Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saw Wee Kee Trail Race





Saw Wee Kee is a forest preserve park operated by the Oswegoland Park District on the border of Oswego and Yorkville. It was developed in part by the District and the CAMBr mountain bike group. Although not as many miles of trails compared to Palos or Kettle Moraine there are reported 7 miles of MTB trails. Some are wide enough for cross country ski type but much is narily single track.

https://www.oswegolandparkdistrict.org/event/saw-wee-kee-spring-trail-run/


Having always wanting to run this trails I took the opportunity to take part in the Districts annual trail run. A month before they had a flash sale so a group of runners from the Bolingbrook Fun Run Club signed up. We was not to be disappointed.



I arrived fairly early and got parked in the main small lot. Took a short hike down the last part of the course to see what the trail was like. The last 1/4 mile was flat although bumpy and not at all like the rest of the course as  would soon find out. Picked up my race bib and hung out with some BFRC (others would arrive later).

A few unique things about this race is the 4pm start but you can start any time between 4pm and 5pm, runners are sent off one at a time in 15 second intervals and the T shirt plus buff was given out at the finish (all shirts were preassigned so no worries about them running out of your size).

Two weeks ago I had hurt my knee running at Greene Valley. Going up hill is currently an issue and this race was a lot of ups and downs. I knew I'd have to hike much of it but as I just wanted to be out there exploring not an issue. I was probably in the last half to start as others must have lined up before I even ventured over to the start. The RD said some words about the trail course marking consists of pink ribbons hanging from trees and some trail intersections cordoned off. There was also a few course marshals and two aid stations, one we hit twice. She also mentioned one hill had a rope as it had rained heavily the night before. As it was most of the trails were dry and even dusty.

First half a mile was wider track that had some climb but not much. Soon we hit a mile long out and back section that was more narily single track including some rough climbs up and down. One large down/up hill was tough on my injured knee but I made it. Soon we hit a loop section, still single track and with some nice climbing and that rope hill. I was able to avoid the rope until the very top where there was a sort of lip to the summit. After that we ran some rocky down hill sections and had to cross a creek that was ankle deep with clear cold water; some might have jumped it but guessing most just plowed through as I did. Given the air temperature was 80s (yes in April) it was some what refreshing. Back to the out n back where I got to high five with five BFRC who had been the last to start. Got to the last aid station and was directed across the road to the 1/2 mile straight, flat and bump trail along the Fox River to the finish. My Garmin read 3.3 miles at the finish.

Was presented with a cool long sleeve blue tech T shirt trail run and green buff. Nice design on both. For refreshments they had chili from a local restaurant (told it was taste but I don't eat meat), bananas and water.  

Waited for the last BFRC runners to finish then we all pose for the traditional club photo.



(photo via Gladys, BFRC Pres)


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Three upcoming November races

If you are looking for ideas for some race here are some ideas. I will actually be at all three of these.

November 12 (Saturday)  Paleozoic 50-Km and 25-Km on the trails of Palos Swallow Cliff forest preserve. Limestone trail although more rough than some county trails. One out n back loop for 25k, two loops for 50k. Finisher medals for those that finish. Good aid stations and neat T shirts

 
 
 
 
November 13 (Sunday) St James Farm Allee 5k on the limestone trails of St James. Scenic course passing meadows, forest, historic farm building. Runners pullover type tops to all signed up
 
 
 
 
November 24 (Thanksgiving Day) Winnetka Turkey Trot 5k on the residential streets of Winnetka. Great long sleeve T shirt perfect to wear at the family dinner that day!!
 
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Charlie Engle Book Tour

Wednesday night while the Cubs were busy losing to the Dodgers I ventured to Downers Grove to attend Anderson Bookstore author event with ultra runner Charlie Engle.

Charlie recently published his book Running Man which details his life from childhood through his recovery from drugs and drink to running across the Sahara plus many other running adventure to being unjustly convicted of mortgage crime to his new life upon release.

I had previously meet Charlie in 2009 after the Badwater 135 ultra in Lone Pine CA, just outside Death Valley and right in the shadow of Mt Whitney. Kelvin (the Aussie I had crewed for the second time) plus my fellow crew member Steve just happened to be in the same pancake breakfast house as Charlie and some of his crew so natural we all started chatting about the race. Charlie and I have also been Facebook friends for years and he says he recalls that Lone Pine meeting despite everything that has happened in his life before and since.

