Chocolate milk never tasted as good as it did after Sunday’s XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. I was hungry. I was thirsty—and not for another water cup or Gatorade chug. And I was hurting—my muscles started screaming at me before I hit the halfway mark, likely a result of the loops I did between home and McCormick Place on Friday to visit the expo (not once, but twice) and the four-hour bike ride I finished Saturday afternoon. How’s this for an endorsement: I forgot about all of those—and my horribly slow time—after one sip of chocolate milk.
If you’re reaching for a beer immediately after you cross the finish line at your 'A' race or upon your return home from a training run, you might want to swap that brown ale for a little brown dairy instead. Research shows that drinking lowfat chocolate milk helps athletes with a performance edge, and if you drink it after a strenuous workout, you could be boosting your power and training times during your next workout. We all want to get faster and set PRs, right? And here’s one mix of carbs and protein that does it. I’d also like to think that it can help ward off some injuries, especially those related to all the pavement pounding we put our legs through, because the calcium and vitamin D help with bone health.
But while you might have the refrigerator stocked at home, you know you’re not about to watch some of that inventory spoil from sitting in your checked bag all day. The good news is that Team Refuel and Got Chocolate Milk are helping to bring chocolate milk to race finish lines around the country this year by teaming up with local dairies to provide fresh and local product. They were at Sunday’s half marathon—not only handing out milk cartons at the finish line but some Team Refuel ambassadors, including Dr. Andy Baldwin of The Bachelor fame, were running the race—and expect to see them at the Life Time Chicago Triathlon, Ironman Wisconsin and other Rock 'n' Roll races around the country.
Here’s one of Dr. Andy’s secrets: He drinks chocolate milk before a race, too. Maybe that’s why he was so tough to keep up with. I ran with him for two miles (thanks Team Refuel), but I never would have made it to the finish line had I stayed at his pace. Hmm, maybe that means I should have had more chocolate milk before I rushed out the door Sunday morning.
One night, two running races. They both pay homage to France: one celebrates the storming of the Bastille and French independence while the other serves up oodles of French fries. They’re both in president-named parks: Lincoln Park for one and Grant Park for the other. And they both boast pretty awesome post-race parties; one has been known to go strong hours after crossing the 5K finish line, while the other dumps runners into the festivities that are the Taste of Chicago.
On Thursday, July 12, you have your choice of running not one but two Chicago mainstays. And actually, judging from their start times—and if you skip the post-race party or cruise through it quickly—you could run both. It might involve cycling between locations, but it’s doable.
The Humana Race to Taste starts at Queen’s Landing in Grant Park (head to Buckingham Fountain and you’ll find it) at 6:15pm. Usually held on a weekend morning, the race date changed just like the dates of the Taste, but its perks remained just as enticing. Runners can sample healthy options served up at the Taste of Chicago at the 5K’s post-party, but they get a strip of tickets to use at the Taste. Perhaps for a slice of deep dish?
The Bastille Day 5K & 8K starts outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. The 8K kicks off first at 7:15pm, followed by the 5K at 7:30pm. And if you didn’t have fun while running, you know you’ll find it at the block party that goes strong until 10pm (maybe even later).
Where are you running—and racing—Thursday night?
Shea McClellin, the Boise State defensive end who was selected as the Chicago Bears’ 2012 first-round draft pick, will be the first person to tell you he’s not a runner. If it’s longer than 110 yards—and even that’s a stretch—he shudders. But that’s not going to keep him from supporting the Chicago running scene, namely this Saturday’s Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Marathon and its accompanying Karhu 5K.
McClellin has teamed up with Allstate to help the insurance company collect moderately used athletic shoes to donate to charity after the June 9 race. It makes sense considering McClellin played through several pairs of cleats during his career at Boise State and donated the not-completely-trashed ones to his high school team. Allstate and the non-profit organization Give Your Sole have partnered to create a national shoe donation program that benefits homeless shelters and mission in race markets. The Chicago race kicks off this program with shoes being distributed locally to Breakthrough, an organization that provides shelter, meals and other services to homeless men, women and children around the city.
Runners, spectators and anyone with shoes to spare who can head down to the South Shore Cultural Center (or stop by Fleet Feet Sports in Old Town or Lincoln Square during packet pick-up hours) can hand over their shoes to support the cause. And if you wait until the finish line festival, you’re sure to spot McClellin and maybe even hand off your shoes to him while receiving a pair of flip-flops in exchange. Not a bad way to part with your current pair of race-day sneakers—or whatever’s sitting in your closet collecting dust—especially if the weather forecast holds true and you’re head-to-toe sweaty and wet. Besides, it’s a good reason to splurge on new shoes.
