Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SARA Training

CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) is the non-for-profit group I've been training with for the last four years.

Sara is someone I met in 2008 while training for the first marathon.

SARA Training is when one takes three years of CARA training and does their own thing. Not because they don't love CARA, but because, for one reason or another, it's easier to take a different approach.

For example, to avoid 90 degree heat, SARA training will start at 5am (or 6am, pending trenchal downpour)whereas CARA is stuck with their schedule. SARA training can start anywhere, but chooses to start at Sara's house.

CARA's program has announcements and large groups of people divided by pace group. SARA training gets down to business. A pair runs together, picks up a third on the path at Foster, and what remains of our CARA group around North avenue.

Instead of post-run gatorade, there's iced coffee.

Brunch is just as important to a post-run routine as stretching, and the SARA program takes it quite seriously. There's pre-run logistic emails that start on Tuesday. Brunch is a hot topic - where we will go, what time we will get there, if there will be a line, and, most importantly what we will eat. Nothing is off limits. During the run, brunch plans adapt for the late start due to weather. Post-run, we speed up stretching and showering, forego sleeping. And head to brunch.

I order eggs benedict AND a bacon cinnamon roll.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What's crazier than running at 6:30 am on a Saturday?

Running at 6am.

Nah, let's make it 5am.

It's been in the upper 90's the last few days with high humidity, and Saturday looks to be no different.

If this was my first summer training, I might think that I'd be finished with a 14 miler before it really got hot by starting at 6:30am.

Truth is, I know better.

In 2008, there was a particularly hot Saturday where our long run was 16 miles. I'm not the only one that remembers the day. I guess you could call it one of our war stories from training.

I don't recall the run south to the loop being all too bad. It was the journey back that got us. That's the day I learned how much I dislike the lakefront between Ohio and Fullerton. It's an uncomfortable mass of concrete being continuously blasted by the sun.

Between Ohio and North Avenue, we went from two groups of ten to groups of 3 or 4. Each person was doing whatever they could to keep moving forward, but it wasn't pretty. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't call it running. But we finished the run and learned a valuable lesson.

Check the weather and run earlier.

Which leads me to thinking about the last few days of intense heat. Remember during the blizzard we were wishing for this? Now we have all the heat we could ever dream of but we don't want it. In lieu of complaining, I read a facebook status from Salute Inc. which I found to some things up quite nicely:
I was going to complain about how hot it is, then I realized that: 1.) It isn't really 109 degrees; 2.) I'm not 5,700 miles from home; 3.) I'm not dressed in a full BDU uniform and helmet and carrying 70+ lbs.; and 4.) There is very little chance that anyone will shoot at me. Thanks to all that serve!
Thanks for reminding us Salute, and, thank you Dan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Return of the Morning Runner

Shortly after October 10th, 2010, Laura, the morning runner, retired.

Right around that time, Laura, the afternoon or evening runner, returned.

I find the morning version, although someone resistant to getting up at 6, or maybe 5am, tends to be more productive with a run out of the way in the morning.

But, as we all know, if you go out too hard too early, you might be in trouble.

As was the case last Friday (before the 4th of July weekend).

Skilling's prediction was humid and growing warmer throughout the day.

So much for knocking out 11 on my way home from work, thought the afternoon runner.

Then the afternoon runner had an epiphany: What if I turned (back) in to a morning runner?

We're not talking about the morning runner who wakes up a half hour earlier than normal to run three miles.

We're talking two hours earlier. 4:45am

The sun wasn't yet up when I headed out. I ran for about a mile before I passed another runner on the sidewalk.
Once on the lakefront path, I noticed something quite unusual. No bikes.

By the time I made it down to Diversey, bikes were whizzing by and the path had a fair number of morning runners.

Morning runners, even in a city as big as Chicago, will smile or wave at you. Afternoon and evening runners do not. Why is that? Does it have to do with sleep deprivation or is there a common belief that anyone out at that time in the morning must be doing it for the same reason you are?

By the time I reached my house, I had just enough time to get ready, eat a quick 2nd breakfast, and head to work on the bus.

As I stood waiting for the bus, I realized how tired my legs were. Thoughts of taking a nap on the bus, as per usual, crossed my mind.

Then the bus came. No seats were left.

I thought of how it would be better to walk then to have to stand still. So when the bus reached it's first stop (about a mile and a half from work), I got off.

I walked to work, beginning to think of all the things I needed to do. Once I did sit down, however, I found it very hard to do much of anything.

I was beat.

It was 8:30am.