Sunday, April 6, 2014

Act Fast! Register Before the Chicago Marathon Lottery Closes

Tomorrow's not tax day. Nor is it Marathon Monday where we'll all be watching the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. But Monday, April 7, is a special Monday if you are in the market for running a fall marathon, specifically the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It's the Monday when registration closes for the October 12 race.

Sure, it seems odd to be announcing that a race's registration is closing. Usually we're waiting in anticipation for registration's to open (hello Ironman) so we can grab one of the coveted spots before they're gone. But after last year's Chicago Marathon registration debacle where runners flooded the registration system and caused it to crash, the race turned to a lottery system to randomly select entrants who weren't running with a charity partner, had completed the race multiple times in recent years, or were fast enough to use a qualifying time to enter.

At noon central time tomorrow, the registration period will end for those runners who'd wish to enter the marathon's lottery system or register as a legacy finisher or time qualifier. Lottery entries are not guaranteed, but those entrants will be notified of their status on April 14. Time qualifiers need to have run verifiable races after Jan. 1, 2012, of sub 3:15:00 for men and sub 3:45:00 for women. Legacy finishers need to have finished the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the last 10 years (2004-2013).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fit-Pic: Where's Your Happy Place?

Everyone has their happy place. The fantasy land Happy Gilmore imagined. Cruising the Queen K on a bike. Scuba diving off the gulf of Thailand--or maybe in Banff, which I didn't know was even an option until last fall.  Running the trails outside your house. Swimming in the open water of an ocean or lake.

It's the place that puts a smile on your face even when the conditions might not be optimum. It's the spot you want to go to again and again. It's where you plain and simple just feel happy.

Here's mine: Bolshoi Ballroom (or at least what I think is Bolshoi Ballroom if I'm reading the trail signs correctly) at Vail. Located in Siberia Bowl in Vail's Back Bowls, it's easily my go-to ski run.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Want America's Best Summer Job in Vail!

Hanging creekside at the 2013 GoPro Mountain Games
It might be one of the most overused phrases about Vail: "You come for the winters but stay for the summers." I've heard it, I've had it repeated to me at media events, I've read it, I've even experienced a weekend of it at last summer's GoPro Mountain Games. But what's so appealing about a place that was built specifically for skiing during the one season that's not for skiing?

There must be something special about that mountain flora and fauna that makes those snow seekers stay. And Vail wants one person to find out this summer and share those experiences--and get paid for it--in 10 weeks at America's Best Summer Job.

Monday, March 31, 2014

6 Chicago Races Whose Fees Go Up at Midnight

Finish on the 50-yard line at the Soldier Field 10
on Saturday, May 24. 
I hate (big bold hate here) paying full price for race registrations. And when you participate in a lot of runs and triathlons like I do, especially those half- and full-Ironmans, your wallet takes a huge hit.

I'm still in the process of finishing my 2013 taxes, and itemizing everything that can't be written off, but I don't want to even think about how much money I spent on races in the last year. Or how much I could have saved if I didn't wait until the last-minute to sign-up for some races because I didn't know if my body would hold up to be able to cross the finish line.

Surely, I'm not alone here. Who doesn't wait until the weather gets warmer or the first race of the season has been completed before plotting out the rest of your running and racing season? OK, so I have a friend who might sign up for everything and then bail on all those races that sounded pretty exciting in January but lost their luster come June and July. For the rest of us, we weren't ready to pull the trigger in the middle of winter, but we're ready to add some races to the calendar now before we're paying full price (or watching the race fill).

Tomorrow might be April Fool's Day, but it's no joke that some race registrations will rise with the start of a new month. No fooling here: The clock's counting down to save on these six Chicago races.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fit-Pic: Up Close with a Sochi Paralympics Medal

When the 2014 Olympians and Paralympians won medals in Sochi at the Winter Games, they really won some hardware. Not that I'd expect anything less, but let's just say that Keith Gabel's bronze medal, which he won in para-snowboard cross, was H-E-A-V-Y. According to details about the medals presented in Sochi, it should be.
  • Each medal is 10mm thick and has a diameter of 100mm.
  • While the Olympic medals weigh between 460 and 531 grams, the Paralympic medals weigh between 585 and 686 grams. 
  • The metals used to make these medals come from Russia. 
  • The bronze medal, which I got to check out in more detail courtesy of Keith Gabel, is made of 585 grams of bronze. 
  • The Paralympic medals are designed in the same style as the Olympic medals, but they also have inscriptions written in Braille. 
  • It takes roughly 18 hours to make one medal--and 1,300 were produced for the Games!
I got up close and personal with the bronze medal Keith Gabel won in para snowboard cross at an event Thursday night in Colorado Springs (so glad I randomly found out about that one!). But I didn't dare wear it around my neck after he gave the OK to look at it. Gabel said the medal could get tarnished if it touched a zipper, so I kept it as far away from my jacket as I could.

After listening to Gabel speak about how his road to the 2014 Paralympic Games, I still had one question: How did he wear this hardware around his neck for his hour-long presentation and not show any signs of it weighing him down? He must have gotten used to wearing it for long hours celebrating post-race in Sochi!


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