Goals for 2017: June Check-In

Goal #1: Publish at least one freelance piece
The article I mentioned writing last month got published this month, so I can officially say I accomplished this goal. Aside from that, though, I fell off the freelancing train HARD this month 😦 I pitched one piece and got turned down within minutes, and got no response to a follow-up on a pitch I sent out in May. My responsibilities at my real job increased substantially this month, which left me with little to no free time in front of a computer to buckle down on freelance work (unlike the previous five months, when I had nearly nothing but free time 40 hours per week at the office). I know July is going to be busy both at home and at work, so I don’t have very high hopes for this month. Maybe August will be better :/

Goal #2: Get rid of 50 things
I’m now up to 396 items thrown away/recycled/donated. Staring down an upcoming move does help on that front! I wish I had done this months ago, though. My room is now so neat and tidy and it no longer stresses me out just to be in there and exist with all that clutter. It would’ve been nice to have had more time to enjoy that! I think this every time I move, but I really hope I can exercise some self-restraint in my new apartment and avoid accumulating junk so as to maintain a neater space at all times. I feel so much better and more relaxed when I don’t have clutter, um, cluttering up my space. I just need to stop getting so sentimentally attached to things.

Goal #3: Finish Dutch on Duolingo
Mission accomplished! I finished the entire Dutch curriculum on June 22. I thought Duo would throw me a party, but it didn’t seem to particularly care that after one year, six months, and 22 days of consistent app usage, I finally got to the end of a language. Lame. I’m still reviewing every day with the practice function of the app, but now I’m working on a lot simpler sentences (which makes it much faster to get through each day!).

Goal #4: Stay healthy and out of PT
My runner’s knee knee and strained/reacted/fractured foot bothered me on and off during this past month, but never consistently, and never lingering-ly (<- definitely a word), so I’m not too concerned about either one of those ailments right now. I’m trying to be very consistent about at least some physical therapy exercises as close to daily as possible in an effort to keep both of those injuries at bay.

– Strength train once per week, minimally, during running season: I got in exactly one, abbreviated strength training session this entire month. Way to go, self 😐 I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it looks like my Sundays in July will be a lot more open than my Sundays in June, which should mean more opportunities to get to the gym and cross train like I intended to during marathon season.
– Stretch after every run: Yes! Well, I skipped stretching after one run, but other than that, I was super consistent about this. Stretching is starting to become more of a habit once again than an inconvenience, which is exactly what I wanted to happen.
– Foam roll after every run, even if that means with a Moji rather than a full-blown foam roller: I skipped foam rolling twice this month, but otherwise, I got it in every time. Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot less miserable and painful now that I’m more consistent about spending some quality time with my foam roller three times per week.
– Do at least three PT exercises twice per week: I didn’t bother to keep track of my PT-ing before marathon season started, but since then, I’ve hit this goal every time.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 4

Sunday, June 25: Rest
I spent most of the day in Lake Geneva spectating the Bigfoot Triathlon, and while that did involve some walking, it certainly didn’t involve enough to constitute a workout. I knew I would be attending Bigfoot when I put together my training plan, though, so I had already scheduled this as a rest day, so it all worked out just fine.

Monday, June 26: 7 miles in 1:14:14 for a 10:36 pace + SPF
Inspired by Tracy, I run-commuted for the first time ever on Monday, and I loved it. Running home from work had never really crossed my mind until a month ago or so, but the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like an ingenious idea. It does require a bit of planning on the front end, but it was so worth it. I happened to look at my watch at the same time of day I normally leave for my weekday runs, and at that time, I was already 38 minutes–just over halfway–into my run. The worst part about weekday long runs, in my opinion, is how much of my very little free time they eat up. If I can save myself nearly 40 minutes of time by running home from work rather than commuting home by public transportation, putzing around the house, and then finally dragging myself out the door, it is MORE than worth the planning that run-commuting requires. Oh, and as for the run itself, it was mostly fine. My stomach felt weird when I started, probably because I ate my afternoon snack at the same time as usual, which gave my stomach almost an hour less than usual to digest it before running. I didn’t fuel at five miles, mostly because I was feeling too lazy to put in the effort to eat gummies (ridiculous, I know), and I definitely felt my lack of energy by mile 6.5. I know I need to fuel on seven milers, because I’ve played this, “Well, let’s just see if I can do it,” game on seven milers before and inevitably end up dragging during the last mile, but for some reason I continue to try to see if it’s possible for me to get through seven miles without midrun fuel. Conclusion: it’s not.

