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Friday, January 28, 2011

Red Bandana: Get Fired Up for Fitness This Winter

Read my latest column: Fitness Pioneer Jack LaLanne Dies at Age 96
Is your fire burning for warm days running outside? Do you long for late sundown runs with the light scent of grilling and the laughter of backyard Whiffle Ball games? Do you look out the window today, the coldest day yet of 2011, and crave for a good run sans ten layers of winter gear?

I do.

Have a Goal: Choose a Race to Run
Running on cold days is hard. The fire in the belly needed for fitness mid-winter needs kindling. Kindling, in this case, is a goal with a date attached to it. To burn hot through March (or April — this is, after all, Chicago, not Miami), we need to think beyond the ice and sub-zero wind chills. Look two or three months, and choose a race.

My goal is in April. That is 9:30 am, Saturday, April 16 to be exact. My eye is on the Young Life Access 10k/5k. Even if I'm chugging my way through all 6.2 miles, I will be fit enough to get it done.

Why this race? The same day, earlier in the morning, runners can join the "Bloom and Zoom 10K" on the Morton Arboretum grounds. It is a well-organized event that will not disappoint participants. The cost is roughly the same, and the natural beauty of the Forest Preserves are no less gorgeous than the expertly manicured Arb. I live equidistantly from each.

All things are not equal, though. The Young Life race is bound to be smaller. They had under 200 runners last year. The smaller crowd will be relaxed, like a big neighborhood fun run. That is good for me as I get back into the swing of things. I do not mind the later start time. That's rare, and, on a cool April morning, I will love to have coffee and watch the sun rise before lacing up. There is no oversleeping this one.

Young Life reaches out to, and builds relationships with teenagers. They say on their website, "This event is a fundraiser to help give students with special needs the opportunity to attend Young Life camp this summer." My $30 race fee will be invested well.

In order to best enjoy that long springtime run, you need to get through the winter in decent shape. Sure, you might tag on a pound or two, but those will melt off as the temperature goes up. Running outside will be fun again, and you might find yourself less likely to play hooky from a workout when there are so many things to see and smell.

Head to the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) website, and click on their "Find a Race" link. It is easy to find one in your area on a weekend which works for you. Or, stop by any local running specialty shop for race flyers.

Running Playlist Song of the Week"Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash.
Maybe you heard the Adam Lambert or Alan Jackson version, but the Man in Black is who made it an international hit in 1963. Johnny co-wrote it with his soon-to-be-wife June. Their daughter Rosanne said, "The song is about the transformative power of love and that's what it has always meant to me and that's what it will always mean to the Cash children."

There is are mariachi-style horns and guitar-drum beat which pace this excellently for runners looking for more pep in their step.

"Love is a burning thing
and it makes a fiery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire."


Young Life Access 10k/5k
Saturday, April 16, 9:30 a.m.
Danada Forest Preserve (near Herrick Lake, but off Naperville Rd.)
3 S 580 Naperville Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Chris Derfelt, 630-544-6212

Bloom and Zoom 10K
Saturday, April 16, 8 a.m.
The Morton Arboretum
Lisle, IL 60532

Freelance writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. I look to running as I battle midlife and my mid-section. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes. See
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