Unless it’s because you crossed the finish line first or won your age group, it’s unlikely that you’d receive an award for running (correct me if I’m wrong). And when you do receive race-day honors, chances are that you’re still wearing your sweaty shorts and singlet, your hair is tousled from your speedy efforts, and your Sunday’s best attire is at home, hanging in your closet.
But when you’re named the recipient of the Mayor Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley Award, all of these perceptions go out the window. Just ask Dr. José Oberholzer, the charismatic director of the Chicago Diabetes Project, who was honored with the second annual award Tuesday night. The race he ran to receive this honor, the 34th Bank of America Chicago Marathon, was more than seven months ago—and now runners are lacing up their shoes to begin training for the 35th edition. He didn’t finish first in terms of the clock—though he’s no slouch on the run and has some sub-three-hour marathons to his name. And the charity reception in the tent outside Park Grill, where the award was presented, wasn’t exactly a come-in-your-shorts-and-sneakers affair.
Oberholzer was honored for raising more than $125,000 with his team, Cellmates on the Run, for the Chicago Diabetes Project, which is a collaboration of scientists, researchers, physicians and surgeons dedicated to curing diabetes. Global in scope, Oberholzer has brought this motley crew together with some of the funds he and the team have raised running the marathon. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley joined race director Carey Pinkowski and Bank of America Illinois President Tim Maloney in presenting the award, which was established in 2010 to honor the Bank of America Chicago Marathon participant who raised the most funds for charity.
“Dr. José Oberholzer and the Chicago Diabetes Project embody the charitable spirit and community focus of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” said Maloney. “It’s an honor to present this award to José, as he oversees a project in Chicago that is committed to advancing diabetes research, and to ultimately finding a cure for a disease that more than 1.3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with each year.”
What’s equally as impressive is two-fold. Cellmates on the Run has only been an official marathon charity since 2009, raising roughly $300,000 through three years of marathon fundraising efforts. And Dr. Oberholzer is not only the director of the Chicago Diabetes Project, but he also holds a number of titles at the University of Illinois at Chicago: director of the Islet and Pancreas Transplant Program, chief of its Division of Transplantation, and associate professor of surgery, endocrinology and diabetes, and bioengineering. Um, one question, Dr. Oberholzer: How do you find time to run?
Tequila, margaritas, churros, chips and salsa. Sounds like the food and drink spread at one of the weekend’s Cinco de Mayo parties, doesn't it? Except this fiesta, minus the tequila and margaritas, is happening on Sunday morning. At Montrose. With breakfast burritos. With cerveza, the first beer courtesy of the race. With the band El Guapo. After you run 5 miles and get a calorie burn in the bank. It’s the Cinco de Miler race, dubbed Chicago’s only five miler (the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is an 8K, just under the 5-mile mark).
Consider this RAM Racing event your excuse to continue whatever partying you’ll be doing for Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. It’s early enough, 9:30 am, to condone an all-nighter—you can always crash after and sleep until Monday morning. It’s short enough to not be too painful even if you’re feeling wrecked. It’s long enough to count as a good workout, and one where you’ll burn enough calories to eat that finish line churro. It has piñatas to crack where proceeds from the $2 for 30 seconds of piñata bashing benefits Chicago Run. It has seeded corrals to control the traffic flow on the Lakefront Path. And per other RAM races, like the summer’s Terrapin 5K or the fall’s Bucktown 5K, it promises another cool wearable to add to the collection. If you’re a runner, it’s an ideal Cinco de Mayo celebration.
We all know it’s running season in Chicago even if the weather bounces between cool spring and warm summer. If you’re still looking for a race to run this weekend, you’re in luck because you can still register for the Cinco de Miler. It’s $50 well spent on a run, a beer, a band, a burrito and more. But beware: race registration is expected to close sometime this week. Until then, you can sign up here.
The temperatures might be constantly fluctuating, but those running races you signed up for back when training felt like it wouldn’t be a big deal (you know, weeks ago) are steady on the calendar. And they’re not going anywhere whether you opt out of a run because it’s too cold or you ran too much because you saw signs of spring.
Take the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, the 8K that takes over the downtown streets and unofficially ushers in our running season: It’s 20 days away on Sunday, March 25. Perfect if you’ve been running on your own in our milder-than-normal winter. Not perfect, not even by a long shot, if your shoes have been sitting in your closet since before the winter solstice started. Also not perfect, if you hate trying to run on your own in conditions that aren’t your favorite—you know, the colder, winder, less sunny kind.
