Tag Archives: RunnerSpotlight

Profile on Josh Smith

Profile on Josh Smith

How many years have you been running?
Since 1991 (7th grade).

Who/What inspired you?
I started running ‘distance’ in 7th grade because I couldn’t jump, couldn’t run fast, and wasn’t strong enough to throw the shot put or discus. I remember one of my track coaches asking “Do you think you could run around the track twice without stopping?” This was the beginning of my running career.

By high school, I still wasn’t convinced that I enjoyed running and had every intention of playing Freshman football. However, I fractured my clavicle during PE class in 8th grade and wore a brace the entire summer between 8th grade and freshman year. During my last check-up, my mom asked if I should play football and the doctor said “I wouldn’t recommend football but he could run cross-country”.

I ended up running cross-country and won “Most Improved Runner” my Freshman and Sophomore years (I was really slow) and MVP my Junior year. At the time, I was not happy that I couldn’t play football but 20+ years later I am still running and have no ‘old football injuries’. I should thank that doctor (and my mom).

Why did you join the Lake Run Club?  
I had met the legendary Mike Fazio several years ago and he encouraged me to begin running w/ the LRC marathon training group. I have met a diverse group of people in this group (and the LRC in general) that all share the same passion to run.

Josh and his wife, Whitney, at the Jingle Bell 5k in 2013.

Josh and his wife, Whitney, at the Jingle Bell 5k in 2013.

Tell me about your first race.
My first non-school race was the Bloomington Jingle Bell Run in 1993. Back then the race finished at Jumer’s and involved a post-race buffet that was amazing! As a high school freshman, the idea of running a 5K and then having a buffet of food available afterwards was very appealing. I was hooked!

What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Chicago Marathon. It was the first marathon I ran back in 2002 and I have since ran it twice. I work as a physical therapist and most recently I have been making the yearly trip to Chicago to track the various runners that I have found their way to my workplace. One runner commented after the race on social media “I couldn’t find my wife in the crowd but I did see my physical therapist”. I genuinely get as much (and likely more) joy out of watching a patient be able to finish his/her race than if I ran it myself.

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
My favorite route recently has been any trail out at Lake Evergreen, the best kept secret in McLean County.

If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
The Memphis St. Jude Marathon is on my short list. The race takes you past the St. Jude’s Hospital and the children are along the course cheering on the runners. Also, my dad has run the race every year since ’07 and has promised a rib dinner to anyone that runs with him.

Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?  
My runs are usually pretty uneventful and that is fine with me.

If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
The most unusual race that I ever completed was in Fairbury, IL. Our cross-country coach, Doug Roberts, organized a race in the mid-90’s in which we had to pick up plastic inflatable dinosaurs and each dinosaur was worth a time reward. You had to make the decision if picking up and carrying the dinosaur was worth the time deduction. This race is no longer in existence but may have been the original ‘obstacle race’.  

Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
I love seeing all of the 1st time runners finish races like The Lake Run, Evergreen Park 5K, and the We Care Half-Marathon. Often I am at these events working and it is great to see someone that a few months ago couldn’t run more than a couple of blocks be able to finish a 5K.

What are you training for right now?
I will likely run the Champaign Half-Marathon next Spring.

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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 Ellen Furlong

Profile on Ellen Furlong (and Cleo)

How many years have you been running?
Cleo and I ran casually off an on starting about 2008. I did the couch to 5k program several times but never really stuck with it much past a 5k. I would get a little injury and stop and then try to start back up several months later. I just wasn’t super consistent. Then in New Haven, CT (where I lived until recently) they have a race every Labor Day with two distances – a 5k and a 20k. My running friends and I were already running 3 or 4 miles a few times a week and decided to challenge ourselves and register for the 20k. We were kind of stupid about it – we decided this just 6 weeks before the race, the longest we had ever run at that point was 4 miles, and were definitely not prepared. By the start of the race the longest we had ever run was 7 miles! Fortunately the race course went by all 3 of our houses, so we thought if things got bad, we could bail. I think having that back up plan really helped – knowing that we could stop helped us push through and things went great! We were surprised at how well we did and, perhaps most surprised that we finished! I was hooked on distance running—2 months later I did my first half marathon and 6 months later I did my first full.

Why did you start running?
I started running because I have an insane beast of a dog who has more energy than anyone should (my best guess is that she’s an Australian Shepherd / Jack Russell mix – two breeds renowned for their high energy levels!). In fact, the whole first year I had Cleo I never once saw her sleep! I found was having to take her for longer and longer walks to try to tire her out, and, as a graduate student, I just didn’t have time to walk her 2 or 3 hours every day. Therefore I decided to start running to try to accomplish the same goal – tired dog – in a shorter period of time.

