Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Here in suburbia we have ridiculously wide sidewalks, so I checked to make sure no bicycles were coming behind me, and I took the left side of the sidewalk, leaving the man ample room on the right side. About a quarter mile later, he abruptly turns in front of me and crosses the street.
Huh, I say to myself. That was weird. He must be going home or something.
I get to the only stoplight I have to cross, and see the man again, waiting to cross on the other side of the road. And (I am not making this up), he was giving me the stink eye! Glaring at me like I did something wrong!
So my question to you is this... DID I do something wrong? What is the etiquette for encountering other runners on the same side of the street, traveling in the same direction? Are we destined for a lifetime of crossing the street to get away from others? And if so, what is this world coming to?
If I had to respond to Nathan, I'd send back the following...
Is it hard?
In a word, Yes. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Growing up, I was good at everything- straight A student, 1st chair clarinet in the school band, plus I played on softball teams. But running? It's the first (and only) thing I've ever had to work hard at to see rewards.
I'm not a naturally gifted runner by any means. But I'm living proof that you get out of it what you put into it. I've been able to achieve things I never thought possible, simply because I worked hard for them. The sky's the limit.
As fictional baseball manager Jimmy Dugan once said, "It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."
Do your legs hurt after you run?
No. Sometimes I have lingering general achiness (usually only during Monster Month of marathon training), but otherwise day-to-day running produces no ill effects. I can run forever. My brain and the rest of my body just get tired. Ask me if my legs hurt after riding the bike and you'll get a very different answer!
Do you like it?
No. I LOVE IT! I promised myself a very long time ago that if I ever stopped liking it, I would stop doing it. I'm showing no signs of stopping, and I couldn't imagine my life without it. It's as simple as that.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
What in God's name were you getting on Derrek Lee for? It's the top of the 1st inning, Juan Pierre's at bat. You have a pitcher with a crappy ERA who falls off the mound with his delivery. You have a defense that has recently become notorious for multiple error innings. You're Juan Pierre and you're fast- OF COURSE you're going to bunt. And since every baseball person knows that Pierre has never been a pull hitter, it makes perfect sense for Lee to be playing in. Pierre pulls the bat back and dumps a base hit over Lee's head. Understandable.
As the greatest Cubs first baseman ever (Mr. Mark Grace) pointed out, "There's not a first baseman alive who could have made that play."
So Zambrano comes into the dugout and goes after Lee, supposedly to "fire his team up," but ends up looking like a giant douche who has to be separated from his teammate by Lou & Tram.
You can clearly see Lee's mouth saying, "That's bullshit," over and over and over again. Because that's exactly what it is. Bullshit.
It's not like Lee was the one who grooved a pitch to Carlos Quentin.
I don't know why everyone is so surprised. This is no scandal. People who had July 1st in the Carlos Zambrano Meltdown Pool are happily counting their dollar bills as we speak. Personally, I'm surprised it took this long for him to do something stupid.
Last season it was the end of May against the Pirates, when Zambrano completely flipped over a play at the plate, "tossed" the ump, and then threw the baseball onto the warning track in left field. I was at that game. The guy was safe at home. Safer than safe. The ball didn't even beat him there.
So now Zambrano has been put on the restricted list, and is expected to go to counseling, while STILL GETTING PAID HIS FULL SALARY, I might add. Really? Do you think counseling will help? Really? A lot of good it did Ozzie Guillen, Z's new BFF.
I say cut him. Right now. You don't have any other options.
His contract is ridiculous, but there's nothing that can be done about that now. You can't trade him, because no one wants a giant douche. More importantly, you won't be able to sucker someone else into paying $18 million for him. There's not a single GM in baseball who is that stupid. That's right, even Kenny Williams isn't THAT dumb. So you're going to have to pay him regardless.
So cut him. Release him. Because I sure as hell don't want to deal with this drama anymore. Real fans don't.
We had our good times... the playoffs, the no-hitter, the homers, the pinch hit RBIs. But that ship has sailed. It's not the same Big Z. His antics aren't those of a lovable kid. He's a bully. He's a douche. I'm sick of it. Go away.
And don't let the door hit your big fat ass on the way out.
...just another day in the NW suburbs!
I ran 3 miles. When I got home from work, there was a big black cloud over my house. No, really, there was. It wasn't supposed to rain, but I didn't want to take the chance of getting caught miles from home. Again. So I ran loops around my subdivision (1 loop = 1.15 mi). About .4 mi into my run, this AWFUL smell invaded my nostrils. It was like rotten manure that had been sitting in the sun all day. Or swamp gas. Just a few feet of that and then it disappeared. But then I turned the corner and the smell reappeared!
I finally figured out that it was coming out the sewers... on my 2nd loop. I'm slow sometimes. Too late to alter my route, as I was already halfway through my run. Might as well finish it up, I said to myself. Besides, what if there's something smelly on race day? Would I quit? Run another route? No!
Ended up finishing in 26:16, good enough for 8:46 pace.
Then I moved onto the bike. My road bike shipped to the store yesterday (YIPPEE!!), so for the time being, I'm still cruising around on a hand-me-down Huffy. Classy. I ended up doing 7 miles in just over 38 minutes. I could get used to this bike thing! I wasn't as skittish as last time, I didn't freak out on turns/downhills/crosswalks, and I was able to go faster. I still need to get a helmet. Maybe I'll wait until the road bike arrives? Right now I'm just going on the bike path that runs along the side of my house, so it's not like I have to contend with traffic (or other bikes, for that matter).
Once you cross the main road, the bike path winds around giant power lines, and then runs along the Metra tracks. Ahhh, safety. As I was going along yesterday, I could hear the crackling of the power lines. It never fails to freak me out. The hairs on the back of my arms were standing straight up.
I'm lucky those clouds turned out to just be clouds!
Monday, June 28, 2010
1 5K. 2 10Ks. 1 10 Miler. 1 Pikermi.
