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An ode to marathons

I remember when I first thought a marathon was feasible. I had just finished my second half marathon, the Bird in Hand, in 2011. I set a personal record (PR) at the time, and I thought the marathon was the next step.

After lots of research, I settled on the Suntrust National Marathon in Washington, D.C. in March 2o11.  I roped two of my good friends into running with me and we were off. Running through ice, snow and sleet, we trained as best we could through a tough winter. As luck would have it, I trained that hard — oh, so hard — and wound up with a stress fracture in my pelvis six weeks beforehand. I ran no marathon in March 2011. I spent the day biting my lip and congratulating my friends, as they were marathoners, and I was not.

However, I got my day, finally, running the Steamtown Marathon in October 2o12 with one of my best friends on the course with me.

steamSince then, I’ve run two other marathons, one good and one pretty bad. But, marathons are still a beast to me, and a goal I love to work towards. I am not saying someone needs to run a marathon to be considered a runner. Far from that, actually. My mom will never run a marathon, and that’s fine, she doesn’t want to. She’s still a runner.

I am just saying that a marathon is a great challenge and accomplishment for a runner. And if you’re trying to convince yourself to pull the trigger, do it. Here’s why:

  • Marathon training will change you.  Both mentally and physically. Fifteen mile runs become “only 15 miles today.” Mentally, you have to learn to entertain yourself on long runs. Falling apart mentally (i.e. “I can’t do this,” “I suck,” etc.) is my biggest concern. Remaining mentally strong is the biggest asset you have. Remember that when you are freaking out at the 5K mark.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve had good marathons, and I’ve had a terrible marathon. Once again, mentally and physically getting yourself through a bad race is especially tough when it’s 26.2 miles.
  • You can put a 26.2 sticker on your car. I have one, whatever.
  • It’s an addiction, a good one. I don’t know anyone who has stopped at just one marathon. (Though, it’s awesome if you have. Kudos to you for self control.)
  • You don’t know until you try. I never thought I’d be  a marathoner. I swam and liked the elliptical. A 26.2 mile race seemed ridiculous. And simply because my friend Bill and I pressured each other to do it.

A marathon won’t change your life, unless you let it. And if you’ve got that bug, I recommend embracing it. Because we are a weird, weird breed. But a good one.


14 Ways to Wine with Cornucopia Quest

Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country’s annual Cornucopia Wine Quest kicks off later this month, running Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 25 through Nov. 2.


From noon to 5 p.m. on these designated weekends, you’ll travel between 14 participating wineries (at your leisure) to enjoy this progressive festival.

Each winery will be hosting a unique event as part of the Quest, while also sampling its handcrafted wines.

Guests will receive a souvenir wine glass to take to each winery and will receive 10% off all purchases during Cornucopia Wine Quest. Local street vendors will provide concessions at many of the sites, as well.

A single ticket is $15; Couples tickets are $25. BUY ONLINE.

Participating wineries — and their Quest activity– include:

Note: HHWC Cornucopia Wine Quest does not take place in one location, but rather at all of these wineries — 1 ticket, 14 wineries!

Giveaway: O’Reilly’s Taproom + Kitchen

Hey you! O’Reilly’s Taproom + Kitchen — located at the Best Western Premier the Central Hotel and Conference Center on Park Drive in Union Deposit — is a great, off-the-beaten-path spot to dine and imbibe.

o'reilly's logo

The spacious bar is a great gathering spot for residents, professionals, sports fans, craft beer drinkers, business and leisure travelers alike.

Its restaurant menu offers a little something for everyone, from shared plates to healthy options. Plus, their Beer Chief, Taylor, loves chatting all things #craftbeer, and their beer menu will surprise you.

Check out O’Reilly’s current tap list.

O’Reilly’s offers a variety of music, entertainment and specials, including trivia nights, beer dinners, food deals and more.

In fact, this Thursday – Oct. 16 – stop in for a Finch’s Beer Co. Tap Takeover, featuring four Finch’s Beers for $4. Buy a pint, keep the glass! RSVP, Share and get more information here.

Meanwhile, this week we’re giving away a $50 gift card to O’Reilly’s Taproom + Kitchen.

Complete entries using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dogcation, NFL Sunday, Best Bartender, WIN: #craftbeer, Cirque du Soleil, MORE

Writing to you live from Lewes, DE! We’re enjoying a mini-getaway (or “dogcation” because we brought the pup) at the Dogfish Inn.

Last night was the Inn’s first official event at the Inn — we bought advanced tickets (a total steal at $10), and enjoyed an evening of craft beer chat with author of The Brewer’s Tale (we bought a copy, thanks to local Browsabout Books), William Bostwick, and Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calagione.

Author William Bostwick and Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione discuss #craftbeer.

Author William Bostwick and Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione discuss #craftbeer.

