Unpublished Opinion

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Running is fun.

Betty and I had a great run after work today. The wind was really strong (and cool) and we had a fun new route. It was the kind of run that reminded me why I like to run. I didn't have any workout programmed in Garmina. I just ran, stopped to enjoy the scenery and then ran some more. Total of about 2.5 miles. The highlight of the run was a visit to Milton Lee Olive Park which honors a Chicago soldier that died in Vietnam when he fell onto a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. A pretty park that I am glad to have finally visited.

Below is the complete route on Google Earth. Below that is what I believe to be a heart. Prince E told me that he would give me $20 if I could make a heart or spell his name out using Garmina. I think I succeeded. What do you guys think?

Monday, August 29, 2005

A new way of looking at things...

Thanks to Motion Based, Google Earth, and a suggestion from Prince E, I am able to transmit the information from Garmina into Google Earth.* See below.

*It looks like this is another idea copied from Shore Turtle, but it is not, I swear!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Suburban Living

Prince E and I spent the weekend in the suburb of Elk Grove Village, house-sitting for a friend. We watched a German Shepard that could double as a pony and a fat kitty cat. It was fairly relaxing and quiet, as the house is on a side street with lots of pretty trees. I told Prince E that this was all a secret ploy to get me to like the suburbs so that he can later convince me to move there. I must admit that it was a great place to run. I ran throughout the neighborhood and then into Busse Woods, a nearby forest preserve. It was great to experience nature and animals. Below are some pictures from the run, as well as Garmina's tally for the day. Note the slightly increased elevation over what I am used to in the city.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Garmina, my new best friend

Garmina (my new Garmin Forerunner) and I went out for our first run today. She is great, although she can be a bit bossy! "Slow down!" "Speed up!" It is very helpful though in keeping me on pace. Also, I really enjoy seeing how my run looks on a graph. I did a little over three miles today.

Here are some photos from the run. (I took this idea from my friend Shore Turtle). The first one is a hill that I ran up at the halfway point and the other one is a photo of a dog beach. Usually there are many more dogs, but it was very overcast today, which I think accounts for the smaller number of pooches. Not sure why that photo looks pink-tinted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Christmas in August

My new training buddy

Special thanks to Prince E.

The Joy of Podcasts

I have ventured into an exciting and expansive new world: the world of podcasts. Now, I realize that I am not exactly on the cutting edge, as these have been around for awhile, but I am fairly certain that my most loyal readers (read: my family), have no idea about the wonderful world that awaits them.

For the most beginner of beginners, a podcast is sort of like a blog, but it is spoken. It sounds kind of like a radio show (some with better quality than others). Basically just a guy decides he has something to say and records himself and gets himself listed in a directory, like Apple iTunes or Podcast.net and then people can download his podcasts.

They have podcasts about everything! I, of course, first looked up running podcasts. There are some good ones. There are a few where the people record the podcasts while actually running!! I have only listened to one and he was huffing and puffing too much. I think there are better ones out there, though, so when I find them I will be sure to pass it on.

You can also get actual radio shows on podcast, like Ebert and Roeper and the Al Franken show. Also, you can get news and entertainment. Many of the podcasts have a subscribe feature so you automatically get each new episode. I use iTunes and each day I open it, it updates with whatever new episodes are on my list.

Oh, and the best part?!?!?!??!!??!
It is free!!!!
Tee hee.

For those of you out there that are regular podcast listeners, I would be happy to take recommendations.

Of course now I want to do one...

Monday, August 22, 2005


E and I are always on the cutting edge of life in Chicago, attending gallery openings, checking out all the new clubs, and, of course, dining in all the new restaurants.*

Following in that pattern, yesterday we checked out a new restaurant called Cupcakes. As the name would suggest, it is a store that sells only cupcakes. The kind of store that I wished that I would have opened. Damn. The cupcake I selected (I could only get one because it was cash only, but soon they will accept credit cards) was caramel apple. It was an apple spice cupcake with caramel-flavored frosting. Also, it had a small caramel candy on the top. It was very tasty, although at $3 a cupcake I don't think I will be making this a regular hot spot. They have different flavors daily and you can register your birthday and get a free cupcake. Also, I overheard one of the owners telling the woman in line ahead of me that he went to Michigan. I hope they do well.

