BWRC 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW

2018 was a great year for BWRC. We became an officially registered not-for-profit in the state of Illinois and grew our membership tenfold. We participated in a variety of different club events, fundraisers, and served our community. If 2018 is any indication of what’s in store for our club, we have a lot to look forward to in 2019 and the years to come. Thank you to everyone who made this year so special. We look forward to starting 2019 with all of you!

PETTIT INDOOR MARATHON RELAY – JUDI MIKO

What a fun event this was! When I first heard that folks were going to run a marathon indoors on a track as a relay, I thought, “ugh, running laps around an indoor track? In true BWRC style, the excitement among participants grew as the number of people joining and the number of teams increased. I succumbed to pressure as the call went out for one more person was needed to fill a team. Teams were randomly assigned so each team had people with of variable paces and abilities. The day of the event dawned and it was easy to find the area the BWRC group had claimed as home base. We took up the entire area by the final turn of the track. Each team chose their strategy and the competition was on and there was rivalry between teams! There was a huge cheering section for each and every runner. The cheering as you approached the BWRC group in the fourth turn was deafening. Fun was had by all.

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CARMEL MARATHON RACE WEEKEND – MARY KLABACHA

BWRC took their second out-of-state road trip for the Carmel Marathon Weekend March 30 through April 1st. Approximately 25 runners ran the half or full marathon on an unseasonably chilly “Spring” morning. On Friday the team got together for a family-style dinner at Biaggi’s to shake off pre-race nerves and enjoy the good company. We even had a couple of runners (Judi Miko & Mary Klabacha) who had a “homecoming” running in their hometown of Carmel. Many BWRC runners ran new PRs, qualified for Boston, or ran new distances for the first time. BWRC would go on to also have a group travel back to Indiana in November for the Monumental Half Marathon and Marathon where even more PRs were set; we seem to have good luck in Indiana!

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VOLUNTEERING IN THE COMMUNITY – ERIKA HELLER

BWRC really brought out the volunteers this year! We began participating in the Adopt a Highway Program, where many of our members came out to clean up the stretch of road that lines our beloved Busse Woods. We had a TON of members volunteer during our Couch to 5K program. Our members welcomed, coached, and motivated C25K participants across the finish line of their first 5K. A group of members served beer at Frontier Days and plenty of us volunteered at countless races. Anytime we needed some extra hands, BWRC jumped in, from offering advice on gear to serving as a friendly face to new members on the run to helping load a pickup truck full of coats to donate to those in need in our community. We can’t wait to keep growing our volunteer opportunities in 2019!

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COUCH TO 5K PROGRAM – ED DUBIEL

Couch to 5K is a nationally known standardized program to train nearly anyone into becoming a runner. Comfort zone? Ditch it! Never run before? Not a factor. Can’t do it? Yes you can! You never know what you’re capable of until you try. In the Spring of 2018 the BWRC held our first Couch to 5K event. We attracted over 50 adventurous souls to the free program. Each week built on the prior week’s accomplishments to gradually train the participants to run for longer and longer stretches of time. Three times per week these future runners met with BWRC coaches and other group volunteer members to train, encourage, and cheer each other on to the ultimate goal of running the Salute 5K held on Memorial Day Weekend. In the end, runners were made and lasting friendships were formed.

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SUMMER TRACK TUESDAYS – CAROL HEUNISCH

One of the great things about BWRC is that there is almost always something going on, every day of the week—a group run, a fundraiser, a thirsty group of people gathering for some adult beverages. Tuesdays, however, is the day for speed—speedwork that is! Led by our friendly and patient coach John Wall, these Tuesday evening events were definitely something to look forward to. Each Tuesday, we were challenged to a new workout (and on some Tuesdays, we were challenged to figure out what track we were running at), designed to improve our speed and endurance. For several years, I heard my fellow runners sing the praises of speedwork, but I was too intimidated to join, since I’m not the speediest runner. This summer I decided to give it a shot, and I was definitely hooked. I was amazed that I could run a 9 minute pace, and after a few workouts, I could see a difference in my pace and endurance. The workouts always ended up being fun, and those of you who were there always got a little more rest between repeats thanks to my relatively slower pace (you’re welcome!). Besides putting together the workout, John always had fun facts and tips to share with the group, and made everyone feel welcome. And each workout was memorialized by the group photo—we even got photobombed by the marching band! I’m definitely looking forward to the spring and summer speedwork season in 2019!

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FAMILY PICNIC – SIVA SUDHAKAR RAJA

Oh what a day of fun and frolic we had at our home turf, Busse Woods, with our awesome running friends, their families and kids. The picnic was very welcoming including the BWRC tent in the backdrop, the grove nicely decorated with green and white balloons, color-coordinated tablecloths, delicious food choices, drink varieties, cakes, desserts, music and so many game options that were fun for of all age groups in the lush, green laid-back atmosphere! It was a wonderful bash to meet, greet and get to know the families and some newer members of our beloved running gang!

The party was very well organized (typical of our board) with volunteering by a good set of people! The turnout was great with so many lovely people coming together with loved ones, parents, friends, kids and all their cool spirits that made this an absolutely amazing party in the summer of 2018!

The picnic was BWRC’s inaugural one which also celebrated our first birthday. It was an unbelievable get together, crazy with dance, singing, play, and fun. It seemed like this bunch had been together for years and ages to come!

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FUNDRAISING – JIMMY KOWALSKI

As a non-for-profit, fundraising is critical to the success of our organization. We kicked off 2018 with our Super Bowl Pool and followed that up with a March Madness Pool. A large amount of funds were raised through dine and donate programs with local food establishments. With the support of our membership, their family, and friends, events at Lou Malnati’s, CPK, Granite City, and Tap House Grill brought donations back to the Club from those restaurants. Our biggest fundraiser of 2018 and by far the most fun was our Trivia Night when we packed 80+ members into Gatsby’s on a night filled with fun, games, prizes, food, and drink.

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SCHAUMBURG TURKEY TROT COMPETITIONS – ERIN KEATING

The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot competition was a major accomplishment for our running club! We had 120 runners sign up for the competition, which was the largest number for all running clubs. Our team won $2,500 for taking first place in this part of the competition. In addition, our running club had the most votes, 3,817, for the best turkey team name part of the competition by reaching out to family and friends via Facebook, and requesting their support in our quest to win more money for our charity. We thus won another $2,500 for this part of the competition. The team donated the entire $5,000 to the Northwest Special Recreation Association located in Rolling Meadows, an organization that promotes recreation for children and adults with disabilities. The entire team should be very proud of this great accomplishment!

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BWRC HOLIDAY PARTY – PEGGY MORAN

The BWRC 2nd Annual Holiday Party was held on December 6th at Real Time Sports in Elk Grove Village. I remember walking in and being offered a name badge, and I thought, “this is like “Cheers” where everyone knows your name!” However, with approximately 100 people in attendance, it was wise to slap a name badge on. Somehow I ended up with Shalane Flanagan as my given name that night. If I could be so lucky, but my luck is being a member of this group. I was so proud to see many members I know, get the first round of BWRC Awards. If you’re like myself, you may have gotten caught up in the celebration, without remembering who got what so I would like to recognize once again the following winners.

President’s Award: Katherine Wuestenfeld

Volunteers of the Year: Fred Soto and Erika Heller

Most Inspiring: Brian Jung

Spirit Award: Lauren Lopez

Biggest Strides: Ed Hayes

Member of the Year: Praveen Puttanajaiah

Just walking through the door, I felt energized to see so many people donating items to Palatine Food Pantry thanks to Tim and Julia McDonald for coordinating. The positive support and spirit of this group goes beyond the mechanics of running; it’s in the caring and compassion we show each other. And heck, like the Cheers Crew, we do like a nice bar to meet up at! Till next year!

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A Runner’s Strength Workout That Can Be Done Anywhere

I travel quite a bit for work, and I’m able to get in my runs. But I’d love to figure out a convenient way to get in regular strength training. Do you have any ideas for runners on the road? Thank you! ~Linda

Kudos to your on-the-road training, Linda! Regular travel can be challenging when it comes to getting into a consistent routine, but it’s not impossible. The key is to have a flexible plan and a go-to workout you can do anywhere.

I created one of my favorite on-the-road strength workouts a few years ago when I was in your shoes. It’s tailored to the specific needs of a runner and includes exercises that target strength, balance, and mobility. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife because you don’t need any equipment, it can be done pretty much anywhere in 10 or 20 minutes, and the exercise sequence can be modified to keep it fresh and challenging. Plus, if you add a warmup and cooldown, it becomes its own workout that can be performed on those days when you can’t get in a run.

Use a digital watch with an interval timer, and set it up to repeat the interval at 75-second increments. Follow the 10 strength exercises back-to-back, performing each for one minute. The goal is to keep your heart rate up by moving from one exercise to the next while fatiguing target muscle groups. (Note: The 15 extra seconds allows for movement into the next exercise. If you find you need less time, you can shorten the interval time.)

If you are new to strength work, complete each exercise in order once. If you have been doing some strength training, complete the circuit twice.

Repeat this sequence 2-3 times per week--do it after a run or as a standalone workout with an added warmup and cooldown--for 3-4 weeks. Then modify it by starting with the last exercise first and going in reverse order. Hold that pattern for 2-3 weeks, then change the sequence to get in all the lower body exercises (squat, lunges…) consecutively, then upper body moves, and finally the core work (planks, crunches).

