Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: Chicago, workout

As part of my morning bike ride, I went down to cheer on the Chicago Marathon runners! After doing it last year, I know how much better the cheering crowd can make make their day. So I was there watching… impressed by the wheelchair racers coming through first… intrigued by the Elite runners who flew by in no-time flat… impressed by the first couple waves of fast runners who oddly seem to “enjoy” running (not jogging) while gliding by quickly & effortlessly… and then “my peeps”… the ones in the later Race Corrals like M & N. The ones who you can tell are NOT full-time runners, but excited to tackle the day & have a great time! They’re going to have a LONG day out in the breeze & chilly weather… but they’re also going to have a great time going through so many of Chicago’s great neighborhoods! Just keep moving forward… and HAVE FUN TODAY!!!

Categories: special events, workout

So while I’ve had a sore ankle for about a week now, I’m also just a “little bit” stubborn… so… today was the CHICAGO TRIATHLON, and I was not going to miss it!

But when we got downtown, we found put that the Swim portion had been canceled due to the high crashing waves. They quickly turned it into a run-bike-run DUATHLON instead (just like we did in 2019). My ankle was not happy, but I was happier to NOT be swimming! So we ran the distance of the Swim, then did the Bike course, followed by the Run distance. The weather was otherwise perfect, and the Triathlon… err, Duathlon… was great fun once again! As it always is playing with my Tri-Buddies Chris & Nancy!!!

And on a good note… my ankle doesn’t feel any worse for the wear! If anything, if feels better. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow morning?!

Categories: Chicago, workout

Today was the “official” kick-off of the running season… a fun chance to shuffle through downtown Chicago for the annual SHAMROCK SHUFFLE. While many were actually down there to “run” through the closed-down streets… I think it’s more of a chance to play with friends & do a little “touristy” photo-shoot along the way! Sightseeing & shuffling all at the same time!

Categories: Chicago, workout

Another one in the books!

So yesterday morning started out early with the sun rising behind Buckingham Fountain. Not a bad place to start… excited in knowing that it was going to be a long & arduous day!

We checked our extra gear at the official Gear Check area… and then proceeded to our starting corrals. We “may” have fudged our corrals a bit… as I was supposed to be in one, Chris & Nancy in another one, Steve in one and Tray in yet another one. We thought it would be more fun if we could all wait together in one starting corral. And since your official race time doesn’t start until you actually cross the Start Line… no big deal, right?

My marathon pals for the day… Chris, Nancy & Steve who were all well-trained and ready for the race. Then Tracy who is a avid runner, but a more leisurely run-walk kinda racer. And then me… who doesn’t like to run, and didn’t really train AT ALL!!!

My training run was the Chicago Triathlon… and I hadn’t really run since then! I knew it was going to be tough… but I’m stubborn & determined. Plus, I”m never in it to race… I just have three simple goals for any of these endurance events…

Number One : Have fun.
Number Two: Finish.
Number Three : Don’t injure anything!

So then we waited… and waited…
Chilly & breezy with everyone dressed in layers. It’s amazing to see the piles & piles of clothes discarded along the sides as you approach the Start Line. People taking off their warm layers… ready to start running. Luckily, they collect all of that extra discarded clothes and donate it to worth causes.

So you start running through the downtown streets. So much fun to be running down streets that are usually filled with cards & buses!!! Andno matter how many times I’m down here, I end up being the perfect tourist every time… stopping for plenty of photo shoots along the way!!!

More fun crossing the river… across the bridges… through the City!

As you head north, you pass the Lincoln Park Zoo an several parks. Running when I can, stopping at the water & Gatorade stops… and stopping for a few pictures! I mean, I”m never going to WIN the race!!! So I’m in no real hurry… just keep moving forward and enjoy the adventure!

Mile 5 at the south end of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Part of the fun through the race is all of the wonderful spectators who are out there to cheer you on. Plenty of creative signs along the way… and I LOVED this one!!!

After heading north & turning around into Boystown… complete with a drag show performance of “Grease”… you head back into the City. Over the rives & bridges again… kinda cool looking down trough the bridge. Not for those afraid of heights!!!

Almost halfway…

Then the official HALFWAY point of the marathon!!!
Kind of exciting… but this is when the legs start getting tight, sore and the feet start to talk back a bit!

