Saturday, September 15, 2012
It's easy to overlook our local trails, but for walking or running, they offer an off-road change of pace.
When people talk about hitting the trails, I usually think of hiking in rugged places such as the Rocky Mountains, or at the very least, someplace farther afield, like Wisconsin. The local terrain seems to be too flat to have any decent trails. However, “hitting the trail” has benefits beyond finding elevation gain. For one, it's nice to get away from the busy, stressful streets filled with car traffic. Another benefit: walking or running on crushed gravel is much more forgiving on the joints than pounding concrete sidewalks. In fact, if you run or walk regularly, you might want to consider spending at least one day a week off the pavement. We are lucky to have some decent trails nearby. Granted, they don't offer the challenging hills and …
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Running controversies have been in the news lately. But why would anyone tell a lie about running, especially when members of the online running community are so quick to catch it?
Runners are an odd breed. Even though running is an activity that, for the most part, they do simply for the fun of it, they take the sport very seriously. When someone breaks the runner code of conduct, they start angrily buzzing like a swarm of killer bees. With the advent of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and various other on-line forums, it doesn't take long for dozens or hundreds of runners to chime in with an opinion. Alas, Paul Ryan inadvertently stepped on the running hornet's nest when he “misstated” his marathon time, shaving off over an hour. The mistake violated one of the first commandments of running: Thou shalt not fib about race results. The whole incident began innocently enough. As reported in Runner's World, …
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The North Shore, Chicago and around Illinois will be packed with running and cycling events, including some unusual offerings, beer and burger 5k anyone?
September is just around the corner, and with it comes a staggering number of local athletic events. It's not hard to see why: September and October usually offer great weather for outdoor activities here in the Midwest. The season is punctuated by the some of Chicago's biggest events: The Chicago Triathlon, the Chicago Half Marathon (which also offers a 5k race), and then the biggest of them all, the world-class Chicago Marathon in October. Bike Winnetka But in addition to the big guns, there are lots of mid- and small-sized events. One of the most notable local events is Bike Winnetka, which this year features Mark Stephan leading the pack. If you don't know about Mark, he is a Winnetka resident and avid athlete who was critically …
Saturday, July 14, 2012
An abundance of training programs means that there's one out there for you, whether you're looking to try your first 5k or run your fastest marathon.
Although we're currently stuck in the heat of summer, the cooler weather of autumn will soon be here, and along with it will come plenty of running races: 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and even the queen of the Illinois running calendar, the Chicago Marathon. But if you're planning on a fall event of any distance, you should be doing some kind of training program. The first time I did a half marathon, I didn't train for it. Oh, sure, I prepared, but I didn't follow a training plan. In fact, I didn't even know training plans existed. I just ran on a regular basis and tried to make my weekend runs progressively longer, adding more mileage until I finally ran 13 miles the weekend before the race. When I got to the start line, I still hadn't …
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Betsy and Sal talk discuss dog walking and cycling etiquette on one of the North Shore's more popular trails.
Dear Betsy and Sal, Nothing makes me angrier than bikers speeding by on the Green Bay Trail. Let met be clear. I don’t hate all people who ride their bicycles on the Trail, just the ones who race by at top speeds and weave through walkers as if we were orange cones on an obstacle course. You rude cyclists know who you are. You refuse to alert us walkers that you are coming up behind us, and you are unaware that as you skim by at lightning speed, we grab one another for dear life, retreat to the “shoulder” and curse your diminishing figure as you ride off into the distance. Shame on you. You should be on the road angering motorists, not terrorizing innocent ambulatory shade seeking strollers. Signed, This-really-isn’t-Betsy and her friend …
Saturday, June 30, 2012
The next few weeks are jam-packed with events for walkers, runners and cyclists of all ages and abilities. Here are several in and around your community.
July seems to be the height of the racing calendar for the greater Chicago area. Every weekend there are multiple events not-so-far-away for those interested in walking, running, biking, or maybe even trying a triathlon. Now is the time to pick an event and make it yours. Up first, the Winnetka Firecracker 5k finishes off the month of June with a great event for both runners and walkers alike. The 3.1 mile race will be held Saturday, June 30, at 8 AM on the Village Green. Race day registration is available. If you're up for a slightly longer distance, the Highland Park Firecracker 4 is a four-mile race on Sunday, July 1st, and it's being held at the Highland Park Rec center at 8 AM. Again, both walkers and runners are encouraged to …
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Good weather brings lots of options for exercising outdoors, but increases sun exposure too.
It's fitting that we're in the middle of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, because I have spent most of May searching for the right sunscreen. Usually chilly spring temperatures keep me covered in long sleeves until sometime in June, but not this year. This lovely stretch of weather almost demands some kind of outdoor activity, but there's a drawback. Walking along the lake, kayaking in the lagoons, working in the garden, playing golf, enjoying a long run or bike ride – all of these result in substantial time out in the sun. Just like I would never hop on my bike without first donning a helmet, I know I should never head out the door without some kind of sun protection. The stakes are high. According to Outrun the Sun, which sponsors a virtual …
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Two Ramblers signed on the dotted line this past week for college running.
As a highlight of their cross country and track careers, two Loyola Academy student-athletes celebrated "signing day" this past week. William Hague, a Winnetka resident, and Todd Ford, a Glenview resident, both qualified for the Illinois State Meet this weekend. Last Thursday, Hague signed with Duke University and Ford signed with Williams College.
Monday, May 21, 2012
The nominees are: Deerfield's Jason Brown, New Trier's Courtney and Jessica Ackerman, Maine West's Alisha Barnaby, Glenbrook South's Keeley Nolan and Niles West's Ari Lazar.
Editor's note: To keep voting fair, we ask that you cast your vote by placing a comment below. Also, voting now ends Thursday, 5 p.m. Thanks! The nominees for Patch Athlete of the Week, May 14 – May 20: Jessica and Courtney Ackerman, juniors, track and field, New Trier – The twins doubled up in the distance races at the Class 3A state championships on Saturday. Courtney took second place in the 1600 and was sixth in the 3200 while Jessica was fourth in the 3200 and placed seventh in the 800. Alisha Barnaby, senior, track and field, Maine West - Barnaby took eighth place in the shot put for the Warriors, the best finish for Maine West at the track and field state championships. Barnaby threw 40 feet, 6.5 inches in Friday’s preliminary …
Saturday, May 12, 2012
A new book by Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times looks at the science behind exercise, with some surprising conclusions.
I was driving in my car earlier this week, trying to find something other than Adele on the radio, when I stumbled upon Terry Gross on NPR talking about exercise. She was interviewing Gretchen Reynolds, who writes the New York Times Phys Ed column. Ms. Reynolds has a new book out which questions some long held fitness-related notions. The book is called The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer. Reynolds began the interview by noting the many negative effects of sitting all day. The solution for those of us stuck in front of a computer? She recommends simply standing up every 20 minutes. A short walk around the office would be ideal, but at a minimum, a two-minute standing break…