Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Chicago French Market

The Chicago French Market is a relatively new (December 2009) eating establishment in the west loop, connected by the tracks to the Ogilvie Transportation Center or accessed via street from Clinton or Canal. It’s a great use of the space and a boon to those that want plenty of options to eat at any time of day.


It’s quite a unique set-up in that it is a grocery store that also has food vendors scattered throughout. There seems to be a strong healthy vibe to the offerings, but plenty of junk if that’s more your style or if you just want a snack. The vendors include selections for produce, bread & pasta, ice cream/gelato, meats, snacks, specialty coffee, smoothies, cheese, baked goods & sweets, prepared meals, beer wine & spirits and special essentials (soap, flowers, etc.). It seems like a lot of the vendors donate part of their proceeds to chosen charities, so if that’s important to you, here are a bunch of folks being socially conscious on your behalf.

What I would change: the set-up. The seating area is removed from the main space. It feels like going to a sports arena, with the field being taken up by the vendors, and the only option for eating is to tailgate outside the action. It would be livelier if they kept the vendors around the edges of the entire space, perhaps a single row (double-sided) down the middle, with chairs and tables throughout. This is not a killer problem, just an improvement waiting to happen. It would be nice if you could grab a sandwich, a coffee, a snack, turn around, and grab a seat. Right now that’s not possible.

Follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/chifrenchmarket and check out their website at http://www.frenchmarketchicago.com/.

Chicago French Market on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 26, 2010

Andrew Zimmern’s The bizarre truth: how I walked out the door mouth first-- and came back shaking my head (New York : Broadway Books, c2009)


My favorite thing about Zimmern’s writing style is that he is such a dork, in the most positive way possible. His approach to food is so different than other chefs (I had no idea he was a chef!), as he puts the travel experience first, with food providing the in to the local culture. His enthusiasm and joy in what he does is really over the top, hence my calling him a dork. If you’ve ever seen him on the Travel Channel (and I suppose on dvd), you know that he’s a very unassuming guy, could not blend in to any crowd to save his life, and is willing to try just about any food that he is given. Does he like it all? No, and, while very polite, calls it like it tastes.

This book recounts his travels from his home base of Minneapolis (I had no idea he lives there, certain that NYC was his home). Most of the chapters are based on a single trip to a county or an area of the world and, for the most part, are easy-going tales of his experiences. While the books is a few chapters heavy, this book is recommended due to the variety of experiences and his evident ability to find positive in so many things.

For more info on Zimmern, visit his website, see the Travel Channel website, try Wikipedia, follow on Twitter, or fan him on Facebook.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wellsphere Health Bloggers Network


Today I joined the HealthBloggers network (see badge in sidebar). Take a look at my profile (http://www.wellsphere.com/kovasp-profile/188284) and shoot me a friend request if you're interested. So far I've joined the Triathlon, Ironman, Running, Biking, and Marathon communities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recycling Triathlon Gear

Great article in the Spring 2010 issue of Triathlon Life, the magazine of USA Triathlon http://www.usatriathlon.org/ on some options in lieu of throwing away used gear.



One of the companies mentioned is BolderPath http://bolderpath.com/home/, which is a company that will take back old triathlon gear of all types and then manufactures bags, briefcases, wallets, drybags and other products out of them. Very cool.

Run the Planet has a webpage listing Shoes Recycling Programs. For those who do believe in the reincarnation of running shoes, they compiled a list of recycling programs around the world. They have a variety of programs with website and contact info for programs all over the world, including Nike’s Reuse A Shoe, Up & Running in the UK, Recycled Runners in NZ, and others. Check out their webpage at: http://www.runtheplanet.com/shoes/selection/recycle.asp.

FitPlanet consults with race organizers to minimize their impact before, during, and after events and offers a list of races who have signed a FitPlanet Pledge of Sustainability that provides event organizers with formal and public recognition for taking steps to become more environmentally responsible. Events must pledge to adopt a minimum of 10 eco-Practices to qualify. Check them out at http://www.afitplanet.com/.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Most Average Triathlete in the World

This past weekend, I participated in the Midwest Triathlon Life: Race: Indoor Triathlon presented by Experience Triathlon and LifeStart in Lisle, IL. I won 2nd in the Male Master’s Division! Amazing, huh? It is, and I’m happy about it, but also completely amused by the fact that I am totally a middle of the pack triathlete. Here are the facts: 10th Overall (of 23), 5th (of 8) Male, 2nd (of 3) Male Master’s Division. You can’t get much more middle-of-the-road than that, can you? Jeez.

