Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring = Angela = Triathlons

I ran into an old south side friend at the federal building at lunch yesterday. I haven't seen him since I was 13 years old. The old summer beach memories came flooding out during our few minutes together.

The last time I saw him we were on a CTA bus with my friends on a really great late May sunny morning heading to Oak Street beach in Chicago to hang out all day.
I was 13 years old without a care in the world. I was just one year away from working full time for the rest of my life. I had a $3.00 haircut, 3 more years with my braces on my choppers, black frame thick lenses, I was 4'11, in other words I looked like a train wreck. 

It was a hot day with a lot of commuters trying to get downtown and I lucked out to get two seats to myself until we got to the corner of 55th and Crawford. That's when she entered the bus. As if time had stopped I saw her approach me and with an audible "gulp" from my Adams Apple she sat down next to me. She wore a orange sun dress, a gold ID bracelet, dishwater blonde hair with green eyes and holding a sack lunch. If she had a pie in that sack I would have said she was perfect. You have to understand Dave at 13 was a pretty shy kid with zero game with the girls and then to be seated next to this pretty girl for the next 50 minutes was too good to be true.

Our conversation started when she asked me to open the window up with a smile (there was no ac in buses back then) and in some ways I opened up and left my shyness that morning. We talked and laughed the whole ride. She told me she was going to visit her Mother who was working on Michigan Ave that day as a surprise. During our conversation she would do that cute hair flip and giggle thing girls do at that age and even tapped me on my knee (which was huge for a geek like me at the time). As we approached our final stop on Michigan and Wacker I felt cheated that the bus ride wasn't longer but she had to leave and so did I. We both got off the bus and she turned to look at me and said, "David it was so nice to meet you, thanks for making me smile, and have fun at the beach today." She turned and walked away. I turned and walked toward my friends and realized I fell in love for the first time today. She was kind, polite, sweet and beautiful and girls like that at that time of my life never gave me the time of day. Her name was Angela. I never saw Angela again after that day. In true stalker fashion I rode my bike to the same bus stop for the rest of the summer in hopes to see her there again, but for not. I gave up searching for her and I ended up going to high school the next year, got my braces off, wore contact lenses, bought a $9.00 haircut, started growing sideburns (behind my ears), got a hot date for my prom and graduated high school and moved into my adult life.

When I started getting into triathlons I was looking for my first good tri-bike which are pretty darn expensive. When I walked into the last bike shop I saw the TREK EQ carbon on the wall. I fell in love as fast as I did with Angela and I had to name the new bike after her. When I first took her out on the lakefront path for a ride it was a late May morning again, conditions were perfect, she responded with every move of my body, she left me breathless, I had a smile from ear-to-ear. I was 13 years old again and very happy.

Age 13 in blue, Eddie O, Mad Dog and Stretch

Marie Miller and Davey boy, St.Shawshank Redemption High School Prom

"Angela" Chicago Triathlon

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My friend Bob Horwitz

Robert Horwitz is his name. Bob is a friend of mine. If you belong to the Chicago running community chances are you have met Bob, ran with him, seen him or heard of him.

I met Bob in 2004 when I decided to take up the sport of endurance running again after a long lay off. Bob was my first pace leader in the 10 min CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association). I didn't know a thing about running at the time, all I knew was that you needed good shoes and not be drunk before or during training. I soon found out after the first long run at the 5th mile Bob's energy never stops. I always ran with Bob at the front of the pack, but as he would often do, he would run back to the rear to encourage the people in the back and then run to the middle and then back to the front with me. He would do this for every training run no matter what the mileage was over and over again during the run. If we were running a 16 miler he would end up doing a 20 because of the all the north - south running he was doing. Amazing. The bonus was Bob is a massage therapist and would bring his table to the end of the runs to teach people to stretch or offer a free massage.

Now Bob has a running blog site (Bob's Running Resources) for his running coaching business. I encourage you all to check it out.  Bob also has one of the sharpest photographic eyes I've ever seen. He always captures our lakefront path that we train on so perfectly. If you have a second take a look at his photos...They were all taken within walking distance of my home in Chicago.  Visit his Facebook page for all his photos. Bob's Photos


My first half marathon that Bob coached me. Tough conditions of heat and no water (Bob in Black Cap)

North Ave Beach Path
Some goof he met on the path last summer

Dave before Dawn

A rare mid-week RUCK at dawn

Clock Tower..