But who said you had to train on your own? Everyone knows it’s easier and usually far more fun to run with a group, me included even though it doesn’t happen often enough. You don’t have to worry about tracking down a training group, as long as you can run on Mondays. Just show up at Fleet Feet’s Old Town location by 6:30 pm ready to run and you’re set on training for the next three weeks. In conjunction with Nike, complimentary Shamrock Shuffle-specific training started out of the store last week. Training runs through March 19, features familiar faces as your pacers and offers post-run refreshments. Register at ownchi.com to add a social component, Run Loud, to your running—messages, photos, race day updates.
And if Mondays don’t work, Running Away Multisport has a 5-mile training program kicking off on Wednesday. It’s a beginners program aimed to train newbie runners in nine weeks for RAM Racing’s Cinco de Miler.
Speaking of races, it's not too late to sign up for either. Shamrock can be the kick-off and then see if you can run the slightly longer Cinco de Miler (it's roughly a 0.03-mile difference) faster. Maybe some personal bests are in your future this season with some training runs under your belt? As long as the weather doesn’t turn foul is how I roll.
Running in shorts and a T-shirt without freezing? Running without having to heed snow, sleet, rain, ice and cold wind gusts? Running a race before the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle ushers in the official race season? Count me in. And that’s exactly what I did when I heard about the Warm Your Heart 5K (OK, you caught me, the end-of-2011 registration deal also helped).
Thinking about how cold it can be in February—and how little I usually run when my choices are narrowed to choosing a treadmill—it made sense. Held Sunday, Feb 26, this 5K would run through climate-controlled McCormick Place. How? One can only guess at a course that could cover 3.1 miles indoors at the convention center, but curiosity might be reason alone to check it out. How else would you learn how to snake a course through an indoor venue for 2,500 runners of mixed speeds and abilities?
But being curious about the course isn’t the only reason to run. What about having an inaugural event on the calendar when others in the city are climbing stairs at the Hustle Up the Hancock? Or not having to wake up crazy early—the race starts at 9 a.m. Or getting the blood pumping during Heart Health Month—the race benefits Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
Want to learn more? Read all about it at warmyourheart5k.com.
Thought about running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7? Debated between this 26.2 miler and another one—say Twin Cities, Detroit or putting it all on the line by entering the ING NYC Marathon lottery? If you haven’t pulled the trigger, as some have called it, yet, you’re going to have to hurry up and decide. And even then, you might be too late.
The 35th annual Chicago Marathon opened its registration at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1. Before the day was out, the race announced it had surpassed its first-day registration total from 2011—when the race filled its 45,000-runner field in 31 days. The next morning, rumors started circulating that the race would sell out soon and warned to register soon. Fast forward to this morning and what do I find in my inbox? An email from the marathon announcing that more than 30,000 runners had already handed over $150 ($175 for international runners) to solidify their general entry, also known as the buy-now-drop-out-later option, into the October 7 race. If that’s not enough to convince you to register sooner rather than later, then maybe 2012 isn’t your year to run Chicago or maybe it’s your year to run with a charity team, which tend to have entries remaining after registration closes.
And while you’re at it, you may as well add the Shamrock Shuffle to your list. It’s a good season opener—even though it’s crowded as all get-out—but you do get a rare sampling of the marathon course (the start and finish are the same as are some of the city streets you’ll travel), a Nike Dri-Fit tee, and only five miles of pain as opposed to 26.2. It’ll be a race to see which one closes first—and when. Where would you put your money?
Running Saturday’s F^3 Lake Half Marathon seemed like a good idea months ago. Back when you spent hours of your summer running along the Lakefront. Back when you had the miles of the Chicago Half Marathon or the Bank of America Chicago Marathon under your belt. Back when you couldn’t resist paying less than $45 for a half marathon in the Windy City.
But then the busy holiday season hit and your running shoes took a backseat to your party ones. But then the weather turned cold—and sometimes icy and snowy—and hibernating under a blanket sounded better than running outside. But then snow entered the forecast for the morning of the race and you really started wondering how you’d survive 13.1 miles in far-from-ideal conditions. Sure, you have to expect that when you sign up for a race that’s labeled the F^ing Freezing Frozen, held in January in one of the colder parts of the country when the wind blows. But you always hoped that race day would warrant one of those surprise spring-like days we saw around Christmas or earlier in the month…or today.
Since that’s not the case, at least if you’ve been monitoring weather.com, here are some survival suggestions for tomorrow’s half marathon. After all, you want to earn that medal that doubles as a bottle opener.
