Tag Archives: KarenDudek

Profile on Kirsten Pieper

Profile on Kirsten Pieper

How many years have you been running?
Since March 2009, but I took 9 months off for cancer treatment.

Why did you start running?
I was 39 ½ years old, and I read an article in some magazine that said “Whatever weight / fitness level you are at at age 40 is pretty much where you will stay until about age 65.” I was overweight and out of shape and I said “Oh **heck** no! Not looking like this for another 25 years!” By my 40th birthday, I had lost 20 lbs and was on my way to my first 5K.

Who inspired you?
The mirror and the scale (see above).

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I first joined LRC for Ride the Wave. I wanted to get some coaching to improve my racing times. LRC is such a great group that does so much for the community.

Tell me about your first race.
Dwight Harvest Days 5K, September 2009. I had no real clue what I was doing. I ran in a rock concert t-shirt, cotton shorts, and trail shoes I found at the thrift store for $3.99. It was my first 5K so I PRd, 26:59.

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Bighorn 50 miles, June 2014. 50 miles, 12,000 feet elevation gain, much of the race run at 8000+ft elevation. Impossible to train for in central Illinois. Hardest race I have ever run, but I finished! The scenery was ridiculously beautiful. One week later I was diagnosed with cancer.

What race really sticks in your mind?
Ultra Maraton (spelling intentional) Caballo Blanco, March 2013. This is the race described in the famous book Born to Run. It was my first 50-mile race, and so ridiculous: the canyons of rural central Mexico (95 degree heat and no shade coming from an Illinois winter); eating native Mexican food for 1 week prior to the race; aid stations had only water, oranges, and pinole (a Mexican grain); and running through fields of opium poppies.

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
I travel a lot for my job, so I have “favorite” routes picked out around much of central Illinois.

If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
I don’t really have a bucket list race at this time. One of the great things about trail / ultra running is you get to see so many amazing places.

Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
I found a dead body (human) during a training run on the trails at Kankakee State Park. Yes, I was by myself and no, I didn’t have my phone with me.

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Ultra Maraton Caballo Blanco (see above).

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Anything put on by Shady Hollow Trail Runners! But then I am kind of biased). Seriously, ultra runners are incredibly laid-back and fun people. If you haven’t volunteered at an ultra, I totally recommend it.

What are you training for right now?
Nothing in particular. I just finished 9 months of cancer treatment, which included 2 major surgeries and 9 months of chemotherapy. I went from running 50-mile mountain ultras to barely being able to walk across my yard. I’d like to finish an ultra before the end of the year, but really, just being able to get out there is a gift.

Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Absolutely not. I stumble out of bed and grab running clothes and something to eat. I’m lucky if I make it to the starting line without forgetting something critical, like socks.

What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Shady Hollow Trail Runners running singlet with our outhouse logo. That got some stares at the Boston Marathon!

Who have you been running with lately?
I run by myself a lot and always have. My work schedule is incredibly goofy so I run when and where I can. Currently my fitness level is so sketchy that I am reluctant to ask anyone to run with me. My go-to running partner is, of course, my boyfriend Jim Street, who has been incredibly patient over this past year.

Who motivates you as a runner?
Merlin and Meg Anderson. They are everywhere! You’ll see one or both of them at every local race, and they are always smiling. They have been coaching new runners for decades. The ABC Runs have generated thousands of dollars for needy children. And, they are still blowing away everyone else in their age groups!

What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Having cancer gave me an entirely new outlook on running. Through the lowest points of treatment, what kept me fighting was the thought that “When this is over, you’ll be back out there running.” But at the same time, I learned that running was NOT the be-all, end-all. Health, family, and friends are so much more important.

Kirsten at "home"out on the trails.

Kirsten at “home”out on the trails.

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Profile on Amber Geiser

Profile on Amber Geiser

How many years have you been running?
I started while I was still in college, however the intense addiction has really developed over the past 7 years.

Why did you start running?
Stress management!  Running is a perfect way to take a break, get some fresh air, and get your mind on something else.  Must…keep…breathing!  Then there’s that whole endorphin thing, which is a bonus!

Who inspired you?
My mom. She passed away from multiple sclerosis.  I’m making the most of my legs in her honor.

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I received a membership as a Christmas gift a few years ago.    I didn’t know much about the LRC at the time, but now I know I got the BEST GIFT EVER! The LRC is a terrific organization for connecting with other runners and supporting running in the community.

Tell me about your first race.
I ran the 4-Seasons 5K Fun Run back in 2004.  I thought I had conquered the world!  I had mostly only run treadmill miles before that and I was so proud to have run the whole thing without walking.  I don’t remember what my time was.  But I do remember coming home and calling my family and friends and telling them, ohmygoshguesswhatIjust did!!!!!  I was so pumped!

