2018 Scholarship Winners


2018 Scholarship Winners

Capital Striders scholarship program for high school cross-country athletes in Polk county began in 1999 with one $500 award.  The number of awards and the amount per scholarship has grow since then and this year, we were able to again present five $1200.00 scholarships.

Three of these scholarships are named after supporters of Capital Striders:
1. Dave Hurd was an avid runner and patron of running and wellness in Central Iowa.
2. Chuck Jipp, who lost his battle with ALS in 2000, was a long-time Striders Board Member, volunteer, and runner.
3. Stan Smith was one of the first members of the organized version of the Capital Striders, and contributed endlessly to the running community whether it be youth programs, high school, collegiate, or lifetime.

For the second year in a row we have been able to offer an additional scholarship, named for Kinetic Edge, for donated additional scholarship funds.  Special thanks to Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy and Todd Schemper, a long-time Striders member.

The 2018 Capital Striders Scholarship Winners are:

Alexandra (Alex) Robran - Kinetic Edge Scholarship
Duncan Kyhl - Stan Smith  Scholarship
Claire Wubben - Capital Striders Scholarship
Isabel Buchanan - David Hurd Scholarship
Kelsey Lyons - Chuck Jipp Scholarship

A few highlights about each student:

Alex Robran graduated from Ankeny High School and plans to attend University of Minnesota Duluth this fall.  While in high school she participated in cross country, track, marching band, student council, show choir and National Honor Society.

Duncan Kyhl graduated from Dowling Catholic and plans to attend Creighton University this fall.  While at Dowling he participated in cross country, hockey, lacrosse, track, choir and National Honor Society; and he was an Eagle Scout.

Claire Wubben graduated from Ankeny Centennial High School and plans to attend Baylor University this fall.  While in high school she participated in cross country, track, band, French club and National Honor Society.

Isabel Buchanan graduated from Roosevelt High School and plans to attend the University of Denver this fall.  While in high school she participated in cross country, track, soccer, Student Advisory Board, Iowa Youth Institute and 4H.

Kelsey Lyons graduated from Ankeny Centennial High School and plans to attend the University of Iowa this fall.  While in high school she participated in cross country, soccer, marching/jazz band, garden club, and Spanish club.


Board of Directors Election 2018


Board of Directors Election 2018

This Spring we have two fine candidates running for election to the Capital Striders Board of Directors.  They are Melinda Urick and Sandy Bowman.  We also have three current Board members (Jared Kroese, Brian Benjamin and Jason Kenyon) who are up for re-election. Voting this year will be by electronic ballot on April 20-23.  You must be a current Capital Strider’s member to vote and your membership number will be required.

We asked our two new candidates to answer a few questions to help you get to know them.   Here are their answers:


1.  What area(s) of the club would you focus on as a Board Member? 
I would love to blend my expertise as a chiropractor with my decades of running experience to create educational programming that will benefit athletes and help them understand how running can be improved with taking care of their health.  Topics could range from nutrition, to injury prevention and recovery, to how to care for your body post-workout, among many others.  I think this is a great way to help club members hit their fitness goals and add value to the membership fee.  I would be very open to helping in any areas where I am needed.

2.  What special skills would you bring to the Board?
I am a chiropractor and own my own private practice. As a business owner, I have developed a number of useful organizational and productivity related skills.  I am very goal-oriented and have intentionally developed my abilities in the areas of personal development, efficiency, team training, and communication.  I am a very open and warm person and I feel one of my greatest strengths is building strong interpersonal relationships. I am confident I can assist in the areas of planning and strategy as well as budget management and long-term vision of the Striders.

3.  How have you been involved with the Capital Striders in the past?
I have been a member for the past few years, although I think my membership lapsed when I was out with an injury.  I have participated in a few of the Saturday and Wednesday runs.  

4.  Tell us about yourself - anything you would like people to know.
I have always been athletic and have been running since I was 16 years old.  I joined the cross-country team, then ran one year in college before I got burned out and quit.  I was on and off for several years, but always went back to it.  I was always a shorter distance runner, averaging around three miles a few times per week.  When I moved to Iowa ten years ago, I saw Dam2Dam and decided to try it.  I was hooked and started running longer distances and doing triathlons.  I got into biking and someone on my RAGBRAI team said I should do a marathon.  My reaction was strongly negative that I decided I needed to do it!  I completed two and decided I prefer the half distances for several reasons, so I’m focused on that. Health and fitness are huge passions of mine, so I focus on living a balanced, healthy life-style. I work out at OrangeTheory Fitness three days per week, then run 6-10 miles with my running group of friends every Saturday.  
    I am originally from Louisiana, but after chiropractic college my wife, Angela, and I decided to move to Iowa to be close to our family. I have four nephews and a niece in Iowa, all between 2 and 12 years old, which keeps us very busy!  Angela and I do not have children of our own, so we focus on being great aunts, which is very fun.  We have two cats, two dogs, and a bird, our own little zoo that keeps life at home interesting for sure.  I opened my practice here in June of 2007 and absolutely love my work.  I love helping my patients understand the benefits to moving their body well and using less medications.  
    I am involved in a few groups within HealthSource, including serving on the Franchise Advisory Council and participating in an internal Master Mind, which focuses on both personal and professional development.  These are both great opportunities as they allow me to learn from highly successful people and also have an influence on how the franchise develops over time.  My Master Mind experience is particularly valuable to me because I have focused heavily on personal development over the past 10 years, which has helped me grow and develop into a person I would hardly have recognized 10 years ago!  
In the past, I volunteered as the Special Olympics coordinator at Parker College of Chiropractic, which was very rewarding.  I am looking forward to mentoring a young girl through the Girls on the Run program this year.  Our office does a lot of money donation, toy drives, back pack drives, coat drives, and that sort of thing, but I want to elevate my level of giving my giving my time to something I am passionate about. Volunteering is something I have identified as a gaping hole in my life, so I see working with the Striders as an opportunity to give back to the community.  

5.  If you had to run a race in a costume, what costume would you choose? (And why.)
If I had to run a race in costume, I would run in a body suit that won’t cause me to chafe!  Maybe one of those cool outfits that shows all of the muscles – then I could educate runners as I pass them on what muscles help with given strides. Ideally, however, I wouldn’t normally dress in costume. I love dressing up for holidays and being silly in my office and with my patients, but I don’t love running in costume.  Well, to be honest, I can’t even say I don’t love it because the most I have ever done is wear a tutu!  It’s not necessarily that I’m opposed to running in costume, I think it could be a lot of fun, I’m just afraid of chafing and blisters!


1.  What area(s) of the club would you focus on as a Board Member?  
I'd like to help out with races (promotion/planning), newsletter and social media, and/or social functions. But happy to fill in where help is needed!

2.  What special skills would you bring to the Board?
I have professional (and volunteer/non-profit) experience with web copywriting, blogging, social media and newsletter/digital marketing. I also have experience promoting race events.

3.  How have you been involved with the Capital Striders in the past?
I've been a member of the club for 2 years (since moving to Iowa). I join for weekly Striders or Turkeys runs, and I participated in To Grandmother's House, Sycamore 8, and Capital Pursuit the last two years. This past summer, I also volunteered as a "trail buddy" with Des Moines Parks & Recreation trail run series partnership with the Turkeys.

4.  Tell us about yourself - anything you would like people to know.
I'm a full-time graduate student, working on my master's degree in sport psychology. I moved to Iowa two years ago with my husband and three cats. I run on both roads and trails. I love winter (and winter running)! I've completed 14 half marathons, 4 marathons, and 1 ultra (50k); I'm currently training for Drake half marathon. I'm about to start my first season coaching for Girls on the Run, and have previously volunteered with their organization as a running buddy. Fun fact: I played roller derby for 6 years.

5.  If you had to run a race in a costume, what costume would you choose? (And why.)
I ran a half marathon in Ohio where a guy was dressed as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. He was having so much fun and you couldn't help but laugh when you saw him. I get so much joy when racing is fun like that. It was a great stand-out costume - and I love marshmallows, so why not? :)




Thank you for the past 6 years!!!!!


Thank you for the past 6 years!!!!!


There is a good chance I may get emotional while conveying this message, so it's probably best that I'm hiding behind the computer right now and that I didn't give this message during the 2018 Capital Striders dinner a couple of weeks ago. Here we go...

What an amazing ride the past 6 years has been for me. I'm not new to the Central Iowa running scene, but I became more aware of what the Striders were about 7 years ago from a co-worker who just happened to be on the Striders board. She told me that the club was looking for someone to work on coordinating the Saturday morning training runs and asked if I'd like to do it. I have a REALLY hard time saying no, so I took on the challenge. What I never thought about was how much that one task of setting up water was going to change my outlook on this community. 

