Coaching Staff :: Bios
CES Staff / Coaches Bios
- Lori Koch (running)
- Kerl LaJeune (running)
- Ally Lofgren (running)
- Michael Schaffner (running)
- Mark Acerenza (cycling/triathlon)
- Daphne Glover (triathlon)
- Michelle Moore (triathlon)
- Linda Samuels (sports nutrition)
- Jordan Grauer (cycling)
In 1998, Lori weighed over 200 pounds. After building up the will power to start running, she lost 70 pounds in one year and landed a spot on her college Cross Country team. Since then she has completed 9 marathons and several half marathons, 10-milers, 10Ks & 5Ks.
While working on her degree in Occupational Therapy, Lori gained experience coaching with high school and college cross country teams in Nebraska. After graduation she worked with the University of Chicago's Track and field team. In May of 2006, she joined the CES coaching staff. She is a USATF level I certified coach. Currently, Lori is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience and Human Movement Rehabilitation Science at Northwestern University.
Lori's endurance passion continues to grow. She recently completed her first Olympic triathlon and will next conquer the half ironman triathlon. Lori knows what it is like to start from scratch and is honored to be a part of the journey the CES athletes will seize this season.
Kerl is a seasoned long distance runner with over 15 marathons along with many half-marathons and short distance races since 2000. His participation in Ultra races include the MC200 running relay, along with a various cycling centuries and Ultra bike rides like the AIDS Minnesota to Chicago trip. As an avid and habitual lifetime soccer player, sprints and all-around running had always been part of his exercise routine. One of his signature and fun grueling races was the Wild Scallion adventure competition where his all-male team placed 1st, 2nd and 5th with less than 7hr finishes. Kerl's over 20yrs of participating in sprint/International Duathlon races were a precursor to the variety of marathon related activities he now partakes regularly.
Continuously since 2000, Kerl has been a pacer for various Chicago Marathon training programs including CARA, I-Runs, Clocktower and CES. 10-7-12 marked the seventh year as an official NIKE pacer for the Chicago Marathon which has become a very rewarding focus of his yearly running activities. He is ecstatic to have joined CES as a running coach, continuing his long term partnership with spectacular running organizations and its runners.
Kerl's belief is that the culmination of the long training leading up to a race is more significant and rewarding than the actual race itself.
Education: NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Madd Dog Certified Spinning Instructor
Exercise and nutrition literally changed Ally's life. In 2005, she was obese with a BMI of 32. Over the next year with proper nutrition and exercise she lost two thirds of the weight. She credits Chicago Endurance Sports and the Winter Warriors program for the last weight coming off and a completely new lifestyle and career. She began pacing after her first half marathon and hasn't looked back. She has now trained with CES for and completed 7 half marathons, 2 marathons and an international distance triathlon.
CES gave Ally the confidence and experience to leave her "office career" behind and became a NASM certified personal trainer. She is on the coaching staff for the Soldier Field 10-Mile Training Program and is the Pace Director for the Winter Warriors Training Program. She is passionate about making running fun and accessible for everyone. Everyone has a place on the path and Ally is looking for you there!
Those who have known Michael for a long time still find it hard to believe he is a runner. Michael, who was anything but athletic in his younger years, entered the Chicago Half Marathon on a "fluke" without any real concept of what 13.1 miles entailed. In fact, he was so unsure of his ability to complete the race he did not tell anyone about it until after he finished it. From then on he was hooked, discovering a competitive side he never knew he possessed. Since then, Michael has completed 7 marathons, 2 ultra marathons, over 25 half marathons, and most recently the Goofy Challenge.
For more sessions than he can remember Michael was a pacer for CES training programs. He has also been a mentor for both CES Soldier Field 10 training program as well as the No Boundaries program. This will be his third year pacing for the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Michael has really enjoyed the opportunity and helps pay it forward, sharing what he has learned with runners starting out where he once was. He has been taken aback on more than one occasion, when he's been approached by runners crediting him with helping them accomplish a goal.
When Michael is not running he is usually slumped over his computer working. Recently he has also been able to merge his interest in technology and running, developing a couple of running related apps for the iPhone.
Cycling / Triathlon Coach
Mark has been a CES cycling coach since 2006, getting his early start in BMX racing. The bike got a rest while Mark attended the University of Kansas where he was a starting member of the Men's soccer team. After university Mark found the benefits of running and a few years later began competing in triathlons. This will be his 7th season as a Sprint and Olympic distance triathlete. He has spent a number of years cycling with various clubs throughout the city. You have probably seen Mark running with Winter Warriors and other CES running programs — this season he is excited to be joining the CES triathlon coaching staff.
Daphne is a USA Triathlon and American Swim Coaches Association certified coach. She has coached Division 1 swimming and triathletes of all levels. She began swimming competitively at the age of six and swam at the Junior Olympic, high school state and masters state level. She competes in all running distances and has run over 10 marathons. She qualified for and finished the Boston Marathon twice. In her first triathlon, Daphne placed 2nd in her sprint distance age group. In her first olympic distance at the Chicago Triathlon, she qualified to race in the elite amateur division after placing 4th. She has since expanded her triathlon achievements by competing in both the half ironman and ironman distances. She is excited to work with CES athletes to help them enjoy training and experience the triumph of success.
Michelle has been competing in endurance events for nearly 10 years. After completing her first endurance event, the Chicago marathon in 2001, she turned her focus to triathlons in 2003 where she found her passion. She is an accomplished athlete having completed over 15 triathlons (from sprint to Ironman), 4 marathons, more than 12 half marathons, and numerous 5-10k races. In fact, in 2005 she trained with CES to complete the Olympic distance triathlon here in Chicago. Michelle has such a passion for the sport that she became certified as a USAT Level I triathlon coach in 2009 and began working with CES athletes. She is thrilled to be a part of the CES triathlon coaching staff and is eager to work with CES triathletes this season.
Linda Samuels, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
Registered Dietitian & Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition (CSSD)
As a Registered Dietitian and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition (CSSD), I have devoted the past 8 years to working exclusively with endurance athletes. I keep my practice cutting edge with advanced training with some of the world’s experts in sports nutrition. I train/compete in endurance events, so I understand the challenges that athletes face. Since developing a process which methodically evaluates athletes’ hydration/fueling/salting regimens, I’ve helped my clients completely overhaul their training and race day plans. I work collaboratively with my clients, so that the strategies formulated are highly individualized. Every season I work with Ironman Triathletes who have then qualified for World Championships. Professional, Collegiate and Elite athletes work with me to boost their athletic performance through my advanced sports nutrition practices. I can help you transform your athletic performance, too!
Jordan Grauer has been an avid cyclist for almost 30 years and still fondly remembers his first racing bike. He's been a competitive cyclist since college, attended the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, and in 1995, qualified for and successfully completed the 1,200 kilometer Paris-Brest-Paris ultramarathon cycling race. As co-owner and operator of Higher Gear bicycles for 13 years (1993-2005), Jordan was a key sponsor of Club Bicicletta, an amateur cycling club affliliated with the Higher Gear/Vox team. He has also led bicycle tours through Canada, France, Scotland, England, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand. Last year Jordan held a series of bike seminars for CES addressing bike fit, maintenance, technique and component selection. He's excited to continue working with CES and is looking forward to coaching for them this year.