IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Well, I tried to get our results listed on Chicago Athlete, but not only have they not published these results for us, they didn't even respond to my request to have them posted.

So, here they are for those of you curious about your ranking:


Co-Ed Division Total Points
1. Norway Cycle Adventure Team 119
2. Vision Quest Fitness 110
3. Happy Endings 109
4. Because We Can 107
5. Masakit 105
6. Van Damage 99
7. Take a Bearing on This 97
8. Hardcore II 96
9. Team Kona 89
10. It’s not all GO GO GO 88
11. Team Quirk 87
12. Rumpus Punkus 83
13. Captn’ & Tennille 81
14. Hobbs Heroes 73
15. Santorini 73
16. Double Trouble 67
- Seguns 69 (did not make time limit)
- Typhoon III 65 (did not make time limit)

Male Division Total Points
1. Aqua Nuts 115
2. OP Playas 113
3. Double D 112

Female Division Total Points
1. Hardcore I 98
2. Boo-tilicious 97
3. Team Toppers 96
4. SCTC Chicks 86
5. X Factor 84
6. Sawil Chix 76
7. Punna 75
8. Sole Sisters 75
9. Two Pearls 66
10. Team 1243 45
-Lost and Found 61 (did not make time limit)


Team Name Total Points

1. Norway Cycle Adventure Team 119
2. Aqua Nuts 115
3. OP Playas 113
4. Double D 112
5. Vision Quest Fitness 110
6. Happy Endings 109
7. Because We Can 107
8. Masakit 105
9. Van Damage 99
10. Hardcore I 98
11. Boo-tilicious 97
12. Take a Bearing on This 97
13. Team Toppers 96
14. Hardcore II 96
15. Team Kona 89
16. It’s not all GO GO GO 88
17. Team Quirk 87
18. SCTC Chicks 86
19. X Factor 84
20. Rumpus Punkus 83
21. Captn’ & Tennille 81
22. Sawil Chix 76
23. Punna 75
24. Sole Sisters 75
25. Hobbs Heroes 73
26. Santorini 73
27. Double Trouble 67
28. Two Pearls 66
29. Team 1243 45
- Seguns 69 (did not make time limit)
- Typhoon III 65 (did not make time limit)
- Lost and Found 61 (did not make time limit)

Monday, October 30, 2006


Well, I had a good few pages typed up on this last night, but somehow I lost it all. Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of time to recap the day's events, but it's been a while since I posted so I needed to get something new for all of you to read!

RAYOR III was held this year as a benefit in conjunction with the Chicago Triathlon Team Luna Chix to raise money for breast cancer. Within a couple of weeks of getting the word out, the race filled with 35 teams of 2 and we had a waiting list of 5 teams. RAYOR (Race At Your Own Risk) is a local area adventure race where teams manuevered their way through a variety of courses (bike, orienteering, metrotrek and bonus) collecting points and/or clues throughout the day.

Peppered in throughout the courses, there were a variety of "mystery events" in which the racers were faced with different challenges that were designed to give everyone an opportunity to collect points. Fortunately for me, I was able to travel around throughout the course to take some good pictures and get a first-hand view of how the athletes were enjoying themselves. Everywhere I looked, it seemed people were having a good time. There were smiles and laughter and people truly looked like they were having fun. It seems this event was a huge success.

Once the points were tallied, evaluation forms were turned in and awards were presented followed by a raffle. The evaluations indicated everyone would do the race again (well, at least all the people who turned in the evaluations said they'd race again!!) It took a large amount of time, creativity and attention to detail by three very dedicated people to pull off a race of such magnitude. We are encouraged by the response and comments and hope to be able to have an even better event next year.

Thanks to all who participated and even MORE thanks to all our volunteers. Each and every one of you played some important part in making this event a success. We hope to see you all again next year.

Results will be forthcoming...

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Just over two years ago, I had never heard the term "orienteering". My first experience in orienteering was in the Wild Scallion. Basically, I just ran around following my teammates in what seemed like circles in order to get to certain checkpoints. They kept consulting a sheet of clues and using a compass. It felt a little ridiculous and I couldn't help but to feel helpless as I was practically dragged from point to point with no clue how they were figuring out where we were supposed to be going.