As you go, you can eventually mix up the routine during the week to include one of each sequence. It’s amazing how just a little change in the exercise order can make for a different challenge in the body.

Runner’s Strength Workout 1.0

  • Squat and Calf Raise: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, sit back and lower down into squat position focusing on keeping your weight back over your heels. Press and extend your legs, and then press up onto your toes for a calf raise. Lower and repeat slowly for one minute.

  • Push Up + Plank Hold: Start in modified push up position on your hands and knees (unless you perform push ups regularly). Press up and extend the arms straight, hold for 5 seconds with a neutral body alignment (plank), and lower slowly back down. Repeat for 1 minute.

  • Lunges (60 seconds each leg): Stagger your feet front and back and about hip width apart. Take an exaggerated step forward. Keeping your core in good alignment, bend the front knee 90-degrees until the thigh is parallel with the floor. Make sure the knee is over the ankle and not beyond the toes. Pause and push through your front heel to return to starting position and repeat for one minute. Perform one minute on each side.

  • Plank (30 seconds): Lie face down with your forearms on the floor. Push up so your elbows are under your shoulders and arms bent at 90 degrees. Hold your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.

  • Side Plank (30 seconds each side): Shift to your side on your elbow and feet, and hold the lateral plank for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

  • Plank (30 seconds): See above.

  • Single Leg T-Raise (60 seconds each leg): Stand on your left leg with your arms at your sides. Keep your right leg straight and bend forward from the hips, raising your right leg behind you to form a “T” out of your body. Hold for 5 seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 1 minute.

  • Bridge: Lie on your back with your hands by your sides on the floor. Using your gluteal muscles (bum), squeeze and lift your hips off the floor until you make a line from your knees to your hips and shoulders. Pause for a few seconds and lower your hips back to the floor while continuing to press in to the ball. Repeat for 1 minute.

  • Jack Knife Crunches: Lay on your back with your arms over your head and your legs bent with feet on the floor. Crunch and extend your legs slowly straight up towards the ceiling, and reach your hands towards your toes and slowly lower back down to starting position. Focus on keeping your core contracted and low back on the floor.

  • Fire Hydrants (30 seconds on each side): On your hands and knees, slowly raise your right bent leg up to the side, pause and hold for 2 seconds, then slowly release down. Repeat on both sides.

  • Superman: Lie face down on the floor with your arms over your head and legs straight. Lift your arms and legs off the floor and hold for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat for 1 minute.

    This may not look all that fancy on your screen, but I promise you it is a simple way to get regular strength work into a busy lifestyle, anywhere in the world. A little strength goes a long way in keeping you fit, strong and running injury-free.

Print this off and put a copy in your suitcase so you’ll have it for your next trip. 

Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 8 Challenges for Your Overall Fitness

As a runner, it’s easy to enter a training bubble: sleep, eat, run, repeat. It can be a cycle that helps you become a better runner, but it’s easy to forget—or flat-out ignore—that you should be doing other exercises to stay in the best overall shape.

This really hit home when reading The Better Man Project, the new book by Men’s HealthEditor-in-Chief Bill Phillips. It contains thousands of ways to improve your life everyday, including how to sleep soundly, how to keep your brain sharp, and, this being Men’s Health, how to improve your fitness.

As a former editor for the Men's Health website, I admittedly took a giant gulp when I turned to the following series of tests about where the average guy should be when it comes to overall fitness. After trying the tests, it was a wakeup call that I still have a lot left to do when it comes to being a fit runner.

Here's a look at the 8 Tests of Overall Fitness, excerpted from The Better Man Projectalong with my score after trying the self-checks. If you fall below the Men's Health Fit Standard like I did, check out the training advice so you can get stronger over time. (The book excerpts are in italic.)

Check 1: Is your core weak?

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Even if you don't have an ounce of fat, you could be soft in the middle. This test will tell. Lie facedown on the floor and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor with your thumbs in line with the top of your forehead. Lift your elbows off the floor and position your feet the way they would be in a pushup with your ankles flexed. This is the starting position. Now, push yourself off the floor while maintaining a straight, stiff plank position from your shoulders to your heels. If your hips dip lower than your torso, your core is weak. Try the test again with your hands repositioned at chin level. If you still can't keep your hips from sagging, you need even more core work.

The MH Fit Standard: Hold a stiff arms-extended plank for 10 seconds.

My Score: A solid 10 seconds. This didn’t shock me because I do—a few times a week—hold a normal plank for 30 to 60 seconds just for the heck of it. While this was probably the test I was least concerned about, the variation with my arms more extended gave me some pause. A good confidence booster going forward. (Though it wouldn’t last long …)

Get Fitter: Fall short? No problem. "You can more than double your score in a matter of weeks," says Angelo Poli, owner of Whole Body Fitness in Chico, California. Alternate among these three exercises during the course of a week.

1) Three-point tennis ball toss: Hold the top position of a single-arm pushup (feet slightly beyond hip width, body straight from head to heels, weight supported on one hand) and bounce a tennis ball off a wall. Catch the ball and immediately bounce it back against the wall. Do 2 sets of 15 reps each arm.

2) Plank push/pull: Assume a plank position with a weight plate between your forearms. Lift your right arm, push the plate forward as far as possible, and then pull it back. Do 2 sets of 10 reps with each arm.

3) Swiss ball "stir the pot": Assume a plank position with your forearms on a Swiss ball. Make small circles with your elbows, switching directions every 10 circles until you've done 40. That's 1 set. Do 2.

Check 2: Lower-body power

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The standing broad jump is another great test. This evaluation is used by strength coaches and drill sergeants to gauge raw leg power because it requires several muscle groups throughout the body to fire at once. Stand with your toes on a line and your feet shoulder-width apart. Dip your knees, swing your arms, and jump as far as you can. Have a buddy measure the distance from the starting line to the backs of your heels.

The MH Fit Standard: 8 feet

My Score: 7 feet. My form was pretty good according to my witness, despite my lack of practice of jumping in any way. (Maybe those years of doing the long jump in high school more than a decade ago helped.) Though I came up a little short on the distance, I was happy I came close.

Get Fitter: "Power is a combination of strength and speed, so if you come up short, work on both," says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. Start by doing squats and hip thrusts each week in separate workouts. During week 1, go heavy with the hip thrusts (3 to 5 sets of 5 reps using 85 percent of your 1-repetition maximum) and light with the squats (6 sets of 2 fast reps with 50 percent of your 1-rep max). The following week, flip the set-rep scheme, going heavy with squats and light with hip thrusts. Continue alternating for 4 to 6 weeks. "To build even more explosiveness, also do 3 sets of 10 kettlebell swings twice a week," says Gentilcore.

Check 3: Anaerobic endurance

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You'll have fun with this one. Performing the squat, biceps curl, and push press exercises with dumbbells as a single compound move is an accurate measure of your anaerobic endurance, or your ability to work at near-max intensity in bursts of 20 to 60 seconds. Anaerobic endurance reflects the stamina of your fast-twitch (type II) muscle fibers, which generate energy in the absence of oxygen (i.e., when you're sucking wind). How to do it: Use dumbbells that together total roughly 30 percent of your body weight (that's a pair of 30-pounders if you weigh 200) and hold them at your sides with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back naturally arched, push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, curl the dumbbells to shoulder height using a neutral (or hammer) grip (palms facing) and then press them straight overhead, using your legs in the effort. Return to the starting position and repeat the compound move for 1 minute.

The MH Fit Standard: 20 reps in a minute

My Score: 14 reps. This started off feeling easy with a set of 20-pound dumbbells, but by the time I was 30 seconds into it I could feel my muscles wanting to take a breather. While I struggled a bit toward the end, at least my form didn’t suffer—I just slowed down. Could have tried to do 20 reps without a time limit.

Get Fitter: Perform 2 sets of the drill twice a week, resting 90 seconds between sets. If you can't do at least 16 reps on your first set, lighten the load. "Each time, add an extra rep to your first set," says L.A.-based strength and conditioning coach Chad Waterbury, M.S. "Once you reach 20 reps with the lighter weight, grab slightly heavier dumbbells and work your way up to 20 reps again."

Check 4: Mobility

Mobility is a quality great athletes hone, but most regular guys ignore. The more mobile you are, the less likely you are to injure your joints. See how you do with the wall squat check. A lot of people fail this test because they have a rounded back or inflexible ankles. Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes 2 inches from the baseboard and turned slightly out. Keeping your feet flat, chest up, and back naturally arched, see how far you can lower your body without touching the wall or falling backward.

The MH Fit Standard: A full squat—that is, when your hamstrings touch your calves, in control

My Score: 1 full squat. I did this in a mirror and can assure you that it wasn’t the prettiest (or fastest) squat ever, but I did maintain form and got low enough to touch my hamstrings to my calves without comically falling over. However, when I tried to go for a second one, I felt my left hamstring tighten up—and it hurt all weekend. Looks like I could still use some work.

Get Fitter: Loosen your back with self-massage. Lie on your back with a foam roller placed perpendicular to your spine just below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Support your head with your hands, and move your head, neck, and upper back forward and backward over the foam roller four to six times. To loosen tight ankles and calves, try the ankle mobility lunge. Stand in a split stance with your front foot about 6 inches from a wall. Now bend your front knee to touch the wall without letting your front heel leave the floor. Do this 8 to 10 times. Switch legs and repeat.

