Sunday, April 7, 2013

2009 to 2013

New license picture, from 2009 to 2013:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When 13.1 Counts

I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 22nd.

Chicago's summer has been scorching, and thank god it wasn't 100 degrees out - but in the upper 70s and mid-80s at start, it wasn't exactly chilly.

I'd messed up my training regimen but good, peaking a month before.
I hadn't run in over two weeks, thanks to painful sunburns.
And I had an inguinal hernia, which I was scheduled to have surgery on, four days after the race. I had pledged to stop immediately if that started bothering me.

So clearly, I took it easier than I would have otherwise, and my performance, overall, sucked: 2:53:06, with a pace of 13:13/mile.
I tried to run with good form, and had moderate success there, I guess, but when finishing minutes from the three-hour mark didn't feel too great.

During the race, I felt like crap, and wanted to stop near-constantly, questioning why the hell I was doing it in the first place.
And I really did not push myself, and that's depressing.

Good thing I really didn't care much. I ran and walked the damn thing, and was glad it was over. For the first time, I tested out the new Garmin Forerunner Mary had bought me as a belated birthday gift.

But at least by not giving a damn, I got some cool pictures:

Columbus Drive, over the river
State and Wacker

State Street
Everybody walking because, you know, screw it.
And heat exhaustion.

Heading back east again.
Right after the SCREW THIS, NEVER RUNNING AGAIN moment.
I guess we're running again?
LaSalle street - AKA where The Dark Knight filmed half the movie.
Turning south. Sure, torture us some more.

Approaching McCormick Place
Back to Lake Shore Drive and the Lakefront Path
Heading south on the lake
Overheating, thank you sponge.

Nobody felt like rocking out.

On Lake Shore Drive, nearly done

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Achievement, Setback

On July 10th, I decided to go on a bike ride with Mary.
Mary used to ride extensively in Merced, probably more than a hundred miles a week.
I hadn't ridden a bike in over two years, but the weather was incredibly nice, and we wanted to spend the day outside and be on the Lakefront path for a bit.

We rented a pair of bicycles from the center at Millennium Park, and just went.

When we started, the plan had been to head south on the Lakefront Path and head back. We got to the south side, though, along 63rd Street Beach, and we could see Indiana a bit off in the distance. I was feeling really strong, and Mary was barely exerting herself.
I suddenly thought - could be bike THERE?

So we did.
Border monument
We'd ridden down the Lakefront Path to the end, then took (terrifying) side streets through the less-nice parts of South Shore (where the roads were beat to hell and we could hear gunshots nearby) to Calumet Park, then the service road to the State Line. There was the monument and a shuttered power plant, and not much else.

Southern portion of the ride, at the start of the Lakefront Path
Then we rode back to the start of the Lakefront Path, and another crazy idea struck - now could we rode the entire path?

So we did, with a struggle.

I'd eaten a good amount of pasta before the ride, but Mary had barely eaten anything - and since we'd started the ride with the anticipation of just riding enough to get our day pass money's worth (about four hours), I suddenly got hit with hunger pangs. Despite my having four 8oz bottles, I was low on water, too. Problem was, all of the beach snack shops were closed on the South Side, being a Tuesday and not super hot outside, so by 63rd Street, I was peddling quite slowly compared to an hour before, and resorting to sucking on lozenges to create some more saliva.

Thankfully, 31st street beach had their shop open, and I had the best tasting hot dog and slushie, and so did Mary. I was surprised, since she hadn't complained at all and seemed to be going strong, but apparently she was feeling it more than I'd known. I guess two gels wasn't enough for a 1500-calorie burn.

Well worth the hundreds of calories
We rode past downtown, past Navy Pier, and continued north.

We got to the end of the Path...
...when again, a brilliant idea hit - Evanston was just three miles further: could we ride the ENTIRE length of Chicago?

So we did.

Like a boss

 By this time, we were getting tired. We'd been riding or out and about since about 8:45AM, it was nearing 4PM, and lunch was starting to sound better and better.
This time, when the idea hit - could we ride back downtown? - NO was the answer.

Really, the exhaustion wasn't the problem - rather, the sun.

Guess which arm is whose.
Mary had just gotten back from California and could deal with the sun, more or less.
Me, on the other hand - I work overnight, and am, for all intents and purposes, nocturnal. I rarely see the sun midday, for as long as I did... and we had not brought sunscreen. It wasn't as if I totally blanked - I realized we'd forgotten it nearly immediately, walking down the street to the el, but decided it wasn't that big of a deal.

Turns out it was. Sitting on the beach at 4PM, we realized that it hurt to sit in the sunlight.
Actually, when the sun hit, our skin felt like it had burst into flames.

My first second-degree sunburn.
By 9PM, Mary and I had to leave trivia night at a bar, because I was so tired and my arms hurt. I woke up the next day and couldn't walk. The searing went down the length of my leg - when the muscles contracted at all, they exploded. Standing up was excruciating, and so my other day off was wasted sitting miserably at home.
The next day, I nearly called off work - they thought I was nuts and making it up.
Until they saw my hands, blistering over. They stopped laughing then.

The next two weeks were torture. I couldn't rest normally, since my legs and arms were burned precisely where I rested on them, so I couldn't get the sleep I so desperately needed. Just putting on my suit uniform was painful, and typing hurt badly. I continually sprayed myself with aloe, which would help with the pain momentarily, and then the pain would blow up again.

I didn't even get the worst of it - at least my back was covered. Mary had ridden with her back uncovered, and by the third day, she was covered with painful welts... I'll spare the details, but it was horrible.

Worst of all, since walking was a struggle, I couldn't run at all - and the Half Marathon approached, not two weeks ahead.

Riding the length of Chicago, on the lake, was a tremendous achievement.
We didn't know anyone else who'd done it....
But I'm not sure it was worth the pain and legitimate suffering it caused us.

It also was the first event in a chain of several that resulted in me eventually not caring about fitness and diet for a short time.

It's now more than a month and a half later, and I STILL have the remnants of the burn on my arms. 
Nocturnal folks: wear sunscreen.