Oops! I Broke Me!

First off: No, I still haven’t decided what exactly I want to do with this blog, other than change its name.  It’s kind of hard to motivate oneself to write in something that’s titled, “Why the Hell Not?”

Secondly, I would like to inform my readers (if there are any) that I am no longer going to run the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon in May.  I’ve had ongoing issues with tendinitis and shin splints, and I decided it just wasn’t worth trying to push through them.  I’ll probably run a couple of half marathons this summer, and I will train to complete my second marathon in the fall.

Thirdly, I broke my hand.  Seriously.  I’d love to make up an elaborate story about a fist fight and how at least my hand doesn’t look as bad as the other guy’s face or something like that.  But that would be lying.  In fact, I stepped out the back door of the #8 Halsted bus and swung my hand into a metal sign post.  Yes, I was completely sober at the time; just apparently so lost in my own head that I was completely unaware of where I was going.  And people wonder why I don’t drive a car or ride a bicycle!

So, I’m in a cast for the next month.  I am typing this with one hand.  And this is where I get to my final confession:  I really only wrote this entry for the typing practice.  Suckers!

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Identity Crisis. And, it’s been awhile.

Hi, anyone out there?

It’s been – ahem – a while since I last updated.  I swore I would not be one of those people who kept a blog for a month and then never looked at it again.   And yet.

Basically, I stopped updating because I realized that I had no idea what I wanted this blog to be.  My intentions were originally for this to be a personal blog (or perhaps, more accurately, an impersonal blog) in which I wrote about whatever happened to be on my mind.  It became clear, though, that I mostly was writing about Chicago weather and my marathon training, punctuated by the occasional random entry that didn’t seem to fit in the larger context of the site.  I didn’t feel like my weather geekiness and running adventurers were all that interesting to anyone but myself, seeing as I am by no means an expert in either field.  There are also a whole slew of entries, including a few movie and theatre reviews, that I wrote but never published, mainly because they didn’t seem to fit in the larger context of this blog.  In short, I feel like the blog as it currently stands lacks both an identity and a purpose outside of biding my time.

I definitely want to keep writing, but I’m not sure what about because I don’t know what I want this project to be.  I know that I’d rather it not be merely a whiny, self-indulgent, rambling mess.  I mean, it can certainly be that (aren’t most blogs, after all?) but I rather it have some other purpose.  So, I ask other writers out there: how did you decide what to write about?  What keeps you writing?  If you have a personal blog, do you mainly use it as a public diary or a way to let off steam?  I’d love to hear what you have to say.

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Message in a Hat

Thinking CapThis morning, I finally decided to head down to Fleet Feet to purchase a hat so that my ears don’t get frostbitten when I run outside. I looked at every hat in the store before settling on a SweatVac brand beanie-type hat with the Fleet Feet logo on the front, chosen because it was the least expensive hat available. I bought the hat, along with new pair of synthetic running socks, and went home to try it out.

Before heading outside, I decided to take a look at my new purchase. I read the tag on the inside, which told me the following:

Machine Wash

Air Dry

No Bleach

No Drugs

I did a double take: did the hat I just purchased really say “no drugs?” Unless “drugs” is some newfangled laundry jargon that little old fogey me doesn’t understand, I do believe that this hat I purchased is preaching to me.

Has the use of performance-enhancing drugs really become so rampant that we must remind athletes not to use them on their clothing? Or is the hat telling me to lay off the crack? Perhaps it spontaneously combusts upon exposure to wacky-tobacky smoke. Whatever the reason is, I certainly find the washing instructions tag to be an odd place to put such a message.

Regardless of the preaching, I can at least say that the hat does what it’s supposed to do: Keep my head and ears warm without resulting in unnecessary sweating. And really, who am I to judge what the hat has to say? Maybe more articles of clothing should come with hidden messages.

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Marathon Training: Friends don’t let friends wear cotton socks

I haven’t blogged much about running the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been running.  I had a successful 7-mile long run this weekend, as well as a few shorter 3-mile runs.  Everything has been going well, and I’ve been staying pretty close to my training schedule.

Today, I went out for my mid-week 4-mile run.  When I finished, I noticed that my foot stung, as though it had a blister.  How could I have hurt my foot so early in my training?  Last year, I managed to go through 32 weeks of training and an entire marathon without a single blister on my feet, so this was a most unusual feeling.

