Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy, Welcome to Chicago! Pictures and Video of the Lakefront This Morning

From abc7.com this morning: "Unusually high waves were seen kicking up and rolling onto the shore at North Avenue Beach, getting closer and closer to the boathouse. Still, ABC7 spotted quite a few lakefront runners early Tuesday. In some cases, authorities chased them down and ordered them off the beach." 

Yes, this morning I ran down to the lakefront as the storm created by "Sandy" rolled into Chicago. Yes, the police helicopters buzzed me. No, I was not in any danger (at least I don't think). However, on the lake side of the break wall there was a runner, a photographer and a random person sitting. Being on the other side of the break wall, within easy striking distance of the waves, would be considered putting your life in nature's hand. 

I have seen big waves on the lake before, just not as big and not as many as this morning.

Here is a video of some of the waves hitting just north of Belmont Harbor:

Now for the pictures:
This person was just sitting motionless watching the 20 footers crash in front of her!

Watch out! Why are they sitting there?

Looks like a 25 foot spray!

Waves rolling along the break wall

What are those people doing running by the lake today? Oh yeah, I was actually running there too!

Running on the lake side of the retaining wall is not recommended!

Big wave out in the lake

Photographer who was getting quite wet. Hope he is still with us!

Gotta love those warnings. They were like a clarion call for thrill seekers and photographers to go out to the lakefront.

Total: Ran 8 miles, really slowly....

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Flipped Over Car and My First Post Marathon Lakefront Run

Yesterday, on my first run to the lakefront since my Chicago Marathon training, I came upon an upside down car on Clark St. (just outside of Graceland Cemetery). Luckily, I had my camera to document the tow truck driver trying to flip it back over. The tow truck guy got the car flipped right-side-up in a matter of a few minutes.

The driver of this car did not have a good morning..
  Here is a video I took showing how quickly he got it from its side to all four tires:

After witnessing that feat, I continued down to the lakefront and there I enjoyed the absence of the masses that were filling the trail just four short weeks ago.
The Lakefront Trail post marathon. Ahh, sweet solitude.
 However, the winds were blowing pretty hard which made for some good speed training running Southbound, but good strength training headed Northbound. It also made for a nice picture:
The winds were whipping and so was the surf

Still quite empty

Okay, there were a few other people on the Trail, but not a big deal!

My favorite new sculpture by the lake

I got in 10 miles, which is my longest run in since the marathon three weeks ago. My pace was slow, but it was a good workout with the wind. The rest of this week will be all shorter runs and speedwork in preparation for the Hot Chocolate 15k next Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gas Mask Runner at the Track

I saw a guy running around the track with a gas mask on!

Here's the story. I arrived at the North Park University Track at around 7 a.m. and there was one other guy who arrived at the track at the same time. He parked his bike and got a ball out of his backpack.  As I was slow jogging in preparation to do my interval training, he was also running around the track except he would throw the ball ahead of himself, run to it, pick it up and then run backwards about 10 yards before turning around. After a few laps, he then went back to his backpack, put the ball away and then pulled out a gas mask, which he put on. He then ran around the track for about four laps with a gas mask on.  I was thinking to myself, "something like this can only happen in the city" but then I realized that when I got home, I would google "gas mask running" and would find out it was the latest fad in running. Sure enough when I got home, I got several hits on my google search!
I guess this is a method of training?
I believe one of the alleged benefits to gas mask training is that it is supposed to limit your oxygen while running and this allegedly stimulates the blood stream to learn how to handle the lack of oxygen better. I don't know if there is any science behind it, but it is very Halloweeny to see someone running around the track with a gas mask on. Unfortunately,  I did not have my camera, but I would have been nervous taking his picture!

Here's a video about a gas mask runners in NYC if you are interested.

Anyway, the guy at the track eventually took off the gas mask and then donned a weighted vest for his next laps. I did not wait around long enough to see what else he would pull out of his "bag of tricks" and left the track for my jog home.

I think interval training is hard enough and will stick to that.  Have you ever seen a runner doing some strange training method that initially freaked you out?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How Much is Your Chicago Marathon Medal Worth?

How much is your 2012 Chicago Marathon finisher medal worth? 

2012 Chicago Marathon Finishers Medal
Most of us would probably say it's priceless, since it is a reminder of the thrill of finishing the 26.2 miles and also a reminder of the months of sacrifices we had to make to get the finish line. However, if you need a quick $100, you could put it up on eBay. The going price on a 2012 finisher medal in one auction is $101 plus shipping! The person listing it says that they will use the proceeds from the auction to finance next year's entry fee.

However, if you are not willing to part with your medal, but are dreading getting your credit card charges from all of the clothing you bought at the marathon expo, you could put an item or two up on eBay, like this Nike women's jacket, which is currently selling for over $200!

The Bright Orange Chicago Marathon Jacket on eBay
Not willing to sell the stuff you bought? Well how about the free participant t-shirt? One sold for $40 including shipping.
2012 Chicago Marathon Participant Shirt
Even that 75 cent Sun Times commemorative Chicago Marathon section that came out on Monday? Bidding topped out $6.51!  That's a 860% profit made in just 3 days!

