Disney Marathon Weekend Recap

Why sign up for one race when you can do four?

MKE Runner, Angie Smith, recently completed the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the event, runners that sign up for the Dopey Challenge commit to running four races – a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon – in four consecutive days. Quite an impressive feat in our minds!

Wondering how Angie fared? Read on to learn more and get tips for racing a Disney event!

What sparked your interest in signing up for the Dopey Challenge? Had you done any Disney races prior to these races?
I am a big medal junkie. I have a Pinterest board that is devoted to running/medals and I came across the Disney medals on there, not knowing that Disney does races on their grounds. After seeing the medals on Pinterest, I started looking into Disney races on their website, http://www.rundisney.com/. That is where I came across the ultimate prize of six medals for completing four races; a girl couldn’t resist. I had never done a Disney race until I did the Dopey Challenge, and I learned quickly that it is much different from any local race I have ever done.

Tell us about your training leading up to Dopey. What were your key workouts/races that helped you know you were ready to tackle the challenge?
I made sure to race a half marathon to get a great place time to enter for corral placement. Disney has a ton of corrals and there is a major time difference depending on when you start. So I wanted to make sure I was standing around on my feet as little as possible before the races. I also decided to sign up for Lakefront Marathon and use it as my preparation for the Dopey Challenge. After I ran Lakefront Marathon, I just maintained my long runs with no more than 16 miles for my longest run leading into Dopey. My coach, John Rodahl, and I decided that I had built up enough miles to get me through the challenge. I guess in a way when I ran Lakefront Marathon, and at a much faster pace than I planned for Dopey, I knew I was ready. I know a lot of people who were completing Dopey did what they called mini simulations, like running Thursday-Sunday doing 2/4/11/20. So that they put their bodies through back to backs to make sure they were ready. I already run five days a week so that was enough of a simulation for me.

Did you have a goal for the Dopey Challenge? What were your goals going into each individual race?
My main goal was to make sure I started and finished ahead of the required time and receive all my medals. Disney requires that runners hold a minimum of 16-minute mile pace from when the balloon ladies/sweepers start who are in the last corral. Depending on your corral placement you have a nice buffer to finish. But knowing my competitive nature, I knew I would need to race something to help offset times I wasn’t used to running for the race distances. At first I was going to race the 5k, since that is one of my favorite races to run. But I researched more and found out they don’t give age group awards for the 5k. They only chip time the people running the Dopey Challenge and for the rest of the runner/walkers it is just a fun run. So I looked into the previous year’s 10k results and I run times that could put me in the top 3 for my age group and it also had age group awards. I decided I might as well go for another award since I was down there to run anyways. After talking with my coach, we decided to take it easy for the 5k, half and marathon and race the 10k.

Knowing you had to complete four races, how did this change your usual approach to racing?
Since I was running three of the races for fun, I kept reminding myself to not pick up the pace and just enjoy what was going on around me. It helped that there was plenty to distract me whether it was the thousands of runners around me, the Disney characters available for pictures throughout the course, or even getting to enjoy traveling through the parks with much less of a crowd than when they are open during the day.

Can you tell us a bit about each of the races?
Let’s start from the first aspect of the race weekend, which was the expo, I haven’t been to many expos but I can only imagine this is the largest expo around. There were numerous floors and buildings. And anything running related you could want to buy was available in every option and color. Runners picked up bibs on one floor and then received shirts on the other. Make sure to print out and sign your waivers ahead of time before the expo because it saves time. I had to have three waivers: One for my Dopey Challenge and then I signed my daughter up for the Kids run and the Mickey mile, so I had three. For the Dopey Challenge there are two bibs: One for the 5k/10k and one for the half/full. For shirts, I got five dri-wick long sleeves and one cotton t-shirt for the 5k. The kids get mini bibs, a chip time and shirts. Runners are also required to take a picture holding their bib right under their chin so that when crossing the finish line on marathon morning they can check to make sure the right person is completing the challenge.


For the Kids Runs, the 100 yard dash starts at 11am and Mickey Mile at 12:15pm, so we decided to do them the first day to get them done. They start the kids’ races in waves. My daughter, Makayla, was the first race of the day and we were in the front so we went off with the first wave. They have the kids run at the ESPN Wide World of Sports track. Parents are allowed to run with their kids and we lined up for the 100 yard dash with about 14 other kids right as they made the announcements that Mickey Mouse was at the finish line. That got a smile on all of the kids’ faces. The race was exactly as you would expect – some kids ran and some kids had no clue what was going on. After the kids crossed the finish line – with a high-five from Mickey – they received their medals and were treated to all of the same snacks I received at the adult races.

The mile was very similar, except it starts outside of the expo and then goes around the ESPN grounds, including on the track of their baseball diamond, before finishing the last 300 yards where Mickey waited again to high-five the kids. If you have a kid who likes to run I highly recommend it. My daughter was all smiles and super proud of her race shirts, bibs and two medals, which are rubbery so I don’t have to worry about her hurting herself on them. As an adult, I had a blast being part of it and watching all of the kids. They also give out finisher certificates for the Mickey Mile, which she finished in 12:48 at three weeks shy of 4 years old; I had a pretty proud runner mama moment.


