Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Plan of Attack

Well, alright. I e-mailed my adviser with a proposed plan of attack for my thesis. He needs to read over it before I turn it in, make revisions and so on. To help him (and I as I love deadlines) I thought it would be easier to get it to him in stages instead of all that once. So I have three major deadlines, May 12, May 26 & June 9. The stuff that is due May 12 is done barring Jason giving it a once over for me, the stuff that is due June 9th I would say is about 50% done...most of the information is there but probably needs to be rewritten, reviewed, updated etc. etc., plus I do need to add in a section at the beginning. The stuff that is due May 26 is what really has my panties in a twist these days. Due that day is the theory section. I have a lot of time though so I just need to breathe deep and get it done. That being said, 50% of the theory section is also done, it’s just the specific part for my thesis that is looming there like a big black cloud of crap. My thesis is at about 150 pages right now....yowza! It’ll probably end up around 200, or 250 by the end of all this. My dad said this writing of a thesis is similar to training for a marathon. In ways it is, but WAY WAY not as fun.

This weekend is the Flying Pig. Jason and I are registered for the 1/2 marathon but due to the crazy that is me, the achilles that is still bothering me from time to time and this thesis there is no way I can take the weekend to go down there. I am really hoping that by the end of next week I have more of an understanding of this theory stuff and will be able to start putting words down. And at the same time calm down a little bit.

I also have to give a talk on Friday. Grumble. Basically it’s the exact same talk that I gave in October with a few updates so the talk is already written, I just need to update a few slides. I worked on that a bit this morning and hopefully it won’t take too much more time today.

This weekend then is going to be working and working...although we do have plans to go see Iron Man with Jake and the LaurA! on Friday, then breakfast plans with the lovely Lisa on Saturday morning, and then hopefully dinner plans with some college friends on Saturday night (although I haven’t heard back). That gives all the day on Saturday for working, and I’ll probably give myself a break on Sunday.

So this is Leah. Signing out. Dreaming of July.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wow. That Was a Bad Day.

Alright, well you know when your Monday morning starts with a stolen phone it’s not going to get much better. As far as filing a police report, I think that the Chicago Police Department has better things to do (school shootings...buses ramming into CTA stations... etc) than worry about some yuppie girl that had her crappy phone stolen....and I don’t think that they would help me get a replacement phone. I don’t have time for filing police reports anyways as I am working 12-14 hours a day. So as soon as I got to the suburbs I went to an AT&T store and got a new plan with them. I ported my number over there which canceled the sprint contract and thus the phone that was stolen became a paper weight. I got whatever the free-bee phone was because Jason and I are waiting for two things, A) our tax rebate money and B) the new version of the iPhone to be released. Because I was still in contract with Sprint it’s going to be a pricey morning. But whatever. It would have been pricey either way.

That was how my day started. It ended with e-mails from higher ups that made me mad. I guess I just don’t understand why e-mails have to be so snotty. Why can’t you just politely tell me what I should do or what I did wrong instead of making me feel like I am one inch tall. Yes Yes Yes. I am going to have a PhD in physics and I would never take back my time in working on that. But sometimes I feel that my confidence in myself has been shattered in the process. I know I shouldn’t worry about stupid little minutia like this...but I can’t help it. I know that the people that are important to me (my Adviser, my Parents, old heads of groups at the Lab) think highly of me and that’s really all that matters. Just not the way I wanted to end my day.

I took an earlier train home and Jason and I went to Monk’s for a beer and the best chicken tenders I have ever had. So that was nice.

I went to bed really early last night and got up late and I’m feeling much better today.

So here’s to Tuesday. It can’t be worse than Monday.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who Does That?!?!

So I get up early this morning. A somewhat good night’s sleep and a very relaxing weekend and I’m ready to go. I have a plan of attack. I know what I need to do this week. I am out the door by 6:45am.

You would think that getting up early and getting on an early bus would be less crowded right. Uh. No. The mother fucking bus was so crowded that I was basically on my tiptoes. To top it off the driver kept stopping to pick up more and more people. Of course there is no where for them to go and so they just kept squeezing into me. I get off the bus at Milwaukee and had to shove the losers out of the way ( know you can step out of the back door...and then get back on the train TO LET PEOPLE OUT) to get out. I get on the blue line after waiting for, oh I don’t know 10-15 minutes (usually this is about a 2-5 minute wait if I leave later.

Of course it’s standing room only on the train as well although not as crowded. I get downtown and I go to call Jason to let him know that I am going to sit at the coffee shop downtown instead of taking the early train because I hate rushing and like getting some work done at the Cosi. I reach into the outer pocket of my bag and what do I find. NOTHING. That’s right. My shitty blue phone that lives in the outside pocket of my bag was gone. I know for a fact that I put it in there as when I was leaving the house, I was like, oh wait, I can’t forget my phone. The phone seriously sucks ass....there is no camera on it, no way to do any kind of data anything, you can text, but barely. I mean seriously...who would even want to steal that!?!?! I ran into the cosi and got online and had Bridgette call my apartment and see if Jason was still home and see if he could call my phone and perhaps I had just forgotten it. I finally got him on gchat and for no good. The phone was not in the apartment.


Also, you know those people that are know, you should really back up all your phone numbers on your cell phone in case you lose it or gets stolen...yeah. that’s a good idea and I obviously should have listened. Any phone number that I had gotten in the last...I don’t know 7 years is now gone. Plus in this day of speed dial and phone books at the tips of your fingers I don’t actually know anyone’s phone number by memory.

So this is such a pain on so many levels. Jason and I want to get iPhones but have been waiting to move to AT&T when my contract is up, which is in the middle of June. Well now I can’t go to Sprint and be like, can you give me a free phone for a few weeks.....

So I don’t know. I am going to try and go to Sprint, cancel my dad’s and Jason’s contracts on their phones. Cancel my phone so that whatever loser stole it won’t be able to make calls. See if there is some kind of cheap ass phone I can get to get through the next few months. Which I am sure there won’t be because you usually have to sign a contract. At which point I will go to AT&T and have them move my number over and start a family plan there, getting whatever free phone I can get until our tax checks come in and we can get the iPhones. OR Sprint won’t suck my ass like they usually do and I’ll be able to find a cheap phone to replace the one I have. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of money that I didn’t want to spend right now.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Childhood Games

About a month or so back a friend of our as Fermilab asked if we would be interested in playing kickball. Kickball? Yeah that’s the thought I had as well. We said why not, sure we’d play.

A guy next to me just changed into roller blades in the train station. Now THAT’s the way to get around town!


So right, the games are Thursday nights and snuck way up on us as the first game was yesterday. I had already told other friends of mine that I would have to pass on a repeating Thursday evening gathering because of Thesis (yes it’s so important that I will capitalize it from now on) work but I had actually forgotten about kickball already slated for that night. Either way I didn’t play, so Jason went to kickball and I came after the game. Apparently it was lots of fun as it was raining really hard and so there was lots of sloppy play and whatever.

After the game I was talking to Jason and I said, “It’s like hey you weren’t embarrassed enough in grade school when you were picked last for kickball, let’s bring back that feeling 20 years later.” He agreed, of course.

