musings on running, life, and everything in between

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Monday Catch-Up Madness 

Last week was rough. I was really, really not feeling training. Like really. And then, my Lauren Fleshman “Believe” training journal serendipitously hit the right spot when I turned the page to the “Hit Reset” photo. Perfect timing. The next couple of pages were all about recovering and taking time to relax. MUCH NEEDED reminder. I actually went to yoga class (bottom left pic) the next day that left me a totally sweat-drenched, stretched out recovering and relaxing runner.

The week was also busy. We celebrated the lovely Patty’s birthday Thursday night. Instead of taking a picture of us, I took a picture of the dessert. Patty decided it was an edible flower and ate it. It probably was an edible flower, but the stem/pistil section of it seemed awfully hard and fibrous compared to the edible pansies I’ve seen so I declined. I’m pretty sure training calls for chocolate 🙂

It was also a little tricky getting in all of my runs since the ankle biters were home on spring break. I have a hard time sitting at home with them, so we made TWO excursions to the Museum of Science and Industry–one of which involved the Lego Exhibit, Brick by Brick. That was pretty cool. I realized I have no imagination for Lego-building though. Pathetic. still, my kids really liked it and there were interactive sections where you got to build and play with Legos. They were probably more excited by that than by any of the actual awesome Lego sculptures.

We also went to the Mexican Museum of Fine Art, an amazing and FREE museum in Chicago. I think my favorite piece was this huge, super-intricate beadwork. I could have stayed staring at it for hours. I was super-mom and even thought ahead to bring paper and colored pencils for the kids to try and copy some of it.

Finally, as my activist-training action for the kids, I took them down to the massive Day of Action on April 1, spearheaded by the Chicago Teachers Union. As a former Chicago Public School teacher, a teacher educator, and having multiple friends impacted both on the K-12 and university level by Illinois budget issues, I felt it was important to go show support. The picture makes it look like it was a great adventure. Alas, t’would be a lie, there was so much whining, complaining, and general irritation. The youngest, who is also a wanderer, also managed to escape into the crowd, was picked up by a cop, and I was called to the stage to get her. Mother of the year. This would be her second time getting lost in a large public space–this happened at the Field Museum a couple weeks prior–and being helped by security to locate her parents. I swear parents would be so much happier if we could chip our children.

Speaking of education, one of my students was demonstrating a reading strategy the other day and she handed out these write-ups. Mine, not sure if it was happenstance or purposeful, was with the word “run.” Love it.

Finally, last long run as a group before Boston weekend. Jen and I are out of town next week and Boston is, insanely, 2 weeks out, so it’s the final group run for our trio (until whatever shakeout run we’ll do in Boston). We decided to go with the hills of the Arboretum. We posed by our favorite sculpture (and those pants I’m wearing are really unflattering, snarf).

Jen and I were also making fun of each other a ton, and I threatened to cut her out of the blog. So instead of tripping each other, we did ridiculous poses showing how we are the best of friends. Ha. We are such great friends that we are going to apply as the two-person “Chasers” for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s weird reality show game, “The Runner.” Because I don’t want to increase the number of people applying, I will make it less easy for you to find the information and not link it. If you’re a runner, though, and have been paying attention at all, you’ve probably seen multiple posts about it already. And if you haven’t, you can use the powers of Google. Hey, how are an academic and a social worker going to make any money otherwise?! We got 6 kids between us to support.

Alas, Patty did not make it into the picture since she was taking it. Kelly (far right), though, who just did an impromptu 50k last weekend, is looking strong! That run was tough, though. We were pelted by hard little bits of snow and a good deal of wind through the whole run. In fact, there was a wind advisory starting right after we finished. Chicago weather has been crazy. It jumped over 30 degrees within 24 hours (and vice versa).

I finally did the math and looked at the actual climb for Boston’s Heartbreak Hill and the climbs from our local runs. Heartbreak Hill is about 95-100 feet climb over a half mile. I’m not sure what the actual math is on the Arboretum hills, but I do know that Big Bertha at Waterfall Glen is about 125 feet of climb over a half mile, so I’m feeling ok about it. Obviously, that’s not been coming at mile 21 of our runs, but still…it’s not quite as insurmountable as thought. See, sometimes the anticipation of something is so much worse than the reality of it.

