ABC#153, Sugar Grove Nature Center

An amazing total of $1,759 was donated to Sugar Grove Nature Center by the 33 participants, some donations from those that could not attend, and a special donation from Shady Hollow Trail Runners. Thanks so much to all.

At 9:00 we gathered for a group photo and to hear from Jill Wallace, the Environmental Director. Jill thanked us for our efforts and told us that this year’s donations will go toward improvements to Imagination Grove, the children’s play area. Last year’s contributions went toward updating the educational animal displays.

After the group photo, participants opted for the trails or for the road course. I was fortunate to run a bit with my daughter, Tanya Anderson, who is visiting from Wyoming. In spite of living far away, Tanya somehow happened to attend the first three ABC runs that we had done for Sugar Grove. Speaking of firsts, three of the five participants in the first ever ABC run (January 2005) attended (Kevin Fahling, Mike Heffron, myself).

Afterward, we were treated to a great feast! Thanks to Meg Anderson for coffee cake, Stacie Sheridan for breakfast casserole, Jill Wallace for yogurt & granola, Kevin Fahling for chocolate chip cookies, Erin Furimsky for oatmeal cookies, Kathy Alexander for KIND bars, and much more (sorry I didn’t notice who brought the rest).

Thanks so much to everyone who attended, contributed, brought food, and added to the fun!

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

ABC#152, Scott Early Learning Center

On January 5, a total of 32 participants generously supported the children in our community with donations that totaled $750. Scott Early Learning Center will benefit even more when State Farm employees/retirees apply under State Farm’s matching grant program. If you contributed $25 or more, please be sure to apply.

Lisa Sparks called the group together and introduced Emily Janssen of the Scott ELC. Emily graciously thanked us and talked briefly about the services the Center provides in providing affordable child care where traditional daycare may not be within reach. Then, before the group photo, I awarded the traveling ABC Big Dog award to Denny McDowell for his consistent support of ABC runs (Denny has participated in 73 of the runs. With that done, we all headed out for a four mile run, giving Dennis Killian cause to ask me “What? No one doing eight miles?”.


We gathered back at the Learning Center for the post-run feast. We had coffee cake from Meg Anderson, cookies from Kevin Fahling, cookies from Laurel Schumacher, mini-quiches from Sandra Sharp, sausage biscuits from Sharri Pelarske, hard-boiled eggs from Kristin Dixon, cinnamon rolls from Tammy Knippenberg, muffins from Deb Schumann, and fruit (bananas, apples, oranges) from Emily Janssen. Thanks so much to everyone!

The final business for the day was the awarding of an Often Running/Vitesse gift card to the 20th person signing the attendance sheet (because it is the first ABC run of 2020). The lucky winner was Larry Schumacher. If we had an award for distance traveled to attend this run, it would be Eric Fortune-Reader who traveled from New Mexico and stopped in Bloomington on his way back to his home in New York.

This is the 12th year we have conducted an ABC run for the Scott Early Learning Center. This year’s $750 brings the twelve-year total to $8,776. The total for all 152 ABC runs is $149,519. Thanks so much to everyone who has provided financial support, food, and encouragement.

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

ABC#151, for Adopt-A-Family

Heartwarming! Temps were cold but hearts were warm. Thanks so much to the 43 participants who joined us at Lisa & Jay Sparks’ home on November 9 to support Adopt-A-Family with donations totaling $1,500. This will provide a great Christmas for our assigned family and maybe one more family. Those that submit their donations to their corporate matching gift program will help even more. Thanks to Lisa & Jay for a great job of hosting this event.

At 8:00, Lisa Sparks thanked everyone and briefly told us about the program and how it operates. It was great to hear how much is accomplished and how carefully the program is administered. For more information on the Adopt-A-Family program, go to:

After a group picture, we all headed out for a 5.5-mile run on the constitution trail. Mike Laffey served as the photographer and did a great job.