So, if you have Chicago Marathon Expo buyer's remorse, an extra newspaper from Monday, or you would rather forget your marathon finish and jettison your finisher medal and shirt, get your stuff listed on eBay right away while Chicago Marathon fever is still hot and you too could be rolling in the dough!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicago Marathon Recap

Race Highlights:

* Perfect marathon temps 40 to 48 degrees. A day made for fast times
* Huge, enthusiastic crowd
* Course p.r. of 3:10:40

Pre-race in front of Buckingham Fountain. Notice the homemade black arm warmers and homemade name sign
Best sign seen on course: (Sign held up by a woman): "You guys have stamina. Give me a call."
Best bust of a bandit runner: On the Roosevelt Rd. hill, a mere 300 yards from the finish line, an official course marshal ran alongside a guy who was running just in front of me. The marshal asked him for his bib and the guy faked like he couldn't find his bib and it must have fallen off. The marshal grabbed him by the arm and pulled him off of the course.
Best article of clothing I wore: Homemade arm warmers out of two pairs of dress socks. I read about this on someone else's blog. Please take credit if it was you! I wore them the entire race.
Best sign I wore on my shirt: "PETE B." So many spectators were shouting out my name that a fellow marathoner, running alongside me said that he was going to pretend that his name was Pete so he could feel like the crowds were shouting to him!
Best tasting beer of the month: The Goose Island truck was stationed just a few hundred yards past the finish line, pouring full 12 ounce beers exclusively to all finishers.
Best race finish venue: After running through the overcast skies and the shade of the buildings, the sun finally came out for good when I hit South Michigan Ave. Then, making the turn into Grant Park, the full sky was visible and it was incredibly blue and clear. A spectacular ending to the race of the year.

My splits:
Average pace: 7:16/mile

Analysis: Yes, they are positive splits, but I was feeling really good until about the 23 mile mark. Then my legs started to stiffen pretty quickly. So, my predicted "collapse point" actually was quite accurate. However at mile 23, I did not walk (even though it crossed my mind). I powered through the "wall" and told myself, I did not have an option, that the only way to get to the finish line was to run! Sure I may have made better time with negative splits, but considering this was a course p.r.: I'll take it. This will be a learning experience I can take with me to Boston in April.

My place:
I BQ'd for 2014 by almost 15 minutes!
Best nap: The one I took that afternoon!

Up next: Swimming all week and then begin training for the Hot Chocolate 15k next month. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chicago Marathon Expo in Four Pictures

In order to pickup this:

I stood in front of this big bowl of carbs:

 Met Hal Higdon:

Did a customary pose in front of a giant poster: 

And paid $22 for parking!

Good luck to everyone tomorrow and thanks to all those volunteering.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rememberences of the 2011 Chicago Marathon and William Caviness

The Chicago Sun Times published a story on the front page of their website yesterday, about dehydration and the marathon and the tragic story of William Caviness, a runner in the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Reading that story, quickly brought me back to that beautiful, fun morning and the tragedy that I learned of later that day.

It was the morning of October 9, 2011 and I was not running the Chicago Marathon. Instead, I was training for the NYC Marathon.  My friend Matt, who lived on Adams Street, invited me down to watch the Chicago Marathon in front of his apartment. That morning, I biked the half hour down to meet him. His apartment was just after the 13.1 mile marker (half way) of the 26.2 mile marathon.

Being a running nerd, I had brought my SLR camera and my video camera to record the sights and sounds of the marathon. I set my video camera on a tripod and let it roll and started snapping pictures of the leaders, and then continued snapping pictures of the hordes of the runners that passed us by. It was a picture perfect fall morning and got to hang out with Matt, his wife and their baby. We had a great time soaking in the whole carnival atmosphere of the event. We cheered on and high-fived the runners, calling out the names on their shirts.

Here are some of the random pictures I took of the rollicking good time runners were having during the marathon:

Matt, his wife and son

After the last of the runners that I knew had passed by us, and after I had snapped several hundred pictures and several videos, I said goodbye to Matt and family, packed up my stuff, jumped on my bike and headed home.

A few hours after arriving home, I saw this story on the news:

William Caviness, a 35 year old North Carolina firefighter, husband and father of two, who was on pace to run a sub 3:15 marathon, had collapsed and died 500 yards from the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. He was raising money for the IAFF Burn Center.

After hearing the news, I went through my photos, searching for a runner with his bib number and found this one that I took of him only an hour and a half before he collapsed:

William Caviness just after the 13 mile marker at the 2011 Chicago Marathon

I was also able to determine that he was in a video that I took of the race. Click here to see the part of the video of him. (He can be seen at around 3:16):

By the picture and video, he looks like every other runner, having a good time, completely relaxed and over half way to completing the run like the other 30,000 around him. 

This year, I am running the Chicago Marathon. So, when I cross the finish line on Sunday, I will soak in the accomplishment and savor the moment. And later, I'll remember the images of a guy I saw out for a run on a beautiful fall morning last year, William Caviness.

Footnote:  William's goal was to raise $2,000, for the charity and after he passed away, his total went up to almost $20,000.