After the game the entire league goes to Nick’s Beer Garder on Milwaukee Ave for drinks and apparently “flippy cup”. The Fermilab friend that got us into the games in the first place who is our age said, “You know flippy cup must be a generational thing because I know drinking games, and I’ve never played it.” We talked of the old days were Asshole & Beer Pong ruled.

We didn’t play, just had a couple of beers and went on home. And look at me resisting the “Get Drunk on Thursday Night” routine that I have had going the past month or so. Nice because I didn’t get to bed that late, and I hit snooze a couple of times this morning so I slept in a bit. No early working for me today and I feel really refreshed. It was catching up with me a bit. I did have an e-mail from the Advisor (In Frank Lloyd Wright’s Autobiography he refers to himself as Architect...capitol letter ‘A’) that had the time stamp of 5:44am on it. I know that’s 6:44am his time so really not that early, but I’ve always wondered if he ever actually sleeps. Sometimes we’d get mail from him at 3 in the morning and wonder if he is just getting up (my parents always got up *really* early like that) or had yet to turn in for the “night”. I’m going with the latter. Either way, it wasn’t any big e-mail, just some more ideas on formatting my publication.

So right. Thesis work is actually going pretty well. It’s just all I can think about and all I want to do. As soon as I get through this theory section I know I will be feeling a lot better. Hopefully that will happen within a week or two as I have the first half kind of done. Tomorrow and Sunday mornings we are going to go out somewhere where I can work on my thesis and Jason has offered to help me edit it. I mean he already has a PhD, so I guess he should right? So we need to find a great coffee shop/cafe/ room somewhere that we can just ride our bikes to or take the bus to or whatever and just sit there and work. I have a deal with myself that if I can work well from 8-12 or so then I would have the afternoons free.

Look at me ramble ramble ramble on. That’s what I get for writing on the train I guess. So hey, look it’s Friday already. We have our weekly date with Jake and LaurA! and are going to see some hip hop theater show at the MCA...I have no idea what it is, but it sounds really interesting......hopefully better than the puppets. I’M TEASING. Kind of.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Familiar Place

I’ve been here before. Or at least in a place similar to this.

Here is how a graduate career in physics goes (at least at IU) :

Year 1 : Core courses....sleeping roughly 5 hours a night...doing homework every other minute of every day. Weekends for fun? Uh. No.

Summer between Year 1 and Year 2 : Studying, taking and passing the Qualifying exam, which is a two day, five hours per day test based on the core courses.

Year 2 : Courses focused on your proposed path of research. This is when we started running because we had a bit more time and the pace of things had calmed down a bit.

Years 3-7 : Dedicated research work & graduate.
It doesn’t take everyone 7 years, in fact it rarely takes that long. Jason took 5 years, I will take about 6 years. The most you get is 7 years.

Anyways. That summer between years 1 and 2 was horrible. There was this “thing” looming at the end of the summer. No matter what we did or places we went, it was always just sitting there. Waiting. Laughing. So the summer was spent starting in on research work for the first half and the second half was just studying. All the time. It was up early, think about the test, worry about the test, go out and study for the test, continue to worry about it, go home, eat dinner, try and watch TV although you don’t really know what’s going on because your mind is totally centered on that one thing that comes closer every day.

I said, and other students have agreed, that it was the worst summer of our lives. It was so nice outside and we were all stuck in dark dank corners or the lonely basement of the library or into any other lonely corner we could find. I thought my graduate career was going to end after that test. I didn’t think I would pass it and after the second day of testing, Jason and I jumped in the car with our bags already packed and drove to New York City. I felt so free. We had a great trip in NYC. We didn’t even tell our adviser we were going because we didn’t think it was going to matter after he saw our performance on the exam.

We were sitting in an internet cafe somewhere in NYC and we saw an e-mail from him, saying “Congrats....” in the subject line. We had both passed the test, and he was wondering where we were. Our lives instantly took a new turn as all the planning of finding jobs went out the window. It was the best feeling of all time. There would still be a lot of work to do, but the hardest hurdle seemed to be jumped.

That was five years ago. Since then there have been some hard times, and long hours and weekends spent at the lab, getting a nap in here or there or in the car. But there was never this one thing looming that had to get done. It was more of a "I don't think this is ever going to actually happen" feeling. And now. Now I find myself back at that point. There is this paper I have to write. And it’s due on July 1st and there are no if ands or buts to prolong the time. I am absolutely totally focused in on that. Running has taken the way back burner. I get up at 6am and I’m out the door by 6:50. I go to a coffee shop downtown and work on my publication paper which is also due right about now for about an hour. Then it’s on the train. I’m at work from about 10am-5pm. I get home at about 7:45, and it’s just very very.....not stressful exactly. I can’t think of the word.....intense? taxing? I don’t is what it is.

So I’m back to a place I never thought I would be. However, this time I know that there is no way I can fail and it will all end with a PhD from a Big 10 University. But that doesn’t stop the “thing” from looming, laughing and consuming my every waking thought.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Train Time

Another late night last night, getting home at about 7:45 or so. The plan was to go to the gym but since I was still sore from my Saturday workout (I did the bicep curl machine and so now the entire inner part of my forearms are killing me. So like I can put both my arms straight out with my palms down, but then as I try and turn my arms so that the palms would point up it hurts so bad that my arm will that can’t be good...although feeling better today). Plus I just wanted a glass of wine and to relax. I am foreseeing my next few months and I don’t like it. Long days of writing and fighting with the math logic and GASP working on the weekends. I HATE working on the weekends, but I am thinking I am going to have to do some editing or something on the weekends. Lucky Jason is going to get chances to edit my thesis as well, which is good because I know how much he misses physics and so I just want to give him a chance to keep a foot in it. Yeah that’s it.

Long days in the Lab and I am still taking the train so my commute is long. But with no running that’s not a huge deal and the train time has taken the place as my “peaceful place” which used to be reserved for running time. I have quite the routine down. I get downtown between 7:30-8:00 (depending on that morning’s relationship with the snooze button) and work on whatever I can until about 8:20. Then I do this blogging on the train from about 8:20-8:40 which is when the train leaves.Then I read until I get off the train at Wheaton. The way back is similar. I leave the lab with plenty of time and get an iced tea at the Caribou and relax for 10 minutes before the train comes. Then it’s reading all the way back to Chicago. In the mornings these days I am reading a biography about Frank Lloyd Wright which is turning out to be better than I thought. The first few chapters were a bit hard to get into. Then on the way home, I want more entertainment and less thinking and so I am reading Killing Floor, the first of the Jack Reacher books which I am thinking I am going to be quite addicted to. See my review of The Hard Way at my Goodreads account.

So that’s that. I am going to try and get to the gym when I can, and I’ll run when my achilles doesn’t hurt. But for now, it’s just thesis all the some great relaxing train time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Long Days & Cranky Nights

Well I was all going to try and be interesting today, but no such luck I fear. Yesterday I ended up taking the late late train. Ok not that late, but I didn’t get home until about 7:30 or so. I think that will be about the plan today as well.