Tuesday, June 27: Dance + P
A new session of dance started on Tuesday (an abbreviated session, since we won’t have class on the Fourth next week) and, to my dismay, we are continuing our journey through Bruno Mars’ most recent hits, this time with That’s What I Like. It’s not that I necessarily dislike Bruno Mars, but after spending eleventy gajillion weeks on 24K Magic last session, I’m a bit Bruno Marsed out, to say the least. On top of that disappointment, my teacher kept us 10 minutes late, which really, really fills me with rage. I have a tight schedule on Tuesday nights, and that 10 minutes makes a HUGE difference, especially when you factor in the non-rush hour frequency of the CTA at that time of day, which can quickly make a 10 minute delay spiral into a 20 or 30 minute delay. It is so wildly simple to keep an eye on the clock and start winding things down on time, and the fact that, for the past six months, the stated end time of the class has seemed more like a suggestion than a rule is making me want to tear my hair out.

Wednesday, June 28: 4 miles (pace) in 37:40 for a 9:25 pace + SPF
I’m really happy I got this run in. There were threatening clouds on the horizon on my way home, and when I checked AccuWeather as I started to change from my work clothes into running clothes, it said that rain and thunderstorms would start in 10 minutes (to be fair, I don’t know why I continue to believe AccuWeather’s MinuteCast. I have found it to be consistently inaccurate in regards to 1) when precipitation will begin 2) when precipitation will end, and, occasionally, 3) if precipitation is actually happening right now in the moment. Frankly, I’ve found the function to be so wildly unreliable that it seems like a waste to have it at all. Why introduce technology to put you “a step ahead” of the competition if that technology always, always fails? Beyond that, weather is by its very nature dynamic, and its minutiae is almost always unpredictable, so why even bother trying to predict something so unpredictable?? Large, general forecasts make sense, because it is, I assume, fairly simple to predict the general conditions for a day (this temperature range, that kind of atmospheric condition) with relative accuracy (i.e.: how often do you see a forecast that calls for a high of 30 and snow storms and it turns out to be 60 and sunny all day?). But this attempt at pinpoint, down-to-the-minute accuracy always falls short in my experience with AccuWeather, and it seems like it would just be better to not have the functionality at all. /endrant). I decided to run laps around a 1.3-mile circuit rather than my usual four mile loop so I could get home easily if necessary, but (surprise, surprise), it never stormed on my run. It barely even rained. I obviously ran this SUBSTANTIALLY faster than I actually expect my marathon pace to be, but like I said a few weeks ago, I want these pace runs to feel like speedwork, so I’m quite happy with how this run went. My quads were BURNING by the end, which is just what I hoped for. Also, I would like to note that even though this run was more than a minute/mile faster and three miles shorter than my run on Monday, I only got home 10 minutes earlier than I got home on Monday: further evidence that running home from work is a HUGE time saver.

Thursday, June 29: 45 minutes XT (yoga)
This…didn’t go quite as planned. I started out doing this practice:

But then my internet crapped out halfway through. Since I’m still not on the greatest terms with my parents, I didn’t think streaming 20 minutes of video over our shared family plan data would be the best way to get into their good graces again. Fortunately, I had updated my NTC app the day before, and with the update came several new yoga practices. I figured downloading one of those workouts would use less data than streaming a workout, so I picked one (Essential Strength Yoga) and did it until I had been doing yoga for 45 full minutes. I didn’t finish that practice, either, but I at least have it as a backup now if I need it, and, since I didn’t finish this Yoga with Adriene practice, I can do it again the next time I need to cross train for 45 minutes without counting it as a repeat!

Friday, June 30: Rest

Saturday, July 1: 9 miles in 1:33:54 for a 10:25 pace + SPF
Blah. I did not enjoy this run. Three of our usual group leaders (two of which are the ones that typically literally lead us) were out of town on Saturday, leaving us in the…perhaps less capable hands of two other leaders, one of which never pauses her watch during a run, including at water stops, which obviously makes her interpretation of a “10:30” pace SIGNIFICANTLY different than everyone else’s interpretation of a 10:30 pace. As a result, we were mostly running a bit faster than usual, which felt even more than a bit faster than usual since it was hot and sunny. I struggled to keep up and my mood turned sour as a result. I was annoyed at the leader running too fast, I was annoyed at how cliquey the group in general seemed to be on Saturday, I was annoyed that I had to be out there at all…in general, just not a fun run in any way.

