Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Car Hat

car hat
The car hat.

I started knitting a hat in the car on the way home from Cleveland today. I'm calling it the car hat. For a while it was the ride home from Cleveland ignoring my son who is having a fit in the back seat hat. But car hat is easier to say.

I'm not done yet, but a good portion of it is finished. I'm not sure who I'm knitting the hat for. Myself, Mr. H., Baby H., one of the kids, who knows. It's a hat. It's a cute hat. It's a hat that has stripes because I have all this different yarn that I am finding different things to knit with.

But at the end of the day, it's a hat. And hats are wonderful things.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Disparate Thoughts

The new scarf that I love, not the old one that I didn't love.
When you start a scarf for your husband for Christmas and then you hate it and so you go out and buy new yarn that you like, that makes you happy, and even though it's only five days to Christmas, you are able to knit over a foot in one day because you like the yarn, you like the way the scarf looks and it actually excites you to knit it. This is why I knit. Because you can make pretty things for people that you love.

When you don't run for a week, even though last weekend you were able to run 8 miles no problem at a 10 minute pace, and you start the run feeling thirsty, you most likely won't be able to run 6 miles at that same pace, and you remind yourself why you need to run at least a couple of times during the week.

When you are feeling frustrated at this world because you feel so ineffectual about your ability to make any real change outside of expressing your frustration on Facebook, and you have a nihilistic conversation with your husband that even protesting is playing into the same system, it's best to remember that all you can do is try to make the world a better place and that small changes can add up.

When you have a son that takes dance class at school and they put on their own version of the Nutcracker called the "peanut" cracker, and he becomes obsessed with Nutcrakers and asks to watch the Nutcraker with you, and he keeps asking when the "Russian" dance is because that's the music he danced to, that's when you remember what a great thing it is to have a child.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lifetime Turkey Trot - Delayed review because stuff

A lovely shot of the woman who
finished right in front of me.
Like all good runners, the family decided to sign up for a Turkey Trot. Runners do this to themselves because (1) we're runners and we do things like this (2) Thursday morning runs are novel (3) the swag - a nice long sleeve t-shirt (4) any excuse to eat more excessively than we had already planned on. This year we did the Lifetime Turkey Day. We've been doing a tour of different turkey day races, and this one did not disappoint. Well, I was a little disappointed that Fleet Feet had only one location (not the one closest to my house) for packet pick up, but since I snagged a ride there from work, and I didn't wait too long in line, I'll forgive them.

The night before the race, Mr. H. and I examined the course map, as you do, trying to make sense of it. Having both a 5k and an 8k makes the course outline strange sometimes. And the quality of course maps can be all over the place - I've seen hand-drawn maps before. This one was better than hand drawn, but still confusing, mainly because it looked like it had us running on Lake Shore Drive. Neither of us thought this was right and prepared for a general up the running path, hairpin turn, back down the running path course. Or so I thought. I've never done this race before, so had no idea they actually shut down two north bound lanes. It's definitely cool to run on Lake Shore Drive, a first for me, albeit a little hillier than the path what with those overpasses.

I had the pleasure of running with several marathon training buddies, which made the miles go by quickly. My first mile clocked in at 10:18, then a second mile of under 10, at 9:49. Mile three I slowed down because (1) I got water and then (2) took off my hoodie that I shouldn't have worn in the first place but it was so cold and I'm kinda sick of being cold, but then by the end of mile 2 I
Mr. H. all alone - yet once again proving
it's lonely at the top,
or, in this case,  in 57th place.
wasn't cold, so I had to take it off, which was difficult since my watch was in the way and I couldn't get my left arm out of the sleeve - mile 3, 10:23. But I made up for it in mile 4 ( 9:36) and mile 5 (9:08). Finishing time 49:58. Not my fastest 8k, but I'm not complaining. I know I benefited from the woman who was pacing with me (whose name I don't know because she wasn't in my training group, but I should know because we've been introduced and now I feel bad). I think having someone who is slightly faster than me to run with during races is really the key to getting myself to run faster.

My general goal in races is to finish in top 50%. In my age group, which they did in 10 year increments, I finished 95th out of 211 - so all good there. Of women, I finished 599th out of 1,218 - so just squeaked in. Unfortunately, overall I placed 1,248 out of 2,167 runners. If only I hadn't worn that hoodie.(By contrast, Mr. H. finished 5th in his age group, was the 41st male to cross the finish line and the 57th person over all. I bask in his fastness). 

After our race, Baby H. was supposed to run a 50-yard dash, but due to (a) miscommunication (b) confusion on where the start line for the kid's races was and (c) miscommunication, he missed his race. I now feel like the worst mother ever, but hope to make up for it soon with a Christmas race (fingers crossed). 

Overall, as usual, it was a fun way to start the day, get a quick 5ish-mile run in and then go home and cook and watch football (which being in Chicago is just sad) and eat lots with loved ones. I know this is kinda late, but Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 18 - Marathon take two

Members of my CARA training group pre-race.
What can I say about running a marathon that I didn't say the first time?

The last week before the race was a mix of different emotions. I was nervous, confident, scared. The day before the race I had a meltdown and almost decided it wasn't worth it. After that I kinda just went through the motions of getting what needed to be done without thinking about what it meant. I got my bag together, laid out my clothes, made sure things were where I needed them to be, drank lots of water, ate some (more) pasta. In the morning I continued on autopilot and it didn't really hit me until my training group hit the  porta-potties before going into the gates (CARA rocks btw because they have special CARA member only porta-potties) that I was going to have to go out there and cover 26.2 miles.

But I did it. And I did it faster than the first time, by about 30 minutes, and I finished in under five hours - 4:50:50. I didn't make my "perfect race" goal of 4:45, but really, anything under five was going to make me happy, and I am. The first 20 miles I had the sincere joy of running with one of my group leaders from CARA, Jennifer. I credit her with keeping me on pace that first 20 miles. Once we split up, I held it together until about mile 22; I was actually having thoughts that I might not hit the wall. But, the thing about the wall, it kinda sneaks up on you. By the end of mile 22, I was smack dab up against the wall and I never really got over it or around it, and I basically lugged it with me the last four miles. But the good thing was, while it slowed me down, I still pushed myself to run. I finished with an overall pace of 11:06 and the knowledge that I can can fight through the pain (at least a little). 

The amazing CARA team at the Expo.
Once I got across the finish line I didn't  have that feeling of euphoria that makes you forget your pain. What I had was a constant thought that I needed to get to the end of the chute before I sat down otherwise the EMTs wouldn't let me leave without checking me out. In a zombie state, I made it out of the chute and then out of the runner area and through the throngs of people waiting for their runners and into the arms of my wonderful husband. It was a slow, but short walk across the street to the CARA compound where I was able to take off my shoes, change my clothes, get food and drink, relax and meet up with other runners. 

