Thursday Things

1. WHY.

michaels

WHY. WHY. WHY.

I recognize that it’s standard to put out holiday decorations well before the holiday itself, but come on. No one needs Christmas decorations in August! (I was at Michael’s on Saturday, so it was still August when I saw this aisle.) Of course, they had all their Halloween stuff out as well, but I get that: Halloween is the next big decorative holiday, and it’s, you know, only two entire months away. Whatever. CHRISTMAS, however, is four months from now (well, less than that at this point, but you get my point.).

Speaking of Halloween, when I was at Jewel on August 14, I saw that they had their Halloween candy out. Excessive enthusiasm for a holiday that’s two and a half months away aside, doesn’t this seem a little illogical? Is there any circumstance under which a person would need to buy CANDY 78 days before they would officially need it? If you’re one of those crazy holiday decorators, okay. I can at least try to understand why you’d want to start buying your decorations early, so you can plan how to impress all your neighbors with your mad light-hanging skillz, or whatever. But why on EARTH would you need to start stockpiling on Halloween candy now? Any “Halloween” candy that gets bought now will be eaten by Labor Day. If you want to gorge yourself on candy, why can’t you just buy the regular bags of candy?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.

2. If I could have any superpower, I would pick time travel (Or teleportation. Can I have both?). I don’t necessarily want to go to the future (though there are times where I’d love to know what the future holds so I could stop stressing about it!), and I wouldn’t want to go back to live in the past – I just want to see what it was like in the moment. I’m a huge, huge history buff–always have been–and the fact that I can only experience the past through pictures and words has always been irrationally frustrating.

I’m particularly interested in local history (local being wherever I am at the moment), and a couple of weeks ago, this SUPER old school promo for Chicago started circulating around Twitter.

OBSESSED.

This is SO COOL, you guys! The video is from the ’70s, so it’s not that old, but it’s mind-blowing to see how much downtown has changed in 40 years. The skyline looks so different, especially around Lakeshore East, where literally the only tall building was the Standard Oil building (now the Aon Center). WHAT. And of course you’ve got your classic Chicago stores, like Carson Pirie Scott (RIP) and Marshall Field’s (RIP x2), which made me oh-so nostalgic. (Even though I’m not a native Chicagoan, my family used to come to the city at least a couple times per year to go shopping, and we took offense at Carson Pirie Scott closing its flagship store and Marshall Field’s becoming Macy’s as much as any born-and-raised Chicagoans.) I think my favorite part was when the video described Rush St. as the seat of nightlife, mostly because I’m pretty sure the people who were partying on Rush in the ’70s are still partying on Rush — there’s a reason it’s called the Viagra Triangle ;)

3. For the first time in a loooong time, I DNF-ed a book. (Phrase stolen from Emily).

thewalkingtour

I’m all about soldiering on when it comes to books, and would like to think I have a decent appreciation of literature, but oh. my. gosh. I got 180 pages into this 250ish (I think?) page book and what was purported to be the main conflict/action/thing described on the dustcover of the book STILL hadn’t happened. I do not have that kind of patience, especially when the plot is so convoluted in the first place. When I was reading it, I thought, “This sounds like it was written by an English professor,” (which I do not mean as a compliment), and lo and behold: Kathryn Davis, the author, is a writer-in-residence at Washington University (of course. I have Opinions on WashU, none of which are all that legitimate, all of which are negative, so to find out she works for them really put the nail in the proverbial coffin on this book for me). I followed this with the total fluffball of a book, Set Up in SoHo, which was every bit as corny and predictable as it sounds, but still infinitely more enjoyable than The Walking Tour. Also, Set Up in SoHo had a main character named Bethany, sooo. Haha.

4. This filled me with rage. The whole situation fills me with rage, really–for those who aren’t from Chicago, the basic jist is that an addiction recovery center wants to set up a residential facility in West Lakeview, which is a fairly well-to-do area of town (not the most well-to-do area of town, but a quite nice area nevertheless), and the residents are not at all pleased–because it upsets me to absolutely no end to see people who are actively trying to get healthy shamed for their actions. But those signs made my blood boil even more furiously. I don’t care who put them up or who they’re associated with. The ignorance and offensiveness of the message just makes me want to scream. The implication, of course, is that addicts or those with mental disorders are dirty, scummy, ne’re do wells who will, just by merely existing, decimate the entire neighborhood, cause it to be riddled with crime and gang activity, and send the entire North Side fleeing for Naperville.

