Testimonials

What our participants say about our programs:

Chicago Endurance Sports Shaved 1 Hour Off Kerri Maess' Marathon Time
The Marathon Training program got Chicago Endurance Sports member Chris Willis to the starting line of the Boston Marathon.

Happy Thanksgiving Mike to you and your family. One of the things I'm thankful for is having found your organization. Everyone is so great. I'm fortunate to have this in my life.
I had a great Turkey Trot this morning. I ran with someone who used to be faster and stronger than me.......not any more. :) Is that wrong?
Margaret

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I trained for my very first marathon with CES last summer in the 10 minute pace group. Having done a few half marathons prior, I was only vaguely familiar with what to expect for race day, pace techniques etc. At first, I didn't understand why so many Wednesday runs were dedicated to feeling your pace and getting in tune with how you run. As the summer progressed and the pacers were consistent, I learned to find my comfort while being able to assess if I was running too fast/too slow. The race day techniques, preparations and mini-seminars after training weren't overwhelming but carried great tips. Probably not surprising to CES, but surprising to me, was Marathon day. I felt calm, comfortable, prepared — considered trying something new for food but had a voice inside my head to stop me! My marathon splits were almost perfectly consistent... I knew my pace and stuck to it. All the tips that CES had given me along the way helped to where I felt great after, knew how to recover and wasn't too sore!
The experience was so smooth and enjoyable, I signed up for another marathon this spring. I've come to really appreciate what CES taught me about finding my pace and all the tips and tidbits along the way to help me be prepared. The spirit and enthusiasm of CES pacers and coaches is like none other I've experienced.
Thanks,
Marcy

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Mike,
Just wanted to send a quick thank you for all the coaching this summer. The final triathlon was an absolute blast, and I was very happy with my time. Definitely could not have pulled it together without CES's help. I'm pretty sure I'm hooked now so I look forward to seeing you all in training or at the next race.
Best,
Jeff Darragh

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Hey Mike
I didn't get a chance to stop by the CES tent after the race but I wanted to thank you for everything along the way this summer. Got caught up with the family right after the race. What a cool experience and what a great program you are running. To think that I could only swim 4 laps in a pool when I started is crazy. Made some good friends along the way and it was awfully nice to see the CES team during the race. Can't wait to do it again. I've had a lot of people expressing interest in next year and I will highly recommend your program. I didn't really know what to expect as far as my time. Actually felt like crap during the tapering down and was a little worried but it obviously helped me go like hell come race day. I finished in 2:31 so I have something to shoot for next year. I think I can get past 2:30 and I might shoot for 2:15. Hopefully I'll see you out of the lake sometime in the future to say thank you in person.
Thanks again
Brendan Malia

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Coach Mike—
Thank you again to you and all your staff for all the help! It was an amazing experience! I am addicted! I loved it so much I stepped up my training in the last few weeks and am doing the Longhorn 70.3 down in Austin Oct. 25th!
I have been telling everyone who has asked about my experience how great CES is and how I couldn't have done it without you guys! I am running in the Chicago Half Marathon Sept 13 so I can't help out race day but I would love to help at your Expo if you need the help. Please let me know if there is anything I can do! I am sure you have a CES group training for it and I would like to return the favor to them and to the CES staff for all their hard work!
Thanks again!
Kevin Heaney

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To the excellent CES coaches who all helped me achieve something that just four months ago I wasn't sure was possible I want to say THANK YOU! The triathlon was a wonderful experience and I couldn't have been better prepared. All of you should take great pride in knowing that the hard work you put in makes a big big difference. I will have no reservations in recommending CES tri training and Coach Andrea's awesome swim course to all of my friends.
Sincerely,
Mitch

