Thursday Things

1. I went to a wedding this past weekend, and the couple picked quite the venue!


The wedding was at the Field Museum, and o.m.g. It was AMAZING. Obviously the ceremony itself was stunning. If you’ve ever been to the Field Museum, you know how incredible the Stanley Field Hall (the main part of the museum when you enter) is. Soaring ceilings, sculptures, arches, columns, a titanosaur: it’s impressive regardless of whether or not it’s been decorated for a wedding.


But what I especially loved (aside from seeing the couple, celebrating their union, and all the things you do at a wedding regardless of the venue) was that we had the ENTIRE museum, aside from special exhibits, to ourselves, and were free to roam through them as we pleased (as long as we didn’t bring food or drinks into them). Don’t want to socialize during cocktail hour? Go look at some gemstones! Tired of dancing? Go visit the dinosaurs! There were only about 150 people at the wedding, which, given the size of the museum, basically amounted to having the place to ourselves. Once again, if you’ve ever been to the Field Museum, you know that normally it’s quite crowded (not to mention $$ to get into). Seeing the exhibits without hordes of other visitors was insane! I mean, look at this picture I took of SUE:


There are no humans in it! At all! That is not how things ever go at the Field Museum! 10/10, would recommend making friends with a couple with a wedding booked at the Field Museum.

2. It took exactly two commutes in my car to come to the conclusion that driving to and from work is the absolute worst, and anyone who thinks otherwise can only possibly think so because they haven’t had access to reliable, thorough public transportation.

Last Thursday was the first time I ever drove to work for a “real” job (i.e.: not a summer job), and I would like to formally retract any complaint I ever lodged against the CTA over the past seven years. Sure, the CTA has its issues, and when you’re waiting in subzero temperatures for a train to show up, or open up Transit Stop to see that the next bus won’t arrive for another 25 minutes, or have to try to get around on a Sunday when the train line you normally use is closed for the weekend AGAIN, it’s easy to see the appeal of driving vs. relying on an underfunded transportation authority to get you where you need to go. But here’s the thing about public transportation: once you get on it, you can check out. I mean, yes, you should have a basic awareness of what’s going on around you from a safety standpoint, but if you want to play on your phone, read a book, or just watch the world go by outside your window for the duration of your trip, you’re free to do so.

Not so with driving! My normal habit on Friday afternoons was to pull up Facebook as soon as I left the office (I try to stay off Facebook and Twitter on weekdays) and scroll through it mindlessly my whole commute home, and it occurred to me last Friday that that would not be an option, as I had to drive my car. There would be no checking out, no daydreaming, no blankly watching the world pass me by. I’d have to stay mentally engaged for another 35-40 minutes while I navigated heavy machinery past other heavy machinery at high rates of speed–and of course, I had to do that on the way to work as well. Instead of having to be “on” for eight hours (plus a 30 minute lunch), I now had to be “on” for closer to 10 hours.

What a scam! Who’s bright idea was this?! As far as I’m concerned, the autonomy/independence you gain from driving your own vehicle does not even come CLOSE to outweighing the luxury of going immediately into weekend mode the second you walk out of the office on Friday. I, a definite introvert, would rather be on a train with a bunch of strangers I can ignore in favor of my phone/book/the scenery than alone in my car but constantly thinking about what I have to do next to get to my destination safely. I’m now convinced the only reason cars caught on (and stayed caught on) is because public transportation outside urban centers (and sometimes, in urban centers) in the United States is so poor that most people don’t realize what they’re missing.

3. I’m so bummed out about the weather 😦 I have to be in the city tonight, so I thought I was going to be able to sneak in one more run commute between work and my event this evening, but then it had to go and be 90 million degrees with a heat index of 1903823494239834, so no run commute for me 😦 I’ll be attempting to do yoga in my old apartment instead (“attempting” because my landlord has ripped up most of the carpet now that we’re 99% moved out, so most of the place is just wood floors, and not the nice kind – the “need to wear shoes at all times inside, staples sticking out of it,” kind. But there’s a little area that still has carpet, and I think I could do yoga there.