Who inspired you?
Definitely Cleo. I’m not sure how many people are bullied into marathons by their dogs, but there’s at least one – me! Just like the walking, I found Cleo soon needed longer and longer runs to tire her out and soon I was training for full marathons! And she’s pretty inspirational – she’s 10 years old, she’s had knee surgery as a pup, and still runs nearly every mile with me. There’s nothing she loves more than running, and even on days when I don’t want to get out and run I know she’s counting on it so on go the running shoes.

 Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I moved to Bloomington last year and before I even moved from Connecticut I missed my running buddies! When I interviewed at Illinois Wesleyan University (where I’m an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department) several people I met with mentioned the Lake Run Club and before I moved here I had already mailed in my application!

 Tell me about your first race.
My first ‘race’ was a 5k run/walk for the humane society in Columbus, Ohio (when I was in graduate school at Ohio State). It was hilarious because it was there that I realized Cleo was a runner – usually she has to bark at all the other dogs around, but once we got running she was in a zone. She was focused and determined and never gave a second look to any of the other dogs. My first distance race, the 20k, was really fun because I ran it with a couple friends and we were pretty much on the same page as far as not at all being well trained enough to do it! But we had a lot of fun and really surprised ourselves how well we did. It was fun and definitely got me hooked! Cleo’s first half marathon was awesome and yet terrible. It was terrible because the weather was awful (it was colder at the finish line than the start and the last half or so we were pelted with freezing rain). BUT it was awesome because through all of this Cleo was an inspiration to the other runners. Whether we were running up terrible terrible hills or struggling through freezing rain, Cleo never faltered, never slowed, and kept forging ahead in a perfectly straight line. And that commitment and unfazed attitude toward scary things really helped the runners around us (and me!) with the struggle.

 What makes your favorite race your favorite?
My favorite race is the Kentucky Derby Marathon. It’s my favorite for several reasons. First, I grew up in Kentucky so it was fun to run there and have my family supporting me and friends to run with. Second, it was my first marathon and therefore I will always remember it fondly. Third, they had really amazingly fantastic pacers who kept me going strong! And fourth, and perhaps the most fun, we ran through Churchill Downs and they played audio of old races over the loudspeakers as we went through. Not only did it make me feel a bit like a race horse, but it was really fun because my great uncle was a jockey and they actually played the audio from a Kentucky Derby that he won while I was running through. It was pretty cool.

What race really sticks in your mind (for one reason or another?)
The race that really sticks in my mind is the Run the Bluegrass half marathon. It’s a really tough course (apparently there are EIGHT hills that have names – they’re so bad they need names. EIGHT of them!) but it’s beautiful. It goes through horse farms and keeneland race track and is a lot of fun. Plus, they allow dogs to run the race, so Cleo got to run her first official half marathon this spring. I like to think she won her age group – there were only a few other dogs there and they all looked a lot younger than her 10 years!

Do you have a favorite route that you run?
I really like to run on the trail. I live very close to it which has been really nice.

If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
I would really like to run the London Marathon some time. I love London and it would be an excellent excuse to visit.

Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Oh yes. Many. My most recent one was when Cleo and I were running on the trail and a rabbit darted out of the bushes and ran smack into Cleo. I’m not sure who was more shocked – Cleo or the rabbit!

 If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
I’ve never run Chilly Chilli before! But I’ve heard much of it (this was my first year in town, I’ll make it sometime!). I think the most unusual race I’ve run was a color run. I ran the one in Boston with some of my friends and students and our team name was the “funky monkeys” (I study primate cognition, so it was relevant to our work!). Most of the students just met us there, but a couple of my friends and I went up the night before and camped out. Camping before a race isn’t exactly a genius idea, but it was just for fun and we weren’t busting any PRs.

What are you training for right now?
My next race isn’t until March 2015– the Napa Valley Marathon. I’m really excited about it! I was supposed to run it last year with my running buddy from Connecticut, but just a few days before I got the flu. And while I was at the doctor’s office to get Tamiflu to try to get myself healthy enough to run, I got a call that my grandmother died. It was not meant to be! But they let me defer my registration and my friend had so much fun that we’re planning on running it this year.

 Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Nope, but I’m open to suggestions…

What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own? (T-shirt, sox, etc.)
Hmm… running gear. I do love it so. I have to say, the thing that changed my life as a runner the most was the discovery of running socks. Ha. It makes a HUGE difference!

