Saturday, July 5, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game--and Score an Entry to Strike Out ALS 5K

Just me and my media team buds after last year's race.
Baseball and beer? They go together: You’re most likely going to sip—or slam—a brew when you’re at the ballpark. Baseball and brats? Maybe it’s a brat or maybe it’s a hot dog, but it’s the meat in a bun that you’re ordering at the concession stand before the 7th inning stretch. But baseball and running? Sure, there’s plenty of running on the field between rounding the bases and sprinting for fly balls. But if you really want a connection between the two sports, or just run a 5K anywhere besides the lakefront or Lincoln Park, you’ll find it at the Strike Out ALS 5K, which does a riff on Take Me Out to the Ballgame that any runner can appreciate.

The Strike Out ALS 5K trades the typical Chicago 5K backdrop—the lakefront, the park, the city streets—for one of the ballpark variety with a course that starts outside U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, and finishes inside with a loop around the warning track (or at least that's how the course flowed in 2012 and 2013, but more to come on that.) And as its name would imply, it’s a race that sticks with the baseball theme from its location to its beneficiary. The 5K serves as a fundraiser for the Les Turner ALS Foundation, which is “Chicago’s leader in research, patient care, and education about ALS,” according to its website. ALS, short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Gehrig was one of the most iconic and respected players in baseball who unfortunately had to quit the game far too soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fit-Pic: The Calm Before the 70.3 Storm

Nothing like 1,500 or so bikes racked in transition at the Boulder Reservoir before tomorrow's Ironman 70.3 Boulder. Also known as the Pro Town Showdown, it's the one race on the circuit where not only most of the pro triathletes who call Boulder home come to toe the line but also where they can sleep in their own beds the night before the race. If only I could be so lucky....

Who wants to guess how much that transition area is worth with so many primo rides parked there for the night?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fit-Pic: What Your Legs Look Like After a Trail Run

It was a tough choice, but my dirty legs won over my Tyrannosaurus Rex-looking arms (apparently my arms don't look normal when I run trails) when it comes to the image I'd prefer to remember in conjunction with today's 10K Spring Runoff. Not that I expected to be clean after running 6.8 miles across Vail's trails, but I never thought my legs would be covered with so much dirt. That was what last week's Mudderella was for--when I still found mud all over my body after splashing into the Hat Trick obstacle's pool and after showering in the Rinse & Revive area.

The Runoff's course didn't even seem that muddy, dusty or dirty--plus I'm so slow when it comes to running down the trail that I couldn't have been kicking up that much dirt. But one glance at my lower half at the finish line and I was sorely mistaken. Instead of being sweaty, and caked in the white salty residue I'm accustomed to after most warm-day races, my legs had acquired a shade of brown that no summer tan could ever match.

Do your legs look this dirty after you've been running on the trail?

As for my T-Rex arms, I'm the poster child for those T-Rex Hates Pushups T-shirts. You'll have to come back to see those because I'm too embarrassed to post them anywhere but a race report.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fit-Pic: Vail Pass Here We Come

Talk about some serious bragging rights these runners are attempting to earn. They're just steps into the Vail Pass Half Marathon, one of the three running-centered events--the Badass Dash and the Spring Run-off are the others--that takes place during the GoPro Mountain Games, held at Vail from June 5 to 8, 2014. With a name like the Vail Pass Half Marathon, you'd be correct if you guessed runners would be running (or walking, stumbling, dragging their legs, etc.) up Vail Pass, whose summit is roughly 13 miles east of the Golden Peak start line.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fit-Pic: Udder Century 2014

This is far from a glamour shot of the annual Udder Century Ride (Liz's first 100-miler way back when!) organized by the McHenry County Bicycle Club. But it's pretty much all I have to offer from the Sunday ride given that I should have taken pictures of the bikes and cyclists en masse at the rest stops and I wish I were talented enough to snap photos while pedaling (GoSonja: what's your trick?).

Had I done either of these, you'd get to see more bike traffic--the rest stop that does double-duty as stops 2 and 4 was hopping--and the craziest parade of tractors I've ever seen while traveling through farm country (the Ironman Wisconsin bike course in all its farm glory had nothing on this). There had to be at least 10 tractors in different colors, including hot pink, and sizes, from the petite to the monster truck variety, rolling down the road and even holding up some fellow riders. Apparently a course marshall for a time trial that was sharing part of our route thought it was a good idea to let the tractors roll through their stop sign and make the cyclists stop and wait.

One thing is always guaranteed at the Udder: It's a perennial favorite of Chicago-area cyclists. We come out in droves to ride, rain or shine (we had both today), and smooth sailing or holy headwind. These are just a small handful of the bikes scattered about Donley's Wild West Town, where the ride starts and finishes. The rest were either still on the course battling those darn headwinds--they were rough--or already stored in the cars as we noshed on the endless pasta and salad each participant is treated to at the end of the ride. Texas toast-style garlic bread never tasted so good!


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