Sunday, September 30, 2012

What to Wear Out There

I thought I had my race day outfit figured out. You know, the one I planned to wear during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon--and the one I had practiced many of my long training runs in. After all, we've been dealing with warm temperatures since March, and when I thought back to the races I've run this year, I couldn't name one that warranted more than shorts and a tech tee. That doesn't bode well for Marathon Sunday.

It might be warm-ish outside right now, warm enough to wear that tee and shorts combo I'm so used to. But if you're like me and caught the weather report this morning, you might be shuddering at what's to come later in the week. I've come to grips with losing my summer tan from all the swims, bike rides and runs that had me outside for hours on end. I'm accepting the changing colors of the leaves--and seeing piles of them on the path (even though it's marathon time, I still hate fall). But it's been warm for most of the year, almost to the point where I forgot I lived in Chicago and a spot with milder winters, that I'm not ready to accept the chills. (Did anyone else get used to sweltering all summer that they're actually cold running in what would likely be deemed ideal temperatures?) And I'm most certainly confused about what I'm going to wear Sunday morning to a. be spotted by my cheering section (thanks parents and husband for coming out), b. stay comfortable and relatively chafe free from start to finish, and c. not freeze either from a sharp northerly wind Chicago likes to throw at us or while waiting at the start line. Oh yeah, and have a pocket or two to carry my emergency fuel kit--this girl's always gotta have her tropical punch Shot Bloks stashed away--and a spot to clip my Shuffle without it getting too wet (I've already ruined two this summer).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fit-Pic: The Bar to Barre Transformation

How's this for a Saturday morning workout? Temperatures edging on the side of cold (but perfect for minimizing the sweat) plus the Park Hyatt's garden bar area turned fitness floor equals a rooftop workout. Add in Equinox 900 N. Michigan's group fitness manager Jenn Hogg and you get a dose of Barre Burn, a 45-minute sculpting workout that made our body parts burn with and without weights. Or maybe it was just my body, especially my legs, that screamed in pain? It started with the first round of Pilates hundreds and didn't ease up until our final push-up.

No complaints from this Barre Burner. I'm never up early on a Saturday morning (and the few times it does happen, I either crawl back in bed or I nap in the car), but this was exactly what I needed to start off the day. Who can complain when the sun is shining and the breakfast buffeters from The Peninsula across the street are totally watching in wonderment? Yeah, I worked out and you didn't--and my glutes are going to hurt tomorrow. As if they don't already.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Working out with these tools is tough stuff!
Summer's no longer the season. The calendar says it, the leaves show it and the weather feels it. It's OK to start sobbing, I nearly did--summer is my favorite time of year. And I'm far from ready to take all of my workouts indoors.

The swimming and biking may have already gone that route--I blame it on a cold Lake Michigan and lack of ride-able bike at the moment (it's getting some TLC at the bike shop)--but I'm not going to surrender everything. Apparently Equinox must have read my mind (and maybe yours too) because they're taking their Barre Burn class outside.

Sculpt your hips while enjoying spectacular views from the rooftop of the NoMI Garden on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt on Saturday, September 29, at 8 a.m. They couldn't have selected a better Saturday--according to, the temperatures sound ideal for outdoor exercise. And there's no rain in the forecast unlike when I tried this class in July (and we were redirected indoors to Equinox).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two Wins for Chicago at Long Course Nationals

Chicago's not exactly known for being an endurance sports mecca. Those titles are often saved for spots like Boulder, Colo., and San Diego, Calif. But even if Chicago doesn't have such a title--possibly because it's so darn flat unless we skip the rides that are right outside our front doors--the Windy City, and it suburbs, can lay claim to some of the country's fastest triathletes.

Take the USA Triathlon Long Course Championship held in Oklahoma City, Okla., held on September 22. The race, which included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run, was held at Lake Hefner in conjunction with the Redman Triathlon. Who finished first and second among the women? Two Chicago-area triathletes: Elizabeth Waterstraat and Jennifer Harrison.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Golfing for Gould

Links anyone? Credit: chispita_666
Excuse the slightly lame headline but I couldn't help it. Participating in this golf program means an opportunity to meet Chicago Bears' place kicker Robbie Gould and the words just rolled off my fingers--with the post-Ironman brain I've been dealing with, I'll take it.

