Rhode Master Series 2020

Looking to run Rhode Island in 2020? The Rhode Master Series of Marathons and Half Marathons is still taking registrations for feet on the street races!

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2020 Rhode Island Rhode Master Series

Originally posted on March 6, 2020. Updated July 8, 2020

My how things have changed.

The Rhode Master Series consists of five Rhode races in five cities and towns across Rhode Island.

The first race, The Newport Marathon and Half Marathon was a live event in April. They 419 finishers for the full marathon and 1139 for the half.

Pretty amazing considering that Massachusetts was under shelter in place orders and The Boston Marathon was postponed at that time.

Newport Full Results

The Bristol Independence Half on June 27th went virtual and had 792 runners – Bristol Full Results.

Jamestown Half is still scheduled for September 19th.

The Narragansett Marathon and Half is still scheduled for October 25th.

The Providence Marathon was scheduled for May 3rd but was cancelled due to the Governors stay at home order which was in place through May 8th.

You can still take your pick of 4 half marathons and two marathons, with three events consisting of both distances.

Sign up for the series and run 3 or 4 of the races. As a Rhode Master Series runner you will receive discounts on registration fees, an exclusive medal that will “complete” the series, swag just for series runners and special sponsor discounts for series runners.

Information on the series is here.

Featured in my post, New England Marathons Fall, you can receive 15% off the Narragansett Marathon or Half.

This discount is normally reserved for Rhode Master Series runners who run at least three races.

Ocean State Rhode Races – Narragansett

Narragansett, RI |  25 October 2020 – Sunday – 7:30 AM

rhode island marathon, fall marathons, virtual race

The Marathon starts at 7:30AM, Half at 8AM and the 5K at 8:15AM.

Narragansett is the final stop in the Rhode Master Series and you are sure to see many Rhode Masters receive their series medal.

This race harkens back to the original Ocean State Marathon with the start in Narragansett Beach.

It follows beautiful Rt 1a and showcases wonderful ocean views, old stone walls, working farms, estuaries and kayak stands. It really is a pretty one.

It is a smaller marathon so you won’t have to fight through crowds of people at the start to achieve your PR or BQ.  The marathon is a Boston Qualifier.

These races feature FREE PHOTOS and a secured bag check at the start.

Registration is open –   $95 for the Marathon, $65 for the Half and $30 for the 5K.

They also have a virtual half marathon option for $50.

Exclusively for Omni Running readers – get 15% off of registration when you use code OMNIFAN. Click here to go to the registration page.

Next price increase is August 31st, 2020.

Rhode Races & Events is committed to recycling at this year’s Ocean State Rhode Races. Road Races create a lot of waste, but we’ll reduce our footprint by diverting hundreds of pounds of cardboard boxes, water jugs, and plastic bottles from the landfill.

To learn more about our race day efforts and how you can help – please click this link.  Additionally – all clothing discarded at the start of the race will be donated to North American Family Institute.

Run Rhode Island well my Friends,

Andy

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Great Bay Half Marathon 2020 Virtual Edition

I ran The Great Bay Half Marathon in my own back yard this year. Like so many other races, Great Bay went virtual for 2020.

I’ve run The Great Bay Half Marathon four times.

It’s usually held about a week before the Boston Marathon and when I have a bib for Boston I don’t run Great Bay.

Tapering is supposed to be about cutting back and recuperating, it’s not good a time to run a challenging half marathon.

This year I didn’t have a bib for Boston so I signed up for Great Bay. I love the course, seeing all of my friends and the great party afterwards.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020

Like almost every race since February, The Great Bay Half Marathon went virtual for 2020.

I had to make up my own course and run the race by my self, totally un-supported.

I went through my Garmin Connect dashboard and found a loop that I could make a 13.1 mile course.

Great Bay Health Marathon 2020 Virtual, Virtual Half

This is a short run across Medford to The Mystic Valley Parkway.

The Parkway is a nice run along the Mystic Lakes with several parks and lots of activity.

It’s particularly popular with cyclist.

When I woke up around 6:30 AM it was already 66° and I knew we were headed for the 80s.

As such I didn’t waste much time getting ready to go. All of my gear was laid out and I was out the door just after 7:00 AM.

The sun was up and the temperature was now 68°.

As I ran down my street I could feel all kinds of aches and pains. I’ve been running less and my legs seem to be feeling worse. Go figure.

I knew that much of this would go away after the first mile and tried to relax and go slow.

The first two miles were 9:16 and 9:03. In West Medford I had to stop for the Commuter Rail train.  I forgot to stop my watch and mile three came in at 10:32.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020 Virtual, Commuter Rail, West Medford

Mystic Valley Parkway

About a half mile after the rail road crossing I came to the rotary where the Mystic Valley Parkway begins.

