Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Get Outside and Play!

The calendar reads March 31 but it feels more like May 31--if we're having an early start to summer--or July 31, with summer-like temperatures in full swing. The sun's out, the mercury is rising, up at least 20 degrees from the time some started their work days, and light layers are making their appearance around town. We're dining out, running, riding and playing in the park: sure signs that spring has sprung, for this week anyway. Whoo hoo, although I pity anyone who is stuck in the rain or trapped at a desk.

I know how you feel: I'm stuck indoors this afternoon and can only longingly gaze out my window--which unfortunately provides a few of Lake Michigan and its clear blue waters (today, anyway). Lucky enough to be outside a few hours ago, I can now only wish to be continuing my active pursuits in the 70-degree weather. And daydreaming of a few more:

Running. We'll run in rain, snow, sleet and sun. It never matters what Mother Nature throws at us as you're likely to find at least one hearty soul trotting through it. And today is all too perfect of a day--and a reminder of what we still have months to enjoy--not to lace up those running shoes, leave the treadmill behind and sweat it out on the trail.

Biking. My bike is still hooked up to my indoor trainer--and unused most of the winter at that--but I'm still itching to dust off the cobwebs and take it out for a spin. Commuting from one location to the next with my city bike only fueled my fire for more serious riding. That and the spin bike with my name on it as the gym (or close to it, I've spent so many hours there in the off-season) could use a break.

Sunning. Not an active pursuit by any means, but this sun-crazed soul is craving it. Plus vitamin D is good for you, and its best source is the sun. I'm hoping to make it to the Lakefront to count the number of people laying out--those first few summer-like days always seem to draw a crowd.

Walking on the beach. Sand between my toes is a common occurrence June through August, and my feet have been anxious to bust out in flip flops since bundled in boots and heavy socks for what was starting to feel like forever. Even if I don't have time to run, a walk could do the body good.

Kayaking, rowing and boating. The boats are just starting to make their way to the shoreline harbors but I can't help but have water sports on the brain with the nice weather. It's too cold to swim in the lake's bone-chilling waters but a lifejacket and vow to stay steady on the surface means an afternoon of kayaking, rowing the channel used by the Lincoln Park Boat Club or even with checking with Chicago Sailing for a sailboat to take out.

Basic, yes. But oh so good on the body, mind and soul. How are you staying active outside today?

Photo grabbed from Wellsphere.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Medals Come Home to Vail

Even before she had Olympic gold around her neck, Lindsey Vonn landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated and among the pages of its swimsuit issue. Only a couple weeks later she captured Olympic gold and bronze in Vancouver in the downhill and super-G. By early March, she had another World Cup title, her third, and was busy making the rounds among the media and ski circuits. But now after a whirlwind winter, she's returning home to Vail, where she's spent countless hours training on the race course at Golden Peak and where she resides with her husband, Thomas, in the Arrabelle. And Vail is having a celebration for her.

You'd think I'd be excited about the rising temperatures around home and put skiing on the back burner until next season. But no, I'm still wishing I was out making turns, working on my goggle tan, taking advantage of the fresh powder that's continuing to fall in the mountains (Lake Tahoe's calling for snow tonight!) and simply breathing in that mountain air. And more importantly, I'm wishing I was in Vail to take part in Lindsey Vonn's homecoming celebration. The homecoming kicks off at 3:30 p.m., local time, at Vail Square in Lionshead, and has fun planned for everyone. Those in attendance will receive commemorative pins and memorabilia, and can listen to presentations by Co-President of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division John Garnsey, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Aldo Radamus, Town of Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland and former Olympian Chad Fleischer. If that wasn't enough to lure you in--come on, how could you pass up standing in the same square as an Olympian and a gold medalist at that--what about free food? Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as well as entertainment during the event.