Who have you been running with lately?
Sadly lately I’ve been a bit sidelined with an injury so have been biking and swimming. But I’m working with Josh Smith on my running form and am getting back out there soon. My constant running buddy is Cleo, but I really enjoy running with the marathon training group when I can make it!

 Who motivates you as a runner?
Well, Cleo clearly gets me out the door. But also ice cream for breakfast.

cleo1

I’m just a few minutes late with a run, I get this treatment. Even when I’m really busy and trying to get a lot of work done, Cleo won’t stand for missing a workout!

cleo2

Cleo with her metal after Run the Bluegrass half marathon. She got to have a sausage biscuit after the race and I don’t think she’ll ever be the same again.

Here is Cleo getting her fix.

Here is Cleo getting her fix.

Cleo and I at the finish line of Run the Bluegrass.

Cleo and I at the finish line of Run the Bluegrass.

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Profile on the VanHook family

Profile on the VanHook family

Many Lake Run Club members may know Bryan and Brigette VanHook as avid runners, but their running careers started very differently. Brigette started running 23 years ago when her junior high wood shop teacher saw her running at a field hockey practice and recruited her for indoor track.  Her inspiration to further pursue the sport came from her high school running coach and shop teacher, Bob Winn, a competitive masters runner who has competed internationally.  During the time he coached Brigette, Bob was in the prime of his running career, and would run with his student athletes.  She continues to admire his motivation and discipline to this day.  Brigette’s first race was the 1-mile race at an indoor track meet at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, during her freshman year of high school.  She impressed her coaches and teammates with a finishing time of 6:05.  “I was hooked”, she says.

Bryan, on the other hand, started running 3-4 years ago when Brigette encouraged him to join “Catch the Wave”, and he says that his inspiration comes from Brigette.  His first race was the 4.37-mile at the Lake Run. “It was awesome!” he says. “I ran one time a week and I had fun running with ‘Catch the Wave’.” Bryan and Brigette are both active Lake Run Club members, and joined because they both love being part of a local Illinois running club, being part of the running community, and receiving discounts at races.

Brigette’s favorite places to run are on the trails, but she has also run on an ocean loop in Kennebunk, Maine, that passes former President Bush’s compound.  Lately, you may find Brigette training with Sarah Mellor and the Shady Hollow Trail Runners (SHTRS). Bryan has been getting one run in per week with Randy Barnett, and prefers to run the 7-mile loop at Funk’s Gove.  Brigette is motivated to continue running by her former high school coach, Bob Winn and his coach, Ziggy Gillespie, other Lake Run Club runners, fellow SHTRS, and her running friends from Maine.  Bryan is motivated by his friend Kevin Tuuk, who you may also find at that little place in town we all know and love, the Thai House.

The VanHooks are both avid fans of races in Brigette’s home state of Maine.  Brigette’s favorite race is the Peaks Island 5-miler.  For this race, runners take a ferry to an island off the coast of Portland, Maine.  Brigette says, “You race a hilly, hot 5-mile race and then eat lobsters and clams at the local Lion’s club with your family. Perfection!”  Bryan’s favorite race is the Beacon-2-Beacon for it’s fantastic scenery, which draws in elite runners.  “It was neat to be part of it,” he says.

For Brigette, a race that really sticks out in her mind was the Boston Marathon in 2010.  “The first time I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 was very emotional because it was a dream of mine, being a girl from New England, to run the nation’s biggest and oldest race.” She also had quite an adventure during the Cactus Classic trail 10k in 2013 near Manito, IL, when a deer crossed her path and was inches away from her pregnant belly. “I could have reached out and touched its antlers!”  Brigette also ran the Cactus Classic 10k in 2014 and was the overall female winner. Bryan and Brigette have embarked on some racing adventures together, such as the Tough Mountain race on a mountain in Maine, and the Midnight Mayhem Race during which they both got lost and ended up running 5 miles instead of the intended 3-mile course.

On March 29, 2014, Brigette successfully completed her first ultra marathon, the Clinton Lake Ultra, running 30 miles of hilly terrain, less than one year after the birth of the newest member of the VanHook Family, Bruce VanHook. Bryan has hopes to complete an ultra one day himself.  If he could complete any race in the world, his top pick would be the Barkley, a 100-mile trail race in Tennessee.  This race includes a grueling 59,100 foot ascent and descent, which only eight people have ever finished.  Bryan has completed several marathons and was named the Lake Run Club “Most Improved Male Runner” of 2012. Brigette aspires to run a race in Hawaii or Africa some day.  When asked why they stick with running, Bryan simply says that his love for being outside motivates him, while Brigette says “I truly LOVE running and it has become my meditation in motion.” You may find Bryan and Brigette running the trails around Central, IL, or volunteering to help other local runners at races such as the Deer Run Run and the Lake Run.

