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Friday, November 26, 2010

Road Runner Sports

Runners, I just connected with Road Runner Sports, offering their ads. Essentially, they are a massive store for running-related products. They describe themselves as the "World's Largest Running Store." If you are looking to get some winter running clothes, shoes, racing flats, women's products, they have it all. You won't get the service you will find at your local running store (here are ones near me in Chicagoland), but if you know what you need, this can help keep costs down.

Road Runner Sports Logo_468x60

Shop the Road Runner Sports Outlet Store - Save up to 75% on running shoes and apparel!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Red Bandana: Thanksgiving and the Common Runner: How to Survive Gorging Yourself

Thanksgiving is coming. Before you will be gluttonous amounts of food fit to feed 20 people. Since only 10 of you will be at the table, each of you must eat double portions. This is your duty. God did not give you two hands to only hold one turkey leg. There are two drumsticks. Grab another and get moving. That big bird isn't going to eat itself. Also, before you think this will be a breeze, remember what happened last year when you slacked: Your cousin's girlfriend showed you who was boss of the dinner table.

Be confident. You have trained for this. All that carbo-loading before long races? Uh huh. That's right. All toward today. That second plate of spaghetti? Exactly. It comes down to the big day. Here you are.

Warm up properly before dining. Properly line your stomach with an array of chips (nachos are fine, but only with a warm cheese dip), celery with peanut butter and those funny looking scone things with the toasted sugar on top. Ease into dinnertime.

Why? A bad case of the yummies, that's why. Do not eat on an empty stomach lest you pull a taste muscle. These things happen, and you can be sure emergency rooms will be packed Friday morning with people who were all set to eat breakfast but could not. Their taste buds get overloaded with flavor, and, not ready for all this pleasure, react with what doctors call, "Yummy Issues." The only known cure is leftovers at every meal for at least a week.

Once warmed up, be sure to toss on your running togs, lace up your shoes, and dash to the table with lightning speed. Oh, and wear a bib. You do not want gravy on your shirt. This is a challenging day, and you should be protected in this competitive environment. If your nephew decides that peas really can fly across the table with the help of a spoon, you might find protective glasses useful as well.

After the prayer of thanksgiving, you want to be first one out of the blocks after someone breathes, "Amen." Use your newly enriched cardiovascular system to wolf down mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole. Eat up.

The flexibility you picked up from post-run stretching will help you wiggle through the candlesticks and wine bottles, and past your Great Uncle Louie before he snags the still-steaming fresh-baked rolls. Come on, the guy is 95. Surely now, you can beat him to the bread?

There are benefits to running regularly. One is that you have every right to eat that extra slice of French Silk Pie. Sure, it has a million calories, but you know you will burn it off. Does this mean it is time to abuse your body?

No way. This is where the men and women are separated from the boys and girls when it comes to fitness. On Thanksgiving Day, through New Year's, are parties and holidays of all sorts, every one of which involves opportunities to fall off the fitness wagon.

Though the food will be delicious, and the reason we are celebrating is important, let wisdom prevail if fitness is your goal. Stayed focused on your long-term goals and find yourself in great shape by Easter.

Start the morning by heading out for a run. Call an old friend and go for a long walk. Or, make a plan to hit the Illinois Prairie Path for a few miles on the Friday after. Whatever you do, don't over eat. Gluttony is not only one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but it is not good for your body either. The yummies just are not worth the extra pounds.

Enjoy yourself. Eat well. Be full, be thankful, and remember there are many of our neighbors struggling with making ends meet in this economy. Think about inviting a neighbor over to enjoy your bounty, and the next week as well.

Quick Tips for a Sensible Thanksgiving Meal
1) Stop at one plateful. Sounds crazy, but you can do it.
2) Watch the appetizers. These sneaky snacks can add a few hundred calories before you have even started dinner.
3) Eat slowly. Let your stomach catch on to the idea you are eating.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" by the Ohio Express. A group of studio musicians released this bubblegum favorite in 1968. What it lacks in depth it makes up in fun. Come on now, everybody sing!

