Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Miles biked - 29 (damn sickness that killed me for over 2 weeks!)
Races run - 4
PRs at said races - 0 :(
Medals earned - 3
New thing done - Spectating!
Book read - "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life," by Amby Burfoot
Biggest achievement - Getting to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston. Something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Biggest disappointment - Getting a course PW indoors. FAIL. Honorable mention to being sick and feeling like crap the entire time I was in Houston.
Things I'm loving this month - my Brooks jacket, the colors of the new Pure Project shoes, unseasonably warm temperatures, scoring a Runner's High t-shirt at the Nike outlet for $8, being a craft beer nerd with Renee, my new Snuggie, The Firm TV series, Top Chef Healthy Choice meals.
Things I'm hating on - my wonky foot, the fact that football season is over, the check engine light in my car, idiot vendors I have to deal with, how Garmin says its battery is low when it's halfway charged, the fact that EVERY DAY I want to take a nap.
Things (races) to look forward to in February - Super Bowl Shuffle 5K & Warm Your Hearts 5K (where Renee WILL get her PR!)
*IMPORTANT GOALS ANNOUNCEMENT*
My friend had a really great idea about the shoe goal - wear every pair of shoe in the shoe tower. Since I currently have 9 in the tower and 3 that I'm rotating, it's a heck of a challenge. So my friend Mike suggested that I make it a goal to run 100 miles in each pair of shoes, and wear them all willy-nilly. I like his style. New goal. This may require the purchase of a shoe tree. Stay tuned...
Monday, January 30, 2012
(Not gonna lie... I was also motivated by the free Snuggie for the first 200 people to register. I totally got one. I was #71.)
I arrived to the lake pretty early, since I wanted to snag a good parking space. I spent some time in my car, Tweeting and reading the newspaper, before I decided to be brave and head to the start line.
I was standing around looking lost, when I ran into my Half Fanatics friend Kirk! We were about to take a photo, when a flash mob broke out in front of us. I'm so not joking. It was AWESOME. Bet you wish your race started with a flash mob!
We eventually got our picture:
Then we headed to the start line. I thought of my goals while walking there. #1: don't die. #2: don't get frostbite. (It was COLD! And WINDY!)
Just as I was convinced frostbite was invading my toes, we were OFF!
Mile 1: There was no rhyme or reason to the start. Just run. And have to zoom zoom around people. Almost kill myself on some ice. Switch to the grass. Soak my foot stepping into a puddle. Oh good God, this is going to be a long day! 8:58
Mile 2: Now we're running on the lakefront path, and it's pretty much just an out-and-back from here. Supposedly the wind is coming out of the west, but it feels like it's everywhere. I musta had rockets strapped to my shoes for this mile, as it's my best mile of 2012 (so far)... 7:37
Mile 3: Another quick mile, and I'm still chatting away. Clearly, I'm not working hard enough. But super grateful it's not TOO slippery. 8:06
Mile 4: I think there are 4 aid stations on the course. I'm going to need them. I'm THIRSTY today. The best part about winter running - the Gatorade stays cold! 7:55
Mile 5: There's a tutu and a Half Fanatics shirt a little bit in front of us... it's Heather! We speed up a bit and catch her just before we all nearly slip and fall on the ice. The *entire* path is not exactly runable. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.) 8:27
Mile 6: So far, so good. I feel really, really awesome. Even though we're over by the zoo and the paths here ALWAYS suck. I'm slipping all over the place, but haven't fallen yet (cross your fingers). Add that as goal #3: don't fall on my ass. 8:24
Mile 7: Turnaround and head back to the start line. And another aid station! With Clif Shots! I don't need one right now, but since I've cramped like crazy during the last 2 halfs, I stick it in my pocket, just in case. It would be just my luck to eat it now and then need it later. 8:50
Mile 8: Still feel great, and that pesky wind is kinda blowing me, but it's coming from the side, so it's no big deal. I glance at my watch when we get to the mile marker, and HOLY SHIT, I'm on PR pace. For real. On pace for a 1:46. Crazy. 8:12
Mile 9: Another speedy mile... I CAN DO THIS! 8:09
Mile 10: Let me take this moment to enlighten you as to why this race is called the F^3 Lake Half Marathon. *cover your virgin ears* It stands for... the Fucking Freezing Frozen Lake Half Marathon. Did I mention that the wind is now blowing right in my face? Howling is probably a more accurate word... 8:47
Mile 11: Kirk goes, "They should call this the Fucking Windy race." Word. This wind is kicking my butt, and I have officially fallen off my pace. Boo-urns winter. 8:09
Mile 12: I tell Kirk to take off... my legs are betraying me, and I wish I was done with this thing. But he stays, and I try to keep up the pace. I'm tired, but overall I feel great, because I'm running so fast. Outside. IN JANUARY! 8:13
Mile 13.1: Last mile. I can see the finish line. (We just ran by it.) Just a couple loop-de-loops, then then straight on til the finish line. "Thunder Road" comes on my ipod, and I let The Boss guide me home. He does. I sprint and cross the finish, 40-some seconds shy of my PR. If it weren't for the stupid ice in mile 1, I woulda had it. Poop. 8:45
FINAL TIME: 1:48:33
AVERAGE PACE: 8:17
LESSON LEARNED: Invest in a ninja mask, or at the very least, a bandanna, for days like today. I couldn't stop coughing on my way home because of the cold air.