The 5k start time was 6:15am. It was 43 degrees but felt like 35 with the wind chill and 25 miles-per-hour winds. I was not prepared, since the weather originally said 50-70 degrees. Disney has participants stand in their corrals at least 45 minutes before the run, plus the time it takes to wait for the bus to the race, then the half mile walk from the bus to bag check. I was outside for about two hours and needless to say I was cold. The 5k course starts outside of Epcot and then wraps around the outside before it goes into Epcot and you get to run around the world. The course finishes just outside of Epcot. Disney cast members are located throughout the course and are very enthusiastic and such great cheerleaders I couldn’t help but smile as I passed them. There were also photographers every time I turned a corner, so if you like running pictures there are tons of opportunities. The medal I received for finishing the 5k is rubber as to make it more family friendly, similar to the kid medals. I finished in 27:39, my slowest 5k, but I took in the sites and enjoyed it.

The 10k start time was 5:30am. This was my actual racing event so I remember less of it since I was so focused on the running aspect. This race also started outside of Epcot. But this was my first experience with running on Disney’s freeway system, which I hate to say was boring and the least liked part of all the races. A lot of their freeways are banked and are really not that great to run on so I wound up in the grass for some of the race. I do remember within the first mile coming up to a freeway overpass where the infamous Elsa and Ana of Frozen were waving at us from above. I saw specks of something falling down and assumed it was Disney making it seem like snow, but as I passed under them I was surprised to learn it was actual snow. Only Disney knows how to do it best. Next was the deck of cards from Alice in Wonderland before we turned to run over a freeway on ramp and then back down to the same back entrance of expo as the 5k. This time I spent more time in Epcot to help cover the distance. And the Disney cast members were again enthusiastic and great cheerleaders. I know there were more characters throughout but I didn’t notice due to racing. We made a decent amount of turns throughout Epcot and runners need to watch their footing. I finished at 46:17 and 10th in my age group 30-34 of 973. Not quite what I had hoped but still pretty well.

The half marathon start time was 5:30am and this was the most magical race for me. It was the first time we would run somewhere other than Epcot. The race starts outside of Epcot and takes the freeway to get to the Magic Kingdom. Runners get to Main Street Magic Kingdom at about 5½ miles into the race and the first thing I saw was the Christmas tree still decorated and lit up. Then we took a right turn and were blindsided by Main Street decorated in all of its Christmas glory, all lit up, including all of the shops and Cinderella’s Castle illuminated up as if Elsa had frozen it over. I almost teared up it was so breathtaking. They also let family members come and stand along Main Street to cheer and it was so loud and welcoming even though I knew no one in the crowd. And to top it off, Disney played When You Wish Upon A Star. All of this hit me at once and I knew this would probably be the most magical running moment I would ever experience and I tried to take in every second.


Next we headed into Tomorrowland where there were some rides going and that added to the magic of it all. Then we circled around the castle, where more rides were spinning and playing music – it was amazing. Then everyone’s favorites, Christophe, Elsa and Ana were standing atop a balcony on Cinderella’s Castle waving at us as we ran through the tunnel and through more of the Magic Kingdom. There were many more characters and picture-taking opportunities, but I had decided I wouldn’t take pictures or stop until the marathon. I finished in 2:00.08 with a smile on my face.

The marathon start time was 5:30am. For me, this race was the hardest since I was ready to be done. I was absolutely exhausted and wasn’t running for a certain time, which is foreign to me. The race again started outside of Epcot. We ran more freeways to start, and our first character was Jack Sparrow. Then we hit the Magic Kingdom welcome sign and characters including, Wreck it Ralph & Vennelope, Jack Skeleton, Mickey, Robin Hood and Rapunzel. We stopped at EVERY character. For the marathon, you run Magic Kingdom, the Nascar Experience track, Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports Hollywood Studios, then Epcot to finish it out.

The group I was running with decided they wanted to ride Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest roller coaster, which was about 13 miles into the marathon. However, the roller coaster didn’t open til 9am, so we had a lot of time to kill. I originally had planned on dropping my group and continuing on, but I had so much fun running with these guys and taking pictures that I figured I may as well join them for the roller coaster. I mean who does that – ride a roller coaster in the middle of a marathon?

After the roller coaster, we got down to business and negative split our second half of the marathon by an hour, while still taking pictures. There is not much to see after Animal Kingdom til we got to Hollywood Studios. There were a few character spots but for the most part what kept us sane on the miles of freeway were each other and I feel lucky for that. Since we took so long to finish our marathon, the parks were open and it was awesome to have people who were visiting the parks cheer us along. I know a few people who hit a couple other rides but we stuck to one. Although it was my longest marathon by far, the memories and experiences I had outweighed any finishing time. I finished at 6:01.29.



How did you recover between races?
I wish I could say I recovered, but in a way I think it also helped me to walk around at the parks. I think the walking helped keep my legs from cramping up, but my feet were very sore by the night before the marathon. I did not get much sleep either since we were trying to spend as much time at the parks, so I went to bed anywhere between 10-11pm and got up at 3am.

What types of thoughts went through your head as you approached the finish line of the final race?
First off the mile 25 marker was the most amazing sight I had ever seen. I never thought it would be so hard to run a marathon at that pace so I was in for a rude awaking. All I could think was oh my god I am almost done, I can stop running. And the thought of a complete week off after helped. We were also flying home the day of the marathon so the thought of my own bed that night was amazing! And also being done with the 2:45-3am wake up calls was a victory, too. It also rained a couple of times so the thought of a shower and dry clothes was good, too.

What tips would you give to people considering doing the Dopey Challenge?
I would advise doing a full marathon in your training. I know of a lot of people who did it as their first full and wished they had done it differently. Practice getting up early and running on little sleep, and being on your feet a lot – I think being on my feet was the hardest part for me. Also, have fun, take pictures, goof off, even dress up like a ton of people do. I made Disney-themed hair bows for each race and then wore race tops to go along with my theme.