Mystic Valley Parkway Sign, Great Bay HalfStrait through the rotary is Arlington and to the right was my designated course up the Parkway.

When I stopped to take this photo just before 8:00 the temperature was already 73° . I was glad to know that most of this parkway is well shaded.

In Massachusetts masks are still required if you cannot maintain social distancing.

It’s impossible to avoid people and I know that I’m going to be close to people at some point during my runs.

It’s amazing how many people won’t give any room to pass on the side walk even with traffic. Am I supposed to run into cars and trucks?

For me, the possibility of death is better than near certainty!

Around mile four I took my Honey Stinger gel. I brought two just in case since it has been a while since I’ve run this distance.

These two miles up The Parkway were fairly comfortable. My aches and pains were gone for the most part. My left knee still bothered me but not enough to cause concern.

Mile 4: 9:03, Mile 5: 9:20

Winchester and Stoneham

Miles six and seven through Winchester were also fairly comfortable. I had been sweating basically since I left my house.

This section of my course had very little shade and it must have been close to 80°. One water bottle was empty and I had taken a drink from my second one.

My mind drifted back to Death Valley. There I learned to drink less than half of your water on the outbound leg of your hike.

I was more than halfway through my run, but I knew there were hills and more fully exposed road coming up.

I took a salt pill and a small drink.

With the Corona Virus pandemic, Dunkin Donut’s has closed all of their bathrooms. So no pit stops to take on or get rid of water.

I don’t take salt very often and I hoped that it wouldn’t make me sick.

But I was sweating heavily and knew I needed the sodium and potassium in that pill.

I passed our usual water stop on Eugene Drive and crossed Rt. 93 into Stoneham.

It was nice knowing that I was well over half way and still felt okay.

When I got to Main Street, my instinct told me to cross and go strait. But for this run I needed to turn right and head south on Main Street/Rt 28.

If I went strait, I’d end up in Melrose and have way too many more miles to run.

After about a half mile I arrived at the intersection of Main Street and South St/North Board Road just up the road from The Stone Zoo.

I stopped my watch and waited for a break in the traffic. I hate pressing the crossing light button. I can get across the road in 5 seconds, but those lights last much longer. Often I get across before the light even changes.

I continued strait on Main Street/Rt. 28 along the back side of Spot Pond. This was another two miles of almost no shade at all.

At mile 10 I had to walk a bit. I was hot and running low on water. With no water stops ahead of me I had to be careful.

Miles seven through eleven were between 9:34 and 10:12.

On the Home Stretch

Just before Mile Eleven I passed my normal turn onto Elm Street. This would have taken me over to Highland Avenue and added a mile or so to my run.

I kept running strait down Rt. 28 towards Roosevelt Circle. This is a busy entrance to Rt. 93 and for local traffic. Fortunately there is a sidewalk and traffic wasn’t heavy yet.

My kids went to the St. Francis Parish School and I was now in an area I knew quite well.

As I passed St. Francis Street I thought about all of the mornings I went up that road to drop the girls off for school in the morning.  Good memories.

The sidewalk along this stretch of road has been heaved by frost and tree roots. I had to watch my step and considered running in the road.

But this section of road is like a speed way on the way to Rt. 93. So I kept my head down and my feet high.

At the intersection of the Fellsway West and Fulton Street the walk light was on! I ran the diagonal across six lanes of traffic for a beautifully executed crossing. That intersection must be 200′ across diagonally.

About half way down the Fells to Rt. 60 I hit mile 12 at 9:35. Not bad.

American Runs on Dunkin!

I was on my way to Haynes Square in Medford. There is a Dunkin Donut’s there and I decided to run to the Dunkin’s for a large iced coffee.

I was dehydrated and I knew that ice cold beverage would taste so good. And since there weren’t any water stops for the half marathon, I owed it to myself to have one good water stop!

I pulled up my mask and walked into Dunkin’s. There were only two people in front of me and I stopped my watch.

It only took about two minutes to place my order and be on my way.

I drank about a quarter of the coffee before I even crossed Rt. 60! I’ve run with an iced coffee several times and it’s much easier to do if it’s not full.

I slow jogged down Spring Street towards my home which was lass than a mile away.

Great Bay 2020, Dunkin DonutsI’m sure I was a sight to see, but hey, America Runs on Dunkin! Call me Captain America, I’ve got an iced coffee!

Just after I turned onto my street I hit mile thirteen at 11:21. Not bad for a guy drinking an iced coffee!

I jogged the next 0.12 miles at a pace of 10:09.

