Thursday Things

1. Whose bright idea was it to train for a goal half marathon during the winter? Seriously, what was I thinking?

I assume I was thinking something along the lines of, “You run faster when it’s cold outside, so you should train for a race that will likely be cold.” I was also probably thinking something along the lines of, “This will keep me engaged and interested during the winter,” or, “You got your PR at this race in 2014, so it seems like as good of a race as any to try to PR again.”

Regardless, I definitely did not consider how difficult it would be to do all the training I wanted/planned to do when the sidewalks are anywhere between glazed with ice and buried under inches of snow. I mean, I can get my running done on a treadmill. I just wish I didn’t have to do so much of it on the treadmill. I think, when I put this training plan together, I had it in my mind that the only obstacle I’d face would be cold and darkness. I guess I forgot that it snows during the winter? The apparent impossibility of clearing sidewalks in my neighborhood is going to turn me into the sort of runner who longs for summer. Out of the six runs I’ve done in training thus far, a whopping two of them have even had the option of being outside. Gross.

I know things will get better as the cycle goes on, because presumably, it won’t stay in the single digits/teens forever. (Right?) But unless there’s a dramatic change in the forecast, I’m staring down a treadmill PDR next week, which, ugh. That certainly wasn’t a record I hoped to set as a result of this training. (Though hey, if I don’t PR my half, I guess I’ll have something else I can say I accomplished for the first time! Haha.)

All that being said, the last time I came within spitting distance of my half PR (F3 in 2016), I did most of my training on the treadmill, so perhaps I shouldn’t whine about this so much.

2. I had my annual physical on Tuesday, including the biometric screening I have to get done for work to avoid paying through the nose for my premium. That biometric screening requires a blood draw (boo), and that blood draw requires fasting ahead of time (boo x2).

I waited too long to schedule my physical this year, which meant I couldn’t get an appointment any earlier in the day than 11 a.m. As someone who is usually famished by the time I get around to breakfast at 8 a.m. or so, the idea of not eating until after my 11:00 appointment was concerning, especially since I usually have dinner at 7 p.m.

So, Tuesday morning, I did what any normal person would do: I set an alarm for 1:30 a.m., got up, and had a snack before my eight hour window closed. Ha. It felt weird getting up at 1:30 in the morning just to eat pretzels and almonds, and certainly didn’t do me any favors in the sleep department, but at least I wasn’t starving when I woke up!

I got (most of) my numbers back yesterday, and my cholesterol continues to be too high. My doctor recommended I “exercise regularly.” Guess the six days/week, including three two-a-days/week, doesn’t count as “regularly.” Or maybe it’s the brown rice, black beans, and fresh veggies I eat for lunch literally every week day that are the culprit? *rolls eyes forever*

I don’t have a family history of high cholesterol, so I will admit that it’s a bit out of left field for me to have mine, but I really, really don’t think that my lifestyle choices are to blame here. I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat as if I were one probably 80 percent of the time, and I’d guess that when I do eat meat, 95 percent of that is chicken. I’m not a “cheeseburger every week” sort of person. I’m more like a “cheeseburger every quarter” sort of person. So all of this “exercise more and eat red meat less” stuff is…unhelpful, to say the least.

3. We don’t control the heat in my apartment, and sometimes, I really like that! We don’t get charged for it, and it’s not up to any of us to decide how warm or cold it should be, so that eliminates the possibility of thermostat wars. Other times, though…

indoortemp

Yikes. If it were that warm during the summer, that would be enough for us to turn the air conditioning on. “Air conditioning” this time of year just means cracking the windows, but it really seems like that shouldn’t be necessary in, you know, January.

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Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday, January 13: 30 minutes cross training (yoga)
This one:

I’m being a little less prescriptive about my cross training for this cycle. Ideally, I’d like to bike (or elliptical, or otherwise engage in some sort of cardio) for my cross training, but sometimes that’s not feasible–and sometimes, I just need yoga. Sunday was one of those days.

