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!


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!