NEXT PIKERMI: Rock n Roll New Orleans, 3.4.2012
After we crossed the finish line, we got our sweet medals (that double as bottle openers), and some refreshments, and waited for Heather to cross the finish line. Crazy girl had to get on her way to run a nighttime full marathon.
Pic of us:
Yes, I still have windburn. Yes, my PF is acting up this week, after all the pounding on the hard, icy paths. No, the smile hasn't left my face. Pikermi #3 is in the books for 2012. It's gonna be a great year!
This book will seriously take you like 3 seconds to read. Seriously. Less than 2 lunch breaks, and I was done (I only get 30 minutes for lunch).
It's a little outdated.
I didn't like it. I would rather read something by the Penguin or Hal Higdon.
3 things to take away from this book:
1. Did you know that Amby won the Boston Marathon in 1968? Well, if you didn't before, you will now. He mentions it a bazillion times throughout the course of the book.
2. I did like what he said about starting lines:
That's the beauty of starting lines: Until you begin a new venture, you never know what awaits you.
3. If 2011 was the Year of Racing Dangerously, then 2012 is the Year To Slow Down. I'm slowly becoming a minimalist, in both shoe preference and mileage before the big race. Amby said something that did hit home for my 2012 plan, making me think that I might be onto something:
At times, you'll have fun by pushing yourself to achieve the most you can do. At many other times, however, you'll be satisfied by doing a little, not a lot, and keeping things in their proper perspective.
Since I like numbers, on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being sucky and 5 being awesomesauce, I'll give this one a 2. Now back to The Descendants.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
1. Not one, but TWO episodes of 30 Rock made me extremely happy today. That and the Hunger Games reference Liz Lemon made.
2. Saturday I am running a half marathon. Outside. Along Lake Michigan. And I'm oddly excited for it, even though the highest temperature we will see while running is 25. I even washed my awesome jacket and running tights in preparation.
The best part? I picked up my stuff on Sunday, and since I was one of the first 200 people to register, I got a free Snuggie with the race logo on it. AND IT CAME WITH THE BOOK LIGHT! My excitement can barely be contained.
3. I watched part of the NHL All-Star Game draft on Versus (or whatever it's calling itself now). It sounds like it would be lame, but it was oddly entertaining. Also, my favorite player (Marian Hossa) was there. Maybe that's why I watched. Can't wait for all of the other festivities this weekend!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I opened the door to my patio to set out on my run, and nearly broke my neck. Sidewalk COVERED in ice. But it was sunny today! Waaaaa!
Solution - run in the street.
There is exactly 1 shoveled/salted sidewalk in my entire area. (It's right by the grade school. Shocking.)
So while running 5 miles aimlessly, in random loops around my neighborhood, the following awesomeness occurred:
-- A guy beeped at me and yelled "Nice ass" out his window,
-- A minivan tried to splash me with icy water from the side of the road,
-- A landscaping truck full of creepy dudes followed me down the street for a half mile,
-- I saw another runner!!!
