Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer 2012 To-Do List

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Cary over at My Life's List inspired me with her Summer 2012 To-Do List. 

I thought I'd compile my own list.  Here it is!

  • Go to the beach, preferably a mix of the city's north-side, south-side, and suburban locations.
  • Go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and/or a White Sox game at US Cellular Field.
  • Go swimming at one or more of the Chicago Park District pools, and consider getting a pool pass.
  • Have a meal on my building's rooftop deck.
  • Go on a Segway Tour (without losing my balance).
  • Get my bike's tires pumped up from their currently deflated status so I can bike the lakefront path and roam the city.
  • Go to a Farmer's Market and buy something completely out of the ordinary.

  • Picnic and listen to a concert at Millennium Park and/or Ravinia.
  • Go to the Chicago Air and Water Show, Venetian Night, and perhaps the Taste of Chicago or Jazz Fest.
  • See a parade.
  • Just for fun, dabble with some outdoor sports, e.g. kick around a soccer ball, hit some tennis balls, throw some baseballs, work on my volleyball serve.
  • Go on one of those dinner cruises that depart from Navy Pier.
  • Try the Chicago Water Taxi.
  • Explore different Chicago neighborhoods by foot or on bike (Pilsen and Hyde Park, here I come!)

  • Try some new restaurants close to where I live, particularly in Greektown and/or on Randolph Street.  Dine alfresco where possible.
  • Keep up with my marathon training as well as my yoga, strength-training, and physical therapy routines.  (Still debating if I want to maintain my speed-training routine while in the thick of marathon training.  To be safe, probably not.)
  • See some improv comedy at a theater I've never been to before.
  • Go to the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival.
  • Visit southwest Michigan and come home armed with a minimum 10-lb. supply of local blueberries.  In preparation, clear out some space in my freezer.

  • Use those blueberries in as many recipes as possible.
  • Hopefully be successful with my herb-growing kit, and use those herbs in as many recipes as possible.
  • Go to a theme park, most obviously and conveniently Great America - but I would always love to go to Disney!
  • Try some new grilling recipes (watch out, Bobby Flay!)
  • Yoga in Millennium Park
  • Try Pequod's and/or deep dish pizza from a place I've never tried before.  Maybe finally do a self-guided deep dish pizza crawl.

Suggestions?  Anything that I missed?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekly Runner Photo Challenge: Seen On My Run

This week's Runner Photo Challenge:

Your favorite “seen on my run” photo. It can be a photo of anything (person, place, thing, graffiti, animal, cloud formation, etc), as long as it was something you saw while out on a run.

This challenge made me think for awhile.  My running scenery rarely produces much out of the ordinary.  Also, I don't have pictures of some of the more noteworthy things that I did see, like a few funny license plates, or a van for which every square inch was completely covered with fridge magnets (true story!)

Originally, this was the picture I planned to use (which, I confess, I didn't actually see in person, but found through googling "Zentai suit."  Background info on how I came upon this is available here)

However, in the interest of mixing things up and using something that I really did see in person, Voila!

This isn't my own picture, but it does represent what I have actually seen.

On weekend mornings when I do my long runs, I wander my neighborhood.  At some point or other, I usually end up running past the United Center - and one of the neighboring parking lots is home to motorcycle riding classes hosted by Ride Chicago.

I've never driven a motorcycle.  But I find it fascinating to watch the students in action going through their "obstacle" course, making hairpin turns, etc.  It looks like a lot of fun!  You can hear the "vroom vroom" of the engines from a bit of a distance, too.  There is usually quite a diversity of people participating - men and women, both young and old, of all heights and weights.  They all look hard core with their helmets, jackets, and boots.

There are few things that I enjoy waking up very early to do, but I imagine that if I were taking a motorcycle class that I would spring out of bed for it!  My brother-in-law, David, and his partner Patty are motorcycle-enthusiasts, and I can definitely see how the motorcycles would be appealing to many. 