That being said, I wish CARA would cancel our long run on Saturday. I really doubt it’ll happen–the fact that they sent out an email yesterday specifically saying they won’t cancel doesn’t do much to raise my hopes–but I’m still crossing all my fingers and toes just in case. I don’t understand how running through an Excessive Heat Warning is better than calling it off, especially on a cutback week, especially so early in marathon season, especially since as a group leader, I don’t have the option of not showing up if I feel like it’s not safe to run (spoiler alert: if it’s going to be as hot as they’re saying it’s going to be, I’m not going to feel like it’s safe to run). Of course, who knows what the temperature will actually be on Saturday, so maybe all my righteous indignation is for nothing. That would be a first 😛

Chicago Marathon Training Week 5

Sunday, July 7: Rest
I had started coughing by Sunday courtesy of the thick mucus from my sinuses that thought my throat would be the ideal exit route. Since coughing counts as a below-the-neck symptom, that means all of my workout plans are on hold until it goes away. I also had a low-grade fever on Sunday, so it probably wouldn’t have been in my best interest to work out, anyway.

Monday, July 8: Rest
Still coughing. Still feeling lousy. Still resting. Still worrying about how sore I’m going to be when I feel good enough to strength train again, since it’s almost been two weeks since I last lifted >.<

Tuesday, July 9: Rest
See yesterday.

Wednesday, July 10: Rest
I finally felt like myself by Wednesday, but I was still coughing like crazy. I considered doing yoga in the afternoon, but decided to take one more full rest day to be on the safe side.

Thursday, July 11: 45 minutes elliptical
I decided to give exercise a shot on Thursday and went to the gym in my apartment complex for the first time with the intention of biking. Turns out there’s only one bike in the gym and someone else was already on it, so there went that plan. I jumped on the elliptical instead and did a light workout on it (I covered 2.11 miles in 45 minutes, and my heart rate was in the 120s for the majority of the workout). It felt…ok. It probably wouldn’t have been the worst idea to skip it, but all of these skipped workouts were really taking a mental toll on me. I know my marathon success does not ride on getting in every single run, and I also know that I’m not even trying to have all that much marathon success this year in the first place–I just want to finish–but I hate watching all these planned workouts come and go and not doing anything.

Friday, July 12: Rest

Saturday, July 13: 3.94 miles in 45:14 for an 11:29 pace
Given the whole suspected-bronchitis situation, I did not think running 10 miles on Saturday was 1) smart or 2) possible, so I emailed my site coordinator on Friday and asked what she’d like me to do. Fall half marathon training started on Saturday, so we decided that I’d run with any half marathoners that showed up (they had four miles on their schedule) and she’d take all of my full marathoners on their 10 miles. That sounded like a great plan to me! Half marathoners were supposed to go north, but as we headed out to the trail and I told my runners this, one of them commented that running north was miserable because the trail is flooded due to how high the lake is. Personally, I loathe that section of the lakefront, so when we got to the trail, I asked if they wanted to go north or south. They wanted to go south, so south we went. I would have gone north had they requested we do so, but I definitely didn’t shed any tears over them not wanting to. My GPS was all messed up and when I measured it out after the run, it looks like we were short by .06 miles 😦 But boy was my pacing spot on!

Thursday Things

1. As you may have gathered if you read my training recap earlier this week, I’m officially a suburbanite.

I moved last Wednesday, and the move itself went well. I hired The Professionals, the same movers I’ve used for the past two moves, and they were just as fantastic this time around as they were in 2014 and 2017. I’ve always been impressed with their efficiency, but in the past, I was only moving a single bedroom a little down the road. This time, I was moving an entire two-bedroom apartment to the suburbs. The entire process, from the time they parked at my apartment in the city to the time they left my apartment in the suburbs, took two and a half hours. Two and a half hours! That’s it! I still can’t believe it. If you ever need movers in the city, I can’t recommend them enough. I don’t like spending money, but I’ve never regretted a single cent I’ve spent on movers.

The whole process was a lot less traumatic than I anticipated, which was nice. I was sure leaving the city would break my heart into a million pieces, but I didn’t cry at all. Of course, I’ve been itching to get out of my current apartment since last winter (like January 2018 last winter) and was so thoroughly over packing that I guess it’s maybe not all that surprising that moving felt more like a relief than a loss.

