Friday, August 28, 2009

Ready for another 3?

Ran west to Racine, north to Waveland, east to Halsted. . . then I started walking a little. Stiffness in my right instep and calf. I guess I only have one leg to stand on! Coach said no problem. Still good to go on Sunday for our standard 3.

Signed our lease today for the apartment on 3600 LSD. That's just a few hundred yards from the lake front path so many nice runs to come. We move in on Tuesday. Yay.

Chicago Story. . .

I walked from the loop to UIC yesterday. Just thought it would be fun to walk around my old campus and it was. It was the same and very different at the same time and much improved over the concrete monstrosity that it was in the early 70's. Visited the Alumnae office just to say hi and then on down to SES (Science and Engineering South) where the physics department lives. Yeah it lives but I fear all my profs are dead. I guess 34 years will do that! Still interesting to sit in the old places. The same but different.

To get home I took the Halsted bus north to Belmont which I had taken about a thousand times before. Once again everything the same and different at the same time. At one stop I looked up and a ramp magically appeared out of the floor of the bus for a woman in a wheel chair. The bus lowered a little to make it easier. A person sitting in the handicap section got up and flipped that seat up to make it accommodate the chair. The woman rolled on and the ramp disappeared back into the floor. The driver asked if she was locked in and yes she was and away we went. This all took about as long as it would take to board about 3 people walking aboard.

It made me remember when there were fairly hot debates about how much it was going to cost to make buses (and sidewalks, restaurants, public buildings, etc) accessible to the disabled. This was completely backwards thinking. Things were unthinkingly designed to exclude a subset of the population. It's not that it was going to cost MORE to redesign the buses it's that they were mistakenly built at a bargain by making them inaccessible to a fraction of the population. Turns out with a little ingenuity it's not that hard to make a bus easy to roll on to.

At North Avenue the driver got out of his seat and walked back down the aisle saying he just had to take care of something. What the. . . ? He left the bus at the rear door telling us that he was sorry but he just HAD to go to the bathroom! He went into the Borders there while we waited patiently with the engine running.

Only in Chicago?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My schedule got a little backed up due to not really running on Monday so I ran AGAIN today even though I ran yesterday. As they say in the islands, 'No worries, mon". I THINK this was about 2 miles. Ran east as usual but turned north on Halsted to Addison, to Sheffield and back. Felt like about 2 and I felt great!

Now I'll run 2 on Friday and 3 big ones on Sunday again.

The plan is working Leah! Yay!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Bad and the Good

After my 3 mile run on Sunday my coach came up with a great game plan. Run two miles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then 3 miles on Sundays. Do this until your head explodes! She says this is a good way to lay down a good base and so that you'll always know you can run 3 miles...perhaps even from mile 23 to 26!

So I went out yesterday afternoon for my 2 miler. No. See, I take blood pressure medicine in the morning and in the afternoon it is really kicking in which means it takes increases in blood pressure (climbing stairs, accelerating, even standing up quickly) and drives blood into my kidneys which is mostly away from my brain. So I get light headed and have to do stuff slowly. Now I run damn slow but it seem running in the afternoon is out. Usually I take the pills right after my run in the morning. Satisfies the once a day thing but doesn't put me in the trick bag for running. So I quick the run after 2 blocks. I could tell it wasn't going to work.

Today then I got out there this morning around 8. Nice two miler to the lake and back. No problem. Calves are a little stiff but that may be running on concrete instead of gravel and has NOTHING to do with being 59! Breathing was good the whole way.

I think I'll try the same tomorrow to get back on schedule and allow for walking since I'll not have the usual day off in between.

Looks like a plan so THANKS COACH LEAH!

And by the way. . . Chicago is nice and flat although it is a bit uphill when running east toward the lake until you get to Clark Street then it is downhill to the lake. I can't find a good source for this but in my brain is the little 'fact' that rain to the west of clark street drains ultimately to the Mississippi River while rain to the east goes to the lake. That means that Lake Michigan doesn't collect much more rain that what falls on the Lake itself. But I could be wrong! Anybody?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Yep, I made my goal of running the 3 mile course on the lake front path non-stop. I walked the mile to the path and even ran a little to 'warm up'. Stretched some too before I took off. Take off is probably not the right wording. I began to shuffle! No I ran but didn't feel very good for most of the run. I was sucking air after about 200 yards and never really settled into a nice rhythm. I don't know. Seems like I can't get it all going at the same time: Legs, breathing, whatever.

But I did it and it wasn't too ugly. I'm just looking for a time when there is a more enjoyable part to the run. I've experienced this in the past where you just feel like you're going for a ride on your legs. I'm hoping for that again and I think will happen if I just keep plugging away. I'll stick with this distance in the coming week but maybe go the other way on the path just to mix things up a bit.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Concrete Legs

Ugh...I think I may need an extra day off. My legs feel like concrete. Ran the mile to the lakefront on Belmont and then a mile south on the path and then....I was about done. Ran back to the water fountain and then mostly walked the rest. Maybe I should have eaten something? I forgot to.