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.
I got love in my tummy,
And I feel like a-lovin you
Ooh love, I won't let you go.

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. He looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more:

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Red Bandana: Learning BBQ With Steven Raichlen

I love to run, and I love to BBQ. The tension between a high fat diet and a low fat body exists. I am not alone in my desire to eat well and be healthy.

Steve and I grill together almost every Sunday. He fires up a few grills, and he breaks out some incredible globally-discovered recipes. A few ingredients are expertly sliced and laid upon the grill, and magic begins. Smoke, whether from carefully prepared hickory chips or by using straight charcoal, flows around his meals, lifting herbs, spices and imagination into the air. Plucked almost from Eden are delicious meals that appeal to more than prehistoric grunting men, but foodies of all flavors.

There's one thing, though. I have not yet tasted one morsel from his grill. We have never met. You see, this Steve is grillmaster Steven Raichlen, the host of "Primal Grill" on Channel 20, WYCC at 2:30 pm. He looks fit, and obviously shares my love of BBQing, so I asked him a few questions via e-mail. He says he isn't a runner but is active as a cyclist. A simple calisthenic routine every other day completes his workout routine.]

Q: Any Fit-focused BBQ Tips?
A: Take a cue from the Asian culinary repertoire, he says. Meat isn't the star there as it is here. "For example, thin slices of grilled meat, chicken, or fish might be rolled into a lettuce leaf along with some vegetables (such as bean sprouts) and served with a light but flavorful dipping sauce."

Looking good can relate to eating good, which brings us back to looking good. Raichlen says, "A platter of grilled vegetables–peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, yellow squash, etc.–can be the most appealing dish on the table, especially if dusted with freshly-grated Parmesan and a shower of chopped fresh herbs. A side of couscous or orzo pasta, and you've got a meal."

Portobello mushrooms can replace hamburgers, Raichlen continued. "Marinate them in a good vinaigrette, then grill. Top with low-fat cheese, roasted red peppers, etc."

Fish? Yes, of course, and convenient too. "Grill heart-healthy fish like salmon on planks–you don't have coat the fish with oil (as you do when it goes directly on the grill grate), and you don't have to turn it."

But I like sweets. Help! Raichlen suggests "grilled fruit–peaches, apples, pineapple, etc.–make terrific low-cal desserts. I dust mine with cinnamon-laced turbinado sugar; serve warm with low-fat ice cream."

Raichlen's beef sate looks far more complicated to make than it is. Give it a go and report back.


How: Direct grilling
Advance preparation: At least 3 hours for marinating the beef. As long as overnight. The longer, the better.
Serves: 6 as an appetizer; 4 as a light main course.

1-1/2 pounds rib-eye steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick

For the marinade:

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Singapore Cucumber Relish (optional—recipes follows)

You'll also need: 8-inch bamboo skewers; grill shield or aluminum foil (a 12 by 18 inch sheet folded in thirds like a business letter with shiny side out)

Cut each steak, including the fat, into 1 inch strips (each 1/4 inch thick) and place in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, fish sauce, and vegetable oil. Marinate the beef, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and as long as overnight.

Thread the beef strips onto bamboo skewers leaving the bottom half of each skewer exposed as a handle and the top 1/4-inch of the skewer exposed as a point. The recipe can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage.

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Arrange the sates on the grate, sliding the grill shield or folded foil under the exposed part of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill until cooked to taste, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side for medium rare, a little longer for medium. (In general, Southeast Asians eat their sates medium to medium-well.) Serve with Singapore Cucumber Relish, if desired.


2 kirby (small) cucumbers or 1 medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 small shallot or green onion, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small hot red chile (like a bird or cayenne pepper), seeded and minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cucumbers into 1/4-inch dice. Place the cucumbers, shallot, chile, vinegar, and sugar in a mixing bowl and gently toss to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Rollin' and Tumblin' by Bob Dylan

Raichlen is a huge Bob Dylan fan, and listens as he grills, and gets to every concert he can. A Dylan fan myself, I know the folkish sound isn't always good for popping out musically-inspired miles. A few are perfect. This rewrite of the late Westmont, Illinois bluesman, Muddy Waters' song tosses down a drive and rhythm that is best saved for the middle miles of a long run. For 6:02, Dylan sings about how low he feels:

"Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind
Well, I paid and I paid and my sufferin' heart is always on the line."

