Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tiny Injuries & the Ego

Though we hate to admit it, injuries do happen.

They aren't welcomed when they appear and they're even less appreciated during their stay in our bodies. When they leave, we don't throw them a farewell party. They 'move on' and so to we (and quite happily we go along without them).

My close friend Margo is training for her second marathon. She ran her first marathon a number of years ago. Now she's juggling two young children, a husband, a career and training. On days when I'm up early running, she's often already posted a photo of her sunrise lakefront run. She has a training plan and determination.

What sideline's her carefully thought-out plan is tiny injuries. A finger sprain. A swollen toe. Annoyances. How hard is it not to let injuries affect your training ego? Very hard.

If the conversation going on in your head about your injury isn't enough to drive you to the couch, there's those friends and family members who recommend the end all be all solution - just quit.

They tell you that you're not cut out for the training. Your body is telling you not to. Maybe you hear the catch-all 'swimming is really the best activity for you' line. But whatever you've been doing for exercise that you love (running, riding, whatever), you should just quit doing that. Because that makes complete sense. Instead, apparently, you should bump up your cable package and prepare yourself for a sedentary life.

Hopefully the determined fighter in you isn't talked into hanging up your running shoes just yet. You seek out opinions from athletic friends, explaining your current aliment. Your friend can manage to talk you off the cliff about 90% of the time. Pretty good odds. They bring along war stories and suggestions for exercises. The underlying message is that in a short time, you will bounce back from this. The same amount of time might seem like a lifetime to you in your current state.

So stay with it, you Margo's of the world, tomorrow's a new day. And next week is a new lifetime.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fort2Base Door Tag

In March of 2011, I went to the Shamrock Shuffle Expo. I combed through all the aisles of running goodness and ran across a new race, Fort2Base.

I learned that the race would be a point to point race (kinda nice not to end up where you started, eh?) from Fort Sheridan to Great Lakes Naval Base.

The person working the booth gave me this door tag:

I went back to my office and placed it on my door where it's remained since.

I think it's fitting that the door tag remain. Not only does it remind me of Fort2Base, but it also ties in with my overall office door theme. When I moved into an office a number of years ago, my brother was deployed in Korea. I tapped a yellow ribbon and an image of the American flag on my door along with a photo of my brother from his deployment in Iraq.

Each time my brother has been called to serve, I put his photo back on the front of my door. When he returns, I remove it. But the flag, ribbon and Fort2Base door tag remain.

This year, I will run Fort2Base again with a few friends. I'm volunteering as a Fort2Base race ambassador this year. I hope that I can spread the word of this unique race that supports our local military communities and our veterans.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Balancing with Scissors

No yoga journey is complete without a taste of arm balances.

Last night's class at the Lab was focused on transitions.

We spent a few moments working on some challenging positions, including scissors.

Though my scissors aren't cutting quite as high or straight as this photo, I seem to have the arm positioning and balance right.

Four months ago when I walked into the Lab, I would have never thought I'd be figuring out scissors one day, let alone the handful of other positions I'm slowly improving upon.

It's exciting to see success.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Most Read Post Winner: Blisters Under Toenails

Last September, I wrote a rather graphic depiction of blisters forming under my toenails post 2011 Chicago Marathon.

You can read it here.

It's by far the grossest post I've ever written (out of 200).

Yet, in the last 9 months, over 500 people have navigated their way to read it.

So, thanks... I think?

Are gruesome posts the way to go? I hope not.

Though it seems there's many out there goggling their way to find relief.

May blisters be the worst of our troubles as summer begins.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Glowing in the Dark

Late last week, I was given a free entry to check out LivingSocial's inaugural "Glow in the Dark 5k" fun run.

I wasn't sure what to expect as the four of us approached Soldier Field Saturday night. I think our minds were recalling the storm that had passed through Chicago in the last few hours. Our eyes were on the sky to see if Glowing in the dark also meant being wet.

I kept an open mind as to what this race would be. Inaugural races are learning experiences for all. Even with the pending storm, we were surprised to see so many participants lined up at the start area.

The run started just south of Soldier Field. Participants were instructed to wear all black. Glow sticks were provided to illuminate the crowd as we waited to start this fun run.

I'd read there would be music throughout the course. Races have advertised this before and I've found the amount of area the music covered less than anticipated. However, this run got it right.

Stations were set up along the course with DJs and good sound systems. As one station faded, another picked up. The music choices were stellar.

Along with the DJ stations were large light-up props to help theme out the course.

Though many participants chose to walk the route, in general, the crowds seemed to give way to us as we ran by. People stopped to take pictures and listen to music. The course was an experience within itself that as I look back on it, I cheated myself by running through it.

Following the run was a dance party inside Soldier Field. The music didn't disappoint. Many participants stayed well past our 10:30 departure time.

As we stood on the field listening to music post run, I was reminded of the Soldier Field 10 the weekend before. My cousin had set a massive 12 minute PR as she crossed the 50 yard finish line. In a few weeks, I'll be back a Soldier Field for a music festival.

All and all, the Glow in the Dark 5K was a fun event. I just wish I hadn't ate an entire basket of cheese curds before the run.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Drink 3, run a 5k?

We've tested "Drink 3 the night before a race and get a PR." It's a successful program.

But what happens if your race isn't a morning race?

I remember Brian calling me last summer concerned about the Las Vegas Half. This race, which ran down the famed strip, started in the evening. How do you properly fuel for an evening race? An more importantly, how do you drink 3?

Yesterday I found myself in a unique situation:

I was asked Friday morning by our LivingSocial rep if I'd have any interest in running their inaugural Chicago "Glow in the Dark 5k." I knew Kim A. Had registered for it and the evening was open. So I gathered a few more to join in the fun. The race started at 8:30pm at Soldier Field.

The Hawks game was on at 4, so Kim and I headed down to a South Loop bar. We had a hockey team to cheer on and some time to kill.

The question wasn't if I was going to have a beer or two, but rather how many was just enough to then run a 5k. This was uncharted territory. So we texted Brian. Could drink 3 apply if it was just a few hours before an untimed night fun run?

His response "Drink 3 always applies."

And so, with the help of $3 Summer Shandys and a huge basket of Wisconsin cheese curds, we cheered the Hawks to victory.

The only interruption in the Hawks road to game one victory was the looming storm over Chicago. It came in waves and knocked out the bar's satellite service. It rained sideways as the skies grew dark.

Seven thirty came and went as we stayed in the bar along with many other race participants. We all seemed to be debating the same thing - do we head to the race with the potential to get soaked or stay dry in the bar and miss the race?

By the time we left, I'd had four drinks and wondered what type of performance I could have after my earlier day activities.

I'll post about the race experience later as it was totally geared towards my love for dance music, but for now, I was my very own lab rat.