Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Pre-Lollapalooza Workout

Definitely not your usual yoga space
There's more to Lollapalooza than three days of music? Something that doesn't require tickets to the shows? Something that has a fitness focus? Something that doesn't put me smack in the middle of Grant Park feeling claustrophobic from the crowds?

Ask me about Lollapalooza weekend and the only things I could tell you--beyond the fact that it's held the first weekend in August--are the completely unrelated Terrapin 5K (though it does have a music theme) happens the night before the three-day festival starts and Graham Elliott has something to do with the food served on-site. I didn't even know who was performing until a few night ago--and then I was sorry I didn't think about buying tickets for what might be my favorite line-up ever.

Never did I expect fitness to figure into the Lolla mix. But it does. You can get your weekend of concert-going started on a fitness foot with some sun salutations, asanas and stretches at 332 S. Michigan Ave. The LollaShop, a pop-up shop that opened on July 27 as an extension to the popular festival complete with the full line of official Lolla goods plus a few surprises, will be hosting yoga classes led by Margo Kellison at its adjoining Thompson Hotel Lounge. Even if you're not spending a single minute inside Lollapalooza, you're more than welcome to go to yoga--these classes are open to the public.

Monday, July 30, 2012

13 Random Notes on the Olympics

I want this look! Credit: Nike
I'm not going to lie: It's definitely turning into Olympics central around here. It might not seem like it 100 percent of the time on Fit-Ink--because I can't keep up with all the action of training, working, recovering, event-attending, and Olympics-watching--but it's obvious offline. Two TVs running during primetime, recording coverage especially when I have to leave for a swim or run, live streaming on the swimming because I simply can't wait seven or eight hours to watch the tape delay, and engaging in random Olympic discussions like the one where a friend thought Ryan Lochte sounded pompous after he won gold in the 400 IM. Basically, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when the torch is extinguished in two weeks because I can't watch sports 24/7.

Enough about me and my Olympics love that borders more on craziness and obsession rather than adoration. Here's a baker's dozen of random facts, comments and notes--mostly swimming related--that I've noticed in the first three days of London 2012 competition.
  1. I'm not shy on my love--and strong following--of the swimming events. And I can assure you that I follow the sport any time it airs on TV, not just during the Olympic years. You can learn a lot about your own stroke mechanics by watching these Olympians especially when you look at the underwater views. I know I'll never swim breaststroke like Rebecca Soni--I can barely swim a 100 free that fast and that was when I still had some of my sprinting speed--but the girl whisks through the water. Matt Grevers pushes an amazing amount of water behind him as he powers through the 100 back (Did you see that underwater shot? It was insane). And then watch any freestyler and you'll pick up plenty of tips to make your stroke a little faster and more efficient.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Win a Golden Ticket to the ING New York City Marathon

Want a chance to run the NYC Marathon? Credit: Matthew Myers
We love contests, even when we know our odds of winning aren't good. And we really love contests when they involve giveaways for gear that we want but maybe can't afford (or want to splurge on) or race entries especially when the race is a tough one to gain entry into. So if you're OK with testing your luck, and running a marathon--and one that's on many a runner's bucket list, including mine--in the fall, Nissan's Innovation for Endurance program has a contest you want to enter. More like, you need to enter.

It's a race that's been run--and won--by Meb Keflezighi. It's been the debut marathon for Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. And it's going to be run by Ryan Hall a mere 12 weeks after he tackles the Olympic marathon in London. That's a lot of Olympians who've tackled the five boroughs of New York City to finish running 26.2 miles in Central Park at the ING New York City Marathon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Will You Be Watching During the Olympics?

We've got Olympics fever. Credit: CefnFforestBluebird
You could say that I've been waiting for the next three weeks to roll around since the Olympic flame was extinguished in Beijing four years ago. If you thought I was a fan of the Winter Olympics, I'm an even greater fan of the Summer version. I literally camp out on the living room couch for the 17 days of competition watching everything from the prelims to the finals of swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and whatever else happens to be airing when I power on the TV.

