Monday, March 19, 2012

Darby O'Gill and the Drunk People

That is what that Disney movie would have been called if it was filmed on St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.  I recall watching that movie in my grade school's gymnasium while sucking on a tootsie pop.  I loved that movie. 

So Saturday was St. Patrick's Day and if you've ever been in Chicago on that day, you know the mayhem that goes on in this city.
Emmit's Pub... Irish Pub at 11 a.m.
But just becuase it was a "holiday" doesn't mean I didn't need to get a training run in.  The weather was a gorgeous 80 degrees, so EVERYONE was out.  Even the kayakers were decked out in leprachaun gear.  Every bit of water was green, from the river, to the fountain in Daley Plaza.  People were already spilling out of Irish bars at 11:00 a.m, if not earlier.

It was rough at times maneuvering through the crowds of people downtown to get a glimpse of the ectoplasm green river, and I got pegged with beads by drunks riding round the city in trolleys, but it was still pretty fun. Great people watching.  Although later in the day when I was the one serving up green beer to these people, it suddenly became a lot less fun. 

Fountain in Daley Plaza
The Green Door - Fun if you're not working on St. Pat's

Forecast: 75 and Sunny

75 and Sunny... that was the forecast this past weekend in Minneapolis. Too bad I was in cold, rainy Los Angeles! Yes, it's true. LA's weather on Saturday was rainy, with temps in the low 50s. But, despite the pouring rain, I ran the LA Big 5K with my friend Laird.

This is a pretty accurate description of the run: A light, misty drizzle turns to pouring rain as the announcer says "on your marks, set, go!" Laird says, "there's just one big hill in mile 1 and then it's all downhill from there." That "hill" was like running up Lombard Street in San Francisco.... Of course, with each next hill we hit, Laird would say, "Forgot about this one. This one is the last... OK, maybe there are a few more." Ah well. Did I ever mention I'm an excellent hill runner???

Laird and I are still smiling after the rainy, cold, hilly 5K - we must be dedicated charity runners!

But at least I knew that the run was supporting a good cause. Laird is the co-chair of the charity running team supporting the Alliance for Children's Rights. I got to meet a lot of the Alliance runners and supporters - what a great group! Alliance is an LA-based organization helping the kids who have no representation in the court system with free legal services. We're all lawyers on the RUS team, so we understand how important it is for people in need to have access to free legal services. If you'd like to support Alliance, you can do so here.

And of course, I'm always running to support Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run Twin Cities's inaugural season is underway. We are so thankful for all the support we've already received from our friends, neighbors and local communities. We'll need continuing support in order to grow the program and ensure its success in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but we're off to a good start! If you would like to support our work or read more information about the program, you can do so using this link.

Oh, and if you get our RUS blog updates by email, we encourage you to forward the posts to your friends. We love new readers! To get posts by email, just enter your email address into the "Receive Posts by Email!" box and click "Subscribe". It's that easy! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

When running becomes your mode of transportation

So I needed to log 18 miles this weekend as part of my training.   But my roommate also had a swim meet in Oak Park (a nearby suburb for you non-Chicagoans) and I had yet to make it to one of her meets.   How could I squeeze both in on a Sunday afternoon?   Then my boyfriend suggests, why don't you just run there? Hmm... an interesting idea.
Pinatas for Everyone!

I mapped it out and it was about 7 miles from my place to the meet, so about 14 miles roundtrip.   But men can be so protective sometimes.   The boyfriend and his friend thought that the route I was going to take was not necessarily safe.   So they convinced me to go a mile north to a safer street, which would actually be a little better since it would add some extra miles.   Plus, I got to run by this cool shop that sold only pinatas.   All kinds of pinatas.   The traditional ones, Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer.  Name a pinata you want, I bet they have it.

By time I reached the high school where the swim meet was, I had apparently gone 9.6 miles.  I'm no math whiz, but I think that adds up to more than 18 miles round trip.   Hmm.. now what?   I decided to go watch the meet and worry about that detail later.   I've never been to a swim meet before, and it was actually pretty interesting to watch; people of all ages, shapes and sizes out there swimming away.   Plus, it was fun to see the roomie in action doing her thing.   I stayed for around an hour to watch a couple of her events, one of in which she beat a girl in a Wonder Woman swimsuit.   I think it's pretty brave to wear a Wonder Woman swimsuit since people might expect you to swim at Wonder Woman speeds.   After that, I had to leave before I was too tempted to just catch a ride home with her.   

Ernie's Birthplace Home

Now I'm back to my dilemma of this pesky extra mile.   I decide I'll just go the same route, and walk that last mile as a cool down.   So I took off running back the way I came.   And lo and behold, I was running past the birthplace home of Ernest Hemingway (which as usual I missed while running that way ealier).   For those of you who are unaware, Ernie grew up in Oak Park and the city continues to pay homage to one of their most famous residents with a Hemingway Museum, and a hotel featuring the Hemingway Bistro.

The Write Inn.... get it?

Again, as usual, like a total space cadet, I was lost in my thoughts and missed my turn on the run home.   So now I'm half a mile north of where I need to be, which means another half mile back south and this 18 mile run has now become a 20 mile run.   Well, I have no choice but to keep running.   I'm trying to do the math of these extra miles in my head to figure out where I'll be when I hit 18 so I can then have my boyfriend come rescue me and drive me those last 2 miles home.   I think it will get me pretty close to the park in the center of Logan Square.   So I call him to come fetch me. Coincidentally, this is the same place we took some photos during the Fitness magazine photo shoot when we first met.   We did some embarrassing running shots there, ones of him shooting us from behind while we looked back over our shoulders.   Total ass shot.   Maybe that's what piqued his interest?  Either way, I'm glad those shots did not make it into the magazine.

While I was waiting for my rescue, a funny exchange occurs between me and some kid.   He comes over to me while I'm stretching and says, "that kid over there in the camoflauge pants wants to know if he can have your number."   I look over at the "kid," turn back to his friend and say to him, "I'm pretty sure I'm too old for your friend."   He then says, "but he's 23."   I respond, "Well, I'm 34."   A brief silence, then he says "Oh" and runs away.   I guess when I was 23, I thought 34 was old too.   But thanks for the ego boost kid!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Harley Helping Hands

Lately my blogs have focused on my training runs.  But I just want to remind everyone (and myself) that we  started the Race Within US for a reason... more than just to travel.  We wanted to help raise money and awareness for some great causes that are near and dear to us.  So I'd like to tell you all about a really amazing charity that was created in honor of my college friend's husband, Kit Harley, who bravely battled brain cancer with his amazing, courageous wife and family at his side. 

Harley Helping Hands' mission is to provide financial assistance and positively impact the lives of those battling brain cancer.   Every year they have a really great fundraiser in the spring.  There is always great food, live music and dancing.  This year I will unfortunately not be able to make it because I'll be running the Country Music Marathon in Nashville the very next morning.  I'm pretty bummed because the venue looks fabulous.  So I'm asking for your support and hoping all of you will all make an effort to attend this really fun event on April 27th, while I'm gearing up to tackle my 11th full marathon.  You can find out more information about Harley Helping Hands and the event by visiting their facebook page at!/harleyhelpinghands.  Don't forget to click "Like!"

Thanks everyone for your support of this amazing charity and my tired legs!