It was that feeling of helplessness and being a burden to my teammates that made me agree to go to some orienteering training this morning. I was assured there would be no running. We were there to learn so that if I was ever in a situation where I needed to find certain points on my own, I could do it. No sir, this was not going to be a competition, but more of an educational experience.

I was instructed to wear clothing that wouldn't allow the sticky parts of the brush stick to me. To me, this means "swishy pants." I don't know how to describe them but I know that normal clothes (i.e., jeans, running tights, sweats, etc.) would all allow those sticker thingys to cling on to me. So I put on a pair of pants I didn't think would attract these pesky little things as well as a jacket with the same qualities. I was also told to wear the "gaiters" we received when we signed up for the Wild Scallion. Until that day, I had no idea what a gaiter was. These nifty little articles of clothing wrap around your ankles with a string going under your shoes to keep them down, a hook to attach them to your shoelaces and velcro and a snap at the end to keep them secured. This would keep any dirt, rocks, and, oh yeah, those sticker things from getting on my socks. I still needed help in putting them on correctly, though. Those things should come with instructions!

It was a little chilly this morning and I was pretty much double-layered on all counts: socks, pants, shirt and gloves. I did only wear one wool hat, though. With this unseasonably chilly weather and knowing we would be walking around in the forest, I didn't want to be cold!

I met up with my teammates, neither of them new to the sport, so they could show me the ropes. I had no idea these little orienteering events existed before. More than 75% of the participants were boy scouts or something. I felt a little old and geeky to be there, but hey, if I'm going to do another adventure race, I need to be able to pull my weight in this particular area, so I tried to forget about how silly I felt being here and tried to focus on the task at hand.

We decided to do the "White" course first. This is the easy one. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am directionally challenged. I typically cannot tell you which direction I am headed. I also have trouble going somewhere I am not familiar with, even though I may have just been there a few days ago. In fact, I took a wrong turn in getting to this orienteering course even though I have been there at least 10 times in the past 2 years. Guess that's the reason why they invented

We received our maps and I needed to be told to copy the checkpoints down on the map. Easy enough. I drew the little circles with the numbers beside them and was ready to go. But then I didn't know where to start! See, typically you can just follow everyone else. Today, however, there were several courses and some people chose to do the courses in reverse order. And, can you really be sure the guy ahead of you knows where he is going? I think not. This is where the compass comes in. You need to line up the compass pointing north and make sure the map has the north side aligned up with the compass. This is called "getting your bearings" or something like that. With that, and the markings on the map, you should be able to tell what direction you should go to get started.

We need to give the guy at the start line our card where he writes down the time. Wait, they're TIMING us?? I thought this wasn't a race, this was supposed to be for educational purposes only!! While I understand they need to check everyone in and out just to ensure everyone makes it out of the woods OK, do we really need to be timed? I heaved a big sigh, reminded myself I was out here to learn and figure out what topographical lines mean on a map and waited for our beep to get started.

BEEP - and we were off. Not running, not jogging, not even walking briskly. We started off just walking in the direction of the first checkpoint and noting different things along the way. Different colors meant different densities of forest. There were lines and dashes that indicated "main" trail, smaller trail and even streams or creeks. At some points, even when we knew we were going the right way, we backtracked to see how something looked on the map versus how it looked in real life.

Slowly but surely, we made our way along each of the 9 checkpoints. At each point, there was a little punch tool that you needed to put on your card in the corresponding box. There were also a lot of "extra" checkpoints out there, those were the ones that belonged to the other courses, so it was important to make sure the point you were at had the number you were looking for. Each checkpoint had some small little clue like "path junction." This seemed easy enough. Almost every point we collected was directly on the path. And if it wasn't, it could be seen from the path. We finished up in about an hour and twenty minutes or so (I think). I'm not really sure on the time because I didn't pay attention to it.

We decided to move on to the "Orange" course, which was more difficult. It had 13 checkpoints I counted as I plotted them onto my map. They were spread out a little more than the ones on the first course and they seemed to go deeper into the "forest" part of the forest preserve. Our third teammate decided to go sit it out in the car and as she collected our camelbacks from us, I didn't realize this meant we would be trying to push the pace on this course.

