standing around

My watch says only  2000 steps but I was on my feet most of the day. That’s probably healthier than running a few miles and then sitting for hours.

Had a few friends over for dinner tonight and so I spent the afternoon tidying and flitting around kitchen. We often hosted pre pandemic, which was maybe another way activity was engineered into my life.

This morning I also spent a fair bit of time walking between the spigot and a new sprinkler I was struggling to set up. The spigot is not in a convenient location and I imagine at least half of today’s steps were earned during this project. I tend to have a tough it out approach to my garden, but it  has been very  dry, the apple tree is looking a little sad, and we are very fortunate to have Lake Michigan.

This afternoon, the skies opened.  Usually I would take cheeky credit for ushering the rain because I finally busted out the hose. But while I was farting around in my back yard, there was a mass shooting at a 4th of July parade in a local suburb.

The cooling almost drenching rain demanded pause  and gave some  relief to this searing day. But it passed quickly. Just as “thought and prayers” do.

I am enraged and terrified by our country’s trajectory.  So what am I going to do about it? I don’t know. But it likely means doing more than  sitting and standing around in my house.

But despite our feelings about our country, we still took our annual trip  to the  roof to witness the local renegade fireworks. There’s a lot more to unpack but it’s very late. The storms have rolled in to remind us who owns the skies. I’ll take thunder over M80s any day.

feeling down but inspired

I wrote too much last night >> staying up too late and I really really need to do a proper long run tomorrow which means quite a few miles more than my recent shuffling (my approximation of intervals.)

Hoping my trial run of the new shoes (ie a short dog walk this morning) will keep me from getting blisters tomorrow.

I’m feeling down tonight about a lot of things (at least SCOTUS is now in recess) , including how much I am still  struggling to not be sedentary by default.

Going for a run and then sitting most of the day is not really going to help my brain or body. It’s like I am in some kind of show down with myself to see who will blink first. I can be inexplicably defiant with myself. I guess that’s common and as the mental health folks say… even our maladaptive behaviors are trying to help us, protect us in some kind of way.

Enough about me. I have a friend who has been diligently, assiduously, thoughtfully, carefully working to do a lot of physical resets, one day at a time,  since last Thanksgiving. 

Hers is her own story to tell, so I’ll just say she is an inspiration. You know who you are!


concrete water fountain in foreground, pedestrian bridge over a highway behind it
Old school water fountain by the North Ave Bridge over DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Save some for the fish…

Many moons ago I think I wrote about following the water fountains when plotting out a run. OK. I’m just going to find it before I totally repeat myself.

Thank you blog search tool. So yes, it was  actually a fun post to reread and runners on the northwest side of Chicago might like the route.

But it’s not totally redundant to what I want to noodle with today which is my deep gratitude for water fountains  especially after they went dry during the pandemic.

I grew up in Chicago long before bottled water and water bottles were a thing. Or maybe they just were not on my radar. This is what I remember.

Queuing up in the hallways of Ray School to hunch over the water fountain after the bathroom break.* There was some kind of silent compact to keep the line moving slowly (more time in the hall meant more time out of class) while not lingering as an individual. “Save some for the fish!” Or maybe those taunts were selective.

I remember being a kid playing in parks. Water fountains on. Sometimes a little gross when crap got caught in the basin but the drain was brilliant because it was a dome. Hard to clog (this is a new insight and I might be wrong… er…. I am going to look this  up later)

Hmmm. Many thoughts and memories but mostly appreciation.

One day I want to write about this long run along an IDNR trail during a  camping trip with Michael’s family. Bottom line is I assumed there would be water fountains on the trail. It was blazing hot. I kept passing comfort stations with broken or missing fountains. There were vending machines but I had no money. I should have turned around but it was inconceivable to me that there would be *no* fountains for miles.

By the time I decided to turn around I was loopy and mildly concerned. I asked  some bikers (my people!)  if they could spare two bucks for the vending machine, but no luck. I knew I wasn’t going to die so started slogging back. By the time I stumbled into camp, I hogged that fountain, fish  be damned.

