Sunday, April 29, 2012

Racing in Ravenswood

Gotta love a neighborhood run! Photo: Angelica Guerrero
It only took me 11 years of running in Chicago to finally run Fleet Feet's Ravenswood Run, a 5K that turned 16 on April 29. I've read about it since I started picking up the local active lifestyle publications at the Northwestern gym. I've known about it--and written about it on at least one occasion--since I was an intern at Windy City Sports. And I've had invites to run it plenty of times.

But those invites were always followed with the obligatory excuses for why I couldn't participate. In college, it was minimal transportation options and a lack of runner friends (I had to beg my cousin to drive me and also run the Lakefront 10). Then I thought it would take forever to drive to, having to search for a parking spot on top of that (when you live in Lakeview and constantly struggle to find a street spot especially on a Saturday night, you dread driving anywhere). I was running another race like the Lakefront 10, often held the same day. I was recovering from Boston--or sidelined after Boston as was the case last year. What it all boils down to is a list of stupid reasons to skip a race...really stupid reasons. I can register for the marathon again and again, yet I can name excuse after excuse for why I can't make it to a 5K which is shorter, easier and usually more fun. I'll never do that to the Ravenswood Run again.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stretches for Skiing's Post-Season

Hip flexors, how I need to stretch thee.
It's not tough to destroy your body skiing. That's how I feel after chasing my husband down the mountain for a few days, especially if I follow him into the bumps. My arms and shoulders hurt from carrying my skis to and from the car. My quads start to burn from crouching most of the day--and often not resting them on the chairlift with the help of the safety bar. And get me turning a lot on groomers and sure enough, the hip "pinch" that we learned to recognize for good turns around the gates (to my teammate Mel: I still remember you etching that term into our brains) is back but not in a good way--my hip will ache until the end of the day, even in the hot tub.

Yeah, I know I probably sound like I'm an old cripple--it's my running legs wreaking havoc on my skiing, I swear--yet I'll do it again and again. Point blank: I love to ski. When you don't live in the mountains and only get one, maybe two, trips to the mountains each year, you ski until your legs are ready to fall off on the final day you're at the higher elevation. Wouldn't you do it, too? But in order to ski as often as I sometimes do, the trips to the hot tub don't always help. I need to stretch. You know how it goes: fix the kinks in the system, loosen up the tight muscles (ahem, hip flexors, I'm talking to you), and let the body recover so it can take another day on the slopes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

ICGM, or When I Can't Get Motivated

It is possible to feel as lazy as this dog. Credit: paddynapper
My workouts: nil. My sleep: near insomnia (I know this because I've been watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory on my computer like it's my job to review them and then boom, it's 5 a.m.). My productivity: next to zero. Hopefully my dad doesn't randomly decide that tomorrow's the day he's going to catch up on his Fit-Ink reading or I'll be getting a lecture for even stating these facts let alone trying to explain them.

I think I have a case of ICGM, better known as "I Can't Get Motivated." It might not be a disease that you'd find in a medical dictionary, but it has symptoms and the possibility for a cure--or at least temporary relief. It's sad, and pathetic, that this revelation felt like my one moment of productivity in a sea on nothing-ness for the entire week. I didn't think that I could call what I felt a disease, but when Chicago Endurance Sports coach Holly Jamison spelled it out, I figured that I had to have a case of it. Or that it was legit to have a case of ICGM.

It's not because I'm a hypochondriac--that, my friends, is my sister's department, self-professed, anyway--but because I needed some sort of explanation for how I'd been feeling. And it was either this or loneliness. I didn't want it to be the latter because then it meant that I was truly failing in being strong on the independence train, something I had excelled at for more than eight months already and only have a little more than three left before my relationship's commuting year is over.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Show Me the Money

The stadium blanket participants received at the 2011 race.
I don't get bonus points for using the famous line from Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money," because Fleet Feet Sports Chicago said it first. But they couldn't be more spot on in using it to incite and excite runners to register for one of the city's favorite races, the Soldier Field 10 Mile. I'm psyched and I'm already registered (so what if part of that excitement stems from my inability to run the 10-miler last year). Sure, the race is still a month away, 29 days and counting to be exact, but it is all about football this weekend. With the NFL draft happening Thursday, April 26, to Saturday, April 28, Fleet Feet is using the time to offer a signing bonus promotion that rewards savings to participants who get their friends, family and coworkers to register during the next four days for this year's Soldier Field 10 Mile. And indeed, you will be shown the money.

