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Monday, August 30, 2010

Birthday Run - 5 Miles

Happy Birthday to You!
5.00 miles run (9:40, 9:40, 9:31, 9:31, 8:34)
1.07 miles walked (15:00

total: 6.07 miles
course: Cardinal

Do I run on my birthday? I didn't last year. The year I raced and had a PR in the 5K. I need to just 'cuz. You know?

I debated this. The result was a defiant yes!

My confidence is wiggy. I'm somewhere between getting fitter, running too conservatively, running wisely, running too fast. I get a lot of emotions out of a few miles.

Feeling good, Achilles is achy.

Happy Birthday to You!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sleepy After 4.1 Miles

Disney Seven Dwarfs Sleepy Plush Toy - 11''
4.10 miles run (9:31, 9:31, 9:22, 8:57 and change)
1.10 miles

total: 5.2 miles
course: Cardinal

The opportunity to run tomorrow is minimal. I'll be at church, then playing chess in the afternnon. A neighbor invited me by letter. An old fashioned card invite. I met him at a bed and breakfast in Galena, IL. Turns out he lives, as he put it, a "seven-minute walk."

In light of my business tomorrow, and consider my time today, I ran a quicker four miles sans iPod (some songs are listed here, bottom left). The gym was closing.

If I squeeze two more runs/walks this month, I will have run/walked the most since August 2009. Then, I had 109.4 miles. August 2010 could be at 68.2.

Free water bottle at Cardinal today.

Now I am sleepy. Does anyone know why after a hard workout I want to snooze.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Countdown 5.0 Miles

5.00 miles run (9:31, 9:31, 9:31, 9:22, 9:13)
1.04 miles walked (15:00) 

total: 6.04 miles
course: Cardinal

The Final CountdownA tidy run. Last night, I slept poorly, caught in a few writing projects (including today's The Red Bandana: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse), with an early morning meeting. As such, I didn't know what to expect. Some good tunes kept me afloat -- I recently picked up "The Final Countdown" by Europe, a cheesy, but fun anthem rock song from 1986. 

Free water and fruit pieces at Cardinal today, The water, naturally, hit the spot. Sloppy Joes awaits me downstairs, so please forgive me for being brief. I'm hungry!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Red Bandana: A Good Run is (Not) Hard to Find

A good run is easy to find. The western suburbs have a wonderful array of forest preserves, high school and college tracks, and the Illinois Prairie Path, not to mention your own neighborhood.

It is all about setting expectations against reality, and enjoying the ride. My reality is that I am out of shape, but have run before. I have been through the foolishness which comes from putting the pedal to the metal before my body was ready. In time, I will taste the freedom of a long run, but for now, I plod through a mix of walking and running.

"Don't worry about how fast you walk, or how much distance you cover. Take time to stop and sniff the flowers or enjoy a scenic view," suggests Hal Higdon, a Chicago-based author of running books, on his 5K novice training website.

Make Way for Ducklings
No, this not a reference to the acclaimed children's book by Robert McCloskey. Rather, as I drove back from running at the gym this week, heading west on Roosevelt and Park in Glen Ellyn, Ill., there they were, crossing the road. They had help from a young woman swishing them along. She risked the smiles and cheers of others as she encouraged these wayward foul to get to the other side. The Aldi parking lot was not the Boston Garden, but Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack all seemed to think so.

Goulash on My Mind
This week, I found myself wearing my yellow Hungarian Gulyás Festival t-shirt. I have plenty of road race shirts, but those were acquired before I gained a few pounds. Am I the only one whose t-shirts are too tight around the midsection?

Gulyás? What's that? That's how Hungarians spell goulash, pronounced 'gooi'yas'. I have eaten my fair share of this delicious stew-like meal, and I suspect my current state of non-fitness is correlated to appreciating it. The festival is a sight and smell paradise: over a dozen cauldron hanging from wood-fired tripods steaming with paprika, garlic, banana peppers, caraway seeds, onions, beef, and lard. They compete for the big prize, based on votes. I, naturally, must do my part and adequately taste them all.

This traditional stew of Hungary can be traced back to the Ninth Century Magyar shepherds. Made of chunks of meat and onions, it was cooked slowly until the liquid was boiled off. It would then be dried in the sun. This allowed the meat to be used to prepare a stew by boiling it in water. Now, every Hungarian home has a version of the recipe which is arguably better than their neighbor's.