Those skiing and riding at Vail tomorrow also have the chance to change their 2010-2011 ski season for good. If you ride one of the "Welcome Home Lindsey" cars on the Eagle Bahn Gondola which loads from the Lionshead base, you can enter a drawing to win one of five Epic 7-Pack Passes. That's a seven-day unrestricted pass that you can use at any of the Vail Resorts and Arapahoe Basin available to purchase for $449 and you could score. Not bad, not bad. Check out more details about the event at Vail's website.

And stay tuned for more celebrations of Vail's 2010 Olympians at Spring Back to Vail on April 17. Catch four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper, Olympian Chris Del Bosco and Paralympian Ralph Green between the free concert performances by Robert Earl Keen and Wyclef Jean. Ah so much fun planned before the snow melts and even more reason to plan one last trip out there. If only that was a possibility for me--this skier's season unfortunately seems to be done, but not without a boatload of memories.

Photo grabbed from Lindsey's Facebook fan page.

Monday, March 29, 2010

You Can Still Run Chicago

You read the announcement that the Chicago Marathon was open for 2010 registration, but you said you'd wait to sign up. You read the announcement that 30,000 had already registered for the race, but you put it aside and forgot about joining the ranks. You read the announcement that only 2,000 spots remained, but you told yourself you'd do it later. The only problem is that later never came because the race closed that afternoon. And now you were left with the puzzling thought of how to reach those marathon goals you had for the year without straying too far from home, having the advantage of a flat course mirroring your training grounds and knowing that every family member and friend would line the course to support you. Here's a simple solution to your problem: grab one of the marathon spots that are still available through a select number of charities. You'll get a spot into the race of your dreams and you'll be making a difference in the lives of others. It's a win-win situation and here are some of the charities that have availability--but they're going fast.

Check into other charities that may still have available spots by visiting the Charity and Community section at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon's website.

If you're wondering what's in it--besides fundraising for a worthy cause--for you, we've got that covered. Many of the charities provide an entry into the race (a $135 value) in exchange for you pledging to race a set amount of dollars for the organization. Not only that, but you can score free training through a running group like Chicago Endurance Sports or the Chicago Area Runners Association, fundraising tools, day-of race perks, group events to attend, and a T-shirt or singlet to show your support of the organization when you're out running. And the coolest part of all? You can say that you were part of the fundraising totals that are announced by the Chicago Marathon after the race is said and done. That means if you ran in 2009, you can brag that you were one of the more than 8,000 who contributed to the nearly $10 million that was raised. Wow! But don't forget to sign up soon.

Photo provided by Children's Memorial Hospital.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Results Report, March 27

I think my race result receptors turn off during the winter. I barely followed the Ironman races down under and in China, only asked how some athletes I coached fared in their winter half marathons rather than check myself or run, and I couldn't recite 5Ks from my internal race calendar to share with a friend. But last weekend's big running events close to home--the Shamrock Shuffle 8K and Cary's March Madness half marathon boasting a combined 26,000 finishers--brought me back to the routine. This weekend isn't quite as busy close to home, aside from the Lakefront 50K ultra race on the city's Lakefront Path and the final race in Fitness Formula Club's indoor triathlon series. But that doesn't mean a shortage of races to follow, and wish to run in the future. See how fellow runners and triathletes fared at these well-known races across the country, but don't get too jealous of those in locales warmer than what's out your door (or maybe that's just me being cold in Chicago).

Ironman California 70.3. Michael Raelert pushed a 2:15 bike pace to get ahead of the pack and maintained his lead on the run to beat Matty Reed, 3:58:27 to 4:01:17. Rasmus Henning finished third in 4:02:07. For the women, Mirinda Carfrae motored to the front with a 1:17 run to win in 4:20:29. Lesley Paterson finished second in 4:24:31 while Samantha McGlone took third in 4:26:43.

Cooper River Bridge Run. This popular race welcomed runners to Charleston, South Carolina. Featuring an international elite field, Simon Ndirangu (27:49) of Kenya won the men's race while Mesekerem Assefa (32:31) of Ethiopia won the women's.

Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K. Voted one of the country's best races by USA Today, this 10K sends runners out and back on Monument Ave. in Richmond, Va. The field reached a record high this year with more than 37,000 registered for the 10K and an additional 2,016 registered for the kids run.

Lakefront 50K. To avoid too much congestion on the Lakefront and to keep the race a pleasant experience for participants, this race caps registration at 200 participants. This spring tradition filled before event day and had runners pacing the path on a three-loop out and back course.

Run to Register 10K. While Washington, D.C., was flooded with runners last weekend at the National Marathon and Half Marathon, races continued in the area this weekend with this 10K and Irish Sprint taking place in Quantico, Va., at the Marine Corps base.

For more race results from the weekend, check out

Photo grabbed from

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fit-Pic: Bluebird Sky + Powder = Perfection

As many a skier would say, "There's no day like a powder day." Call it the snowfall making for fresh tracks in Lake Tahoe and Colorado, the release of Hot Tub Time Machine with its ski resort setting, or winter's return to Chicago (I froze on my walk home last night), but I couldn't help but wish to be magically transported back to the mountains. I missed last week's powder day at Vail and could only read about the action on Facebook, pictures included. Park City Mountain Resort reminds me of the snow conditions daily on Twitter, and calling for snow in the forecast. And my cause wasn't helped any by stumbling on these two Fit-Pics from my skiing winter: above a Vail powder day from late February and below a view of Lake Tahoe from the top of Heavenly.

It hasn't even been two weeks since I was in ski country--I have yet to pack away my gear for the season--but so wish I could do more with a bluebird, cold Chicago day than warm up inside. Bring me back to the snow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Marathons If You Missed Chicago

You've been on the fence about running a marathon this fall. Should you or shouldn't you conquer the 26.2 this year? Then when you did decide that you wanted to make a marathon milestone, you couldn't hustle to the computer fast enough to score one of the 2,000 spots that remained to the Windy City's race on Tuesday before it closed. Don't despair: You can still mark a marathon off your autumn To Do checklist. It may not be in Chicago, but there are plenty of other cities beckoning runners--and they're cool, too.
  • Quad Cities Marathon. September 26. OK so the Quad Cities doesn't sound like the most exciting tourist destination but it's so close to Chicago in comparison to some other fall races that it at least has to be up for consideration. Sometimes a hotel room and a tank of gas beats a flight and rental car.
  • Toronto Waterfront Marathon. September 26. Many have labeled this a fast course that can make for Boston-qualifier times.
  • Lakefront Marathon. October 3. Being in Milwaukee, this marathon tends to draw a huge crowd, within the race's capacity, from Chicago and the surrounding area. And oftentimes runners choose this race over Chicago because it's smaller, has a totally different course that's more country than city, and it's point-to-point instead of twisting through the city.
  • Twin Cities Marathon. October 3. When you're a Midwest runner and the date of Chicago's flat and fast marathon doesn't fit your schedule--or as in 2007, the Windy City's 80-plus-degree temps were far too warm for your running pleasure--plan to run your race a week earlier in the Twin Cities. You get similar conditions in that you run through a city, have crowds cheering you on and lots of scenery. Plus you still get fast runners, crowds to feed off energy-wise, fun and a chance to PR.
  • If that 10-10-10 date is stuck in your mind as the lucky day to reach that marathon feat, consider running the Portland Marathon, Steamtown Marathon, Wichita Marathon, or Royal Victoria Marathon, to name a few.
  • Indianapolis Marathon. October 16. If date doesn't matter, hold off six days from Chicago and head to Indianapolis for this smaller but still fast marathon.
  • Detroit Free Press Marathon. October 17. International flair reigns supreme in this 26.2-miler that starts and finishes in Detroit but has a course that includes crossing the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and running through the Windsor Tunnel. While you have to plan ahead to run thisrace these days, you used to be able to sign up at the last minute which was perfect for anyone who ran Chicago and had a bad day or was going to run Chicago but needed another week to prepare for the distance.
  • Grand Rapids Marathon. October 17. This one's even closer than Detroit and has welcomed Chicagoans with open arms--take 2007 for example where race organizers offered a deal for Chicago Marathon runners looking to officially finish a race (Chicago was canceled while runners were on course and labeled a fun run, of sorts, due to the extreme heat).
  • Wisconsin Dells Marathon. October 24. The Wisconsin Dells is known for its plethora of waterparks and random themed excitement in the middle of Wisconsin, but this year it'll be luring marathoners for the first time.
  • Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. November 6. If the other Indianapolis marathon doesn't fit in the schedule or if an earlier fall race doesn't produce the time you desire, consider this one.
Plenty of races to choose from and plenty of other opportunities to make 2010 the year of the marathon. And if the above choices aren't appealing enough--they are only a handful of what's available in the Midwest, after all--check out even more options at

