Monday, April 30, 2007

Ever so cold

You know what's crazy? Crazy people. You know what else is crazy? The water terperature over on the corner of Western and Iowa.

After our long run yesterday, we were good little soldiers and took our ice bathes. Sometimes people add ice to an ice bath (hence the name) and, sure, we'd do this but I'm afraid that the ice would warm up the water.

Yeah, that's right, our water is that cold.

It's colder than ice. In fact, in the list of cold:
  1. Liquid Helium ~ -450 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Liquid Nitrogen ~ -273 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately the temperature of the surface of Pluto)
  3. Freezing point of Vodka ~ -40 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Our bathwater
  5. Ice - 32 degrees Fahrenheit
As you can see, our water comes in fourth in the list of cold. But, we were still brave enough to sit in the bath for 15 minutes (each), despite near frostbite and my pinky toe falling off.

I'm guessing that the water will warm up eventually, but until them we're going to save a bunch of money on refrigeration. We've transferred all our frozen meat to the bathtub and now have cleared room in the freezer for what really counts: ice cream.

Tonight we have volleyball as we gear up for next week's playoffs. We've never won a playoff game, but we always come really close and, since this year's team is pretty decent, there's an outside chance of pulling out a win or two.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Smoke, Fire & Running Long

I woke up this morning around 6:30 in the morning to the sounds of ambulance and firetruck sirens. They sounded close and I was convinced in my morning haze that the city was burning down. ABC news was reporting that a building fairly close to our apartment was in the middle of a 3-alarm fire. We didn't think much of it until we went outside to start our run and felt like we were running through a campfire. It was amazingly bad out considering the building was about a mile away.

We had another fantastic run, pushing our Sunday long run distance to 8 miles. We are sticking to neighborhood runs at the moment since we aren't going far enough to warrant the lakefront path. We have found that many of the little city parks have water fountains in them which is nice to find. We are also going early enough that if we happen to get stuck at lights there isn't any traffic coming so we can cross anyways.

Our paces were :
  1. 9:09
  2. 8:44
  3. 9:05
  4. 8:38
  5. 8:40
  6. 8:36
  7. 8:27
  8. 8:12
Another run in which we are pleased with the amount of effort that it is taking to run 8:40ish miles. We seem to settle into that pace fairly quickly and find it to be comfortable for these long runs. The average for this run was 8:41. This the very low end of the McMillian pace for us. Pftiz also says to be at 10%-20% slower than your marathon race pace for long runs. That pace would be about 9 min/miles for the 10% slower category. I think we are doing these long runs too fast, which I am ok with at the moment because these aren't exactly "long runs" in the sense of a marathon training long run. As the distances increase and that summer heat gets on us, I am guessing we'll slow down a bit. I don't want to start doing these workouts too hard and have nothing left for important midweek workouts.

There. That was a lot of numbers. Glad we cleared that all up.

Lazy lazy for the rest of Sunday here in the Leah/Jason household. I'm going to do some physicsy work and then the Bulls are on at 12:30....and yes I haven't paid that much attention during the season...but I'm so jumping on the bandwagon. Go Bulls.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Something I Love

Bad day, Awesome night

So yesterday was not the best of days, culminating a long week of pretty-badness. The solution to a bad week? A bottle of wine, awesome nachos, some trashy DVR, a Cubs win, and general happiness.

After work, Leah and I grabbed some Garrett's popcorn and,through the magic of
caramel corn, the bad week started to melt away. We walked home and, munching on tasty popcorn, took our time and enjoyed the nice evening. After settling in, we popped the bottle of wine and I whipped up some nachos. My nachos are a little different, though. I take the leftover meat and beans from a Mexican food night and individually spread the meat/bean mix on each chip, then put on some sauce and cheese. After about 10 minutes in the oven, you've got nachos where each nacho is that special nacho you hope to find with normal nachos. Shall I say nacho again? Yes.


Nachos and wine gave way to a nice little buzz and we watched Dirt on DVR, starring Friends Alumnus Courtney Cox. Our Friends loyalty runs deep, so we naturally gave this show a chance. I can't say it's a show that I'm proud to watch, but it's definitely growing on me. The fact that it's hella racy might have something to do with that.

We then flipped between the Cubs and Bulls, both wins. When was the last time the Bulls and Cubs both won on the same day? April 19th, 1962, in case you were wondering. Remember, you read that on the Internet, so it must be fact.

Lots of laughing and wackiness and fun last night. That's the way to handle a bad week.

In other news, today we ran an easy 3 miles, coming in between 9-10 minute miles which is our recovery pace, so we win. It was a beeeeaaaautiful day and awesome to be outside. Now Leah's sitting at the desk getting ahead with work stuff and I'm writing on the blog.

And now I just typed that I'm writing on the blog.

And now I just typed that I typed that I'm writing on the blog.

Oh, and as of now, Brady Quinn has still not been drafted. What's up with that? Don't people know that he's dreamy? DREAMY!!!

Cubs play at 2:55. Go Cubs!

Friday, April 27, 2007


A Run Full of Rage

I hadn't planned on running yesterday. From the looks of of and the 90% chance of thunderstorms they had going on all day, I didn't think it was going to be possible.

However, the weather held off and it was a fine evening so we went for our 4 mile run. Mainly so that we could have Friday off which we like after a long week.

Where's the rage? Well apparently it's all up in my kool-aid. Luckily for me as hard as I try to push Jason away and implode on myself and my emotions and my rage, he's a rock and doesn't budge. When I tell him to just leave me alone, he rarely does. I don't know if he understands all my issues as I don't know who would, but he listens and nods and lets me cry on his shoulder, only when of course I admit that I might need a shoulder to cry on.

I have issues with my less than stellar performance as a graduate student, as a cousin, as a friend, as a wife, as a child, as a runner. And at times it all builds up and becomes one big bubbling pile of crap. I don't know what I would do without Jason here by my side. To tell me it's going to be ok, and to just nod when I'm talking crazy.

