Run Walk for Whales 5K Race Recap

I recently returned from eight days in Hawaii, where I spent time on both Oahu and Maui. I always try to run at least a mile when I travel to add the location to my Places I’ve Run list, and hoped to get in short runs on each island. I liked the idea of doing a race so I could also put Hawaii on my States Where I’ve Raced list, but I didn’t put much effort into looking and wasn’t particularly hung up on it. I’m not working to race in all 50 states (at the moment, at least), so it wasn’t a huge concern of mine.

Winter is whale season in Hawaii, and Maui in particular is a hotbed for watching humpack whales. Whales generally arrive around or after Thanksgiving and leave in March, so January and February are the peak months to see mama and baby whales swimming the warm waters off the coast of Maui. I went on a whale watching tour while I was there–another post for another time–and after getting off the boat, decided to continue another mission of mine: finding a pen for a coworker who had requested I bring one back for her from Hawaii. My whale watching tour docked outside the Harbor Shops near Maalaea Harbor, so after the tour, I headed up there to search for a pen.

Right below the permanent Harbor Shops sign was a temporary sign: “Run & Walk for Whales.” Immediately intrigued, I asked my travel buddy, “Do you think the race is this weekend?!” We wandered into the plaza and found more signage that seemed to indicate that the Maui Whale Festival would mostly take place the weekend of February 8 and 9, so I figured the race would be that weekend, too. When we saw a sandwich board that said “Packet Pick-Up,” though, I got more hopeful. We made our way to packet pickup, and lo and behold: the race was scheduled for the following morning! Totally thrilled at this turn of events, I paid far and away the most I’ve ever paid for a 5K ($55 O.O) and got myself signed up for my first Hawaiian race!

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Run and Walk for Whales featured four distances: a 10 mile, a 10K, a 5K and a one mile. My ongoing plantar fasciitis situation led me to take a bunch of time off running, and I had only logged a few miles at all since the beginning of December, making the 5K the most viable option. Plus, I was on vacation! I didn’t want to put too much effort into running πŸ˜›

The race started at 7 a.m., which, given that sunrise on race day wasn’t until 7:02 (and that’s only sunrise, not sun-getting-over-Haleakala rise), seemed surprisingly early. Fortunately, I never fully adjusted to Hawaii time, so even though we had been there for a week by race day, I still wasn’t having much trouble getting out of bed early. We arrived at the race site around 6:30 a.m., got in a (gigantic) line to use the bathroom (no portapotties – the bathrooms available were the ones in the shop complex. Fine by me! I’ll never complain about access to running water before a race.), and then headed over to the start line. The race sent off the 10 milers first, followed by the 10Kers, and then us!

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The course was a pretty simple out-and-back-ish, starting by running around the outside of the shop complex and spitting us out onto Honoapiilani Highway. I quickly discovered that the northbound (“out” portion of the course) part of Honoapiilani Highway is uphill, going from 15 feet to 147 feet over the course of that first mile and a halfish of the race. I wasn’t concerned about my time at all and was actually quite surprised to churn out a 10:02 first mile. Most of my running recently has been decidedly in the 11:30 range, and I didn’t think I had anything much faster than that in me, especially when running uphill.

There was an aid station at the turnaround, and then we got to enjoy a delightful downhill for the return to the Harbor Shops. Encouraged by the change in elevation, the sun cresting over Haleakala, and the time on my watch, I kicked into gear and ran the last mile in 8:36 (having done mile two, half of which was uphill and half of which was down, in 10:18). I was pretty sure I’d be able to finish in under 30 minutes, so I pushed it at the end and crossed the finish line in 29:44. Not my best 5K by a long shot–not a time I’d normally be remotely happy with, in fact–but given the circumstances (having logged a whopping 11 miles in all of 2020 prior to the race, finding out about and signing up for the race 13 hours before it started, being on the tail end of vacation, running in decidedly different conditions than what I’m used to for February, what with the hill and the temperature and the sun and the humidity), I was thrilled to break 30 minutes.

I figured it wasn’t impossible that I might have placed in my age group, given the size of the field, so I insisted on sticking around for the awards just in case. When they read off the awards for the mile run, I found out that the age groups were MUCH bigger than I’m used to (I was in the 11-29 age group, rather than the 25-29 I expect to be in) and thought that meant I wouldn’t stand a chance. Turns out that far fewer women between the ages of 11 and 29 (15) ran the race than those between the ages of 30 and 49 (52), and I ended up taking home second place! It sounded like they were going to email me a certificate to acknowledge this, but I haven’t received anything yet. No matter – I’m perfectly happy just knowing that I came in second. Also, thank goodness I’m not 30 yet: I would have come in eighth in that age group.