Elephant & Castle Restaurant, Chicago, IL


I’ve visited the Loop location on Adams twice now, and have eaten at the restaurant located in Washington, DC as well and all 3 times I’ve had an enjoyable experience with good food, good beer, and good company. Both times here in Chicago I’ve gone for an early lunch, which is good, because the dining room is empty and then, whoosh!, the place is full and the line extends to the door.

First time I ate here I had the Pub Onion Soup (highly recommended!), the Union Jack burger, and, I believe, a pint of Guinness. I usually get a burger the first time I eat at a bar + grill type place; safe and a decent predictor of whether the rest of the food is any good. Their burger was good. The second time I had the Chicken Pot Pie, which was decent, along with an Arnold Palmer (don’t ask me why I’ve been drinking those lately, I just don’t know). The pastry crust was phyllo dough layers baked atop the chicken filling, which was okay, but I prefer a bread crust on my potpies. The balsamic-tossed greens were excellent.

From their website: "Elephant & Castle® opened its first North American pub and restaurant in 1977 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. E&C's distinct atmosphere and selection of popular British Classics made it an instant success! Headquartered in Boston, MA, Today, E&C has grown to over 20 restaurants across the United States and Canada from Toronto, Boston, and Chicago to Vancouver, San Diego, and San Francisco. This record of 30 years of stability and success is due to E&C's continued commitment to be the standard of what North American consumers demand of a British pub and restaurant concept - Bang On Food, Bang On Drinks, and Bang On Service!"

Have you eaten at this restaurant (or one of the other locations)? Leave a comment and let everyone know how you liked it. Or leave me a comment on whether this was a useful review. Thanks and good eating!

Elephant & Castle on Urbanspoon

New Blog: Kids Try Gear


After seeing how much I enjoy writing this blog, my kids decided that they wanted to get in on the action. So, they started a blog called Kids Try Gear (http://kidstrygear.blogspot.com/), where they will give their thoughts, impressions, and opinions on any manner of things. As I review gear that seems appropriate for children, they'll post their reactions for the same things. Look for a Gu review both here and on their blog. Their first post is up and it's a race report for The Race That’s Good For Life Youth 1 Mile. Check it out here: Kids Try Gear: Race Report: The Race That’s Good For Life Youth 1 Mile

Kids Try Gear: Race Report: The Race That’s Good For Life Youth 1 Mile

(*Parental Note: Our 3 children ran the Race That’s Good For Life on Sunday, April 11th, 2010, in Oak Park, IL. The two older children participated in a 1-mile race, while the youngest ran a 200 meter Junior Jog. This was a very well organized race, with starting times staggered and men, women, and children running at separate times. The women ran first, followed later by the children, then by the men and after was the Junior Jog. From a family perspective, this means that one parent can always be watching the kids, and everyone gets to participate. We will try to run it as a family next year. The race is put on by the Oak Park Runners Club. Visit the race website at http://race.oprc.net/race.htm.)


Tazer (9): When we got there, I was kind of nervous, because there were a lot of people. It was easy to get the race number at packet pickup, but I was disappointed that the t-shirt I got was too large. The race course was nice and flat and I felt good during the race. Afterwards, the Gatorade was tasty! In the cafeteria the food was yummy. While I was wandering around the booths, I found free LEGOLAND tickets. Soon the little kid race began – I think they had fun because otherwise most of them would have been crying. We got to stay an extra hour because I won 2nd place in my age group and I was awarded a medal. I would do this race again.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guy-guy (7): I was kind of nervous because there were a lot of people. I liked the packet pickup because we got to see what our numbers were. A disappointment was that the shirts were too big for kids. I wish I had gotten a flower like the women got at the end of their race. At the end of my race, I got a finisher’s medal ribbon. My dad told me to get some water or Gatorade from the table they had set up for people to get drinks after they finished the race. I got Gatorade. After my race, we went to the cafeteria and ate some food. My brother found a coupon for a free visit to LEGOLAND. Then they had an announcement that the Junior Jog was starting in a couple of minutes, so we went outside and watched the girls do their Junior Jog. My little brother was doing the boys’ Junior Jog. When my little brother finished running his Junior Jog, we went home. I would do this race again. Later, it turned out to be a nice evening, because we went to Emmett's Ale House and had a special dinner in honor of the race.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ryders Eyewear Hijack Sunglasses

