Thursday, July 05, 2007

14 miles!

I am back from my trip to Iowa, and I have a lot of stories to share. But I’m feeling all OCD so I have to go chronologically. Which means I have to start with my Saturday morning training run here in Chicago.

First of all, Saturday gave us perfect running weather: cool and breezy with no sign of Dubya and Scooter skipping shirtlessly through the shrubbery. We were slated to start at 6:00, so the boyfriend and I got up at 5:00 to hydrate, stretch, eat sensibly, apply sunscreen (which I actually think we forgot to do), pick our outfits and make it to Foster Beach in time for the 6:00 send-off. Which, thanks to lots of dawdling and speechmaking by the organizers, didn’t happen until more like 6:30 but nobody’s still bitter over lost sleep time.

Thankfully, Fearless Leader Matthew took lots and lots of pictures. And he even tried to get individual portraits of each of us as we ran.
Some turned out cheesy:

Others turned out cheesy:

And some—like this self-portrait—just turned out cheesy:

One random over-the-shoulder shot did turn out pretty cool, but you know what they say about monkeys and typewriters:

We ran all the way down to the Ohio Street Beach/Navy Pier area and back this week. Here we are taking a walk break just past the turnaround. We’re on a desolate stretch of concrete that is raked so steeply that it can’t be good for your ankles, but I love running here because casual pedestrians avoid it so the only people you encounter are other serious runners. It makes you feel totally legit:

Make it north through the Hall of Broken Ankles and you’re rewarded with a patch of manicured lawn, sweet sweet shade and a skyline view that makes you glad you pay taxes:

Just past the skyline is North Avenue Beach, where we get free Gatorade and bathrooms and a chance to pose like really sweaty, really gay gang members. Though I’d say only half of us are gay. And I don’t sweat all that much:

There’s another free Gatorade station in leafy, trendy Lincoln Park. The entire stretch of the running trail in this area is covered in soft, cushy pulverized gravel. Which I understand is better at shock absorption than concrete or asphalt—and it certainly feels like it is—but I still don’t understand how densely packed rock bits can be in any way softer than densely packed rock bits stuck together with glue. But I accept this fact on faith and continue to run on pulverized gravel every chance I get:

I still lagged behind my group this week, but unlike the week before when the heat made me a whole nine minutes slow, this week it was just my wheezy old age that slowed me down, and I waddled in only a mere 30 seconds (or so) behind my compatriots:

George leads us in a yoga warmdown after every run. Thankfully, there are no pictures of me doing this on Saturday. While I like to think I’m pretty good at yoga, all bets are off when my body is in 14-mile shock. But in the interest of fair and balanced journalism, I am including this picture of George yoga-ing in fine form next to one of my compatriots yoga-ing in Jake form:

And here we are all stretched and happy and posing like the Waltons. Only with more breathable fabrics and fewer melanomas:

After our long runs (and our obligatory brunch, which was not photographed for posterity this week), the boyfriend and I usually nap hard for a couple hours. This week, though, I climbed in my car and drove five hours without falling asleep behind the wheel (much) to head to Iowa for the Great Family Moving Adventure. Which I am still waaaaay too tired to write about. So you’ll have to come back sometime in the near future for all the details.

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