* that is just a lie, to make my life sound cooler.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grizzly Man

We went to see the documentary Grizzly Man today. It is about Timothy Treadwell, a man that spent thirteen summers in Alaska living among the grizzly bears, because he wanted to protect them and later educate children about them. Really, though, he just wanted to be a grizzly bear I think.

Eventually, one of the bears killed him and his girlfriend. (I am not ruining anything here. You learn this in the first moments of the movie). There is a brief graphic description of the injuries, but no video of the incident. There was audio of the attack, because apparently they turned the camera on, but didn't take off the lens cap. However, the director said that the audio is so horrific, he would not put it into the film.

The movie is a collection of Treadwell's footage of the bears (and himself) over the last few years, as well as interviews with friends, colleagues, and the coroner. A lot of the people featured, including Treadwell, were very odd. You have to see the movie to know what I mean.

E says, "He was a goofy motherfucker." I have to agree.

To me the real stars weren't the grizzly bears, but the cute foxes that Treadwell came to befriend over the years. They were very cute and they reminded me a little of Simba. I would like a baby fox.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Laundry Room Drama

As the summer sun beats down on my pretty head, my hair becomes lighter and lighter. This may help explain the little laundry room fiasco that occurred last night.

I took my cart, as usual, full of my clothes. I don't like lugging it up and down the elevator, so I usually just stash it somewhere until the clothes are dry and I can load it up again. This time, I picked a spot near the window. When I came down later to get the clothes from the dryer, I was horribly annoyed that someone had moved my cart. The nerve! Just because they wanted my spot gave them no right to move my cart. With no one around to yell at, though, I just loaded the clothes and went upstairs.

A few minutes later, after I dumped the clothes onto the bed, I tried to collapse the cart and latch it. Then I realize the latch was missing!! Not only did they move my cart, but they broke the latch off! I ran back down (via the elevator of course) to see if I could find the latch. At some point, though, a creeping doubt entered my mind. Was that really my cart? It seemed a little shiner than I remember. The covering over the handle wasn't cracked like mine. Hmm.

My suspicions were confirmed when I got to the laundry room and saw my cart, still by the window. I was a thief!! I quickly ran to the elevator again. (Luckily I had been trying out my new running shoes). Of course the elevator was painfully slow in arriving and the journey up was slow as well. Once I reached my floor, I ran down the hall and retrieved the cart and ran back to the elevator. The whole ride down I was thinking "I did not have intent to steal. It is not theft without intent to steal. I did not have intent to steal."

I got back into the laundry room and there was a woman folding clothes. I panicked briefly, wondering if it was her cart. I quickly put it back where I found it, grabbed my cart, and went back upstairs. That was exhausting.

For some reason, it didn't make me weightless....

A couple of weeks ago, E and I went the Museum of Science and Industry. I bought some astronaut ice cream. It is freeze-dried Neapolitan flavored. We devoured it pretty quickly. I liked the strawberry parts the best. I remember having some when I was little and my school group went to the space center in Jackson, Michigan, which is what inspired me to buy it.

While at the museum, we went to the Body Worlds exhibit. Very interesting, but a little disturbing. They used plastinated cadavers to show the various interior parts of the body (blood vessels, organs, etc). I would recommend it, although you should know going in that you may get grossed out. I knew ahead of time that there was a woman on display that had died while eight months pregnant, but even knowing that, it didn't really prepare me for when I saw it. Still, though, I think most people would find it interesting. It is a traveling exhibit, so it may be coming to a museum near you! (yb: it is coming to Philly soon!)


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No more secrets...

I had to get rid of the anonymous commenting. Sorry for any inconvenience. I was getting sick and tired of the spam comments. "Wow, great post. Are you in the market for a computer? Click here." Yucky.

New Shoes!!