The good folks at Outside PR and Ryders Eyewear were kind enough to send me a pair of Hijack sunglasses to try out and review (I’ll try to get another pair of these to give away, because their glasses are awesome!). I also have a pair of Ryders (Sprint model) with clear lenses that I use for cycling in low (or no) light conditions. They have been invaluable to me.


Following are facts taken (sometimes verbatim) from the website.

Ryders' eyewear is a company based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and two collections comprise their inventory: Adrenaline and Chill. Designed for almost any outdoor activity, the Ryders Adrenaline Collection comes in a wide range of styles to fit any athlete. Many styles feature premium options such as interchangeable, photochromic and/or polarized lenses, adding incredible performance options to our already high-tech frames. The Chill Collection is designed for kicking back and talking about your last (or next) adventure. They all have optically-correct, shatterproof lenses. Ryders Eyewear offers lenses in brown, clear, flash coating, grey, orange, yellow and photochromic. The Ryders Metals are RX (prescription) compatible. Ryders adjustable nose pads can be pinched, spread, and twisted to any angle so you can give yourself a custom fit. Adjustable temple-tips can be bent and twisted any way you like. This brings significantly greater comfort and allows you to meet special fit requirements like those presented when wearing a cycling helmet. Hydrophilic nose-pads and/or temple tips are found on every pair of sunglasses throughout their Adrenaline Collection and on many within the Chill Collection. Ryders works with athletes in a variety of activities: Mountain biking, road biking, adventure, triathlon, running, skiing, snowboarding, and climbing. Examples include The Ride Clean mission is to promote clean sport, facilitate discussion of this topic and support clean athletes through an organization of solidarity (www.rideclean.net). Founded more than 20 years ago as a BMX race team, the Norco Factory Team has grown in size and scope annually since its inception. Team athletes range from freeriders featured in action sports films and magazines, to internationally ranked downhill and cross country racers. What truly separates the Norco Factory Team is that each athlete is chosen as much for their positive personality and regional influence as they are for their cycling prowess (www.norco.com/team).

Follow them on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/RydersEyewear or http://twitter.com/RydersEyewear, or Become a Fan at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ryders-Eyewear/86135554193?ref=ts.

The nitty-gritty:

FRAME: GLOSS BLACK, RED, WHITE ORANGE, SATIN WHITE DURAFLEX
LENS: BROWN, CLEAR, BROWN FLASH, POLYCARBONATE, 100% UV PROTECTION
TINT: 15-93% VLT
FIT: MEDIUM-LARGE
FEATURES: ADJUSTABLE ANTI-SLIP NOSE PADS, ANTI-SLIP TEMPLE TIPS
PRICE: $39.99
SKU: R497-001

They came with a case and a microfiber baggie for cleaning and protection, which is always a sign of a quality company.

Now the opinion.

What kind of things did I do with my Hijacks? Try running, cycling, gardening, walking, and just general use. In every situation, they were comfortable to the point of becoming invisible. How is that good? There is nothing worse than wearing sunglasses and then squinting from the glare they are not blocking or eyes tearing up from the wind creeping in around the edges. When a product is designed well and it works, it disappears. Complaints? None. The fit is Medium-Large, So if you have a big face like me, you might want to look at some of their other models, like the Sprint. My wife says they look fine, but usually I think she’s humoring me, so here’s a photo so that you can decide for yourself:


Would I buy a pair of these glasses? Absolutely! Ryders' glasses seem really well-priced for the quality and design. As I said, I already own a pair of Ryders and have really enjoyed them. So now I’ve tried two pairs from their collections and have been happy with both. Can’t ask for more than that.

