Fans gone wild - the road show

I don't mean to appear obsessed with wild Cubs fans, but it seems like there's a bit of a copy-cat string of rogue Cubs fan attacks going on. This time our story comes out of Milwaukee, where three Cubs fans (they seem to act out in packs) got off a bus headed back to Chicago and proceeded to beat the crap out of a Brewers fan that had just lobbed a beer at said bus; the poor sucker lost a tooth for his poorly-timed act of spite, and one fan faced charges of assault. Perhaps now people will stop calling Sox fans the violent, trashy fans in Chicago, and start looking North for the hooliganism a bit more.

Keeping it classy, Chicago.


It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

And someone has... In today's Trib top stories was a lovely little number about three of my Eastern European brethren getting into a Cubs V. Sox brawl at a child's birthday party- the fight resulted in the Sox fan losing an eye and the three attackers (allegedly all Cubs fans) being slapped with felony assault charges. This is what happens when vodka, baseball, and confetti cake combine in one unfortunate place.


201st post - 12 miles

Got up at 5am and did my 12 mile run this morning; greeting the dawn was pleasant. I meet a lot of people on the lake path - all extremely friendly, saying 'hello,' 'good morning,' asking how I was, or just waving or giving the peace sign - a bit of running culture I never really encountered with my evening runs. Perhaps people are more friendly in the morning, though I, for one, tend to be grouchy. The run itself went pretty well; this time I was at about an 11:30 pace, which seems a lot more reasonable than the quicker pace I had on my 10mile. I felt good for the most part, but was getting fatigued as I rolled into the 11th mile; I think getting a better night's sleep and continuing to be diligent about my conditioning runs mid-week will help solve that. This was also my first time trying to run using the Gu stuff - it was a bit of a juggling act with opening the packets and holding my water bottle, but not too much of a hassle. It was definitely worth it though, as I felt I did get a boost of energy out of the Gu. Banana-strawberry was my favorite; I could have done without the berry one I had (too sweet for my tastes).

In other news, somehow I managed to chafe in areas I never imagined it possible to chafe; next long run I am going to have to be a bit more thorough with the body glide. Right now I'm feeling pretty good muscularly, but those chafed areas give me quick moments of intense pain when I move just the right way.


Trail lust

I accidentally stumbled onto an article about the Superior Hiking Trail today and fell in love with the idea. Having read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the woods, I was already familiar with the famous Appalachian Trail, but I had no idea that there was a silent sister trail running along the Lake Superior shoreline in Minnesota that was less known and, subsequently, less used. While the article above discussed in depth baby boomer usage of the trail, hiking from lodge to lodge without covering considerable distance, there is also a large portion of use that goes to backpackers and through-hikers (a 3 week endeavor, apparently) who use some of the 80+ back country campsites.
I would absolutely love to take a couple weeks of vacation over the summer and go lose myself with Dan in the woods; northern Minnesota is absolutely spectacular, and this sounds like a great way to see more of it. Back in high school I was lucky enough to do some canoe camping in the BWCA; I think I'd really enjoy seeing more north woods goodness by foot.

Well, add this near the top of the 'to do after graduation when grad school stops sucking up vacation time' list, along with that celebratory trip to Egypt and the Middle East; hitting Norway with Dan and the in-laws; traveling through Asia with Claudia; going to Ocracoke with my parents; and much much more. Wanderlust anyone?


Bartman Returns... or not

In an amusing tidbit of Cubs news, Steve Bartman, public enemy #1 and scapegoat 2k3 for Cub's fans all over, has declined an offer of $25,000 to sign just one autograph publicly st a sports collectors convention. It is to be assumed that he is now living in a cave in Afghanistan with the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin Ladin, and Darth Vader, and can't be imposed upon to come back to the states to make an appearance. In other news, the Chicago White Sox announce that they will be unveiling a statue of Bartman riding a goat over by right field.


Made the turn onto 35th today, saw the bus about to arrive, and decided to hop on to get to the el quicker; as I was boarding I heard one 30-something, seemingly able-bodied woman complaining to the other about the lateness of the driver. I assumed the speaker was taking the bus all the way to the end of the line, so I didn't thing more of it. After getting off at my stop and heading through the station, I was surprised to find myself standing next to this same woman on the red line platform - she turned to me and said: "that bus - I waited for it for 35 minutes - can you believe it was so late?"

Now, I normally walk from home to the train - a distance of about .8 miles; from the bus stop it's probably about .5. I have a rule that if it'll be quicker to walk, I'll do so, but if the bus is in sight, I'll wait and take it to catch an earlier train in the mornings only, evenings I always walk (9 times out of 10 I beat the bus because it never seems to be there in the morning). I couldn't resist making some comment about how walking would have been quicker, but she had no answer to that; she was friendly so we laughed off the whole thing, mutually complaining about the unpredictability of the CTA - for me it meant speed walking (a nice wake-up in the morning, or wind down in the evening), for her it meant waiting, rain or shine, for her chariot to arrive.