I am a bit of a loner and kind of always have been. I was never a good roommate (Bridgette can attest to that as we became much better friends when I moved out) and I was kind of a weird kid who walked to the beat of a different drum. Maybe part of that is good, maybe part of living is to not be exactly like everyone and to be a little strange as life is short. But being strange sets you back from the world. Having not conformed and kept on walking to the strange beat, I have left myself with few close friends and while I used to have parents (who understood my intricacies as they have been around them for 27 years) to go to and talk to and laugh with, they have left and so I am without a piece of stability (although it was a crazy kind of stability) that I had become accustomed to for 25 years. I have a father and a stepmother that I can't call as they are completely out of contact so I hear from them every so often. They seem fine with this arrangement though as I'm sure my daily calls were a nuisance and (probably more correctly) the fact that there is no word on the situation ever changing and I see no reason why it will or should. My mom I talk to often enough on the phone, but it's not the same as when she lived 30 minutes away. I miss them. And when the big bubbling pile of crap comes up, it always ends up on that. It's just that simple. I suppose I should grow the fuck up and stop missing them and just deal with the fact that this is going to be my relationship with them for the next part of my life. Maybe someday I will, but not this week. This week I miss them.

So the run full of rage was good. It has always helped me to run when I'm feeling a bit blue. We paced 8:35 miles and felt good. I think the last mile was a little too fast as I was breathing pretty hard....but fuck it. It felt good.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Where Did This Sky Go?

If You Run.....

Yesterday I was pretty much miserable all day. I was cold and went and tired and I didn't want to go running. At. All.

On the walk home from the train it wasn't raining though and we had dried out by then. I knew we were going to do the miles anyways and if we didn't do it then we would have 4 days straight of running which could have put a damper on our long run. So we got home and begrudgingly put on our running clothes. I grabbed the Garmin and pouted outside while it got the signal.

And then the most extraordinary thing happened.

The run was fantastic! The first mile clicked by in 8:30, the next on in 8:30, the next one in 7:59 (what the hell was that), then 8:30, then 8:05, and ending with 8:50 only because we got stuck at a long light and I chose to wait it out instead of zigzagging because I was all wet and didn't want to have to walk extra home. We averaged 8:24 min/mile for the run which is fantastic for a midweek run.

As we did our 2 block cool down I told Jason that we could have chosen not to go and we would have been upset because we didn't get the run in. We could have gone and had a really shitty run like we thought we were going to have. Or, as what did happen, we could have gone and had a great, beyond our expectations run. I have found frequently when I'm feeling crappy I have the best runs. If you choose to not go, it's always worse than getting out there AND if you get out there you have the possibility of surprising yourself. There that's my motivational snippet for the day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My City Smells Like Chocolate...What About Yours?

OK!!! This weather has GOT TO STOP

Alright, fine. It's raining out. Fine. We decide to walk because "we'll just get too wet riding our bikes" We have umbrellas and so we should stay "relatively dry" walking. Well apparently if by "relatively" you mean "absolutely fucking soaked"!

Leah is not in her happy place today.

It's fucking cold out. It's raining. It's going to be raining for the next three days. I smell like a wet campsite (no judgement please). My jeans are soaked which is good because we all know how long it takes nice thick cotton to dry. But in good news. THANK GOD I had an umbrella because my hair stayed dry.

We went 4 miles yesterday taking it a bit easier than we usually do as we decided to treat it as a recovery run coming in at 37:26 or 9:23 miles. Tonight apparently it's six miles and I have to rummage through our cold weather running gear again.

not. happy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Evil Eyes

D0H! Wins but Cubs! lose

Our volleyball team D0H! won 2/3 games last night. We played really well and it was nice having our full roster back on the court. For the past several weeks people have been on vacation or at conferences or going to opening day and missing games. When our team is full we are a pretty good set of players. We have one more week of regular games and the week following it's the playoffs. Our team usually plays pretty well in the playoffs but ends up losing in the first round. Maybe this is the year to turn it around and win the first round.

We got home last night and Jason went to check the Cubs score and was surprised to see that it was still going on. Another game into extra inning, a ton more Cubs left on bases and another Cubs loss. They are finding new and interesting (and by interesting I mean incredibly frustrating) ways to lose games. A Mr. Jason's head might just explode if they keep playing like this.

Today we have 4 miles but since some kids have Cubs tickets we are going to run around our neighborhood and meet up with Mike and Barb on Thursday this week instead. My legs are a bit tired from volleyball last night but nothing that should affect the running. It'll be time to bring the ice baths back. I almost did one on Sunday...but to do them I have to walk in the door and run the water and get in. If I sit for even one second I won't do it. So yes. Ice Baths, need to just do it.

Alright, just your normal Tuesday. Happy 2nd day of the week all.

Monday, April 23, 2007

It's 5 o'clock somewhere....

Getting Into Gear

Well it's starting kids. The training is starting. The planning is starting. The early to bed early to rise 7 days a week instead of 5 days a week is starting.

This summer will be the first summer where so far the only commitments I have are training for the marathon. With my parents gone, there are no family barbeques to attend and with no shifts like last summer (or the summer from hell) I should be able to be very consistant with my training.

The Goal : Alright, I'm just going to say it. I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I ran a 3:45 last year and so will need to drop 5 minutes. Given the fact that I missed several workouts last year and had no kind of sleeping or eating schedule that would benefit training I am hoping that I can find that 5 minutes. In fact I am hoping that I can find ... 10 minutes. I would like to train for a 3:35 marathon. I have been looking through the McMillian training guide and the paces for all the types of runs (Long runs, Lactate Threshold, Easy runs....etc) are exactly what we have been doing. 8:43-9:43 for long runs, 9:43-10:13 for easy runs and 7:28-7:47 for Lactate Threshold (Tempo Runs on the McMillian site, if someone knows the difference between Tempo Runs and Tempo Intervals please let me know as the times are slightly different). It's an 8:13 min/mile pace....which although terrifies me to my very core at the moment.....with training I think it's attainable. With that pace in mind for the marathon, McMillian states that my half marathon time should be about 1:42 which I will go after at the Chicago Distance Classic.