Now, my brain was saying, "Let's find a race this weekend! We love racing! We can do it!" But my body was done, and just wanted to run long. After I thought about how many more weeks were ahead before Chicago, the brain finally got on the same page.
I had every intention of getting up before 6 on Saturday, out the door soon after, and back in bed before the first World Cup game. Well, I did get up before 6, but it was pouring rain, so I went back to bed until just before 8. By the time I got out the door, it was cloudy but not raining, and HUMID. I didn't take the fuel belt (I HATE that thing), just a Spibelt with some Clif shot bloks and my cell phone.
My goal for the long run: 10 miles @ 9:15 pace.
Mile 1: First water stop already, it just so happened. Garmin beeped to indicate lap 1, and then said that it was full! Had to take a minute to stop and delete some data. I never upload Garmin to anything, since I keep a paper log (and an RW log to calculate stuff, since my math skills aren't all that good). I won't miss the data.
Mile 2: Haven't been down this road since the snow melted. True story.
Mile 3 & 4: Longest part of the day, an out-and-back on a long, quiet residential road. It never ceases to amaze me how many people just disregard the sidewalk and park their cars on it. I think I went into the street at least 6 times to get around giant SUVs. Is it only a law in the city?
Mile 5: Back to the busy road, where many people are out and about placing their garage sale signs at the corners. Ahhh, Saturday in suburbia!
Mile 6: I take a picture of a funny sign (see previous post), and head back onto the main road. A little kid baseball team is warming up on the baseball diamond to my left. Garmin beeps, and I glance down to see my split. When I look up again, I see the coach of the team running towards me, juice box in hand.
"Here," he offers it to me.
"You look like you could use it," he says, "And I brought extras."
Hooray for free juice boxes! Hmmm... I wonder if I could get a juice box in the Spibelt... challenge accepted.
Mile 7: Almost to the park with the drinking fountains. I definitely would have been fine without a juice box, but it totally helped. I've been munching on Clif shots as I see fit, and my face isn't covered in salt, so they must be working.
Mile 8 & 9: My shirt is completely soaked through, and has been since I got the juice box. Now there's not a free spot on the sleeve to wipe my face. Sweat is pouring off me... the sun comes out for a couple of minutes, and I give it the stink eye. I'm sweaty enough, thank you very much!
Mile 10: To hell with this shirt. I'm less than .25 mi from my house, so I take it off and finish the rest of the run (nearly) topless. I don't think I've run with this little since... high school, maybe? I'm always so self-conscious about my stomach. But if the jaw-drop I got from a guy at the stop sign is any indication, I might be a little more comfortable going shirtless. While running. Still with sports bra on. Get your mind out of the gutter!
Total mileage: 10.0, 1:29:32, for an average pace of 8:58.
Slightly faster than I wanted, but honestly, I can't make my body run any slower. It was a great run. I wasn't winded when I got home. I made it just in time to see South Korea's goal, and as I treat I ate a popsicle on my couch. Life is good. But I miss racing.
I have a 10K next Sunday.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
I ran 5 miles yesterday. That's not the incredible part. I run 5 milers all the time, and I'm pretty darn good at them. But AFTER the 5 miles I got on the bike and did 5.
That's right... mark this down. On June 24th, 2010, Maureen returned to the bike after an 8-year hiatus. (To make a long story short, I was clipped from behind by a car 8 years ago, which explains my absence from biking.) And it was AWESOME!
I got on the bike and... didn't fall off it. Nice. I left my garage and picked up the bike path that runs along the side of my house. I figured, stick to trails, it's only your first day. I turned the corner and wobbled a little bit... okay, a lot... but didn't fall off. This is good.
I crossed the street out of my subdivision without getting hit by a car AND without flipping myself off the handlebars from putting a death grip on the brakes. I continued on the path and guess what... this is FUN! I'm listening to my ipod, Garmin is telling me how long I'm riding, the wind is rushing through my hair, wow. But there's a curvy downhill part of the path and I'm going too fast and oh no I'm going to fall off the bike and hurt myself oh no oh no oh no MAUREEN TURN THE HANDLEBARS! Crisis averted.
I get about 2.5 miles out and decide to turn back... don't want to overdo it on the first day. But I could keep riding forever. I'm perfectly comfortable and enjoying the day. Until...
Remember that downhill? Well now I have to go UPhill. Dang this is hard! I'm working like crazy here, pedaling up this stupid hill. It's much easier to RUN up it! My tongue is hanging out of my mouth, and I either look like Michael Jordan or Air Bud. I prefer to think I look like Michael Jordan.
I made it home, Bon Jovi blaring "I Love This Town" from my ipod as I cruise into the driveway. I'm still alive, and I will definitely be getting on that bike again.
Now, you must understand, I'm not exactly cruising around on the best piece of machinery here. I'm riding an old mountain bike that I THINK belonged to my bro, and my dad was going to throw it out anyway. It's the noisiest bike on the planet, and it doesn't shift gears real well. It's also missing a water bottle holder. When I get a hobby, I have a tendency to go all out and buy all the gear for it at once, but this time I want to slow down, make sure I like cycling before I get a nice bike.
I'm going to the bicycle shop this weekend.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
And now we have to play Germany... and then the winner of Argentina-Mexico... poop. I wish the US had tanked against Algeria.
But the good news... my favorite English player Joe Cole got to sub in for Rooney! Yay!
Even better news- I was able to run today!
I've been running all week, but these crazy thunderstorms we've been having threatened to disrupt my run today. Luckily there was a break in the action between when I got home from work at 3:45 and 15 minutes ago when I first heard the rumble of thunder... (oh and the sky is pitch black).
Getting a little tired of the rain... but I won't mind so much if it gets rid of the humidity.
I also just ordered some new socks from runningwarehouse.com... my Asics socks have either a) gone missing, b) gotten eaten in the dryer, or c) were left on vacation in Punta Cana back in May. Replacements were needed ASAP and should arrive just in time for next week's training.