-- I saw the local high school track team,
-- I did not blow a single snot rocket (because I put tissues in my pocket),
-- My neighbor told me I looked fast today!
Still no salted sidewalks. Suburbia is weird.
I woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to go to the race. Got my stuff, put on my shoes, and ran the race. 48 circles around an ice rink. Without an ipod. Living DANGEROUSLY, that's for damn sure.
This is me:
It was indoors, sooo....
1. No Garmin,
2. No laps,
3. I counted my laps but ended up with a higher total than my chip. Either I can't count, or my chip can't. Maybe a little bit of both...
Not sure why I'm smiling:
Also, I had a raging cold all week and couldn't really breathe all that well. I finished in 1:53:41. Poo. Oh well, I have another race this coming Saturday to look forward to!
FINAL TIME: 1:53:41
AVERAGE PACE: 8:40
LESSON LEARNED: Bring Kleenex the next time I run here! And Chapstick! The dry air killed me.
NEXT PIKERMI: F^3 Lake Half Marathon, 1.28.2012
Yay finishing! Medal #2 for 2012!
After the race, I met up with some Half Fanatics:
Then Renee and I headed back to her place for a bacon breakfast (LOVE having friends who can cook, lol), then headed back to the Petit Center for the marathon relay, which Renee ran. And I did it...
I spectated. AGAIN. SO FUN.
We had such grand plans for the evening, but running in circles took it all out of us, so we ate a bunch of pizza, went into food coma, and fell asleep on the couch. Best day ever.
The next morning I woke up, asked Renee when the liquor store opened, and proceeded to fill my car with New Glarus beer, since they don't sell it in Illinois. I'm halfway through a 6 pack of their Honey Bock, and I may need an emergency trip to the border next weekend before the Super Bowl. It is that good. But I digress.
We went to a place for brunch (Hamburger Mary's) that had $2 mimosas and brunch potatoes that I am still salivating over. I love Milwaukee, and I love Renee! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a fun weekend!!!!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Where we left off: I went to the Olympic Trials to cheer on the runners, and then treated the bf to a boozy lunch, in appreciation for him getting up early and going with me. Also, I drank beer. While on cold medicine. Not the smartest thing I've ever done, but the Flying Saucer is my absolute FAVORITE, and I wasn't going to miss out on it for anything.
After a nap, 2 great football games, and a pasta buffet at our hotel's restaurant, I went to sleep still swallowing needles and praying for a miraculous recovery.
It didn't happen. I woke up 6 times during the night. I drank a crazy amount of water. I prayed hard for my own death. I stayed awake for good at, oh, 5:30. Drank some Diet Coke. Watched TV. Got dressed in all my running stuff, then sat on my bed and whimpered.
We left the hotel around 6:15. I was armed with Garmin (which I kept telling myself I know how to use, not like that Tucson disaster), my hotel room key, and cough drops. The start line was right alongside Minute Maid Park, which is right where I started last year when I did the full. How's that for symmetry?
I got into the start corral around 6:40, just in time for the opening ceremonies. The guest starters? Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter! I was geeked out to the CORE. How freaking cool is that?! Some blah blah speeches from people, national anthem, and the weirdest prayer ever. I won't get into it. Alls I have to say is, I was glancing around me while it was going on, thinking, Am I the only one here NOT drinking the Kool-Aid?
Then at 7am, we were OFF!
Mile 1: I must have sick brain. Because why else would I not line up in FRONT of the 8:00 min/mile pace sign? I'm passing walkers, those damn Galloway "runners," and people doing 11:00 min miles. Grrrrr. And we're on a HUGE bridge, merging with the full marathon runners, and there's nowhere to move. Great.