Check 5: The Beep Test

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Cardiovascular endurance isn't just a sign of your 10K potential or how long you'll last in a 48-minute game of basketball. People with solid aerobic health tend to have a longer life expectancy than those who lack it, according to a German study review. The Beep Test or 20-meter shuttle run is a classic measure of aerobic fitness. Easiest way to do it is to download the Beep Test app for your iPhone (Beep Test Solo, $1) or Android device (Beep Test, free). Place two cones 20 meters (about 65 feet) apart on a track or field, hit the start button on the app, and run from one cone to the other. When you hear the beep, run back. Continue until you can't reach the opposite cone before the next beep sounds. (The time between beeps will shorten as you progress through the test.)

The MH Fit Standard: Level 12

My Score: 11.5. I’ve often heard the beep test was easy until you get to level 8 or 9. That’s very, very true. As much as I wanted to make it to 12, my legs—and lungs—just couldn’t quite get there.

Get Fitter: Repeat the beep test once a week. Just repeating the drill can help boost your peak aerobic capacity, says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. On two other days each week, do sprint intervals. Sprint at 85 percent of your maximum effort for 1 minute and then rest for 2 minutes. Do that 5 to 8 times total.

Check 6: Upper-body power

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A powerful upper body doesn't just look good shirtless, it also helps transfer force to the world around you. The clapping pushup—which requires explosiveness as well as strength—is an old-school move that many still consider the ultimate test of upper-body pushing power (thanks in no small part to Sly Stallone's Rocky). Get into a pushup position, with your body straight from head to ankles. Lower yourself until your chest is 3 inches from the floor. Push yourself back up explosively so your hands leave the floor. Maintain a straight body as you clap in midair and land back in the starting position.

The MH Fit Standard: 10 clapping pushups without stopping

My Score: 1 clapping pushup. This was the embarrassing display I thought it might be. In my mind I was hoping my skinny arms could at least blast me up into the air for three decent ones. At least the gym was nearly empty and nobody saw me attempt this!

Get Fitter: Can't clap? Add the exercise to your weekly routine but perform it with your hands elevated on an aerobics step, which reduces the load. Shoot for 3 sets of 5 reps, lowering the step as the exercise becomes easier.

Check 7: The Go-Muscle Test

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The muscles of your posterior chain provide the power behind many of the most important skills in sports; consider them your "go" muscles. These include your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves—lots of muscles that may not be visible in the mirror but are vital to overall fitness. And no exercise hits them harder than the deadlift does. Load a barbell with the maximum amount of weight you think you can lift once, and roll the bar on the floor until it's close to your shins. Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar using an overhand grip that's just beyond shoulder width. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, pull your torso back and up, squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Reverse the movement to lower the bar to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as possible.

The MH Fit Standard: 1.75 times your body weight

My Score: 165 pounds, which is 1.14 times my body weight. It’s been a while since I even thought of attempting a deadlift. Part of me was happy that a) I could deadlift a weight slightly over my 145 pounds and b) I didn’t hurt myself. When I did the numbers in my head and realized 1.75 times my body weight is a little over 250 pounds, I see there’s a lot of work I could be doing.

Get Fitter: Add the deadlift to your weekly routine using a weight that allows you to do 3 sets of 5 reps. That's right, only 5 reps each set. "Keeping the rep count low allows you to do two things: concentrate on form and go heavy," says Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. When you can complete 2 extra repetitions in your last set for two consecutive workouts, move up in weight. Retest your 1-rep max every 2 to 3 months.

Check 8: Flexibility

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The sit-and-reach check is a time-tested measure of flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings, two areas that are often super tight in men, especially those who sit in a chair at work. Tightness in these muscles is a major cause of back and knee pain. Check it out: Place a yardstick or cloth measuring tape on the floor and put a footlong piece of masking tape across the 15-inch mark. Take off your shoes and sit down with your legs out in front of you and your heels at the edge of the tape, one on each side of the yardstick. Keep both knees locked and pressed flat against the floor. (You can have a helper hold your knees down.) Now straighten your arms forward and place one palm over the back of the other hand. Bend forward, reaching as far as you can with your fingers while making sure that neither hand is reaching farther than the other. Take a few practice reaches, then hold the reach for 2 seconds while your partner records your distance.

The MH Fit Standard: 17 inches

My Score: 17 inches. Boom; got it. Thank you, foam-rolling-on-the-weekends for helping me finish on a higher note.

Get Fitter: It's time to wake up your hamstrings. Do this stretch daily, recommends BJ Gaddour, Men's Health's fitness director: Place your heel on a knee-high bench, a high table top or counter, or the appropriate step of a staircase and fully extend your leg. Flex your quad and push your heel down into the bench. Focus on hinging at the hips and minimizing movement at the spine to keep the stretch on the hamstrings. Oscillate in and out and move side to side to stretch all 3 compartment of the hamstring. Do it for 2-5 minutes on each leg. (View how to do it here.)

10 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Whenever the topic of strength training comes up, many of us tend to respond with, “Wait, I’m supposed to do something other than running?” But supplementing running with strength training exercises will not only help you prevent injury, but it will also make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner.

That said, runners need a different strength-training program than your standard gym rat. Instead of pushing weight away from the body with bicep curls, leg extensions, and bench presses, runners should focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced and moving forward.

We asked our experts to come up with 10 essential strength exercises for runners then had Hollis Tuttle, certified personal trainer and run coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, demonstrate them.

How to use this list: Perform these 10 exercises for the amount of reps listed twice a week. For best results, add them to your easy or cross-training days.

1. Plank

Works: core, lower back, shoulders

Start on all fours. Lower onto your forearms with shoulders directly over elbows. Step feet back into a plank position. Draw your shoulders down and back—not hunched. Engage abdominal muscles tight to keep hips in line with shoulders so your body forms a long, straight line. Squeeze legs and glutes for support. Hold this position for 45 to 60 seconds. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger. Repeat for 3 to 5 reps. 


Make it easier:
 Drop to your knees. 

2. Russian Twist

Works: core, obliques

Start seated with knees bent 90 degrees, heels on floor, and hands clasped in front of chest. Engage abs and rotate upper body to the right as if you’re reaching right elbow to floor. Keep your back tall and rotate from your hips. Return to starting position and repeat on left side. That’s 1 repetition. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

Make it harder: Keep your legs straight, lift heels off floor, or add a dumbbell as shown above.

3. Scorpion

Works: abs, hips, back

Start lying facedown with your arms out to sides to form a T, thumbs pointing up, and chin rested on floor so your neck is not strained. Bend left knee then swing leg to right to try to touch left toes to right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side with right leg. That’s 1 repetition. Perform 3 to 5 reps.

Make it easier: Simply reach toe to opposite hip instead of shoulder. As you gain mobility and flexibility, you can progress to reach for shoulder.

4. Back Extension

Works: lower back, glutes, middle back, shoulders

Lie facedown on a stability ball with feet spread wide for balance. Elbows should be bent with hands placed lightly behind ears. Squeeze glutes and lift torso up until your body forms a straight line. Hold for one to two seconds. Release back down to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform for 10 to 12 reps. No stability ball? You can do the movement on an exercise mat: Raise your thighs and arms off the ground while your torso stays in contact with the ground.

Make it harder: Hold light dumbbells.

5. Squat To Overhead Press

Works: glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, shoulders

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Hold dumbbells with both hands racked at shoulders. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Send hips back and lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand back up, press the dumbbells overhead. Return to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

Make it easier: Do the squat without the dumbbells, or just hold one dumbbell at your chest and perform squats without the press.

6. Overhead Forward Lunge

Works: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, core

Start standing, holding one dumbbell straight above your shoulders, with your arms straight and elbows locked. Step forward with your right leg, and lower down until your right knee is bent to 90 degrees. Press through right heel to return to the starting position, then repeat with left leg. That’s one repetition. Perform 6 to 8 reps on each leg.

Make it easier: Perform the forward lunge without a dumbbell or hold it at shoulder level.

[Runner’s World 10-Minute Cross-Training, gives you five muscle-building routines that take just 10 minutes to get you stronger.]

7. Stability Ball Jackknife

Works: shoulders, core

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Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on a stability ball. Engage core to pull the stability ball toward your chest and lift hips up as you roll the ball forward to your feet. Return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

Make it easier: Pull your knees as close as you can to your chest without lifting your hips into the air, and return to the starting position.

8. Stability Ball Leg Curl

Works: hamstrings, glutes, core

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Lie faceup on the floor, with hands at sides on mat and and feet on a stability ball. Keep arms to sides for support and balance. Push your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Without allowing your hips to sag, roll the ball as close as you can to hips by bending knees and pulling heels toward you. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps.

Make it harder: Do the exercise with just one leg, holding the other leg in the air above your hips.

9. Rotational Shoulder Press

Works: shoulders, triceps, core

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Stand holding a pair of dumbbells racked at your shoulders, with palms facing each other. Press right dumbbell overhead as you rotate from the hips to your left. Lower the dumbbells as you rotate back to center, then press left dumbbell overhead as you rotate to the right. That’s one repetition. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps.

Make it easier: Do half of the repetitions without the rotations.

10. Alternating Row

Works: middle back, biceps, core

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Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. With a micro-bend in your knees, send hips back and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Keep arms straight as you bend at hips so the dumbbells hang straight down. Bend left elbow to pull the left dumbbell to left rib. Lower and repeat with right arm. That’s one repetition. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

Make it easier: Perform the move with both hands at once, which requires less core stability.

