Thursday, January 29, 2009

Training: Skating in Millenium Park

Today at lunch, I went over and skated on the rink in Millenium Park. It's free if you have your own skates. Really cool to skate right in the heart of the downtown, looking up at the surrounding skyscrapers. Today there were a bunch of really good skaters, I felt a little out of place; I've been getting better, this is my second visit here and we've skated several times on Prince Pond (see earlier post).

Race: Canadian Death Race

24 hours. 17,000 Feet. 125 kilometers. 3 summits. The Canadian Death Race, sponsored by The North Face, is being run August 1-3, 2009 in Grand Cache, Alberta. Registration is now open for solo, team, and kid runners. The kids' course "is approximately 5km long on wilderness trails, with one big mud pit, which everyone must wade through, and one big hill that comes near the end of the course. Anyone making the cut-off time (90 minutes for 5km) is a winner and will receive a Kids Death Race finisher’s medal!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gear: Hockey Equipment

This Saturday, I will begin my hockey skating lessons, with Skills and Drills on Sunday, if my equipment makes it on time. Next Sunday are the evaluations for the CII Rec League for beginners. I'm excited about learning a new sport; if possible, every year for my birthday, I plan on having an adventure. Last year I did a Mount Washington winter climb in New Hampshire (see earlier post); this year, ice hockey!

I purchased all my gear (except skates) online, and they should be delivered Thursday and Friday. I bought (head to toe): a Nike-Bauer 1500 helmet/mask combo, a CCM10100 Practice Jersey in dark green, Mission Fuel 70 shoulder pads, a Shock Doctor 277 Loose Jock Shorts, Easton Stealth s4 15 in gloves, RBK 3K Elbow Pads, and Easton Stealth s15 Motion Pants. It's mostly entry level stuff, so, if I do not continue, I haven't wasted too much cash. It's all decent, so it might last long enough for my son to use it as well.

We've gone skating several times on Prince Pond, our local outdoor skating place. Very cool place, with neighborhood folks wandering down with skates and/or sticks to spend some time skating outdoors. See more here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gear: Film - Slap Shot

Yesterday, I watched "Slap Shot," with Paul Newman and others. I don't know if I hadn't seen it in a long time or I'd never seen it, but it popped into my head, so I got it from the library. "One of the Best Sports Movies Ever!" says a blurb on the cover -- I'd have to disagree. It just seems really dated, slow-paced, and rather low-brow. I wouldn't recommend revisiting this one. Next up? "Youngblood," with Rob Lowe.

Injury: Hand Pierced by Nail

Another accident. Busting up drywall covered with tile, I impaled my hand on a hidden nail. The hand swelled up and I must have hit a nerve, because it hurt like the dickens!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gear: Nike Bauer Vapor IX Ice Hockey Skates

Yesterday, I went out for my first skate in the last 10 years or so, to try out my Nike Bauer Vapor IX Ice Hockey Skates. These are their entry level skates, so they are not too expensive (I wasn't ready to cough up $700.00 for a higher level boot!), but I have to say, they are pretty amazing, especially compared to what I had 10 years ago. The first thing I noticed is how light they are and, upon initial lace-up, that they are relatively comfortable. A little stiff, like most skates, but even after a short skate, they were already softening up and I could re-lace them more tightly. This morning I feel no pain in my feet or shins, which was a problem before. Anyone out there thinking about buying skates for a beginner would be well-advised to take a look at these. Recommended.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Midwest Trail Runs blog no more - Posts imported

As mentioned in a previous post, I've decided not to maintain the Midwest Trail Runs blog anymore, as it is somewhat redundant to this one. Thus, I've imported the blog posts into this blog and tried to delete any doubles. I'm deleting the other blog -- short but sweet run.

Training: New Year, new me

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last 2 weeks about the way I have approached this journey towards being fit again. I haven’t run since New Year’s Day, and have gotten quite frustrated by that. For the last 6 months or so, my path to fitness lay through running, or so I thought.

I’ve always been a big-picture kind of guy and this approach to fitness by being a runner was more of the same. I felt somewhat like a failure, because I wasn’t being consistent and felt lazy.

As I wrote a couple of days ago (see previous post), I pondered how setting short-term goals would help me. I realized that I wasn’t, in fact, going to become fit by attempting to become a runner. I’m too impatient, hyperactive and just plain curious to limit myself in that way. It hit me that complete variety is what would get me excited and actually make me more fit in a well-rounded way.

Thus, my short-term goal is to exercise in some way 3 – 5 times a week, in as many ways as I can find and enjoy. I bought ice skates and signed up for skating lessons; I looked into adult hockey for beginners. A medicine ball now resides in my basement, next to the Perfect Pushup gizmos. I’ll no longer dismiss shoveling snow or picking up my toddler repeatedly as unworthy fitness activities. Going up a hill with children and sled in tow gets my heart rate up the same as running, only I get to spend time with my family.

I’ll definitely continue running – it’s a sport that rewards instantly and, at my fitness level, becomes easier quickly, but I won’t feel lazy anymore if I don’t run for any length of time, as long as I’m doing something else in its stead.