Anyhow, hope everyone survived spring break if you’ve had it. And good luck if you haven’t yet 🙂 What do you do to recover, relax, and stay in the right frame of mind?

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Some weeks you wish would hurry up and end…

This week is one of them, except it brings me that much closer to some major deadlines next week. Wah wah wah.

It’s the first week of the taper, yet it still feels really brutal for my runs. I tried to do the interval workout on Tuesday, but it ended up being fartleks (i.e., random attempts at hitting the intervals and then giving up/walking/gasping and then trying again). I just could not put the energy into it. It was also on the treadmill as the streets/tracks were wet and not conducive to doing intervals (or so Jen and I convinced ourselves)friend? As long as someone backs you up, your self-lies are totally true.

I rewarded myself with a slow, very easy run Wednesday. It was crazy foggy when I was running by the school track! We’ve had alot of wacky spring weather this week.I also consoled myself with a giant chocolate Easter bunny later that day (post-Easter sale, baby!). I’ve decided that milk chocolate is weird and leaves a gross after-taste. It did not stop me from eating the whole bunny. Sigh. Next time, I will go for the solid dark chocolate bunny instead of the hollow milk chocolate one. Live and learn, kids.

I like to call this “Evolution of Addiction.” Or “What happened to my

One thing that did weird me out a bit browsing the post-Easter clearance awesomeness at Target was a coffee clatch of soccer moms camped out in the middle of the aisle talking about the mean-ness of “the third grade girls.” There were also alot of other women in the aisle grabbing Easter baskets and stuffed rabbits like it was the opening day of a major designer at Target. I wanted to get more stuff (funny how I’m doing the same thing…), but the group’s loud and impassioned discussion about third grade girls and the way they took over the aisle creeped me out so I ran away with just my chocolate bunnies. Sad face.

Today’s tempo run also went badly. I wanted to curl up on the treadmill and cry myself to sleep after doing the first tempo mile. It was blazing hot in there, which did not help at all. I usually don’t sweat that much, but my shirt was drenched. I took an obligatory selfie of my nastiness cuz I think that’s what bloggers do. I was discrete. Ha.Furthermore, my treadmill was trapped on the channel with “Kelly and Michael” (formerly of Regis and Kelly). I have to say that Kelly Ripa frightens me (what’s with this post and being scared?!). She is so rigid/tight in her posture and appearance, that she looks like she might crack. And maybe it’s just jealousy, but I felt like she was purposely trying to flex every opportunity she had. I supposed I should laud her for her dedication and to working on being strong. Blah blah blah. She scares me.

The reason I ran inside this time was because it was raining cats and dogs. Seriously, at a couple points, driving in the rain was almost like white out conditions. Is there a word for that? A grey/rain out?

And because we live in an old house, I was going downstairs periodically to make sure our basement wasn’t flooding.

Jenny finally got her verdict about Boston. She’s not running. She has messed up ligaments and a potential fracture, so her doctor put her in a plaster cast to immobilize it completely and speed up the healing process. We’re still hoping she’ll be good to go to run Ragnar in June. I feel like I would have to run with a cardboard cutout of her if she can’t do it. But let’s not even go there! She’ll be better by then… Anyhow, she’s super-bummed and rightly so, but I told her that now she can just work on healing up and re-qualifying so we (“fingers crossed”) can just run it together in 2016! Obviously, that’s assuming this training plan doesn’t kill me and that my sheer force of will in finishing training will get me to BQ at Champaign. If it doesn’t, I guess I’ll just have to run whatever marathon Jenny does and make her drag me along–literally.

Jen (I know, there are way too many people with that name in my life) have made a blood oath to cross the finish line at Champaign together, holding hands, crying, and possibly peeing ourselves. Ok, she might not have said that last part…and it might not have been a blood oath. It may have been conveyed through emojis, but you know, same thing.

I feel like my brain’s not working and I’m rambling, so I’ll leave you with all that.

Do you buy candy post-clearance at Target?

Milk chocolate versus dark? Hollow vs solid?