So here we are, one month into marathon training, and I’m already overwhelmed. Wonderful. While I knew the weekday mileage with my M3 + Novice 1 training plan would be a lot, I feel a lot more intimidated by it already than I expected. The four miler I ran on Wednesday was the shortest run I’ll have between now and the second week of taper. If I had followed Novice 1 as written, there would only be two weeks in the entire training cycle where I ever didn’t run four or fewer miles on a run. I know it’s still early in marathon season, and I haven’t acclimated to marathon training mileage yet (i.e.: I will not be referring to this week’s long run as “only” a 10 miler, but I’m quite sure when I have a 12 miler at the end of August, I will think of it as “only” 12 miles), so I hope that as time goes on, this won’t feel so burdensome, not so much from a physical standpoint, but from a free time standpoint. Right now, though, it does feel extremely time-consuming, which makes it difficult to do all the other things I need/want to do: getting ready to move, freelancing, just relaxing in general, etc. All part of the process, I suppose.

Thursday Things

1. Soo…remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about watching the Tonys and how I desperately wanted to see Dear Evan Hansen live on Broadway before Ben Platt’s contract expires, but how it was mad expensive so I would never do it? Well…um…

dearevanhansenorder

Oops.

Shortly after I wrote that post, the New York Times, clearly out to get me, posted this article in the Smarter Living section of its morning roundup (the tl;dr for which is: sometimes things are really, really expensive and it would fly in the face of all fiscal responsibility to do them, BUT if the experience is going to be priceless and you do have the available cash to do it (even if said available cash could be put to better use as it would be defined by a financial planner, like investing it or saving it), you should do it anyway), which obviously did not help convince me that going to one of the greatest Broadway shows of our time with the original cast intact would be a bad idea. Then I told one of my roommates about my harebrained idea, and she encouraged me to do it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so here I am, substantially poorer, but with a very exciting item on my calendar in a few months.

At least this year’s harebrained idea doesn’t involve me running two marathons in the space of three weeks like last year’s…?

2. I continued my unintentional quest to cross as many things off the stereotypical Chicago bucket list in 2017 last weekend with my first ever trip to Lake Geneva. It happened to coincide with my five year (yikes!) anniversary of living in Chicago, so better late than never?

lakegeneva

I went to spectate the Bigfoot Triathlon, but since it was my first time in Lake Geneva, seeing the eye-popping mansions around the lake was also a priority. I found it difficult to dig up information on the houses online, so a boat tour seemed like the best way to see as many homes as possible and actually know whose home/property I saw.

lakegenevamansion

I was a bit disappointed by how few historic homes remained, and every time our tour guide mentioned a gargantuan mansion built in the 1890s that was subsequently torn down later, my preservationist heart wept. At least the Stone Mansion still exists.

lakegenevastonemansion

While I expected this boat tour to be the highlight of the trip–and I certainly enjoyed it a lot–the actual highlight came earlier in the day, when I was walking around Big Foot Beach State Park (the main center of activity for the tri) and saw BLUEBIRDS!

femalebluebird-2

 

I haven’t seen bluebirds in the flesh (feather?) since I believe May of 2016, so this was A Big Deal, since 1) I doubt I’ll ever see a bluebird in the city of Chicago and 2) bluebirds are my favorite songbirds. I was walking over to transition when I saw one fly in front of me, and immediately threw all plans of spectating the bike to run transition to the wind in favor of stalking the pretty birdies.

malebluebird

I had brought my SLR with me to Lake Geneva for the boat tour, but MAN was I glad to have it available for bluebird photographing as well! I saw a female and male bluebird, though the male only made a couple of appearances. Neither bird was particularly skittish, and though I couldn’t get super close, they’d usually let me get within 15 or 20 feet of them or so before flitting off to a farther away branch. I must’ve stood around watching them for half an hour, and it was AWESOME.

 

3. I spent late Saturday morning/early Saturday afternoon at Erin’s house for a Stella & Dot party/brunch she hosted. I’ve been to a similar party for a different jewelry company before but didn’t know much about Stella & Dot, so I figured I was going to end up in a similar position to last time, where I didn’t really want anything but felt obligated to buy something (the “something” I bought at that party, an earring set, did not survive my pre-moving purge). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I like Stella & Dot’s jewelry a lot more, and rather than not wanting to buy anything, had a hard time deciding what I wanted to buy! Having just bought Dear Evan Hansen tickets made it a lot easier to stick to a budget, however 😛

The weather was picture perfect on Saturday, so we spent a lot of time on Erin’s deck, eating, chatting, drinking mimosas, and watching her resident robin feed its babies in the nest on her deck. I was so surprised that the robin didn’t care that we were there! I know several kinds of birds get extremely protective of the area around their nests when they have babies, but the robin didn’t mind us at all and just kept up with his/her feeding routine. It was really cool to watch!

