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Showing posts from March, 2012

Fast Cat (aka 8 Seconds Is Not a Long Time in a 10K)

So with a few hitches in our travel plans (attempting a pick up at the corner of Chicago and Michigan at 6:45 in the morning was a little more difficult than I anticipated) my professional running team (I don't use the term loosely at all) hit the road to Plainfield for the inaugural Fast Cat.

And we managed to expertly miss the Plainfield exit the first time around, make a few turnarounds (again, we're professionals), and get to the Plainfield North High School race grounds with about half an hour to spare for the 8:30 starting time.

Parking was no problem (as Chicagoans that's an important thing to note) and picking up our packets was also easy (luckily). The starting line was a spray-painted mark in the school parking lot that we stumbled upon by accident when we noticed a lot of people were congregating around a certain area. Logan and I got into the starting pack while Bill waited on the sideline (he ran the 2nd leg of the 10K relay).

...And they totally ended up destroy…

What happens when you make people run with you - Fast Cat

Several weeks ago I got signed up for the Fast Cat 10K in Plainfield this weekend. And since then I've been hounding two friends of mine to register as well (partly because it's sporting a super-cool race name, partly because of the promise of a nice, flat course in the suburbs... but mainly because I don't have a car and need a ride there on race day).

Anyway, they agreed to do the 10K as a 2X5K relay (which is a great race option that I can't remember seeing in any other races - good call Fast Cat organizers!). It seems to me that not being runners, these guys earned themselves some promotion by signing up for this... they deserve all the cheers and encouragement they can get! And to help make that possible, I wanted to make sure people will be able to recognize them when they're running.

So, here's the fearless relay team:
























And yes, Logan always runs without a shirt on
and Bill always wears a stupid glasses/mustache mask
So as part of the registration they got to …

Follow-up to Shamrock-ing Chicago

Here's the official press photo taken just before the race yesterday morning:
I'm usually one of the taller people in a group picture, but when the guy right next to you is Israel Idonije you tend to look pretty small. Also, I'll be totally honest: since the only sport I really know anything about is running, I had no idea who he was until someone told me! But he's a super-friendly guy and seemed genuinely happy to be there - and it was interesting to see the contrast between professional athletes: he definitely has a totally different body type than the elite runners!

Also, as I mentioned on Friday, the run we did at the expo did end up on ABC7's 6 o'clock news. You can see me around the one minute mark getting ready to pass Abdi... he managed to fend me off somehow.

Oh, and apropos of nothing, I meant to mention this yesterday, but during the race I noticed some great signs when turning the corner at Grand and State. Today, I saw them posted on luluemon's Fa…

Shamrock Shuffle Media Challenge

Starting line this morning (looking forward and backwards):


Got to start with the elites this morning as part of the Bank of America Media Challenge, which was a pretty incredible way to run the Shamrock Shuffle for the first time!

But it also meant that even though I ran a PR (37:34) I literally did not pass one person the entire time... which was equal parts humbling and inspiring. I did, though, get passed by a joggler, a leprechaun and a guy in a green man suit.

In the VIP tent afterwards I got to see Abdelaaziz Atmani and Julia Lucas announced as the male and female winners of the race:

And unfortunately, my media team didn't end up winning the media challenge (as tweeted earlier by a fellow media member):

Running with Tera Moody and Abdi Abdirahman at the Shamrock Shuffle Expo

I got off work early to head to the media event at the expo for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. The plan was that we would get to hang out with and run a two mile "Fun Run" with Olympic runners Abdi Abdirahman and Tera Moody. Trying to decide whether to take a bus or a cab to Navy Pier I realized that I was clearly discounting a third, more appropriate, method: running.

So I put my iPhone in a super high tech protective case (aka a ziploc bag) and headed out the door. Surprisingly, the light rain actually made it a nicer run - I find that pedestrians and cars alike are a lot more accommodating of runners in the rain than they are to us in sunny weather... it could just be that they figure if we're dumb enough to run in the rain they should probably steer clear because we might just run into them at any second.

After covering the mile and a half to the expo (and getting only mildly soaked) I collected my race bib (number 469! Definitely the lowest number I've ha…

Shamrock Shuffle Media Challenge - Team Bair Feet

As a writer for NewCity magazine, I'm excited to be running the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K this Sunday, but I'm really excited to be running as a member of the press, which means that I'll be part of a very cool new feature of the race this year: the "Media Challenge." As part of this challenge, all the media participants (~33 of us) have been divided into three teams who will compete on race day for the fastest team time (the times of all team members will be added together and the lowest time wins).

Here's a description from the site of what the winning team gets:

"The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, Chicago’s traditional kick-off to the spring running season, will donate $5,000 to the Chicago Park District on behalf of the winning media team. Nike, an Official Level Sponsor of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, will award a matching donation of $5,000, providing a total of $10,000 in support of local youth running programs organized …

I just ran the Fastest Mile EVER (for real)

Seriously, check it - RunKeeper doesn't lie:...but it does get a really bad GPS signal around my apartment... so the distance might be just a little bit off. (I mean, to be totally honest, I was probably just doing a 3:30 mile).

