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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is That a Bat? - 3.25 Miles

3.25 miles run
1.0 miles walked

total: 4.25 miles
course: Home treadmill

Bat Out Of HellComing up with snappy titles to a blog essentially logging my workouts isn't easy.

Today, I ran to Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell, and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Single Version) by Iron Butterfly. I listened to the album version, not the short version. Those two songs right there are add up to 26:52. A couple others slipped in, and I was done.

Just three point two-five miles. Not much to say except that I felt incredible after a nine hour sleep last night. Cool weather, open windows, all was good. Bears waking up in Spring aren't as well rested as I was. A mile walked cleared out some of what was left that needed cleaning, and a shower and chicken kiev dinner will do the rest.

The Red Bandana: Blue Girl Group Cheers On Hundreds of Runners

read also: The Red Bandana: Walk, Absorb, Click

As rain teased volunteers early Saturday morning, Glenbard South High School Coach Sherry Hudson's volleyball team moved forward. Undaunted, they knew they had a job to do.

The Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) 5K and 10K needed people to encourage runners and walkers through the neighborhood, and the girls were up to the task. Positioned strategically along the course, they brought great enthusiasm to runners.

For the second consecutive year, the Raiders did more than cheer athletes on, as they delivered toilet paper, paper towels and garbage bags collected by students.

Volleyball fans go can follow their schedule here. More race pictures here.

Inspired, when real estate agent John Wright, texted to tell me PADS needed volunteers this week, I knew what to do and signed up. John organizes my church's PADS volunteer effort, and was a few people short. I saw what this organization does in action. From 12:00-3:00 am, my shift partner, accountant Mark Cantey, and I made dozens of bagged lunches for the men and women sleeping at Peace Lutheran Church on Butterfield Road in Lombard, IL.

Are You Chilling Out?
Cold weather is coming. Sure, it is a breezy 70°F degree day today, but who in Chicagoland thinks it will stay this way? What will you do when the temperature plummets? The cooler, drier weather of September will help your long runs and races, but cool will soon turn to cold. Are you ready?

Layers are the answer. A few long-sleeved t-shirts (I have a great navy blue one from the This Run's for Jack 5K in Glen Ellyn a few Octobers ago.), and a windbreaker might be enough. Add a sweatshirt, and you should be fine into the low 30s.

Remember to protect your hands and feet. As you shop, consider that gloves on a cold day may also serve as impromptu tissue. I'm not trying to be gross, but let's be real. Sniffly noses happen in the fall. Plain white cotton garden gloves will do the job. If you want to go old school, pop couple of tube socks on your hands. As far as a hat goes, think about a Chicago Bears Reversible Waffle Beanie. The bright orange side will help you be noticed while logging miles at dusk. Maybe Brian Urlacher or Jay Cutler will drive by and wave.

For especially cold days, think about dropping a few bucks into a gym membership. Your employer might have one, or might provide a discount to a commercial option. Look into your park district too. In my community, Wheaton, the Parks Plus gym through our recreation department is amazing as is the fitness center at College of DuPage. Many have a three-month deal, or pay as you go plan.

Keep an eye out for treadmills at garage sales too. Just today, I picked up a barely used NordicTrack A2250 for $140 from a neighbor who is moving. My savings? $860.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone
This 2004 Romanian language dance song would have gone unnoticed in America had it not been for the internet viral video "Numa Numa Dance" by Gary Brolsma. With great joy, he lipsyncs this love song while sitting at his desk to an audience of millions. Let your runs be as fun. Check it out. And sing along!

Vrei sa pleci dar nu mă, nu mă iei,
Nu mă, nu mă iei, nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei.
Chipul tau si dragostea din tei,
Mi-amintesc de ochii tai.

more running songs

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 the Joy of Running

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two For Runners: Headphone Review and Facebook Down To-Do Tips

What do you do when Facebook is down?