I ASSURE you that every single day, at all hours of the day, there are people living in the homes in that area, riding the Brown Line and getting off at stops in that area, patronizing the oh-so perfect boutiques that line Southport, and otherwise living and doing life in West Lakeview who suffer from addiction or mental disorders. Just because they may be white, upper class, and gainfully employed does NOT mean they couldn’t be addicted to something, or fighting a mental disorder, or did something in the past that earned them a criminal record. Newsflash: there are already heroin addicts, meth addicts, people with mental disorders, and people with criminal records sitting on the park benches in West Lakeview. They look just like you.

Check your judgment, your assumptions, and your paranoia, and take a step back to realize what you’re opposing. You’re opposing healing. You’re opposing healing out of fear bred by willful ignorance granted by enormous privilege, and that will never, ever be defensible.

/endrant

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Are you someone who has to finish a book once you’ve started it? I was, until The Walking Tour. Haha.

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Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Sunday, August 23: Yoga.
This one:

I was in the market for something quick, simple, and calm, and this fit that bill nicely.

Monday, August 24: Strength/HIIT + sports massage.
Admittedly, this was much more “strength” than HIIT. I did NTC’s Conditioning Corps (Get Toned > Beginner) before work, and since I was doing it before work (i.e.: at like 5:20 a.m.), I needed something quiet so as not to bother my still-sleeping roommates. This doesn’t involve any jumping or running, so it’s a good, quiet workout. It’s maybe not the most challenging thing in the world, but it’s not the easiest thing either.

After work, I got a sports massage. I never got massages last year because I figured all the hands-on work I got in PT accomplished the same sort of purpose, but since I’ve managed to stay out of PT up to this point this year (*knocks on all wood available*), I figured I could pony up for a massage. It felt great, and I was quite impressed by the therapist’s ability to find exactly where I was sore and give it a bit more attention.

Tuesday, August 25: 8 miles in 1:22:05 for a 10:16 pace.
This about sums things up:

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 8.51.04 PM

Mid-60s? Don’t mind if I do! Holy smokes, why can’t the weather always be like this?? I would be the absolute happiest runner in all the land. According to my semi-accurate record of temperatures on days I’ve run this summer (I don’t always remember to make a note of the weather, but I’ve noted it probably 75% of the time), this was the first time since the beginning of July that it’s been in the 60s for a run, and I l.o.v.e.d. it. I felt wonderful and attempted to fast finish the last three miles, although that didn’t go quite as well as I originally hoped. My sixth mile wasn’t fast like I wanted it to be, but my seventh (10:13) and eighth (9:42. Hell. Yes.) were, so that was nice. Pacing is hard, you guys.

Wednesday, August 26: Climbing.
I intended to work on the same upstairs 5.9 I’ve mentioned a few times before, including last week. When I arrived, there were two adult women and three clearly young boys (probably all seven or younger) upstairs taking up all of the autobelay routes and generally causing a ruckus, as boys younger than seven are apt to do. I waited my turn and eventually got to at least warmup on the 5.8 (though not before being asked by one of the boys how old I was. I told him 24, and then he said, “Oh. I thought you’d be climbing those ones *points to 5.10s and 5.11s*” Thanks, kiddo. I explained to him that I didn’t have any one to belay me, and therefore had to climb routes that you could climb on your own, but still. Nothing like being shut down by a second grader :P ), and since it looked like the kids wouldn’t be leaving any time particularly soon, went downstairs to try my hand at the 5.8 downstairs I only climbed halfway or so last week. I topped out (woohoo!) and still had arms left, so I went back upstairs, since the kids had left by then. I tried to top out the 5.9 six different times and got about 80% up, but my head got in the way and I freaked out and fell. I definitely felt like I had a mental block on this route more than anything (until my arms got too tired, that is), and that was a bit frustrating since I was struggling to overcome that. On the bright side, I have my beta for the bottom third or so of this route down to a science, so that’s…something. Haha. I also topped out the 5.7 upstairs to finish things out for my necessary ego boost ;)

Thursday, August 27: 5 miles (intervals) in 49:54 for a 9:57 pace.
Pro tip: If you plan to do 8x.25 miles, don’t eat Portillo’s for lunch, unless you want to be way more familiar with that chocolate shake than you ever hoped to be. Haha.

I was feeling pretty lousy when I got home from work (see: Portillo’s for lunch), but felt better after lying down for a bit, so I headed out to tackle quarter-mile repeats. All things considered, I’m actually really happy with how I did on this run. The weather, though not as picture-perfect as Tuesday, was still fantastic for running, and I had a pretty even effort across all eight of my “on” intervals, which made me very happy.