It started off where I'd only watch the swimming events--it was my swimming background and the desperate desire to learn how to swim butterfly and breaststroke like the Olympians--as if it were my job to analyze every last detail. That was 1992--and I made the mistake of taping over those videotapes the next summer, thinking that I'd never need that footage again (oh how I wish I could watch Summer Sanders, Pablo Morales, Jenny Thompson and Mike Barrowman swim their way to gold). But by 2008, I was watching everything airing during primetime for two weeks straight. My rear literally left an imprint on the couch--good for Ironman training recovery (I rode my bike in the morning before the swimming prelims) but bad for anything else.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Ran with The Bachelor!

Correction: I tried to run with the (former) Bachelor, Dr. Andy Baldwin. He's fast!

If you told me five days ago that I’d be running with a former star of ABC’s The Bachelor, I probably would have laughed and said, “That’d never happen.” But yesterday, it did.

Dr. Andy Baldwin—remember him from The Bachelor's 10th season as the triathlete, naval officer, physician extraordinaire?—was in town to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. And I, by some stroke of sheer luck, got to run with him (thank you Got Chocolate Milk and Team Refuel though I think you thought I was a faster half marathon runner than I actually am). Or rather, chase after him.

My half marathon with Dr. Andy lasted all of two miles, right about the point where my legs realized how fast they were running and figured out that they couldn't sustain that pace. My measly pace—not counting the half Ironman the weekend before, the week of physical therapy and the long bike ride the day before—couldn’t keep up for 13.1 miles. And when I glanced at my Garmin and saw our 6:14 average pace at the first mile, I knew I'd be in trouble. I barely keep a pace like that for a 5K—and that’s on my good days and for the first mile, maybe two.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Running and REFUEL-ing with a Bachelor

Dr. Andy Baldwin: endurance athlete
Usually I'm playing the "woe is me" role, lamenting over how everyone else seems to workout with celebrities while I miss out for one reason or another. Liz has run with Kara Goucher--and if memory serves me correct, Ryan Hall. Jenn from the Fit-Bottomed Girls trained with Bob Harper (can we say awesome?). Some Chicago media peeps got to run with Abdi Abdirahman when he was in town to run the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. Close to 150 Chicago runners got to run with Scott Jurek and Born to Run author Chris McDougall when they were in town to talk running, nutrition, his book and everything in between. And a handful of triathletes and triathlon fans got to dine and/or run with Craig Alexander and Dave Scott when they were in town last week (Where was I? Stuck at my desk and then sleeping).

That's not to say that I'm not without opportunities of my own--I've worked out with Shawn Johnson, field kicked a football with Robbie Gould, snacked with Shea McClellin, and had to keep my jaw from dropping open while Michael Johnson stood directly in front of me. But I can barely contain my excitement for Sunday's XSport Fitness Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Instead of slogging through my two-hour run by myself, sans iPod (it died--good thing RnR races are all about music) and along the routine route along the Lakefront, I'll be running with Team REFUEL and trying to keep up with Dr. Andy Baldwin.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hooked on Brooks RnR Gear

Dear Brooks, when did you start creating such cool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series gear? No joke, I wanted at least three of the T-shirts and the navy hoodie I spotted in the 10 minutes I had to spend at the expo. And had the lights not turned off, begging expo goers to exit at 6 p.m., you probably would have gotten a sale out of me.

It doesn’t take much for me to drool (almost) over running gear. Name a race expo—Rock ‘n’ Roll, Boston, Chicago—and I can always find something that’s begging me to take out my wallet and spend, spend, spend. Not necessarily because I want the coveted Boston Marathon jacket or all the gear that sports Chicago running pride, although that tends to be my first inclination. I’m practically the ideal customer, always wanting to buy a T-shirt secondary to the race shirt that every participant receives regardless of how many tees I already have exploding out of the drawers at home. You should have seen me at last week’s Ironman 70.3 expo—sure enough, I had to have the shirt with every participant’s name printed on the back to make the M-Dot logo.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A One-of-a-Kind Rooftop Workout

That move would hurt! Credit: quinn.anya
It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s drought season, and we’re practically begging for rain just to get some relief from the heat. But if I had to beg Mother Nature and the Rain Gods to hold off on letting the skies open up to downpour, drizzle or thunderstorm, I’d want it to happen on Tuesday, July 24, because I’m not about to miss a rooftop workout on account of bad weather. Even if I can’t do a pliĆ© to save my life.