Am I ready to sign up for motorcycle riding classes of my own?  Not yet.  But it's still very cool to see the learning in action every weekend morning.  And I try not to stare when I run past.  =D

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tangents from the day after yesterday

Happy Tuesday-after-Memorial Day!

My mind is a bit of a warbled mess with everything that I've been wanting to blog about.  But instead of my usual word vomit, today we'll play a round of Let's Make a Tangent! 

(By the way, developing tangential thinking is an ode to some of the activities we did when I was taking improv classes.  How's that for getting tangents off on the right foot!?!?)

First off...
Yours truly was thisclose to banditing the Soldier Field 10-Miler this past weekend.  I kept torturing myself by looking at all the postings on Craigslist for people that were selling their bibs for half of what they paid.  I really am trying to be smarter about the races I pick since they do add up in cost (even when illegally bandited at half price), but I really didn't do myself any favors with my wacky deliberations on this race.  I need to stop tempestuous habits like this.

Speaking of things I do out of habit...
I have been meaning to try out the heart rate monitor on my Garmin 305 for the longest time.  However, due to force of habit, I keep forgetting about it until I'm already out the door, and then don't feel like going back upstairs to get it!  I WILL try it sometime within the next week or so.  Never mind adding another potentially uncomfortable device to the already mountainous load of gear I lug with me/wear when I go running.  (Just for giggles, I compiled a list and the full range can include keys, sunglasses, MP3 player and headphones, phone, ID, cash, transit card, knee straps, Kleenex, lip balm, Garmin, Saltstick capsules, hair tie, GU, SPI belt, water bottle.  With a load like that, no wonder it's so challenging for me to build up any speed.)

Speaking of discomfort...
Do women really run while wearing those sports tank tops with the built-in bras?  I found some gift certificates last week that immediately burned a hole in my pocket.  Therefore, to alleviate the pocket burnage and any potentially painful side effects such as sleeplessness and incessant hiccuping, I was looking online at running clothing and saw hundreds upon hundreds of those tops.  Personally I am not comfortable wearing those built-in sports bras.  But it seems that those kinds of tank tops outnumber regular tank tops by a 4 to 1 ratio!

Speaking of gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket...
I love to cook but have always been somewhat intimidated by French cooking.  However, I was very culinarily inspired by visiting Paris for the first time, and Adam and I watched the movie Julie and Julia over the weekend (which, by the way, is a charming flick.  Meryl Streep does an incredible job portraying Julia Childs!)  My inspirations and aspirations have prompted a copy of Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to ever-so-spontaneously arrive at my doorstep by tomorrow.

Chocolate Croissants: the first recipe I'll be looking for.
(Is there an equivalent to "Yee-haw!" au Francais?)

Speaking of tools to aid in making yummy food...
A few weeks ago my mom gave me a Buzzy herb-growing kit.  I don't have much of a green thumb, unfortunately.  I used to have a Chia Herb-Growing kit (yes, Chia as in Chia Pets and "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!").  Surprisingly, the Chia herbs were successful at first (but the tiny little baby herbs were so cute that at first I couldn't bring myself to eat them).  Then the herbs outgrew their starter pots, and when I tried to transplant them into bigger pots they didn't make it.  But I'm going to go ahead and give this new Buzzy herb-growing kit the old college try.  We'll see how it does compared to Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia.

Speaking of surprising early successes for which longevity is questionable...
My jetlag has continued to serve me well with waking up early to run/workout before going to work.  I've maintained these early morning workouts for a week now!  Believe it or not, I am actually enjoying getting my workout out of the way early so that I have the rest of the day free to focus on everything else.  Plus, it's nice when the early-morning streets are so quiet and free of traffic.  However, it is surprising how much activity there still is even at those hours of the morning.  E.g. dog walkers with their pups, construction workers in bulldozers, squirrels duking it out over the largest acorns.

