Let’s Get to Know … Praful Aggarwal!

Joining a new running group can be a bit intimidating. But Milwaukee transplant, Praful Aggarwal, encourages everyone to give it a try.

“Over the past couple of years, I have realized how awesome runners are,” he says. “I always tell people that really all they have to do is show up. The veteran group members do everything they can to make you feel comfortable and enjoy the workout.”

Read on to learn more about Praful and his running journey!

11721168_10204874019266577_1508889409_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Age: 28 years
Years running: About 3 years ago, I got on a treadmill for the first time. But when tragedy struck the Boston Marathon, I decided to take running more seriously. My friend, Wendy Demos, helped me understand running. She introduced me to races, training plans, running stores, like PRO, and so much more. So I would have to say that I have been running for a little more than 2 years.
Favorite workout: I enjoy working out in a group, so anytime I get to participate in a group run or fitness class is when I have the most fun. More specifically I really enjoy speed workouts at the Hart Park track and Core/Strength classes at the WAC Wauwatosa.
Favorite gear: I am not too gear heavy and just need my Timex (30-lap watch) and shoes.
Pre-race routine: I like to get up at least 2-3 hours before a race in order to foam roll/stretch and get my stomach to feel like I want it to. Besides that, just get to the race and warm-up.
Favorite post-race treat: Watermelon and Oranges.
Favorite distance to race: Half Marathon. My first “real” race was a half marathon, so I just have a special thing for half marathons.
Favorite inspirational running quote: I would have to say, “Run Forrest Run” from Forrest Gump.

11736910_10204874019186575_736240330_n

Why did you start running and what’s kept you running throughout the years?
I used to be really big, so I took up running on a treadmill to get in shape. I quickly realized how boring and monotonous it was. So I started running outside and I really enjoyed it. However, once the distances started to get longer, my interest in running started to decline. Then one day, I ran into Angie Smith at a Lakefront Marathon Build-up Run and she literally took me under her wing. She introduced me to people and then I started running with her, Mariya Sorensen, Paul Kopernik, Robert Kowalski and others. There hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t enjoyed a run. Even when I have to run alone, the anticipation of running with my buddies later that week or next week and chatting about our training and stuff is what really keeps me going. And there is also the fact that I don’t want to get big again and, due to my love for food, if I don’t run I’ll be a beach ball in no time.

11714370_10204875963435180_1125740499_nWith Angie Smith

Fill in the blank: When I run, I feel _______!
Thankful and humble

What running goals are you looking to tackle in the next few years?
To be honest, I just want to keep running. But as far as goals go, I want to improve on my half marathon time and get in the 1:35 range. Besides that, it’ll be really cool to one day say that I ran Boston.

How are you involved in the local running community and what encouraged you to get involved?
The first thing I did was become a member of the Badgerland Striders, which has been incredible. It helped me identify racing events in MKE and I started volunteering at races. I love every bit of it. It is just so much fun and the gratitude that runners express toward volunteers is such a rewarding feeling. So, I do try to volunteer as much as I can. What prompted me to get involved is that I enjoy people watching and meeting people, so volunteering and being involved in the running community is a really good way of achieving both these things.

Sometimes people are intimidated to come to a running meetup – what would you tell these runners to encourage them to give it a try?
Over the past couple of years, I have realized how awesome runners are. I always tell people that really all they have to do is show up. The veteran group members do everything they can to make you feel comfortable and enjoy the workout. That’s why I am always trying to recruit people to come to speed workouts at the Hart Park track.

Where are you originally from – and what brought you to MKE? What is it like running in MKE compared with where you are from?
I am from Delhi, India. I came to MKE to attend Marquette University for an MS degree. Actually MKE is where I started running and to me I really don’t know anything else. I never really ran in Delhi so I cannot compare the two, but Delhi is a big and beautiful city with some hot/humid weather for most of the year. I would imagine that runs at dusk and dawn will be really nice there. I’ll definitely take my kicks with me when I go back and will share my experience.

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
I live in Wauwatosa and love running around Hart Park and Hansen Park. However, my favorite place to run is by Lake Michigan, especially the routes that we take during the Lakefront Marathon Build-up Runs.

What are some of your favorite Milwaukee races?
I really like the Hartfest Half in Wauwatosa, as it is a pretty decent-sized event, is right in my neighborhood and the food after the race is simply amazing. Last year, I ran the Lakefront Discovery Run and I had a blast. The creativity behind all the costumes was just mind-blowing. I also like the Lake Country Half in Oconomowoc.