Friday, August 28: Rest.

Saturday, August 29: 12.41 miles in 2:09:28 for a 10:29 pace.
YAY.

12milerradar

Hahaha.

I have never seen the Lakefront Trail emptier during the summer than on Saturday. Just by looking around, I’d estimate that half to two-thirds of the usual CARA suspects decided to bail on Saturday (not in my group – across everyone who runs at the same time as I run on Saturday mornings), and about 90% of the people who would normally come out for a Saturday morning on the Trail on their own bailed (especially the cyclists! Woohoo!). It was like running during the dead of winter, and I LOVED IT. So many badass runner points.

Even though it was rainy, I really found the weather to be fairly ideal for a long run. Cloud cover, cool temps, a bit of a breeze: yes, yes, yes. My right leg was feeling a bit weird, but from a cardiovascular standpoint, I was feeling super great. More of these conditions, please and thank you.

As of this writing, every single day of next week’s weekday forecast includes the words “very warm” in the description. This week was a nice taste of fall, but it looks like I’m going to get back to legal doping next week (that’s what I’ve taken to calling running in hot weather. Runner’s World had an article earlier this summer that said running in hot weather increases your red blood cell count, which is kinda-ish what blood doping does, except one [training in heat, or at altitude, for that matter] is legal and a natural way of increasing your red blood cell count, while the other is decidedly illegal in the sports world [and a bit more “artificial,” if you will, since withdrawing your own blood and then putting it back into your body to increase your red blood cell count isn’t the same as your body just making more red blood cells on its own]. As such, “legal doping” has been my mantra on the particularly hot days this summer. I’m not kidding.). I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’m…actually kind of looking forward to it being hot again? TEMPORARILY. ALL of the emphasis on temporarily. This past week was a nice preview of what is (hopefully) to come to stay towards the end of September, and, even more importantly, October, but to be entirely honest, I would be SUPER down for another couple of hot weeks to continue to “build up” my red blood cell count, if you will. This week was such a relief in the weather department, and I’d love to feel that kind of relief when it counts – not just on cutback weeks!

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Thursday Things

1. Every now and again, I volunteer with at a local animal shelter to get my dog fix. (And by “every now and again” I mean “like maybe a couple of times per year, because I kind of suck.” I used to be a lot better about volunteering regularly, and then…I stopped being good about volunteering regularly.) This past weekend, the shelter was having an event, and since I couldn’t come up with any viable excuse to not volunteer, I signed up to help. Normally when you volunteer, you wander around the shelter, tending to the needs of various dogs (and people interested in adopting said dogs) throughout your shift, but this event was a little different, and instead of helping out with everyone, each volunteer was assigned one dog to handle for the duration of the event.

This was my dog:

puppy1

THAT. FACE.

Unsurprisingly, she got adopted, because DUH. How could you say no to those wrinkles?! I have never in my entire life felt more popular than I did while handling this puppy. Everyone wanted to hang out with me. Okay, fine. They wanted to hang out with the puppy. But since the puppy couldn’t go anywhere without me, I got to experience the delight of secondhand popularity. I have now concluded that I need to get a puppy and carry it around everywhere with me, specifically everywhere where I could potentially run into cute boys, because WHOA BABY to cute boys respond well to adorable puppies. Date bait! Hahaha.

Oh, and did I mention she fell asleep on my lap?

puppy2

Life is ruff. Teeheehee.

2. I am ob.sessed. with the weather this week. Mid-60s? Yes please. AND overcast?! Well! What more could a summer-weary runner hope for?

Our fall-like weather has gotten me thinking about, you know, fall. Specifically, it’s gotten me thinking about mums, which I’ll probably purchase this year and attempt to keep alive on my porch. The fall weather has also made me feel SUPER over my summer flowers, though I’ve resisted prematurely killing them just because it feels like October, when it is distinctly not October (and is supposed to get warm again next week, just in time for 18 miler week. Yay. :| )

Speaking of my summer flowers, however, my impatiens appear to be the most friendzoned flowers of all time. They have abundant buds, but these buds almost never flower, and usually die and fall off without realizing their full potential.

impatienbuds

Get it? Buds? Friends…?

Teeheehee x2.

3. Oh no, it appears I’ve run out of thyme!

thyme

Teeheehee x3.

I’ll be here all night, folks! Dad jokes 4 dayz!

I’m so sorry. Once I got started, I just couldn’t stop, and here we are. I will do my very best to keep puns to a minimum in the future.

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