Speaking of early-morning running and also of wacky deliberations (refer to Soldier Field 10-Miler banditing deliberations above, how's that for coming full circle!) 
I need to make my decision soon, VERY soon, regarding whether or not I'm going to join a CARA marathon training group or if I'm going to train alone.  I honestly still can't decide.  Getting into a groove with my early-morning workouts over the past week has helped push me towards CARA's training group, but I'm still not sure if I can reasonably commit myself to 18 consecutive weekends of doing it?

Stay tuned, more rounds of Let's Make A Tangent may be coming soon to a computer screen near you!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weekly Runner Photo Challenge: My Worst Race

Since I've been out of town, I'm a few days late for one of Maggie's Weekly Runner Photo Challenges.  However, the topic (below) was so intriguing that I'm posting a response for it anyways.

Your worst race. Not necessarily your worst race photo, but a photo or representation of your worst race to date. It can be a photo of you before, during or after the race, or if you don’t have one, something that represents the race (maybe your bib, shirt, medal). And an explanation of why it was your worst race.

Eight words: The 2011 Magellan Development Chicago Spring Half Marathon.  (Try saying that five times fast.)

Phyllis the Penguin wearing my race medal.
It was hard to get Phyllis to stay upright long enough to model this picture.
She kept toppling forward from the weight of the medal.

It's not a coincidence that my medal from that race is being modeled by a giant penguin.  The weather conditions on May 15, 2011, were suited more towards penguins.  The winds were brutal, coming at us at 30-40 MPH.  Unfortunately, the course was right on the lakefront so there was nothing to blunt the force of those winds.  The temperatures were the 30s and it was raining/sleeting sideways.  It stung my eyes so much that I was literally trying to run hunched over 90 degrees.  It was hard just to walk, let alone run.

Hunching over 90 degrees while on a bike = aerodynamic.
Hunching over 90 degrees while running = FAIL.

At the time I didn't know much about fueling during races.  I'd never really heard of GU or Shotbloks or any of that stuff.  I ran the entire half marathon just on water and a cup or two of Gatorade.  Needless to say, I wasn't feeling very good during the latter half of the race.

Add to these brutal conditions that my left knee had been bothering me for several weeks leading up to the race.  I had gone in to get an injury screening a few days in advance to assess whether or not I was healthy enough even to run.  I did get clearance, but was told to be cautious and to stop or slow down if it hurt.  However, as it turned out, I was so cold and wet during the race that my legs were too numb to feel any pain.  In retrospect, this was probably not a good thing because afterwards I was sidelined for almost four months rehabbing my knee.

They say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?  In short, the aftermath of this race in combination with my knee injury taught me a heck of a lot about my body's limitations.  It taught me the importance of proper fueling, stretching, and working on ironing out those muscle imbalances.  Most importantly, it taught me that I am not a machine and shouldn't train like one.

Although, this is pretty cool:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back to the real world

Traveling is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  I just got back from a 10-day overseas vacation (southern Spain; Tangier, Morocco; and Paris).  The travels were very enjoyable – lots and lots of walking;  great local culture, architecture, fine arts, and food; and opportunities to see everyday things from a completely different perspective.

Stop sign in Morocco

It was definitely nice to come home, though.  I am temporarily seeing my home city of Chicago through different eyes - and to me, that's one of the best reasons to travel.  Traveling helps you appreciate where you are when you are NOT traveling.

A few thoughts/recap details:

Vacation Runs 
I only went running twice during the trip, both times while in Spain.  The runs were on extremely hilly terrain, almost comparable to San Francisco-like hills. 

Southern Spain

My first run on those hills was brutally slow and ugly.  But then, the second hill run already felt noticeably better, which was very motivating.  I can definitely see how hill training can be incredibly beneficial.  Believe it or not, I now wish there were some real hills in Chicago because I would have loved to keep the hill-training momentum going. 

Maybe I will willingly do some more treadmill hill-simulations after all.  Seriously.  Getting started is always the hardest part, right?

