be the next Linny Fowler? How could you live your life more like Inez Donley did? How did these women work, raise families, and still find time to support their adopted community, including many people who never knew their names? How could we each use the gifts that have been given to us to serve a greater good?

How can we carry on the good work they did in the Lehigh Valley, we transplants of the next generation? It’s a question I ask myself often, and I challenge you consider it, too

Marlene Fowler
Marlene Linny Fowler, beloved wife of Beall for over 51 years, mother of four, grandmother of 13, and angel to countless others, died at home on February 4, 2013 at the age of 73. Born in New York City, she was the daughter of the late Harold F. and Miriam (Dickey) Oberkotter. She grew up in Harrington Park, NJ and graduated from Skidmore College in 1961 with a BA in biology. Two weeks later she and Beall were married and she joined Beall in Rochester, NY where she worked in urology research and gave birth to their first two children. After they moved to Champaign-Urbana, IL, their third child arrived. At a time of great racial unrest, she helped to found a nursery school in the segregated African-American section of Champaign and helped to integrate it with their oldest child. In 1966, Linny and Beall moved to the Bethlehem area where he joined the faculty of Lehigh University. Soon she began volunteer work at Headstart in South Terrace where she began her lasting interactions and friendships with members of the Latino community, which became a lifelong passion. Other activities followed, including leading Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, and teaching nursery school in Hellertown for several years. During this time their fourth child was born. She learned the art of stained glass and taught it in several venues, finally establishing a studio at the Banana Factory. After the untimely death of both of her parents in the early 1980s, she acquired the means to financially support her passion for justice, education, and the arts. For the rest of her life she was intimately involved in the cultural, educational, and human resources fabric of the Lehigh Valley; at one time she served on some 20 boards, and each organization benefitted from her generosity, passion, and wisdom. She founded the Lehigh Valley Coalition for Kids, through which a number of projects were supported. Several of the most significant projects that she fueled are the Banana Factory, SteelStacks, the Southside campus of NCC, and Camp Fowler of Valley Youth House. She supported programs and capital facilities at the Baum Art School, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown Art Museum, LCCC, Donegan School, ProJect of Easton, State Theatre, DaVinci Center, Habitat for Humanity, other institutions of education, from preschool through college, and of health care in the Lehigh Valley, the Bach Choir, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Touchstone Theatre, Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley, and many others. For this work she was honored numerous times, including honorary doctorates from Lehigh University and DeSales University, the Pennsylvania Governors Award for the Arts, the Edward and Inez Donley Award for Lifetime Advocacy for Children from Community Services for Children, Inc., and the Lehigh Valley Lifetime Achievement Award. While this work was going on in an organized fashion, she was privately and personally supporting the college expenses of countless young people, while mentoring them as well. And she was always ready to help those in need. But with all this activity, her first love was her family, especially her precious grandchildren. She had a heart of gold, was loved by all, and her goal was not only to give direct assistance but to serve as a model for others in a world in which there are many needs but also many opportunities to serve.