So that was my second marathon, in a nutshell. While I've never run any other marathon, the Chicago marathon definitely is special. The course support, as always, was awesome, from the volunteers to the spectators. I can't imagine running a marathon without someone pretty much every step of the way cheering and clapping and saying way to go. 

Other general thoughts on the race:

A great pic of CJ with me, Jennifer and Anne
in the background (source CJ's friend).
The expo was fun and I spent way too much money. I now own three, no four, shirts that say something about the 2014 Chicago Marathon on them.

I liked the packet pick up. Even though you needed to show ID along with your confirmation ticket and the fact that no one else could pick up your bib, a sign that security is a lot higher at these things, checking in and getting the bib was smooth.

The shirt is less than exciting. In fact, it's pretty boring and basic. It's a plain gray shirt with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon logo on the front and the date on one sleeve. It feels more like a BoA shirt than a Chicago Marathon (that happens to be run by BoA) shirt. Having ordered shirts like these for events, I wonder if they completely forgot they needed 45,000 t-shirts until a couple of weeks ago and this was the best they could do.

The woman who put the medal around my neck, thank you. Thank you for sounding like you really meant it (and you probably did) when you said I deserved it and that I had earned it. It's a small thing, but it made me feel great.

To the woman in the bathroom after the race who gave me a dab of toothpaste when I commented that bringing a toothbrush was a great idea, thank you. Your kind act made me feel human again.

I could, and probably should, dedicate an entire post to what it's like to train with CARA, but basically it's awesome and everyone should do it. From the support during training, the compound before the race in the Hilton with special bag check, to the CARA only porta-potties before the race. CARA rocks (and I'm not just saying that because I'm married to someone who works there).

Another great thing about training with a group is you run into a bunch of people on the course. Not only did I run a good deal of the race with Jennifer, but I also had the pleasure of seeing several people from my training group along the course. It definitely helped the miles go by. Plus, I was able to sneak into a couple of their pictures.

Having family members who are dedicated to making it around the course to cheer you on is great, and, even though she's not supposed to, having a sister who runs with you between mile 24 - 25 giving you that last bit of support to make it to the end, well, that's priceless. 

Now the big question everyone asks, am I going to do it again? I don't know. Right now I don't want to. My leg hurts, my brain hurts, the thought of running more than a few miles hurts. Ask me next year when registration opens up; I may give an entirely different answer.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

80s Movies - 48 Hours

So this challenge I have set myself is seeming pretty stupid. I mean who cares if I've seen a bunch of movies from the 80s or not. The only reason I started this whole thing is because one of my friends had actually seen more than me and I couldn't imagine how that could be since all I did through the 80s and 90s was watch movies.

But there are certain that don't need to be seen. And frankly, there are certain movies that shouldn't be streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime or available on DVD, and if they are, they should have warnings at the beginning similar to the Warner Brothers / Looney Toons statement about how this movie is a product of its time but is totally racist but we shouldn't pretend it doesn't exist. So I guess that means I probably should watch this from a historical/cultural perspective, because I have a hard time imagining who in their right mind would think that some of the jokes in this movie were funny, much less OK. Though apparently Nolte thinks this movie actually taught blacks and whites how to talk to each other.

48 Hours was, according to IMDb, Eddie Murphy's first movie, and you know, it was only 1982, so I guess that's why the full on racist "jokes" were acceptable. Of course at the end, Nick Nolte's character "apologies" for his racism and the world's a happy place. I guess if the racism had been tongue and cheek or ironic (like Eddie Murphy's Alfalfa character later on SNL) then it would have been funny. But it wasn't pointing to some long ago character that pointed how stupid we were back then that people thought this stuff was acceptable at all. No, it is (I hope) and example of not that long ago we thought these jokes were in any way acceptable and it's really too bad a black actor even had to take a part so demeaning to get his career started. But what do I know, maybe Eddie Murphy really did think the jokes were funny.

The only other thing that struck me about this movie was Eddie' laugh. So pretty much everyone knows his iconic laugh. Well that's not the laugh he had during the movie - at least not until the very end. I couldn't tell if he was trying out different laughs, or if the director hated his real laugh (or at least I assume that's his real laugh - maybe it's his totally put on) and kept telling him to laugh differently but then gave up. Whatever, clearly he went with the one that makes it into Beverly Hills Cop and that's the one we all know and love.

I can't wait to see what amazingly dumb shit I have to put up with next on my quest to watch these 80s movies. I'm sure I'll be surprised of all the stuff my 8-18 year old self missed during a decade I thought I knew.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marathon Training Week 17

I am now at the point where I am ready for the marathon and scared to death of the marathon. Everyone keeps telling me I should have no problem reaching my goal of 4:45. It seems like it should be doable - that's a 10:52 pace, a mere 8 seconds faster than I've been training at. Surely I can do that - all the race calculators say I should be able to do that. But, there are so many variables that we just won't know until race day.

I love this upcoming week's mileage - 3, 4, 2 two days off and then 26.2. Seems like quite a jump from our last long run of 8 miles. Speaking of the last "long" run, it was cold - cold as in high 30's and actually a few flurries, as in snow. Foolishly I thought I wouldn't need gloves because I always took my gloves off during my winter runs even when temperatures were lower than that. But that was way back when my body was used to such frigid temperatures. Not so on Saturday. My hands were so cold it took me sitting on them for several minutes before I had enough feeling in them to turn the key to start the car.

Part of me wants to fast forward to this weekend - but in an effort to remain mindful, I remember that this whole journey is part of the fun. I'm actually enjoying this feeling of expectation (at least a little bit). I know I put the time in my training. I know that I can do this. But there is so much more to be done this week - relaxing, knitting, running some really short runs, decorating for Halloween, figuring out how people sign up for runner tracking (BoA why do you make it so hard?), finally deciding what I'm going to wear, going to the expo (!). 

This time next week I'll be so happy it's over, but also eager to start training for another race.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 21
Miles left to go: 35.2
Raised so far: $1135.20
Left to go: Nothing - just seeing how much I can raise now.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The taper & one final plea*

Me (right) at the 2012 marathon, Jackie wearing the shirt I
may wear this year because she has since given it to me.
The taper is the period between your peak mileage and your run  - in my case the marathon. It's a weird time because your runs get shorter which feels like you're going in the wrong direction. You also have more free time, which I've been using to eat and obsess about the marathon.

So far I've had ice cream (or an analog for it) every day this week and I've formulated my race strategy from how often I'm going to fuel, what I'm going to wear, and all my different pace options (perfect race, OK race, worse race of my life) and what finishing times those result in.