We were treated to a superb breakfast of blueberry pancakes prepared by Jay Sparks, coffee cake from Meg Anderson, breakfast casserole from Stacy Sheridan, biscuit/gravy casserole from Sharri Pelarske, French toast casserole from Robyn Walter, chocolate chip cookies from Kevin Fahling, eggnog from Missy McCarthy, and much more (cranberry bread, bananas, OJ, coffee). I didn’t get names of all the food providers but it was  awesome!

We have completed fifteen years of ABC runs and had another great year. Total contributions for the nine ABC runs in 2019 is $12,851. The total for all 151 ABC runs is $148,734. Looking forward to another great year starting January 11 at Sugar Grove.

Thanks so much for all your support!

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

Tips to Stay Visible While Running

Submitted by: Rachel Gaffney

Running is one of the healthiest forms of exercise. According to the American College of Cardiology, running for just 10 minutes every day can extend your life by several years. While it’s often more peaceful to run on a designated jogging trail or park, it’s common for most of us to run where motorists travel. Here are some top tips & techniques you should keep in mind on your next run to ensure others on the road see you.

Stick to the Sidewalk

Sidewalks are usually safer bets when running. You’ll have almost no chance of getting hit by a car when running on sidewalks. Just keep in mind that you should be vocal when overtaking pedestrians. Don’t expect anyone to stay aware of their surroundings—a simple “on your left” will do wonders for making sure pedestrians don’t step in front of you last-minute. If you’re running in an area with no sidewalk….

Run Against Traffic

There is no federal law stating which side of the road you should run on, so the choice is yours. If you don’t already make it a habit to run against traffic, you should start. Running against traffic isn’t necessarily about giving motorists more time to see you, but it’s so you have time to dive out of the way if a car approaches quickly.

Dress for the Time of Day

What you wear makes a big difference when it comes to visibility. Choose your outfit according to the time of day you intend to run:

Daytime runners should wear at least one piece of florescent clothing. Think bright yellows, oranges, and greens here. While running at night, try wearing something that’s reflective. It’s hard to see anything at night, but reflective clothing is easily seen with a car’s headlights.

Tips For Staying Visible While Running

Carry a Light

Speaking of running at night, always have a flashlight on hand. Flashlights are useful for two reasons—a bouncing light is often easier for motorists to see, and it’ll help you see uneven pavement or potential hazards on the sidewalk. Tripping or falling on uneven sidewalks was the #1 cause of pedestrian injuries in 2012, accounting for 24% of cases according to Pedestrian-Bicycle

Run in Groups!

Two runners are easier to see than one. Three runners is a downright crowd! If you want to make sure motorists give you space, run in a group. Just try not to run more than two abreast to not be a sidewalk hog.

Tips For Staying Visible While Running

Follow Traffic Lights at Intersections

While it might be tempting to just run through most intersections, keep in mind that cars travel much faster than you, and you’re a lot harder to see than another vehicle. Follow all traffic lights as you would if you were driving a car. When running through intersections, it’s also a good idea to ensure a motorist sees you. Waiting for him to make eye contact and wave, or waving to the motorist yourself are good ways to ensure the path is clear at intersections.

These are just a few tips you can incorporate into your next run

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Comments closed

ABC#150, for Heartland Head Start

The weather was good on October 6 for the 24 participants, sunny and temps in the 50s. Heartland Head Start received donations totaling $748, including two donations from runners that could not attend. Thanks everyone!
We wondered if the trails at Sugar Grove would be OK but Jessica Sondgeroth assured us that she encountered good conditions during her 18 mile run the day before (except for a couple of downed trees).

Shortly after 8:00, we gathered for the group photo and to hear a nice thank you from Karen Bruning, Executive Director of Heartland Head Start. Then we were off and running. The group split fairly evenly between trail runners and road runners. Thanks to Pete Cleary for taking photos of the trail runners while Meg and I took to the roads.
The menu was awesome as usual with breakfast casserole, coffee cake, bagels & cream cheese, doughnuts, mini-muffins, cookies, fruit (cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes, bananas), Clif bars, orange juice, coffee, and more. Thanks to all who brought food.