Running Playlist Pick of the Week
"Radar Love" by Golden Earring

It starts out:
"I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel
It's my baby callin', says I need you here
And it's half past four and I'm shifting gear."

Which songs are on your playlist?

PADS Run - September 11
Coming up September 11 is the Fourth Annual PADS Run. Whether you walk or run this 3.1 mile event, you will be helping make a better world. You might see me standing on a corner yelling at runners "Turn right! Turn right!" One guy has done much more than that, raising $13,000 by running 100 miles. That's not a typo. 100 miles. With no one on the corner yelling anything (not even a "Get off the road, you nut!" accompanied by an obscene hand signal), Mike McDemeritt of West Chicago ran more than 3.8 marathons in a row. PADS offers people who need a warm place to sleep on cold western suburban nights.

It is time to log off and run a few laps on the treadmill.

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. Recently divorced from his couch, he looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more at

For more about my running adventures, see A Runner's Dilemma (workout details, videos and more)

Click here to contact me.

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through Joyful Running

originally posted here

Read the newest column: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse

I Am On Meb Keflezighi's Blog Tour

I have just been added to Meb Keflezighi's 'blog tour'. His publisher, Tyndale House Publisher, connected with me via Twitter, knowing I blogged about running and reviewed books.

What exactly this entails besides getting a copy of the book, and a few pictures appropriate for online/blog use, I don't know. Will Meb come to my blog?

Joan Benoit Samuelson, a hero of mine when I was in high school, wrote the forward, so I am curious what she has to say. Though both great runners (she won the 1984 marathon just 17 days after knee surgery), I thought her world view would be significantly different than his, but I don't know either person in real life. As a person of character and diligence in running, Benoit is Class-A.

Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion's Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream 
When Meb Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in 2009—the first American to do so in 27 years—some critics questioned whether the Eritrean-born runner was “really” an American despite his citizenship status and representing the USA on two Olympic and several World Championship teams. Yet Meb is the living embodiment of the American dream. His family came to the U.S. to escape from a life of poverty and a violent war with Ethiopia; Meb was 12 at the time, spoke no English, and had never raced a mile. Yet he became an A student and a high school state and national champion. And when he stood on the platform as a silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics, Meb knew his hard work and determination had paid off. How could life be any better? 

Then it all came crashing down. Meb, a favorite for the Beijing Olympics, fractured his pelvis during the trials and was left literally crawling. His close friend and fellow marathoner suffered a cardiac arrest at the trials and died that same day. Devastated, Meb was about to learn whether his faith in God, the values his parents had taught him, and his belief that he was born to run were enough to see him through. 

Run to Overcome tells the inspirational story of a man who discovered the real meaning of victory, and who embodies the American spirit of overcoming the odds.

The book will be released November 1, 2010. 

Meb's site.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Celebrating 4.5 miles

4.5 miles run (9:40, 9:31, 9:22, 9:13, and half at 9:05)
1.13 miles walked

total: 5.63 miles
course: Cardinal

Notice the progress? I hope it is that. My weight is the same. I do feel better, and three miles doesn't seem so long mentally as it did even a week ago.

Kool and the Gang - GoldSped things up today, starting at 9:40 and notching down 0.10 mph as the next mile clicked in.

Downloaded a couple new running songs, including one my dad's favorite's, Celebrate by Kool and the Gang. So, here's to you Dad -->

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watch the Birdie - 4.25 Miles

No/No C00322 Red Cardinal Feeder4.25 miles run (9:50, 9:40, 9:32, and change)
1.00 miles walk

total: 5.25 miles
course: Cardinal

A nice run. Really. I mean that. Yesterday, my thighs were achy so it became a rest day, and the rest gone done me good.

Slowly increased my pace for no other reason than to keep me entertained. This is loping, not running, and, as loping goes, carrying the extra weight, it ain't. Smooth is how other runners do it.

Saw a hawk land atop stoplight on my way home. Beautiful.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

At the Cavern, 4.1 miles

Silver Beatles at the Cavern Club 1962 Poster4.1 miles run (10:00, 10:00, 9:50, 9:40)
1.03 miles walked

total: 5.13 miles
course: Cardinal

BBQed yesterday afternoon leaving a wake of rib bones, empty dessert dishes, and the need to work it off. Lonely morning in the empty, nearly cavernous gym.