OK, here's the deal. Chicago is hosting golf's Ryder Cup from September 25 to September 30 at Medinah Country Club. At first glance you're likely thinking, "This has nothing to do with fitness." But it does, thanks to a program that Equinox created in anticipation of the the team tourney. Last Wednesday, the club's Loop location offered its first of five golf sessions with Tier 4 trainer Darren Tyda. Excuse the late notice, but the only things missed last week were the introduction to golf fitness and assessments.

GOLFIT by Equinox is a 5-part program that was designed to help you improve your golf game. Held on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., you'll perfect your swing, increase your flexibility, and improve your power and mobility. Then Robbie Gould will be at the final session where you can use what you learned to analyze his swing just like the pros would. Keep reading to learn more about each session--and so you know which ones you want to clear your schedule for (you can attend as many or as few as you wish).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This is Your Brain on Ironman

This is your Jell-O form.

This is your brain, not on drugs as the PSA once told us, but on Ironman.

Let me explain. I'm nearly two weeks removed from Ironman, and life should be back to normal, but it's so not. Except it's not life that's the issue, it's my mind. I think I lost half of it--or most of it depending on what day you ask me--in Lake Monona. My mind is foggy, hazy, unable to comprehend some basic stuff. I can't think straight, I can't wake up, I'm forgetful, I can't write--which means I can barely work since that's my job--to save my life, and I can't make sense of how hours can elapse and I have nothing to show for them. If there's such a thing as post-Ironman brain, I have it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fit-Pic: Running with Wesley Korir

If you don't know who Wesley Korir is, you'll want to remember his name. He ran the fourth fastest time at the 2008 Chicago Marathon while starting among the open field (he had never run a marathon before and had yet to reach elite status for the distance--and he entered the race just like the rest of us, paying his way). He finished second in that same race in 2011, and also racked up two wins at the L.A. Marathon. He won the 2012 Boston Marathon, picking off runners one-by-one on Heartbreak Hill until he took the lead on the way out of Kenmore Square, lost it and then got it back in the final mile. And he was the first elite runner to commit to run the 35th Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7, his fifth in a row.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The 4-Mile 5K

So many prostate cancer survivors, not everyone fit on-screen!
There's a first time for everything. First run, first marathon, first bike ride using clipless pedals, first open water get the idea. But here's a new first that I added to my list: unintentionally running an extra mile during a race.

I know people who have run a 5K loop twice to log extra mileage. I remember listening to disgruntled runners at the finish line of the now-defunct Lakeshore Marathon after being directed to run 27 miles. I have a friend who missed the turn-off to the Steelhead 70.3's two-loop run course and the routine 1:30ish half-marathoner turned in a 1:50 split. Even I ran a 3.45-mile 5K when last year's Hot Chocolate 5K was briefly delayed and rerouted to avoid the semi that got stuck on the course.

But everyone running that Hot Chocolate 5K ran extra mileage; our times showed it and the race organizers used a metric to approximate our would-be 5K times. Not everyone running the SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Walk/Run on Sunday ran a 5K. Make that everyone but me and another runner. I missed the human turnaround cone and kept running. My 5K, which was really all my legs wanted to run Sunday morning a week removed from Ironman, turned into almost four miles. I run the Lakefront Path all the time, I have routes mapped in my head for various distances (perfect for when I'm too impatient to wait for the satellites to locate on my Garmin), and I'll never be a lead runner (even if I'm lucky enough to be the first female because the fast ladies are elsewhere, there will always be guys in front because I'm just not that fast).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Season for Swiss Skiing, from Vail to Verbier

Wow! Jaw-dropping, isn't it? Credit: Vail Resorts, verbiersportplus+
Chamonix. Zermatt. Portillo. Treble Cone, New Zealand. St. Moritz. All those random places we ogle over after watching a Warren Miller film. Who doesn't want to ski outside of North America at least once in their lifetime? Especially if that off-this-continent trip meant going to the Alps? You can this season with an Epic Pass, the season pass that lets skiers and snowboarders access the seven Vail Resorts properties and Arapahoe Basin.