Thanks to Angela Funk (Director, Sugar Grove Nature Center) for getting things ready for us even though she could not join us. Thanks to Karen Bruning and to Sharon Cochran (member of Friends of Heartland Head Start) for helping host.










The funds raised by all twelve runs for Heartland add up to a heartwarming total of $8,597. Thanks so much to every participant for your fellowship, sharing food, and generous financial support. Your support helps Heartland Head Start achieve their mission to “enhance the lives of children and families by providing a comprehensive child and family development program for 3-5 year old children and their families who meet the federal guidelines in McLean and Livingston counties in Central Illinois.”


Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

ABC#149, for Seedling Theatre

ABC Run #149 on August 31 was a success with $846 donated to Seedling Theatre thanks to the generosity of everyone involved. Thanks much to:
(a) Laurel & Larry Schumacher for being awesome hosts at their home.
(b) 30 attendees (and three other contributors) that donated a total of $846.
(c) Sharri Pelarske and Meg Anderson, for donating homemade preserves for our drawing.
(e) Seedling Theatre for donating tickets to an upcoming performance for our drawing.
(h) everyone who brought food! Too many to recall but I recall that it was fantastic!

Seedling Theatre is a wonderful theatrical program for children & young adults & adults with disabilities, as well as their able bodied peers. We have completed ten ABC runs for Seedling Theatre, generating total donations of $11,625. ABC runs have been Seedling’s major source of donations which has helped them to purchase sound equipment, pay copyright fees, give small honorariums to staff, and much more. Thanks a million to everyone for all the support

Donna Anhalt, the Seedling Theatre director, is deeply touched by the outpouring of support for Seedling. Before we ran, she took a couple minutes to express her sincere thanks and to tell us a little about Seedling Theatre.
After the run, we held the drawing for the door prizes which included two sets of four tickets to Seedling’s Christmas production (donated by Donna Anhalt), two jars of homemade chokecherry jelly (donated by Meg Anderson), and a gift bag containing homemade preserves (donated by Sharri Pelarske). The lucky winners were:
1. Megan Ebert won a set of four tickets to Seedling’s Christmas performance.
2. Pat Sheridan won a set four tickets to Seedling’s Christmas performance.
3. Joe Kinkade won a jar of chokecherry jelly.
4. Ann Aubry won a jar of chokecherry jelly.
5. Rachel Wells won the gift bag of homemade preserves.

A great time was had by all. See you at the next ABC run which will at Sugar Grove Nature Center on October 6, benefiting Heartland Head Start.

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

ABC#148, for St. Jude

ABC Run #148 was at our house on July 14. An awesome total of $3,030 was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital thanks to the great generosity of 24 attendees plus 17 others that could not make it but sent us checks or donated online. The donations exceeded my goal and are helping our team with the team fund-raising goal. More importantly, the donations help kids by helping St. Jude provide free lifesaving care and to continue its groundbreaking research. The kids can benefit even more when employees/retirees of a companies like State Farm submit their donations for the company match.

Attempting to beat the heat, we had a brief welcome, quick group photo, and headed out for a run with only the instructions to “follow me”. It was a 2.5 mile figure-eight neighborhood course that most runners ran twice for a five-mile run. We had maps available so I don’t think many got lost. Thanks to Pat Sheridan for taking photos.

The menu was really great as usual. Thanks so much to Meg Anderson for preparing a feast and to all the others that brought delicious food to share.

We’ve held a total of 17 ABC runs for St. Jude and the total of those runs is $25,101. The total for all 148 ABC runs is $145,640. Thanks so much to everyone for all of your support!

ABC Run #149, to benefit The Seedling Theater will be held at the Schumacher home on Saturday, August 31 at 7:30 a.m. (doors open at 7:00).