My publication paper I think was due yesterday. I mistakingly asked for comments by Friday, but apparently I had forgotten about this accelerated approval schedule that was sent down from the heads above where it needed to be done by yesterday. I’m not going to get into it as this blog is public and people at Fermilab read it, but yeah, I guess that’s on me. No shocker there that I’m a disappointment yet again to the collaboration. Sigh.

I am also working on the theory section of my thesis. I have 70 days until my thesis is due. So just over two months. Yes that is a lot of time. However, my understanding of any kind of theory in high energy physics is so far gone that I am freaking out about it. I know I just need to get done with the theory section so that I can feel better about the thesis is general but I don’t feel like I’m ever going to get it.

Jason being the perfect man that he is had dinner ready for me when I got home and had cleaned up the house. I responded with being a bitch and went to bed mad...and for no reasone really. So that’s spectacular. I WAY got the better deal in that marriage. Poor Jason.

So right. Cranky? Obviously.

I think I’ll get home around 7:30 tonight, throw some food down and then we are going to ride our bikes to the gym and do some working out. Going to try for that circuit type training that we did on Saturday. Felt great and got the heart rate up.

I guess sure, I only have 70 days to finish my thesis....BUT the other side of that coin is that in 70 days....the thesis will be done, the paper will be done and I’ll just have to work on my dissertation presentation....and after that. I’m done with this. I never thought that there would actually be an end in sight.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Could Be the Best Weekend Ever

So Ok, on Friday I was obviously Grumpy (that's right with a capitol 'G'). Nothing like a great weekend to get over it.

Friday night we went to the gym to do some weight lifting for the first time in months. We didn't do anything fancy, but boy is the gym empty on a Friday night when it's super awesome and sunny and warm outside. All the better for us. We left however to the unfortunate find of the dreaded orange parking ticket. What the hell. We were so confused because there weren't any signs or anything. A guy walking by was like, "oh yeah you can't park here during rush hours". I was like, oh really...but there is no sign. He laughed and pointed down the street to one at the end of the block and said the same thing happened to him. So ok, don't park on North Ave before 6pm...of course I'm pretty sure we parked around 5:55, but whatever. I get it. Chicago needs the money.

Friday night was a fun filled guitar hero playing /Sex and the City watching/Hoopla playing evening. Just your normal wackiness from these two crazy kids.

I am trying a new thing on the weekends. I am keeping my alarm set for 6:20 am, but just trying to get up at a reasonable hour. I found that last weekend, even though I turned the alarm off I was still up at 8am which is good for me considering I am going to bed so late on the weekends. I just don't want to lose any time with the JMan when we have the days off. So this weekend I was out of bed at 7:30 which is awesome.

We lazed around a bit and then headed back to the gym. We did a stationary bike for about 10 minutes. I know I know CRAZY right! and then headed up to do some weights. We tried to do some circuit training type things, so our heart rate was raised, and we were getting big and strong. Tough workout for sure, since we *never* workout.

We got home, watched the Cubs pounding on the Pirates and decided to go out for a walk around the neighborhood. As we we were walking down Augusta we looked east and noticed some very strange cloud stuff happening. At first we though something was on fire, but as we got closer we found that it was just some strange low flying cloud stuff. Something that I would more imagine to find in San Francisco not Chicago. We walked all the way to Milwaukee, back North on Milwaukee to Division and then it was raining, so we ran into Mac's and had some beers and a snack and watched the end of the Cubs game. Holy Hell are they good this year. Go Cubs Go.

Saturday night was more lazy, more guitar heroing and Sex and the City watching. We went to bed around 1:30 and I still wouldn't change the alarm, AND I ended up getting up at 7am! Oh hell yeah I did.

Sunday we had a great day. We dusted off our bikes and rode all the way downtown and took advantage of the beautiful weather. We went all the way down to the Planetarium and I took a bunch of pictures (I'm SO busy right now and have no time to actually post any pictures...grumble). Then I was curious about The Field Museum. I was wondering how much a family pass would be for the year. So we locked up our bikes and walked in. We found out that a student membership (I am still a student) is only $60 for the year and you can bring someone with you. So we did that and went to see the Mythic Creatures exhibit which was fun. I am not one with patience to walk around museums in general, and so this will be great thing because we should be able to go and look at one or two exhibits and not get overloaded. The yearly passes were quite reasonable too, a non-student individual was $80 (you can also bring a guest). And then a family pass was $100. So yeah, we are going to try and do that.

On the ride home we stopped quickly for some Potbelly's and then got home just in time for the Cubs game. I proceeded to pass out on the couch for about an hour. Then we went to see Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden with Jake and the fabulous LaurA! Good movie, I highly recommend it. It's by Morgan Spurlock, the same guy that did Supersize Me.

Alright, well I am way busy and so I am sure the above is just very dull blah blah blahness. But hopefully more interesting when I can blog on the traing tomorrow morning. In short though, 2 days at the gym and 16 miles of biking...I'm feeling *a lot* better. Hopefully with another few weeks off of running the achilles will loosen up and I'll be back in my running shoes.

Ok, time to get the week started!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

..or rather apparently come back to life.

So here we are. Out of running commission. No kids and no major responsibilities. Physics work is just wrapping up and so not too much stress there. And we have money.

This equals Leah transforming back into her Pine Grove (My Dad says everyone in Chicago lives on Pine Grove at one point in their lives) days. Those days, fresh out of college making cash and not caring a thing about...well anything. Those days we went to Murphy’s on Broadway at least three times a week and most Friday and Saturday nights. But when I say, went to. I mean WENT to, like for the night. Just settle in at the bar, and laugh? darts? shots? beer? All of the above please. That was understandable, I mean we were 21 years old.

I’m not saying things are getting to that level because quite frankly I don’t think I could do that again as that kind of drinking and partying is reserved for those of you that are in your lower 20s. Go have fun, peel yourself off the floor on that Sunday morning. Have a greasy breakfast, you'll be fine.

Not that I am even drinking that much, but the fact that I think for the 3rd or 4th Friday in a row I’m nursing some kind of headache/hangover is annoying me and pissing me off to no end. I know this is mainly because I am not running and just pissed off about that, and to tell you the truth I’ve had fun the past few weeks. Last night I got to meet all the people that Jason works with which was fun as they were all really nice and hilarious. It must be fun to work with people that aren’t socially retarded. We laughed though because Jason is the oldest person there. His coworkers are 25 and his boss is 27 (we are 28). Zing! (see....all the time!)

So anyways, I’m just going to try and cool it down a bit now. Tonight Jason and I are going to go to the gym. I am bring the car back tonight and so we’ll be able to go and not worry about me walking 3 miles roundtrip to get there. So we’ll do some weight lifting and then just come home and watch a movie or two...or 12 episodes of Sex & the City (the movie is coming out you know, perfect timing to rewatch all those shows).

I can’t let myself fall down the rabbit hole and back to my party girl days. Instead of the hangover and the schnanagins that took place the night before being “hilarious” when recounted the next day, they are more like “pathetic”.

So thus, I try and quit the bad habits and get back into the good ones. I’m not too far gone and really I’m being rather over dramatic, but in general I am over dramatic so it makes sense.

