Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fit-Pic: 2013 Life Time Tri Chicago

You know it's Chicago Triathlon weekend when the Lakefront Path is virtually blocked off from Randolph to almost Monroe to fence the grassy area across from Columbia Yacht Club. It's all to arrange the bike racks for the 47 waves of amateur athletes and the two waves of professionals. The crazy part is that even with all of those racks, the bikes are still crammed in there--in fact, it wouldn't be a triathlon if that wasn't the case.  See?

What makes the Life Time Tri Chicago (sorry still getting used to calling it that after I've known it as Mrs. T's, Accenture, and the plain old Chicago Triathlon for years) truly special is not only its size--it received the title of world's largest triathlon a few years ago--but its spectator friendly course. OK, so you can't watch much of the bike if you're also trying to watch the swim and run (trust me, I've tried). But at the intersection of Monroe and the Lakefront, spectators can watch runners on one path and swimmers sprinting out of the water and heading toward transition on the other. And that's all with a view of the Windy City's skyscrapers.

Were you out watching the triathlon earlier today? I was racing, but I'm saving that race report for another day. I'm still recovering from my 4am wake up call.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meet Chicago Triathlete Jim Bey

Jim Bey at Ironman Florida 1999

I'm a big race fan. Not always completing them myself (I'm still the girl who can't sleep the night before a triathlon) or being a good cheerleader at them, but I love learning what drives others to toe the line. With the Life Time Chicago Triathlon this weekend, it only seemed fitting that I share some stories from triathletes who'll be competing. That said, meet Jim Bey.

Based on race times alone, Jim Bey, a 47-year-old triathlete from Naperville, seems like your average age-grouper. Sure, he has a speedy swim time thanks to his days as a collegiate swimmer, but he's comparable to the rest of the field on the bike and run. And he's fast enough to qualify for the USA Triathlon Nationals, which he competed in two weeks ago.

But Bey's road to the start line is a little different from most of the men he's racing against. For starters, he's lucky to be competing at all. Bey broke both of his legs and sustained other injuries in a serious car accident nearly 20 years ago. The driver of the vehicle died when the car hit a pole; Bey was fortunate enough to land himself in the hospital for a few months. Sure, it wasn't an easy recovery, but Bey was determined to walk again.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Triathlon Tips: How to Survive the Race

It doesn’t matter how many triathlons I’ve done—and I’ve lost track of the number—but I still get race-day jitters. Make that race weekend jitters. I start to fear flatting on the bike, swimming through the crowds (I once got strangled by a fellow swimmer and pushed far under water by another), and running with not enough miles or bricks on my legs…as I’m packing my transition bag. The deer in headlights look? That’s totally me come race morning where I’m surprised I have it together enough to set up my transition gear and not forget anything.

But as scared, nervous and maybe even confused as I may have been before those triathlons, I’ve survived every one of them. Certainly not all gracefully as I’ve been kicked more times than I’d care to count in the swim, got that flat tire on the bike not once but twice, and felt my legs literally run out of juice when there were miles to go before the finish line. The battle wounds (I kid) may have healed but I still have the finisher medals, the materialistic proof that I survived.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fit-Pic: Elvis is Alive

August in Chicago can mean a lot of things. Lollapalooza. The Air and Water Show. The Chicago Triathlon. And tonight it meant the 16th running of an August classic: Fleet Feet Chicago's Elvis is Alive 5K. Call it a chance to put on your blue suede shoes, grow out your sideburns, poof your pompadour, and pull on your Elvis-inspired jumpsuits to party like you're in Vegas and run.

"One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go cat go!" Joe "Elvis" Tirrito, the star of the post-race Elvis tribute performance, blasted the start horn, and runners, all-Elvis dressed first, sprinted down the path in Lincoln Park.

Not all Elvis-dressed runners started at the front of the pack, like this duo back where a friend and I were running. But hey, we all earned our peanut butter and banana sandwiches at the finish line.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Top 10 Songs to Sweat to August 2013

Long hours on the bike trainer. Weekends spent running. Intervals that you just have to blast out a couple times a week. We get it: Summer is for sweating. But come August, that playlist you've been listening to for a while is probably starting to feel old, really old. And maybe you're thinking you'd rather trade time hanging on a boat with friends than having to listen to Ke$ha's C'Mon one more time.

Once again, Run Hundred comes to the rescue with its monthly top 10 list. Votes on the site determined  this list dominated by pop music--and fast beats with nothing below 109 beats per minute. I'm seeing some serious speed gushing through my veins when I push play. And I'm already recognizing some of my radio favorites. Maybe there's a song in the bunch that'll make you want to bust out your running shoes or go RPM crazy on the bike.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What To Do This Weekend: Races, Sailing and Volleyball

Match Cup racing after a workout? Yes, please!
Whether you’re still recovering from Lollapalooza last weekend or you’re gearing up for the Air and Water Show next weekend, you still have to face this weekend, the one that’s in between those summer highlights. And if you’re like me, you're probably trying to have as active a weekend as possible this weekend since you know you'll have to flee town to run and bike when the Lakefront Path virtually shuts down to those of us who like to play on it. It's not about how to survive those outdoor entertainments—it's figuring out where you can race and train when you can't hit those regular spots, or fight pedestrian traffic to get there.

Lucky for us, this weekend holds plenty of activities to keep us from sleeping through it or feeling like we’re missing out on summer's finest activities. And that's just Chicago, where my one-track mind is focused at the moment. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about sports this weekend:


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