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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!