Fullerton Ave Beach
Fullerton Ave Beach



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Modi Witherbee

Who the heck is this dog? He's a K9 (Dogue de Bordeaux (aka French Mastiff)) living out west with my pal Larry and Keri...

He swims, he climbs stairs, slides down slides, fetches bones while diving into a pool, guards the house at night, is a loyal pal, and loves humans. If I lived next door to Modi I know I would be playing with him every day and sneaking him treats that his owners would have to file a restraining order on me. A first in the history of law. Look at this face and tell me you wouldn't do the same thing. Dogs sometimes are so much nicer to be around than humans.

Chillin on the couch
With his big sister Sage

I have to breathe through my nose Larry?
Happy Mothers Day

This is fake grass?
Time for swim? Really?

Not sure I like this swimming stuff?
Love a cool garage floor..


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teachers Week...Thank one will ya?

"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere"
This is a good real life example of my 8 years at St. Mary's Star of the Sea - South Side of Chicago
Teachers of my best memories of school was when I was trying to get into the hardest Catholic high school at the time in Chicago and I didn't think I stood a chance to get in and would end up in the Chicago public school system. But I had a teacher, Mrs. O'Conner who believed in me and worked with me to take the entrance exam. She went out of her way to meet with the academic advisors on her own time to go to bat for me. At the time I had no idea she was doing this at all. I knew she told me you need to go to this school and told my parents that. I remember the day I opened the acceptance letter and couldn't believe a kid like me coming from where I came from would be offered this.
But looking back I really only wanted to go there because I wanted to make the boxing team and play football (yes I had to make the teams not everyone made the team). After my first month the school dropped it's boxing program and I was only 4'11 and 97lbs as a freshman and I was used as a tackling dummy for a few months (think of the movie Rudy). My thoughts of playing football for Notre Dame were dashed. I realized quickly I better focus on the books since my parents were paying for this and we weren't wealthy by any means. After I graduated going to this school was the best thing I ever did. It set the tone for my life. And it was because of a caring teacher and parental units.
So when I hear about my friends who are teachers and they have parent meetings and the parents are yelling at them for this and that it makes me very angry. Maybe I'm older and it's a different time but when I went to school for 12 years I had two teachers...the ones at school and the ones at home..MY PARENTS!.  It wasn't the teachers fault ever, it was my fault because I didn't buckle down and hit the books and my parents made sure of that. 4 years in high school I never went out on a school night. Never. I could hear my Mother yelling at me to put the pie and baseball mitt down and read the classics. If I didn't there would be hell to pay both at home and at school.
Growing up I never admired sports stars, Hollywood stars or Santa Claus. Teachers were the ones I admired. I don't know how they do it every day, I really don't. With all their education, patience, and people skills they still get paid less than a garbage man in Chicago. If you see a teacher this week buy them a cup of coffee or call one that helped you and thank them. They make differences in lives one child at a time. Don't know many other people who do that and don't know where I would be today without one.
This is my friend Jill 1st grade class when she returned to teach after the Boston Bombing. The kids were worried about her because she was at the 2nd Boston Bombing location waiting for her brother and myself to finish the race. Now that's a great teaching moment.

Why being a slow runner doesn't matter..

Do You Think You Run Slow? Why Being “Slow” Doesn’t Matter

marathon running tipsI originally wrote this article for and the original can be found here. However, I felt this was such an important topic that I wanted to also share with the readers of this blog. Enjoy!
When I first started working with age-group and recreational runners in 2006, one of the biggest surprises to me was the amount of negative thinking and lack of self-confidence many runners exhibited. Almost every runner that joined the group introduced themselves to me by stating, “I’m probably the slowest person you’ve ever coached” or “you probably don’t work with runners as slow as I am.”
It didn’t matter what their personal bests actually were, almost all conversations started in a similar manner.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that not much has changed in the last seven years. Many runners, both new and experienced, hesitate to participate in our our training community. When asked why, most respond that they are embarrassed by how slow they are.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not slow and that this negative, self-deprecating thinking is only holding you back from your true potential!
I’ll admit, this article won’t be as grounded in scientific research and specific how-to advice as my usual pieces. However, shifting your mindset about how you perceive yourself is more important than any workout or training run you could ever do.