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Finally, a Fun Treadmill Workout

Debora Warner, 44, loves the machine that some runners love to hate. Last November, she founded the Mile High Run Club, New York City’s first treadmill studio, which specializes in indoor group running classes. With the ambiance and camaraderie of a spin class, her workouts do more than make you sweat. In the span of 28-, 45-, or 60-minutes,  the hills, builds, and intervals are designed to take time off your PR.

Here, she gives us a taste of what a 28-minute class would entail. And although your treadmill probably doesn’t have flashing mood lights surrounding it, you can replicate the Mile High Run Club environment by turning up the bass and convincing a friend to run by your side. 

“That’s the beauty of bringing a speed workout indoors to the treadmill,” says Warner. “Everyone is able to work at their individual training level, but you can still work together.” 

Whether you’re running a 5K or marathon this season, or just looking to get a solid workout in on a chilly day, this treadmill routine will kick your training into high gear. 

At Mile High Run Club, Warner uses the following level guidelines to instruct her students:

Level 1 = light effort (recovery pace)
Level 2 = moderate effort (marathon pace)
Level 3 = hard effort (10K, half marathon pace)
Level 4 = max effort (5K pace)

Start your 30-minute routine with a 5-minute warm-up at an easy pace. And then…

Hills
3 minutes at Level 2, 4% incline
1 minute at recovery Level 1, 0% incline
2 minutes at Level 2, 6% incline
1 minute at recovery Level 1, 0% incline
1 minute at Level 2, 8% incline
1 minute at recovery Level 1, 0% incline

Ladder
3 minutes at Level 2 
3 minutes at Level 3
2 minutes recovery at Level 1 
2 minutes at Level 2 
2 minutes at Level 3 
2 minutes recovery at Level 1 
1 minute at  Level 2 
1 minute at Level 3

Take 5 minutes to do a nice, easy cooldown. Then stretch. 

A Dynamic Stretching Routine

Maybe you've heard that stretching before a run is a big mistake. Indeed, studies show that static stretching—holding a muscle in an elongated, fixed position for 30 seconds or more—could hurt performance if done before a workout (save it for after your run). But dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently. Dynamic stretching is most effective when it's sport-specific. This prerun routine targets the muscles used for running. Start slowly, focusing on form; as the exercises get easier, pick up speed. Use small movements for the first few reps, and increase the range of motion as you go. Written descriptions of each exercise can by clicking through to the following video.

LEG LIFTS
Swing one leg out to the side, then swing it back across your body in front of your other leg. Repeat 10 times on each side. Feel wobbly? Hold onto a steady object.

BUTT-KICKS
While standing tall, walk forward with an exaggerated backswing so that your heels come up to your glutes. When this is easy, try it while jogging. Do 10 reps on each side.

PIKE STRETCH
Get in a "pike" position (hips in the air). Put your right foot behind your left ankle. With your legs straight, press the heel of the left foot down. Release. Repeat 10 times on each side.

HACKY-SACK
Lift your left leg up, bending the knee so it points out. Try to tap the inside of your left foot with your right hand without bending forward. Repeat 10 times on each side.

TOY SOLDIER
Keeping your back and knees straight, walk forward, lifting your legs straight out in front and flexing your toes. Advance this by adding a skipping motion. Do 10 reps on each side.

WALKING LUNGES
Step forward using a long stride, keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes. Lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Maintain an upright posture and keep your abdominal muscles tight.

Dynamic Stretching Better Before Training and Racing

Jimmy Fallon once said, "Don't keep reaching for the stars because you'll just look like an idiot stretching that way for no reason." Turns out he may be right. New research indicates that the flexibility that is a by-product of pre-run static stretching may be a biomechanical factor that hurts running economy, which is a measure of your overall efficiency. Do something to worsen your running economy before a race or workout, and you're going to go slower. That's why growing numbers of elites have eliminated static stretching before their most important runs and replaced it with a series of dynamic stretching exercises.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2009 explains the logic behind the switch. Researchers at Nebraska Wesleyan University enlisted male and female collegiate distance runners to complete sit-and-reach tests to measure flexibility, and then put them on a treadmill to determine running economy. The result: An increase in hamstring flexibility generally correlated with a decrease in running economy.

As the researchers wrote, "[T]he less flexible distance runners tended to be more economical, possibly as a result of the energy-efficient function of the elastic components in the muscles and tendons during the stretch-shortening cycle."

Ralph Reiff, a licensed athletic trainer and director of sports performance for St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis, has worked with collegiate and elite runners for many years. He explains that static stretching isn't all bad, but from a performance perspective, "static stretching causes an inhibition or a breakdown of the excitability of the muscle tissue." The immediate effects from static stretching actually include decreased muscle function.

"To get a good static stretch you are asking the body on a subconscious level to relax," says Reiff. "From a muscle-recruitment standpoint, you don't want to turn the muscles off in a relaxed state prior to asking them to perform. The elastic energy of a tighter muscle is going to have more recoil and power than a heavily stretched muscle.

The caveat is that simply eliminating static stretching won't necessarily increase performance and decrease injury. This is where dynamic stretching comes in. Rather than standing in one place and forcing your muscles to stretch, this type of stretching trains the muscles to warm up and fire the way you want them to through a series of dynamic movements.

Under the tutelage of Reiff, Team Indiana Elite, a post-collegiate program out of Bloomington, Ind., has adopted a regular dynamic stretching routine. Speaking about a set of dynamic stretches and pre-activation drills developed by Reiff, Team Indiana's Stephen Haas says, "I think it has really helped. I've done more mileage and better workouts than I ever did in college and I've somehow been able to stay healthy."

Overall, the 13-member team has had no major injuries since forming three years ago. Haas, a 2:18 marathoner and 130-mile-aweek runner says, "It's all about getting every muscle in the lower leg, upper leg, hip, butt, and glutes activated." The team performs dynamic stretches before every run and race.

Team Indiana's coach, Robert Chapman, explains, "Basically, by engaging in these activities, we can neurologically activate specific muscle groups prior to running, which helps us minimize injuries and perform better in the subsequent workout." As seen with Chapman's runners, dynamic stretching can assist in bettering performance, while simultaneously reducing injuries.

On a physiological level, Reiff also describes dynamic stretching as a way to stimulate the neurological system, which in turn activates the muscles. This, he explains, makes them more resilient to external stimulus, which leads to a quicker neurological response, "so the muscle is standing ready when called upon to run faster, jump higher, and do what the athlete wants it to do."

A DYNAMIC APPROACH

"The dynamic warm-up piece is truly like turning a light switch on before walking into a dark room," contends Reiff. Dynamic stretches that include quick-paced movements like bounding, jumping, and single-leg swings help to fire up the muscles that you want to perform. To implement a dynamic warm-up routine, Reiff suggests choosing a set of exercises you will remain committed to and practice before every run and race. The routine described at the right can be done in 10 minutes.

While static stretching remains a good post-run ritual, the research and applied evidence touts the many advantages of engaging in a dynamic routine in its place. Says Reiff, "Dynamic stretching recruits more of the body than static stretching. We certainly don't throw away static stretching, but it has its place. For pre-race and pre-training, dynamic flexibility and movement has a much better return on the investment." Reiff recommends performing the exercises before every regular run. Prior to hard workouts and races it tends to work best to do a warm-up jog and then perform the dynamic stretches, followed by strides. This helps to adequately warm up the muscles and then get the right ones firing in the right ways.

Reiff adds, "If you can train athletes on a daily basis to fire those muscles appropriately and go through a dynamic warm-up that ensures that all muscle groups are worked, then you have a better runner."

SEVEN DYNAMIC STRETCHES

1) REVERSE LUNGE WITH TWIST
Take an exaggerated step backwards with the right leg. Go into the lunge position, twist your torso to the left, and reach for your right heel with your left hand. Come back to lunge posit ion, stand up, and step back with the left leg to repeat on the other side. Continue for 50 meters

2) KNEE CRADLE
Standing, lift your left leg with the knee facing outwards. Use your hands to cradle the leg at the knee and ankle; avoid pulling on the foot. Simultaneously rise to your toes on your right foot before releasing your left leg, stepping forward, and repeating on the other side. Continue for 50 meters

3) STRAIGHT LEG MARCH
March forward and swing your leg straight in front of you with each step. Attempt to touch your foot with the opposite hand upon each swing. Continue for 50 meters

4) BUTT KICKS
As you run, bend your knee and bring your heel back to your butt with each step. Steps should be short and rapid as you focus on the frequency of the butt kicks, rather than the pace at which you move forward. Drive your arms forward with each step. Continue for 50 meters

5) HIGH KNEES
Running on the balls of your feet, bring you r knees up as high as possible with each step. As with butt kicks, pay attention to frequency rather than pace. Steps should be small and quick. Drive your opposite arm forward as each knee comes up. Continue for 50 meters.

6) CARIOCA
With your shoulder s square and facing one direction, get into a semi-squatting position. Cross your left leg in front of your right leg, bring your right leg through, and then cross your left leg behind your right leg. Go 50 meters one way, continue facing the same direction, and go back.

7) SCORPION
Lying face down with your chest on the ground, pull your left leg up and across the right leg to the opposite side of your body. Switch sides continuously until you have performed the stretch 10 times on each side.

Beat Treadmill Boredom With These 3 Workouts

t’s that time of year where runners must face one of running’s toughest and most unforgiving foes: winter.

But you’re in luck, because we have three treadmill workouts to heat up your winter fitness routine.