Oh yeah, and it’s Friday. Happy Happy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bad Dreams

Ok, so I’m busy and want to get some reading done on the train so a bit shorter today. Last night I had the worst dream ever. I mean I woke up and was shaking.

So I am standing up giving a presentation and I realize that it’s my PhD defense seminar. I then realize that I don’t have a projector or slides or anything. I just have my thesis in hand but it seems that it wasn’t written by me as the details are all very extravagant and I can’t understand them. So I just start talking, kind of reading whatever. I start to get asked questions that I can’t answer. My parents are there and have had to leave the room because they are crying because I’m flailing up there like a fish out of water.

After an hour and a half I haven’t even gotten to my research part and I’m stuck talking about the detector and miniscule details. The talk was supposed to be an hour and so I wrap it up quickly and so my talk ends up being a two hour disaster.

I think I woke up at this point and it was only 4am and so I went back to bed. The dream continued and apparently there were like 7 people that had their defense on the same day with the same committee. Out of the 7, 2 hadn’t passed.

I was one of the two. And I was hysterical. I was screaming at my advisor but I couldn’t get the words “I didn’t pass” out.

In real life of course, my adviser is on my committee and so would already know that I hadn’t passed, but hell.

I mean just the thought of 6 years and failing is enough to send anyone into hysterics.

I didn’t go to the gym last night. I’m giving myself till Monday with the achilles. I iced a lot last night and It might have felt a little better. We’ll see. Just taking it slow. Oh and I’m back in the orange Crocs and they are not only super cool, but also they don’t hurt my achilles, so I guess it’s a good thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4.65 Miles in Orange Crocs?

Apparently yes. Does the fact that they are orange matter? No, but it does make for a better blog post title.

So yesterday after getting of the train, I walked to Monk’s where Jason was waiting. We had some errands to run so we decided to just eat there before heading out. Go figure I got a grilled chicken sandwich instead of the delicious that is a cheeseburger. The mantra in my head is going, “YOU HAVE TO EAT HEALTHIER SINCE YOU AREN’T RUNNING AND YOUR PANTS ARE GETTING A BIT TIGHT”. Then my mouth goes, “FUCK YOU BRAIN, CHEESE BURGERS ARE DELICIOUS”. Last night the brain won out. Good sandwich too.

From Monk’s we walked all the way to

...hold on....I am writing this on the Metra train and there is a really large man talking on a cell phone. And he’s sitting with his back to the window so he can also make sure he can look at everyone on the train. YES, WE ARE ALL LOOKING AT YOU TALKING ON YOUR PHONE. I talk on the phone on the train, but I try and sit in a tiny ball so I don’t annoy everyone around me. This guys also said to a girl as she tried to get around him, “OH. I’m sorry sweetheart, there you go, can you get by now?” Sweetheart? I mean I’m way not all PC, but seriously.


Ok, so we walked from Monk’s all the way to to about Division and Halstead. I had to pick up a package from FedEx that my dad had sent me from St. Kitts. Poor dad. He and his iPod had an accident with some saltwater. Boo. Although, because I like to tease, the amount of protective packaging to get it back to me, was ...well a lot. We are talking three protective FedEx Bag, bubble wrap and then all of that into a FedEx Box. The iPod is filled with water, but dammit it would *not* get scratched. I am going to take it to the Apple store and see if there is anything they can do. Looking at the state of the iPod and knowing that I didn’t buy the hefty warranty I’m guessing not....but cutish girl crying might scare nerd boys enough to help me out.....we’ll see.

From Division/Halstead we continued walking West. We never did see the bus so we just kept going. At about Ashland, the bottoms of my feet were starting to hurt. I was questioning the choice of the Crocs for such a big amount of walking. I rationalized it because I so want my achilles to get better and shoes make it hurt more. I mean this is way un-rational because obviously the walking in general is probably not good for it, it just doesn’t hurt without running shoes on.

We kept on walking though, ended back up at Western/Iowa. So yeah, that was a nice 4.65 mile walk. The bottoms of my feet were killing me though. We settled in on the couch, icing my achilles and watching the Cubs come back from behind for a nice night game win which was nice to see.

This morning, I was back in regular shoes. Back to my achilles still bothering me. I don’t know. I am *SO* frustrated. I just want to go running. I love running and there is nothing like this type of thing to make you realize that. Tonight we are going to dust off our bikes and ride them to the gym and do some weight training there. Maybe can get back into things that way.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicago 4/15/08

I love this city. This city that I call home, have called home for most of my life and probably will call home for the rest of my life. I have lived in Chicago and the surrounding areas for 22 years. The other 6 years were spent only 4 hours away in Bloomington, Indiana which has it’s own special place in my heart.

This city is why I want to get up in the morning and why I can breathe. It's absolutely a part of me. It’s not just a cool place to live, but for us it’s a lifestyle choice. I told Jason once as we walked from our apartment to Millennium Park that I was worried that if we ever moved to a place where we couldn’t walk downtown on a nice spring day, that our marriage would be in trouble. I know that sounds harsh. My parents got a divorce when I was about 3 years old, I tend to think about those kinds of things. I mean yeah yeah, we aren't like them or whatever. But I know how unhappy I would be (and I think Jason would be as well) if we couldn’t just go out walking and end up at the lakefront or wherever. Something as small as where you live? Yeah, but to us, that’s not so small. I can’t predict what will happen in the future and maybe a house farther from the city will be in the cards. But I don’t know, I would rather not think that way and instead work on making small condos or city houses work. Kids can share rooms and the bigger the house you own the more stuff you own. Jason and I grew up in apartments and I think we both turned out pretty great and aren’t any worse for the wear.

We are, admittingly, lucky as the jobs we will have will probably be in the city. Jason already has one and I’m going to start working soon, hopefully in the city. The last four years have been spent commuting out to Batavia where the physics lab where we conducted our research was located. Yeah sometimes the commute sucked. Random traffic jams, home at 2 in the morning just to get up at 6 to get back in time for the meeting. Tears were shed, fights were had and things were probably thrown. But in the end, I would wake up on a random Saturday morning, smile and say to the man next to me, “Let’s go for a walk”. And that made it all worth it 100%.

So that being said. So many things happen in the city that make me love living here. From small things to big things to new apartments and neighborhoods to restaurant reviews to whatever. SO those will from now on have the title of Chicago followed by the date. So for you Chicagoans, enjoy! So let’s get started.


Good Morning Young Man
Good Morning Young Lady
Good Morning Young Lady
Good Morning Young Man

So says the beggar who stands on the bridge covering the Chicago river on Randolph. He’s there in the morning speaking faster than my ears can listen. He’s there in the evenings on my way home, speaking with the same enthusiasm wishing all a good evening instead. I never give him any money, but there are people that do and talk to him like they’ve known him for awhile. Maybe they have, maybe he’s been standing in that same spot just as long as they have been working downtown. Running into him on their frantic run to and from the Metra station, to and from their office a few blocks away.