Monday, January 14: Strength training – legs (AM) + 4.25 miles (tempo) in 43:08 for a 10:09 pace
I more or less kept up with strength training after the marathon ended, but now that I’m officially training, I’m no longer considering strength training to be “strongly recommended, but technically optional.” So I went to the gym Monday morning for a pretty simple leg workout.

I made my much-dreaded return to the treadmill Monday afternoon. Since so many people in my neighborhood seem to think that shoveling their sidewalks is someone else’s responsibility, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to go for a run outside, and I especially didn’t feel comfortable trying to do a workout outside. Thus, the treadmill. It was pretty miserable, I won’t lie. Spending your entire run staring at your distance, acutely aware of how much longer you have to run, is wildly unpleasant. (And since, at least as far as I can tell so far, you can’t program workouts into the treadmill, I don’t have much of a choice but to keep an eye on my distance so I can adjust my speed accordingly.) I survived, and actually felt like I got in a great workout, but I wish it weren’t so soul-crushingly boring. I did this tempo run as a “normal” tempo run (i.e.: warm up for a mile, 2.25 miles at tempo pace, cool down for a mile) as opposed to a Hal Higdon tempo run (gradually increase speed to the middle of your run, hold that pace for 5-10 minutes, gradually decrease speed to the end of your run). I thought I was being ambitious with my tempo pace (9:30), but I held on just fine, which was very encouraging.

Tuesday, January 15: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance
My third trip to the gym in 24 hours! I’m not actually working out any more than I was during marathon season, but when I trained for the marathon, I ran outside on Mondays and had a change of scenery. It was weird to go to the gym so many times in a row. I got in a great upper body workout, but I lifted heavier than usual on some of them, so I anticipate I’ll be sore tomorrow.

Dance was NUTS. After telling us last week that we’d only learn two songs this session, we dove head first into new choreography in class on Tuesday. This was only the second class of the session, one we usually spend reviewing what we learned the week before, so I was surprised 1) that we were already learning something new and 2) how quickly my teacher was blowing through the choreography. Class was non-stop, and I was really impressed that the new people were able to keep up at all. Incidentally, I’ve learned choreography to this song before (from the same teacher), but the choreography is completely different than what we learned the first time (“the first time” being April 2013.)

Wednesday, January 16: 4 miles (with 5×400 w/ 200 rest) in 40:50 for a 10:12 pace
(Side note: I have such a hard time remember to type “January” instead of “June” on these things, because I’ve never tracked my training like this outside of marathon training!)

I decided that I’m only going to do speedwork outside if I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can do it all on non-icy sidewalks. Since I didn’t have that guarantee on Wednesday, it was back to the ‘mill. I found this workout to be a lot more tolerable than the tempo run I did on Monday, because I barely had time to settle into a pace before needing to speed up or slow down during those 400s. It’s hard to get bored in that situation!

The treadmills at the gym can switch between displaying your distance in miles or kilometers mid-workout, so I ran a warmup mile, then changed the display to kilometers, since it’s easier to keep track of 200s from the kilometer view than mile view (200 meters is .124 miles, but the treadmill display only goes to the second decimal (i.e.: 1.25), so it just seemed a lot simpler to do it in kilometers). What I did not consider, nor realize until I switched from miles to kilometers for the first time, was that all the metrics would change to kilometers, including my speed. No longer did the treadmill tell me my minute/mile and mile/hour pace: instead, it showed me my time in minute/kilometer and kilometers/hour. Believe it or not, I’m pretty unfamiliar with my minute/kilometer and kilometer/hour paces, haha. I switched back to miles for a second to determine that my recovery pace (11:06 minutes/mile) translated to 8.7 km/hour, and my 400 pace (roughly 8:00 minutes/mile) translated to 11.9 km/hour. Good to know for the future! It also took me for.ev.er. to figure out how to efficiently move from one pace to the other. The treadmill has a function that allows you to jump to your last pace (so when I was running 11.9 km/hour, I could tap the screen to immediately drop down to 8.7), but you had to hit it just right to get it to work, and it took me until my fifth interval to figure out what “just right” was. But I got it, and now I’ll know how to use it next time.

