Let’s Get to Know … Bill Lamensdorf!

Nine years ago, Bill Lamensdorf began running to improve his health and lose weight. Today, he’s a marathon machine, running the distance several times each year. To date, he’s run 23 marathons.

“If you aren’t a runner and you like the idea of running, give it a start. Just go slow and build up the distances gradually. If you are already running, keep it up, and don’t let anyone stop you!”

Great advice, Bill! Read on to learn more about how he got started, his favorite workout and his must-run local races.

image4Running the HFM Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc

Age: 46; started running at age 37
Favorite Gear: My glow-in-the-dark shirts from when I paced the Rock ‘n Sole Half Marathon twice. They can be seen whether it’s dark, cloudy or foggy, and they are very comfortable.
Pre-race routine: Make sure I eat a big bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with almonds or walnuts in it about 3 hours before the race.
Favorite post-marathon treat: Anything I don’t normally eat on a regular basis, such as pizza, a burger or ice cream. It’s one of the only times of the year I eat these foods.
Favorite distance to race: The marathon. Although I’ve run 23 marathons, they are still very challenging, and the feeling of accomplishment afterward is incredible.
Dream race: Big Sur International Marathon in California. The course is from Big Sur to Carmel on scenic Highway One. It is considered to be one of the most breathtaking courses in the world. There is a non-guaranteed drawing to gain acceptance in the race since it is in such high demand.

image3With Dean Karnazes after running the North Face 50K Endurance Challenge

Why did you start running and what’s kept you going?
I started running when I was 70 pounds overweight almost 10 years ago. My first run ever I ran a half mile without stopping and almost passed out, LOL. It took me one year to lose those 70 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. During that year of weight loss, I tried every form of exercise imaginable. It was then that I fell in love with running. I have continued to run over the last 9+ years to keep the weight off and I love the challenge running gives me.

image2Lamensdorf before losing weight

My changes were not completely by choice. I was forced to become healthy or face the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. About 10 years ago, I was feeling very ill much of the time, which prompted me to go to the doctor. Keep in mind I was 70 pounds overweight and certainly not a healthy eater by any means. My doctor ordered a complete set of blood work. I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated sugar levels and pre-diabetes. My doctor gave me an ultimatum: get put on a myriad of prescription medicines or lose weight through diet and exercise. I felt this was my wake up call. So I started exercising and eating healthy, while also doing a lot of research on the topics. To make a long story short, once I lost 45 pounds, all of my blood levels went back to the normal range, and the fatty liver disease completely healed itself. But I did not want to stop there, so I kept going and lost the full 70 pounds. It has not been easy to keep the weight off. The experts say that 95% of those that lose weight gain it back. But with the help of the Lord, I have kept the majority of it off.

What does a typical training week look like for you?
My training weeks vary. This year I am averaging about 35 miles a week and training for my 24th marathon, which will be my 3rd marathon this year. In past years, I ran as much as 50 miles a week every week, but I am now working 45-50 hours a week, which makes it difficult to put in the high miles. Throughout my nine-year running career, my biggest week of running was 80 miles about six years ago. I felt like I was running in my sleep that week, LOL. But it was a lot of fun!

Can you tell us about your favorite workout?
My favorite workout is a hill/interval workout. I begin a little north of the War Memorial on Lake Drive in Milwaukee. I run on Lake Drive north to the Lafayette Hill and run up and down that hill. I continue running north to the hill on North Ave, and run up and down that hill. My run keeps going north on Lake Drive. The next hill I come to is the hill going up to Lake Park. I run up and down this hill. I continue north on Lake Drive and run up the big hill in front of the polo range. I then turn around and repeat the exact route on the way back to the War Memorial. This ends up being a run of anywhere from 6-9 miles, but it really feels like 10-15 miles because it is such a difficult workout.

What running goals are you looking to tackle next?
I have a few goals I’d like to accomplish in the near future. I look forward to hitting the 30-marathon completion mark, which should be in a few years, Lord willing! And then eventually I want to train for and run a 50 mile or 100 mile ultra-marathon.