As someone who didn't grow up as a runner, I didn't know the camaraderie that can be developed when spending hour after hour of putting one foot in front of the other together. My desire to run once I started losing weight, was for me to show how much of a badass I truly was. I was doing it all for me. I didn't understand the purpose of the club at first...let's just say I was naive and thought everyone was just a bunch of speedsters...but the people that I've been surrounded with have shown me grace, encouragement and friendship that I will never forget and made me realize that this club isn't just to help people be better runners, but to help the community around us to be a greater place to live.

A lot of people look at what we do as just beating ourselves up, but this club means so much more to the greater community. Being on the board has shown me that we need to take care of our community. During the past 6 years, we've done that and put ourselves into a position of making sure that we take care of this community for generations to come. From scholarships, to donating used shoes and clothing to the homeless shelters, to donating food, to donating funds to local track clubs, to paying for community betterment projects, to donating to take care of our dirt trail system, to creating an environment where kids as young as 5 can learn to appreciate the outdoors...I'm proud to have served this community. 

I don't have enough space to thank everyone who I've been able to work with on the board over the past 6 years. I have to thank Bobbi Snodgrass publicly for asking me to consider jumping on the board. That was a very stressful decision that I had to make, but I'm glad I made it. Thanks to Mike McGinn who was such a great mentor for me during my two years as President. Thanks to the board members from 2012 for trusting me enough to allow me to take on a race (Sycamore 8) that was on it's way to shutting down and giving me the chance to grow it to a nearly 300 runner race. I have formed some of the most amazing friendships on this board. I would thank all of you individually, but I'm not dying and I'll tell you in person :)

Most importantly, thank you to you as the community for embracing me. For allowing me to serve on your board of directors. This club isn't mine. It's the 700 others who pay their membership, donate their time to serving other runners, who show up to the races and spread the love of our events. Thanks to the parents who brought their kids out to the youth trail days. We are setting something up to where the club will be able to offer these clinics to keep kids on the trails. Of all of the things that I've done, this is where I hope my legacy lives. The trails mean so much to me. The solitude of being in the woods is amazing and I hope that we can continue to share this love with generations to come.

I can't begin to thank you enough for what you have all done for me and my family. I love you all and I know that we'll see each other all of the time. Even though my time on the board has come to an end, please continue to reach out to me. You all know how much I love to talk running....and talk about cutoff jean shorts :)

All the best in this upcoming year and I'll see you on the roads and trails

Stay Strong, Run Long

Brad Dains

Instagram | Twitter | My Personal Blog | Booneville Backroads


I am capable of anything.


I am capable of anything.

As a child, I was never very athletic.  Always a bit chunky, typically picked last at any game in gym class.  I did have a brief time as an adult where I was more into fitness, but I let life get in the way.  I stopped going to the gym, going for walks or doing anything active.  That all changed January 6th, 2016.  My work place was having a weight loss competition, and I decided that would be the perfect motivation to get me started.  I stepped on the scale that morning and saw 315 pounds.  I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t.  I knew I had gotten big, I just didn’t realize exactly how big.  I vowed then and there on that scale that I would NEVER see a 3 in the beginning again.  
     I knew the basics of losing weight: eat less, move more.  So I did just that.  I changed my eating habits and started working out.  I started with the elliptical.  30 minutes at the easiest setting was enough to get a good sweat going.  After 2 months of elliptical training, I decided I wanted to give running a try.  
After some reading, I found the 5K101 Podcast and got started.  With all the snow on the ground, I was stuck indoors.  I hated the treadmill, still do.  Until the snow melted, I used the hallways at school.  A lovely short loop, 3 times a week.  Several weeks later, it was finally warm enough to melt the snow outside, so I laced up my shoes and took the podcast outside.
     My first race was the Run with the Police 5K.  I hardly remember the run, but I do remember the immense feeling of pride for finishing the race.  I did several more 5Ks throughout the year, getting faster each time.
    My longest race of 2016 was the Des Moines IMT Mercy Live up Loop.  The feeling of pride at the finish line is indescribable.  I decided my next goal: run the Des Moines IMT Half Marathon.
    I registered in April and began training shortly thereafter.  With some guidance from fellow runners (Thanks Sally and Brad!) I decided to follow the Marathoning for Mortals plan.  I knew there would be some weeks I would need to repeat and some weeks where life would get in the way, so I figured starting early couldn’t hurt.
    As I increased my distance, I began looking for longer races to keep my runs interesting.  I found the Run to Exile 10K and registered for it.  Who wouldn’t want a free beer at the end of a race??  A few weeks before the race, I looked at the previous year’s race results and noticed that the person who finished last the year before was a bit faster than my current pace.  It hit me: I am likely to finish last in this race.   I’ve always been at the back of the pack, but I’ve never been LAST.  The sense of panic grew in my stomach: What if they closed the course?  What if I couldn’t finish?  Would someone say something to me?  Would the water stations still be there when I passed?  Would there still be free beer left?
    Race day came and I felt more at peace with being last.  I knew I would finish, I just didn’t know the answer to any of my other questions.  The course follows mostly sidewalks with a few street crossings.  I could manage that if I had to on my own.
    The first few miles followed the 5K course, so I had company.  The group split and off I went.  A group passed me shortly after the split and I figured that would be it.  Around mile 4, I got my answer.  Two Des Moines EMT’s on a Gator came past me.  I continued on and saw them again, waiting for me under a tree and coming past me a few minutes later, each time giving me the thumbs up.  All of the water stations were still there, waiting for me with cups full and arms out.  When I came to the last street crossing, there were still police directing traffic, allowing me a safe cross.  As I approached the finish line, a small group of people were cheering for me and it was announced that the final finisher was coming in.  The patio cheered and clapped.  I found out later the directors had decided to wait for me to come in before doing the awards ceremony, announcing that I would be arriving shortly and they would wait.  I didn’t win any awards, but the feelings of pride and joy were enough.
    The half marathon day finally arrived and I felt nervous and excited all over again.  I knew I should be able to finish, I had completed two 10 mile runs, one being the Capital Pursuit race.  Looking at the previous year’s race results, I knew I wouldn’t be last, or even close to last.  The course was open for 8 hours.  My “A Goal” was to finish in 3 hours and 15 minutes, since I started my journey at 315 pounds.  My “B Goal” was to finish in the same day I started.  I knew I would hit one!
    The start line was more packed than I was used to.  I felt like a fish swimming upstream trying to get towards the back of the corral.  The gun went off and I was off.  The first few miles  felt great.  I was keeping the pace I needed to maintain my goal.  About halfway through the race, I started to not feel well.  I pushed through.  I fell behind on pace, but I continued.  The miles seemed to drag on.  As I came around the corner in Gray’s Lake, my spirits were lifted.  My dad and step-mom were waiting for me, holding a sign and cheering.  It was just the lift I needed to keep going.
    At mile 12, the emotions started hitting me:  the pride of being able to finish such a big goal, the disappointment of not making my A goal, the exhaustion of running 13.1 miles, the joy of being able to check the race off my bucket list and many others.  All of the emotions came to a head as I crossed the finish line and received my medal.  
    Throughout my running and weight loss journey, I have learned that I am capable of anything I put my mind to.  I continue to be amazed as what my body can do.  I have gone from over 300 pounds, barely able to walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath to 235 pounds and able to complete a half marathon.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of this journey brings.

Want to follow along?  Follow me, Becky Wilson, on Instagram at @315to199 for more running and weight loss related posts!


3 Reasons Why You Need to Start Lifting Weights Next Week

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3 Reasons Why You Need to Start Lifting Weights Next Week

If you are reading this it is likely that you are a runner with aspirations to maintain or even improve your current running ability. If this is true of you then I want to make the case why you need to start lifting weights immediately. My reasons are three-fold:  One, weightlifting will provide you with the muscle strength required to support the demands placed on it in training and races. Two, lifting weights will result in a more favorable body composition by building more lean muscle tissue. Three, the frequency and severity of running injuries will be dramatically reduced.

Reason #1 — Weightlifting will provide you with the muscle strength required to support the demands placed on it in training and races. If you remain a one-dimensional athlete (limiting your exercise only to running) for too long the result will be inefficient and slower runs. Weakness in one area of the body leads to compensation in other areas of the body. The inevitable result are inefficient running mechanics, higher energy demands at a given pace, and slower running times. For example, if you drive on a deflated tire on a long road trip your gas mileage will decrease resulting in fewer miles driven on a tank of gas. If you were to run a marathon with this “deflated tire” you would either need to increase your energy output to sustain your early race pace before slowing down significantly later in the race, or slow down for the entire race in order to conserve valuable energy. Both choices result in a slower racing performance.