Disney races sell out fast – what was your strategy for securing your spot?
Let me start with saying that you cannot sign up for any Disney races the day of or even week of – they all sell out way in advance. I was more nervous signing up for these races then I was lining up for any starting line that weekend. Disney opens it race registration at noon their time so at 11am our time I was on the computer clicking on the link. The Dopey Challenge, which has about 7,500 spots, sold out in less than three hours, so there was no thinking about it. You need to decide before registration if you are in or not.

The kids’ races also sell out but you have much more time on those if you want to try a local race to make sure it is worth the money. But keep an eye on the registration numbers because they do sell out.

For Disney Marathon Weekend 2016, they increased the price by $20 to $550.00 for the Dopey Challenge. Disney Marathon Weekend goes on sale Tuesday, April 28th, 2015, and will take place January 6-10, 2016. The kids’ races are $15-$20, and the Mickey Mile is $30-$35.

When entering your time for corral placement, go with whatever time has you at a faster pace. I ran a 3:52 marathon and a 1:45 half, so I used my half marathon results. This is a huge time and money commitment. It does NOT include park tickets, and you DO NOT get discounted park tickets or hotels rooms. It gets you the four races, and six shirts and two bibs. If you want to save on active.com fees, make sure you sign up for all races at once.

Can you tell us about the trip planning process? How did you decide when to arrive and leave? Where to stay and eat?
This was the hardest part for me since I had not been to Disney since I was 15, and my parents were the planners then. So I learned a lot while planning this trip. I used a travel agent for my hotel since they get group discounted rates for the marathon weekend. We stayed at Pop Century, which was very close to the expo. We flew down Tuesday, the day before the expo. Disney will NOT let anyone but you pick up your packet, no exceptions, so don’t bother.

We left after the marathon since I needed to work Monday and pick our dogs up from their kennel. We left at 5:45pm so we didn’t have to rush after I got done running and I had time to eat, shower, and walk around to avoid cramping.

Choosing where to eat was tough since dinner reservations open up 120 days before your reservation and they fill up fast for some restaurants. So I tried to choose with places that looked like they had a good selection so I could make sure not to eat anything crazy. We ate at Yak & Yeti, Planet Hollywood, Sci-Fi Diner and Chef Mickey.

Give us a glimpse into your suitcase for the trip – how many running outfits and shoes did you pack? Did you bring any other running gear?
I packed my most important running stuff in my carry on to be on the safe side. I brought only what I thought I needed, which left me under prepared due to the cold front. I had five pairs of shorts, sports bras and tanks, one long sleeve, and one throwaway shirt. I had my main pair of running shoes in my carry on. Then I had my race flats and two older pair of running shoes in my regular suitcase as backups. I would advise bringing all types of clothes – I never knew Florida got that cold. I am a very minimal runner, so as long as I have my watch, I’m good to go. I took two gels for the marathon and one for the half. Other than that, Disney has a ton of aid stations so I just hydrated at every one they offered, which I would say were about every 1.5 miles in the longer races.

How did you make time to do all the other fun stuff Disney has to offer?
I pretty much finished each race and caught the bus back to our hotel so I could shower, and then we got ready and would head out to the parks between 10-11am. We usually got back to our room around 8-10pm. Even though I was tired, seeing the smile and excitement on my daughter’s face kept me moving. We did Disney three days and then my husband I went to Universal for one day while the in-laws took her for more character autographs and pictures at Disney.

What was most memorable about the Disney race experience?
I joined a Dopey Facebook group back in April 2014 and chatted with all of these people for nine months. So it was amazing to meet so many of them in person. But I think the moment in the half when I saw the castle and Main Street was up there. And of course crossing that last finish line and being handed my marathon medal, Goofy Medal, and Dopey medal was icing on the cake.



Any other comments?
I think the whole experience was totally worth the money. But as for whether I would do it ever again, probably not. But that is only because I have a huge bucket lists of races and medals I want to earn. But I do want to do other Disney races, which they host throughout the year at both theme parks in the USA. Plus, there is always the Coast to Coast medal I have my eye on, which you earn after completing at least a half at both Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year.

I would also advise if you are going with kids to go ahead of time to do the park and then just spend time around the hotel during the race part of the week. That way you can get good sleep and recover.

Thank you for the wonderful race recap, Angie! If you would like to learn more about running a Disney race, Angie welcomes questions via Facebook or at the Tuesday evening Badgerland Striders speed workout that she leads at the Pettit National Ice Center.

If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to hear about your recent races. Send us an email at keeprunningmke@gmail.com if you’d like to participate in a race recap post.

Until next time,

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Fuel Smarter With Fit With Food Consulting

Does diet matter? According to Annie Weiss, owner of Fit with Food Consulting, it does – but not in the way trendy diets may have you believe.

Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach many fad diets take, Weiss believes a successful training diet is all about nutrition ratios, timing and the individual runner.

Below, learn more about how fueling affects your running as well as how Fit with Food Consulting can help you reach your goals!


Why is the start of a New Year the perfect time for runners to clean up their diets?
Every day offers a perfect opportunity for anyone, runners included, to clean up their diet. The New Year is simply another day; why people wait to change until Jan 1st is beyond me! Everyday can be a Jan 1.

How can eating right help improve a person’s running?
An individual’s running can improve immensely with proper fuel – nutrition and hydration! I’ve seen some of my athletes drop 5-20 minutes off their times with weight changes, fuel tweaks and just simply starting to drink water! But it’s all based on timing, amounts and the runner. Eating right on a regular basis does not mean you run better – you could eat the right ratios of macronutrients in pizza and beer and run as well as someone who eats fruit and quinoa – it’s all about when and dialing in the numbers.