10 Silly Tips About How to Handle a Facebook Stall.
Includes a running idea for all you other well-intentioned folks

Nice sound, but they don't stay in the ears.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New (Old) NordicTrack Treadmill - 2.5 Miles

Nordic Track Professional Series 4000 Treadmill
2.500 run
0.611 walked (15:00/mile)

total: 3.111 miles
course: home treadmill

Breaking in a new treadmill. My first. Picked it up for a sweet $140 at a neighborhood garage sale. Was new for $1,000 (looks something like the newer, better version pictured). My neighbor had to get rid of it, and, though, only had done 106 miles on it, listed it at a great price.

Check out the distance detail - to the 1/1000th. Useless, you say? Why yes, yes it is. However, if you want to run, albeit on a basement treadmill, a true 5,000 meter distance, you need to know when it it hits 3.107 miles. Will 3.1 do? Not if you are as anal as I am about numbers like these.

Did not do so much today. I felt poor, as running goes, and don't yet know the particulars of the machine. I warmed up, then picked it up too soon, realized my bad decision at 1.5 miles, and dropped the speed back down.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Red Bandana: Walking By An Egyptian Obelisk

I walked by an Egyptian-style obelisk over Labor Day. You might have seen it. It is near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Monument, as the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5⅛ inches (169.294 m), reminds us of a great man. President George Washington was "polite with dignity, affable without familiarity, distant without haughtiness, grave without austerity, modest, wise, and good," according to Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams.

Walking in Washington D.C., for a tourist, is a necessity. Taxis and busses exist, as does the very capable Metrorail and Metrobus transit services (something like the El, only cleaner), but the best way to see things is on foot. The Capitol is on one end of the Mall, and the Lincoln Memorial is on the other. Wear shoes meant for walking or running if you plan to traipse across the city.

For me, getting from Metro, to the Mall, and around town over three days, involved around nine miles of walking all said. At first, it seems like a lot, but the right speed, and the right view of things can keep things fresh. Be encouraged to that a leisurely mile walk of three mph (20:00) burns 93 calories for a 175 lb. person. Each mile adds up.

Try to pick up the pace when you get near the guy selling hot dogs. Cross the street if you must to avoid him. He's over by the couple selling "I love DC" t-shirts and White House kitsch. Remember: fitness. I cannot claim the same discipline, as I grabbed a tasty dog slathered in mustard. You know the old saying, "Don't do as I do, do as I say."

Chicago vs Washington D.C.
Living near Chicago, I know what a Midwestern big city looks like. Buildings lifted by strong men with calloused hands, with accents from every country, working, living and thriving together in the city that works, with people daily pouring in and out of suburbs. Chicagoland is a rich, lively organism.

Carl Sandburg says in his poem "Chicago,"

"Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning."

Chicago is a great city. Perhaps we are no longer "hog butcher for the world," but we have our history. You can see reminders of it on Michigan Avenue, on State Street and Randolph Street. We have our stories and lore. Frank Sinatra sings, "One town that won't let you down./It's my kind of town."

We have the early residents and explorers too: the Potawatomis long ago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable as a first settler, and, yes, Mrs. Catherine O'Leary (whose cow really had nothing to do with the Great Fire, no matter what you hear). And, more recently, we had Al Capone. We have more history than that, but Washington D.C. carries a cachet of history that defines America.

As the anniversary of 9-11 was a week away, seeing Lincoln's Tennessee marble statue surrounded by some of his great speeches of freedom, standing where Martin Luther King, Jr. told us about his dream, and looking over toward memorials of the men and women who fought to keep us free -- I could only think of the greatness of my country.

With this in mind, considering too the tragedy of 9-11, the walk did not seem as far.

It is good to be back home in Wheaton.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Walk Like An Egyptian by Liam Sternberg as performed by The Bangles, 1986
"All the kids in the marketplace say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian"

more songs

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 the Joy of Running

Sunday, September 12, 2010

PADS RUN 2010 Pictures - 5K, 10K

I had a chance to snap a few pictures of the Wheaton, IL PADS 5K, 10K and walk. If any of these are you, and you would like the original, contact me. Likewise, if you are feeling bashful, drop me a line and I'll remove it. And, if you are here, and love it, please tell me so I can label the pictures.