This was definitely the most spontaneous race I’ve ever done, and I really enjoyed it! It was super pricey due to our on-site signup (I don’t know how much it cost prior to on-site registration, though presumably not $55), but was a fun way to knock out a race in Hawaii and support a worthy cause at the same time. I don’t know that I’ll ever be back in Hawaii at the right time to do this race in the future, but if I am, I’d happily run it again.

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2019 Running Recap

As always, thanks to Kim for the inspiration!

Races participated in: 5
Races β€œraced” (of x amount above): 0
DNFs:Β 0
DNSs:Β 0

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This was FAR and away my lightest racing year in my running life. I typically do 10-12 races annually, so this was a very big change for me (and my wallet, ha). A variety of things contributed to this: moving out of the city, group leading, needing to adjust my budget for other priorities. I didn’t realize how few races I had run until I actually looked back at it, so I guess I didn’t miss it much!

Distances
8K:
1
10K: 1
10 Mile: 1
Half Marathon: 1
Marathon:
1
States Run In: 4: Illinois, Michigan, California, and Washington.
Countries Run In: 3: United States, England, and the Netherlands. In case you’re wondering, my run to/in Vondelpark in Amsterdam was my favorite run of 2019.
Months Run In:Β 12, barely. I’m finally trying to clear up my foot woes, so I only ran three times in December, but that counts!

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Participation medals received: 5
AG medals received: 0
Favorite medal: Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I’m a big fan of the south view of LaSalle, so I love that it’s on the medal.

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PRs:
8K:
40:24 (1:08 PR)
10 Mile: 1:28:20 (3:12 PR)
Half Marathon: 1:57:27 (5:23 PR)

Obviously, last spring was a bit of a banner season for me. While technically the 8K and 10 mile PRs were icing on the sub-2:00 half cake, I’m almost prouder of them than I am of my half time, since I wasn’t working for those times specifically. I put in a ton of work during my 12 week training cycle for the half, and it felt great to see that work pay off. I’ve never trained as hard as I trained for the first three months of 2019 (though marathon season 2018 comes awfully close) and have never run as fast as a result. On the flip side, I’ve also never had as chronic of an injury as the plantar fasciitis (or whatever) I developed as a result of that volume and intensity. My right foot has been a little more cooperative recently, but from the end of February through the beginning of December, it constantly hurt to one degree or the other. Three days of running is definitely my sweet spot, and I doubt that I’ll ever go back to four days a week like I did during half training.

Miles run in 2019: 808.01. I’m a little disappointed that I ran fewer miles in 2019 than I ran in 2018 (16.01 fewer), especially since I ran SO much more from January to April than, you know, ever. Had my plantar fascia been a bit friendlier, I definitely would’ve surpassed 2018. I did run five more times in 2019 than in 2018, and had I been able to run through December like I wanted to, I would’ve run 12 more times in 2019 than in 2018. I feel like that does a better job of reflecting how much more running I (intended) to do in 2019 than I did in 2018.

Happiness Begins Tour: Rosemont Recap

Because I clearly cannot get enough of the Jonas Brothers, I got a ticket to their show at the Allstate Arena as a birthday present to myself. Having already attended the show in Grand Rapids, where I had what were far and away the best seats of my life, I knew that if I were to go to another show, I wanted to be close to the action. Because of that, I opted to buy a B Stage VIP Bar GA ticket through LaneOne. I had never dealt with LaneOne in any capacity before, but the chatter on Twitter made it seem like you’d get a good experience, so I went for it. After all, I had already seen the show from the front of an arena. I couldn’t see much of what happened on the B Stage in Grand Rapids, so this seemed like the most logical choice (for going to the show a second time, that is).

LaneOne sold two types of B Stage tickets: general admission and seated tables. I figured the only way I could improved upon my Grand Rapids experience would be to be right up against the B Stage, since there was no real barricade separating you from the B Stage like there was from the main stage. In order to have a chance at that happening, I needed a general admission ticket. That being said, the area was pretty small, so it’s not like having a table would have prevented you from having a good view.

