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Friday, February 25, 2011

Red Bandana: Marathon Training Begins (Slowly)

Sign up today for the Chicago Marathon
before it fills up. graphic: Anthony Trendl
Read my latest column: Red Bandana: The Colorful Range of Runners

I signed up. Finally. First time. Never before. This is it. Going to do it. No more "thinking about it." Here it is. It is time. Get ready, set, go!

Last night, I attended a meeting at the Glen Ellyn Public Library, hosted by the Glen Ellyn Runners Club. "So You Want to Run a Marathon?"

I have hemmed, hawed, howled and high-tailed the other way whenever the question of running a marathon has come up. I've talked trash, made commitments, and gave excuses. So here I am, a runner who loves long distances, but has no marathons behind him. Hopefully, this will soon be past tense. We will find out in October.

I follow the GERC on Facebook, and saw their event posting for an overview of marathons for first time runners. Carey Pinkowski, executive director of the Chicago Marathon was the featured guest.

Ken Christie, president of the club, spoke enthusiastically and infectiously about his marathon journey. He explained the hopes of the new marathoner, and with this, the challenges. His advice: Don't increase your miles too quickly. Stick to the training schedule. Join a group.

All of these great ideas the Glen Ellyn Running Club offers through its group workouts and other activities. Check them out (links below).

Pinkowski, in turn, spoke from his position as the guy running the big show. Mock-hard-selling the marathon as best he could with a smile, he laughed, knowing he was in a room full of people serious about running. He told us how, in the early days, he was still trying to recruit runners in the fall just before race day. No hard-sell is needed this year, however. The Chicago Marathon is expected to fill up quickly, perhaps as early as March 1.

He talked about improvements for this year, took suggestions and questions, and admitted some frustrations with technology. The tool which sends runner splits via text message is not yet perfect. He, along with race directors at Boston, NYC and other major marathons are searching together for a better solution, he said.

I think Pinkowski mentioned, by the way, they had 3,000 Portajohns last year. There were 45,000 runners and a multitude of volunteers and people cheering. You do the math.

Now, things get serious. October 9, 2011 will come quickly. Getting out of February and through March fit enough to start slowly adding distance will be important. Adjusting my diet, watching my schedule to ensure I am sleeping well, and other details matter.

Are you with me? Are you willing to go the distance? Join me in this adventure. Sign-up today before your spot is filled. It is $145 for most runners.  

Let me know if you do:

Glen Ellyn Runners Club

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Sadie" by Son Seals
This classic Hound Dog Taylor Chicago blues song finds pulse and life in Son Seals. The singer, it seems, has made excuses for things he cannot defend. Sadie has left, and he wants her to return, but she is not sure this is a good idea.

"Sadie, will you come back home tonight
Oh Sadie, will you come back home tonight
I love you, and you know I'm gonna treat you right."

Download it free from

Writer Anthony Trendl loves Chicago, blues guitar, and a long run. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Running blog:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So Far, So --- 2.25 Miles

2.25 miles run

total: 2.25 miles
course: Home treadmill

Before I ran today, I wondered how long I will stick at it before my knees or other body part shouts back in defense of my couch.

Say no to your couch.

I set my iPod with a 38 minute playlist. I knew, really, I would only do a little over two miles. That's all I should do. More, as short as two miles is, is too much. I want to do more. I need to do more. I looked back at the last two months and fought discouragement.

So what?

Life's like that, isn't it? Looking back has its place, but looking forward is necessary. And forward is October 9, 2011.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Two Point One (Oh) One - 2.1010 miles

Chicago Marathon (Images of Sports)2.101 miles run 

total: 2.101 miles
course: home treadmill

Blisters, flu, and knees, oh my. Hopefully, the winter blues and flu are behind me. Having signed up for the Chicago Marathon, I need to build aerobic fitness so I can endure the actual training (starting either in May or June, depending which plan I ultimately follow).

All I gotta do is stay the course.

Red Bandana: Should You Tweet and Run?

Read the latest Red Bandana: Marathon Training Begins (Slowly)

Line me up in a race against the fastest runners on the planet, say, Usain Bolt (Jamaica, 100 meter world record) or Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia, marathon world record), and I haven’t a chance to compete. On Twitter, however, I have an opportunity to connect with them on a level playing field.

Just as with any other celebrity, Twitter allows ordinary folks like you and I to mingle with famous people. The great thing about runners is most are not too big for their britches and actually maintain their own Twitter accounts.