My new shoes came today! Yay! I have to say that Zappos has yet to disappoint me. They have free return shipping if you don't like your shoes and all three times I have ordered from them they have upgraded my already free shipping to 2-day shipping. I ordered these shoes Sunday night and they were waiting for me when I got home from work.

They feel great! Will try them out with Betty on our run tomorrow.

Llama Song

Here is a link to a funny llama song. I don't really understand it, but it has lots of cute llama pictures. One day I am going to own a farm and have a llama. and a penguin. and Simba Kitty of course.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A new little friend...

Back in the saddle again...

For most of today (and to some extent yesterday), I was feeling sort of blah: tired, not wanting to do anything, crabby. Then I went for a run. Ahh, yes, I remember now. It is fun.

It was my first run since the 1/2 last weekend. The training program had told me not to run until last Saturday. But then I sort of just didn't, so today was my first time out. It wasn't too bad. It was hotter than I thought. My knee (the one that gave me all the problems in the 1/2) was a little stiff, but not painful. My feet were really hot though, because I wore the pair of shoes I have that make my feet hot. I decided not to wear the shoes I wore in the 1/2 because I think they have seen their last mile. I ordered new shoes which are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. So excited!

I tried using moleskin on my normal blister spots. (thanks for the tip Stephanie). I had no problems, but I only did 3 miles, so I will have to wait until a longer run to see if it is the answer.

The training schedule for the Nov. 6 half (which I started today) is going to kick my ass I think. It has me running 5 days a week. Up from 3 previously. I probably will end up only doing 4 and doing some other activity on the 5th day.

Wow, this post is really boring, and I am the one writing it (never a good sign).

So here are some things I saw on the run:

A guy talking animatedly on the phone, walking along the shoreline, while eating a freezer pop. Looked yummy.

Two men writing a song. One was playing guitar, the other an accordion.

A pretty dark blue butterfly, with baby blue highlights.

Only 4 other people running. A major difference from weekend mornings.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another Movie Recommendation

Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Where has the Time Gone?


Date: August 12, 2004
Scene: Race Judicata 5k Run/Walk, Chicago IL

Betty and I decided that we would join some of our colleagues and participate in the Race Judicata 5k. Just walking it, of course. It is sponsored by one of the local legal clinics and all of the law firms and public interest offices participate. I had done a number of 5k walks, so I thought it would be fun. We thought we would be the only non-runners from our office, but then VC, another colleague, said she decided she just wanted to walk too.

We got to the race spot and Betty and I giggled a little bit as we watched all the hard-core runners prepare. Our group was pretty mellow, but there were guys from other offices that looked crazy to us. They were doing all these elaborate stretches. They were wearing weird running clothes. One guy had his mini i-pod hooked up to some strange contraption on his arm. They were so serious! We wondered aloud to each other what the big deal was.

We lined up with the other walkers behind the runners and started off. Somewhere around the first mile marker, Betty said that she wanted to start running and had found this program where you walk with little portions of running in it and gradually build up to be able to run a 5k. I said "Oh I printed that off too! The couch potato to 5k, right?!" Indeed, the very same one. Actually I printed it off twice for good measure, because I had lost the first one. Probably because I had it just sitting around for so long.

At this point, Betty had actually done the first workout already. The three of us decided to use the rest of the 5k to try out this method. VC had a watch on, so she was the official time keeper. We were to walk for a few minutes and then run for 90 seconds. 90 seconds was an eternity. I kept looking at her and asking her if the time was up yet. It was torture. They were the longest 90 second stretches of my life. But, you know what? It was actually kind of fun. We kept passing and then getting passed by a group of three female racewalkers. Every time we would start running, they would say "There they go again." And we would laugh. We were running!

Present Day

Flash forward a year later and the difference is amazing. I wear special running clothes. I wear special running shoes. I have a pre-race contemplative stare. I wear my mini i-pod on a funny contraption on my arm. I became that image of the runner that I never thought I could be. Something that seemed completely out there and unattainable. I started this running journey just to see if I could do it. And it ended up changing my life. I am so immersed in the running world that I cannot possible imagine life without it. I plan my weekends, my vacations, my life around when I run, when I train, when I race. I read blogs about running. I subscribe to a magazine about running. I can't stop talking about running!!!