So that's my state of mind these days. I'm already nervous....which of course is ridiculous...but it should be fun summer! Let's get our Training on.

Today is no running, but we do have volleyball (booooo). This week will have 25 miles on the schedule with 4 tomorrow with the Kansas kids.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

CTA Tracks on a Sunny Spring Day

First real long run

As you might guess from the title of the post, we did our first real "long run" of the pre-training season. What do I mean by "real"? Why am I using so many "quotes"?

Today's run was just 7 miles, one more than the previous long runs of our pre-training prep. However, the difference was that we approached this run like a long run instead of just another run. We didn't drink last night, we hydrated, and we got up early (well, 7 is pretty early) much like we'll have to once the summer comes. Plus, today was 7 miles instead of the 6 and 7 is the magic milage where it actually seems significant.

We did today's run fairly quickly (8:46 pace with last mile at 8:12) and, as a result, I'm pretty exhausted right now (can you tell? I can). It was quite a bit warmer than we've gotten used to - which I'm totally cool with - and so by the end I was totally parched. I had all that thirsty goo all over my lips which is how I know I was panting much like a dog. More water!

So far, we've been doing all our runs at about the same pace which will have to change eventually. Check back soon for marathon training analysis from Coach Leah.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring is Upon Us

I was shorts and a T

People. It's really nice.

I mean. Really F'in Nice.

Around noon Jason and I went for our 2 mile Saturday run. Nothing too spectacular except that we finished in 16:16. I was trying to be right at 16 minutes, but didn't quite make it. Considering that the last two times that we have run this route we have been around 17:30, I was happy with the improvement today. Although I was slapping my feet on the ground (I can tell when I am running sloppy because my shins really start to hurt), I had fun running fast.

Tomorrow it's 7 miles.

I have nothing else to do today. Three cheers for lazy Saturdays.

Some Reading Commentary

In the April 2007 issue of Runner's World magazine there is an article about Dathan Ritzenhein called The Making of a Marathoner. It talks about this young guys past accomplishments and goes on to talk about his recent work in marathon training. He went to be coached by Brad Hudson in Boulder, CO. I thought that one part of this article was .... well decide for yourself :
Hudson's mileage for Ritzenhein and the other runners is not insignificant; it adds up to 110 to 120 per week. "But that includes one six-mile day and one day a week at 7:00 pace with their girlfriends" the coach says.
I don't know how to feel about that last little comment......because a 7:00 min/mile pace is so slow that girls should be able to run that....or are they all dating professional runners. Anyways, I just thought it was a weird little comment.

For a review of some heavier reading than Runner's World head over to where I review an espionage book called The Company of Strangers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Early Morning Rider

Notice anything different?

I logged on as Leah today to put up a proxy post and what did I find? Google was forcing me to switch our blog over! Finally! So, switch we did and now I can post as me (Jason) on the fancy new Google blogger. Thanks Google, you're the best (and please be nice to us when you assume control of the planet).

Yesterday we worked from home so as to try to shed the exhaustion that had been plaguing us early in the week. It was great. We were able to sleep in until 8 and didn't have to either ride or walk 6 extra miles. It was definitely a welcome rest. But, since we didn't make contact with a car at any point yesterday, it made having to go to the Jewel more problematic.

You see, we wanted to make a specific meal for tonight's dinner guests (we do love to entertain) and that required specific ingredients not found at our small product market. That meant that we needed to go to the Jewel which is about one and a half miles away. Should we walk there? Or ride our bike? Nay, we had a better solution. We ran the errand. Literally.

Since we had a four mile run on the docket anyway, we decided to just run the 4 miles and end up at the Jewel. Then, after shopping, we only had to walk home from the Jewel which isn't so bad. It was all very exciting. I love multitasking (like, for example, I'm clipping my toenails as I type this).

As far as the run went, it seemed a little harder than it should have been. I mean, we were rested so it should have been easier, not harder, right? For the first mile we were trying to figure out why we were breathing harder. Maybe it was that we didn't walk so much? Maybe we are just hitting a down point in the early training? Maybe we suck? And then as the first mile clicked over, we discovered the real reason: maybe it's because we started off at an 8:42 pace? Yeah, that's probably it. It seems that we were well rested indeed as our legs didn't think they were travelling that fast. After that first mile:

mile 2 - 8:42
mile 3 - 8:43
mile 4 - 8:12

That last one was pretty surprising as, although I was breathing a bit harder (and got a bit of a stitch), the leg turnover didn't feel any faster. Pretty nifty, I think.

So, a fast run from us and - more surprisingly - a fast start. We generally get off to a 9+ minute/mile start at the fastest. for me.

Today we take our day of rest (we biked into work today) and tomorrow we only have a 2 miler, so we're going to be getting plenty of rest before the big 7 miler on Sunday. Also, Cubs at Cardinals today.

Go Cubs!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

She Winks

Looking Ahead

I should be looking at my work....but I'm working at home today (I slept something like 10 hours last night!) and instead found my Pfitz book and am looking at that and talking to the lovely stepmom vit gmail-chat.

Ok, but my point is that Jason and I are interested in running the CDC 1/2 marathon on August 12th. I worry about doing races during training season because there is alway some kind of run or workout that I don't want to miss due to racing. But I calculated what week of the schedule it will be and it looks like it'll be week 9 in the book...which has 15 miles with 12@ MRP in there. Which would mean that a race could be *perfect* for that day. Since we would want to do the 1/2 marathon a bit faster than our Marathon Race Pace I think taking the total mileage from 15 to 13 would be ok. Plus, if we find the 8min/mile too much we can still get in the race pace miles. I had a very hard time with these workouts last in I didn't do them. So maybe being in a race environment will help with that.

To Much Everything Not Enough Food

I know better!

I know that if I don't eat enough, I am going to crash and burn. Well that happened last night during our 5 mile run. I have been mentioning that we are taking the train and so walking downtown and home in order to get to the train station. This isn't going to be a problem I don't think, and we do have to mix it up with some biking....but it got to me last night. During the day I had one slice of toast with peanut butter, some ritz crackers with pb, non-fat yogurt, string cheese and the Classic Cafe salad at Panera (the classic cafe is lettuce, onions, and tomatoes) in other words not enough. All filler and nothing in there that will help with exercising. Where are the carbs I ask?

