Thursday Things

1. Help.

Screen shot 2015-06-10 at 9.20.51 AM

UGH THIS FORECAST. Is it too early for me to start whining about summer? About how I hate it and its weather and WHY SO MANY THUNDERSTORMS?? As always, I realize complaining about the weather is useless, because no matter how angrily I shake my fist at the sky, it won’t prevent storms from happening or humidity from existing (and I realize there’s no real point in putting much stock in this forecast, because no meteorologist can predict anything that far out with any sort of accuracy), but still. Whenever anyone gives me crap about not being all heart-eye emoji-ed over “Summertime Chi,” I shall print out this forecast, wave it in their face, and demand an explanation for how anyone, under any circumstance, could be excited about 10 straight days of thunderstorms–which, as you may recall, also force you to stay inside, just like the cold in the winter.

2. And while I’m complaining, I would like to get up on my soap box and whine about CARA. I’m marathon training again this year, obviously, and since I’ve done all of my marathon training with CARA in the past (and since they’re more affordable than any other training program in the city), I signed up to train with CARA again this year. When you train with CARA, you have to wear a shoe tag (though no one really enforces this until the day of the marathon, when they check your shoes before allowing you into the CARA Compound). In order to get said shoe tag, you have to go to packet pickup. Historically, CARA has done marathon training packet pickup at the Super Clinic and at running stores throughout Chicagoland through the first week of marathon training. Since I was out of town for the Super Clinic this year, I figured I’d just find time in my schedule to go to wherever they happened to be hosting packet pickup in the area.

Then CARA started sending out emails to marathon training participants in which they kindly informed us that there would be no packet pickup this year outside of the Super Clinic, and if you wanted your packet, you could come to the CARA office and retrieve it yourself during the oh-so convenient hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday: a time during which everyone is free to do whatever they please, drop everything, and head to CARA’s office, right? Orrrrr, if that doesn’t work for you, we could mail it to you for an additional $15 on top of the $100+ you already paid us to for the privilege of running on a path that is…free…following a training program that is available online…for free.


Because I, like, I think it is fair to say, the vast majority of marathon runners, work during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and don’t work for CARA, there was absolutely no way I could get to their office during business hours, since I’m busy doing my own business during business hours, which means I had to pony up $15 for them to mail me my packet. Which, whatever. I’m not impoverished anymore, so $15 isn’t the end of the world. HOWEVER. It’s the principle of the matter that really upsets me about this whole thing. If you can’t get your act together, CARA, that’s your own problem. The pre-Super Clinic email sent to all marathon training participants clearly said (and yes, this is a direct quote), “Packets will be available on May 30th at Super Clinic. Then, the week of June 8th we will be traveling around the Chicagoland area hosting packet pick-ups.” If YOU couldn’t figure out how to organize in-store packet pickups like you have done in the past, that is not my problem. If you simply didn’t want to deal with organizing in-store packet pickup, that is not my problem either. That’s YOUR problem, and YOU should be the ones to deal with it, not me–and I especially shouldn’t be punished because you’re disorganized.

Additionally, CARA decided to make packets available for in-person packet pickup to everyone training out of a suburban location or Beverly, but no one training out of Montrose, Lakeshore East, or Hyde Park, apparently operating under the assumption that if you’re training in the city, you must be able to make it to the Super Clinic and/or CARA’s office, right? NO. WRONG. I can’t imagine I’m the only person this affects. And yes, I absolutely recognize that FAR more people train out of Montrose than out of the suburban locations, making packet pickup at Montrose more of a logistical challenge. But let’s be real: the ONLY thing that really matters in these packets is the shoe tag. The paper advertisements aren’t important. The t-shirt isn’t important. You could easily show up at Montrose with a bunch of shoe tags and a list of registered participants in hand and distribute the shoe tags at marathon training itself (admittedly, I won’t be at marathon training this weekend anyway because of Ragnar, so this doesn’t apply to me, but again, it’s the principle here that’s upsetting me). And maybe, JUST MAYBE, if the logistical challenge of doing packet pickup at Montrose was going to be that big of a problem, you should have thought about that in the first place, and figured out some other alternative that didn’t involve forcing people to give you money to mail them their packets.