 
 



Drove to Downers Grove after work, arriving early but plenty of time to grab a coffee and sit outside to enjoy people watching before heading to the bookstore. Upon arriving Charlie was chatting with a guy who had just got back from running in Colorado and one of the bookstore staff. He saw me, said "Ian" and got up to shake hands and give a friendship hug. Joined in the chat about running and races. Charlie had just competed in Laz's Backyard Last Man Standing "event" running for a full 27 hours but sadly (or not) that is a DNF as only one person can actual finish. Saying that a few years ago the last two decided to call is a day together so no one was declared the winner, Laz wins!! Couple other people arrive including Flatlander and TJM host Scott who had interviewed Charlie a few weeks before. So although only a total of five people joined Charlie it was a great evening. He discussed the book, what was in it, things about his life including elaborating on the prison sentence time and also what the publishing process was like. He did touch on races and running but as Charlie had stated to us his idea was not just to write a running and race book but one that covered his life and could be of interest to everyone. I feel Charlie has another book out there ready to be wrote. He also read form the first chapter. I wonder if it is strange for an author to read his own words aloud to a crowd but then again he did the audio version plus musicians do the same when doing concerts.  Although he didn't do a QA as most authors would do he answered questions as he went along. There was a lot of chat and banter amongst all.

The 90 minutes went by very quick but was a great evening. I had actually already read the book having requested my local library obtain it (so if you are not sure it is on the shelf at Naperville Library) but I had always said if Charlie appeared at a book tour stop in the area I'd buy the book. Thank you Charlie for the great words you wrote for me. And thanks for taking photos with most of us there.

 
Charlie signing my book (well his book)

 
Charlie and myself (photo by Scott Kummer)


Friday, September 23, 2016

Dick Pond Cocoa Run and Walk October 2nd, Danada FP Wheaton, IL

 
Next race I will at. Nice course along the groomed trails of Danada and Herrick Forest Preserve in Wheaton on the border with Naperville and Warrenville. Pass by meadows, wetland, through the trees and by a lake. Mostly flat with a few rolling hills in the woods.
 
8 mile run or 5k run/walk  
 
Super Cool jackets to all runners is the goody bag with cocoa and sweet treats at the finish line.
 
Race makes a good last tune up before the marathons in Chicago or Naperville.
 
 



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Terra Sans Pave Trail Races

This weekend I attended my first Terra Sans Pave Trail Races being held for the 3rd year at Linne Woods, Morton Grove IL. http://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=16254IL&tab=a2


Although I had never been on these trails before I found out I had actually cycled through them on the North Branch Trail many times when I used to live in Lakeview part of Chicago. It made for an amazing 50 mile ride. Little did I know back then that there was a dirt and limestone trail system in the woods. Although it is not an extensive trail system there is enough combined with a little grass to make a really nice 4k (2.5 miles) loop.

Bill and Michelle Thom are the RDs for the event. Yes the same team that puts on the Paleozoic trail 50k and 25k each spring and autumn, and the Chicago Full Moon 5k road race.

For Terra there are four distances to pick from. 4k (1 loop), 8k (2 loops), 10 miles (4 loops) and the newly added 8 hour (as many loops as you can in the 8 hours). I signed up for the 8k. I also signed up to volunteer at packet pick up handing out the goody bags and timing chips.

Arrived early just after sunrise which is when the Forest Preserve opens up the gates and helped Bill and his fellow helpers unload cars full of race supplies. Got the 8 hour packets ready to hand out as their race started at 7.30am. Just before that time RD Bill gave a race talk and joined the ultra runners for the first loop. He had marked the course with flagging, plate arrows and orange spray paint the night before and wanted to check it was still in order. I heard a few runners comment that they liked doing the first loop with Bill. Wonder if they know he has done the ultra grand slam that includes Western States 100 a race he has done a few times over the years. This year he ran Vermont 100.

Then we set up the fueling/aid stations and got ready for the short distance guys. I did my own packet pick up and put on my timing chip so I could demo it to others. In total there was around 60 people signed up and most people claimed their goody bags (those contained a nice green T shirt and the bib) and timing chips. It was time to run.

My good friend Penny asked if she could run with me. I was worried I'd slow her down but she was just there to have a nice run. I was very happy to run with Penny and I got to hear many stories and we chatted about folks we have know over the years through the yahoogroup ChiAdeads (hello Kelly, Teresa, Buck, Dave and others).

The 4k course started out with a grass section that crossed the North Branch Trail, before going over a bridge turning to follow a single track dirt section with some roots, we passed the race HQ but in the woods before crossing a bridge to join a limestone trail. Unlike most limestone trails in Lake and DuPage counties these are not as well groomed or maintained so we had sections of mud, puddles and even foliage growing out of it. I was not complaining!! More single track, across a road bridge for the last one km to the race HQ, then repeat again (for my two loops). There was no hills but it was still a great course and I loved the wet and mud sections.