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
The Lake Run is absolutely my favorite.  There’s a course for about everyone.  I like the 12K – it’s challenging enough and the route is gorgeous. Then, beers and gondolas at the end while you catch up with all of your runner friends…it’s perfect!  Plus, it falls on my birthday weekend!

What race really sticks in your mind?
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 2012.  My first marathon.  Freezing rain starting at Mile 21.  Enough said.

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
I love the Constitution Trail.  We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful amenity in our community!  I’ll start at Tipton, west to the Triangle, then north through campus.  Sometimes all the way out to Ziebarth if it’s a long run day.  I kinda start to feel like Forrest Gump though, once I see those windmills!

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Yeah, I’m pretty sure the guy in the speedo at this year’s race takes the cake!

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Any race where kids are involved.  They get so excited and I love seeing the young ones catch the “running bug”.  I had the opportunity last year to be involved with planning with both of the Mulberry School 5K’s and it was a tremendous experience.

What are you training for right now?
Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth, MN June 20, 2015

Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race? 
Think, re-think, and then overthink any clothing or gear choices as I carefully lay them all out the night before.

What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
I have this purple high-vis shirt from REI that would qualify as my “warmest” piece of running gear as well.  Windproof to 25mph, it was definitely my best friend this winter! The high performance fabrics these days are amazing!

Who have you been running with lately?
Lately I have been doing the Thursday night runs with the group from Often Running (Rachel Matyasse, Clint Wells, Andy Williams, Gary Savage, Nate Farney, Paul Bliss, Karen & Joe Brannan, recently Tanya Gianotti, and others!).  This is very much a new thing for me, as I had never run with a group before, but I’ve really been enjoying it.  Everyone has been so incredibly welcoming and encouraging.  And also very entertaining, I didn’t know it was possible to laugh so much and run so hard at the same time!

What motivates you as a runner? 
Self-improvement.  Trying to achieve the next goal.  Right now I’m chasing that BQ!

What makes you stay with it and keep running?
I truly enjoy running. It is more than simply exercise, it’s a way of life.

Amber with her daughter, Sophia, at the Miller Park Stampede 2015.

Amber with her daughter, Sophia, at the Miller Park Stampede 2015.

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Profile on Rachel Matyasse

Profile on Rachel Matyasse

How many years have you been running?
I’ve been running since junior high when I joined the track team at my school in 8th grade because some friends were on the team.  I didn’t really like running at all, felt sweating was disgusting and merely joined the team for the social aspects.  I started running more in college (2001) to “get in shape.”

Why did you start running?
Initially, it was for the social aspects.  Later on, it was to stay healthy and to challenge myself.

Who inspired you?
My younger sister Megan ran cross country and track throughout her junior high, high school and college years.  She encouraged me to start running and I was inspired by her efforts.  To this day she continues to be my favorite running partner, though our joint runs are few and far between since we don’t live in the same town.  I had the privilege of running the first ~8 miles of her first marathon with her in 2009 (I ran the half at the same event and the courses split at that point) and then watched her cross the finish in triumphant exhaustion mere weeks before my own first marathon.  More recently, I’ve watched her get back into running after having a baby which has been very inspiring.

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I joined the Lake Run Club in 2009 after my first half marathon (U of I 2009) when I decided to train for my first marathon (Chicago 2009).  I joined the LRC to be a part of the awesome Marathon Training Group after seeing a flier advertising the group somewhere around BloNo.

Tell me about your first race.
I think my first race was the Maple City 4 in 2003.  This race is held in June each year in my parents’ hometown of Geneseo, IL.  I didn’t have any idea what I was doing and probably hadn’t even run 4 consecutive miles prior to that day.  I managed a time of 33:53 and second place in my age group (never mind the fact that it was out of two!).

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Anyone who really knows me knows that my favorite race is the Bix 7, which is a seven-mile race held in Davenport, Iowa each year.  I talk about it too much and I am sure people would prefer that I shut up about it…because really the course is tough (super hilly!) and it is always blazing hot on race day (the last Saturday in July each summer).  I love this race for a variety of reasons…it’s challenging, you get to see lots of elites run, it’s well-supported by volunteers, and the crowd support is really unparalleled as people line the entire 3.5-mile out-and-back course.  It seems like everyone in the Quad Cities gets excited to come out and support the racers.  This year I ran my 11th consecutive Bix.  This race is the one yearly personal tradition that I don’t compromise!