Plus I knew that the not enough sleep was goign to catch up with me so I was a bit sleepy before we headed out. So we go. I'm starving about 1/2 mile in. We make it about 2.5 miles and I have to stop and walk. Jason being the perfect hubby that he is stopped to walk with me (when the tables are turned....I will meet him at the end). We walked for about three blocks and then started running again. We went for a mile, walked a block, then ran back home. We got stuck at some lights along the way as well. So our final time was 51:26. Boo.

All good lessons learned though. (hmmm....I did run out of peanut mms at work this week....hmm....I'm saying it made a difference and will be sure to have some on hand for this training's got nuts & chocolate...all good things).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


See, this is what I get for not running faster

Hey all, this is Jason posting under Leah's account since, for whatever reason, blogger won't let Leah switch our site over to new blogger and won't let me log into old blogger. Whatever.

Okay, so, if we recall last year's Chicago Marathon, we remember that Leah came in at 3:45:41 while I came in at 3:57. Who knew that our time difference would have lasting repercussions?

The Chicago Marathon has changed up the Preferred Start corrals from previous years. Now there are, after the super-fast people, start corrals A-D. A finish time under 3:55:59 lets one starting Corral C (Leah) while a start time of less than 4:00:59 gets one into Corral D (Jason).

Woo Hoo, we're both preferred!

Oh, wait...damn.

So, because I couldn't run 2 minutes faster, either Leah has to start back a corral from where she deserves or we have to start apart. Both options sort of suck. The solution to this little problem? Well, I just have to qualify for a better start time by running a half marathon in under 1:45:59. I think this is doable as I ran a 1:48 in the last half marathon and we started out pretty slow. The overall pace I need is about 8 minutes/mile, so if I just made sure to start out at about an 8:30 pace and then kept increasing my speed, I'd probably be able to knock off that extra 3 minutes. At our last half, the first mile was 9:38 and our last was 7:39 so, if we smoothed that out a bit and started out at 8:30 and then jumped to 8 minutes, I would gain one and a half minutes just in the first two miles. Then I'd have 11 miles to knock off another 90 seconds (7:51 pace for the remainder).

I'll also have run lots of speedwork since then with the Pfitz plan, so I should be faster than in '06. Well, regardless, I think it's doable if I have a clear time goal.

So, look for me in the Chicago Distance Classic. Anyone else running it?

I'm Flippin Tired!

Yesterday we had day in the usual Jason/Leah fashion that everyone has come to love. The evening started off with us taking the 4:54 Metra from Wheaton to the City. Of course the plan was to get to the city aroudn 6pm, walk to Mike & Barbs, run, Idol etc etc. All of a sudden our train stops moving and the conductor comes on and says something like, "Folks, I'm sorry there is a freight train stuck in front of us....we'll be moving soon", followed by, "Hi Folks, I'm really sorry but it seems that the freight train is having mechanical problems we'll be on our way soon." Thirty minutes later we were moving. For those of you that know me, know that I don't like my schedule to be thrown off AT ALL. I was so annoyed.

Due to some speedy walking though we got to Mike and Barbs only about 15 minutes late.
We all changed and headed out for a run. Oh and then there was some wind. We walked over to Oak Street Beach and headed north from there. The wind coming out of the north made for some fun miles, but I have to say it's been awhile since I have gone running on the lakefront path and it was super awesome to be back. We went over the bridge at North Ave to try and get some kind of break from the wind.

During the last mile we pushed it pretty well with a 7:45 min/mile. I know that I'll have Lactate Threshold runs coming up in about a month and half and I don't want the speed to be so mysterious when the time comes to run it. We did the total run in 34:27 which isn't bad. I was a bit out of breath, but I think due to the last mile.

After the run we headed back to the Kansas condo and the fabulous duo made us dinner AND after watching American Idol gave us a ride home! Thanks again you guys, we had a great time! I am hoping to use the two this summer so I can drop my stuff off at their place and get long runs/speedworkouts/LT runs done on the lake front where I don't have lights to worry about. Hopefully this works for them as well. Come on MARATHON TRAINING.

This morning I wasn't so happy as I had to use every single fiber of my soul to throw myself out of bed. Not enough sleep and hard runs make for one tired Leah. Tonight it's a quick walk home, 5 miles and then relaxing and to bed early!

I also have a send a shout out to my good friend Bridgette who signed up to run the Chicago Marathon this year. Her first one. I am so freakin' impressed with this girl on a daily basis that I know she's going to do a fantastic job training and running this race. I have known her for 10 years, since my first day on the IU campus (oh my god we are old) and she never ceases to amaze me. Nice job girl. I can't wait to give you all my tips and tricks to run this race! You are going to be fabulous.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

All Lit Up

Finding Pennies

I got an e-mail saying that the marathon would be closed by the end of the month.....SO that's a nice 220 dollar twist to put into this month's finances (we owe the IRS some cash)....BUT if you look hard enough....

I'm the only Old Blogger Left

Well I don't understand why I can't switch my account over to the new google blogger deal. I tried to do the claim my blogs or whatever and it doesn't know my blogger account, but it does if I just try and log into Old Blogger. And it made Jason switch over so now he can't post on the site. He is currently looking for a "help me" e-mail address but as usual in this day and age there isn't much help. AUGH. Whatever.

Anyways, yesterday was our usual busy Monday night. We got to work around 10am and then I worked straight until volleyball at 6pm. We lost all three games in really bad fashion. Bad team communication or something. Whatever.

We got to the train station with about 10 minutes to spare at which point I thought it would be a great idea to grab a 440z Diet Coke from the White Hen. We head downtown (I read a great part of my book. FANtastic chase scene!), we walk home, we get home around 10pm. We put in a pizza and I sit down to "just watch the start of the Boston marathon" I had recorded during the day. And along comes 1am, a great finish to the ladies race, another fantastic finish by Cheriot in the men's race.

