Friday, June 8, 2012

Bowling with DA BEARS, and final thoughts before tomorrow's race

Every year, my firm sponsors the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation.  In past years, this has meant sponsoring celebrity flag football games, given that Charles Tillman is a longstanding member of the Chicago Bears.  However, this year Charles Tillman hosted a Celebrity Pro Bowler Tournament. 

Sponsoring companies got to send a team to bowl with a member of the Chicago Bears, or to participate as a spectator.  I was fortunate enough to win one of the firm's spectator tickets.

The Pro Bowler event took place last night.  I got frazzled enroute to the event after getting stuck in horrible traffic for over an hour.  Then I had trouble finding parking.  Then I got confused trying to find my way out of the parking structure, which was quite large and is also shared by several different venues.  After walking back and forth a few times trying to find the right exit, I ended up riding in the parking garage elevator with a very beefy man.  He was very polite - he held the elevator for me, gestured for me to exit the elevator first, opened doors for me, etc.

It wasn't until much later, when they were making player introductions, that I learned that the man was NFL offensive lineman Marques Sullivan.  Oops.

A picture I surreptitiously took of Marques Sullivan a few hours later

For the rest of the evening, Marques was besieged by autograph seekers and photo requests.  Whoops on my part for not realizing who he was while in the elevator.  Clearly this event would have been better attended by someone who knows a lot more about NFL football than me!

Here are a few more pictures from the event:

Alex Brown, defensive end.

Anthony Adams, defensive tackle

Charles "Peanut" Tillman, cornerback, and our host for the evening

Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle

Silent auction memorabilia

NOTE: I relied heavily upon fellow spectators and Wikipedia for the above photo captions (excluding the silent auction photo of course).

I am much more into NHL hockey than I am into football, but it was cool seeing the players in person.  They all seemed and looked like very normal, down-to-earth people.  Alex Brown, in particular, seemed so friendly - he was always smiling and laughing.  With the exception of some of the beefier guys, I could have walked by them on the street and not had the slightest inclination that they were pro football players!  They all seemed to be good bowlers, too.  =D

Switching gears now to a much less interesting topic...

I am a mixture of excited and nervous about tomorrow's half marathon
  • Tomorrow we're forecasted to have a high temperature of up to 90 degrees.  For the last few days, we've been getting communications from the race director stating that "We recommend you use caution when running - this is not the best day to try to set a PR."  Woo hoo!
  • My left hamstring and piriformis continue to be tight, despite foam-rolling and stretching like a madwoman.  I've also been experiencing minor left hip pain all week.  Sigh.
  • I went for a 3-mile "sanity-check" run yesterday afternoon.  Forget 90-degree temps, the 80-degree temperature already dismayed me.  Plus, my hip pain flared up afterwards to the point where last night I started to seriously consider whether or not it was safe for me to run the race.
  • At the recommendation of my PT, I used a heating pad last night.  Thankfully my hip feels a lot better this morning, so I'll be heating throughout the day.  I even brought the heating pad to use at the office.  I'm sure I look bizarre.  But I've done stranger things in the past in the name of running.
In short, as much as I want to run a strong race in order to gauge my recent training progress, it may not be in the cards tomorrow.  And I am telling myself that that is okay, and besides, these races are supposed to be fun.

After watching me wrestle with the heating pad last night, Adam reminded me this morning that I don't HAVE to run this race.

My response?  "Yes, but they are serving Lou Malnati's pizza at the finish line!" 

Hey, whatever it takes.

Will run for deep dish pizza!


  1. How fun! So we both got to meet Bears players last night :)

    Tomorrow is definitely not a day to PR or try for any ambitious goals. I'm guessing there won't be much shade on the course.

    1. How awesome indeed that we both got to meet Bears players last night! They really are very nice men, no?

      Sadly, you're probably right that there won't be much shade on the course. But I am glad the race directors are taking all kinds of precautions with cooling towels, ice chips, etc. Regardless, I can't wait to meet everyone tomorrow! Thanks for organizing the photos!!!

  2. So cool you got to meet some bears! :) I wouldn't recognize them either.

    Yeah, last year the 13.1 was super ridiculous hot and I ended up walking most of it. It was actually kind of fun to chat up the others who were participating. But a really loooooong walk. I'm kind of excited to run the 5k maƱana and meet everyone. I hope your hip hold up for this. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Xaar! I heard about the 13.1 getting black-flagged last year, I can only imagine what it must have been like out there. I was shaking my head at how the Magellan Spring Half had those horrific winter conditions just two weeks prior to the 13.1, then the 13.1 got black-flagged due to heat. Only in Chicago would you have such extreme weather swings within two weeks, eh?

      I am really excited to meet everyone tomorrow too! Thanks for the good vibes on my hip, and I wish you the best of luck in the 5K as well!!!

  3. Marques Sullivan is SO NICE! I actually met him once through another program he regularly volunteers for, and he is a wonderful, wonderful person. I kinda forgot he was an NFL player, because he was just such a down-to-earth guy!

    Hang in there tomorrow and just have fun!

    1. Marques Sullivan really does seem like such a nice person. It is amazing how down-to-earth so many of these NFL players really are once you get to know them. How awesome, too, that you got to meet him through another volunteer program. I love hearing about how these NFL players are so involved in the community!

      Thanks for the well wishes and I'm so glad you made it through the race this past weekend, as well. It was a hot one out there but we all lived to tell about it. =D

  4. What a cool event! There is something really fun about meeting (or just being around) a celebrity. I was going to ask if they were goid bowlers, so I'm glad you included that info.

    Good luck at your race! The heat makes summer running tough, but (as long as you are safe) it also makes you stronger!*

    1. Thanks Amy! It really is so cool meeting celebrities, especially when they are completely down to earth and normal people. I was AMAZED at how good some of them were at bowling, too. Maybe being a professional athlete just carries over to other athletic activities in general!

      Thank you for the well wishes on the race! You are absolutely right - as much as running in the heat can be difficult, it really does help so much in the training process!

  5. I hope you took it easy Em...and just had fun running...too funny about the beefy man in the elevator..sounds like an awesome event!

    1. Thanks so much, Shannon! I did have a good time at the race, although my hip is still hurting... so I need to get that checked out. Thankfully I have a PT appointment tomorrow. And it was really funny just being in the elevator with Marques Sullivan and completely not realizing he is an NFL player. Gotta love sports oblivion, LOL.