1. After the shortest tease of warm weather ever last Thursday, the depths of March returned with a vengeance in Chicago on Saturday, with cold temperatures, high winds, and a prolonged mist that made it feel like you were living in a cloud, but not in a good way.
I knew the bad weather was coming, because AccuWeather was more than happy to alert me to the future miserty in the form of weather advisories. The threats of 10-16 foot waves and 50 mph wind gusts along the lake made me particularly concerned about the 12 miler I had planned for Saturday morning. While I never enjoy missing a long run, I especially didn’t want to miss this long run due to the fact that it was my last opportunity to get in a long run before my half marathon. After some deliberation, I decided to do what easily makes my top five most questionable running decisions: I went for my 12 mile long run when I got home from work.
I’ve never run more than 10 miles after work, and I haven’t run 10 miles after work since late last marathon season. I never work out on Fridays, period, never mind run on Fridays. I’ve never attempted a double digit long run on no rest, no carb loading, and after a full day of work (not to mention that this was the whopping second double digit run I had scheduled since Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas five months ago). But I was bound and determined to get those stupid 12 miles on my legs, so off I went.
It really didn’t start out as terrible as I expected. I think part of me thought this was just another weekday run, and I’d certainly turn around at the three mile mark for a nice out-and-back six miler. But I didn’t. I kept chugging along. Things were fine until right around mile eight, when suddenly my marathoning self kicked in. “Only four more miles! That’s nothing!” I thought to myself foolishly, as my legs became progressively more tired, my stomach became progressively more annoyed that I was doing this to it and delaying dinner so dramatically, and my feet became progressively more fed up with this hare-brained endeavor of mine. I most certainly did not fast finish those 12 miles, but I did finish them. I’m proud of myself for doing it, but I’ll be perfectly happy to never again do a long run on an hour’s notice on a Friday afternoon, thanks.
2. One surprising aspect of that Friday afternoon run, though, was that the bird watching was fantastic! Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the fact that barely anyone else was stupid enough to be logging a run when I was, or maybe it was both, but I saw two brand new birds on my run! I wasn’t able to identify the one, but the other (of which I saw three total!) was a Golden Crowned Kinglet!
I obviously did not bring my SLR along with me on my run, so you’ll have to tolerate my iPhone photography. I know it blends in pretty well with the grass, hence the cheesy red circles to help you see the bird.
I’ve heard of Golden Crowned Kinglets, but I’ve never seen one for sure, and I’ve definitely never seen one alive (I may have seen a dead one last year – I wasn’t able to get a positive ID on it). They’re so teeny tiny! Much smaller than I expected. This one was also not shy at all. He was wholly undisturbed by my presence as he rooted around in the dead sod, trying to find some bugs for his supper. It was very exciting!
3. Since I did my long run on Friday evening, I had all day Saturday to spend as I pleased. My week had been full of anxiety and stress, so I decided to try to unwind with a nice warm bath, using a bath bomb I got for Christmas. I’ve used bath salts before (like, the kind you put in your bath. Not the drug kind, haha) and had no adverse reactions at all, so I wasn’t in the least bit worried about using a bath bomb.
I got giddy when I dropped the bomb in the water and it started fizzing all over the place. It made the water pretty and pink and even a little shiny, which I thought was so cool. I swirled my arms around the shininess, admiring how pretty it was…until I pulled my arm out of the water and saw it completely covered in a rash.
For the past 10 years, every now and again and completely unpredictably, I’ve gotten rashes on the backs of my hands and wrists or the tops of my thighs when I’m anxious. I have absolutely no idea what triggers it, because I get anxious a lot more than I get this rash, but I know what it looks like and sometimes, it’s a useful visual clue to me to know that what I’m feeling is anxiety and not something I need to worry about. In this case, the rash looked the same, except it completely covered both of my arms exactly up to the point where they had been in the water. It took me all of .00001 seconds to determine that something about this bath bomb and my skin were NOT getting along, and I should probably get out ASAP.
As soon as my arms dried off, the rash went away from everywhere but my hands, which seemed promising. I was, however, completely freaking out by this point that I had accidentally discovered that I have a severe allergy to who knows what the one time I’m home alone (of course), and what on earth was I going to do if things got worse?? Of course, now that I was anxious, I didn’t know if the persisting rash on my hands was due to anxiety or the bath bomb, which just made matters worse. I took a Zyrtec to calm both my skin and my mind (not that Zyrtec has any anti-anxiety purposes, at least not as far as I know, but knowing I was treating the reaction made me feel more comfortable with the situation).
I don’t know what is going on with my body lately. For years and years my only known allergy was penicillin, and now in the past four months alone, I’ve had an allergic reaction to a TdAP booster and a bath bomb. I already planned to see an allergist sometime in the next couple of months as a result of what happened after my TdAP, but now I’m even more motivated to get into one quickly. I’m not a fan of these surprise allergic reactions in the least, and would love to get some insight on what’s caused these things to happen and what to avoid moving forward to keep them from happening again.
Have you seen any exciting migratory birds yet this season? She asked, allowing herself to continue believing that anyone else remotely close to her age watches birds, as if this is not a hobby primarily associated with senior citizens.