What does a good diet look like for runners in training?
Runners in training need to be eating a lot – with weight fluctuations along the way. An increase of 1,000 calories is possible on any given day pending the workout. There is no right or wrong diet … but the MOST important thing to remember … RECOVERY. If you aren’t getting the right recovery in, your training and racing will be affected immensely.

What about fad diets, like Paleo, Gluten Free, etc. – do these diets work over the long term? And are they beneficial for runners?
What about them!? They are no good … that’s why they are called fads  Please just don’t even look at them! Here’s the skinny … these are diets that are advertised to EVERYONE in the world as a general diet that is good – each one may work for a different type of person, but certainly not everyone. We can’t generalize runners – each one is different and needs a specific nutrition plan just for them. None of my athletes have the same nutrition plan – they all follow different ratios, eat different foods, eat at different times – all based on their goals and their lifestyle. Eventually it dials in and results are made. Fad diets are for the birds 

Some runners believe running allows them to eat whatever – and however much – they want. How true/untrue is this idea?
It really depends on the person – I’ve seen superb athletes eat a gigantic burger before a game and do really well, and I’ve seen it backfire. It really depends on the person. Tailoring a plan for someone may include that gigantic burger or to eat whatever they want. I currently have an athlete that at 4,000 calories is still struggling to gain weight – some people just have the ability to eat anything. But let’s face it; serious runners aren’t the ones eating garbage every day. As long as the ratios of carbohydrate, fat and protein are dialed it, it really doesn’t matter what foods help an athlete get there. Ideally though, certain foods are better for other reasons – heart health, etc.

What are some other myths out there about running and nutrition? What’s the truth behind the myths?
There are so many myths that you probably read in magazines. No matter what you read make sure of one thing … that it’s information from an unbiased, accredited resource! As you know, Dr. Oz was proven to be a quack now! Lots of myths out there are written by people who are trying to earn a buck – don’t fall into that … nutritionists are not accredited, dietitians are. Just know where your information is coming from.

Can you tell us about Fit with Food Consulting and the services you offer?
Fit with Food Consulting offers nutritional consulting for weight management, athletic performance and eating disorders. I work with a variety of men and women to achieve a variety of goals – some just need to know how to eat better because they want to feel better during the day, others want to lose 20 pounds. I work with athletes of any caliber … runners, weight lifters, swimmers; all with specific goals. And I also see those with a history of eating disorders, or current, that are stable in their illness.

What happens during a typical appointment?
My services are primarily online and sometimes face to face depending on the person’s needs and goals. Typically, I get information in advance and crunch some numbers beforehand. I will also get a diet recall to know what the person has been eating on a regular basis. After a 30-minute or 60-minute discussion and gathering more information, I will do a report and plan for that person – this may include a meal plan, the ratios needed or recipes for at home.

What sparked your interest in nutrition?
I decided to become a dietitian after undergoing my own eating disorder in college. I wanted to help people, because in today’s society, we put way too much pressure on people to look a certain way, or eat a certain way. My full-time job is working with eating disorder patients. I love it! I got more into sports nutrition being a runner myself. I have a passion for all of it.

Thanks for chatting with us, Annie! If you’re interested in learning more about Fit with Food Consulting, you can connect here:

Website: www.fitwithfoodconsulting.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitwithfoodconsulting

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Yes, Even Healthy Runners Can Benefit From A Running Analysis

If it’s not broken, why fix it?

For runners, there are plenty of reasons to be proactive about avoiding injuries. As any runner that has ever been laid up and forced to take time off knows, prehab beats rehab any day.

One of the easiest ways to get started is by getting a running analysis. Now, you may wonder, why get evaluated if I’m running healthy right now? For starters, it’s the best way to catch small form issues that can lead to bigger problems later on.

We recently chatted with Calvin Deutsch with Deutsch Physiotherapy about the benefits of getting an expert running analysis. Here’s what he had to say:

“For runners in Wisconsin, the off-season should be about cleaning up all areas of weakness and imperfections in stride to create an invincible runner come spring. Many of us carry injuries from the summer and fall into the winter, that get better because we don’t run as much. Then we’re disappointed when the injury returns in spring as mileage picks up again. Chances are we just lost five months of time that we could have fixed the problem and now the weather is nicer and we’re still injured.

An expert running analysis can detect areas of your running form that may lead to injury, expose neuromusculoskeletal weaknesses or imbalances, and highlight areas of your stride that are doing well. These areas are often undetected and can be exposed via slow-motion video capture tools in combination with an expert eye.

The main point is to ensure that every runner is headed in the right direction specific to their running stride, strength and mobility concerns, form alterations, etc. Arming yourself with this knowledge proves to be invaluable in ensuring the time you spend improving your running pays off directly.

Whether injured or not, a running analysis is an essential tool for every runner to gain invaluable information that will either lead to solving an injury, improve current performance or prevent potential injuries down the road.”

During a running analysis with Calvin, he’ll record your form and stride while you run on a treadmill. After, you’ll sit down and review the video together so he can point out any weaknesses or imbalances as well as things you are doing well. After reviewing the video, he’ll prescribe exercises that will help fix the weaknesses and imbalances so you can get back to running your best!

To learn more or to schedule a running analysis at Deutsch Physiotherapy, connect here:

Email: info@deutschphysiotherapy.com

Phone: 414-395-1079

Website: http://www.deutschphysiotherapy.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeutschPhysiotherapyCo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeutschPT

Still this week … an MKE runner profile you won’t want to miss! Stay tuned!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Coach’s Advice: Take An End-Of-Season Break

Sometimes the most important thing you can do for your running is take some time off!