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 3/24

I've been feeling a little under the weather since the weekend--I'm sure having a sick husband and freezing my buns off at Sunday's half marathon didn't help my situation any--so it's been tough to do much aside from catch up on my reading. So here's some of the news--and sites--that kept my eyes busy today:
  • It doesn't take much to motivate me for Ironman. But this story about the 2009 World Championship's youngest finisher really geared me up for my race later this year. And reminded me to wear sunscreen on the bike and pray for no knee issues.
  • One of my favorite old-time sites turns 10 this week. Happy Birthday to a great race resource!
  • I knew Shia LaBeouf ran Sunday's L.A. Marathon--thanks, People, for the StarTracker photo--but I didn't know the race had some other interesting moments until FitSugar's post-race recap.
  • If you've wondered why Liz has been absent from Fit-Ink, she's busy writing The Rundown for her day job at Time Out Chicago. Check it out, not only for my half marathon race report or her interview with Deena Kastor, but for all the running-related reads.
  • I made the mistake of reading too many skiing-related Twitter feeds only to learn that @VailResortsNEWS reported new snow at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail. I could use me a powder dump to freshen my mood and know that Colorado air will clear up my sinuses (even if it doesn't, I'd still take Colorado over Chicago).
Photo grabbed from Your Fitness Guru.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mad Dash to Marathon

What are you doing on 10-10-10? For 45,000 runners around the country and globe, they can say that they'll be running the 33rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For everyone else, especially runners eying a fall marathon to run, they'll just have to be one of the race's one-million-plus spectators. While registration only opened Feb. 1, the Chicago Marathon closed registration only 51 days later. It's a new record for the event, which has only grown and become more popular in the last decade. And in both 2008 and 2009, the race filled in April, a full month later than this year. Not even 10 years ago, the field was smaller and you could still register for the race into the late summer. Now you practically have to know by New Year's that you'll sign up the minute registration opens.

General registration for the race may no longer be taking place, but that doesn't mean you're completely shut out from participating. According to the Mile by Mile newsletter, entries are still available through some of the marathon's affiliated charities--Special Olympics Chicago and Girls on the Run are two such organizations--as well as tour operators. Click here to read more about the charities and here for the tour operators. Or if those options don't work, there's always next year. It might not have the unique date, but it still has the same flat and fast course that draws many runners to compete time and again. Me included. Did you register in time to be part of this year's field? Photo grabbed from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon photo gallery. Posted by Kate

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shamrock Shuffle Finds It's Pot O' Gold (A New Record)

If you looked out the window yesterday, you may have thought that Sunday's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle would be a repeat of last year's race affectionately labeled the "snow shuffle" when a wintry mix fell across the city in the hours before the race start. With the snow falling all day yesterday, all you could do was pray that the skies dried out and the only challenge to race day was colder temperatures than what arrived midweek.

