Foot Notes: A running journey restart amid a pandemic
For the first time in two weeks, I went for a run.
My breathing wasn't the best as I jiggled through my favorite 5K route, but my legs remembered what to do, and my willpower was just strong enough to run without walking for 3.1 miles.
As much as I had dreaded going for this hilly excursion, the gratification I felt after getting it done was much greater than any pain I felt during the workout. It was difficult to get back on the horse, no doubt, but perhaps this is the run that will finally point my fitness journey back in the right direction.
It's good to be back. And not just with running, either. This running column, Foot Notes, has been off for nearly a month. I've been working behind the scenes to ensure this column reaches a larger audience than ever.
For those of you who followed me here from Franklin County, welcome back. And for all of you new Foot Notes readers, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Andy. I started this column in 2016 with the purpose of sharing my story and your stories to the running world. I was a new runner reaping the benefits of this sport, and soon found myself in a place where I could run circles around my high school self. I completed a 50K, two marathons, and numerous halves.
I return to you in 2020 as a washed-up runner pushing 260 pounds. Like many of you, I assume, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on my life. I was separated from my day job in March and left at home with the sense that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. For some of you, to "live like you are dying" involves sky diving and rocky mountain climbing, but in my reality it was giving in to a laundry list of poor choices, mostly involving binge-eating. Wings, pizza, soda, beer, and E.L. Fudge cookies have been my go-to snacks, justified by my "support" of local establishments.
But with the world slowly returning to normal and more eyes on me than ever, I am ready and eager to step out of my cave and give this running thing all I have. I miss how it feels for my clothes to fit. I miss being able to climb stairs without gasping for air. I miss having the ability to tie my shoes without having to hold my breath.
My original goal for this year was to cross 1,000 miles. I'm currently at 688, but know I can at least get to 900 if I make the most out of these next few months. I want to return to racing on Thanksgiving for the Turkey Trot, an event that I consider to the "Super Bowl" of running. Most importantly, I want to learn how to once again eat properly: This will require better portion control and limiting my snacking, particularly in the evening hours.
Reaching these goals will require establishing a consistency and beginning that process starts with a single action. In my case, I believe that action was toughing it out on a grueling run, hopefully the first of many.
I'm praying that I can make progress with my fitness journey and inspire you to better yourself, as well. I'm full of hope as I strap on my shoes and pull myself out the door for my next run.
I hope you'll stick around to find out what happens next.
Race results: Runners getting back to normal
Fall racing season now comes with a few newly installed safety protocols — like rolling start times and limits on field sizes — but life on the racepaths is making strides toward what it used to be, at least in York County.
The York Marathon and Half, White Rose Run 5-Miler, and Hanover RunFest were recently held within county limits, with the five events pulling in a combined 690 participants.
York and Lebanon County runners showed up in large numbers and performed very well on their home turf, with locals posting several fast times and taking home enough age group awards to fill a treasure chest.
We'll start with last weekend's York Marathon, where Dillsburg's Chris Kuhl highlighted county runners by clocking a 2:57:20 to finish sixth overall and second in the 35-39 AG. York's Joe Freed took 14th in 3:17:40 and finished second in the 45-49 AG, while other finishers to break four hours included York's Roberto Rivera-Vazquez (3:20:52), Courtney Kline (3:41:21, 3rd in 30-34 AG), Kelly McKinley (3:45:44, 1st in 40-44 AG) Mitchell Schlegl (3:51:54, 3rd in 24U AG) and Amy Sipe (3:58:20), and Hanover's Steven Storm (3:22:43, 3rd in 30-34 AG) and Daniel Arter (3:25:57).
Fredericksburg's Tyler McFeaters was the top finisher at the York Half, winning the 24U AG and finishing fourth overall with his time of 1:21:35. Hanover's Kirk Mummert was just behind in 1:23:04 to finish sixth overall. Other locals to break through the 1:45 barrier include York's Sarah Cardone (1:34:49, 1st in 24U AG), Danielle Cardone (1:37:04, 2nd in 24U AG), Nathan Hardman (1:39:17), Joe Blackwood (1:39:45, 2nd in 40-44 AG), Raymond Vogel (1:39:52, 3rd in 35-39 AG), Michael Lloyd (1:42:01, 3rd in 40-44 AG), and Caleb Roth (1:44:06), Seven Valleys' Dave McLaughlin (1:40:32, 1st in 35-39 AG), Dillsburg's Ally Bishop (1:41:31), and Red Lion's John Childress (1:44:37, 1st in 55-59 AG).