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I just wanted to thank you for an amazing spring and summer. I quit smoking a year ago. I struggled through the holiday season, and decided to take up running in January as a way to stay focused on not smoking. I started slowly, running a few miles a week. I began to do group runs with Fleet feet, all in the hopes of doing a 10K in the Spring.
After successfully completing the 10k, I signed up for CES Marathon Training. It was so great. I made some wonderful friends, had a great time training, and ran the marathon yesterday in 5 hours and 55 minutes. Thank you so much — to this day, I still can't run over 6 miles without a group, but CES made it possible. See you at Winter Warriors.
Melinda

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I just wanted to let you know I Loved the triathlon!!!! it was great and I think I am hooked and want to do a half ironman next year (too aggressive?) haha.... anyways, thanks for all the training; I was very happy I joined CES.
Dina Bertacchi

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I can't say thank you enough for all of the training support, tips and encouragement over the last few months with CES. I can't imagine having done my first tri without CES. I loved training - including the well planned schedule and group workouts - I felt really prepared going into today. Unfortunately, I got sick over this past week and felt pretty lousy today, but still had an awesome time. The weather was great and the electricity down there is second-to-none. So, I struggled a bit today and felt like I could've done A LOT better, but am proud of myself for finishing and look forward to another go at it. It meant SO much to me that you took a few minutes out to run next to me today and remind me of all the important things (to smile, to tell people that pass me by what a great job they're doing, to keep going...).
You are an awesome coach! Thank you!!!!
Sara Christensen

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I just want to say thank you again for a great training program. With this being my first year doing triathlons and having more than my share of anxiety and trepidation when the question "What did I just get myself into?" crept into my head, especially during and after the first few swims at Ohio Street beach, you guys provided great advice and training. Your guidance over the course of the last few months have proven invaluable from both a physical and mental aspect. I am about as ready as I'll ever be for Sunday and I have the three of you to thank.
Aristotle Pingul

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A quick but greatly needed THANK YOU!!
Thank you for making a seemingly daunting task into a manageable yet successful event. Support and guidance were the key — and CES has cornered the market on those qualities. The 1/2 marathon was a breeze thanks to you and everyone involved.
Mimi rocked as the Pacer guru and controller. All the coaches were of tremendous help throughout the program. keep up the GREAT GREAT work!!!
Maggie

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Hello Coaches!
I just wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know that I ran a 5K today and took approximately three minutes off my time from the Ravenswood Run! It was hot and muggy, but it sure felt good to cross that finish line and look at my watch like, "Whoa! How'd I do THAT?"
I'm convinced the answer to that question lies in the Chicago Endurance Sports Learn to Run program. I think this is proof positive that what you're teaching us works.
So, thank you!
Shannon

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Thanks again for a fun start to the tri club over the weekend. I am excited to be a part of this group! I have to tell you that what sold me on joining the group was the fact that you seem to be a lot like my coach from college—he was a great motivator, always encouraging his athletes, and just had a really positive outlook on life/competition/training… it makes the experience so much fun!
Your talk on Saturday about the running economy and elastic energy of the muscle really caught my attention—I did my thesis on that topic and its pretty fascinating! It's always great to have the educational aspect of why you are doing certain things during training (like drills)… I know for me, it really gets me excited for training!
Lauren Rapacki

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Just wanted to thank CES for a great winter training season… and trip to Cabo. It was really fun and I so appreciated your energy and enthusiasm.
Cabo was a treat… and I took 10 minutes off my previous personal record!
Meryl Perlman

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Thank you so much for organizing the Cabo trip we had a wonderful time! Thanks to running with CES I've found some of the greatest friends I've ever had and want to thank you for creating such a great and welcoming organization! The coaches are fabulous and the pace leaders offer nothing but encouragement. Thanks to the Winter Warriors program all 5 of us had personal bests this race in spite of the hilly course! I could go on and on but I'll spare you :) See you in the summer for the Chicago Marathon training!
Christine Mortensen