Whether or not Chicago runners got in the running mood thanks to that break in winter temperatures a few days ago, they came out to run the race regardless of conditions. It was a record-breaking day for the race, which saw more than 25,000 runners cross the finish line out of a registered 36,000 participants. In 2009, the Shamrock Shuffle only had 13,714 finishers, with many (including myself) opting to bail when the weather soured. Unfortunately for me, I can't say I was one of the 25,561 finishers in a race that usually kicks off my running season...the calendar made for two area favorites to have the same race start and I was out in Cary, Ill., at the March Madness Half Marathon instead (check for a race report soon). Had I realized the events had the same date when I signed up, I may have selected the Shamrock 8K over the 13.1 miles, but that's another story--and kinda makes me sound like a running wimp.

But cold weather was not stopping the runners this morning who dealt with the 35-degree weather like it was another wintry training day and weren't phased by the typical-to-Chicago winds. They came out in full force on the streets of Chicago and turned in some fast times.

John Kemboi of Kenya crossed the finish line first in 23:39, while Tera Moody finished first for the women in 27:21. This was Kemboi's first race in the U.S., while Moody--who grew up in St. Charles and now lives and trains in Colorado Springs--returned atop the podium after winning the 2007 in 27:09. Rounding out the top five for the men were Matt Hooley (Madison, Wis.) in 23:44, Tyler Sigl (Seymour, Wis.) in 23:46, Kaleb Vanort (Mishawaka, Ind.) in 23:50, and Ryan Bak (St. Louis, Mo.) in 23:55. For the women, the top five included Erin Moeller (Mt. Vernon, Ind.) in 27:51, Sara Slattery (Phoenix, Ariz.) in 28:00, Claudia Becque (Chicago, Ill.) in 28:10, and Jenna Mitchler (Appleton, Wis.) in 28:20.

For more results and to see how you or a friend fare, click here to search the results. Or check out some photos from the day at flickr. Photo grabbed from francemalate at Posted by Kate

Friday, March 19, 2010

Running into Spring

Daylights savings time on Sunday. Temps soaring past 60 degrees mid-week. Wearing shorts because it's almost too hot to layer up to walk to the gym (but don't ask why I wasn't doing my workout outdoors instead of in). Winter might be set to rear it's ugly face around Chicago less than 24 hours from now, but I can still relish in the spring signals which actually make me believe--for once--that the vernal equinox actually is tomorrow. Usually I'm relying on the running calendar to remind me of spring's arrival since several events tend to take place the weekend after spring's start.

But with its start on a Saturday for the first time I can remember--or at least since I started running and paying attention to event calendars so as not to miss my favorite races--spring's start hearkens a weekend of races around the country. Here's a few that I'll have my eyes on:
  • Shamrock Shuffle. If you live in Chicago, it's really hard not to forget this race on Sunday. And it's even earlier than usual this year--whether that was in hopes of avoiding another snow shuffle from 2009, getting runners excited and out racing earlier in the year, or rearranging because of the Easter holiday, I can't say. But Chicago runners have seriously seemed excited about this race since registration opened on New Year's Day and the excitement has only escalated in March between the Run Lucky run hosted by Nike, training runs around the city (thanks Fleet Feet Facebook announcements), and the super awesome weather we were blessed with this week.
  • LA Marathon. I wish I knew why I always forget that the City of Angels hosts a marathon every March. Maybe that's because I'm totally not tuned into the California running scene, aside from my sister encouraging me to run San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and because the LA race is not part of the World Marathon Majors that I tend to keep my eye on for the speed demons and the fact that Chicago's race hypes up the competition (at least in my opinion). Anyway, I might have to consider this sold-out race in the future: its course hits the streets from Dodger Stadium to the beach.
  • NYC Half Marathon. If you want to run 13.1 miles across Manhattan, or more specifically from Central Park to lower Manhattan, Sunday is the day to do it. The New York Road Runners organize half marathons through the city's five boroughs during the year, and while the Manhattan edition was previously run in August--or was the case in 2009 at least--it gets an earlier spot on the calendar this year. And per usual, Deena Kastor will be running and gunning for a speedy time that will prep her for a hopeful win in London come April.
  • National Marathon and Half Marathon. Whether you want to run 26.2 miles, 13.1 miles or gather a group together for a running relay, the nation's capital welcomes running in full force on Saturday.
  • March Madness Half Marathon. This race sold out in less than five hours on New Year's Eve, and with 1,000 spots available, it's a popular one for Boston-bound Chicagoans, those looking for an early season half marathon, or runners who want to risk the weather for a longer run--had to say that with Sunday's expected forecast and had to include this one since I'll be running and hoping to survive. Expect a race report next week.
Now I know there are far more running races out there than these. What are some that you're participating in this weekend? Photo grabbed from qivn at flickr. Posted by Kate

