Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Stay Busy This Month

While I'm still having a hard time believing that June is here and we've already crossed off five months to 2009, I'm excited to get the summer season underway. OK, so the weather around here might be telling me otherwise--yes, it's June 4 and I'm still wearing a fleece jacket--but I'm hopeful to be spending more time outdoors and splashing in the lake very soon. That and my mind is reeling with events and things to do now that I don't have to be cooped up indoors or bundled up all day. So here's my list of 30 activities or things, in no particular order, to consider this month, one for every day:
  1. Kayak. Last time I got seasick, but I'm hoping that a cruise on the Chicago River, especially one that includes a fireworks display, has me feeling better.
  2. Cycle a century. I did my first 100-mile bike ride last June and figured I'd follow it up again this year at the Udder Century on June 7. Only problem is that the weather forecast isn't looking so hot--I'm a fair weather fan on my two wheels--so I've been second-guessing myself all week.
  3. Travel to a race. My sister wouldn't like this suggestion as she didn't like my proposition to visit her and race the California 70.3, but it is a great way to spend some time away from home, get in a workout and race, check out a different venue, and then relax. I'm doing that in a few weeks when I head to Detroit for the Motor Çity Triathlon. Swimming the Detroit River--trust me it's not as bad as it sounds--cycling around Belle Isle, and then a trail run to cap off this race that put me in my place last year when I wasn't prepared for distance. And then it's R&R with my parents.
  4. Plan to run a relay. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the 30-plus hours Liz and I spent in a van together with 10 teammates at the MC200, a running relay that started in Madison, ran through Milwaukee and finished at Montrose Beach in Chicago. This year's MC200 starts next Friday--and some teams could be seeking some extra legs, thanks to teammate injuries. Ask around and you could find a team to join at the last minute or gather some friends together and plan to run a relay later in the summer or next year.
  5. Bootcamp on the beach. After my Memorial Day workout on the beach, I'd be psyched to spend another morning or evening getting my butt kicked in the sand. The training exercises, sprints and drills are just what I need to change up my daily workout--and it's the one time I don't mind getting covered in sand.
  6. Train for a triathlon. I'm wrapping up my list of favorites around the Midwest (stay tuned) but in the meantime, check out this enticing goodie bag for race participants at the Big Foot Triathlon.
  7. Start training for a marathon. The big news around here is that training programs for October's Chicago Marathon kick off this month. A true sign of summer is watching the pace groups parading up and down the lakefront on Saturday mornings.
  8. Or better yet, run a marathon. Well, it's a little late to be signing up for 26.2 miles unless you've been training all spring or have been consistently running long distances, but I'll be crossing this off the to-do list in a few weeks when I head to Duluth, Minn., to run Grandma's Marathon. I didn't know until yesterday that the race was named as such after a popular restaurant chain, but I've had my grandma-in-law suggesting I come up and run the race year after year. And this year I'm finally following through.
  9. Swim in Lake Michigan (or an open water spot near you). The waters around here are still chilly, with temperatures in the low 50s, but pretty soon I'll be able to swim my laps in the open water. Far less tedious than laps in the pool, good practice for triathlons, and easy on the legs after miles of pavement pounding and road riding.
  10. Conquer fixing a flat. This is definitely a goal I have for myself because after more than three years, going on four, of cycling I still have yet to fix a flat tire successfully. I've watched the videos, looked at step-by-step photos and read instructions, but I'm definitely in need of practice.
  11. Bike to Work. This one isn't applicable to me since I can walk 5 feet down the hallway from my bedroom and be at work, but for those Chicagoans who El it, bus it or car it to work, switch it up for a day on June 19 and bike it to the office. The city's annual Bike to Work Day also features fun events and a party in Daley Plaza complete with breakfast and T-shirts for participants.
  12. Apply sunscreen. May was actually the month for melanoma and skin cancer awareness, but with sunnier days promised--I hope--in June, it's really the time to heed this advice. I'm probably one of the worst proponents of this, but I've watched my husband fry himself on accident while we're out on our bikes all day. Not only does he complain about wearing a T-shirt tan all summer, but you fear something worse could develop. Or take all the racers at April's Ironman China who fried in the 113-degree heat when the sunscreen they applied in transition didn't contain SPF.