Reason # 2 — Lifting weights will result in a more favorable body composition. While long distance running may promote weight loss, it’s not always the best sort of weight loss. Muscle loss in distance runners is very common, and fat loss from aerobic exercise alone has its limits. By incorporating regular weightlifting 2-3x week the distance runner will soon notice more development in lean muscle tissue in conjunction with reduced body fat storage. The benefit is a leaner runner with more energy for longer and faster training runs and races.

Reason # 3 — The frequency and severity of running injuries will be dramatically reduced by regular weightlifting. Connective tissue like your muscles, ligaments and tendons are sensitive to overuse by repetitive movements such as running. If our bodies are properly strengthened so that no weaknesses exist to inhibit efficient movements, there will be no overcompensation resulting in overuse injuries. Our bodies are designed to move in fluid and functional patterns, but when these optimal patterns are interrupted by weak or overdeveloped muscles it is only be a matter of time before the structure breaks down and injury results.

If these reasons have convinced you to take up weightlifting I urge you to start immediately and maintain a schedule of no less than two lifting sessions per week. Don’t know where to start? Try Googling “weightlifting for runners” and choose a routine that best suits you. Your longevity, performance and injury status as a runner will be greatly improved in just a matter of weeks.

Tim Ives, CSCS, is a personal trainer and private running coach with The Body Project, Inc. in downtown Des Moines. He also coaches cross country and track at Dowling Catholic High School, winners of 4 of the last 7 state cross country championships. More info about The Body Project can be found at www.bodyprojectiowa.com.

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Surviving Injury, Becoming Stronger


Surviving Injury, Becoming Stronger

Every serious runner has seen that nasty porta-potty, streams of toilet paper guiding you to its repugnant entrance like the yellow brick road. The smell beckons a gag even after unsuccessful attempts to mouth breath as you approach its daunting entrance. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. I bet any passionate runner would prance on in, lick the seat, and seal a deal with the devil himself to avoid the dreaded: INJURY.  Nasty visual, yes…but a little barbeque sauce and I'd be the first volunteer.

A recent injury and setback has invaded the deepest depths of my mind while restricting my training, sidelining me from running altogether.  This is a bad combination and I feel the utmost empathy for my friends, family, and society in general. Historically I haven't dealt with injury well. Finding myself in the seventh circle of Hell supported by physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and random bouts of insanity, I knew I needed to get a grip and make the best out of this unsolicited time off. Self-examination as well as an extensive survey of reality has lead to significant observations. Much like any loss, I found myself cruising through the stages of grief, hovering in some more than others. To counteract this natural sequence of fate, I've learned that acknowledging each stage and then conquering it with conscious effort not only moves me quicker through the series, but also makes me a stronger runner and better asset to my peers and society overall. My thoughts on the stages runner’s injury grief:

1. Denial:  "Nope, I'm not limping..it's just my swagger." Denial is a sneaky thing. Progressive injuries can sneak into your life like that a roofy in your IPA. Everything feels funny, you know you're not quite right, but you keep your eyes on the prize and keep running. Next thing you know your on your back and you’re an unwilling star in a YouTube video.
     My body and brain fight itself when there is even a hint of possibility that a nagging 'ouch' is creeping into trauma. Too often I have found that my frontal lobe (decision making) of my brain screaming at me but my limbic system (driven by emotion) flips it the bird and takes over my body, thriving on pure emotional desire and passion for the trails. Mid-race and injury-free, this is a phenomenal asset and has driven me to podium finishes. However, all too often denial results in injury being the ultimate victor.
     Overcoming denial: Evoke outside opinion, but choose your victim wisely. I am blessed to have pals that specialize in the medical field who will give it to me straight…usually hiding behind a barrier with a buddy to act as witness. I may or may not have been compared to Tyler Durden, 'Fight Club'. Make sure that you are prepared for an outsider's perspective and be gracious. Education, science, and fact will trump any argument, pushing denial to a place in your mind that cannot be justified.. unless justification mimics ignorance. Also, don't forget to thank your victim and at no point should the F bomb be part of this courtesy.

2. Anger:  "SOB! MF! ((..Ipod flies through the air)) I'm running sub-7's and now this? This is absolute horsesh!t!!!" I can't imagine the insane lunatic that would utter those words and throw stuff. Umm.. Disappointment at a level that is so disruptive to your lifestyle will definitely tip toe on anger. Heck, it may do the friggin cha-cha. Just like any emotion, it's natural and specific to the host.
     Overcoming anger: Go ahead, let it out. Scream, cry, and punch stuff (nothing with a pulse) if nature calls. However, your REACTION to anger is what we need to pay attention to here. I tend to turn into a hermit at this stage which is probably the best and has kept my criminal record spick and span.
     There is a legit physiological reaction in the body that supports and encourages these strong emotions. Dopamine is released in our brains when we are happy and when the prime source of dopamine release comes from trails, the consequences can be significant. Be real; your life isn't over if you have to hang up your Altras for a bit. Expand your mind, open yourself to new experiences that make you happy. Nonrunners will not understand and even seasoned runners will eventually tell you to suck it up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. I recently chatted with another Y member on the bike who is battling skin cancer. Reality check.
     Find a healthy anger release: Cross train like a beast; write a blog; clean the hell out of your house; take up competitive ax throwing (it's a thing, really). You get it. Just remember that anger is healthy and natural but a poor reaction to it isn't.

3. Bargaining:  Trying to bargain while injured only encourages thinking and actions that will slow the healing process.  I've done it. I've told myself that I will only run 20 instead of a marathon. To me, it's a perfectly reasonable deal and my prize would be that I would be less injured. Ridiculous. I might as well just beat myself with a mallet instead of stepping in front of a semi. There is logic here, but it's laced with denial.
     Overcoming bargaining stage: Don't be an idiot.

4. Depression: Guilty, guilty, guilty. This is the real deal for many runners for losing something (even temporarily) that has become a part of their day, their month, their lifestyle. This is the result of the loss of running, supported by a decrease of dopamine release, missing out on the awesome adrenaline surges, and overall biological body orgasm that results from such a magnificence that can only be captured by running. Before you’re know it, you are sitting on your butt eating bonbons while icing your injury and contemplating the meaning of life. You start to question things you have never questioned and pessimism dominates every thought. You look at your Lone Peaks in the corner, still covered in mud from your last trail run, and instinctively move them out of sight. The struggle is real.
     Overcoming depression: Knock it off! Life is NOT over; it's an injury not the friggin plague. Negative thoughts will breed negative actions. As most ultrarunners know, the mental strength of an individual will make or break a runner. Tapping into positive thinking then moving it to positive action will put the situation into perspective. Suggestions relevant to your running:
     • Eat right; raw, less processed foods are natural healers and anti-inflammatories. Goggle it and then load up on super foods. Try new recipes and schedule your eating as religiously as you scheduled your runs. Exploring new, better eating habits will not only have a physical benefit but will consume your down time. Check out different supplements and integrate them with nutrition. Stress fractures require bone healing so jack up your Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, etc…and don't forget to drink more water! Remember that caffeine and alcohol actually inhibits healing. (Boo!) Nutrition planning and implementation is a HUGE factor in injury recovery. Keep in mind that you are eating for fuel and recovery, not entertainment. Read that last sentence again, it's worth it. Many resources will highlight that you actually need to increase your caloric intake when the body is healing. No, this doesn't mean you can super-size. Be smart about this and choose your calories wisely.
     • Cross-train; listen to your doctor obviously. If you are an athlete, you will not be able to stop being an athlete, regardless if you're broken. Make sure that when your doctor tells you what you can't do, ask what you can do. Many people get so caught up in the bad news that they don't have the perspective to learn about healthy alternatives. You may require some time off if the trauma is severe, so deal with it. Your muscles and endocrine system may literally need some chill time to recover back to their normal, functional state. Start planning your cross training during this time, research exercises, and get psyched to build a stronger body. Build up your core. Too many of us runners are focused on mileage and we cut our time allowance short on building our core, stretching and range of motion, and building up supportive muscles. My triathlete background kicks in immediately when I'm hurting and I dominate the bike, bands, machines, weights, and even that damn pool. It's a common sight to see me pool-running and highly suggest it to any runner.
     • Think about your form. Review race pictures and look at your stance and body positioning. I know that many resources will tell you to avoid reminiscing about your running but I think that's a bunch of crap. Learn from your past to build a stronger future. Check out your pics… how is your head positioning, arm swings, posture, chest, heel touch? And, are you smiling? I could talk for days on any of these factors but I'll bore you another time.
     • Give back.  Ultrarunning has given me more than I could ever ask for and I always try and keep that in perspective and pay my respects: Work an aid station at a race. Crew your buddy. Help an up and coming runner work on their form. Make training suggestions. Blog your random brain spews. Inspire, motivate, and respect your sport with the highest integrity. How many times have you have seen an individual that's not in the best of shape, working their butt off at the gym? Tell them you respect their focus on improving their health… or just offer up a high five. It speaks volumes and benefits both the giver and the recipient. Be an active member of your running community and respect the sport that has changed your life.
     • Read. Learn about the origin of your favorite race or running mentor… maybe their aspirations and trials will strike a chord with you. Read about an upcoming goal race and keep the excitement coursing through your veins. This may be hard at first but once you can come to grips with the fact that you are one day closer to running through smart, active recovery, all will be well.
     • Keep your workout routines. If on Monday you typically run high intensity ten miles, fill that time slot with a high intensity bike ride that takes just as long. Empty, purposeless time that was previously run time can either be an opportunity or threat to your sanity. The choice is yours.