What I haven't been doing is worrying if I'll be able to pay for the entry fee. Or where the money for my next pair of running shoes will come from. I also haven't been at a loss for people who believe in and motivate me. Providing that support, motivation and funds is a goal of the CARA Road Scholars program. Not only does it help kids create a healthy habit, it  also gives support and motivation in a new way.

I'll be honest, the main reason I signed up for another marathon is to test myself and see if I can improve on my time from 2012. Training to run 26.2 miles is hard; most people have no desire to do this. And that's exactly why charities use races, especially the marathon, to fund raise. They know all of you out there, the ones who don't spend the untold amounts of time running in circles, you think - ok, she's running a marathon, that's pretty big, I should support that. And it works. So many of you have already donated to my fundraising: Amy (times 3), Jackie, John, Claire, Tim, Tracy, Sarah (times 2), Aaron, Katie (times 2), Lucy, Joe, Brian, Jayme, Yaz, Andrew, Jennifer, Meshelle, Paul, Joanna, Alain, Brett, Grandpa, Jamie, Dad, Alexis, you've all contributed and I can't thank you enough. You helped me reach my goal and that contribution helps some great kids reach their goals too.

For those of you out there that have said to me "oh, I keep meaning to donate" and those of you who have thought "I should make a donation" and to those of you who are now thinking "if I make a donation do you think she'll quit asking for donations?", now is the time to make a donation. Hell, it doesn't even have to be to me. There are other Road Scholars fundraisers you can choose from. And it doesn't have to be much. If 10 people reading this gives $10 each, well, that's another $100 - the cost of shoes and race day uniform.

Thank you to everyone who has donated, donates in the future and plans to donate someday. I'll even say thanks to those of you who don't donate because I know (a) you'd like to but don't have the money (b) you have donated to some other runner's charity (c) you donated to some other charity that doesn't even have a marathon fundraising team (!?) (d) you have some other totally valid reason for not donating.

Thank you all for listening the last 17 weeks. It's almost over.

In case you don't already have it, here's the link to my fundraising page:

*May not actually be my final plea.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marathon Training Weeks 15 & 16

Pre run looking happy.
Note: I had this great post written last Monday about my wonderful 20-mile run and how great CARA is, and how great Ready to Run is, and how great my pace group leaders and training buddies are, and how great the weather was, basically just how great everything was, but then I did something and it didn't save and then it was gone. So instead of trying again later, I threw in the towel, figured you all had enough of me going on and on about marathon training anyway.

Short version is: Great run, as I mentioned, nice day, felt really good after the run and am now feeling pretty confident I can achieve my goal of a 4:45 finish time barring some unforeseen event.

There were a few things different between the first time I ran 20 miles and this last time. First, the weather was much nicer - cool and overcast for most of the run. More importantly is the amount of training I've done and the base I had coming into marathon training. It has made all the difference. I figured out the other day I missed almost 100 miles of training in 2012; this year, I've missed less than 20. Consistency is the key.

Post run - amazingly, still happy.
But putting in the miles does take a lot of time. I've had people ask me how I find the time to train with a four year old at home. And while it can be challenging, especially more so when you're married to someone who also spends a good amount of time running, it's totally doable - if that's the thing you want to do. I get up early a few days a week, I run home one day a week and I hire a babysitter on Saturday mornings, or he stays over at my sister's house the night before. Sure, there are times I think that my son will one day be sitting on a therapist couch talking about how we would have rather gone running on Saturday mornings for hours at a time instead of make him pancakes. But honestly, if this is the worse thing we do to him, I think he'll live. Of more concern to him right now is why we don't buy him every single toy he sees.

Back to running. I wisely took the Monday after the 20-miler off to rest and relax. So I went to a yoga class which was a wonderful way to stretch out. All day I was surprised at how well I felt. The next day, when I went out for my morning five mile run, didn't feel as great. It wasn't a terrible run, but I definitely felt the 20-miles. The terrible run came the next day. The eight miles home felt worse than the 20 miles. My legs felt like lead the entire time. I kept waiting for them to warm up which finally happened at mile seven. However, by Saturday morning, with only a 12-mile run, I was back to my usual self. There was even part of me that wanted to push it toward the end. I settled with running up Cricket hill.

So now I'm at the point where I'm figuring out my game plan for the day of the race. I'm going to try to keep at a 10:50 pace for the first half and then see if I can either negative split or stay at that pace to finish. I'd hit the finish line around 4:44 - and that would be 39 minutes faster than my first marathon. But we'll see - I'm still not totally confident that's how it will turn out.

Stats for the last two weeks:
Miles run: 69
Miles left to go: 56.2
Raised so far: $1075.20
Left to go: Nothing - just seeing how much I can raise now.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Backpack Review - Osprey Verve 9

Yesterday I did my 10-mile mid-week run - the longest Wednesday run. The weather was once again really nice, and I kept a pretty good pace the entire time. It was also the second time I ran with my new backpack.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I bought a new backpack for my runs home. I had been using an old Camel Back without the bladder. The only things that fit were my phone, wallet, keys and glasses. I was leaving everything else (clothes, lunch box, coffee tumbler) at work and bringing it home the next day. It worked fine, but I started coveting something that could carry a little more and actually have room for the bladder.

So I searched and researched and talked myself out of getting anything and then wanted something and then finally, spur of the moment, I went by REI, they were having a sale, and I got this one: The Osprey Verve 9.

The first thing I like about it is that it's a women's backpack. I did try on a regular one thinking that if it felt OK it would be better because then Mr. H. could wear it. But the one that fit the best still didn't feel anywhere near as cozy as this one. I can cinch it pretty tight in three different areas - the shoulder straps, the chest strap and the waist strap. And the more I can minimize bounce and the more it feels like it's part of my back, the more comfortable it is. I will admit that it does start to hurt my shoulders after a while. It's not unbearable, and it pretty much goes away once I take it off, but it is a downside. However, this is probably an issue when running with just about anything on your back.

On the positive side, it has lots of cool pockets and features. I can carry Gu or Shot Blocks in the shoulder strap pouch for easy access. The water tube attaches with a magnet so it's not swinging around. The first time I ran with it I had a hard time re-attaching it without looking, but I have it down now. It also has a way to connect your bike helmet.

Of course, it is heavier than the minimal Camel Back and, since it's bigger, I'm tempted to carry more stuff. And while water isn't necessary on the Lakefront in summer since there are fountains everywhere, when they turn them off in winter, I can imagine this will be nice to have. And, even if it does add a little weight, now I can bring home my clothes and coffee tumbler.