Here's how it works:
  • Registered participants in the 2012 Soldier Field 10 received an email today detailing the "draft."
  • In that email, participants received a link that could be shared with friends and family who might want to register for the race. You can try my link but Fleet Feet was kind enough to offer me an entry back on opening day so I won't be reaping any benefits, unless I somehow could give the money to Salute, Inc., one of the race's beneficiaries.
  • When someone uses your link to register for the May 26 race, you'll receive a "signing bonus" on the credit card that you used to register for the race way back when.
  • The earlier your team registers, the more money you can recoup from your race registration. On Thursday, it's $15 per registration; on Friday, it's $10 per registration; on Saturday, it's $5 per registration; and on Sunday, it's $5 per registration.
Need a selling point for your Chicago friends? I have some: You still have plenty of time to train for 10 miles. And for anyone who's now wondering why they signed up for Saturday's Lakefront 10, another 10-mile favorite in the Windy City, you can run the Lakefront on whatever mileage you already have stored in your legs and then plan to better that time next month. Hmm, maybe that means I should take my own advice.

I-Spy: 11 Items Seen While Running in Vail, Colorado

Do you remember playing I-Spy when you were a kid? I can't say that I do, but it seemed an appropriate way to categorize the items that I omitted from yesterday's slideshow about my Vail run. Seeing landscapes is one thing, but spotting objects is another, and with the photos already being numerous (I had more than 40 that I would have wanted to use), it only made sense to post again.

I used my run through Vail as an excuse to take pictures of anything and everything I spotted from point A to point B. Partly because my lungs begged for the break and partly because I saw things that I've passed on more than one occasion but couldn't remember actually having a photo of the memory. So in I-Spy fashion, here are 10 things I eyed while running along the Gore Valley Trail and through Vail.

1. I spy...a concert in Lionshead. If you need more reason to ski in the springs besides the snow, let it be the concerts. Vail has them every Thursday starting in March. Plus if you're just running through like I was, you might get lucky and score some Honey Milk, Vita-Coco coconut water, or Burt's Bees products. All three had tents set up near the concert stage and they were more than willing to hand me samples--for the girl who forgot hydration (really bad considering it's even more important to have on hand at altitude) this couldn't be more perfect for refueling.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Creek Runs Through It: Vail, Colorado

I tend to get carried away when it comes to sports, especially running, triathlon and skiing. I ran a marathon before I ever ran a half marathon (probably the dumbest yet smartest decision I ever made since I'm still hooked a dozen years later). I thought I'd be done after one Ironman--that whole cross it off the list of random ideas I created for myself when I was 21 and sitting at the intern desk of an active lifestyle publication--and then all the training and racing for Olympic, and half and full Ironman distance triathlons never stopped. I ski lift open to lift close, racing to ride one more time at the end of the day--though I blame that as much on my husband as myself since he acts, and nearly looks, like a five-year-old ready to open presents on Christmas morning when he gets to ski country.

So I'm not even remotely surprised that I'd "over document" a run, taking too many pictures when exploring a path that I had driven past a million times but never run. I’m no stranger in a strange land, though it might seem that way since I’m not running along the Lakefront, there are no towering skyscrapers in sight, and my breath is labored from the altitude (or so I’d like to believe). I’m in Vail, Colorado, a spot I’ve been to several times over the years except it’s always to ski and not to run. In fact, my running shoes usually never make it into my suitcase because I know I’ll be skiing and good luck finding a fitness center at your lodging location (they do exist, just not always at places I’ve stayed). But a dwindling snow base and steady spring-like temperatures called me to bring my sneaks this time around, figuring that if I couldn’t ski, at least I could run, as painful as it might be as my body acclimates to the higher elevation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Equinox Plays to Pigskin

Have you ever wondered what it's like to train with a NFL athlete? Now's your chance. During the month of April, Equinox Fitness Clubs have teamed up with the National Football League's PLAY 60 campaign to give select Equinox club members the opportunity to train with current and former NFL stars. But we're not talking about any training, like the football drills I tried on Leap Day at Soldier Field. It's the football stars who are leading some of Equinox's signature workouts. So instead of your favorite instructor leading Whipped, Tabata, and the newest addition MetCon3, Tim Jennings, Chris Spencer, Tom Zbikowski and Derrick Mason will be pushing your limits when class is in session--if you're attending classes in Chicago. That could spell trouble, knowing how hard they've worked on the football field. But it's the kind of kick-butt training I crave--and then regret later when I'm too sore and tired to move.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reggie Bush Goes to Training Camp

After typing this post's title, I feel like I'm writing a children's book, perhaps one in the Berenstain Bears' series that often falls into a similar naming pattern. Reggie Bush Wins the Super Bowl, Reggie Bush Gets Traded to the Dolphins, Reggie Bush Falls in Love--and Out of Love--with Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush Scores a Game-Winning Touchdown. That's just to show how my mind is working this morning (I have full-blown powder brain even though there's no fresh snow in sight, but it is warm enough outside to tell me I'll love today's spring skiing conditions) when I start thinking about the former USC running back who dated Kim Kardashian and won a Super Bowl championship with the New Orleans Saints.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fit-Pic: Epic Easter at Keystone's Closing Day

A picture is supposed to be worth 1,000 words, right? This image might not be the picture-perfect detail of fit living--sugary sweet Peeps make an Easter appearance, and every last one in the package was consumed before the day's end--but it comes close. Kind of, if you count the day it represents and not the picture itself.

