Thursday, February 16, 2012

February, You're Pretty Awesome Too

January's weather was amazing.

February's turning out to be pretty awesome as well.

Last night, I listened to Tom Skilling speak with excitement as he talked about our unseasonably warm winter. I get a kick out of Skilling. His voice rises and hands move as he talks about isobars, reflectivity in the jet stream, and cumulus clouds. If someone was ever excited about the weather, it's him.

To date, 2012 has brought 8x more 40 degree days than 2011 for a total of 40 days - incredible to think when we're just halfway through February.

Winter Training isn't so bad after all, eh?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Marathon 2011 Memory

I remember the exact moment this photo was taken. After completing the race, I hobbled through the chute and grabbed a bag of nutrition, water, the finishers medal, gatorade, and most importantly, that post race beer. It's true, it's the best tasting beer you'll ever have.

I cautiously walked over to gear check to grab my bag. A short walk later I came upon an open bench where I traded my shoes for flip flops. When I stood up my body felt tight and sore. I took a moment to look out at my surroundings.

And there it was, Buckingham Fountain. A spot I run by quite often but rarely find the time to admire.

Cheers to 2011 and doing it all again in 2012.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Registration for Chicago Marathon 2012

Wednesday, February 1st. I headed to work with a thought in the back of my mind - Marathon registration opens today. Marathon registration for runners is comparable to opening day to baseball fans. Excitement is in the air. The possibilities are endless. It will be a long season.

I didn't sign up first thing in the morning. Or at lunch. Or when I got home that evening. I still wasn't sure. Would I do Chicago again?

That evening, I had an email from the Marathon. A record 13,000 people had signed up on the first day. A first day registration record.

I thought long and hard about what I was going to do.  I had looked in to running an international race or of running a few destination U.S. half marathons. A final decision had yet to be made.

So I approached it from another angle. If I had any desire to do Chicago again, I was going to need to make a decision and fast. Was I OK with not running Chicago in 2012? What if that meant no marathon in 2012? Or if I meant a marathon in another city, where? Would another city's marathon compare to Chicago?

Thursday, February 2nd, I received another email from the Marathon. Registration had reached 30,000. I decided I didn't want to take a chance of missing the opportunity, and I signed up. As I signed up, I texted Brian. He said he'd been thinking of the same thing. If I was going to sign up, then he would sign up too.

Brian and I, now accomplices in registration, focused our attention on to stage 2: Talking others in to registering for the marathon. Brian worked over a friend on facebook. I worked on a co-worker. By the end of the day Friday, we were both successful. Training is more fun when you're sharing the experience with someone. Especially a first timer.

I can't wait.

This morning a third email came from the marathon. The race is expected to sell out today.
Just five days after opening. Unbelievable and somehow, quite exciting.

Elite Race Shirts

When I first started running races, I remember the excitement of packet pick-up.

In a race packet, you'll find your bib, a timing chip, flyers or special discounts, race information and, most importantly, the t-shirt.

Though a recent 'Dear Miles' column in Runner's World says differently, I've always believed that you can't wear the race t-shirt until after you've finished the race. But more power to anyone that chooses to wear it during.

I remember my first few shirts. Long sleeved cotton t-shirts. I was so proud I'd run the Reindeer Run 5K, the Run to the Zoo, and the Wrigley Run. Those shirts saw a lot of use.

As I ran more races, I got more shirts. Including unisex dry-fit tech shirts. Now I'd reached the next level of race-shirting. I separated the cotton t-shirts from the tech t-shirts.

Then came gender-specific tech t-shirts. And v-neck. And long sleeve. A long sleeve zip up. And tank tops.

As the collection grew, many of the cotton shirts were scarified. I kept a few in memory of the first races and others were donated to Goodwill. 

There's now a full drawer of race shirts. I weed out the shirts that are too big, too short, or create chafing. I like a mix of sleeveless and short sleeves. I prefer Nike, Asics and Green Layer brands. I guess you could say I keep only the elite of race shirts.

At this rate, I'm likely to be set on running/workout shirts for a number of years.

One less piece of gear I need to buy. I like that.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

An Uncomfortable Love of Peanut Butter

One night at Lifetime, I packed my bag in the locker room after working out. A woman came in and sat on the bench near me. She was eating peanut butter with a spoon. I remember thinking the choice was quite odd. Just peanut butter? Not an apple with peanut butter? Or peanut butter and crackers?

I didn't ask about her choice, nor did I think about it until recently.

Over the last few years while training, I've made an effort to keep a stock of healthy snacks at work. Once you leave the office here, you wander in to the tourist's candy land. Candy land isn't a bad place to be as a tourist - you're likely not staying there long. But if you work in candy land, well, there in lies a problem.

I started bringing an apple and peanut butter for an afternoon snack. I'd keep the apples in the fridge down the hall and the jar of peanut butter in my desk drawer.

At first, I was bringing an apple every once and awhile. Maybe one a week if that. Sometimes I wouldn't remember about the peanut butter.

Then it developed in to an apple a few times a week, always with peanut butter. It was a delicious snack. Consumption went up and extra crunchy peanut butter became a common item on the grocery list.

The process of cutting up and apple and putting peanut butter on the slices became too time-consuming, so I've moved to streamlined version; Eat an apple with one hand, spoon in peanut butter with the other.

Over time, the apple to peanut butter ratio has become unbalanced. Usually the apple is still present, but maybe it's too small in comparison to the peanut butter craving. Which leads to a higher peanut butter intake, and thus, we now buy peanut butter at Costco. 

On a few occasions, a co-worker has walked by my office to see me eating peanut butter right out of the jar.  I know they find this odd. I used to find this odd. Now I'm the lady at Lifetime Fitness and I love peanut butter.