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Wanted to just send you a quick note to thank you for yet another great marathon training experience this year with your CES program. I only started to run last year in the 4/2 run walk group and never had any intention of completing a marathon and found myself finishing with my group last year in my first marathon. This year, my goal was to finish a little faster and stronger and trained with Elsa's 5/1 group. Overall it was a great experience and even though we didn't finish the Chicago marathon this year, part of my group travelled to Indy where we all completed our marathon yesterday. And yes, I finished at least 20 minutes faster and ran those last 4 miles faster than the first 4 that day. Hats off to Elsa for being a great pacer. It's a hard line to balance between giving advice but letting people do their own thing and Elsa struck that balance.
But most of all, thanks for creating a program that lets first time runners feel like they can accomplish a marathon. I could have never completed a marathon without starting in the run/walk group and I never felt stupid, slow or alone. You do a great job in accommodating those who want to achieve their personal records and those who just want to finish and it's what makes CES such a great program.
Vanessa Bugasch

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Hi CES Coaches!
I wanted to take minute to express my gratitude for helping me complete my very first marathon this past weekend in the Quad Cities. I finished 4:33:02 and had a great time through the whole thing.
I have been running with Chicago Endurance Sports since January 2006 when I started training for my first 1/2 marathon, the Mini Indy. Since then I have run 4 half-marathons and one full marathon. I have had the best times and met some people I consider to be my very best friends. After all the quality conversations over the miles, my running partner knows me better than some of my friends of 10+ years!
I wanted to thank you for the opportunity for all of this. From my first training season you guys have given me the impression that runners are such happy people and you have always had such great advice; like curing "taper madness" with shopping - it helped.
As I ran down the miles in the Quad Cities I thought of my training, and your advice became mantras: "good form with carry you through", "don't forget to hydrate even if you're not thirsty", "shorten your strides uphill and don't brake on the downhill" - and most importantly SMILE! We do this because it's FUN! I found strength in all of it - especially around mile 23 when my run became more of a shuffle. I couldn't have done it without CES and I just wanted you to know how much your enthusiasm and dedication to our group means to me.
All the best,
Patty Almond
Quad Cities Marathon, 9/23/07

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Hey Coach,
Thanks for all the help and expert information.
I really enjoyed the triathlon, it was actually a lot easier than I expected and a ton more fun.
Thanks again.
Cheers,
Chris Heitmann

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Wanted to let you guys know what a great experience I had this summer training with CES. The triathlon was amazing, I felt so prepared, and did better than I thought could! I'm so sad it's over! I've recommended your training programs to several of my friends and am looking forward to doing more in the future.
Thanks for a great training summer!
Holly Bryant

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Just wanted to say Thanks! Thanks for providing such a wonderful training program for "everyday" people like me that is managable and enjoyable.
Not only did I learn about running apparel, nutrition, heart rate monitors, etc. but more importantly I learned about me and what I am capable of. I knew that I could do things, but while following the program and on the "journey" it became clear to me that I could do anything. Anything!
I never thought in a million years that I could run 13 miles, let alone 8 miles. But, I did it and I would love to continue training with CES!
Elyse Barson, CES Half Marathon Team 2007

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Oh My God!
I have been dying to tell you how psyched I am about my improvement with riding since starting the century training. I've really noticed this week how much of an impact our little Sunday rides have had on everything from speed to pacelines. While doing my weekday solo training rides I've found myself riding right behind strangers and not even thinking anything of it, and the routes that use to seem sooo long to me now don't feel long enough. As of yesterday, I feel like I am at the "fitness" level I was at when living (riding) in New Mexico (the most intense riding I ever did, or so it felt), and the exciting part about that is that I feel like I'm just getting started!
Anyways, I wanted to thank you for being a cool, down-to-earth coach.
Best,
Sasha

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In the month of May 2005, my world changed from a walk to a run,
Who would have thought a person of my body type could have so much fun.
I joined the CES team, just planning to control my weight,
The "Learn to Run Program" was now placed on my plate.
The coaches made everything crystal clear,
A run/walk interval of 1/3 was nothing to fear.
There were coaches Jenny, Gloria, Mike, Brian, Brendon, and others to start,
Each one had experience but the most important thing, their training came from the heart.