What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Ironman Wisconsin 2013.  This was my first full-distance triathlon and hopefully not my last (I have my eye on the full at Rev3 Cedar Point in September 2015).  This race was an incredible culmination of years of training and racing, as well as immeasurable love and support from family and friends.  This race is hands-down one of the best memories of my entire life.  From feeling like I was going to throw up before starting the swim, to seeing my parents (including my dad’s non-stop smile and my mom yelling at me late in the bike “DON’T QUIT), to the many friends who made the sacrifice to drive up to watch the race, to my sister running the 21st mile with me in the dark the entire day was unforgettable.

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
This question seems to promote stalking!  I tend to stick to various portions the Constitution Trail.  When I’m visiting family, I love running along the Mississippi River in Davenport as well as along the Hennepin Canal in Geneseo, IL.

If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
I want to run a marathon in another country.  Apparently there’s a bridge in China that’s just over 26 miles long.  I’m pretty sure there’s not actually a marathon on that…but how awesome would it be if there was?!  Until that race is created, maybe I’d say I’d choose the Tokyo Marathon.  As far as the “why,” I guess I would just say because the marathon is my favorite distance and running in a new/unfamiliar place is my personal favorite way to discover it.

Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Well one “emergency” visit to a porta-potty at Tipton Park that resulted in me leaving my underwear behind does stand out in my mind.

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is? I’ve never run the Chilly Chili…apparently I should?  I don’t know that this counts as “unusual” because lots of people do races like this…but in November of 2011 I completed a Tough Mudder race with my sister.  It was horrible.  It was cold and swimming through vats of ice water is no joke.  Being electrocuted at the end was an experience I could’ve done without.  I finished the darn thing because I don’t tend to quit things, but it was definitely “unusual” and not very pleasant.

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
This summer I volunteered at the Kids Run for Fun events on Friday evenings and I LOVED it.  Not only is it socially a lot of fun to see friends out at the events with their children, but it is also great to be a part of encouraging young children to pursue running as part of healthy lifestyles.

What are your race  and training plans for the fall of 2014?
I’m training for the Chicago Marathon this fall as well as for an aqua-bike event at Rev3 Cedar Point.  This season has been a little disappointing as I’ve battled tendinitis, but it is giving me many opportunities to practice patience and persistence.  I have high hopes for 2015!

Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
I used to always sleep in my race attire the night before races.  I don’t necessarily do this consistently right now.  Really my only consistent “ritual” is making sure to have a successful porta-potty stop…I know most of you can relate to that!

What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
I love my dorky Lululemon running skirts in silly colors and patterns.  I also love my purple stretchy fuel belt that I purchased at a race expo once.  I believe the brand is Level; however I’ve never been able to find the same product online or elsewhere.  This thing is great:  you step into it and slide it up around your waist and can fill the entire thing all the way around with keys/phone/gels/etc.

Who have you been running with lately?
I’ve been running with the Thursday Night Often Running group which consists of a variety of people…most consistently Clint Wells, Paul Bliss, Gary Savage and Andy Williams. As previously mentioned, I also run with my sister when we happen to be in the same town.  Also favorite running partners of note include Jillian McGriff and Jennifer Blackorby.

Who motivates you as a runner?
I am a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and I work children who present with a variety of speech/language disorders both at Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School in Normal and at Easter Seals in Bloomington.  Working with children with disabilities is challenging but rewarding.  Running, for me, can be a challenge but that challenge pales in comparison to those faced by many of the children and families I work with.  Watching these inspirational children fight to learn to overcome obstacles such as difficulty communicating, walking, eating and more has shown me that nothing is impossible.  For the past two years, I have been a member of Team Believe which is a team of marathoners who raise money and awareness for Easter Seals.  Having the privilege to combine my love of running with my passion for individuals with disabilities has been very motivating to me as a runner.

What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Honestly, running has become a part of my identity and a part of what makes me “me.”  I can’t imagine “Rachel Matyasse” without running and without the people this sport has brought into my life.

 

Rachel running the Operation Jack Marathon in December of 2012.

Rachel running the Operation Jack Marathon in December of 2012.

Rachel (left) and her sister Megan Hankner (right) after finishing the University of Illinois half marathon 2009.

Rachel (left) and her sister Megan Hankner (right) after finishing the University of Illinois half marathon 2009.

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Profile on Dan Anderson

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Dan Anderson
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Dan: 5

Karen: Why did you start running?
Dan: It’s my wife’s fault!  I met her on a bike ride, and we did almost everything together after that. She ran with a group of runners who ran (and still do!) at Tipton Trails on Tuesday/Thursday at 5:30am, so I started running with them also, to share in her life.

Karen: Who inspired you?
Dan: Wow! Long list! My wife, Wendy, and Pam Walden early on, Rich Beal inspired me to wear crazy costumes. Julie Sibley and Tim Rood later on as I started running with others. And I didn’t even mention Merlin, who inspires everyone.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Dan: My wife…it’s all her fault!