The night was chilly (and a bit wet), but we huddled by the Inn’s firepit and warmed ourselves with cups of Dogfish Head chowda, samples of Theobroma, Namaste and special collab brew, Dog Is Good.

Bostwick read passages from his book, and Calagione talked about being a “recovering English major,” discovering his love of beer, and the two answered questions from the audience. It was a lovely event.

Afterwards, Andy and walked next door to Striper Bites for dinner, then walked down Lewes’ Second St. (a wildly different look than our own) and popped into a terrific used bookstore, Biblion, then into a liquor store to pick up some Dogfish Head Punk’n — and a couple other bottles we can’t get at home.

Today, we’re headed out to Cape Henlopen State Park to see how our dog likes the beach (please let him like the beach), then into Rehoboth to shop (hi, Hula Sue) and dinner at the Brewpub.

Anyway, keep reading for lots of great stuff we wrote this week:

From PennLive:

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Upcoming Events:

  • Nov. 5 – Save the Date! HAPPY HOUR with at The Firehouse.
  • Dec. 6 – Save the Date! 3rd annual Holiday Party at The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey.
  • Sign-up for our Events newsletter & be the first to hear about Events!

CATEGORIES: Books, Craft Beer, Travel

Steelers face tough test in Cleveland

There’s no doubt that the Steelers and Browns rivalry has been one-sided. The Steelers have treated the Cleveland Browns like their “little-brother” in recent years, but this time around it could be a bit different.

The Browns actually opened up as a two-point favorite at home this Sunday and will be looking to get only their second win against Pittsburgh since 2010.

This will be the second meeting of the season between the long-time division rivals. Pittsburgh was able to hold on to win the first meeting with a Shaun Suisham game-winning field goal as time expired. This came after the Steelers gave up a 27-3 halftime lead.

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Ben Roethlisberger is 17-1 all-time against the Browns, so to say he has had their number would be an understatement. Roethlisberger is an Ohio native and said he has always had a drive to beat his home state team ever since they passed him over in the draft in 2005.

Except for the one game in 2009, the only blemish on Roethlisberger’s record, this could be Cleveland’s best shot at a win.

The Browns are at home. They have a quarterback in Brian Hoyer who is playing better every week. They have a coach who has put faith in his players and has them playing well.

Along with all of these things, the Browns also have a running game that has been tearing up defenses, which is something no one expected. In the first game, the Steelers gave up 191 yards and two touchdowns to the Browns’ trio of running backs that are led by the veteran Ben Tate.

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As good as Big Ben has been against the Browns, the out come of this game could fall on the shoulders of Le’Veon Bell.

Bell has been running hard this season, and it shows. He is the first Steeler to gain 100 yards from the line of scrimmage in the first five games of the season. Not only can Bell gain a bunch of yards, he can also shorten the game and give the defense a much needed rest at times too.

Speaking of the defense, and this might sound like a broken record but the Steelers will be short-handed again this weekend. Ryan Shazier (knee) will be back soon, but Ike Taylor (forearm) and Jarvis Jones (wrist) are going to be out at least until mid-November.

This will put pressure on the secondary again. They showed last week that they could step up when it matters when Brice McCain scored on a pick-six late in the fourth quarter.

This game is going to be tough for the Steelers, there is no doubt about it. They haven’t shown enough in previous games to prove they are a consistent team yet, but they have flashes of a good team.

They are explosive but at the same time they make too many mistakes to feel confident about anything.

The way this game goes will either enforce their mediocrity or show their true potential — whether that is good or bad.

CATEGORIES: Pennsylvania, Sports

Giveaway: Yards Brewing VIP at the PA National Horse Show

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (running now through Oct. 18) will host Military Appreciation Day, honoring all active and retired members of the military, First Responders and Wounded Warriors with free admission to the show (with appropriate ID or in uniform) at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.

horse show

Coinciding with the event, W&L Sales and Yards Brewing Co. will host a special VIP event at the night’s event featuring access to Yards Brewing Co. beers and food — gratis.

This weekend, we’re giving away a chance to WIN 4 of these VIP passes to Military Appreciation Day at the PA National Farm Show, thanks to W&L Sales and Yards Brewing Co.

Complete your entries by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Find & WIN tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai” in Hershey

Guess I don’t have to visit Vegas after all.

Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai” will be at Hershey’s GIANT Center Oct. 29-Nov. 2, and YOU can win *4* tickets to the show (value $250) by finding feathers hidden at a variety of locations throughout the region.

Scavenger Hunt Feather LARGE

Varekai tells the story of Icarus, a mythical winged character who fell to Earth after flying too close to the sun. With Icarus’ story in mind, eight white feathers will be hidden throughout the region, including one in Hershey, Enola, Columbia, and two in Harrisburg.

Fans who find a feather will win four (4) tickets to the show.