Have you ever been to Lake Geneva?

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

Sunday, June 18: Dance
Graduation #20283472 was coming up on Tuesday, so per usual, we had an additional rehearsal on Sunday. That morning, one of my dance friends texted me asking me if I wanted to bet how many people showed up, and we both guessed there would be two people (aside from us) at best. To our most pleasant surprise, nearly everyone from class showed up! Out of the 25 or so times I’ve taken dance at this point, I can only think of a handful of occasions where most of the class showed up for a Sunday rehearsal, so this was a big deal. We danced for an hour, but I was low on energy and motivation courtesy of some miserable sinus pressure, so I didn’t put forth nearly as much effort as I could/should have.

Monday, June 19: 5 miles in 48:32 for a 9:41 pace + SPF
It’s cutback week, which means all of my runs are supposed to be easy, but you wouldn’t know that based on how this run went. I had a, ahem, disagreement with my parents Sunday night. In my experience, when bad things happen at the end of one day, it’s usually the following day that’s the worst emotionally, and that was certainly the case on Monday. I got progressively angrier as the day went on and hoped that my run would help sweat out my frustration. It didn’t (I don’t know why I continue to think I’ll feel better about things that upset me after a run. Running never calms me down, because it just gives me an uninterrupted 30 minutes, 60 minutes, however many minutes to fester and get more upset.), but that didn’t keep me from pushing the pace in hopes that the harder I ran, the better I’d feel. I almost negative split this entire thing (only missed a negative split with mile two), the weather was SO much better than last week, despite getting rained on for 15 or so minutes in the middle of my run. Even though it didn’t make me feel better, I was pretty pleased with how fast I managed to do this, even if I wasn’t supposed to be running fast. I’ll say it makes up for how easy I ended up taking things last week. (And I did end up feeling better later that night, after a good venting/crying session.)

Tuesday, June 20: Dance + P
I got to dance a bit early and spent almost 10 full minutes doing PT exercises! *pats self on back* As for class itself, we ran through the routine I’d guess close to 10 times during the hour, and then waited around for graduation later that night. Graduation went fairly well, though I definitely knew the combos too well by the time the performance rolled around. When I was younger and took music lessons, my teachers would often talk about the importance of not peaking before a recital, because, in performing arts, there seems to be a sweet spot of being able to do what you need to do, but not having it so ingrained in your muscles that you no longer need to think about what you’re doing and can run on autopilot, which leads to making more mistakes than you would if you needed to concentrate on what you were doing. I definitely peaked before graduation, because both in class on Tuesday and during the performance itself I found myself in the middle of the routine completely unaware of what was happening. I mentally checked out because, since we’ve done nothing but these whopping two minutes of choreography for eight hours of class, my body could pretty much do its thing without my brain paying any attention. When I would check back in, then, I’d be totally thrown off and mess up. Maybe I should stop practicing on my own time to avoid this in the future 😛

Wednesday, June 21: 5 miles in 50:05 for a 10:01 pace + SPF
The weather was so perfect on Wednesday! All I want out of summer is to always have temperatures in the low 70s and next to no humidity. Is that so much to ask?? I really meant to take this run easy, and even though it turned out to be a bit faster than what I would normally consider to be an easy pace for me, I didn’t really feel like I was running that hard. I guess that’s what counts the most. I really focused on a proper arm swing during this run, which I imagine contributed to helping it feel easier. I, like most non-professional runners I know, pay very little attention to what’s going on with my arms when I run. I bend them at roughly a 90 degree angle, and they move when I run, but they mostly move as a consequence of overall body movement rather than as a deliberate, intentional movement. I know this isn’t the best or most efficient way to run, so on Wednesday, I made a point of using my arms to help propel me forward, making sure to pull my arms back and push them forward rather than letting them flounce around like normal. Since I was running almost 30 seconds/mile faster than I would’ve expected for that level of effort, I think it’s safe to say it made at least some difference. It was a lot harder, unsurprisingly, and I definitely couldn’t keep it going consistently for all five miles, but I hope with practice this will become, if not second nature, then at least easier to maintain for longer distances. (For the curious, you can learn more on proper arm swing here).