11739721_10204874019226576_626543678_n

What makes Milwaukee a great place for runners?
I have lived in Milwaukee for almost six years now, and I think it is a nice-size city, which makes it perfect to run and workout. All the parks, trails and sidewalks are fairly well maintained and thus are good for running. The weather is also “pretty” good for running. However, the best part about running in MKE is the people. They are welcoming, appreciative and encouraging. There is always somebody either running, walking, biking or just hanging out. Once you put your shoes and get out the door, you just experience good positive vibes which are really something else.

Any other comments?
Running has changed my life. I know this will sound corny but I feel like it is my better half as it makes me better every time I am with it. I owe so much to it and to all the people who have become a significant part of my life. These are people whom I would have never met had it not been for running. These friendships are what I really cherish the most. I just have so much fun doing this that I am always on the hunt to get more people to run, which is weird considering that there was a time when I despised running.

Thanks for chatting with us, Praful!

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone! And as always …

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Advertisements

Build Up Runs Start This Weekend! Plus, Join In For Local July Fun Runs!

Hey everyone! Who’s already counting down the minutes til the weekend is here??

In case you don’t already have it on your calendar, remember that this Saturday is the first Milwaukee Running Festival (MRF) Marathon and Half Marathon Buildup Run. The runs will be held at 8am on Saturday mornings leading up to race weekend. The start/finish location will be the Brady Street footbridge on Lincoln Memorial Drive just south of McKinley Marina.

This Saturday, marathon runners will run 8 miles and half marathon runners will run 3 miles. To see what distance the group will run each week or for more details about the buildup runs, visit the Milwaukee Running Festival website.

Note: The buildup runs on July 25th, August 9th and September 19th will take place starting at the Grant Park Clubhouse in South Milwaukee due to other events along the lakefront.

In addition to the MRF buildup runs, here are a few upcoming fun runs you won’t want to miss:

July 9 – MRF Thursday Night Social Run
6-7:30pm
Urban Ecology Center (Menomonee Valley)
3700 West Pierce Street, Milwaukee
Details: 5k on the Hank Aaron Trail; refreshments served post run

July 11 – Flapjack 5k Fun Run with Asics
8:30am
Performance Running Outfitters (Brookfield)
2205 N Calhoun Road, Brookfield
Details: Test out the new Asics Cumulus 17 shoes; enjoy flapjacks, coffee and a raffle post run

July 15 – Badgerland Striders President’s Fun Run
6:30pm
Hart Park, Wauwatosa
Details: 3 mile and 6 mile runs; refreshments served post run

July 16 – MRF Thursday Night Social Run
6-7:30pm
PNC Bank, Mitchell Park
1597 W National Ave, Milwaukee
Details: 4-miler through Mitchell Park; refreshments served post run

July 16 – Summer Sizzler Pub Run
6pm
Performance Running Outfitters (Shorewood)
4533 N Oakland Avenue, Shorewood
Details: 5k run through Shorewood; join the group at Three Lions Pub post run for discounted food and beverages

July 21 – Trail Fun Run with Saucony
6pm
Nashotah Park
W330n5113 County Rd C, Nashotah (Meet at the Park & Ride)
Details: Hosted by Performance Running Outfitters. Group will do a 5k. Test a pair of Saucony Nomad Trail shoes and be entered into a raffle to win a pair!

July 22 – Badgerland Striders Junk Food Fun Run
6:30pm
Veteran’s Park, Milwaukee
Details: 3 mile and 6 mile runs; junk food delights served post run

July 23 – MRF Thursday Night Social Run
6-7:30pm
Wild Workouts and Wellness
3056 South Delaware Avenue, Milwaukee
Details: 4-miler around the South Shore; refreshments served post run

July 25 – Flapjack 5k Fun Run with Adidas
8:30am
Performance Running Outfitters (Brookfield)
2205 N Calhoun Road, Brookfield
Details: Test out Adidas Sequence 8 shoes; enjoy flapjacks, coffee and a raffle post run

July 29 – Badgerland Striders Corn Roast Fun Run
6:30pm
Minooka Park #4 ($4 parking fee), Waukesha
Details: 3 mile and 6 mile runs; roasted corn and other refreshments served post run

July 30 – MRF Thursday Night Social Run
6-7:30pm
Pere Marquette Park, Milwaukee
Details: 3-miler on the Riverwalk; refreshments served post run

For more information about the fun runs, visit the following:

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

We Heart Track Part Two: MKE Track Workouts

Last week, we featured tracks around the city where you can get your speedwork on. This week, we’re sharing a few local groups you can meet up with when you want to fly.

This summer, let’s get faster together, MKE!