Once snow and ice hit the forecast, many runners have no choice but to shift their workout indoors and onto the treadmill to tick off their miles.

While many runners may argue that the machine is worthy of its infamous “dreadmill” nickname, we believe that dread stems solely from a monotonous treadmill workout plan! Icy sidewalks, snow-covered trails and frigid temperatures may keep you indoors, but you can still switch up your indoor workout to save you from treadmill boredom.

We spoke with Rachel Frutkin, a running coach, marathoner and the blogger behind Running on Happy, who is no stranger to putting in her miles on the treadmill throughout the cold Ohio winter months. To Frutkin, treadmills are an ally, not an enemy, to winter training when used for versatile running-based workouts.

“Mixing it up and trying something new on the treadmill is a great way to beat boredom, build speed and work on strength,” says Frutkin. “Treadmill workouts are ideal for inclement weather or if you’re short on time and need to get a quick workout in before you start your day.”

Frutkin believes too many runners underestimate the variety of workout options when it comes to the treadmill. From HIIT to hill repeats, a treadmill can help to help improve form, build muscle and add some much-needed variety to your winter training.

Since these workouts are shorter and more versatile than traditional long runs, Frutkin suggests opting for a more lightweight, multipurpose running shoe rather than more cushioned shoes.

“I personally have several pairs of shoes in rotation at any one time,” says Frutkin. “I wear one pair for my easy midweek miles, another pair for the track, speed, and hills, and a third pair for long runs. Footwear is really important for runners of all levels so be sure to get fitted at a running shop to make sure you’re in the right shoe.”

Frutkin developed three boredom-busting treadmill workouts to incorporate into your winter training so you can focus on building strength and endurance instead of your ability to dodge black ice.

No one has time to scroll down during a workout, so these graphics were designed to fit your phone screen! To download the images to your phone, hold down the image with your finger and click save.

Hill Running

Hill running is a great way to work on mechanics, and the challenge for this workout is increasing the incline while the speed remains the same.

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Fartlek Interval Ladder

This speed training workout consists of seven sections. Each green node represents 30 seconds of sprinting, and each white node represents 30 seconds of active recovery jogging.

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Circuit Strength Training

Grab a mid-weight kettle bell or barbell for this circuit workout designed for strength training, body toning and muscle maintenance.

Five Exercises to Do Before Every Run

Look, we’re all guilty of doing a few toe touches or a quick quad stretch before a run and counting that as the warm-up. And while that might work for most people most of the time, it’s not the best way to get your body prepped to run your best for the miles ahead. In fact, a recent study shows that a dynamic warm-up routine can help you perform better.

In the study, researchers compared how well study participants ran after moving versus sitting. When runners did dynamic stretches, they were able to go almost two and a half minutes longer before they tired out compared to when they sat. The following five dynamic warm-up exercises, demonstrated by Roman Siromakha, a certified trainer based in New York City, are the exact same ones used in the study.

How to use this list: Perform each move below 10 times, moving through each rep quickly, before your run. The entire routine should take less than five minutes to complete.

1. Hip Flexor Warm-Up

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Start standing tall. Flex your hip by drawing left knee up toward chest as you swing your right arm forward (as if you are running). Return to starting position and repeat with right knee and left arm. That’s 1 rep.

2. Leg Flexor Stretch

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Stand tall. Draw left knee toward chest until thigh is parallel to the ground, as you simultaneously swing your right arm forward and left arm back (as if you are running). Engage your quad to extend left leg straight out. Return to standing, then repeat with the other leg. That’s 1 rep.

3. Leg Extensor Stretch

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Start standing. Slowly bend left knee to bring left heel behind you to glute as you swing your right arm forward and left arm back (as if you are running). You should feel your left hamstring engage. Return to starting position, then repeat on the other leg. That’s 1 rep. 

Plantar Flexor Stretch

Stand with your hands on your hips. Lift your left foot a few inches, keeping your knee straight. Quickly flex your foot, pulling toes upward to shin and pointing them down. Return to standing, then repeat with the other foot. That’s 1 rep.

Hip Extensor Stretch

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From standing, hinge forward at your hips. Draw left knee up toward chest while bringing right arm forward. From there, maintain the same lean as you quickly kick left leg back behind you while you simultaneously swing left arm forward and right arm back (as if you are running). Return right knee in front of you and repeat for 10 reps. Then repeat with other leg.

MEET THE BOARD: JIM KOWALSKI

Happy Thursday, BWRC! Over the next few months, on top of our weekly member spotlights we will also feature a weekly post on our board members for everyone to get to know what it is each board member does for the club as well as to get to know them individually! Kicking things off this week is our Club President, Jim Kowalski. We asked Jim to share more about his role as president, his vision for the future of the club, to share a little bit about his own personal running journey, and finally to share some interesting facts! We hope you enjoy this post and future ones to come!

Q: What is your role on the board and what are your responsibilities?

Jim: I share the role of Club President with my lovely wife Amanda. Her official title is Co-Chair for legal purposes but she’s the boss. I wear many different hats but my primary role is to collaborate with our Directors, Board, and Members to make sure the BWRC member experience is positive and impactful. I represent the Club in the community and work with our sponsors to schedule group runs. Making sure we are following all the various state and federal legal requirements as an incorporated non for profit is a boring but necessary part of my role.

Q: How long have you been a runner? Why did you start and why do you continue?

Jim: January 2012 is when I started. I started immediately after quitting a 2 pack per day cigarette habit. Amanda had been running for a couple of years. I saw how happy it made her so thought I would give it a try. Within a month I had a new addiction, this time to running.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals that you’d like to share with the club?

Jim: We’re running the Chicago Half Marathon on September 23rd as a tune up for the November Monumental Marathon in Indy. I’d like to stay healthy and PR at both (Half 1:47, Full 3:51).

Q: Tell us a little about yourself outside of running.

Jim: I’m in telecom sales (snore) and still unsure of what I want to do when I grow up. I am the proud father of my son Ryan age 28 and daughter Taylor, 22. At their ages, we treasure what little time we get with them. Amanda and I love to dine out, sometimes too frequently. Interesting fact… In 2011 I tore through the field at the Area Rock Paper Scissors challenge and advanced to the regional round for a chance to compete in Vegas. At Regionals I won my first 4 matches only to lose in the semifinal in a hard fought yet heartbreaking tie-breaking set. I was one round from Vegas but my rock wasn’t enough to defeat paper on that final draw of hands.

Q: What is your favorite race mantra?

Jim: I have 2 favorites. 1.) If you think you can, you can! If you think you can’t, you won’t. 2.) Run the mile you’re in.

Q: What is your vision for the future of BWRC?

Jim: The Club has grown so rapidly in a very short period. The path we are on is the right one and already impactful. That path is leading to more opportunities to get involved in our local communities. I envision BWRC to be known in those communities as a reputable organization which promotes running as a contributor to a healthy lifestyle while providing an inclusive platform for individuals at all levels to participate. We’re going to have a ton of fun along the way.

Q: What does being a member of the BWRC board mean to you?

Jim: To be a part of this group of people who are committed to making BWRC the best organization possible is so rewarding. We listen to the wants and needs of our membership then work closely together to make things happen. I’m honored and privileged to serve our amazing BWRC family!!!

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: JAMES NEAYLON

Q: How long have you been a runner?

James: About 6-7 years now. In middle school and early high school I dabbled with running/triathlon for very brief periods although I was never a good endurance athlete. After that, I did a lot of running on my high school lacrosse team. I basically took a good +20 year break from any type running due to bouts of drinking, gluttony, smoking, with endurance exercise being for other “strange people.” Now I’m one of those strange people.

Q: Why did you start running?

James: Short answer, was overweight and out of shape for far too long. Long Answer:

My inspirations were from my Uncle who did marathons and triathlons in the mid/late-80’s when it was still cotton and iPod free. At that time I also once every year found myself captivated by the TV coverage of the Hawaii Ironman race. I found all the athletes (fast and less fast), their stories, and the challenge itself totally awe-inspiring. Much later I found inspiration from ole buddies who had received the running bug (to various degrees, even if briefly) who showed that our old habits could be dropped and better ones adopted.

My motivations were that by early 2012 I’d been smoke-free 3 years and I felt it time to try out some refurbished lungs. However, I also grew to 220lbs and had developed 250 cholesterol at 34 years young and my doctor hot on my case. Yikes. My illusion as a slightly overweight ex-athlete on extended exercise-free holiday finally was officially done when put in the “obese category”. I reevaluated that maybe the slow 15-year slide down physical mediocrity wasn’t as fated and natural as I once thought.

As a result of those motivators in early ’12 I did one of the many walk/run programs from the internet and after some initial hiccups, 3 months later and 30lbs lighter, I ran 4miles straight for the first time one late autumn night. I was pretty blown-away at that and I remember it as well as any of race I’ve ever done. It was that night I first ran 4miles I think I was “hooked” and I didn’t want to lose that capability again anytime soon.

The next spring I bought a cheap bike and a swim pass to see how far I could go with this new found endurance thing…

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

James: I think it was through a Strava search or Instagram. It was by far the most worthwhile social media ball to bounce my way. It was this February and I was looking for some good peeps to run with during my marathon training and where I didn’t have to travel so far. I went to Nickol Knoll on a cold Tuesday night and immediately there was a nice size group which was welcoming. I knew I’d be back.

Q: Why do you run?