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Doors opened for the show at 6:30, but because I wanted to be up against the stage and had PTO to burn, I got to Allstate at 4 p.m. Thankfully it wasn’t oppressively cold the day of the show! I came prepared, though, wearing my parka, a sweatshirt, my warmest glittens, a hat, and Cuddlduds. I also had hand warmers, but I never used those. I bought food at Starbucks ahead of time so I could eat “dinner” while waiting in line (to avoid having to leave the B Stage once I got there) and put all my valuables (wallet, keys, etc.) in my SPIbelt to avoid having to deal with a purse. I’m not gonna lie: I was pretty proud of my preparation, haha.

When I arrived at Allstate, there were only seven other people in the B Stage line, which made me feel pretty good about my chances of getting a spot up against the stage. From my extensive Twitter research, I knew that there was only space for four people on each side, and since I was the eighth person, I felt like I had a solid chance. As the afternoon wore on, we all started chatting, and it turned out that only three girls in front of me had B Side B Stage tickets: everyone else had A Side. With only three others in front of me, I knew I would get up against the stage.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to waiting in line for two and a half hours, especially since I expected most/all of it to be outside (though they did let us into a vestibule 30-45 minutes before doors opened, which I appreciated), but I ended up really enjoying myself! I talked with the two girls behind me for a good hour or so, comparing Jonas stories and talking about life in general, and it was so much fun! I never got their names, believe it or not, but I still felt like we were great friends by the time we were able to go into the actual arena.

The girls behind me in line were on the A Side of the B Stage, so I latched onto the three ladies in front of me who had B Side tickets and chased after them once the doors opened. Since there were no other people immediately behind us with B Side tickets, the four of us had no problem securing stage-side spots.

Photos really don’t do it justice. It was truly insane how close we were to the stage. There was literally nothing but a thin plastic “wall,” about three or four inches tall, separating me from the actual stage. I had emotionally prepared myself to not be that close, so for it to happen was nuts.

The four of us along the stage spent the next hour freaking out over how amazing our spots were. Two of them were actually a mother/daughter pair! Let me tell you, my mother would not be caught dead at a Jonas Brothers concert, never mind up against the B Stage, haha. In fact, I didn’t even tell my parents I was going to the show, for fear of how much they’d judge me for going to another Jonas Brothers concert when I had already been to one in September πŸ˜› The daughter in the mother/daughter pair stood next to me. She had woken up at 2 a.m., flown into Midway from Nashville, taken a bus from Midway to O’Hare, got picked up at O’Hare by her mom, and then got to Allstate – I don’t even know when. Before noon, I believe. To top it all off, she’s a college student, and had a final paper due the next day. I felt moderately dedicated to the Jonas Brothers for taking a half day at work, but I had nothing on her!

Jordan McGraw and Bebe Rexha opened again, and then it was time for the main event! Since I had already been to the show and knew any pictures I got from the B Stage could never compare to the pictures I got in Grand Rapids (at least while the Jonas Brothers were on the main stage, that is), I kept my phone away for the majority of the concert.

Prior to Thanksgiving, the show started with the Jonas Brothers up on the main stage, had them coming to the B Stage during Used to Be, had them sing Hesitate, a fan request song, Gotta Find You, and start Jealous on the B Stage, return to the main stage for awhile, then come back to the B Stage for the first half of the Mandy Megamix (a mashup of old Jonas Brothers songs) before finishing on the main stage. However, in the first two shows after Thanksgiving, the Jonas Brothers started performing their new Christmas song, Like It’s Christmas, on the main stage in lieu of the fan request. When my show rolled around (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), I was pretty sure they had dropped the fan request, but came prepared anyway.

happinessbeginsrosemont-blackkeyssign

Alas, they did drop the fan request 😦 I was a bit bummed, not only because I would have DIED if they picked my request, but because that meant they were on the B Stage for less time. Lame. However, I did get to experience Hesitate, a song Joe wrote for Sophie Turner, with none other than the Queen in the North herself (and her parents!) all of like 15 feet away from me. I. KNOW.

