Mark Karolich resides in Glen Ellyn and has been involved with CCFA since 2010 when he ran the Napa to Sonoma half marathon. He was diagnosed with UC when he was 18 but he has not let it slow him down. Mark competes in numerous triathlons and running events throughout the year and is really looking forward to helping others who will take this 4-5 month journey with CCFA and all of the other participants.
Mark has been active all of his life, but raising his two children hindered his activity for many years as he made time with them a priority. He now trains with his family and enjoys both group runs as well as quiet solo runs, bike rides and open water swims in Lake Michigan. When not training, Mark enjoys talking about cars, motorcycles and real estate. Mark attended the University of Illinois and Northwestern University and is the Controller for FTD’s ecommerce group in Downers Grove.
Kim Klages began her journey with Team Challenge as a participant in March of 2012 for the Napa to Somona Half Marathon training program. After countless misdiagnoses, Kim was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2007 and has fought to keep herself healthy through exercise, diet, and biological therapy.
In 2008, Kim trained and ran her first half marathon, which sparked her love for the sport. Since then, Kim has ran 6 half marathons and two full marathons with a personal best half marathon time of 1:48:56 (Chicago Half Marathon) and 4:22:44 for the full (Chicago Marathon). An avid Crossfitter, Kim has her Crossfit Level 1 Coaching Certificate. She is so excited to be part of Team Challenge and cannot wait to help participants meet their fitness goals!
ann puetzAnn has been a resident of Chicago for the past 20 years. Much of that time has been spent running or biking along the Lakefront path. Ann joined Team Challenge in 2012 as a participant for the Napa half marathon, running in honor of her niece who has Crohn’s disease. She enjoyed running with the team so much that she became a mentor for the 2012 Las Vegas season before becoming the coach for the 2013 Nashville half marathon. Ann is thrilled to be coaching our runners and walkers in the North this season!
Ann has run 10 marathons (including the Boston Marathon!) and numerous half marathons. She's looking forward to another great season with Team Challenge.
A self-proclaimed running geek, Bill Underwood has run 9 marathons, 21 half-marathons, a ton of 5ks and 10 milers, and is now hooked on ultramarathons. His PR for the 2009 Detroit Marathon is 3:45:56.
Bill has also been a licensed Clinical Massage Therapist for the last 12 years, concentrating on sports and traumatic injuries. He's a certified RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) running coach & USATF (USA Track & Field) Level 1 Certified Coach. Bill feels running is a wonderful way to a more positive, healthier life, and is so excited to be coaching with Team Challenge again this season and helping everyone achieve their goals.
Janelle has completed 8 half marathons along with various other 5 and 10k races. She joined Team Challenge in 2012 and participated in the Las Vegas race as well as the Chicago 13.1 in June 2013. The Chicago race she ran with her then, 15 year old daughter. Her most rewarding running moment will always be crossing the finish line with her daughter and seeing her father, their personal honoree, there to greet them both.
Janelle has music degrees from DePaul University and Northwestern University but spends her work days managing the Information Technology department at an Automotive Parts Manufacturer in St. Charles. This year she will be training for what she believes will be the first of many full marathons, while still chasing the elusive sub-2 hour half marathon time as her current PR is 2:00:34. She is excited and honored to be coaching this year for Team Challenge.
If you're planning on running or walking a summer half-marathon, the time to start training is NOW! The most important thing you'll need to get started is a good pair of training shoes, and the most important feature of a running or walking shoe is how it fits YOUR foot. Don't worry what the Olympic Champion wears, and don't think about what color the shoe is; the only things that matter are how the shoes fit on your feet and how they fit your personal biomechanics. (Of course if the shoes fit your personal biomechanical needs AND come in Team Challenge orange and blue, well that wouldn't be a bad thing!)
Happy feet = happy training!
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.