Friday, March 5, 2010

Did you Run Lucky?

I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into last night when I put my usual Thursday spin routine aside to go for a run. I had an invite that told me to arrive at Niketown at 6 p.m., bring my I.D. and wear green, but that was where the details ended. While the mystery was a selling point for me--and hundreds of other runners (or so it seemed judging by the line and amount of people packed into Niketown first floor)--it wasn't enough to convince a few others to join me. I'm being a little unfair with that as I only asked three runners: one had to work late, another (hubby) wasn't feeling well and I can't argue with someone who has to go to work at 5:45 a.m., and the other had an appointment. But after it's all said and done, they missed out.

If there was ever a night to celebrate running and get excited for the season ahead, last night was it. And I'm not just writing that because the weather couldn't have been better to get out and run--a night that we haven't seen since sometime in late January (I remember because that was the last time I ran outside)--or that it was Thursday and we only had one more work day to survive before the weekend, or that March typically means spring's arrival and we weren't bracing for a late-season snowstorm. But the crowd coming out to run was huge--and they were dressed in green as the invite requested. And the celebratory atmosphere, you couldn't help but want to run through the streets. I should have known better since the cold didn't keep runners inside last winter for Fleet Feet's midnight run, but it didn't click until I saw the registration/gear check line filling the front of the store and runners continuing to spill in until our 6:30ish departure time.

As for how the mystery unfolded? That's going to be a story of words and some pictures. And forgive me in advance for some of the lackluster photos--I was trying to snap away as quickly as I could but sometimes my camera didn't want to cooperate or I was too close to the scene to capture it all in one shot without sacrificing something.

First up comes the sea of green among the runners. You know how you make a request to wear a particular color or bring a certain item and inevitably someone forgets or doesn't play along? You really couldn't have an excuse last night, even if you really didn't have green in your closet. There were kilts, old Shamrock Shuffle tees, fleeces, green man-and woman--suits, hoodies, and that's just talking about the gear we came with. Nike was quick to provide green gear for those without or those who wanted to accessorize. We're talking shamrock scarves, green glowing glasses, "Kiss Me I'm Irish" necklaces, T-shirts, green and white striped arm warmers (or at least I think Nike provided those since several donned pairs), and even some special Run Lucky jackets and green feather boas.

Step two was assembling outside the store and waiting for the green light to charge full speed ahead. We lined the sidewalk at the corner of Michigan and Huron, huddled like we would be for a race start and then it was off. And in typical race fashion, we started running only to stop a few steps later and then take off again. But unlike a race, there was no pushing or shoving to get to the front of the pack--no one cared who was first, no one cared how fast we ran (thank goodness since I could hardly move after smacking my tailbone on the slopes the week before), and no one cared about who we ran with. It was more about the allure of where we were going, where we'd make the next turn and who was going to get stopped by the "Don't Walk" signs. And what we'd encounter next on this journey, like the bagpipers lining the route, signaling that we were on the right track.

I kept wondering how far we'd run west before stopping and found my answer when we wound south, west, north and west again to reach the El tracks, climb the station's stairs and wait for our Shamrock Express. Talk about special treatment: Nike commandeered a train decked out in Run Lucky regalia to transport us to the next spot. Now normally I'm not a fan of waiting for an El, but this was worth waiting for...we had commuters staring at us--mostly in disbelief--bagpipers serenading us as we waited (and check out their shoes, they're green!), and Irish step dancers freezing their legs off on our account.

