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Showing posts from August, 2012

Spectating the Chicago Triathlon

After the intensity of Chicago City Chase on Saturday, for some crazy reason I still wanted to see the starting line of the Chicago Triathlon. This one was the 30th anniversary of the race and the weather was perfect so I felt like being tired was no excuse. I've also never been to the starting line of a triathlon. So Sunday morning I woke up at 5 and took the red line to the Harrison stop and then walked to the lake (the intersection of Balbo and Lake Shore Drive to be exact). And even though I was tired, I have to say... it was totally worth it.

I got there around 5:45 just as the sun was coming up and walked around the starting area checking things out and waiting for the first wave to kick off at 6. The sky looked incredible and the weather was perfect (I say that as a spectator, I'd assume it was a little warm for participants) but the sunrise was pretty spectacular.
Even though I wasn't participating in the triathlon I got pretty pumped up just watching everyone gathe…

Your Guide to Chicago City Chase...

...based on the challenges we did (and didn't) complete.

If you did City Chase this year then maybe this list will remind you of the challenges you chose to
take on (assuming there was some overlap). If not, maybe this will inspire you to take it on next year. If you're into the element of surprise (which is part of what makes City Chase so fun) then don't read any further (spoiler alert and all that). I won't be listing all the specifics about any of the challenges so there should still be some mystery around the challenges but this list should definitely give you a leg up if you're just looking to know more before you take this thing on yourself.

For a review of the event as a whole (not a detailed recounting of this year's challenges) check out my Newcity review.

Anyway, here we go. Since we picked up our packets and whatnot at one of the locations earlier in the week we didn't have to arrive at the starting line until just before 10 o'clock when …

Burgers and Beer

Monday night I ran Universal Sole's inaugural Burgers & Beer 5K. It's a race that grew out of a monthly run of the same name that Universal Sole has been doing for the past three years and it definitely had a grass roots feel to it with a pretty small basecamp (including a small Goose Island beer garden and a burger station - shown to the right) and race co-directors Joel Feinberg and Kimberley Stedman serving as co-announcers before, during and after the race. There were about 600 runners overall, which is a pretty good-sized field for an inaugural local run. I would guess that including the words "Burgers" and "Beer" in a race's title is a pretty good way to get people interested in it. 

Running During the Chicago Air and Water Show

Yesterday I avoided a six mile training run by going to a bar to compete in the national trivia finals. My team (I use that phrase loosely as I was only an alternate) ended up in 5th place - and I helped drop us many points right off the bat when I thought the first question might be in my wheelhouse: What sport has been in every Olympic games since 1896 (except for the 1900 Olympic games)? I swore it had to be marathon... but it was wrestling. Running-obsession fail.

I was too excited about the fact that Brynn and I are running the Athens marathon in November to think about any other sports really. But one of the teams in our bar placed nationally which was pretty exciting.

So I traded six miles for drinking and discussing how many points a Backgammon board has (24) and who was the first sitting president to visit the New York Stock Exchange (Reagan). My marathon training certainly doesn't thank me... but my legs do.

Elvis is Alive (and I hate bananas)

The first thing I noticed upon arriving at the party grounds for the Elvis is Alive 5K yesterday evening before the race was the giant inflatable slip 'n slide in the far west corner of the blocked off event area. Could it be? Yes, it was the same slip 'n slide from the BTN Big 10K course that I didn't slide on because I had my phone in my pocket during the run. It seems that the running gods (aka Fleet Feet) were giving me a second chance to check this thing out. But it wasn't turned on before the race so I had to wait until after finishing, which was probably for the best. And believe me, I definitely went sliding on this thing after the race (after picking up my free 312, of course).

I did have to wait for some kids to finish playing on it (come on kids, you guys can slide on a normal slip 'n slide any time - when you're 6' 2" you don't get to spend a lot of time doing these things). Anyway... it was just as awesome as it looks. I actually did i…

Chicago 10K and Game On, World with Nike

First off, I found out from fellow running blogger Erica Reid that we were both quoted in RAM Racing's blog post about the Terrapin 5K, which is pretty sweet. It was definitely a good race.

But on to this morning. As I said in my Newcity review, naming your race "Chicago 10K" is a bold move. This is a big city and there are already a lot of 10Ks out there (popular ones at that). But this morning's race definitely marked an auspicious start for the Chicago 10K. Even though it's only the race's inaugural year they managed to sell out (even with a $50-60 entry fee that wasn't exactly cheap). It could be argued that they kept the entries low so that they would sell out and be able to use that as a marketing ploy, but even if they did I'd say that they made the right decision. They kept entries to a realistic level for what they could handle with the base camp that they had to work with and the open course on the Lakefront Trail. And with the runners that…

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, The Champions Run, and poorly marked courses

This morning's The Champions Run started a 10K weekend double-header that I've been looking forward to for a while (the second half is the Chicago 10K tomorrow).

As a (really long) side note, I was also supposed to compete in the Chicago Shoreline Marathon relay this morning, but rough weather on Thursday and Friday and choppy water today led to the event being cancelled. Although I'm disappointed that it was cancelled I'm also glad that the race organizers are looking out for participant safety. I'm sure that others in the event may have been able to handle the choppy water, but it's definitely not worth the risk. I saw the water this morning during The Champions Run and it was pretty rough. Also, I've only had one lesson (which was just last week) and while I think I got the hang of it pretty well, I also think I better stick with totally peaceful water for a while.




Water like this:


Running for Blood?

Donating blood is just about the easiest thing you can do that lets you feel like you're actually helping other people. It only takes about half an hour, you get a bunch of snacks when you finish and you get to wear a bandage on your arm for several hours afterwards like you really did something intense. And if people see your donor arm scab and are like, "Oh, what happened?" You can either be like, "Oh no big deal, just saving lives..." or "Heroin, ugh. I hate it... but I love it." However you're feeling at that moment.

You're eligible to donate every two months and I've been donating blood pretty consistently for a number of years now. For the past few years I've been going to a nearby LifeSource Blood Center location to donate. Last month I found out through email that they have a race coming up in September with a super-sweet name and I was reminded about it again today when I went in to donate. I can't say it's the best…

Mud Wars: Scam or Just Inept Organization (and Does it Really Matter)?

On Saturday morning as I was heading to the BTN Big 10K I passed a sign with two arrows. One pointed right to Soldier Field and the BTN 10K race area, the other pointed straight ahead, to Northerly Island and the Mud Wars event.  At the time I was a little torn, but after the reports that are coming out from the Tribune, Chicago Journal and WGN (and now picked up by Huffington Post) I'm very happy I wasn't involved in Mud Wars, since it's starting to sound a little bit like a scam.

While I want to give the race organizer (Joe Bizzieri) the benefit of the doubt, reading (and watching) the above news stories, it does sound like this may have been a scam artist capitalizing on the growing popularity of obstacle/mud runs, which I had a feeling would happen eventually. Estimates put the total generated income from this race at around $300,000, but even if all 6000 people who registered for this race had used the Groupon/YouSwoop/LivingSocial deal and only paid $35, the race org…