2. Life post-move, however, has just been one thing after the other.

It started Wednesday night/early Thursday morning, when I was startled awake by scratching and squeaking that seemed to be coming from the wall by my bed. Whatever it was sounded way too big to be a mouse, so I spent the rest of the night with visions of rats and/or opossums gnawing their way through my walls. The next day being July 4, the management office wasn’t open, and animals didn’t make the list of after-hours emergencies according to the after-hours maintenance phone number’s message, so there was nothing to be done until Friday. I did spend some time looking out the window Thursday evening, though, and discovered 1) that the creatures were not in the walls, but rather scratching against the walls from the outside and 2) that said creatures were not rats or opossums, but a family of skunks. Delightful.

The building contacted a pest control company that has now set catch-and-release traps for the skunks outside their burrow (which, upon further inspection, was pretty obvious from the mound of dirt they had dug up). I was really concerned the building would hire someone that would kill the skunks, so I was relieved to find out they only plan to catch them and move them somewhere more appropriate. I don’t have anything against them–the babies especially are super cute!–but it’s probably not best for the structure to have them scratching at it every night (and it’s definitely not best for my sleep quality). Plus, they are a bit on the stinky side, and I would prefer that my room doesn’t smell like Pepe Le Pew.

As I also mentioned in my training recap on Monday, I started to come down with a cold on Friday, and it has been brutal. Coughing, congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing, headaches, runny nose, low grade fever, malaise: the whole nine yards. Maybe I don’t get colds often enough to remember how long they normally last, but this one has felt particularly long-lived. Given my mucus-y cough (you’re welcome), I’m pretty sure it devolved into a case of bronchitis, similar to what I dealt with during week 11 of marathon season 2014. (My training recap next week, spoiler alert, will look pretty similar to that one, though with more rest and less yoga.)

I can’t say I’m surprised, given my through-the-roof stress level and non-existent sleep schedule over the past month (I normally average about 7:0x minutes of sleep per week; in the month before the move, I was averaging more like 6:2x or 6:3x, and hadn’t had eight hours since the night of May 31 into June 1. Yikes.). I do wish my immune system would take care of it, though.

And then, just to top EVERYTHING off, I worked from home on Monday and, when preparing my breakfast, was struck by how soft the English muffin I took out of the fridge felt. A few hours later, I went back for yogurt, and was struck by how creamy it felt, and not in a good way. I stuck a thermometer in the fridge and got a reading of 58 degrees, which is, you know, a bit higher than the at-or-below 40 degrees the FDA recommends.

So I, clearly the simplest tenant to manage of all time, submitted yet another request to maintenance, who came by in short order and, upon opening the frost-filled freezer, let out an audible, “Oof.” Turns out the vents from the freezer to the fridge were blocked, which kept the fan from working, which led to major ice buildup in the freezer and April-esque temperatures in the fridge. He got everything back in working order before lunch, which I very much appreciated, but sheesh. Can’t a girl just settle into her new apartment in peace?!

3. Despite my various woes, I do have to say that I really like my new apartment. I liked the character of my old place, but my new place is a lot more comfortable for several reasons. I have central air, a dishwasher, and in-unit laundry, none of which I had in my previous apartment. I have an en-suite bathroom, which I’ve never had in my life. But the biggest comfort-adder, by a long shot, is this:


AN ELECTRIC STOVE!!!!!! *all the praise hand emojis*

I have loathed gas stoves since the moment I started having to live with them. You would think I’d adapt to them over the course of seven years, but nope. I hated them more and more as time went on, and it eventually got to the point where I flat out stopped using them. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in living situations since 2014 where I’ve rarely had to cook, and when I did need to cook, was able to finagle my way into meals using electric appliances and/or food that didn’t need to be cooked.

Gas stoves were an enormous source of stress and anxiety for me in all three of my Chicago apartments. I never lived with one prior to moving to Chicago, and in fact never even knew anyone who had one prior to living in Chicago. The idea of piping highly combustible gas into my living space and then intentionally lighting it on fire seemed to defy all logic to me (still seems to defy all logic to me), especially when there was a perfectly viable alternative in electric stoves. Sure, gas stoves may provide finer temperature control, but I’m not aiming to win Iron Chef over here. I just want to be able to feed myself without constantly worrying about gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, or something quickly and easily catching fire from an open flame. While none of those things were likely to happen, the knowledge that they could happen was enough to literally keep me up at night, and I have spent the past seven years longing to live in peace with my kitchen appliances. I’m so, so happy to be able to 1) cook at all and 2) cook without crushing anxiety for the first time since I moved to Chicago.