The power of positive thinking

From a purely performance perspective, thinking negatively can inhibit you from achieving your potential. While thinking you’re slow may seem harmless, every time you preface a statement with the phrase: “I know I am slow, but…” you condition your mind to believe that you can never be fast.
Countless research studies in sports psychology have proven the power of positive thinking and self-talk. Athletes who go into a workout or race with positive thoughts perform significantly better and more consistently than those who approach workouts and races with a negative attitude.
Reframing your belief in yourself starts before a workout or race. If you’re negative and lack self-confidence throughout your training, no amount of pre-race self-talk and mental preparation is going to undo weeks or months of self-deprecation. Positive thinking starts with how you frame every aspect of your running.
I understand that it’s hard to change your perception of your running ability, so here is some helpful advice:

Running is the same no matter how fast or slow you are

Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport.
There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5k for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.
I’ve run under 29 minutes for 10k. I still get nervous about finishing last (in fact, I have the distinguished accomplishment of finishing second-to-last at two consecutive US championships), there’s still lots I don’t know about training, and I have had more than my fair share of bad workouts, injuries, and poor races.
Therefore, there’s no need to preface any of your questions or thoughts about running with “I am slow.” I’m fast and I face the same challenges and fears. All runners do.

There’s always someone faster

Unless you’re Kenessia Bekele, Mo Farah, or Galen Rupp, chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you. Fast is relative.
I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because lots of people are faster. Here’s a secret: “fast” runners feel the same way.
In a recent conversation with former professional runner Ryan Warrenburg, he discussed how he’s hesitant to call himself an “elite” runner. Ryan has run 13:43 for 5k – I’d call that fast and worthy of elite status. Do you know where his time ranks him in the world? I don’t because it’s way outside the top 500 (sorry Ryan).

What’s wrong with being “slow”

Ok, so I can’t convince you that being “slow” is all a frame of reference. So I’ll ask you, why does being slow even matter?
Runners are perhaps the most welcoming and friendly group of athletes I’ve ever met. No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would, and your running group feels the same.
Second, regardless of your pace, you’re doing better than almost 80 percent of Americans. In a study conducted by the CDC, researchers found that less than 20 percent of Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity.
I hope you can look at some of these stats and insights from runners who are “fast” and realize speed is merely a state of mind. Once you can reframe your thoughts on your speed and potential, you open yourself up for great things to happen with your training and racing.
The next time you want to join a running club, ask a question to a fellow runner, or want to sign up for a race but get nervous about “being slow,” ask yourself: “Does it really matter?”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bacon Lovers Rejoice

I love a good piece of bacon like everyone else but last summer I went vegan to see how I would like the experience. Would I adapt well? Will I loose weight? Will I loose my mind?
It was boring.

I lost a few pounds but really didn't see a difference by the time September rolled around and I went back to the dark side..I mean dark meat. The whole experience provided me with the fact that 90% of the stuff in an average supermarket isn't good for you and that I found a great bacon substitute.

Watch the video and try this at home. It makes a great healthy snack. Even some of my chef friends who write food blogs used the trick for their posts. 

WATCH Bacon Snack Video

105-Year-Old Texas Woman Reveals Bacon as her Secret behind Long Life

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nice person of the week alert

During the Boston Bombing I was stopped from finishing the race and was brought to a church with other runners. I met 4 people on the course and we all stuck together and ended up going back to the city that day and have since kept in touch. Nice right? Last night I get a call from one of them that she's in town and wants to have a beer. Turns out she's a big chocolatier in San Francisco and brought me a gift of truffles, and unreal macaroons. Chocolate is so much better than any medal from a race.

Me warming up before a light pre-race shake out run..

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Final April 2013 Chicago Carnage...

Yawwwwn woke up this am to hear a 9 year old boy was caught in a cross fire last night and is in critical condition right now.
Mr. Mayor we expect the normal no response since you're on a call talking to Hillary how to manage all that money she's making right now on the speaking tours ..and oh by the way when you say the killings are down from 2012..well it's because of new and improved medical care and people who just have bad gun skills, in other words they are shooting people in the non-lethal parts of the body (see graphic on where the bullets are hitting). Also your totals don't count people who are just grazed and released at the scene. 

Final April Totals
Shot & Killed: 22
Shot & Wounded: 135
Total Homicides: 24

Year to Date Totals
Shot & Killed: 84
Shot & Wounded: 445
Total Homicides:

This is what I woke up to this morning on my front porch of my building. The blood is pooled on the ground. I followed the blood trail for about a block until it went into the street and I suspect that's where his boys picked him up and took him to the ER. Going to be a hot summer