Marathon Monday, Races, Running Related

Hey Mayor Emanuel, nice running the Ravenswood 5K with you

Yesterday I ran the 20th Annual Fleet Feet Ravenswood 5K.  This is only the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve ever participated in that race because in years past, it was usually the same weekend of the Lakefront 10 miler and back in the day I had more stamina and speed.  Besides getting slower, I realized that April in Chicago usually has cold rainy weather and a 3 mile race usually ends much quicker than a 10 mile one.

But yesterday was optimal conditions for both race spectators and participants.  Just warm enough at pre-race hour to wear shorts but not so hot that you experience the trifecta of sweaty, stinky, sticky after your run.

One of the cool things about a smaller race like this is the casual atmosphere mixed with professional race course set up.  I didn’t register until Saturday and that meant I had to do race day packet pickup.  My running buddy was able to get my bib because even though we made it out of the house in record time for parents of twins, we still didn’t leave

When I was running I kept hearing people call out “Go Mayor” and “Hey Rahm.”  It didn’t surprise me that Mayor Emanuel could be running this race.  He’s an avid runner and I believe he has some marathons under his belt (too lazy to look it up).  It did surprise me to look over my shoulder at approximately 2.5 miles in and see the Mayor himself running practically next to me.

I said “How you doing” as this was not the first time we met.  I bumped into him at the Belmont Blue Line Station years ago when he was campaigning for his first term.  I understand why he didn’t remember as I was in street clothes that day.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

He’s the one in blue over my left shoulder, like Beelzebub

I hadn’t taken a picture with the soon to be mayor than and thought this might be my chance to amend that.  After all, in spite of how he is running this city and treating CPS, he’s still the mayor.  But he had his race day face on which means he didn’t want to be Mayor Emanuel, he wanted to be Runner with Bib #55.  So I did the next best thing and snapped a selfie with him in the background.

if you click here and search for Bib # 55, watch the video at the 17:15 mark — you can see him cross the finish line.

Which brings up another interesting thing about how racing has changed over time through the embracing of technology.  When I first started running races, you’d run the race Sunday morning and weeks later you’d get a post card.  Online results were a thing but they certainly weren’t posted right away.  A few years later it became the norm to get preliminary-subject-to-updates results that afternoon.

Now we have instant results and finish line videos for Pete’s sake.  I had joked with my Running Buddy that we aren’t too far from a Hunger Games type setup with real time tracking, video and soundtrack.

Lucky for Rahm, this wasn’t the Hunger Games 5K because unfortunately there are plenty of residence who would likely shoot more than a selfie at him.


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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Marathon Monday, Running Related

Gia Alvarez cannot run away from Boston Marathon Scandal

Note: this story is ongoing as as new information is made available this post may be update accordingly.

Gia Alvarez, an avid runner, blogger and running coach, has been banned from running the Boston Marathon and any other Boston Athletic Association events for life.  Alvarez did two No-Nos in the racing world.

  1. She let someone else use her bib entry into a marathon.
  2. She used that person’s time to qualify for the next Boston Marathon.

Outside of race officials, no one gives a flying fuck if you let someone else use your bib in a neighborhood 5K or local Turkey Trot.  In larger races Bib Exchange is particularly common because of high price entry fees and the inability to transfer or defer ones race entry because of injury, health or family reasons.  That doesn’t necessarily make it right, but it is more of a misdemeanor in and of itself.

The second offense is more felony territory.  Boston has strict qualification requirements and even if you meet the time requirement for your age group, you still might not get in because of “rolling admission process” the BAA uses.  That means her entry most likely bumped someone else who genuinely qualified. That a blog dedicated “to work with runners and race officials to analyze race results and detect course cutters, bib swappers and other questionable results” exists and doesn’t seem to be want for material tells you this is a bigger problem than you would think.

update (4/10/16):  Derek from Marathon Investigation explains: “Basically, you were accepted if you beat the qualifying time by 2:30 minutes. They do not allow additional entries if someone is Disqualified after acceptance.”  This makes what Alvarez did even worse because even if she is found out before the race, there is no mechanism to identify and reward a legitimate qualifier a place in the next Boston Marathon.