Forget sweating on the gym floor or feeling like you’re stuck in the studio rooms for hours on end. Equinox is offering an outdoor workout that’ll wake you up and work you out. And it’s on the rooftop garden of one of Chicago’s most craveable restaurants and most spectacular hotels. The fitness club is taking its Barre Burn class outdoors at the NoMI Garden on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel on Michigan Avenue on July 24, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Space is limited but if you RSVP to Sarah.Roberts@Equinox.com, you could still score a spot for this rooftop rendezvous for dancers, fitness fanatics and anyone looking for a good total body workout.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fit-Pic: Swimming Ironman 70.3 Racine

The swim is easily my favorite part of a triathlon. It might be the shortest part of the race, but it's the one discipline that rarely leaves me disappointed with the results. Just don't count two races in Chicago: one were I hyperventilated for some unknown reason, and last year where a rip current took over most of Lake Michigan and left triathletes swimming upstream. So if there's one portion of today's Ironman 70.3 Racine that I want to remember, it's the swim. That plunge into Lake Michigan to swim 1.2 miles was divine--the coolest, literally and figuratively, part of the day.

Stay tuned for a race report, but I'll be catching up on some sleep and hydration first.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Breakfast with a Champion--and an Evening with Two

I had dinner with Crowie the IM champion at ECBoulder 2010.
One is the reigning Ironman World Champion. One is a former Ironman World Champion. Both have multiple victories on the Kona, Hawaii, course almost making it look easy instead of grueling. Both live in Boulder, Colo., although one does it for only part of the year. And both have very recognizable names in the sport of triathlon: Craig Alexander and Dave Scott. But getting these two triathletes together east of the Rockies? That doesn't happen often--if ever.

But Runners High 'n Tri--or more like owner Mark Rouse, who has organized events with Alexander as well as Mirinda Carfrae and Chrissie Wellington in the past--is making the seemingly impossible possible. The Arlington Heights store is hosting a night with these Iron-men on Thursday, July 12. Crowie is likely cruising through Chicago on his way to Ironman 70.3 Racine (if that's true I'll be pretty excited come Sunday morning and watching him speed by on the run--if I'm so lucky--will make my 13.1 slightly less painful), but he's stopping just long enough to create one swoon-worthy 16 hours.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Addicted to the FuelBand

It adds up your steps. It calculates your calories burned. It tells you how much fuel you have, and not the gas-guzzling or calorie-consumption kind but a metric that puts a number on all the movements you do during the day from taking out the garbage and walking the dog, to sweating through P90X video or Zumba and preparing dinner. And if nothing else, The Nike+ FuelBand makes for a pretty sharp-looking watch (hey, those were Nike’s words not mine, and I can’t help but nod in agreement).

When I first heard about the FuelBand, I thought it’d be the perfect exercise tool for my mom to use. She’s had pedometers and they’ve either overestimated her steps or met their demise falling into a toilet. She tried a Polar fitness watch, a variation of one that Liz got me hooked on, but got frustrated when the stick figure spent more time sitting than zooming across the screen (that’s probably more her fault than the machine’s but let’s just say it didn’t motivate her to exercise any more or less). And lately she’s just relied on the digital readouts on the elliptical, or the treadmill, or the stationary bike. And we all know how wrong those can be.

I was convinced that the FuelBand would help track her activity, from running up and down the stairs to the gardening she claims exhausts her more than her treadmill walks. And that it would dispel the elliptical readouts claiming she burned at least 200 calories even though she was barely on the machine for 15 minutes and never broke a sweat.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Tank That Keeps You Cool

I’ve been dreading today’s high temperature since I saw the forecast Monday morning. Cracking 100 and it’s only early July? I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m actually missing the summer where I whined about wearing fleece.

It doesn’t matter if the temperature breaks 100 or it hovers between 80 and 90, when it’s hot and humid, my runs suffer. I’m hot from the get-go—and that’s true if it’s a race (ahem like the unseasonably hot Chicago Marathons we’ve had recently) or a training run on the lakefront. I can’t stay cool to save my run and I’m so drenched by the time I return home you’d think I walked into Lake Michigan with my clothes on.