(For the record, I think induction stoves are the actual best stove option, because you get precise temperature control with next to no risk of anything catching fire and/or burning yourself. My dream home will have an induction stove, a geothermal heat pump for both heating and cooling, along with hot water add-ons to the heat pump, solar panels all over the roof, a backyard that’s about 85% native plants, 14% fruit/vegetable/herb garden with composting, and 1% grass (to get to the garden), a small front yard with a garden entirely of native plants (and as little grass as I can get away with, because the idea that a good lawn makes you a good person is one more social construct that’s contributing the death of the only known planet that supports human life), a garage with enough electric capacity to support a family of exclusively electric cars, and absolutely zero gas lines connected to the house. Oh, and a smug sense of superiority about the size of my carbon footprint, of course 😉 ).

Chicago Marathon Training Week 4

Sunday, June 30: Rest
I was going to go to the gym one last time on Sunday, but ultimately decided it’d be better to skip the gym and use that time to make some more progress on packing instead. Plus, it was hot over the weekend, and since my (now former) gym was located in my (now former) office building, the air conditioning situation was usually pretty dire on the weekends. That’s great from an environmental standpoint, but not so great from a comfortable workout standpoint. I also didn’t feel super great when I woke up Sunday morning–I was surprisingly sore from the moving and packing I had done on Saturday–so that also contributed to my decision to skip the gym. Finally, I had the foresight when I put my training plan together to schedule a rest day for this particular Sunday anyway, due to the move, so I didn’t feel too bad about taking the rest day I planned to take in the first place, even if it did throw off my strength training for the week.

Monday, July 1: 5.67 miles (with three hill repeats) in 1:08:24 for a 12:04 pace
If I needed to find two words to describe this run–this run that was meant to be seven miles with four hill repeats–those two words would be “unmitigated disaster.” Or perhaps “utter debacle.” Or maybe “complete catastrophe.”

You get the point.

The weather was horrible Monday afternoon, and anyone who disagrees with me can [redacted]. It was very hot. It was very humid. It was very sunny. It was very still. It was about as bad as running weather can be, in my opinion. On top of that, I was on a deadline. I head an eye doctor appointment at 6 p.m., so I needed to get home, cool off, and shower by 5:45 at the absolute latest to get there on time. To accommodate that, I came into work early on Monday and left at 3:30–but only kind of. Had I left at 3:30, I might’ve been all right. But I turned my computer off at 3:30. I still had to change into my running clothes, sunscreen, and put everything away. By the time all of that happened, it was 3:50. That left me with 1:25 total to do seven miles in 90 degree, full sun, mid-afternoon weather AND wait through the usual 10 or so minutes of stop lights at intersections I deal with on run commutes, which meant I really had 1:15 to do the run. That’s a 10:42 pace, which would be perfectly attainable for me if it were, you know, 45 degrees outside.

Things started going poorly almost immediately. I was in an absolutely foul mood, and dealing with all the people on the Riverwalk didn’t help my attitude one bit. The Riverwalk often figured into my run commutes, and let me tell you, if you intend to do anything other than casually stroll along the Riverwalk any time between Memorial Day and Labor Day (including run commuting), you’re on a fool’s errand. It’s crowded by people with no sense of personal space, absolutely no awareness for what constitutes an appropriate amount of walkway to occupy, and total ignorance as to what to do if you see someone running directly at you (YOU. MOVE. OUT. OF. THE. WAY. It’s not that complicated!!!!!!!!) Running along the Riverwalk always aggravates me (except on those blessed days when it’s cold/gross/rainy outside, and the only other people on it are commuters who have a basic idea of how to be a pedestrian in Chicago), but it’s the most intersection-free way to get to the Lakefront Trail, so I’ve suffered through it for two years of run commuting. But I sure didn’t like it! (From a people perspective. I very much liked it from a scenery perspective, though I do miss the older, quieter, pre-renovation east side.)

Anyway, I finally got off the Riverwalk and trudged along the Lakefront Trail to Mt. Roosevelt, where I typically did my hill repeats because it’s 1) easy to access and 2) obviously the perfect place to do hill repeats when preparing for the Chicago Marathon, given that it is the hill I’m training for. By the time I got there, however, I was logging 12:30+ miles. Obviously things were not going well for me. On the downhill after my second repeat, I looked at my Fitbit and saw that it was 4:44, which was so incomprehensible I checked it two more times to make sure I read it correctly. 4:44?!?! I had two repeats and like 2.5 more miles to run, including stop lights and only 30 minutes to do it! It would be physically impossible to accomplish that (for me).