The building that is on the east side of the river just south of Randolph is also the ugliest building I have ever seen. I feel like it should be the building that the main character in All the Names works in. Just big, ugly, beige, white and when looking into the windows there are endless rows of messy cubicles. Why did the beggar choose that spot? Why does he stand facing east so he has to look at it?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Weekend Roundup

Well given that I haven't posted since we go.

Thursday night we went out for drinks at Monk's with a guy from Jason's work which was super fun. Jason and I both had about 6 beers too many but whatever, it was a good time. Apparently if I'm not a marathoner I just drink too much...I don't know why...pissed cause I can't run is the main reason. Although since I'm not running I *should* be doing the health thing and going to the gym and all that good stuff. I am going to try and do that this week actually because I think my achilles is feeling better enough that I could actually be in a pair of shoes without wanting to cry. Although....I have only been wearing a super cool pair of orange crocs the past few days so I really don't know how my achilles will do with normal shoes....maybe I could run in these....hmm...maybe not.

Friday night we went out with Jake to see Masters of the Universe at the midnight show at the Music Box. Yes yes, that is in fact the Heman (or is it He-man?) movie. The audience consisted of us 3 and a bunch of other nerds which was awesome as the commentary during the movie was Mystery Science Theater-esqe. So that was hilarious and a good find by the JMan.

On Saturday we had lazy plans. We were going to do nothing all day and like it. We stuck to that until about 5pm when unavoidably I got bored and wanted to go do something. So we headed down to our favorite coffee shop, Barista, and thinking they were open walked in an ordered some lattes. While April (the super cool owner who you should totally go say hi to if you are in the neighborhood as she's super friendly) was putting the espresso machine back together I had the suspicion that the store was actually closed. I asked her how late they were open and she laughed and said they were actually closed but that she had bills to pay and thus never turns people away. I love her and her coffee shop. So. Great.

From there we headed down to Division to deposit some checks and we headed to Easy Bar to finish our coffee, catch some of the Cubs game and have a drink. From there we went to Aki Sushi to try and fulfill my new found desire for sushi that I have had since Mike's birthday last week. It was ok, although I think the specialty roll that Jason got was great. However, even though I didn't love the food (I get a little squirmy with the raw stuff if I think about it too hard) we had the best evening. The wait staff was very not pushy at that place and we had a bottle of wine and ended up sitting there for about 2 hours which was fantastic! Just chatting and taking our time with dinner and whatever. Very friendly staff and so I recommend it highly.

On Sunday we decided to go take a look at the Lincoln Square neighborhood just to have something to do. This is the northside neighborhood that is bounded by Foster at the North, Montrose at the South, Damen at the East & The Chicago River at the West. Wells park is central to this neighborhood. We walked around for about an hour although my toes inside my crocs were cold and so we couldn't walk around as much as I would have liked. However, we LOVED what we saw and so we are looking for this to be our next neighborhood. All the Chicago neighborhoods are so different and we have lived in three of them already. It's almost like moving cities because there is the re-finding of coffee shops, book stores, libraries, grocery stores etc. This neighborhood, especially, felt kind of like a small town which was weird. From Montrose/Lincoln you are only 2 miles from the lakefront path which is perfect (we clocked it as we drove out there). So we are looking to move sooner rather than later although we have our lease through August. We love this neighborhood too, but we are getting that moving itch so we'll see what happens with that. It would be nice to be closer to the lake for the summer. Plus the commute downtown wouldn't be too bad since there is a brown line stop very nearby. would be a longish trip on the brownline to get all the way downtown, but we'll give it a try soon and see what that's like.

The rest of Sunday afternoon was pretty lazy, with a nap thrown in there just for good measure. I am still taking time off from running. I have been icing and soing some exercises and things might be starting to feel better. I'm frustrated that now that the nice weather is here but I'm not out there running. But I would rather rest now and not loose more days than necessary, which I think is the smart move.

Alright, and thus it's Monday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

So True

This is from PhD comics one of the funniest sites for those of you in PhD many of the comic strips are so true and so funny. I mean they are funny anyways, but you really "get it" if you are in a physics program especially.

Who's this "Jason" fellow

Alright, so I'll admit that it's been awhile since I posted on this site. I'm pretty sure it's been since Leah abandoned me for the Caribbean, but I'd rather not consult the archives to find out. Suffice to say, it's been awhile. But I really want to remedy that, even if only to make sure my name stays on the door.

Things that have changed since my last post...

* We've gone from high fives to fist bumps, thus reflecting our maturity
* The word "Zing!" is now a part of our lexicon
* Baseball season has started
* Leah's gotten even more beautiful (Awwwwwwwwww)

I've also run the Shamrock Shuffle, which I haven't really mentioned. I didn't have a particularly good race, crapping out between miles 2 and 3. Up until that point I was keeping pace with Leah, but when it started to get really hard I just sort of gave up. I just didn't care. What's up with that? I'm a little disappointed in myself, but my speedwork after the race was just fine, so I'm chalking it up to a bad day. In the end, I finished up with a 38:30 which matched my time the first time I ran this race (and I'm in a millions times better shape, so whatever).

So yeah, bad race.

But everything else has been good. The job is going well and the Cubs are getting better and we're all happy in our crappy, old apartment.

And so I conclude my post. Hopefully it won't be so long until my next.

Too Much Stick

And by Stick...I mean....The know for rolling out sore muscles. The dude at the Athletico suggested that I get one. And so I did...and I love it and using it on my calf muscle and whatever. I woke up this morning and I was like, perfect, now that hurts too.

No one wants to be around an injured LeahC...poor Jason :-(

This weekend we are looking at :

What do I say to that...uh AWESOME! I am going to lay on the couch, read, watch movies and ice the hell out of my achilles. 15 on 15 off for the whole weekend. Sound like fun? Does to me too! Ah well a wet and crappy spring weekend just calls out for a movie weekend, so that's the plan.

Tonight it's back home on the train...with perhaps a stop at Monk's our new favorite place to grab a beer. Hell if I'm not going to run I might as well drink to pass the time..... ZING! (My new found obsession to the word Zing should be credited to Bryn....who doesn't have a blog as far as I know and who I don't think reads this blog, so I could have just stolen it and run, but that's not the way I roll, credit goes to where credit is due).

I just gave a talk at Fermilab and I talked faster than I have ever talked before. I told everyone that I didn't really talk fast and instead they might want to try and listen faster. ALRIGHT. HAPPY THURSDAY.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Achilles Tendonitis

So because I am insane and I have to know everything RIGHT NOW. I canceled lunch with my friend and got an earlier appointment at Athletico. It's what I thought it was, just a case of achilles tendonitis. He gave me some things to do and of course rest and ice and blah blah blah. He also mentioned that my shoes might be too supportive and to try the Brooks Axioms. I have run in Adrenalines for years now and this is the first time a problem has shown up though. But I'll try them on and see. He looked at the calluses on the bottom of my feet and they looked like I was twisting or something when I was running...too many calluses on the outside of me feet.....I don't know....Whatever.

Ice. Rest. Ice. Rest.

I'm going to try and go to the gym to do some weight lifting and probably do some biking as that probably wouldn't be too much work.