James: To see what my ceiling is when I consistently put in the time and miles. Also to eat and drink without the fuss originally (and still). Now it’s as much if not more the camaraderie and the friendships. It has also added consistency and dependability to my life. I am left feeling healthy, productive, and fortunate after workouts. For me, running gets more fulfilling the longer you do it.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

James: Biking and running as much as I can before it gets cold again! Nothing concrete for the fall though I’m mulling a number of options. Maybe I’ll focus on some shorter races (5k/13.1) which I’ve never really done. Whatever run or bike races I do I would like to hopefully go a bit farther or faster doing them. More important than that is I want to enjoy the process in the attempt and hang out with awesome people along the way, which I happily am.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

James: Support. Solidarity. Dedication. Friendship. It’s fun to see mates also achieve their goals given the hard work they put in to get there. The crew is awesome, dedicated, no-fuss, and very supportive. These are amazing attributes given how large the group is; great runners and better people.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: CAROL HEUNISCH

This week’s Member Spotlight Monday is Carol Heunisch. Carol started running in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since, running countless 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. She will be running 3 marathon majors this fall and will officially have completed all 6 in 2019! Thank you, Carol, for sharing your running story and for being an inspiration!

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Carol: I have been running since about 2005. Geez, why didn’t I start sooner?

Q: Why did you start running?

Carol: I started running basically for stress reduction. At the time I started running, my daughters were still in grade school, and my parents started having health issues that required me to help them out as well. And oh yes, I work full-time as well as a pharmacy manager in a hospital, so I’m pretty much always on call. One day I just decided to go out and run at Melas Park. I still shudder when I think of what I wore—cotton! Who does that? But I fell in love with running, ran outside all summer and fall, bought a dreadmill, and pretty much ran 5-7 miles every day. After about 6 years, I figured I should run a race—and it probably took me another year to get up enough nerve to run a 5K. In 2013, I signed up to run Chicago, and also ran an obscene number of half-marathons, 5 and 10ks. I got derailed shortly after that with my parents issues, but got back into running last year. I ran Chicago in 2017, and also ran Boston and London this year. And please note, I ran Boston for charity—I’m way tooooo slooooow to time qualify! I’ll leave that to you youngsters.

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Carol: I found BWRC because after the CARA marathon training season ended last year, Jimmy sent out an email saying that he and Amanda were forming the club, so I thought I should join to keep myself motivated in the off season. I have always kicked myself when I hibernate over the winter and have to start training from scratch in the spring. I still don’t like running in the cold but I enjoyed running this winter with the group.

Q: Why do you run?

Carol: I run because I hope it’s going to keep me healthy and living for awhile longer. I’m happy to say that I don’t have many of the geriatric health issues that many people do, and I attribute that to running. It also helps to keep my weight in check and I generally feel better about myself and the world after a run. You know how you get anxious and crabby if you miss a run? Yep, that’s me. Plus runners are just awesome people, and our club has a bunch of the best. I usually don’t talk much when I run but I love to eavesdrop on everyone’s conversations.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Carol: It’s embarrassing but I’m running Berlin, Chicago and New York this year. Dumb luck, I got lottery entries for both Berlin and New York! I always run Chicago for the American Heart Association because my father had heart failure, and I myself had atrial fibrillation. And then I’m running Tokyo in 2019—completing my 6 star!

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Carol: What a great group of people! I’ve really gotten to the point of disliking running alone and always try to join a group run—and it seems like someone is running somewhere in the area every day.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: FRED SETO

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Fred: I “kind of” started running between my Junior and Senior year of high school. It was all very covert; I would wait until it got dark so no one would see me. I would run/walk up and down Addison Street from my house to Wrigley Field (about 2 miles). I did that all in one summer then I stopped running. I only started back up a few years ago. So there were many, many, many years in between.

Q: Why did you start running?

Fred: After high school, I started smoking and didn’t exercise too much. Every now and then I would go to the health club with my friend and afterwards we would light up a cigarette as we were walking out. It was like this for at least 10 years. After my wife became pregnant I knew I had to quit smoking. After struggling with quitting, my love for junk food took over and I really started gaining the weight back that I lost in high school. I used to donate blood every now and then, and they initially run a quick test to see if you are ok to give blood. Well, one time the phlebotomist told me that my cholesterol and BP were too high to give blood and that I should schedule an appointment to see my doctor. After finding out from my doctor how bad my numbers were, I knew something had to change. Starting running again was so tough; it seemed like I could barely go a block before I had to stop. Luckily for me I persisted, and even though my numbers aren’t great…they have gone down considerably since I started running more.

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Fred: I found BWRC after the CARA training for the Chicago Marathon last year. I always ran alone because I felt I was too slow to run with other people. When I was training with CARA, I found out how much I liked running with others and that there are runners of all paces. I definitely wanted to keep running after the marathon and it seems like a lot of runners who trained with CARA are with BWRC now, so it all worked out great!

Q: Why do you run?

Fred: There are so many reasons, but mostly I keep running for the health benefits. I want to be healthy enough to do things with my family, and be there to watch my kids grow into adults. Running is definitely a good way for me to relieve stress as well, sometimes I will just put my headphones on and anything that was bothering me goes away. I can be tired, sweaty and have sore legs, but still feel great mentally after a run.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Fred: I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon. I haven’t committed yet – but I want to do the Amita 1/2 and the Alpine 1/2 in September.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Fred: BWRC is the main reason I was able to keep running after the marathon. I have met so many amazing people in this group and everyone is so supportive and knowledgeable. It truly is like one big family. I’ve gotten so much advice on running and non-running things. I’m not that big of a talker…but I do like to listen, especially on runs – I guess it takes my mind off of the running. BWRC really makes me look forward to running.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: MARY RADLOFF KLABACHA

This week’s BWRC Member Spotlight is Mary Radloff Klabacha. Mary is running her first marathon this Fall at the Chicago Marathon and is fundraising for Team Fox to which she has a very personal connection. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your running story with us; we love having you as part of the BWRC family!

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Mary: My 1st 5K was Chase to The Taste in 2006 when I was a volunteer for The Des Plaines Special Events Commission. I registered as a walker and as soon as I saw everyone start running, I changed my mind and ran, not wanting to be the last person to finish. That got me excited about running and I did many 5Ks over the years. I only ran during the “running season” and would have to start all over again each Spring.

In 2015 I decided to show up to Coach Nick Nowicki’s Speedwork at Melas Park, just to see what it entailed. I had the good fortune of meeting running legend Judit Miko, and I have tagged along with her ever since! I finally aimed higher completing a couple 10Ks in 2016, my 1st 1/2 Marathon in 2017, and am currently training for my 1st full Marathon. I started running in my 40’s and it’s been “baby steps” progression but that’s OK!

Q: Why did you start running?

Mary: I started because it’s a great way to stay healthy and positively reduce stress. Years ago my cholesterol level was borderline high- I was able to greatly improve the “good cholesterol” by diet/exercise so my ratio has remained healthy and I didn’t need to take medication. I am sure running benefits us in so many positive ways!

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Mary: Some of my running friends from other groups had  heard about BWRC and we all decided to check it out. Every one of us has loved the warm welcome, support, fun, and friendships we have developed thanks to this awesome group!

Q: Why do you run?

Mary: I like to eat a lot and drink wine! Ha! I am more or less hooked on running. Even though I currently have some IT Band issues, I have learned we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I am treating the IT Band while Marathon Training- Runners are a very committed, supportive, and motivated group! That’s one of the things I most love about the running community.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Mary: I am training for my 1st full Marathon- Chicago 2018, while fundraising for Team Fox (on behalf of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research). My big sister Susie Stephens lost her 20 year battle with this progressive neurological disease in March 2017. She was an amazing lady and is greatly missed (I’ve included a photo of Susie as a young MD). Thanks to CARA/BWRC Training I am really excited to complete 26.2 miles while also helping the millions of people impacted by Parkinson’s.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Mary: BWRC is like a family of friends, all sharing our love of running and pursuing our goals. We can count on each other for support and good times. I am also happy that BWRC is doing great things to benefit our community, as a nonprofit. Looking forward to our runs and fun times ahead!! Thanks BWRC!

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: MARY JO WARD

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Mary Jo: I have been running since 2011. I ran my first marathon in 2014. I never considered myself a runner because I didn’t run as fast as a lot of other runners. I have learned if you run, you are a runner no matter what your pace is.

Q: Why did you start running?

Mary Jo:  I always admired seeing runners out running and wished that I could run. I never went out and tried to run because I feared that people in their cars would be judging me. Once I got over that fear, I was out there running on all the main streets. I love to hear my co-workers say to me, “Hey, we saw you out on Lake Cook running yesterday.  Looking good!” There’s that saying, “No matter how slow you go – you are still lapping everyone on the couch.”

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Mary Jo: After training for two marathons on my own, I had thought about running a third, but I needed to do something different with my training. I did most of it at the forest preserve near my house. The loop was 3 miles and many times it was hard to get those Saturday long runs in running a loop 6-8 times. Even the deer started looking at me like I was crazy. I had contemplated joining CARA, but I was nervous about training with complete strangers whom I was sure were a lot faster than I was. I wanted to get myself out of my comfort zone and signed up to train with them. How awesome was it going to be to run with people with the same interests. Not everyone understands why people choose to run. My training was an incredible experience. I ran with the greatest pace group, my group leaders were awesome. When training was coming to an end, I thought, “what was I going to do when CARA was over?” Would I just wait until the Spring to start running again and lose all the momentum I gained throughout the summer? That’s when I heard that BWRC was being put together and it was a no brainer that I would be joining this group. I just wish that I had the same endurance as Amanda and Jim to run in those frigid temperatures. They are my heroes!