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. He looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more:

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

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through the Joy of Running

More About Steven Raichlen

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Ways to Follow A Runner's Dilemma on Facebook

On Facebook? Join me there. See these posts there whenever you are logged in.

Network Blogs See posts in your Facebook feed, or view through the Network blogs app.

Training for my First Marathon
Join a group of beginning and experienced runners all sorting it out.

Haile Gebrselassie Unretired?

Looks like The Greatest Distance Runner Ever might still be running. I hope so, but his injury sounded serious. Did he react too quickly? Could be. He's as fast as it gets, and crashed hard at mile 16 of the NYC Marathon. That would hurt, especially if you knew every other part of your body was screaming "2:03:59."

I want him to keep running, but a guy has gotta do what he has gotta do. He has earned the right to think about whatever he must to get his head on straight.

Haile Gebrselassie Twitter account announcement:

See the posts around it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blister, Then Another Blister

Bigfoot: the Garden Yeti StatueI hate blisters. Who likes them? Right foot, inside, upper heel. Not one blister, but a big one, left unchecked for a week, produced another underneath.

Last night, I cut it open. I won't go gross on you, but I saw another revealed beneath.

Workouts were going well, and fitness was starting to find me, and now this. I have lost several good days of running. Maybe tomorrow.

Bigfoot has little to do with my blister, and my feet are not especially big. Cool picture, though, huh?

Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Kit

Friday, November 12, 2010

Red Bandana: Do Not Run and Play Air Guitar & "Run to Overcome" by Marathoner Meb Keflezighi Reviewed

Do not, under any circumstances, play air guitar while running on a treadmill. You may sing, you may shout, but leave your air guitar skills for karaoke time at your Aunt Suzi's wedding.

For example, you rockers out there have no business trying to see if you can effective pretend to play "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. And if I see any of you pointing your invisible electric guitar to the ceiling while moaning, "'Scuze me while I kiss the sky," ala Jimi Hendrix, I will, without hesitation, report you to the treadmill police. It is for your own good.


Just the other night, rocking out during a five mile run, working through a great selection of music for the evening. The Hollies, The Who, The Romantics, Wild Cherry, Kool & the Gang. Each song was crammed with testosterone, each more high energy than the previous. I was revved up. My gait and cadence were good. I started feeling like a real runner.

But then -- I started to sing. That's OK. This is my basement, not Chicago's L Train. That I cannot sing is not material. In fact, it is good training. New Zealand's famous coach, Arthur Lydiard, used to say one test for running a good aerobic pace is if the runner can talk. Singing is like talking, isn't it? Only moreso.

So I belted out a few tunes. My neighbors knew that "everyone was kung fu fighting" and "Those cats were fast as lightning." They now know, "What I like about you." And they did not need to hear that I was, "Dancing with myself," to know that, in fact, I was.

But then my playlist came to Bachman-Turner Overdrive. You oldies will know them simply as BTO. I'm a product of the 1970s. What could I do? When "Takin' Care of Business" hit my stereo, I was strumming and picking away. I did not limit my air musicianship to guitar. Piano too. There is a bit of boogie-woogie piano in there, and I don't think I missed a note.

Sometimes, I played both instruments at once. Piano on left, guitar on right.

You know the song. It begins:

"You get up every morning
From your 'larm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above
And people pushin', people shovin'"

Trouble was, I was running. Remember? Five miles. On a treadmill. I was strutting more than running (think Chuck Berry meets Mick Jagger meets Peewee Herman), switching between my piano and guitar duties, ripping out the lyrics like they mattered. I slipped and did a George Jetson.

I'm exaggerating some. It was a good run, I did sing to most of the songs. And I did play a little air guitar. Who wouldn't? However, I really did catch myself slipping not paying attention to the task at hand. I wasn't hurt. I might have been.

