Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4th time's a

...I'm not sure.

If the 3rd time's a charm, what is the 4th time?

A 3rd time redo?

Because you can't find a reason NOT to do it a 4th time?

Or, because after three times it's a routine?

Either way, last week I signed up for what will be my 4th Chicago Marathon.

Training's become, after a few years, part of my summer routine.

Marathon training will start in early June.

June seems pretty far away right now.

I have quite a bit of running to do between now and then.

Better get to it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bye Bye [to hopes of] Berlin

A few months ago, there was a commotion among my training friends.

What if, instead of Chicago, we ran the Berlin Marathon this year?

What a great idea! We've all participated in Chicago the last two years (some of us three).

Berlin is just two weeks before Chicago, so we could do the Intermediate version of our training program and be right on track for the September 25th race.

Berlin is a flat, fast course like Chicago. It could mean a P.R!

Kim S. was the first on board. She started the rest of us thinking about it as well.

Within a few weeks Jen, Sara and Carrie were all on board.

I was the hold out.

And in, what I guess we could call the end, I decided not to go.

Do I want to run the Berlin Marathon? YES!

But I also want to be able to go to Berlin, then spend some time in Europe, including visiting my family in England.

Without busting out a spreadsheet, we all know it's a pricey trip. So this time around, I have to be the lame one who misses out on the cool trip.

Ladies, I can't wait to hear all about your plans beforehand and your experiences afterwards!
Don't worry, I have a few races to train for that will keep me busy, and I'll still be seeing you all Saturday mornings up until Berlin.

Monday, February 14, 2011

200 Miles. Madison to Chicago Relay

I think I've just agreed to do something crazy.

I may not be wheels up to Berlin in September, but it looks like I'm going to cover some ground in...Wisconsin.

In early June, I am going to be a member of a 12 person relay team which will run from Madison to Chicago. We will cover the 200 mile journey by running day and night over two days.

I know very little about the event, other than each of us will run three legs of varying distances (between 3 to 9 miles).

We will need two vans to carry the team and to keep pace with the person running, planting the next runner at the exchange area. The vans will be filled with the team's standard running gear, but will also include sleeping bags (although I've heard there will be little to no sleeping), reflective vests, head lamps, maps and lots of snacks.

Instead of batons, we will pass on a slap bracelet. Sweet!

If you're intrigued, visit the race's site at

Jen ran this race a few years ago. She said it was a blast, besides from the fact that some of the people on her team did not complete their runs. Her team experienced some digestive issues, getting lost in the van a few times trying to find the next exchange point, and once having a runner get off course in the middle of the night. Sounds like a blast! ;)

Has anyone else participated in this race or a similar relay?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Born To Run

Christopher McDougall is the author of "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen."

McDougall's book has a cult -like following in the running community. Last winter, while laid up with a knee injury, I read this book.

When hanging out with a group of runners, the subject of barefoot running is a hot topic.

McDougall is an advocate for barefoot running, which is has been all the rage in the last two years. Then again, it was the all the rage hundreds or thousands of years ago too, before the invention of cushioned running shoes.

His book talks about running mechanics, the mass marketing of running gadgets (which he thinks we don't need), edurance racing, ultra marathoning, and a tribe of Indians in the Cooper Canyons of Mexico called the Tarahumara.

Below is a video of Christopher McDougall discussing 2009's New York City Marathon and how Derartu Tulu's compassion and athleticism in that race encompasses some themes of his book:

Monday, February 07, 2011

When You Can't Run, Shovel.

And so it was, the Blizzard of 2011...

It was cool Tuesday night when work sent out an email saying we could leave early. (It's amazing how excited I get about leaving work two hours early.) The storm was not cool when I was on a bus on Lake Shore Drive, but it did get me home. The storm was awesome Tuesday night when I found out I didn't have to go in to the office Wednesday.

The blizzard really showed me Wednesday morning when Dave and I went outside. Holy abandoned cars and huge snow drifts. Whereas on a normal day I like that I live less than a block from the Lake, it didn't work to our advantage in the storm.

After riding out most of Wednesday in my place, I was going stir crazy. I was home from work. I couldn't run. The yoga studio was closed. So I did a 45 minute ride on the (bike) trainer. I must have not ridden hard enough, because shortly after that, I found myself gearing up to go outside and attack this:

My car, engulfed by a snow drift. Not to mention the 3 to 4 ft. snow drifts in the alley. I went at it for a few hours, then went to bed.

Wednesday night I found out the office was closed on Thursday as well, so you know what that means - more time to shovel.

I spent around two hours Thursday morning continuing what I'd started Wednesday night. Took a break for lunch, then went back out for another two hours of shoveling fun. The alley was so quiet. Every once and awhile I'd hear a plane fly overhead and the sound of neighboring shovels.

Almost everyone passing by had something to say about my project. Some of them just smiled or said 'that sucks.' One guy told me 'They made gyms for that!' I responded that I was shoveling for sport. He didn't quite know what to say to that and decided to keep walking. So, thank you, random alley man, you get credit for the blog idea.

The end product was a dug out car and a path through the alley.

I felt quite accomplished after this task, so I proceeded to go out in to the street. I had checked the street earlier Thursday morning to see it still hadn't been plowed. Dave's car was stuck on my street and I wanted to help free it so he could drive to work that night. But now when I checked the street, I saw that a small plow had made it down my street. Dave's car still had to be dug out a bit, but with the help of one of my neighbors, we did it.

I should have taken an after photo for his car, but here's what it looked like Wednesday morning:

I think it's safe to say I got my workout in. I was happy to return to work Friday where I was not asked to shovel.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Where Do Old Running Shoes Go?

Everybody likes a new pair of shoes.

Especially a new pair of running shoes.

Once you cross the bridge into distance running, your running shoes no longer last a year. In fact, some critics say, they shouldn't.

Let's say you're running eight to ten miles a week. More than likely, in a year you're going through two pair.

The average runner can get anywhere between 250 to around 400 miles on a pair of shoes. The disparity in numbers has to do with your weight, stride, weather conditions and some other factors.

Last year I ran 600+ miles in 9 months ( The first three I was injured.).

Unfortunately, I'm a runner who gets closer to 250 rather than 400 miles on a pair of shoes. How do you know when you need to get a new pair? It varies from person to person, but for me, the warning sign is shin splints.

At the end of a moderate run, I'll notice my shins are sore. My first though is 'Shin Splints, really?' Then I start thinking of when I got the shoes. Now figuring that out can be tricky, so I save myself from guessing.

When I get a new pair, I write on the bottom of the cushion the first date I ran in the shoes. I can then look at my Nike+ to track all the miles I've run from that date until now and see where I'm at.

Without fail, I'm plus or minus 20 miles of 250 every time.

I've been using the shoes I ran the Marathon in for the fall and winter. They'll see a few short runs, but then I'll move in to a new pair of Adidas adiStar Solution's.

So what happens to a pair of shoes after they're no good to run in?

Some people turn them in to their gym shoes or for everyday walking shoes.

But if you're burning through three or four pair a year, you have a surplus of otherwise decent shoes.

I recently dropped off a few pair in a Shoes 4 Soles bin. (Soles4Souls shoe charity donates shoes to adults and children in need. ) Even still, I have a pair at my parents house, a pair in the trunk of my car, a pair at work, and, somehow, I still have another four pair in my condo.

I guess an old running shoe surplus is a good problem to have.