A photographer for PADS was there with two very impressive cameras and 100x the skill, so check them out to see if they post theirs on the site. If you have some extra money, or are willing to skip a meal or two this week, you'll find a way to donate here.

Later this week, I'll report on my experience at the race, hopefully with an interview with a very cool high school coach who gets what really matters. Look here for the story next Friday.

Click pictures to see them bigger.

Read my weekly column
The Red Bandana
Finding Fitness Through the Joy of Running
Fridays online in the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal, and in print occasional Thursdays

All Broken Up - 5.0 Miles in Pieces

2.0 miles (9:40/mile) 0.25 miles walk (15:00/mile)
2.0 miles (9:40/mile)
0.25 miles walk (15:00/mile)
1.0 miles (8:00/mile)
0.80 miles walk (15:00/mile)

total: 6.30 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

A lot of walking does not equal a lot of running. Well, it does, more or less, as calorie burning goes, but not so much cardiovascularly. In other words, having done more walking than running (not posted here), I decided that today's run should be a careful mix. 

It all looks more complicated that ut was. I ran two, walked a quarter, and then again, then ran a somewhat quicker mile.

iPodless. Is that a word? In my hurry to the gym, I forgot it. It bummed me out because I downloaded a bunch of new tunes which needed running to. More on all of that later.

All Shook Up (Elvis, mp3)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Red Bandana: Only 600,000 Steps To Fitness

There are 7,136,000 steps to Anchorage, Alaska from my home in Wheaton, IL. That is 3,568 miles for those of you without MapQuest open.

I researched this. Walking on a treadmill, I counted 200 steps for 0.10 of a mile and multiplied accordingly. MedLine Plus says I need to burn 3,500 extra calories to lose a pound, which requires around 30 miles. If I want to lose 10 pounds, then, after all the math is done, 600,000 is between me and fitness. That is, I will lose that weight if I don't replace those calories at Portillos eating their delicious chocolate cake.

How many pairs of running shoes are needed to get to Alaska? I don't know. I'd rather count how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (find out how many here?). I am sure I would blow a hole in my sneakers long before arriving at the Canadian border. I wonder of my running shoe manufacturer has my size in snowshoes?

Since my current weekly walking and running mileage is around 25, I would need two years, nine months to get there. Hmm. I think I'll see if I have enough frequent flyer miles.

Is That Me?
"I stink therefore I ran." Philosopher Rene Descartes may have said that after a run. Hitting the gym after a long day, plodding through four miles, I took a sniff. Was that me? No one on the treadmill on my right or left. The window was in front of me, and an aisle was behind me. It was me.

Am I proud of this odiferous state? Not at all, but it is a natural reality all of us endure. It is something which sometimes comes from working out depending on genetics, diet and hygiene. Usually, BO isn't my MO, but on this day, it was bad. Good thing the gym was almost empty.

Wikipedia (from which all truth comes) tells me propionic acid is the basic cause of my stench. I am not sure what that is, but the word comes from the Greek: protos = "first" and pion = "fat". Yes, fat. Thanks, Greece. I already know I need to lose weight.

Am I losing this precious fat of mine? Not yet. My resting pulse rate is dropping, I am sleeping better, and overall am feeling better, but the scale has yet to agree with all of this. In time, it will.

Doing the right things will eventually bring good results when it comes to fitness. Soon, I expect to see my weight dropping. It will not happen overnight, but through diligent and careful exercise, and watching the goodies we eat. Trust the process and wait for the results. In six months, you will be glad you did.

Running Playlist Song of the WeekWalking On Sunshine by Kimberley Rew, as performed by Katrina and The Waves, 1983
Quite possibly the most feel-good hit on the 1980s, "Walking On Sunshine" has it all. High energy, upbeat lyrics , with consistent intensity makes it this week's choice.
"I'm walking on sunshine, woooahand don't it feel good!"