  13. Take a walk. It doesn't matter where or for how far, but when it's nice outside, do you really have an excuse for not moving those legs? Try walking to the store to pick up groceries or talking a walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
  14. Enjoy the longest day of the year. Coming at you June 21, daylight will be at its prime which puts playtime at its max.
  15. Get busy with watersports. If you're living in a four-season climate, there's only a short time-span to squeeze in those water activities before they have to wait 'til next year. Pick up windsurfing or sailing close to home when the weather is right and you'll be able to have many more adventures on the water.
  16. Celebrate Great Outdoors Month. Enough said: Get outside and play.
  17. Celebrate National Running Day on June 3. This first-ever event celebrates running with events around the country. Check with your local running group to see what might be going on close to home.
  18. Head to a farmers market. Nothing like fresh-from-the-farm produce to nibble on all day long. Asparagus and rhubarb are currently on the menu at my favorite stand and strawberry season is just around the corner. Yum!
  19. Or grow your own garden. Some of my friends already started planting in May, but that doesn't mean you can't start now. The harvest time may just be a little later than those early bird gardens. There's nothing like stepping onto the patio for fresh veggies--it sure beats waiting in line at the grocery store, too.
  20. Eat some fish. June marks National Seafood Month so why not pile on the healthy omega-3s with some wild-caught salmon. It's one of the best fishes to add to your dinner plate thanks to its powerful omega-3s, lower calorie and fat counts (compared to meats) and protein prowess.
  21. Drink milk. Get your upper lips ready for milk mustaches during National Dairy Month. Not only is the calcium found in many dairy products good for you and your bones, but it'll help your wasteline too.
  22. Go for a scenic run. Around here, you can find organized weekend runs that trek to a historic site and back. Take the Fleet Feet Historic Runs and the Trestles and Vessels on June 7. The five-mile journey will take you to the Goose Island area, Old Town Triangle and along railroads that once served the city's industrial corridor.
  23. Consider a camping trip. This is on my to-do list since my husband has time off from his busy schedule later this month. We love escaping the city to go hiking, see the stars and explore. Our campfire cooking could use a little work, but that's another story.
  24. Scale to new heights with rock climbing. Talk about a quick way to give you Michelle Obama-like guns, and a fun adventure. I've gone indoors a few times and had my arms screaming at me by the end, but there's even more adventure outdoors--no marks tagged to get you to the top. Check out Devil's Rock State Park in Wisconsin for a Midwest climbing spot.
  25. Mountain bike. Take a break from the road riding and hit the trails. It's a bumpy, hilly adventure that will most likely get you covered in dirt, but a fun challenge trying to hop logs, make tight turns and pedal faster to keep others from catching you.
  26. Learn how to adventure race. Whether it's all-day or all-week, adventure racing tests your strength and skill in a variety of disciplines. Learn more about the sport at an introductory session at a free seminar at REI Chicago on June 10 at 7 p.m. Check your local REI store for more events like this.
  27. Treat Dad to a day outdoors. With Father's Day quickly approaching, plan a special day with Dad either at the beach, at a ball game, picnicking in the park, going for a run or a bike ride, or sunning at the pool.
  28. Eat your fruits and veggies. So June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables month--treat your body right and stock up on some of that farm-fresh or garden-fresh produce.
  29. Set a goal for a race. If you have your eyes set on a good performance at an event later in the year, why not start putting in key training hours now? Or at least decide how well you want to perform come August or September so you see that time when you cross the finish line.
  30. Try a new class at the gym. While it's not a way to get outdoors, you'll find tons of new ways to get the blood moving through the body at the gym. At Equinox, check out the new conscious movement classes like PowerNap+ or Budokon, or at Crunch, tone your body with Beach Body or Barre Assets.
I'm getting excited already about the month ahead. Writing out this list just made me more eager to get outside. Time to get moving! Photo grabbed from thirdcoasthomes at flickr. Posted by Kate

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