If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.
(Disclaimer: Outside PR sent me this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Ryders Eyewear. I did not pay for the item, receive payment, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

@22clothing tshirt #Giveaway Winner! Congrats to Speedy828!

Congratulations to Speedy828 aka Israel for writing the winning comment for the http://midwesttriathlon.blogspot.com/2010/04/giveaway-22clothing-tshirt.html contest. The shirt will be on the way once I get his address. Stay tuned for May's giveaway: a box of Gu!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last day for @22clothing tshirt #giveaway!

Keep those comments coming until 7:00 AM CST Friday, April 16, 2010 and win this shirt:


For more info, see earlier post. Also visit the twentytwoclothing website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top 100 Triathlon Sites


Add your site to this brand new directory! Click on the button in the sidebar and get yourself listed. Let's see how fast we can fill up the list.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hal Higdon’s “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide”


Recently finished Hal Higdon’s Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, and it’s a really enjoyable read. He has a somewhat dry sense of humor, which doesn’t hit you over the head, but does make the book more enjoyable. As with many great coaches, he deflects praise and directs it to his compatriots, who assisted him in writing the book by responding to surveys.

Higdon is a well-known running coach (and a runner himself) and his story can be found at his own website  and on Wikipedia. If you want to friend him, head over to http://www.facebook.com/halhigdon.

This is a great, basic book that can get you up and running, with some specifics if you so desire. I’ve always shied away from training plans in books or on websites, because there is NO way in this world that anyone else could possibly benefit from the same plan as me. Throw in vagaries such as weather, illness, injury, work, family, etc, etc, etc, and it’s basically impossible to use a cookie-cutter plan. Higdon (as a good coach and promoter) suggests hiring a coach, who can evaluate you before training, during training, and afterwards. Good suggestion, if you have the money. I prefer to look at as many suggested training plans as possible, mash them up, and then see how they fit into my life.

Read what Higdon himself posts about this book here.

I Signed Up for SocialSpark!

Socialspark_small

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

So I signed up for SocialSpark today, which is a site that offers cash for product reviews, links, and other sponsored opportunities. I am kind of interested to see how this works out. It was easy to sign up, took almost no time at all, and the directions were simple and straightforward. One thing that I hated doing was putting my SSN on their website – they use PayPal for payment and I guess they report the income to the IRS (rats!). Otherwise, it was painless.

This is the first post that I will get paid for (I think it’s $5.00) and the future ones will probably look pretty similar, with disclaimers and other legal stuff. I took some time and a looked at some of the opportunities that I will have a chance at in the future and saw some already that look interesting: Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, Las Vegas, and a few others.

The opportunities navigation is something that should be changed a bit. If you click on a type of opportunity, you cannot go back to the original screen except by returning to the Marketplace drop-down menu in the Navigation bar. Seems like it could be simpler.

Looking forward to this!

SocialSpark

Code of Ethics

Sign up for SocialSpark

Visit my sponsor: I Signed Up for SocialSpark!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Emmett’s Ale House

One of our favorite places to eat is Emmett’s Ale House in Downers Grove (they also have locations in West Dundee and Palatine, but we’ve never been there). In general, they are a bar & grill, with a nod to being a brewery as well (big tanks in windows, but otherwise not obvious). The food is decent, not great, but good and they have a decent variety. Specials every day of the week, from potato skin or wing nights, to prime rib, to our favorite, Kids Eat Free Sundays!

Generally we stick with the burgers, which are very good, with sweet potato fries our favorite side (though the regular fries are pretty good as well). I’ve had the baked macaroni and cheese (which unfortunately was pretty flavorless) and recently tried the BBQ Pork Sliders (which were awesome).

They take care of the kids by having coloring placemats and sometimes bags of junky toys, which the kids love. Their menu is standard fare, all of it good, but nothing outstanding or unusual. It would be nice to have more vegetables, even if they hid them in the sauces or something.

You can’t go to Emmett’s without trying their beer and the tasting paddle is definitely the way to go. If you order from the Small Bites menu (Appetizer Sampler, Pub Burger Trio, Seafood Trilogy, or BBQ Pork Sliders), the paddle is supposed to be discounted, though the waitresses are about 50-50 in remembering to give you the discount.