Next Week
Remember the PADs Walk/Run. September 11, 2010, 8:00 am at 703 W. Liberty, Wheaton, IL. 10K/5K Run and 3.6K Walk. $30 if you sign up now, $35 on the day of race.


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 the Joy of Running

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Red Bandana: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse

Baby back ribs waiting for an olive oil basting.
 The Red Bandana: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse
By AnthonyTrendl
(also read: The Red Bandana: Only 600,000 Steps To Fitness)

Majestically, on the way to a workout, a red-tailed hawk leapt from the stoplight pole to a telephone post. Talons sharp, yet stout, reached and grabbed its place. It would not be moved unless it decided to move.

How could I not marvel at the brute strength and raw beauty of this primal bird? Ruddy-brown, matching the coming autumn, with a spotted white breast, this bird of prey greeted all passers-by with a look that said, "I am free!"

Such as I ran this week: freely. It has been just over two weeks since I started into my personal campaign of fitness. My muscles are looser. My mind is more resilient to the drone of the treadmill. I stepped into the workouts looking forward to the run. I ran and walked roughly every other day, averaging a little over five miles the days I worked out.

Starting up the treadmill one afternoon, the Simpsons television show started up. This was the one when Homer decides to run a marathon, and hits the wall after just a few steps, then gains his second wind. He hits another wall, and then enjoys a third wind. Exhausted, he shrivels like a raisin. Marge calls out, "Hey, Grampa's running!" Lisa responds, "That's not Grampa. Dad's just dehydrated."

I drank enough water, but smiled anyway. Water is serious stuff, so be sure to drink plenty after each workout.

I had a great week, but was it without struggle?

I relapsed.

Running came easily this week, it's true, but so did eating. Graham and Ellie, were visiting from Papua-New Guinea. He is a running buddy back from a decade ago, or, as I like to think of it, "MGBBBQ - My Gut Before Barbecue."

She was originally from, Joliet, and he was from Australia, so I felt bound by duty to make a traditional American meal.

Four slabs of meat baby back ribs smoked in merlot soaked hickory chunks were my undoing. All the trimmings were there that you might expect. My family, my guests and I enjoyed madár tej (translation: 'bird's milk') for dessert, which is a sort of Hungarian custard-like pudding with a light meringue on top. We finished all with honey mead, an ancient and delicious sweet drink.

So I ate. Then I ate leftovers. Then leftovers of leftovers. The next day, I ate what survived.
You want a calorie count? I don't. The people at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab both have confirmed the numbers don't go high enough. Something about a number one with "more zeroes than are known to man." I'm not a mathematician, but I think that means a big number. A really big number.
What is so intoxicating about my BBQ ribs? You tell me:

BBQ Ribs Recipe

The Rub:
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Freshly ground mustard seed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil for basting
Baste. Grill at 250°F with the top closed for around two hours, switching the smoking wood chunks after an hour. Baste as needed. Loosely wrap the ribs in aluminum another 1.5 hours, then grill unwrapped for 20 minutes, adding a basic, commercial sauce the last 10 minutes.

As it cooks, be ready to fend off neighbors who, though having never stopped by before, suddenly treat you like a long-lost relative right after a rich uncle leaves you his bankroll.

Write to me for the madár tej recipe.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, as performed by Manfred Mann
"There she was just a-walkin' down the street, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"
Snappin' her fingers and shufflin' her feet, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"
She looked good (looked good), she looked fine (looked fine)
She looked good, she looked fine and I nearly lost my mind."

Remember to sing the song as you join me at the PADs Walk/Run. September 11, 2010, 8:00 am at 703 W. Liberty, Wheaton, IL. 10K/5K Run and 3.6K Walk. $30 if you sign up now, $35 on the day of race.

I'll be hollering at you on a street corner. Why should you run or walk? You get to have a great time with your neighbors, and your money goes to a great cause. The Run/Walk for DuPage PADS supports programs that provides housing, job training, and other support services to assist men, women, and children who are homeless.


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.

originally posted here