We checked in, waited for our beep and as soon as it sounded, we were off. This time, it started as an all-out sprint until I decided I could not hold this pace for long. It can be brutal being the slower of two runners who really want to finish the event quickly. This was no longer about educational purposes. This had turned into a competition. But not a competition with other teams, this was us against the clock. It is easy to lose time as you try to navigate quickly off a map to a checkpoint and find you later missed some important clue on the map because of your hastiness. The competition then becomes about accuracy and attention to detail.

Before we even reached the first checkpoint, I was sweating and cursing myself for wearing so many clothes. Then again, I didn't know we'd be turning on the speed for a second course...heck, I didn't even know we'd be DOING a second course! I tore off my hat and second set of gloves and stuffed them into my pockets. As we made our way through the checkpoints, I quickly realized my gloves weren't made of the same sticker-bush-repellant fabric that my pants and jacket were made of. I had small little burr things all over both gloves almost instantly. It's like they come from out of nowhere and jump onto whatever article of clothing they can manage to stick to.

We had a little bit of a tough time when we were to go into the woods along a creek (that was pretty much dried up). Each of us took a side and went much deeper into the woods than it looked like we needed to be, but we still couldn't find the checkpoint. But we weren't alone. There had to be at least 6 other teams out there, roaming around, looking for a checkpoint that should've been much easier to find. It gets a bit frustrating when you feel like you're wasting time and making no progress. That's when it's best to take out the map and "regain your bearings". I don't now, I guess as Fletch says, "It's all ball bearings nowadays."

Luckily, we found the point we were looking for and tried to leave the rest of those teams behind as we ran out of the forest. As I ran, I was hit in the face with tree branches, tripped up by roots, slipped on leaves and stuck with thorns in my legs and hands. One particular tree branch made it's way into my pony tail and stayed there for the rest of the course!

We seemed to gain momentum as we got closer to the finish. Counting down the last 3 checkpoints was happiness for me because it meant I could stop running so fast! Sweat was just dripping down my face by the end and as we turned in our ticket, the guy collecting all the data told us "nice job." For a second, I felt proud of myself, but then he told the next team the same thing. So then I just figured that was like his line or something. We finished this second course in about an hour and 3 minutes which was great because it was not only much faster than the first course, but this second course was also much harder.

While I can't say I was reponsible for the fantastic orienteering job we did while flying around the second course, I can say that I learned a lot about orienteering and reading maps today. I don't think I'll be giving up triathlon to pursue orienteering events, but I do think I will be able to contribute much more to my next adventure race.

Bring it!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Health Club Junkie

I realize it has been a whole week since I made my last entry. I guess I haven't had that much to write about. I still really don't, so I had to think of something!

I think I have a sickness. It's called Health Club Addiction. I currently have 3 health club memberships and can't seem to part with any of them at the moment. In fact, I was even contemplating adding yet a 4th club to the mix! The weird thing is, I don't spend much time in any of these clubs from the months of May through September. I guess the clubs really like people like me. I don't really show up all that much, yet my membership fee keeps on coming in.

Why have 3 memberships, you ask?

Well - the first one - the cheapest one - is a national chain. They have clubs everywhere. And at a whopping $8.00/month, it seems silly to let this one go. In fact one time after a swim at the lake, I was dropped off at the club so I could get in a quick shower before we headed to the Sox game. Doesn't make much sense to drive all the way back home and all the way to the ballpark. And, in those years where I've had a really long commute due to traffic, many times, I was able to get to this club early to squeeze in a short workout before heading to the office. This strategy has saved me HUNDREDS OF HOURS of commute time. To me, worth the $8.00/month.

Now the second club is only for one reason. My swim team. There are many other local teams that charge way less money. But they aren't any closer to home. And, in most cases, their workouts are so late at night that it really doesn't fit for me. I'd rather get up at my usual 4:11am to work out before I go to the office. Reason being, I tend to lose motivation throughout the day. If I just automatically get up and get my swim in, it GETS DONE. If I wait until after work, I tend to make a million excuses as to why I should skip it. OK, so it's not really a cost-effective plan, but my swimming stays steady.

The last one. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! This is the closest full-facility club to my home. It is, however, the nicest and also the most expensive. They have all the amenities you need, and then some. I went once last week, but before that...well, had to be some time in APRIL when I was still lifting weights. Go figure. I should have just cancelled my membership and then joined again. But I always kept thinking - well, but if I needed to go, this is just so darned convenient!

