Tag Archive | Chicago

The Dead Body Run

dead body.jpgIt isn’t every day that when you decide to go on a 15-mile run, you come across a dead body. This is especially true if you are running in a highly populated area. Most people would expect that if you a person were to run across a dead body, it would be because you were running trails in the woods or on country roads.

However, this past Saturday when I left to go to the Lakefront Running Path in Chicago for my group run, I did indeed see a dead body. I live in a very populated area so I wouldn’t exactly expect to see one. It is a very residential area that I was running through to get to the lakefront and only expected to see the random early bird person out as I was.

Instead, as I was roughly 0.38 miles into my run, I saw flashing police lights. There were no sirens or anything, just the lights. As I got closer, I then saw that a police car had the street blocked and there was yellow tape up. Then, as I was passing the scene, I saw the dead body. Fortunately, it was covered with a sheet. Continue reading

No Excuses to Not Run in the Cold

I hate running on the treadmill. When I do it, it feels like I am not making any progress. And it can be boring. Sure, there are televisions on the gerbilmills at my gym, but it gets tough to use them. Especially if I have to run longer than three miles.

In essence, I love to run outdoors. And the shorter days and colder temps of winter makes this hard to do. That is where one of my favorite stores comes into play.

Last week,  Fleet Feet Chicago held its fourth annual fashion show. Fashion show you may ask? Yes a fashion show. And the clothing featured served the purpose of looking good as well as keeping a person warm during winter weather runs when you don’t happen to live where it only gets as cold as 50 degrees. Continue reading

Dress Rehearsal

My bib number and finisher's medal from the rock 'n roll half marathon

The Chicago Marathon is just weeks away and I am starting to panic about it. This is a good thing. It allows me to get my crazy about the race out of the way early and not panic race day and fall flat on my face.

This morning was the Rock ‘N Roll Chicago half marathon. It used to the Chicago Distance classic run by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. For me, it was a perfect race to throw in to see where I was at in my marathon training as well as re-acquaint myself with gear check, etc. With shorter races, I tend not to use gear check. It just is a hassle for me, particularly when it is a race with a ton of people. For halves and full marathons, I use it. The last time I had to use gear check was when I was in Atlanta in 2007 for the half marathon there in March.

Despite my race today (which I will get to), I am glad I had this “dress rehearsal” to see what marathon race morning was going to potentially be like. I had a plan. I put my plan into action. The plan worked for the most part. Then crap happened.

In days leading up to long races, I try to get enough rest. I know the night before I am going to be anxious and getting a good night’s sleep will pretty much be impossible. This happened this week leading up to the RnR Chicago half. In some ways, not sleeping the night before is good for me because it ensures I will be up and ready to go when the alarm goes off for the beginning of the day.  Continue reading

Ten 10 Ten

October 10, 2010.  A fun date for many because it is 10.1o.10.  Last time that happened was September 9, 2009.  And the other fun date this year was September 2, 2010.  That was beverly hills 90210 day.   In any event, the big fun with today’s 10-10-10 was that it was the Chicago Marathon.  This is my hometown marathon race and it always happens on columbus day weekend.  I have done it previously (more on that in another post) and it is always a fun time.

As I have done in past years, I went to Chinatown to watch the race.  This year, I was actually up early enough that when I arrived at the welcome gate in Chinatown, the only people around were those who were local to the neighborhood and people who were helping to set up for the events.  I really wanted to arrive early because I wanted to see the elite runners, both men and women.  This year’s elite field consisted of some of the best in the world as well as Sammy Wanjiru and Liliya Shobukhova, who were the winners last year.  Shobukhova set a new Russian record today with her time.  Ryan Hall, who was going to run the race pulled out early due to basically being over trained and his training getting progressively worse before the race.  I was sad to see him have to pull out of the race because he is one of the new crop of elite American men who has a very serious shot at winning some of the marathon races instead of it always being a Kenyan to take the title.  It was super cool to see Joan Benoit Samuelson running as well.  She is 53 and was trying to qualify for the olympic trials.  She JUST missed the time, but in the process set a new American record for the 50-54 age group.  Not gonna lie — if I could run that fast now, I would be so excited.  And when I am her age, I’d probably kill to run that fast.  She looked amazing when I saw her run past me in Chinatown.  For complete coverage of the race with all the various stories, such as the fantastic showing by American Women, the stories of Wanjiru and Shobukhova, the 2:11 time of the first American male, etc., check out runner’s world’s coverage as it helped keep me informed while I was on the sidewalk watching and cheering on the runners.

All of the stuff that I saw today was even more impressive because of the temperatures.  It was extremely warm out for running.  In the mid 70s and only going higher.  And I can hear the non-runners out there saying: ‘but wait, if I were to run, wouldn’t you prefer it to be warm?  I mean, who wants to run when it is cold’?  Well, if non-runners were to ever take on such a feat, then you’d realize that running in much, much cooler temperatures would be the ideal.  As you start moving, you start to heat up and if it is also humid outside, it is much harder to cool off as you are running.  The last few years of the Chicago Marathon have been rather warm of late.  In fact, in 2007 it was the warmest time for the race and it actually had to be canceled in the middle of the race which was the right call given the extreme heat and humidity, but also devastating to so many runners doing their first marathon who could not finish as well as to seasoned runners who were used to the heat and humidity and wanted to finish regardless.

The big question is, why do a marathon when there are so many things about it that are so grueling.  Some other common things I hear about running marathons from people who don’t do them are: 1) i hate running [good excuse because if you don’t like something, you will never get wanting to conquer the “gold standard” distance], 2) do you understand how you are damaging your knees, 3) you’re crazy, 4) you’re insane, 5) it is not a real sport, 6) who wants to watch someone exercise, and my personal favorite 7) you know people die running this distance! even the first marathon the guy died!!  All I can usually say to those who don’t understand why people want to do it is that you probably won’t understand until you try it.  Anytime I mention running a race, (which is usually some distance over the usual weekend 5K) I hear some combination of these various excuses that people have.  When I pry a bit deeper about the excuses, I usually find that people think that running hurts and that is why they don’t like it.  I know that running can hurt, but I find that is usually because of not being in the right shoe for that particular runner and once you get soured on something, it is really hard to get yourself motivated to try again.

As for the whole not being a real sport and it being an exercise of watching people exercise, well that is just crazy talk to me.  Running is a huge sport.  If you are defining a sport by it having competition, it absolutely qualifies.  Or as I like to say, if running isn’t a sport, then neither is golf.  If you ever watch a race and see how the top runners jockey for position to win the race and how they go about it, you realize there is a ton of strategy involved.  This strategy involving the elevation of the race course, the temperatures, and the wind conditions.  It is amazing watching what happens to ultimately come out as the top dog in the race.  Not to mention that if you are at such an elite level, you can win some big money coming in as the winner.

Overall, it was a great day (although any race is always great) for cheering on the runners.  I saw a lot of women wearing running skirts, of which I am a fan of.  I also saw a man running barefoot, which is always impressive to see.  I also saw a few people wearing the vibram five finger shoes, which is a way to simulate running barefoot but not actually be barefoot.  It was super fun to see the wheelchair athletes competing as well.  Those men and women have some amazingly strong arms and to see the various types of chairs they had to get through the race was amazing.  I was most impressed by the double amputee who ran.  Seeing a guy like that always makes me grateful for what I can do and am able to do because I am not limited in some way.  Now, I cannot wait to start training for a marathon that I will do next fall.  But first, I need to get my butt in gear for a 5K next month.  What could be a better race than loads of hot chocolate at the end?

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who ran the Chicago Marathon on 10.10.10 and any other races that happened today!