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Dan: I think my first race was Race The Dead! I ran as a volcano.

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Dan: Ha! in 2012 it had to be Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, because I qualified for Boston. But I think the Park to Park has to be one of my favorites. maybe because it’s fun. It’s fourth of July and people are out there to have a good time. Some of the crazy people wear costumes, but it’s really a holiday mindset.

Karen: What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Dan: The Kauai marathon was beautiful (though some of it was lost on me after mile 15!). What keeps coming back to me is the Park to Park.  I generally run it in a costume. In 2011 I ran it as an 10 foot tall Uncle Sam Hat.  Throughout the race there was a group I kept seeing, I would catch up and then they would take off. One of the times I heard a guy groan and say “Darn, we have to go again”. Next time I got near him, I asked about it.  He replied, “Yeah, we decided that we have to stay ahead of the hat!” I love that! Fun is one of the things I try and put into running. Wearing crazy tights and big costumes is part of that. Running does not have to be all serious!  I probably wouldn’t still be running if it was.  (BTW, I sprinted past that group of runners at the finish! – and afterward they called me over to have my picture taken with them.  They were lifeguards and had all decided to run together.)

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Dan: I really like the stretch of the trail from the triangle to Towanda Barnes and back.

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Dan: On my bucket list is to run a 100 mile race…any 100 miler.  I’ve done a 50, but 100 just is beyond the scope of reality; so I’d like to try it.  Fifty used to be beyond my reality.

Karen: Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Dan: I really enjoy leading in Catch the Wave, which culminates at the Lake Run.  The satisfaction of having new runners achieve something they have never done (or never thought they would) is immense!

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Dan: Nothing.  I’m coming off an injury and then will train for Boston Marathon 2014.
 
Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Dan: No.. pretty boring.

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own? (T-shirt, sox, etc.).
Dan: My lightning tights!

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Dan: Ray Sevier, Sarah Kelch, Kevin Lee, and the Thursday night group at the lake (what little I have been running).

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Dan: I feel better when I am running regularly, but the people I run with make it special.  Even now when I’m not really running, on Saturday mornings I’ll ride my bike down to the triangle to join the Marathon training group, and talk to them as I ride along side.  And I’ll run with most anyone.

Dan running Park to Park in costume.

Dan running Park to Park in costume.

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Profile on Caitlin Harrison

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Caitlin Harrison
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Caitlin: Going on 3, but I’ve technically only been serious about it for 9 months now.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Caitlin: A friend of mine asked me to do Catch The Wave (CTW) with her in 2011! I’ve participated the past 3 seasons.

Karen: Who inspired you?
Caitlin: At first, the incredibly welcoming and helpful leaders of CTW. After running my first Lake Run it was every other person who ran that race. It was so inspiring to be a part of the event that I knew I wanted to participate in more races.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Caitlin: It was included in my CTW fee!

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Caitlin: It was the inner loop at the Lake Run in May of 2011. I was 9 weeks pregnant and the course made me very nervous because I hadn’t prepared as well as I probably should have. I only made it as far as the first water stop before I took a walking break. I continued running intervals until I finished somewhere around 1:03. My family and friends were there cheering for me and some other friends who ran the race. I think I took a 2 hour nap that afternoon!

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Caitlin: As of today, the Lake Evergreen 5K has been my favorite because it has been my best timed race yet. I started out this year running a 13 minute mile and finished last Saturday’s 3.1 miles with an average 10:11 minute mile pace. I loved the fact that it was the finishing race for Heat Wave and that I got to run alongside many of the women I have spent all summer getting to know.

Karen: What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Caitlin: This past Lake Run because it was really the first time I felt 100% confident in my running abilities. In previous Lake Runs, I had slacked and thought I could get away with the minimum effort. This year I really tried to kick my own butt and run farther and more often which lead to cutting 10 whole minutes off my previous Lake Run time. It was also the first race I did with HMP (Hot Mom Project) and I will never forget the camaraderie I felt congratulating each other on a race well done, knowing we had trained hard together.

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Caitlin: Everywhere! I’m really feeling the runs around Lake Bloomington lately though!

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Caitlin: I REALLY want to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon! A family member turned me onto this race when I first started running and it has just been a goal of mine since the beginning. Plus, during the race you get to run ON the Indianapolis 500 track!

Karen: Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Caitlin: I had a woman once stop me and tell me that if I was running to lose weight I was wasting my time (unprompted, I did not know this woman nor did I ask for any weight loss or running advice). All you had to do was cut out every single carb in your diet and you’d drop 20 pounds in no time! Exercise not needed.

Karen: If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Caitlin: Not a timed race, but I did partake in the Color Run in Chicago this summer. It was a total party and pretty cool to experience such a large event (I want to say it was 10,000+ people).