It felt good  to be home.

Running in the heat is really draining. While I prefer heat over cold the heat does seem to take more out of me now. Some of that is probably age and some is probably my fitness level.

Virtual Great Bay Half Results

This definitely was my slowest Great Bay Half Marathon by well over ten minutes.

The real course has a total elevation gain of 424 Ft. while the course I ran only had a gain of 323 Ft. But it’s also about 20° cooler in New Hampshire in April!

It was good to get a solid long run in and the virtual race got me out there.

Have you run many virtual races this year? Have you run a virtual half or a full marathon?

Here are two recaps from from New Hampshire.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2015

Great Bay Half 2013

Run well my Friends,

Andy

Fourth of July 5K Races

The Fourth of July weekend is a great time for a 5K. Since July 4th is on Saturday for 2020, it looked like everyone would have an extra day on July 3rd to run a 5K.

With COVID-19 many races have been cancelled or have gone virtual.

Check to see if your local race has gone virtual or has been cancelled and what their refund policy is.

Click on the race title to go to the race web site for registration and additional race details.

Virtual 4th of July

Many races have been cancelled for 2020 and some have gone virtual.

I think the 4th of July was too close to when states started ordering people to self quarantine.  Back in March and April when race directors needed to make the “go or no go” decision there was too much uncertainty.

Virtual races are still new to many runners and race directors probably worried that few runners would sign up.  It was easier and less expensive to simply cancel an event.

Independence run 5K 

Akron, NY | 6PM | CANCELLED?

A USAT&F certified 5K course beginning and ending at Veterans Park

Independence Run 5K, AkronSpecial designed commemorative short sleeve shirts for the first 250 registered participants and Goodie bag  provided by Race sponsors.
Food, Beer, Refreshments, 50-50’s and Awards ceremony immediately following at Veterans Park, Corner of Buell Street & Skyline Drive. Akron NY. FREE access (with race bib).
All proceeds to projects sponsored by The Akron-Newstead Rotary and Akron Lions Club.

Registration $25.00

Pound Ridge 5K

Pound Ridge, NY | Pound Ridge Elementary School  | 9AM | CANCELLED?

Start is at the Pound Ridge Elementary School and it ends at the Pound Ridge Town Park.  There will be music playing and refreshments at the finish.

The Registration will open at 7:30am with the 5K race starting at 9:00am.  The kids races start after the 5K finishes.

Registration $15 Adult, $10 for the kids

LP Miracle Mile

Houlton, ME  | Drake’s Hill on Military Street | 6PM |VIRTUAL

The third running of the Miracle Mile will go to benefit CureSearch and Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation.
In the last two years of racing we have had more than 400 people come to downtown Houlton, ME and help raise over $10,000!
Runners and walkers from all over the state toed the line to race one of the fastest miles New England has to offer.

Now the Miracle Mile can be in your neighborhood!

Montpelier Mile

Montpelier, VT  | 112 State Street  | 6PM – CANCELLED?

As of June 20th, their web site stills says check back for details.

Vermont’s fastest mile! Kick off to Montpelier’s Independence Day Parade! A classic 1 mile race through historic Montpelier in front of thousands of spectators.
After the race enjoy the parade & fireworks! 

Registration $15 adult, $5.00 kids 12 and under – races limited to 300 each.

Fourth of July 5K Races

Virtual Jennifer Tinney Memorial 4th of July Road Race

Boxford, MA  | 1 Elm Street  | 8:00AM | VIRTUAL

Run the 5 Miler or run or walk the 2.5 miler or 1 miler. Truly something for the entire family.  All in the comfort of your own neighborhood or favorite local route!

Registration is $25 for adults and  $20 for children fall all races.

Thomaston 4th of July Annual Firecracker 5K Road Race

Thomaston, ME – Beechwood Street   – 8:30 AM

Race Day Registration (cash only) $25, T-shirt NOT guaranteed.

This race is still an on-ground event!

25th Annual Firecracker 5K Run & Walk

Nantucket  | 10 Young’s Way  | 8:00AM | CANCELLED

Fire Cracker 5K race, Nantucket

A gently rolling course out to Monomy and Back. Race starts and finishes at Nantucket Health Club.

Registration is $25, Race Day Registration is not listed.

They expect 1,000 runners and walkers so I wouldn’t wait to register.

Pittsfield Independence 5K Road Race

Pittsfield, MA  | Wahconah Park  | 9:30AM | CANCELLED

There is no race day registration and it appears that the only option is to down load a form and mail it in. Better get a move on if you want to run this race. Check their web site for additional details.