The alarm goes off at 6am. Yeah. I woke up at 6:09, the first time I have gone through a snooze in a long time. So a sleepy morning lead to the usual, "why don't we just walk" conversation so we left the bikes at home again this morning.

So a busy and full Monday night leaves Leah a bit sleepy and groggy on Tuesday morning. Tonight it's to Mike and Barbs for a 4 mile run with them and then some American Idol.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chicago Runners at the End of a Saturday Night

Weekend Roundup

Well my plan to get a cool 20 in this week happened!It's been awhile since I have done that which has been required of me in the running sense as I always find reasons not to do it. It's raining. It's cold. I don't wanna. I have a get it.

Saturday morning we did a 4 mile run coming in at 35:50. We ran downtown again to catch the train out to Wheaton to get our car. After getting home we cleaned up our apartment which was a disaster zone. I don't know how it happens, but our place ends up looking like a college dorm room. It's tough to keep up with it as we are frequently not in our apartment. We wake up, eat breakfast, are then gone for 12-14 hours, come home, go back out to run, back to eat and then crash into bed. The dishes get put on hold till "tomorrow", the stuff that gets put on the table "just for now" stays there for days.

Saturday night we headed over to the RunningJayhawks and OutofShapeGuys' condo for someone's birthday :-) Someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to do a power hour (one shot of beer for a minute for an hour)......after realizing we didn't have time we decided to just go for 20 minutes.....yeah...that was a bad idea (and if by bad you mean spectacular). After some drinking and snacking we headed over to the Gorilla Tango Theater for their show Bye, Bye Liver which is an improv/interactive drinking game. Very funny. I laughed hard :-)

That night when we got home we thought it would be a great idea to order some pizzas....after eating some of that we headed to bed. Got up latish, I made a big breakfast, Jason went out and finished his paper route while I started to organize our office room. I shouldn't be put in charge of this though because when I find a box of pictures I find the need to look at all of them. I found old pictures from high school and early college days and a spring break trip that Bridgette and I was fun looking through all of those and I realized how I don't have any more paper pictures. All of my photos now live on my computer....funny how things change.

After the Cubs game on Sunday we went for our 6 mile run. I felt "ok" which was to be expected after my Saturday evening, but still came in averaging about 8:50 min/mile which was nice to see. This week our schedule will be roughly the same :

Tue : 4 miles
Wed : 5 miles
Thur : 4 miles
Sat : 2 miles
Sun : 7 miles

On Tuesday we are going to go to the Kansas Mafia's meeting place and have those kids join us for the four miles before watching American Idol. This works pefectly for us because we get to run on the lakefront path while leaving our bags and stuff at their place. Whee!
We'll also be adding in some biking this week as the weather seems to have made a turn for the better. We'll bike on Tuesday and Thursday and walk tonight, Wdnesday and Friday.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Chicago Wins Olympic Bid!

It'll be fun watching what happens with this.
It would be so exciting to have the games in our city!

Adjusted Planet

When it's Friday the

Watch the original Friday the 13th of course. Being good little people working for The Man we have comcast digital cable.....which means that we get all kinds of free movies on their On Demand stuff. So I was looking through it and this week they have Friday the 13th...which I am embarresed to say I have never seen. I am Halloween girl through and through.

Seriously, for those of you that have seen it :
  • Kevin Bacon getting killed will now have me looking under my bed each night before I go to bed
  • GREAT ENDING! I screamed like a little girl.
For those of you that haven''s good. It's one of those great bad movies. Horror movie fans it's a great one.

We did run too! After our walk home and our Friday Garretts treat (they now have a Garretts in Ogilvie Train station) we went for a quick two mile jog around then neighborhood. Today it's 4 and tomorrow it's 6, putting me at a cool 20 for the week.

Friday, April 13, 2007



Yesterday Janet was still in town and so Leah wanted to hang out for a bit with her and chat and what not. Since I figured they were going to be talking about boys and hair and nail polish and all that, I decided to head over to Mike and Barbs and take advantage of their hospitality.

They have really good hospitality. It involves nachos, beer, and Weiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Especially the Wei.

Anyway, so we worked yesterday and did all that stuff (and Leah might have good analysis stuff going on. shhhh) and then took the train into downtown so she could meet Janet over at Rockits for food and drink and, I suppose, pillow fights. Whatever women do. Apparently they have good dinner food, although I couldn't quite understand what Leah was saying (something about pretzels with meat in them, or meat pockets, or she stuffed her pockets with meat...not sure).

Anyway, while she was over there I was talking with Mike about carburetors and drinking beer, and then we took a bunch of stuff apart just to put it back together. After that, we picked a few fights with random people. You know, guy stuff. But pretty soon Barb came home from work and we had to stop punching each other and Barb made nachos. Awesome.

After we finished eating, Leah and Janet came over and we all played the Weiiiiiiii! I'm fairly certain it's the greatest video game system ever invented. Wait, check that, the greatest thing ever invented (including the human race). I'm constantly amazed at how well the game responded to moving the controller. Bowling and Tennis were awesome since I played both in high school (I managed a 187 in Wei Bowling for the high score, although I don't like to brag. Leah was invincible in Tennis), but Boxing was a little trickier. I know I was boxing furiously, but the little Mei character was a little slower on the uptake. Janet had the best method for Wei fighting and managed to KO here character, where I only won by decision. Oh well.

And then back home. How do we know the night was meant to be? There was a bus waiting for us when we reached Chicago Ave. Awesome.

I like fun Thursday nights. It takes the pressure off of trying to have fun on the weekends.

Go Cubs

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chicago or Abandoned Town?

A sad day around these parts

I was very sad to discover this morning that Kurt Vonnegut, who was probably my favorite author, died at the age of 84. While 84 may sound old, and it is, he never seemed that old. Even his last book, "A Man Without a Country," seemed like the writings of a younger man, albeit one who had been deeply hurt.

As he says in his last book, he lost his sense of humor. It makes me sad to think that he died without his defining characteristic, his keen wit.

