Friday, August 28, 2009

Adventure-Packed Weekend

It's hard to believe that summer is starting to wind down (sob), between kids already going back to school, the cooler temps that we cannot seem to shake in Chicago, and late-summer fruits and veggies making their way to the farmer's markets. Labor Day Weekend is just around the corner but before it gets here, it feels like there's one last pre-September hoorah for events. I thought there was a lot going on sports-wise in Chicago this weekend but it turns out things are bustling across the country--at least in the sports I track. Here are some events to keep your eyes on this weekend and either attend if you're nearby or track from home.

The big news around Chicago is that it's Chicago Triathlon weekend. The hype is definitely around the city with triathletes lining up at Fleet Feet Monday morning to rent wetsuits, the last-minute workouts on the Lakefront, the easy runs, and then the Friday and Saturday action at the expo. And as someone pointed out to me, this is one of the city's last big showdowns before the 2016 Olympic bid announcement. With the Chicago Triathlon being the inspiration and guide to the Olympic design, if the Olympics are held in the Windy City, the race might have to be on its best behavior. Now if only the weather could hold out.

But the triathlon is not the only event going on around town. Sure, the kids events and SuperSprint take place on Saturday and the Sprinters and Olympic-distance racers kick things off on Sunday morning, but the city is also hosting a sea marathon on Saturday. Take a paddle and kayak 26.2 miles past Chicago landmarks and racing against other boats toward the finish.

Or if you want to get in some distance on the bike...Vision Quest Coaching is heading to Lake Geneva for a century ride. You don't have to ride the 100 miles--other distances are available--but you might want to simply to enjoy the rolling hills and lake town atmosphere.

It's starting to sound like the Olympics are already around Chicago between the events listed above and then knowing that if you hit the Lakefront Path Saturday morning you'll see packs of runners en masse training for the Chicago Marathon. But there are still two more event to fill out the Olympic line-up. The AVP tour comes to Oak Street Beach and some of the best beach volleyball players are tearing up the sand in all-day tourney action. While you may not get to see Kerri Walsh, who gave birth to her first child earlier this year, or Misty May-Treanor repeat an Olympic-sized victory, there are plenty of other v-ball superstars (who also sport super bodies to ogle over) competing. Or check out the shores of Lake Michigan for the Chicago Shoreline Marathon. This 26.2-mile event swaps running singlets and sneakers for oars and kayaks at takes places on Saturday. You'll even catch a few familiar Chicago faces from WGN, NBC5, Fox, ABC and other local stations.

While the active weekend is always a fun one to have in the summer, there's still just as much action to be had without leaving the house or being in Chicago (I was just amazed that all of these events were happening over one weekend when it seemed like there was hardly anything happening last weekend). If you're an Ironman fan, there's a showdown this weekend in Canada and Kentucky, and you can track it all at Triathletes are scrambling for some of the last spots at this year's World Championships at Ironman Canada and Ironman Louisville. Both occur on Sunday with start cannons going off just hours apart. And with racers taking at least eight hours to finish, it's a good event to check on periodically throughout the day. Perfect if the less-than-ideal temperatures have you down--it feels more like fall than summer doesn't it?--and you're thinking a weekend at home is in the cards.

Uh oh, I'm starting to sound like a walking event calendar again. Time to get out and get moving--or just battle the chill. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Posted by Kate

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