Next it was full speed ahead to our final destination: Mystic Celt on Southport. That's where we needed our I.D.'s and where we were greeted with two drink vouchers and a runner's buffet complete with those snack foods craveable after a long run--wings, cheese sticks, bruschetta and veggies. Typical me to focus on the food, but that wasn't the true highlight of the night. Hanging out with other runners--many strangers for me, but for once it was OK--marveling at the green get-ups, imbibing and playing Nike trivia. Can't complain when you answer a question about Nike Air and score a skullcap and arm warmers--some peeps even went home with iPods. And capping off the evening was a concert by U2 cover band Elevation--but by the time they came on I was seated on a chartered bus back to Niketown, not entirely by choice but more because I was already committed to teaching swim lessons. Not a big deal, but knowing that I've needed running motivation all winter, Nike was feeding it to me last night and I was gladly eating it all up.

And the good news for those of us in Chicago is that this fun run was only the beginning. You can't expect a special El and beer regularly, but Niketown hosts runs every Thursday from their Michigan Avenue store. Convenient for those who live in the area and the perfect stopping off point for anyone working downtown who wants to workout before heading home. Or in my case, motivational since it's hard to make up an excuse when everyone else is running, too. Now if only I could carry Thursday's momentum forward for the races coming all too quickly on the calendar.

For more pictures, check out some of the evening's events at this slideshow. Top photo grabbed from Nike Run Club Chicago's Facebook page. Posted by Kate

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back on Track with 2010 Fitness Goals

You promised yourself in January that 2010 was the year you planned increase your fitness, train for a particular race or learn a new sport. Or maybe you knew that come January 1 it was time to forget about the holiday hustle, all the times you hit snooze and skipped a work out, and the extra helpings you allowed yourself during the festivities. Regardless, you had goals set on New Year’s Day.

Now February has come and gone, March has rolled around—faster than you’d like to admit—and you still haven’t found time to go to the gym, map out a race calendar and register for that key event, or return to that routine you so diligently stuck to last year. But it’s not too late to get started on accomplishing those goals or feel like you’re constantly playing catch up with the rest of the group. Here are five ways to join or jump back onto the fitness bandwagon:

Hop in the pool. Before triathlon season comes around, get in the pool and practice your strokes. The open water will be a lot easier to tackle if you can hone your skills in calmer pool waters. One way to do it: Practice drills that will make you more efficient in the water.

Try a new sport. If you ran a half marathon in 2009, consider a triathlon in 2010. It might seem daunting to have to add swimming and cycling to the mix, but look at it as cross training that’s even more beneficial for the run. Or if you think you’ve done it all, reach out of your comfort zone for an adventure race, work your flexibility in yoga, or learn to ski—cross-country skiing is one of the best cardio exercises around.

Improve one sport in your repertoire. If you’ve done triathlons, consider isolating one of its disciplines to focus on before the season starts. Set up your bike on an indoor trainer and feel comfortable in the saddle without worrying about balance or dodging pedestrians on the path. Push yourself harder in your runs or aim to get faster through track and interval work. Practice transitions in your living room.

Join a group training program. They’ll hold you more accountable for training, you’ll have a coach guiding you, and you’ll meet new friends that love training as much as you do and can make great workout partners. The good news is that many programs get underway in March and April, especially if you've set your eyes on a half marathon, half Ironman or marathon this year.

Free fitness. Who doesn’t love a free workout? The New Year doesn’t just mean crowded gyms with more people trying to get fit and lose weight. Those gyms and other facilities like yoga studios offer deals to check out what programs they offer. Or if you love to run but don’t want to run alone, there are plenty of weeknight and weekend fun runs to keep the legs moving.

Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate


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