I'm not really sure what I would consider my favorite Vonnegut book, but I think I could narrow it down to a few:

"Slaughter House Five" is the ultimate classic and the first many of us read. I do love this book but freely admit that I have to re-read it as it is fairly involved and I can't recall it well enough to consider it my favorite.

The funniest is almost certainly "Hocus Pocus". This book isn't mentioned all that often, but it's incredibly funny. Check it out.

Probably my favorite is "Cat's Cradle." I thought this was a brilliant anti-nuke book and is still relevant today, even after the end of the Cold War. Besides being scary and all that, it's also really, really well written.

The best all-around book might be "Breakfast of Champions" as it gets high marks for just being weird and funny and good. Not my favorite, but up there. No, wait, the best all around is "Timequake." That book was awesome. I forget why, but I remember loving it.

And finally, the one I didn't like: "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". I didn't like the message, I didn't like the characters, and it went against everything I believe. Lots of people love this book, I didn't.

If you've never read a Vonnegut book, you're definitely missing out. Go. Read and prosper.

So long, Mr. Vonnegut, you'll be missed.

I'm Back Bitches

Well well well. Were you all wondering where the Leah who goes out to run even if she doesn't feel like it has gone? Well I was! I was getting so tired of whining about the weather and how tired I was and how really, I could play catch up next week, or the next day or whatever.

Jason and I are now walking to and from the train station since I am going to still be whiney about biking in cold as I hate it, so that is about 6.4 miles of walking a day. After getting home last night, it was raining and chilly and unpleasant, but I put my running clothes on anyway and headed out.....and I felt it. You know that feeling when you are running that brings back all those warm and cuddly feelings about running like "how it's really a part of who you are" and "my gosh running so flippin fantastic". We did 5 miles in cold wet windy conditions and felt good. Coming in at 44:11 makes for another run with sub 9 minute miles.

Tonight it's dinner at Rockit and then I'm thinking 2 on Friday, 4 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. I would usually do the lower amount on Saturday but we are probably going to be metraing it back out to Wheaton for one more weekend of having our car....someone didn't finish his paper route. So will want to use to run to get us to the train station.

Next week we start adding on distance and start the push to get to 35 miles a week to be ready to Pfitz our way to Marathon time!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Needing Coats in April

Photos of the Day

I spend a lot of time outside walking to and from the train (or biking) so perhaps I should look around a bit more. Hence, I'm going to try to take a picture everyday. I'm not a great photographer, but I do love to take me some pictures and I guess they say that practice makes perfect...or at least helps.

Here's one from yesterday and stay tuned later for one from today. I'll have a link on the right hand side of the blog to get the album of all photos of the day. Enjoy.

3 Miles Quick and Clean & Walking in Snow

Yesterday we had an early day getting up around 5am and getting into work around 6:30. We drove because we had the car in the city over the weekend due to Jason's paper route. This was good because we were able to leave at 2:30pm, walk home and then go out for a nice little run.

We had some checks to deposit (which are going right back to the IRS) and so we did that on the way. The miles were something like 9:15, 8:55 & 8:35. I am surprised with how nice sub 9 minute miles have felt. Frequently these past few weeks, I have looked at my watch and been surprised with the time for the mile splits. Usually after getting back into running after a few month hiatus as was our February and March we aren't running these kind of mile times that easily. Maybe we are getting faster and stronger....if so then I am saying Kudos to the big break I took. Maybe it helped...or I have turned into a running rockstar. I actually like option two as then my dream of being a rockstar doesn't have to be over.

This morning we walked again to the train instead of taking our bikes because the weather is atrocious and although I was just as cold and as wet as I would have been had we taken the bike it's still easier to walk. I cannot believe how bad the weather is here in Chicago. It doesn't look as if it's going to let up for the next few days with snow showers on the menu for tomorrow as well.


The plan is to do 5 miles tonight when we get home. We'll see if the plan and the weather can coincide.....nasty.


alright. time to work and dream of spring flowers (oh's April Showers not April Snowshowers)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opening Day & New Book Review

Well although the Cubs lost & it was fre-ezing out, it was still a great day for a ballgame. Jason and I got to Wrigleyville around 10:30am and headed to Bernie's for a few beers and then over to Yakzie's to try and catch my mom's old friend Jan. WXRT always has a live broadcast on opening day and Jan and her husband have been going for the past 10 years. We pushed through the crowds and they were at the front of the stage. I haven't seen them for almost 2 years since my mom left for Florida so it was great to catch up with them a bit.

Jason and I had seats in the 500s which weren't too bad actually. If we would have been over about 3 seats they would have been perfect and taken away the pole that was somewhat blocking 3rd base. The Cubs lost, but unlike all of their games last year they had some exciting plays. Soriano scored from second on an infield hit which was awesome. Dempster was lights out in the 9th which was nice to see after his self destruction last season.

So I'm saying the Cubs are going all the way this year (I also said that the Bears and the Colts would be in the Superbowl....although I also picked Kansas to win the whole NCAA tourny and we see how well that turned out). But it's a new season and so the glass is half full for now.

I have a new review up at covering A Blistered Kind of Love by Angela and Duffy Ballard. Also the coolest cousin Lisa has started a blog tracking her readings. She is a K-8 librarian and does a ton of reading and has *great* reviews (well one so far as she just got started). You can check her out at

Monday, April 09, 2007

Girls Night Out

on Saturday night turns to Leah's Day In on Sunday.

Wow. I went to bed at 4am on Sunday morning. I have "grown up" and rarely see past midnight anymore. Needless to say I wasn't going to go run 6 miles as me and my couch became good friends. Oh well. I hardly ever go out so I'm going to say I'm not really in training yet. sigh. I am a bit upset at myself, but I had a great time and I saw friends that I haven't seen in years. Lots of gossip and girl talk and beers makes for a fun time.

Today Jason and I are off to the Cubs opener! I am so excited to have my boys back in town and very sad that don't live in the neighborhood anymore. It's going to be like 35 with snow flurries....perfect. I mean who doesn't want to watch baseball in that kind of weather.