Right before I entered the start corral, the bf told me to not worry about breaking records, but just to have fun and ENJOY IT. So I will try to relax. No records today. Fun. Got it. 8:57
Mile 2: Starting conservatively isn't so bad. I'm having fun. I could run forever at this pace. The cough drop I sucked down in the start corral is actually helping. I CAN SWALLOW! (Insert dirty joke here, hee hee.) 8:41
Mile 3: I've settled in nicely. One of the best things about this race is the amount of spectators on pretty much every inch of the course. It was one of the things I liked most last year - even during the late lonely miles of the marathon, I never felt like I was alone. 8:33
Mile 4: Pretty stoked about my decision to drop down to the half. Next year, I will only sign up for the half. Also, I will rent a car and drive to the NASA museum. And I will not be sick. See how much I love this race? I am already planning next year's trip! 8:50
Mile 5: Feeling pretty good, so I pick it up a bit. When I run, I feel better. The fact that I haven't run since Wednesday might have a little something to do with that too! I've missed you, running. 8:26
Mile 6: Another reason why I love this race, and it might seem a little weird... I think that the aid stations are placed perfectly. Whenever I feel like I need a drink, an aid station appears. And there's not a mile marker sandwiched in between the tables, which makes walking through them like Hal tells me to MUCH easier. It's something so simple, and it sounds so dumb, but not having to rush through because I'm more concerned with my mile split than my hydration is a huge boost. 8:29
Mile 7: I have no idea why this mile was so slow. La-la-land is my best guess. 8:55
Mile 8: Fastest mile of the day... for no apparent reason. In my defense, we were going downhill off a bridge. I LOVE bridges. Then the truly fast people in the half were on the other side of the road. I think my subconscious wanted to catch them. So I flew. And it was awesome. 7:53
Mile 9: Reined myself in a little bit. No need to spoil the last 5K. 8:40
Mile 10: Split off from the marathoners (who have a much more interesting course, by the way), and headed back to downtown. It's a LONG straightaway, practically made for PRs. I seriously need to not be on death's door next year. This is a terrific PR course. 8:22
Mile 11: Did I mention we've had perfect weather today? 40s, cloudy, perfect. I am glad I packed a pair of Under Armour capris instead of rocking out the shorts. This is fun. The tall buildings are getting closer and closer. We're running the same part into downtown that the Olympians ran yesterday. I'm channeling my inner Shalane and going for broke! 8:27
Mile 12: There's a huge banner on one of the bridges over the highway announcing 1.5 miles to go. Garmin concurs. (Glad I learned how to operate it today, haha.) I pick up my pace a tiny bit. Once I hit the mile marker, I'm going to run as quickly as possible. I'm a little tired, but nothing hurts and my throat is no longer killing me. I think running cures all. 8:26
Mile 13: Going as fast as I can, running the streets of downtown that I've been wandering for the last couple of days. I can hear the faint sounds of the announcers and the cheering crowds of people. The end of this race is the best - people are everywhere! Right before the mile marker, I see the bf on the side of the road. I ham it up and blow him a kiss. (Hey, I'm supposed to be having FUN, remember?) 8:06
Mile 13.1: Sprint to the finish... I'm going to end up with a decent time! If I weren't sick, I'd be under 1:50 for sure... gives me some motivation to come back next year and finish what I started! I wish I could share a great finisher photo with you, but sadly, one does not exist. I am short. Tall people finished in front of me. You can see my arm though! (I was wearing blue sleeves.) 0:47
FINAL TIME: 1:51:39
AVERAGE PACE: 8:26
LESSON LEARNED: Whatever your anticipated pace is, there's someone out there slower than you who thinks they are minutes faster than you. Line up accordingly.
NEXT PIKERMI: InStep Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon, 1.21.2012
After the race, I got my medal and headed inside for some food. They give you a hot breakfast, which is pretty nice. Then I hit the ice cream stand. At around mile 9, when my throat started to burn again a little bit, I told myself to hang on, remembering about the ice cream at the end. It hit the spot.
Houston, I can't wait to see you again in 2013!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
What a way to start my spectatin' career - the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX.
I woke up the bf really, really early for vacation. We had free breakfast at the hotel (yay for gold status at Hiltons!), and then headed out to watch the trials. We never made it to the start line, instead opted to stand just before the 1st mile marker... the course did a little 2 mile loop through downtown, before starting 3 giant 8-mile loops around the city.
(I apologize in the advance for the ridiculous amount of pictures I took of Deena Kastor. She is my idol. Now you know.)