I really wanted to get in those four repeats, because I have no idea what the hill situation will be by my new apartment (though I assume it’ll be dire, since this is Illinois we’re talking about) and this could be my only good chance to do hill repeats all season. When I finished the third one, though, I knew I couldn’t possibly justify another one, so I started heading home. I was barely moving, absolutely baking in the sun, frustrated to the point of crying, and finally just quit. I saw a bus that would get me near my house coming up behind me, so I ran to its next stop and threw in the towel.

This run would’ve been disappointing and frustrating under the best of circumstances, but the fact that it was my last run commute made it that much more upsetting. I really, really enjoyed run commuting during the past two marathon seasons and certainly would’ve done it more often if the weather allowed. Run commuting is probably one of the biggest things I’ll miss about living in the city, especially because I don’t know when/if I’ll ever have the opportunity to do it again. To have my last one be so difficult and unfulfilling was a huge letdown.

Tuesday, July 2: Dance
This has been quite the session of dance so far. Though my class lasts an hour, my Fitbit usually logs around 45 minutes of activity per class, when you account for how low key the warmup is and all that. This past Tuesday, my Fitbit logged an hour and two minutes of activity! We start dancing when class starts and don’t stop until it ends now, apparently. But that’s fine with me! Bring on the choreography!

Wednesday, July 3: Moving
I didn’t do a formal workout on Wednesday because I feel like moving is enough of a workout in and of itself. It’s also a pretty time-consuming activity, so even if I had wanted to get in a workout, I wouldn’t have had time to do so.

Thursday, July 4: 5.33 miles in 1:00:27 for an 11:20 pace
I planned to run four miles on Thursday, but I was feeling really good when I hit four miles, so I kept going to 5.33 to make up for what I missed on Monday. This was my first run in the suburbs! Actually, now that I think about it, it was only the fourth time I’ve run in the suburbs at all, and the previous three were all during races. Anyway, I explored the area a bit and was genuinely, truly SHOCKED by how friendly people were. Cyclists calmly announced when they were approaching, runners and walkers coming in the other direction said good morning: it was crazy! Nearly all of my running life has been lived on the Lakefront Trail, so my expectation for runs is to be ignored most of the time and verbally harassed (generally by angsty cyclists) every now and again. This was very outside my normal experience!

Friday, July 5: Rest

Saturday, July 6: 9.1 miles in 1:49:06 for an 11:49 pace
I felt off when I woke up Friday morning and spent all day guzzling water in an attempt to deal with what felt like a dry throat (or, more specifically, a dry soft palate). When I woke up Saturday morning, I quickly determined that my “dry throat” was the beginnings of a cold. I felt like absolute crap when my alarm went off at 4 a.m. (and not just because my alarm was going off at 4 a.m.!) and really, really did not want to drive into the city for my long run. I don’t have a co-group leader, however, and our site coordinator was out of town, so if I didn’t show up, there wouldn’t be anyone to lead. So I drug myself into the city, my full sinuses making my face feel like it could explode at any moment and just generally feeling ick. On top of that, it was stupidly humid Saturday morning, so I knew this was not going to be the most impressive long run I’d ever had. I told my runners I had come down with a cold the day before and I would do my best to get them through nine miles, but I couldn’t make any promises that it would be at an 11:30 pace. They were all understanding, which I appreciated. I had two new runners on Saturday and felt bad that I wasn’t up to engaging with them, like, at all, but hopefully they’ll keep coming back and I can get to know them better when I feel a little less like death. Running did help me feel slightly better, which I thought it might–I’ve found as long as my symptoms are above the neck, running can help ease sinus pressure a bit–but “slightly better” certainly wasn’t “normal,” and eventually we were running so slow that the 12:00 pace group passed us. I’d feel worse about it if I thought I was holding my runners back, but since all but one of them fell off the group to stop and walk, I’m not really beating myself up over it.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

Sunday, June 23: 45 minutes cross training
My schedule called for 70 minutes of cross training, but I only had time for 45 minutes. I originally planned to go to the gym, but I didn’t have time for that either, so I just did a 45 minute NTC workout (Peaks and Valleys) that didn’t require any equipment at home. I hadn’t done an NTC workout since September 9, so it’s been awhile!

Monday, June 24: Strength training – legs (AM) + 5 miles in 57:20 for an 11:27 pace
I woke up surprisingly sore from Sunday’s NTC workout and was glad that Monday morning’s gym workout wasn’t too intense. I realized after I started it that I probably should’ve swapped next week’s strength training for this week’s, because I could more easily do this week’s with equipment I have at home. That’s going to be important next week, because my gym membership ends on June 30 ( 😦 ). Oh well. I think I might just repeat this week’s workout next week, albeit with much lighter weights since that’s all I have at home.

My main goal for Monday’s run was to finish all five miles without getting caught in a thunderstorm, and I’m happy to report I succeeded! The storms Monday afternoon stuck to the suburbs, so I managed to get in my entire run without issue. It was much warmer than it has been for most of the summer, so I intentionally took it slow. Recognizing that I’m not acclimated to the heat has made it a lot easier to handle slower running without panicking that something’s wrong with me.

Tuesday, June 25: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
June 25 is my Chicagoversary (my last Chicagoversary 😦 ), so I was just delighted when I looked up my current weights for all the exercises I had on my schedule for Tuesday and saw that I’m lifting 25 pounds on all of them! It seemed like a numerically appropriate way to celebrate the day 🙂

We started a new session of dance on Tuesday. I got to class and was both surprised and thrilled to see that one of my former regular classmates was there! She used to take class every session, but I don’t think she’s been in class since early 2016/late 2015. I saw her downtown once, but other than that, I haven’t really seen much of her since the last time she took class. I’m really excited that she’s back! Class itself went well, too 🙂

Wednesday, June 26: 5 miles (2 mi WU, 4x.5 mi (5:02, 5:05, 5:13, 5:15) w/ .25 mi recovery) in 56:50 for an 11:22 pace
It was HOT on Wednesday (my Garmin stats say it was 90 degrees O.O), so my only goal for these 800s was to survive. I’m not shooting for any time goals this year anyway (other than hopefully not logging my slowest marathon), so my 800s this year are more about getting an estimate for what I can expect in a finishing time rather than trying to work to improve my fitness to hit a certain finishing time. Plus, even if I’m not going for a time goal, it doesn’t hurt to do some speedwork to keep training interesting. This was the only round of 800s I’ll be doing in the city, which bummed me out big time. I love the park where I did them. The path around the park was exactly a quarter mile and is surrounded almost entirely by trees, which made it the perfect place to do these during the summer. Give me all the shade! Plus,there was almost always just the right amount of people there: not so many that it was crowded, but not so few that I felt uncomfortable. And a lot of those people would be there walking their dogs, which was an added bonus.

Thursday, June 27: Strength training – legs
I originally planned to do strength training and an additional 40 minute afternoon workout on Thursday, but I realized I wouldn’t have time to do an afternoon workout pretty early on in the week. I then decided I’d do strength training + biking to add up to 40 minutes in the morning and count that. Well, my strength training took 33 minutes, and since I got started later than I intended, I didn’t have an extra seven minutes to keep going, so strength training it was.

Friday, June 28: Rest

Saturday, June 29: 5.22 miles in 1:00:31 for an 11:36 pace
We had our first warm long run of the season on Saturday. I’d prefer to never have warm long runs, but if I had to pick a day for one, the five mile long run day would be my first choice. It was much warmer than it had been the previous two weeks, but not as humid as I feared (i.e.: I didn’t let out an involuntary “Ugh, blech,” when I left my apartment that morning, which is my gauge for the bearable-ness of the humidity). I’ve been trying to let my runners be my guides as far as pacing goes, so we took it a bit slower than an 11:30 pace. My reliable miles from my Garmin show an 11:35, a 12:04, and a 12:19. Oops. I’m not too upset about it, because no one seems to care all that much whether we run a consistent 11:30 pace or not. Everyone (thus far) seems primarily concerned with getting the miles in, especially on warmer days, and we did accomplish that!

Thursday Things

1. Well, folks, it’s happened. I’m officially Part of the Problem.



I spent the most money I’ve ever spent at once on Friday when I purchased this used-by-a-smoker Chevy Volt. It smells gross and has definitely been run on gas more than a Volt should, but whatever. The Chevy Volt options that fit my year requirement, CarFax requirements, and mileage requirements were extremely limited (as in, there were two in the entire Chicago area), so I had to take what I could get.