After one month of training, the transformation had begun to take place,
Not only was I becoming a runner, I became a bigger part of the human race.
As the days wore on I was getting healthier, and becoming more fit,
My core of running friends' list grew extensively bit by bit.
In 2005 I volunteered to give support during The Chicago Marathon, this was the "big race",
It was quite a life-changing experience, watching runners accomplish their ultimate goal with a smile on their face.
Not too long after the race an opportunity came my way,
I was asked to become a Pacer, leading my fellow runners through Cricket Hill along the way.
What a reward, from just learning how to run,
I began reaping the rewards from being an integral part of the team, one by one.
Suddenly my ambitions started to soar beyond my wildest dreams.
The phrase "the courage to start" permeated my mind, it seems.
October 22, 2007 there I was at the starting line, the ultimate 26.2 mile race,
The most important thing was being part of the racing community, I knew I was in the right place.
Almost 6 hours later, I could see the finish line in the distant light,
My tears splashed my face, blurring my forward sight.
After crossing the finish line, the realization came quite clear,
The finish line was just another portal to putting aside all my fear.
Currently I am still a pacer, waiting for the next race,
I have learned all the races are important, each one is like a new friend that I will embrace.
CES not only helps you build endurance, they positively mold your character above all,
Take it from a Pacer who leads the team every week, as the weekly miles continue to fall.
So it's off to another training run, maybe hill training or an Indian run, everything is a blast,
As long as there's another race, the fun will always last.

Thanks to all the coaches at CES!!!!
Bill Tongue

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I just wanted to let you know that I love the program, especially all the moral support. I am a first time runner, very out of shape and among the slowest of the 'white group'. My first day out was a real struggle and very disheartening. When the quicker runners passed by us, on their way back, they started cheering us on. Can't tell you what that meant to me. Since then I have made small improvements and received tons more encouragement from fellow runners, pacers and coaches alike. What a great group!
See you on the trail!
Paul

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I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to you and your excellent staff for creating such a wonderful program. I began with CES during the summer of 2006 and am now completing the Winter Warriors. I just wanted to take a moment and let you know that this experience has given me so much.
I was out for a run this morning and remembered back to May of 2006 just before I began with CES. At that time, I had not done any cardio since high school gym so I was startled to find that after picking up my packet there was running to be done prior to our first meeting. Not thinking too much about the complexity I laced up my shoes and rocketed off. After a few blocks of fury and maybe 15% of my assignment for the day complete I returned home determined I was going to die from this workout.
I can tell you that there were many thoughts that day that no single accomplishment was worth that amount of pain. Quitting seemed to be the only option. Lucky for me pride intervened and I showed up for the first day. I can tell you that while there were many days I struggled, never did I think of quitting since. Between the coaching, camaraderie, and simplicity of your program I know that I owe a great deal of gratitude.
Along those lines I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I did not point out that Coach Brendan has been especially helpful along the way. Be it walking me through running form, diagnosing an ache, or designing a special program for a different race, he has been very attentive. It is rare to find a teacher that has his degree of patience combined with knowledge so I wanted to make sure I made special mention to you both.
Jason Gross

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I wanted to tell you that I felt incredibly well prepared for the marathon. The mental preparation was every bit as important as the physical. I had someone who was supposed to join me at mile 22 to run me in—because—probably like everyone who had never run a marathon before—those last 6.2 miles were an "unknown". When I got to the 22 mile marker—she was not there. I had a moment of anxiety and then the voice of Coach Brendan and the other CES coaches kicked in. "Expect the unexpected. This will not go exactly as planned no matter how much planning you do—there will be unanticipated events. Have alternative plans and be ready to adapt". So I thought—well—this is a really good thing—because now I'm going to finish on my own without any help from anyone and I will own the accomplishment—it will be me alone who makes it happen. And I went on. I slipped into this positive mode of thinking so easily because of the training I had received. It was a fabulous experience. Thank you CES!
Dorie Schwertz, Chicago Marathon Training Program