Karen: Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Caitlin: I have yet to volunteer for a race! I am hoping to help out with the Race for the Cure next month and hopefully many more after that!

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Caitlin: The We Care Half Marathon! I am very excited for my first half marathon!

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Caitlin: I tend to get up way too early on a race day and get to the race much earlier than I have to. I have fear of not having enough time to prep myself!

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Caitlin: My Baby Jogger running stroller! It’s blue, and has giant tires, and carries my toddler (and water, snacks, etc.) for miles and miles!

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Caitlin: Hot Moms and Single Ladies! We started out as a mom’s with strollers group and have evolved to much, much more. We run together multiple times a week. I ran all summer with Heat Wave, did my first Monday night Fun Run, as well as my first Thursday night out at the Lake this week.

Karen: Who motivates you as a runner?
Caitlin: The women who are constantly motivating me to run farther and faster and every friendly face I meet within the Lake Run Club who pushes me that much more. But most of all, my going on 2 year old, Harper. Being able to keep up with her and show her how important it is to have a healthy hobby keeps me motivated. I really want her to grow up in an active lifestyle that not only benefits her health, but motivates her to step outside her comfort zone sometimes.

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Caitlin: I have never played a sport outside of gym class in my adult life. Running was slow for me in the beginning, but I absolutely loved how I felt afterwards. Meeting so many new people and making the connections I have has made my journey that much more rewarding, pushing me to keep running. My family and friends have literally asked what has gotten into me. I was the girl in high school complaining weeks before we had to run the 1 mile in gym class, now I’m training for a half marathon. The gratification I feel from accomplishing what I never thought I ever would do is greater than the nagging feeling that my toes hurt after 7 or 8 miles.

Caitlin

Caitlin and her boyfriend after Park 2 Park 2013

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Profile on Rachelle Leuty

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Rachelle Leuty
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Rachelle: I have been running for 4 years.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Rachelle: It was a dare.

Karen: Who inspired you?
Rachelle: No one really.  It was more of a curiosity to see if I could run a 5k.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Rachelle: Membership was included in my Catch the Wave fee, so I guess Bill Hahm tricked me into it.

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Rachelle: It was the 2010 Miller Park Zoo Stampede.  Such a great experience!  My then-fiancé and 2 of my friends ran with me.  I had friends and family cheer me on at the finish line.  They made a big deal out of it and my fiancé threw me a race party afterwards.

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Rachelle: The Champaign 2011 Half-marathon.  The crowd was great!!  13.1 miles of encouragement!  I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”  I smiled the whole time.

Karen: What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Rachelle: The 2011 Lexington 5k.  Before that race, I thought I had the gait of an Olympic runner.  My fiancé took footage of me at the finish line and I couldn’t wait to see it.  I was shocked as I watched the video!  I ran with my elbows swinging from side to side with my toes pointing sideways as well.  I spent more time moving side to side than forward!  The race sticks in my mind because it showed me that I was not a pretty runner!  A few weeks later, I saw Jack Capodice and screamed, “Why didn’t you tell me I run like a complete dork?!?”

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Rachelle: The one I’m running on.

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Rachelle: I would love to do any of the Disney runs.  Sounds like so much fun and I would love a princess medal!

Karen: Do you have a “You’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Rachelle: Last week, I was running during my lunch hour and this very attractive guy was running towards me.  He was so attractive that I thought, “This has gotta be a Candid Camera segment!”  I imagined a voice over saying, “Let’s see what happens when we throw a piece of eye candy in the middle of Constitution Trail.”  When he ran by me, I waved “Hi”, lost my footing and fell off the trail.  So embarrassing!

Karen: If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Rachelle: I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never participated in this race because I’m a total wuss about running in the cold.  My curiosity has been piqued!

Karen: Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Rachelle: The Kids Run for Fun.  Just love seeing the smiles on those little faces.  Those kids look like they’re having so much fun.  I can’t wait for my little guy to do that.

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Rachelle: The We Care Twin Cities Half Marathon

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Rachelle: Yes.  I need to have a big cup of coffee and I need to listen to On Bended Knee by Boys II Men.  Don’t judge!  They don’t make songs like that anymore!

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Rachelle: My Baby Jogger!

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Rachelle: The Hot Moms Project and our babies

Karen: Who motivates you as a runner?
Rachelle: My son, Ross

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Rachelle: Ross deserves the best mom ever and running makes me a better mom.  Truth be told, running helped me overcome postpartum depression.  Getting out on the trail was a part of pulling me out of that.  In my heart, I knew mopping 4 times a day and seriously doubting my abilities as a mom were not doing me or my baby any good.  As soon as I was cleared for exercise, I started walking and I was running before my maternity leave was over.  In a few weeks, I was happy and healthy.  Ross and I both slept better.  Most importantly, I was smiling just as much as he was.