As I expounded upon last week, I am vehemently anti-personal vehicle, so I loathe the fact that I am now a car owner. That being said, if I had to be a car owner, I figured the least I could do to minimize my impact on the planet’s impending doom was to get as environmentally friendly of a car as I could find. I would’ve preferred to go full electric, but since next to no one around here can be bothered to install charging stations in parking garages or lots, I didn’t trust that I’d have enough charging options to successfully use an electric car. Plus, if I barely had the budget for a Chevy Volt, I certainly don’t have the budget for a Tesla, which is the only electric car I’d feel totally comfortable with from a range perspective without consistent, guaranteed access to chargers.

So a Chevy Volt it is. Volts, in case you’re unaware, are plug-in hybrids. That means you plug them in just like you would any other electric car, and they run on electricity first. Once your battery runs out of juice, it switches over to gas. While plug-in hybrids create more emissions than a full electric vehicle, they also create fewer emissions than a full internal combustion engine (i.e.: normal) vehicle. So I’m not totally saving the planet, but I’m destroying it a little less than I could be.

The general process of driving the car is the same as any other car I’ve driven, though some things have taken some getting used to. This is my first car with a digital dashboard and center console (unsurprisingly, my 2001 Chevy Prizm, whose biggest technological advance was power locks, did not include those features. Ha.), so that’s a bit different than what I’ve had in the past. It is also super, SUPER weird to turn the car on in electric mode and hear absolutely nothing. I knew electric cars were quiet, but it wasn’t until I turned the Volt on to test drive it and wondered if it was actually on that I realized just how quiet they are. Another pro for electric vehicles! Less environmental pollution AND less noise pollution!

As an aside, when looking for this car, I couldn’t believe how many were listed on Carvana – not from a volume perspective, but more from a, “How are people comfortable using Carvana?!” perspective. I’m not comfortable buying pants online, because I don’t know that they’ll fit and don’t want to deal with the hassle of returning them. I cannot FATHOM buying a CAR online and hoping it works. Nooooo thank you.

2. After buying the car, I obviously deserved a treat.


Stroopwafel McFlurry!!


So, my thoughts. If you’re a caramel person, you would LOVE a stroopwafel McFlurry. It was super, duper caramely. I liked having stroopwafels mixed in from a nostalgia perspective (or as nostalgic as one can be over something they experienced like two months ago), but having had fresh-off-the-griddle stroopwafels in the Netherlands, I have to say that warm stroopwafels are a billion times better than cold stroopwafels, and obviously stroopwafels in McFlurries are cold. That’s not to say that cold stroopwafels are bad – just that they’re better warm. Of course, you still get the ooey gooey caramel effect from all the caramel in the McFlurry, so it evens out.

3. While we’re on the topic of desserts, I must tell you about a place I visited two weekends ago: Relo’s Board Game and Dessert Cafe.


I have a friend who’s really into board games, so a few of us got together and went to Relo’s to check it out. I was immediately furious at the injustice over a place like this opening in the city mere months before I move, because it was AWESOME. I’m not that into board games, but I had a total blast! Obviously I was primarily in it for the dessert (which was out of control), but their board game selection was bonkers. They have an entire library sorted by game type (high strategy, low strategy, card games, etc.), and I bet there were well over 100 games to pick from. On top of that, if you’re someone who HATES reading game directions and would much rather have someone explain how to play to you (*raises hand*), the staff will explain the directions of any game to you if you want! It was amazing!!

I’ve been to Guthrie’s Tavern in Wrigleyville a couple of times (a board game bar), but this was a million times better. Desserts instead of alcohol (Relo’s is BYOB if you do want to drink), bright lighting so you can actually see what you’re doing, a HUGE facility with plenty of space, organized game storage: if you want to play board games, I definitely recommend Relo’s over Guthrie’s. There is a $5 charge to play games, but it’s certainly worth it.


Chicago Marathon Training Week 2



Sunday, June 16: Dance
We have dance graduation on Tuesday, so we had our usual extra practice Sunday afternoon. I, for one, was quite thankful for the rehearsal, not only because I needed the review time, but because I had grossly underestimated how cold it was when I left the house that morning. I wore my lightest jacket, thinking that would be sufficient for, you know, June 16. It was not, and I was FREEZING all day. It was nice to have an hour of dancing to warm myself back up!