So Go Cubs. and I'm back on the running/biking tomorrow.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Running as Transportation

This morning we ran with a purpose. Not the sort of "run with a purpose" where you just run really well. No, we literally ran with a purpose. The purpose was to get from our apartment to the train station, so we could take the train out to Wheaton to get our car.

No, the run was definitely not the figurative "run with a purpose." After a night out at the bar where the beers had a suprising kick (we're definitely out of drinking shape), neither of us felt much like running, especially at 9am. But, if we ran in the morning, we could get the car home early in time to watch the Cubs win, which they did. 6-3. The Cubs are now 3-2 which is a nice little start.

So we gutted it out and it ended up being fine. Happily, the wind was at our back. After running and then watching the Cubs, it was time to start my paper route. Awesome. Basically, I just picked up about 1500 papers and drove around to various bars and coffee shops and left papers for people to read. The Heckler is a free paper, so people can just pick it up and read it. We're about halfway done with the route, but we'll be done by the time the Cubs open at Wrigley.

If you happen to be in Chicago, grab a copy of The Heckler and look for my name. I've got two articles in the paper, my first official published pieces, although it's hardly shakespeare.

We couldn't finish the whole route since Leah had to get home to get ready for Girls Night Out, which is what she's doing right now, out with her friend Becky. I'm having tired and cold guy's night in, as our apartment is freezing (in April, mine you) and I'm pretty much exhausted from a busy week. Yep, I'm a wild and crazy guy.

Okay, enough rambling. Go Cubs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Paper Boy always rings twice

Your favorite runners now have a paper route!

(yes, a paper route)

I've started writing for a paper called The Heckler. Perhaps some of you have heard of it. Obstensibly, it's The Onion for the Cubs but, as I'm sure none of you need to be reminded, the Onion is written by satirical geniuses. So, while The Heckler does fall short of The Onion's standards, it's still one of the only places to publish humor articles about the Cubs and I've started writing for them. Well have to see if they actaully publish any of my articles, but I'll certainly mention it if they do and everyone can read my brilliant Cubbie satire.

Oh, right, the paper route. Well, they need people to deliver these papers to local coffee shops, bars, and the like, so I've volunteered to do it (since they pay and I need all the money I can get). So Leah and I will be driving around delivering papers. It's my first paper route!

But wait, we need a car. Damn, it's in the suburbs and we have to deliver on Saturday...does this mean driving home in Friday rush hour traffic? Oh, come on readers, you know us better than that. Okay, so we have to run 4 miles on Saturday anyway and so we're going to run to the train station, go out to Wheaton to get our car, and then drive it back when there's no traffic. It's brilliant!!

Speaking of running, we did our first serious post-bike ride run yesterday. After our 3 mile bike ride we changed into our running clothes and went for a 5 mile run. It ended up going pretty well as we finishing in 44 minutes and change. Not running on Wednesday was a very good idea as we were both much less tired for our run yesterday. I'll admit that my legs are pretty tired today, though. Happily, we walked to the train this morning instead of biking, so our legs got a bit of a rest (slightly, anyway).

Speaking of running (again), we ran into Josh Wednesday downtown at the train station. Either he takes the Metra in from the north side or he was just passing through. Josh? Anyway, always good to see ol' Full Metal Lunchbox.

And finally, to speak of running for a third time, we won't be running tonight. Our friend Janet from Grad School will be in town and we're going to head to Small Bar to say hi. She's currently out at Berkeley getting her PhD in Science Education and is going to be around for a couple weeks. Whee!

Okay, I think that's it.

You can stop reading now.


(why are you still here? You can go. Live your life. be free.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

52 Books in 52 Weeks

I am starting a new project.

Jason and I have started taking the train to work and I blew through a book in about 3 days. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to read on average a book a week. Some should take longer and others should take I started a blog to keep track of what I'm reading and to include reviews of the books when I'm finished.

I'm already done with one! So come check it out at

A Nice Bike Shop & Too Out of It

Last night we got to the train station at about 6 pm. On the way home the day before I had noticed a bike shop on Fulton and thought they might have been open. I wanted to get the piece for my tire as I am already convinced of being hit by a car and I don't think I need to facilitate that happening with my front tire flying off.

So we stop at the bike shop and I run in to tell them what happened to my bike and the guy tells me to bring the bike in so he can look at it. I chatted with one of the other customers while the guy working there, put a little piece on the tire and told me I was good to go. I asked how much I owed him and he said not to worry about it. I realize that the piece probably costs about 25 cents, but it's still nice to have such nice customer service. I would recommed Get a Grip Cycles for all of your cycling needs.

With my bike newly stabalized we headed home. We headed WNW.....with a 30mph wind that was WNW....wait...that means it's right in my face. It was really really hard. I realize that I sound whiney and whatever. But I am not a bike rider. I don't have fancy pedals or speedy anything....I do have lots of gears though and so I was almost in the lowest gear I could be in and still make forward progress.

We finally made it home, and I started to find running clothes. Then I felt dizzy. Then Jason looked at my hip where I had falled and was astonished by how swollen it was (he said I wasn't symmetrical anymore). Then we decided not to run. It was freezing out. We were exhausted, I was diagnosed with wasn't going to happen. Which is fine. I don't want to be run down and overrun before we even get this party started.

So yes. We will run 5 today, probably none tomorrow since my old friend from Grad school is in town, then maybe 4 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. We'll be two miles short of my plan, but up 24 miles of biking (I think we'll walk to the train tomorrow). I hope then to repeat the schedule again next week, and after that start increasing the distances. The biking distance will not change, so I am hoping that my body get accustomed to it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Um.....It's April

Did someone forget to let the weather people know that it is in fact April 4th and that the snow flakes I dealt with on my morning bike ride or the 35 degree temps is actually not necessary.


Where did I put my winter running gear?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Straight Up or With a Twist?

The title here is either a line from Sex & the City...or a multiple choice answer to how do you like your runs.

