Sunday, August 27, 2006


15 miles

I ran 15 miles this morning.  Here's the mile-by-mile breakdown:

Miles 0-6:  Oh, my god, I can't do this.  Why did I drink so much beer this weekend?

Mile 6-8:  Visits from the Shin Splint Fairy.

Mile 9:  As we turned around at Ohio Street I had the most intense attack of "runner's high" ever.  I felt like I could do anything!  "I'm going to run the advanced distance today!" I loudly proclaimed to anyone who would listen.

Mile 11:  Complete failure of left knee.  One of the other runners in my pace group asks if I'll be able to finish.  No problem, I respond, I have another knee to spare.

Mile 13:  Partial failure of right knee.  Runner's high is now just a memory.  I manage to stay with my pace group by thinking about pizza.

Mile 15 (finish):  Ow, my fucking knees, crap, ow.

Total Distance: 15 miles
Total Time: 2 hours 36 minutes
Average Pace: 9:36/mile

My left knee still hurts, though the Tylenol 800 is helping.

And I did have that pizza after all.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


15 miles: postponed

I had to postpone Saturday's 15 miler to Sunday.  This was due to socially complicated circumstances related to co-workers Jay & Christine, dark beer, and my cramped, messy apartment.

I did a simple 3 miler today to tease out my shin splints.

I'll be up tomorrow morning to run with the 7AM Sunday CARA group.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement!

Friday, August 25, 2006



I have to run 15 miles tomorrow.  No idea how I'm going to do this.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


RBF Music Exchange

I haven't gotten around to posting pictures from Boston, yet, but I'd like to make a quick post to acknowledge Running Jayhawk's RBF Music Exchange.

I got two CD's in the mail:

The first CD contained a number of classics from the 70's and 80's from bands like Kansas, the Eagles, Styx, Talking Heads, and Foreigner.  This CD came from Rich Grady.  Thanks, Rich!

The second CD has a lot of interesting tracks, and I'm excited to listen to this selection on my run tonight.  Artists on this CD include some of my favorites (Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Massive Attack, Gorillaz) and a few I haven't been exposed to yet (Agents of Good Roots, Galactic, Rusted Root, Blue October).  Should be interesting.

The second CD didn't have a name on it.  Anyone want to take credit?

Kudos to Running Jayhawk for organizing this music exchange.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Along the Charles River, near Harvard Square. 3 miles into 10 mile run. Cramping up, shin splints back with a vengance. Should I keep going?

UPDATE: The first few miles were tough, but I held on and completed my run.  Dispite getting lost in Cambridge side streets and my Garmin going on the fritz, I managed to complete about 11 miles.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Manners in Boston's North End

"Massholes!" This couple swooped in ahead of our party of 5 to claim the only big table in the restaurant. Typical Massholes.

UPDATE: Just finished some of the best pasta I've ever had in my life. Details tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006




This post will be short because I don't have much to write about.

I set a personal distance record on Sunday when I ran 13.5 miles (9:27/mile pace).  Aside from the distance and speed, this particular long run was noteable for:

I learned a lot about Russian TV production and how to manage distractions that day.

Since Sunday morning I've taken a short hiatus from running to concentrate on my other hobby: eating.

Here is the snack I had at work this morning at 5:30AM:

Chinese roast pork, pei par duck, Diet Red Bull, and greasy almond cookie

Tonight I run again with the Gumballheads, and afterwards we're going to our favorite Tuesday night hangout: the Twisted Spoke.  I'll probably have a salad.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Running in the Dark

Pushed my mid-week long run up to Tuesday night, since I'll only have time for a shorter run tonight.  The Gumballhead Running Group took this week off (so Jay could learn how to convert his 10 speed bike to single speed), so I was on my own.  Lazy, tired, I didn't get started until after 9PM.

My part of town is weird when it comes to public lighting.  The alleyways are all super-brightly lit, to the extent that the alley behind my building appears to be in permanent daylight.  But the streets and the lakefront running path north of Irving Park are pretty dark.  I myself don't mind the darkness, but it makes for an odd running experience.  (And as Justyna pointed out last week, it's easy to twist your ankle when you can't see where you are going.)

Distance: 7.5 miles
Pace: 9:46/mile
I had wanted to do a full 8 miles but I got hungry.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Lollapalooza + 12 mile run + too many Johnny Knoxvilles

Busy weekend has left me with lactic acid in my leg muscles, sun on my face, a touch of vodka in my veins, and plenty of memories of loud music.

I'm going to tell you all about it.  But first, there is something I need to get out of the way.

The following is a personal message to all American males (particularly white male college kids) between the ages of 18 and 25.  The rest of you reading this should skip the next paragraph.

PERSONAL MESASGE TO 18-25 YEAR OLD WHITE MALE COLLEGE DUDES: Dudes, it's not for lack trying, but virtually none of you look like Johnny Knoxville.  And by the way, it's not really a cool look if every single one of you does it; you just look like a bunch of tools.  Who do you think you're kidding?  Ditch the Aviators.

OK, glad I got that off my chest.  Now I can tell you about my weekend.

Adding to the growing of things I swore I'd never do but would end up enjoying:

I went to Lollapalooza.  

Justyna and I got three day passes and had a terrific time.  It was her idea.

I was initially concerned that we weren't going to get our full money's worth.  And our experience Friday night didn't do much to make me thing otherwise.  Neither one of us remembered to take Friday off of work, arriving so late to the festival that we missed Lady Sovereign and most of Secret Machines.  (No big deal, actually, since we had just seen Lady Sovereign at Intonation and Secret Machines has only one really good song.)  

We did make it for The Raconteurs; They were alright--nothing to write home about.