Thursday, June 22: 40 minutes (ish) XT (yoga)
This one:

I LOVED this practice. It was the perfect balance of challenging and attainable. Highly recommended. I also would like to give a shoutout to the weather for choosing to be hot and humid on a day I already planned to work out inside, for a change. Just walking around outside was enough to make me sweat on Thursday, so I was very happy to do this in an air conditioned house!

Friday, June 23: Rest

Saturday, June 24: 5.75 miles in 58:29 for a 10:09 pace + SPF
The most perfect weather day of all time!

fivemilermorning
Technically, the plan called for five miles today, but it felt weird to run five miles as my “long run” when I had already run five miles twice this week as my regular weekday runs. I also had late morning plans on Saturday and needed to get home, so I took a detour towards the end of the group run and ran (most of) the rest of the way home. Even though I broke the cardinal rule of cutback week–no adding miles to your long run, even if you think you need it–I think it all evens out, especially since, mileage wise, last week really ended up being my cutback week anyway, courtesy of the heat.

It was SO NICE to have a good, scheduled week of training after the insanity that was last week. The forecast continues to look promising for most of next week (or at least the days next week when I expect to run), so fingers crossed that holds out!

 

Thursday Things

1. I’ve decided, possibly but hopefully not too late in the year, to expand my gardening repertoire to things I can eat.

foodgarden

Behold! My vegetable and herb garden.

For reasons beyond my understanding, some time many years ago, a neighbor who moved on long before I came into the picture decided to fill an old-timey claw foot bathtub with dirt, put it in the courtyard, and plant inside of it. A rotation of building residents have used it over the years, and since its former users moved out, my future landlord granted me permission to use it this season after seeing my flower setup. (To alleviate any confusion here: I decided many months ago to move out of my current apartment, but instead of going the Craigslist route like I have in the past, this time I’ll be moving into an established apartment with a roommate I already know. Since I decided to move well before planting season began and knew exactly where I’d be moving, I figured it’d make the most sense to plant everything at my new apartment rather than plant at my current place and try to move everything a couple months later.)

The bathtub obviously has a lot more space than your standard container, and I’ve wanted to try my hand at growing things I can eat for quite some time, so I figured this was my golden opportunity. I’m starting small this year with one basil plant, one dill plant, one oregano plant, and one tomato plant. The herbs, obviously, came ready to eat, so I only have to try to not kill those to consider them a success. The tomato plant, on the other hand, is a total gamble. I have no idea what will happen, but if I can keep it alive and get at least one tomato out of it this year, I’ll be beyond proud of myself. (I bought an “early girl” tomato plant, which is supposed to produce fruit faster than standard tomato plants. Hopefully that’ll help me out in my quest to not fail at tomato gardening.)

2. At the Chicago Flower and Garden Show earlier this year, I picked up a few free packets of wildflower seeds. I planted them on the other side of the bathtub from the herbs/tomato a couple of weeks ago, and really didn’t expect anything to happen, since I’ve never had any success trying to get seeds to grow. But look what happened this time!

flowersprouts

I have sprouts! I have no idea which kind of flowers these may turn out to be, but they look distinctly different from the weeds that sprout in the tub on what seems like a daily basis, so I’m sure they’re from the seed packet. I’m so excited! I also have two packets of milkweed seeds I was going to plant, but upon further seed packet inspection, I saw that I’m only supposed to plant those seeds in early spring or late fall, so I’ll hold off on putting those into the ground until October or so, when I also plan to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs to hopefully have a lovely spring garden next year!

3. I crossed one more item of my Chicago Bucket List on Tuesday: eat at Pequod’s. Pequod’s consistently tops the list of the best place to get pizza in Chicago. I had never been, partially because the rumors of long waits intimidated me, and partially because Giordano’s has the best pizza in Chicago and yes, that is absolutely a hill I’m willing to die on, but on Tuesday I was in the neighborhood with several other people from my company for our annual volunteering day, and our group leader had decided we should go there for lunch. While I still maintain that Giordano’s is the best, I have to say, that caramelized cheese on the crust of Pequod’s pizza really was something else. I definitely see why people like it so much! It beats Lou Malnati’s by a mile, that’s for sure.

Have you ever had Pequod’s pizza?
What do I need to do to keep my tomato plant alive and thriving?

Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

Sunday, June 11: 30 minutes strength training
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. I intended to go to the gym immediately after church on Sunday afternoon, and brought all my gear along with me to expedite the process. When I got to the locker room, I unearthed a shirt, my shoes, two pairs of socks, two sports bras, and zero pairs of shorts. That obviously didn’t do me much good (though pat on the back, self, for being doubly sure to not forget a sports bra, the usual derailer of my gym plans), so I trudged home in the blazing sunshine, cursing the weather and hating everything about summer. My plan for Sunday’s cross training had been to bike 40 minutes and strength train for 30, but since I don’t have a bike at home and had absolutely NO interest in emerging from my air conditioned cocoon to go back to the gym, I ditched the 40 minutes of cardio and just did Body Flexor 2.0 on the NTC app. Better than nothing, I guess, though certainly not what I had hoped for.

Monday, June 12: 2.75 miles in 32:14 for an 11:44 pace + SPF
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. My training plan called for me to run seven miles on Monday, and I had been dreading it for days. The forecasted high for Monday refused to drop below 90, and I knew seven miles on an afternoon like that would not be easy. By the time I left work, I decided it would actually be impossible.

mondayweather

NOPE.

I live in a fairly shaded neighborhood, so I decided to run laps around the blocks with the most shade, going as slow as necessary and taking walk breaks if I felt like I needed them, with the goal of hitting 3.5 miles, but allowing myself to quit at any time if that seemed unreasonable. It clearly did, so when I got close to home at 2.75 miles, I called it quits for the day. I had run long enough to log 30 minutes of exercise for the day and get to 10,000 steps, and that was good enough for me on Monday. Marathon training is all about pushing yourself to get things done even when it seems impossible, but there’s a distinct difference between things seeming impossible because of limits you put on yourself and things seeming impossible because conditions make it unsafe to complete said thing. Monday’s weather fell into the second category, and I’m definitely not losing any sleep over shortchanging myself on a run this early in the season.

Tuesday, June 13: Dance + P
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men! I expected to need to take a rest day today, but then my schedule changed and I was able to go to class. Currently batting .000 on planned workouts this week! *pats self on back*

Nearly everyone forgot the majority of what we did last Tuesday, so, as always, we had to review for way too long and learned basically nothing new. Maybe it’s not fair to expect people to take an eight week adult beginner hip hop class seriously, but…I really wish people would take this class more seriously. When I took my very first class a lifetime ago, I practiced nearly every day because I knew there would be a performance at the end, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. Sometimes I’d forget bits and pieces of the choreography, but practicing it, even for just five minutes, helped me remember at least 75% of what we did, so it was easy to add in the parts I forgot the following week and move on. We would learn three to four combos per session when I started, and now we’re lucky to get through two, because we’re stuck reviewing forever and ever and ever and ever. Obviously I could go take classes somewhere else, but 1) as with marathon training, I’m mostly in this for the social aspect, and this is where my friends are and 2) while I know of plenty of other studios around the city that have dance classes for adults, I don’t know of any others that have a structured schedule where you work towards a performance at the end. Having a performance at the end motivates me much more than going to an hour long class, learning four eight counts of choreography, and then never doing that dance again. So while I could take class elsewhere, I’d rather not take class elsewhere. I just want people to step up in class right now and invest just the tiniest bit of additional effort into this thing they dropped $100+ on.

Wednesday, June 14: 40 minutes (ish) XT (yoga)
This one:


AH, THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN!! On Wednesday, I had a company event out in the suburbs (which I should’ve taken into consideration when I wrote down my marathon training plan, because they put reminders on our calendars about this, like, six months ago.). While I knew getting back into the city after the event would likely be a two-hour affair, I also knew I could very easily duck out during the post-event happy hour and get back at a semi-reasonable time that would still allow me to get in a 40 minute tempo run. HOWEVER. About a week ago, I was invited to Harry Potter trivia on Wednesday night, and since that was obviously non-negotiable, I no longer had time in the evening to run. Because “40 minute run” does not equal “40 minute process” (when you add in warming up, cooling down, showering, etc.) and consider that I had a late night on Tuesday, I knew there was no way I could get in a run on Wednesday. Yoga, on the other hand, was a more reasonable morning option, since it requires basically rolling out of bed and opening YouTube. So, yoga it was.

Then it stormed all late afternoon/evening on Wednesday (which would’ve kept me from running anyway, so I guess that’s fine) and since half of our trivia team was coming from basically Wisconsin, and the other half wanted to take Ubers which, unsurprisingly, had an insane surge on them, everyone bailed and trivia ended up not happening for me anyway. I drowned my feelings in chocolate chip pancakes for dinner instead, because I am the embodiment of healthy eating during marathon season.