Pros: Easy to get to, decent food, free kids’ meals on Sundays!, good atmosphere

Cons: Somewhat pricey for level of food and service, service is spotty, no community interaction, limited veggie choices

Have you eaten at this restaurant (or one of the other locations)? Leave a comment and let everyone know how you liked it.

(See what others had to say on Urbanspoon)

Emmett's Ale House on Urbanspoon

#GIVEAWAY! @22clothing tshirt!

#GIVEAWAY! @22clothing tshirt!

My loss is your gain. A while ago, twentytwo clothing provided District Cycling ( @districtcycling ) a tshirt to give away and I won it! Unfortunately, the shirt is a size L and I’m not (I’m XL all the way). So, even though it’s a quality shirt from a great company, given away by some cool guys, I’m passing it forward.

twentytwo clothing is a casual lifestyle clothing company dedicated to athletes and the life they live. twentytwo features modern, retro designs produced in limited numbers. Every design is limited to a run of only 100 with a new design being released every month. At twentytwo they believe that buttons are bullets and collars are killers.

Design features recumbent handicapped bicycle, printed on an American Apparel tshirt, size Large and includes a twentytwo sticker.



(Brand New With Tags - Retail Value is $25.00)

twentytwo was featured on roadbikeaction.com.

How to enter: Add a comment of at least 10 words with some intrinsic value, to any post. Each comment will be assigned a number in the order that they are posted. Post as many comments on a variety of posts as you wish!

Bonus entry(ies): Add my blog to your blogroll and then come back and let me know through a comment that you’ve done so. Once I verify, I will count the blogroll and the comment, so that’s 2 more entries! (Changed my mind on this one, feels like I'm buying friends. Feel free to list me on your blogroll if you like, but it won't help you with the contest.)

The giveaway will run from the time of posting through 7:00 AM EST on Friday, April 16, 2010. At that time, I will use Random.org's True Random Number Generator to choose a winner. Chances of winning are dependent on number of entries received.

Good luck!

Friday, April 9, 2010

#Giveaway: @22clothing tshirt - Details Monday!


That's right, I'm giving away a 22Clothing Recumbent Tshirt next week. Contest details on Monday!

Finally ordered a @RoadID

I just ordered one of the best products ever, courtesy of RoadID and the folks over at Outside PR. It's called a Road ID - perhaps you've heard of it. If you haven't, go to their website and check it out. Road ID is a great product that could save your life someday.


When I ordered, they gave me a coupon that I could pass along to my friends. Here's the coupon number:

Coupon Number: ThanksKovas736363

The coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order placed by 05/10/2010. To order, simply go to RoadID.com, click on the RoadID icon in the sidebar or click the link below:

http://www.RoadID.com/?CID=ThanksKovas736363

If you prefer, you can call them at 800-345-6335.

You can thank me later!

Oh by the way, their website is awesome, the customer service is outstanding, and the owners are very smart and good looking, much like me, so I love working with them.

RIP Malcolm McClaren


Malcolm McClaren, punk rock impresario and manager of the Sex Pistols, is dead at 64. Where would we be without him and the band? Nowhere.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Los Burritos Tapatios Restaurant Review

Was just thinking about the burrito I had recently from Los Burritos Tapatios in Downers Grove:


View Larger Map

Our family gets burritos to go from there pretty regularly, one, because they are really good, inexpensive burritos, and two, they are within walking distance from our house (we can get the burritos and cheese quesadillas for the youngest and eat them in front of the tv). We've eaten in the restaurant several times, nothing fancy, but seems clean and neat.

Pros: Well-made, yummy burritos, inexpensive, bright, cheerful staff, restaurant and kitchen area appear clean, 2 types of salsa

Cons: Rice is an extra and on the side only (they look at me funny when I request it in the burrito itself), no good veggie burrito

Definitely recommended and they have some other locations (Lisle, Glen Ellyn and Streamwood), so if you're in the western suburbs of Chicago, give them a try.

Have you eaten at this restaurant (or one of the other locations)? Leave a comment and let everyone know how you liked it.

