Sunday, June 29, 2008


Motivation from Marketing: Recently Nike (apparently illegally) put down posters along the running path in Chicago. I ran across one that read "Forget the wind. Run like a freight train." I'll take the stance that while I don't think companies should feel free to plaster stuff on the trail without permission (or with it, really, since it's a nice run and shouldn't be covered with ads, really) I have to say I appreciate the new motto. I certainly don't run wind-fast, but I can get behind the mental image of a freight train. I like it.

Mileage: Eight miles yesterday. I was beat.

Modesty: Runners often wear the shortest shorts that ever shorted. I'm not quite that kind of runner. I went over to Fleet Feet last weekend and bought two bags worth of stuff. I picked up two of these newfangled running skirts, and I have to say I like 'em. They've got the shorty shorts underneath, with a cute, longer skirt on top. Fashionable! Kind of.

Music: I brought my iPod out on Saturday, in case I was the only one at my pace out there. I didn't want to go all eight miles in silence. But I did have a running pal, so I kept it in my pocket. Well, about the last mile and a half, I told her to go ahead, since her pace was a bit faster than mine (thirty seconds per mile does add up). I put on my iPod for a bit, but ended up taking it off. It seemed distracting. I've always had music while running, so it was an odd change. I did listen to one Leonard Cohen song though, with is rather surprising for a running song. It worked, though. Good beat.

Miraculous Ways: I was running with Greta, one of my pace pals, on Wednesday. I noticed a tattoo on her shoulder and asked about it. She told me about it a bit, and I mentioned I had one too, on my back. We talked about how you think of your tattoos as you get older and such, and I said, "Well, as long as I don't renounce my faith, I'll be all right." When I told her it was a Trinity symbol, she asked if I went to church in the neighborhood. I told her I'd been looking around, but hadn't settled. She invited me to come over to St. James, the Lutheran church she belongs to. I plan to check it out next week. Odd how a conversation about tattoos can lead to a church invite!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running...

I'm finding it hard to get myself motivated for the Thursday non-group runs. If I know the group will notice I'm not there for practice, I'll show up. And they will notice, too, because there are only four of us who are consistently there. But by Thursday, I'm just feeling pummeled by the time and effort all this is taking. I'll work on it next week--maybe I'll recruit a friend to get out there with me.

As far as the group runs go, Wednesday was great. There's another trainer, Barbie, who runs at my pace. This is her first marathon. She was there Wednesday, so I had company. We also had another woman at our pace. Know what acts as an incredible motivator? Having a woman who just last week had outpatient surgery for a cancerous molar pregnancy challenge your pace. (Warning, incredibly sad link, though the occurrences are rare.) She was incredibly upbeat and had such a positive attitude. It just reminds me, like the CFF fundraising does, that I'm incredibly lucky to be healthy enough to be doing all this training.

Last night we had a five-mile run and then did some strength training. I had planned to meet up with friends doing karaoke at a bar in Uptown, but I just couldn't make it. By the time I showered and had dinner, my legs refused to do anything but sit on the couch watching AFI's 10 Top 10.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Week One, Done

Well, I made it through the work-week training. Five-mile Monday and six-mile Wednesday were with the group and yesterday I was on my own. Well, OK, "with the group" more being me and a trainer, and the other guys (7:30 mile pace, egads!) with the other trainer. But I made it, I ran it, and I even made myself go out yesterday alone to do a few miles. I don't think I made it the whole five miles, but I give myself a pass since it was really windy and 80-some degrees out. I did get at least four, I think.

Now I just have to gird my loins for the Seven A.M. 5K time trial run on Saturday. Seven. On Saturday. As Holly Golightly would say, "Quel nightmare!"

And, hello to any Abby & Izzy readers! Welcome to my humble abode. The link to my donation page is over there on the right, under the apropos heading "Shameless Begging." Thanks in advance, and know that if you donate, I will likely get all verklempt and teary.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Please don't kill it! . . . It's unfair."

Yes, I was definitely the runt of the training group. But the group leader, Johann, was as kind as Mr. Arable and didn't kill me. The other three runners took off at a faster pace, but he stayed back to keep me going. I ran all five miles.

I was feeling a bit down about it, about being so slow. But then today my contact at CFF, Jeremy, e-mailed to see if I'd made it to training. I said I had and that I was going to have to work pretty hard to catch up with the group. He wrote back to tell me "the most important thing is that you run your race." It really cheered me up. I think I may adopt that as my motto for my training. That, and "Keep Up, Runt!"

This whole experience has been really amazing so far. I feel completely surrounded by wonderful people: every single donation has made me cheer and feel supported, every e-mail from my new group training leader and CFF contact has encouraged me, and every run has made me grateful for my health and ability to do something this big.

*Just in case you didn't recognize it, the title is a quote from Charlotte's Web.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Five Mile Monday

Tonight training with the CF Team starts. We'll be doing five miles together. The e-mail said we'd do an "easy run so we can get to know everyone." I'll let you know how that goes! I'm pretty nervous about it. I hope I keep up, and that it goes well. And that it doesn't rain! (knock wood)

I went over to the shiny new gym that ate my membership to Sweatshop (LVAC) to tell them not to transfer it. They offered to let me freeze the membership at $5 a month so I could keep my discount price ($62/month) instead of coming back in the fall as a new member (after marathon training is done) at the full price ($110!!!!!/month). I took the deal. It's a nice gym close to home, so it should be worth it for next fall/winter. Sigh. It really is impossible to quit the gym.

Anyway, running hasn't completely taken over my life. Yesterday I worked at CRP's table for Printer's Row.
We sold a few books and had a nice morning, until a big rainstorm blew in. We covered up the books with the table tarp and took cover in a nearby building. It cleared up enough to open back up after about an hour, thankfully. And it stayed clear for the rest of the day, so Greg and I went to see B.B. King close out Chicago Blues Fest. It was crazy muddy, but a lot of fun. B.B. was great. It feels like it's officially summer now, with the crazy heat and the Chicago festival season.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Training Time, for reals

So my cute, grody little neighborhood gym got sold to the big, shiny corporate chain gym that built a facility across the street. Oh, quel surprise on that one.
I debated for a couple weeks about what to do. It's a nicer gym, with nicer stuff, but at the current rate. And get this: two pools, one on the rooftop. Swank, right?
The more I thought about it though, the more it seemed that I'd essentially be paying $60 a month for use of a crowded pool on sunny Saturdays. In the end, it didn't seem like a good way to spend money, what with the lakefront path for running...and the lake alongside it for swimming on sunny Saturdays.
The other factor was this exciting news: running for the CFF team (Support Me!) gives me a temporary membership to the FFC gym just a few blocks away. I'll run with the team three times a week, and do cross training (yoga! pilates!) on the other days. If I can't make it to a team training, I can still go to the gym on my temp membership.
That really clinched it for me. I think having a team there is really going to help me with my motivation. It will definitely help me with speeding up my training: I'm scheduled for five miles Monday! Oh my. I think it's going to be a great summer of working my gluteus maximus to the maximum.