Osprey markets it as a hiking/biking bag, so it's not technically a running backpack. I'm sure biking with this would be nice - not too big, but able to carry stuff. The most hiking I do is around the city - and for that it's great. The first time I used it was when Baby H. and I went to Navy Pier and spent the entire day downtown. I was able to carry my wallet and phone, plus snacks, a couple of toys, sunblock, a camera and water. But I think it also works well as a running backpack. I looked at a lot of bags that were smaller, but then I wouldn't be able to carry anything defeating the purpose.

So while there wasn't an actual "need" for this bag, I do love bags, and this one is now on my list of ones I love.

Note: I did get the purple color because that was the only one in stock at REI. Purple is not really a color I like very much. However, many things lately have been coming into my life that are purple so I've decided to embrace it rather than fight it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Marathon Training Week 14

This picture is from week 1, but we're all too tired
to take pictures after our long runs now.
Week 14 nicely coincides with a 14-mile long run, which is actually a "short" long run compared to last week and what's a head at the end of this week, the 20-miler.

Again it was a nice cool day, actually chilly - I wore a long sleeve shirt - and so the weather was perfect. It was never hot and we had a great run.  The whole week was nice, the only day that posed a problem was Wednesday. Due to scheduling issues, I needed to run before work and was prepared (or was trying to prepare myself) to get up to run 9 miles at 4 a.m. I know, right, insane. However, the weather had other notions and by that night storms and wind made running in the dark, in the park, not a good idea. So we didn't. I did four miles on the treadmill at work and told myself I'd make up the five sometimes later in the week - just like I told myself last week. But then several people told me I was being silly and that there wasn't a real need to make up those miles. Since they all were either training for a marathon, had run marathons or were my sister, I listened to them and let it go (sorry those of you with little girls who now have that song stuck in their heads).

I've stuck to my training schedule much more than I did the first time around, but I am starting to get the jitters about being able to complete 26 miles. I know I can do it, but of course I want to do it faster than the first time and I'm worried I'll get to mile 20 and just fall apart.

But even if on the off chance I do fall apart, which I probably won't, at least I will have raised more than $1,000 for CARA Road Scholars. My wonderful brother donated $25 last week - though I know that was an in-kind donation since he wants me to give for his theater company (it's on it way John). But regardless, I'm just grateful that all of you out there have supported me through this, again.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 28
Miles left to go: 126.2
Raised so far: $1075.20
Left to go: Nothing - just seeing how much I can raise now.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marathon Training Week 13

Week 13 turned out to be quite a lucky week for us runners. After a couple of weeks of sweltering humid days - which is par for the course in Chicago but still sucks when you're running long distances, temperatures finally dropped to the low 70s with hardly any humidity last night after a rainstorm. It got into the lower 60s overnight and this morning, when I left to bike down to the lake, I put long sleeve shirt on over my running top because it was a bit chilly.

Like 15 and 16 miles, I haven't run 18 miles since I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2012 and I was a little nervous. I kept thinking back on my last 18 mile training run. You can go back and read the old blog post if you so desire, but I was pretty nervous about that run. And I knew that after the 16 miles two weeks prior to it, there was no way I was going to make 18 miles by myself. So my wonderful sister road her bike next to me. While that was great, and I did mention to her that she could do the same thing for our whole group this time, it was even better running with a group. It's great to have so many different people to chat with, catch up on what's been going on with their training and lives in general over the previous week. And then to top it off, the weather was perfect. It never got too warm and we had a great breeze. I definitely felt the miles, but I also felt pretty good at the end of it. Certainly much better than the hellish 16-mile run and even last week's half. Hell, I felt better than my mid-week 8- (supposed to be 9) mile run.

So yeah, I only did 8 miles because I Divvied (that's a verb right?), down to the lake with a co-worker instead of running along the river path. So I lost just under a mile. I realized I'd be short before I got off the path to go home, but decided that 8 was close enough. I also ended up not doing my Thursday 5 mile run at all (or yet - if this weather holds, I might do it tomorrow). I wanted to do it on Friday, but didn't get up early enough to do it in the morning and then when I had time to do it was way too hot. I hate missing runs now, but honestly I don't feel that bad about it with how crappy the weather has been.

Sorry this has turned into a weather report, it just that these things are important to runners. I could tell you about my fueling strategy. I've recently switched from Gu to Shot Blocks to Honey Stingers chews. I like the Stingers cause they're smaller than the Shot Blocks and the chews in general just seem to sit better in my stomach than the Gu has been lately. 

I didn't think it was possible to have too many shoes.
Or I could talk to you about running shoes. For the past several months, I have been alternating
between two different sets of shoes: a pair of Asics and a pair of Brooks. It's nice to go back and forth between two pairs to let one rest. But after adding up my mileage on both sets of shoes I realized it was time for at least one new pair. I have miles left on both of them, but not enough to get me through the marathon. So yesterday off to the shoe store we went. My plan was to just get another pair of the Asics. I like both, but those were what I've been doing my long runs in. Of course, I forgot they were Asics and said Sauconys (I have a pair of those at work that I use when I go to the gym). Unfortunately my most recent shoe purchase wasn't in the store computer, so we went online looking for the specific pair of Sauconys, until Mr. H. said, "aren't you running in Asics?" So then we looked on that website, found the shoe. Then they asked what size and I said 8.5 because I was sure I was running in a shoe a full size up. Turns out I was, just not in the Asics, only in the Brooks. So that's weird, I'm wearing an 8 in the Asics but an 8.5 in the Brooks. Of course, I didn't figure that out until I got home last night and it was too late to do anything about it. I had planned on running in the new shoes this morning since it wasn't a "different" shoe, everyone assured me it would be fine. But I couldn't risk running in one not the right size. So I ran in the old Brooks, and then went back to the store today and exchanged the shoes for the right size. (Special thanks to the guys at Universal Sole for putting up with my nuttiness). I guess I should keep a note about my different shoes in my phone or something.

I'll spare you the story about my quest for new shorts until next week. Now on to the stats: 

Stats for the last week:
Miles run: 28 (though I may very well still make up that 5 mile run)
Miles left to go: 159.2
Raised so far: $1000.20
Left to go: NOTHING!

You read that right, after three more donations (thanks Uncle Tim, Amy and Claire) I have now made my minimum fundraising goal. That doesn't mean I won't remind people that, should they choose, they can still give money, but I'm super happy, and grateful, that I've raised the minimum.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The steps I take today

A few weeks ago I realized that I am a runner. I finally feel I can truly call myself a runner because when I missed a run in my schedule, the first time in weeks, it felt weird. I felt off the entire day. I used to feel like that with writing. I still do in some respects, but not in that down to the core way.