Badgerland Striders Track Workout
Tuesdays @6:30pm
Hart Park, Wauwatosa
Website: http://www.badgerlandstriders.org/
Details: The workout is led by Matt Thull from ThunderDome Running. Participants should be warmed up and ready to start by 6:30pm. During the late fall and winter months, workouts are held at the Pettit National Ice Center indoor track and are led by Angie Smith.

Greater Milwaukee Track Club
Dates vary
Marquette University Track
Website: http://www.rungmtc.com/
Details: The goal of the club is to encourage adult cross country and track & field participation. No performance standards to join. Members can attend group workouts that are typically held a few times per week at the Marquette outdoor track.

InStep – Delafield
Wednesdays @6pm
InStep, 615 Genesee Street, Delafield
Website: http://www.runinstep.com/
Details: Runners meet at the store for a 10-minute warmup run to the track. Program runs May – October.

Milwaukee Running Group (OMG)
Tuesdays @6pm
Shorewood High School
Website: https://mkerungroup.wordpress.com/
Details: There are two separate groups – one for faster runners (6-10 min pace) and one for slower runners. The group is pretty informal and workout suggestions are always welcome.

Performance Running Outfitters
Thursdays @6:30pm thru August 13
Hart Park, Wauwatosa
Website: http://www.performancerunning.com/
Details: Participants should be warmed up and ready to start by 6:30pm. Workouts may include tempo runs, hill repeats, intervals and sprints. All abilities are welcome. Know your 5k race time to be put into groups.

We’re curious: Do you prefer to do speedwork alone or with a group?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Let’s Get to Know … Angie Smith!

If you’re a Badgerland Striders member or race locally, chances are you’ve met Angie. She’s the woman who always has a fancy bow in her hair (she makes them herself!) and always has an encouraging word for her fellow runners.

We recently met Angie in a guest post about Disney races. Now, we get to know more about her training, racing goals and what she believes makes MKE a special place for runners!

10421175_10204800145035684_6661307646679700725_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Age: 30
Years running: 16 years, with about 14 of them being solid; I had a couple years off in there.
Favorite workout: I really enjoy the spring/summer speed workouts with the Striders and also their marathon build up long runs. Favorite speed workout would probably be 5 sets of 4×400 starting at marathon pace and ending at mile pace. I love to run in groups so any time I have company is a good workout.
Favorite gear: I am very minimal and pretty much just need my watch (Nike Plus) and shoes.
Pre-race routine: I try to wake up 2-3 hours before the race. Other than that I don’t do much, but now that I am working with ThunderDome running, I am working on some stretching beforehand.
Favorite post-race treat: I have tried to give up soda so if it is a big race I will sometimes have a soda afterward or some fruity candy like Skittles or Gummy Bears.
Favorite distance to race: I really enjoy the 5k. My high school coach, who helped me out from 1998 thru 2014, always says I have faster twitch muscles than endurance muscles which makes me a better 5k-er. Although I do miss running the mile (1600) which I did in high school and college. Also in college I ran Steeplechase and really enjoyed that race.

10434195_10204041696114935_777519963953451364_n

Why did you start running?
I started running because that is all I ever did. If you ask any of my family members, I ran before I walked as a child. My mom said it would drive her nuts that I ran everywhere; she wondered if I knew how to walk. So when I was at high school (Milwaukee High School of the Arts) freshman orientation, I passed the cross country booth. I knew I wanted to run track but knew nothing about cross country. My mom and I talked with them and found out track wasn’t till the spring but this was a great build up for track season. Plus I saw the lettermen jacket and I am a very award driven type of person and that was right up my alley. I can also say that a big portion of why I run is because of my high school coach, John Rodahl. We have built a great relationship through all the running we have done together. I honestly don’t know if I would have kept running if it wasn’t for him. I consider him a second father and we talk at least once a week.

What does a typical training week look like for you?
My training week includes five days running and two off days. My running days consist of three easy runs of four to five miles, one interval workout and one long run. This is typical to what most runners run. Since I am just starting with Matt Thull and ThunderDome Running, I am excited to see where my workouts will take me. I am sure things will change up a bit, but I know the structure will be similar each week.

Fill in the blank: When I run, I feel ____
Stress free and in the moment!

You recently started working with Matt Thull and ThunderDome Running. Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to work with a coach?
I decided to start working with a coach because I am a crazy Type A personality. Last year I drove myself crazy writing my own training schedule. I can sit down and write it out for others with no problem, but when it came to me I found myself over thinking it. What helped was calling Rodahl to check and see if what I was planning made sense. But I wanted to take on some larger goals this year and I didn’t want the added stress of trying to figure out how to get myself there.

