As 2012 draws to a close, Club Ed runners got together to celebrate another year of running, a season of holidays, and friendships developed on the track, in the hills, and on the roads. Steve and Cindy Notaro graciously opened their home to the club, and although it was occasionally drizzling/raining outside, the atmosphere inside was warm, welcoming, and festive. In addition to plenty of tacos and drinks, desserts were plentiful. Cakes, pies, cookies, and brownies of all recipes and calories were happily consumed.

Coach Ed also delivered several awards to commemorate the 2012 training year. The following runners, from among the many accomplished athletes in the group, were acknowledged:
Paul Cooney, for his dramatic improvement and multiple PRs in most every distance raced this year;
Chris DeWitt, for leading the charge to develop a track-oriented racing contingent and for leading the way at the El Toro USATF One Mile Run for the club;
Marian Drahnak, for PRs in 10Ks and half-marathons, and for showing us that racers come in different sizes, ages, and times of our lives;
Dave Grethen, for reminding us of the virtues of developing a training plan and sticking to it, and for returning to the Hometown10K and finishing on his own terms;
Nathalie Higley, for her return to racing and her domination in the MB10K; older can also mean faster!
Will Longyear, for showing us that even if you pick rainy marathons, you can still PR with determination;
Nicola Lowrey, for a year of ups and downs, triumphs and injuries, and for sticking to it…to better times ahead!
Bill Macleoud, for continuing to impress us all as a Masters athlete, as a tremendous competitor, and as an amazing tri-athlete;
Andy MacKay, for defining gritty determination in a continuing comeback from a terrible accident;
Jon Megeff, for continuing to remind us, by example, that Master athletes can be competitive, fast, and successful in their chosen sport for years and years;
Ian Mickelson, for living the competitive dream as a professional triathlete, that few will get a chance (or have the talent) to do;
Aaron Munger, for a year of racing accomplishments on the track and roads, including a lifetime one-mile PR at age 36!
Sue Reinhardt, for being a true running legend, and staying “Goofy” (racing in both the half and full marathons on consecutive days in the same weekend at the Disney Marathon);
Trish Riley, for transitioning from a treadmill runner to teammate, training partner, and road racer;
Tami Shalvarjian, for a year of ever-improving running, training, and racing, capped off with a marathon PR, despite the rain and wind!
Kevin Sullivan, for an inspirational comeback, from heart surgery in summer to the Ironman in Kona!
Marty Friedman, who continues to be, in many respects, a “conscience” for the club, challenging me to think about the entirety of the membership, the engagement and improvement of all levels of training and running.

To all of you amazing runners, congratulations on an impressive 2012 (albeit not without some injuries and might-have-beens)…on to 2013!

Back in April, Sabina Helton, her sister Laura, Trish Riley, and Nicola Lowrey put the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on their race calendars. The race was on December 2 (same day as CIM), and advertised as the "Strip at Night" because..., well..., the race is entirely along the Las Vegas Strip and run at night. Incidentally, Sabina and Trish signed up for this race last year (Sabina ran 1:44), but Trish had to pull out with a broken toe so this year was about redemption. And for whatever reason (sympathy, pity, rookies - cuz the Club Ed boys would never have invited their significant others on a road trip), spouses and children were invited. Vegas here we come!

Unfortunately, it was Laura and Nicola this time who couldn't make the trip. That left Trish, husband and Crew Chief Dave, Sabina, husband Jon Megeff, son Brennan, and Brennan's friend Stephen. All were signed up for the half except Jon, who opted to run the full. Jon initially signed up for the half but moved up to the full after failing to run a PR in Boston. Spoiler alert - Jon is 0 for 2 in marathon PRs this year!

Running a race at night seemed like a brilliant idea on the eve before the race as we partied like rock stars without the guilt or fear of having to wake up at the crack of dawn. And don't get me wrong. The no alarm clock thing on race day was great. But then came the buildup of anxiety as we had eight hours of awake time to think about the pain that was to come. By 11:00 AM, I was thinking "why couldn't we have raced and been done by now!!!"

Finally, the marathon kicked off in front of the Mandalay Bay at 3:00 PM. 3,200 runners toed the line and the weather was a perfect 70 degrees! Oh..., did I mention the 36-49 MPH winds? Great! As if running 13-26 miles isn't hard enough. Anyways, the course was flat as advertised and after running up and down the strip with some additional miles through North Las Vegas to achieve the required mileage, Jon staggered across the finish line in 2:58. Not exactly the 2:45 he had hoped for but somehow still good enough for 19th OA and 2nd in his AG.