Now if only the Cubs could beat the frickin' Mariners...
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
This is nothing new. (Hello? Remember the Kansas City Royals fan who sold his allegiance on ebay?) As Cubs fans, we are used to abject failure. But the point he makes it not only are they not even trying to produce new players within their own system, but the entire culture of Cubdom has changed. The author no longer wishes to be part of that. He would also rather watch World Cup.
I have to agree with him.
At the beginning of this season, based on the offseason acquisitions (or lack thereof), I decided to not waste my money on Cubs tickets, but put it towards race registrations instead. I refused to do the Race to Wrigley 5K back in April. I won't go down there to see the Toyota sign or the noodle. My self-imposed Wrigley ban is, well...
The team plays terrible. Players have multiple-error INNINGS. They can't hit. The closer puts men on base, whenever he gets to pitch. (It's understandable though, he's rusty from not getting an opportunity.) They can't come from behind. Did I mention they can't hit?
Saturday afternoon I was stuck in the car driving home from Woodstock. The game was just starting, so I tuned in.
I didn't make it past the first inning. The TOP of the first inning. Flipped over to the FM stations and listened to Lady Gaga instead. And I don't regret my decision for a second.
Not only is the team terrible, but the people who now support it are disgusting. Have you heard about the new "badge of honor" in the bleachers? Yep, it's to drink so much that you puke on yourself, and then walk around with chunks on your shirt. It makes me sick to my stomach for a variety of reasons, and only strengthens my resolve to never go back.
There. I said it. I'm never going back.
I have HD TV. Cold beer in the fridge. Heat for April, a/c for the summer. Nice comfy couches. What do I need Wrigley Field for?
I can watch them lose at home for free.
Are we breaking up? No. But we're definitely on a break... for every game that Carlos Silva doesn't pitch.
And should I happen to fall hopelessly in lust with another team, at least I have the Ross/Rachel excuse in my back pocket. (WE WERE ON A BREAK!) We all know how they eventually ended up. But for now...
When is Silva's next start?
Monday, June 21, 2010
I've been running without goals since May 16th. That's right, I go into a race with a blank slate. I'm not frantically calculating what pace per mile I need to achieve for the rest of the race to get some crazy time. I don't usually think at all. I just enjoy the race for what it is. It not only eliminates disappointment, but helps me to run my OWN race, with only Timex and my legs as my guide. All the races have been PRs - although some much more dramatic than others! I'd say so far, it's worked out pretty well...
Races Run in the Goal-Less Experiment (by distance), w/ results:
St. Norbert Block Party 5K - previous PR 24:52, new PR 23:44
Difference of 68 seconds, or ~22 seconds per mile.
United Run for the Zoo 10K - previous PR 56:39, new PR 51:14
Difference of 325 seconds, or ~52 seconds per mile.
Woodstock Challenge 10K - previous PR 51:14, new PR 51:11
Difference of 3 seconds, or less than a second per mile.
Soldier Field 10 Mile - previous PR 1:27:54, new PR 1:25:09
Difference of 165 seconds, or 16.5 seconds per mile.
Rockford Pikermi - previous PR 1:52:15, new PR 1:50:32
Difference of 105 seconds, or ~8 seconds per mile.
13.1 Chicago - previous PR 1:50:32, new PR 1:50:11
Difference of 21 seconds, or ~1.6 seconds per mile.
I might have reached a plateau in the 10K and Pikermi for now... but then again, before the zoo race I had only run 2 previous 10Ks in my entire life. And they both took place last July. On a flat, uncrowded course (like my town's race on the 4th of July), I hope to go under 50 minutes. I think I can do it, but you just never know.
So far, the goal-less experiment is a GO. I would encourage you all to run a race with no expectations other than to go out and enjoy the day. Run with a Timex if you must, but soak in all the scenery and run your butt off. You'll be shocked at what you can accomplish.
So onto my new favorite team...
Go All-Whites Go! (Can you make room for me? Pretty please?)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
According to the website, this is one of the most challenging courses in Illinois. Being who I am, having done Little Rock and St Louis, I usually pooh-pooh that notion and find that courses are never as hard as people say they are (except for Little Rock, those hills were mean).
The RD lined us up by pace, and we were off right on time...
Mile 1: Through the park and onto the road. I wish this race started an hour earlier! It's really sunny, and heading back east is going to make me melt. Maybe. I won't let it. Went out a little too fast, damn. 7:31.
Mile 2: Daydreaming my way through this one. I'm running at my own pace, enjoying the quiet, uncrowded course and the pretty scenery. One thing that running in the city lacks- calm, serene, corn fields?! (Yes, I like corn fields.) Still going a little too fast... or am I just fast now?? 7:39 (15:11).
Mile 3: Pass by a genuine log cabin, and wonder to myself when the hills will start. Do I take this mile easy and save energy? Or do I keep going all-out? It's hard to decide. 7:51 (23:03).
Mile 4: I definitely smashed my 5K PR from last weekend... I wonder why I have no trouble smashing short PRs in long races, but can't do it in their own races? It doesn't make any sense. No giant hills yet, but I can see one on the horizon. Better Gu up... 8:26 (31:29).
Mile 5: That hill is just plain evil. Super steep and seemingly never-ending. Oh God Oh God Oh God I want this race to be over! Stop and walk for a second over the hill. I hate hills, I will never love them again. PR is probably shot to hell at this point... 9:28 (40:57)
Mile 6.2: Another giant hill, and at the top near the park where the race started/finished. Luckily there are sprinklers at the top of this hill, and I stop for a second to get myself wet. I'm dying at this point, praying there aren't anymore hills, and just wanting to be finished so that I can go swimming! We're running through the park, and I can see the finish line. I'm so close to my PR, and I decide to go for it. The lady in front of my is NOT KICKING, but waving to the crowd and jogging into the finish line. Not on my watch! I zoom past her and into the chute. 10:12 (51:10).