The guy was really nice and it was all free so that was good news. If it's still really bad in a couple of weeks I'll go and see a doctor which he could recommend.

So that's that.


Yesterday to celebrate the birthday of one Mr. OutOfShapeGuy we stayed downtown after my commute from the burbs. I had originally planned on taking the train that got into downtown around 6pm. That plan was still in place, but I had decided to leave my office early and work on my thesis edits at a Caribou Coffee near the Wheaton train station. This way I could get some coffee (which of course was the most important part of the idea) and get out of my office for the last hour that I wanted to work. However, once I was in the Caribou the place was jammed with Wheaton College students and I realized I had left my iPod on my desk so I wouldn’t have any way to silence the masses.

So I decided to just take the train I usually take, then I could work downtown. I knew this plan wouldn’t work as well because I would see Jason and be all, “OH MY GOD HOW WAS WORK? DID YOU MISS ME? I MISSED YOU!” and get all chatty chatty chatty. Days like yesterday are days that I really dislike Metra. The train that was supposed to get in at 3:54 at Wheaton, actually got in around 4:14pm, so about 20 minutes late. Which is annoying, because really....I never take Metra if I ever have to be somewhere on time. This happens a lot with the line I ride because there is interference from freight trains or something. I mean OK, 5 minutes is no big deal, but we are talking 20-25 minutes late, so what’s the point?

After getting downtown Jason had to wrap some stuff at work so I met him at the Au Bon Pain that is next door to his office building. From there we walked in the rain and cold over to the Panera that is on State. Street, with me screaming the whole time, “OH NO, WHY WOULDN’T WE WANT TO MOVE TO CALIFORNIA??? REALLY SUNNY WEATHER AND WARMNESS AND WHATEVER??? NAH, LET’S STAY HERE IN THIS BULLSHIT.” I get cranky in a big way when this time of the year won’t just make the turn to summertime.

So anyways, we went to Panera where I could finally work on editing my thesis and Jason was working on blogging....on this website no less. So he goes to publish it and there is an error message that says something like, you have used the alloted computer time during the rush hours. I was like...a) there is no one here and b) he had been using the computer for maybe 20 minutes. Jason went to ask and they were like, well it’s dinner time it’ll be back on in about a half an hour. We looked at the sign on sheet where it clearly said the rush hours were from 11-2. Whatever, either have stupid free wifi or don’t. Independent coffee shops like Barista would never do that kind of thing. So Panera = super lame.

After having a beer at the South Loop Club on State, just south of Harrison we headed to Tamarind to meet folks for theMan’s birthday. I’m not one for sushi, but Barb mentioned that they had lots of stuff on the menu. Jason, Mike and everyone else ordered sushi, while Barb and I stuck to some regular dishes. I got the red curry with chicken which was a-mazing. However, looking at some of the sushi rolls that Mike had ordered I was intrigued. I tasted one of his philadelphia rolls (dude! they have cream cheese in them! nothing is bad with cream cheese) and I was hooked. Jason got some kind of spicy mahi rolls (I think...?) that had some avocado on the tops of them. I tried that and was also hooked on it. We got our own order of philadelphia rolls since apparently I was going to be eating more sushi than I had originally thought. That’s not to say that the red curry wasn’t delicious though because it was, and I don’t know if I could have a full meal just on sushi alone, but wow those were some tasty morsels.

(Note: I am writing this post on the train....amazing how much longer and more rambley they are when I don’t have so much of a time constraint since this is basically just free time anyways.)

Today I get to have lunch with my Fermilab friend, Prashant so that should be fun, as it’s always good to see him. I have a talk to give tomorrow and so I’ll drive home since I know I can’t count on Metra to get me anywhere on time. Tomorrow afternoon, I am going to Athletico and have them look at my seems to be getting worse as pushing on the gas pedal today when driving into the lab was a bit twingy. I just don't want to do something worse to it. They have a free injury screening so we'll see how that goes. Boo. Not. Happy.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Basketball and I'm Not Talking About It

So last night was so super fun. We went over to those crazy Jayhawks place to watch the final game and to cheer on the Jayhawks to the national championship. "But wait," you ask yourself, "you are not a Kansas fan or have any stock in them". To which I reply neither of which is true. I'm way admitting I'm on the Kansas bandwagon this year AND if Kansas won then Jason would win the Charity Bracket pool. We like winning things and so it was on to root for Kansas.

What a fun night! Just a warning to all out there, Barb *might* get a little violet when watching a basketball game :-) I'm kidding. Kind of. The game was one of the best sporting events I have seen in a long time. I can't believe Kansas came back from 9 down with only 2 minutes to go. That final 3 in regulation was *amazing*. So good times where had there. It's so fun when your team wins. Not that I really know anything about that, but I guess I can understand it. We went to watch the Superbowl with our friends this year, one of which was a Giants fan. With Kansas winning last night and the Giants winning the Superbowl, Jason said all of our friends should invite us over when their team is playing as maybe we are good luck charms.

Right then.

So what am I not talking about? My achilles of course. It hurts. Bad. It's way worse when I have shoes on so I don't know what that is about. Mike looked at it last night and said it didn't seem like a muscular thing, but rather probably just some tendinitis and to rest/ice it. So that's what I'm doing this week. I walk about 1-2 miles a day to and from trains and cars and whatnot so I tried to wear some shoes that aren't so tight in the back of my foot. I don't really know how to describe it. It hurts ... so there. It seems like it's a bit swollen. If things are still painful on Sunday I'll make an appointment at Athletico and see what they say. I'm pretty worried and pretty pissed because the running was going really well and it was really fun. With the weather warming up I'm disappointed (dammit me and my spelling...always one 's' two 'p') to be on the sidelines. Maybeing biking would be ok.....

So there's that. I only signed up for the Flying Pig 1/2 to keep in shape in the summer months and have a race goal so I'm not that worried about it. That race was never going to be a PR given the hills and so whatever happens happens.

Tonight is a birthday dinner down in the south loopish area and then tomorrow should be a pretty restful day.

Oh RIGHT, one more thing.

Officially... On July 31st.. I will be defending my PhD thesis in High Energy Physics. I have to turn in the thesis by July 1st, so I'm in full on writing/updating/giving talks mode. Soon I'll be in the job hunting mode. YAY there is a big fucking strobe light flashing at the end of the tunnel!

Monday, April 07, 2008

More Ernie Banks

As my husband is the more talented (read : hilarious) writers in this little family, check out his recap of the wine evening with Ernie Banks at Goatriders.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It Hurts

I have been running consistently for about 4 years now. I tend to know my body and know when I'm just sore from running (all the time) or something is wrong and it hurts.

On Wednesday after our speedworkout when we were were walking back to the car I mentioned to Jason that my achillies on my right foot was really sore. I didn't think much more about it
as it hadn't hurt during the run at all. We didn't run Thursday or Friday but I did notice on Friday when we were waking home from the bus that it was sore.

So yesterday we go out to run 5 miles (in shorts and a t-shirt no less because it was 60 flippin' degrees out...oh yes spring is here) and it was sore the whole time. Of course I didn't turn around at the beginning but rather ran out about 2.5 miles and then realized it wasn't happening. That of course means I have to walk home the remaining distance.