Rachelle and family at the Lake Run.

Rachelle and family at the Lake Run.

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Profile on Andy Williams and Gary Savage

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Andy Williams and Gary Savage
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Andy: I started running races in 2008. I was technically in cross country in high school. I would cheat and hide behind the church in town when everyone else was running. I had to write letters to the coach about being “dedicated to the sport”. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good.
Gary: I started up competitive running again about a year and a half ago. I ran track and cross country in high school, and then started up training in college, but I blew out my knee playing basketball and that ended that.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Gary: Running has always been a passion, but injuries and other sports got in the way. The turning point was when my dad passed away unexpectedly. You always hear the cliché, “Life is too short”; but when life smacks you in the face you realize that statement is true. I didn’t want to go through life with regrets, so I decided to give running another go.
Andy: I really only started running as a means of exercise. When Gary’s dad passed away, I remember trying to get Gary to go out for a run with me. I thought that might take his mind off of things for awhile. He surprised me by coming along a couple of times. A few years later, he’s passing me in 5ks!

Karen: Who inspired you?
Gary: I would say my frenemy Andy Williams, who is my training partner and the second half of the running duo we are known as: Shake N’ Bake. About 4 years ago Andy went from playing Guitar Hero all the time to taking up running. He recently qualified for the Boston Marathon. The complete transformation inspires me to train that much harder.
Andy: Lots of people; anybody doing something to make themselves better. I am jealous of Gary. He hadn’t really raced since high school until last year. In between, he has had surgeries on both of his knees. At first I was glad he was going out and running, but now we’re “frenemies” on race day. Are we using that term too much? And yes, we do go by “Shake N’ Bake”. I’m Ricky Bobby, and he’s obviously the Magic Man. I’m trying to think who would be Sasha Baron Cohen’s character.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Gary: To be a part of a community that also has a passion for running. I have met a lot of nice people within the club and I look forward to meeting other members.
Andy: Similar to Gary. I joined to become a little more involved in the running community. I was looking for people to run with and I’d catch up and run with groups from LRC at Often Running, Constitution Trail, and out at Lake Bloomington.

Karen: Tell me about your first race:
Andy: I think Gary and I have done the Turkey Trot at least 15 straight years, but those weren’t really “races” for us most of the time. I guess my first “official” race was the 2008 Park to Park. I weighed about 30-40 pounds more than I do now. I ran it in about 45 minutes. It was a near-death experience.
Gary: My first race since getting back into running shape was a 3-mile run at Dawson Lake. I had been training at a boxing gym so I was in decent cardio shape, but running is a different animal and my legs were sore for several days after that. The Turkey Trot has always been a fun tradition for us, but for the most part neither of us were in running shape for those races.

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Andy: I’ve had a lot of fun at Danvers Days. Last year’s was a little short, but I like the mini “Heartbreak Hill” and the concept of pancakes afterwards!
Gary: I don’t have a favorite race per se. I like the bigger events where there are not only competitive runners, but there are usually newer runners competing in their first race. It is fun to see the joy and passion for running out there.

Karen: What race really sticks out in your mind for one reason or another?
Gary: The race that sticks in my mind is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Bloomington last year. It was my best run from start to finish, and it was my first overall 5k victory. The best part was following Dan Anderson riding the pace bike as he frantically tried to move the walkers and clear a path for the runners during the final mile.
Andy: For me, it was the 2010 Indianapolis Marathon. I was sick for my first marathon that spring in Champaign (it went horribly; I lost 12 pounds during the race). At Indy, I qualified for the old Boston cut-off (3:10), but not for the new standard (3:05). Even though my time wasn’t good enough to make the cut, there was still a great feeling of accomplishment when I finished. I was screaming the whole drive home (I’m sure my wife couldn’t wait to get home).

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Andy: It doesn’t really matter to me as long as I’m running. I love running with other people. Even if they don’t like me (Gary Savage, Rick Vincent, Frank Arnolts, Clint Wells-I’m looking in your direction).
Gary: Tipton Trails, which is where my running group/race team trains for our long runs. We have a great group of guys (except Andy), and there is always good banter during runs to help pass the time. We then usually hit up Flat Top Grill for a monster breakfast afterwards.

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick and why?
Andy: I like cold and quiet. We went on a trip to Denver a few years ago and I loved it. I was able to take in the scenery and enjoy all of the changes in the landscape.
Gary: I never really thought about that. I recently achieved my goal of adding another country on my Garmin Forerunner, so that was cool.

