Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicago Tragic Events Run

Over President's Day weekend, I decided to make a trip to Chicago to see my good friend Amy. As is my habit when I travel out of state, I looked on to see if there were any races that I could participate in so that I could cross another state off my race list. And I found one - a 5K through the streets of Chicago (with a running guide who gives a bit of history along the way). This 5K wasn't a typical race (in fact, we ran about 4 miles in 2 hours), but I did sign up for it on, and I do have a finisher's photo crossing the finish line, so I am gonna count it. :)

The run was wonderful, and I highly recommend it to runners and joggers everywhere who enjoy a good story and a little history. Apparently the run that I participated in - the Chicago Tragic Events Run - is only one of the events put on by City Running Tours (in one of the ten cities they host tours in). My tour guide's name was Marlin Keesler, and he was just wonderful. He knew the city well, had a great sense of humor, and endeared the heck out of our running party with his description about how he ran 50 marathons in 50 states to keep his family together. He also took some great pictures of us (which was included in the low tour price of about $30).

Below are our pictures and some information about the places I ran by. I hope you enjoy them.
Marlin and me.

"The Bean" (or "Cloud Gate") was our meeting place. It is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together.

As you can see, the Bean provides some amazing picture opps if you get there before the crowds (like we did).

Reading about the Eastland Disaster (a giant ship that sank right there in the middle of Chicago). 844 souls lost their lives at this location on July 24, 1915. Chicago's most tragic event in terms of life lost.

Running down Death Alley. 602 souls lost their lives on Wednesday, December 30th, 1903 during the showing of Mr. Bluebeard inside the Iroquios Theatre. Electric sparks from a bright light caught a curtain on fire. Within minutes the entire theatre was engulfed in flames.

Running by another famous Chicago landmark.

The Picasso Sculpture, the most famous of Chicago's many outdoor sculptures. From a website: "Greeted at first with catcalls, scorn and ridicule, the sculpture marked the beginning of Chicago's love affair with contemporary art."

Miro's Chicago. Amy says I was showing off. I disagree.

The beginning of Route 66.

Running down Route 66.

The end of Route 66...2448 miles from the start, and boy am I beat!

Two gals at the Manhattan Building.

Finishing our "5K" at the Bean, Millennium Park.

Of course, I couldn't get pictures of anything connected to the Great Chicago Fire, but I learned a lot about it. Apparently between 120-300 lives were lost in a blaze that covered 4 square miles and spread - in part - because of the methane under the wooden walkways (think raw sewage - eww!). Apparently not too long ago, the City of Chicago apologized to the O'Learys, as it was not their cow and lantern that started the fire.

I also learned about the Fort Dearborn Massacre and the Wingfoot Express Dirigible (blimp) crash, but I don't have pictures. Wonderful, tragic stories.

As you can tell, I had a memorable "race" in Chicago, with a finish time of just over two hours. Thanks, Marlin!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Beer Mile #5

This weekend 8 runners/beer drinkers participated in another Beer Mile. Here are some stats: 32 beers were consumed in just over 18 minutes; 2 runners did not get sick; 100% of participants and spectators had fun.

Here's a brief photo album to commemorate the event:
Before the start
and Go!
First out of the gate
Loving Palouse Falls Brewing Company and Coors

A little friendly competition

Success! What a happy bunch!

I came in third overall (Scott and Aaron are FAST) and first in my division. I also PR'ed with a finish time of 12:42. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be as proud of that fact as I am...but some people are good at running; others excel at Math... I am good at running Beer Miles. :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sherry Arnold

This weekend I heard the story of Sherry Arnold, a Montana teacher who was abducted on her morning run in January and who is now "believed to be murdered." I can't seem to get her out of my head...

I usually don't use this blog as a journal about what is new in the World of Runners, but in this case, I am making an exception. Her story is worthy of attention and reflection from all of us who care about women and the sport of running.

When I first heard her story, I felt goosebumps cover my whole body and tears fill my eyes. I am sad for her, for her family, for her community, and frankly, for all female runners out there who fear their morning runs now because they might share a similar fate to Sherry. And I have to admit, I feel that fear on some level.

You see, I grew up with a very protective mother who warned me about the dangers of life - everything from turbulent water in the ditch below our house to the hazards of wearing earrings while playing sports to the sick actions of of kidnappers and rapists. I grew up fearing being alone. But before you judge Mom, please reconsider. Her lessons kept me safe, and I have learned to trust my instincts about dark alleys and creepy men.

But running has been a liberating activity for me; it has been an activity that has slowly gotten me more comfortable with being alone. I have run on Moscow Mountain alone and experienced nature in a way I never had before. (I also went on a couple of solo road trips/camping trips in the past few years that I never would have had the guts to go on without running.) I have also run on the paths of Pullman at night and in the dark fields of UI, feeling secure because of my reflective gear and the small, pink pepper-spray canister I keep on my hip. I use good judgement about where I run and make sure someone always knows where I am and when I will be back. But this story... well, it pretty much sums up my worst fears and gives me reason to protect myself more and not go out there on the trails, roads, and paths alone. I don't want to end up like Sherry. I mean, I enjoy running, but I don't want someone to come across my shoe on the side of a road...I don't want hundreds of people searching for my lifeless (and probably very abused) body.

I don't want to live in fear; I want to be safe. But I don't necessarily want to ALWAYS have to be with a big, strong man who can protect me from the scumbags of the world.

So what's the answer? What do the female runners of the world do now? How should we feel? What responsibility - if any - do the male runners who share our trails have to us? I'm feeling reflective today and welcome any thoughts you have.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Rock Lake

This weekend I did a 5.5-mile walk-and-jog on the trail around Rock Lake near St. John, WA. I took a bunch of pictures and one video, which admittedly isn't very good, but I figure it will be fun to look back on when I am 90 years old. So here it is:

The day was overcast and cold, and the trail was clear and the the scenery picturesque.

It was a good day for a jog.