If you're curious, here's what my superhuman route looked like at the end:
As you can see, sometimes I get a little erratic when I'm trying to set a world record so I just start totally ignoring streets and running right through buildings (hardcore I know, but you have to be if you want to be a champion right?). Also, I'm a little OCD so I always have to tag the John Hancock Center at some point during a run.

Regardless of the app's accuracy, someone needs to contact Hicham El Guerrouj and let him know that I'm no longer that impressed with his 3:43 mile on a flat, marked course - I mean I was doing this with stoplights and building security guards and everything.

Anyway... on the boring serious side of this, I've had the RunKeeper …

Advertising with Flyers to High Runners

At the finish line of the St. Paddy's Day 8K on Sunday there was no shortage of people handing out flyers for future races. I've almost always found the Mitch Hedberg joke about flyers to be absolutely true: "When someone tries to hand me out a flyer, it’s kinda like they’re saying, 'Here—you throw this away'" but this old-school form of advertising actually worked on me this weekend......possibly because I was high from just finishing an 8K and two of the races (namely C4Miles and Bastille Day 8K) will be taking place in the exact same place as the race I had just finished (in front of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum).

So now I'm registered for the C4Miles and thinking about the Bastille Day 8K as well. Not sure what's up with the Bastille Day 8K site, though: it looks like they might have launched their old-school flyer campaign before getting their new-school website up and running properly.

But I guess the thing I realized is that sometim…

Tracking sexts at the St. Paddy's Day 5K & 8K

Ran the St. Paddy's Day 8K this morning. Lots of green everywhere. And no one even seemed hungover. Incredible weather and really well-organized race that started and finished at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The results are already posted.

And my review is already posted at NewCity.com.

For some reason there weren't any 22, 36 or 151 buses running north this morning so I ended up running to the starting line with my wife (about two miles), which actually seemed to help my run by giving me a nice warm-up beforehand (and gave me a chance to say hi to the Sun Bear and some of the big cats - my favorite animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo).

At the end of the race you could type your number into a row of computers and get a print-out of your results (below) which was pretty cool. This seems like a new development and I don't remember seeing this until recently. Does anyone know how long this has been happening?

D-Tag Limerick

It's St. Paddy's Day - which means lots of drinking and no running. But after preparing my D-Tag for tomorrow's race my wife and I got caught up in the usual "hilarious" runner jokes that center on how D-Tag sounds like D-Bag (those will always be funny to me) and we even wrote a little limerick in honor of St. Paddy and D-Tags everywhere (and maybe D-Bags too):


The D-Tag Limerick

There are many ways of tracking your pace
When running a road or trail race
I feel like my D-Tag
Is just being a D-Bag
Cause it says that I came in last place


Amazing poetic skills we have, I know. I then tried to find out more about a D-Tag (like what the D actually stands for)... I totally can't find it anywhere - even on the ChronoTrack Systems website. Luckily my wife suggested that it's probably just for "digital." She's a little quicker than me (mentally and running-wise). Anyone have confirmation on that? (on the digital part, not the quickness part - I don't n…

St. Paddy's Packet Pick-up (pre-cursor to partying)

I'm a little buzzed as I take the train to Sports Authority to pick up my packet for the St. Paddy's Day 8K on Sunday, which gets me thinking about the weekend (and the race) ahead...

First I need to interject and point out that the full title of the race as listed on the site (and on the rather bland shirt to the left) calls it the St. Paddy's Day 5k & 8K Run/Walk & Leprechaun Leap 2012, which is an incredibly detailed and punctuation-filled title for a race, and makes me wonder why they didn't just tack on "Day After" to the start of the title since they're already going into so much detail anyway.

...I had intended to take a short run over lunch to pick up the packet, but got a small insight into how indulgence can spoil running plans when a coworker brought in champagne and a German chocolate cake for my birthday. Now I'm on the train in my work clothes instead of on the street in my running gear. Which is making me wonder how much I can dri…

Chilly (?) Run and Nike Training Shoes

My weather app tells me it's 80 degrees outside, but as soon as I hit the street it feels like someone has turned on the a/c. Ten minutes ago I thought it was summertime and now I'm noticing other runners wearing long-sleeve shirts and walkers wearing light jackets...

At this point any Chicagoan who's been through at least one winter here is telling me to shut my mouth (or still my fingers, I guess) right now because I'm complaining about a cool breeze on an 80 degree day in mid-March; I'm actually complaining about running weather that's just about as perfect as can be. Okay, point taken. But still, it was surprising how quickly the weather changed based on winds off the lake.

Still, I alter my plan to run to the lakeshore trail, feeling the wind coming off the lake (even on Dearborn), and decide to just head to Lincoln Park. I wave to the stony Lincoln statue, as he sits on his throne eying a yoga practitioner attempting to impress him with her flexibility befo…