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

5-5-5 Summer Series Wrap Up

5-5-5 Winners

Congratulations to our THIRTY SIX 5-5-5 Summer Series award winners! Three races in two weeks: Downs Freedom, Park2Park, and Dog Days! Great job showing up, beating the heat, and crossing that finish line!  A HUGE thank you to series director Holly-Rae Van Hoof, who also directed the Downs Freedom 5k alongside Mel Pilchard.  Thank you as well to Kevin McCarthy, race director for Park2Park, and Mitch Hobbs, race director for Dog Days, for their help and participation in the series.  It takes a lot of work to make these races and series happen and we can’t thank our race directors, volunteers, and all the behind-the-scenes workers enough!

We are blown away by the 36 runners that made this happen in 2019 (compared to nine in 2018) – congrats again to each of you! 
Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Comments closed

ABC#147/Multi-Sport Day

ABC#147/Multi-Sport Day on May 18 was a success with 65 participants and $1,830 donated to Timber Pointe Outdoor Center! Thanks so much to everyone who attended, donated, organized, brought food, and enhanced the day with your enthusiasm and friendship.

The weather was great, maybe just a little warm for running and a little windy for bicycling, but we will take it after all the cold, wet weather we have had this spring. The water temperature (63 degrees) was a bit cool for swimming but a good number of swimmers braved the conditions.

At 8:00 sharp, we gathered to explain the events of the day and to get the group photo before the run. About 1/3 of the runners chose to run the trails while the road runners ended up splitting between those running the 4-mile course and those doing the 8-mile course.

At 9:00, swimmers headed down to the dock for the open-water swim. At 10:30, the bicyclists took off for either a 13 mile ride or a 26 mile ride. The strong SW wind made the first half of the bike ride challenging (good training).
At 12:00, all were rewarded with a great cookout at Stearns Lodge. Grilled chicken breasts, brats, all the fixings, and a keg of craft beer! What could be better to make the miles of hard work worth it?

Thanks again to everyone who made this event another great success. A special thanks to the Lake Run Club and the Masters Swimming group for underwriting the costs so that we could continue the tradition of 100% of donations going to the charity. Thanks to Kevin McCarthy & John Pratt for all the organizing. Thanks to all helped with all the various duties and thanks to those who brought food to share. What a great day!

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Tagged , | Comments closed

Next Generation Fitness Testing

Our club, with the hundreds of members, have a considerable amount of experience regarding fitness and running. Topics such as training to run a faster 5k, how to increase mileage without injury, training for your first Marathon could be obtaining by discussing these topics with club members.

One topic often posted on the LRC Facebook site is gait analysis for runners. I decided research gait testing services, which lead me to Mclean County Orthopedics.

Gait Testing VS Next Generation Testing

My search eventually led me to email to Bryan Jasker of MCO.  Bryan is the director of physical therapy with McLean County Orthopedics.  He explained correcting biomechanical issues with gait testing is difficult.  Research has shown that other tests are more effective at improve fitness and overall health. These programs include a DEXA Analysis, CRA and YBT tests. All of these tests and concepts were new to me.

I scheduled my appointment with Bryan and his staff.  They provided me with a FAQ sheet on what to expect. It consisted of avoiding a heavy meal the morning of the test. Avoid a hard workout the day prior to the test, and wear workout clothes.  The test would take a few hours to complete.

Current State:

I’ve been cross training and some treadmill runs over the winter, but far from being in race shape. 2019 Goals are to remain active, avoid injuries and strive to being competitive in age group events. Do plan to run several 5K’ to ½ marathon or greater distances. Occasional mountain bike events, gravel bicycle races, and off-road motorcycle enduro are all on the radar.

DEXA Test:

DEXA is best described as a full body scanner. Karina at MCO, did a great job explaining how the DEXA scan works. After undressing and slipping on a medical gown, I hopped up on the DEXA table and held still for a few minutes while the DEXA scanner went to work. Within a few minutes had a printout of the results.

The results of the DEXA whole body scan contained several graphs. Measuring Lean Mass and Bone Mineral Content.  Percentage of body fat compared to a young normal individual and then age matched to my age. Additional Tests included:

Fat Mass/Height:

FM/H is a better marker of acceptable fat ranges than a BMI test.  Taking into account the amount of fat relative to a person’s size. Android/Gynoid ratio measures the fat around the trunk and fat around the hips, thighs and bottom.  A higher ratio results in a increased risk for metabolic cardiovascular diseases.