Friends of the Fourth

Winthrop, ME | 117 Bowdoin St.  | 8AM | VIRTUAL RACE

Previously, after a loop through downtown Winthrop, most of the course followed the beautiful eastern shore of Maranacook Lake.

A family-friendly tradition that you can run at home this year, all proceeds go towards the conservation of the Cobbossee Watershed.

Glen Rock 9/11 Tribute Run 5K/2K Jr.

Glen Rock, NJ  | Veterans Park   | 9AM | CANCELLED

Race Day Registration $25 for each race

A 5k run and 2k Junior Run through the beautiful streets of Glen Rock.  Athletes will enjoy running the 4th of July Parade route prior to the start of the parade and then get to stick around to enjoy the parade itself.

Proceeds go to benefit G.R.A.C.E.  An organization set up after 911 to provide assistance to family members of those who died in the terrorist attacks.  Today, G.R.A.C.E. continues its hard work by maintaining the 911 Memorial in town, and providing scholarship funds to High School Seniors in memory of Glen Rock’s eleven victims.

I hope you have a safe and fun Fourth of July weekend with friends and family. Check out one of the Third or Fourth of July 5K races!

Andy

Tick Management and Control

Ticks have been a menace to humanity for millennia. As tick habitat has rebounded and we have moved further into this habitat the menace to our health has grown.

Last week I watched the webinar “Tick Management and Control” sponsored by the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology and UMass Extension.

The presenters were :

Dr. Stephen Rich, Professor of Microbiology and Director of the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology, and Dr. Kirby Stafford, Chief Scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and CT State Entomologist.

They discussed tick management strategies applicable to landscapes in the Northeast.

What I learned about Tick Management and Control

Management and control is really up to the individual and home owner. In Massachusetts there are mosquito control districts but no municipal or state-wide tick control organizations.

Many areas spray for mosquitoes but none or very few do anything about ticks.

Habitat Management and Control

The best way to control ticks around your home is to reduce habitat for ticks, deer and mice.

ticks, tall grassTicks like shaded areas that retain moisture. Low cut grass is not good tick habitat but the edge of the woods behind your house or a pile of leaves or yard waste are perfect.

Ticks can survive the winter under leaf litter and snow pack. So removing leaf and brush piles from your yard is important. Keeping areas around doors clear of debris and snow pack will help keep ticks away from your home.

The webinar discusses landscaping ideas to help reduce the tick population in your yard.

Keeping deer out of your yard is very helpful.  Deer host infected ticks but do not infect the ticks.

Each adult tick hosted by a deer can lay 2,000 eggs. So you can see that if you have several deer wandering around your yard and each deer drops off just a few ticks, you could have a major tick problem.

Excluding deer from your yard with deer fencing and reducing the amount of food available to them are the most acceptable ways to deal with deer.

Reducing herds through hunting is difficult in populated areas and is controversial to many people.

Treating deer is discussed in the webinar, but this requires a lot of work and can be expensive.

Excluding deer from your yard is the most effective method.

Mice actually carry the viruses that make us sick. Mice like those piles of yard waste, rock walls and other places where they can hide and nest.

Several treatments to kill ticks on mice are discussed, but they can be expensive and not very effective.

Reducing food and habitat are the best ways to control your mouse population.

Personal Protection and Behavior Change

Even if your yard is clear of ticks, the rest of the world is not. In one study the webinar cites, 47% of reported cases were from ticks picked up while playing.

This means kids at parks, in the back yard or even in woods and fields. It’s hard to keep kids out of tick habitat and that is why tick checks, clothes washing and awareness are so important.

The same study reported that 18% of cases were from yard work and 12% from gardening. A full 30% of cases were adults picking up ticks in their own yard.

Only 1% were reported from camping, 7% from hiking and 4% from walking the dog.

While the study may not be 100% accurate, it does illustrate that about half of tick borne diseases are picked up by children playing and about a third are picked up by adults in their own back yards.

Keeping your yard clear of debris and doing tick checks when you or your kids come inside can be very effective in reducing tick borne disease.

Read What Runners need to know about Tick and Mosquito Season.

The UMass webinar discussed pesticides but mostly for your yard.

The most effective pesticides for your yard must be applied by a professional. Studies of essential oils showed limited and inconsistent results.

You can buy permethrin to spray on clothes, or clothing infused with permethrin. This chemical is very effective at killing ticks but needs to be handled carefully.

Never spray it on clothes that someone is wearing and never spray permethrin in an enclosed area like your home. I would be reluctant to expose my children to very much permethrin also.

Before you use this or any other pesticide read the labels thoroughly.

Reducing habitat and using personal protection seem to be the easiest, least expensive and safest things to do.