So booty. Do I go out and test it again during out 10 mile run? Or do I just try and rest it for a few days as I think I slightly pulled the muscle? Well, like I said. I know my body and this is not just soreness that I can get through and I feel that if I push it I will be doing more harm than good. We ran into the Lovely Cousin Lisa on the walk home and I was telling her about it. She mentioned that she came down with tendinitis in the same area when she was training for a marathon and had to take 4-5 weeks off. I don't want it to get to that point and I don't even think that this is that because it more hurts all the time whereas she said hers hurt more the more she ran. ...but if it is....4-5 weeks off sounds like a nightmare. I read online that if it's just a pulled muscle or strain then things could heal in 7-14 days...although I don't know if I'll even take a full 7 days off.

So we aren't going to run today and I'm upset because the Sunday Long run is one of my favorite things about the week. We'll try again on Tuesday maybe and see how things are feeling.

Alright, Sunday is big breakfast day and I'm on cooking duty.

Oh yeah. AND YAY FOR KANSAS! (I'm a fan by default since our good friends are from there :-) )

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mr. Cub & A Crazy Night of Random Fun

So....that's right. That's a picture of Ernie Banks. If you don't know who that is, well he's Mr. Cub, one of the greatest Cub players of all time. Last night Jason and I attended a charity wine tasting event in honor of Mr. Ernie Banks.

So as I have mentioned Jason is a writer on a baseball fan blog called, Goatriders. The writers of the site were contacted last week about if they would be interested in covering the event this charity wine event. Jason immediately jumped at the opportunity and said that I, as the official Goatriders photographer, would need to attend as well.

I met Jason downtown after work and we stopped at Monks on Lake St. (Awesome place to hit after work for beers and snacks) and had the aforementioned beers and snack while we were waiting to head over to the Kinzie Chophouse for the event which started at 6:30pm. So a few beers & chicken tenders heavier we made our way north.

I am always early for everything (except when we are supposed to meet Jake and LaurA! out somewhere and so I feel that they think I'm lying about my need to be early...well they haven't ever flown with me so they don't really know the true crazy...ANYWARS) and so we got there at about 6:10. The people at the door recognized Jason's name (we were on the list! That's right, we're awesome) and we made our way in. At this point no one was there except for a few reporters and Ernie Banks. Jason and I of course are way star stuck and were caught on more than one occasion staring at him with our mouths agape. The room was also *really* small. We thought this was going to be a big deal and we were just going to take some pictures and whatever. It was a really nice deal and very personal feeling.

So apparently VinLozano Imports, opted to start a philanthropic wine project called Charity Wines. About 75% of all import proceeds go directly to the charity of the 500 Home Run Club member's charity of choice. (It should be noted that the previous two sentences are literally copied word for word from CharityHop's website). We got some glasses of the new 512 Chardonnay and made our way to the back of the room. I'm a red wine girl and so I'm usually just ok with white. Well this wine was *delicious*!

I was really nervous about taking pictures but had to as that is why I was able to come to the event. I'm sure the dude from WBBM radio who got a flash right in his eye was less than thrilled with me, but he called the wine a "Chard" and so I was all like, whatever.

So when we were there and no one else was around Ernie Banks came up and just started talking to us. We were trying to not sound like big nerds who didn't know what they were doing here . He asked us what we did and we told him that we were physicists and from that point on we were like his best friend. He would walk around the room and talk to other people and then he would end up back by us or just walking by and he would say, "These are my friends, the physicists." Can you believe that! How awesome is that.

Then after the crowd had rethinned out a bit, Jason got a 10 minute one on one interview with Mr. Banks. After they had talked for awhile and I was done taking pictures, I joined them and talked to him about our neighborhood and the media in general and new camera technology. It was great. I'll leave all the details though to Jason who will be writing his full recap on the goatriders site on Monday.

But it was just a wonderful opportunity and I have to say, in good days in my life it's something like, Birth, Meeting Ernie Banks, Getting Married. So yeah, it was pretty awesome. For all the pictures from the Ernie Banks evening check out this smugmug gallery.

So after we left I had to call someone and so the someone ended up being the RunningJayhawk herself. She answered and I started screaming, "OH MY GOD WE JUST GOT TO TALK TO ERNIE BANKS AND WE TOOK PICTURES AND HE'S LIKE OUR BEST FRIEND NOW DO YOU WANT TO SEE PICTURES!!!!!" So she said yes, and we headed over there to show them the pictures I had taken.

Well it just turned into one of those nights. Jason and I were already a little bit tipsy from the 512 Chard (oh please) and then I was all like I'm going to be best friend ever and get these kids drunk and so they won't be getting up early to go get their swim in. Yes I'm just that awesome of a person. So we laughed and drank more and laughed some more and drank some more. I do believe that Mike was drinking some Rum and Cokes and so I think that Barb and Jason and I finished off 2 bottles of wine...could that be right. My headache this morning was saying that it was. And obviously the 3 mile run didn't happen but whatever, I'll take a great evening with Ernie Banks and some of our bestest friends over a workout any day.

It was just a really really fun night. Those Kansas kids are so great and we might have planned a NIGHT! OF! FUN! coming up next month which should be a *riot*. For more pictures of our night of crazy head to this other smugmug gallery.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tempoing the Night Away

Last night we had another 40 minute tempo run. After sitting in an hour and a half of traffic...WHERE IS EVERYONE GOING. ok ok. breathe, I'm back on the train this afternoon, I picked up Jason at work and we headed to the lake to do our tempoing. We have been parking right on Clark St. by Lincoln Park Zoo because the meters there are only until 6pm so we can park and get over to the path without having to pay for parking, or driving all the way north.

We did this run 2 weeks ago and I was worried that we would still be feeling the effects of the shuffle and would have a hard time keeping the paces we would need to keep. Turns out that wasn't the case and we did a good job. If anything our first couple of intervals were too fast

Just a reminder, we run about 1.3 mile warm up and then 5 - 1/2 mile segments increasing our pace on each one so that the 4th one is the fastest and then bring it down a touch for the 5th one, finishing with about a mile cool down...this is a great way to get through tough runs on the lake front path, especially if you are very familiar with the mile marker positions because it becomes monkey work and you don't really have to think about anything, just getting to the next marker.

This workout is very comparable to a few weeks ago and it felt great to get through it, although admittedly we didn't feel as good as we did a few weeks ago. It was just one of those days when I didn't feel like being out there, I had a tough day of work, I had a headache. You all know what I'm talking about. However, you know in sports when a team that wins a game that they absolutely should have lost and people say, "You know that's a good team". I kind of felt like that yesterday. Maybe we are really getting into that zone and granted it has taken about 4 years of working on this, but maybe we are getting there. I can tell you one thing, getting faster and stronger and making it through workouts like that, more importantly on a consistent basis, is a very very SLOW process, but one that I have very much enjoyed.

