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! 
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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!

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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.  https://www.scienceforsport.com/y-balance-test


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.


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ABC#146, The Baby Fold, 4-6-19

What a beautiful day! A great total of $1,628 was donated to The Baby Fold by 38 participants plus a few others that could not attend.

Aimee Beam, Sam Guillory, and Lori Bultemeir, of The Baby Fold, were great hosts, greeting us and providing beverages. Before we ran, we recognized the “ABC Top Team” based on participation from fitness clubs. Gold’s Gym won and now holds a two to one edge on Be Strong (the 2017 winner). After the group photos, we headed out for our run. Some ran 3-miles, others went to the water stop & back (6 miles), and some logged 7 to 10 miles.


The post-run pot luck feast was great as usual. We had coffee cake and a casserole from Meg Anderson, fruit, beverages, and protein bars donated by Green Top Grocery, chocolate chip cookies from Kevin Fahling, fruit from Stacy Sheridan, snacks donated by Kristen Dixon, coffee, Gatorade, and beverages from The Baby Fold, and more. Thanks so much to everyone for making this event great fun and another big success!

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ABC#145, for SPICE

ABC Run #145 was Sunday, 3/10/19 at Robyn Walter’s home. Fun event with $400 donated to MarcFirst’s SPICE program by the 22 participants. Thanks so much for supporting SPICE! If you are a State Farm employee/retiree and you donated $25 or more, please submit your donation to State Farm’s matching program.

This is our first ABC run for MarcFirst’s SPICE program, the 30th charity we have supported. We were fortunate to have Christy Kosharek, the SPICE program director, there to tell us a little about their pediatric therapy services.

Before getting the group photo and heading out for a run, I awarded the “ABC Top Dog” traveling trophy to Larry Schumacher for his amazing support for ABC runs. Larry has attended 73 ABC runs and co-hosted nine ABC runs for Seedling Theatre.

It was cloudy and windy but still a good day to run (especially compared to the 40 below wind chill day). Runners/walkers chose between a three mile route and a six mile route. Those that ran the six mile route had a refreshment stop (Gatorade, water) near the Japanese Gardens. Kelsey Gebhardt, a new ABC runner and a Ride The Wave participant, ran both farther and faster than she ever has before. Kelsey is building up for a half-marathon.

Back at the house, Robyn Walter and Gregg Chadwick did a superb job of hosting, including organizing the food buffet and mixing mimosas. Another fantastic post-run food fest!

A great run and a great brunch with a great bunch of people, for a great cause! Thanks again for the food, donations, and friendship.

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ABC Run #144, 2-3-2019

The polar vortex missed us! Only a few days after seeing actual temps of more than 20 below, we experienced above average temps of 40 degrees. A good size group of 44 participants gathered at Children’s Home & Aid to generously support the children in our community with donations that totaled $859, including contributions from a few runners that could not attend. Children’s Home + Aid will benefit even more when some of the State Farm employees/retirees apply under State Farm’s matching grant program. If you contributed $25 or more, please be sure to apply.

Before the group photo, I explained the running course and thanked Sharri Pelarske for providing the coffee, developing the Super Bowl Quiz, and providing the prizes for the quiz winners. Then, our other gracious host, Laura Cordero, Development Assistant at Children’s Home & Aid thanked us and let us know how important our contributions are. Our contributions went directly to the Scott Early Learning Center which provides affordable child care where traditional daycare may not be within reach.

We gathered back at the Learning Center for the post-run feast. I didn’t notice who brought what except for the coffee cake and breakfast casserole from Meg Anderson, chocolate chip cookies from Kevin Fahling, and Oberweis brownies from Missy Adams. Thanks so much to everyone!

The final business for the day was the awarding of the “Super Bowl Trivia” prizes to Larry Schumacher (1st place) and Tom Crain (2nd place).

This is the 11th year we have conducted an ABC run for the Scott Early Learning Center. This year’s $859 brings the ten-year total to $8,026. The total for all 144 ABC runs is $138,742. Thanks so much to everyone who has provided financial support, food, and encouragement.

ABC Run #145 will be held Sunday, March 10 at the home of Robyn Walter and Gregg Chadwick.

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ABC Run #143, Jan.13, 2019

In spite of snow-packed roads, 22 participants made it to Sugar Grove to enjoy a winter wonderland adventure. An amazing total of $2,000 was donated to Sugar Grove Nature Center thanks to all the generous donations from participants, four individuals that could not attend but sent checks, and a special surprise online donation from Shady Hollow Trail Runners (Kirsten and Jim Street planned to bring a check but were snowed in).

Thanks to Eric Funk for spending hours clearing the parking lot on Saturday and for arriving early on Sunday to shovel a path to the front door. At 9:00 we gathered together for a group photo and to hear from Angela Funk, the Sugar Grove Nature Center director. Angela thanked us for our efforts and told us that this year’s donations would go toward updating the educational animal displays.