And I've done it. A PR by 4 seconds. WHEW! I'm just so glad it's over! I know that on the flat course in my town, I can definitely go under 51 minutes... if not under 50 minutes.
FINAL TIME: 51:14
AVERAGE PACE: 8:16
NEXT 10K: Frontier Days Stampede Run, 7.4.2010
Took these photos right after the race...
Me and my cousin getting ready to change our shoes, lol.
My cousin and her husband.
So after the race, we headed onto the pool deck for some grub. (Two thumbs way, way up... they had Subway sandwiches, donuts, and Burger King egg croissant sandwiches... I was in heaven!) The awards ceremony started while we were putting on our swimsuits, and I said to my cousin, "I wish I was fast so that I could win awards!"
Into the pool we went... and the 10K awards started. "Female Age 20-29... 3rd place... Maureen Smith, Arlington Heights." I yell out from the pool, "THAT'S MEEEEEE!" And I run out, grab my Xmen beach towel, and head to the table to pick up my plaque. I didn't think I would have to hang around for a group picture, but I had to. So I will be immortalized as the 3rd place winner in my age group with a purple polka dot bikini, Wolverine Xmen towel, and bare feet. AWESOME.
But I'm (still) as high as a kite. It's fun to win stuff, and I've gotten 2 age group prizes in 1 week! June 2010 is amazing!
My major award :)
Friday, June 18, 2010
I was running 13.1 Chicago this past Sunday, and I met a nice lady in the start corral, and ended up running with her for the majority of the race. She beat me (better kick), but that's beside the point.
I chatted while running for well over an hour... about races, family, future goals, the works.
And, as the conversation (mostly) revolved around running, we got to the dreaded question. The "What do you do for cross training?" question.
Da da DA!
My theory on life in general is that if I don't like it, I won't do it. Don't like the NBA? Won't watch it! Don't like swimming/biking/hiking/trekking? Don't do that either! It works out pretty well for me. I can try new things, but if the first time really, really sucks, chances are that I'll never do it again.
Like my first attempt at a triathlon. Sigh.
I had this bogus idea that I could do a sprint tri in the summer of 2002. So I signed up and started training for it. I would go to the gym, swim a bunch of laps, then head to the bike in my swimsuit and pedal away. I was doing a brick workout before I knew it was called that! I was a pioneer!
I had no problem on the running end... the swimming was scary, but I figured, as long as I had goggles, I would be okay. And it was a short enough swim that I could always make up time on the bike.
Ahhh the bike portion. I was going to do it on my brother's old mountain bike. It was hardly used, still in excellent condition, and it fit me (we're roughly the same size). One day I went for a ride around the neighborhood, in my helmet of course, with a backpack full of snacks. I have no idea where I went or how long I was gone, but I definitely remember the last 5 minutes of the ride.
I was following the bicycle rules of the road, when I was clipped from behind by a car. My bike wobbled, I flipped over a curb, my bike and I did somersaults in the air, and then I landed on my forehead. And my palms, knees, torso. Oh, and I slid for a bit, causing horrendous road rash. The bike? Not a scratch on it.
I sat crying on the ground for a good while. (I was on a busy street... did anyone stop to help? Nope.) When I was finally able to compose myself, I walked my bike to the public library, where there was a pay phone out front. (Hey- it was 2002 - I was a poor college kid without a cell phone.) I called my dad collect, told him what happened, and he came to get me. He let me drive myself home, and he rode the bike.
Come to think of it, this might have not been the best option. Even though I was insisting that I was fine, I was bleeding everywhere and probably had a concussion. But whatever. I made it home.
I decided right then and there that the triathlon could wait. (Plus the cuts on my body REALLY hurt.) So I have a "DNS" scribbled on the back of the bib number. Do I regret it? No.
But I haven't been on a bike since. A stationary or recumbent bike, yes. An actual road bicycle, no.
I relayed this entire store to my new friend during mile 9 of the race. It's embarrassing, and it's a long-winded, weird story. But you know what? It felt good to talk about it. Once I said, "I haven't ridden a bike in 8 years," I realized how ridiculous that statement sounds. I made a vow to get on a bicycle sometime in the near future. And, as luck would have it, my dad still has that old bike and is going to drop it by my house sometime soon.
I will probably be a bundle of nerves when the days comes that I mount that bike once again. It's starting over. And like anything that starts over, you get the hang of it after awhile... it's just like riding a bike.
I'm about 1.5 mi in when I kick a rock. I'm a clumsy runner, if there's a pebble on the road, I'll find it and kick it, so this was nothing new. It was a heavier rock than usual, which was weird... but I kept on running. I get to the stoplight about .25mi later, glance down at my shoe, and see that the top (where I kicked the rock) has red goop on it. Huh. At the turnaround point I'm at a drinking fountain, so I take the extra TP out of my Spibelt and clean off my shoe.
I HATE dirty shoes. I know, it's weird. B.A. runner I am not.
On the way back, I pass by the same spot again and see the rock I kicked sitting in the grass at the edge of the sidewalk. I glance down at it, and... it wasn't a rock. It was a head. A dead squirrel head. Yuck.
Who says the suburbs are boring?
When the Blackhawks first arrived home from Philly, they were greeted with a water salute at O'Hare. A fire chief then climbed up the stairs to the plane and they opened the door. Standing in the doorway was "some young player, the captain, I think" [we assume Jonathan Toews], with the Stanley Cup. He looks at the fire chief and says something like, "Go on, pick it up." The fire chief obliges. The Blackhawks player [again, we assume Jonathan Toews], says something like, "No no, over your head!" The fire chief hoists the cup over his head.
And that, my friends, was the first non-Blackhawks person to hold the cup.
So who is this mysterious member of the Chicago Fire Department?
None other than my dad's old boss, John. Small world.
How cool is that?!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
C'mon Spain! I thought that since you had won all but 1 of your last 45 matches (the loss being to the USA), you would be a great contender for World Cup. But instead, you lose... to Switzerland?!