Humid, slowly warming up outside, but I still managed a good sweat inside.

Just finished a chocolate mint protein bar.

Off now to a busy day.

Be sure to read my latest piece in the Trib.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through Joyful Running As Told By An Out Of Shape 40-something Guy

Originally posted here.

That's my couch.

We have spent a lot of time together. Too much time. Mostly, we have been watching how-to-cook BBQ shows on PBS while eating hickory smoked ribs, burgers, and chicken, with corn on the cob dripping with butter and a good ale to wash it down.

It is time to break this sordid love affair.

This morning, I weighed in at the gym at 141.6 pounds. Overweight? Depends how you define all of that, but in high school, through age 27, I weighed under 110 at 5'5.75". 107 pounds to be exact. A few pounds won't hurt me, but we are talking about 34.6 pounds here, none of which is muscle. OK, I could have taken off my running togs to get a more accurate (and lower) reading, but I didn't have a great body when I was fit. Add a few dozen pounds and 16 years, and my physique didn't get better. I'll keep my on clothes as I tip the scale at the gym.

You are probably fat. There, I have said it. Forbes Magazine writes, "Overall, 33.8% of Americans are obese and 68% are overweight," referring to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Odds are pretty good that two out of every three of you could stand to join me at the gym.

I understand.

Too Much Greatness

It is no help that we live in Chicagoland. We have the greatest pizza, the greatest hot dogs, the greatest BBQ, and the greatest brats. Slather it all with the greatest cheese imported from that country just north of us, Wisconsin, and things are delicious. Toss on a bag of the greatest potato chips, followed by a few gulps of Pepsi, and viola! We are tubby, chubby and round. We love food that is bad for us. Is it no wonder McDonald's was founded here.

All I need to say is "Giordano's, Gino's East, or Lou Malnati's?" and a fight breaks out. I might as well have asked, "Cubs or White Sox?" or, "Ginger or Mary Anne?"

Either way, fatty food is a Chicago specialty.

Liar's Day
Today is August 13. 225 days after January 1, otherwise known as "Liar's Day." That's the day when we all make our promises to join the 32% who are not overweight. I am a liar, and have the gut to prove it.

I am in a pickle here. That's my name on the top. I have laid into our national fatness pretty thick. I'm a guy who used to run a fair amount when I was younger, and have had a few blips at getting back into fitness. However, for the last year, I've been lying fallow on my lovely couch. In thinking about writing this, and the columns which will follow, I realized that though I do know a few things about running and fitness, readers will expect me to back it up. Today, I ran/walked 4.75 miles, with two other short runs in the last week. Consistency is the key; three runs doth not fitness make.

Over the next few months, I will describe this road I am on to fitness, whether it is good, bad or ugly. As I am a runner, I will tell race tales, suggest places in Chicagoland to run, provide book and movies reviews, offer tips for health and fun, and tell you what's on my running playlist. Also, I will bring in experts in exercise, diet, and running who each will provide their insights. Hopefully, the trials of a 40-something guy with a gut will help you stay on track.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go break up with my couch.

For more about my running adventures, see A Runner's Dilemma (workout details, videos and more)

Click here to contact me.
The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through Joyful Running

Read The Red Bandana: A Good Run is (Not) Hard to Find

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing - 3.5 Miles

3.5 miles run
1.0 miles walked

total: 4.5 miles
course: Cardinal

Yesterday evening, although I worked out in the morning, I was persuaded to head out for a hearty 3.2 mile walk. Never a bad thing, as the company was good and the air was fresh, but the toll I paid this afternoon is clear: I'm tired. Recovery is a hard to predict thing, but, given my non-fitness, too much of a good thing is, in fact, too much.

Ran two sluggish miles, walked 0.5, ran 1.5, walked 0.5. Simple as that. Now, a TV dinner, a mug of water, some cheap beer, and type, type, type.

Read more of my running adventures in "The Red Bandana."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

4.01 Miles Finished Thinking About the Danube

The Blue Danube (Waltz), Op. 3144.01 miles run (10:00/mile)
1.01 miles walked (15:00/mile)

total: 5.02 miles
course: Cardinal

A fine day to run. Inside, outside, all good. I went with the inside choice. Click the machine to a conservative 10:00/mile, and ran through to 4.01 miles. Had to finish the song, hence, the extra .01 run. Just to keep things all balanced, I walked an equally extra .01 to my mile at 15:00/mile.