A tick invasion?

When I was a child I spent a lot of time in the woods and fields of Maine. We worried about black flies, horse flies and sometimes mosquitoes.

These insects were pests but we never worried about getting a disease from them. We never worried about ticks. I saw my first tick in 2019!

The webinar mentions a Swedish naturalist who visited America in the 1700’s. He wrote that the land was beautiful but when ever he sat down he was swarmed by ticks.

In the 1870’s the New York State Entomologist reported that he could not find any ticks during his research.

Dr. Stafford explains the difference was deforestation and over hunting of the deer population. Much land had been cleared for pasture, firewood and building materials into the late 1800’s.

Between loss of habitat and hunting the deer population had plummeted in New York.

I’ve read that at one point almost 90% of Massachusetts was deforested. Today something like 60-70% of Massachusetts is forested land.

With the return of deer habitat and the moist habitat in which ticks flourish, we have had a resurgence in the tick population.

Studies of tick specimens collected in Europe in the 1800’s show that some carried Lyme Disease.

Oldest case of Lyme DiseaseDr. Stafford also mentioned that the “Ice Man” who was discovered in the Alps and is estimated to be 5,000 years old showed signs of Lyme Disease.

A Yale School of Medicine study from 2013 shows that the Lyme Disease bacterium existed in North America as long as 60,000 years ago.

Humanity has been dealing with ticks and tick-borne disease for millennia. Lyme disease was only officially discovered in the 1976.

Over the years tick diseases probably killed or debilitated millions of humans, but no one knew what the actual cause was.

Here is the webinar if you would like more details on Tick management and control.

What Runners need to know about Tick and Mosquito Season

Summer running season is also tick and mosquito season. Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.

Warmer weather brings with it tick and mosquito season for much of the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of illnesses caused by mosquito, tick, and flea bites more than tripled in the United States between 2004 and 2016.

Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.  These include Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya.  1

As runners, we often find ourselves on trails, in the woods or fields or near bodies of water where we are likely to encounter these pests.

Mosquitoes, black flies and ticks have been a menace to humans throughout history. But as the CDC reports, the number of diseases carried by these pests and the areas in which they can be found has grown considerably over the past decade or so.

With reasonable precautions we can protect ourselves and reduce the chance of contracting a disease from one of these insects.

Tick and Mosquito Season

Ticks and Tick Season

Tick season is generally April through December and peaks from May to August in Massachusetts. During these months you should be particularly vigilant for ticks on your body or clothing.

It should be noted that ticks do not die in the winter. They take cover in leaf litter under the snow. You may find them in debris or compost piles in your own yard.

When it is over 40° F ticks can be active and emerge from their winter homes. On warm winter days, you should take the same precautions that you would in peak season.

Tick season is essentially whenever the temperature is over 40° F. In some areas this is most or all of the year.

Last November I was in Maine for Thanksgiving.  On a mild day we went for a walk in the woods behinds my sister’s home.

My brother-in-law looked at me and said I had a tick on my pants leg. I looked down and saw a tick on my right leg just below the knee.

I had never seen a tick before and was surprised as I had been trying to be careful where I walked.

I knew that ticks are hard to kill, but I picked it off of my pants with my gloved hand and pinched it. I waited for a cracking noise, but through my gloves I could not apply enough pressure. I tossed it into the grass away from us.

Tick Born Diseases

The most common tick-borne disease in New England is Lyme Disease. Much less common are Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Rarer still are Tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus.

All diseases carried by ticks start out the same way according to Massachusetts Deputy State Epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown.

The four common symptoms are fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches. More specific symptoms related to each illness develop as they progress, but they all start with these four symptoms. With Lyme Disease you may also see a rash around the bite location.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is wide-spread in Massachusetts, most of the Northeast and in Michigan and Minnesota. Lyme disease appears to be spreading to any area with ticks.

Lyme Disease is named after Lyme and Old Lyme, CT where the disease was first discovered.

Lyme disease came into public view when an epidemic of what appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis began afflicting children in Lyme, Connecticut.

A young rheumatologist at Yale named Allen Steere, who now conducts research at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, studied the children.

In 1976 he named the mysterious illness after its locale and described its main symptoms more fully: a bull’s-eye rash; fevers and aches; Bell’s palsy, or partial paralysis of the face, and other neurological issues; and rheumatological manifestations such as swelling of the knees.

After much study, Steere realized that the black-legged ticks that live on mice and deer (among other mammals) might be harboring a pathogen responsible for the outbreak. In 1981, the medical entomologist Willy Burgdorfer finally identified the bacterium that causes Lyme, and it was named after him: Borrelia burgdorferi. 12

Lyme Disease Human Risk Map, Tick and Mosquito Season
Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts are hotbeds for Lyme Disease in the US.