Thursday, January 17: Strength training – legs (AM) + 3.01 miles in 34:10 for an 11:22 pace
I had a hard time getting up Thursday morning, and kind of wanted to just curl up in the locker room and nap through my workout time instead of, you know, working out. But that seemed both uncomfortable and generally frowned upon, so I drug myself out to the gym. I thought I was being really badass and lifting heavier than ever before on all the exercises for the day, until I consulted my lifting PR spreadsheet halfway through and realized in fact I was lifting lighter than any of my PRs. Fail. I was lifting heavier than I’ve lifted in a while, though, so I figure that’s something.

While I’ve been a tried-and-true three-days-of-running-per-week runner basically since I started running in 2011, since I’m trying to do something I’ve never done before (i.e.: run a half marathon in under two hours), I’m training like I’ve never trained before, and thus will be running four days a week rather than three for two-thirds of this cycle (I’m doing two weeks of four days followed by one week of three days). I’ve mostly avoided four days of running per week because it’s always felt like too much, so if I’m going to do that this time around, I want to be sure to take my extra run very easy. That’s certainly what happened on Thursday!

Friday, January 18: 6 miles in 1:06:20 for an 11:03 pace
The forecast had threatened a Friday night/Saturday morning winter storm all week, so I decided to switch my long run from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon. Six miles isn’t too overwhelming of a distance, and I needed to be in the suburbs early Saturday afternoon, so getting it done on Friday seemed like it would make Saturday a lot easier. It was really cold, and the wind was biting, but the sidewalks were (relatively) clear. When I left for the suburbs Saturday morning around 10 a.m., most of the sidewalks around me hadn’t even been shoveled yet, so I feel like I made the right decision. Running through five-ish inches of unshoveled snow wouldn’t have been much fun!

Saturday, January 19: Rest

 

 

Thursday Things

1. I went to Milwaukee for the first time in…like 20 years, I think? on Saturday. One of my friends lived in Milwaukee for a little bit after college, and a few of her friends were going to the Yule Ball at Turner Hall on Saturday, so a couple of us from Chicago made the trek up, too. I wasn’t raised on Harry Potter like a lot of people in my age group, but I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies since becoming an adult, so I thought it sounded like it could be a good time.

yuleball1

BOY was it ever!

To be honest, I really had no idea what to expect, other than a Harry Potter Yule Ball-themed event. I was there for maybe .2 seconds before I declared it my favorite party I’ve ever attended, and I still stand by that claim.

First of all, Turner Hall was everything I want in a building. Old? Check. Beautiful? Check. Full of character? Check. Bonus points for signs of age (uneven floors, missing paint, etc.)? CHECK. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen so instantly in love with a building as I did with the ballroom at Turner Hall. It was one of those places I knew I would IMMEDIATELY Google as soon as I left to learn more about it (the National Historic Landmark nomination form has, unsurprisingly, a solid history of the building, in case you’re interested).

yuleball2

UGH THAT CEILING. YES.

Second of all, the party was pretty much everything I want in a party. There was the perfect amount of people there: not so many that it felt crowded, but not so few that it felt empty and sad. They had a DJ playing music you would expect to appeal to the sorts of people who would show up at a Harry Potter themed party–i.e., music primarily from the 2000s, with some Harry Potter soundtrack pieces thrown in. It was never too loud. There were plenty of places to hang out other than the dance floor. There were vendors selling all sorts of Harry Potter-themed paraphernalia–pillows, wall art, sculptures, candy, etc.–on the balcony. It was AWESOME.

I really hope they do it on a different weekend next year, because I have a non-negotiable wedding to attend that weekend in 2020, but I also really want to go to next year’s Yule Ball! Especially because I’d bet that at least 75 percent of the girls there were wearing floor length dresses and I was so jealous. I didn’t realize it was going to be such a fancy occasion! I’ve been looking for an excuse to wear a floor length dress for ages, and I’m super bummed I had one and didn’t realize it! Oh well.