When we were all waiting in line, there were rumblings that family was coming to the Rosemont show, because some people who had bought B Stage B Side (my side) tables had their tickets taken away due to VIPs planning to attend the show and needing those tables instead (I assume they got refunds? I wasn’t impacted, so I have no idea what happened to them). Turns out that was correct! Right before the Jonas Brothers came on, Sophie Turner and her parents showed up and claimed their spots at the tables on the other end of the bar area from the stage. It was WILD. I mean, yes, obviously the Jonas Brothers are famous, but I’d be willing to bet that there are a lot more Game of Thrones fans out there than Jonas Brothers fans. I mean, I never took any interest in Game of Thrones, and even I was agog at being that close to one of the stars of the show. I was pretty invested in the show, but I couldn’t help but look over from time to time and be like, “I CANNOT believe that Sophie Turner and I are in the same bar area of this show. Also, holy cow, she is STUNNINGLY beautiful.”

Speaking of beautiful people in my area.

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I don’t know if I can really convey to you how close I was to them. These pictures aren’t zoomed in at all. Like they were RIGHT. THERE. It was insane. When I watch the videos I took while they were on the B Stage, I can literally hear Nick and Kevin’s guitar strings as they strum them. Not the sound the guitar makes: the sounds the strings themselves make when they’re hit. Like I said, insane.

happinessbeginsrosemont-kevinbstage

When the Jonas Brothers come back to the B Stage the second time, Joe goes into a speech about the OG Jonas fans to introduce the Mandy Megamix. As I was proudly rocking my 07-08 tour t-shirt, purchased with, like, half of my monthly allowance at the Best of Both Worlds Tour in Grand Rapids in December 2007, I tried very hard to get them to notice that I had clear proof I was one of those OG fans (you know when an athlete does something impressive and then pinches the top corners of their jersey and shakes it to show off their team name? That’s what I was doing.) Joe was too busy giving his speech to acknowledge me (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself), but Kevin wasn’t! He saw me, smiled, and pointed, and I was so thankful that my seventeen-year-old self had the foresight to buy a t-shirt for…I don’t even know. Somewhere between $35 and $45, I’m sure…that was one size too big (and is STILL one size too big) so that my twenty-nine-year-old self could be recognized for my dedication to the band by Kevin Jonas. While it was no finger graze from Joe like I got in Grand Rapids, it was still EASILY the highlight of my entire night.

Now, the biggest advantage of being stage-side at the B Stage in my eyes (and, I’m sure, the eyes of most other B Stage ticketholders) is that you are one of very few people in the running for Joe’s tambourine. You see, during the Mandy Megamix, Joe plays the tambourine during the Mandy snippet, which is the opening song of the mix. However, when they transition into Paranoid, Joe doesn’t need the tambourine anymore, and for most of (all of?) the tour, has been handing it off to one lucky fan at the B Stage, who then gets to keep it for all eternity. I KNOW, RIGHT. Needless to say, I came prepared for this as well.

happinessbeginsrosemont-tambosign

Frankly, I was so proud of my sign that I kind of just wanted to show it off, regardless of whether or not I got the tambourine as a result, haha.

Anyway, Joe finished the Mandy snipped of the megamix on the A Side of the stage, then wandered over in our direction to hand out the tambourine. For a second, I thought I was going to get it and panicked (“what am I going to do when Joe Jonas acknowledges my existence?!?!?”), but he ended up giving it to the girl next to me. I was SO genuinely happy for her! It was a weird feeling, to be honest. I really expected to be jealous and bitter over not getting the tambourine, but I truly think I was happier that the girl next to me got it than I would have been if I had gotten it. Plus, she let me take a picture with it after the show ended!

Soon after that, the Jonas Brothers left the B Stage and spent the rest of the show up front. I must confess that overall, I enjoyed the show less in Rosemont than I did in Grand Rapids. While I was closer to the action in Rosemont than in Grand Rapids, “the action” was by me for such a short time that it was a little bit of a letdown. In fact, I almost felt like I was too close to the stage – like the Jonas Brothers didn’t notice me because I was literally at their feet. That being said, B Stage was a really special experience. Even if the concert itself wasn’t as much fun, I very much enjoyed hanging out with other people who love the Jonas Brothers as much as I do. While I’ll always remember the Grand Rapids show for the concert, I’ll always remember the Rosemont show for the experience.

Now, if anyone would like to make a contribution to Bethany’s Future Jonas Brothers Tours Fund, I’m happy to accept cash and checks πŸ˜›

Thursday Things

1. Greetings! You don’t need me to tell you (though I’m obviously going to anyway) that I’ve started to take a more laissez-faire approach to blogging, where I blog when I have the time and desire to do so rather than sticking to a rigid twice-weekly schedule for the sake of consistency and building my readership, which, let’s be honest, has been a losing battle for the past three or four years anyway, once influencing moved into the Instagram sphere and away from being the exclusive territory of blogging. Of course, I was never an influencer of any sort to begin with, and have never made a penny off this blog, so it’s not like maintaining readership has ever been vital to the health of my blog.