I used to think that somehow it was inaccurate that the average American only walks a couple miles total a week (at least according to Bill Bryson); that includes to and from transportation, around the office, around the home, etc.. Meeting people like this woman, who would prefer to wait over half an hour for a 1/2 mile bus ride, kind of drove the point home. It wasn't just her though - there were other people agreeing with her when the bus first came who also got off with me at the red line stop. Granted some of these passengers were elderly and looked as if they couldn't handle walking any distance, others looked perfectly capable. Have we all really become that lazy?


The root of all evil...

Clearly the bane of my entire existence is the eating of carbohydrates. It seems that for every physical and even emotional complaint I have, the answer I get is 'less carbs, no caffeine, and more exercise and protein,' to which I reply "I'm trying, really." The question is, what will I eat if I cut back on those carbohydrates, and which carbs, if any, are allowable in any quantity? The truth of the matter is, the vast majority of my diet is made up of veggies, grains, breads, starches, and legumes; from time to time I blow it out and grill some meat, but in general I just gravitate towards meatless. When eating out, meatless always seems to mean lots of carb or starch with lip service to vegetables, unless you want to eat a salad, and salads are, well, either boring or made very fattening by adding things to distract you from the fact that you're eating lettuce.

So what is there? What is the quick snack that one can grab during the day that is actually 100% healthy? I like to keep fruit and produce around in the fridge, but they tend to take up more room than I feel I'm entitled to take up in the communal work appliance; anything that fits into my desk drawers falls under the headings of 'nonperishable carb,' like pretzels or crackers, or 'highly fatty' like unsalted nuts. So this is my current struggle - I need to find quick-and-easy-style foods that I can have around to snack on throughout the day (I'm also trying to do the mini-meal thing as well as cut back on carbs and sugars). Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?


50min and magic cloth

I'm back on my training plan again. Things went really well tonight - I was really surprised; it had been such a long lapse that I thought I'd be dragging, but I fell into my stride right away. I'm glad I decided to just pick up exactly where my plan told me to be instead of forcing a long run at the beginning of the week; I feel like I should be ready to go on Sunday with the 12 miles.

I also got to try out some new gear today, which is always fun. Before I left for my course in Urbana, I'd decided to purchase another one of the running skorts I'd been training in. The one I had been wearing had begun to kind of slip down while running, at least until I'd worked up enough sweat to make it stick to me (kind of gross, but hey...), so I assumed the waist band had worn out a bit. I decided to take a gamble and order a size smaller. When the package arrived, I unfolded the new skirt and thought of immediately returning it because it looked way too small - once I tried it on, however, it fit perfectly. I love stretch fabrics! I also got to use my new socks, but that's not nearly as nice a feeling as fitting a skirt that looked impossible from the get-go - it was like one of those cartoon moments where somehow or other Tom the cat managed to get into the tiny hole in the baseboard that Jerry carved out for his home - once inside finding himself in a spacious, lavishly-furnished apartment. My booty settled nicely into it's unexpectedly-roomy new diggs, and I was able to run in complete hiking-up-free comfort.


In its own odd way, being back to work seems like a vacation from my 'vacation' to school in Urbana-Champaign. There's something nice about being back to the normal routine of things - 9am coffee and croissant with Karen, DLing This American Life onto my ipod for my hours of catch-up shelving, getting to open all the packages of new running goodies that came for me while I was gone, having lunch handed to me by my friend Spike as he says 'welcome back.' Face it, I really do like my work, even if I complain about it from time to time; in reality, who doesn't complain even about the coolest of jobs?
Semi-curses to Mother Nature for raining on my running plans; I was going to do my long run, but I think her wisdom may be greater than mine - tomorrow it'll be cooler, and tonight I'll get the chance to get a warm-up run in the gym in the basement before heading home. Back to the grind.


Made it out

I actually made it for a run this evening. 85F in 53% humidity and no shade are far from being my favorite conditions, but it went all right. I think part of my issue is that I don't really know the area and what roads are good to run on, so a lot of my efforts are wasted running on roads that turn out to be unsuitable; I never seem to fall into my stride because my environment keeps changing.

Regardless, on the short run, in the heat, with all the handicaps, I added about an extra minute and a half to my pace. I guess in the grand scheme of things that isn't terrible, but what is disheartening a bit is the loss of consistency. I found myself walking now and then, not from muscle fatigue, or even shortness of breath, but from a lack of energy as the heat surrounding me seemed to suck the life out of me. I honestly have no clue how my brother and his crew managed to run a full marathon in an environment of high heat and humidity, where other runners were dropping off the course (which was eventually shut down). Days like this make me respect them all even more.