I am not a fast runner, nor do I ever aspire to be one. I will never be like the elite runners who ran 10 miles in diapers. But I don't want to be. To me, running has created a series of goalposts to keep myself focused, a series of journeys of self-improvement, a series of happy races and memorable moments. To me, running will forever be journey of discovery, to see what else it is I am capable of doing and what else there is left for me to conquer.

A year ago today I could barely run for 90 seconds. Last Sunday, I ran a half marathon. Shit, I think it just finally hit me. A half marathon. Great, now I am crying at work...

Happy Running Anniversary Betty!

Oh, the places I've been...

Click HERE to see maps of all the states and countries that I have visited. I had to move them to another page because they were messing up my formatting. And I like to keep things pretty!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Five Reasons Why Running a Half Marathon is Like Taking the Bar Exam

1. You realize part way through that all of your studying/training was for a reason and you are glad you didn't spend that extra time watching TV.

2. Although you never spoke of it, you always had a twinge of doubt that you couldn't do it. You are happy when you realize you are doing it.

3. You spend the first few days after the "big day" sort of lost. For the past two months of your life you lived by a precise schedule, with one set goal. You don't know what to do with your free time now that it is over.

4. People keep asking you about it. It sounds better each time you talk about it and you start convincing yourself it wasn't so bad.

5. You start to wonder what is next.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Recap.

I don't think that it has hit me yet that I finished. I have been proudly wearing my medal all day. It is heavy! And it has a cute penguin on it, which makes me happy, since I love penguins. See the photo of my medal in my previous post.

Here is the 13.1 miles, in annoyingly long detail:

Pre-race: It was great temperature-wise at this point. I wished they would have started the race at 6am, instead of 7am. I used the porta-potty my typical three times and was ready to go. I started optimistically behind the women holding the Nike pace sign for 2hr 30 min finish time. For those that don't know, the pace team runs at a set pace throughout the race and if you stick with them you will finish at the time on their sign. I cannot imagine carrying a little sign on a wooden stick for 13.1 miles, so I definitely appreciated them. I think it was a great idea to start with a pace group, or I am sure that my adrenaline would have made me go too fast too soon. E took a couple photos of me pre-race, then headed to his car to meet me at the 10k point. I lined up and got ready.

The Start: Like most starts, it involved a lot of shuffling to the start. It annoyed me that the group actually started running BEFORE the start line. I would have been content to walk briskly to the start line. I mean we are running 13.1 miles, you think we wouldn't want to add too much more to that, but oh well.

Mile 1: I felt good at the start and was happy to get going. I kept up with the pacers with no problem. They were running/walking at an 8/1 interval, which was perfect because it was so similar to what I had done on the training.

Mile 2: We ran through the part of the McCormick place that is like a tunnel, which was a nice break from the already blazing sun. I drank my water in my belt pack during the walking breaks. It was still pretty crowded at this point, and it was difficult to run without elbowing someone.

Mile 3-4: nothing too memorable about these miles. Just plodding along. My bib number had my first name on it, so people that were along the path would occasionally say "Looking good Simba's mom" or "Keep it up Simba's mom," which made me feel pretty great. (Of course they said my real name, but you get the idea). There weren't a ton of people on the sides, mostly just people who were at the lakefront for something else or people there to support other runners. But it was a nice pick-me-up throughout the race.

Mile 5: I started to feel like I was pushing too hard. I think it was the heat. I decided to stop when I saw E and have my energy gel and rest a bit. I didn't quite make it to that point before I let the pace group go though. I feel like it was around here that we saw the leaders heading back north, but it may have been sooner or later. They were so fast, I couldn't believe it.

Mile 6: Sometime near the marker for the 5 mile point (I can't remember if it was before or after), the path narrowed completely. Runners were running in both directions on a two-lane path and the right shoulder, which normally would be grass or dirt for us to spread out on was a wall. I think there was some kind of construction going on. Being crowded like that in a hot group of people made me even hotter than I was. Once we passed the wall, I went to the shoulder and slowed it way down because I wanted to have my energy gel. I couldn't wait any longer. At that point I couldn't remember if E said he was going to be at mile 5 or 6, so I tried calling him. As I was leaving him a voicemail, I walked past a group of supporters. I think they thought I was hurt or calling someone to pick me up and take me home, because they all said things like "Simba's mom, you can do it!" and "Don't stop now!" And I was like, I'm just making a call.