The half marathon kicked off at 4:30 PM and was also run along the strip so for the last several miles and into the chute, the marathoners and half marathoners ran alongside each other. As you can imagine, there were several Elvis sightings, a few "Hangover" motion picture characters, and dozens of women in wedding dresses. Apparently, 30 weddings were performed mid run and 28 couples renewed their vows. At one point, Jon passed a grossly overweight half marathoner in a speedo, no shirt, and carrying a full size inflatable doll. Not a pretty sight.

In the half marathon, Sabina and Trish stuck to the race plan and went out at 8:15 pace, hoping to negative split and PR. Unfortunately, the headwind during the final 10K of the race was brutal and there would be no PRs on this day. When the dust settled (no pun intended), Sabina and Trish covered the course in 1:49 and 1:53 respectively. Both finished in the top 5-7% OA ( 22,000 runners) and Trish finished 6th in her AG! Awesome job ladies! Not to be forgotten, high schoolers Brennan and Stephen cruised across the line in 1:38. Crew Chief Dave was at the finish line as we all crossed and while we hobbled back to the hotel to get cleaned up, Dave secured a spot in the Bacchanal ( English translation - riotous drunken feast) Buffet line at Caesar's Palace for some post race food and carbo loading.

Well done Club Ed and on to the next adventure...


It was a cool December day in Sacramento. 50 degrees. Perfect marathon weather…if not for the howling wind and pounding rain.

Blowing through the morning of the California International Marathon was a storm that ultimately dumped 4 inches of rain on Sacramento, flooding roads and stranding motorists.

Except for the occasional injury or serious illness, virtually nobody in Club Ed history has shelved months of marathon preparation for a bad weather day! So in keeping with the unwritten Club Ed rule that its members must be dedicated to suffering, Will Longyear, Paul Cooney, and Tami & Mark Shalvarjian kept their commitment to run CIM on a very dark, wet and windy Sunday morning.

Stepping off the buses and into puddles before the start of the race, most competitors – and your teammates – were already soaked before the starting gunn went off. With heavy rain and strong winds, most participants knew this was not going to be a day for a marathon PR. But Will, Paul and Tami apparently didn’t get the message.

Following an uneventful start and relatively fast first 10k, the marathon course turned south and straight into 25 mph headwinds, with much stronger gusts. Trying to hold his rhythm, Mark knew he couldn’t catch a large pack of runners 50 yards ahead of him and had no one to hide behind, so put his head down and pushed into the driving rain. Soon after passing mile 8, Paul Cooney worked his way up alongside Mark, said hi and told him he shouldn’t be doing all the work for the long line of runners directly behind him. There were apparently a dozen or more runners in a single file line drafting off one another, with Mark unwittingly leading the pack.

Club Ed runners helped one another through much of the race, with Will, Mark & Paul working together from miles 12 through 22 and Renee Williams-Smith joining Tami at mile 15 to help her through the final 11 miles. Not having quite reached exhaustion, Paul and Mark almost got into a fight with a runner who cut them off several times during the 21st mile, while at mile 25.5, Tami considered stopping for one last drink, having decided the pain was just a little more than she had opted in for. However, Coach Renee would not allow Tami to let up and forced her to continue pushing to the finish line.

At the finish, new marathon PRs were set by Will Longyear, with a 2:57 finishing time (a 48 second PR with almost perfect splits), Paul Cooney, who finished in 2:58 (a 10 minute PR) and Tami Shalvarjian, who finished in 3:25 (a 20 minute PR set in the only other marathon of her life…25 years ago)! Mark Shalvarjian finished in 2:59, rounding out this group of four Boston qualifiers. To top off a great day of racing, the first break in the rain came about 5 minutes after Tami crossed the finish line. An hour later, the runners were sitting in the sunshine on the patio of a nearby gastropub, eating, drinking and watching the 5-hour finishers complete their races.

Recounting their races, Paul Cooney’s reflection was that it was definitely memorable running in a hurricane. Neither the 50 mph headwinds nor the heavy, waterlogged shoes could stop the badass Club Ed team from pushing through to strong performances, while Will Longyear couldn’t even recall that the wind was blowing. Tami could do nothing but stare at her hands, which were numb and purple by the time she crossed the finish line and Mark was just happy to get a hot shower and a cold beer.

Mark Shalvarjian