2. I spent the night in Milwaukee after the Yule Ball, and then went to Brunch the next morning for, you know, brunch.

If I the Yule Ball was the best event I’ve ever attended, then brunch the next morning was the best breakfast I’ve ever had.

brunchmilwaukee

I can’t get over how good this meal was. I would legitimately go to Milwaukee just to eat at Brunch again. I had an omelette with a side of a cinnamon roll pancake (I KNOW) and an apple cider mimosa (I KNOW AGAIN), and the whole thing was stupidly delicious.

3. I wanted to put up a post on Tuesday as a kickoff to my sub-2:00 half marathon training, but work continues to be nuts, so that didn’t happen. Instead, you get this!

I’m really excited to be training for a big goal again. While I obviously loved getting my (sub!) 4:45 marathon last October, I also loved taking training seriously. Having a big goal motivated me to work a lot harder than my usual get-most-of-my-runs-in-and-hope-I-somehow-magically-get-faster-in-the-process method of training. While it wasn’t easy to drag myself out of bed almost an hour earlier than normal three days a week to strength train or do 800s when it was 80+ degrees outside, knowing that I didn’t stand a chance of running a 4:45 if I didn’t put in the work to make that happen made it easier to do those things.

What really mattered to me with the marathon–and what really matters to me with this half marathon–is that I get to the start line knowing I’ve done everything I could to set myself up for success. Sometimes the stars just don’t align on race day, and if that’s the case, so be it. But I don’t want the stars to not align because I phoned it in on my training. The process is as important to me as the outcome. I’m glad to be starting the process again!

 

Thursday Things

1. I do not like this time of year at work. Is it a ~thing~ that work is always bonkers in January in the corporate world? I thought this was just something that happened at my previous job, because I always had a major project due in mid-February, but it happened last year at my current job and it’s happening again this year. Everything’s breaking, everyone needs something, four million things still outstanding from 2018 need wrapping up. Good thing I planned to blog about my half marathon training so I only have to come up with something else to write once a week 😛

2. In my ongoing quest to do ALL OF THE CHICAGO THINGS before moving to the suburbs later this year, I went to ZooLights last weekend.

zoolights2018

I’ve gone to ZooLights some time during December almost every winter I’ve lived here, and what a mistake that was! Going in January was so much more pleasant! Sure, it felt a little weird to do something clearly Christmas-y after December 25, but it was way less crowded.

penguinszoolights2018

This was also the first time I’ve gone to ZooLights and see all the ice sculptures fully sculpted, rather than in the process of being sculpted. The penguin, obviously, was my favorite ❤

penguinicesculpturezoolights

3. I’ve sung the praises of the Libby app plenty of times since I downloaded it last summer. It’s made reading so much easier and convenient for me, and thanks to it, I read more in 2018 than I had read in who knows how long.

Right now, I’m reading Native Son by Richard Wright, which somehow I was never required to read at any point in my education. I’m not all that far into it yet, but it’s been impactful, to put it mildly. Anyway, I’m not here to offer up my thoughts on Native Son right now. Instead, I would like to offer up my thoughts on Libby’s time-to-finish estimator.

When I first discovered this tool in Libby (where it tracks how long you’ve been reading and estimates how long it’ll take you to finish based on how long it’s been since you initially downloaded the book), I thought it was awesome! I’ve never kept track of how much time I spend reading, so that seemed cool, and having an estimate for how long it would take me to finish was both helpful and challenging. It’s helpful, because I can gauge whether or not I’ll finish the book before it’s due when I have an estimate for how long it’ll take me to finish reading it, and it’s challenging, because it makes me want to read faster than Libby thinks I can.

For Native Son, however, it hasn’t been particularly useful.

libbytimetofinishestimator

Cool.