It is not just the current runners who are using this unique medium. Carl Lewis and Joan Benoit Samuelson, both gold medal winners in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, are on there. So is writer Hal Higdon.

Some rarely post. Others are full of themselves. A few are promoting causes, books, or their organization. Some, however, just want to talk about their dog, the great run they just had, or how good the steak was last night. Many love to engage with fans.

This interaction can help you keep the fire going, realizing even the most elite runner gets tired, or listens to the same music as they run.

Check out those listed below, and of course, follow me:

Adams, Jenny —
Batcho, Zach —
Bingham, John ‘Penguin’ —
Bolt, Usain —
Burkhalter, Brooke —
Chambers, Dwain —
Clark, Hazel —
Clay, Bryan —
Clement, Kerron —
Cool Running —
Cox, Josh —
Demus, Lashinda —
Falise, Franciso —
Felix, Allyson —
Fleshman, Lauren —
FloTrack —
Gay, Tyson —
Gebrselassie, Haile —
Gill Athletics —
Glenn, Brianna —
Goucher, Kara —
Hall, Ryan — 
Hall, Sara —
Hardee, Trey —
Harris, Tora — 
Hastings, Natasha —
Hayes, Joanna —
Hemingway, Matt —
Higdon, Hal —
Hurlebaus, Josh —
Jones, Lolo —
Keflezighi, Meb —
Lagat, Bernard —
Lewis, Carl —
Mason, Germaine —
McKinney, Akiba —
Merritt, Aries —
Mort, Ashley —
Norquist, Matt —
Pole Vault Power —
PreRace Jitters —
Radcliffe, Paula —
Ramzy, Bashir —
Richards, Sanya —
Ritzenhein, Dathan —
Rowbury, Shannon —
Run Blog Run —
Runner Space —
Runners Tribe —
Runner’s World —
Rupp, Galen —
Samuelson, Joan Benoit —
Smith, Christian —
Sotherton, Kelly —
Starkey, Dean —
Strang, John —
Taylor, Angelo —
Teter, Nicole —
Thompson, Richard —
Track and Field News —
Track Blogs —
Track Jabber —
Track News —
UCS Spirit —
Waltz, Ian —
Washington, Tyree —
Williamson, Darold —
Wineberg, Mary — 

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
This choice makes it in a sneaky way. At first, it sounds like there is this easy groove, the kind found during long late night drives. Then, it gets going, and you might yourself doing the cubicle strut. Take that strut and run a few miles.

I remember when, I remember
I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place
Even your emotions have an echo
In so much space


Writer Anthony Trendl loves social media, but admits Tweeting is not as much fun as running. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Running blog:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Bandana: Dashing Through the Snow – Tips for Runners

Not much BBQing happening
on this deck. Post-run stretching?
 photo: Anthony Trendl

You see the same snow I do: Piled high along roadsides, taking over precious parking spots where you work, and drifting deeply on great running paths like the Illinois Prairie Path. Still, the sun is shining, and sometimes, when the wind is not blowing, it is almost pleasant.

Pleasant? The Great Blizzard? The aftermath of the Snow Which Ate Wheaton? Snowlycow, tsnownami, SnowhogDay, Snowtorious B.I.G.?

Yes, pleasant. Perspective is everything: The flickering, shimmering glimmer of a wandering snowflake resting on a lonely branch. The blue sky swashed with a few clouds, contrasting an Earth all white except for the roads scraped just enough so cars can drive through. The flash of red and blue sleds with children attached, holding on for dear life, rushing down neighborhood embankments.

Have I convinced you that bliss can be found in the brisk winter?

* Run slow, going out against the wind and returning with the wind.

* Bundle up, and realize you are not going to enjoy the fluency of a September run.

Alps 21" Snowshoes* Pretend to smell the roses. Right. No roses in February. Smell them anyway. This kind of snow happens rarely. Soak it in, and tell the tale in 20 years about how you fought through 500 feet of snow.
(more on this:

* Avoid running on streets and sidewalks. The cold ground is unforgiving on your knees, and cars will have a difficult time seeing you behind the snow mounds. Black ice is out there as well. One slip and bad things can happen.

* Running in the snow: If you run in the snow itself (my recommendation), run in a marching style. The high stepping will function somewhat similar to running up the Wheaton College stadium steps with less impact.

* Drink water. Despite all the snow on the ground, there is not much moisture in the air. That healthy sweat you felt while dashing through the snow also needs to be replaced.

* If you are older, be extra vigilant. Cold weather can thicken the blood and cause heart issues. Talk to your doctor.

Tips for the Snow-trapped Runner

What will you are unable to run outside for two days?

* Spend time with family. You hardcore runners are the ones I am talking to here. If you are running under 20 miles a week, your time sacrifice is not tremendous. If you are looking at significantly more than this, your spouse might like to see you again. A full-time job and heavy mileage can severely impact relationships with a spouse and children.

* Eat well. Since you have extra time, and are not concerned about the next morning's run, make a full meal with all of the trimmings. Think of it as Thanksgiving in February. Invite a few close friends and feast!

* Sleep in. Rest is good for you body and mind. If by getting up early each morning, you are only enjoying six hours of sleep, imagine how great you will feel after eight hours.

* Stretch. Take a warm bath and stretch. Stretching slowly and carefully all parts of our body is often ignored by runners. Turn on some soft music and give yourself 30 minutes of this. Remember to never jerk and bounce, but gradually get into position and hold.

* Mall walk. Before you start laughing, think how big the malls are. Parking might be tricky with the massive snow mountains, but the change in pace might be fun. Keep your pace faster than a waddle, keeping good form and a longer stride. Wear your running shoes and loose clothing. However, I do not recommend workout clothes (especially tights). Invite some non-running friends, walk enough laps to equal an hour, then stop by that place which makes the huge cinnamon rolls.

* Nothing. If you have been diligent with your training, logging miles upon miles, consider using this opportunity to let your body take a vacation. A little R&R will allow your body to repair some nagging aches.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Let It Snow" Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
So maybe it is a Christmas song from 1945. It snowed. You can't fight it. Come on, just run with it.

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Writer Anthony Trendl loves looking at winter from a warm living room. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Author blog:
Author’s running blog:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Red Bandana: Fitness Pioneer Jack LaLanne Dies at Age 96

read the latest Red Bandana article: Dashing Through the Snow – Tips for Runners

(developed from a brief blog post)
Jack LaLanne died last week. He was 96. Many of us only know him from his infomercial for a juicer. I have no idea if it is a good juicer. He will not be remembered for it. He will be remembered for his legendary feats of fitness, and for encouraging America to get off their duffs.

He popularized fitness more than Frank Shorter, Jim Fixx, Bill Rodgers and Bruce Jenner combined.

At his most commercial, health was still a forefront of what he was about. Even his late night juicer infomercial ultimately would lead a customer to a better diet. Mostly, his direct impact was before my time, but his influence carried on. By the time I was born in 1966, he was beyond fable, but his story kept growing.

When he was a young man, he did some impressive things. By young, I mean when he turned 40. In 1954, according to his website, he swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks. No, I don’t know why, but my jaw drops just the same.

He later swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat. Pretty cool, huh? Any 40 year-old would be more than impressed with himself. LaLanne this time, however, was 60.

Why he matters to running is that he gave a voice to overall fitness beyond weightlifting and Charles Atlas bodybuilding types. While Atlas certainly addressed and encouraged fitness, LaLanne’s goal was not to build big men, but healthy, strong men through smart exercise and eating. Most of us will never be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we can be fit.

LaLanne started out addicted to sugar and junk food as a child. He watched his father die at age 50, and determined to live better. His philosophy became, “Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom.”

His exercise television show, “The Jack LaLanne Show” was originally broadcast from 1956-1970, but books, videos and public appearance kept him in the American eye. Long before Richard Simmons was asking us to sweat to the oldies, LaLanne was showing how to eat right, workout smart, and get fit.

Famous for his phrase: “I cannot afford to die, it will ruin my image,” we know Jack LaLanne lived well. Do a few pushups in his honor this week. Before you give me any lip about being too old to do them, consider that he was 45 when he did 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
“American Fast Food” by Randy StonehillWith Jack LaLanne’s view in mind that “physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America,” I am pulling out a rare oldie by the very funny Randy Stonehill from his 1983 album “Equator” (most famous for the track, “Shut De Do”) Anyone know this one? Play it just as you start getting the munchies near the end of a long run. Maybe it will inspire you run another mile instead of stopping at Burger King.

“American fast food, what a stupid way to die
American fast food, order me the jumbo fries
Oh, oh, it’s easy
It’s so easy and it’s trouble free
It’s quick and disposable, just like me
If I don’t stop eating this greasy American fast food.”
Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, banjo music and porches. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Author blog:
Author’s running blog: