Spring fever hits runners

Emily DeBono running

Emily DeBono, a 19-year-old nursing student from South Lyon, enjoys running after the seasons change. Photo illustration. Gray Bancroft | Washtenaw Voice


Staff Writer


The sun is out, and temperatures are rising, and people are breaking out the running shoes, foregoing treadmills for paths in parks and picking up workout programs to finally get that summer body they’ve always wanted.  5Ks, 10Ks and marathons are popping up all over the state.

Spring fever has hit the campus of Washtenaw Community College as well. Robert Klemmer, full-time math instructor, has been running consistently for 15 years.  No stranger to racing day, he has run 10 marathons and participated in the Ironman Triathlon in 2008.

Klemmer comes from a running family. His mom ran a marathon at the age of 50, and Klemmer remembers saying, “Oh, that’s silly. I’m never going to run a marathon.”

Close with his uncles and cousins, they’ve challenged each other and competed against one another in races of all lengths.

“The whole running community is awesome. That’s one of the huge reasons why we all do it,” Klemmer said. “It’s just so positive and uplifting and energetic. A lot of people who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle and at the same time support each other. It’s really cool to be a part of that.”

Because of Klemmer’s experience in training, he’s learned a lot about himself as a runner and what works best for him, including having to push himself so he continuously improves his times.

“It’s important as a runner to switch things up a bit,” Klemmer said. “You can’t just always do the same thing.”

Robert’s wife and fellow WCC math instructor, Nichole Klemmer, runs with him as well.

Though many die-hard runners must stick to a rigorous routine to participate in races, some enjoy a more casual relationship with their running shoes.

Rachel Sakowski, 21, a pre-med and dietetics major at WCC, has been running since the sixth grade after joining an after-school group called Girls on the Run.

The Dexter native ran cross-country from seventh to ninth grade and track through high school. She still runs, though more casually now.

“I’m a fair-weather runner,” Sakowski said. “In the summer, I’ll go a couple times per week. In the winter, forget it.”

When it comes to adding running into a fitness routine, hitting the pavement takes a lot more knowledge than one would think.

“Start off slowly and build to your goal over time. Depending on the shape you’re in, you need to set a realistic goal,” Sakowski said.

Warning that overdoing it can cause injury to muscles and ligaments, she stresses the importance of stretching before and after a run.

“Even if you start slowly, you’ll still have pulled muscles, and you’ll need to use ice,” Sakowski said.

She also advises to those who are apt to dive in headfirst to pace themselves and to not run every single day. Instead, she says it’s best to start with just a few days per week, lightly jogging and then, slowly, build up the duration and mileage.

Sakowski emphasizes the difference between pushing oneself and overdoing it. Running and not being able to talk at the same time is a red flag, along with unintentionally tearing a ligament or tendon. Her final advice is simply this: Know your body.

“Everyone’s different. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you longer to get to your goal than it takes for your friend to get to theirs,” Sakowski said.

Whether running competitively or just for fun, Robert is in agreement.

“The cool thing about running is that it’s never about a distance. It’s never about you being better than someone else,” he said. “It’s really just about being out there, enjoying being outside and pushing yourself a little bit.”

Everyone runs for different reasons and Robert’s is for the relaxation and being able to unwind.

“The reason I run isn’t for competition or races or times. When I go out on a run, I just zone out, and I feel completely rejuvenated when I get back.”


5 apps to help you run

  1. Runtastic
  2. Runkeeper
  3. Zombies, Run!
  4. Map My Run
  5. Social Star: Strava

10 songs to listen to on your run

  1. Chandelier – Sia
  2. Twisted Transistor – Korn
  3. I Love It (feat. Charlie XCX) – Icona Pop
  4. I Cry – Flo Rida
  5. Crazy In Love – Beyoncé
  6. 99 Problems – Jay-Z
  7. All The Small Things – Blink-182
  8. Best Day of My Life – American Authors
  9. Under Pressure – Queen
  10. Wake Me Up – Avicii


5 things to do pre-race

  1. Get at least two full nights of sleep before race
  2. During race week, train lightly, saving most of energy for race day
  3. On morning of race, eat at least two hours before. Eat something easily digestible and high in energy, such as a banana or protein bar
  4. Warm up, stretch
  5. Remember that it gets easier each time you do it


5 things to do post-race

  1. Eat small meal with protein and simple sugars
  2. Start hydrating after about an hour
  3. Eat a full protein-focused meal along with carbohydrates and healthy fats
  4. Take a nap; sleep is one of the most important recovery tools
  5. Go for a walk or do some light exercises

5 runs to check out

  1. Derby Dash Fun Run

When:April 25 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Mile fun run 10:30 a.m.
5k run/walk 11:30 a.m.
Where: Gallup Park, 3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, MI
Price: mile run $15, 5k $25

Registration and information: http://www.a2derbydimes.org

  1.  Dexter – Ann Arbor Run

When: May 31
10k run/walk 8 a.m.
Half marathon 8:30 a.m.
5k run/walk 9 a.m.
Where: Races begin at different locations
Price: $40-$65
Registration and information: http://www.dxa2.com


  1. Ann Arbor Color Vibe 5k Run

When:August 30 8 a.m.
Where: Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor
Price: $30 solo runner or $26 each for group of four or more
Registration and information:  http://www.thecolorvibe.com

  1. Super Run

When: May 2 8-11:30 a.m.
Where: Wayne State University Detroit
Price: $35-$40
Registration and information: http://www.thesuperrun.com

When: August 8 8-11:30 a.m.
Where: Gallup Park, 3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor
Price: $30-$40
Registration and information: http://www.thesuperrun.com


  1. Tough Mudder

When: Sept. 26-27
Where: 12790 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
Price: $125-$135
Registration and information: http://www.toughmudder.com



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