Vail Resorts recently announced that 2012-13 passholders not only had access to its skiable terrain in Colorado and the Lake Tahoe region but they gained access to Verbier located in Switzerland. Yeah you don't have to blink twice and think you're seeing things. It's true: The Epic Pass is good for three days of free access at Verbier and that includes Les 4 Vallees, which makes up the largest ski resort in Switzerland. It might not be a word, but Epic just got Epic-er (more Epic if you want proper English). Looks like I must have some type of skier's intuition--I suspected a deal was cooking when the Epic Pass lowest price deadline hit on Labor Day, but I never expected it to be bucket list worthy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 9/7

Can I watch this lake chaos instead of being part of it?
Weather woes. Taper tantrums. Phantom pains. I'm too much of a worry-wart with t-minus 34 hours, give or take, until Ironman Wisconsin starts to think about writing (as has been the case for most of the week too). You'd think that with two of these already under my belt, I'd be less anxious than I actually am. But being surrounded by an abnormal amount of uber-fit athletes and bikes that make my ride look like it needs to be retired, the race day jitters start to fly.

So what am I doing to calm my nerves? Definitely not looking at the weather forecast--that'll drive me crazy. Instead, I've been reading.
  • Whoa, Lance Armstrong can't run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon? The Chicago Tribune and Runner's World explain why.
  • If you loved the Epic Pass for its unlimited skiing at six, now seven, resorts in Colorado and Lake Tahoe, Vail Resorts just sweetened the deal on this less-than-$700-for-a-season-of-skiing pass. I know where I want to ski this winter--and it's not in the U.S.
  • Yes! The Spartan Race is coming to Chicago in October!
  • Who's running this 5K, or one of the others in the series, this month?
  • I'm not even running the New York Marathon, but I'm thankful the race organizers reversed the baggage policy put into place two weeks ago.
  • Gravity hits new heights with these yoga moves. If you missed the viral hit "The Contortionist", "The Balancing Act" is a follow up that's even more hair-raising--or motivating to get me back to regular yoga.
What links are you loving today? Share them with us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top 10 Workout Songs for September

Credit: Mulad
Workout playlist sounding a little stale? Mine is, after slogging through a summer of training miles. And it's only going to get worse because after Sunday, I'll really be needing some fresh tunes, ones that I don't associate with 140.6 miles of racing (that's what Ironman did to me this time around).

Run Hundred couldn't have had better timing with naming their Top 10 workout songs for September. And we're lucky that they shared their list with us. The list draws from the Top 40--heavy on pop tunes but from genres that included club, rock, country and remix. So what are people listening to when they're sweating it out during a workout? Here's the latest list:

To find more workout songs, check out the free database at, or check out the lists from earlier this year, January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August. What are you listening to when you exercise? We're all for recommendations!

Photo grabbed from Mulad at

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fit-Pic: Lakefront Path Celeb Spotting

Can you guess who I saw running on the Lakefront Path yesterday? Considering this is a picture from behind and it's blurry, here's a clue, and one that practically gives away the answer if you're reading a little too much at and E!Online. This celebrity couple shared some exciting news earlier in the week--they became parents!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Triathlons That Keep on Giving

Wouldn't you want a pass like this for triathlon? Credit
Being a triathlete is expensive. And I'm not talking about the gear though that'll set you back a pretty penny if you're aiming to match some of the sport's top dogs. It's the race fees that really start to hurt the wallet.

Think about it. How much did you pay for the last 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon you signed up for? My answers: $30, $40 (and that was the day before), $43, and $100-something. And how much did you pay for the last triathlon you did? If it was the Chicago Triathlon, you could have paid more than $150 if you were one of the last people to register. I get it: Triathlons are longer events, more sports are involved, which take up more space and create greater logistical challenges, and more calories are burned, and unless it's Ironman (minus Louisville), you're not all going to start at the same time.

Triathlons are expensive. And to be honest, those fees only increase year after year. The first time I did Ironman, I paid $500 something, and when I paid for the one I'm about to do, it was $675 once all the processing fees were added. Can we say ouch on the wallet?


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