In a quiet way, the thousands of people who run, bike, hike, ski and paddle make a lot of noise in Wisconsin
Nick Szczech plans to waste little time making the transition from collegiate runner to top marathoner.
His debut over 26.2 miles will be the 31st annual Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on Sunday, and with a little help, the former Marquette Golden Eagle plans to chase the 2:19 time that would put him into the trials for the U.S. Olympic marathon team.
Nick Szczech missed the mark for reaching the Olympic trials, but came away from the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon with a win and a lesson.
"I feel really good, so I kind of wish I would have pushed it a little harder," he told Dan Murphy at the finish. "That was more of a mental thing, so the next time I'll know that the last six miles I can push it a little harder."
My belated congratulations go to Tim Cigelske on the completion of his year-long Beer Run.
The local runner/blogger/beer drinker launched his streak, a run and a beer every day for 365 days, in part to find routine in the chaos of his hectic life.
For those who missed the news on Facebook last week, I left my full-time job at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to become a stay-at-home Dad and blogger.
It was a difficult decision to leave the paper after 26 years, but I found this advice from my wife to be compelling: “You can keep running the same route you’ve always run because you know where all the bathroom stops are; or you can go check out the new trail.”
I'm a sucker for sporting metaphors when making major life decisions.
If all goes well, I will successfully nurture twin daughters and Off the Couch over the long run.
Please be patient. Dirty dirty diapers take precedent over sweaty running shorts, and I’m still perfecting the talents needed to type one-handed while burping a baby. Look for an occasional fatherhood experience mixed in with the posts on bike rides, ski races and training plans.
This is what came out of the keyboard on day one from the home couch.
It’s hard to get work done when you’re having work done. Not that they were a huge distraction, but the guys blowing insulation into the 104-year-old walls of our house/office made a serious racket, outdoing the girls in full squawk.
Stripping, drilling, blowing and hammering resonates through this old house. Plus, being largely incapable of doing such work, I kept wanting to check out how they were doing what they were doing.
I’ve had bigger distractions in the newsroom, of course. The occasional “name that artist” soul music sing-along comes first to mind. Those lasted until someone performed a successful Google Search. The insulation clatter went on all day.
I quickly realized on day one of my stay-at-home Dad life, that the toughest adjustments will be internal. I am a creature of habit. I’ve eaten a sandwich and a bowl of soup for lunch in the Journal cafeteria roughly 3,500 times in the last 15 years, sitting alone, in the same seat, reading the sports section and comics.
Fellow reporters gazed in awe (and nervousness) at my file cabinets, their contents and order. Our dining table and chairs now serve as my temporary file system. It’s unnerving to be so disorganized.
I did go for a run on my usual route. Probably the first time I hit the pavement at 2 p.m. on a Monday. Thankfully, my significant body functions made the necessary adjustment. It’s a start.
Organizers have cancelled the bike ride today due to the incident on the Hoan Bridge this morning.
From the JSonline Newswatch: Investigators are trying to determine whether a person jumped from the Hoan Bridge or whether the person was knocked from the bridge after a collision with a vehicle.
In talking about the death of a man on the Hoan Bridge Tuesday, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. staked out his position on the proposal to add a bike lane on the elevated roadway: an emphatic no.
Clarke called it the "dumbest thing I ever heard" during a news conference.
Cooler weather and fewer hours of daylight do nothing to slow the pace of runs and bike rides for good causes in this area.
It almost seems as if the reverse is true; that athletes and event organizers are scrambling like squirrels to stockpile endorphins and pledges before winter.
Stripping down to the bare essentials, in footwear, may not be the panacea for runners that some have suggested, according to research conducted by John Porcari, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
From a sample of 16 females, recreational runners aged 19 to 25, Porcari found that half of them failed to make the stride changes necessary to run properly in Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas. His analysis of their stride showed that runners who use FiveFingers and other minimalist shoes but continue to run with a heel-first foot strike increase the impact on their lower legs and the risk of injury.
Milwaukee music fans will remember Jeff Castelaz as an integral part of the band Citizen King and a manager who went on to launch his own label, Dangerbird Records, in Los Angeles.
The one-time WMSE disc jockey has new pursuits - biking across the country - inspired by the death of his son Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz, who died of cancer at age 6.
For dozens of Wisconsin athletes, the Ford Ironman Triathlon in Kona will be the culmination of years of diligent effort.
For Gwen Jorgensen, the USA Triathlon Elite Race Series Finale will be another chance to establish her position among the best in the country, and take home a big paycheck.
Mike Cauble, from Elm Grove, sent a note reporting some progress on the Hank Aaron State Trail extension, from S. 94th Pl. to the Underwood Parkway.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Chancellor Mike Lovell graciously handed out t-shirts and handshakes to the 79 runners who beat him Sunday morning in the seventh annual Panther Prowl.
One of the school's own, assistant track coach Nate Weiland, paced the field with a 15:06 that put him 24 seconds ahead of Scott Mueller, an alum of the cross-town rival. Dan Held, of Pewaukee, was third in 16 minutes.