I met Matt at the speed workouts in the summer and started following some of his athletes. I liked the results I was seeing from them, and I was also seeing great results from attending the workouts. I knew this was going to be the right decision for me. Also I would stay and chat with Matt after practice and we seemed to get along great. I felt like I could trust him, which he or any runner will tell you is one of the most important components between a coach and his athlete.

What running goals are you looking to tackle in the next few years?
I am hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I am currently in the hardest time frame for women – a 3:35 marathon which comes out to an average of 8:12 a mile. I am also hoping to break the 1:40 mark in a half marathon and just improve on my race times overall.

10272499_10201124158826224_3360220410776984014_o

You run the Badgerland Striders track workouts at the Pettit. Can you tell us a bit about the workouts?
Matt Thull and I have worked it out with the Striders. He will run the spring/summer (May-September) workouts and I will run the fall/winter (October -April) workouts to keep it going all year long. I volunteered to continue on with the speed workouts after Matt could no longer run them due to fall obligations.

For the winter we have been having anywhere from 15-20 people who show up. The workouts are on Tuesday nights at 6:30 at the Pettit for fall/winter and then same time and day but at Hart Park for spring/summer. Anyone is welcome to join and we have all paces that come. I know it can be very intimidating but we really have a friendly group of people. I try to alternate between longer intervals and shorter intervals. Sometimes I reuse workouts we did with Matt in the summer or use ones I have read about or ran at the high school, college and club level. I have also had people ask to do specific workouts, so we throw those into the loop, too. We are flexible enough to try to work in any suggestions that people have or to try something new.

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
I enjoy the long runs starting at Lake Park Bistro, but when I was living in Milwaukee, I loved my loop through downtown Wauwatosa. There were always people out and about and stuff to look at. I now live in Caledonia, and there is a little village called Wind Point about a mile and half from me. I have a 6½ mile loop that takes me past cows, corn fields and then these huge gorgeous houses that face Lake Michigan. I also go through a golf course and then pass the Wind Point light house, which has some gorgeous views of the lake. But mostly if I am running, I will enjoy it wherever I am.

What are some of your favorite Milwaukee races?
I do have a special place in my heart for the Badgerland Striders Lakefront Marathon. It was my first, second and third marathon and I just love the course and the time of the year. There is no better way to view fall in Wisconsin than with that race. I also enjoy the races put on by Lighthouse Events, such as the Winter Running Series. I like that they award points and have series winners at the end since I am award driven. I also got to be part of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay this year and we had a blast and will be back for sure. I also pace with Performance Running Outfitters for Rock N Sole, Brewers Mini and, new this year, the Milwaukee Running Festival. Pacing a race brings a whole different feeling of accomplishment than when you race yourself, and I love that. I love helping others achieve their goals, and it makes it more fun for me too.

10177516_10204068746939307_988518083898957174_n

What makes Milwaukee a great place for runners?
By running the Disney races this year and through Facebook, I met a ton of runners throughout the United States and came to realize we have so much support here. When I talked about the group of 100 people that come to the build ups, versus all these people who had to do their training runs on their own, I realized how strong of a running community we have. Also our runners are so nice and friendly; other places that did not seem to be the case. I love the support we give to all people, no matter pace or experience, and I hope everyone utilizes what we have here. It would be a waste not to.

Any other comments?
If you have any questions about the Badgerland Striders or the speed workouts, feel free to contact me via Facebook or stop me at race. I love to talk running, so don’t worry.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Angie! If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at keeprunningmke@gmail.com if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Let’s Get to Know . . . Anne Coffman

Anne Coffman only started running three years ago, yet she’s already run more marathons than some who have been running for years.

Read on to learn how she got started in the sport, her involvement in the MKE running community and how she trained for last year’s MS Runs the US relay race – 220 miles over nine days!

IMG_2476

Age:  43

Years running: 3 years

Favorite workout: Short but intense speed work sessions – it breaks up the long distance running.

Favorite distance to race: Half marathon – it is long enough to be challenging but short enough that training does not take up much time.

Favorite song to get pumped up pre-race: Hmm … nothing specific pre-race, but when I am nearing the end of a treadmill run, I always switch to Crazy Bitch for the last half mile. It never fails to make me pick up my pace.

Favorite post-race treat: Grilled cheese sandwich!!!

Must-have gear: In winter, my Brooks Utopia running jacket – it is the best I’ve found. In summer, anything by Lululemon.

IMG_0440

How did you get started with running?