Inez Donley died on January 27, 2013, at age 97 of Alzheimer's disease. Born: She was born Inez Cantrell on August 6, 1915 near Smithville, Tennessee, the fifth of seven children in a poor farming family. Her mother, Inus, died when she was 5. Personal: She was a loving wife for more than 66 years to her husband, Edward, a devoted mother, and a tireless volunteer and community leader in the Lehigh Valley for six decades. After high school, Inez worked in a Chattanooga, TN boarding house to pay her tuition to McKenzie School of Business, where she studied typing and bookkeeping. In 1943, she was hired as a secretary at Air Products, Inc., a new company making oxygen generators for the war effort, where she met her husband Edward Donley. They married on October 24, 1946. Inez and Edward came to the Lehigh Valley when Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. moved here in 1949. They lived in Alburtis, then Emmaus, and then Allentown for 45 years, before moving to Kirkland Village in Bethlehem in 2008. Mrs. Donley actively supported her husband in his work as an engineer, senior manager, and ultimately CEO and Chairman of Air Products. She was equally devoted to their children, Martha Donley Robb (a psychologist in New Hampshire, spouse John), Tom (business development manager, The Butz Companies, spouse Cindy) and John (a lawyer in Chicago, spouse Michele). A friend once said, Ed is CEO of Air Products and Nezzie is CEO of Donley Inc. Mrs. Donley's community service included driving patients for the Red Cross, delivering Meals on Wheels, and knocking on doors to raise money for many causes. Once, when a Good Shepherd Home fundraiser was below goal, Good Shepherd president Conrad Raker asked Mrs. Donley if she could take on five more contacts. I'll take ten, Mrs. Donley replied, and her follow-up effort pushed the drive over its $1 million goal. I love Inez Donley! Raker declared in a letter to the Morning Call. Mrs. Donley served 25 years on the board of KidsPeace, the regional home for disadvantaged children. When she joined, the main building (then called Wiley House) was pocked with gopher holes or rat holes, I don't know, Mrs. Donley later recalled in an interview. We had a bucket ready on rainy days if the roof leaked. It was time to build something better. She was a key member of the team that raised the money to build the modern KidsPeace campus in Orefield. As president of the Allentown Library board from 1979 to 2004, Mrs. Donley oversaw the library's move from its cramped quarters on 9th Street to the modern building at 12th and Hamilton. Mrs. Donley led a team that doubled the number of library users, arranged free peanut butter sandwiches for poor children, and pioneered free internet access. As former library director Kathryn Stephanoff said, She truly led us into the 21st century, giving exceptional advice and leadership by using her subtle weapons - an occasional raised eyebrow, a few soft words, the very easy to interpret silent stare and the wonderfully helpful questions - why, how, when, for whom. No one will fill her chair with the same simple dignity, the same sensible questions, the same loyal support. Mrs. Donley didn't seek the spotlight, yet still received many accolades. Muhlenberg College awarded her an honorary Doctor of Human Letters in 1984 for truly salutary service to this community and your humanitarianism which reflects a quiet determination to reaffirm the worth and dignity of your fellow men and women. When she received a United Way award in 1981, the plaudits included this: Inez just wants to get the job done. She doesn't look for recognition. There are givers and there are takers . . . Inez is a giver. And this: She's a warm, generous person always doing things for people. She doesn't even have any hobbies, because she's so busy doing volunteer work in the community. At the award ceremony, her husband described Inez as a woman of uncommon common sense, and credited her with (among other things) being the inspiration and motivation behind his own success. Mrs. Donley did have hobbies, too. She played basketball at New Market, Alabama High School and, with sufficient prodding in later years, would occasionally demonstrate the granny shot free throw. Mrs. Donley was an avid bridge player, reader and gardener (groundhogs nibbled on her hollyhocks at their peril). She enjoyed cooking and was famous for fried chicken and homemade pies. She had strong, quick hands and was adept with any tool, including a hoe, paring knife, rolling pin, sewing needle, Royal manual typewriter, rake, hammer and two-by-four. Most of all, Mrs. Donley loved being with her children, grandchildren, and her siblings, in-laws and their families. She graciously opened her vacation home in the Poconos to large and unpredictable crowds, and made every guest feel at home.

Priscilla Payne Hurd, 93, of Riegelsville, PA, died on Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013. Born: Mrs. Hurd was born on September 26, 1919 in Evanston, IL. Prill' was the daughter of the late Frank E. and Seba B. Payne of Chicago, IL. Personal: She was the wife of George A. Hurd, Sr., who worked for the legal and finance departments of the Bethlehem Steel Company. Mr. Hurd died in 2002. Mrs. Hurd spent most of her childhood in Glencoe, IL. She attended the North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, IL, The Madeira School in McLean, VA, and Finch College in New York City. During World War II, she drove an ambulance in Chicago. As a member of the Junior League of Chicago, the focus of which was to interest young woman in the industrial and social problems on the city, she volunteered in family court. Mrs. Hurd moved to Bethlehem, PA in 1946 when she married George A. Hurd. Sr. Mr. and Mrs. Hurd lived in Bethlehem during the first years of their marriage, then moved to Saucon Valley and, finally, to a farm in Riegelsville in the late 1950s. They had been married for 56 years, when Mr. Hurd died in 2002 at the age of 91. Mrs. Hurd was on many organizational boards in the 66 years that she lived in the Lehigh Valley, but notably was the first woman board member and 1st woman chairperson of the board at St. Luke's Hospital, the first woman board member and the 1st woman chairperson at Moravian College, and the 1st woman board member and chairperson of the National Museum of Industrial History. She was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities by the Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales (now DeSales University) in 1992, an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by Moravian College in 1993, was the recipient of Northampton Community College's first Community Fabric Award, and received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from the Lehigh University in 2003. In addition, she received numerous citations from the City of Bethlehem and awards from organizations across the Lehigh Valley. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Revolutions in Saucon Valley


Julie and I graduated from the Leadership Lehigh Valley program a few years back. She works not too far from where I work, and occasionally we’ll meet up for breakfast or lunch to catch up. The purpose of the program is to train community volunteers for board leadership. We both took the year-long program seriously and have continued to serve the community on different nonprofit boards since completing the program. It’s always fun to commiserate and celebrate.

Revolutions recently opened about halfway between where each of us work, so the last time we bumped into one another, we resolved to check it out together.