Dress in layers. When it’s hot, the choice is simple: wear as few clothes as possible to stay cool. When it’s cold, you want to wear more layers to stay warm at the start, but you have to account for your body’s rising temperature as you start moving and avoid overheating. And around these parts, a layer to protect against the wind is always key.
Bring a garbage bag. This sounds crazy, but when there’s a chance of inclement weather—snow or rain or that funky mixture that likes to fall when it’s not quite freezing—a bag poked with arm holes and a head hole is your best weapon against the elements. You can always yank it off and toss it aside when you don’t want it anymore.
Wear an older pair of shoes. You know how you’ve been advised to rotate your running shoes so you don’t have one high-mileage pair and that’s it? Consider wearing one of the pairs that are on their way out of the rotation, or are more worn-in to weather the elements, than that favorite newbie pair.
Hydrate and fuel. Cold air has a drying effect that can make you even more dehydrated during a race. Plus you’re still sweating and losing fluids. Remember this Runner’s World advisory: You want to eat or drink carb-rich items on runs that are longer than 75 minutes.
Have fun. It’s a race so you’ll want to have your game face on, but don’t forget that it’s only January, and you don’t necessarily have to PR this early in the year. Besides, wouldn’t you rather cross the finish line with a smiling or a sighing in relief than a wincing in pain? Speaking of which, you could always downgrade to the 5K option.
Sometimes you just need a nudge to go outside and run. Especially when it gets dark before you leave the office. Especially when it’s winter—even if there’s fluke weather outside that’s making it feel more like March or April. Especially when it doesn’t involve a race that cost you some serious dough. But dangle another carrot—or two—like that which promises food and beer, and that run sounds a little more appealing. Doesn’t it?
If your mouth is starting to water at the prospects, there’s an answer to your prayers. Or 12 answers--one Monday per month. It’s the Burgers and Beer Fun Run Series, which kicks of its 2012 season tonight, January 9, at Universal Sole’s Lakeview location.
Show up in your running gear at 6:30pm ready to run, walk or shuffle your way through a 5K or 5 miles. The sweet, er savory, reward? A post-run gathering at Fizz Bar to nosh on burgers, available at a special price, and imbibe Goose Island 312 beer, where the first round is on the house. It doesn’t get much better than a happy hour where the workout is already done, at least for this runner.
Ah but wait. Universal Sole knows how to sweeten the pot. The store is partnering with Saucony for some additional Burgers and Beer night deals. The store will offer some discounts on Saucony shoes and gear during these runs. Participate in six runs, take home a Burgers & Beer pint glass. Come to eight runs, score a special wicking shirt and other swag. Run all 12, be rewarded with an embroidered Burgers & Beer Saucony gift.
Can’t make it tonight? Check out Universal Sole’s Burgers and Beer schedule for the rest of the year.
How did 2011 go by so fast? One minute we’re ringing in the unofficial start to the running season with the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and then we’re battening down the hatches to prepare for winter training and opening holiday gifts for the next running season. And more importantly, perhaps, we’re busy planning those races for 2012 and setting goals. Here’s one to put on the calendar for 2012—and do it sooner rather than later if you’re the planner or penny-pincher type: the Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile race.
This race has become a favorite among Chicagoans. It typically welcomes the summer running season (and warm weather) with its Memorial Weekend kick-off on Saturday, May 26. It offers the unique opportunity to run through Soldier Field—and finish on the 50-yard line of its hallowed grass. If you’re a newer runner, the 10-mile distance is perfect to train for without moving into half marathon and marathon territory (but also works as a good jumping-off point to prep you for those longer distances). If you’re a seasoned distance runner, the distance is one you can likely cover without too much thought or anxiety (and wouldn’t we all like that every once in a while when it come to racing?).
But here’s the best part, at least for my budget-saving brain: The Soldier Field 10 offers attractive pre-season pricing that’s good until the end of the year. Uh, make that 24 hours (I wasn’t lying when I thought the year flew by). From now until the clock strikes midnight to welcome in 2012, you can register for the SF10 for $65. After the new year, the price goes up to its regular season pricing--$80. It’s an offer that’s hard to refuse, especially if your running race calendar is looking to be a full one.
For more details about the 2012 Soldier Field 10 or to register, check out soldierfield10.com.
Last night’s snowfall has you choosing the gym over the trail, even if you despise the dreadmill. You’ve had enough of the holiday hoopla, the kind that involves late-night dinners and parties—it’s cramping your running style—and it’s not even December 10, and you know there’s more to come. You know you’ve indulged on one too many Christmas cookies, candy canes, cups of eggnog and trips to the brat stand at the Christkindlmarket, and you’re not making up for it with a workout (again it’s those holiday events getting in the way).