 
Course Map

There was 14 signed up for the 8k and 11 started. Penny and I ended up right at the back of the pack and were looped a few times by the ten mile runners and some of the ultra runners, probably the lead 8k runners too but we called it more trail time for our entry plus we was having fun out there enjoying the trail and chatting away.

Crossing the finish RD Michelle presented each of us a finishers pin with a number based on our Terra finishers: one in my case, 3 in Penny's.

  
Cool Bib and Finishers Pin
 

Bill and Michelle also gave some awesome post race food. As well as the normal cookies, MMs, bagels, candies (remember RD is an ultra runner hence normal for ultras) they also supplied beef brisket sandwiches, salad, coleslaw, salted chips and sodas. I don't eat meat but the salad sandwich I made was excellent. Others seemed to be enjoying their brisket
 
I really enjoyed the race and the trail vibe.  It was a nice scenic well marked course, plenty of free parking, with a good T shirt, neat bibs, good post race food and a nice finishers award - ultra distance runners got a medal I think and there was top 3 male/female awards (I was 4th male overall). In 2017 I will be back and depending on training and other events will do the 10 mile or even 8 hour. The permit limits the numbers which keeps it low key but still with competition. This year the race was about half full so has room for more and I honestly feel it deserves more and it will get more. The ultra was announced a month out thanks to an agreement with the FP and many ultra runners have expressed interest for next year. I am sure Kimmie and Colleen will be back for the ultra. 
 
I got to talk to a number of the other runners, trail and ultra runners are so friendly. We talked about races done and up coming - think I have a few new runners for DPRT in October. Even made some new Facebook friends thanks to the race. One in particular was a big surprise. One of my favorite bands is the British group the Mission. I've followed them for over 30 years since two members quit the Sisters of Mercy to form the new group. Seen them almost 20 times and have everything they released more or less. One of my fellow 8k runners, Monica, was getting her goody bag. Her husband and kids were there to support and I noticed he was wearing a Mission T shirt. That is something outside of a live concert I never see. We got chatting and found we had been at some of the same Chicago concerts and had both meet lead singer Wayne Hussey. Eli was happy to meet a fellow fan and has since sent me a link to another of his favorite bands which I was surprised to not have heard of despite the guest vocalist and guitar players being from bands I also like. Monica seemed happy he had found a new Mission friend so she doesn't now have to go to next year's possible USA tour!!
 
In November I will be running Bill and Michelle's Paleozoic trail race in Palos (Swallow Cliff/Sag). They offer a 25k one loop (doing that one) and a 50k two loop for the ultra dogs. And yes I am volunteering at packet pick up before. The permit limits the numbers. These races are more popular than Terra so if you are interested sign up soon     http://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=16317IL
 
Thanks for reading.
 

  With Monica the 8k female champ at her first trail race.
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Some upcoming Chicago area trail races

Some people are surprised that the Chicago area actually has some places to get in some nice trial running and do trail races. Sure we don't have the mountains of the Western States 100 or even Vermont ultras. Yes some of the trails are on limestone but there are dirt trail races out there including the Frozen Gnome and Earth Day ultras in Crystal Lake, HOBO races in nearby Rockford and a little further north over the board in Wisconsin Ice Age Trail, Kettle Moraine, North Face to name a few in the cheese and New Glarus state. A little south there are trail races in Clinton, Pekin, Peoria and more. I used to live a few blocks from the Chicago Lakefront. It is a fine place to run with miles of mainly car free paths to run but tends to be a little flat and smooth. My first trail ultra was in Greenbush Wisconsin at the Glacial Trail 50k and all my training for that was done on the Lakefront. I moved to a Chicago western suburbs, got a car and found I had access to multiple trail systems. Some was limestone but others had dirt and grass trails even some hills. I love running at Palos (Bullfrog and Swallows Cliff), Knoch Knolls, Greene Valley and McDowell in Naperville which are really close to home. Recently I discovered some trails in Kendall County and Kane County. Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake, home of the mentioned Frozen Gnome and Earth Day races is probably the toughest Chicago area trails. Kettle Moraines I venture to at least once a year but I have trail running friends that get an annual pass.

A few Chicago area trail races in the next few months will see an appearance by myself.

September 10th in Linne Woods, Morton Grove  
http://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=16254IL


Distances of 10 miles, 8k and 4 miles and newly added 8 hour. I have not ran here but the RD says the course is "A variety of surfaces make up the Terra Sans Pave racecourse... crushed gravel, dirt and wood-chip paths comprise about 85% of the course, with sections traversing grassy fields".

