Chicago marathon weekend!

I’ll be at the Chicago marathon expo tomorrow to check it all out. Follow me on Twitter for info in real-time, or check-in next week for my Chicago marathon expo post here on Bonkless, where, just like last year, I’ll check out all the gadgets and vendors and report back with everything.

Two recent posts I wrote on ChicagoNow’s Sports community blog:

How to navigate water stops

How to get a kick-ass finish line photo

Have a great race everyone!

Olympics?

So, Bonkfighters, what do you think about having the Olympics in Chicago? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Let’s hear it.

Bling: Big Marathon Finisher Medals

littlerockI have now held a 2009 Little Rock finisher medal. It’s serious. Like Flavor Flav clocklace serious. Like most runners, I dig the bling.

So, for this new featue, which we’ll call simply “Bling”, let us begin with some of the larger finisher medals. Aside from Little Rock, which claims the biggest medal, the Quad Cities medal isn’t too shabby, either. The ING Atlanta is impressive if you’re into Georgia, and the Tupelo medal is nothing if not just intimidating enough to want to earn, especially if earned in tandem with the treasure map-medal from the Outer Banks race.

But surely there are more, dear bonkfighters. Which huge finisher medals do you know about, or better yet, which huge finisher medals have you earned? Comments and links to pics welcome.

Fight The Bonk?: Watch Me Try, Anyway

Folks, along with some other ladies, yours truly, Bonkless, will be streaming live on Sleepover 2.0 today (Saturday) from 4pm until tomorrow (Sunday) until 10am, from the Chairman’s Suite of Chicago’s Hotel Sax. To view, tune in on this website or Sleepover 2.0’s UStream channel. The plan is to stay awake and live-stream all night, so I’ll be trying my hardest to fight the sleep bonk, and fight the sleep deprivation crazies. We shall see.

For a more interactive viewing experience, join the live chat on UStream or contact the suite using Sleepover 2.0’s ooVoo channel, Sleepover20— with a broadband connection viewers can then interact not only with the Sleepover 2.0 group, but with other viewers during the event, as well– think dance-offs, sportscaster-like commentary and emcee battles! Also, be sure to follow @Sleepover20 on Twitter, as well as the Sleepover 2.0 participants individually, or check-in throughout the event by email at sleepoverchi [at] gmail [dot] com.

What’s Your Dream Race?

picture-1For me, my dream race is to run the Great Wall (as in “of China”) Marathon . For a while, I thought I wanted to add the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon, but nah. I want to climb Kilimanjaro, not run around it, so the Great Wall Marathon it is, with the Athens Marathon a close second.  Of course, there are others, too. I’d love to run relays, because I think I’d do a good job in a relay. I’d love to run a marathon in every state I’ve ever lived. Heck, I’d love to run a marathon in every state, period. Or maybe a half-marathon in 25 states. And, maybe just once (twice if I like it) I’d like to do a silly race, like on a theme wave of the Chip’s Not Dead Yet Memorial Race, or the Beat Beethoven Race, or that one in Iowa where time gets subtracted off your race for every doughnut you eat at water stops.

What about you, readers dear? What are you dream races? C’mon. Let’s hear it.

Bonkfighter: The Ben Tanzer Interview

patternssidebarnewEveryone, today I’d like to introduce all of you to the one and only, Ben Tanzer, friend, bonkfighter and author of Lucky Man, Most Likely You’ll Go your Way and I’ll Go Mine, and most recently Repetition Patterns. I caught up with Tanzer recently to talk about writing, running and a very cool event.

Let’s meet the man, shall we?

Thanks for coming by. I have to say– I like this book cover a lot; I really like images of the road ahead, especially as a runner. I know you’ve written about runners before; any runners in this book?

Sadly, not so much, just the opposite, shooting pool and Pac Man.

Pssh, pool is a sport! You wrote about a runner in your first novel, Lucky Man. What about your most recent work? Any connection to runners in there?

benphoto21There is no connection to runners in the book I just published, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, though Bonkless readers are still welcome to buy it. But, I am working on a new novel tentatively titled You Can Make Him Like You and in it I bring back a character from Lucky Man who runs for the same reasons that Louie ran in Lucky Man, and that I probably started running myself – for escape, primarily, but to think as well, to quiet the voices, find some calm in otherwise chaotic days and channel the need to be compulsive into a physical act. Ultimately, to find some peace I guess.

I’ve often said that my running and writing completely inform one another. How do your running and writing lives come together?