Q: Why do you run?

Mary Jo: I run for two reasons. One is for health reasons; I have genetically high cholesterol and I refuse to take medication for it. Since I have been running I have gotten my levels under control without medication. My bad cholesterol level is now in the normal range. My cardiovascular results from my last physical were the same as someone that is in high school. Running is good for my health! The second reason is I love how I feel when I run. There is nothing like those endorphins. I have found that anything is possible. There are days when I have a bad run and want to give up, but then that next one is amazing. It’s surprising to me how I can struggle during a race and think I’m never doing this again and when it’s  over, I’m already looking for the next race to sign up for.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Mary Jo: After trying to convince all of my friends and myself that I was done with marathons, or at least for 2018, I signed up for the Monumental Marathon in November in Indianapolis. After running all three marathons in Chicago, I thought it was time to try something new. I’m really excited for it! Sometimes I think that I’m crazy to be excited to run 26.2 miles. I am also looking forward to our upcoming half marathon road trip in Nashville in April 2019.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Mary Jo: BWRC means friendships, accountability, and runners supporting runners. I love that when I finish a race and things didn’t go the way I was hoping, the group is there with hugs, smiles, high fives and that pat on the back that I need. The group is so motivating and truly cares for each and every runner. We had an amazing time at the Carmel and Wisconsin half marathons in the Spring. The best thing that I ever did was join a running group. I don’t see myself retiring from running for a long time. If I tell you that I won’t be running a marathon in 2019, don’t believe me.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY – PRAVEEN PUTTANANJAIAH

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Praveen: I have been running for the past 2 and half years. Yeah, not a long time ago and I can’t believe that I am still running. I was new to long distance running with no stamina nor mental strength. The longest I had run was 800 meters and that was when I was 10 years old. So it was no brainer; the key was to take baby steps. The first year it was all run-walk, initially it was more walk minutes and less run and gradually improved with more run minutes and less walk. This helped me build the stamina and prepared the mind for long distance running. 2 years of forcing my legs to work hard, giving lot of pain and running lot of miles, now I can say “I am a runner”.

Q: Why did you start running?

Praveen: I am a great lover of food who like tasting different cuisine and if the food is good will hog it. No control at all. I was a couch potato; binge watching, eating junk, no exercise routine and the list goes on and on. February 2016 is when it all started. My wife and kid were going on vacation to India and my wife asked me to weigh her luggage before going to the airport. I stepped on the weighing machine and could not believe my eyes. It was showing 197 pounds. I checked if something other than me was on the machine. Nope nothing…I weighed again; no changes. That made me think, “how will I lose these extra pounds?” No idea..like a typical couch potato I did not do anything about it and left it there.

After a week or so at work one of my colleague asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon and join group of people (colleagues) who were planning to train for it at Busse Woods. I laughed at him. “Me and running, no way; not my cup of tea.” But they kept on pushing me. “Why not? Just give it a try. Train for some days, if you can, then do it, otherwise quit.” That was the push this 197 pounder needed. So I registered for my first half marathon (Chicagoland Spring 1/2 marathon at Busse). Yup it was a couch to 13 mile (LOL). The race was just three months away and the training started. The first few days of the training were just walking on the treadmill to get the feel of it and the long runs we planned to run at Busse. I still remember my first long run. The temperature was around 35 degrees and the plan was to run 4 miles. We started jogging and after 0.2 miles I stopped. I could not run any more. I was huffing and puffing, my heart was pounding harder, and I was ready to quit. As they say the group always helps when you are down. A couple of my friends said they would walk with me and we started walking for 2 miles into Busse and back and my journey to lose those dreaded extra pounds started. This journey which started for weight loss became a passion and I started loving it. Now it has become part of my life.

After eight months of run/walk, three half marathons, one 10K, and a healthy eating habit (thanks to my wife), I lost 35 pounds. Phew that was hard; but as runners say, you got to do what you go to do.

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Praveen: Nov 2016 – One of my colleagues at work put this crazy idea of running Chicago Marathon into my head. At that point I was just an amateur run/walker who got into running 8 months ago and both physically and mentally I was not at all ready for a full marathon. Like my first half marathon, my running friends started pushing me to register for the Chicago full. That small push definitely helped me to register with a hope that I would not get selected in the lottery. To my surprise, after a month I got an email which said, “Congratulations! You have received an entry into the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.” I was ecstatic and at the same time clueless. Ecstatic with the thought of running a full marathon, clueless on how to climb the huge MOUNTAIN in front of me!

Even though I ran with group of friends I ended up running alone as each of them were running at their own pace. The majority of the time I ended up not completing my long runs as I was getting bored. So I needed some formal group training and I joined CARA and started running with the 10:30 group. A few months into my training, I started admiring the runners, their commitment and discipline. Experienced runners with their valuable suggestions and guidance made me dumbfounded. To name a few Jim, Amanda, Emily (our site coordinators), Coach John (Nutrition expert), Peggy (my group leader), and many more. Every long run at Busse made me love running even more. Around August 2017 I saw a “Home Sweet Home” post on Facebook from John Wall with just a map. At that point of time, I had no clue what that map (Busse 7.3 mile loop) was and what was happening. The following weekend after our long run, Jim told me that they were planning to continue running in Busse once CARA summer training was over and I could join the group if I was interested in continuing running with them. It was a no brainer for me; I joined BWRC. Our first race as the BWRC group was in Lake Zurich at the Alpine Races half marathon and I PRd by 15 minutes which I will never forget in my life. And my journey with BWRC started..I can proudly say I was with BWRC from the start.

Q: Why do you run?

Praveen: That’s an interesting question. The same has been asked by many people in last two and half years. Some ask out of curiosity, some think I am crazy, and some are jealous that I run.

My answer is very simple. I run because it’s fun. I run because I get to spend time with my running family. I run because it makes me healthy. I run because I like the pain (LOL). I run because I love to eat and drink. I like to take selfies after runs (LOL).

“3.1, 6.2, 13.1, 26.2 – To some these are just numbers. To me it’s hours of training, dedication, sweat, pain, renewal, sacrifice, perseverance and determination.”

My running mantra is “Enjoy your run, make conversations with fellow runners, divert the mind, listen to the body. You are not here to win the marathon..so take it easy and have fun.”

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Praveen: I am running the Chicago Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on July 22nd and might run another half before October which I have yet to decide. My next big race after that will be the Chicago Marathon in October for which I am currently training. I will not say that I don’t have a goal and I just run for fun. Nope, I do have a goal in my mind to finish my full marathon under 4 hours 40 minutes and half marathon under 2:10 minutes.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Praveen: BWRC = “Family”. BWRC has become an integral part of my life and I am so happy with that.

This group motivates you when you run, cheers you up when you are down, misses you when you’re are not around, helps you when you get injured, guides you at each and every step, and always wishes you the the best. What else does one need in a group? BWRC runners rock!

Life is beautiful and I am one happy runner. All the credit goes to BWRC.

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A SPECIAL SALUTE TO THIS YOUNG MAN

The highlight of my Memorial Day Weekend came yesterday with this young man. Vishnu, about to graduate 5th grade, was our youngest Couch to 5K participant. His mom and dad dropped him off for training each week. He worked hard over 8 weeks for this moment at the Salute 5K in Arl Hts yesterday. I asked if I can run with him and with a shy smile, he said yes.

It was undoubtedly the hottest race I have run.Before mile 1 he asked why we had to run directly into the sun. It seemed forever but before too long we made a turn away from ole Sol.. The rather inquisitive young boy proceeded to ask if 5ks run in the rain or in 100 degree temps before asking when the next water stop will come.

It was hot yet this young man had every bit of my attention. Perhaps I was just a distraction to get him through the run. I was totally ok with that as he helped me get through as well. He said the mile 2 water station took way too long to get to. However, a very wonderful family handed out water between mile 2 & 3 giving us an added step.

After a couple of walks to regroup, Vishnu spotted the finish line in the distance as we headed west along Miner St. I said “you ready t run this in to the finish and without hesitation he said yes! 20 yards from the finish we spotted his proud parents smiling  and taking pictures in excitement for their young boy.

My running partner was gleaming from ear to ear.  THANK YOU Vishna for allowing me to share in your journey young man!

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: TIM MCDONALD

Happy Monday, BWRC! We would like to announce that Tim McDonald will be our new Director of Sponsorship as Joe Carey has stepped down from the position to focus on his family and newborn son; Joe will continue to be a valuable member of the BWRC family. Tim has been leading our Couch to 5K Program and is a great addition to the BWRC board. We asked Tim to be our Member Spotlight Monday for this week so you can get to know our newest board member!

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Tim: I ran when I was in Junior High and High School then took a 22 year break.

Q: Why did you start running?

Tim: I started running again in 2010 I was 38 years old smoking 2 packs a day eating takeout 7 nights a week and 30 lbs overweight. At my height 30 extra pounds is NOT a good look. I received a call that my High School coach had passed away so I went to his wake, When I arrived I saw so many of my old teammates and they were all in such great shape. I could feel them looking me up and down. Seeing the pack of cigarettes in my shirt pocket. I decided that day that in 3 months on my birthday I would quit smoking. My birthday came and I kept my promise to myself. I put them down and have never picked one up since.