40% of Nantucket’s 10,000 year-round residents have had the disease or are currently being treated for it! 3

It is so bad that they are considering the release of mice genetically modified to be immune to the disease. A team from MIT lead by Kevin Esvelt wants to use  CRISPR and Gene Drive to make the mice immune to Lyme Disease. 4

White-footed mice carry the disease and ticks transmit it when they bite the mice and then humans. Research and discussions continue but many people on Nantucket are ready to try anything to deal with this problem.

The most common early symptom of Lyme is a rash which can look like a ring around the bite site. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, stiff neck, sore and aching muscles and joints, fatigue and swollen glands may also occur.

Early treatment is crucial to prevent more serious problems as the disease progresses.

The joints, nervous system and heart are most commonly affected as the disease progresses.

• About 60% of people with untreated Lyme disease get arthritis in their knees, elbows and/or wrists. The arthritis can move from joint to joint and become chronic.

• Many people who don’t get treatment develop nervous system problems. These problems include meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), facial weakness (Bell’s palsy) or other problems with nerves of the head, and weakness or pain (or both) in the hands, arms, feet and/or legs. These symptoms can last for months, often shifting between mild and severe.

• The heart also can be affected in Lyme disease, with slowing down of the heart rate and fainting. The effect on the heart can be early or late.

Prompt treatment with antibiotics prevents later, more serious symptoms. 5

Lyme Disease is nothing to fool with. If you are in an infested area you need to check yourself often and take precautions to protect yourself.

The other tick born diseases are less common and generally less dangerous to your health. If you have been in a tick infested area and develop flu-like symptoms or develop a rash call your doctor right away.

Mosquitoes and Mosquito Season

Mosquito season generally begins when the temperature approaches 50°F.

Mosquito Season

As the temperature rises, so does the population of mosquitoes. It should be noted that some mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and some can winter-over in your house.

Closets are a common place to find mosquitoes in your home during the winter months. 2

In general, you should be safe from mosquito bites most of the winter in North America.

Mosquito Born Diseases

The most common diseases carried by mosquitoes are West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Less common in the US are Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue.

Tick and Mosquito Season

 West Nile Virus

The majority of people who are infected with WNV (approximately 80%) will have no symptoms.

Approximately 20% will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. They may also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis.

The symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

Persons older than 50 years of age have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

Since most people exposed to WNV have no symptoms it is difficult to determine the actual rate of infection.

Between 2000 and 2010, 67 people were reported infected with WNV in Massachusetts. Six of these people died. There is no specific treatment for this virus so we are fortunate that most of us have little to no reaction from the infection. 6

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The first symptoms of EEE are fever (often 103º to 106ºF), stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy.

These symptoms show up three to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous and frequent serious complication. The disease gets worse quickly and some patients may go into a coma within a week.

There is no treatment for EEE. In Massachusetts, about half of the people identified with EEE died from the infection. People who survive this disease will often be permanently disabled. Few people recover completely.

Since 1938 fewer than 100 cases have been reported in Massachusetts, with 60% of cases in Plymouth and Norfolk counties. Outbreaks of EEE occur about every 10 to 20 years with the most recent Massachusetts outbreak starting in 2004 and ending in 2006. Of 13 reported cases, six were fatalities. 7

Zika

Zika is a relatively new disease to North America. Much like WNV, 80% of people exposed to Zika report no symptoms.

Those who do react to the virus report symptoms 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. If a woman is pregnant and contracts Zika the disease may spread to the fetus.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone could become infected with Zika virus from a mosquito bite in Massachusetts. The kinds of mosquitoes that are known to carry Zika virus are generally not found in Massachusetts. 8

Most people contract Zika when they travel to areas where it is prevalent. Zika has been reported in Texas and Florida in the past with a few neighborhoods in Miami listed as active transmission areas.

World Map of Areas with Risk of Zika 

Zika can also be transmitted through unprotected sex and can be transmitted by a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy.

Tick and Mosquito Bite Prevention

As the old saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here is what you need to know.

Preventing Tick Bites

ticks, tall grassTicks are most active in warmer weather and can be found in tall grass, brush and wooded areas.

Ticks do not fly or jump. They latch onto passing mammals when they brush up against grass or a plant where the tick is clinging.

DEET and permethrin are both recommended to repel ticks. You can buy clothing infused with permethrin and permethrin actually kills ticks, not just repel them.

Permethrin should be applied carefully and according to the manufacturers directions.