Vacation Health Maintenance
One of the double-edged swords of traveling is having much less control over your food intake.  I thoroughly enjoy partaking in the local foods in any destination - it’s all part of the experience!  However, unfortunately local food frequently does not equate to healthy or well-balanced food.  In the past 10 days I’ve probably eaten three months’ worth of bread and potatoes, but probably only about two days’ worth of fruits and vegetables.  I can literally feel the food pyramid gods wreaking havoc right now. 

WARNING: Within the next 24 hours, I will singlehandedly be purchasing the entire inventory of all produce markets (excluding the asparagus) within a 7-mile radius of my home, my office, and my local plumber’s union, respectively. 

"Emily was here." 
Home refrigeration capacity be darned.
Beyond not maintaining my usual running or eating habits while on vacation, I also did not maintain my physical therapy routine and I did no yoga or weight training at all.  It’ll be interesting to see how my wonky knee and hip respond.  At the very least, though, I feel much fresher mentally and I am very excited to get myself back on track.

Speaking of which, I met up with Kim today and we had lunch at Native Foods Cafe, a vegan restaurant.  It was a blast!  Great food and even better company!  And also a great way to get myself back on track with better eating habits!

Kim taught me some iPhone camera shortcuts that made this picture possible (thanks, Kim!)

Vacation-Induced Circadian Rhythms
I hope to take advantage of my jetlag in a good way.  I’ve always wanted to go running in the early morning before work, but it is quite a struggle for me to wake up early enough to do so.  Usually when the early-morning alarm clock goes off, I look at it and think, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool.”  Then I’ll close my eyes for 5 minutes, only to find out that somehow within those five minutes an hour has passed by.  How does this happen? 

Looking beyond alarm clock tales from the crypt, this jetlag helps me wake up ridiculously early on my own accord.  This morning I was up and at 'em at 4:30 AM, so today I managed to get in a 10K run before going to work (something I've never done before in my life, ever!)

It was really nice to get my run out of the way so early.  It would be especially helpful to be able to consistently do this in the summertime when the daytime temps will be soaring.  Here's hoping that this jetlag boost will get me on the right track towards consistent early-morning productivity!

(NOTE: Jetlag may result in heightened ambitiousness.  Side effects such as oversleeping early-morning alarm clocks may occur simultaneously and without warning.  While jetlag-induced, you should not make goals you likely cannot maintain.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

On temporary hiatus

Hi everyone!

At the risk of sounding like my "Out Of Office" email auto-response, I am currently traveling with limited internet access.  Therefore, I'll be offline from blogging for a little while.

But never fear!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Waste management

Recycling is "trendy" these days, and this is great for all of us who are environmentally conscious.

Personally, I am meticulous about recycling.  I grew up in a household where we tried to waste as little as possible.  My parents have always been very careful about reducing, reusing, and recycling, years before it became "trendy."  Therefore, I recycle everything I can, including things that many might not bother with (e.g. the cardboard bases in toilet paper rolls, clothing tags, the plastic containers that hold contact lenses). 

In all honesty, recycling is not that difficult.  There are usually two or more bins right next to each other - one for trash, the other(s) for recyclables.  It doesn't take that much effort to choose the right bin.

Now, if you'll allow me just a brief moment to climb aboard this lovely device (you've been warned)...


I get really irritated when I see people throwing recyclable items into the garbage when the recycling bin is right next to the garbage bin.  This happens in my office all the time.  I freely admit that I will move offending items from the garbage bin into the recycling bin.  Someone should do it!

It seems that a lot of people don't realize that recyclable items are not limited to newspapers, aluminum cans, or plastic beverage bottles.  The boxes that contain your packaged foods?  Recyclable.  The plastic tray that holds the contents of your frozen meals?  Recyclable.  The plastic bottles used for your body wash, hand/dish soap, or mouthwash?  All recyclable.  And these are just a few examples.