I got my answer when I went to take off my shoes: I had forgotten to change to my synthetic running socks from the cotton socks I had been wearing earlier in the day.  Back before I had been converted to the Way of the Synthetic Sock, I had worn cotton socks for all of my workouts.  I would get the occasional blister, but it usually wasn’t much to worry about because I would never run for more than an hour at a time, and rarely for multiple days in a row.  I couldn’t imagine getting multiple blisters while having to run 40 miles a week, though!

Anyway, the moral of the story is that friends don’t let friends wear cotton socks while running.  Besides being better for your feet by preventing blisters and chafing, they also promote the life of your running shoes by not letting them get disintegrated by your sweaty feet.  Synthetic running socks usually cost between $7-$12 a pair, but they’re worth every penny if you want to save your feet from unnecessary agony.

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Dear Everyone,

The recent unseasonable mild weather in Chicago, and the current unseasonable weather on the East Coast, is NOT evidence of global warming! You cannot take a single weather abnormality and attribute it to climate change. Same with Hurricane Katrina, same with any single weather event. To make such a gigantic leap in logic makes you sound ignorant.

The same goes to the (even bigger) idiots who say things like, “Wow, it sure is cold out! Global warming is bullshit!” let me say it again, you cannot take a single weather abnormality and attribute it to climate change.

The melting of the polar ice caps is evidence of global warming. The fact that 2007 was the second warmest year on record, right behind 2005, is evidence of global warming. A mild spell in Chicago in the winter, one that isn’t even unprecedented (60 degree temperatures have occured in 1949, 1950, 1967, 1975, 1989, and 2005, to name just a few years) is not.

Sincerely,

HiAmanda
I don’t know, maybe I should just be happy that the warm spell is making people believe that global warming exists so that people will actually do something about it. But as a scientist, these claims by otherwise very intelligent people are driving me up the wall.

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Marathon Training: Running in Shorts in January!

When figuring out what to wear for an outdoor run, the common wisdom is to dress as though the temperature were 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than the actual outside temperature. When I set out to run this morning, it was 60 degrees outside. Even though I was in Chicago and it was technically the dead of winter, I had to pretend it was 80 degrees out.  I went running in only shorts and a (synthetic) T-shirt, when less than a week ago I had to bundle up like I was about to go mountain-climbing in the Himalayas!

It was a fairly comfortable run of six miles, which was great considering I had not run anything more than four miles since the marathon.  It was somewhat difficult for the first three miles, though.  I panicked just a little bit: “Jeez, Amanda, I know you’re a bit out of shape, but just three months ago you (sort of) ran a marathon!  And it was thirty degrees warmer then!” I said to myself.  I wondered if maybe it was because I wasn’t acclimated to run in temperatures as warm as 60 degrees, but I knew that was bogus because I had run on a treadmill not long ago.  My answer came to me at the halfway point, when I turned around and was no longer running straight into a 20 mile-an-hour headwind.  It’s always nice when the answer is simple like that!

Sadly, I will probably not see this wonderful, mild weather again for a couple of months.  Although it’s not that uncommon for there to be a short period in January or February when the temperatures shoot up to the 50s or 60s, it is pretty uncommon for it to happen several times in a season.   Tomorrow temperatures will slowly fall back to seasonable levels.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

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Record January Warmth

I chose a bad day to stay inside and be a lump on the couch.

Today in Chicago, the high temperature reached an astonishing 60 degrees Fahrenheit, shattering the previous record of 54 degrees for this day, set all the way back in 1907.  When I finally did venture outside in the evening, I found myself sweating underneath my winter coat.  Probably because it was still 58 degrees outside.

Many party-poopers would be quick to mention that this is yet another sign of Global Warming, and that taking joy in this abnormally warm day amounts to celebrating the demise of our planet at the hands of human beings.  Really, though, it is irresponsible to relate the weather of one single day in one single place to a global phenomenon, just as people who say, “It’s cold outside today!  Al Gore is a fucking idiot!” are also concluding irrationally.   After all, 2007 was the second warmest year on record, and yet I don’t remember sweltering this summer any more than normal.

So, rather than feeling guilty about celebrating the abnormally warm weather, I plan to spend time outside tomorrow, which is also supposed to be quite warm.  I will have to bring my umbrella on my adventures, however, because the weather forecast also calls for lots of rain.

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