The question here is did Alvarez know what she was doing was wrong?  Because she actually posted on her blog that she was going to give her bib to a friend, it would appear that she wasn’t aware that was a no-no or at least wasn’t aware of how Big a Deal it was.  According to her posts, she wasn’t able to run in 2015 because she was pregnant and a miscarriage prevented her from taking part in 2014.

I’m not giving her a free pass but I will give her some credit. This is a hard thing to walk back from and she appears to be legitimately owning up to it. While she has closed comments on her blog (probably because of volume and/or trolls) she didn’t hide critical (yet polite) comments that made it through like the Food Babe would have.   While she didn’t do herself any favors by taking three days to post an apology I’m going to cut her a little slack.  We want everything fast in our Internet Age and the cost behind that is that Alvarez is still a human being who hopefully is processing the wrongness of what she did while also being a mom to a toddler who probably reaches for her keyboard whenever she starts to blog.

The question still remains: did she give her bib to a friend who happened to be fast enough to qualify for Boston with the intention that she could use that time to participate in the next Boston Marathon (2016)?

Hierarchy of Cheaters

I don’t think Alvarez deserves to be banned for life. It’s not like she pulled a Kip Litton and invented a fake marathon with a fake website, fake competitors, and a fake winner.  Or had the unbelievable luck of Julie Miller who happens to lose her timing chips at just about every event she participates in.

She didn’t kill anyone and she did qualify for Boston twice previously.  According to her posts, she wasn’t able to run in 2015 because she was pregnant and even asked for a pregnancy deferral.  However, The BAA “stopped awarding deferrals for things like injury and pregnancy in 2010, except in extraordinary cases such as extreme weather or the 2013 bombings.”

Because of course they did.  I’m sure they had a valid reason for doing so, but in some way the BAA brings this upon themselves.  The event is already so hard to get into that most runners never get the chance.  Now you are making it even harder for the ones who do qualify.  I’ve always thought that big races should have some type of bib deferral or transfer program just for this sort of thing.

To be clear, Alvarez broke the rules and should be punished.  But the punishment should fit the crime.  A lifetime ban is a bit extreme when a few years would do the trick of punishing her and serving as a warning to others.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.


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Authors and Writers, Getting It Off Your Chest, This Blogger Life

The First Rule of Write Club: We don’t talk about not posting

Here at ChicagoNow we often get together in our Virtual Club House and talk about blogging challenges.  We give each other advice, support and suggestions for navigating the blogosphere.  That is before things devolve into a virtual pillow fight and soft core porn montage.

A couple of my fellow bloggers have come clean this week and acknowledged that they haven’t posted in a while.  Our Fearless Leader suggests not to draw attention to the fact that you may not have published a post in a while.  He’s usually right but was wrong once a few years ago so he’s due.

This is my one new subscriber!  (Photo Curtesy of Debra Paulson)

This is my one new subscriber! (Photo Curtesy of Debra Paulson)

Alas, I’m in the same boat.  Like everyone else my excuses are a mental cocktail of Lack of Energy, Low Motivation and Life Getting in the Way.  I’ve been a SAHD for the last few months and while that should have provided a boatload of material, it’s really hard to write with twin toddlers nipping at your feet, wanting to be held ALL THE TIME.

When I do get the kids down for nap, I have at most two hours to do anything that cannot be done with small children underfoot like shovel snow or operate heavy machinery.  Sometimes I even take a nap because Moose or Squirrel decided not to sleep through the night.  Some days I’m lucky to brush my teeth before noon.  A shower is a real treat (did I type that out loud?)  And after the kids are put down for the night?  My energy levels are lower than IQs at a Kardashian Reunion.

Blogging is a vicious cycle because you have to write consistently to build an audience but without any interaction it’s hard to motivate yourself to write to an invisible audience.  I’ve written 10 posts this year which isn’t bad for the 14th week of 2016 but instead of being consistent, those posts were in clumps.  I wrote about the cool things we have at CN to inspire bloggers but it’s hard to win best post or gallery if you don’t past.  Darn those draconian rules!

Facebook also does a fucktacular job of showing you what your friends are up to and when I see them liking a faceless Corporate Entities’ FB page, but not mine, I think WTF.

Youknowneen suggests it’s a honest case of “plain forgetting or maybe a ‘oh yeah, I need to like that page,’ and then never getting to it. ”


I wish I had her golden attitude.  I also hope my Writing Muse comes back.  But more importantly, I hope I can get my kids back in daycare soon.

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