At any rate, all is not lost. I think things will be fine once I am at home and running on familiar turf. I recently learned that the course of the half marathon is exactly the path I've been running all along, so I feel I'll have the home field advantage. All the perks of knowing my own mile markers and being able to gauge how I'm doing will help me out. Aside from all that, it's just beautiful - running south on the lake path is a real pleasure - one that I look forward to enjoying once I get back from here.


I need to break my addiction to carbohydrates. Not in a fad diet kind of way, but in a 'you can't just eat only carbs and starches' kind of way. Now that I'm stuck away at school it's becoming more obvious that I need to do something. I have no access to any grocery stores within reasonable walking/carrying distance, so I'm stuck buying food at Walgreens or eating at restaurants. Needless to say, at the beginning of week two I feel like someone has crammed a few packages of dish sponges into my lower intestines.

I'd kill for a decent salad right now, but those don't seem to exist here. I've been eating the different varieties of Asian food here in an attempt to get some semi-fresh veggies, but acknowledge the fact that I really don't need all the noodles and rice. Not one place down here believes in brown rice, which is a shame. Just like last time I had to come down to stay here, I know that the week or so after I return will be spent eating as much roughage as humanly possible. Perhaps this time I'll stick to it, and stop resorting to too many carbs and starches to fill the plate. More lean protein (I never feel like cooking meat), and more fresh fruits and veggies, please. Perhaps soon we'll be getting our first installment of CSA produce!


No escape

After a hot minute in Chicago, I am back in ChUrbana for the final week of my intensive course. Needless to say, after getting to sleep in my own bed with my damaged spouse, I'd much rather be there than here. It sucked having to leave him the day after he got injured, and it sucked even more knowing, last night, that he'd needed me while I was gone, and that I was having to leave him again. At least I'm more than halfway through now, and he definitely is looking a lot better than he did when I first left him (though he's really not feeling much better).

I also have to admit that this trip is wreaking havoc on my training. Due to the fact that this is an intensive, my nights have been spent reading, and my early evenings with meetings with my project group. There really hasn't been much time to do my running, and I know it's only going to get worse. I guess my only hope is to keep an eye on what I eat more than ever, and to attempt to get some exercise in at least a little bit, every night. Thing is, campus doesn't seem like the most friendly place to be running around in skimpy running gear after dark, judging by the emails I've received to my Illinois account at least five times since I got here that warned females about recent sexual assaults. I have to admit that it really takes all desire to fit that workout in in the evenings if running for fun could potentially turn into running for safety. I'd like to say I'm exaggerating, but it seems like every time I log in there's a new warning for a completely different location - not really reassuring. Funny how I can feel completely safe at home, but completely unsafe in such a wholesome-looking rural town like this. In the end it all comes down to familiarity - the known evils of a place. I'm sure Urbana/Champaign is no more dangerous to the intelligent local, than Chicago is to me - avoid parking lots if you're a lone, drunk female at 330am, and so on - but gaining that familiarity and comfort takes time.. I guess I'm not willing to take the time to learn, as my time here is short, but I must find something that works for me in the meantime.


Wow Detroit, nice one (not sarcastic, I swear)

Dan sent me a link to an article about how Detroit is demolishing the old Tiger Stadium. My knee-jerk reaction was first "wow, Detroit actually demolishes things?" and then "sad, I have memories of that place and it'll be a shame to lose it."

Then I read on to discover that what they're doing with the park and the space is actually really cool. The infield will be left intact, and the foul and flag poles will be placed where they formerly were once demolition is completed. Instead of turning a great stadium into a parking lot, as was the fate for old Comiskey (and what I've grown to recognize as sort of a necessary evil), they will be creating both green space and a (I'm assuming) usable playing field for various purposes. I can see great potential here for tying in inner city youth baseball leagues, or even old time baseball reenactment games and other touristy events that can generate some income from a spot that was really only generating mold and dust. So, good move Detroit - I hope many good years are still left in that field.


Heat + Humidity + Easy Run = Not so easy

Today's easy run felt like a mission. It was supposed to be 50 minutes at an easy pace, and all told I only got about 4 miles in (and sweat buckets). Hopefully the weather on race day with be much nicer, considering that start time is at the butt crack of dawn rather than the 5pm start time I usually give myself. To make matters worse, I brought the wrong inhaler, so I don't have that advantage. As they say, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger - let's hope the stronger thing happens...

You don't know what you've got till it's gone

So the false fire alarm didn't have a threepeat this morning, and as a result I wound up sleeping through the first hour of class. True to form, I set my phone alarm to 7pm instead of am because I was in the middle of dealing with a humidity-induced migraine. Good times. Anyway, my prof was understanding, and I hadn't really missed much, so it was ok. Now I'm off to play with 16mm films in the digitization lab - hooray for getting to geek out :)


7:17am and another fire alarm wakeup call. I told the RA as we were standing outside in our PJs that if they went off again Wednesday morning I wasn't leaving my room. F this noise...