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I just wanted to thank you for the amazing training program that prepared me well for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. I finished in 3:51:07 in my first ever marathon! I met great people, enjoyed the Yoga for Runners class and felt totally prepared (I really didn't have too much nervousness race morning) for the marathon.
Thanks so much to CES and all the coaches and pace group leaders!
Stephanie Ito

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Mike... Jenny... Brendan and all:
Thank you. Because of your brilliance I have enjoyed yet another summer on the lakefront path. You guys are terrific... all of you. You're "quick responders" to questions and concerns. Your organization and experience shows through your keen sense of humor and knowledge of human nature.
Thanks for a wonderful summer... and for all your help which got me across the Finish Line yesterday with my "steady as she goes" 12 min./mile.
Anne Carney

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Just a quick note to say a really big Thank You! I am not kidding when I say this has changed my life!! I started running a year ago and I can't believe that I ran that race yesterday (2hrs, 11 mins!!). It felt wonderful and I feel great today. You helped us all to train so smart and run so smart. I literally cannot wait to start again for next year! You and coach Brendan were such an inspiration and taught us so much along the way. And seeing both of you on the course yesterday was really helpful—I know it made me run a little faster each time I saw you around the corner!
Thanks for making a huge difference.
Charlotte Wager, Half Marathon Training Program

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I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the long run on Saturday.
The Course that the Coaches plotted out for the 12 miler was so well planned and I appreciated it so, so, so much.
The best part of the entire 12 mile journey was at the Finish Line, Coach Brendan prepared for us out of his truck an Oasis in the Hot Desert. Coach prepared Gatorade, Ice, Cups, and Pretzels. It meant the world to me and I am positive that the other runners appreciated the treats as well.
Thanks for the training, thanks for the professionalism, and thanks for making my dreams of completing a half and whole marathon come true one more time.
Have a very great day.
Sincerely,
Mr. Fontaine Muhammad, C.E.S Alumni

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Chicago Endurance Sports meant the difference between my being able to run just a block and being able to finish the Paris Marathon — at the age of 57! The coaches trained me for my first 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Every new distance was a victory I wouldn't have achieved without the CES Coaches and training program. They're amazing.
Kathy O'Malley, WGN Talk Show Host

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Thank you for helping me change my life! The CES coaches are incredible! What an awesome experience the last three months has been for me. I am still on Cloud 11 and haven't come down to Cloud 9 yet. I am relishing in this incredible happening! I would never have believed this was possible. In high school gym class I hid behind the track posts during our running sessions, and up until one year ago I had never even run a block! Now I am running a half marathon!
Shari Wolf, First-time Runner

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First, thanks for a great triathlon training program. I really enjoyed it, and I wouldn't have been able to finish the triathlon on Sunday if it weren't for the Chicago Endurance Sports program and coaches.
Mindy Medley, Chicago Triathlon

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I can still remember attending the kick off for the Y-ME 5K RACE. I went in not knowing anyone and having never run in my adult life. What was I thinking, when I signed up? Any initial hesitation I had was quickly put to rest when CES Co-Founders Jenny Hadfield and Mike Norman spoke. Somehow, they had me convinced that this huge leap outside my comfort zone would somehow (unbeknownst to me at the time) be OK! They emphasized their program motto which is "Discover the athlete in you". The program binds together men and women of all ages, who support each other's efforts in a infectious "We can do it attitude". The enthusiasm of the knowledgeable coaches is truly contagious. They listen, advise, motivate and share of themselves. I have learned through weekly clinics presented by visiting experts in their fields, made lasting friendships, and most importantly improved my health. I can't thank the CES staff enough for providing such a positive, nurturing, caring environment in which to train. CES is most importantly — coaches who care about people. The concept sounds simple but it is something that is not easily achieved. They instill the belief in you that "One step at a time" you can achieve your goals, but it doesn't stop there. They truly celebrate your achievement with you, and make you feel good about who you are, no matter what your fitness level. One year later, as I train for my first 1/2 marathon, I am still amazed how far they keep moving me outside that comfort zone I had created in life. Who says life doesn't begin at age 50!
Marj Malizio, Learn To Run Program