They work together in a variety of ways for me. Generally speaking, when I run I get to strip away the stuff of the day that I am bogged down in – work, bills, children, the economy, Christian Bale’s tirade on the set of the new Terminator movie – and it frees me to actually make room for the million other things I might think about, which in turn allows ideas of all kinds to now flow into my brain in some inverse relationship to the tension flowing out of my body. More specifically though, as I zone in on one step and the next and as I concentrate on what feels good, where I feel tweaky, am I going to bonk (Do you like that shout-out?) and I am breathing well, this ability to now concentrate creates an opportunity for me to lock into the parts of my writing that have been lying there, sometimes consciously, other times unconsciously, that I haven’t been able to untangle. It can be like a knot slowly unraveling, a word here or there, a phrase, or tricky chapter, and I can picture what now needs to be moved around, changed or added. It’s very nice.

What running gadgets/tech apparel brands can you not live without?

benhsI am a bit of a shoe fetishist anyway, I won’t even get started on my sweet new Adidas Bucktown Streets, but several years ago when I was still running marathons and the arthritis in my right knee was not so advanced or pronounced, but definitely there, I decided that I needed a heavier shoe, with more padding and more stability, and it was recommended that I try the Brooks Beast. The guy told me that I would probably find myself running slower than I had been, not a big concern at 40– pain free is the goal these days– and the Beast has been great to me. The other thing, which is sort of the embarrassing would be my iPod. There was a time back when I competed in high school that I wouldn’t have been caught dead running with something like an iPod, or back then a big bulky Walkman, it wouldn’t have been pure enough, or something, of course I wouldn’t have worn a Dri-fit shirt either, so there you go, but the iPod really has been a wonderful weekone-post-run2thing. One morning I was well into an hour-run along the lake, it was maybe 5:45am and the sun was coming up and the song Dear Lord came on by Joseph Arthur and it was just such a wonderfully slamming moment, like what a religious experience must be for people who are actually religious. I wouldn’t have traded that morning for anything. Well, maybe for a sub-3 hour marathon. Okay, even a sub-4 hour marathon would be great.

I understand you’re involved in a race here in Chicago? Tell us about that. How can people get involved?

pcaamerica_logoYes, yes I am, thank you for asking. I work at the national office of Prevent Child Abuse America here in Chicago and in partnership with Voices for Illinois Children we co-host the annual Wrigley Start Early Run, which has a 5k and 10k run and a walk and is held in lovely Lincoln Park. You can find out more information on the race microsite and connect with us through our Facebook event page as well.

The race will be held on April 18th this year and we encourage runners and walkers of all stripes to come down and join us. We also hope people will seek donors and put together pledge teams and I want to stress that the event is super-family friendly, so we hope families wrigley_start_earlywill come too. We of course have the chips for those looking to be timed and the race is big enough now that they close the streets in the park along the course so the runners can get off of those narrow running paths. It’s a great event and a great cause, early in the year so nice for training purposes, and I hope people will not only come out, but that your vast array of readers will also spend some time on our website and learn more about our focus on child development, how people can become engaged in our cause and ultimately how we can prevent child abuse and neglect from ever occurring in the first place. Cool?

Very. Thanks for coming by, Ben Tanzer. I’ll see you on April 18th, and hopefully will bring a few Chicago bonkfighters along with me.

The Round-Up

calNovember was, to say the least, a rather lively month here at Bonkless!

We ushered in the month with the Presidential election, and I had the most heart-warming conversation with a little old lady at my gym that served as a beautiful reminder that it’s never to late to try something new. A bonkfighter we know had a little mid-race water-stop mishap and prompted me to examine water stop etiquette. I think most of us were still processing the Chicago Expo Recap megapost and all of its treasures when the Airport Gyms post was honored with a mention in a Wall Street Journal blog, Middle Seat Terminal. We met and chated with Jeff Clark, the marathoning truck driver, who is taking the health of the North American trucking industry very personally. We then took a trip to Pittsburgh, and though it wasn’t an ideal trip for me personally, as I left more than a little banged up and had to leave behind a very wrecked car (not my fault). But, the fact remains that it’s a lovely place to visit, and I imagine it’s an excellent place to do some hill work (Just watch out for something popularly known to the locals as “The Pittsburgh Left”.. bonk!). Finally, we finished out the month with Thanksgiving and the general feeling that people came out in record numbers for Turkey Trots across the country. And we like that!