To help, I picked up my copy of One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher. I've had it for quite a while - 15 years. I know this because my sister inscribed it when she gave it to be way back in 1999. I've read it before, or at least some of it, and it's been sitting on my bedside table for several months now. Finally today I started to re-read it.

And, as with so many things, I have these moments of inspiration where I feel like I need to do everything at once. But of course I can't. Like right now, I have three different blog posts in draft form because I have all these ideas. Which is great - and weird. Normally I feel like I have no ideas for blog posts. But that is part of the process. Getting into a habit of putting things down, even if it's just in a draft form, and working on it. Not making it something that has to be done today, right now, all or nothing. That all or nothing part is where I get stuck. It's overwhelming and I end up doing nothing. But if you do just a little bit, it adds up.

The book talks about kaizen - a Japanese concept that little steps, gradual progression leads to improvement. I also have an article hanging on my wall at work that references kaizen. I look at it to remind myself of the little steps I need to take. And really that's all it is; just little steps.

My transformation from a runner to a Runner was little steps (literally). I just kept at it. I gave myself goals and broke them down into plans (actually Hal Higdon did) and then I did them. No one goes from non runner to doing a marathon in a week or a month. But if you've put in all those little steps for weeks, and months, and years before hand, you can - I did.

Today, I have put ideas into draft form for several blog posts. This is my little step. I have also read something specific to writing. This is my little step. And tomorrow, I make a vow to work on one of the blog posts even if it's just for 10 minutes, and do that every day until the habit becomes something that defines me. That leaves an empty space if I don't do it. So when I call myself a writer, which I do, I don't feel like I'm fudging, which I do, because even if I'm not "published" or being read by anyone, I am still a writer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Magnificent Mile Chicago Women's Half Marathon

Some of the lovely ladies from the 11 min. pace group.
Instead of doing a 12-mile run on Saturday with my CARA training group, I decided it would be more fun to pay to do a 13.1 mile run on Sunday with several hundred women (and about 50 men) including four gals from my training group.

I'd been thinking about doing a half during marathon training pretty much since I decided to run the marathon again. It's nice to break up training with something different. There were a couple of places I could have slotted in a half, but I kept not getting around to it. And then a couple of weeks ago one of the ladies in the group mentioned doing this race. Then there was the whole back and forth, if you do it, I'll do it, and finally someone signed up and then the rest of us signed up and then there was no going back.

By the time I uploaded this picture
to Facebook, all the cherries were gone.
Of course I wish I had committed to this race much earlier as the $90 registration fee was a hit to the wallet. Especially when it was basically a training run that happened to come with a t-shirt and a medal. There were a few other aspects to the race that were less than appealing. The first being packet pick-up only available at the south loop Fleet Feet. I live within walking distance of a Fleet Feet, and wouldn't have even minded traveling to the Lincoln Park store if necessary. But to have to take the train or drive all the way to the south loop was a bit obnoxious - though to be fair, they did offer a morning of pick up option, but that would have just made me nervous. So I made the best of it of the trip. Since Baby H. and I both had no school/work, we took advantage of the day, rode the train (which amuses him much more than me), played on the playground that's right outside the store, and then headed over to 11 City Diner for lunch and a banana split.

The other major downer of the race was something the race director can't really control other than by scheduling the race in December - the heat. The last couple of weeks have been sweltering, and after a hellish 16-mile run last week, I was hoping for a cooler half marathon. No such luck. It was pretty warm when I left my house at 5 a.m. and stayed that way. 

Running this race was different in a couple of ways. This is the fourth half marathon race I've done, but the first time I haven't specifically trained for a race of this distance. So going into it I didn't have a goal time, only to keep within my training pace. Of course, there was part of me that wanted see how close I could get to my PR, and originally I had a plan for that. But I was loath to leave the ladies I train with, so we stuck together for the most part until the turn around at about mile 8.5. After that I sped up and dropped my pace down by a minute. But I could only keep it up for a couple of miles due to the heat, and ended up finishing just under my training pace.

The race itself was pretty par for the course. We started going North on Congress and headed down Michigan Ave. turning around at Superior. Michigan Ave. is so much nicer when there are no cars/taxis/buses on it and everyone on the sidewalk is cheering for you as you run by. Heading back south, we made our way over to the lake front path turning back north at 48th. While I was still with some of my training group, we debated the merits of an out and back course. Generally we dislike them. You kinda get bored, and if you're on the path, it can get crowded. But it is nice to do a race south of downtown since I rarely go over there. The path conditions are so nice, it makes me want to change my training location.

I've done a couple of women's races before and it's fun to not have men on the course. It's not that it's better necessarily, just different. For some reason, however, there were actually about 50 men who were signed up for the race. I'm not sure what that was about and I didn't really mind the guys who were clearly running with women (wives, partners, sisters, friends). But the fast guys, the ones actually racing, that seemed a little odd. It was funny, because those two guys in the lead, they didn't get any cheering as they ran past. But the first few women, they certainly did.

The course support was great, lots of water stops, a couple of places with water misters, one stop with a band. Unfortunately one stop had a rap song with some pretty strong language - basically every other word was bitch or fuck or n***er. To each his own on their musical choices, but not something I really enjoy while I'm running by.

In the end it was a good race and I think I'm ready to train and try for my goal of running a 10-min pace half. Pretty much everyone I know says I can do it and Mr. H. said he'd even pace me if I wanted. So now all I have to do it pick out a race and start training (after the marathon of course).

I finished in 2:21:20. That's 4/100ths of a second faster than my time at the winter half when it was basically zero degrees. Now we know that 2:21ish is my extreme temperature half marathon time. So there's that.

Marathon Training Weeks 11 & 12

Clearly I took a couple of weeks off of blogging, but I did not take any time off of training.

Week 11

My first day of vacation on Aug 21 I celebrated by doing my mid-week eight-mile run in the rain. Since the weather has decided to be summer at the end of August, the rain felt pretty good and it was never too heavy. By Saturday, the temperatures were topping mid 80s and the humidity levels were hovering around 90%. So the 16-mile long run was nothing short of brutal.

It was one of the rare days I wished I had my phone with me to take a picture. The lake was so foggy that you literally could not see the buildings on the other side of Lake Shore Drive. And even though we all know the path like the back of our hands, it was very disorienting not having immediate visual clues. I was pretty much praying for rain by the end, and with the amount of sweat on my body, I looked like I had jumped in the lake mid-run rather than at the end. It was the first time we had several people drop back and/or not complete the full mileage. But, as I've been saying all summer, I would rather have this weather now than on October 12. I'm just worried that it's waited too long to get here and it won't go away in time.

