Well, it was a day late, but I got my 7.5 mile run in!  I ran it on Saturday and then yesterday put in a small 1.5 with Yow-Yow.  Good times.  Now I’m off to the gym…

Categorized as workout

Running Shoes

Holy crap.  Having the right shoes can definitely make a huge difference.  I normally just use my trail running shoes for various excercise related activities.  However, since I’m running in a relay, and by “a” relay I mean “the” relay, out in SFO (feel free to donate, it’s tax deductible!), I figured I should go a little bit more professional, especially since I normally have a hard time running long distances on pavement. 

Well, I bought the shoes on Monday, a pair of Saucony ProGrid Triumph 5’s, and this morning was the first time I was able to try them out.  Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been running a lot with hills on the treadmill and this was the first time this year outside or the new shoes, but I was able to go 2x further”>>2x further this morning than I ever had been able to outside.  Plus, I was hauling or at least it felt a whole lot faster than I normally go.  The best part was, the parts of me that normally hurt when running on the pavement for long distances, didn’t.  In fact, nothing really hurt.  I just kept crossing more and more streets since I wasn’t hurting like I normally do.

Next loop will be up to Addison to make it 7.5 miles.  Hopefully I’ll do that tomorrow or Friday now that I’ve broken in the shoes.  Plus, now that I know that 5 miles is not that big a deal, I’m going to start running to the gym and back.  What’s really wierd is that I’m actually excited about this.  I thought I wasn’t going to be in that great of shape for this relay, but now I’m not too concerned.  I just want to be able to hit 10 miles or more prior to shipping out, since I’m not doing any hilly stuff. 

City Life

When I first moved up here, I was very excited about living in the city.  I think the excitement has started to wear off.  That’s not to say that I want to move out to the suburbs or anything drastic like that.  I think it’s more than I’d rather move somplace where I can do more outdoor things that I’m in to.  After going on vacation to Canada and Montana, I realized that I like it out there a lot more than here. 

The ability to go climbing, hiking, biking, skiing, etc really has its benefits.  Stuff that’s a lot more difficult to do in and around the city.  There’s only so many times I can take the same paths or the same indoor climbing gym.  That’s not to say that I haven’t been walking about everywhere again, but at the same point, the city streets are a little bit different than the rockies… 

Categorized as life, workout

Weekend Ride

Sometime in September, Erin and I are planning on riding from Chicago to South Haven, MI.  Now, since this is incredibly further than I’ve ever ridden before, there needs to be some training (specifically for the posterior).

Lately, I haven’t been riding at all.  In fact, the last time I had gone was over the fourth.  Granted, we did probably put in just over 20 miles that day.  So, Erin found a workout schedule online that prepares you for a 100 mile ride.  Basically, you ride 10 or so miles a day, and then ever Saturday you put in the large miles.  Last weekend we were supposed to put in 30, which isn’t that far, as long as my rear end keeps up.  Thankfully every time I’ve ridden it’s been able to keep up with longer and longer distances.

Well, like I said, we were supposed to put in 30.  Instead, we put in over 40.  Oops.  This weekend we’re supposed to put in 37ish.  For some reason, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.


Today while I was walking to work, I past some guys that were putting up a new billboard.  This isn’t one of those new fangled billboards though that they just stretch the advertisement over, they actually have to glue the pieces in place.

Anyways, I couldn’t believe the ropes that they were using.  Maybe I’m spoiled with the ropes I use for climbing, but these things were huge.  I’d hate to think how much they weighed.  I mean, I’ve got a 10mm rope, which by climbing standards is quite thick (typically used as a gym rope because it lasts longer).  However, the more hardcore climbers all have 8.5mm ropes.

Now, by contrast the multiple ropes that the workers had were at least double the thickness of what I have.  Plus, they looked like they were from the 60’s, and I highly doubt they were dynamic.  That means, when/if you fall, the rope doesn’t elongate at all, it just stops.  Talk about a painful fall.

And it’s not even like my rope was expensive.  I mean, if this is all these guys do, you can surely afford a $150 rope that weighs probably one tenth of what they currently have and won’t rip you in half were you to fall.

While Working Out

I don’t care how much you love a baseball team, or any sports team for that matter, this does not make it ok to drop an f-bomb when something does not go your team’s way.  Especially at levels in which I can hear it on the other side of the gym.  Additionally, this is not limited to f-bombs either, any sort of outburst of derogitory names or anything similar.

Oh, and wearing headphones with your music blaring while you do this makes it worse.

Categorized as workout

Summer is Here

Summer is most definitely here, and on the correct weekend no less!  As I type this, it is 81 degrees outside with 55% humidity.  Welcome to the midwest.

To kick off summer right, Erin and I went for a bike ride.  It wasn’t that hard to convince her to go, especially since she just got her new bike.  We started out in Lemont at Waterfall Glen, and then headed down to Lockport and did the I & M Canal trail between Lockport and Joliet.  Grand total, probably ~20 miles.  Not bad, especially since we put in ~20 miles earlier in the week.

So, I had never taken the I & M Canal trail that far South out of Lockport, which means I had never seen the old steel mill ruins (steel mill closed in the 1930’s) that are down near Joliet either.  Talk about awesome.  I definitely need to get my camera down there.  Certain parts looked like a bombed out town, and the old locks that are still in the old part of the canal are awesome too.  It’s interesting to see what it used to look like through various photographs, because it sure doesn’t look that way now.

Oh, and for all you Prison Break fans (Aaron), the trail goes right by the old Joliet state prison, which is the one in the show.  Definitely need to get pictures of that too.

Hidden Peaks

On Monday I swung by Hidden Peaks and climbed for a few hours.  Now, the pictures that I pointed out in the last entry are a little misleading.  It appears much larger than it really is.  In fact, it’s essentially just a bouldering cave.  I’m not sure how sold I am on it, since there’s no place to really traverse, but it’s better than nothing as of right now. 

Also, most of the routes are hard, really hard.  There are very few V0s and V1s, and those are on the 45 degree wall.  I suppose it’ll get me strong in a hurry though.  The only downside, though, is that I’ll end up being a 4-5 move person, and so it will make actual wall climbing that much harder.

Ugh, decisions, decisions, decisions.

Oh, and I ripped up my hand pretty good when I went too.  I can tell that I haven’t done any hard climbing in awhile because the pads on my fingers definitely don’t have the calluses they used to.

Joining a Gym

Ever since I moved up here (about 5 months ago), I haven’t been working out regularly.  Amazingly I have noticed it that much, but that could be because I’m still walking to and from work around twice a week (30 mins each way) or climbing around once a week with Erin.  However, I’ve realized that it’s time to get back into a semi-regular routine. 

When I was down in Champaign, I was usually working out at the gym (cardio and weights) three times a week, plus I was climbing at least once a week, usually twice.  Going from that to no weights, running maybe once every couple of weeks, and climbing maybe once a week when I can, is a huge change.  What bothers me the most is that I’m finally starting to see the differences between how I was and how I am now.

This is why the last two weeks I’ve been looking at Gyms in the area.  I was really hoping to find a gym with both a climbing wall and pool in addition to the regular equipment.  Unfortunately there are really only two places that offer that, and both are more than I want to pay, in addition to other factors.  One of the places is Gold Coast Multiplex.  Well, actually, that place doesn’t have the climbing wall, just the pool and other equipment.  However, if you join Gold Coast Multiplex, you also become a member of the Old Town Fitplex.  Now, the Fitplex has everything, pool, climbing, and regular equipment, but the pool is outdoor and shared (so no real lap swimming) and the wall is horrendously small.  For those reading that know of Vertical Plains in Champaign, think smaller, less bouldering, but better molded walls.  Plus, there’s the fact that parking is non-existent and it’s not within easy walking distance of my place.  If I lived within walking distance, I’d probably join there in a heartbeat.  However, I could join the Multiplex and then I get the pool and parking (parking garage that costs $2 every time), but it’s also over $100 a month, which seems a bit excessive.

The other place that has everything I want is actually downtown, fairly close to my office.  The Illinois Center, again, has everything I want, but look at that wall, bouldering is non-existent, which means I either need to have a partner all the time, or someone will have to belay me.  Both of which means that I’d probably never actually use it, since I enjoy climbing on my own a lot too, just to get a good workout.  Granted, I haven’t actually visited this place, but I’m guessing it’s at least as expensive as the above Multiplex, if not more. 

I was in a pickle, of all the choices, I was definitely going to go with the Fitplex, and just deal with the parking.  I mean, street parking is a pain, but I could deal with it.  In fact, I got a free two week trial membership to try it out.  However, I decided to do some more research on climbing walls within the area.  Turns out there’s a place just up the street from me, within walking distance, or just the next stop on the L.  I tried to go there last week, but apparently they were closed for the week, so I plan on heading there either tomorrow or Tuesday.  Now, if this place is like the pictures they have on the less-than-stellar website, this could definitely be the place. 

Since I started giving up on the all-in-one gym, I looked at the gym right down the block from me.  I stopped in after I found out that Hidden Peak was closed, and got some more information.  West Loop isn’t a large gym by any stretch, but it has everything else I want (minus a pool), and has very nice equipment.  Being so small, I ask about how busy it must get, and if there are wait times on the equipment, etc.  I was told there wasn’t any, but it does get full during normal peak times, 4-7.  They also gave me a free two week trial, and so I’ve gone the last three days.  Granted, I’ve been there on non-peak days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), but the maximum amount of people I’ve seen there at any one time is four.  It is a little bit more than I really want to spend, but the fact it’s so close and I don’t have to worry about parking (even if I were to get that lazy and drive) is a nice bonus, plus the people that work there are incredibly nice.  Now I just need to go tomorrow to find out how busy it really gets.

Now, the way I see it, I’m going to end up spending under $100 a month between both the gym and the climbing if I end up going with both of these places.  However, that will get me unlimited use of both facilities, plus, hopefully, a much better climbing gym, and not having to worry about parking.  I really wish that West Loop had a pool, just for a change of pace, but I guess it’s not that big of a deal.  I mean, I’ve not belonged to a place with one before, so it won’t be like I’m losing anything.  And, well, if this other gym doesn’t work out, I can always go back to the Fitplex and save myself about $20 a month.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Categorized as workout

Bike Rack

Now that I’m actually using my bike, I want a better way of hauling it (and Erin’s) around.  Currently she has a trunk mount one, but, well, it sucks.  If it didn’t scratch the crap out of her car, I’d be half way tempted to slap it on mine and then we could take my car, but alas…

Plus, I’m getting some extra money from the University for my vacation days.  Nothing like a little extra cash to burn a hole in your pocket.  Anyways, I’m looking at getting a Thule rack from ORS Racks Direct.  They have the best price by far (20% off MSRP), free shipping until tomorrow, and no tax (man I love the internet).  Anyways, I need some help from my fellow readers.  I need to know which is better, an upright mount, or a fork mount?  I can see how each one would have it’s benefits, plus there’s the fact that having the upright mounts increase the price by $38 (more for the actual mount, plus I need 2 more lock cylinders). 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and the sooner the better, since the deals seem to end tomorrow.