We recently chatted with Coach Matt Thull from ThunderDome Running, to find out if runners actually need a break after a goal race and the right way to take one. Plus, how to get started again after taking a few days or weeks off.

To get started, when we refer to taking a break, what exactly does that mean?
Most runners think of a break as easy running or just running every other day or just going gym or cross training stuff – that is not truly a break. The nice part about completing a big race or PR is that you have earned a step back/recharge period. So take your break so the next part of training can be even better.

During a break, you fully absorb your prior training, recover, and get to set new goals for the next block of training. The mental and physical toll leading up to a big race is huge – so before you get going on the next goal take five days off or take 14 days off – it is different for everyone. It is okay to train year round but just split up the training into different periods/training blocks/goals.

What are some of the consequences that can happen if a runner doesn’t take time off to recover between training cycles?
One of the big consequences of never taking a break is burning out or overtraining along with injury risks – which, in turn, lead to having to take off weeks to fully recover. Instead, take a mini break after a big race. I find that during the time off, you can always find a different activity (yoga, spin class) or a different stretch or exercise that you can incorporate into your next training period. When I was running 100-120 miles a week, I would set out to find a new activity, exercise, or some challenge that I would bring into the start of my new training. Those types of activities are sometimes hard to plug-in when you are going full speed ahead during normal training.

What’s a good amount of time to take off after a big race? Does this amount of time differ depending on the race distance?
It does depend on the race distance (more time for marathon and half marathon runners) and each individual runner, too. If a runner is training year round and has three different training cycles in their year, three different 7-10, 100 % day-off periods is typically a pretty safe routine to wrap up each season and to prepare for the next one.

If a runner is feeling good after a goal race, is a break necessary?
A runner might want to set up another race or two and ride out the training peak and wave of fast running they are on after a goal race. This happens a lot and leads to not only one PR but maybe two or three. A training break is then taken after you have exhausted those race options.

Both in my own training when I was running professionally on the US circuit and for my runners, I pose this simple question: “Do you want to PEAK right or run a PR for your next key race whenever that might be down the road”? If the answer is yes, then you need to take an end-of-season break. There are exceptions but the majority of runners fall into that category of needing an end-of-season break, however long that might be.

Sometimes when runners miss their race goal, they are tempted to keep training so they can make another attempt on their goal in a few weeks. What are your thoughts on this?
This is a situation where each runner’s past training and racing experience comes into play. Some marathon and half marathon runners can extend their training another two to four weeks and run a PR a month after when their PR or goal race might have been. Those make for awesome running stories and those examples happen a lot with the right planning. Each runner just needs to assess the “WHY” a race might not have gone to plan and decide if it was something that can be “FIXED” immediately and the season can be extended with another race or two.

Is it ever appropriate for a runner to keep training at the same intensity after a big race?
Many times a runner can run a marathon and then extend their season to include a fast 5k or 10k. Many times, if you watch you recovery closely after the marathon, you can run really well in the 5k/10k races and then take your end-of-season break.

When runners are ready to start training again after a break, what’s the best way to get back into it?
That first week back is always that time when you are antsy to get back out there and run fast because you are rested. When you start back running, use your usual routes that you like to run where you know the distances. Instead of being married to the GPS, you can allow yourself to just run by minutes and time instead of being worried about pace and distance. That allows for a very nice ease back into things. Most running injuries happen during the first month of dedicated training – so that caution of easy pace and not pushing too much too early, helps keep runners healthy that first month back building up mileage again.

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt! If you’re interested in learning more about coaching services through ThunderDome Running, you can connect here:

Website: http://www.thunderdomerunning.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThunderDomeRunning

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThunderDomeRun

What’s next, you ask? Coming soon, we’ll feature more local runners and highlight a few upcoming races. You won’t want to miss any of it 😉

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Explore MKE With City Running Tours!

Now there’s a way to learn about our great city while also getting your run on.

Whether you’re looking for a guided route, a running partner or simply a change of pace, City Running Tours is the place to find it. Below, Tim Cigelske – aka The Beer Runner – tells us a bit about this brand-new Milwaukee business.

ScreenHunter_32 Aug. 11 09.31

For people who are unfamiliar with City Running Tours, can you talk a bit about the business and what it offers?
The name basically says it all. Lots of cities offer walking tours, biking tours, bus tours or boat tours. This one just happens to involve running while sightseeing. City Running Tours has been around for nine years, and is now in 16 cities coast to coast, from San Francisco to Washington, DC.

How did you get the idea to bring City Running Tours to MKE?
I heard about City Running Tours when it first launched in New York, and I was one of its first customers when it came to Chicago. I’ve always had the idea of bringing it to Milwaukee in the back of my mind. I recently reconnected again with the owner over Twitter, and that spawned a conversation about launching the Milwaukee chapter. We now have multiple tour guides from the Milwaukee running community.

Who do you see using this type of service?
Obviously, this is a good way for tourists, conference attendees or business travelers to see a different side of the city when they’re traveling. But it’s also a way to learn a lot about your own backyard. I’ve lived in Milwaukee for nearly 15 years but learned new facts while prepping for the Milwaukee History Tour and the Brew City Heritage Tour. You see the city with new eyes and appreciate the story behind things like the duck statue on Wisconsin Avenue or how a park got its name, which you may otherwise pass by without noticing.