Whatever your excuse is for not running during the week, or last weekend when it rained, or any other justification you can concoct for why your sneakers are starting to gather dust in your closet, you can put a stop to it this weekend. It’s easy to get your run on Saturday and Sunday, especially if you need an event to get you out the door (I know I do this time of year, when I’m perfectly content burrowing under the covers and hitting snooze multiple times). Here are five ways to get started.
Red Bull Trail Daze. You’ll have to hustle to Universal Sole in Lakeview before they close tonight to register for this Saturday morning race, but you won’t regret it when you take to the forest preserve trails at Palos. The 500-person event lets you choose the trail you want to conquer, easy, medium and hard. Will it be short yet punishing, easy yet high on mileage, or somewhere in between?
Update: If you wanted to run, you’ll have to wait until next year as the race sold out Friday afternoon. But don’t let it stop you from a trail run at Palos—you can always spy on the participants and plot your course for next time.
Element Multisport/Newton Pancake Fun Run. If you want to stay local Saturday morning, not spend any money and not have your mileage set in stone (though the organizers do say it's three miles no drop) for you, join this run departing from Element at 9 am. If a run isn’t enough to get you out the door, there will be pancakes when you return to the store. Consider it refueling before you fight the masses at Costco.
Rudolph Ramble. Not to knock the other runs this weekend, but I’d opt for this Sunday special merely because the weather promises to be warmer. Me, sub-freezing temperatures, black ice potential and missing cold-weather gloves do not make a good combo. But running an 8K through Lincoln Park at 9 am, and getting a holiday-themed tech tee and wearable antlers, sounds doable if we see warm-ish, relatively speaking, temps. And at least I still have until tomorrow to head to Fleet Feet to sign up.
Ironman World Championship viewing. If you really don’t want to run and nothing will convince you otherwise—not me, your significant other, or any amount of begging and pleading—you won’t need the compression gear, running shoes or technical materials for this event. They’re all optional at Lincoln Hall from 3-5 pm on Saturday, where triathletes, endurance junkies and pretty much anyone else who’s intrigued by Ironman will be watching the NBC airing of the Ironman World Championship, which happened in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 8. Sure, you can watch it from your couch, but if you RSVP and attend this event, you could win some gear during the commercial breaks. Pretty good deal—a $5 donation to the Challenged Athletes Foundation is requested at the door—if you score a raffle prize and still needed to check off that gift for the athlete on your list.
Not a fan of running in cold weather? Last week’s Turkey Trot was cool enough for me. But the promise of slightly warmer weather during today’s weekend weather forecast—at least I swear I saw claims in my half-awake stupor—and an event that sounds too spirited to skip might just get me up and running Saturday morning.
Wouldn’t you be curious about a 5K called the Santa Hustle? I sure am especially since I’ve dragged myself out of a warm bed to shuffle across the ice for the Rudolph Ramble and sprint through River North and Fulton Market for the Jingle Bell Run. Besides, this Hustle has one of the most unique goodie bags ever with its Santa hat, white beard, and technical T-shirt that doubles as a red Claus coat. Even if you do have to wear it for the race, and potentially look pretty darn silly, it’s nice to know that everyone else is doing it too. And they’re getting up early to get their Ho, Ho, Ho on—the race starts at 9 am but you know as well as I do that a race at Montrose requires early arrival or you’ll be searching forever for a parking spot.
If you know right now that you’re in for running this race, hustle over the Universal Sole to register (or register online beforehand) and pick up your packet because there is no day-of option. If you’re still on the fence, maybe because you’re doubting that the weather gods will behave and provide good running conditions, just plan to watch the Santas depart from Montrose. You can always run sans costume on your own time, and maybe take some pictures that aren’t bouncy from running with a camera. Just a thought. Or get motivated watching these Santas and then make your way to Indianapolis to run that Santa Hustle on December 17.
But, to the weather gods, please oh please, don’t rain or be too windy along the Lakefront. If that happens, I really will go into hibernation with no chance of running until we see signs of spring. And forget spectating simply to ease my curiosity on this march of the Santas—a warm bed is too inviting when it's cold, windy and wet.
Eat all day Thursday. Shop all day Friday. Shop again at the second Small Business Saturday. Isn’t that how all Thanksgivings are supposed to be scheduled? Feasting followed by retail therapy? If it means replacing the running shoes I burned out at yesterday’s Turkey Trot or saving on gifts for the other runners in my life, I’ll take it. Even if that does mean venturing out to the stores on this Black Friday, a day that might be better spent running (they are calling for a high of 60 after all) than waiting in line.