It's also frustrating to see how wasteful some people can be.  For example, I'll see people grab a three-inch stack of napkins, use one, then throw the rest away unused.  I've also seen people grab enormous styrofoam cups, fill the whole thing up to the top, take one quick sip, then immediately throw away both the cup and the entire remaining contents.  A former work colleague once told me that when she got up in the morning, she would turn on the shower, but then go back to bed for a half hour with the shower still running in her absence.

To quote Keyshawn Johnson, "C'mon, man!"  Surely with some awareness, people can make smarter decisions than those, right?

I could keep going but you get the idea.


Where I'm going with this from a runner's perspective is that I have a few pairs of old running shoes and sneakers lying around the house.  I want to dispose of them in an environmentally conscious way.

The most obvious option would be to donate them to Goodwill or some other charitable organization.  However, it seems that all of the charitable organizations are looking for "gently-used" shoes, even going so far as to say things like, "Please be respectful with your donations, understand that we like to provide good, clean shoes to those in need.”  Unfortunately, the shoes I have in question are super beat up.  They are not what I would consider reusable.  Though not ideal, I guess I could still donate the shoes and let them make the call on whether or not they are salvageable in any way?

Alternatively, I have seen a few organizations located in various parts of the U.S. that ask you to ship your shoes to them to be truly recycled (as opposed to being repurposed).  But there has to be a more efficient method than shipping my old shoes across the country.

Are there any other options?!?  Beyond just throwing them away, how have you disposed of your "very-used" running shoes?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Wine and Dine or not to Wine and Dine?

My race wish list is long.  Very long.  At the top of the list are the Disney races, especially the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

A few weeks ago, I had written about how the Home Team Charity 10K race was my favorite race that I've ever done because it was the perfect combination of running and my beloved Blackhawks.  But beyond the Blackhawks, some of my other top interests include cooking/food and traveling.  And lo and behold, the Wine and Dine Half would cover food and traveling!

I really, really, really want to run this race.  I've been pondering back and forth for months.

The practical side of me says:

"This year you're already running three half-marathons, plus your first-ever full marathon on October 7.  It's risky to run another half marathon on November 10th, just a month after running the Chicago Marathon.  You're already dealing with nagging aches and pains.  Do you want to risk being forced to walk around with crutches the entire winter following?  You think navigating Chicago winter and snow is bad now, just wait until you try doing it on one leg!" 

Speaking of doing things on one leg... (cue the scene from Miracle):

(I'm not sure if that's a good example or a bad example.)

The practical side of me also says:

"This race is expensive!  Beyond the registration fee, you also have to consider all the travel costs associated with going to Orlando for a long weekend... and don't forget the budget for incidentals!"

Some people define incidentals differently than others.

Conversely, the adventurous side of me says:

"You only live once!  The time is now!  Don't procrastinate on doing this!  This race would be unique and supremely fun, and completely different from any race you've ever done before.  You know you'll have the most amazing time!"

As Figment would say, "Use your imagination!"

The adventurous side of me also says,

"Don't worry about 'racing' this race!  Pacing, schmacing.  Splits, schnitz.  Just go enjoy yourself and focus on the important things, like which characters you'll get to take photos with!"

Allright.  Maybe I should look beyond myself and consult the experts.


Up until recently, I had pretty much convinced myself that I would be practical and wait until next year.  But I've been hankering to book a long weekend getaway for this fall after the marathon.  Then I saw that Wine and Dine race registration fees increase on May 22, which got me thinking again more urgently.  While it's certainly not the end of the world to register at a higher rate later on, it would be nice to take advantage of the lowest registration fees while they are available.

What to do?  What to do?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things (Weekly Runner Photo Challenge Week 3)

Week 3 of Maggie's Weekly Photo Challenge!  This week's theme:

What is your favorite running “thing”? Something that you either HAVE to have for every run or race, or something you don’t always have or use, but look forward to eating/using/wearing before, during or after a run. Maybe it completely changed your running, or is something you just really like. It can be something you wear, something you eat, something you use (in reality or digitally), etc, but it has to be a thing.

