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Showing posts from July, 2013

Race Preview: 5K Run Against Traffick

On Saturday, September 7th at 9am, I'll be running the Traffick Free 3rd Annual 5K Run Against Traffick in Diversey Harbor. Last year I missed this race but a friend who ran it enjoyed it so much he signed up for it again this year and encouraged me to as well. So, I did.

In signing up and reading about the organization (Traffick Free) I got interested in their mission and got in touch with them to get a bit more information regarding both their organization and the 5K. I was able to get an interview with Executive Director Laura Ng, who has been working with Traffick Free since the beginning of 2010 (and has been Executive Director since September of that year).

Traffick Free was formed at the end of 2008 by "a handful of people" and though it is now a non-profit organization, it remains an all-volunteer organization to this day, with no paid positions. Their goal is "to provide the greater metropolitan area of Chicago with tools and sustainable programs to combat…

BTN Big 10K (aka The Race With a Slip 'n Slide)

Even though I'm not a Big Ten graduate (like a good Texan I went to the University of Texas), I've been looking forward to the BTN Big 10K since last year. Partly because it's a well-organized fun race. But mostly because it has a slip 'n slide halfway through the course and last year I foolishly decided not to run off the course and slide on it (because I had my phone in my pocket but also because I was obsessed with getting a good time). Anyway, skipping that slip 'n slide last year was one of my biggest racing regrets so I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. So even though it was only 59 degrees when I hit the course on Saturday morning, I was still determined to hit that slip 'n slide during the race. Fifty-nine degrees is close to perfect for a 10K along the Lakefront Trail, but it's a little chilly for a slip 'n slide, especially when you have to run half the course soaking wet.

For an in-depth review of the race, check out my Newcit…

Celebrity Running: Dean Karnazes at RAM Racing

Last year I got to be part of a Q&A with Krissy Moehl at Patagonia in April and then run with and hear a lecture by Scott Jurek and Chris McDougall at Fleet Feet in June.

Wednesday night, I was once again reminded why I love running "celebrities" when I expanded my celebrity runner/running store connections at RAM Racing by going for a run and then being part of a Q&A with Dean Karnazes. If you don't know who he is you can find out more by reading my blog from when I became BFFs with him last year at the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon expo, but that was a pretty quick greet, shake, sign kind of thing and this was a whole evening.

It started out with a 3- or 5- mile run (depending on what participants wanted to do). I chose to just do three because of my IT-band issues but it seemed like most people did five, and Dean ran with the five mile group. We started at the Running Away Multisport on Clybourn and followed Webster to the lake before turning aro…

2nd Annual Burgers and Beer

With Universal Sole recently opening a new location in The Park at Lakeshore East, their super-catchily titled Burgers & Beer 5K moved downtown with them for its second annual running (from Montrose Harbor last year). They also moved it up from the end of August to the middle of July, which may have contributed to the increase in entries.

Though the race announcer attributed the rise in entries (entries more than doubled from 609 last year to 1229 this year) to the relocation downtown, I'd say excellent word of mouth, a very eye-catching title and an race earlier date also contributed to the race selling out. But, the race directors are right, the Park at Lakeshore East is a nice little hidden gem of a downtown park that other races really haven't taken advantage of yet. It definitely didn't hurt that the second annual race was held in such a beautiful, centrally-located location.

The Great Gatsby Wins Bastille Day 5K

Did anyone else see who won The Bastille Day 5K?


Pssh. I bet his name is really James Gatz. And he's probably not even an Oxford man.

Regardless, I snapped a picture of him a few minutes after his epic win:
He's a pretty gracious winner.
Also, I wish Tom Buchanan would have been in second place.

5K RUN! to End Homelessness and running with another first-time 5Ker

I've lived in Chicago for six years and I've never been to Douglas Park. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever even heard of Douglas Park before I signed up for the 5K RUN! to End Homelessness. Which is actually too bad since it's a pretty nice park with little rolling hills, a pond, a swimming pool and some nice trails.

Getting to experience Douglas Park this morning for the first time by running through it reminded me of a few months ago when I got to experience Warren Park for the first time by running the PAAWR to Empower 5K.

So, the first thing I learned (or, more accurately, was reminded of) this morning, is that running really introduces you to cool new places that you otherwise would not have experienced. Even in a city that you've lived in for six years.

The only issue with this location is that it's not that easy to get to from Lincoln Square early on a Sunday morning. Buses and trains run very infrequently at this time and it took me more than an…

Chinatown 5K and running with a first-time 5Ker

Last year I really enjoyed the Chinatown 5K (and even called it the Best Neighborhood 5K in Newcity's "Best of" issue), so I was excited to run it again this year. Race directors made it especially enticing when they offered the race for only $17 on Groupon, which is a steal for a 5K these days.

Because of the Red Line being down south of Roosevelt, I was worried it would take me longer than usual to get to Chinatown... which translated to me getting to Chinatown an hour before the race started - I don't know how quick it is to get farther south than Chinatown but the buses running between Roosevelt and Chinatown Square were super fast and convenient.

Bastille Day 5k/8k Run/Walk & Block Party

Well, well well.

Tonight was the Bastille Day 5k/8k Run/Walk & Block Party in Lincoln Park (just north of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum). I was originally registered for the 8K but, worrying about my IT band, I dropped down to the 5K just before the race (this change took all of 60 seconds at the registration table which was pretty impressive, especially since my time registered correctly afterwards).

Anyway, before the race, the set-up looked good. Beautiful weather, lots of outdoor space, a good live band and lots of runners. I even tweeted about how promising it all was.

And as I lined up on a blocked off Cannon Drive for the 5K with 943 other runners I still felt that way. I mean, these guys blocked off Cannon Drive, part of Fullerton and a big chunk of Stockton Drive. This was clearly nothing like last year's race.

Book Review: Kings of the Road, by Cameron Stracher

Another few weeks of going to physical therapy and not running, another running book. This time I read "Kings of the Road: How Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar Made Running Go Boom" by Cameron Stracher. This guy's an elitist, but the book is still a great read.

"Running is not soccer, or football, or baseball, where half the players on the field are victorious. There can be only one winner. Everyone else is a loser."

This sentiment, on page 91 of Cameron Stracher's exciting recounting of what he (justifiably) refers to as boomtime for running in America, also showcases his dual approach to this novel (his fifth). Aside from being an author and a lawyer, Stracher lists himself as a "competitive miler" in the mini-bio on the back of the book. And his competitive nature as a runner comes out pretty strongly in his writing. But I'll get to that in a bit.

Most importantly, Stracher is a compelling writer, with a firm grasp of what …