The college experience I never had... thank God...

So I am on my second night at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, in the rotting shit-hole that is known as Sherman Halls - this place is terrible. I have been running the water in the shower for almost a half hour now, and it's only reached a temperature that is about 20 degrees below zero. The staff here at Sherman assure me that it will heat up in time - I had to ask today because after being driven off by the icy water yesterday I have begun to smell a bit ripe. Add to my misery the fact that I am swimming in 86% humidity at a temperature that is even higher; every surface of my little cell is covered with a nasty film of condensation and, from the looks of it, decades of ramen juice and a random assortment of bodily fluids. I'd wear shorts to cool off, but I'm afraid I'm going to get crabs from the computer chair.

The 'linens' provided - two white drop cloths with suspicious stains the desk swears came from an errant pack of koolaide that made it into the wash, and a fuzzy blanket that I don't think was meant to be fuzzy - provide inadequate protection from either the damp chill of 3am nor whatever lurks on the mattress with me.

If you thought that things couldn't get any better at this luxury hotel of mine, the internet is wonderfully slow, and they kindly wake you up at 6:15am with a pointless fire alarm in the middle of thunderstorms. Ah dorm life - how grand.

Now I'm off to check the water temp again; with any luck it'll be to the liking of any reasonable Polar Bear Club member or someone desperate enough to rid themselves of swamp ass.

Sweet dreams...


Thank you helmets

I'd like to send a personal thank you to my husband's bike helmet for protecting his noggin this weekend; Dan went ass over titties while he was riding trail in the burbs and managed to break his helmet open (as well as parts of his face and his collar bone). He'll be healed and ready to go in a couple months, but it wasn't lost on me that things could have been way worse. For all my friends who read this and still ride without helmets, I'll repeat my request that you please go out and buy one. Sure, they may look stupid, but they certainly beat the alternative; judging by the damage to his helmet, I have no doubt that Dan would not be with us today had he not been wearing his (note the bruising on the forehead from the helmet shifting a bit on impact - helmet pics to follow maybe when I get back into town).

I know most of you just ride on the street and don't choose to go barreling down wooded hills like he does, but it doesn't matter - all it takes is a quick wipe out after hitting a rock, or getting doored, or just having a couple too many (you know who you are) and you suddenly find yourself in a coma or worse.

So yeah, that's my request for the day - go get a helmet and rock it; you can even get one of those stupid Bell Special Ed-style ones I hate so much - I won't make fun of you (too badly).


Been tagged

Curse you, Julie, for bringing email-style spam chain letters to my humble blog. Welp, I guess this will force me to update my blog, as I've been slacking this week.

Six Random Things About Me

1. I refuse to eat tomatoes in the winter as the ones that show up in stores at that time are really gross.

2. I wanted to be an egyptologist when I was a kid.

3. My first celebrity crush was on Adric on Dr. Who (bonus info - the best dog I ever had was named K-9).

4. I've found that I prefer to run while listening to recorded books on my ipod because it makes running more mindless. I like to use the site librivox to download these for free.

5. The majority of my close relatives are/were left handed or ambidextrous. My brother and I are both lefties - I am exclusively, though he plays a lot of sports rightie.

6. When I play ice hockey I skate barefoot - even in northern Wisconsin in February when the temperatures are as low as -23F. As a matter of fact, I hate having socks on and will go barefoot whenever I can.

So here are the rules -

  • link to the person who tagged you.
  • post the rules on your blog.
  • write six random things about yourself.
  • tag six people at the end of your post.
  • let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
  • let the tagger know when your entry is up.
So yeah, there it is. If I've tagged you it's because I want to know a bit more randomness about you. I don't think there's any kind of awful curse that goes along with breaking the chain, so no pressure - you won't get herpes from blogger or anything. I don't really have a lot of friends that I know who actually blog (just random blogs I read), so I'm only picking on two people: shilly-shally and phun - tag, you're it!



Did it yesterday and it actually felt good. Today, on the other hand, I'm a bit sore; I'll definitely be stretching a bit throughout the day, and making an attempt to move around as much as possible. Somehow last night I managed to shave a considerable amount of time off my total/average. I think that I feel a bit more motivated when I run outside than I do when I try to do so on a treadmill. In the end, my time was about 1hr 40min, or ~9:35 miles according to map my run. If that's really how I'm doing, awesome - if it was a one-time think because I was feeling at my best, awesome as well. I'm just happy that it went so well; hopefully when the time comes the weather remains as nice as it was yesterday evening.

Now I need to investigate the whole gu thing - gels that one uses while they're on long runs to get more energy. Apparently this is something I should have been using throughout my training, so I have some catching up to do! Thanks to Julie and my brother for educating me - I'm too much of a newbie sometimes.