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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Bandana: Ice Cream Running

Read the latest Red Bandana: A Runner's Dilemma

You have heard of bar hopping. Try ice cream running. Same thing, almost.

The idea is simple: run a defined route with stops along the way for ice cream. How far, and how many ice cream stops is part-strategy, part-fitness and part-(things can get ugly after one too many scoops).

In the Wheaton area, we are blessed with more than a few places to imbibe in ice cream.

Liberally defining things, I am including gelato. Ever have it? Kiosks all over Europe offer amazing flavors (in Hungary, I have even seen poppy seed gelato). Just for kicks, since it is more or less the same snack category, I am also including frozen yogurt.

First, if there are several of you running, I recommend using one credit card and evening out your accounts afterward. Basically, who has a pocket big enough to hold the card.

The entire run is around 10.5 miles. Keep stops short. Lactose intolerant people probably should avoid the run, though bathrooms are available at each location. Or, run faster.

Start in downtown Wheaton at Tates. Go conservative: one scoop of vanilla in a cup. No sprinkles. Enjoy the small town atmosphere, and move onward.

Tates Old Fashioned Ice Cream
109 East Front Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

After you have finished this stop, start slowly. The body is receiving a conflicted message here, so give it time. From Front Street, go east to Main Street, and run south. Cross Roosevelt, and keep going until you get to Farnham. Head east to Naperville Road, and take a right, going south again. Watch the traffic, but stay steady until you get into the Danada Shopping Center

TCBY The Country's Best Yogurt
278 Danada Square West
Wheaton, IL 60187

Try the chocolate here. This very clean chain yogurt place is a delicious treat for those watching their figure. But, again, one scoop. You have barely begun.

After a quick exit, work south to Butterfield Road, and run east for a few blocks. Two options abound, with an Oberweis Dairy and Dairy Queen within a half block. My recommendation is Oberweis all the way. Not only is it local, but they have some of the best quality ice cream you will find.

Oberweis Dairy
811 E. Butterfield Road
Wheaton, IL

Feel free to diversify at this point. Get some fruit in, and try strawberry.

Stay on Butterfield for your next location. This time, it is the sophisticated European charm of our one Glen Ellyn stop at Park Boulevard and Butterfield Road. No ice cream here. Just gelato (and some amazing pastries).

Ice Lolly Cafe (my review)
22W535 Butterfield Road
Glen Ellyn, IL

If you are lucky, they will have the tiramisu gelato available. The taste is spot-on. If not, maybe the hazelnut is in stock.

Work your way north up Park to 22nd Street, and head west to Lorraine Road, and turn north. Keep going, passing Roosevelt until Illinois Street. Turn left, and run west back to Main Street.

You are almost done.

Feel free to pick up the pace as you run north on Main into downtown Wheaton. More gelato at the final stop, the very comfortable La Spiaza Coffeehouse. The options for gelato are not as varied as you found at Ice Lolly, but the neighborhood pub sense of the place cannot be outdone.

La Spiaza
114 North Main Street
Wheaton, IL

Here, have all the gelato you can handle while sitting in a couch, thinking about gluttonary adventure you just enjoyed.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Sugar, Sugar by the Archies (
What is as sweet as ice cream? Summer romance. While we are not yet even into Spring, we are into ice cream. Like other bubblegum tunes, the lyrics are silly, the beat is happy throughout.

"Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you've got me wanting you.
Honey, ah sugar sugar
You are my candy girls
And you got me wanting you."

Writer Anthony Trendl eats too much ice cream, including the bowl of French vanilla seen pictured here. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to promote a road race. See
Running blog:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

400 lb Sumo Wrestler Finishes Los Angeles Marathon

Kelly Gneiting ran 9:48:52 marathon. In just about every other situation, that's slow. However, think of it as three solidly fit, small athletes in one body running 2:56:39s.

I'd be beyond proud of a sub-3.

Yeah, I know he walked most of it. He still burned something like 17,670 calories, or something around almost nine days worth of food for me.
Everything is context.

Anyone else impressed?

Read what Erio Skarda in Time said about it:
From Sumo Wrestling to Running: 400-Pound Man Completes L.A. Marathon

Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Bandana: Charlie Sheen-free Running (With Excuses)

Read the latest: Red Bandana: Ice Cream Running

Charlie Sheen has nothing to do with this article. No tiger blood, nothing about winning, and his favorite drug "Charlie Sheen" will not be suggested as a way to run faster. It would, after all, kill you. And no one wants that.