Gwen Jorgensen ran away with a victory in the Myrtle Beach Triathlon on Sunday and the overall title in the USA Triathlon Elite Race Series.
The Waukesha native was a track All-American at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her speed has been a huge factor in her rapid rise to the top of USA triathlon rankings. Jorgensen qualified for the 2012 Olympics earlier this year and added the Elite Race Series title to an already successful sophomore season in the sport.
If Jeff Castelaz was a man of few words, his answer would have been simply no.
If he was less gracious, he would have added an obscenity.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon needed a special division for Amber Miller, or any other woman who went into labor while covering the 26.2 miles.
The results show Miller, 27, finished the marathon in six hours, 25, minutes, 50 seconds, but fail to list the labor time to deliver baby June, who arrived at 10:29 p.m.
Justin Steinback worries more about currents than congestion on his commute via canoe to his job teaching at Three Rivers Waldorf School in La Crosse.
Both soothing and physically demanding, the alternate form of transportation affords the 30-year-old a unique way to unwind. There's no road rage among the riffles and eddies on his four-mile journey.
On the Town of Hull web site, Chairman John Holdridge writes about embracing the 21st century.
When the going gets tough, cheaters take the bus.
And, in the case of British marathoner Rob Sloan, get caught, villified and humiliated.
Police in Mount Pleasant reported Thursday that Ray E. Fliess, 88, died of the injuries he suffered when a car hit him while he biked along Sunny Slope Rd. Dr. Saturday morning.
The Milwaukee Board of Harbor Commissioners sided with cycling advocates on Thursday and endorsed bike and pedestrian traffic on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge.
The unanimous vote in favor of a supportive resolution came just a week after Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke called a bike lane on the Hoan "the dumbest idea I ever heard." Clarke made his comments while discussing the death of Bobby E. Jiles, 39, who was hit by a car while tending to his disabled vehicle in a southbound traffic lane. The collision knocked Jiles off the bridge.
The champagne of sports on turf turns into the PBR of sports on the hard-court in Milwaukee this weekend.
State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) will lead a bike ride Monday from the Humboldt Park Pavilion to the Discovery World Museum as part of a campaign for a bike lane on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge.
Larson and his fellow legislators won't pedal over the bridge, which is closed to non-motorized traffic. Instead, they will take city streets from Bay View to the museum to illustrate the safety hazards on the route.
Months removed from foreclosure, the Telemark Resort in Cable has added an International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Cup series event to its revitalization.
The resort will host the Nordic skiing and biathlon races Jan. 29 to Feb. 3. More than 100 adaptive sports athletes from 15 countries are expected to compete in six races in Cable, and the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis.
Biking over the Hoan would be better, three dozen bicyclists concluded Monday after dodging traffic on a purposeful ride from Humboldt Park to the Discovery World Museum.
The result was no surprise.
Marathon records don't always go to the fastest.
Fauja Sing claimed his own singular mark by being the oldest.
Tom Daykin reports that Planet Fitness will open in the former Borders bookstore adjacent to the Grand Ave. and add another work out option in downtown Milwaukee.
The low-price, no-frills training centers already operate in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. The chain is now expanding into southeastern Wisconsin, with a club that opened recently at 3333 S. 27th St., and another opening Nov. 1 in Franklin, at 6529 S. 27th St., in a former Jewel-Osco supermarket.
The demise of the Badger State Games was short-lived.
Two months after the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation announced the end of the Olympic-style events, the Wausau Convention and Visitors Bureau resurrected the brand, according to a report by the Journal Sentinel's Don Walker.
As the economy lags, runners have picked up the pace, and the recession may be a motivator.
According to a piece aired this week on the radio program Marketplace, more people ran marathons in 2009 and the average runner got faster.
The Milwaukee team dubbed "Baby Faces" took a tense 2-1 victory over the Guardians, from Seattle, Wa., to take the championship in the Midwest Bike Polo Open over the weekend.
The two-day tournament featured 42 teams and hundreds of matches on the hard courts set up in Washington Park.
Dave Schlabowske, the communications director for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, succeeded in injecting a calmer tone into the discussions of a town banning bicycles in central Wisconsin.
The Town of Hull's Public Safety Task Force will review an ordinance Thursday night to make the streets safer for the nearly 6,000 residents, but banning bicycles probably won't become law.
Thursday came with an unusually early morning for the men of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a fraternity at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
A dozen of the fraternity members left their house on Langdon St. to start the road trip to East Lansing, Mich., and the Badger match-up against the Michigan State Spartans. The 18th annual Tour de Touchdown will be a blustery 368-mile bike relay to raise money for American Family Children's Hospital.
In a guest post today, my wife Katrina Hull responds to the criticism of women who ran right up to giving birth.
I’d like to think I’m like Amber Miller, Susie Weber, or even Sue Olsen.