Anyway, the point of that rambling introduction was to say that I have been busy, because I’m a human and it’s the end of the year, and who isn’t? I’m busier than normal, thanks to a gigantic event I have coming up in January. I’ve approximately 12384379347 decisions to make when it comes to that event, ranging from big ones (who’s invited?) to stupid ones (what color should the napkins be?), and even the vendor meetings I thought I’d enjoy have by and large turned out to be enormous headaches. Somewhere between attending these meetings and making these decisions, I’m also supposed to deal with all my normal end-of-the-year stuff, like wrapping up my work goals and having to help everyone whose work intersects with mine wrap up their goals as well, and coordinating where I’ll be when for holidays, and realizing a late Thanksgiving is going to mean very limited Christmas shopping time if I insist on waiting until after Thanksgiving to get started.

2. Conveniently, in the midst of all of this stress/anxiety/misery, the good folks at Disney released Disney+, and I have taken full advantage of its offerings.

So far, I’ve started rewatching Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, began the new Pixar and Real Life and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series shows, watched the new live-action Lady and the Tramp, and am slowly working my way through Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience, as that movie came out while I was in college and thus tragically fell into the Disney Dead Zone of my life, where I erroneously thought I was too old to watch Disney-related things and was shamefully shy about my love for the Jonas Brothers for fear of judgment from my peers. You are never to old for Disney-related things, as Disney+ has shown me, and I have absolutely outgrown any shame I ever felt about loving the Jonas Brothers, so bring on 10-year-old concert movies!

As I’m sure you’re very curious as to my opinions on the new content I’ve watched, I have to say that I was genuinely shocked at the quality of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Sure, it’s a little corny, and I find it much more difficult to relate to the drama of high school romance these days, but I honestly had very low expectations for the show and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it isn’t awful. Pixar in Real Life has been an absolute delight thus far (all of one episode into it), and I thought Lady and the Tramp was well done (though that has never been one of my go-to Disney movies, so I didn’t know the storyline of it as well as I know the storyline of, say, Mulan).

Literally two days before Disney+ came out, I got an email from Apple letting me know I have a free year of Apple TV because my parents got new iPhones this fall (shoutout to family plans), and I honestly have next to no interest in signing up. Why on earth would I watch grown-up Apple TV when I have a treasure trove of Disney content available at my fingertips? (Although there is a Snoopy series on Apple TV that piqued my interest.) While I enjoy grown-up sitcoms (Friends, Parks & Recreation, etc.), honestly, give me Disney over grown-up entertainment any day. My life has enough stress in it to begin with (see item 1). I don’t need entertainment that adds to my stress. I want lighthearted, enjoyable, wholesome content that by, and as far as I’m concerned, Disney has the corner on that market.

Thursday Things

1. NO.

octobersnow

NO. NO. NO.

I knew snow was in the forecast for this week, but the last time I watched a weather report (Monday morning), Andy Avalos of NBC 5 specifically said it would not accumulate. This is accumulation, Andy Avalos!!!

To be fair, he didn’t call for snow until Thursday afternoon/evening, and this fell Tuesday night into Wednesday morning (?!?!?!). BUT STILL. I didn’t even have a snow brush for my car yet 😦 Thankfully, I was able to borrow one, because I never would have been able to drive to work Wednesday morning otherwise. My car had a solid inch of super heavy, wet snow on it, and there’s no chance I would’ve been able to get it all off without a brush.

2. I have gotten sick way too many times this year, and I am OVER IT.

I woke up around 3 a.m. on Saturday with a sore throat, which was but a harbinger for the misery the rest of the day would hold for me. By the time I went to bed Saturday night, I had a low-grade fever, sinus pressure so ridiculous I thought my cheeks would explode, and such swollen and tender lymph nodes that I could feel them protesting being squished when I would look down. Fortunately, my fever was gone by Sunday afternoon, and I felt more or less like myself by Monday evening. Of course, I had family in town to see me specifically on Saturday, so the timing of the whole situation was a bit of a bummer.