I guess we can take solace in the fact that you're not in the Group of Death...
Or we can all just start rooting for Germany.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
2010 Stanley Cup Champions! Hooray!
The view from Randolph & Michigan, the closest I could get to the action. Way in the background of the pic is a huge video board- that's where the stage was.
Confetti falling from the buildings... yep, old Suntimes newspapers and black and red confetti.
You might be wondering, what would you do with a giant replica of the Stanley Cup? Well, make a beer bong out of it, of course!
What was waiting for me when I got home from work today :) I LOVE being the champion of something!
I'm standing at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change. I stop Garmin and am just standing on the corner. This guy in my town's fire department shirt walks by me and goes, "You should be running in place, not just standing there!" I go, "Um that's ok, it really doesn't do anything." He says, "It keeps your heart rate up... how do runners not know that? Stupid."
I don't know what was stupid... a) me for responding, or b) him for starting a conversation in the first place. Could go either way on this one...
Besides, running in place just looks weird. I make fun of people who do that.
Not even 5 minutes later, I'm nearly at my turnaround point, on the sidewalk, facing traffic. This idiot in a red mustang drives by me, rolls down his window, and yells, "Why are you running? It's [nasty word] raining!"
Good call, genius.
I get home, have to wring out everything I was wearing, hang my hat on a hook, and my shoes are squishing. It's a fantastic feeling!
Sigh. Some people just don't get it.
I will never get sick of Chelsea Dagger. Or following the Stanley Cup's victory tour on Twitter. Impossible. What if we have to wait another 49 years for that? I'll be 78 and in no position to dance my butt off or plan bar crawls. I'll still be holding out hope that the Cubs will finally make it to the World Series.
("I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys just came on my ipod - it's MY Chelsea Dagger.)
Speaking of the Cubs...
They really suck. Seriously. It's pathetic. And getting a little hard to watch. Last night they pulled within 1, and then decided to kick the ball around the outfield for awhile. Watching too much World Cup, perhaps?
I am just waiting for the Phillies to come into town right after the All-Star break... we should be completely in the toilet by then... and the "Let's Play Hockey" chants will start. THAT's gonna happen. The World Series in 2010? Not on your life.
Ahhhh World Cup... the only time I wish I was a teacher with summer vacation. Luckily for me, ESPN has matchcast and it is FANTASTIC! Right now Germany has looked the best, but Spain starts in 11 minutes (Spain is my overall pick).
Thoughts on other teams:
Brazil - really they let North Korea get a goal? But overall a good game.
Portugal/Ivory Coast - easily the most boring game of the tournament so far.
England - not having a clear goalie is going to hurt.
South Korea = Cinderella?
USA - Clint Dempsey is freaking good. Tim Howard is a badass. Landon Donovan still sucks.
Argentina - I'm worried that they kept that game so close. Especially when South Korea scored twice against Greece.
New Zealand - YAY! Happy to see them get a draw.
Netherlands - my sleeper. Hands down.
If you type "bl" into Google, Blackhawks is the first thing that pops up. My Stanley Cup shirt shipped yesterday... :)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Someone got mad.
Nope, it wasn't the Philadelphia Flyers. Nope, it wasn't even Chris Pronger. It was...
Exactly. She's the captain of the USA women's hockey team. I can paraphrase her comments for you... "women can do anything men can do, blah blah blah, we've come so far, blah, sexist, blah."
Talk about missing the point entirely, Angela.
Flash forward to yesterday. I go on my 3 mile recovery run around the neighborhood. On my way back home, I came across a hockey game in the streets of my subdivision. (Seriously, 5 years ago, kids were playing baseball in the streets instead of hockey. Funny how things change when our teams are good!) I see a bright orange hockey ball in the grass just ahead of me. I stop, take my headphones out, and yell to the kids (who were on the other side of the street), "Hey, is this yours?" One kid nods. I throw the ball to him. Steeee-rike.
He says, "Thanks." His friend says, "Whoa... you throw pretty good for a girl!"
I should have given him a lecture, something along the lines of... "women can do anything men can do, blah blah blah, we've come so far, blah, sexist, blah."
But I'm not Angela. I'm Maureen. And Maureen smiles, waves, and finished her run.
Not gonna lie, I had a certain spring in my step for the last half mile. I was flattered.
I bet the Trib is REALLY sad about that dollar they're losing from Angela... but they'll break even on the dollar from Maureen.
What's the prize? Oh, it's a good one...
1 free membership to the Mutual Admiration Society! AMAZING!
Ravenswood Run 5K
United Run for the Zoo
St Norbert Block Party 5K
InStep Icebreaker Indoor Half
26.2 with Donna Family Fun run
26.2 with Donna
Soldier Field 10 Mile
St Paddy's Day 5K
Des Plaines River Half
GO! St Louis Half
CARA Lakefront 10
Monday, June 14, 2010
I WON MY AGE GROUP!
Yes, won. #1. The best. By over 3 minutes. Say it with me: I. Am. Awesome.
I ran into the TV room to tell the bf the good news, then skipped back to the computer while doing a happy dance. Guess I shoulda stayed for the awards ceremony... whoops. I hope they mail me a prize anyway! Although I'm pretty darn happy just staring at the results page for now...
I was in the 5th corral (E), and I started the race nearly 8 minutes after the gun went off. While walking from the corral to the start line, I met a nice lady named Kara who asked my what my goal was. I must have looked like a weirdo, because I said... I don't have one.
It's true. I didn't have a goal coming into yesterday's race. I'd already completed my 2010 goal of a PR under 1:50:59, back on May 16th in Rockford. I still have 17 weeks left of marathon training before Chicago. I wasn't looking for anything spectacular.
Of course, that's when PRs usually happen...
Mile 1: It's really crowded at the beginning of the race, and I'm having trouble settling into my pace. Imagine my surprise when I get to the mile marker at exactly the pace I wanted to average at today. 8:30.
