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Showing posts from June, 2014

Book Review: Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life, by Joe De Sena

Just finished "Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life" and I have to say that I haven't felt so strongly divided about a book in as long as I can remember. On one hand, the authors have penned a well-written and powerfully motivating self-help book that in simple, straightforward language gives the average reader an insight into how to improve their current state in life (above and beyond the arena of health and fitness). But at the same time a good portion of the book is spent repeatedly endorsing Spartan races as a sort of cure-all for what ails you (obesity, depression, loneliness, etc.) and the authors often quote research or make claims without properly citing or even substantiating their assertions.

But let's start with the good - and there is a lot of it.

By all accounts, Joe De Sena is an impressive guy (I did a brief interview with him a few months ago). And the Spartan race series is not only a …

The Clymb - Discounted Running Gear

If you're a runner (and if you're not at least somewhat of a runner, this blog will probably be really boring to you) then you probably know that your biggest expense for this relatively simple and otherwise incredibly cheap sport is your shoes. Not because there aren't cheap running shoes out there, but because cheap running shoes are not really going to give you the support that you need (or at least not for very long) and because even good running shoes need to be replaced every 300-400 miles or so.

I typically try to buy locally - both Fleet Feet and Universal Sole have great rewards programs and I shop at both - but I go through a lot of shoes and a few years ago I joined a mailing list that one of my friends turned me on to (he's on it mainly for hiking and camping gear): The Clymb.

On the site they describe themselves like this: "The Clymb offers insider pricing on premium outdoor gear, trend-setting apparel, and human-powered adventure travel packages.&…

Burgers & Beer 5K Discount Code

In 2012, Burgers & Beer went from a monthly fun run put on by Universal Sole to an official 5K with an inaugural run in Montrose Harbor. The first race was so popular that last year they moved it to The Park at Lakeshore East. And it looks like it's grown again because this year it's moved to Soldier Field.

Both the first and second year races were great (what's not to like about burgers AND beer?) so I think it's safe to assume that the third annual run on the evening of July 14th will be as well.

If you're interested in signing up, the discount code bnb2014 is good for $5 off registration

Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World

Night races are really starting to be a thing. And though I was a bit of a naysayer at first, I'm coming around. There's something cool about running on a course in the dark with a bunch of other people, especially when there are sweet lights and music and all that good stuff.

After driving back to Chicago on the night of Operation Pink Sky I headed downtown for the Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World. That's a really long title that somehow makes the race sound both better and worse than it actually was.

As I said in my Newcity review, putting a brand name at the front of a race title gives it a corporate sound - but this race didn't have that feel at all (despite the giant Energizer bunnies sprinkled around and the Energizer bunny ears everyone was wearing). Maybe it was just the fact that it was a night race but it felt much more laid back than a corporate race would.

Also, everyone had headlamps on which didn't help much at dusk but definitely looked coo…

Operation Pink Sky: I Jumped Out of a Plane Yesterday

Yesterday I jumped out of a plane. It already seems like a long time ago. It also sits in a weird place in my brain in that I don't think I could process it at the time and I definitely don't know how to process it afterwards. As I said in my original post about Operation Pink Sky, skydiving is not a thing that has ever interested me. But now I can see why people aren't just interested in it, but are addicted to it. It's completely exhilarating and unlike anything else I've done before. 

After raising money for Operation Pink Sky over the last few weeks I rented a car via Enterprise CarShare and head over to Chicagoland Skydiving Center to get checked in and ready to jump. Before you can even watch the training videos you have to sign about ten waivers basically stating that if you die your family can't sue them. Makes sense. It's a dangerous thing and they need to cover their bases. But also a little disconcerting.

I talked to Dina and Michelle about the j…

The Original Original 5K

Last weekend I ran Fleet Feet's latest race creation, The Original 5K, a 70s-themed race meant to take you "back to the 70s when American distance runners stood atop the podiums of the world’s most famous races." As I said in my Newcity review, it definitely made good on the 70s theme and was a good, fun race to boot (especially for only $19.72).

There was a good deal of facial hair and a lot of headbands and an especially large contingent of striped tube socks of varying colors (mostly because the race packet included a pair of these socks rather than a race shirt). Overall, a great morning for running and a really solid debut for a new race, especially one that was only announced a few months ago.



The best I could do for 70s theme was to throw on an old bowling shirt, but I think it was 70s enough for this race, though not the most comfortable shirt to run in. But the weather was perfect and the course was flat and open so it was a nice, fast race. I didn't break …