What prompted you to work with a running coach and how have you benefitted?
I am currently being coached by Richard Dodd from Running’s RAD. I worked with a personal trainer for the last nine years. The trainer helped me to lose the weight and keep it off, in addition to helping me become a regular runner. But at the urging of my trainer, I sought out a coach last spring and began working with Richard. The best part of working with Richard is that he is a tenured and accomplished runner, so he understands my lifestyle. He also is an ear for me to bounce things off of and get advice. Additionally, Richard runs with me periodically and we talk about strategies and goals. Richard helped me get my best time in 2 years at the marathon I ran six weeks ago.

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
I prefer running right out the front door of my house. I am a morning person, so I do most of my runs early in the morning when it is still dark outside. Therefore, it is very important that I run on a road with wide shoulders. Fortunately there is a street two minutes from my house that has very wide shoulders for a good eight miles each way, allowing me to do up to 16 miles on the road. I also like running long distances on the Loomis Road / HWY 36 trail. I like how the limestone gravel trail is easier on the feet and legs, and this route enables me to go as far as I need, since it is a very long trail.

What are your favorite Milwaukee races?
One of my favorite races is the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha. This is due to the fact that I raced my PR on this course. I also love the HFM Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc because it is a great course, primarily run on the lakefront in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, WI. I also love the Milwaukee Lakefront Discovery Run in the fall. It’s a 15K no-nonsense course along the east side of Milwaukee.

My all-time favorite race is the Running with The Angel Marathon in the Mohave Desert in Nevada, which I ran about 6 years ago. It is one of the hilliest marathons in the county. But it is also unique in that it is the exact course of the Running with The Devil Marathon in the middle of summer. This is the name of the race in the summer because it is one of the hottest places in America at that time. The Angel race is on the exact same course, but in January. BTW, I have no desire to run the Devil race in the middle of summer, LOL.

What makes Milwaukee a great place for runners?
We have become a very active town, and we actually have a large running community in the Milwaukee area. Fellow runners in Milwaukee tend to support each other very well, especially on social media.

image1With the Performance Running Outfitters Rock ‘n Sole Pace Team

Thanks for chatting with us, Bill!

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!

RRCA Coaching Certification + Running’s RAD

Local runner, Richard Dodd, has a long running resume. He’s competed as an elite runner and currently is the Head Boys & Girls Cross Country Coach & Assistant Track Coach at Hartford High School as well as the Race Director of the Adrenaline Marathon in West Bend, the Adrenaline Half, Quarter and 5K; and Adrenaline Triathlon in Random Lake. Now he adds RRCA Certified Running Coach to the list.

Read on to learn more about RRCA certification process as well as Coach Dodd’s new coaching business, Running’s RAD!

runningsradheader1

Can you start off by telling us what it means to have an RRCA Coaching Certification?
It means that I’ve taken the two-day RRCA Certification Course (18 class hours total) and passed the exam as well as received certification in First Aid, CPR, and AED Training. I’m one of only 19 currently such-certified coaches in Wisconsin as of today!

What was the coaching course like and what did you learn?
It was a very intense weekend with 9-hours of class (in South Carolina) both Saturday & Sunday, and some “homework.” One thing that was encouraging to me was that a lot of what I’ve gleaned over a 42-year running career and 19-year coaching career was reinforced in class, meaning I’ve been doing a lot of things correctly for some time! I had been “weaned” on Arthur Lydiard, Joe Vigil, Jack Daniels, etc., so it was a little like “old home” weekend for me!

What was the testing process like? What requirements did you need to meet to receive the certification?
The 100-question, multiple-choice, online test afterward was actually quite daunting with the knowledge if more than 15 answers were wrong you failed the test – with no refunds. Even though it was open book(s), there was a lot of material covered – It took me some 10 hours to complete! Once you hit “submit” your test was scored, with no recourse. After that I had to pay for and take a course in Waukesha for my First Aid/CPR/AED Training, all within a month’s time of taking the RRCA Course.

Do you feel it was worth it to get a Coaching Certification? Why should people interested in coaching get certified?
I honestly think that the RRCA Coaching Course was well worth it. The class-manual and Jack Daniels’ book and the in-class learning justify the time and cost. I believe that if you’re going to coach other individuals that you need to know what you’re doing as well as basic first-aid procedures & CPR. A course has just been posted for Milwaukee in October – hurry, they fill up FAST!