Mile 2: Through Jackson Park, where I've never been before. There's a giant gold statue of some goddess... I make a mental note to ask my dad what in the world that is. I am encouraged by the plentiful aid stations, as it is very humid out today. I'm grateful that the sun isn't beating down on me right now! Tricky footing with loads of potholes towards the end of this mile. 8:46 (17:17).
Mile 3: I meet up with Kara again and we book it through this mile. Still in the park... I think I like this place! 8:10 (25:28).
Mile 4: Lose my new friend again as I stop at the aid station for some Gatorade and a shot blok. My sweat is going to smell like margaritas... oh well. Onto the lakefront paths we'll be running on for the remainder of the race. There's some places where we can only run on half the path... I hope it's not too crowded on the way back! 8:36 (34:04).
Mile 5: So far, so good. I'm running at my own pace and having a ball. It's stopped misting and now it's just cloudy and humid. Honestly, that's pretty close to ideal race conditions. 8:22 (42:26).
Mile 6: I spoke too soon. Just encountered a huge pack of people in the race running MAYBE 10 minute miles. What time did they put on their registration form as a goal time??? Note: your life goal should NOT be your individual race goal! GRRRR... 8:59 (51:26).
Mile 7: Mad Mo just took over. To hell with all these slow people, I'll tiptoe around mud puddles and run in the gravel on the side of the path. So I do. 7:59 (59:10).
Mile 8: My silly goal is nearly accomplished, that being to break the speed limit on the bike path by my house during a training run. I can do 7.2 mph... gotta find a way to get to 8! I catch Kara at the very end of the last mile, and we run together for the remainder of the race. Except when I stop to get Gatorade. I am the clumsiest person alive, and even after 13 years of running, have yet to master drinking on the run. 8:28 (1:07:30).
Mile 9: A surprise on the other side of the path... navy blue Team Pikermi shirt, it's Tony! With his lovely wife Pamela! They don't even look tired... way to go, guys! 8:27 (1:16:06).
Mile 10: I'm definitely not used to running while talking... for sure a drawback to training alone. But I'm learning about all the marathons Kara has done, and oddly enough we haven't done any of the same ones. She's telling me about Lakefront in Milwaukee, I'm telling her about the half in Little Rock. Time is definitely flying. 8:30 (1:24:36).
Mile 11: I just smashed my 10 mile PR! That was totally unexpected! Now for some hydration and extra shot bloks before the big finish... 8:36 (1:33:13).
Mile 12: "California girls we're unforgettable, daisy dukes bikinis on top..." yep, stuck in my head. For the whole rest of the race. 8:19 (1:41:33).
Mile 13.1: I need to get to the 13 mile mark by 1:49:00 if I want to go under 1:50, based on my last .1 from yesterday's 5K. I forget to take into account that my legs are tired, I ran more miles, and there's more people here. Barely miss going under 1:50, but a PR is a PR and I will take it. 8:38 (1:50:11).
FINAL TIME: 1:50:11
AVERAGE PACE: 8:25
NEXT PIKERMI: Alexian Brothers Sports Festival, July 24th.
The day of the goalie blunder (boooo Robert Green!),
The day a rookie hit a grand slam on his first major league pitch,
The unofficial beginning of the Year of the Red Race Shirt (I have 5 and counting so far),
AND... the most exciting of them all...
THE DAY I SMASHED MY 5K PR!
It's an event 8 years in the making. Last time I PRd in a 5K, George Bush was President, and the Red Sox still hadn't won the World Series. Think about that. Yikes.
I had found this race (St Norbert Block Party 5K) through the CARA website... a small, local 5K is exactly what I wanted. I had been targeting this race as my PR race for some time now, but I didn't share my goals with anyone. What if I was disappointed yet again? I don't deal well with disappointment.
The race didn't start until 8, so I got up early to watch World Cup, and left for the race at about 7am. Ample free parking and no lines for packet pickup... along with a nice tech tee and a decent goodie bag (complete with toothbrush). I stayed in my car until about 5 minutes to 8... went to the start line, watched the little kid races (SO CUTE... one lost a shoe, and the other one faceplanted onto the concrete, but got right back up and finished the race), toed the line and we're OFF!
Mile 1: The entire course wound around this beautiful park that had trails and stuff. It was a small race (MAYBE about 200 people finished), and some grade school kids took off in a dead sprint in front of me. Of course, they were gassed after about a quarter mile. I was concentrating on running as hard as I could and not melting in the humidity. It was misty, but no heavy rain. I kept telling myself, it's a short enough race that the humidity won't kill me. I don't think. 7:43.
Mile 2: I passed the leaders... or rather, they passed me, about 10 minutes into the race. Yep, they were nearly at the 2 mile mark. Impressive. I see a girl about 200+ yards in front of me in a green Shamrock Shuffle shirt. She's my mark. I'm going to catch her. 7:38 (15:21).
Mile 3: This race is literally flying by. I'm running as fast as I can, and I catch the girl in the green shirt with about a half mile to go. We're leaving the meadow and heading towards the finish line. My legs feel strong, I'm not melting, and everything is in good shape. I bypassed the water station- didn't want to waste time when a PR is on the line! 7:37 (22:59).
Mile 3.1: Always the hardest part of the race for me. I have zero turnover and I suck at sprinting. Sure, that could be fixed with regular speed sessions, but let's be honest, that's not going to happen. Regardless, I'm going to get a PR by about a minute and I will definitely take that! 0:44 (23:43).
I didn't stay around for the awards ceremony (I woulda had to wait an HOUR!), so I have no idea how I did. And they still haven't posted the results. I will update with that info once it's posted.
FINAL TIME: 23:43
AVERAGE PACE: 7:45 (best all year!)
NEXT 5K: Possibly Bastille Day on July 7th. If not, Bucktown 5K on October 3rd.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
THE BLACKHAWKS WON THE FREAKING STANLEY CUP!