I debated back and forth on this one because I have so many favorite things in running (although, I guess in theory you can only have one true favorite).  Contenders included running shoes, online running stores, my Garmin (at least until yesterday), my training log, and post-run refueling food/beverage (most notably diluted orange juice and bananas).  However, I would have to say that my favorite running thing is GU.

Prior to last October, I never took in any kind of fueling during long runs.  I even ran two half marathons where my only mid-race fueling was a cup or two of Gatorade.  As you might imagine, I didn't feel very good during the latter portions of those runs/races, and I finished completely and utterly spent.

I started using GU last October.  It has changed my running career.  Using GU makes my runs infinitely more enjoyable.  It makes me feel so much more energized, it makes my recovery faster, and my legs feel lighter.  For a long time, it was incomprehensible for me to ever run a negative split in any situation - but GU has enabled me to do it regularly.

The GU flavors are really good, too.  So far I've only tried Chocolate Outrage, Vanilla Bean, and Mint Chocolate, but they taste like frosting and are all delicious.  I am looking forward to trying more of the existing flavors in the future. 

On that note, I would love if they someday came out with savory GU flavors (Cheddar cheese?  Ranch?  Honey Mustard?)  I've mentioned before that I have both a sweet tooth and a salt tooth, but when it comes to running my salt tooth definitely takes precedence.  If anyone from GU Energy Labs ever reads this and is in need of focus group participants/taste testers for savory GU, please pick me!!!  =D

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How Garmin made a frustrating situation even worse

Last September, I spent a long time researching runners' GPS watches.  It is not an inexpensive product, so I wanted to make an informed choice.  Ultimately I went with the Garmin Forerunner 305.

The majority of the Garmin 305's product reviews were extremely positive.  However, there were certainly a noticeable population of reviews complaining about its lack of durability, its design flaws, and Garmin's poor customer service.  I figured that almost every product out there has its naysayers - but given how overwhelmingly positive most reviews were, I didn't let the naysayers deter me.

In the last 24 hours, I have realized that I probably should have paid more credence to those negative reviews.  A LOT more credence.

My Garmin watch is less than 8 months old and up until recently I've never had any problems with it.  Then last night, with it giving me fervent low-battery warnings, I plugged it in to charge it.  Nothing happened.  The watch wouldn't charge and did not even recognize the charger. 

I did some internet-based troubleshooting.  Suggested remedies included cleaning all contact points with an eraser and some alcohol pads, pushing the watch down into the charger, and trying different outlet/cord combinations.  None of them worked for me.  Finally I tried doing both a soft and hard reset on the watch.  Still nothing.

Garmin's technical support closes at 5:00 PM on Fridays and is not open on weekends, so I was looking at waiting until Monday morning to get resolution.  Anxious to use my Garmin watch over the weekend, and also anxious to be able to use it on a quickly-approaching European vacation, this afternoon I took it to the Garmin store on Michigan Avenue.

I waited while two employees helped one customer (more like one employee was helping while the other one looked on).  Finally a third employee named Gary came by to help me.  I told Gary I needed some help with my Garmin watch.  He immediately said, "It'll cost $19.99 for us to just look at your watch.  If any parts need to be replaced or if we need to do any work on it, that'll be additional cost." 

I explained that the watch simply wasn't charging, so all I needed was to be able to determine if it was the watch or the charger or both.  I also mentioned that the watch was less than a year old, so it was still under warranty.  He said, "I understand, but it'll still be $19.99 for us to look at it."  After more reasoning with him, he finally relented.

It took Gary less than 15 seconds to determine that the charger cradle was malfunctioning but the watch itself was fine.  He told me, "Go back to the register and tell them about it, and they'll take care of you."

I followed his instructions.  The employee promptly pulled out a new cradle and said, "That'll be $25." 

I protested, and explained the watch was less than 8 months old and still under warranty.  She said, "We can't do warranty exchanges here.  I can't give you a new cradle.  That would be theft on my part.  You'll need to call the nationwide customer service hotline."

I tried reasoning with her that I was just looking to exchange a faulty part, so there would be no "theft," and that customer service was closed on weekends.  She just kept repeating, "I understand, but I can't do anything for you here.  You need to call the hotline." 

I asked her what she could do to help.  She suggested that I just buy the new cradle and then return it after I'd had a chance to get a warranty replacement.  But then she said that returning anything would be subject to a 15% restocking fee. 

I asked to speak to the manager, who turned out to be Gary.  Gary repeated that they couldn't do anything for me, and that I needed to call the customer service hotline.

At that point, I gave up and left, feeling very frustrated and annoyed.

I am appalled at how poor Garmin's customer service was, especially given how expensive their products are.  I was frustrated enough that the watch was already malfunctioning within 8 months of purchase.  But I would have been mollified if the store employees had put forth some effort to work out a reasonable solution, or if their customer service hotline was open for at least some portion of the weekend.

Up until this point, I was very happy with my Garmin 305 and had spoken very highly of it to friends and colleagues.  However, after this experience I will no longer be recommending my Garmin watch.  And I will certainly think twice before purchasing any more Garmin products.

So I am currently Garminless for the forseeable future.  Thankfully, I had heard about the FREE RunKeeper app (thanks to Amy, who first clued me in on this tool with her review last month).  It basically does what a Garmin GPS watch does, but utilizes your iPhone as the interface instead.  No better time than now to give RunKeeper a whirl as an alternative, right?  I'll be testing RunKeeper out for the first time tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So let it be written, so let it be done

I was pretty happy with my race results from the CARA Lakefront 10-Miler  this past Saturday.  But then, I looked at the official results and saw that I placed 1,214th out of 1,423 runners - meaning I was in the bottom 15th percentile.  I also read race recaps from others who ran the same race significantly faster than I did, yet they complained about their "poor" performance.  This was upsetting.

I know that the appropriate response here is to just focus on my own training and my own progress without worrying about what others think or do.  And I will.  Eventually.

In the meantime, though, I am setting a new goal/guideline for myself.  This is for me to only talk to myself the way that I would talk to a friend.

For example, I would never tell a friend "You're so lazy and slow!" or "You are never going to improve!" or "Why do you even bother?"  Therefore, I need to stop saying things like that to myself.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

In other news, water is wet.  (I know, I know, stop the presses.)  I wanted to go for a run yesterday after work, but it was raining pretty heavily.

I had too many other things to take care of last night and I just wasn't in the mood to deal with the rain.  So instead, I ran on the treadmill.  And I was quickly reminded of why I try to avoid the treadmill whenever possible.

I figured that I might as well try to find a way to make the most of it. 

The one thing that I can't get much from outdoor running in Chicago is (real) hillwork - but a treadmill can provide some incline simulation.  As much as hill running hurts, I know hill workouts can pay off big time.  So I threw some inclines into my workout and was proud of myself afterwards for putting forth the extra (albeit painful) effort.

Whenever I end up on the treadmill from now on, I resolve to do some hill work.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

(And all the more incentive for me to avoid the treadmill at all costs.  Heh.)

Lastly, I've ended up in the situation many times of being out running errands or stuck in the office and getting hungry, but having nothing to snack on.  Besides how miserable it feels, it's usually a prelude to me scarfing down something unhealthy out of sheer desperation.  ("Hello and goodbye, [insert dessert name here] that is the size of my head!")

It's been said that you are already dehydrated even before you start feeling thirsty.  Similarly, I've heard that if you feel hungry you've already waited too long to eat.  Therefore, it's healthier to eat something every few hours, even if it's just a small snack, so that you never get ravenously hungry. 

From now on I am resolving to always have a nutritious snack available or in tow wherever I go.  (I've found that little bags of Quaker Oatmeal Squares are great portable snacks.  I've already trucked a grocery store's worth of healthy snacks into my office cube, as well.)  I also resolve to try to eat something (healthy) every 2 to 2.5 hours during the day.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

(And the trips to the office candy jar every 25 minutes won't count.)