Do you see running while away from home as intimidating for people? If so, what are the hurdles and how can City Running Tours help make running while traveling easier?
Definitely. I used to work at a hotel and guests always came to me to find running paths or runner-friendly routes. But it’s still easy to get lost and turned around, or you’re too wrapped up in paying attention to where you’re going to appreciate your new surroundings. So this way you have a guide that takes care of devising your routes and showcasing the city while getting in your workout.

Why might even MKE natives want to try a service like City Running Tours?
To add to my previous answer, running tours are also good for group outings and get-togethers. You could tie into a bachelor or bachelorette party, workplace outing or happy hour for tours that end at the beer garden or Sprecher Brewery. You and your friends get to earn your beer.

Can you tell us a bit about the Group Running Tours? How did you select the routes? What should participants expect concerning paces, etc?
I started using my own favorite routes after nearly 15 years of running around Milwaukee. I use running to explore places myself. Based on popular tours in other cities, the beer and history tours were a no-brainer. I also wanted to showcase our lakefront and the totally underrated river trails. We cater to any jogging pace and offer multiple tour guides for larger groups. I’m always open to new tour ideas if anyone has them for me!

What should people know about the Personalized Running Tours?
It’s like having your own personal running coach, if your coach happens to share interesting tidbits about the city while running. A guide meets you and leads you 1-on-1 on a tour personalized for you. This is a popular option for business travelers or those on a schedule who want to customize their distance, pace and location.

Can you tell us a bit about the corporate and social sightrunning options?
The corporate events provide the customization that the personal tours offer, but on a larger scale. Conferences or business outings can choose their themes, days, starting times, etc and have multiple tour guides host them.

How can people connect with City Running Tours?
All of the place! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @TheBeerRunner.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Tim! City Running Tours sounds like a great addition to the city and we look forward to trying one of the tours!

MKE runners: What is your favorite route to run in MKE?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Get Inspired By Minerva Running + A Giveaway!

Many of you already know Micaela Ellevold through the numerous training programs offered at Performance Running Outfitters. But did you also know that she is the owner and designer of a local running apparel company called Minerva?

Below, she tells us how she got started and her inspiration for the fantastic designs!

Can you tell us a bit about Minerva?
Minerva is a women’s clothing and accessories line that expresses the relationship women have with running. We offer a variety of apparel options that currently include tanks, tees, hoodies and capris. Our accessories consist of coffee mugs, tote bags, shoe tags and even hair ties!

How did you get the idea to start the company?
After working many years in the running industry and coaching 5k, 10k and half marathon training programs – whose participants were mostly women – I felt a need to create a line of clothing that expressed how women felt about running; and when you saw other women wearing it – it made you smile, and say YES, I get it, that is TOTALLY me!! I had not found any apparel that spoke to me about running, so I decided I would combine my knowledge and experience with running with my creative and graphic design skills to start a new clothing line! Overall, I wanted to create a line that expressed what motivates and inspires women to run and how they grow and transform through their running journey. Most importantly, I want to encourage others to join the sport and become a part of the running community! Running has been a part of my life since my early days in high school. However, the last few years my passion for running has grown to building relationships, being a part of others’ running journeys and experiences, and enjoying the time and memories created with my “running peeps!” Through Minerva designs, I hope to continue to motivate, inspire and empower women to keep moving!

What does Minerva mean and why did you decide it was the right name for the company?
After doing some research on Roman mythology, I came across the name “Minerva”. She is the Roman goddess of wisdom and her symbol is the owl. I knew immediately that this was a perfect fit for my company because of my experience in coaching, the relationships I have built through running and my own running journey. Most women provide wisdom of their running journey through their experience, sharing stories and passing on information. The owl is also a perfect fit for Minerva’s logo, as the owl can be considered a representation of a messenger.

Where do you get your design inspiration?
I really like the art form of typography, and I like when the words create the art, tell the story and speak the message. Some of the designs are inspirational messages I have said to my participants through coaching or they come out of frustration and change that we go through. In most cases, the designs come from the heart from my personal relationship with running and journey over the years. I would have to say that some of my best designs and thoughts have come to mind when on a run and I am completely lost in my thoughts and my feet are in motion.

What are some of your most popular items?
Right now two summer favorites are the “Rise & Shine” and “Running Relationship” hoodies!! I think the messages speak to each runner and are perfect reminders why we run! The hoodies are perfect to put on after a race or run and great for wearing to run errands or to the movies!!

Another popular item is our “Strong Hearts” shoe tag. The “Strong Hearts” design was created to honor my Dad who passed away from an aortic dissection in February 2013. It also symbolizes love and support for anyone who has suffered from heart disease or illness, and pays tribute to all those lost and those who survived from aortic disease or heart disease. The design is to remind us that through tough times we are to continue to have “Strong Hearts,” to keep moving with purpose, and in the end remain strong. We are to continue to be proactive with our health, help others by bringing awareness, and each day put one foot in front of the other. Each year, a portion of the cost of each “ Strong Hearts” shoe tag, t-shirt, and bracelet sale will be donated to a different organization. Last year it was the John Ritter Foundation; this year it is the American Heart Association.


Are there any new items in the works?
We just released a few NEW items: a tank “Be Brave” and two light-weight hoodies “Rise & Shine” and “Running Relationship!” However, we have a few new tanks in the works that will be coming out in late July!

Where can people buy Minerva clothing and accessories?
Locally, Minerva products can be found at Performance Running Outfitters, at race expos throughout the Midwest, or through our online shop.

How can people connect with Minerva?

Is there anything else MKE should know about Minerva?
This past May, a group of twenty ladies from the area made the trip to Green Bay, WI to run the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon. It’s a race that I thoroughly enjoy running each year, and a race my family has run for the past six years. It started with an idea to run a race together and then on a snowy Saturday morning in February, all twenty ladies showed up to start training. This is where the “Muses” journey began!