10k line: I saw E from about 100 feet away. He was standing on a bench. I waved. I was so excited to see him. He gave me another energy gel to put in my pack and refilled my water bottle from the bottle was carrying. It was definitely what I needed at that point. (Thanks again E!!).

Mile 7-9: It was at this point that we began a long, long, straight stretch that would last over 4 miles. It was pretty rough. Eventually we wound around a little and ended up running right next to the lake, which was great. The view of the city from there was tremendous. It was at this point, though, that the pains in my feet were becoming difficult to ignore. I am used to getting blisters on my bunions, and in between my first and second toes, but this was extra painful. My left knee also started to hurt. I have now realized that I must have been changing my running mechanics to try to alleviate the pain in my feet.

Mile 10: I was increasing my walking a lot at this point. About this point, the 2 hr 45 minute pace crew caught up with me and I joined in with them until the 10 mile marker. They were doing a 5/1 combination (I think). We passed a station handing out energy gel and I picked one up. I had been training with the kind they were serving (because I knew ahead of time) and they had my flavor of choice: apple cinnamon.

Mile 11-12: I speedwalked the majority of these two miles. Walking didn't hurt at all. Aside from my knee (and my feet to a lesser extent), I felt great. My hydration level was perfect, I felt very warm, but not wanting-to-puke hot, and I was in a good mood. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had started pouring water down the back of my shirt at the water stops. Would have been better if the water was cold, but I can't be too picky after 2+ hours. Somewhere in this stretch I saw the official photographers, so I started running again and flashed them a big smile.

Mile 13: This was an interesting mile because it went by the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. When we reached the Shedd, I knew we were close to the finish. Betty and I have run that part of the path a few times. I ran walked this mile 2/1 for the first 3/4. Then we turned on to Columbus and I could see the finish line. So, of course I had to run.

Mile 13.1: I nearly started to cry as I approached the finish, mostly because I heard about 20 people saying my name. The clock read 2:58 and change, so I knew I would finish under 3 hrs. I scanned the right side for E, but couldn't remember if he was going to be before or after the finish line. It is difficult to remember things after running that long. I crossed the finish line, but then there was a second pad on the ground a little further ahead so I kept going, but then I realized that I was done. I heard E call my name and ran over to him for a post-race smooch. YAY!!! Finished.

Post-race: I was looking around for the people with the medals, because that was what got me through the last three miles. Thinking about how pretty my medal would be. I got some ice from a volunteer and put it down the back of my shirt. I would get confused a few minutes later when I felt something cold on my butt, because I forgot about the ice. Silly me. E came through the barricade and walked with me as I went over to the recovery area. There were volunteers handing out bags to put the shirts/food in. I asked them where the medals were. I was directed to keep moving. I got a banana. And a brownie bite. Then I saw the medal ladies. I was quite disappointed that they didn't put it on me, but it was such a great medal, that I really didn't care at that point. Then I got my shirt, which is very cute. It has "05" on the back, though, so it reminds me of a high school senior shirt.
Then we decided to leave. I wanted McDonald's: the food of champions.

I had trouble walking once we got to the parking structure. My knee was very painful. Once we got home, greasy food in tow, I took my shoes off and surveyed the damage. I have had blisters before, but these were enormous. I had used tape on all the typical blister spots, but it made no difference. I have to figure something out, because I can't go through that again. And advice would be appreciated.

Once I had my shoes off, my knee felt 1000 times better. It was still a little stiff, but I could walk without feeling pain in it. Thank goodness, because I was starting to worry. I felt very tired. I ate. I had a nap. I ate some more.

I still haven't taken the medal off. (except to shower of course).