Long-sleeved shirts and light colored pants tucked into your socks or boots are also recommended. This doesn’t work very well for runners who typically have a great deal of exposed skin.

Staying on cleared trails while running and avoiding the brush and grass along the trail is also recommended. Ticks are literally hanging out on the vegetation next to trails and clearings waiting for a mammal to come by.

For runners the best advice is to put on some DEET or permethrin and to stay on the trails. Since it’s almost impossible to avoid brushing up against foliage while running, you need to do a post run tick check.

Ticks like warm and moist areas of the body. Areas to check include:

  • Inside and behind the ears
  • Along your hairline
  • Back of your neck
  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Legs
  • Behind your knees
  • Between your toes

You should also check your skin for new freckles which could be a tick.

The best way to remove a tick is with fine point tweezers. Do not use a hot match, petroleum jelly or any other home remedy. 10

You should save the removed tick and make note of the date and where on your body the tick was removed from. Ticks can be analyzed in a lab to discover if and what they are infected with. This can be crucial to your diagnosis if you end up with an infection.

Save the removed tick in a tightly sealed container.

Notify your doctor if you develop flu like symptoms or a rash.

If you run with your dog, this article from YourDogAdvisor.com has some good information for you.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

DEET and permethrin are recommended to repel mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes are active 24 hours a day, it is a good idea to use repellent if you are in an area active with mosquitoes any time of day.

You are more likely to find mosquitoes near bodies of water such as ponds or streams. But mosquitoes can lay their eggs in a table spoon of water, so you could have mosquito habitat on your deck or in your back yard.

It’s important to tip water out of flower pots or anything else that can hold water.

Most mosquitoes do not fly far from where they hatch. Eliminating breeding spots near your home is an important way to protect your family.

Dusk to dawn are peak hours for mosquito activity and using repellent at these times is highly encouraged.

Long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks are also recommended. Since these are generally impractical for runners it is best to use repellent, avoid high mosquito activity hours and locations.

Unlike ticks, mosquitoes do fly. While running, you are probably safe from getting a bite. But when you stop running the little buggers are sure to find you and all of that exposed skin!

How to Choose a Repellent

The EPA has a great site where you can select a repellent based on your needs. You can specify how long you need protection for, what you need protection from and which ingredients you are interested in.

You can also look up specific products, companies and EPA registration numbers.

They also provide instructions on how to apply repellents which may be difficult to read on a can.

Click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page to look for your repellent.

Tick and Mosquito Season Running Go Bag

I always keep a bag of running gear in my car. In the winter this is often just a pair of gloves and a winter hat.

In the summer it is easier to spontaneously go for a run after work with friends. So in addition to keeping some running gear in my go bag I also keep sun screen and a can of insect repellent.

If you are running after work in the summer, it is likely you will be out at dusk. While you are running you will probably be okay. But when you stop for a drink or to hang out after your run, you could be swarmed by mosquitoes, black flies and possibly horse flies.

Having a DEET based repellent in your car is a great idea. I’ve been at races along The Charles River in Boston and seen runners freely passing around a can of bug spray. Stranger or no, no one can stand by and watch others suffer. Hanging out next to the river before a race can literally suck!

I hope you have a great summer running season and stay healthy.

Andy

This post was originally posted May 29th, 2018 and has been updated May 25th, 2020.

SOURCES

1 https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0501-vs-vector-borne.html

2  http://www.mosquitomagnet.com/articles/mosquito-season

3 https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/genetically-engineered-mice-reduce-lyme-disease

4 https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/07/nantucket-lyme-genetic-engineering/

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/lyme-disease

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/west-nile-virus-wnv

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/eee-eastern-equine-encephalitis

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/zika-information-for-the-public

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika

10 https://www.mass.gov/service-details/tick-borne-disease-information-for-the-public

11 https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you

12 https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/09/life-with-lyme/594736/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20190814&silverid-ref=NDg5MzY0ODg2MjY3S0

This Is How I Roll

Every runner has habits and preferences. We find our what works for us and keep it or continue to experiment. Here are a few of mine.

This Is How I Roll is an idea from Meditations in Motion who borrowed it from Donna at RunningToTravel and Tracy at The Writing Runner.  They got the idea from the back page of Runners’ World magazines.  Every month, Runners’ World interviews a runner and asks them to sum up their running preferences.