This is about running, sort of. It is really about getting things done. What does a runner do?

A runner runs. Right? But is he coming or going? He runs this way, then turns around and comes right back. Or, he heads to the track and runs in a circle. What goes around, we know, will come around. It is coming around for you?

Beginning runners often have a corner they try to get to. Or, a certain number of laps around the block. Maybe a lap more than last time. Maybe a few telephone poles farther.

As I progressed as a runner in high school, this was the case. At first, I was all about distance. Another mile. Another mile.

Later, it became a glorified version of "touch the stop sign and turn around." My stop sign, so to speak, might be an ice cream shop, hot dog stand or bridge.

The goal was the thing. It was quantitative. Sure, "to get in shape" is a fine goal, but this is more difficult to ascertain. "Lose weight," is a nifty idea too, but not especially helpful.

Now, my goals are different. I already know I can run far enough to blow my knees out. Instead, my goal is about consistency. That means I want to run X amount of days per week. My goal is to do the right things. Do the right the things, and right results will follow.

Things get in the way. Mostly, it is because I let them get in the way.

The same things in the way this week will be the way next week.

We can categorize our excuses in three groups. Good excuses., but stopping you from running just the same.

Solution: Schedule ahead this week when you will run next week. Something will have to give. Less TV. Skip your favorite political rant show. Cut back on playing Bejeweled on Facebook.

Solution: Watch the reports, schedule longer runs when the weather is primo and days off when there is a blizzard (Don't look at me that way. I'm not the one who makes Chicago weather what it is.)

Solution: Got big meetings, long days? Same ideas as the weather problem: schedule. One difference is, though, planning to run before you are exhausted.

Solution: It happens. Take it seriously. Read up on it, treat it yourself if you can. Mostly, all you need to to rest, but, if you must, see a doctor. Do not play around with injuries. Be sure that sore Achilles tendon is OK before pushing through it.

And there you have it. No Charlie Sheen, but still enough excuses to keep you from running.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Be-Bop a Lula by Gene Vincent

Pure fun. This will have you in a carefree mood, swaying as you go. Crank it up and run past a few extra telephone poles.

Well, be-bop-a-lula, she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula, I don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula, she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula, I don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula, she's my baby love
My baby love, my baby love

Writer Anthony Trendl makes more excuses than you can imagine. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Running blog:

What Spring Races Will You Run?

Today is March 18. Spring is around the corner. Which races are you running?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Bandana: What Kind of Runner Are You?

Read the current Red Bandana: Charlie Sheen-free Running (With Excuses)

A number of readers e-mailed me explaining their views on running. What kind of runner are you? Just for fun, I thought about a few exaggerated kinds of runners. I would love hear which kinds I have missed.

The Soloist
This runner quietly runs long and far. He is off on a run, but not with anyone. Other runners know him and, although he is friendly, find him mysterious and give him distance. His gear is likely minimalist, just enough to get from A-Z (Arlington Heights to Zion?). He loves his paperback, dog-eared copy of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," but he would never tell you.

The Stylist
The runner is dressed to the nines in perfectly matched running gear. Color-coordinated. Hair is colored, blown dry with strategically sprayed "I'm working out" hairspray. Make-up, though not much (she is running, after all). Everything around her is from this year's fashion line, and is dry cleaned after every run. Runners at the gym choke on her perfume. More likely to read "Cosmopolitan" than "Runner's World." When she heads to the gym, she watches with intensity, "America's Next Top Model."

The Gearist
It is only a three-mile run, but he has a utility belt full of energy gels, water bottles, and a first aid kit. He concedes he will not need most of it, but still, carries an extra bottle of Gatorade in his right hand and a granola bar in his left. His job might not involve a shoe store, but he is in there weekly, looking at new gear. Every dime goes to shoes, specialty socks and running magazines. Whenever not running, he watches reruns of MacGyver. The soloist silently laughs at him.

The Clubbist
As a complete team player, this runner's entire life is running and where he singularly draws his sense of identity. A short run in the morning, possibly at the gym (just to say hi), and a longer run in the evening with his neighborhood club. Friends, even that extra special person, are from the club, and nowhere else. "Live to run, run to live" is his mantra, and that's what he does. Races on the weekend, and fun runs mid-week. Conversations with non-runners are littered with the sport's vocabulary. For him, a good read is "Daniels' Running Formula" by Jack Daniels. If this runner has an injury, he will still attend club runs cheering on the others.