Karen: Do you have a “You’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Gary: Well, any run with the Bad Boy Andy Williams can result in a “You’ll never believe what happened on my run today.” Those stories are probably best left unsaid.
Andy: Agreed. I’m pretty sure they are unprintable.

Karen: If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve run, what race is?
Andy: I can’t think of any other races with SPAM and/or chili stops on the course.
Gary: Chili during a run? No thank you! I have enough stomach issues as is. The Da Deer Run Run is the most unusual for me. There is a mixture of grass, pavement and trails to run, and of course those hurdles. The last few hurdles are tough to climb over with the quads burning and all.

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Gary: I am training for the Bix 7 in July, sprinkled with some 5ks in between.
Andy: I’m trying to recuperate from the Illinois Marathon a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking to run some 5ks-15ks for the next couple of months. I’ll be doing the Bix with Gary and the rest of our posse-that should be a blast! After that, I’ll be running my fifth marathon at the Monumental again in November.

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Gary: On the drive to the race I have to jam to either Jay-Z or some Justin Timberlake (my friends make fun of me for that one). After a warm-up run I drink a Gatorade Prime Energy pouch, hit the Port-a-potty one last time, say a little prayer for a safe race, then I am ready to go.
Andy: It’s hard for me to get pumped riding in the car to a race with Gary. I want to listen to AC/DC or Slayer, and he wants to chill out to JT… Jay-Z is a worthwhile compromise. Otherwise, my only other main ritual involves finding me in line two or three times at the freshest portajohn.

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Andy: My red Saucony singlet, which is ironic because I’m normally shirtless for the races (much to other people’s dismay).
Gary: Most people probably recognize me for my signature knee brace. However, my favorite item is my pair of red Saucony Type A5 racing flats.

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Gary: Members of my run group are: Rick Vincent, Frank Arnolts III, Clint Wells, and the shirtless wonder Andy Williams. Hopefully we will get the other team members out there for the group runs pretty soon.
Andy: Ditto-Rick, Clint, and Frank are the crew. The rest of us normally have to wait for Gary to arrive because was busying coordinately his running attire at home. You can normally find us running around together being obnoxious on the trail somewhere. We have fun, talk about running ad nauseum, and where we’re going to go for breakfast afterwards. Running with these guys (and a few others) has helped push us all to keep at it and we have pretty much all seen better race times this year.

Karen: Who motivates you as a runner?
Andy: Well, Gary motivates me to try and beat him. Clint motivates me to stay at it. My wife and family have been extremely supportive and patient considering all of the stupid things that I do. Every time I go out for a race, I know I could have done better. That’s what keeps me going back out!
Gary: I would say the guys in my training group all help motivate me. We push each other to reach our goals. Mostly it is Andy though, only in that I want to beat him in races. He beat me several times early last year so I have some catching up to do!

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Gary: The desire to continue to improve still burns inside me, and I want to continually challenge myself with different distances and courses. I won’t lie though; it is pretty cool to win medals, too.
Andy: I enjoy running (now!). It’s good for you. I get slightly annoyed when I hear people my age and younger start off a conversation with, “I’d really like to start running, but…” When I started running, I couldn’t even run a mile, was pushing 200 pounds, and my cholesterol was in the “Danger Zone”. I want to still be doing this when I’m an old fogey. My guess is Gary and I will still be racing each other.
Gary: Ha, we may need walkers, but we will still be racing.

Andy (left) and Gary (right) showing off their awards at the CCHS 5k.

Andy (left) and Gary (right) showing off their awards at the CCHS 5k.

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Profile on Denny McDowell

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Denny McDowell
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Denny: For a long time. I can remember running in the Lake Run when there was “only” the outer loop. Good thing they don’t keep stats from then.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Denny: It was a way to stay in shape when I was playing competitive racquetball.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Denny: I attended the banquet once as a guest and was “encouraged” to join.

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Denny: I think my first race was the Lake Run. I remember getting about halfway around and thinking that this didn’t seem so bad when I was riding my bike.

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Denny: The Big Sur Half Marathon I ran last year is one of my favorites. It was very scenic and well organized. I would recommend this to others as a bucket list run.

Karen: What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Denny: The one that really “sticks” out was the first time I ran the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run. It rained the night before and the morning of the race. I almost lost a shoe a couple times in the mud during the run. And I remember the race director telling us when we checked in that the trail on Thursday was in the best shape he’s ever seen it.

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Denny: Anywhere along the trail or up at the lake.

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Denny: There has been some discussion on getting a group together for an international run and Ireland keeps coming up.

Karen: If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever run, what race is?
Denny: I guess that would be the Living History Farms Cross Country Race. It was my first time running with 7,000 runners in costumes. And yes, Rich was one of them.