But the bigger bummer is that this is the third time this year this has happened to me: once in March, once in July, and now this. What am I, a kindergartner? I should not get three upper respiratory infections in the space of one calendar year! PLUS, I was similarly sick last December! What gives?? My immune system needs to get itself in shape, because I am not here for this quarterly nonsense.

Oh, and just to add some irony to the whole situation: I had scheduled my flu shot for Sunday, but then I couldn’t get my flu shot on Sunday, because I was too sick to get a flu shot. Figures.

2. While I’m complaining about my health, I’d also like to file a complaint against my stupid teeth. I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago for my second cleaning of 2019, and it was finally decided that the time has come for me to get a crown. Boo.

This wasn’t an enormous surprise. I made an effort to find a dentist all the way back in 2014 because I had noticed a suspicious black spot on one of my molars and was concerned it was a cavity. Turns out it wasn’t a cavity: it was (at the time) a craze line, a result of me apparently grinding my teeth at night. I didn’t believe I actually ground my teeth while sleeping, but after switching dentists in 2017 and being told by my new dentist, unprompted, that I grind my teeth, I decided these dental experts apparently knew more about me than I knew and agreed to get a night guard. Multiple trips to the dentist and like $300 later, I was the proud owner of my very own, custom-fit night guard, which I’ve worn faithfully (ish) since November or December of 2017. That night guard was supposed to keep my craze line from progressing to a crack. As you might have guessed, it didn’t, and the crack is now big enough for the scrapey hook tool they use at the dentist to catch on it. That means it’s big enough to be a problem, so by this time next week, I’ll have 27 real teeth tops, and one porcelain one. Boo.

I’m told that I should be grateful all I need is a crown, because if I let this go on too much longer, I’d need a root canal. While I suppose I am grateful that I don’t need a root canal (yet), I’m mostly annoyed that I spent $300 to postpone the problem rather than avoiding the problem. I’m also not looking forward to the procedure at. all. I mean, I suppose no one looks forward to dental work, but this is the first time I’ve needed any dental work (other than having my wisdom teeth extracted, that is), so I’m extra nervous about it. The dentist claims it will be fine, but the dentist also claimed that my night guard would keep this from happening, so what does he know?

What’s Next

Ever since I started running in June 2011, I’ve always had a race on my calendar. At times the race has been months away (hello, marathon season 2019), but I’ve always been working towards something: a finish, a goal, etc.

For the first time in over eight years, I don’t have any races on my calendar, and I don’t know when that will change.

I’m on the cusp of moving into a more unpredictable season of life. Because I don’t know exactly what the next few years might hold, I’m hesitant (read: unwilling) to put down big bucks on a race almost a full year in advance (read: the Chicago Marathon) when it’s totally possible I might not be in a position to participate in the event come race day. I don’t feel comfortable committing to year-long race plans or goals right now, and since you have no choice but to commit to something like that with the Chicago Marathon, that means that race specifically is out of the question until things settle down a bit for me. Obviously every race isn’t the Chicago Marathon, but since I have a lot of uncertainty about how things may shake out in the coming months and years, I’m not particularly interested in committing to any races or running-related goals for the time being.

My priorities with running have shifted, for now, from chasing goals to maintaining a base. For the first time ever, I might be able to accurately answer the question, “How many miles do you run per week?”! Finally! (Previously, the answer always depended on what particular race I was training for at the moment.)

I’m actually not running at all right now. I used to always take a full month off of running after a marathon, and I’ve returned to that habit this year. Though I didn’t bring it up much (at all?) during marathon season, the plantar fasciitis that started in my right foot in February hasn’t really improved (imagine that! Continuing to do the same thing that hurt me with absolutely no rehab didn’t magically make it go away!). Because it’s always been more of a nuisance than an actual problem, I haven’t been overly motivated to do anything to try to make it better. In the limited time I’ve taken off since February, however, I’ve noticed that the one thing that consistently eases my plantar fasciitis is not running. So, I’m not running for a month. If it’s STILL bothering me after that point, then I’ll go to physical therapy. Maybe. I’ve known I could probably benefit from physical therapy for over six months now, but since this hasn’t really gotten in the way of my running (or my daily life, outside of having to hobble out of bed every morning due to my sore sole), I haven’t wanted to make the commitment to taking care of it. I don’t really want to deal with this for the rest of my life, though, so if one month off doesn’t fix the problem entirely, I should probably seek out additional help.