Miller and Olsen ran marathons late in their pregnancies and delivered healthy children. Weber biked to the hospital through her contractions. She gave birth to a healthy girl.
Like Olsen, I completed Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in just under five hours, although a year, not days before giving birth. She was still about 10 minutes faster. (Yes, I run slower than a pregnant woman).
In all honesty, my path to motherhood was more sedentary than that of Miller, Weber or Olsen. I spent the last six weeks of my pregnancy in bed on doctor-ordered house arrest. I logged miles back and forth from bed to the bedroom and the kitchen.
Like the more-active ladies, however, I listened to my doctor and had the extremely good fortune of delivering healthy babies. This is why I find the judgmental criticism of Miller and Weber unfair. We all consulted our doctors. Mine advised me to take it easy. Miller and Weber were advised to continue their fitness habits.
These women should be celebrated, not excoriated. They gave their daughters incredible birthday gifts. They modeled a healthy, active lifestyle, even if viewed to be extreme by the masses. Keep in mind that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 72 million Americans are obese.
Based on the story in the Stevens Point Journal, the talk during a Town of Hull Public Safety Task Force focused on cooperation more than regulation.
The task force generated national attention from cycling advocates when it drafted an ordinance that would ban bikes from the town's 82 miles of roads. That prospect drew two dozen people to a meeting to review the task force recommendations for making the town safer for bikers, motorists and pedestrians.
Gwen Jorgensen posted the second-fasted run split among the competitors in the Pan American Games triathlon on Sunday and pushed into fourth place behind teammate Sarah Haskins, who took the gold medal in Puerto Vallarta.
Erin Veenstra-Mirabella finished fourth in her most publicized race, the points race on the cycling track in the 2004 Olympics.
I’m drinking my Monday morning coffee from a brand-new travel tumbler, my reward for a smart surge near the end of the Razor Sharp Minds Fall Classic 10K in Menomonee Falls.
I don’t often win age-group awards, so even the second-place prize in the always-tough 45-49 group was wholly satisfying, much like the block of cheese I claimed a few years back in the Navarino Trail Run.
I have to credit Joel Patenaude, the editor of Silent Sports Magazine, for crafting that spot-on line in response to news that the Guinness Book of World Records played the birth certificate card in denying Fauja Singh a record for being the oldest man to run a marathon.
The 100-year-old (give or take) finished the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon earlier this month.
I have a theory that in early civilization, some guy ran a great distance and bragged about it to the rest of his clan.
The next day, another guy (or gal) ran double the distance, and marked the dawn of the ultra marathon.
A bicyclist who veered into the path of a Madison Metro bus on Friday had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 and leaked beer onto the street, according to a story posted on the Capital Times web site.
"One witness at first thought the man was bleeding from the chest after seeing liquid shooting out from that area of the body, but later realized it was beer, not blood, squirting from cans inside his jacket," police spokesman Joel DeSpain said in a news release.
Construction on the south end of Lambeau Field will deprive runners in the 2012 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon their celebratory lap inside the stadium, in the final mile of the annual races.
As one participant described it, the run through the tunnel and around the field was the "super awesome" part of the event.
Use of bike racks on Milwaukee County buses has doubled in 2011, and the Milwaukee County Transit System projects the total number of bikes on buses will approach 100,000 for the year.
Through Sept. 30, drivers recorded 68,541 bikes racked on buses, more than double the 33,615 counted in the first nine months of 2010. Use of the racks hit a high of 13,920 in August.
In recent years, many of the best visuals posted on Off the Couch were those generously contributed by Clint Thayer, of Focal Flame Photography, in Madison.
His work recently gained an honor more significant than my admiration. His photo, “Driving Rain,” has been selected for an exhibit in the National Art Museum of Sport, in Indianapolis.
Hugh Thompson earned respect and a paycheck investigating deaths, first as a homicide detective in the Milwaukee Police Department, then as a private investigator.
He helped convict criminals and uncover the facts in hundreds of cases.
Adding a lane for bikes and pedestrians on the Hoan Bridge would cost $9.4 million to $95.5 million, according an analysis of alternatives done by the consulting firm Graef USA.
I found the New York Times' Frugal Traveler cheering Madison, during a Sunday morning trip through my reading que.
Seth Kugel followed his readers' directions for a short trip to the capital cty, where he found ample bike paths, dining options and, of course, beer:
I didn’t bother to don a costume for the Halloween Cyclocross on Saturday.
I figured my clumsy impersonation of a racer would be amusing enough for the spectators who turned out to cheer and heckle.
Already a paddling destination for world-class athletes, Wausau leaders plan to make new accommodations for paddlers needing adaptive equipment.
The Wausau Daily Herald reports that the Wausau and Marathon County Park Foundation has proposed installing an $18,000 canoe and kayak launch designed specifically for disabled paddlers — and paid for by the Foundation — just north of Bridge Street near the city’s water treatment plant. The launch would provide a dry, hard surface with rollers on which canoes and kayaks can be placed, along with rails to allow disabled boaters to hoist themselves into their craft.