You continue west out of the City and work your out and turn-around neart the United Center. The back in, just to turn around and head out west again – this time through UIC and Little Italy.

Soon enough you’re headed in the Pilsen neighborhood… full of hispanic culture, mural, music & plenty of color & fun everywhere!!! Always good to run through a vibrant & entertaining part of town to take your mind off of the sore legs & feet!!!

Along the way, I made a new friend… the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man!!!
Followed by another great sign.. and the answer was YES!!!

Still moving forward… exiting Pilsen and headed toward Chinatown!
Always fun to see the next Mile Marker as the numbers keep getting closer & closer to 26!!!

Mile 20… and still feeling good!

It’s also so motivating to see all of the people running the marathon… knowing that everyone has a “story” to share. Some of them you get to chat with along the way… others just MOVE you when you come up behind them.

No reason for me to be complaining or aching…

Love all of the murals & artwork along the way…

And some great snacks to avoid muscle cramping… pickles & pickle juice!!!

Welcome to Chinatown!!!
You now you’re getting close to the end when you get this far…
but this is also when “The Wall” hits.

Throughout the race, there are plenty of water & Gatorade stations… so much water… so many paper cups!

Somewhere near Mile 24, a woman was on the side cheering us along and offering up Clementine oranges… YES PLEASE!!! And let me just say… the BEST Clementines EVER!!! Just what I needed right then!!!

After 26.2 miles, you finally make it to the Finish Line to claim your finisher’s medal. That’s a LONG way to run to get another piece of medal on a ribbon! Luckily, my friend Tracy was there waiting for me! Always fun to share these big moments with a good friend!

So here’s some swag… souvenirs from the race.
And another one in the books!

And for now… trying to recover … getting the muscles to settle down & stop barking at me. Shower, change, eat, stretch, relax, all of that stuff! When you’re stumbling home on sore legs & aching feet you think you’ll NEVER do this again! But after a couple days… you start to think… “Well, maybe?”

Categories: Chicago, friends, workout

After the the CHICAGO TRIATHLON (en route back to the Transition Area to reclaim our gear) Tracy and I took a moment for our annual Buckingham Fountain photo-shoot! Always fun to play around with a friend… and even though I live in Chicago, somehow I turn into a total “tourist” when it comes to Chicago Landmarks! Bring out the camera…

Categories: bike, Chicago, workout

So today was another day “playing” down on the Chicago lakefront! Another CHICAGO TRIATHLON under my belt. I went once again for the full International distance… basically a one mile swim in Lake Michigan, followed by twenty-five miles of biking on Lake Shore Drive & Lower Wacker Drive & ending with a six mile run along the lakefront south to 31st Street Beach and back through the Museum Campus towards the Finish Line near the Art Institute.

It was a fun day overall. I felt pretty confident & strong… even though the conditions were less than ideal. The second half of the swim was so choppy it felt like a washing machine! Riding south on Lake Shore Drive all directly into the headwind. And the run was very sunny & humid… so excited to make it to the Finish Line!!!

Categories: workout

After too many years when it “went out of fad”… and a couple years of pandemic… it felt great to get back to a class again this morning! I remembered most of the steps, but didn’t remember it being quite that tough?! Oh, what a couple years can do…

Categories: Chicago, photography, workout

A beautiful day for Shamrock Shuffling through downtown Chicago this morning… a perfect way to kick-off the first day of Spring with my friends!!! Sure, some people were running the race… while others (like me) were “shuffling” and enjoying the sights along the way for a fun photo tour of the downtown route!

Categories: Chicago, workout

Always a special day when the Chicago Marathon works its way through the neighborhoods for 26.2 miles of fun! The weather may not be ideal with some gusty wind & a little drizzles of rain, but all of the runners were off to a good start. So fun cheering them on close to the start as they crossed the Chicago River for the first time. Fun to see the Elite Runners, the parathletes, the “normal” runners… and even cheering on the last one! Give it your all… you got this!!!

And remind me again why I felt compelled to add long swim & an even longer bike ride BEFORE my full marathon last weekend?!

Categories: IRONMAN, workout

Who knows?…
After this tough IRONMAN weekend, this might just be my next race…