Thursday, June 15: 3.25 miles in 33:19 for a 10:14 pace.
AH, THE BEST…oh, never mind. You know where this is going.

Two weeks ago, I was stressing out about how on earth I was going to manage to get in all of my workouts AND a therapy session this week. It just didn’t seem like a possibility. While normally I’d skip therapy on a week when I absolutely can’t find time for it, my therapist is going on vacation for the next week and a half, so my options were to somehow create more time for myself this week or go two and a half weeks without therapy. As I pondered this, I remembered that my company gives us one free half day in June, July, and August that we can use whenever and however we please. Knowing that four additional hours of free time would make a WORLD of difference and knowing that I didn’t have any reason later in June to take a half day, I took my half day on Thursday.

This should’ve worked out just fine, but I got to therapy 20 minutes late, which meant my session went 20 minutes long, and I had also scheduled a doctor appointment for later that afternoon. All of these combined to make it so I literally did not have 40 minutes to do the 40 minute tempo run I intended to do. I set out to try to do a four mile tempo run, hoping it’d take less than 40 minutes, but I went out WAY too fast and absolutely crashed and burned in the third mile. My heart rate was sky high and I couldn’t catch my breath, so I stopped at 3.25 and took a shortcut home. Once I got home, I had exactly nine minutes to get ready to leave for the doctor, so needless to say, stretching, foam rolling, and physical therapy did not happen on Thursday.

Friday, June 16: Rest

Saturday, June 17: 7.2 miles in 1:14:18 for a 10:18 pace + SPF
I thought we were going to break the record for earliest rained on long run, but that ended up not happening. It rained on my way to our run, but stopped by the time I got there. Mercifully, it stayed breezy and overcast for the duration of our run, which made the whole experience one billion times better than I expected. I felt much better on this run than I felt the week before. I’m beginning to suspect that my lack of heat acclimation, though certainly real, was compounded by sunny runs. If it could only be sunny at times I don’t need to run for the rest of marathon season, I would be totally okay with that.

I don’t think I need to say that this week did not at all go according to my original plan. While I’ve been around the marathoning block enough times to know that one week of subpar training won’t destroy the entire season, it was discouraging, particularly on Monday and Thursday, to have things go so differently than I hoped. Fortunately, this week’s forecast looks much more promising (just in time for cutback week, of course 😛 ), so hopefully I’ll get back on track in the coming days and spend a lot less time questioning why on earth I insist on putting myself through this every year!

 

Thursday Things

1. I’ve officially lost all sense of shame.

tennisshoes

Sigh.

I really thought I had a good 20 or so years in me until I started wearing tennis shoes with skirts on my way to work, but clearly that’s not the case. I take a walk at lunch nearly every day, and last year I bought Superfeet flip flops for that specific purpose. While the flip flops are far and away the most supportive and foot-friendly flip flops I’ve ever worn, they’re also quite heavy, and I’ve noticed I have to walk much slower in them than I can walk in tennis shoes. The straps also rub against the tops of my feet, causing minor chafing (though maybe Body Glide would solve that problem?), so I’m loathe to wear them when I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking, like on work days. So now I’m That Person, sacrificing all attempts at style or fashion in the name of comfort and foot health. Though if I were the one making the fashion rules, practical footwear would be the only kind of footwear, so perhaps we can say I’m just adhering to my own style guidelines.

2. I have a gym membership dilemma, and I’m soliciting your opinions.

I am a person who, nine times out of ten, can only convince herself to go to the gym when it is so pathetically convenient, it might actually be more of a hassle to not go to the gym than to go to the gym. If the gym is out of my way at all, I’m not going. My current gym is on my way to just about anywhere and, for times when I don’t feel like taking the CTA, is also a short walk from my apartment.

Later this year, I’ll be moving, and my current gym will be on my way to literally nowhere. I also know that the monthly rate at my gym will increase substantially for me in a few months, which makes remaining a member of that gym fairly unappealing, despite the fact that I like my gym a lot.

I have two viable options for a new gym: joining the one in my office building, or joining one a couple of blocks from my office building.

The gym in my building is certainly the most economical option. It’s $35/month for employees of my company with no initiation fee, members have 24/7 access, and it would allow me to use the showers in the building on the extremely off chance that I someday decide I want to work out during lunch, or run to work instead of taking the CTA. However, despite members having access to the gym at any time, the gym is only staffed on weekdays. This is all well and good if I want to work out on a weekday, which I anticipate will happen with a fair amount of regularity after the Chicago Marathon. For the next four and a half months, though, the only time I expect to regularly need gym access is on a Sunday for cross training, because, believe it or not, I don’t have a stationary bike, an elliptical, or a full selection of strength training equipment in my apartment. The idea of likely being the only person in the gym makes me quite nervous. What if I get hurt? What if I have an emergency? What if there’s one other person in the gym, and that person is a creep?