Los Burritos Tapatios on Urbanspoon

If you didn't know already, urbanspoon rocks!

We Are Awesome!

Stole this post from Ultradad over at http://ultradad.blogspot.com/.

No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,

WE ARE AWESOME !!! OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

To Those of Us Born 1925 - 1970 :

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank
while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.... Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight.

WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

--And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill,
only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and
-although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn
to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!


These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.
The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Simple Success Tips for Athletes

Reading Hal Higdon's Marathon: Ultimate Training and Racing Guide, and found this early section so simple and useful  - now if only I could follow these :)

"To become a successful (athlete), you need to:
  1. Follow a proper diet;
  2. Eliminate extra body fat;
  3. Refrain from smoking and avoid heavy drinking;
  4. Get adequate amounts of sleep; and
  5. Exercise regularly."
That's it, simple. At this point, #s 3, 4 and 5 are under control, now the toughies for me, 1 and 2.

Dara Torres’ “Age is just a number: achieve your dreams at any stage in your life” (New York : Broadway Books, 2009)

Similar to Sarah Reinertsen (see my earlier review), Dara Torres seems to not be able to get across the importance of her team support. While a little better than Reinertsen about including them in her story, they appear as slightly fleshed out supporting characters, rather than the reason Torres was successful.


Don’t get me wrong, what Torres did is amazing and perhaps that’s why it’s so disappointing that there is less connection with the reader. Perhaps this is the fault of Elizabeth Weil, her co-author. Don’t know. In either case, Torres stays above it all, saying that she doesn’t want to be an inspiration for other middle-aged athletes, just an example. In this book, at least, she succeeds.

For all my grousing, this is still a worthwhile read, for the little peeks into professional swimming and how it feels to be part of that world from a very young age.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Embedding a Google Map

I recently came across a post on another blog (name escapes me now, sort of bummed about that), which had a Google Map embedded into a post. I thought that was kind of cool, so I did some research today and it turns out it's pretty simple. Here's the map of the neighborhood where I live:


View Larger Map

Not sure how I could add routes to this, especially of my trail runs, but that's the next step.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thrift-Store Find: Louis Garneau Funky Weasel Cycling Jacket

Today at the thrift store, I chanced upon a Louis Garneau Funky Weasel Cycling Jacket, Funky Weasel apparently a local cycling team here in Chicago. This is the second time I've scored big at this thrift store. You might recall reading about my incredibly underpriced trainer here. Anyway, the jacket is a fleece-lined long sleeve cycling jacket and, while quite garish, should keep me toasty and visible during inclement weather, which occasionally shows up here in the Midwest. On the Louis Garneau website, jackets range from $60-190, so my $8 was a good outlay. Feast your eyes on this beauty:


Oh yeah, the collar says "Mach Schnell," which in German means "hurry up", "Go ahead!" or "Make it quick!", which makes me feel faster already.

The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua (1999, Lyon's Press) by Randy Wayne White

The only thing better than a Doc Ford novel is a non-fiction book by Randy Wayne White. I picked up The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua from the library and read it over the last couple of days. One of the things that I enjoy about White’s non-fiction story collections is that, apart from a general connection among stories (this book is ostensibly about his travels, though they are literally all over the map), most of them don’t relate to each other all that much, which keeps things interesting and lively.



After years of reading his column “Out There” in Outside Magazine, I really got into his books when I moved to and lived in Florida for nearly a decade. Florida is such a crazy place that the many fine authors (John D MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, James W Hall, and many others) do not need to do much more research than read the newspaper. It is said that the nation’s evening news are usually based on Florida’s local news and, while sad, is generally true.

White has a knack for putting himself in interesting places, finding unusual experiences, and then writing about them in a self-deprecating manner that makes the reader feel that they too could survive the adventure. Recommended.

Other non-fiction titles by White: Batfishing in the Rainforest (1991, Lyons & Burford); Last Flight Out (2002, Lyons Press); An American Traveler (2003, Lyons Press); (and one I’ve never read or seen) Gulf Coast Cookbook: With memories and photos of Sanibel Island, photographs by Carlene Fredericka Brennen (2006 Pequot Press).

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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