Monday, March 31, 2014

6 Chicago Races Whose Fees Go Up at Midnight

Finish on the 50-yard line at the Soldier Field 10
on Saturday, May 24. 
I hate (big bold hate here) paying full price for race registrations. And when you participate in a lot of runs and triathlons like I do, especially those half- and full-Ironmans, your wallet takes a huge hit.

I'm still in the process of finishing my 2013 taxes, and itemizing everything that can't be written off, but I don't want to even think about how much money I spent on races in the last year. Or how much I could have saved if I didn't wait until the last-minute to sign-up for some races because I didn't know if my body would hold up to be able to cross the finish line.

Surely, I'm not alone here. Who doesn't wait until the weather gets warmer or the first race of the season has been completed before plotting out the rest of your running and racing season? OK, so I have a friend who might sign up for everything and then bail on all those races that sounded pretty exciting in January but lost their luster come June and July. For the rest of us, we weren't ready to pull the trigger in the middle of winter, but we're ready to add some races to the calendar now before we're paying full price (or watching the race fill).

Tomorrow might be April Fool's Day, but it's no joke that some race registrations will rise with the start of a new month. No fooling here: The clock's counting down to save on these six Chicago races.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fit-Pic: Up Close with a Sochi Paralympics Medal

When the 2014 Olympians and Paralympians won medals in Sochi at the Winter Games, they really won some hardware. Not that I'd expect anything less, but let's just say that Keith Gabel's bronze medal, which he won in para-snowboard cross, was H-E-A-V-Y. According to details about the medals presented in Sochi, it should be.
  • Each medal is 10mm thick and has a diameter of 100mm.
  • While the Olympic medals weigh between 460 and 531 grams, the Paralympic medals weigh between 585 and 686 grams. 
  • The metals used to make these medals come from Russia. 
  • The bronze medal, which I got to check out in more detail courtesy of Keith Gabel, is made of 585 grams of bronze. 
  • The Paralympic medals are designed in the same style as the Olympic medals, but they also have inscriptions written in Braille. 
  • It takes roughly 18 hours to make one medal--and 1,300 were produced for the Games!
I got up close and personal with the bronze medal Keith Gabel won in para snowboard cross at an event Thursday night in Colorado Springs (so glad I randomly found out about that one!). But I didn't dare wear it around my neck after he gave the OK to look at it. Gabel said the medal could get tarnished if it touched a zipper, so I kept it as far away from my jacket as I could.

After listening to Gabel speak about how his road to the 2014 Paralympic Games, I still had one question: How did he wear this hardware around his neck for his hour-long presentation and not show any signs of it weighing him down? He must have gotten used to wearing it for long hours celebrating post-race in Sochi!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fit-Pic: Crested Butte

Skiing, anyone? There's always a first time for everything, and this weekend marked my first time skiing Crested Butte in Colorado. Going in, I admittedly only knew a few things about the resort.

  • My dad skied there in 1986 and loved it.
  • I watch too much reality TV and still remember scenes from town when The Hills' Heidi, who was from Crested Butte, and Spencer Pratt would visit her family. Did I take note of where they dined for some post-ski eats? Nope. 
  • While you'd find plenty of terrain for skiers of all abilities, Crested Butte primarily catered to the expert crowd. That might not be the reputation the mountain is going for, but it's what was pushing my husband and I to head west and check it out--him especially. 
  • And that peak in the background? It's the resort's namesake, Mt. Crested Butte.
But what a place! Off the beaten--and heavily trafficked--Interstate 70, Crested Butte is a happy place for weekend ski warriors. That's code for minimal lines on a Saturday coupled with awesome terrain to tackle. Hopefully Sunday brings more of the same--and maybe even some freshies.

Disclaimer: lift tickets to Crested Butte Mountain Resort were provided by CBMR.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why You'll Want to Run With Nike Tonight

Run with Nike and meet Matt Forte, #22
for the Chicago Bears, March 13. Credit

Two Chicago Bears who are invested in the Chicago running community? And the opportunity to meet them in the same week? I'm more of a fair-weather Bears fan (I've never been to Soldier Field for a football game but I've been there countless times for running events), but even I know this is too good to be true. It's just too bad the weather can't seem to cooperate and throw us a bone with warmer temperatures and less of a wintry mix on the ground. Or as Charles Tillman said on Saturday at his inaugural Peanut Tillman 5K, "It's Bears weather!"

One look outside your window--or one step outside--and you know that spring is far from springing. It's snowy, it's cloudy, it's cold. Daylight savings may have ended over the weekend, but the weather is frightful more than it is delightful.

We're still running in our winter layers and Yaktrax--or abandoning the outdoors for the treadmill. But whether our running bodies like it or not, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, the Chicago race that kicks off the unofficial start to the city's running season, is a little more than two weeks away on Sunday, March 30. Hard to believe the running season will be starting soon when winter seems so never-ending.

Who doesn't need a little shove out the door when running conditions are far from ideal? Nike Running Bucktown has some of that running motivation...especially tonight. The store's Run Club, which meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at 1640 N. Damen, will host Matt Forte, a running back for the Chicago Bears, and Carey Pinkowski, executive race director for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Bank of America Chicago Marathon. After runners return to the store, Forte will host a short Q&A and share an overview of his foundation and the charity team that he's recruiting for the upcoming Shamrock Shuffle.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fit-Pic: Snowshoe Sunday

Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures, 12 inches of fresh powder. Sounds like a great day for skiing, right? But snowshoeing? Isn't that more for the days when you're not itching to make fresh tracks, tear up the powder, or ski until your legs practically fall off?

Not today. Today was all about swapping the skis for the snowshoes. And racing--or at least crossing a finish line and having a time tacked onto the 5K you just logged.

At Beaver Creek Resort, Sunday, March 2, was the day of the final race of the 2014 Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series. I had already missed the first race of the series and skipped the second to ski, so the snowshoes were going to have to make an appearance whether I wished I was skiing or not. So snow or no snow, I'd be parting with my skis to strap on my snowshoes to tackle the cut trails and singletrack at McCoy Park, the resort's nordic center that sits 10,000-plus feet above sea level at the top of the Strawberry Park lift.

And I wasn't alone. Just look at these snowshoers snaking their way across the trail before getting to the singletrack. All people I wanted to catch up to as I got stalled at the start with a snowshoe that wouldn't stay on my foot. But more on that (and more pictures) after I've recovered from the weekend's active adventures. The Talons Challenge and Snowshoe Series take a lot out of this girl!


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