We’re both transplants so we didn’t have to review the businesses that used to operate in the shopping center to know where it was… ;) but for those of you who aren’t sure where we mean, it’s behind Starter’s Pub on Route 378 (not to be confused with Starter’s Riverport in South Side Bethlehem), in the building that was once the movie theater. There used to be a Pathmark in the shopping center, too, but it’s now closed.

At noon last Friday, the parking lot was nearly empty. I parked in the first spot outside the glass doors and walked in. The place was buzzing with activity. I counted no fewer than 10 employees running around doing things. But I was the only restaurant patron until Julie showed up. A few other tables filled in later. Our server, naturally, was very attentive. The menu was nowhere near as extensive as Starter’s, but the food was tasty and we got in and out in under an hour (important for business lunches). 

Our server informed us that with their new liquor license, they were expecting to be very busy the following weekend’s Friday and Saturday nights, and were still taking reservations for their stadium theater for watching the big game. After lunch we poked our noses around and saw another eating area with views of a performing stage for bands. A couple of the 20 bowling lanes were in use. Above and around the lanes were large TV screens and each lane could be reserved for an hour for $60. It includes unlimited bowling, your own cozy leather sofas, and a server. There’s a large arcade on the second floor, far removed from the grown-up activities. It would be the perfect place for parents to go get a bite to eat, and check out a band and/or watch a game while the kids bowled or played in the arcade. No one feature dominates Revolutions, so pick your favorite activity and enjoy it undisturbed. I definitely hope to visit some weekend night with friends!

https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionsAtSauconValley
3717 Rt 378
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(484) 935-3001

Thursday, February 07, 2013

I Ran a 10K, Part 2


After Sunday’s race, I was feeling pretty cold and sore. Ihadn’t wanted to buy a new pair of sneakers so close before the race, so maybe Istretched this pair a little too long. As it turned out, the alternate race course,although on Allentown City streets, was snowy and wet. So after the race, Itied up my laces and threw the wet shoes in a bag. I took a wonderfully hotshower and got dressed. My husband and daughter were on their way home fromvisiting friends, so I took advantage of the free 20 minutes I had to stop inat Aardvark Running Store (Main Street, Bethlehem).

First, I paid for parking using the ParkNow app on my phone.It pays for my parking and reminds me when the meter is about to run out.Convenient, and I don’t need to remember quarters or mess with the kiosk.

I’ve purchased the same pair of Asics sneakers from Aardvarkfive times. Every time I wear out a pair, I ask the pros at Aardvark to look atmy old sneakers for wear patterns. They suggest alternatives and also show methe new colors of my favorite model. I always give the Brooks’, Sauconys andNew Balances a shot. But each time I’ve gone back to the same model. I add anextra supportive insert to combat plantar fasciitis and I’m ready to go.

While I was checking out, I thought about all the businessI’ve given this locally-owned store. Besides sneakers, I’ve bought accessoriesfor warmth, headphones, sports bras, socks. I’ve asked a hundred questions andalways got thoughtful replies. I handed over my race bib with a coupon on theback and thought about all the support this local store has given the localrunning community. As I checked out, the owner of another local businessstopped in and his dog made laps around the store, greeting everyone. I lookedat the flyers with information about upcoming races, posted on the wall. Yes, Icould buy my next pair of Asics online. I know what I want, and I wouldn’t evenhave to leave the house. But why, when I could support this local business andhave a great experience doing it? Are there any businesses you support in this way?


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I ran a 10K, Part 1


This past Sunday, I completed a running race. But for me, the goal was the training, not the race itself. At six weeks post-partum, I was given the green light to exercise. I met with my trainer, Becca, who developed a plan including running and resistance training to get me ready to run a 10K race hosted by the Lehigh Valley Road Runners on Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately, my training plan was slightly derailed by a sinus infection before Christmas followed by a beastly bout of bronchitis which lasted nearly three weeks. Then it snowed the night before the race. My husband told me he was worried about my running, but I assured him I’d take it easy and bring my inhaler, run with a buddy, etc.

On the morning of the race, I picked up Lindsay and together we headed over to Lehigh Parkway, where the race began. Waved to Cari, my Junior League pal who inspires me. We picked up our bibs and swag (pretty shirts!) and headed back to the car to stay warm. Honked at my friend Jill from book club, doing a warm-up. Greeted my colleagues who signed up because I encouraged them to. I thought about how the day could have gone: I could have stayed warm all day, snuggled up on the sofa with my baby, dog and husband. Instead I chose to wake up early, and push myself to run 6.2 miles in the snow. I wasn’t the fastest runner, or the one in the fanciest running gear (or Boston Marathon T-shirt – ok, we get it, dude). But I showed up, which is more than 200-some registrants did. I walked a little, when I felt I needed to, but I ran the last mile at a good pace and crossed the finish line with a smile. In training for the race, I did a good thing for my health and my family. But race day was for me. 


Push.