Men @ mile 1:
Women @ mile 1:
We sprinted a block over, so that we could catch the women again, as they looped through downtown:
Aaaand over to another part of downtown to watch the women:
Then we staked out a good spot... at just before 8/17/25. We decided we'd see the men and women at 8 and 17, and then head to the finish line. We were tracking the race on Twitter to see how much longer we'd have to wait.
The men @ mile 8, my favorite pic that I took:
The women @ mile 8:
Men @ mile 17:
Women @ 17:
We headed towards the finish line. On our way there, the women were winding through downtown again (between 17-18). The bf took these:
We headed to the finish line festivities to cheer for the winners. (I have no good finish line pics, as I'm too short to see over people, and the trees were taken, so I couldn't climb them.)
It. Was. Amazing.
Seeing Meb acknowledge the crowd? Awesome.
Seeing Ritz come SO CLOSE (I had no idea how far back he was until I watched NBC's coverage), and then break down crying at the finish line? Heartbreaking.
Then the women's race... the announcers kept telling us, Shalane! No, Desi! No, Shalane! So it was really cool to watch it play out RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Shalane looks like a Barbie doll. She is so pretty up close. Desi didn't look tired.
She came in 5th. But to see her right in front of me, and watch her pump her fist and acknowledge the crowd was truly the highlight of my day. She is, after all, one of the reasons why I ran a marathon in the first place. And why I always race in a hat.
All that spectatin' was exhausting! We went back to our hotel for a short rest... and some hockey... then ventured out for some beers and comfort food. Yay spectating!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
1. I'm sick. I've taken the last 2 days off work. Sore throat, congestion, overall yuckiness. I feel so much better than I did 6 hours ago, it's incredible. Thank you modern medicine!
2. Tomorrow morning I leave for Houston! Saturday we'll be watching the Olympic Trials, and Sunday I'm running in the half marathon. I really hope I feel better by then... if the race was tomorrow, I would either suck or be a DNS.
3. My Twitter friends got me hooked on Revenge. Best guilty pleasure ever. I caught up the last couple of days, and now I am officially obsessed.
Also obsessed with? The Firm. It's on now. Gotta run.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
We met in Lake Geneva a couple of hours before the race, to check in, grab food, and get our race stuff. Instead of a "boring old t-shirt," as the website says, we got this:
Not too shabby for the first race of the year!
So after chilling out for a bit, we followed a hoard of people to the start line (yeah, we had no idea where it was. The Grand Geneva resort is HUGE.) We took this (fulfilling one of my 2012 goals):
At an undetermined time, at an undetermined start line, we were OFF!
Mile 1: Clearly people were not lined up in any sort of order. We're passing walkers and slow people, but fast men in tiny shorts are passing us like we're standing still. Good thing mile 1 is a warmup! With a sweet downhill! That eventually we will have to go back up... crap. Won't think about that now. 8:35
Mile 2: We got so lucky with the weather. It's beautiful outside. The sun is shining, and we're running fast, in January, without a foot of snow on the ground. I'm not complaining at all! We pick it up this mile and decide to keep with it. 8:08
Mile 3: Just cruising along now, chatting and admiring brave souls who wore their bunny costumes TO the race. (Next year I'm getting a tail!) It's really, really fun. The time is passing very quickly. 7:58
Mile 4: We're passing a ton of people at this point, as they seem to be getting tired, whereas we are only getting stronger. We slow down a tad about halfway through this mile, as we have both decided to kill it in the last mile. But still finish this one with a terrific time. 7:57
Mile 5: Remember that sweet downhill? Now we have to go up. This absolutely kills me. It's hard. My legs hurt. If I didn't have Renee beside me pushing me up that hill, I swear I never would have made it.
So we get to the top of the hill, and the volunteer says something like, "Great job, almost done, just around the corner." I look down at Garmin - 4.60. That man was a dirty liar!
Now we're on the path next to the golf course. There's actually a few spectators, some with funny signs (one being my favorite race sign - "Worst. Parade. Ever."), cheering us as we sprint to the finish. I kick it in and finish WAY better than I expected to! 7:49
FINAL TIME: 40:29
AVERAGE PACE: 8:07
LESSON LEARNED: What happens at the S-NO-W Fun Run, stays at the S-NO-W Fun Run. (More on that later).
NEXT 5 MILER: Well, this one FOR SURE in 2013. (Sounds soooo far away.)