I know it's crazy, but I just do not get what I need with any one single club. So I continue to keep these memberships and look like an idiot when I sometimes present the wrong club card when walking in. (yes, it has happened many a time) I know I can't be the only one.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chicago Half Marathon 2006

The familiar sound of my Treo alarm came all too quickly. The alarm on that thing sounds like the music they play on Sports Center. "Na na na na." As I got up to go across the room to turn off the alarm, I wished I wasn't doing this race. I don't get enough sleep as it is, and getting up at 5:20am is early! Almost like a work day.

When I parked, I was over a half mile from the race site. It was still very dark outside and I had pants, a throw-away shirt on, a buff to cover my ears and gloves. I hustled a bit to the race site, as I was trying to meet up with a couple of friends before the race. It definitely felt warmer than the 47 degrees it was outside.

I stopped at a bank of porta potties about a quarter mile away from the race site, as I felt the lines over there would be quite long. The grass was very wet and I tried really hard to keep my shoes dry while walking across the grass, but that didn't work well. I had participated in this race 3 years ago, my first half marathon. That race was also my FASTEST half marathon and for the past 3 years, I've struggled to try and beat that time.

Now I've been a CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) member for the past 3 years. I originally joined because I was doing a lot of 5K races and CARA offers a discount for many of them. However, the last couple of years, I join mostly because of the marathon training program, of which I am a group leader, so CARA membership is required. The nice thing about this membership is that CARA has special member tents and gear check at some of the most popular Chicago area races. So today, they had a big tent for gear check (which aves TONS of time as opposed to going to the normal gear check. They also had Clif Shots and vaseline out on tables for any member that needed those items. Most importantly, they had 2 porta potties inside their gated area. Now this was fabulous as I had to "go" 3 more times before the race started and I never had to wait in line! That right there was worth the price of membership!

I caught up with a good friend and we hung out by the CARA tent looking for one more person who was supposed to meet us there, but we never found her. As we watched the pace group leaders head on out to the course, we quickly jumped in line to follow them. It was definitely warming up and I wondered whether or not I should have packed my buff and gloves into my gear check bag.

We lined up just behind the guy with the 1:50 pace marker. For a half marathon, 1:50 pace is about 8:23/mile. Now, I didn't think I could run that fast, but I wanted to be somewhere near that pace. And who knows, if you're feeling good on a particular day, anything is possible! We chatted as we waited for the start about everything from our families, our businesses and even discussed the apparel choices of some of the other runners. As the start time approached, we wished each other good luck and said we'd meet up somewhere after the finish.

I never even heard the start, but everyone started running, so I guess that was my cue to go! I've run several marathons and half marathons, and I've never tried to align myself with a pace group. After today, I remember why I don't do that. Almost immediately, it was like work to try and keep up with my "rabbit". He was jetting in and out of the crowd and I felt like I was expending a tremendous amount of wasted energy to try and stay with him. But in the back of my mind, I knew that if I let this guy get away, I could kiss my PR (personal record) goodbye. I had no one else my pace to run with and I knew I would give up if I didn't try to stick with him.

As painful as it was, I darted around the crowd with this guy and his little entourage. None of the women in this group were particularly friendly. I tried striking up a conversation with 2 of them and they didn't seem to want to talk. Whatever! At that point, I just kept quiet and tried to stay focued. I kept hitting the splits on my watch and we were a bit slow for the first two miles. After mile 2, Mr. Jack Rabbit 1:50 Pace Group Leader turned on the steam! Almost immedately, I started breathing heavily and started to think I was out of my league. "What am I doing here?" I thought to myself. I can't do this, we're not even to mile 3 and I am struggling. I reminded myself that this kind of self-doubt would surely be detrimental to my race if I kept it up, so I tried really hard to just catch my breath while keeping the pace. I took off my throw-away shirt and threw it on the side of the road. I ripped the buff off my head and wrapped it around my wrist. I took the gloves off and carried them, wishing I had left all this stuff in my gear check bag at the beginning of the race. I could now see the mile 3 marker coming up and as we crossed that line and I saw 7:53 on my watch, I now knew why I was struggling. Mr. Jack Rabbit Pacer Guy was going WAY TOO FAST! He toned it back a bit for the next mile and I clocked our 4th mile around 8:23...just where he wanted to be. And that pace was OK for me. The group of people that started with the 1:50 pace group was certainly dwindling down. Sure, you left all those people back there when you decided to crank it up to a sub-8 minute mile!