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The first time I joined CES Learn to Run Program I had been walking for 4 years but wanted to increase my time and performance so I tried running. I would last for about 100 steps and quit. I was never any good at pushing myself physically unless there was a reason, and running alone did not present a challenge to myself. Joining the group was one of the best things I've done. We started slow and worked our way up to running 5 minutes, walking one minute, etc. When you're participating in this kind of group and talking along the way, you don't even realize how fast the time goes by. I have been amazed not only at far I'd come, but the fact that I was having FUN. Yes FUN, running in 30 degree weather, running in the rain, on snow and ice, and if we're lucky, running in the sunny weather. My daughter even recently admitted that my joining has done a lot of good for my entire outlook. I have a very high stress job and once I force myself out the door of work and go for a run, all the problems look a little less daunting. I've also lost 15 pounds since being regimented and really following a schedule.
Laurie Riggle, Arlington Hgts, IL

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I was able to participate in a huge event but not alone. I felt much more accountable than if I were training by myself.
Nancy Fredrickson, Virtual Training Program

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It caters to everyone, no matter what shape you are in. I liked being with such a diverse group of people. I never felt out of place. I really enjoyed myself!!! Plus, for the first time in a long time, I was truly motivated!
Dawn Irvin, Learn to Run Program

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Thank you so much for the wonderful experience of a training group with Chicago Endurance Sports! It was so much fun getting to meet everyone in our group. I had hesitations because I thought I would be the slowest one out there or that I simply wouldn't fit in — that there would be all of these really fit women constantly running by me and then me at the back of the pack, struggling to finish the workout. It was a wonderful feeling to have coaches there supporting you every step — no matter how fast... or slow!
Rupa Patel, Learn to Run Program

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I would like to give all of you a heartfelt thanks for helping me fulfill a dream of finishing the Chicago Marathon. I truly believe I would not have been able to finish my first marathon with any other program nor without the running friends I gained though the months of training. Your encouragement, running expertise, and personalized attention made such a difference. And, it was so wonderful to see you out there along the course. A little burst of adrenaline at each sighting!
Sondra de Jong, First Time Marathoner

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Thanks to the Chicago Endurance Sports Coaches for the great training this summer! I had a good run yesterday, I've improved my time from the last Half Marathon and had fun doing it. Keep up the good work. I will certainly come back and bring others to CES.
Gracia Shiffrin, Half Marathon Program

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Good morning, Jenny and Mike and CES staffers. Yes. It's Monday and the 27th Chicago Distance Classic is history. What a dynamic contribution you have made to Chicago's sports history!
After the race I boasted about you and your warm, welcoming "high five" at the Finish Line. Thank you, Jenny. I also spoke highly about you, Mike, with your camera in hand, popping up along the race course providing cheerful diversions... and all the wonderful CES coaches, Brendan and Fred and Mattie and Patty and support team member, the spirited Gloria.
You built memories and earned your reputation for excellence with all of yesterday's success stories. Thank you for all you have done for me. I've now finished my 7th 1/2 marathon in 7 years... and looking forward to my 8th. May you all enjoy the well-earned moment.
Anne Carney, #1 Fan — LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon Training Program '05