Next run Sunday and that gives me that extra day. I WILL run the 3 miles on Sunday.

That's for DAMN sure!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just Another Run

As prescribed by my coach I walked to the lake and tried to repeat the Sunday run with a hunk tagged on. Mission accomplished. I felt like Mr. Concrete Legs the first mile. Good for me to keep digging. . . right? Second mile felt fine and I started walking with about a half mile to go on the 3 mile run. A little farther (further?) than the Sunday run.

Turns out I really don't like the 1 mile walk to the lake but coach said I should keep the 1 mile walk afterward for a 'cool down'. Maybe I could run from here, do 3 miles total, and still end at Belmont and the lake and walk the 1 mile back. I'll give this route another shot on Thursday, a short run on Saturday and then nail it on Sunday.

Of course no matter how I feel the city and the running path are awesome. Looking forward to getting to longer runs to get by the lake and go further (farther?).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Nice Sunday Run

Sunday runs are the best. I don't know why. I guess you get a day off from work before that and you know you're not working all day on Sunday as well. Whatever.

Leah, Jason and I walked to the lake front and ran south. Coach (Leah) planned a 2 mile run for us but as the 1 mile turnaround approached she said, 'Let's go another half to make it 3 miles'. OK. And it WAS ok. I felt good all day but did opt to do a little run/walk the last 3/4 mile or so. I still like to have quality runs and don't want to just be dragging my sorry ass the last hunk of any run.

So now I have a good goal for the week. I'll run that same loop on Tuesday and Thursday and try to move the stick. I'll go for a little run, a mile or so, on Saturday and then next Sunday complete the whole loop.

Great to run on the flat gravel on the lakefront.

Friday, August 14, 2009

To the Ball Park!

I swore I'd post after every run so. . .

I RAN! To the lake and then north to Addison to the ballpark. Thought maybe my old friend Will might be working at Bernies but I was too early. Ran and walked some. The Chicago weather as been spectacular for running this week. Hope to run maybe tomorrow and Sunday. Why not?

I feel the need for more concrete goals now either distance or time. Just keeping my legs working every other day becomes boring. Well, my coach will get on that. . . be careful what you wish for!

Off to the ball park now. Looks like the Cubs desperately need our help!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saying Hi to Old People

Nice morning for a run (New shoes are great - thanks again Leah!) and I ran east on School St and then on Melrose to Sheridan and then back on Belmont. Walked a little on the way back. Near the library on Belmont there was an old woman with one of those deluxe walkers coming my way. Now in Grenada there is a protocol for saying good morning. Walkers passing on the street say good morning. It is on the white guy usually to initiate: "Morning". MORNing"! Like that. Very British. When entering a room or a bus where people already are it is incumbant on the enterer to say good morning and the entire room then follows up. This can be disconcerting before you are hip to the rules as when you enter, say, a waiting room, all eyes will turn to you expectantly. . . What?

In America we mostly don't say hi. There's too many of us and we're too busy with iPods, twittering, iPhones, etc. That's ok too and it's not a big deal. But this woman was old and all alone and I just got back from Grenada so I gave her a nice MORNING with gusto. She lit up.

"Good morning and how are you".
"Old and slow, I responded."

She said more but I was past her (Running FAST you know). I waved and continued on. I was imagining her having lived in that neighborhood (Belmont/Broadway) most of her life and through a time period where she probably knew half the people there and everyone said hi. So that was nice and I'm glad I said hi. Probably should have stopped and talked a little too.

On the other hand if any wise-ass 30 year old says hi to me with a mopey, pitiful smile on their face I'm going kick their ass!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Chicago Run


Of course this statement had a little less media attention than when MJ said same but still I am back in the Windy City. We arrived Thursday with cat in tow and minus one bag but that arrived the next day so no big deal.

Great to be in my home town. It's hot here but I don't notice! I can do hot. . . winter may take a little adjustment though. Already had some nice little big city moments. . . just walking down Randolph street and turning into a Borders. (Bought the Pete Hamill book, North River.) Listening to an old black man sing the great Sam Cooke song, 'Change is Gonna Come', down in the subway. Riding the EL. It's fast again! Chicago people...I notice how open Chicago (and maybe American) faces are compared to island people. Nothing bad. The island people are mostly very friendly (if they don't have to serve you beer) but when you walk down the street their faces seem closed. Sort of a blank look. Chicago faces are big and fat. Many have a big stupid smile pasted on them for no apparent reason other than, perhaps, because it is August and not February. There is a street fair going on about 100 yards from my daughter's apartment. I went there yesterday and listened to the live music (no rap!), had a beer and a corn dog. I LOVE corn dogs.

So, the run! Yep, ran in my new shoes today. What a difference new shoes make. Maybe ran a mile and half or so. Nice and FLAT! My coach will soon be putting me on a more structured running schedule. Bring it ON!