Once I do start running again, I’d like to maintain a running base that would allow me to run a 10K or shorter at any time, and allow me to be five or six weeks away from running a half marathon. I plan to do two weekday runs in the three to four mile range and one weekend run of six or seven miles, at least for the remainder of 2019. If I feel like I’d be happier running slightly more than that (three to five miles on weekdays, six to eight miles on weekends), I’ll make adjustments in 2020. Six to eight miles feels very manageable for a consistent long run, as does three to five miles for a weekday run. Anything more than that is when I start to feel like my runs are eating up a bunch of my time, which is one thing when I’m training for something specific, but another thing when I’m running just to maintain fitness. I’ve always used goal races to motivate me to run, and that helped me get through more burdensome longer runs. Since I won’t have a goal race to work towards, I don’t want to put myself in a position where I resent running in general or feel like it’s just one more thing to check off my to-do list. I think keeping my weekly mileage in the 12 to 18 mile range should keep that from happening. Of equal importance, these are all distances I feel like I can handle on the treadmill if necessary. I don’t know what the outdoor running situation will be like in the winter around my current apartment, so I want to keep my mileage at a treadmill-friendly level until I have a better idea of how good my area is at cleaning their sidewalks. If it’s anything like the neighborhoods where I lived in Chicago, I’m not exactly optimistic I’ll find ice-free conditions πŸ˜›

In the mean time, I’ve renewed my focus on strength training, this time with an emphasis on my upper body. I have an event coming up in January where I’ll be wearing a dress that shows off my back and arms, so I’d like to see if I can coax a little more definition out of them. Over the past year and a few months of strength training, I’ve done two days of legs and one day of upper body per week. I’m flipping that between now and January, doing two days of upper body and one day of legs. I’ve found that consistent strength training over about three months or so does amazing things for the muscle definition in my legs, and I’m crossing my fingers that the same thing will happen to my back and arms if I work on those twice a week instead. I’m not unhappy with how my arms or back look right now, so if nothing happens it’s certainly not the end of the world, but I figured it was worth a shot. I’ve also been doing some light cardio (like, 20-minutes-on-the-stationary-bike cardio), and doing HIIT workouts from Fitness Blender once or twice a week. Those workouts are no freaking joke, so once or twice a week is perfectly sufficient for me.

It’s weird to not have any definite races coming up (I might do a turkey trot on or around Thanksgiving. TBD.), but it’s also nice to be able to take a little bit of a break from the constant grind of training. I have a few weekdays during the remainder of the year where I know I won’t be able to get a workout in, and it’s nice to have the flexibility to rearrange my schedule or take an additional rest day to accommodate other life things (like getting a crown next week, ugh. I’d rather do a HIIT workout!). I’m looking forward to a more low-pressure fitness life for awhile and am interested to see how running for running’s sake works out for me.

 

 

Open House Chicago

I look forward to Open House Chicago weekend every year. Ever since stumbling upon it in 2012, I’ve made a point of attending, and generally try to attend both days. While I’ve gone in with a strict itinerary in the past, I decided to be more flexible about my Open House schedule this year. Unfortunately, that led to the poorest Open House experience I’ve had to date. Multiple sites I wanted to see were closed when I tried to visit them. I spent more time feeling frustrated and disappointed over Open House this year than I did enjoying it, which was a real bummer.

Regardless, here are the sites I did manage to see during Open House Chicago 2019.

Saturday

St. Ignatius College Prep

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I’ve wondered about the interior of St. Igantius every time I’ve passed it, so this was my top priority for Open House this year. It. Was. Insane. I cannot imagine going to high school (or any school, for that matter) in a building like this. The tour was a bit rushed and too crowded (a group of 14 arrived right after I got there, which bloated our tour groups. I think it would’ve been a much more pleasant tour with fewer people.), but we still got to see a ton of the school. I was particularly fond of all the architectural artifacts and the timeline gallery, which featured pictures of St. Ignatius and the surrounding area from its founding 150 years ago to the present day. There were two pictures taken at Blue Island and Racine–one in the 1950s, one in the 1960s–that were particularly striking. The neighborhood and built environment changed enormously in that time period, and both of them were really fascinating to see, especially in light of how the area looks now.