Despite my smile, I am a little freaked out about being
this high up, even though I've done this before

Week 12

Even though I was on vacation all last week, I still managed to get up at the crack of dawn to do my Tuesday/Thursday runs with my running partner. It was nice to get them out of the way. Those runs are going up to five miles now, which means I need to map out a new route around the 'hood. I shorted my Thursday run by one mile because (a) I needed to get home to so Baby H. and I could make our way to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris Wheel and (b) see below. Since I was on vacation, I was able to do my mid-week long run early again. I could totally get used to being a mom who drops of her son at pre-school, goes out for her morning run and then goes home to have a leisurely coffee and breakfast. But alas it's not to be. Besides, I'm eager to try out my new running backpack tomorrow.

It was a cut-back week this week, which meant "only" 12 miles. Rather than do that, I and a few other ladies from the training group signed up for the Magnificent Mile Women's Half Marathon. This is the same race I did a couple of years ago for Team Colleen. I remember how happy I was that day I was doing the 5k rather than the half because it was so very hot. This year was a repeat of the hot weather, but that's a separate post.

Now to the stats. Unfortunately that extra tenth of a mile from the half marathon won't be deducted from my miles left to go, but such is life. Even so, I'm down to less than 200 miles before this whole journey is over. On the fundraising front, I had a flurry of donations the past couple of weeks thanks to several people including Dave, Sarah, Michelle, Aaron and Katie, and I'm less than 100 bucks away from my goal.

I'll link to my half marathon review once I write it. In the meantime, feel free to make a donation while you wait:

Stats for the last two weeks:
Miles run: 61.1
Miles left to go: 193.2
Raised so far: $909.20
Left to go: $90.80

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Marathon Training Week 10

Some of the 11 min group.
That's me in the back with the white hat.
Fifteen miles today. It's the first time I've run that far since the marathon two years ago. I felt pretty good, but around mile 13  I actually got a little nauseous. I think it was partly my body saying "hey, 13 miles, that's when we stop right?" It was probably really because of a combination of too much water/Gatorade/Gu or just the fact that we were out there for so long and it was kinda warm.

A little before mile 13 my left leg starting acting up. It's not too bad, just tight. So I'm going to make an effort to stretch and roll it out. This last week, I've been good about doing my strength exercises. I downloaded a new app, Seven, which goes through twelve exercises, working the whole body. It's supposed to be the most effective way to get your heart rate up and do strength training without weights. One circuit takes just over seven minutes (hence the name). The app makes it fun by giving and taking hearts for workouts done and missed. I've only missed a couple because even if I don't want to do it, I know that I'll be done in seven minutes, so I do it anyway.

I'm starting to get into the right mental space to run the marathon again. Last night I was worried about covering the 15 miles since it's been almost two years running that far. So much of a marathon is mental and frankly, the thought is scary. It may be scarier when you've done it before because you know what it takes. I may very well finish and say "yep, that's it, never again." But I didn't think I was going to do a second one either.

Oh - I almost forgot. After our run, and our ridiculously long plank (that I took a few seconds break in the middle of), most of us went down to the lake and jumped (hobbled) in. It felt so good and I think counts as much as an ice bath does. I didn't even mind biking home in wet shorts.

No update on the fundraising front. I need to send my coworkers another plea - if I have to put up with them every day, the least they can do is kick in a few bucks towards Road Scholars. 

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 29
Miles left to go: 254.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Marathon Training Week Nine - I am a runner

I know I'm kinda late with this update - mainly because what can I say that I haven't said before about training for a marathon. You get out there, you run, you wash running clothes, you do it all over again.

I did have an interesting experience on Tuesday of last week. I didn't go out for my early morning run with S. because I was tired. Sure, I could have dragged myself out of bed, but I just wasn't up to it. So I didn't do it. All day I felt like something was off. I felt like maybe I had left the garage door open, or the stove on or something. But I knew what it was - I hadn't run. And so I now realize that this is who I am. Not all that I am - but a big part of who I am. I'm not the fastest runner, or the most accomplished and I'm not the person who was "born to run". But now, I am a runner. And even when I'm not running, I will still probably consider myself a runner. Just like I consider myself a writer even when I'm not actively writing anything. Or a reader even if it's been weeks since I've picked up a book.

It feels weird to say that because I feel like a poser. Someone who is just trying to fit in. Maybe it comes from surrounding myself with people that are faster than me. Maybe it's because (in my mind) I don't "look" like a runner. Maybe it's because I rarely run more than 25 miles in a week, and if I'm not marathon training, probably hardly more than 15. But I think if missing a run gives you a nagging feeling like you forgot to do something, like something's missing, well, that gives you the right to call yourself a runner - regardless of what you look like, how fast you run or how many miles you log.

I know I'm the only person who's telling me that I'm not a "runner". It feels good to give myself permission to do so.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 21
Miles left to go: 283.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Monday, August 4, 2014

Marathon Training Week Eight

Our mileage this week was 13, so basically a half marathon. We ended up doing about 13.5 because we're over achievers like that. When you run 13 miles at an 11 minute pace it takes you .... doing math .... two hours and 23 minutes. When you go that extra half mile, factor in water stops and what not, you're out there almost three hours. And when you run for that long with a bunch of other people you think of different ways to keep yourself entertained - or at least we do.

Our 11 minute pace group has decided we'd be the fun group on the path. We say "good morning runners" to just about every other group we go past. A lot of the groups also say good morning back, though we did notice a trend that the, ahem, faster runners (those clocking in around 7:30-8:30 min miles) tend to be a bit too serious to say hello back. Also, and I don't want to disparage the different training groups in any way, but those there were not of the CARA variety sometimes seemed to not offer us as many greetings. I'm sure it was a "don't talk to strangers" thing.

One of the runners in our group coaches rowers in lagoon in Lincoln Park and knows the people out rowing. So we thoroughly confused them as we ran past shouting their names. Other things we do while running include: thinking up inspirational t-shirts slogans; talking about chocolate chip pancakes and butt moles; and calling our pudding (actually footing to let someone know there might that a pothole or something is coming up, but it sound a lot like pudding). I never knew running could be so much fun. 

In other, more important news, the July knitted monster raffle has ended and on Friday night we picked a winner. 

Karen is a co-worker who in addition to being totally supportive, knows what I'm putting myself through as she ran her first marathon in 2012 and is super excited to have her own knitted monster. I'll post pics when I finish it. Thanks to everyone who donated during July. We made good progress on my goal - just a couple hundred left to go. If you're reading this and you haven't made a donation, click the button over on the right. I may even come up with another raffle prize - or do the monster one again since there were quite a few people who seemed to enjoy that one.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 25
Miles left to go: 308.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marathon Training Week Seven

I am in such a different place with my running that I was the first time around. I knew this marathon training would be different. I have a much bigger base. I have run three half marathons and have already run the marathon distance, so I have a lot more knowledge of what to expect. There are even times that I catch myself thinking about what I'm going to do when I train for my next marathon. Which is just craziness.