Bryan running the Peak's Island 5-miler in 2012 (far left).

Bryan running the Peak’s Island 5-miler in 2012 (far left).

Bridgette running the Central Illinois Trail Running Alliance Winter Trail run in February of 2014

Brigette running the Central Illinois Trail Running Alliance Winter Trail run in February of 2014

 

 

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Profile on Guillaume Arthus

Like many other talented runners, Guillaume didn’t start out as a runner.  Originally from Rueil-Malmaison, Guillaume swam competitively for 15 years at the regional level, specializing in the 200 meter medley.  When he moved to Angers, France in 2009 to get a master’s from the business school ESSCA, he wasn’t able to train for swimming properly because the university did not offer any type of swim team or infrastructure. At that time, he had been running 2-3 times per month since 2007. As a New Year’s resolution for 2009, he decided to give it a try. He has never stopped since that day.

Guillaume’s first race was a half marathon in October of 2009. He said, “Thinking about it, I was very unprepared, overly equipped.  I made every mistake thinkable from too much food at stops to starting too fast. Lesson learned.”

Guillaume’s inspiration for running came from the trail runner Kilian Jornet, who won the Ultra Trail Du-Mont Blanc (UTMB) when he was only 21 years old. The UTMB is one of the toughest races in the world, covering 100 miles with an elevation of 30,000 feet across France, Italy, and Switzerland. Kilian is now an unchallenged champion of Ultra Running, and is one of the reasons that Guilliaume was drawn to trail running in particular.

Guillaume arrived in the United States in January of 2013 before starting his master’s at Illinois State University and discovered the Lake Run Club, the marathon training group, and the Lake Run Club circuit.  He was immediately impressed to see such a developed running community in Bloomington-Normal. “I decided to join fraction of a second,” he says.  “One of the best decisions I made.” Compared to France, he says there are more races available in the United States, because most of the races in France are 10ks, half marathons, or full marathons. However, he says that the running spirit is just as strong in both countries, and describes it as, “A strong collective community around an individual sport. I think that’s what makes the running community fantastic.”

The race that really sticks out in Guillaume’s mind is the Sinister 7, which won him the Lake Run Club Race Performance of the Year.  Guillaume ran the race, which people can run as a relay of up to seven people, by himself.  Guillaume ran 92 miles with 18,000 feet of evaluation, in just 26 hours. He described what would be an unfathomable accomplishment for most people as an “amazing experience.” He felt pain in one of his legs after 30 miles, which forced him to slow down. Just six miles before the finish line, he had hypothermia and was almost forced to give up. He remembered the people who helped him during the race and the fear on their faces as they helped him back on the trails, but kept going in spite of this. His biggest thrill was crossing the finish line and realizing that he had just qualified for the UTMB in 2014, the race which first inspired him to become a trail runner. You can see Guillaume’s race finish here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdSqhoHyZdA

When asked about  the UTMB, Guillaume said, “There is something magical about that race, circling the highest European Summit, between France, Switzerland and Italy. Top of the top, it is the race I start running for and challenge myself to do one day. After years of training and dedication to running, I finally qualified last year, won my spot in the lottery and will be running it this August. I’m thrilled just thinking of it.”

The UTMB is just one of the events on Guillaume’s calendar for the upcoming racing seasons. He is training for the Illinois Marathon in Champaign with a goal of 3 hours and 3 minutes and a qualification for Boston. He is also training for Running Road Trip (www.runninroadtrip.com). This summer, he will be running in 30 National Parks. “I worked very hard on that project and I’m raising the final donations to make the project happen. Being able to run in all those landscapes with a 360 camera is going to be fantastic!”

Whatever the weather, you may catch Guillaume running on the Constitution during the week. He loves the trail because it is flat and perfect for training.  He also enjoys volunteering at race finish lines and sharing the experience with other runners crossing the finish line, especially those completing a race for the first time.

To get ready for races, Guillaume prepares by remembering of all the training, the race strategy and remember not to start too fast.  “Personal accomplishment and getting other my own limits is a great source of motivation,” he says.  “Besides, I really feel alive when I’m running. Running became more than a sport to me, it is a way a living, from Sunday early wake ups to get ready for freezing races to track workouts.”

Guillaume running the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon.

Guillaume running the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon.

 

 

 

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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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