Karen: What race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at, and why?
Denny: I’ve helped out with Catch the Wave and Ride the Wave for a couple of years and it’s good to see runners improve upon their goals.

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Denny: I’m running later this month at the Illinois Half Marathon in Champaign and next month in Chicago at the Soldier Field 10-Mile.

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Denny: Just be there in time to get in the Porta Potty line.

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Denny: All of my Dri-Fit race shirts. I think it’s time to start having some quilts made.

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Denny: I don’t have any friends so I run a lot by myself. 🙂 Sometimes with Lisa Sparks or Missy Adams (when healthy). I also like to get out for some of the group runs.

Karen: Who motivates you as a runner?
Denny: Myself

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Denny: We have a fun group of runners here to hang out with and it’s always a good time at races where we are all well represented.

Denny holding up the "Bean" after the 2012 Soldier Field 10-Mile run.

Denny holding up the “Bean” after the 2012 Soldier Field 10-Mile run.

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Profile on Leann Steidinger

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Leann Steidinger
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How long have you been running?
Leann: I started around 2000, but I didn’t really get into it until 2003.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Leann: My sister had started running on the country roads by my parents’ house. I wanted to give it a shot. I remember her telling me that once I broke that 1 mile barrier it wouldn’t be so bad, because I was really struggling. She was right! Little did I know that I would run marathons and would be doing triathlons a few years later.

Karen: Who inspired you?
Leann: Members of the Lake Run Club. Having people cheer for and champion me was what kept me coming back.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Leann: Initially because I could get race discounts. Then I found out that the people are really nice, too!

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Leann: It was the Paws for a Cause in 2002 that I ran with a friend. It took me 30 minutes and she beat me at the end.

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Leann: I love trail running, so any time I’m on trails in nature I’m in my element.

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Leann: I would love to do the Hood to Coast relay race. It would be great to see the scenery, and I love the camaraderie and fun that comes with relay races.

Karen: What race are you training for right now?
Leann: The Champaign half marathon

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Leann: I like to do yoga the morning of a race-it helps be focus.

Karen: What is the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Leann: My running shoes are pretty amazing!

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Leann: Even with setbacks and injuries, I always come back to running. I love how it makes me feel. It gets my heart pumping and clears my mind. I always feel better after I run, whether it’s by myself or with someone else. I can disconnect from the world, or I can connect with a friend.

Leann doing some pre-race yoga.

Leann doing some pre-race yoga.

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Profile on Sarah Kelch

LRC RUNNER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Feature article on Sarah Kelch
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Sarah: I have been running for about 10 years, but I’ve only become a serious runner in the past 4 years.

Karen: Why did you start running? / Who inspired you?
Sarah: My mom, Carolyn Sutter.  For those Lake Runners who don’t already know, she’s a 50 States marathon finisher, ultramarathoner, multiple-Ironman finisher, mountaineer, and all-around crazy woman.  I have more than enough inspiration to go around, and a lot to live up to!!

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Sarah: I started running in the Catch the Wave Program, so my first race was the Lake Run.   Meg Anderson was my group leader.  I think it was 2003.  I now have 9 years of Lake Run t-shirts!

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Sarah:  Da Deer Run is my favorite because it is one of the few times per year I do a trail run, and the only time I attempt hurdles. It is scenic, the t-shirt is long-sleeve, and it’s a circuit race. The potato soup makes huddling together in the cold totally worth it for the post-race.

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Sarah: In the summer I run from Bloomington to my “swimming hole” on the Mackinaw river.  The hills and lack of “amenities” are a small price to pay for the scenery.

Karen: Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Sarah: At Chilly Chili this year, 3 six-point bucks crossed the road about 8 feet in front of me.  There was only one other runner closer to them than I was.  I was pretty startled!

Karen: Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Sarah: I have volunteered at Danvers Days several years.  There is a pancake breakfast which is usually open to volunteers.  Plus, there is always a group running or riding their bikes to the race.  It makes for a morning full of camaraderie.

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Sarah: My next race is the Go! St. Louis in April.

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own? (T-shirt, sox, etc.)
Sarah: For Christmas a few years back, I got a dry-weave hat.  It wicks moisture, it has a ponytail hole, and it is printed with the quote, “The Journey is the Reward.”   That is so true.

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Sarah: I’ll run with anybody willing to help me log the long miles!  Lately, I need to thank Raymond Sevier, Lizzy Taggart, Julie Sibley, Dan Anderson, and the other crazy marathon trainees for the company.

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Sarah: Fun, Friends, and Food!

Sarah finishing the Inland Trail Marathon 2012 in Elyria, Ohio.

Sarah finishing the Inland Trail Marathon 2012 in Elyria, Ohio.

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