Take advantage of your recovery time to step outside of running as well. Pick up low impact sports. I've restored my love for rock climbing and most recently, a little boxing.  Grow intellectually or spiritually. Choose an author that challenges your mind. Personally, I would recommend Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein, or anything by Edgar Allen Poe. Volunteer in your community and serve the less fortunate. It's sad that we instigate this behavior due to injury, but better late than never. It's important to realize that we aren't the center of the world and there are communities of people and demographics with demons that will far outweigh our own. Be humble.

5. Acceptance. Congrats! You've reached stage that only comes from humbling acknowledging that you aren't the center of the universe and the sun did not explode extinguishing life as you know it because you can't run.
     Embracing acceptance: Make the best out of your time to grow as a runner, an individual, a friend, a family member, a community member, and a representative of our running family. You will survive (hopefully without having to sign a contract with Satan) and if you are smart, you'll learn from your experience.

Lace up when the time is right. My plan is to return to running a week after I think I am ready. My passion for running can be cunning as hell, so I'm trying to proactively beat myself at my own game. Let that marinate.

Injuries don't have to own you. If you find yourself bowing to your injury, you may need to examine your overall strength, focus, and… in some cases… intelligence. Take control, be determined, and make decisions to come out on top.

Want more? Check out Steph’s blog at: stephwhitmore.blogspot.com


The Power of Protein


The Power of Protein

When it comes to sports nutrition, there are several nutrients you need in your diet.  One of those important nutrients is protein.  One important function of protein is to build and repair all the tissues in our body, which our muscles need when it comes to sports and exercise.  Protein is available in several different food groups as well as in supplements.  Protein supplements are a great way to reach your protein needs if you are unable to reach the recommended amount through your diet.

Protein comes in two major forms - animal-based protein and plant-based protein. Animal proteins include chicken, fish, beef, pork, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese. Plant proteins include legumes (ex: black beans, peanuts), nuts, seeds and soy.   When it comes to protein supplements, there are several different types of proteins.

Whey - Whey is a byproduct of the cheese-making process.  It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, required by our body through our diet.  There are three types of whey protein.

1.    Whey Concentrate - Contains the highest percentage of fat, cholesterol and lactose (milk sugar), and the lowest percentage of protein. Ranges between 25% to 80% pure protein.  Rich in immune-boosting immunoglobulins.
2.    Whey Isolate - Lower than whey concentrate in fat, cholesterol and lactose, but higher in protein. 90% to 95% pure protein.  
3.    Whey Hydrolysate - Lowest in fat, cholesterol and lactose, and highest in protein. 95% to 99% pure protein, promoting rapid absorption.

Casein - Casein comes directly from milk. Like whey, casein is a complete protein.  There are two types of casein protein; both are 100% pure.
1.    Micellar Casein - Five casein milk proteins enclosed in spherical structures called micelles. It’s clumpy and slow to digest. Slower digestion results in constant distribution of amino acids into the blood.
2.    Casein Hydrolysate – Complex mixture of two to three amino acid chains. Absorption is rapid.  No further digestion is required.

Plant-based protein supplements, in powder form, come from soy, pea, hemp or rice.

Soy protein - Soy protein is the only complete plant protein.  It is high in isoflavones, a class of phytochemicals, and is sold in either concentrated or isolate form. Soy isolate protein has higher protein content than soy concentrate. It has a slower digestion and absorption rate.

Pea, Hemp and Rice Proteins - Pea, hemp and rice are all incomplete proteins. They should not be used as sole protein sources. Generally, you will find a blend of these plant-based proteins together, which then makes it a complete protein. These proteins are higher in carbohydrate than soy or animal proteins. Hemp proteins are high in fiber. Brown rice protein has only a small amount of protein, but is recommended for those who have intestinal sensitivities or milk or soy allergies.

Ingesting protein in supplement form, especially animal-based protein, greatly enhances a person’s ability to recover after physical activity. The amount of daily protein a person should ingest comes down to height, age, medical condition and the type-frequency-intensity of his or her training regimen. Protein intake is equally important for both endurance and strength athletes.

Protein Utilization Examples:
•    Choose whey concentrate as an economical pre- or post-workout meal, or anytime meal replacement.
•    Choose whey isolates if activity level is high. This protein is best utilized pre- or post-training.
•    Due to the expense of whey hydrolysates protein, it hardly ever exists on its own, but rather in a blend with other proteins. Hydrolysates are ideal for pre-, during and post-training.
•    Micellar casein is a good anytime protein for a beverage or to mix into a shake before bed.
•    Casein hydrolysates are for professional athletes. This protein is very expensive, but prized for purity and rapid absorption.


Almond Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie
Serves 1  (1 3/4 cups each)

All you need:
1 small frozen banana
1 cup Hy-Vee unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp unflavored protein powder
1 tbsp sweetener of your choice, optional
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 to 6 ice cubes

All you do:
Combine banana, almond milk, almond butter, protein powder, sweetener, cinnamon and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 402 calories, 22g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 376mg sodium, 37g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 14g sugars, 19g protein.

Daily values: 15% vitamin C, 41% calcium, 56% iron.
Source: adapted from EatingWell, Inc.     Photo Credit:  EatingWell, Inc.

Please contact your in-store Hy-Vee registered dietitian for more information on how to use protein and which one is right for you. Allysa Ballantini is your Altoona Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian. Call her at (515) 967-7676 or e-mail at aballantini@hy-vee.com.

The above information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.


Post Race Injury Prevention


Post Race Injury Prevention

If you are reading this article there is a good chance that you competed in a race sometime in the last month.  Whether your race was a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon, proper post race recovery is an important topic to consider in regards to preventing running injuries. Over the years I have worked with a number of runners in my clinic that were injury free with their training and with the running event itself.  Then their injury popped up while getting back into training too quickly in the weeks following their race.

Foster Formula
There are many approaches when it comes to post race recovery and prevention.  One concept coined by New Zealander and former world master’s marathon record holder, Jack Foster, is the Foster Formula.  Foster, believed that runners should focus on recovery for one day per every mile of the distance they raced.  So, if you race a 5k, there should be a three-day recovery.  For a marathon, treat the next 26 days after the race as your recovery time.

Everyone is going to respond differently to races and will need various amounts of time to recover.  Whether you are Dean Karnazes and can run a marathon every day or someone who has struggled with injuries and recovery and needs more time, it is pertinent to have a recovery plan to help you prevent injury and safely return to your routine.

This article will cover four phases of focused recovery.  The length of time for each phase will vary depending on the length of your race and your individual needs.

Active Rest
The first phase of recovery is active rest.  Key factors to consider during this phase are rehydration, rest, and nutrition. Post race and in the days following, focus on replenishing your body’s fluid and nutrition needs.  Make sure to get adequate post race sleep and rest to ensure muscle recovery.

Icing and muscle work are also great areas to target in this phase.  Focus on icing areas that are irritable for the first 48-72 hours after a race.  Ice two to three times per day for up to 15 minutes. For working out achy muscles, massage sticks and foam rollers are great tools for promoting blood flow and decreasing lactic acid build up and soreness. Emphasize work on the hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band and calves a few minutes per day to help with proper recovery.

Regarding activity in the active rest phase, stretching and walking are best in the time immediately following your event.  Lightly stretch out your hips, back, quadriceps, and calves, focusing on breathing and pain free holds.  This will help promote circulation without adding irritation beyond what has resulted from the race.

During the next phase of recovery, it is pertinent not to push back into your routine too soon.  Cross training is great to consider. Explore walking, biking, swimming, elliptical machine or other cardio equipment to help with continued muscle recovery without the loading that may come with running.  Pool running is not only a viable option for those dealing with injuries, but as a therapeutic activity to aid in race recovery.  

If you are feeling ready to start back into running, listen to your body and focus on pain free runs.  Start with combining walking and running at 5 to 10-minute intervals.  Keep the distance short, with recovery being the goal instead of getting a workout.

This is the phase for most to start back into regular running at a reduced level.  With the return phase consider one or more rest days between runs, continuing to cross train to aid with your recovery and injury prevention.  When you do run, keep your pace and distance down.  Look for softer surfaces to run on such as dirt, grass, crushed limestone or all-weather tracks.