Over the twelve weeks of training, new friendships were formed, stories of running experiences were told, and for some this was a new distance to complete and others it would be another notch on their belt. Over a few long runs I came up with an idea of the “Minerva Muses” and I decided I was going to have this printed on a bright-colored shirt that everyone could wear. These shirts were so we could all find each other at the race or if we spotted each other on the course we could encourage one another to keep moving forward! We’ve come this far and we all are going to cross that finish line! In the end, all twenty ladies crossed the finished line and we all had so much fun! This was an experience that I will never forget!


After the race I decided I wanted others to join the “Minerva Muses Running Club” and to be able to connect with each other! We all have a story, we all started somewhere, and we all run for a reason! So why not share your passion, tell your story, and encourage others to join the running community!
You can connect with Minerva and other “Minerva Muses” on our Facebook page or at upcoming expos or races! Let’s celebrate our accomplishments and join together!

Thanks for all the great info, Micaela! And now it’s time for a question for you, MKE:

Who wants to win some Minerva apparel?

Minerva has generously provided a fabulous giveaway prize for one lucky Keep Running MKE reader.  The winner will receive a Minerva running tank and tote – perfect for logging miles this summer!

To enter to win the prize, please visit: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! We’ll announce the winner next Wednesday!

That’s it for now. As always …

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

*Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize by emailing keeprunningmke@gmail.com. If the prize is not claimed within that time frame, we will select a new winner.

PRO Offers Strength and Stability Classes for Runners

Attention runners looking to get stronger in 2014: Performance Running Outfitters is hosting a series of runner’s strength and stability classes. The sessions will be offered at the store’s Shorewood location (4533 N Oakland Ave).

The classes will address some of the core areas of weakness in runners and focus on improving hip, calf and foot strength, balance and flexibility. Participants are asked to bring a foam roller and yoga mat to the classes.

Two upcoming sessions include:

  • Saturday, Jan. 11 @8am
  • Saturday, Jan. 18 @8am

The cost of each class is $10 and participants must register in store by the Friday before the class.

To learn more, contact Performance Running Outfitters at mail@performancerunning.com.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Planning Your 2014 Race Schedule? Check Out Running in the USA!

As you’re putting together your 2014 race schedule, don’t forget to check out Running in the USA for information about upcoming races in all 50 states. This locally produced national resource is managed by Bill and Mary Flaws and got its start right here in MKE.

Read on to learn more about why the couple decided to start the popular website and how it’s grown over the years!

ScreenHunter_13 Dec. 18 11.37

For people who are unfamiliar with Running in the USA, can you talk a bit about what the site is and what it offers?

Running in the USA is an online directory of races, results, clubs, photos and forums. The website was created and is maintained by Mary and Bill Flaws of Waukesha. The site is free for anyone to access and use. Our goal is to list every running-related race in the USA. We want to make it easy for our visitors to find race information, past results, race photos, and to connect with other runners through running clubs or running forums. The site currently has links to more than 44,000 races.

What types of things can people find on the website?

Primarily, people can find an easy way to find a race in the United States. The site has links to running-related races, results, clubs and photos as well as multiple running-related forums. There is a neat 50 Stater’s Gadget that helps find ‘Marathons in Nearby States on Consecutive Days’ for those pursuing a marathon in all 50 states. We have also setup some special pages that we call Mapshots, which are pages displaying a map with markers for specific types of races such as marathons, half marathons, 10Ks and triathlons, as well as specific “themed” races such Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving Day related races. The site also has a Resources section with information for Runners (Beginning Runners, Racing FAQ, How Race Scoring Works) and Race Directors (Submitting and Promoting Your Race, Race Website Tips, Organizing A Race).

It’s likely a lot of people will be surprised to learn a national running resource is operated right here in MKE. How did you get the idea to start Running in the USA?

Mary started running in 1999 and didn’t like the online race calendars provided by larger publications and local running clubs spread across the country. So, she started developing her own personal database of races she was interested in and then launched a website with that database on the Web in 2002.

Can you tell us a bit about the site’s history?

Running in the USA started as 2 websites. Running in the USA was started in the fall of 2002 by Don Drewniak and was primarily a directory of race results. Run This Planet was started in the fall of 2002 by Mary and Bill and was primarily a directory of races and running clubs.

In the spring of 2003, Don contacted Mary and Bill and proposed a merger. Don continued to help with results for another couple years before ‘retiring’ from the running website realm. The site has gone through a few redesigns since 2003 – one in 2006 and another in 2008, which is basically what is seen today. Mary and Bill along with their adult son (Danny) manage/maintain the full site to this day.

How do you find the information that is listed for each state?

Lots of the initial races that started our database were added by us – big, well-known races, as well as the well-known, local Milwaukee-area races – and by us just scouring the internet, looking at race club websites and race management/timing company websites. Now, because of the longevity of our site and by word of mouth, many newer races are submitted to us to review and add/update on our site. We send out emails to the race contacts to let them know about the race information presented on our site for their event and we also ask for the new date or to submit updates as needed. We personally review every submission that comes into our site before it appears publicly. Because we do it this way, there is no need for any usernames or passwords. So anyone can submit to us.

We literally check hundreds of links every week, (sometimes hundreds in a day), looking for new races, updated races and race results.

How is Running in the USA active in the MKE running community?

