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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid Week Run in Paris

The bad thing about international travel is the time difference, and if it's a work trip, finding the time to run and having enough energy to run after you've been out until 2 a.m. The really cool thing about international travel is getting to run new and interesting routes - such as up and down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

On Monday, I had an all-day work  conference that ended with a dinner that went until about 11 p.m. Then at midnight, I made the decision to watch the US Ghana match at the James Joyce Pub, conveniently located just down the street from my hotel. So I didn't make it out of bed early enough for my Tuesday morning run.

However, even though I was again up until 2 a.m. the next night, since I didn't have to get up too early, I did run this morning. As my hotel was just off the Champs-Elysees, I decided to run up and back along it to ensure I wouldn't get lost. However, even though it would seem like an easy thing to go around the Arc de Triomphe, after crossing a bunch of streets, you kinda losing your bearings a bit. As you can tell from the map I almost went all the way around before realizing I had actually missed the the other side of the Champs-Elysees (I have no idea how drivers make it around that traffic circle). Since I kept pausing my watch when I would get stopped for a light, I forgot to restart it at one point so I lost some distance. Also, the Arc is sits on the top of a hill, which isn't that bad when you walk it, but is more noticeable when you're running.

But it was a great run and now I can say I ran in Paris!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Week One


That's me in toward the
back in the bright yellow hat.
Today was my first long run of the season. As I heard someone say after the run "only 16 more to go." When you say it like that, it doesn't sound that bad does it? Of course, the week after 17 is the worst long run of them all (or best if you have a good attitude).

Anyway, running with CARA and a big group is way different than what I did last time to train for the marathon. First off, the path is a lot more crowded on Saturday mornings than it is on Sundays as most of the training groups run on Saturdays. There is a training group on Sunday mornings, so I could go out with them, but the nice thing about running on Saturday mornings is once it's done you're done for the weekend, which is really nice.

There are of course a ton more people running summer marathon training than there were during winter half training. It's great to see so many people and be part of such a big group, even if it does make the lake front kinda crowded. I feel bad for all the other runners out there that are not running with groups and I feel really bad for the cyclists. I know how frustrating it is to have to get around big groups of people. And no matter how hard runners try to stay over to the side, when you've got 10, 20 or more people in your group, it tends to spread out. Not to mention there are other people on the path. That and the fact that the path is pretty narrow in places and there are some cyclists who don't want to slow down no matter what, and, well, let's just say last week I came pretty close to getting hit and learned (relearned) a lesson to stay over as much as possible. I've been on both sides of this coin as I've done some pretty major bike training up and down the path, but at the end of the day, when it's crowded, bikers should slow down and for safety sake, it would be great if they could at least announce themselves when they're coming up on a group of runners. Usually we'll move over. Now, walkers walking four abreast...that's another story.

England Monster says "Go ENGLAND" 
So it's been a crazy week for me. I'm going to Paris tonight for work and, more importantly, my sister is graduating with her master's. So last night was a hooding ceremony but unfortunately due to time constraints, I wasn't able to make the commencement this morning. I did think of her every mile and, don't tell her, plan to pick her up something special in Paris. On top of that, of course, I had work to do and also had to finish knitting the England Monster before I left so Mr. H. would have it for tonight's World Cup game.

So I'm off in a couple of hours. I'll be doing two of my mid week runs in Paris, which should be fun, if I don't get lost.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far: Dad, Sarah, Jamie, Grandpa, Brett, Katie, Alain, Joanna, Paul and Meschelle!

Stats for the week:

  • Miles run: 15
  • Miles left to go: 446.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why can't I just go for a run by myself?

There has been a lot of talk in the media, on social networks, on trains and in knitting circles about women's rights/misogyny etc. lately - not least because I have brought them up.

Yesterday, when the Washington Post ran a headline telling women that if they just got married to their "baby daddy" they wouldn't experience violence against them, I shared a Jezebel and Politico links on Facebook discussing the WP article. A friend and I talked about it and she commented that she didn't find the original headline (One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married) that offensive, and questioned if that that made her a bad women. Of course not, she's totally entitled to her opinion and her reaction to such things. She did think the original subhead (The data shows that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies) was offensive.

In a perfect world, a one off stupid thing like that probably wouldn't be that big of a deal. In that world, people would laugh at the folly of some editors writing a sensational headline. Some people would gripe, the editors would change the headline and half-heartedly apologize (all of which actually happened) and life would go on (which it has). In that society, women wouldn't be solely responsible for whether or not they are raped. But of course that society doesn't exist. And, like so many other issues in our society, it's systemic. It's not a one off. It is yet another straw on a camel's back that frankly feels like it's pretty close to breaking.

Today I read an article about all the things women should do to prevent rape. There are several things on the list that I have done or thought of as reasonable. I have questioned how safe it is for me to run early in the morning or later at night by myself. I have bought mace from the local running store. I have also thought about downloading one of the GPS tracking devices so my husband knows where I am when I run or bike and if I don't come home by a certain time he can check on me. I have taken a self defense class. I have taken a cab instead of the train when I've had to work late. 

None of these things feels totally unreasonable (chastity underwear seems pretty unreasonable). Of course, I don't want to put myself in a situation where I could be harmed. But then again, what is that really saying? I can't go out by myself to run? I have to spend extra money to get home later at night? And if something were to happen to me, if I were raped, would it really be my fault for going for a run on a Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. by myself ?

Every day I read something about the rift that seems to be opening in this country between the people who are questioning the status quo and the people who are happy with the things the way they are (or better yet, want to return to things the way they were "back in the day"). Women are questioning what it means to be equal. Poor and working poor people are questioning where their piece of the pie is. Immigrants are wondering where their rights are. Citizens want to know why they are paying for the mistakes of others. Parents want to know why our children continue to kill and be killed in the classroom and on the streets. 

I have another friend (a Facebook acquaintance really) that is pretty radical - at least where posting stuff on social media is concerned. He rails against Obama, racism, the government, our wars, mainstream media, fake activism. He can be pretty challenging. He sometimes puts people off because even if they agree with him on most things, he'll push a little more. There are sometimes I which I could be that progressive; that radical. But it's hard to take a stand like that sometimes. It means possibly putting myself in harms way either literally (by running by myself with it's dark outside) or figuratively (by possibly alienating people I care about). 

I feel like I'm a pretty reasonable woman. I think I listen to others, try to understand, even if I don't really agree. But to what end? Am I being reasonable to people who don't even try to see my point of view? According to George Will, if I am raped, I'll belong to a privileged class. Does it come with the same rights and privileges of being a rich white male? I think not.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rocky III

I've crossed off the second movie on the Iconic 80s movies according to Buzzfeed that I hadn't yet seen - Rocky III. The first thing I said to Mr. H. upon completion was something along the lines of "well, there was a reason I didn't see that when it came out" So yeah, not my favorite movie. It was a typical Rocky flick - he loses a fight, someone gives a heartwarming/rousing speech, he trains for a fight, there's a montage, he's ready for the fight, he wins the fight. Mr. T. was fun, so at least there was that.
On to the next movie!

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