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Chicago Children’s Theatre’s The Station

The Chicago Children’s Theatre, located at Racine and Monroe, is housed in a police station that closed in 2012. We got a tour from a woman who works for the architecture firm (Wheeler Kearns Architects) that handled the 2017 renovations that transformed the building into the Chicago Children’s Theatre, and it was really fascinating. Despite obviously needing to redo the space to change it from a police station to a building meant for child-friendly shows, the renovations managed to keep many of the original details from the 1930s design (thought 1940s construction – the design was finished pre-WWII, but construction wasn’t able to happen until after the war ended). It was a really interesting and informative tour.

150 N. Riverside

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I make a point of avoiding repeat Open House sites (or avoiding sites I’ve previously visited during non-Open House times, which is why I didn’t visit the Nederlander Theatre, for example), so I didn’t originally plan to see 150 N. Riverside, as I went there in 2017. It made sense based on my route, though, and I’m glad I went! Instead of taking visitors up to an empty floor, this year we went down to the lower level conference room, which is only a few feet above the Chicago River. While there are ample opportunities to see the Chicago River from high up, it’s not often that you get that close to the river, particularly inside a building. It was fun to get a different perspective for a change.

Design Museum of Chicago

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In honor of 2019 being the Year of Chicago Theatre, the Design Museum featured an exhibit with objects (costumes, props, set designs, etc.) from what had to have been every (or nearly every) theatre company in Chicago, from college programs all the way up through Steppenwolf, Second City, and Broadway in Chicago. It was really cool!

Prudential Plaza

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This was easily one of the highlights of Open House. The 11th floor tenant space was open, and boy, it was enough to make me want to slide my resume under the door of every office in the Prudential complex. My office downtown has a nice rooftop tenant space, but it is nothing compared to what they have at Prudential. The indoor area was beautiful, and the rooftop itself was out of control. The landscaping was lovely, the views were amazing, and the beautiful Saturday weather made me want to stay there all day.

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Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects

I didn’t plan to see any architecture firms this year, but since I was already in the Prudential complex, I figured I may as well swing up to their office. They moved into the Prudential Plaza in April, so obviously the office was super fancy and modern. I’m used to getting tours at architecture firms, but we were allowed to just wander around at Sheehan Nagle Hartray. That meant I didn’t learn as much about buildings they’ve designed as I expected, but it was still fun to see their space.

Vista Sales Gallery

This was another highlight of Open House for me. The Vista towers are still under construction, but when it opens, those with substantially more money than I have will move into condos taking up most of the building. The sales gallery showed the available floor plans and finishes, which, since the condos start at about $1 million, were a bit nicer than what I currently have in my apartment (but I have more square footage and an additional bedroom for a lot less, so *shrug emoji*). Short of winning the lottery, I’ll never be able to afford living in a place like Vista, so it was fun to ogle at the kitchen and bathroom fixtures the one percent will have.

465 N. Park

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The tenant space on the sixth floor of this brand-new apartment building was open for coveting during Open House. The indoor portion of the tenant space was lovely, but of course the rooftop was, once again, out of control, with private grilling areas, a pool, cabanas, and great views. After a long day of walking around the city, I actually hung out here for a bit, relaxing on one of the chaises by the pool before heading out to meet up with friends for dinner.

Sunday

Elks National Memorial

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The Elks National Memorial is one of the Open House staples, but I had never managed to make it there. I went Sunday, and it didn’t disappoint. Built initially to honor Elks members who died during WWI, the memorial now commemorates the lives of Elks who’ve died in subsequent wars as well and is a truly stunning building. The rotunda is amazing, but the Grand Reception Hall really surprised me. It reminded me of rooms I saw in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, which is about as high of a compliment as a building in the U.S. can hope to get from me.

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Lincoln Park Conservatory

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I’ve been to the Lincoln Park Conservatory once before, but I went during Open House 1) because I was in the area and 2) because they were doing behind-the-scenes tours. We got to go into staff-only areas where we saw the administrative office, which is in the cottage that used to serve as housing for the conservatory’s caretaker. We also saw the former horse stables and greenhouses full of poinsettias the conservatory is growing for its and Garfield Park Conservatory’s holiday shows.

St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church

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I didn’t plan to go to St. Chrysostom’s, but I stumbled upon it on Sunday and decided to check it out. It was a really beautiful building that made me miss going to church in a real church (as opposed to in another church’s basement, which has been my church’s setup for the past year and a half). The organist was playing (another thing I miss), and I enjoyed looking around and seeing a church unlike most of the churches I tend to visit during Open House.

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