Mary runs many of the MKE area races. Bill takes photos at many MKE races. Starting as a hobby to document some of Mary’s races, Bill took photos of her in races. He then started taking photos of others as well as the race itself. We started posting these photos on our home page to help draw interest in the site. It is still a hobby to Bill and he tries his best to get a photo of everyone – not just the speedsters at the front of the race! You’ll see Bill at races around the MKE and the southeastern WI area (usually behind a big white lens) snapping away.

Running in the USA is a sponsor for some local races. We also provides 60 dozen cookies in the shapes of the United States and running shoes for the Icebreaker Marathon Weekend in January at the Pettit.

What are your goals for Running in the USA?

We are always looking for new ways to make finding races easier for our visitors. We have some ideas for a few new features; we just need the time to implement them.

Anything else?

Several of our features have come from visitors to our site. It’s great when someone sends us a suggestion that we can implement right away and then respond to them with “Great idea, thanks… here it is.”

So, if any Keep Running MKE readers have been to our site and thought “It was be really great if it did this…” send us an email, and we’ll see if we can do it.

Thanks for chatting with us Bill and Mary! If you’d like to learn more about Running in the USA, here’s how you can connect:

Website: https://www.runningintheusa.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RunningInTheUSA

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RunningInTheUSA

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Running With a Group Makes The Winter Miles Less Lonely

Remember MKE, this weekend we turn back our clocks one hour. This means our morning runs will be a teensy bit lighter – for a short while. And our evenings run will be very dark.

Which makes now the perfect time to join a running group! For both safety and camaraderie, running with others is a great way to make your winter miles more pleasant. Fortunately, there are several to choose some in the MKE area – in fact, if you look hard enough, you’ll never have to log solo miles again.

Here are a few local run groups with regular meetups on our radar:

Milwaukee Running Group – This meetup group costs just $5 annually and hosts group runs nearly every day of the week. Runners of all abilities are welcome. The routes differ each week, including some trail running meetups. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit http://www.meetup.com/The-Milwaukee-Running-Group/

Performance Running Outfitters – Both the Shorewood and Brookfield locations offer weekly group fun runs on Thursday evenings at 6pm. The groups run between 3-5 miles. All ages and paces are welcome. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit http://www.meetup.com/PerformanceRunning/

1375815_10151888496477629_1023669780_nAfter a recent group run from the Shorewood store location

Sole Sister’s Club – This meet-up group is free to join and offers at least one group run each month. All women are welcome to join, regardless of age, race, color, creed or speed. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit www.solesistersclub.com

Black Girls Run – This national organization has a Milwaukee chapter that offers run meetups. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit http://www.blackgirlsrun.com/running-groups/

We Run This – This women’s only group offers group runs in varied locations around the city. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit http://werunthisblog.wordpress.com/

Fleet Feet – The Brookfield store offers free Tuesday evening and Saturday morning group runs. On Tuesday evenings, the group meets at 6 p.m. and runs 3-5 miles. On Saturday mornings, the group runs 3 miles at 8:45 a.m. All ages and paces are welcome. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit http://www.meetup.com/Fleet-Feet-Sports/

Tell us: Are there any groups in town that you like to run with? If it’s a group we missed, feel free to add it in the comments section!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Newly Expanded PRO-Brookfield Store is a Runner’s Heaven

Performance Running Outfitters in Brookfield has a whole new set of digs. The store’s new 7,000 square foot store is more than triple in size compared with the old space and is a true runner’s heaven: the latest shoes, apparel, gear, nutrition and more, plus a new indoor track and community room.

The store is owned by Trae and Jessica Hoepner and opened in 2006. The couple also owns locations in Shorewood and Oconomowoc.

PRO-BRO-Store2Photo courtesy of Performance Running Outfitters

Co-Owner Jessica Hoepner recently gave us the scoop on what MKE runners will find in the newly expanded Brookfield store space.

Tell us a bit why did you guys decided to make the move?

We knew we needed more space the past couple of years, but the timing wasn’t right. After getting feedback from customers about how uncomfortable the Brookfield store was getting with our product selections growing and getting busier, it made our decision easier. We believe in investing in and creating a healthier community; a place for athletes to get advice and motivation, create more jobs for runners, and a nice environment for our employees (we added a kitchen, shower and additional office space).

PRO-BRO-DeskPhoto courtesy of Performance Running Outfitters

Can you tell us a bit about the new indoor track space?

We put in a 100 foot track so that athletes can test out their track and cross country spikes and to allow our customers to test out their shoes if they don’t typically like running or walking on the treadmill.

Will you offer more inventory with the expanded space?

Yes, we will expand our selections in all categories (shoes, apparel, accessories and nutrition). There will be more color choices, more sizes and new items. We were also able to do this with our Shorewood location (4533 N. Oakland Avenue) when we expanded.

BRO-storedoors-2Photo courtesy of Performance Running Outfitters

What are some of the other things you’ll be able to do with the new space?

We built a community classroom. This allows us to handle bigger race packet pickups, hold meetings and classes, host speakers, team events and more. If anyone in the community wants to use it as a meeting place for their team or club, we can schedule that, too!

It seems like PRO is undergoing a lot of expansion this year. Any plans to add another location anytime soon?

We are here to serve and help build a healthier community, so nothing is ever out of the question.

If you want to visit the new store, here are the deets you need to know:

Performance Running Outfitters – Brookfield

Ruby Isle Shopping Center, 2205 North Calhoun Road

(262) 784-7989

Monday-Friday: 10am-8pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 12pm-4pm

Mark your calendar: Join PRO-Brookfield for a special grand opening event on Saturday, November 9. More details about this event to come, so follow PRO and Keep Running MKE on Facebook to get all the info first.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!