I wondered whether this obnoxiously fast mile was going to bite me toward the end of the race, but quickly decided to let that thought go. After all, what's done is done, I can't go back and re-do the mile! As the sun was rising over Lake Michigan, the brightness made my eyes hurt. I wondered why I didn't bring sunglasses and then remembered that it was pitch black when I got to the race site. I wasn't even thinking about how sunny it was going to be today. I quietly kept pace with the Jack Rabbit and decided that he smelled. Why don't guys put on deoderant before races? And then they wear sleeveless shirts for all of us to smell their lovely arome with no sheilding! I made the conscious decision to run next to him, but not behind him.

The next mile was 8:04. OK, I thought, this is fast, we'll slow down a bit now. But no. Jack Rabbit backed up that mile with another mile at 8:03. That was it. I moved over to the other side of the street and decided to let this group go. As much as I would have loved to be able to hold an 8 minute mile pace for this race, I was not physically nor mentally prepared to keep that pace for an entire 13 miles. It was a bit depressing as I watched the bouncing 1:50 sign head off into the distance, but I felt it was for the best. I probably could have ran maybe a few more at that pace, but then what? Bonk at mile 10? No thank you. I tried to convince myself I was doing the right thing. I needed to slow down, but not too much!

At mile 7, I told myself I was more than half way done. But you know, 6 more miles is still pretty far when you are pushing yourself hard. I could do a 13 mile training run at a slower pace and it could feel great. But today, I was leaving it out there. I had already run a few miles too fast and I was tired. I reminded myself that EVERYONE is tired, keep going. Besides, it's not like I could just turn around and go back to the car. I pressed on. My legs felt heavy, but I kept cranking out the better-than-expected splits. I played games with myself and talked the miles down and tried to picture myself doing those miles on the all too familiar roads that surround my house.

The runners were pretty spread out by now and I passed time by "picking" runners off one at a time. OK, I'm going to pass the guy with the yellow shirt. Then it was the girl with the 2 long, brown braids, then it was the girl that was running like she had a potato chip up her butt. And it was working...I stayed on pace. When I got close to mile 11, I was catching up to a woman about my height with a Valpo Half Marathon shirt on. Hmmm....I thought I recognized her as another good friend that I've done triathlons and swim meets with. As I came up to her, I smiled and said, "HEY, I didn't know you were running today!" She said yep and that her boyfriend was up ahead. Our breathing was labored and we struggled to get those words out. One thing about this woman is that she is one tough chick! And even better is that our running abilities are so close, it makes us fantastic running partners, though we never have the opportunity to train together. As I ran with her, silently, I thought about how she pushed me at a half marathon last year that made me want to push her in a ditch. We had planned on doing 2 hours at that race, but she really turned it on from mile 1, so I dug deep that day to stay with her to the end...only to find out she was doing the same to keep up with me. We both had stellar performances that day, and I know that if I had not been running with her that day, I would not have pushed so hard.

I didn't run next to her for very long. We had just 2 miles to go, and I was on a mission. I wanted that PR so bad, I could taste it. Your mind starts to play tricks on you, though, as I felt I was running at a snail's pace. I hit the next split on my watch, faster than the last mile. Are you serious??? Sweet. Just one more mile. Oh, but that one mile hurt. I was trying so hard to go faster, but I didn't have it in me. People started passing me and it wasn't fun. I knew that if I could just keep my pace, I would have that half marathon PR that I have coveted for a couple years now. I didn't have to go faster, but just stay on pace. WHERE IS THE DAMN FINISH LINE???? Come on, I can't keep this up much longer! I don't even hear music or crowds yet. OK, STOP thinking that way. Just go. Run. Find someone to "pick off". Focus. Stay steady. You can do it.

And I did. I finally cracked my long-standing half marathon PR. OK, so it was only a minute or so, but WHO CARES, I did it. I ran faster than I expected and I'm elated with my performance. I wasn't able to achieve very many PRs this year, so I'll take them where I can get them. And this one meant a lot to me. It was the same exact course I did just 3 years ago and I was faster. It feels good. What a perfect day for a race!