Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chicago Marathon: A Day to Remember by Jennifer Shaffer

First off let me start by staying that I am honored to be able to write a blog for Team Polar’s website. I have been a teammate with Team Aquaphor for the past two years; this year’s LaSalle’s Chicago Marathon was my 5th marathon. And for the record there has never been and there will be no other like it! For the second consecutive year, Team Polar and Team Aquaphor met in Chicago for an annual team pre-marathon dinner at Italian Village. What a wonderful time! About ten teammates from Team Polar, Team Aquaphor and Team Stay Put attended. Stories, as well as training tips and past events were shared throughout the evening as we enjoyed delicious pasta. Wonderful atmosphere, elite athletes and fine food… it was once again a success. Marathon day, wow… I, as well as 45,000+ runners, will never forget it. The morning started out like ever other one. Get up at the crack of dawn, eat as much of as little food as your body can handle at 3am and try to drink as much fluids as you possible can and head to the start line. Yes, weather was unseasonably warm; however we have trained in worse temperatures over the summer, so for me I took the necessary precautions and took in some extra salt tablets. The race begins and thousands of us, unexpecting prey, make our way to the start mat. Around mile 6, I started feeling unusually warm, so I began popping extra salt tablets. I was taking 900mg every 2 miles, yes, you heard me, every 2 miles. That seemed to help tremendously! Around mile 19, Ron (Team Polar, my brother) and I noticed that our chip wasn’t beeping when we crossed over the timing mat. He asked, “Do you still have your chip?” I replied, “I think so, do you?” What was going on? We had no idea at this point that the race was cancelled. Yes, the water stations were low on water, people were passing out everywhere. The aid tents were full of runners in need of help. The more we started to look around the more we realized something was indeed wrong. At about mile 22, we hear over a megaphone that the City of Chicago Police had ordered runners to stop running and to walk. WALK! Are you kidding, this is a race I thought. Ron and I were not about to walk; we were almost there. At mile 25.5, a police barricade lined the street ordering people to walk or you would not get a metal or be permitted to race next year. No way were we walking! We had a left turn, up the famous final hill and down the final stretch. So we darted around the police barricade and charged up the hill. Waiting around the corner, down the final stretch, volunteers lined the stretch, telling us to walk, slow down. SLOW DOWN… this is the finish, I’m not slowing down. Ron and I crossed the finish line with hundreds of other runners who congested the finish. But we did it… we completed it. We received our medals. What a marathon or war zone. This was like nothing I have ever experienced before and I hope I never will again. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers for all there support! Thanks to Team Polar, Team Aquaphor, Team Stay Put and the entire marketing department for helping put together another successful dinner. And Ron, I can’t begin to thank you enough… another marathon… this one I could not have made it though without you! You rock, until the next adventures… keep running… or walking! js

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chicago Lakefront 50/50 Adds Marathon Distance

The Chicago Lakefront 50/50 has added a marathon to its 2007 list of events. While this race is typically either a 50K or 50 mile event, the organizers have allotted 200 slots for those wishing to run the marathon. The BAA has confirmed this to be a Boston qualifying event. So, if your dreams of running Boston in April were quashed with the cancellation of the Chicago Marathon this year, here's another chance.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Perez Finishes Fifth at IMMoo

This has been quite a year! Last September I got the call from "the line" in Madison. "LP? Are you in?" How could I turn it down? I was to move into a new age group?! I had the girls sign me up, but did not reveal my intentions to my husband, parents, family (or to myself) for 6 months. Thanks to a great group of friends, who covered my carpools, filled in for work obligations, took care of my children and constantly kept me in the loop....I did follow through. I did not throw in the towel. My training partners saved me emotionally and physically. My husband, children and extended family continually encouraged me and put up with my routine. It was not easy. My race number said it all - 2407 - to be read 24-7....was the definition of my life! Saturday morning, September 8, as I registered, I felt a bit sick. What could I do? Probably nerves....I tried to rest and relax. Sunday morning, race day, bright and early, I arrive to my transition space only to find....a flat tire! After being mauled by 2200 people in Lake Menona, I ran up the helix and tried to quickly change my clothes, stop at the portapotty and off on the bike, back down the other helix. I did not lose a water bottle on the bike, even over the bumps. Perfect weather except for the wind - the wind being my only complaint all day. As rode, I tried to "hold on" to remember. How about the very pregnant woman cheering with "GO DAD!" written in bold black letters across her round, bare belly. Another woman on the bike course cheering while holding a huge poster reading: "I'D STILL BE SWIMMING" It hurt me to laugh! My friends on the bike course put the smile on my face. They moved from spot to spot to see me as much as they could. I was thrilled to be out there. I must admit I could not wait to be on terra firma - a land lover - and I hit the road running. More of my friends covered the run course as well as my parents, hubby and kids - that kept the smile on my face. I was able to hug my children, husband, parents and high five my training buddies. My kids and friends even ran along side me - is that cool or what? As I ran, many thoughts went through my head and many electrolytes through my body. I focused on my core, tried to maintain good form, watched for the mile markers and counted minutes left. I tried to remember how to "feel good". I ran through a side stitch and through a stadium. I trotted along in the street, in a fog. I looked at faces and heard strangers urge me on. About mile 24.5 Bob Mitera spotted me (thanks to my Polar gear) while he bike patrolled. This was a gift. He talked, encouraged, urged and eventually rode on ahead - but what a lucky person I was to have a familiar and inspiring voice at that moment. As I rounded the capital at the end of loop 2, I saw my middle child playing. I yelled to him to run to the finish - I was almost done. Then I saw the finish line...I lifted my leg and did my signature "cartwheel at the finish" in tribute to my humble beginnings as a collegiate gymnast, alumni of Madsion.... WOW! What a thrill!!! On campus at age almost-46 and still going strong. 4th Ironman and the fastest yet - by 23 minutes. As one of my training pals a good wine, better with age. My mantra was "my pain has a purpose" as this year I raced for Lungevity - a lung cancer organization. I never forget how lucky I am to be able to do what I mind is free to dream and my body dreams to follow.... Cheers to a great season...onto the next!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gebrselassie sets marathon record