The RD is local ultra runners Bill and Michelle Thom who also put on the Palos 50k races each spring and fall plus Bill is a finisher of the Grand Slam of ultra race (4 100 miles in just a few months including the legendary Western States 100). His race fees are cheap but he doesn't skimp on the SWAG, medals nor aid station supplies and support. Not yet decided which distance I am going for, maybe the 10 mile.

October 15th in Lake County, Illinois is the Des Plaines River Trail Races.
http://www.desplainesrivertrailraces.com/



 Distances of half marathon, marathon and 50 miles. The course is groomed limestone on a very scenic trail system that includes the Des Plaines River, lots of forested area and a few prairies. It is flat unless you only run the Lakefront then it has a few rollers. This will be year 7 of this event and speaking to the RD a few days ago it is excepted to sell out in next few weeks (fastest ever sell out is forecast). Race SWAG includes an awesome T shirt, a nice finishes medal or buckle for 50 mile and a great post race meal (burgers or veggie burgers cooked on site), great aid stations every few miles plus great support of volunteers. I have been at this event every year including finishing the marathon once and the half 3 times. I have also volunteered every year on race day besides the first year (when I run the half I help at packet pick up first - so much inspiration handing the 50  and marathon goody bags out). This year I will run the half, after volunteering. The two RDs, Ed and Terry are ultra runners including both finishing the Badwater 135 ultra. They have a band of support from their families. (Hi LuAnn)   

November 12th at Swallows Cliff in the Palos forest preserve system. Paleozoic Trail Runs
 http://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=16317IL 


A 25k or 50k trail race on the trails of Swallow Cliff. 2/3 limestone and 1/3 dirt/singletrack/grass. Includes a few nice hills. Although it is limestone it is not groomed like trails in DuPage or Lake County so if it rains even the limestone can be muddy. This is another race put on by the Thom's. Each year they hold a 25k/50k in Spring and Autumn/winter. One at Swallows Cliff the other at Bullfrog although which venue is used varies depending on issued permit hence Swallows Cliff might occur again in the spring followed by Bullfrog next autumn. Another race I have volunteered at but the plan is to run this time, my distance will depend on training but I would love to do the 50k. Bill designs a unique T shirt for his races and gives a cool finishers medal. Two fully stocked aid stations and an unmanned one at midway on the 15 mile out and back loop. Two loops for the 50k, one for the 25k. Entry numbers are limited due to the permit so sign up as soon as possible.

A few other trail races which I'll include the website. I have run all these races (or on the course in the case of the Aurora and TBunk events)

August 28th Muddy Monk Near Sane Lake County IL http://www.muddymonk.com/nearlysane
September 9,10, 11 RockCut HOBO races 10k, 25k, 50k http://www.rockfordroadrunners.org/hobo-runs.html
October 8 Farmdale Trail near Peoria IL races 10k to 100 mile http://www.farmdaletrailrun.com/
October 8 Run Forest Run Aurora IL 5k and 10k http://runforestrunfunrun.com/
October 9 Glacial Trail 50m 50k Greenbush WI http://www.badgerlandstriders.org/home/Races/GlacialTrail50M50K.htm
November 4-6 TBunk, La Grange WI, Kettle Moraine Trails  http://tbunk.blogspot.com/

If you know of any other trail races within driving distance of Chicago please let me know so I can add if I have time. I concern driving distance to be there and back same day but I've driven to Madison, Champaign, Peoria and back on race days so that is what I feel is driving distance!!
      

Friday, August 5, 2016

GLASA Twilight 5k August 13th 2016

Registration Fee Increases on
Sunday (8/7/2016) at Midnight.
Guarantee Your Spot Today!
GLASA's 9th Annual 
Twilight 5K Run, Walk and Roll
Join us for one of the largest CARA certified 5K races and BEST Post-Race parties in the Chicago-land area serving competitive and recreational runners as well as athletes with disabilities. The start and finish of the race is the Gorton Community Center, with the race winding through the streets of Lake Forest.
REGISTRATION
$35.00 - Now thru 8/7
$40.00 - 8/8 thru race day
*Free to Injured Military.  Discounts for Military and CARA members.
FUN FOR ALL!!!
Come early to get your hair spray painted with Sports Clips!Get a free
 InBody Scan
by
Lake Forest CrossFit!

Play games with Mathnasium!

Grab a free water bottle from
Lake Forest Dental!
Check out the "swag" NorthShore University
HealthSystem 
will be handing out!

FREE massages offered by Wellness Solutions!
www.glasatwilight.org




Thanks to our presenting sponsor:

STAY CONNECTED   
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter