Thursday Things

1. I went to my first concert at Wrigley Field on Saturday, and boy was it a good one.

falloutboywrigleymarquee

(This picture doesn’t show it well, but I loved what they did with the flags on either side of the marquee. For baseball games, they hang flags of each team playing on either side of the marquee, but for the concert, they had special Fall Out Boy at Wrigley Field flags instead. I thought that was so cool!)

As soon as I heard Fall Out Boy was playing Wrigley, I knew I had to get tickets. How could I not? I’ve loved Fall Out Boy for years, so I certainly wasn’t going to miss their hometown show of the MANIA tour at Wrigley Field of all places. It was, unsurprisingly, amazing.

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I love how much Fall Out Boy loves Chicago, and it was so apparent that they were having a great time during the show. I also appreciated the various Chicago touches during the show, like the lighting during Lake Effect Kid:

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Light blue, red, and white: aka, the colors of the Chicago flag.

But their were plenty of other Chicago moments, too, like them playing Chicago is So Two Years Ago (which isn’t on the setlist for this tour), Patrick Stump wearing a Cubs hat, Pete Wentz wearing a customized Cubs jersey at the end of the show, them taking a picture of themselves with the crowd with the WORLD SERIES TROPHY *heart eye emoji*, and, during the intro to Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy, Patrick reminiscing about how he wrote that song in his apartment at Roscoe and Hoyne, and he and Pete would run by Wrigley Field during that time.

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Of course, nothing, not even a show at Wrigley Field, could top seeing Fall Out Boy at the Metro five years ago. Seeing a band of that caliber at a venue of that size (i.e.: small) will likely forever be my favorite concert experience. But Saturday night was a good runner-up 🙂

2. I continued my Fall Out Boy-ing on Sunday with a trip to The MANIA Experience.

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The MANIA Experience was one of those…uh, experiential things that are cool these days: things like Happy Place or wndr that basically exist for the sole purpose of taking cool pics for the ‘gram. I’ll be honest: I don’t entirely understand why these sorts of things are necessary (perhaps because I don’t have Instagram, and therefore do not have a need to curate an Instagram ~aesthetic~), but the MANIA Experience was free, so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.

There were about eight or so spaces in the MANIA Experience, each inspired by a different song off the MANIA album (with the exception of the bathroom, which was inspired by the Lake Effect Kid EP).

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“I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color,” is my favorite line from the entire MANIA record (even though it’s actually a line from The Addams Family), not because I relate to it in any way, but because it is so deliciously emo: so emo that it feels ironic, like a caricature of what Fall Out Boy and the entire genre of emo music used to be rather than a genuine expression. I don’t think anyone who grew up listening to emo music in the mid 2000s would try to argue that Fall Out Boy’s newer music is even half as emo as it used to be–and I think for those of us for whom emo music formed the soundtrack of our high school careers (*raises hand as a proud teen of the ’00s*), that’s not only understandable, but ideal. It’s been thirteen years since 2005, after all, and I would hope that most of us, including the bands we listened to, have grown out of our angst since then. We’re not teenagers being taken for a ride by our raging hormones anymore, are no longer under the impression that we’re the only people in the world who have ever felt things, and no longer need music that taps into that sense of how no one could possibly understand anything we’re feeling. (Or at least that’s the case for me, and seems to be the case for most of my peers that I know. Like, I cannot TELL YOU how directly I related to Simple Plan’s Perfect at the ripe age of 12, whereas today, just reading the lyrics makes me cringe with embarrassment.) Anyway, all that to say that I’ve grown up, Fall Out Boy’s grown up, but I nevertheless appreciate their, in my opinion, tongue-in-cheek reference to the genre that started it all nearly 20 (yikes) years later.

That being said, it amuses me to no end how many teenagers showed up at the MANIA Experience, tortured by their abundance of emotions, acting like they’ve been ride or die Fall Out Boy fans since the band’s inception back in 2001, literally before they were born. Okay.

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The absolute craziest thing about the MANIA Experience, though, was the fact that I ended up walking out of it with a free pair of Vans (?!!?!). I got a stamp on my hand when I went in that said “SECRET,” and apparently that entitled me to a free pair of, according to Google, $55 shoes. I’m not sure why I got that stamp, and based on what I saw on Twitter, I think this was only something that happened to those of us who went on Sunday (but I’m not sure), but I’m happy to accept free shoes in my favorite color.

themaniaexperience-vans

Though I do have to say that nothing made me feel old and less emo than my immediate reaction to trying them on, which was, “These don’t have any arch support! When could I ever wear these?!” Please, try to not be intimidated by my coolness.

3. I once again neglected to inform you all of my exciting bird sighting during my training recap post on Monday! Get it together, Bethany!

The strong winds on Saturday drove a bunch of birds onto the shores of Lake Michigan (as in, I ran past multiple clusters of 100+ seagulls. And I do mean that literally: I counted them). About a mile or so into the run, I saw three little birds scurrying around and promptly lost my mind, as I am apt to do (to the point where my group leader was like, “Do you need to stop to take a picture?” Hahahaha. My life.). I had never seen them before, so I looked them up when I got home, and it turned out that they were Sanderlings! I think they were juveniles, but I’m not 100 percent sure. My crummy iPhone pictures make it hard to tell. Regardless, I was so excited to see them! They breed up near the Arctic Circle, so those little creatures had made quite the journey to get all the way down to Chicago! They were total cuties, and definitely the highlight of an otherwise relatively unpleasant (due to the wind) run.

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Thursday Things

1. I spent some time in Lincoln Park (the actual park, not the general neighborhood) over Labor Day weekend, and man, what a lovely part of the city!

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I’ve lived here for over six years, and this past weekend was only the second time ever–ever!–that I visited the South Pond. It was the first time I’ve been there during the summer, and my goodness, it was so nice. I suppose I was aware of the fact that the South Pond exists, but having never really been, it wasn’t at all aware of how beautiful it is, especially with all the wildflowers in bloom.

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I saw a bunch of turtles and fish in the pond, but the biggest (literally) and most exciting surprise was when I was standing on one of the parts of the boardwalk that goes out over the water and a BEAVER swam out from under the boardwalk!

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I had never seen a beaver in real life before, and I can’t say I ever expected to see one in Lincoln Park of all places!

I did not see any Black Crowned Night Herons: a situation I found very surprising in light of the fact that I’ve now encountered three Black Crowned Night Herons along the Riverwalk this summer. One of the educational signs along the boardwalk said that the boardwalk and island in the middle of the pond had been designed specifically with Black Crowned Night Herons and their migration patterns in mind. It also said they were endangered in Illinois. I wonder if that’s still true? I’ve seen three in the past month, plus I saw a juvenile a few years back (in Lincoln Park, incidentally, not all that far from the South Pond). I’ve seen a lot more Black Crowned Night Herons than, say, bluebirds (of which I’ve seen exactly zero in the city, ever), which makes it hard to believe they’re endangered, but I suppose Lincoln Park and the Chicago River are a pretty small slice of Illinois overall, so maybe my perception is warped.

2. I also went to the Lincoln Park Zoo to visit the birds who live there. Though I regularly attend ZooLights, I only remember two other occasions where I’ve visited the zoo for the purpose of seeing animals, so this was also a rare occurrence for me.

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I enjoyed seeing all the birds (related: the sky is blue. Grass is green. *insert other obvious statement here* haha), but the Sunbittern really took the cake.

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It ran across the walkway, flew up to the railing, and then put on an excellent demonstration of its frontal display. It stood on the railing like that for close to a minute, then flew up to a perch more tucked away from the people and continued frontal displaying. It was quite the sight!

All of this time in Lincoln Park, just like the time I spent in Millennium Park a few weekends ago, really made me think about how rarely I take advantage of what Chicago has to offer. I never go to Lincoln Park, or Millennium Park. I barely ever go to any of the museums in the city. I think part of that is just the nature of living somewhere vs. visiting somewhere: it’s much easier to hit up a city’s attractions when you’re visiting and your only obligation is to hit up a city’s attractions. Like I mentioned last week, I don’t exactly have a surplus of free time to spend hours at a park or museum. My birthday is in a couple of weeks, which means I’ll have the day off (my company allows you to take your birthday off without using your PTO – it’s its own separate category of time off). A fair number of museums are free for Illinois residents that day, so I think I might spend my time off exploring them.

3. Some idiot left the door to my fridge’s freezer open all day on Tuesday (that idiot being me, though I’m tempted to blame it on the house fly that had been buzzing around my kitchen all weekend). Sigh. I’m not actually sure how it happened. I know I closed the freezer door after getting my ice pack for my lunch Tuesday morning, but I must’ve closed it with too much enthusiasm or something, causing it to bounce back open…? I don’t know. All I know is that it was definitely open that evening, and that all of the food in it was definitely no longer frozen. The most devastating loss, by far, was the ice cream. It wasn’t even close to being empty! Alas. They say experience is the best teacher, and let me tell you, I have now been thoroughly educated on the importance of making sure the freezer is in fact closed before I leave the house.

Thursday Things

1. I realize I just complained about this (complained about it twice, actually) in my weekly training recap on Monday, but that’s not going to stop me from complaining about it again: I am so. tired. (literally) of the sleeping problems that have plagued me for the past month.

I’ve never been particularly great at going to bed at x time and waking up at y time without waking up sometime in the middle, but the past month or so has been WAY beyond what I’m used to. I would guess in an average week, I probably wake up during the middle of the night maybe four days out of seven. I don’t know why I wake up, but I usually fall back asleep within fiveish minutes. This past month, by contrast, has been a (metaphorical) nightmare. I’ll wake up sometime in the middle of the night, again for reasons I don’t know, but instead of falling back asleep, I’ll lay there for an hour, hour and a half, two hours, sometimes for the rest of the night, getting angrier and angrier and never falling back asleep. To say that this has been a major source of frustration for me would be an ENORMOUS understatement.

I’m sure this would be frustrating regardless of my morning circumstances, but it’s particularly frustrating because it’s not like I can just sleep in an extra two hours to make up for the sleep I miss between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. I still have to drag myself out of bed to go to work, or to do my Saturday morning long run, or to go to church. I can kind of handle it on weekends, because at least I have the option to nap on Saturday and Sunday, but on weekdays it’s just brutal. I have a short fuse at work all day and spend most of my eight hours resenting the fact that I have to be there, which is not exactly great for fostering a good attitude about my job (a job I do, generally, enjoy).

I don’t know why this has started to be such a problem lately. I’ve had one-night encounters with insomnia on a handful of occasions since I started college 10 years ago, but I’m almost positive I’ve eclipsed my count from the previous 10 years in the past month alone. It’s gone from being a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of situation to a two-to-three-nights-per-week sort of situation and I am OVER IT. I’m especially over it because I don’t understand why it’s happening. I haven’t changed my diet, daily habits, or getting ready for bed routine. I got new sheets right around when this started happening, so maybe that’s part of the problem? It doesn’t seem like sheets should have THAT dramatic of an impact on my ability to sleep. This is hardly the first time in my life I’ve switched sheets, after all, and I’ve never battled insomnia as a result of new bedding in the past. Whatever it is, I hope it goes away soon.

2. On a related note, I am so ready for the upcoming three day weekend. I’ve been desperate for some time off, particularly time off that doesn’t require me taking PTO (because that obviously happens all the time, where I’m just given free days off of work with no consequence whatsoever. /sarcasm), and I’ve been looking forward to Labor Day for months. Of course, I still have way too much to do this weekend, but at least I’ll have one more day to do it.

My therapist asked me on Tuesday if she thought I had enough time to relax each day, and I, without even having to think about it, said, “No, not at all.” Obviously marathon season, particularly this time of marathon season, makes that worse–having to devote between one and three+ hours to just to the action of exercise every day, never mind all of the exercise-adjacent things that come along with that (stretching, foam rolling, showering, etc.) doesn’t do much to increase one’s available free time. But even when it’s not marathon season and I’m just doing closer to the normal, AHA-recommended 30 minutes per day five days per week sort of thing, my available time to relax per day is still a joke. I’m lucky to have two free hours per weeknight on those days, and right now, during the bulk of marathon season? Forget it. I’m happy to get 30 free minutes per weeknight. And that “free time” is less “sit on the couch and do nothing” time so much as it is “make/eat dinner, do dinner dishes, get everything in order for tomorrow, and THEN sit on the couch and do nothing” time. Having no free time on weeknights obviously means everything that needs to get done–cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.–gets shoved to the weekends, along with any socializing at all, so there goes my available free time to relax on weekends to. And I don’t see any way around this, other than to quit my job or quit exercising, neither of which is a particularly viable option.

I realize my situation is not at all unique, and, honestly, not even all that new for me. I’ve been in this boat since I graduated from college. And I realize that however limited I think my free time is is NOTHING compared to what anyone raising a family deals with. I guess the grind is just wearing on me more than usual these days, and I feel like whining about it.

3. And to conclude today’s post, I present to you OneRepublic’s newest music video, in which my brother plays the most minor of roles:

Around the 2:00 mark where you see the whole crowd? He’s in that crowd. Somewhere. Even he doesn’t seem to know exactly where, but he’s in it. He was in New York last month, and I saw OneRepublic put out a call on Facebook for extras in their music video that would be filming in New York the next day. I sent it on to him, he emailed the address in the Facebook post, and voila. He got to be in a music video. I told him if he got his SAG card from this that I expected to be the first person he thanked if he were to win an award someday, but I’m guessing, “One of hundreds of people with their arms in the air for approximately four seconds of a music video,” probably doesn’t cut it 😛

Thursday Things

1. After wondering a couple of weeks ago if I should try eBooks from the Chicago Public Library, I’m happy to announce that it took approximately two minutes for me to go from unfamiliar with how the process worked to FULLY OBSESSED WITH IT.

I downloaded Libby, the companion app to Overdrive (one of the eContent vendors for CPL) and it has changed my life–which I know sounds dramatic, but it’s true. All I want to do now is read. I’ve gone from using my phone as a way of feverishly checking social media to a way of actually doing something useful with my time. I thought I’d have a hard time reading on my phone–too easy to get distracted by all the other apps–but so far, I haven’t found that to be the case at all. If anything, Libby is distracting from my other apps!

Currently, I’m in the midst of feverishly, finally, working my way through The Devil in the White City. The Devil in the White City has been on my reading list for years, but I never wanted to go through the wait of putting it on hold at the library. When I saw on Libby that it would be “available soon,” I thought that meant “eventually in the distant future.” Boy, was I wrong about that. My hold came through much quicker than I anticipated, which meant I had to blow through the book I had checked out initially (I Sailed with Magellan) in order to get around to The Devil in the White City. Whether or not I’ll finish it before it’s due in nine days is definitely up in the air, but if I don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying! It also helps that the book is super engaging, and I have to tear myself away from it every time I need to stop reading.

So, moral of the story: Libby is amazing and I HIGHLY recommend it if you are a CPL cardholder (or if your local public library uses Overdrive/Libby).

2. While we’re on the topic of Bethany’s App Recommendations (the reason you all come here, I’m sure), a month and a half ago I started using Daylio, another app I highly recommend.

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed that when I’m in a mood that I would put under the general umbrella of “bad,” particularly if I’m feeling depressed, anxious, or annoyed, I have a tendency to make the assumption that since I’m feeling bad in that moment, I have always felt bad and will always continue to feel bad. That’s obviously not true, and while logically I knew it wasn’t true, that didn’t keep me from that line of thinking. It occurred to me that perhaps it would help to keep a closer eye on my moods, ideally in a convenient format, so I would have some concrete evidence that life is not always bad.

Enter Daylio. All I have to do is open the app, tap the icon in the center, and rate my current mood on a scale of “rad” to “awful.” (I also created several subcategories for “bad,” because if that’s not on brand, I don’t know what is 😛 But I felt it was important for me to distinguish between the various moods I’d consider bad, because feeling annoyed is very different than feeling anxious, for example). I decided for consistency’s sake, I’d try to log my mood after (or around) every meal. I worried that if I only logged my mood when I remembered, my data would be skewed. I hoped that planning to log it after each meal would give me a more accurate picture of my mood over time.

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I will admit I have not been quite as great about remembering to log my mood three times per day as I hoped I’d be, but for the most part I stay on track. And it has been quite helpful! I really like that it averages the three moods I log each day and assigns that average to the day on the whole. It gives me a nice visual that while there might be bad moments in a lot of days, overall, my life isn’t even close to as miserable as I tend to think it is when I’m especially down or anxious.

3. BOY is it nice to have some comfortable weather for a change! I know it’s probably not going to last much beyond tomorrow, but that’s not stopping me from being happy about it while it’s here. We turned the air conditioning off in my apartment on Tuesday for the first time in…I don’t even know. Well over a month, I would imagine. Even when it hasn’t been crushingly hot, it’s been too humid to turn the air off. It feels so nice to get fresh air into the apartment and have some air flow that isn’t generated entirely by fans for a change. Of course, it looks like summer will return with a vengeance over the weekend (just in time for the pre-peak week, naturally *eye roll emoji*), but hey, at least it’s nice right now!

Thursday Things

1. I left out some important information from my weekly training recap: I saw an INDIGO BUNTING on my run on Saturday!

Somewhere around mile 10, I saw a bird flitting around in nearby wildflowers. When I saw the distinctive blue of an Indigo Bunting, I gasped, immediately stopped, and crossed the trail to try to get a picture. He was not cooperative, but I promise it was an Indigo Bunting! It was the first Indigo Bunting I’ve ever seen in the city of Chicago (and one of only a handful I’ve seen ever), so this certainly made my run.

Speaking of birds (it’s getting closer to migration season, so prepare yourselves for an increase in bird content), look who else I recently saw:

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A Black-crowned Night-Heron on the Riverwalk! Incidentally, I spotted my first ever Black-crowned Night-Heron in the city (and at all) three years ago. I knew what it was right away this time, though! Of course, it’s much easier to identify birds when they’re adults.

2. OMG. YOU GUYS. THE MARATHON COURSE IS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR.

So, funny story. While doing my investigative journalism on Rock ‘n’ Roll’s mile markers, I discovered how easy it is to look up a course’s USATF certification. It occurred to me last week that since it’s so easy to look up course certifications, I could dig through the list of certified courses in Chicago, which would, of course, include the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s course. If I did this, I would perhaps be able to find the 2018 course before the race officially announced it. And I did! I looked over it, saw that the shape of the course looked the same as I’m used to, sighed deeply with disappointment, and then noticed something new on the south end of the course: we would run past Michigan to Indiana on 35th Street! Yes, this was only a half block change, but it was a change nevertheless! I considered breaking this barely-news in this post, in fact, until the marathon beat me to the punch and announced that there were course changes in a participant email that went out on Monday. The NERVE.

I pulled up the course, and sure enough, there was the jaunt on Indiana. I backtracked across the course and paused when I saw a jog down Canalport. “I don’t remember doing that before,” I thought to myself. I continued backtracking, and found it odd that the course map specifically noted the location of Loomis. Who cares where Loomis is? And then I saw the Mile 18 marker, and that’s when I really lost it. “That’s not where mile 18 is!!” I exclaimed to my empty apartment. “The MARATHON got their own course wrong!!”

I kept looking over the course and realized a bunch of the mile markers were wrong. I couldn’t believe it! How could they mess that up?!

And then I got to the north part of the course, and realized that the marathon wasn’t wrong: I was wrong. They had changed WAY more of the course than realized! AHHHHH!!!!

I have been whining about the lack of course changes to the Chicago Marathon course for.ev.er, so to see that they altered the course thrilled me, even if it’s not quite as dramatic as I had envisioned. My ultimate dream was to run the course backwards, or have a course that still started and ended in Grant Park but otherwise was completely different, perhaps along these lines:

madeupcourse

I will concede that I’m not sure I’d like this course, because SIX MILES on Halsted – oof. Look, I’m not saying that I can come up with a better alternate course. I’m just saying it’d be nice to have an alternate course, especially since I think the current course only does a C+ job of showing off the city. Lincoln Park and Lakeview are interesting, but are they six miles worth of interesting? You spend more time in those two neighborhoods than any other on the whole course, and I don’t think that’s the best way to showcase Chicago (though perhaps it’s the best way of showcasing the part of Chicago the city would like you to see…).

Anyway, let’s analyze the actual changes to this year’s course.

Change #1: This year, we will run past Addison all the way up to Sheridan, which we will take to Broadway. This gives us almost an extra half mile on Broadway.

Change #2: No more Hubbard/Orleans. Instead, we will run straight down Wells all the way to Wacker, run on Wacker (!) over to Franklin, and then continue down to Monroe. Why we’re still going to Monroe instead of down to Adams is beyond me, because the Sears Tower construction doesn’t disrupt street access on Adams, construction on the bridge over the river at Adams–why they altered the course in 2016 in the first place–has long since ended, and making us do the whole Monroe/Jefferson thing adds a turn to the course, but whatever. That being said, by my count the old course had 39 total turns (defining a turn as an angle equal to or less than 90 degrees) while the new course has 35 total turns, which is an overall improvement.

Change #3: We take Damen to Jackson and stay on Jackson all the way to Halsted, rather than taking Damen to Van Buren to Ogden to Jackson. I was not a fan of the stretch on Ogden, so I 100 percent support this change.

Change #4: NO!! MORE!! ASHLAND!!!!! This is the biggest and most significant change to the course in my opinion. Rather than running the full mile of Taylor from Halsted to Ashland, we will turn on Loomis and take that to 18th Street instead. This is so huge! For one thing, running on Loomis will be a wildly different experience than running on Ashland, particularly from a scenery/activity standpoint. For another thing, this means we miss two blocks worth of Taylor Street and two blocks worth of 18th Street, which I personally think is a downside rather than an enhancement, but was also unavoidable. I had a conversation with a Lifetime employee at the Illinois Half Marathon expo in April, and he told me that the city would no longer allow the Chicago Triathlon course to run alongside cars–I’m sure a result of last year’s crash. I’m also sure that this applies to the Chicago Marathon too, and since Ashland was the one part of the course that was open to traffic, I’m also also sure that’s why we’re now on Loomis. While I’m disappointed to run a little less on Taylor Street and 18th Street, I HATED that stretch on Ashland. It was  the worst part of the course in my opinion–even worse than the stretch along the highway after Chinatown–and I always felt it was unsafe. I will not miss it one little bit.

Change #5: The turn on Canalport I mentioned earlier. Rather than running down Halsted all the way to Archer, we will skip Archer entirely (which is also fine with me, as that was another part of the course I disliked) and instead take Canalport to Cermak.

Change #6: The aforementioned jaunt over to Indiana, which we will take up to 31st before merging on to Michigan and continuing as normal.

I am SO excited about these changes. With the exception of the loss of a half mile total of Taylor and 18th, I think all of these changes are VAST improvements. Every part of the course I didn’t like is gone. I am going to hit all the mile markers from eight to 18 earlier than I’m used to, which I think has the possibility to be a total gamechanger. I had this course memorized forwards and backwards and could tell you where just about every mile marker was from an intersection standpoint. To hit mile 13, for example, at Franklin and Lake rather than Monroeish like I’m used to is going to be HUGE. Well done, Chicago Marathon.

3. I was downtown on Saturday and the mood struck to visit Millennium Park. Since that rarely happens, I figured I should take advantage and stroll over.

thebean

I always find it weird to be in Millennium Park. It’s a space that’s so associated with the city, but it’s also a space where I spend SO little time, and I don’t think I’m the only Chicagoan in that boat. I don’t know anyone who goes to Millennium Park to just, like, hang out (or at least not to the Bean part. I know plenty of people who go to the lawn part for concerts, movies, etc.). But you’d think that’d be the point, it being a public park and all! Though I guess that being said, it’s also not in a place that’s convenient to a lot of people (compared to other parks in neighborhoods, that is) but is convenient to the other standard tourist things to do in the city (the museums, Michigan Ave., Navy Pier), so that probably has something to do with it.

Thoughts on the changed Chicago Marathon course??

Thursday Things

1. Look at this crazy duck I saw over the weekend!

duck

I was in downtown Naperville on Saturday and saw this bird along the Riverwalk. Isn’t it nuts?! I scoured the internet (i.e.: did one Google search) to try to figure out why it looked like that. I think it might be a domestic Mallard? I didn’t realize people domesticated Mallards, but apparently that’s a thing, and I guess sometimes people breed them to have white feathers…or something like that. I didn’t really understand the article, so I don’t know what I’m talking about 😛 But regardless, it was quite the unexpected sight!

2. Has anyone ever used the Chicago Public Library’s eBook borrowing? Ever since I started working at my current company (…two and a half years ago), I’ve had a pretty dramatic decrease in the amount of reading I do, because with my new job came a new commute, and that new commute usually required a lot more standing on trains than the commute to my first job in Chicago required. I’ve found it’s much easier to hold my phone than it is to wrangle an actual book when I’m standing on a train, and that has naturally led to a lot more Twitter and Facebook and a lot less reading. I know that you can get an app on your phone to get eBooks from the Chicago Public Library, though, so I’m interested in trying that out. If you have used eBooks from CPL (or if you get eBooks from your local library), I’d love to hear about your experience!

3. And now, a rant.

I am well aware that the majority of people are not long distance runners. I understand that to people who are not long distance runners, the distances I run on a regular basis are incomprehensible. I recognize that people who have never gone through marathon training will likely never understand how I could ever consider a 10 mile run, never mind a six mile run, to be 1) attainable and 2) easy. It does not bother me that people who are not long distance runners might have no desire to run long distances themselves, now or in the future.

HOWEVER.

It does drive me up a freaking godforsaken wall that a person with whom I have routine contact feels the need to constantly–constantly–express how flabbergasted they are by my marathon training. That every. single. time. they ask me how many miles I am running today, ran yesterday, or plan to run later in the week, they insist on responding to my answer with, “*insert number here* MILES?!?!?! I don’t know how you do it!!!!!!” It also drives me up a freaking godforsaken wall that when I provide an answer to a question about long distance running–for example, that if I go out for an 18 mile long run, the point is to not slow down between mile one and mile 18, in response to being asked how much a person slows down over the course of that distance–this person wholeheartedly refuses to believe the answer I provide–in this example, that it is impossible that a person would not slow down during an 18 mile run, that they would almost certainly start out at an 8:00 pace for the first mile and drop down to a 10:00 pace (“basically walking,” according to their assessment of paces) by the second mile)–followed by an assertion that if they were ever to try to run more than one mile, they would most certainly slow down by mile two and/or die.

Look, I get it. (Kind of. I do not get the need to editorialize on other people’s pastimes, since I’m certainly not offering up any commentary on my opinions of their pastimes.) Even though I’ve been running for seven years now, I clearly remember when I was in middle and high school, when I firmly believed my body could not cover more than two miles at a time and that a 5K was 100 percent beyond my ability. I clearly remember being unable to comprehend how a friend could run 13.1 miles when she announced that as her summer plan during college. When you’re not running long distances, the distances that other people, especially people who seem normal (i.e.: not professional runners) can cover is mind-boggling.

But just because it’s mind-boggling doesn’t mean you need to commentate on it time and time and time again!! I have plenty of other people with whom I have regular contact who are able to ask me about my running (“When’s your next race?” “How’s marathon training going?”) without informing me that what I’m doing must surely be impossible or that they “don’t know how [I] do it.”. I am perfectly happy to talk about my running or training with people who are genuinely curious, or at least have the tact to pretend that they’re genuinely curious. Talking about it with people who seem to be baiting me for the purpose of expressing affronted incredulity drives me NUTS.

Have you ever borrowed eBooks from the library?
How do you (kindly) deal with unsolicited feedback about your hobbies?
My approach thus far has been “answer all questions in an exasperated tone and hope they get the hint,” but it has so far proved to be an ineffective method.

Thursday Things

1. I went to the allergist last week to see if I could get some answers in regards to why my arm exploded after I got a tetanus booster in January (well, not exploded, but overreacted), and it was a shockingly wonderful experience!

I was excited to get to the bottom of what happened to my arm, and possibly some other allergic-ish reactions I’ve had as well. The nurse did the whole intake rigamarole–weight, blood pressure, etc.–and then a resident came in an interviewed me for thirty minutes about why I was there, my symptoms, my family history, anything else that could possibly be relevant to the discussion. It was AMAZING. I felt like he didn’t leave a single stone unturned, and it was so nice to feel like a doctor was actually listening to me rather than working to get me out of the office as quickly as possible because I’m an active 27 year old with no medical history who couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with her.

When the actual allergist came in, she told me that she suspects I had an allergic reaction to whatever they used to clean my skin prior to the injection rather than the injection itself, based on the pattern of redness and my description of my symptoms. Given the way I broke out in an instant rash after using a bath bomb in April, the way I break out in a rash if I touch anything washed with Tide Coldwater Clean, and the way I break out in hives when I shower at my parents house, the idea that I have sensitive skin was not particularly earth shattering to me.

The allergist ordered a titer test for me to check on my tetanus, diphtheria, and Hib immunity levels so that if I get pregnant before I’m due for my next tetanus shot, I can have titers taken again, compare my future immunity levels to my July 2018 immunity levels, and use that information to determine whether or not I actually need a Tdap booster. (Pregnant women are supposed to get a Tdap booster during every pregnancy so they don’t come down with one of those illnesses when they have an infant on hand. It’s more cost effective to give everyone a booster than take titers on everyone, which is why all pregnant women are supposed to get one. It is a little odd to me that the allergist didn’t order a pertussis titer, because to my understanding it’s pertussis that’s the big concern with babies, but I’ll allow myself to believe she knew what she was doing.) I can also get future Tdap/tetanus boosters at the allergist’s office if I so choose using the challenge method, where they give you part of the dose one day, see how you react, and give you the rest of the dose a couple days later. She also told me that I can come back any time to get tested to see if I still have the penicillin allergy I was diagnosed with as a child, which was good to know. All in all, a fabulous experience!

2. Getting my titers taken, however, was a bit more frustrating. The lab was swamped, so it took forever to get in, and once I did get in, I had to raise a stink about how I had to be lying down during a blood draw. I do this every time anyone needs to poke me with a needle, and every time, regardless of where I am, I’m made to feel like I’m putting everyone out of their way and ruining their entire lives.

Look, I wish I could sit in the nice padded chair like a big girl, too. I wish I could convince my brain that the half second of minor pain that comes with a blood draw or injection is not a reason to shut the whole thing down. But I’ve fainted three separate times when needles were involved, Phlebotomist Who Has Known Me for Less Than One Full Minute, and I know the best way to make sure I don’t faint is to have me horizontal before the fact so my blood can’t pool in my legs to begin with, keeping me from fainting in the first place. It’s a whole lot easier for everyone, including you, if I stay conscious throughout the entire ordeal, so instead of interrogating me about whether or not I’ve fainted under these exact circumstances before, why don’t you just LISTEN to me when I tell you I’m going to need to lie down and need to continue lying down for at least 15 minutes after you’re done? It’s not like I’m asking you for a whole lot here. “Maintaining consciousness” seems like a pretty small request.

I have every intention of continuing to insist on lying down when shots or blood draws are involved, but it is really frustrating to have to be so demanding about it every. single. time. Is it so hard to show a little understanding?

3. My apartment had a bit of a bathroom drama this past weekend. Our tub had been draining slowly for a week or so, and our attempts to remove the tangle of hair and dirt that were clogging the pipes only made matters worse (to the point where neither the tub nor the sink would drain well. Awesome.), so we placed a call to our landlord who knew exactly which trap was associated with both the tub’s and sink’s drainage and said he’d come by Monday to take care of it.

WELL! When I came home Monday, not only had he taken care of whatever was blocking the pipes, but he also cleaned the tub and sink so well that they looked nicer than they’ve ever looked while I’ve lived there! They were downright sparkling, and I was so touched! That was so above and beyond the call of landlord duty, and I really appreciated the gesture. (Plus, this means I don’t have to clean the bathroom later this week, which I fully anticipated needing to do.)

I’ve lived in three apartments in Chicago with landlords who had varying levels of interest in the place where I lived, and let me tell you, living in an apartment in a building that’s been in my landlord’s family for who knows how long–he was literally born in the building–makes a WORLD of difference. My first place was owned by a management company, and they couldn’t have cared less about me or my apartment. My second place was a condo owned by a dude, and he kind of cared about the condo, but it was clear that he had become less enamored with the idea of investing in real estate over the 10 years he owned the place and was more interested in ridding himself of his landlording side gig (and the condo) than he was in the condo itself. My current landlord has a vested interest in keeping the property in as good of shape as he can, and it really shows. It’s so refreshing to live somewhere where the landlord cares!