If you are experiencing a nagging pain lingering from your race, do walk/run combination workouts and deep end pool running with a jogger floatation belt for sport specific movement and conditioning.

During this last phase of post race recovery, the key point is to listen to your body.  Remember the intensity of your race and all the training you did in the months leading up your event.  It may take you more time to feel ready to get back into a regular running schedule.  If you are still mentally or physically not ready to resume your normal running routine, continue to be active by cross training and gradually rebuilding your mileage.

If you are dealing with an injury or pain lingering from your training or race, consider seeking medical attention.  Physical Therapists are experts in injury treatment and prevention and specialize in helping individuals with mobility needs, analyzing your problem and giving you solutions to get back running.

Recover and Prevent
Whether you recover in a few days, weeks or months, the concepts of active rest, rebalance, return and rebuild hold true.  Listen to your body and do not push back too soon.  Enjoy mixing up your program and celebrate your accomplishments by treating your body well!

Todd Schemper, PT, DPT, OCS is a Physical Therapist with Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy in Des Moines.  He is an endurance athlete and specializes in running injury prevention and treatment.  Todd can be reached at (515) 309-4706 or ToddS@KineticEdgePT.com


Recover with a Cherry on Top!


Recover with a Cherry on Top!

Whether it’s your off-season or post-run, it’s important to recover properly - and tart cherry concentrate can help year-round.  Immediate replenishment of carbohydrates and protein can decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and inflammation while enhancing muscle repair.  It is preferable to consume these nutrients in whole foods, as opposed to supplements with isolated nutrients, because whole food has been shown to best reduce post-exercise inflammation.  Tart cherries are a prime example.  Research has shown that those who consumed 2 to 3 tablespoons of tart cherry concentrate (depending on the brand) - either made into a drink by diluting with water or added to a smoothie after an event such as a race - enjoyed a faster muscle recovery.  With high antioxidant properties, tart cherry concentrate also can help decrease inflammation both in- and out-of-season.

In a recent study, athletes who had consumed tart cherry juice lost only 4 percent of their pre-test strength, compared with 22 percent of strength lost by members of the control group who did not consume the cherry juice.  In another study group of runners, fewer runners experienced delayed onset muscle soreness as a result of adding cherry juice to their diet.

Tart cherries are helpful to non-athletes as well because they are known to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with both fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.  However, it’s not just any cherries; tart cherries are the kind used in baking pies, not the sweet cherries enjoyed as snacks. Tart cherries have higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Tart cherry concentrate is most economical and has a thick, syrup-like consistency.  One ounce of cherry concentrate is equivalent to approximately 45 to 60 cherries, which is enough to reduce inflammatory markers in healthy men and women.

Whether you add cherry concentrate to your smoothie, dilute it into a flavored water beverage, or take it by the spoonful - use caution.  Tart cherry concentrate can add up quickly in calories, which range from 160 to 260 per day and may result in weight gain unless you adjust other fruit and carbohydrate servings to accommodate.  An easy way to include tart cherries into your diet is to work them in with your current routine, say in a small smoothie.  If you normally have a small smoothie as a snack or with breakfast, add a tablespoon of tart cherry concentrate.  Or try this easy tea recipe to sip on.

Tart Cherry Tea
All you need:
1 bag of plain black tea
1 cups hot water
1/2 tsp honey
1 to 2 tbsp tart cherry concentrate
All you do: Steep tea in cup for 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove the tea bag and stir in the honey and tart cherry concentrate until dissolved.  Enjoy!

Amber Kastler, MFCS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee in Fort Dodge. She received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Family and Consumer Science degree from Iowa State University in Dietetics.  Contact Amber at (515) 576-1330 or akastler@hy-vee.com.

This information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.



100 Miles in November - 2017 edition!


100 Miles in November - 2017 edition!

So you've completed your fall marathon/half marathon goals and think you can put your feet up now?  Think again!  Here’s the motivation you need to keep moving!  Accept the 100 mile Challenge!  Keep moving!  Embrace fall and the cooler temps and keep on running!

100 miles in 30 days is just 3.3 miles/day! 

First Step: to enter the challenge send an email to:   newsletter@capitalstriders.org

We will use a Google Docs spreadsheet (as we did last year) to track who is participating and to log all your miles.  You will get a reply email with a link to the spreadsheet.  Find your name and starting November 1, start logging your miles!   The Google Doc is a public spreadsheet to everyone that has the link.

Be Social:  make sure you follow the Capital Striders Facebook and Twitter pages, and if you’d like to share your twitter username, I’ll include that in the Google Doc so you can all find, follow, and motivate each other!  Be sure to use #100StridersMiles in all your posts!


•  All who have logged 50 miles by the end of the day on November 15 (half-way point) will be entered into a drawing for Fitbit, compliments of HyVee and the wonderful Dietitians who have been supporting our Saturday training runs this past Summer! 

•  There will also be weekly drawings through the month for those who are staying current by consistently logging their miles each week.

•  All who have logged 100 miles by the end of the day on November 30 will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize! (yet to be announced)

Winner of the half-way point will be announced the following morning on the Striders FB page and weekly winners will be contacted directly to make arrangements to receive their prize.  The winner of the grand prize will be drawn and announced at the Sycamore 8 post race party!


  1. The Challenge starts November 1, 2017 and ends on November 30.  (November 4 is the deadline to enter the Challenge.)
  2. Only running miles count.  (Not daily steps, biking, etc…)
  3. Miles need to be logged on the Google Docs spread sheet.  We are trusting participants to be honest with their self-reporting – and to only report/log their own miles.
  4. You are responsible for logging your own miles.  If you have problems accessing the spreadsheet, send an email to:  newsletter@capitalstriders.org
  5. No entry fee, no cost.
  6. Please pay attention to your body, don’t try to reach the 100 mile goal at the expense of an injury.




Meet the Candidates 2017


Meet the Candidates 2017

This year we have one open seat for the Capital Striders Board of Directors, and three fine candidates hoping for your vote!  We asked each to answer a few questions to help you get to know them.   Here are their answers:


Brian Brunk

1.  What area(s) of the club would you focus on as a Board Member?  Some of the examples are:  membership, scholarship, equipment, club races, newsletter/social media, merchandise, social functions, bookkeeping/financials, volunteer coordination, training runs, etc…  I would be glad to assist where I am most needed; however, I feel I would add most value in club races, and social functions or volunteer coordination.

2.  What special skills would you bring to the Board?  Ninja skills!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist the Napoleon Dynamite reference.  I enjoy volunteering, helping others, and adding value or creative input wherever I can.  I’ve spent over a decade in the service industry, which can translate to race or volunteer efforts.  I’ve also served as a corporate trainer, so am able to help facilitate discussions and events, and assist in their coordination.    

3.  How have you been involved with the Capital Striders in the past?   I joined Capital Striders a little over two years ago. Since then, I’ve participated in a number of training runs, and raced and/or volunteered in the Loop the Lake, Capital Pursuit, and the Sycamore 8.  Additionally, I attended last year’s annual dinner. 

4.  Tell us about yourself - work, family, running experience, civic activities - anything you would like people to know.   I’m the middle child of six boys from a family brought together through divorces, remarriages, and adoption.  My parents were not supportive of sports, and I was only involved in wrestling in high school.  Now I wish I had been a runner to see what my potential then could have been.  After high school I had injuries to both knees, which kept me away from running until I decided to give it a try at age 41.  I took up running to spend time with my wife on her runs at her parents farm, and found I enjoyed it for my own stress relief and fitness.  Since then I’ve ran five marathons in five states, qualifying for Boston last year in Houston, but missing the time cutoff for 2017.  I’m still very proud of the accomplishment.   I’m very happily married to my amazing wifeAndrea, who is always supportive of anything I want to be involved in.  We both volunteer our time and treasure to numerous organizations, including United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa, the Educational Leadership Initiative, and Best Buddies.   I have two boys, aged twenty and five.  The twenty year old is an amateur MMA fighter, and I’m proud to see the man he is becoming.  The five year old is a great joy in our life, as it’s a wonderful age and he’s just a great, bright kid with a big heart and sense of humor. 

5.  Fun question:  if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?  I’d be a rutabaga to be their advocate, as they are an underrated root vegetable in need of a good promoter.



1.  What area(s) of the club would you focus on as a Board Member?  Some of the examples are:  membership, scholarship, equipment, club races, newsletter/social media, merchandise, social functions, bookkeeping…..  As a Board Member I feel my strength of focus would be the club races, social functions and training runs.  I’m a relationship person and I truly love people, helping others, and I have the time to volunteer.   I also love the whole camaraderie around running, races and people and all of these events involve people. 