Here we are lined up early for Ween.  This was one of the acts we had been most anticipating, but it was a terrible dissappointment.  I think the Tribune review says it best:
The once merry pranksters have become what they once mocked, with fog machines, lasers and solo-padded arrangements worthy of an arena-rock dinosaur.

Saturday was a much better day, and not just for the concerts.

I started out Saturday with a 6:30AM group run roundtrip to Ohio Street Beach.

Distance: 12 miles
Pace: 9:27/mile

I didn't set any personal records that morning.  But this was the first time I ran such a long distance and then spent two days at an outdoor rock festival!

First on the Saturday agenda for us was Peeping Tom.  Mike Patton and his talented touring group played all the same songs we saw in concert a few weeks ago (though with less improvization), but it was still a great time.  It's hard to believe an original group like this one was relegated to a side stage.

While waiting to grab a good spot near the stage for Dresden Dolls, we sat out on the lawn and rested our aching legs while listening to Calexico.  They were nice.

In retrospect, we spent a lot of time (nearly two hours) sitting around waiting for Dresden Dolls when we could have gone around and seen some other shows.  But I have to say that the wait to secure 3rd row standing positions near the stage was probably worth it.  The Dresden Dolls did not dissappoint!  (For those of you as yet unfamiliar with this dynamic duo, The Dresden Dolls play music best described as a fast-paced, european-influenced dark cabaret, similar to Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa.)  I don't think there are many performers who could manage such energy and personality out of just a piano and a set of drums.  Amanda Palmer had so much enthusiasm that for most of the concert it looked like she was going to tip over her piano bench!

We did a lot of jumping around on our own, so after the The Dreden Dolls we retired to a distant lawn spot to relax and watch the Flaming Lips.  From a team of Santas, to space aliens, to giant hands (!) these guys really know how to make a visual impression.  The stage was far away, but we saw everything on one of the giant LCD monitors above the amplifiers.

The New Pornagraphers are lame, I don't care what anybody says.  Fortunatley a wonderful alternative was Thievery Corporation.  Playing downtempo electronica enhanced with traditional music from Brazil and instruments from south asia, these guys produced a magical set as the sun went down.  I enjoyed the on-stage belly dancer, as well as the talented audience members who showed off their moves.  I don't have any photos from the Thievery Corporation set, but I doubt pictures would do it justice.  At the end of the show Lollapalooza organizer Perry Farrell himself came onstage to offer an encore--the only non-headliner encore of the entire weekend.

We didn't stay late Saturday night to see Manu Chao or Kanye West.  Our running fatigue finaly caught up with us.  So tired.

By Sunday I knew we had gotten our money's worth buying the Lollapalooza three day pass.  We arrived late again, but the first concert we saw yesterday was my favorite from the entire weekend: Hot Chip.  Here was another great band relegated to a side stage, with just a few hundred spectators.  But oh my god, what a treat!  They put on 15 minute jams that I got totally lost in.  I had never heard of Hot Chip before, so this show was a nice surprise.

It was after Hot Chip that I started sneaking alcohol into the festival.  First I walked downtown to a liquor store for rum, which we mixed into smoothies.  Later I went back for vodka.  Made the crowds easier to handle.

After watching some comedy improv, we snagged a good standing spot to watch the Reverend Horton Heat.  This was an act that I have been missing chances to see for over a decade, so it was nice to finaly catch the show.  And it was worth the wait.  This band has matured, and it showed.  We had to miss the Shins, Matisyahu, and She Wants Revenge to see these guys, but it was worth it.

After Horton Heat my only goal was to get as far away from Blues Traveler as possible, so we went to the opposite side of the park to lie down on a hillside.  From that vantage point we got to see the back of the stage while Broken Social Scene was playing.  We couldn't see the actual band, but we were more than close enough to hear them.  I thought they were pretty good.

Meanwhile thousands of people were pouring onto the field from the other side of the park to line up for the final act of the weekend: the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  This was the only band of the weekend that Justyna and I completely disagreed on.  But not wanting to rain on her excitement, I joined Justyna on the field amidst the teeming throngs to witness "Flea" play his guitar.  They played better than I expected, but we still left early in search of Thai food (eventually settling on pizza).  I spent the last of my money on a couple of t-shirts and after dinner went home for a few precious hours of sleep before coming in to work.

It was a full weekend.  But no rest for the weary!  I have to get back out and run tonight.

See you out on the running path.  I'll be the one in the funny red t-shirt.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Cool Night, Good Distance

Justyna awoke me from my nap last night to invite me out running, and I'm sure glad she did.  Fresh rainfall and cooler temperatures made for the best run I've had in weeks!  Covered six miles with hardly an effort.  Two of those miles were sub-8:30 pace.

I feel like myself again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Hottest Run of the Year

Last night was the weekly meeting of the "Gumballhead Runners."  We thought we'd be smart and beat the heat by waiting until until after 7PM to hit the pavement.

Yeah, right.  Those of you regular Chicago-area runners reading this blog are already shaking your heads, because you know that at 7PM last night it was still a million degrees along the Chicago lakefront.  We started out at the North Avenue Beach House, where large, unhappy families of morbidly obese complete their long march from the zoo parking lot to the sea.  It was apparent from the start that this would be a tough night.

By mile 1 we could see that other runners were also struggling, with many of them seeming to be permanently camped out by the Diversey Harbor water troth.  I saw more runners camped out around the water fountains than I did on the on running path!

By mile 2 I knew we were in trouble when Jay kept clutching his stomach, while my arms felt like they were burning up.  Except when exposed to fire, I don't think my arms have ever felt hot before in my life.

So we ended taking lots of walk breaks, accomplishing only about 3 1/2 miles of actual running.

Perhaps next year I'll switch to an indoor sport, like bowling.

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