Felt great, as if I was ready to run another 10. This is where I need to be careful. Feeling good is hardly a bad thing, but it is like a siren to sailors, and too easily, I can add miles and speed to my demise. The treadmill keeps me honest in this regard.

Warmed down to The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II. Upbeat, yet calming.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ringing in 3.5 Miles

10k Yellow Gold April Birthstone 3-Stone White Topaz with Diamond-Accent Ring, Size 73.5 miles run
0.75  miles walked
total: 4.25 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

Longest run since April. Ran the 3.5 straight-through, though my pulse was over the limit. Felt good throughout. Takes plenty of discipline not to jack up the speed, but until my pulse rate is tolerating 10:00/miles, steady as she goes. Or I go.

The gym was nearly empty. I don't mind that. Fewer distractions. I turn the TV on the treadmill off, but still, there are reflections of activity going on behind me. Not so much today.

Pretty ring, huh? It came up with a search of the word April, thanks to the birthstone.

10k Yellow Gold April Birthstone 3-Stone White Topaz with Diamond-Accent Ring, Size 7

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through Running As Told By An Out Of Shape 40-something Guy

See my new column in the Chicago Tribune's Wheaton, IL edition.

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through Running As Told By An Out Of Shape 40-something Guy

Button, Button, Who Has a Button? 3.5 Miles

Sewing Essentials, 80 pcs Sewing Spare Buttons Set, Sewing Kit3.5 miles run
1.25 miles walked

total: 4.75 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

More buttons. 6 mph, 4 mph. Just like that. Ran a mile, walked a quarter, ran a mile, walked a quarter, ran 1.5 miles, walked .75 miles.

Why? Can't I run longer? Sure I can, but I shouldn't. Parts of my body, and certainly my mind, would love a long gallop. Other parts requiring a longer ramp-up. One litmus test for me is my pulse rate. I was up near 175 the last two running sections. At 10:00/mile, a slow pace for me normally, I take notice. I'm not fit.

I headed to the gym earlier than expected. 90°s all afternoon. Though I intended all along to head to the gym, this matters because runners expecting to run outside might dodge inside the vaguely air conditioned land of treadmills.

I feel OK.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Hate Stopping - 2.5 Miles

2.50 miles run
0.75 miles walked

total: 3.25 miles

87°F | °C
Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: NE at 8 mph
Humidity: 58%
course: neighborhood

I hate stopping. Unplanned stops, that is. If I plan in a stop, like yesterday, I'm good. No pride is impacted. Today, the heat, matched with the fatigue of carrying 15-20 extra pounds thanks to sub-par fitness, and whammy, I was done. While my pride is strong, my desire to be healthy is stronger.

Why not plan the stop? The weather, as you can see, is rough. Worse, when you subtract 1.5 hours, as I forgot to grab the weather before I left. Worse, when you add in the blazing reflective heat from the blacktops. And worse still when... No. That's all. I'm out of excuses.

Good friend Mark, who has been heartily running every day a steady three miles each, left me at 25 minutes. Not a worry. I encouraged him to press on while I took a short cut back to his place. Some short cut. He was there, smiling, with a glass of cold water and a few paper towels. We talked about important things for 30 minutes while we caught our breath.

A good, hot run.

Monday, August 9, 2010

By the Buttons: 3 Miles After a Long Weekend

ACME Catalog: Quality is Our #1 Dream
3.00 miles run
1.00 miles walked

total: 4.00 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

The whole thing took 45:01. Do the math. Slow? Well, sure, if getting the finish line is the reason I was there. Not today. Today was about greasing the joints, just getting around to the gym after a long weekend in Galena, IL.

The workout was by the buttons: the six mile an hour button, and the four mile an hour button. These are default speeds on many treadmills. One mile @ 6 mph, 0.25 miles @ 4 mph, one mile @ 6 mph, 0.25 miles @ 4 mph, one mile @ 6 mph, 0.50 miles @ 4 mph. Adds up to four miles.

Some variety of health fair was going on. Translate: vendors looking for customers. Every vendor was represented by young women, not all of which worked out recently. One even had help from ACME Plastics. The free massage people left early, the teeth whitener people (that blue light thing) told me how bad my teeth are. The Qdoba girl offered me food, but I was off to run. I did score a coupon or two.

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