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CES, you're the best! Who would have thought when I started a year and three months ago I would have "Run Miami" half marathon yesterday.
When I began this adventure of running I thought I could run out my front door (never running a day in my life) and I was going to run Chicago. I couldn't even run a block. Slowly, throughout the winter I continued to run making little progress. In the spring I signed up with CES and trained with the Run Walk program. It was wonderful. I wasn't exhausted - I was hooked! Training with CES got me to my first 5K and 10K. The attention that you, Mike and Jenny, both gave to every individual and continue to give is amazing.
Then on to "Winter Warriors" and the kickoff; I couldn't believe all the people. The secret of how wonderful CES is, leaked out and now it will never be the same. You introduced the new coaches, pacers and the program. I thought "this is not like the run/walk program I was used to, and we would never get the personal attention that we received in the past". It did take a few weeks, just like Mike said. The individual attention and organization was there just as before, but with 100 more people training. Then we met our new coach. He was this guy in shorts with chili peppers (I think). I thought "oh my gosh what happened to Jenny and Mike?" And about our pacers, I thought "what the hell are pacers?" I was sure they didn't know what they were supposed to be doing because they kept telling me to slow down. Within a few weeks, I realized I was the one who didn't know what to do. Alice, you were a great pacer, and kept me on track week after week. You are in my brain every time I begin to run "gently" and your words, "don't forget to hydrate," keep me well hydrated. It was a pleasure training with you. As for the guy with the funky shorts, Coach Breadon; chili peppers or flames, you are just an awesome coach! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued knowledge throughout my whole training from toe cramping and inner thigh pain to the inspirational mental skills clinic. Topping it off on race day by telling me I had made it to the zoo, "now bring it in to Ben," took me right through to the end of the race. Without you, Jenny, Mike and the staff of CES, none of this would have been possible.
Many thanks to all of you! I'll see you soon for CDC and Chicago training. J
Jayme Tipre, Learn to Run Program — Half Marathon and Marathon Training Programs

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Here we go again ... THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
Yesterday was an incredible experience ... and I am still pretty much in shock at what I accomplished.
I will tell you one thing for absolute certain — I would never ever ever have even THOUGHT about tackling a marathon had in not been for CES ... period! When I joined CES in February 2003 (amazing ... just a little over 1-1/2 years ago) — all I wanted to do was be able to tackle 5 miles more comfortably. And then you got me in to the half marathon thing. And, somehow (not sure how it happened) — you gradually made me believe that a marathon was totally doable — without me really realizing what was happening — nor the magnitude of the challenge. Not something I ever thought I would do ...
Once again I'll say to all you CES coaches (and now friends) — you are just an amazing bunch. Blows me away what you've done for so many others. Blows me away at your patience with us (yes — I did swear at Brendan yesterday as I was approaching mile 26 ... SORRY!) — and your ability to make the most daunting challenges very real / approachable / and doable.
My niece was on the race course (miles 13-1/2 and 16) cheering us on and was very fascinated by how strong all the CES runners looked as they ran by. Due, of course, to the spectacular training you put us through.
Today I'm in a different place mentally than after my first 1/2 Marathon. After my first 1/2 Marathon (as you will all remember) I was beside myself in love with the world, on cloud 112. Finishing the marathon I almost feel like I'm in a parallel universe today — kind of in shock about what happened yesterday — and somewhat in a state of disbelief. But very happy and proud ... VERY HAPPY AND VERY PROUD!!
I spent a lot of time during miles 17 — 21 wondering what type of idiots would do this to themselves repeatedly (anyone we know??) — and focusing only on getting to the finish line. I was scared to death of the last 6.2 miles — and, believe it or not, was actually relieved when I finally passed mile #21. Today, of course, I woke up thinking about how I might be able to do this better next time around — and what I need to do to keep me on top of the gels (which was a definite problem for me yesterday — unfortunately I realized that after the fact), etc. etc. So — looks like I'll be one of those idiots ... just like some of the people I admire most!
Brendan — my apologies for swearing at you. I just couldn't come up with words at that point that didn't start with f ... next year I'll have to strengthen / broaden my vocabulary, too. You reminding me about all of our hill training at that daunting moment was perfect — just the support I needed! Maddy — didn't get too many words out to you when you were pushing me along ... but your smile and enthusiasm meant the world to me (and tell Fred the same). Mike / Jenny — it just always makes me feel good to see you on the race course — although yesterday I may not have been smiling on the outside when I saw you — know that your presence always gives me added strength / and oomph (sp?). And — John — well, truth be told, if it hadn't been for me reading "Nothing but Speed" and meeting you at Fleet Feet in January, 2003 — none of the above (new friends / coaches / accomplishments) would have ever happened. In fact, it dawned on me at the Marathon Health Expo, that it was exactly two years ago when I bought your book and hounded you down for an autograph. Amazing how my life has changed since then.
I love you all — and am just so lucky to have you in my life ... ALL OF YOU!!!!!
Shari Wolfe, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Training Program '04