But I’m not suggesting pushing through the crowds at Water Tower Place, the State Street shops or the suburban malls. Nor am I urging a fight over the price-is-right sports gear at Old Navy, where the entire store is seemingly on sale at its Gooblepalooza, or the electronics sales at Best Buy.
Nope, running is on the brain when it comes to these Black Friday steals. Here are a few to check out, some of which continue through the weekend (even better!).
The Leftovers Sale. We have food leftovers in the fridge and Fleet Feet has a season’s worth of “leftover” gear in their stores at Piper’s Alley and Lincoln Square. The retailer’s Leftovers sale went into play when the doors opened this morning at 10 am and runs until Monday. Shop early because it’s only while supplies last in terms of scoring the best gear. But chances are it’ll be tough to go home empty handed considering apparel, shoes, sports bras and more are on sale.
Winter Gear Sale. Universal Sole’s flagship location is serving as the packet pick-up spot for Saturday’s Grant Park Turkey Trot, but it’s also serving up some deals on winter gear until Sunday. Not only is winter apparel discounted, but so are sale items (more than their sale price).
Online sales. Yes, we have to wait a few days for Cyber Monday, but apparently it’s not stopping online retailers from offering up the bargains. Under Armour, Skirt Sports, Adidas, Nike, to name a few—there’s something to be saved. It might not be a tamer crowd at the running stores, but it’ll be a familiar one. And who couldn’t use a closet restocking, especially adding winter gear, or a running shoe refresher? Not me.
Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie. It’s a meal fit for a king, or a queen, and it’s hitting our tables (or the restaurant menus) in a few short days. But before that Thanksgiving meal does its traditional damage, derailing those diets and hitting off the perennial holiday weight gain, we can at least try to give ourselves an extra burn in the calorie bank. Thanksgiving might be known as a food-consumption marathon, but who said running—and no, not 26.2 miles as a foot race marathon would dictate—a turkey trot can’t be part of the tradition, too?
If you’re thinking you need a reason to lace up your running shoes come Thursday (or an excuse to arrive at Grandma’s a little later than planned), here are a few options for where you can go hob nob gobble at races in and around the city.
Turkey Trot Chicago. Celebrating 34 years of running, the same number as the Chicago Marathon, this 8K is practically a Chicago Thanksgiving tradition based on years alone. Gather in Lincoln Park with the runners and non-runners (hey, there’s a walk, too) of your family and hit the path with roughly 5,000 other participants.
North Shore Turkey Trot. Missed out on a wind jacket at this year’s Hot Chocolate race earlier in the month? RAM Racing can top it with a fleece jacket if you’re willing to trek it up to Highland Park for this 5K.
Edison Park Turkey Trot. Whether you want to stay put on the northwest side or explore a different part of town, you can at this neighborhood 5K. And even if you decide at the last minute that you want to run, you won’t have to fret about expensive race-day registration costs that often turn off runners (or this runner). At $25, you’ve practically entered a time machine that dropped you off circa 2005.
Old St. Pat’s Turkey Trot. To participate in this trot, all you have to do is bring yourself to Old St. Pat’s Church at Adams and DesPlaines to check-in at 7:30 am. What it lacks in race fee, timing and a set distance it makes up for in social gathering and fun.
Turkey Trot 5K at Grant Park. Can’t run on Thursday because you’ll be out of town? Save your running legs for Saturday, November 26, when this new 5K hits Grant Park. You may have over indulged on Thanksgiving but no one said you couldn’t try to remedy the situation after the fact.
Donning your Halloween costume is starting to feel about routine as putting on a school uniform, dressing in your work attire, or wearing your favorite race day outfit. Right? With the costume-clad holiday falling on a Monday, chances are you were busy reveling, or running, in your best dress-up idea Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It could have been a costume party, it could have been a pub crawl, or it could have been a race like The Monster Dash, the Halloween Hustle, or the Trick or Treat Trot. But All Hallow’s Eve is today, and you could say that those other costumed events were only the precursors to the big shebang, a chance to work out the wardrobe malfunctions if you will.
So if you’re ready to wear your costume one final time before returning it to the shop, placing it in a box until 2012, or tossing it in the trash, here’s where you can wear it tonight, provided you’re not taking the kiddos trick or treating.
Fleet Feet’s Halloween Fun Run. You can always run with a group from Fleet Feet’s Piper’s Alley store on Monday nights, but only the calendar dictates a Halloween-themed three to six miles. Meet at the store, 1620 N. Wells, in your costume for a run that departs at 6:30pm. You’ll travel through Lincoln Park and regroup back at the store for drinks, tricks and treats. It’s even more encouraging to wear a costume in this non-competitive environment because unlike in a race, if your costume starts to hurt your performance, you won’t have to see it in the race results.