Had you done any coaching previously? What made you decide to get RRCA Coaching Certification?
I have been a high school cross country and track coach for boys & girls for 19 years now (over 1,000 athletes) – 16 years at my alma-mater Whitnall HS and the past 3 years at Hartford Union HS. I was named Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel “Coach Of The Year” in 2004. The high schools sports that I coach are “no-cut”- meaning that I coach boys and girls of all abilities.

In addition, I’ve coached a number of adults gratis; most notably Matt Kruger (2:39 Marathon) and Jessica (Davida) Hoepner (owner of Performance Running Outfitters) to a 3:16 Marathon debut at age 21.

I’ve also been inspired by my outstanding (Hall Of Fame) college coaches at UW-La Crosse in Dr. Phil Esten and Gary Wilson

Can you tell us about your new coaching business, Running’s RAD?
While it is still definitely in its infancy and is a work in progress, I have already had the pleasure of coaching some clients to (modern-day) successes! One item I need to address soon is expanding the website; computer technology is not a strength of mine – but I am improving! I came up with the name because RAD is my monogram and, well, Running’s RAD! I plan on expanding my clientele into the fall marathoning season and beyond! I’m also volunteering my time & services to help the Badgerland Striders’ Half Marathon Buildup Program get off the ground this summer.

What types of coaching services do you offer?
While more of a hands-on (i.e. in-person) coach by design, I do offer online and cellphone planning/tips. In the 51 marathons I have completed, the last 50 are Boston-Qualifiers (I missed by 31 seconds in my first attempt at age 18) – so I would have to say marathons (2:19:38 PR) and half-marathons (1:08:29 PR) are my strong suit; although I’ve coached everything from the ½-mile (800-meters) on up! I also have completed two Ultra-marathons, including a 2:59:56 (WI State Record) 50K, and would feel comfortable working with runners with those aspirations.

I am a big believer in the psychological side of running/racing – sometimes a runner is only six inches – the space between their ears – from a great race!

Thanks for chatting with us, Coach Dodd! To learn more about Running’s RAD, you can connect here:

Website: http://runningsrad.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runningsrad
Phone: (608) 770-5906

To learn more about the upcoming RRCA Coaching Certification course in MKE, visit http://www.rrca.org/programs/coaching-certification/

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend! And as always …

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Let’s Get to Know … Matt Kruger

If you race in MKE, you’d recognize Matt Kruger. He’s the tall redhead that starts and races from the front at distances from 5k to the marathon.

What you might not know is that Kruger lives with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that affects his ability to understand what other people are thinking or saying. But instead of using Asperger’s as a crutch, he believes it’s one of the sources of his running success.

Read on to learn more about Matt’s amazing journey from his start in a youth summer running program to training up to 120 mile weeks!

r20141005_101824_img_0692

2014 Lakefront Marathon
Photo by Bill Flaws – Running in the USA

Matt Kruger

Age: 25
Years running: About 16 years
Team affiliation: Performance Running Outfitters
Favorite workout: Long distance along the lake
Favorite distance to race: Marathon and Half Marathon
Pre-race routine: I listen to my Christian music to get focused and do a light jog to get loose
Favorite post-race treat: Chocolate milk
Significant wins/placings:
– 6th place at Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon (2011) 2:39
– RACC winter race series champion in both the 5k and 10k (2011-2012)
– 2nd in the Heatbreaker Half Marathon (2012)
– Badgerland Striders Indoor 20k Champion (2013)

r20121125_101952_img_08042012 The Elf Run
Photo by Bill Flaws – Running in the USA

How did you get started with running?
When I was around 8 years old, my parents put me in a summer running program with the Greendale Recreation Department to see if I had interest in the sport of running after showing some potential in gym class at school. After joining the program, I have been running ever since.

What does a typical training week look like for you?
Generally, I like to do a lot of high-mileage training. When I am at my peak of training, I can average anywhere from 90 to 120 miles a week. I like to incorporate some speed work and some hills into my training, but distance is mostly what I like to focus on. Usually my distance runs are at a pretty moderate pace, and sometimes I like to try to increase the pace for the second half of a workout. I also like to swim and bike as cross training workouts.