The major flaw in Libby’s time-to-finish estimator is that it bases its estimate off how long it’s been since you first downloaded the book. The problem with that is that if you have a book on hold, it’ll automatically download (if you’re on WiFi) to your device as soon as it becomes available, whether you’re ready for it or not. I placed a hold on Native Son when I first downloaded the app on August 8, and it became available on Sept. 28. I was reading another book at the time and didn’t finish it in time to start (and finish) Native Son before it was due, and on Oct. 19, the book automatically returned. I put another hold on it on Nov. 11, and on Dec. 25, I got it back (though I was reading Look Alive Out There at the time, so once I again, I didn’t start it right away). I didn’t actually start reading it until last week. But because I first downloaded the book 13 weeks ago and have only been reading for a few hours, Libby thinks it’s going to take me nearly a year to finish. I sure hope not! The book’s due in five days, so I really need to buckle down and find 11 spare hours to read (less than that now, fortunately, since this screenshot is from Tuesday afternoon), unless I want to lose the book and wait another six to seven weeks to get it back! (I don’t.)

Thursday Things

1. How was everyone’s Christmas/end of the year? Mine was terrible! Yay!

christmastree2018

I suppose my Christmas itself, as in the 25th of December, was just fine–nice, even. We had 100 percent family attendance at Grandma’s house for the first time since 2013! But the trip home that constituted “Christmas” in my mind was not, courtesy of a bug that swept through my family, taking no survivors. My parents had been sick the week before Christmas but felt better 48 hours or so before my siblings and I started to arrive home and Lysoled the place from floor to ceiling to make sure none of us got what they had. Despite their admirable efforts, all three of us got sick: first, my sister the morning of Christmas Eve, followed by my brother the day after Christmas, followed by me on the 28th. At least it was moderately predictable?

It took me for.ev.er. to recover. I was supposed to come back to Chicago on Friday but cancelled my train trip home due to my unwillingness to get out of bed that morning. I made it back Saturday and posted up on the couch for the remainder of that day. I stayed in bed all day Sunday (I slept for 11 hours on Sunday O.O) as well, and finally woke up fever-free and feeling moderately human on New Year’s Eve. I definitely didn’t feel good enough to go to the party I had planned to attend at some friends’ house in the suburbs (or run the three miles I wanted to run that day, boo 😦 ), though. I rang in 2019 on–where else?–the couch, with a very exciting glass of ginger ale. I felt fully human again on New Year’s Day and did incredible feats of strength like not blowing my nose every .2 seconds and eating food other than toast and saltines (because this joy of an illness impacted both my stomach and my sinuses. What a gem!).

I don’t know what on earth we all had, but it was unpleasant, to say the least. What was far more unpleasant, though, was how much it impacted the family time I had really looked forward to enjoying during the week I was home. I expected a solid week of quality time with my parents and siblings all together, and instead got a whopping one dinner of it. It left me feeling very homesick and missing all of them a lot as soon as I got home. I wish we could all have a do-over on the entire week. Since the five of us now live in four different states, Christmas is really the only time we’re all physically together, and it was a huge bummer to not have that pan out the way I hoped it would this year.

2. On a more upbeat note, I got a surprise Christmas present that will likely live on in Bethany lore as one of the best presents ever.

mizunowoodenshoesslippers-1

Those, dear readers, are wooden shoe shaped, Dutch orange, Mizuno slippers. *all of the heart-eyed emojis*

mizunowoodenshoesslippers-2

In October, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law traveled to our ancestral homeland, the Netherlands, for the Amsterdam Marathon, which my uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law all ran. While at the expo, they discovered that Mizuno was giving away these slippers with the purchase of a pair of shoes, but would also sell you the slippers on their own if you didn’t buy any Mizunos. Now, I am admittedly a ride-or-die Asics girl, but I’m more than happy to abandon my shoe brand loyalties for the sake of WOODEN SHOE SLIPPERS *more heart-eyed emojis* They check off an impressive number of Bethany’s Interests boxes for being but a humble piece of footwear (Dutch themed: check. Running themed: check. Tendency to ask for slippers for Christmas: check.), and I’ve worn them almost nonstop since Christmas. Obsessed. High five to you, Mizuno, and an even higher five to my family for thinking of me when they saw them and getting them for me.

3. Frustrated with myself by what I felt was an overconsumption of social media, I decided that I would abstain entirely from Facebook and Twitter from the time I left my apartment for Christmas until I returned to Chicago on Friday. I ended up breaking that when I stayed home an extra day, but I found the experience to be eye-opening in multiple ways.

For one thing, I was shocked by how easy it was to give up Twitter. I actually haven’t spent any “meaningful” (by which I really mean time-wasting) time on Twitter since I left for Christmas. I’ve only checked it to make sure I knew how the CTA was behaving before leaving for work, in case I’d need to alter my plans accordingly. Facebook has proved to be a harder cord to cut, but I haven’t even been tempted to scroll through Twitter, which blows my mind. I guess I’m not even half as invested in it as I thought I was.

For another thing, I was surprised to find how…boring, honestly…my phone became when I no longer allowed myself to get on Facebook and Twitter. I’d check my email, check the news, and then be like, “…well, now what can I do on here?” I think I read more of the Washington Post over Christmas than I have at any time since I started subscribing, haha. It became clear to me how much time I waste on my phone when I didn’t have access to my primary ways of wasting time. It also made it much easier to read my most recent library book (Look Alive Out There, a collection of essays by Sloane Crosley. 10/10, would recommend. It had me crying-on-the-train laughing on the way back to Chicago.)!

Based on that experience, one of my 2019 resolutions is to only use Facebook and Twitter on the weekends, unless I have a valid reason to be on there on a weekday (“valid reason” being along the lines of “a crisis is unfolding that I need to stay updated about for my own safety and well-being.” “I’m commuting” or “I’m sitting on the couch” is not a valid reason 😛 ). I’ve tried to be a lot more thoughtful about how I spend/consume things recently, and this seems to fit well into my overarching goal to be less wasteful and more conscientious.

How was your Christmas?
Did you make any resolutions for 2019?

2018 Running Recap

It was a good one! As always, thanks to Kim for the inspiration.

Races participated in: 12
Races “raced” (of x amount above): 1, the Jingle Bell Run Chicago 5K
DNFs: 0
DNSs: 0, technically. You could argue that I DNSed the Chicago Half Marathon, since it’s true–I did not start that race. I did start (and finish) the Life Time 5K in its place, though, so I don’t think it’s really a DNS.

Distances
5K: 3
8K:
2
15K: 1
Half Marathon: 5 (sigh. So close to a personal high! If only I had run the Chicago Half. Alas.)
Marathon:
1
States Run In: 5: Illinois, Michigan, California, Washington, and Nevada. No new-to-me states this year, but that’s okay. Can’t do that every year!
Months Run In: 12

rocknrollseattlecourse-1

Hottest race: Hmm. You know, I honestly don’t know! I didn’t have any oppressively (i.e.: memorably) hot races this year. What a nice treat! Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego was definitely warm, since the course didn’t have much shade. I guess that’d have to be my pick, but I’ve certainly run through worse. According to Garmin, Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago was the hottest race I ran (a whopping 72 degrees – child’s play for Rock ‘n’ Roll!), but that race was rainy and overcast, so I think it felt cooler (though a lot more humid, unsurprisingly) than San Diego. The hottest “race” I ran, by far, was this year’s 20 miler, but that’s not a race. The hottest run, for the record, was the nine miler during marathon training. Holy cow. That was no joke.
Coldest race: Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, if memory serves.

shamrockshuffle2018-2

Look at all those cold people!

Windiest race: DEFINITELY the Hot Chocolate 15K. Nothing like running five miles of a 15K into a headwind. Oof.
Wettest race: DEFINITELY Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago. It was, incidentally, the first time I’ve ever been rained on during race day, and boy, were we ever rained on. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the deluge that was mile nine of that race. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon comes in second in this category, having been the second race I’ve ever run in the rain (and my only marathon with anything but crystal clear skies from start to finish. More cloudy marathons, please.)

Participation medals received: 12. I also received four “above and beyond” medals if you will: one for doing the Half I-Challenge, one for doing two Rock ‘n’ Rolls, one for doing three Rock ‘n’ Rolls, and one for doing four Rock ‘n’ Rolls. Is sixteen medals too many for one year? YES.
AG medals received: 1!

jinglebellrun2018medals

PRs:
15K:
1:34:33 (first 15K)
Marathon: 4:42:49 (10:03 PR).

Favorite medal: Life Time 5K. Getting this medal instead of the one for the Chicago Half (and, particularly, the serendipity of getting a medal with my marathon motto on it two weeks before race day) made dropping down to the 5K totally worth it. This isn’t just my favorite medal of 2018; it’s my favorite medal, period.

lifetime5Kmedaldetail

Favorite picture:

postmarathon

I’m not really a selfie person, but I felt compelled to take one after the marathon this year. I think this pretty accurately sums up how I felt after the race.

Miles run in 2017: 824.02 as of now, though I plan to do three miles on New Year’s Eve, which would bring me to 827.02 for the year (+21.6 (or +24.6) from 2017)
Of those, miles done on the treadmill: 0. Crushed it. First treadmill-free year…ever? I’m nearly certain I’ll be on the treadmill a lot this winter, so I don’t expect to do that again for at least a year. But it was nice to log all my miles outside this year!

 

Thursday Things

1. I’d heard plenty about Little Fires Everywhere over the past year or so, but reading Kim’s review of it last month (in combination with my renewed love affair with the library, courtesy of Libby) finally convinced me to get around to reading it.

HO.LY. COW. What a book!

I started reading the book on my commute Tuesday afternoon and by the time I finished up biking at the gym on Thursday afternoon, I was already 72 percent of the way done with it. I finally finished it Saturday morning, but had I had more free time on Friday, I’m sure I would’ve finished it then. My reading has, admittedly, tapered off a bit since I changed jobs in March 2016, but even considering all the reading I did when I had my old job, I haven’t devoured a book like this since I read The Hunger Games right after I graduated from college (throwback to my first EVER Thursday Things post! “I make no promises of this being a regular thing.” Ha, good joke, 2012 Bethany. Here we are, 275 (!) Thursday Things later. I think it’s safe to say Thursday Things are the most (only?) regular thing about my blog, aside from Chicago Marathon training recaps on Mondays for 18 weeks from June through October.). I could not put it down. I couldn’t stop talking about it, either. It BLEW ME AWAY.

I was super intrigued by the plot, but what really impressed me was the writing. I legitimately don’t remember the last time I read such amazing, beautiful writing. The way Celeste Ng would seamlessly transition from third person limited (mostly, with occasional omniscience) in from one character’s perspective to third person limited (mostly, with occasional omniscience) in another character’s perspective…! *dies* Not only were the transitions from person to person so perfect and smooth, but the little bits of omniscience thrown in with a limited perspective were so perfect. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read more perfectly executed narration. It was just incredible, like a master class in how to write in third person. I’ve already got a hold on Everything I Never Told You (which probably won’t come in for seven weeks. Womp.) because I want nothing more than to read Ng’s writing forever and ever and ever.

2. I had two other things I planned to include in this post, and now I can’t remember either of them. Figures. That’s what I get for not writing these things down as they come to mind! Well, instead I’ll tell you about how I saw multiple Red-breasted Nuthatches on a bird walk on Saturday!

redbreastednuthatch

I’d read they were supposed to be much more common this year than some years due to food shortages in Canada, and based on eBird, that certainly seems to be the case. I had never seen a Red-breasted Nuthatch before my trip to the Grand Canyon last year (pictured above), but since September I’ve now seen no fewer than three in the Chicago area. I’ll have to bring my camera the next time I go on a bird walk to see if I can get a picture, since who knows when the next irruption will be.

3. That’s it from me before Christmas! I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful holiday with lots of love and happiness 🙂