This is how I Roll

  1. Wave                Nod
  2. Heart Rate    Feel  
  3. Lead                 Follow 
  4. PR                     Finish  – Most PRs are behind me
  5. Stride               Glide
  6. Athleisure       Sweats – not into either, but given the choice
  7. Gel                    Chews
  8. Hat              Gloves – Easy ways to adjust if you get hot.
  9. Morning          Night – Not a morning person. It’s coffee time!!
  10. Swift            Strong – I enjoy hills more than most people
  11. Struggle           Slay – You have to embrace the struggle
  12. Hot                   Cold – I have run some of my best races in the heat
  13. Low Socks       Tall Socks
  14. Shoe Store       Online
  15. Uphill                Downhill – my competitive advantage
  16. 5k                       Half Marathon
  17. GPS                   Naked – I wear my Garmin 610 24×7
  18. Stop                  Go – not sure what this means. I just keep running
  19. Start                 Finish – The finish always feels better
  20. Heel                  Toe
  21. Calves             Quads – people actually comment on my calves. Embarrassing!
  22. Headphones    Inner Voices  – I like to hear what’s going on around me
  23. Bagel                  Banana – a plain bagel before a marathon seems to work
  24. Treadmill         Frostbite – Will run outside as low as -20
  25. Medal               T-shirt – I really have enough of both
  26. Warm Up         Cool Down
  27. Distance          Time – Need to get my miles in
  28. 400s                  Hills – Not that I love them but…1. I wave to most people I see while running. With this lock down it’s the most socializing I get in all day!

2. My watch has a chest strap to monitor heart rate but it broke and I never replaced it. Now I run based on feel.

Some days I feel great and full of energy and can really push it. Other days it’s all I can do to get in 5K.

3. When I’m following someone I feel more in control. On a training run the person in front of me can only run so fast before they are running by them selves.

Andy Nagelin and Bobby Taylor Main Street in WakefieldDuring a race when everyone is running as fast as they can, running behind someone allows me to control the pace.

If I push up a hill, they have to run faster or I’ll pass them. If I want to back off, I’m still behind them.  During a race I often set my sights on someone, catch up and follow them and then pass when I can.

4 and 5 – I think my PR days are behind me. And while some people say I have an efficient stride, I feel like a bag of bricks.

8. My ears ache in the cold and my hands freeze in the winter when I start a run. If it stays cold I leave them on. If I warm up, hats and gloves are easy to take off.

9. Like just about everyone, I’ve done plenty of running in the morning. The Honolulu Marathon begins at 5:00 AM!

But, outside of a race, I prefer to run in the afternoon or evening. I’m just not that motivated in the morning!

10. I’m not a particularly strong runner, but I don’t give up and I always go 110% in for a race.

11. Running is about embracing the struggle. If you’re not willing to be uncomfortable or in pain you’ll never reach your potential.

12. I hate to bundle up and run in the cold, but I will do it. I’ve run some of my best race times when it’s 80° F out. As long as I have plenty to drink, I’m okay. I also know to run in the shade and pay attention to my body.

Heat stroke can be very serious.

14. You may pay a bit more at a shoe store but you know the shoes will fit. People who work at shoe stores are also fonts of knowledge and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They are runners after all!

15. I’m a bit of a hill runner. I’m not great but I’m probably above average.

When I run a race with out any hills, I feel like I’m at a disadvantage.

16. I think most runners prefer the half marathon. 5Ks are fun but they’re  over before you get started. 10Ks are great and you feel like you’ve run a race by the time you cross the finish line.

The half marathon is a challenge but it’s not the major under-taking that is a marathon. I can run several halfs per month, but I can only run two to three marathons a year.

17. GPS Watch – if you didn’t track the run, did it really happen? Does it count? I use my watch to track my pace. During a race keeping track of my pace is essential to my race strategy.

21. I’ve received more comments on my calves than even my formerly red Scott Procopio Gold Star Honor Run 10K 2018, Andy Nagelinhair. Sometimes people will see my legs at a race and say something. And sometimes it’s a little embarrassing.

I’ve had conversations with colleagues about my legs. And I’m no body builder. It’s kind of odd.

I guess it’s nice to have some redeeming physical attribute!

24. When I’m training for a marathon I’ll do what I have to to get in my miles. I’ve run a half marathon training run on a treadmill before, but I didn’t enjoy it.

I prefer to take my chances with the elements. I’ve run in – 20° weather before and will run in shorts down to about 32°.

There’s nothing like the great outdoors.

25. Medals and t-shirts. I wish more races would eliminate both. I have running medals, marathon medalsenough of both items and often medals are more like trinkets just to say you got something.  I say save the money for fundraising .

26. I’m not really good at warming up or cooling down. I do minimal stretching before a race and will do a warm up jog before a 5K sometimes.

I hardly ever stretch much after a race and I need to fix that!

I could write a paragraph or even a blog on most of these items. But this was supposed to be a brief post, just for fun.

How about it? How do you roll?

Run well my Friends!

Andy