Universal Sole’s Monday Night Run. It might not be labeled as a Halloween run, but Universal Sole isn’t canceling its traditional Monday night jaunt through Lakeview because of trick or treating. Wear your costume or leave it at home, your choice, but know that you’re in for a treat when you meet at the store, 3059 N. Lincoln, at 6:15pm.
Flywheel Sports’ Halloween Rides. Who said you absolutely had to run tonight? You could trade your running shoes for cycling ones and hop aboard a bike at one of the two Halloween indoor cycling rides at Flywheel tonight. Plan on getting sweaty while busting your leg and arm muscles for a 45-minute cardio burst that starts at 5:30pm or 6:30pm, depending on your availability and what classes still have open bikes. Costumes are encouraged, but as I learned from personal experience, a grass skirted hula dancer is not a good one for indoor cycling. Hmm, but Richard Simmons? It’s almost too easy to wear a red tank and shorts for this sweat session.
The fall chill is in the air, the leaves are falling off the trees, the days are shorter and shorter. The marathon, Chicago that is, is over. Unless you’re heading out of town for a 26.2-miler, you won’t have to tackle the distance until spring (and even that’s a stretch since you’d be driving to Champaign or Kenosha to do it) or next fall when Chicago rolls around again—or better yet, the next time you get the urge to run a marathon, if ever. But while you don’t have to think about how you’re going to trudge through 26.2 miles—and all the long training runs that go with it—every other race just got a lot shorter. Or they feel like they did.
Some might argue that they also get more fun. Why? For the simple facts that you don’t have to stress about how to fuel on the course (at least to the degree that you do in a marathon), ward off blisters when your socks fail 15 miles in, and rely on your training runs (or lack of if you questioned why you toed the line in the first place). Now that you don’t have to run a marathon, check out these races that can keep your feet busy this weekend:
Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon, Oct. 22. Ladies, here’s your chance for a girls getaway that automatically includes the workout—my favorite kind of weekend. You won’t have to travel too far for this 13.1 (or 5K if you want shorter) even though Lake Geneva and The Abbey Resort can feel like they’re a world away. Hang time with the girls, a finisher’s necklace, and an expo and party where you can shop ‘til you drop, sip wine and get pampered? It doesn’t get much better.
Wisconsin Dells Marathon and Half Marathon, Oct. 23. Had a bad day in Chicago two weeks ago? The temperatures are cooler, you’ve had an extra two weeks to train (or recover), and you need a run that’s not constantly interrupted by a wind-ravaged path (hopefully you stayed inside today). Here’s a race that’s not as flat as Chicago but offers up more fun since you can play at the waterparks after you’ve crossed the finish line—or before if you want to count it as a pre-race ice bath.
Frank Lloyd Wright Races, Oct. 23. Sure, this involves trekking it out to Oak Park on the green line, but trust me, it’s worth the train fare. This neighborhood race takes you past some of the famed architect’s local masterpieces, serves up a pancake breakfast afterward that’s indoors, and is celebrating 35 years in the running. But more importantly you can run a 5K, a 10K, or finish the 5K in under 45 minutes and you can run both (yes, people have done it).
The 5K Foot Chase, Oct. 23. The International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference starts on Saturday, which sparked the Chicago Police Department and Motorola to organize a run/walk to kick off events for the week. You won’t be chased by police officers as run near the Gold Star Families Memorial, but proceeds from the race will benefit the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. Think of it a little like the fall version of the Run to Remember.
Where are you running this weekend?
You came. You sweated. You finished. You rock!
Kudos, runners! This past (gorgeous, warm) Sunday—aka Marathon Day—we had photographers stationed all over the course snapping pics of runners and their cheering fans. We have eleven galleries chock-full of marathon memories for your viewing pleasure. Click through our slideshows to see if our camera-men and -women caught you during your 26.2 miles of awesome-ness.
With the Chicago Marathon just hours away from starting—we’re at less than 24 hours with some speedsters already being finished with their 2011 race—it’s easy to say that the world revolves around McCormick Place, site of the expo and packet pick-up, and Grant Park, where the race will start and finish on October 9. But if you’re not running the marathon or you’re an endurance sports nut but want to steer clear of McCormick Place, or you need an excuse beyond groceries to go to Whole Foods, you might want to attend a lecture by endurance athlete Brendan Brazier who’s in town this weekend. And who knows? If you are running tomorrow’s race, you may pick up a few tips from this professional Ironman triathlete to help you in your race—or the next one.