What was your most memorable race and what made it stand out?
I have to say that my most memorable race was the Lakefront Marathon in 2011. I ran my fastest time ever and finished in 6th place. The thing that stuck out with that race was that after not running for many years, my high school coach (Richard Dodd) would run his first marathon back. It was neat to see him cross the finish line and encourage him after running the best race of my career.

IMG_0014

Can you tell us a bit about Asperger’s syndrome? When were you diagnosed with the condition and what does it mean to live with it?
I was diagnosed at 3 years old. I have trouble understanding what people are thinking and saying. I have trouble with my conversation skills, and find it makes it difficult for me to fit in socially. I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone a few weeks ago and I asked her what her perspective was on how I could improve socially, and she gave me really great advice. If I could learn to be a better listener, I would be a blessing to those around me. I have always talked and struggled to really listen to the person that I was talking to, which makes it very difficult. I have been trying hard lately to become a better listener. I realize I have a long way to go yet, but I am realizing that if I learn to listen more, my relationships with my friends will be much stronger.

Does Asperger’s syndrome affect your running? On the flip side, how does running help?
I have a certain routine when I race, and if that routine gets compromised, I am worried I won’t perform well. By consistently doing it a certain way, I get more organized before a race.

In addition to Asperger’s syndrome, I also have Attention Deficit Disorder, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to stay focused at work and stay on track. I work at Wisconsin Detail Services, which is an automotive detailing shop in Glendale, and so it is very important for me to stay focused at work in order for me to stay productive on the job. I find that running helps me out a lot when it comes to focus and concentration, because running and relieving that energy after work helps me feel much more refreshed and ready to focus the next day.

With Asperger’s, I tent to fixate on things. When I am with friends and I see something that I like, I tend to fixate on it. For example, classic cars, which I have great interest in. If I see a Corvette driving down the road that catches my eye, I tend to ramble on about the car, even though some of my friends might not have the same interest as I do. Running has been another one of those interests that I tend to fixate on, and it has helped and harmed me, both at the same time. I like to make goals to stick by and really fixate on those goals, which motivates me to do better.

But sometimes my mind starts to fixate on thinks like what the competition will be like, how much prize money is offered, and who will be on the race course cheering me on. These things distract me from running my own race, and those things in the long run are meaningless anyway.

I have taken the past month off from running, including training, to cleanse my mind of those things that I was so fixated on before and have now learned to focus more on serving my God who has given me this gift to run in the first place. My Asperger’s will continue to cause me to fixate on things, but I pray that the Lord will allow me to control those fixations and focus on the things that really matter.

I would like to thank God for giving me Asperger’s, because without it, I might not have had the strength to stick with it as long as I have and not quit. Asperger’s has helped me a lot in my running, but it also has its challenges, so if I continue to seek the Lord, I know that he will give me the strength to use Autism as a tool to make me a stronger runner, because I know that Asperger’s is what makes me more passionate about the sport than anyone I know, and I have to learn to ignore the distractions that erupt because of this passion, and not let them hinder my running.

Do you have any running role models or mentors that have positively influenced your running?
One of the individuals that really inspired me ever since I set foot on the high school track is my high school coach, Coach Richard Dodd. He has been a real role model to me, and he was the one that started me on this journey that I am on right now.

When I started my freshman year of high school at Whitnall High School in Greenfield, the first person that I met was Coach Dodd. After running my first high school cross country meet in the junior varsity race at Sheridan Park in Cudahy, Coach saw the potential in me as an athlete. He pulled me aside and told me of this potential. He also realized the challenges that I have with Asperger’s and how that could affect my relationship with my teammates. So he spoke with my teammates and told them of the potential that I had and the challenges that I have socially with Autism. After going through middle school with problems with bullying and teasing, it felt good to be a part of a team, with a bunch of athletes who understood and respected my potential as a runner. It also felt good to be a part of a team of individuals who accepted me for who I am.
I continue to seek out Coach Dodd to this day, because ultimately he was the one who put this fire in me, and without him I might not be the man I am today.