Est. Vat Area, Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT)

Refers to the fat surrounding the organs. DEXA provides the estimated VAT in Mass, Volume and Area. According to multiple studies, VAT, through an increased fatty acid production, may be involved in the genesis of insulin resistance, which can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. 

Lean/Height :

Is a comparison of the amount of lean muscle versus height. Studies have indicated higher number will predict an increase in human performance and ability.  A decrease in this number over time can indicate a negative balance in protein as well as increased likelihood of injury. The multiple page DEXA report and the expertise which Bryan and Katrina provided were outstanding.  From these tests, we identified several areas to improve upon.


CRA (Cellular Respiration and Analytics Testing)

Moving onto the next phase of evaluation, was the Cellular Respiration and Analytics test. The CRA is an incremental exercise test used to determine your Prime, Anaerobic, and Peak heart rate zones. 

Test Preparation:

Karina started by measured my resting heart rate. She suggested that I use the Polar app on my iPhone along with a Polar 90 heart strap. MCO uses iPads with an CRA application to collect test results.

After syncing up with the heart rate applications, I saddled up on the exercise bicycle. Karina assisted the seat height for effective pedal stroke.  Karina explained that we’ll use the bicycle with a steady state wattage workload for a time interval.  Then continue to increase intensity while measuring blood lactate levels and monitoring my heart rate.

Test Duration:

I started the bicycle with a low setting of 30 watts and maintained it for a few minutes to get comfortable with the bicycle settings.  Maintaining the 30 watts, was not difficult. My resting heart rate at the start of the test was 56. Karina drew blood from the bottom of my ear lobe, testing blood lactate levels. The blood extractions would continue as the test progressed.  

On the bicycle, I was focused on maintaining a steady state wattage output.  The 30 watt starting point, was jumped up to 50 and was maintained for three minutes.  The testing would continue in this pattern, wattage increased, blood drawn and heart rate monitored and graphed.

Test Progression:

As the test progressed, so did the effort to maintain the workload level.  Pushing through the test was a fun challenge.  Karina was monitoring the blood lactate levels and heart rate. Approaching 180 watt workload, there was a changes indicated in my blood.  My heart rate was also increasing. I pushed on, taking a few sips of water and toweling off the sweat.  After about 55 minutes the test concluded, final blood sample and heart rate measurements taken.

Test Results

Based on the CRA test, my prime zone is the point at which my body is maximizing its use of oxygen and is burning the greatest amount of fat as a fuel source. My prime zone heart rate is 127-133 bpm.  Anaerobic zone, at 149 bpm is where I burn stored carbohydrates as sources for fuel, and no longer burning fat. The peak zone of 157 bpm, as indicated in my report is where risk of increase. Injuries and decreased performance could occur, as once depleted of stored fuels can start burning muscle mass.

CRA Testing

YBT Testing:

The Y Balance test is a way to measure dynamic balance. During YBT test, it became apparent that I have a considerable imbalance in mobility.  Once the YBT test was completed, Bryan printed out the results the DEXA, CRA and YBT.  Explaining my strengths and weakness and where I rank in my age group.


The MCO facility is state of art, spralling with treadmills, exercise equipment, even a pool inside.  Clientele from all walks of life were going in and out of facility. Good majority recovering from injuries, receiving physical therapy services. They have large staff of rehab specialist assisting patients throughout the facility.  Reviewing their Bio sheets from the MCO website, all have excellent credentials and most have competed in a variety of sports at various levels.

The DEXA, CRA and YBT testing at Mclean County Orthopedics was an awesome experience.  The outcome of these test will help refocus my workouts. I do feel these tests would provide a competitive advantage from age group perspective, or as a fitness baseline test.  I’m looking forward to scheduling a retest. After a couple months of solid training and adopting new strategies obtained from DEXA, CRA and YBT tests.


Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Comments closed