Pay attention while running. That is the entire point of this column today. Have a great time and feel even better as you do it, but never forget that hitting the wall behind you, or twisting an ankle is a bad idea. Be careful out there (and in your basement).

The Complete Running Playlist
1) Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress), The Hollies
2) Happy Jack, The Who
3) What I Like About You, The Romantics
4) Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
5) Turning Japanese, Vapors
6) Takin' Care of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
7) Celebration, Kool and The Gang
8) Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas
9) Pinball Wizard, The Who
10) You Really Got Me, The Kinks
11) Feels Like The First Time, Foreigner
12) She's The One, Bruce Springsteen
13) Communication Breakdown, Led Zeppelin
14) Dancing With Myself, Billy Idol

Run to Overcome: Inspirational Story About Marathoner Meb Keflezighi

Meb humbly relates his life in this readable autobiography. He takes us through his childhood in Eritrea, a country not quite twice the population of Chicago. He describes facing soldiers and war, and how he saw death as a young boy. Through college at UCLA as well as his early career as a runner, we learn the life of an elite running is often difficult.

His beloved friend and fellow runner Ryan Shay dies while racing. Eritrean friends are murdered just before he visits them. A grocery store he owned with his family was robbed by armed thieves. His racing doesn't go well, and his income drops. His faith grew just the same.

He perseveres, and draws the reader into a world of running and and international culture.

Overall, "Run to Overcome" is honest and inspiring.
(full review on my website)

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. He looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more:

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

The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through the Joy of Running

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Thirsty Four Miles

Bass Ale 16oz Viking Pint Glass - Set of 44.0 miles run (36:52 - 9:13/mile)
0.25 miles walked (15:00/mile)

total: 4.25 miles
course: home treadmill

Coach Jim Spivey offered this advice when I asked him how to transition from getting in shape to maintaining fitness, but without speedwork and all that: Change my distance and pace. Simple? Sure. Obvious? Well, yeah. Was I doing it? Not intentionally, but falling into a rut is easy.

So I ran four miles about 45 seconds per mile slower than I had been running five miles. Different muscles, different strides length, different arm motion. The cadence is all different. It is tiring.

Now, a late dinner which will include a cold Bass Ale.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Haile Gebrselassie Retires? 3.25 Miles

3.25 miles run (28:40 - 8:49/mile)
0.50 miles walk (15:00/mile)

total: 3.75 miles
course: home treadmill

Today, I caught most of the New York Marathon. Readers of this blog will know I was keenly interested in Jared "the Subway Guy" Fogle (post) and Meb Keflezighi (post) who ran it. Jared finished in 5:13:28, not bad for a guy who weighed 425 not that long ago. Meb, last year's winner, finished sixth in 2:11:30.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won it in 2:08:14, but the guy I really hoped would shine, Haile Gebrselassie, dropped out after 16 miles. Knee injury. He holds the world record with a screaming fast 2:03:59. 

Sadly, Gebrselassie's injury indicated a deeper knee problem, and he announced his retirement. I'm a fan. How couldn't I be? Fast in everything from the 5K to the marathon, he's simply the man. No one ever gets to say, "I'm the man," after a race because any runner worth his salty, sweat-filled face knows that it is Gebrselassie.

So I am bummed. Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan retired and the NBA mourned, but Jordan had peers. Gebrselassie had none. More humble than Muhammed Ali, and just as quietly charismatic, he is the greatest running has known. He is to long runs what Sebastian Coe was to middle distance, what, in time, Usain Bolt will become.

Hopefully, his injury will not impede regular life, that he can still stay fit, and that he can somehow remain connected with long distance running.

In other news, I had a nice little run. Tight, tired legs. Decided to cut the distance. Tomorrow is up for grabs. Even if I am tired, I want to remain in the habit of running at least five days a week. If I must rest, so be it. The body knows what workout schedules do not.

The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Running Music Playlist

An non-exhaustive list of music I listen while I run. Your suggestions?

All links head to iTunes.
Great Running Music