Thursday, August 14, 2008

Running Update

So far my farthest run has been sixteen miles, which I did in New Jersey, along the Ocean City boardwalk. That boardwalk is 2.5 miles long (conveniently labeled with mileposts at quarter mile intervals), so I ran the length of it and back three times, with an extra half mile tacked on getting to and from the boardwalk from the place we were staying.

That was a different kind of feeling. I generally don't like to run past the same point too many times, because it's too tempting to give up early. But the boardwalk had the advantage of giving me lots to look at, and lots to dodge. Other runners, for starters -- we had a whole lane to ourselves down the center of the boardwalk, divided from the bicycle and "surrey" (a kind of pedal car contraption for tourists) lanes by painted white lines, with pedestrians on the outside... At least until the shops opened, at which point all lanes became pedestrian lanes. Bicycles veering into the running lane to pass added a level of interest and difficulty.

I checked out the animatronic gorilla at the the jungle themed putt-putt place, the carnival games, the water slides, the T-shirt slogans at the endless souvenir shops, and still there would be different things to look at on the next pass, the arcades, the ice cream cones, the amusement park rides. (It's a very kid-friendly boardwalk.) And, of course, the beach and the ocean.

Sixteen miles was no problem, but a later, shorter boardwalk run through a raging storm with wind driven sheets of rain left me cold, dripping, tired, and with a damaged iPod.

After that I had to miss a couple of days because there was no place to go from our next hotel, and since we went back to work as soon as we got back home, I had to miss my next long run. So for the one after that, I went only fifteen miles, along Chicago's lakefront.

Hardest. Run. Ever. Two miles into it, I was dying. Miserable, punishing, torture. Left me feeling sick afterwards, and sore for the next couple of days. Why? I have no idea. Maybe I didn't eat enough carbs.

Maybe it was the fact that I was listening to the Cubs take a pounding from the Cardinals the whole time. (But it's okay, we're still 27 games above .500 and leading the division by 4.5 games. Whoo! Go Cubbies!)

In any case, my next long run, this weekend, will be 17 miles. I'll probably build up to about 20 before starting to step them down again to save strength for the real marathon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What a week

Whew. That was quite a trip. Ken's dad invited us to share the condo they were renting on the New Jersey shore. We planned to visit other family for a few days in Philadelphia afterward. But this vacation ended up being a lot of work when it turned out he was going to have a job interview on Friday in Philly.

There was a lot of driving involved, none of it by me. There were storms and flooding our first day in Jersey, a day at the beach and boardwalk, and then a lot of frantic studying and trips to the local library to print things out. A night in Atlantic city, losing money as slowly as possible. A long day at the mall for me while I waited for him to finish up his six hour interview. A visit to his grandpa at the nursing home, where we watched a comedy act, and then went on to the off track to bet a little more, and eat hot Philadelphia pretzels. And just as we were getting back into Chicago, listening to the Cubs game on the radio come in better and better, we started hearing tornado warnings. We decided to wait it out in a travel plaza and were very glad we had when we started hearing "abandon your vehicles! lie down in a ditch!" messages. Who wants to be wet, in a ditch? Instead we were gathered with a bunch of other highway refugees and even state troopers at this little rest stop as the sky broke open, and, just for a minute, all the lights went out...

And we went into work the next day. What a week.