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
My favorite place to run in Milwaukee would have to be along the lakefront. The best place to run by far is the Oak Leaf Trail through Cudahy and St. Francis. It gives you a spectacular view of the lakefront, as well as downtown Milwaukee. Another great place to run, as I run there all the time throughout the winter months, is the Pettit National Ice Center. It provides a relief from the ice and snow that make up our Wisconsin winters. I really enjoy running there because I get to talk with some of my friends who are on the US Speedskating team, as well as meet new friends every time I run. It is also great because there are always fast runners there that I can hook up with to get some speed work in when I need it.

r20140726_080628_img_0501nw2014 Heatbreaker Half Marathon
Photo by Bill Flaws – Running in the USA

What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
I really enjoy the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, and I do run that one every year. There is a new race starting next year, the Milwaukee Running Festival, which is said to draw more of an elite level crowd. I definitely plan on running in that race because I have been looking for a more elite level marathon race in the Milwaukee area and this will fit the bill for me. Another great race that I really enjoy running every year is the Firecracker Four on Independence Day. The race is held at Hales Corners Park, and even though the race is only 4 miles, it has been a tradition for me to run in that race ever since my freshman year of high school. Coach Dodd was the one who started the race so I have done it ever since he told me about it prior to my freshman year.

What running goals are you looking to tackle during the next few years?
My main goal right now is to just improve on my times. I realized that the past few years I have been caught up on who was faster than me in a race and how I wanted to place in a race. I have been trying too hard to impress people who come to the races and have lost focus on the real reason why I race.

My biggest goal is to stop being concerned with who I am going to impress in a race, and focus on using my racing as an opportunity to worship God for the gift that He has given me. I have overcome a lot in my life. I have overcome and survived cancer and have been able to manage my Asperger’s syndrome. It would be awesome to show people the power of God’s love on the race course and for people to see me not only as a good runner, but as a follower of Christ and that the Holy Spirit lives in me.

It says in Philippians 4:13-14: Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

This is one of my favorite bible verses and it shows that no matter if I win or lose, I still have to keep my focus on the one who gave me this gift. If I get caught up on other things and use running as an idol, then that is when I slip and my times fall apart. If I can keep my life in perspective, nothing, not even an Olympic gold medal, is out of reach, because I know that nothing is impossible with God. I just have to trust in Him and let him guide me in my running career in whatever way He wants me to go.

Any other comments?
I really enjoy writing and have actually written a few quotes that I follow on and off the course. A race is not run when you cross the finish line – It’s how you get there. Training for the Olympic team takes more than just the will to achieve greatness, it takes countless hours of training and mile after mile of running. You have to eat right, sleep right and put a lot of focus on that goal. If you feel tired, or your legs feel tired or sore, do you slow down and quit? If you get that idea in your head, how then can you win the race? You are already defeated, because if pain is your competitor, how can you win?

It takes ultimate focus to run. You can’t let pain or fatigue distract you from reaching your goals. You do have to be smart with your running, yes, but to reach your goals, there will be pain and fatigue. If you feel tired, will you decide to go home to the couch to watch television when you could have been doing a workout? There are many days that I feel tired after work and would love to drive straight home and relax, however I don’t. I strap on my running shoes and take it all in stride.

Sometimes you let failures and memories of the past prevent you from realizing your dreams. When you race, you are to never look back, and instead, focus on the runner in front of you. In that same way, in our race of life, we should never look back. The race of life is in front of us. Remember that what happened in the past shouldn’t dictate what can be accomplished in the future. You need to pick yourself up, because just like the steeplechase, there will be obstacles in your way to jump over. Even if you fall, you have to pick yourself up and continue running.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. I was unable to compete my junior year of high school as I underwent chemotherapy treatments and lost all of my hair. I didn’t let the fact that I had cancer affect me or my running. I never turned my head back and kept looking forward as I qualified individually for the Wisconsin State Cross Country Championship my senior year of high school. This was exactly one year after I beat the disease. I then went on to win the sectional track meet in the 3200 meter run the following spring.

I know that I have a God that loves me and that has blessed me in many ways. I will continue to serve Him and will put everything in His hands, because only He knows what is in store for me as an athlete. I will continue to serve God in whatever endeavors are in store for me, whether in running or in life. It is great to have a God who loves me and has continued to bless me in everything that I do. If I continue to honor Him in all that I do, I know that I will go far. God bless!