I’m SO MAD about this whole situation (clearly). It feels like a really unprofessional, really shitty move on CARA’s part to squeeze more money out of me for something that’s already mothereffing expensive, and that just makes me LIVID. Honestly, between this and some other ~incidents~ with CARA, I’m ready to call it quits with them entirely: not renew my membership, not come back for marathon training in 2016….except I can’t do either of those things if I want to get my guaranteed entry into the Chicago Marathon for 2016 through CARA, so I’m stuck as far as I can tell. I am REMARKABLY unimpressed by a variety of things CARA has done this year, and I’m curious if I’m the only one in this disillusioned boat…because if I’m not, I’m even more curious to see how long the current executive director keeps his job. I feel like I’ve had more negative than positive things to say about CARA since he came on board, and I can’t imagine that’s entirely coincidental.

3. Switching gears completely, last Thursday I, along with a few other Chicago area bloggers, had the chance to go to FFC in the Gold Coast for a running workout and rooftop yoga. Like the vry srs blogger I am, I left my phone in my locker, so I have zero pictures (this was more of a principle thing, because apparently I’m all aboard the moral victories train today. I don’t like when people bring their phones with them to workouts, so I chose to not bring mine, even though I knew I was probably supposed to take pictures). But if you’d like to see pictures, I can refer you to Erin, who did a much better job of taking photos than I did. Anyway, we learned a lot about running form from Chris, which was actually really helpful. Highlights for me included the advice to lean forward while running (not excessively – just a little bit) and to run tall, which I, a professional race day sloucher, have struggled with big time in the past. After our running clinic, we enjoyed a really solid rooftop yoga session lead by Keom. FFC is also a great facility (which I knew ahead of time, since I did my indoor triathlon there in 2013), and I’m all about using gyms when I have the chance.

4. One of my roommates gets Time, which means every now and again, if the cover catches my attention, I’ll read an article or two in Time. Last week’s issue had a fantastic article by Aziz Ansari about modern dating. If you haven’t had the chance to read it and are actively dating, I highly recommend it. Heck, even if you aren’t dating, I still think it’s a great article. In (long) summary:

– The abundance of online dating platforms gives everyone, even those who normally wouldn’t have that luxury based on looks/income/social circles/time/whatever, to be incredibly picky. If you’re looking for a man in the city of Chicago between the ages of 25 and 29 between 5’6″ and 6’4″ who is gainfully employed, Christian, and hopefully at least appreciates running, you can look for exactly that man. (Not that know anyone looking for men in those parameters, obviously 😛 ). You can easily ignore every 23 or 30 year old who messages you, because you literally have hundreds of thousands of other options…which can be good, because it’s not the worst thing in the world to have some standards, but could also be bad, because that 23 or 30 year old (or that 5’5″ guy, or that 6’5″ guy, or that guy who works at Starbucks, or whatever) could, in fact, be a wonderful human being–perhaps someone you genuinely could have built a relationship with. But you didn’t give them a chance, because they didn’t fit your self-imposed standards that online dating gives you the freedom to impose (consider, conversely, if the 23 year old came up to you at a bar, and the two of you hit it off phenomenally. Would you reject him only because he was 23 if you found out later? Probably not.)
– Knowing that there are literally hundreds of thousands of options can make dating a nightmare, or even downright ineffective. (As a personal note, I can 100% vouch for this. I’ve chosen–or others have chosen–to not pursue further relationships with various guys I’ve dated because they weren’t “perfect,” or because I wasn’t “perfect.” I can think of two guys in particular that, honestly, had this been 1955, or 1975, or any time pre-online dating, I would probably still be with. We got along just fine, but that, ultimately, was the problem. It was just fine. It wasn’t OMGAMAZING. And when there are 200,000 people at your fingertips, why would you settle for fine when you could, maybe, find OMGAMAZING?)
– Your picture matters more than anything else, particularly on major dating platforms. Any crap people want to give Tinder for being so shallow is really a bit unfair, because in the real world, what’s most likely to catch your initial attention about a person: the fact that they dabble in photography on the side, or the fact that they’re attractive to you? Right. I have, CERTAINLY on more than one occasion, walked into an El car and thought, “Ooh, that boy’s cute! I wonder if he’s single!” Never once have I walked into an El car and thought, “Ooh, that boy is reading Unbroken! I wonder if he’s single!” I have, over the course of my life, become attracted to people for their intelligence/wit/humor/interests/other non-shallow things, BUT that attraction always developed over time. Online dating doesn’t cater to getting to know someone over time and developing an attraction as you get to know them. Online dating caters to liking someone’s face, and then hoping things work out from there.
– You and your partner’s ability to transition from passionate love (butterflies, sparkles, rainbows, etc.) to companionate love (laundry, dirty dishes, lawn mowing, etc.) will likely determine whether or not you stay together long term. Passionate love always wears off, which can be scary, make you question everything about your relationship, and possibly break up because “it’s just not working anymore.” (Damn you, inconsistent hormones!!) (Alternatively, having passionate love wear off could also stop blinding you to the fact that you’re dating a horrible person, leading you to break up because your other half is actually a puppy kicker. In those circumstances, it’s probably a good thing that you finally woke up and realized you were dating pond scum.) I could go into an enormous spiel about commitment and how life and relationships are not always a bed of roses, love is a decision not a feeling, etc. etc., but I’ve already written 2000 words, so I’ll save that for another day 😉