2.  What special skills would you bring to the Board? As I mentioned above my love of people and helping others would be a special skill I would bring to the Board.   The Capital Striders organization is definitely about people and helping people/runners be the best they can be not only as runners but as individuals.  I’d be a motivator!  I’m very passionate about running and sharing my experiences and being involved in the running community.  I’ve been a Board Member for the Ronald McDonald (RM) House for 10 years.  I loved my time on the Board at the RM house, and I also understand what it takes to be involved in becoming a Board Member.  I helped out on many volunteer committees while I served my time on the Board at the RM House, and one volunteer duty was being a co-leader in the 10K/5K Run for Ronald for two years.  This opportunity gave me the experience to help organize races.

3.  How have you been involved with the Capital Striders in the past?  I’ve been a Capital Strider member for many years.  I’ve helped out at water tables for a couple of races, and annually Dana Kramer and I are “girls with jugs” for one of the CS training runs.   I like to sign up and run the CS runs; I attend the membership meetings in March; and I love to promote the CS organization to my friends and families. 

4.  Tell us about yourself - work, family, running experience, civic activities - anything you would like people to know.  I have two wonderful sons – Chris (age 28) and Taylor (age 25) that I adore immensely. I currently live in Urbandale, IA.  I graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (yes, I’m a HUGE Husker fan!), and I have been in the insurance/finance world ever since.  I currently work for a wonderful financial advisor by the name of Marty Smith and Steele Capital Management.  My running career started after college when I was working for Mutual of Omaha in Omaha NE.  The company had a running club and I thought it was a lot of fun as I met a lot of new people, and I actually became a pretty good runner.  In my younger days I broke a 40 minute 10K (39:43) and qualified for Boston (3:30), but actually didn’t run Boston until I was older (April 2016).  I feel I could go on and on about my running career and my highs and lows, but the biggest high that stands out for me is all of the wonderful relationships and friendships that I have acquired throughout the running world.  To me that is my most successful accomplishment. 

5.  Fun question:  if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?  I’ve thought about this question a lot, and I will come up with a short but truthful answer.  If I were a vegetable I would be a carrot.  Why?  A lot of people don’t care for all of the vegetables out there, but most people like carrots.  And I feel that most people like me.



1.      What area(s) of the club would you focus on as a Board Member?  Some of the examples are:  membership, scholarship, equipment, club races, newsletter/social media, merchandise, social functions, bookkeeping/financials, volunteer coordination, training runs, etc…  My first area of board focus would be to put my talents where they can be best utilized.  I cannot speak to the greatest need on the board today, but my biggest strengths are creating data strategies, which I think will be helpful for membership and related areas (see more details in #2 below) and I am interested in social function, volunteer co-ordination and training runs.  I would also like to take advantage of new opportunities on the board, so I would be very interested in participating in other areas of greatest need.

2.  What special skills would you bring to the Board?  I have spent over 15 years working in data and analytics at the Principal Financial Group, which has led to an expertise and passion in this field.  I believe these analytical skills will provide some value to the operations of the board, but I am most excited about how they can help the organization grow.  I have worked with other non-profits on data strategies, and I am excited about how we can use data and technology to grow and engage our membership and outreach.  I am also trained in finance, and will be able to leverage those skilled where needed, as well as utilize my personal and professional network for the good of the organization.

3.  How have you been involved with the Capital Striders in the past?  I came to running relatively late in my life, starting at age 38.  Since falling in love with my favorite hobby, I feel like it’s not I have chosen running, but running has chosen me.  I have run 2 marathons (2 Chicago and 1 Des Moines).  I was overjoyed to finish my first, but my proudest achievement was dropping my time by 100 Mins in the second to a finish of 3:41.  I now have my sights set on qualifying and running the Boston marathon.  I love the diversity of the running community, and I believe my life experience will resonate with many others. I have participated in most of the training runs prior to my Chicago last year and the training run were one of reason why I finished at my PR. I have also participated in 10 mile, Hill billy half being part of striders. I would love to help my part for Capital Striders in any way I can. I have encouraged a lot of friends who were sedentary to become part of Capital Striders and many of them are now and are trying to finish their first half or full marathon in 2017.

4.  Tell us about yourself - work, family, running experience, civic activities - anything you would like people to know.  The love of my life is my wife Sanju, and our sons Rohan (8) and Aakash (4).  I have worked at Principal since moving to Des Moines nearly 15 years ago, and my current position is Assistant Director of Advanced Analytics.  When I am not running in my free time, you will likely find me on the cricket pitch where I was a founding member in Avengers Cricket Club and have led the team to 3 champions in the last 3 years.  My family and I live in West Des Moines, and are very engaged in the Indian cultural societies and activities around town, as well as other arts and community building activities. I am also a board member of Gateway Dance Theatre in East Village which makes arts and dance accessible to all. My wife is huge participant in theatre scene in Des Moines  and have participated a lot of plays thru Gateway Dance Theatre.

5.  Fun question:  if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?  I would be a jalapeno pepper due to its vibrancy and healthfulness.  I spent the first 25 years of my life in my home country of India, which instilled a love and passion for spicy food.  Jalapenos are a great way for me to provide the nostalgic flavor that I love to any meal in my adopted country.  Jalapenos are also very versatile, something I strive for in my life and career.  This nutritious food helps with immune systems, migraine relief, and inflammation and also has positive benefits for fighting cancer, the nervous system, and pregnant mothers.


2016 was another stellar year for the Capital Striders. We invite you to join us to celebrate our club successes at the Annual Dinner on March 24.   Please plan on attending our 2017 Annual Dinner where we will recap the year with some great success stories, door prizes, sponsor and volunteer of the year recognition, great food, board member elections and a fantastic speaker.  You can find more information about this event here.


100 miles in November Challenge


100 miles in November Challenge

By now many of you have completed your fall marathon/half marathon goals and are looking towards the upcoming holiday season.  Here’s your motivation to keep moving!  Don’t give in to the cooler temps and all things pumpkin and just snuggling into the couch to watch Netflix. 

Accept the 100 mile Challenge!  Keep moving!  Embrace fall and the cooler temps!  Hello Fall weather! 

100 miles in 30 days is just 3.3 miles/day! 

To Enter the Challenge:  Send an email to:   newsletter@capitalstriders.org

We are using a Google Docs spreadsheet to track who is participating and to log all your miles.  You will get a reply email with a link to the spreadsheet.  Find your name and starting November 1, start logging your miles!   The Google Doc is a public spreadsheet to everyone that has the link.

Be Social:  make sure you follow the Capital Striders Facebook and Twitter pages, and if you’d like to share your twitter username, I’ll include that in the Google Doc so you can all find, follow, and motivate each other!  Be sure to use #100StridersMiles in all your posts!


•  All who have logged 50 miles by the end of the day on November 15 (half-way point) will be entered into a drawing for a mid-month prize! 

•  There will also be random drawings through the month for those who are staying current by consistently logging their miles each week.

•  All who have logged 100 miles by the end of the day on November 30 will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize!

Winners of the half-way point and the end of the challenge will be announced the following morning on the Striders FB page and winners will be contacted directly to make arrangements to receive their prize.


  1. The Challenge starts November 1, 2016 and ends on November 30.  (November 4 is the deadline to enter the Challenge.)
  2. Only running miles count.  (Not daily steps, biking, etc…)
  3. Miles need to be logged on the Google Docs spread sheet.  We are trusting participants to be honest with their self-reporting – and to only report/log their own miles.
  4. You are responsible for logging your own miles.  If you have problems accessing the spreadsheet, send an email to:  newsletter@capitalstriders.org
  5. No entry fee, no cost.
  6. Please pay attention to your body, don’t try to reach the 100 mile goal at the expense of an injury.


PS… the inspiration for this challenge originated with a fellow runner from Eastern Iowa, Angie Maske-Berka.  Angie has a great social media presence and is currently well on her way to completing her 2016 goal of a marathon a month!  You can follow her on Twitter at @AngieMaskeBerka


Presidential Corner: Thank you for the past 2 years!!!

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Presidential Corner: Thank you for the past 2 years!!!

Well, to my unbelievable dismay, during my Presidency this blog has gone completely unmanaged. I want to apologize for the lack of content that has come along with this, but there is a new chapter ahead.

As many of you know, I have had the great honor of being the President of the Board of Directors for the Capital Striders for the past two years. I went into the "gig" with the thought that it would be a great way for me to build my leadership for my professional resume, meet some people and get some cool things done for our club. What I didn't realize when I took over, however, was the amazing things that I've been able to experience and the incredible people who have been on this ride with me.