If you are one LeahC, then apparently you like your runs with a twist. (and yes I am watching Sex & the City...we own them and now that I have watched one episode for fun on a Sunday afternoon, I feel the whole series begging to be watched)

The last two days we have biked to and from the Metra station and although it's only 6.4 miles a day, it's more than the zero we were doing before. Needless to say I was a bit worried about our afternoon run yesterday since I wasn't sure how our legs were going to hold up after the said biking. To my delight and suprise everything held up really well. It was one of those nice spring evenings with some rain but not cold out so shorts and a t-shirt are doable. Jason and I were moving along at a nice little clip coming in around nine minute miles or a bit less, with not too much effort. We get to the corner of Augusta and Ashland and just miss the light to cross Augusta and so I turn west onto Augusta and all of a sudden I find myself slipping.

And by slipping I mean, my entire six foot long angular body is being thrown (and twisting...see I knew I could tie that title into this) into the air. I immediatly think that what is going to happen in the next less than a second time is not going to be good. BAM goes my upper thigh/butt area...and then BAM goes my face....

onto the concrete.

not. good.

I lay there for a second waiting to see blood everywhere....but I seem to be ok. I get up slowly and walk a few steps before my eyes well up. I never actually cry, but mother of god is my face and leg hurting. We walk for about a block and then we continue on. I figure I am going to be in pain whether I walk the mile home or run it slowly.

I put ice on my face and hip last night which seemed to help the swelling. My face is noticably scraped up and my leg is very scraped up and sore. sigh. Well life would be less exciting if I wasn't involved :-)

Five miles on the menu tonight.

"Fixing" Bikes

Last night on the trek home late at night we were having a fine ride until I looked down at my front tire and noticed a long metal thing sticking out from the axel. We pulled over and the metal thing that goes through the axel to keep the tire on has lost one of it's ends and so it's not staying in place. I would guess that this piece on the bike is for keeping the front of the bike from falling off the tire or if there was a flat, I would guess that you loosen this so you can pull the tire off. Given that I have a mountain bike with very knobby tires it seems that the bike will not pull loose from the spoke since the knobbyness gets in the way of the brakes. Shit. This really needs pictures, but my camera battery is dead.....Maybe you bikers out there know what I am talking about. I just lost one end of that piece (it must have fallen off) and so there was nothing keeping it on the bike.

Since I am biking on the flat city streets it wasn't a bit deal, when the gizmo would fly almost all the way out, I would kick it back in with my foot and keep riding. We got home with no accidents and then looked through our tool box to try and find something to put on the end to keep it in place. It looks like an ancor (for like when you are hanging pictures) will work fine until I can get to a bike shop this weekend. We'll see how it holds up this morning and I can always go to a bike shop out in the burbs if it's just not going to work. If I were seriously mountian biking I would be more concerned, but 3 miles on city streets is just about the opposite of that.

This morning I had a nice discovery, if you do sleep to the first snooze alarm, the coffee is already done, so you don't have to stare at it dripping and waiting for it to be done.

I had a funny phone conversation with my advisor yesterday....for those of you who know me know that I talk fast..... :

Advisor: Hi Leah
Leah : Hey Advisor, sorry I didn't get this to you sooner. I was home sick last week.
Advisor: oh it's no problem
Leah : Yeah, I think I just spent too much time travelling in a metal tube.
Advisor: OH WOW, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Leah : uh....?
Advisor : Oh wait, what did you say?
Leah : I was just saying that I think all the travel caught up with me.
Advisor : Oh, I thought you said you were expecting.
Leah : face wish...maybe when we have better insurance

HA! It was really funny as then I had to go on to explain what I had been working at and I was trying not to laugh for the rest of the least I know that if that does happen he'd be happy and not mad that it happened before I graduated :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007


Today's the day people.....time for my beloved Cubbies to do something more than the disaterous 66 wins of last season. Remember to keep your eye on for all your Cubbie news, notes and comments. The site has been newly updated and prettied up so make sure to check them out. And I'll leave you with favorite song of the season

Baseball season's on the way
Well you better get ready for a brand new day
The Cubs are gonna win today

They're singing, Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
The Cubs are gonna win today
Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
Hey Chicago what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today

They got the power, they got the speed
To be the best in the National League
Well, this is the year and the Cubs are real
So come on down to Wrigley Field

We're singing now Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
Hey Chicago what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today
Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
Hey Chicago what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today

Baseball time is here again
You can catch it all on WGN
So step your feet and clap your hands
The Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans

Hear them singing now Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
Hey Chicago what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today
Go Cubs go, go Cubs go
Hey Chicago what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today.

--Steve Goodman


Morning Bike Ride

Well we did it. Day .5 bike ride done and done.

This morning we decided to take the somewhat later train than what we will usually take since we will be here late tonight for volleyball. I am so proud of myself because I was up within 3 minutes of my alarm going off....that's right....I didn't even make it sleeping to the next snooze button! This is big for me as me and the snooze button have a special relationship and by special I mean it get hits very hard most mornings while I continue dreaming.

The bike ride took about 18 minutes but we missed a lot of lights and I get a big scared in traffic and so tend to take my time getting around the giant buses, so this could cut down to probably about 15 minutes. This ride is about 1/2 the distance that our old apartment was from the train station and so very much more doable. We are still working out what to do if we have a very tough workout in the evenings. I am also hoping that by the time true marathon training comes around the biking will have gotten very routine. and let's face it 3 miles of biking before a run really shouldn't be an issue.

We'll see how this week goes, but I got through 5.5 chapters of a new book I am reading so I am loving it already.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

One Week Down

Well we kept to our schedule this week. Completing 20 miles of running, 11 miles of biking and even 3 miles of walking...oh and 6 blocks of lugging laundry...that has to count for something!

It feels great to be back on a schedule again. We are going to repeat what we did last week running wise, but will be adding in 6 miles of biking a day. I did notice that the weather a couple of days this week is going to be in the 30s so we might just walk to and from the train station since it's not too far.

Our run today went fantastic wih 5/6 miles under 9 minutes and 2 out of those 5 under 8:30. We had a nice little rain shower at the end of it, which was actually really nice. I love running through April Showers!

Here's to a new Spring and a new running season!