In addition to his success in triathlon, Brazier is a best-selling author on performance nutrition and creator of a whole food nutrition product line called VEGA. And he’s vegan, proving that you don’t have to eat meat to be a successful athlete. He’s not the lone vegan or food-restricted athlete out there, but what makes Brazier’s situation unique is that he’s created prescriptions that the rest of us can apply to our daily intakes. As for what that entails, you can learn more at Whole Foods.
Saturday, October 8. From 3-5pm, catch Brazier at Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park, 1550 N. Kingsbury. A lecture will be followed by demos and book signing for “The Plant Based Diet.” To RSVP, contact 312-587-0648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, October 9. From 4-6pm, Brazier will be at Whole Foods Market South Loop, 1101 S. Canal. A lecture will be followed by demos and book signing for “Stress and Nutrition.” To RSVP, select the event at Vega Community.
Monday, October 10. From 6-8pm, find Brazier at Whole Foods Market Sauganash, 6020 N. Cicero. A lecture at the Polish Alliance will be followed by demos and a book signing for “Stress and Nutrition” at the store. To RSVP, contact 773-205-1100 or email@example.com.
While the best non-wheeled racers are hoping to finish the marathon in two hours and change, the elite wheelchair racers will be out ahead of them, pulling down times well under two hours. Below are bios of some of the best racers on wheels—spectators, watch for these competitors to be the very first faces you see blur by you this weekend.
Kurt Fearnley (Australia)
Career highlights Chicago Marathon wins in 2007, 2008 and 2009; nine medals in the Paralympics. Additional marathon wins in New York City, London, Seoul, Paris and Sydney.
Insider info A truly influential wheelchair racer, Fearnley has his own website—where’s he’s posted a gnarly crash video.
Heinz Frei (Switzerland)
Career highlights 14 gold medals at the summer and winter Paralympics Games (he competes at both road-racing and sit-skiing). Frei has competed in every Summer Paralympics from 1984 to 2008.
Insider info Last year, at age 52, Frei competed in the Chicago Marathon for the first time—and won. In doing so, he set a new course record time, 1:26:56, beating the record set by Kurt Fearnley three years earlier.
Adam Bleakney (United States)
Career highlights Won the 2002 Chicago Marathon, earned a silver medal in the 800m at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.
Insider info Bleakney is the head track coach at University of Illinois’ prestigious wheelchair athletics program.
Joshua George (United States)
Career highlights Three Chicago Marathon wins (2003, 2004, 2006); gold medal in the 100m at the Paralympic games in Beijing. He was also part of the gold medal–winning wheelchair basketball team at the 2008 Parapan Games in Brazil.
Insider info Adam Bleakney was George’s coach and training partner at U of I. The two will go head-to-head at this year’s race.
Aaron Pike (United States)
Career highlights The recent U of I grad took sixth place in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last year, and won the Bolder Boulder 10k in May. He just qualified for his first national team, at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.
Insider info Pike spent his high school years in Germany, living with his family on a military base there. When he’s not racing, Pike is an avid camper and fisherman.
Christie Dawes (Australia)
Career highlights Dawes has represented Australia three times in the Paralympic Games (1996, 2000, 2004). In 2009, she took fifth at the Chciago Marathon, three seconds behind winner Tatyana McFadden.
Insider info Dawes is coached by her husband, Andrew—who also coached fellow Aussie Kurt Fearnley.
Tatyana McFadden (United States)
Career highlights McFadden has six Paralympic medals and won the Chicago Marathon in 2009. She’s currently a student at the U of I—where she’s coached by Adam Bleakney.
Insider info McFadden was born in Russia and, because of her spina bifida, was sent to an orphanage. She spent her first six years there, walking on her hands for lack of a wheelchair. In 1994, McFadden was adopted by Debbie McFadden, then a commissioner for disabilities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Amanda McGrory (United States)
Career highlights This year’s defending champion, McGrory has also won the London, Paris and New York City marathons and earned four medals at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. If she wins this year, it will be her fourth Chicago victory in five years.
Insider info As a U of I graduate, McGrory is another one of Adam Bleakney’s mentees. Her website links to her sassy Twitter feed.
Diane Roy (Canada)
Career highlights This two-time Paralympian has won three Paralympic medals for Canada. In the 2009 Chicago Marathon, she finished second to Tatyana McFadden by two seconds.
Insider info In the 2008 Paralympic games, Roy won the gold medal for the 5000m race. However, after the medals were awarded, several countries appealed because of a mid-race collision involving several other competitors. The original race’s results were invalidated; the race was re-run, Roy came in second place—and she was forced to exchange her gold medal for a silver.