Tim Cigelske has impressive speed at every distance from the 5k to the marathon. But even more impressive to us is his involvement in the MKE running community.
Some of you may already know him through DRAFT magazine as The Beer Runner. In addition to writing the popular blog, Tim also heads up City Running Tours in Milwaukee, volunteers with Team Challenge and DetermiNation, regularly runs with his Marquette University coworkers and participates in races throughout the year.
Read on to learn more about his training, upcoming race goals and his top pick for a post-race beer!
Years running: 20
Favorite race distance: 5K
Pre-race routine: Caffeine, meditation and portapotties
Favorite post-race treat: Beer
Racing shoes of choice: Brooks
How did you get started with running and what’s motivated you to keep at it throughout the years?
My middle school gym teacher made us run a half mile before every class and timed us. When I started out, I was an out-of-shape video game addict who was just OK at running. But after months of running I started beating everyone in the class, including the kids a year older than me. This made me get competitive with myself to see how much I could improve. That same motivation to push myself – with a new PR, a new distance, better training or a smarter race – has kept me going ever since.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
I work at Marquette University and our president, Mike Lovell, is a huge runner who started a running group on campus for students, faculty and staff. We run together twice a week, usually one track workout and a tempo run. I also run downtown and the lakefront with a group of friends 1-2 times a week. On the weekends, if the weather is nice, I like to take my two-year-old son for a long run in the jogging stroller. It’s nice bonding time together and if he finds the stroller in the garage he’ll crawl in and ask to go for a run.
What workout lets you know you’re ready to race?
It’s usually not a hard workout. I feel like I’m ready to race after I’ve put in all the work, I’m tapering and I go out for a short run and my legs feel like they have some “spring” in them. Then I can’t wait to get to the starting line.
Tell us a bit about the Beer Runner blog – How did it get started? And what came first – a love of running or a love of beer?
I started doing some freelance writing for the craft beer magazine DRAFT in about 2007, and a year later I pitched them the idea of a blog about beer and running. My idea was there are a lot of people who live physically active lives and reward themselves with a quality beer. At the time, there wasn’t really anyone writing about that lifestyle. I knew there was a niche out there, but I never knew how big it would get with social media. Since then I’ve been mentioned in Runner’s World, completed a three-year streak of having at least one beer and running one mile a day, and I’m still having a blast being part of this community.
In your opinion, do different beers taste better after different distances? For example, is there a beer that is especially great after a 5k or one that’s best after a marathon?
Today, there are beers that are brewed specifically for a certain race or even a running club, like the Big Boss Brewing Company’s Tailwind IPA or the Boston Marathon’s 26.2 beer by Sam Adams. I believe that the best beer is whatever is free at the finish line.
What is your go-to beer after a hard workout or race?
Any IPA or Pale Ale.
Have you participated in a beer mile? If so, what was your experience, and do you have any tips for runners interested in doing one?
I have, maybe six or seven times. This summer I went out to San Francisco to run and write about the Beer Mile World Classic: http://draftmag.com/canada-takes-world-mile-beer-classic/. The hardest part of the beer mile is drinking all that liquid and then still running. The alcohol doesn’t even hit you until after you’re done running. There’s really nothing you can do to prepare to make it suck less. Just get some friends together, don’t take yourself seriously and have fun!
Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
The Oak Leaf Trail, the Hank Aaron Trail, Three Bridges Park and Hart/Hoyt Park.
What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
My new favorite race is the Milwaukee Running Festival. I’ll just share what I wrote on Facebook about it:
“It hit me when I was headed up the hill on Brady Street. It gave me goosebumps.
Running is how I learned my way around Milwaukee. When I was a freshman in college, I used to purposely get lost and use the US Bank building tower as a landmark to find my way back.
Running is how I discovered neighborhoods, rivers, bridges, beaches and the lakefront. It introduced me to all the city had to offer.
Running is how I’ve formed countless friendships with the people I saw at the start line or cheering along the course.
Running has made this city feel like my own.
For me, it felt like the Milwaukee Running Festival was a journey 15 years in the making. I was thankful for Chris Ponteri for having this vision to make a true city marathon and half marathon a real event.
So headed up Brady Street in the neighborhood Jess (Tim’s wife) and I lived after college, it felt like a reunion, a homecoming, a holiday and a celebration all in one.”
What are your running goals for the upcoming year?
After a year where I PR’d in the 5K, 8K, half marathon and marathon, I’m not sure where I go from here. I’m 34, I think I have a few PRs in me yet. We’ll see.
Any other comments?
“You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running.” – “Born To Run”
Thanks for chatting with us, Tim! If you’re interested, here are a few ways to connect:
If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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!