Three months later I decided that I needed to get myself into shape so that I could live another 40 years. I started with the very plan I am coaching today, the C25K. It was the most difficult thing I had done athletically in over 2 decades. I worked my tail off and ran my 1st 5K in April 2010. Then I ran a few more 5K’s…then I ran a 10K in Oct…then a Half in November. Then in 2011 I decided to run my 1st  Chicago Marathon to honor my sister battling cancer. If she could go through chemo I could run 26.2..

People say that one decision can change your life… mine was when I started back running.  I was training for my 1st marathon in 2011 and ran into my future wife at Xsport.  If I hadn’t found running again, I wouldn’t have found my wife because there would be NO WAY I would have been in a  gym. We were H.S friends (full disclosure I chased her around as a freshman) and hadn’t seen each other in 24 years. I looked her up on Facebook and asked her out for a drink which turned into dinner at Jameson’s. The rest is history as we have now been together for over 7 years. It’s amazing how life works. Makes me wonder whose life will change for good in the current C25K group. I already see new friendships growing.

Q: How did you find BWRC?

Tim: I decided last year for my 7th marathon that I wanted to join CARA. I walked up for the 1st  group run and felt like it was the 1st day of school again. I didn’t know ANYONE. I was so nervous. Believe it or not the 1st run I actually didn’t even say much more than a few words. By the 2nd time I was there I had started running with John Wall, Richard, Amanda as my group leaders. The 9 min pace group was awesome. They made me feel welcome and they realized about mile two of week two that their ears would be hurting for 16 more weeks. After training BWRC broke off and I joined them on their weekly runs.

Q: Why did you join BWRC?

Tim: I joined to be part of a group that truly cares as well as caters to runners of all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities and paces. I cannot wait to see my C25K team graduate and see them grow.

Q: Why do you run?

Tim: I run to live and I live to run. It makes me happy. I always tell my wife that on my run “ I solve all the world’s problems” there is nothing better than zoning out and just enjoying the sights and sounds. Clears my mind.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Tim: I will be running Nashville Rock N Roll Half next weekend and the Chicago Marathon in Oct. It will be my 8th after I said that I would never do another one when I crossed the line in 2011. I think I have said it at least three other times as well. My goal is to get as many people on the C25K team to the starting line and watch them complete the 5K. I remember what it felt like to finish that 1st one in 2010. I was on top of the world. They need to feel that sense of accomplishment

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

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Tim: It’s truly a family and I am proud to be a part of it.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: JUDI MIKO

Happy Monday, BWRC! This week’s Member Spotlight Monday is Judi Miko. Get to know Judi and her journey as a runner by reading her answers to our questions below!

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Judi: I started running in 1999 so I have been running for almost 20 years. I have to admit that the first year or so of “running”  was more walk run and learning how to run. Back then most people still called it jogging.

Q: Why did you start running?

Judi: I have always been fairly active and enjoyed swimming, bike riding. I rode my bike, cross country skied, down hill ski, roller blading. Shortly after moving to the Chicago area I saw an ad for a triathlon. I swam, I biked so how hard is it really to run a 10k?  Well I found out the hard way – I don’t know how but I managed to somehow push my way through all six miles and I wasn’t dead last ( close though). After that experience I was challenged and I really liked the swimming and biking portions so I figured I needed to learn how to run. It took a really long time to get to being able to for 40 minutes without stopping and I was not liking it much at all. A friend had started running and told me to come run with her and this group of runners. But they ran on Saturdays at 7 AM! What crazy person gets up that early? I did the same triathlon the 2nd time and while my run was not stellar I did fairly well. So well that my husband and my friend convinced me that I should do a half marathon 8 weeks later! I enjoyed that first half marathon and that fall I started joining my friend and her running group. They were all talking about running marathons, the Chicago Marathon and some of them were even running 50K and 50 mile races. I thought they were all a bit crazy. If you spend enough time around these crazy people you get crazy too. I was running to keep my friend company as she trained for the Chicago Marathon. I thought that was a pretty incredible goal to train to run that far. By August, she decided I was ready and signed me up to run my first marathon in 2000, now I was committed; back then you could wait until August to sign up! I was now officially a runner and hooked on running. I contemplated trying to run a marathon in every state. I knew of some people that were starting to do that. I even quit smoking sometime after my 3rd or 4th marathon. I made it to 6 states and 16 or so marathons before injuries, age and work obligations made me step back and stick to the shorter distances.

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Judi: After starting to run, I joined a local running club and through the years have belonged to several and was quite active in two  of the clubs. Times change and people grow older, even runners, and I found myself shopping around for new groups to run with. I enjoy short solo runs but I was missing the company of running buddies on the longer runs. Many of the runners I used to run with  have either moved away or could no longer run anymore. With the onset of modern high tech devices new running groups were popping up everywhere. I checked a few of them out. Many of them were really fast and I found I was running by myself, or there were people who ran my pace but were only going to run 3 miles. During this journey, I had met Mary Radloff Klabacha, Christine Moss, Tina Riess – we heard about this new group that was running in Busse Woods. Hey! I was running in Busse Woods. We decided we would check them out! I was hooked! I found a home. I found a great group of people who were just as crazy as I was about running. There was always someone to run with during rain, snow and below zero wind chills.

Q: Why do you run?

Judi: I run mostly to keep in shape for triathloning – well, mostly. I run because it makes me feel good and I can justify that brownie or extra beer or two or three.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Judi: I always say that I do not “race” but somehow I seem to have a lot of events through the summer. I tried to back off on the number of events but somehow the calendar seems to have filled up again. I will be doing the Frontier Days Stampede 10K and in August I will doing the Great River Ragnar as part of a 6 person Ultra team, and I will be doing the day of the Dead Elimination run in October, 17 mi . I also am signed up for 2 5K swims, 2 triathlons, and, oh I have a 2-day MS bike ride of 175 miles.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Judi: I am so happy to have found BWRC! It means that I will always have someone to run with. This is a great group. Everyone is so supportive of each other. It does not matter if you are a speed demon, or a back of the pack runner, everyone is there to support you and help you to celebrate your personal achievements. I feel like I have a large family. It is nice to have runners of all skill levels gathering together. I like that the club is striving to help people get started in running and to keep them running. It is awesome being part of group that has so many experienced runners that are willing to take their time to help less experienced runners grow and improve their running skills. Thanks to this group I am running more again. I look forward to all of activities planned for this summer. I look forward  to hearing about the journey some will make towards their first marathon. I look forward to being challenged and encouraged to improve myself as well.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT MONDAY: RICHARD THOMAS

Happy Monday, BWRC! This week’s Member Spotlight Monday is Richard Thomas. Richard competes in many races throughout the year including most recently placing second in his age group at the Wisconsin Half Marathon in Kenosha! Richard found running after becoming bored with walking for exercise and hasn’t looked back since! Get to know Richard more in his answers to our questions below:

Q: How long have you been a runner?

Richard: I started running sometime in the summer or fall of 2010 as a continuation of my weight loss agenda. I had started out just walking, doing 10k steps a day.

Q: Why did you start running?

Richard: Although I have always been physically active and thought I was in decent shape for my age, during a routine annual physical when I was 63, I discovered I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and at 160 pounds on a 5 foot frame, I was considered obese. I had picked up some bad eating habits after quitting a 2 pack a day cigarette habit, and apparently those sweets and junk food had caught up to me. Obese!!? I’m already short, old, hard of hearing, missing half my teeth and have questionable social skills, I don’t need to add obesity to the mess.

The change in eating habits was actually not that hard. I simply stopped eating crap and with bossdears help, and her being a skilled and creative cook, we both started healthy eating. And with a few minutes on Google, I found that one of the best physical activities for weight loss was simply walking. So, I walked. And walked, and walked and walked, and bought a pedometer and walked some more, 10,000 steps a day. Every single day. If I needed some steps to meet my daily goal, I would take a walk around the block at 10pm. Or do laps around the living room. Or march in place in front of the tv. I was driving bossdear nuts. But. It worked. At my next physical, my blood pressure was normal and my cholesterol numbers were all good. And I had walked from 160 to 128 pounds. But, having met my original goals, I was quite frankly getting really bored with walking. I wanted to maintain my 10k steps per day goal, but, I figured if I started running, I could get it done faster.

So, bottom line, I started running because I was bored.

Q: How did you find BWRC?

Richard: Someone from another running group mentioned BWRC on Facebook. I think there was also a photo with someone wearing a green BWRC shirt.

Q: Why did you join BWRC?

Richard: I have been running in Busse Woods almost from the start. And I was always on the lookout for local running clubs or groups. I heard about AMP’D via Runners High and Tri and quickly joined up with them. Then I saw the mention in Facebook about BWRC and it sounded like a good fit, so joined up. I also run with HIP and the Deer Grove Trail Runners on occasion. You can’t have too many running groups but believe it or not, I really enjoy running mostly by myself.

Q: Why do you run?

Richard: I run for fitness, for stress relief, for solitude, to challenge myself. Also for wine and donuts.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Richard: I’ll be running the Got2Run 8K in Arlington Heights on the 19th of May. I’ll be running with co-workers in the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge on May 24. I’m running the half marathon/5k challenge in Sioux Falls South Dakota in September. I’m still trying to decide about running the Des Moines Marathon. One of my goals is to break 5 hours in the marathon.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Richard: I’m not a very social person, so BWRC helps get me out of my comfort zone. Because, let’s face it, BWRC is VERY social. I’ve never seen such an active group. There is always something going on. Sometimes I get exhausted just reading over the upcoming events list.

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