During my time as President, sure, I made some mistakes. I've said some things that have hurt some people. I've made some decisions that may not have made me the most popular. I've taken some risks when putting on races that made my fellow board members question my sanity, but during all of that my main focus was on YOU. The members of the club. The people that faithfully put your hard earned money into our races and into the community. My main focus has always been the ways in which we can make the club valuable to you and valuable to our community. I have put a lot of time and energy into taking the club in the direction of inclusion of all of our Central Iowa running community and having the best damned time possible.

I've missed out on a ton of sleep with anxiety. I've missed a lot of events with my kids because I was doing club stuff. During certain times of the year I drank too much beer because of the stress. I've messed up scheduling a ton of meetings (the board members know what I'm talking about). I've typed nearly 10,000 emails to race participants, sponsors, financial institutions, insurance companies, portable toilet businesses and to my board members. There has been an amazing amount of stress that came with the title and I've been asked if I would do it again. I can honestly say that because of what we've been able to accomplish as a part of this board, I would say....ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

While I am not stepping away from the board, I was voted on for an additional 2 years at the annual dinner, I will be taking a step back from the duties that I did have. As my family is expanding to a 6th member, it is time for me to focus my energy on my family, my training and my goals. I refuse though to let go of my passion to take the club to the next level and make our club the best in the country and will work with the incoming directors to do so.

I want to thank all of the members of the board that I've been lucky to share my Presidency with. I am humbled by all of your desire to make the club great. I know that I've said this before to all of you, but you are the most amazing people in this crazy sport and your love for people is unparalleled. I have nothing but the most respect and love for all of you.

Personally, I want to give a huge thank you to Mike McGinn who just finished up his 6th year on the board. Mike has been my cornerstone for the past 24 months when it comes to club stuff. Never one to shy away from telling me that I'm being an idiot. Never one to ignore a frantic phone call or text message. I have a lot of love and respect for this guy and he has been an absolute blessing for me and to this club for the last 6 years.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for everything that you've given to me for the past 2 years. It has been a blessing from God for me to have done the things I've done and experienced the highs and lows of having been YOUR president. You have been so accepting of me as a person and as a leader. For someone who has failed and gotten back up so many times in my life, this past 2 years has been incredible. I love you all!!!!

While I am sad to leave some of the responsibilities, I must say that I couldn't be more happy than handing the baton to Brian. He has such an spectacular heart for people and his ideas for the direction of this club are incredible. He has said that he has big shoes to fill following me (which I do have incredibly big feet) but honestly I've just had the pleasure of preparing the club for him and the amazing things that he is going to accomplish. You guys are in for a wild ride with him :)

Signing off for my last "Presidential Corner", as I always say:

Stay Strong, Run Long,


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Member Spotlight: Jessica Pendleton (The Gnarly Bandit)

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Member Spotlight: Jessica Pendleton (The Gnarly Bandit)

People often ask me, "What is it that motivates you?" My response is one that I have crafted over the years and is completely true. I LOVE to watch people do amazing things. Whether that be in business, philanthropy or sports. I love to watch people follow their passion and just do extraordinary things. I chose the next person to do a member spotlight on because of her passion to push what is thought of to be possible. She is a wife, a mother, a friend and an amazing runner. This edition of the member spotlight highlights the Gnarly Bandit herself, Jessica Pendleton.

I have known Jessica for a couple of years now and consider her to be one of the baddest ladies I have ever met. As you will read in her bio, Jessica was like many of us who started running as a way to lose weight. In the years since her first "jog" she has done some truly mind blowing things, has become one of the "faces" of the CS Turkeys and a true model of ultra running in Central Iowa. She has seen high times in races and some incredible lows and continues to learn and refine what she is capable of doing. She is someone who I truly admire and draw a lot of strength and knowledge from. Please enjoy!!!!

- Brad

Running has changed my life in every way.

10 years ago I didn’t run at all.  In fact, I smoked and was generally uninterested in exercise or anything physically challenging.  In 2007, I quit smoking and (as is typical) gained weight.  To lose weight, I dieted and started walking.  I got bored and a little inpatient with walking and picked a couple spots on my walks to jog to for short stretches.  I was kind of shocked that I could do it at all.  And, it worked.  I lost the weight and found that jogging doesn’t kill you.  In fact, sometimes, it felt kind of good that I could move my body in that way.  Then, Mom bought me a book, Marathon: You Can Do It! by Jeff Galloway.  Using the run-walk-run method, I decided to take on an audacious goal of completing a marathon.  In 2009, I joined the Capital Striders and started doing my long runs with them.  Encouraged by my new running friends’ support and my own desire to do something ‘crazy’ I completed my first marathon in 2009 (the Des Moines IMT).  I cried the last couple miles: amazed by the fact I really was doing this.   This was the start of building the kind of unshakable self-confidence I had really desired all my life.  This was me, accomplishing things I thought were hard.  I was addicted. 

I did my next marathon the following spring (2010) in Madison, WI.  There I heard about ‘crazy’ people that ran 50 mile races in the woods on trails.  Wow.  Could I do that?  Maybe… The wheels started turning and I signed up for the Ice Age 50.  And, it was hard.  Really hard.  But, I finished and was blown away that my body could do such things! 

Then, injury hit late 2010.  I was training hard and enjoying what my body could do.  But it was too much, too soon, and I got a stress fracture on my right tibia (the main shin bone).  I was disappointed, but also completely committed to a full healing, so I took all of 2011 off from racing.  I did physical therapy to improve my gait.  I started doing yoga and I started rowing (all as cross-training).  And slowly started running again.  By the second half of 2011, I was feeling strong and looking for my next challenge… a hundred miler(!).

In 2012, I attempted Zumbro 100 in MN and DNF’d.  I was shocked the amount of pain you had to tolerate and general grit you had to have to finish a 100.  I wanted to be one of those people that could do it.  I doubled-down and did a trail double marathon in Michigan and then signed up and FNIISHED (!) my first 100, Lean Horse, in SD.  Then, I started snowshoeing that winter because it was beautiful outside and some of my other running friends raved about it.

In 2013, I set such a big goal for myself that I was embarrassed to tell anyone for fear they would think I was stupid and crazy to think that I could do such a thing.  I signed up for the Gnarly Bandit series.  To complete the series you have to finish four 100 mile races and one 100k in a year.  That year, with the help and support of my running friends and my ever-patient family, I completed that series and commemorated the completion with a tattoo.  I felt compelled to get that tattoo as a constant physical reminder that I can do hard things.  Challenges so hard that at times, I didn’t think I could.  That winter, I started cross-country skiing, because, well, I had some running friends that raved about it and it just looked fun (see a pattern?).

In 2014, I felt free to accept crazy challenges.  Why not?  I’ve failed and succeeded, and loved every painful and joyful crying moment, because they kept improving me and improving my capacity to live and love and enjoy everything around me more.  I did Rocky Raccoon 100 in TX (first time with no pacer), Syllamo 3 Day in AR (gained experience in minimal course flagging), Peak 500 in VT (experienced my first multi-day race; DNF’d at 200 miles), Fat Dog 120 in Canada (most beautiful course), and Ozark 100 in AR (did a race with no crew and no pacer – but lots of friends!).

This year, I went back to some favorites (Syllamo and Zumbro), tried Infinitus 888k in VT (DNF’d at 456 miles), enjoyed Post Oak (fun 2 days in OK with friends).  Next, I’ll be doing RAGBRAI later this month followed by Ouray 100 in CO (most elevation change I’ve tried), Plain 100 in WA (first time self-navigating), and Bear 100 in UT (coinciding a family trip with a beautiful course). 

So, what has running given me?  Self-confidence, gumption, grit, knowing myself more, appreciating others more (you get to meet some phenomenal people out there), grown my capacity to love myself, others, and the world around me, the joy of other sports and activities, love of nature, love of adventure, trust in myself, trust in others, an appreciation of rest and of challenge (mental and physical), how to live life fully, and how to give yourself over to your passions and let them change you.

- Jessica Pendleton

Turkeys wading: (L to R) David Green, Jessica, Charlie Huynh, Gary Davis

Turkeys wading: (L to R) David Green, Jessica, Charlie Huynh, Gary Davis

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Presidential Corner: 2014. The year of the "had"


Presidential Corner: 2014. The year of the "had"

I have been told that you "never look back on the 'year that was' but look at the previous year as the 'year that you had'". You may look at those to quotes and think, "Brad, I don't think you have had enough coffee and are delusional. They mean the same thing." Honestly, the first time I heard that I thought they were the same thing too, but look at the statements a little closer.

Just look at the world "was". It is the past tense of the word "be". Now, if you look at the word "be" it essentially means to live or exist. Got it? Now, let's explore the word "had" which is still a past tense but it is also a past participle of the word "have". If you aren't an English major you may need to look up what a participle is, but "have" means to possess or to own. You following me?

So when you look back 2014, did you have a year that "was" or a year that you "had"?