So I remind myself to get back to the present. I try to focus on what I need to do today - be it go for a run, or strength training, or just resting. This weekend, after my long run on Saturday, was all about resting. I've been feeling my calves and IT band lately, probably because I'm not using the foam roller enough. So Saturday afternoon, I did the whole RICE thing by donning my lovely compression socks, laying down in my bed with my legs up on a pillow, and icing and taking a nap. My nap fulfilled two purposes: first, running 12 miles is tiring; second, later that evening I attended a fundraiser for my brother's theater company which didn't start until 10 p.m. Seriously past my bedtime.

The nap and the RICE did their thing and I felt much better. The rest of the weekend was used for laughing at my brother (the fundraiser was a roast of him) and lazing around. I suspect next weekend my lazing around will also be accompanied by some knitting. There's just one week left (four days really) to make a donation to enter the raffle for a chance at your very own knitted monster.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 24
Miles left to go: 333.2
Raised so far: $619.20
Left to go: $380.80

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marathon Training Week Six

Week six is kinda where marathon training hits you that this is going to be a long (and for some) slow road. The funny thing is, this week was a cut back week, so we ran just seven miles. After this, all long runs will be in the double digits until the week before the marathon. At least my mid-week runs aren't too long.

Nothing really exciting happened this week. I got all my miles in. I ran home again on Wednesday and took my second Divvy ride which was fun. I didn't do as much strength training as I needed to do so that 70 second plank was pushing it (next week's long run is 12 miles - that's a long plank). I have no injuries to speak of (luckily). My brother watched baby H. on Saturday morning which he really enjoyed. He's been asking if Uncle J. will be there when he wakes up pretty much every day since. I was able to charge up and sync the old Garmin my sister gave me, so I didn't have to spend any money on a new watch. And, I received two more donations (thanks Jayme and Brian). So all-in-all it's been a pretty good week marathon wise. 

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 18
Miles left to go: 357.2
Raised so far: $619.20
Left to go: $380.80

Monday, July 14, 2014

Runnin' in the Rain - aka Marathon Training Week Five

A little fall of rain / can hardly hurt me now...

OK, so the Saturday morning run wasn't quite as dire as Eponine's situation, but the thought of slogging out 10 miles in pouring rain didn't sound too enticing. But let me back up this tale of woe a bit.

First, I had the pleasure of searching for a babysitter who wants to come over at 5:30 a.m. Apparently this is not a desirable time to get up, even if the baby four-year-old you are sitting won't (most likely) be up for another hour and a half. So I spent the last week texting and calling pretty much anyone and everyone who I thought could use some extra cash. Eventually I found a couple of people ready to contribute to the sacrifice the running gods demand.

Second, when I put my running watch on Saturday morning it seemed to have some issues. Namely, it is dead. And not dead as in not charged, but dead as in the display is burned out and even though the buttons still make a beeping sound I can't see anything on the display and of course it's out of warranty so now I don't have a running watch dead.

Third, it was raining. Well, technically it didn't start raining until we started running, literally - and I mean that. It wasn't raining while we were waiting around to go run, we all line up to leave and then we start running and then it starts raining.

But, just as Eponine knows the flowers will grow, there was some good from all of this. First, I did find a couple of babysitters and, as we are always looking for sitters even when it's not 5:30 a.m., it's good to have some who know us and are available. Second, I have been contemplating switching from a Nike+ watch to a Garmin watch - now I can. Third, it didn't really rain all that much and it was nice and cool on the run and 10 miles seemed to go by pretty quick.
Donations make monster's happy!

On the fundraising front, my raffle for a monster has motivated five donations, and I've raised another $100 (thanks to Jenny, Amy, Andrew, Yaz and Ali). Those are pretty good odds. So, if you want to get in on this month's raffle for a one of a kind, knit expressly for you monster, donate today: Click here to donate.

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 18 (missed a 3 miler)
  • Miles left to go: 375.2
  • Raised so far: $594.20
  • Left to go: $405.80

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid Week Run and Divvy Bike Ride

Last time I trained for the marathon, I had a hard time finding time to complete my longer mid-week run. I would try to do them on the treadmill at work, but once they got up over 5 miles, I was spending too much time away from my desk (not that I cared - but other people might have). I tried getting up early to do them in the morning, but that too became difficult as the miles increased. 

This time around I started thinking of other ways ways to get the runs in. Mr. H. has run home a lot - the direct route being slightly over 6 miles. But the direct route is not very shady, along heavily travelled roads and generally sucks. It would be so much nicer going along the lakefront path. So I figured I could run along the path and then take the bus or train. But then a friend suggested I take a Divvy the rest of the way and an idea was born.

I mapped out where I'd end up for each week's distance and then found the nearest Divvy station. Serendipitously, there seems to be one within a couple of blocks every time. So that's what I did today - my first 5 mile mid week run. I "ran" from work to the lake and then up the lake to Fullerton where I hopped on a Divvy and rode home, docking the bike at the station a couple of blocks from my house. I say I "ran" from my office to the lake because I happen to work in the west loop, so running through the loop at rush hour, during Taste of Chicago no less, was a lot of walking and going slow to get around people. Added to that, stopping and starting my watch while I waited at stop lights meant that once again I forgot to start it and so lost some mileage.

Once I got to Fullerton, getting the Divvy was easy. An added bonus, I get a little cross training in. As we all know, the path is crazy and Wednesday's directly after work is no different. While I'm comfortable riding a bike, I hate riding when you have to dodge people and worry about speed demon bikers who won't slow down for anything. So, I took it slow and stayed to the right. Once off the path, it's pretty much a straight shot to my house on side streets that have bike lanes. It may have actually taken me more than half an hour to get from Fullerton to my home. I'll have to check to see if I incurred an overage charge.