Alright, that being said. We are skipping the 3 mile run today because we have an event tonight downtown, stay tuned tomorrow as all Cubs fans should be very jealous. So we are going to do that tomorrow morning. We could have done it this morning but we didn't think there would be enough turn around time between runs. We also have an action packed weekend with our weekly date with Jake and LaurA! on Friday and then out to dinner on Saturday night with a fellow Goatrider, then Sunday we are going to head back out to Waterfall Glenn for our 10 mile long run. That's right bitches...double digits!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

AM Running & A Jazz Band

Yesterday we had evening plans so we had to get our run done in the morning. We were so wiped out from our opening day festivities that falling into bed early was not an issue and more like an necessity.

(Opening Day was awesome by the way. It was like a playoff game, the crowd was screaming on almost every pitch. We had a great time even in our crappy cheap seats)

But with opening day comes drinking starting at 10am and so yeah....we were tired by 8. So we got home and had a quick left over dinner and then went to bed. We got up at about 5:15 or so and we were out running at 6. Just a 4.5 mile loop around the west town neighborhood. I really like running in the morning when I do it. It's so amazingly quiet out and there isn't traffic so getting across the busy streets is much easier. However, I don't think I'll ever like getting up early in the morning so I still need to work on that. So we did the 4.5 miles at just under a 9 min/mile pace. I think we were still feeling the effects of the Shamrock Shuffle.

Jason went to work and I stayed in the city yesterday. I hate working at home now since it's really dull and time doesn't seem to move. But I broke the day up with a facial and then I went down to the local coffee shop for a few hours before going to get Jason from work.

After that we headed out to Forest Park to see some jazz. My dad's friends' son, Sam, is a drummer and he and two of his friends have a jazz trio deal. They are high school kids but Jason and I were so impressed! I have known Sam my whole life and I almost started crying when they started. I don't know why, they were just playing in this little ice cream shop, but he was out there doing it and they sounded really good. About halfway through their show a much younger kid (maybe 9 or 10) joined and played the saxaphone. He seemed really talented also (I know *nothing* about music) and also super excited to be playing with them (we think his older brother was playing the bass). The kid playing the piano never had sheet music in front of him...yeah. We said that's a lot of talent and not a lot of years.

On the way home we had to go drop our rent check off which requires driving all the way to the north side. We decided to take lower wacker drive....which is so super awesome if you haven't driven on there, it's pretty wacky.

I had big BIG plans to get up at 5am this morning so I could get to work early, but that didn't happen. So instead I got to sit in traffic for 1+ hours (boo!) since I was coming out to the Lab. Oh well.

Tonight we have another 40 minute tempo and we are going to try and follow the same structure that we did when we did this two weeks ago...namely sans the Garmin and just use the lakefront mile markers for our timing as it seemed easier to break it down that way.

For those Cub fans out there, Jason does some writing on and they are doing great things this year, so something to keep an eye on.

Alright, and it's Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Kanye Video

From the Drex page I found this sweet new Kanye West video, he basically has a mini tour of the city. Good stuff.

Shamrock Shuffle Report

So yesterday was Cubs opening day and so I didn't end up having time to post the Shamrock Shuffle race report, so here we go...kind of long. Plus a lot of other stuff on my mind so probably not so high in the quality department.

On Friday night we had a very enjoyable time with Jake and LaurA! as they came over to our place and we chatted and watched some basketball and heard about their recent trip to Memphis. On Saturday since we kept bumping our run back a day we had 3 miles on the table. We ended up doing this really really slow which was fine since we had the race the next day.

After the run we headed to the expo to get our stuff as well as stuff for a few other Chicago Shufflers that weren't going to be able to make it to the expo. I signed up at the Girls on the Run booth to perhaps volunteer or coach which I think would be great. I fully agree with what their doing and so it might be fun to help out with it.

Pretty low key Saturday night and it was up at 6:30 for the race. We had breakfast, got ready and then headed downtown. We had picked up packets for those crazy jayhawk kids and so stopped first at their condo. At this point I was like, screw this. It's cold, I'm still kind of tired. It's cold. On the walk to find a cab I suggested that we just go back to their condo and watch movies about running but as I still had one more race packet to give to someone I couldn't actually do that.

I went back and forth on what to wear. We did this race in somewhat similar weather 2 years ago and just wore shorts and a light long sleeve shirt and we were freezing. So I said screw that feeling, I'm going to wear long pants and two tops, which in retrospect was way over dressed. We dropped our stuff off at gear check, dropped of the packet with Ryan and then we all headed our separate ways to our different starting corrals. We were in the corrals about 15 minutes before the start and so as usual there was a lot of jumping and running in place trying to keep warm.

8K is such a strange race. You run hard and fast for a long time. You get mile 2 and it's like, oh shit there are still 3 miles to go. So we had a general idea of where we wanted to be. Our PR for this race was 37:39 and so we though if we could do 37:30 we would be really an average of about 7:30 min/mile.

We hit mile one comfortably 7:26 and so thought if we could just keep that going we would be in perfectly. Mile 2 came by in 7:24. However, my shins were starting to scream at me which happens when I run faster than I'm prepared for. Jason was behind me at this point and I looked back and he just waved me to go on. I don't know what's going on there as I think for some reason the mental game that he's usually really strong with is hanging back on him a little. He mentioned after the race that he just could get to the next mile and was worried instead about how much farther there was to go. That's usually my problem, so anyways, I know he can keep up with me just mentally not happening I guess....he won't have time to write on here so I guess we'll never know.

Mile 3 was a bit slower at 7:31. I realized soon after this that the course was a bit different than the last few years. I started to push it as hard as I could, mainly because I wanted to be done with the race. Mile 4 came by in 7:16.

I was thinking that the finish line was at the same place as the marathon, and while I was climbing up the "mountain" on Roosevelt I thought I would have to turn and still have about 0.2 miles to go. However after the turn I saw that the finish line was just about a block away and so I went as fast as I could which wasn't too fast but the final mile ended up being 7:18. So a final time of 36:57.

I tried taking my time after getting through the chute so I could see Jason finish. I stretched and lollygagged and just when I was just going to head to the gear check I saw Jason finish. He finished in about 38:30 or so, so still a great race day for him.

I really like the website. Good layout for updating race stats (which I love). I know it totally doesn't matter, and yet I love it. I was in about the top 3% for both my gender(2.7%) and my female age group (3.3%) which is awesome. Also hit ~8% for my total finish position. Top 10% gotta love that. I know it's lame, but still fun.

So a great race day. I still don't know if I am going to sign up for a marathon this year. I am going to be defending my thesis (I KNOW I KNOW IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!!!!) the first week of August and so my thesis will have to be turned in the first week of July. I am going to be so busy with that and a nervous wreck, that I might just need running to be my escape and not my entire life. That being said, I love training for a marathon and I know I'm going to miss it so we'll see. I really want to qualify for Boston and I'm still in pretty good shape, I just don't know if I can devote the time this summer. I could always try and run a race in November I guess.

I'm super busy with work stuff as I have to get done with my paper by today or tomorrow morning. I decided to stay at home today because of some other things happening that I have to attend to. I'm hoping that I can still get stuff done as I find it hard to work at home...although I guess not when I'm really busy.

Alright, so off to work!