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt!

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 . . . Richard Dodd

If you know anything about Richard Dodd’s past, you know his story is one of starting near the top, falling from grace and hitting rock bottom, only to rally and come back stronger than ever.

Below, he shares with us the role running has played in his life, his relationship with the sport and his most memorable race to date.

313951_2041978848382_1211650883_31735059_1784809556_n

Richard Dodd

Head Cross Country Coach & Assistant Track Coach at Hartford High School/Race Director for the Adrenaline Full/Half/Quarter Marathon

Age: 54; born in Milwaukee, WI

Years running: 40

Favorite workouts: Long Slow Distance and 6-mile fartleks

Favorite song to get pumped up pre-race: Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen); Wave On Wave (Pat Green)

Favorite post-race treat: Chocolate milk, a banana and water

Fun Fact: My twin brother Pete (whose Marathon PR is 2:19:12) and I had the good fortune of running for the Saucony Racing Team for four years (1983-87).

Favorite distance to race: Marathon – it’s what I’m best at

Significant past wins:

  • Tied for first with my twin brother Pete in the 1982 Vilas 50K in 2:59:56, which is still a Wisconsin State Record and one of only 15 certified sub-3 hour 50K’s in US history
  • RRCA National Grandmaster Champion in 3:03:49 (age 52+) in the 2011 Lakefront Marathon, after a spirited battle with my good friend George Ogutu the entire distance

IMG_0016Dodd’s RCAA National Grand Champion awardwas presented by Bart Yasso

How did you start running? 

Although I was very small, I went out for freshman football. On the 3rd day of practice we had to run the mile in our helmet and cleats and I lapped the entire team save for my twin brother! I then ran a 5:08 mile in freshman track and was Varsity MVP of the cross country team for my final three years of high school.

What’s kept you running all these years?

Truthfully, it is the only thing that has ever come naturally to me.

What role has running played in your life? 

Through thick and thin, it has been my one constant for 40 years! The four-year period that I ran very little, ages 46-49, were by far the unhappiest years of my life. It is the way I connect with nature and, therefore, with God.

Can you tell me a bit about your relationship with the sport? 

I am in love with it! By far, I get my most satisfaction out of coaching distance-running to others. This will mark my 17th year of coaching cross country and track to boys & girls at the high school level, and I have coached others to their marathon goals.

Do you have a quote or philosophy that inspires your running? 

“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” (Steve Prefontaine)

What do you know now about running now that you wish you had known when you first started? 

That high-mileage isn’t always best; quality over quantity and easy (rest) days are good things!

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee? 

Whitnall Park, the Root River Parkway and anywhere along our beautiful Lakefront!

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

The Lakefront Marathon, because I’ve run it a dozen times and set my all-time PR of 2:19:38 there in 1983; and the Firecracker Four in my hometown of Hales Corners, which my twin brother Pete and I co-founded in 1979.

IMG_0009Dodd racing to the finish line at Lakefront Marathon

You’ve had a long running career – what’s been the most memorable race? 

The 1986 Lakefront Marathon is the one I get asked about the most. My twin brother had won it the year before but was injured, so I was issued bib #1 and was anointed the favorite in the Milwaukee Sentinel headlines the day before the race. I was in the lead pack with John Zupanc and Tim Renzelmann at the 12-mile mark and planning to make my move at halfway, when we got stopped for two minutes by a freight train! I nearly dropped out of the race due to frustration, but hung in there and caught Tim for 2nd-place finish in the final half mile. John Zupanc showed tremendous focus by regrouping to win in 2:22, although that freight train quite likely cost him his chance at a sub-2:20 marathon.

In general, what makes Milwaukee a great place for runners? 

Beautiful places to run; four-season weather that toughens one up; great camaraderie among fellow runners regardless of ability; wonderful running clubs to motivate (including the Badgerland Striders, of which I’m a Lifetime Member); great races that offer terrific competition for all ages; and outstanding running stores, such as Performance Running Outfitters, whose race-uniform I currently wear.

Well, that’s it for today – as always . . .

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!