As I reflect on the year, I think of all of the successes that we had as a club:

  • We grew our membership base
  • We had dozens of people brave the elements and join us at our New Years Day Mitten Run
  • We created a new website
  • We had a great Annual Dinner with our speaker Jimmy Dean Freeman
  • We as a club were again voted top Running Club by the readers of Iowa Momentum Magazine
  • Sycamore 8 and Capital Pursuit were voted as runners up in their respective categories by the readers of Iowa Momentum Magazine
  • Loop the Lake was a great hit with our new post-race headquarters at Confluence Brewing
  • We installed 2 drinking fountains around the city at locations that aid runners, bikers and walkers with proper hydration
  • We handed out 4 scholarships to graduating seniors
  • We opened a new online store to order gear
  • Our Summer/Fall Saturday training runs have a new, easier to access home
  • We saw a lot of new faces at training runs
  • Our CS Turkeys led by Amber and Justin traveled the Mid-West representing our club at trail and ultra races
  • We welcomed a lot of new faces on the board
  • Capital Pursuit was recertified and named the RRCA 10 Mile Championship Race
  • Maffitt Lake saw some CRAZY fast times on the trails with great weather
  • Capital Pursuit celebrated it's 32nd year with a new course record for the females
  • We had some fun working the IMT Des Moines Marathon booth and water stop
  • 10 of our board members braved the weather to collect money during the Make-A-Wish Jolly Holiday Lights
  • And Sycamore 8 Trail Run capped off the year with the biggest field in the history of the race

That's a huge list and I am probably missing a lot of things. This isn't even including all of the time and funds that were donated to local non-profits like See Us Run Des Moines, Central Iowa Shelter, Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa, Central Iowa Trail Association, etc. I would say as a club, you all should feel incredibly excited for all of this and what is to come for 2015.

Now, going back to the original question in regards to the Capital Striders as a club. Did we just exist this year or did we "have" a year? I can honestly tell you that we OWNED this year :)

Have a great time celebrating tonight and can't wait to see you at the 2015 Mitten Run!!!



Presidental Corner: Dreams

Dreams are a funny thing. They can be scary. They can be great. They can leave you questioning what you ate the night before that made you dream about Ronald McDonald skateboarding on the Great Wall of China singing "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls while drinking coffee out of a mason jar....don't ask....but the point is dreams are personal and can sometimes be amazing.

While driving through town yesterday I saw a license plate with the words "DREMB1G". Being an English major in college the first thing I thought was, "Ugh!! I hate when people spell things incorrectly". Yes, that's where my brain went first. Not the message of the plate, but the fact that it was spelled wrong. After I got over the limitations of getting a message across on a license plate in 7 characters I got to thinking about dreams.

We hear the phrase "Dream Big" all of the time, which I'm pretty sure is an Oprah phrase, but how much of our time is actually spent focusing on our dreams? Being that this is a running related blog I will focus solely on the aspect of dreaming as it relates to running. Running dreams can be vast or they can be small. Many people will dream of the day when they hear the roar of the crowd through the Wellesley Scream Tunnel as they make their way to the blue and gold finish line of the Boston Marathon. Many will dream of the day when they are able to check the box on their bucket list of running a Marathon or a Half Marathon. Many will dream of winning a race. Many will dream of the day when they run their first 5k, but what happens when that day comes? Do you stop dreaming?

I, like the person driving around with the incorrectly spelled license, like to dream big. A lot of people don't understand my dreams. My dream will never be to run the Boston Marathon. It doesn't appeal to me. My dream will never be to run a 18 minute 5k. I'm not fast. Not that I don't think that I am capable of running the Boston Marathon or an 18 minute 5k, my dreams are to help inspire others to not just "Dream Big" but "Dream Huge". With running, I primarily have two goals:

  1. To inspire people to be better than their current self
  2. Run a sub-24 hour Western States 100 miler

I have found that writing out my dreams and putting them in a place where they can be seen every day is one of the best ways for you to remind yourself why you lace up your shoes, layer up clothes on those winter mornings or get into the gym. Below is the scene at my desk. I have a picture of myself at over 300lbs and the elevation charts of three races that I want to run at some point in my life (along with a picture my daughter drew). I see these images every day. Every day when I sit down and look at these things, I remember why it is so important for me to talk about my own weight loss and why I get up at 4:00am to run. For now, these are my running dreams.

I am encouraging everyone today to document your dream. What is the thing that in your head you can envision yourself doing? Boston Marathon? Sub-3:00 marathon? Running your first half marathon? What is it? Don't be shy. Put it in to the comments below. No dream is too big or too small. Everyone has their dreams, what is yours?

Jot it down, then bookmark this blog. Set a reminder on your calendar to look at this in 30-60-90-120 days to see where you are on your road to your dream. Don't stop dreaming.....

Stay Strong, Run Long



Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Amber Crews


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Amber Crews

Name: Amber Crews

Board Responsibilities: Secretary, Merchandise, Maffitt Race Director

When/Why did you start running? In 6th grade/I enjoyed the cross country trails and that I could beat most of the boys.

What race distances have you completed? 100 meters through 50 miles

Favorite race distance: Haven't decided between 50k and 50 miles since I've only completed a couple 50 milers.

Favorite Capital Striders race: Sycamore 8

Favorite Non-CS race: GOATz 50k

Dogs or Cats: None, my son is allergic, but we do have a Russian Tortoise

Favorite post race indulgence: Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine or Outback Steak and potato

Pasta, rice or "other" carb source for carb loading: Qdoba Naked Steak Burrito or Mushroom Steak Stroganoff from Noodles and Company

One pre-race ritual: None really

Favorite piece of gear: Dirty Girl Gaiters to keep the debris out of my shoes during trail races

Craziest/funniest thing you've seen during a race or run: Kids dressed up as zombies that jumped out of the trees just past an aid station during a trail marathon.


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Cody Edwards


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Cody Edwards

Name: Cody Edwards

Board Responsibilities: Scholarship Committee Chair; Tour de Lights/Jolly Holiday Lights Coordinator

When/Why did you start running? Sophomore year of college to keep me active/healthy.

What race distances have you completed? 5K to 50k and sprint triathalon to half Ironman

Favorite race distance: Half Marathon

Favorite Capital Striders race:  Capital Pursuit

Favorite Non-CS race: Dam to Dam

Dogs or Cats: Dogs

Favorite post race indulgence: I generally do not feel like eating after a race but eventually a hamburger w/ egg on top.

Pasta, rice or "other" carb source for carb loading: Pizza

One pre-race ritual: Coffee and Cereal (not together, though)

Favorite piece of gear: Our vizsla (does that count?). 

Craziest/funniest thing you've seen during a race or run: Males running Living History Farms in thongs.   


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Brad Dains


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Brad Dains

Photo courtesy of Paul Nye and  Panfoto

Photo courtesy of Paul Nye and Panfoto

Name: Brad Dains

Board Responsibilities: President/Sycamore 8 Race Director/Website/Email Blast/Communications/Joke Teller

When/Why did you start running? 2004 when I hit 320 lbs

What race distances have you completed? 5k to 93 miles during the 24 Hour Equalizer Endurance Run

Favorite race distance: 50 Mile

Favorite Capital Striders race: Loop The Lake, Maffitt, Capital Pursuit, & Sycamore 8...Seems objective, right? :)

Favorite Non-CS race: Dam to Dam or Equalizer Endurance Run

Dogs or Cats: I prefer dogs but have a cat

Favorite post race indulgence: Chicken wings and and ice cold micro brew

Pasta, rice or "other" carb source for carb loading: Pizza and a beer

One pre-race ritual: Laying out all of my gear and nutrition out 2-3 nights before race day then taking  picture. It's weird...I know

Favorite piece of gear: My UVU Racing Gillet, Nathan Endurance race vest and Suunto Ambit2 R

Craziest/funniest thing you've seen during a race or run: I tend to run out on country roads and have found lots of cool (and useless) stuff. I've also had bottles of tobacco spit, fireworks and insults thrown at me...So that's cool :)


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Paxton Bennett


Get To Know Your Board of Directors: Paxton Bennett

Name: Paxton Bennett

Board Responsibilities: Loop the lake race director, Treasurer

When/Why did you start running?   7th grade through high school and started running again to train for 2006 Race for the cure again to run to support a friend

What race distances have you completed? 1 mile- 50 miles

Favorite race distance: all

Favorite Capital Striders race: Maffitt

Favorite Non-CS race: Grandma's Marathon

Dogs or Cats: dogs

Favorite post race indulgence: chocolate milk

Pasta, rice or "other" carb source for carb loading: pasta

One pre-race ritual: Gatorade and sleeping pills the night before

Favorite piece of gear: garmin with a heart rate monitor.

Craziest/funniest thing you've seen during a race or run: Buffaloes at Catalina Island Marathon