Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2014 (Chicago): Seeing how things will play out

And there you go. You may have already received the Men’s Health ‘Urbanathlon registration begins March 14’ heads up email (with ‘best pricing’ through March 28).

Men's Health Urbanathlon registration email

Men’s Health Urbanathlon registration email

With the events seven months out it’s far too early for me to consider registration now, but it’s nice to see that two of the three races are set in stone: Chicago October 18 and New York October 25. San Francisco is generally in November, so while it’s currently ‘TBD’ and not yet on the books you can do the math and plan accordingly.

I have to say, I’m not entirely all-in on whether I’ll compete in Chicago this year (blaspheme!). I love everything about the event, I love Chicago, and love LOVE the extended weekend getaway before winter sets in vibe for us, but it’s a pretty sizable financial commitment and after three years we just need to step back and refocus on if it’s time to try something new (note, we did float the idea of competing in New York or San Francisco …).

Adding to that, I’m planning to run my first marathon in June, and if things go well (or even just okay) then I will strongly consider running the Twin Cities Marathon October 5 (an amazing event right in my backyard … the last three years I competed in the Twin Cities 10K as part of marathon weekend and use it as my warm-up race to the Urbanathlon). That’s important because the proximity of event dates may or may not be conducive to proper recovery for a strong showing in Chicago (kind of sounds like an excuse, but it has merit).

There are a lot of miles between today and October (and I usually register around July), so we’ll get things figured out.

In the immediate term, running has been going okay for me. Despite the record amounts of snow and below-zero temps I’ve been able to keep up with my miles. In fact, pretty much all of February was spent running indoors on the treadmill.

Looking for me this winter? Safe bet you'll find me here.

Looking for me this winter? Safe bet you’ll find me here.

I’ve read all the ‘dreadmill’ jokes, and I’m guilty of many of them (I was the most ardent treadmill detractor), but I’ve come around in a big way. It’s actually been really enjoyable (no insane layers of clothing) and I’ve consistently been able to bang out 10-13 miles at a clip. Not ideal but beats not running or coping with hypothermia.

Periodically we get hit with a still-very-cold-but-not-so-cold-you-fear-for-your-life day and I’ll venture outside. I love my roller coaster route and the intensity that the hills demand. But those days are few and far between, with no signs of letting up. Plus many of my standard routes are snowed under (people have just given up on shoveling at this point and the park trails are tough for crews to consistently maintain).

A rare but enjoyable sighting in February.

A rare but enjoyable sighting in February.

In fact, I decided against a 10-mile race on October 8, partly because I know it will still be too cold to be enjoyable, and partly because I have to imagine the roads will still be craptastic and icy. Not fun.

I’m sticking with my standard season opener April 12 at Goldy’s Run 10 mile at the University of Minnesota.

Hope your running is going well. Stay with it.

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