Overall, it was a great experience. Everything that I worried about didn't happen. I didn't overheat, my body didn't get tired. If not for the blisters, I am sure I would have finished in 2:30, but I am happy with my finish. My next big race is three months away. Plenty of time to figure this out.

Thanks for reading the post all the way through! It took me forever to write : )


Thanks to E for scanning it for me!
Working on the recap now, hopefully it will be up soon.


I did it! Clock time was 2:59:04, but my chip time should be a bit less than that. I forgot to stop my watch when I crossed the finish line, so I am not exactly sure. Photo of my medal and full race recap soon. I am sleepy!

Friday, August 05, 2005

11 Ways that Training for a Half Marathon is Like Studying for the Bar Exam

1. You are singularly focused on one goal to the detriment of everything else in your life.

2. You change the way you eat, sleep, and drink. How often you have to pee becomes an important consideration.

3. You feel like anyone not doing it cannot possibly understand what you are going through.

4. You become obsessed with knowing everything possible about the BIG DAY: start time, number of participants, where you go when you get there, timing, what to bring.

5. You get annoyed at other people when they talk about the upcoming event. Meanwhile, it is all YOU want to talk about.

6. People that tell you it is okay to fail. But you know it really isn't.

7. You add a whole new vocabulary (Rule Against Perpetuities, Energy Gel).

8. You start dreaming about training/studying. Often the dreams include oversleeping and missing the start. Sometimes you may be naked.

9. You think more about luck than normal. (which is why there are 11 reasons instead of 10).

10. You are irritable, anxious, excited, and hopeful, all at the same time.

11. You get to the point where you just want it to be over already, so you don't have to think about it anymore!

I hope that this means that running the half marathon will be like taking the bar exam because I was a little giddy during the bar. I actually chuckled with glee at two of the essay questions because I had already written out very similar questions during studying. It was during the bar exam that I knew that hard preparation and sacrifices pay off in the long run. Let's see if that holds true on Sunday. Hopefully I won't be naked.

I Think Simba Wants To Run Too

Unusual Pairing

In what may be another sign of the apocalypse, Snoop Dogg will be appearing in Chrysler commercials with Lee Iacocca. In the article, Iacocca states that the commercial was fun to make, even though he didn't understand what Snoop was saying half the time. In the commercial, the two ride around in a pimped out golf cart. Sounds like fun.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thoughts Consumed

I can't seem to focus on anything besides what is about to happen on Sunday, so I might as well write about it. Here are my goals:

1. Not hate it.
2. Finish it. (the medal has a penguin on it).
3. Not hurt myself.
4. Would like to do it in 2.5 hours, but would be quite happy with under 3.
5. Enjoy myself.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Steroid Scandal

I, like most people, was not surprised at the latest professional athlete to be caught using steroids. However, I was not expecting this controversy to hit so close to home. You see...my future husband is on steroids. Whew. I feel better getting that off of my chest. I should have known something was up the way that his dishwashing speed increased and the way that he stopped laying on the couch saying that he felt "sick." I guess I was blind to it, because I chose not to see it. I had my head in the sand. It is not easy to admit something like this.

Of course he told me that his "doctor" prescribed them and they are part of the treatment for his "viral infection," but we have been lied to before, haven't we? Who is next? Simba? Now that I think about it, Mr. Kitty has been running all over the apartment at 4am a little faster than normal...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Running Indoors

Today it was HOT HOT HOT outside and I didn't want to die just a few days before my half marathon, so I decided to run inside my apartment. Which would be much easier if I had a treadmill.

When I first started running and I did the couch potato to 5k training plan (which I highly recommend), there were bits of running for 1 or 2 minutes at a time. Still being a novice and not comfortable with lots of people seeing me run/walk, I either did the runs at the gym or I ran in my apartment. So in a way, it was kind of nostalgic.

It wasn't as bad as you may think. I did more of a jog today anyway, since I am supposed to be tapering. And I only ran for 6 minutes at a time. The schedule calls for an easy 30 minutes today and Thursday and 20 minutes on Saturday if I so choose.

Sorry this was so boring, but I felt I needed to write something or my "fans" would get upset (hi mom!!).