Haile Gebrselassie broke the marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, posting an official time of two hours, four minutes and 26 seconds.The 34-year-old Ethiopian beat the mark of 2:04:55 set by Kenya's Paul Tergat in Berlin in September 2003. Gebrselassie was already 32 seconds inside Tergat's pace at the 10km markand went through halfway at 62.29."This is wonderful, really special," said Gebrselassie, who missed therecord by 61 seconds in the 2006 race.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Accenture Chicago Triathlon Race Report by Kimberly Goodell

This race was a long time coming for me - technically I registered for it back in January of 2006! But it was well worth the wait. Luckily, my race went fairly smoothly - a small victory on its own, because with a crowd that size (8,500 participants!) you have to be prepared for anything. In the darkness & claustrophobic chaos of pre-dawn transition, my goggles somehow climbed their way out of my back pocket and most likely ended up getting swallowed into the swamp that had formed just beyond the "Swim In" banner. People have enough trouble locating their own bikes in that transition area - forget about trying to find a tiny pair of goggles! ...Luckily, I always bring a spare set. My wave start was late - after 9am - so I had plenty of time to wander around barefoot and wish I'd thought to bring a spare pair of shoes too... Although dawn started out refreshingly cool, by 9am we were soaking that blazing morning sun right into our heavy black wetsuits. The groans and grumbles about the heat turned into shrieking, squealing hysteria when the young ladies of Wave 43 jumped in to the icy harbor. (I like my water cold, but I admit my feet were starting to go numb by the end of that swim!) The water was amazingly clear - i've never experienced such great plantlife-viewing during a race! Although the bike course is basically straight and flat, i find it to be a little treacherous what with all the bumps & debris to dodge, and vehicular traffic right alongside the cyclists. But you can get a good sense of the size of upcoming cracks & potholes based on the number of water bottles & yellow sponges that have jumped off of the bikes of fellow competitors. In addition to the obstacle course of wayward bike gear & damaged road, there were plenty of rowdy riders swerving about and camping out in the passing lane... so I put more of my focus on survival than on speed. This turned out to be a good thing when it came to the run, since I had enough energy to shave 2 minutes off my former 10K PR. wow! One of these days I just might break that ever-elusive 7 minute mile! (maybe sometime i ought to try it without the hour and half swim/bike warm-up...) It ended up being a very long day, but it was a fun race to participate in, and I'm happy to report that I completed my 2007 triathlon season all in one piece AND I took home an Age Group 2nd place medal on top of it!

*** Congratulations Kimberly on your second place finish!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Perez Competes in Ironman WI for LUNGevity

Dear Family and Friends,

I write you this letter
To tell you about my race this September.
Ironman Wisconsin
One forty point one
Miles I will swim, bike and run.

I'll take care of the training, but there's also a way
You can be part of this memorable day
For the silent killer with a terrible stigma, lurks,
Lung Cancer - it's quite the enigma.
It strikes - smoker or non
So awareness and dollars
Helps research move on.

As I train, I believe
My pain has a purpose
for those who survive and those no longer with us.
Add your name to my list
Spread the word, help my cause
At the finish - a cartwheel, a smile
and for you - MY applause!

Laura Perez (LP)

Remember... it's not the quantity that counts, it's the number of people I can reach....
For more information and on-line donations go to:
2. click on "find a fund"
3. enter "Laura Perez"
4. follow the steps to donate
LUNGevity Foundation
2421 North Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Race Report - Spirit of Racine by Laura Perez

Racine 5th's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! I dreaded waking at the crack of dawn, driving up alone, parking remote, hauling my pump and everything....but I got a perfect spot on the road, pumped my tires and prepared to find my friends. I borrowed a wet suit - putting aside my 15 year- old maroon Body Glove and eventually headed down the beach.
Swim was fine. Bike was exciting. There was very little wind and lots of company! How many bikes lengths? How many seconds to pass? What is drafting anyway? I ate, drank, passed, was passed and poof! I was back at the beach. The run started slowly as I climbed the hill - slow and steady, slow and steady I ate, drank, passed, was passed, squirted a chocolate hammer gel on my beautiful Polar clothes (yuck!) and pushed to the end.... I felt good, loved seeing people I knew, yelled at Polar people and cheered friends on at the finish. - by Laura Perez

*** A special congratulations to Laura for placing second in her age group!