The Plannist
Never actually running, but always planning. He is ready to go, but nothing ever works out. He has good shoes, proper shorts and shirt, but they do not get used. They are in a gym bag, with a towel, by the door. Instead, he tends to reading about running, spending time on discussion boards. Every New Year's Day, he does run a few miles, but, before February hits, things get in the way. Those things include watching Rich Koz host Stoog-apalooza on ME-TV on Saturday nights (Curly-Joe DeRita is his favorite). His favorite book is actually a magazine, "TV Guide Magazine," but he reads it as if it were Scripture.

The Consumist
He is part-clubbist, part-soloist (with a little stylist thrown in), but he is all running. He is consumed by speed and PRs. He's sleek, fast, and has the cool sunglasses to prove it. Occasionally shows up at club meetings and is treated like a celebrity, but mostly, trains with alone. Every weekend, he races, but sometimes doesn't pay. He might win the race, but slips away unnoticed into a cool sports car. On the passenger seat, when his trophy girlfriend isn't there, you might notice his Amazon Kindle. He's reading "Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" by Joshua Foer.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Leader Of The Pack" by the Shangri-Las

You know the song. She loves him, but he is a bad boy. Her dad, older and wiser, tells her to break it off. Her boyfriend, that legendary leader of the pack, drives off furiously and crashes. Passionate from start to finish by this street-hardened girl group from the 1960s. Great to sing and run to, especially when you run in a group.

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

Writer Anthony Trendl is rarely a stylist, too often a plannist, and understands the soloist. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
Running blog:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Marathon Training Begins" in Today's Chicago Tribune

In today's Chicago Tribune editions for Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Warrenville, Winfield, West Chicago -- find my "Red Bandana" article "Marathon Training Begins." Look i the TrtibLocal insert. It ran a couple weeks ago in the online edition.

See it here on page 17:

Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Timex T5J031 Unisex Digital Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch review: Timex Can Do Better: Never Use at Night

I ask one thing of the Timex T5J031 Unisex Digital Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch, and it delivers: count my pulse. What I did not expect is that it would be as accurate as it is.

I compared to various treadmills I run on, including Life Fitness Club Series Treadmill and found the watch more accurate than the handlebar pulse monitors.

* The chest straps fits well enough for me.
* Modes are easy to switch.
* The watch fits fine, but can be a little difficult to take off.
* My average heart rate worked well.
* Easy to use lap function. As mostly a neighborhood street and dedicate running/biking path runner, I use this when I cross the street.
* The Indiglo light is difficult to see - not especially bright, and the button for it is in a difficult to reach spot while running (top left as opposed to front). After a few miles, when I just a quick look, it can be a nuisance while running through a shady area. In fact, while lit, unless in a pitch black environment, the numbers are actually more difficult to see.
* The description says, "The Night Mode feature allows you to illuminate the Indiglo night-light for 3 seconds with any button press, regardless of the mode or function." I was unable to get this to work with any other button.

For the price, I would like to see better engineering. While I understand this is an entry level pulse monitor, set-up is an unnecessary challenge.

Anthony Trendl

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Life Fitness Club Series Treadmill: review - Good, But Overpriced Treadmill With Some Frustrations

The most important feature to me on a treadmill is footplant comfort. This nails it. If I run enough miles on a cheap treadmill, my Achilles and knees ache. However, there is more to a solid machine.

The Life Fitness Club Series Treadmill speed eases up smoothly and sensibly. It never jerks. Similarly, the incline is never abrupt. Very nice feature.

Life Fitness Club Series TreadmillThe heart rate monitor, the one on the handle bar, is sometimes inaccurate when compared to my Timex T5J031 Unisex Digital Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch. While it is only a few beats off, I expect a machine at this level to be better.

The buttons are an issue, reacting in a finicky, frustrating way. My make-do solution is, instead of fumbling with typing in numbers while running, I punch one of the walk-jog-run buttons, which takes me to a given speed. From there, I use the faster-slower button.

Entering my weight and speed and incline and it shows my calories burned. For me, this is just a curiosity, but it shows consistent data.

99% of the time, all I use it for is long long distance, up to 10 miles or so. For this, I am completely happy. There are plenty of other features I never use (the HeartSync workouts, for example). The buttons are a hassle, but once set, I'm good to run.

Anthony Trendl

Life Fitness Club Series Treadmill

Red Bandana: The Colorful Range of Runners

read the last Red Bandana: What Kind of Runner are You?

The 2011 Chicago Marathon expects 45,000 people to sign up. I will be one among the menagerie lining up October 9.

Are you running? I would love to hear from you. Use the comment feature on the right, or e-mail me directly:

What, did you say 45,000 people? Why, yes, yes I did.

That's more people than live in Kronštadt, Russia (pop. 42,800). Never heard of it? Me neither, but apparently its history is mostly about its involvement in various wars. It is about 19 miles west of St. Petersburg near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Bombed in WWII, a center for the Bolsheviks in the early 1900s, and, way back when in 1703, it was founded by Peter the Great.

Just imagine, then, if every inhabitant of Kronštadt ran with you. A whole city. Add enough volunteers to manage the race and you have, well, a much larger city. I'm not sure if they would wear those funny furry hats or expect vodka at the end of the race instead of beer. I cannot imagine borscht is part of their carbo-loading routine. I hope not.

Maybe it would be easier if I mentioned that 45,000 runners add up to around 4,500 more people than were counted in the 2000 US Census for Carol Stream.

Still a lot of people.

What is beautiful about Chicago Marathon is anyone over 16 years old can sign up. Anyone. In the 2010 race, people of all sizes, ages, colors were running. This not one of those forced politicized diversity efforts, but an organic gathering of like-minded, yet very different people. It reminded me of the old Armour Hot Dog commercial.

"Hot dogs, Armour Hot Dogs
What kinds of kids eat Armour Hot Dogs?
Big kids, little kids, kids who climb on rocks
fat kids, skinny kids, even kids with chicken pox
love hot dogs, Armour Hot Dogs
The dogs kids love to bite!"

What about you? Will you be part of this delicious symphony of average athletes? What are your race plans for 2011? Send me a race report and I will try to include it in an upcoming column. Who is running any of these?

St. Paddy's Day 5K (Naperville) March 12
Lisle Chamber Spring Sprint (Lisle) March 13
Blackberry Farm 5K Spring Gallop (Aurora) March 26
Bloom & Zoom 10K (Lisle) April 16
Fox Trot 5K Run/Walk (Batavia) April 16
Younglife Access 10K/5K (Wheaton) April 16
Valeo Academy 5K Walk/Run for Education (Hoffman Estates) April 16
Husky Hustle (Aurora) April 30
Cosley Zoo's Run for the Animals (Wheaton) June 4
Run for the STARS 5K (Wheaton) June 11

Find information on these races, and others through Chicago Area Runners Association and USA Track and Field websites. Check your local running store for flyers.

Chicago Area Runners Association

USA Track and Field

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"I Feel the Earth Move" Carole King
On Amazon:

A track from King's incredible 1971 "Tapestry" album — it is raw, spare, minimal with the predominant instrument being her own voice, plus her iconic piano pacing the song. A guitar walks through chords quickly, and real drums (no synth stuff here, kids) and bass undergirding it all make this a true rock song.

Buying the song is not enough, since the album is so completely cool with "You've Got a Friend", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?", "It's Too Late", "So Far Away", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and others all as good. Only "I Feel the Earth Move" works as a running song, but you do more than run, don't you?

"I feel the earth – move – under my feet
I feel the sky tum-b-ling down – tum-b-ling down
I feel my heart start to trem-b-ling –
Whenever you're around."

Writer Anthony Trendl admits he sang (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the top of his lungs while writing this column. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See

Running blog:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chicago Marathon Has Closed Registration

This news just in via e-mail:

Registration Has Closed for the 2011 Bank of America Chicago MarathonRegistration for the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon officially closed today. The 45,000-participant capacity was met in a record 31 days. A limited number of entries remain available through affiliated charities and tour groups for the October 9 race.

More than 90 of the race's affiliated charities have entries remaining for participants still looking for a way into this year's field. By registering through a charity, runners simultaneously become members of a fundraising effort that has generated nearly $60 million since 2002. For more information on entries available through the Charity Program, click here.

Chicago Marathon hopefuls living outside the U.S. also have the option to secure an entry via a number of tour operators offering travel packages that include registration to the 2011 race. For more information on late registrations available through the International Tour Group Program, click here.

Already Registered?
Thank you to the thousands who have registered for the 34th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. You can verify your entry information and Start Corral assignment online via the Registration Confirmation page.

If you have questions regarding your registration, please contact the event office at 312.904.9800 or