So my take aways from this experience:
  • "Running" downtown during rush hour is not advised. Next time I may run/walk to the lake but not start my actual run until I get there.
  • That construction they're doing at Navy Pier for the path flyover - yes, I know in the end it will be great - but right now, it SUCKS!
  • Fullerton to my house on the lakefront path is pushing the half hour allocated for Divvy rides. This will cease to be an issue once miles start going up. 
  • I am not the only person who thought up this brilliant plan (duh). I saw at least two other runners stop and then get on a Divvy. We should start a club or something.
  • One final note about the Divvy, I saw the elusive Divvy Red this morning (failed to get a picture). I took this as a good omen about my Divvy riding experience.
  • Running along the lake is one of the many great things about this city. Today was a perfect day, there was a nice breeze (but not too much); it wasn't too hot (or humid). 
In other news, I've only had a couple of donations this month. Remember all donations during the month of July are eligible for a one-of-a-kind knitted monster

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Marathon Training Week Four

Did a nine mile run this morning - my longest run since the half marathon in February. The weather has cooled down, and so the run was quite nice. The first couple of miles felt rough, and then everything started to click and it was smooth sailing. I had a weird achilles pain in my left leg for a couple of miles, but it went away and I made sure to stretch.

After each long run, our group stretches together and to celebrate/torture ourselves more, we do the plank - 10 seconds for every mile. So today we did a 90 second plank. I've been practicing during the week. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep this up the whole time - I mean, can anyone actually do the plank for 200 seconds? 

Floppy Monster made for Baby H.
and England Monster made for Mr. H.
I haven't made much progress in my fundraising lately. So instead of just badgering people to give me money because CARA's Road Scholars program is a great organization that does great work, I've come up with an incentive. Every person who donates this month will be entered into a raffle to win a monster. And not just any monster. A made to order knitted monster - you'll get to pick your colors. So get those donations in now. 

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 19
  • Miles left to go: 396.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Marathon Training Week Three

Ugh, this week at work was one of the worst. It's times like this that I really appreciate running. Even though there were days where I had to remind myself just to get out there, as usual, once I was out there, I felt better. Toward the end of the week I was tired due to work, so I just let myself go slow. During my Tuesday run I had pushed myself to do some sprints, my own little bit of speed work, but Wednesday and Friday I just ran not paying much attention to my pace.

Saturday, Mr. H. and I were up bright and early and biked down to the lake. With a race starting at Montrose pretty much every weekend, it's just too frustrating to drive. Even though traffic is fine on our way down, and there's pretty much always parking at 5:30 a.m., on the way home it sucks getting out of there. So bikes are much easier. The one down side of biking at 5:30 a.m. is that apparently red lights are optional for cars. I almost got nailed going through an intersection where I had the light and a car made absolutely no effort to stop or slow down. I'm hoping that he was just caffeine deprived and didn't realize he was running a red light. And I'm very thankful that I was fully aware of what was going on because I could have easily been hit.

It was our first cut back week, so we had only 5 miles. It's the shortest long run of them all. Next week it goes up to 9. Training seems to be going fast this time, but then I look at the schedule and there is a lot left to go.

On the fundraising front, I haven't raised anymore money this last couple of weeks. I'm half way there, so doing good, but I'd love to get this money raised so I can concentrate on training (and of course continuing with my 80s Movies challenge).

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 15
  • Miles left to go: 415.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Sunday, June 22, 2014

80s Movie Marathon / Marathon Training Week Two

With Mr. H. and baby H. out of the house for the weekend, I have moved into the staying in bed, eating ice cream and watching television (possibly knitting) phase. As such, I thought I'd tackle a few more movies on my Iconic 80s list.

First up, Spaceballs. This is one of those movies I have seen bits and pieces of but never all the way through. I am a huge Star Wars fan, so you would think I would have seen this already.  I've seen many Mel Brooks movies but my favorite is Young Frankenstein. I can watch that movie over and over again. I'm pretty sure I won't want to watch this again anytime soon. But it was funny. The first actual laugh I had was when the Jawa type guys find the princess et al and are signing/humming/something the tune to the Bridge Over the River Kwai march. There were several movie references, and one of them was Rambo, one of the other movies on my list. It's like the movie gods are guiding me. 

Next up, The Explorers. I noticed that the special effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. So in a weird way, The Explorers is related to Spaceballs and it made dumb sort of sense that I chose this movie next (movie gods again). I do miss me some River Phoenix. He's such a cute nerd in this film. And just the other day I watched Sinister with Ethan Hawke - he was cuter back in the 80s - so again, connections and what not. This seems like a film I would have seen when it came out as I was 13. And Mr. H. was pretty surprised I hadn't seen it. However, it was also 1985, and that's the same year Back to the Future came out, so I was full on into my Michael J. Fox phase. The movie itself was cute, but the plot was very simplistic - boys build space craft, boys meet aliens, boys go home - that works on 13 year olds, not much 42 year olds.

I did drag myself out of bed to do my Saturday morning long run. So just if you're wondering, I'm didn't actually spend the entire weekend in bed. However, after I got home, I pretty much crawled back into bed and chose my next movie: La Bamba. Again, this is one of those movies I am kinda amazed I hadn't yet seen. Lou Diamond and I share the same birthday (though he's a few years older than me), and he's pretty easy on the eyes, but I guess that wasn't enough when this first came out to get me to see it. Whenever I watch any sort of biopic, I start googling to see what the "real" story is. The movie kept pretty close to the truth. It's amazing how quickly he rose to fame and realizing he was just 17 when he died (and Buddy Holly was just 22) is sad. Of course, I cried at the end.

After La Bamba, I took a break for to watch the Germany/Ghana World Cup match. It's rough going on a movie bender. You want to keep watching films, but at the same time, it has to be the right kind of film. Something entertaining. Something that hits you right depending on the mood you're in. I've had a crappy week, so my preference right now is for light-hearted, funny movies. I've gone through Netflix and Amazon to see what movies on my list are available for streaming. Quite a few and so far I haven't paid any money to watch them. I promised baby H. that I would watch the Muppets Take Manhattan and the Secret of Nimh with him, so I'm running out of free options. It leaves me with Another 48 Hours, Raging Bull, Hoosiers and Drugstore Cowboy. Sure, Another 48 Hours is supposed to be funny, but of course, I go with the uplifting Drugstore Cowboy. It's probably one of the better movies on the list, but Gus Van Sant or at least his movies are so fricking weird and I've never really liked Kelly Lynch. I'm not sure why I don't like her. Just something. Anyway, it was good; Dillon really is a good actor. However, like the other movies on the list, I probably won't ever watch this again. But now I can cross it off the list.

So as I mentioned, I did actually do one productive thing this weekend, I did my long run. It was a hectic week what with traveling back and forth to Paris and then sitting on my bum all weekend watching movies. So I missed a couple of my short runs, but I got back on the horse for my 7 mile long run. Again, I am really enjoying running with the CARA group. It's great to talk to people and I'm liking the 11 min pace. I wasn't liking the crazy humid air, but it's Chicago, so not much you can do but just get used to it.

Stats for the week:

  • Miles run: 9 (boo)
  • Miles left to go: 430.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

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