Skiing, skiing and more skiing. All at Keystone Resort to close out its 2011-2012 season. Skiing was my exercise on Easter Sunday, an all-day adventure where those Easter sweets were erased with each vertical foot logged through EpicMix, the app developed by Vail Resorts that tracks your skiing accomplishments and puts a social media spin to them. As of the start of this ski season, the app goes one step further, adding photos to the experience that can be purchased or shared via email, Facebook and Twitter. And this photo was my first. So what if it took until the last day to get it?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Top 10 Workout Songs for April

Radio tunes are tops for April. Credit: nedrichards
Heard a song on the radio that you knew you'd want to work out to? That seems to be the theme with April's top 10 workout songs according to Run Hundred, the web's most popular workout music site. I can't say I'm surprised--I build most of my playlist from what I hear on the radio, provided I can remember to look up the details at the station's music library when I'm back home and on the computer.

If a song is a radio hit, apparently it's been downloaded for workout pleasure this month. Take Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Madonna, all of whom released singles we hear regularly on the radio. There's something about those hits that makes us want to move, whether it's on the treadmill, on the trail or in a class.

But this month's hit aren't all about pop divas, country, dubstep and hip-hop also made the cut, per the votes placed at Run Hundred. Here's the full list:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Train for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon

And we're running! Credit: lululemon athletica
It's one thing to sign up for a race. It's another to train for a race, especially when that race is longer than a 5K, 8K, 10K. Some of us can bang those out in our sleep, but it's the 10-milers, the half marathons and the marathons where we need to put a training plan in place to get us to the finish line. I know I've learned my lesson--on more than one occasion--going into races of those lengths blind. They're painful, they're slow, and they're no where near what I think I'm capable of running so I finish hungry for more. It's a bit of a vicious cycle that I know my parents, and probably husband too, are ready for me to put a stop to. And they also leave me injured, either sore beyond belief for a few days or sidelined for a few months.

Basically, you don't want to be like me. And if you've signed up for the inaugural Chicago Women's Half Marathon on June 24, a really cool race that's replacing the annual Fleet Feet Women's Festival held in July, you don't have to. Equinox and Fleet Feet have partnered to create Enhanced by Equinox, which will serve as the race's official training program. Lasting 12 weeks and starting on April 9, you'll gain plenty of miles underfoot to prepare you for the 13.1 on race day. But wait, there are far more perks to the $220 program, offering even more bang for your buck like recovery tips, stretching techniques and strength training. Here's a look:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Swap Skiing for These Sports

Some days you just don't want to ski. Maybe you don't want to get out of bed. Maybe your knees ache and your quads burn (my whole body ached my second day on the snow, worse than when I tried snowboarding). Maybe you're unsure of your skiing skills on the slushier than normal conditions, especially when there's ice lurking underneath. But that doesn't mean you have to abandon all hopes of exercise--or live it up in the fitness center all day.

Not even close, as people have been proving to me all week. I've seen snowshoers trekking up the mountain plenty of times--I even tried to bring mine this trip but they didn't fit in the ski bag. I've seen at least two fly fishermen wading in the waters of Gore Creek. I've seen bikes cruising along U.S. 6 and the Frontage Road. It's like playing a game of I-Spy. But it's also given me plenty of ideas for ways to keep my legs busy without putting on the skis as outlined in this post.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fit-Pic: Ascent Training?

Training for the Imperial Challenge? Practicing for the Breckenridge Ascent Series I just read about? Preparing for the 5 Peaks Mountaineering Race? That's all I could ask myself as I wondered why someone would opt to climb, skis and all, on lift-accessible terrain.

I spotted this skier climbing his way up Vail Mountain this morning, skis strapped to his back, ski boots on (I can only imagine how uncomfortable that was), poles to assist with the uphill trek. I've seen snowshoers hiking up the mountain many times, but this skier was a first. Talk about earning your lunch! I considered calling it quits for the day--until I saw him. Then I knew I needed to earn more EpicMix vertical.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fit-Pic: Welcome Home, Lindsey

It's always a good day to be skiing in Vail. But it gets even better when Vail hosts a welcome home party for its world class athlete and World Cup champion, Lindsey Vonn. Arrabelle Square in Lionshead was decked out for a celebration this afternoon that brought Vonn back to Vail and marked the U.S. Ski Team retirement of local Sarah Schleper. In the above Fit-Pic, you'll see Vonn, Schleper's son Lasse, Schleper and Picabo Street--all three women are some pretty well-known and respected ski racers.

Hosted by Picabo Street, Vonn answered questions from a group of girls from Ski Girls Rock (I hope I'm getting this name right) who were lucky enough to race her down the mountain earlier in the day. My favorite answer from Vonn: how fast she travels down the mountain on her skis. The answer: the fastest is somewhere between 92 and 95 miles per hour. Wow! I'd get a ticket if I drove that fast, and I'd probably end up wrapped in the orange mesh nets lining the race course if I tried skiing at those speeds.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...