The first feather was hidden at the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, Pa. on Wednesday with a clue posted on the Turkey Hill Dairy Facebook page. Four additional feathers will be hidden starting on Monday, Oct. 13 and running through Oct. 24, in the following locations:

Check each partner’s Facebook page for clues to the specific location. The Sunken Gardens feather is the first of four feathers that will be hidden between Oct. 13-24.

For tickets or information about Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai, visit or Ticketmaster.

Weekend Roundup 10/9

Last night I enjoyed a nice Happy Hour-plus, starting at Rubicon for oysters, clams and wine. Following, another mini gay bar tour to prep for next week’s stories.

Tonight, dinner with friends. Tomorrow, I think we need to chill (hashtag-thatshowIdofridays).

I’m very excited to be staying at the new Dogfish Inn this weekend — especially about Saturday night’s event surrounding the launch of The Brewer’s Tale — oh, you know, with Sam Calagione!

It turns out that the Dogfish Inn is dog-friendly, so we’re taking our Bubba on his first dogcation. I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited to take him along and see how he likes the beach.


Also on my must-do list while there is a shopping trip to Hula Sue, a meal at the Dogfish Head Brewpub and trips to Cape Henlopen State Park. The rest we’ll play by ear and enjoy the relaxation, dog walks and great beer.

Need more inspiration? Tune in tomorrow morning during the 7  o’clock hour to Glenn & Bob on The River 97.3 for “Sara’s Weekend Picks.”

What are you doing this weekend? 


‘No Meat Athlete’ Running Group Begins in Harrisburg

Hey! Are you a vegetarian or quasi-vegetarian or thinking-about-becoming-a-vegetarian runner?

Well, do I have the group for you! The No Meat Athlete-Harrisburg chapter is meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to run, talk and eat. We’re taking off from Front and Forester Streets in Harrisburg, near the Harvey Taylor Bridge at 6 p.m. We plan to do a quick run of three to five miles, depending on preference, and then we are going for brews after at The Speakeasy. Come join us!

This is the first official run of the No Meat Athlete running club in Harrisburg. Come be a part of history.


But, how did this get started?

No Meat Athlete was one of the first running blogs I stumbled upon back when I first fell in love with running. Matt Frazier’s site is very well-written and informative, and I kept (and still do!) coming back to learn more. As a vegetarian for 15+ years, I knew I could stand to eat better and that it would ultimately help me as a runner. Frazier offers many realistic ideas for healthy living and also understands a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone. But he encourages people to at least try.

Recently, Matt brought up the idea of starting No Meat Athlete running groups throughout the country, and I immediately signed up and volunteered to be a leader, if needed, in Harrisburg. Luckily, I wasn’t the only central Pennsylvanian interested. I met with Wade, my co-leader, last week, and I think it’s safe to say we are both super excited about this. We’re a tiny group but would love to add more runners, of all abilities.

Frazier is big on accepting everyone and their lifestyles. This is a judgment-free zone, and we plan to have our group be laid-back and fun, and a chance to meet new friends.

We aspire to hold weekly runs on Thursday nights in different places, with plans to hang out after.

So, feel free to join us tomorrow night! To learn more, join our No Meat Athlete – Harrisburg Facebook Group.

Sara’s Real Life, No-Bullshit Guide to Hangovers

Hangover suck. There’s no two ways about it, and they happen to the best of us. Sadly, they rear their ugly heads more often as we age, caused by much less.

Intoxication Nation: How we are drinking and dealing with our hangovers.

In my much-younger years, drinking bad cheap beer and tequila (read: college), I was rarely hungover. And certainly not in the way it occurs now. I’ve never been good at sleeping in, but I recall that some mornings-after called for a trip to Isaly’s for eggs, sausage and pancakes. All of the food! This cured anything that was off.

Fun fact: Pennsylvania is the 24th most hungover state in the nation.

For a time, toast and tomato juice from the Casa Cafe was commonplace (this sounds delicious to me, even now). My coworkers and I were all rediscovering Harrisburg in its then-revitalization, so some mornings we would all gather across the street from the office to cure what ailed us.

By my mid-20s, drinking a new blend of crap like cheap wine and Red Bull (stuff of the devil) — and smoking 10 million cigarettes — I went through a variety of hangover “cures” to quell my next-morning not-awesomeness.

Some weekend mornings, a nice cool glass of chocolate milk was all I needed to feel better. Or maybe a cold can of V-8. Oh, my 20s. If only.

And the really odd thing is that these were the days before I properly hydrated myself ANY of the time. I probably still stocked Diet Coke in my fridge and ate processed snacks.

You'll want this for tomorrow morning.

You’ll want this for tomorrow morning.

(Discuss: Are hangovers worse now that I’m healthier? Might it not be age?)

I’ve written many posts and columns on hangovers and potential cures. You’ve heard it before, but I’ll remind you: the only foolproof way to avoid a hangover is to abstain from alcohol.

Without further adieu, here is Sara’s Real Life No Bullshit Guide to Hangovers*:



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