The other gym is not quite as convenient as my office gym, given that it’s not, you know, an elevator ride away, but is a very short walk from the office. It’s also substantially more expensive, to the tune of nearly $90/month, plus an obscene initiation fee. It also has substantially more amenities than the gym in my office building from an equipment, class, and perks standpoint (unsurprisingly. I’d expect a real gym to offer its members a lot more than an office gym). It’s not open 24/7, but it’s nearly open that often and, of course, it’s staffed at all times.

With how often I expect to go to the gym for the rest of the summer, the gym in my office seems like the most logical choice. $90/month works outs to $22.50/visit if you assume I’m only going on Sundays, which is my current plan. That’s a lot more than the $8.75/visit it would be to use the gym in my office at the same frequency. The lack of staffing just makes me nervous :/ And I can’t exactly bring a buddy to my office gym, because that would require having an office buddy, which I most certainly do not have. I don’t even really have a team anymore (I was previously on a team of three people + one part-time remote person who lives in Florida. My two former coworkers both quit last month, completely independently of each other [one got poached; the other had been looking for months and got an offer one week to the day of the first one’s last day], so now I am, as I very much enjoy saying, “an island unto myself!” But at least my boss’s boss, who has now become my boss, has no intention of letting me go, and now I have things to do at work, which is a nice change of pace.), never mind friends. So if you have thoughts on the best course of action, here, I’m all ears.

3. Raise your hand if you watched the Tony Awards on Sunday! *raises hand and waves it about enthusiastically*

Circumstances beyond my control kept me from watching the entirety of the awards show, but I did watch a fair portion of it (and caught up on what I missed via YouTube the next day). I’ve always liked musical theater, but I feel like this past year was the first time I started really paying attention to what’s happening on Broadway rather than getting into shows long after they’ve blown up, gone on five different tours, been done by every other high school in America, etc. So, due to my newfound affinity for what’s happening on The Great White Way, I decided to watch the Tonys this year.

EXCELLENT LIFE DECISION. Man, what a cool awards show! While the Grammys have plenty of musical performances and the Emmys and Oscars show clips of the nominated work, I think the Tonys are really in a category of their own in terms of putting on a display of the art celebrated during the show. You can easily buy an album that got garnered a Grammy album (or stream it, or however you go about getting your music). You can easily watch a TV show or go to just about any movie that gets an Oscar nomination. But Broadway shows are totally different. You can buy or stream the soundtrack, usually, but seeing the original cast perform any of the show usually requires a trip to New York, which isn’t quite as easy as logging into Netflix. While we certainly don’t see shows in their entirety during the Tonys, we at least get to see part of it, which I think is SO COOL.

I knew Ben Platt was almost guaranteed to win Best Actor for his performance in Dear Evan Hansen, and I was really hoping the show would win Best Musical as well. When Lin-Manuel Miranda turned out to be the one to present Dear Evan Hansen with the award for Best Musical, it was like all of my Broadway interests collided 😀 I was a little bummed that the Dear Evan Hansen performance was Waving Through a Window, though. I really wanted them to do You Will be Found. My brother, who saw the show in New York in January, thought they might’ve done Words Fail, but I imagine that wasn’t on the table because a lot of makeup artists did a lot of hard work on Sunday afternoon to make everyone look pretty, and all that work would’ve been for naught had Ben Platt sung Words Fail. It’s Quiet Uptown from Hamilton doesn’t hold a candle to the emotional gut-punch that is Words Fail, in my opinion. It gets more heartbreaking every time I listen to it.

I also now, more than ever, desperately want to see Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway with the original cast. Ben Platt’s contract currently only goes until November, which doesn’t give me much time, plus tickets are MAD expensive, and not just on the secondary market (to the tune of $250+ mad expensive). I could literally get a round trip flight to New York for less than a ticket to Dear Evan Hansen would cost. But Ben Platt is such a genius…. I need to win the lottery.

Do you watch awards shows? I rarely do, but I could definitely see myself watching the Tonys more often in the future!
Which do you pick when you’re forced to choose: function or fashion? I am all aboard the function train. Give me comfort and practicality or give me…a reason to not have to be somewhere that requires me to wear uncomfortable or impractical clothes. Haha.