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I want to thank you for another great training. I ran a very good race. I got my PR for the year.
I am looking forward to the marathon training.
Alice Chin, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Training Program '05

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Last year, I was not able to run a 5K....This year, I completed a marathon. Not only did I complete the marathon, but it was an enjoyable experience! Through CES training, I have become a fit individual who enjoys running! After 10, 14, 20 miles of running, it is amazing to experience the results of proper training. The CES coaches make training safe and fun! Who knew being an adult can be so much fun??? Thank you CES for getting me outside to play! I am already signed up for CES Chicago Marathon Training and can't wait for it to begin!
Jill Seigel, Learn to Run Program — Half Marathon and Marathon Training Programs

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Jenny and Mike,
Just wanted to thank you guys for the awesome training! I had a great time running the half marathon. I thought the heat and humidity would slow me down / discourage me, but the training really helped pull me through!! And in the end, I was able to reach a personal best time (2:12)... Now I am SO psyched to get started on the Indy training.
Again, thanks for helping me reach my running goals!!
Lisa Panchal, LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon Training Program '05

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At the Shamrock Shuffle I ran a 37:33. That is the best time I have ever had for a race and because of Chicago Endurance Sports I was able to do this. I've never ran under 8:00min miles for a race in my life and can only attribute it to your guidance. You guys/gals are the BEST! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
Eric Rabbers, Winter Warriors Training Program '04

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I just wanted to send you a thank you. I was at Fleet Feet last Tuesday for the Chick Run and saw people who have just started Learn to Run program. That was me a year ago. It has been great and am enjoying running. Thank you for being such a great coach!
Akemi Suzuki, Learn to Run Program: Half Marathon and Marathon Training Programs

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Just wanted to say thanks for a very fun weekend. I had lots of fun and of course lots of stories to share. You made everyone from Chicago feel very special—I can get real used to the VIP tent treatment! Thanks for planning the hike, the after race party, the tent, and for helping me get ready and to run in when I was ready to quit. Please tell Brendan thanks for giving me medical advice—I have rested my ankle for 2 days and it is a bit better. I might even go to yoga on Friday—too much rest makes me lazy...see you in a few weeks.
Jeri Heap, Winter Warriors Half Marathon Training Program 05/06

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the help over the past couple months. Before Winter Warriors, I had never run any distance over 4 miles... hitting 10 miles last week was such an amazing accomplishment for me. So much so, that I signed up for the marathon! I could have never done it without all of the coaches... you are all a true inspiration!!!
Meghan Eiden, Winter Warriors Half Marathon Training Program 05/06

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I'm still glowing so I have to bask in some glory for a moment... check it out, 1:22:35 in the Phoenix 1/2!!
That was 4:20 faster than November's San Antonio. Awesome, huh?! I placed 108 out of 18,500 finishers.
It was an amazing race... I just kept going and going, and was strong the whole way. Awesome negative splits!
I just wanted to say a special thank you to each of you. You've helped me out quite a bit in the past few years and your advice has brought me a long way. For the very first time on Sunday, I felt like a "real runner" and that I had seriously accomplished something special in the sport.
I was strong, confident, and able to strategize every step of the way. My first 1/2 marathon was the Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon in '04 with a 1:40, and now I'm slinging guns at 1:22:35!
That's funny because I really haven't even been targeting 1/2 marathons, but it's a testament to each of your workouts, your coaching, and helping me to become someone that can call himself a runner. I'm looking forward to a 3:00 shoot out in October!
Thanks again!
Robert Weigand, Winter Warriors Marathon Program 05/06

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