Anyway. I really thought the article was fantastic, and I think it’s worth a read.

Thanks for putting up with my complaining. I know it’s unbecoming and annoying.
Any last minute Ragnar tips? I’m almost entirely clueless about this entire thing, and have been avoiding reading up on what one needs to do to prepare for a Ragnar out of spite…because obviously that’s a really effective, wise solution.

12 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. I will say that the weater is cramping my style for commuting (and, you know, that whole swimming in the lake thing so I can be ready for this tri on Sunday…)! Riding a Divvy bike is SO much faster for me than taking the CTA (and I can run errands easier!) But when it rains and I’m stuck on the train it makes me cranky. Although, you’re probably the last person to whom I should complain about my commute. I feel for you Yellow Line riders, I really do!

    As for CARA…well, I will say that they have been really disorganized for years mostly because they keep hiring people with good hearts but bad skills. Also because they keep trying to be everything to every runner so they’re a jack of all trades but master of none.

    And Ragnar…my biggest tip is make sure you eat some real food during your down time. Don’t just survive on Clif bars and peanut butter sandwiches alone. I mean, you can, but you’ll get really cranky. Also, you WILL get visibly grumpy at some point. Just try and recognize it and apologize.

    • Hahaha I’d like to think all of us who have longer-than-usual commutes are in the same boat, regardless of the circumstances.

      I’m surprised that an organization can manage to stick around (and seemingly do well) when it’s so disorganized, but I guess that is kind of the nature of a nonprofit.

  2. Umm I WISH we had your weather. I will never complain about summer, but I could do without the 90+ degree days. Give me some high 70s, low 80s any day. Maybe I need to live in Chicago in the summer and Florida in the winter. Best of both worlds. I’m sending Tim that article about Aziz since he’s obsessed with him (after I read it to make sure it’s something I actually should be sharing haha)

    • I’d be happy to send ours your way if you’d like! If only I could actually do that haha. Actually, I’m totally fine with 70s as well, and even low 80s if I have to. When it gets above that (or when it rains/storms all the time), however, I’m not a very happy camper. And hahaha I think the article is pretty safe for you two, so feel free to share away 🙂

  3. I always complain about the weather haha. Even when we were in Mexico this past spring I mentioned it was too cold, but also way too humid… my boyfriend was like “is there even a temperature you like!?” haha.

  4. Complaining about the weather is getting old because why can’t it just be nice!? Getting in my training has been hard because of the rain/impending rain. Last night I just decided to go out and chance it because I was tired of my rides getting postponed. And I actually made it 50 minutes before the rain started picking up and I called it quits.

    That would piss me off about CARA too. If they already said they were going to have packet pickup at various locations then they should stick to their word!

    I haven’t finished that Aziz Ansari article yet but it is really interesting. I wonder if the abundance of choice problem is seeping into all areas of my life. Even simple things I buy now, I can definitely go down the rabbit hole of trying to find the cheapest fastest place to buy it and I can sometimes spend hours making the decision. And sometimes in the end I save like $2. Is that really worth my time? It’s nice to have choices but maybe I could just limit my life to 3 choices.

    • He actually mentioned that in his article a bit, too (though maybe you saw it, since it was at the beginning) – it can be paralyzing trying to decide where you want to go for dinner, and that, in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty insignificant decision to make compared to finding someone to marry.

  5. That sucks about CARA and ridiculous how they’re charging you $15 to mail something for you when they said they would have options for packet pickup. the reason I joined is because of the 2016 guaranteed entry to the Chicago Marathon. Once that is over then no renewal for me.

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