Monday, June 17: Strength training – legs (AM) + 7 miles in 1:17:06 for an 11:01 pace (PM)
While I suppose it would’ve made sense to start my strength training on week one of my strength training plan, I decided instead to keep rolling with where I was when marathon training started last week. That meant the workout I did Monday morning was the one I originally did the day after the 20 miler. It’s about as light as they come, and even though there was no reason why I needed an easy workout, I welcomed the chance to take it easy for a change anyway.

I’m continuing to be all about this cooler weather. My run home on Monday felt great courtesy of the low temperatures and overcast conditions. Plus, it kept too many people from being out and about, which meant less tourist dodging. I really hoped that this run would help burn off some of my moving-related stress, but my mind kept jumping to the five gazillion things that need to get done in what feels like the next three seconds, so that wasn’t as effective as I had hoped.

Tuesday, June 16: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
I woke up not feeling the best I’ve ever felt. I went to bed with a headache I had hoped would be gone when I woke up, but it was still there, along with some neck soreness from Monday’s strength training (you wouldn’t think that a lower body strength training workout would lead to neck soreness, but when you insist on doing situps with your neck rather than your abs *looks at self significantly*, that’s the result). Also bothering me, of course, was my omnipresent stress and anxiety courtesy of the move. I lifted heavier than usual, which will probably cause additional soreness on Wednesday, but whatever. I need all the easy wins I can get right now.\

We ran through our dance routine several times during class, and then had graduation Tuesday night. I happened to run into a few other girls from my class on the way there Tuesday evening, and one of them asked if I was nervous. When I said I wasn’t really, another asked how many times I had done this before. I had recently added it up, and this was my 39th graduation. So no, I can’t say it’s a particularly big deal to me at this point anymore. That being said, this was one of the few times I made it through the performance without messing up at all, so that was very exciting!

Wednesday, June 19: 4.04 miles in 40:36 for a 10:03 pace
I did my first Hal Higdon-style tempo run of this training cycle on Wednesday. I hadn’t done one in quite some time (not since half marathon training), and I can’t say I missed them! Fortunately, our San Francisco weather was still going strong on Wednesday, so it was foggy and cool on this run. That took some of the pain out of it. I actually haven’t done any speedwork at all since the beginning of April (or maybe the end of March?) so, I’m not surprised this was tough. I am surprised I managed to get in four miles, though. Usually I average a bit slower than a 10:00 pace on these tempo runs!

Thursday, June 20: Strength training – legs (AM) + 37 minutes yoga (PM)
I had a harder time dragging myself out of bed on Thursday than some other days. I slept on my neck wrong and came thisclose to missing the CTA (shout out to the operator who took pity on me and waited), so all in all, not the best start I’ve ever had to a morning. My workout went fairly well, though it started with deadlifts, which I’ve come to dislike. I would probably like them more if I did them more often so they weren’t so hard!

I was going to bike at the gym for 40 minutes after work, but given my sky-high stress and anxiety levels as of late, I thought perhaps yoga would be a better option. I did this one:

I don’t feel like it really helped me at all, but you know, A for effort.

Friday, June 21: Rest

Saturday, June 22: 7.06 miles in 1:20:56 for an 11:27 pace
We once again had picture-perfect weather for our long run on Saturday. I had three runners in my group this week, though two of them were new, and neither of them has ever run a marathon. One of them has never run more than five miles! I have to say, I admire people who’ve done so little long distance running and decide to tackle a marathon. I had to run a 5K to be convinced I could run a 10K, a 10K to be convinced I could run a half marathon, and a half marathon to be convinced I could run a marathon.  I don’t know what everyone’s deal was on Saturday, but there were SO MANY extremely friendly people on the Lakefront Trail! We had two bikers give us ample, friendly warning that they were approaching from behind us, one biker who told us we were doing a great job, and one runner who said we were doing great, to say nothing of all the running groups we encountered who said hello. In all my runs on the Lakefront Trail, I’ve never experienced anything like it. If this is what happens when it’s in the low 60s, overcast, and not humid, I think that’s a pretty solid argument for keeping that kind of weather all summer long.