I got started when I was going to a PT conference in New Orleans and some of my PT colleagues posted online that they were doing the Rock N Roll Half Marathon the weekend of our conference. I figured if they could do it, I could too. That was my first half in February 2011. After I did another two half marathons, my son told me “Mom, that is pretty good but you could never do a full marathon”. Little did he know how his mom takes on a challenge! I did my first marathon in October 2012 and have done 12 since then.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I usually run T/W/Th moderate distances or speed/hills. Saturday is long runs. I also lift weights 3x/week and cross train with boot camp style classes 1-2x/week.

You’re very involved in the running community. Can you tell us a bit about the organizations/groups you’ve worked with?

I first joined Badgerland Striders when I became interested in running and I spent my first summer doing their fun runs and Saturday build up runs. But when winter came, I was looking for a group that runs more regularly and discovered Milwaukee Running Group (OMG). The group has organized runs almost every day of the week, all year long, and it has been a much better fit for me than the Striders. I still am a Strider member – I moderate their Facebook page and love doing their races. But OMG has been more of a running community and social network for me, and we have a fantastic group of people who have connected through running.  On a more national level, I met a group of friends who are Marathon Maniacs – literally crazy runners who run races many times per month. They convinced me to join and do my three qualifying races in the fall of 2012. Maniacs (and the half marathon version called Half Fanatics) are a great social network, especially for those who like to travel to races. And like OMG, I have met some wonderful friends through the Maniacs.

931190_611546945536741_974492535_n

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with MS Runs the US as well as how you trained to run your relay leg?

I applied to run MS Runs the US because Ashley Kumlien is a good friend and I am inspired by her passion and commitment to finding a cure for MS. She needed runners for the inaugural year and even though I had not even done my first marathon yet, she assured me I could do the distance. My week of running was late July, so I had already spent winter of 2013 training for a marathon in May. After that, I switched gears to building miles, lots of long runs. I ran 5x/week with my longest runs on Fri/Sat/Sun to get used to consecutive running days and built up to 70 miles/week. I did back-to-back marathons and a 35 mile run. Being a PT, I knew that training well would be crucial to making it through the MS Run week without getting injured. And after all that training, I did my first (and only) 50 mile race in September. I loved being part of MS Run the US but I don’t ever want to train to that level again!

Can you tell us a little more about Milwaukee Running Group?

OMG is an open group, organized through Meetup, and anyone can show up to run with us. It is only $5 to join (to cover the Meetup costs) and we have group runs most weeknights as well as Sat/Sun mornings. The group has a lot of social events also –Packer parties, brunch after group runs and a Christmas party. In terms of running, we do a lot of races together, and it is always fun to see fellow OMG runners on the course and afterwards. For me, signing up via Meetup keeps me accountable to showing up for the run – it keeps me from skipping out!

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with the Badgerland Striders?

I joined the Striders first, as they were the only group I knew of in Milwaukee. Striders are a more organized/structured group that puts on races and holds monthly meetings. I think they offer a great service to the local running community by putting on low-cost, top-quality races.

What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?

I like the Brewer Mini Marathon, the Rock and Sole Half Marathon and Lakefront Marathon. All those races have so many local friends, and it is fun to see everyone on the course. I like the Discovery Run because of the post party celebration – can’t beat that one!

What are your running goals for the upcoming year?

I am doing Boston for the first time in April so the winter will be spent training for that race. I am also doing Big Sur the weekend after Boston. After that, my schedule is open. I hope to do a little more traveling with my kids and fewer races this summer. But I am sure I will end up doing many local races just for fun.

Thanks for chatting with us, Anne! If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at keeprunningmke@gmail.com if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Who’s In for the BLS Indoor 20k?

Who saw this week’s announcement that registration is now open for the Badgerland Striders new Indoor 20k at the Pettit National Ice Center??

We’re mega stoked about this race! First off, it’s a 20k (about 45 laps), which is an unusual distance in this area so a great opportunity to race something different. Second, what’s not to love about a course that’s pancake flat with guaranteed 50 degree temps and no rain, snow or ice? Third, this is a perfect opportunity to run on the new indoor track and a great way to train for January’s Indoor Marathon races.

Here are the 20k race details, according to the BLS website:

Date: Sunday, Dec. 8

Time: Heat 1: 8:30 a.m. (2 hour time limit); Heat 2: 11:00 a.m. (3 hour time limit)

Location: Pettit National Ice Center, 500 S 84th Street, Milwaukee, WI

Cost: $15 + an unwrapped toy (Note: There is a 100 runner capacity)

Additional details: All registered participants receive a tech t-shirt and snacks and beverages after the race. The course is supported with water stops and restrooms. Awards will be given to the top three males and females in each heat as well as the top male and female in each age group.

So, who’s already already signed up or planning to sign up? We have the feeling this one is going to fill fast …

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!