But lately I’ve had some help from Pearl Izumi in the keep-cool department. I’ve been sporting the company’s In-R-Cool tank since we first started seeing temperatures in the 80s back in March (and to think I’d welcome a week of that weather right about now). Designed with technology that’s aimed to cool you down more than heat you up, even after you’ve been pavement pounding when the sun is scorching, and fabric that would cool your skin while managing moisture, I figured it’d be my best heat defense, especially in March when I wasn’t even close to accustomed to the warmer weather. But the big question was: would it really work?

My answer: yes. This tank wicks the sweat away from my body, it’ll be drenched but I won’t be. And it’s been acting like that since I first wore it almost four months ago. It has managed to keep me cool—and not just because it’s sleeveless, armed with a white back panel, and incredibly lightweight. I swear it’s that special fabric, which amazingly hasn’t succumbed to my stinky sweat yet. I ran without it on yesterday’s scorcher of the 4th of July—I swear it felt like it was 100 degrees at 8 a.m.—only because I couldn’t find it in my laundry heap. When I went with an old standby, I seriously thought I was melting. Rumor has it that it’s only going to get hotter so I’m hoping that my husband accidentally picked it up in his laundry and I’ll have it for my next run. How could I grow so attached to one tank, I don’t know, but I did.

The funny thing is that until recently, I’d never think of Pearl Izumi has having running gear that I’d like. I’m armed with an arsenal of cycling stuff from arm and toe warmers to jerseys and jackets, and always associated the company with cycling and triathlon. That was a big mistake on my part. Because not only do I miss this tank on hot summer days when I’m not wearing it, but I can’t get through a treadmill workout without wearing the Streak II shoes. It could all be mental—or it’s that the minimal design actually works for my foot more than I thought it would. Whatever the case, I’ll take it.

And to Pearl Izumi: now I know not to skip straight to the cycling gear on my next shopping trip.

What are you wearing to keep cool on your summer runs?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top 10 Workout Songs for July

Running a 5K for the 4th of July? Logging miles at the gym to avoid training in the oven that is outside? I don't know about you, but I'm having a tough time motivating myself to exercise in this heat. I'm sweaty before I even get to the gym, I can swim in Lake Michigan without shivering because I left my wetsuit at home, and I'll get soaked in a yoga class and the heat that usually gets me to go in the first place isn't even turned on. But if I'm going to run in this weather, I either need a running buddy or some tunes to push me through those miles.

Most of the time I'm going with the latter because my husband leaves me in his dust, and Liz and I only wish we could run together more frequently. And lucky for me--and you, if you're finding yourself in a similar situation--Run Hundred just released its top songs for July so I can refresh my playlist. What's even better is the site's founder, Chris Lawhorn, says that this list is full of unusual suspects. I didn't notice until he mentioned it, but Lady GaGa, Pitbull, Katy Perry and Rihanna are regulars on these lists. Not this time around. With the exception of Rihanna, the other hits are a break from the norm.

Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'm an Anthony Ervin Fan

I think, no, I know, that Anthony Ervin is going to be trending huge in the next 24 hours. And I can admit that I’m part of the problem, much like we've gone crazy over Kara Goucher. I was a fan 12 years ago when Ervin and Gary Hall, Jr. (the swimmer I totally remember my cousin having a crush on—we liked his shadowboxing, among other things) tied for gold in the 50-meter freestyle showdown that had literally been amped up since the Games started because of a little rivalry between the Russian Rocket (Alexandr Popov) and the Boxer (Hall). But I became a bigger fan on Friday when I read that Ervin was racing again and then that escalated to even higher heights after the final was swum tonight.

It’s partially because Ervin is a guy my age who got back into the pool after wanting more out of life than swimming. I didn’t swim even remotely close to the levels of these Trials athletes (I can however boast that I swam against two Trials qualifiers—in 2000 and 2004--in dual meets) but I was always swimming—or studying—and couldn’t ski because it overlapped with the swim season. It’s partially because Ervin is a sprinter—he makes the two events I was a regular in look so easy—which gives me even more reason to cheer like I have for Matt Biondi, Jenny Thompson, Gary Hall and Dara Torres (or just dream that I can swim distance like Janet Evans).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...