York County's largest race was the White Rose Run, which featured 231 runners. Lebanon's Luis Miranda claimed fifth overall in 27:09 and finished ahead of York's Colby Clinton (28:33, 1st in 30-34 AG), Thomas Urrunaga (28:36, 1st in 15-19 AG) and Ryan Myers (30:34, 1st in 40-44 AG), Etters' Brent Zeiders (31:25, 1st in 45-49 AG), Glen Rock's Dylan Smith (31:55), Red Lion's Justin Immel (32:07), Mount Wolf's Michael Tedesco (32:42), Dillsburg's Joanna Hayes (33:40, 2nd in 30-34 AG), and Jacobus' Nicole Register (34:54, 1st in 15-19 AG).
The Hanover Half and Resilient 5K combined to draw 200 runners. Felton's Benjamin Abeles posted a 1:25:25 to finish as the race runner-up. York's Joshua Jamison finished in fourth and won the 40-49 age group with his time of 1:25:48. Dillsburg's Amanda Dell was the third overall female in 1:34:18. Other area runners to finish under 1:45 included Etters' Lindell Servis (1:30:19), Spring Grove's Tyler Moyer (1:31:08), Hanover's Brian Schuck (1:32:24), Matthew Nawn (1:33:19, 1st in 15-19 AG) Wayne Diehl Jr. (1:39:10), Isabela Ugarte (1:42:56, 1st in 20-29 AG), Bryan Smith (1:42:57), and Kenny Wynne (1:44:33), York's Michael MacDonald (1:35:08).
The Resilient 5K was highlighted by the running of race runner-up Anthony Lualua of New Oxford, who posted a 20:39, and Hanover's Tom Eltz (20:57).
Lebanon's Miranda had another fine effort at the Tower to Town 10-Miler, winning the race in 59:26, while other top runners at the race include Lebanon's Ryan Liscinski (1:07:01), James O'Brien (1:14:03), and Marissa Kovach (1:15:11), Palmyra's Chad Angle (1:10:33), and Annville's Rob Blaszynski (1:15:02).
Runners were put to the test in a brutal trail race, the Ironmasters 15K, in Gardners. York's Jessica Riley was the top local finisher as she clocked a 1:39:55 to claim second in the 30-39 age group. A handful of others also broke the two-hour barrier, including Palmyra's David Seibel (1:47:09, 1st in 50-59 AG), Lewisberry's Joseph Deitrich (1:48:31), Red Lion's Paul Seitz (1:49:48, 2nd in 50-59 AG), and Wrightsville's Robert Koller (1:52:57, 3rd in 60 & Over AG).
A number of other area runners branched off the beaten path to compete in other races across the region, including Lebanon's Anthony Fitzgibbons (4:54:40 at Valley Forge Marathon) and Mercedita Kononchuk (2:11:55 at Valley Forge Half), Palmyra's John Mallonee (2:04:40 at Valley Forge Half) and Tawny Heselpoth (8:21:26 at Green Monster 50K), York's Theodore Shaffer (52:50 at Dumb Dutchman 6.55-Miler), Grayce Langheine (9:42:04 at Green Monster 50K), Red Lion's Chad Brown (3:38:15 at Green Monster 25K), and Hanover's Scott Lippy (2:39:57 at Green Monster 15K).
Upcoming running events in the area
Gettysburg Festival of Races: Saturday/Sunday, in Gettysburg. There are still spots available for this festival, which features race distances of 5K, half marathon, and marathon. Search for the event on runsignup.com.
End of the Road Half Marathon: Saturday, Oct. 24, 9:30 a.m., in Waterfall. Bring your headlamp for this race, which takes you through the defunct Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was featured in the 2009 apocalyptic movie, "The Road." Find the race on runsignup.com.
Stoudts Distance Classic 12K: Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m., in Adamstown. Not only do registrants get a race, they will receive a loaf of freshly-baked bread from the Wonderful Good Market, as well as a free beer. Look for the race on runsignup.com.
Also: Run the Glen Race Series (Friday-Saturday, in Lebanon); Cousler Park 5K/10K Relay (Saturday, in York); Freedom 5K (Saturday, in Cristiana); Lititz 5K for Life (Saturday, in Lititz, Virtual); SU Military Science Department 5K/10K (Saturday, Oct. 24, in Shippensburg, Virtual); Chicken Run 5K (Saturday, Oct. 24, in Lancaster); Pocono Half Marathon (Saturday, Oct. 24, in Bushkill).
Andy Sandrik writes about running for the USA TODAY NETWORK-Pennsylvania. Email him at email@example.com.