Monday, January 12, 2009



You need 8 hours: 7 is better
Don’t eat before bed: Tryptophan increases serotonin and melatonin, which make you drowsy
You can catch up on weekends: This affects your circadian rhythm, making you more drowsy
Firm beds are the best: softer beds relieve pain
4. Take recovery as seriously as you do your workouts
5. Buy the right shoe


Midwest Trail Runs blog no more

I have decided to discontinue my other blog, Midwest Trail Runs. It didn't seem different enough to be worthwile to stand on its own. I haven't decided if I am going to delete the blog, or let it stand forlornly and die away quietly.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Training: The Recovery Cheat Sheet

Really good sidebar in the February 2009 Outside on recovering. There are 4 key post-workout strategies: 1. Cool down with 5 to 10 minutes of easy activity. 2. Get 8 hours of sleep a night or take a 30 minute nap during the day. 3. After hard workouts, go from an ice bath to the hot tub -- this helps with blood circulation. 4. Get a massage - not deep tissue, but sports-specific or Swedish. 

Training: Maple Woods

Went for a run this morning in Maple Woods near my house, much easier than I had any right to. In fact, since I am planning a 10 miler for Sunday, I stopped my run today at just over 4 miles. Part of this may have been adding a warmup of several minutes before the run. I got the idea from the February 2009 Outside magazine, which is chock full of great workout strategies, especially us middle-aged folk (see other post).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Environment: Nine Green Resolutions for 2009

From The Cleanest Line:
  1. Resolve to stop using those plastic bags at the grocery store – leave your canvas bags in the car
  2. Stop drinking water in plastic bottles – drink filtered tap water, it tastes great!
  3. Review your home, one room a month, and detox – remove chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers and dispose of them safely
  4. Pledge to have your recycle bin always be fuller than your regular waste bin
  5. Just one more: One more day a week of commuting by bike or by carpool – you get the idea. Draw up written contracts with family members to each pledge to use alternative transportation a minimum of once a week
  6. Start a compost pile
  7. Grow your own – if you don't have room for a veggie garden, frequent the farmer's market once a week
  8. Volunteer your services to a non-profit group you are passionate about
  9. Follow your passions this year – find your cause
Thanks Patagonia!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gear: The North Face Vanton boot

I recently ordered The North Face Vanton boot for myself and my son from REI. We both love them! It's a VERY funky looking boot, very reminiscent of a snowboard boot, toasty warm and extremely light. I wore them this morning to shovel snow and was extremely happy with them.

The North Face says:

For treks into snow-covered terrain, the Vanton offers waterproof protection coupled with a high-traction outsole that gobbles up any snow and ice that litters your path. Inspired by the look of snowboard boots, these all-terrain, durable boots are host to an array of technical features that keep your feet warm despite grueling, wintry conditions.

The North Face's website doesn't have this color anymore (and they are gone from REI's as well), but I highly recommend tracking them down in these colors for the fun factor alone! Decently priced and comfortable as all get out!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

IL Trails: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

For my next long run (really long for me!) I plan on heading over to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. From the website: Waterfall Glen's four marked trails range from 0.2 miles to 9.5 miles in length and meander through some of the preserve's most scenic areas. The main trail is an 8-foot-wide crushed-limestone multipurpose trail. In addition, there are many unmarked mowed-grass trails and footpaths that dissect the preserve. Feel free to hike and explore these smaller, less-conspicuous paths, but remember that they often are not linked to the main trail nor are they shown on the preserve map. Latrine facilities and drinking water are only available at the trailhead and the outdoor education camp.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gear: La Sportiva Hobnails

Great article on the La Sportiva Hobnails by The Gear Junkie at the Outside Blog. I spent one run slipping and sliding, fearing for an injury that would end this season's attempt at fitness. It's unfortunate that these are on the pricey side, though I guess it's cheaper to prevent an injury than pay for rehab!

Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K, Madison, WI -- Registered!

Success! I finally registered for The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K in Madison, WI being run on October 24, 2009. I guess I was jumping the gun this morning trying to get on too early. In any case, I'm looking forward to it and hope that this helps get me and keep me motivated.

IL Trails: Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL

This weekend, we headed over to the Morton Arboretum to take a look at their children's gardens and get ourselves a family membership. I also wanted to take a quick look at the trails that were available for running. Imagine my shock when I saw a sign that stated that running was allowed only on paved trails! It seems unbelieveable that it would be enforced, but...

Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge

I have been trying to register for the October 24, 2009 North Face Endurance Challenge 10K near Madison, WI since 7:00 this morning, with no luck. The registration website states that registration is closed for that event -- seems unlikely, since it just opened today. I sent an email to them and hope to get registered by the end of the day.

Lazy: Terrible weekend

This was a bad weekend start to finish. I got a run in on January 1st, but haven't run since. To top it off, my eating was horrific and I sat on the couch most of the weekend, watching playoff football.

On a positive note, I had lots of time with my family!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

IL Trails: Maple Grove Forest Preserve, Downers Grove, IL

Went for the first run of the year this morning, in the Maple Grove Forest Preserve. It has a mile trail loop, but that can be extended through side trails. It's just over a mile from my house, so I get in almost 4 miles if I just go there and back.


Running Totals: 2009 Goals

Got out for my first run of the year this morning -- I have ambitious goals for 2009! I am participating in 2 Nike + Challenges, one to run 500 miles this year, the other to run 1040, which is an average of 20 miles per week. For some both of those would be easy, but for me it will take consistency and resolve, keeping myself motivated to get out there regardless of my laziness or the weather.


Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women