We enjoyed the winter wonderland in a variety of ways: five ran a four mile road course, several ran trails through 9-inch deep snow, a few hiked the trails, two snow-shoed (Laurel Schumacher, Angela Funk) and one cross-country skied (Pat Sheridan).

After the run, we were treated to another great feast! Thanks to Meg Anderson for making it a hot meal by providing breakfast casserole and coffee cake. Thanks also to Bruce Sutter for oatmeal, Stacie Sheridan for breakfast casserole and chocolate milk, Angela Funk for coffee and snacks, and so much more.

A final adventure occurred when Hondo Vasques fell victim to the icy roads when driving away and skidded into the ditch. Luckily, Pat Sheridan used his four-wheel drive vehicle and bit of nylon rope to pull Hondo’s car out, with the help of a good number of ABC participants giving a push (I arrived too late to be of any use, however).

Hondo, you have now achieved legendary status among January ABC participants, joining the likes of:
1. Kevin McCarthy – the only other car accident (I think).
2. Missy Adams – for crossing a stream by climbing a tree and across its branch.
3. Nigel Keen – for balance walking across a fallen tree to cross the creek behind the boy scout cabin, then running through the restricted hunting area and getting lost.

Thanks so much to everyone who attended, contributed, brought food, and made it fun!

The next ABC run (#144) will be Sunday, February 3 at/for Scott Early Learning Center.

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Boston Marathon Tandem Bike Bet

This was the 14th annual beer bet with Bob Brandt. The challenge was to ride at least 26.2 miles with each of 26 runners who have run Boston. Because this was bet #14, at least 14 had be new tandem riders (I have a total of 308 tandem riders).

Result = 43 Boston marathoners, 23 of them were new riders. OK, only 42 riders met the terms of the bet because one rider had to stop at 12 miles due to being called in to work at the hospital.

Thanks, Bob, for setting this goal. Without the challenge, I would not have had the fun of spending quality time with so many friends. And thanks to all the Boston marathon runners for taking the time to ride with me and giving me these awesome memories.

1. Gene Harding –three Bostons (2015-2017). Was my first rider again this year.
2. Kirsten Pieper Street – ran Boston 2014. Has been a LRC winner for amazing comeback.
3. Kevin Tuuk – ran Boston in 2010 even though he was injured at the time.
4. Dennis Killian – five Bostons, 100+ marathons (including 50 states). Ironman triathlons.
5. Andy Williams – two Bostons (2014, 2016). Best running memory is qualifying for Boston.
6. Steve Laning – 2010 & 2016 Bostons. Best memory is running sub 3:00 at Indy.
7. Charlie Grotevant – ran Boston six times, including a 3:12 PR in 1991.
8. Roxanne Schulkins – ran Boston in 2003, six other marathons. Also golfs & bowls.
9. Tom Crain – ran many times, favorite was finishing 1984 close to Robin Roberts in 2:47.
10. Cheryl Richards – 3:24 PR. Her ride was cut short due to being called in to work.
11. Mark Hopping – five Bostons (three of them the same years I ran).
12. Kim Barman – five Bostons, including the 2013 Boston which was marred by the bombing.
13. Les Usiak – ran Boston 2005, among 14 total marathons, including three sub-3:00 efforts.
14. Jodi Heckel –two Bostons. Had the worst weather ride with me (high winds, rain, sleet).
15. Tod Williamson – ran Boston in 2008, among at least 24 total marathons.
16. Tim Rood – two Boston marathons. Also an accomplished Crossfit competitor.
17. Kevin Fahling – two Bostons, 23 marathons, PR of 2:52. Has done more than 80 ABC runs.
18. Lisa Sparks – ran Boston in 2009. Has done more than 80 ABC runs.
19. Tricia Martin – has done 38 total marathons and eight Ironman triathlons.
20. Seanan AlYasiri – best marathon experience was the Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu.
21. Rachel Wells – ran the worst weather Boston (2018) among her 16 marathons (PR=3:23).
22. Brigette Van Hook – two Bostons (2010, 2011). Her overall PR is 3:21.
23. Stacey Runde – ran Boston in 2010, her overall PR is 3:28.
24. Bill Perry – did Boston 2000, among 27 marathons (PR=3:00). Did two Ironman triathlons.
25. Mary Ellen Schubach – Boston 2003, among 11 marathons (3:00 PR). 5K PR = 16:08 (college).
26. Carol Pratt – four Bostons, overall PR=3:20, seven 50K runs, one Ironman triathlon.
27. Robin Roberts – seven Bostons (1980-1986), including a 2:42 effort in 1980.
28. Larry Turilli – ran Boston 1995, marathon PR=2:52, 1 mile PR-4:19, 5K PR=14:58 (college).
29. Carolyn Sutter – two Bostons, 84 total marathons (including 50 states). Ironman triathlons.
30. Erin Furimsky – ran Boston 2014, among nine marathons (PR=3:13).
31. Mike Heffron – Boston 1994. Has a 2:42 marathon PR.
32. Carrie Hymer – Boston 2003, 3:37 marathon PR. Has survived 1,362 miles on my tandem.
33. Paul Bliss – two Bostons (1996, 2016), 14 marathons (2:43 PR). Won one marathon.
34. Mary Toohill– Boston 2018. Has a 2:50 PR. Has Lake Run 12K course record (45:46).
35. Dan Anderson – ran Boston in 2014 at age 60. Has a PR of 3:47.
36. Steve Cleary – ran Boston in 1978, among 29 marathons (PR=2:49).
37. Amber Ferre – ran a PR 3:33 at the 2018 Boston marathon in spite of the weather.
38. Tamara Nelsen – two Bostons, with a 3:29 PR at Boston 2002. Ironman triathlons.
39. Doug Gillam – ran Boston 1994 among many marathons (PR=2:36).
40. Dick Luedke – Boston 1996. Marathon PR=3:17. Best marathon=3:24 at age 59.
41. Jim Pelarske – two Bostons, including 2:26 in 1991, good for 5th place Master award.
42. Nigel Keen – six Bostons among 41 total marathons (2:50 PR). Ironman triathlons.
43. Michael Mallon– four Bostons. Has a marathon PR of 2:37 (twice).