After the race, we did what everybody always does at the end of races... went to the Schnapps table for shots of cinnamon Schnapps!
We went back to our room for some dry clothes, then headed back to the swingin' post-race party. Free beer galore. Leinenkugel's and Miller. Ahhhhh! We got some food, but all the tables were taken, and we didn't want to block the aisles, so we joined another group and made new friends. We picked the right group! Everyone was awesome and SO MUCH FUN.
Some people dressed in costume:
I'm not going to get into the events of the evening. I will just leave you with the following quotes, a picture that is worth 1,000 words, and the knowledge that I am friends with the 2012 Sausage Queen.
"What kind of beer is this?"
"I have sex with that girl. A LOT!"
Best. Race. Ever.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Yesterday when I got home from work, it was 55 degrees outside. In Chicago. In January.
So of course I wore shorts!
I'm cruising along, enjoying the amazing weather. Just as I get to the park, a lady about my mom's age summons me over to her with a "Young lady!"
I oblige. What if she was hurt or something? ("What if she's an axe murderer" never entered my mind.)
Her: "I can't believe your mother let you out in shorts! Shame on her!"
Me: "Wait... what?"
Her: "You heard me."
Me: "Hold up... how old do you think I am?"
Her: "You are clearly of high school age."
Me: "Um, I'm flattered, but I'm 29, and I make my own decisions, thankyouverymuch."
I left her, and finished my run. It was 51 degrees when I got back.
Feels good to wear shorts in January!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
1. I'm racing on Saturday!!! (Can you tell I'm just a LITTLE excited?) Renee & I are taking our talents to Lake Geneva... and it's supposed to be 40+ degrees! Ahhhh so excited :)
2. I've been biking like a demon this week. I took today off. My quads couldn't take it anymore. But the increased cardio is already making a difference for the better in my running endurance. (Also, I found 2 duathlons for the summer... I'm so going to do this!)
3. Right now I'm sitting on the couch watching the Blackhawks-Flyers game. The goalie for Philly (Ilia Bryzgalov) has the coolest mask ever. It's a special Winter Classic one, with photos of famous Philly athletes on it. REALLY well done.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Monday, January 2, 2012
All of a sudden, I was on my butt at the end of the driveway. I slipped on a patch of black ice - cut my knee, bruised my butt, and hurt my arm. Oh, and I also dirtied my pants, and had to go back in the house to change them before I left. Not a good way to start the day.
Fast-forward 4 days later (today), and my knee looks like this:
Ok sidewalk, I'll concede this battle to you... :(
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I've done a lot of thinking today, in between hangover naps on the couch. So here are, in no particular order, my 2012 running goals. There are 12 of them (for '12!).
1. Go under 1:45 in the pikermi. (I race too much, so this is pretty unrealistic. But I think for the most part I won't race in July and August, and should be ready to peak for a late September-early October race.)
2. Volunteer at a race.
3. Run 1500 miles. Bike 1000 miles.
4. Do a duathlon, even though that scares me half to death. (I'm petrified that I will crash my bike and break my head.)
5. Wear a different race shirt every day until the drawer is empty. (I'll only wear the tech ones. Cotton makes me feel gross.) Post pictures via Twitter to prove that I did it. This starts today, hash tag #raceshirtchallenge. New shirts will be cycled in as they appear.
6. Run pikermis in 10 different states in 2012. (Ones I've already crossed off the overall list will still count towards this goal.)
7. Once a month, do a completely new running thing. Then blog about it. There are no limits to the newness. (I tend to do the same thing every single day and have no trouble with this. But it might be fun to explore. Also, it might make me more interesting.)
8. Run to the Chicago Botanic Garden. This has been on my bucket list since I started running longer distances. The bike path actually ends there. I have always wanted to do this. No time like the present, right?
9. Run more 8Ks. I like them.
10. Read 1 running-related book a month. Write book review.
11. Take a picture at every single race I run. (I am such a slacker when it comes to photography. Hunting for photos for my 2011 summaries took A LOT of time.)
12. Run in every single pair of shoes in the shoe tower (there are currently 8, plus the 3 I am currently cycling through. I am a shoe hoarder.)