I can hardly believe it. Seriously. I didn't think that puck went in the net... but neither did anyone else in the bar lol. I'm so happy for Marian Hossa, FINALLY he gets to hoist the trophy, and that pic is the current background on my work computer. (FYI: si.com has the best pictures of Game 6/locker room/arrival at O'Hare).
So to recap the past couple of days: Monday I ran 5 miles, Tuesday I went to the Sox v. Tigers game with the bf and it rained all morning so I gave myself the day off, yesterday I made up Tuesday and did the Wednesday run (total = 6 miles). I ran fast yesterday (52:40), because I had to get home and get ready...
Every game the Hawks had won in the Stanley Cup finals, I had eaten hotdogs for dinner. Yesterday we had made plans to meet friends at an Irish bar in town, i.e. no hotdogs. So immediately upon arriving home from my run, I popped a hotdog in the microwave and ate it the same way (shredded cheddar, lotsa French's yellow mustard). Apparently it worked. As for the OT, well, I only ate 1 hotdog instead of the usual 2.
At the bar there was this really annoying man in a Jeremy Roenick jersey who thought that everytime our players got checked, it was a penalty. Dumb. And then after they won, he was running around the bar, which is actually more of a restaurant. We had fun making fun of him. And I had the most amazing pulled pork sandwich! Usually I get the patty melt (appropriately named the "Paddy" melt), but last time it didn't taste so good. I have now given the bf permission to slap me if I think of eating something other than the BBQ pork. It's that good.
As a fan who was there in the lean years, drinking at Lord Stanley's bar in Dekalb IL, when the home games weren't televised (weird, right?), I'm ecstatic to have the cup back. The lean years were so lean, in fact, that when I did the marathon in 2003 and 2004, in the goodie bag there was a voucher for a free Blackhawks ticket the day of the race. If I coulda walked, I woulda gone.
I already bought my t-shirt... and it's already backordered. Might have to take a trip to Dick's Sporting Goods after work...
On tap for today: very easy 5 miles, then a nap and dinosaur chicken nuggets. I love acting like a 5 year old. I feel a flu coming on... not that it has ANYTHING to do with the parade and rally downtown tomorrow
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I'm not happy when things like the logistics of signing up for a race are up to chance. I'm not a very lucky person. In thinking about this issue before writing a blog about it, I found that I was most upset for the residents of Houston who wanted to run their hometown race, maybe for the 1st time, maybe for the 6th. They aren't guaranteed entry based on residency. I would be DEVASTATED if Chicago went to a lottery format, and I didn't get in. I've toed the line 5 times, finished 3. I grew up there, and knowing that on February 1st I can sit at my computer and sign up for the marathon is very comforting. I'm not sitting on the edge of my seat, obsessively checking email, or cruising forums for information regarding status.
When I stayed up until 12:01am on February 1st to sign up for Chicago, I was wearing old sweats and a turkey trot shirt from 2003. When I sign up for the Houston lottery, I won't forget to wear my lucky socks or my favorite running hat. Every little bit helps, right?
Advice: if you want to do Houston, go for 2011. They're hosting the Olympic Trials in 2012- guaranteed mayhem.
The only question left is... am I up for the half or another full? Hmm...
Houston, I'll be anxiously awaiting your decision. I will stop calling your baseball stadium The Juicebox if you pick me. I promise!
Sunday was PERFECT racing weather here in Chicago... low 60s @ the start, bright sunshine, and NO humidity! I arrived at the Lincoln Park Zoo (one of the only free zoos left in the country) really early, after deciding to bite the bullet and pay the $12 to park in the zoo lot. I stand by my decision, as I parked right next to the finish line. I brought my mom with me, as the bf was oddly jealous of my awesome t-shirt and that I didn't remind him to register for the 5K, so he chose not to attend. But I digress.
We waited a half hour or so and then walked through the zoo to the start line. The lions were out! Lions are my absolute FAVORITE animal... and there was a little cutie roaring away. Ohhhh so exciting! The nice part about this race is that the 10K took place 20 minutes after the 5K started, so the course was completely clear.
Mile 1: I started right in the middle of the 7 and 9 min/mile pace signs, so I think I'm running at a good pace. I don't race with Garmin anymore, but he goes bonkers at Belmont Harbor anyway, so he would be useless today. Pass the farm that's part of the zoo, and luckily it doesn't smell TOO bad. 7:57.
Mile 2: We got to run through the ZOO! Omg I love the zoo! The only animal I saw was a polar bear... and he was hiding in the shade of his enclosure. He wanted no part of our beautiful sunshine. 8:07 (16:04).
Mile 3: Still running around the zoo grounds, and passing the nature museum. I tried to go in there one time for a chrysanthemum exhibit, but my allergies were too overwhelmed and I had to leave. We are running on some gravel lakefront paths today, and I'm relieved to find that the rain didn't ruin them. 8:00 (24:04).
Mile 4: Man oh man oh man I would have beaten my 5K PR! Now I need to find a race, because I'm ready to smash this thing NOW! But the uh oh tummy feeling has made an unwelcome appearance. I KNEW I shoulda used the bathroom before the race started. Crank up the music and ignore this thing. 8:15 (32:19).
Mile 5: At Belmont Harbor... it's such a beautiful day. Lots of people out, boats in the harbor. Chicago is so pretty. Reach the turnaround point and I need to go NOW. Luckily I find an indoor bathroom at the harbor... and somehow only lose a minute taking care of business. But I feel SO MUCH BETTER! I love running! 9:24 (41:44).
Mile 6: There's actually some inclines in the last mile. How mean. But what goes up must come down, and I welcome the downhills. I know that I'm going to get a PR, and I feel fantastic. 7:58 (49:42).
Mile 6.2: I'm the slowest sprinter in the universe... I'm sure if the bf saw my form right now, he'd tell me to pick up my feet. He's right. I need to remember that for my next race. See my mom and kick into the finish line. 1:32 (51:14).