The 2019 challenge will be to ride at least 30 miles with at least 15 people who have done an Ironman distance triathlon. Bob will have the opportunity to make me schedule an additional Ironman triathlete for each time he goes for a bike ride of at least 15 miles. This is going to be an epic battle for the beer!

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ABC#141, for Heartland Head Start

The weather forecast was ominous but 39 participants had a great time and Heartland Head Start received donations totaling $590, including two donations from runners that could not attend. Thanks everyone!

ABC#141 was a true adventure. We wondered if many would join us, considering the odds of bad weather. Then we saw barriers across the road leading to Sugar Grove Nature Center. Michelle Crawford of Heartland Head Start and Meg investigated while I went to drop off the Gatorade. When I returned, the barricades were moved aside and Darlene Weber, friend of Heartland Head Start, was there to inform everyone to proceed but be careful driving around a downed tree that blocked part of the road.

With that problem solved, the parking lot began to fill and we got things started shortly after 8:00 by singing “Happy Birthday” to Greg Braswell, hearing a nice thank you from Michelle Sutter of Heartland Head Start, and then posing for a group photo. None of the runners decided to do the entire 7-mile road course. The road runners turned around at the 2-mile mark but didn’t get back before the rain hit. You might say we lost the race to a rain cloud. The trail runners might have lucked out if they ran no more than three miles. One intrepid trail runner, Pat Sheridan, did the whole five-mile course and more due to taking a wrong turn. What’s a little more running when you’re already wet?

The menu was awesome as usual with casseroles, coffee cake, bagels & cream cheese, doughnuts, fruit, snack items, coffee, and so much 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 Sharon Cochran (member of Friends of Heartland Head Start) for helping host and to several Heartland Staff members who also helped. Thanks to David Weber for taking photos.

The funds raised by all eleven runs for Heartland add up to a heartwarming total of $7,849. 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.” For more on Heartland Head Start, visit http://heartlandheadstart.org/

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ABC#140, for Seedling Theatre

ABC Run #140 on September 2 was a success with $915 donated to Seedling Theatre thanks to the generosity of everyone involved. Thanks much to:
(a) Laurel & Larry Schumacher for being awesome hosts at their new home in Normal.
(b) 42 attendees (and three other contributors) that donated a total of $915.
(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 this list might include most of them:
Meg Anderson, Laurel Schumacher, Patty Bunker, Felicia Harrison, Kristin Crumrine, Ann Aubry, Rachel Wells, Jean & Christy Bates, Robyn Walter, Tammy Knippenberg, Holly-Rae Van Hoof, Lorelei Hudson. What a fantastic feast!

Seedling Theatre is a wonderful theatrical program for children & young adults & adults with disabilities, as well as their able bodied peers. We have completed nine ABC runs for Seedling Theatre, generating total donations of $10,779. 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 and wishes to use the words of A.P. Gouthey to express her appreciation:
“Gratitude is the hardest of all emotions to express. There is no word capable of conveying all that one feels. Until we reach a world where thoughts can adequately be expressed in words, “thank you” will have to do.”

Donna also wishes to express great appreciation for her staff. “Most of Seedling staff consists of high school and college age young people who work so many hours with Seedling Theatre whether it be at our workshops, summer camp, Seedling Encore or our Christmas production. Many have been with Seedling Theatre since day one as junior high students and have now finished college and are still with me. My staff are amazing – their support and dedication rivals that of the Seedling participant’s families themselves. Honorarium is defined as a payment given for professional services that are rendered nominally without charge. Their time, talent, and dedication is definitely deserving of a small honorarium but what they do receive is so appreciated. I strongly believe the commitment and love these young people have for the Seedling participants is well deserving of anything they receive. Seedling Theatre would not exist without these fine young people and the love for what they do. The largest distribution of staff honorariums comes at Christmas so the annual ABC Run donations helps cover a significant portion of those honorariums”.

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