That's right, a new PR of 51:14! I blew my old one (56:39) completely out of the water! I heart 10Ks! I'm super confident that I can go under 50 minutes at my town's 4th of July race... it's a lot less crowded and completely flat. I can't wait to try :)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
2.20.2010 - 26.2 with Donna Family Fun Run (2.3 mi) - DONE!
2.21.2010 - 26.2 with Donna Pikermi - DONE!
3.21.2010 - Shamrock Shuffle 8K - DONE!
3.27.2010 - Des Plaines River Pikermi - DONE!
4.11.2010 - GO! St Louis Pikermi - DONE!
4.24.2010 - CARA Lakefront 10 Miler - DONE!
4.25.2010 - Ravenswood Run 5K - DNS
5.1.2010 - Wisconsin Marathon - DONE!
5.16.2010 - Rockford Pikermi - DONE!
5.29.2010 - Soldier Field 10 Mile - DONE!
6.6.2010 - United Run for the Zoo 10K
6.12.2010 - St Norbert Block Party 5K
6.13.2010 - 13.1 Chicago
6.19.2010 - Woodstock Challenge 10K
7.4.2010 - Frontier Days Stampede Run
7.18.2010 - Fleet Feet Women's Festival 10K
7.24.2010 - Alexian Brothers Sports Festival Pikermi
8.1.2010 - Rock n Roll Chicago Pikermi
8.21.2010 - Madison Mini Marathon
9.12.2010 - Chicago Half Marathon
9.19.2010 - Fox Valley Final Fall 20 Miler
10.3.2010 - Bucktown 5K
10.10.2010 - Chicago Marathon
10.31.2010 - Marine Corps Marathon
11.6.2010 - Hot Chocolate 15K
11.24.2010 - Edison Park Turkey Trot
11.26.2010 - Schaumburg Pikermi Turkey Trot
12.12.2010 - Tucson Marathon
When I did this race last year, I didn't like how long it took me to start, and I was SO FAR BACK that I couldn't even hear the national anthem. This year I was in corral A, right at the front, and got to see the pre-race ceremony. Last year they had satellite races for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to sending the troops race numbers, shirts, and medals, they also sent a flag that had flown over Soldier Field. It also flew over the base in Iraq (or Afghanistan, I can't remember which). For this year's race, the military men came back, brought the flag, and it was once again flown over Soldier Field on Saturday. What a nice touch!
The gun went off and I started less than 2 minutes after the fast people in front. What a difference the corral made! I wasn't running around walkers and slow people for the entire race. I was able to settle in right away at my race pace and hold it steady. Once the crowd thinned out a little after halfway, there was even MORE room. It was fantastic!
Mile 1: The only mile of the whole race I don't like, since we're running in a very dark, very potholey tunnel that runs under McCormick Place East. I was just trying really hard to not fall down or injure myself doing something stupid. Mission accomplished.
Mile 2: Skipped the first aid station (waaayyy too crowded). Now we're running south on Lake Shore Drive, actually on the shoulder and in the far right lane. I can't get over how beautiful a day it is. Look at Timex for the mile time: 7:58. Holy cow! I haven't run a mile this fast in years and years and years.
Mile 3: Still running a consistent 8ish pace. I am starting to bake in this sun, however. Should have worn a light shirt. But this bright red Team Pikermi shirt is AWESOME... people are looking at me funny though... are they jealous? We'll go with that.
Mile 4: Almost got that 5K PR. I think I got to about a 5K (I don't have Garmin, and it's not marked for 5K) in 25:10. Makes me much more confident that the 5K PR can go down this year. It's been haunting me for far too long!
Mile 5: Reaching the turnaround point, roughly at 53rd street. It makes the course seem really, really long when you consider that we started at 18th street! Halfway time: 40:26. Holy smokes!
Mile 6: Still running fast, but starting to get the yucky feeling in my tummy. Take a shot blok and hope it goes away soon! (Btw, the margarita flavored Clif shot bloks really DO taste like a margarita, complete with salt and lime. They are fantastic!)
Mile 7: I can't wait anymore. My colon is going to explode. Find a park bathroom (yay indoor plumbing), but I lose almost 3 minutes taking care of business.
Mile 8: I reach about 7.25 in exactly an hour. My silly goal for 2010 is to break the speed limit (8 mph) at the bike path. Almost there! I'm starting to bake in the sun again (glad I wore a hat), and I need to reach deep into my mantra library and pull out a moldy oldie... "2 miles left... You can do anything for 2 miles!"
Mile 9: We've been heading back north on the lakefront path, so you can see Soldier Field, and now it's getting bigger and bigger. I could really use some more water and another shot blok...
Mile 10: The last half mile was totally the best part of the race. We ran by the start line, where there was a DJ and a huge crowd of people cheering. Then we made a left turn to Soldier Field's loading dock and we were IN! Under the stadium, around the corner, and through the tunnel! I got to where the goal line would be and ran the whole rest of the way with my arms raised above my head. I saw myself on the Jumbotron! Team Pikermi- we're famous :) Final mile: 8:12.
Final time 1:25:09, a new PR. Think of how much better it would have been without a bathroom break... grrr. I definitely started too fast as well. I think I run better races without goals, so I'm going to try that for the month of June.
I opted not to stick around for very long after the race... I got my medal and a snack, found my mom and we headed back to the car. So I didn't get my hot dog and beer, but mom did buy me lunch after I had a shower! I found out yesterday that they black-flagged the race and made people walk. I did hear a few sirens during the race, but thought nothing of it (I grew up on a busy street- sirens don't bother me). Honestly, it wasn't that hot. And it wasn't humid at all. So I don't know if they were being overly cautious or what.
But I had a great time for sure... I also requalified for Corral A, so you bet I'll be finishing on the 50 again in 2011!
Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! I'll post a few pictures when I get them from my mom.