That night I realized I could have gone into the bathrooms and cupped water from the faucets. Potable water. What a marvel. It’s taken for granted by many.

Not long after, I ran into a colleague from the Department of Natural Resources (this was in my bike planning days). I ribbed him a bit and he shared that the fountains kept being vandalized and tipped over. I might be misremembering the details but I do know I walked away feeling a bit chastened. Not in a bad way. Just remembering that infrastructure isn’t free. Communities and agencies  have to decide what to invest in…. installation *and * and maintenance.

Which brings me back to gratitude. For the modern fountains with different heights. For those that make it easy to fill water bottles. And the concrete stalwarts of my childhood which I imagine are hard to knock over.

As I wrote this I also started thinking about the role water fountains played in our country’s history of racism and segregation. When I started kindergarten in a racially diverse school, we weren’t even 15 years out from the Civil Rights Act.

As I was poking around online for photos, I was also reminded that many fountains in schools and parks were being shut down before the pandemic because of lead.

I think a lot about the poison and pain that hover in public spaces like another dimension. I imagine night vision goggles except for  history. I think about how a joy can be simple or  loaded depending on the person.

It’s late. I meant to write something short and simple about water fountains but am glad I gave some time to stories and thoughts that have been rattling around for awile even if its long and doesn’t cohere.

*I could write a dissertation on the highly problematic “bathroom break” phenom but not tonight and I’m sure others have already. Also, I suspect I don’t have dissertation discipline. Maybe one day.

Here are some links about the lead issues.

Chicago: Some cool Drinking Water Fountains

baby biking muscles

Been biking for transportation a bit more. Two trips today! I hope it counts for cross training. Even though biking is mostly about legs, there’s a little arm action if you hop off the seat at a stop. To get going again you have to push yourself back in the saddle, most of the resistance from arms pushing against the handlebar.

not a competition (part 2?)

I might have written something this spring about how it’s OK to feel blue and beleaguered even if so many people have it much worse. It’s not a competition and I do give thanks for all my good fortune and ease.

Today I mean it in a more literal sense. My husband is a long time 3ish mile runner. Except when I have been in really good form, he is faster than I am with little discernable effort. He says he can’t do long distance but I am sure he could if he wanted to and it’s OK not to want to. It’s possible I have a slight edge on the mental front only in that i never get bored. The inner chatter is strong with me.

Now that I am nudging up the miles, he is too. He is tossing off a brisk 4 miles while covered in crusty wounds from a recent bike crash (he’s OK). I am still not really managing three without walking breaks.

Today I covered 7 miles, walking the first mile with Rumor and run walking the rest.

It was slow going but at least I got out there after a rough day for me personally.

Running for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

To keep my fundraising page brief (and the donation button easy to access), I moved the “why support CCH and me to this page.

In brief: I am part of a team of 60 marathon runners raising funds to support the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). Our collective goal is $90,000. I know it’s trite, but really–no donation is too small! I will throw in a personalized limerick as a thank you.

Why support CCH? It’s a scrappy, high impact  organization that is tackling homelessness from many angles. It’s also where one of my best friends works. Julie Dworkin is an amazing person and has been a rock for me in the last few years. 

Why support me? Hmmm, this is always the harder part. How about this: My last marathon was in 2017. I haven’t been doing so well since then and of course the pandemic was a real kicker. This year I’ve been working hard on the mental health front. Now I need to turn to my  physical health which is definitely showing the impact of depression, age, and  two years of hunkering at home.  I want to celebrate turning 50 this summer by getting into better shape in all senses of the word–not just for me and my family, but so I can better serve others and the planet. Like Julie! 🙂

Here’s the link again. Gin’s Fundraising Page. Thanks for considering!

need a new approach

Soooooo for reasons I don’t want to go into, I did not run today. Nothing particularly bad. I just became fixated on a task, time flew, I needed to be home for my kid in the late afternoon and my long run window was gone. I guess I could have gone in the evening but that’s a whole other level of commitment.

The worst part is that I sat on my butt most of the day because I didn’t take the 30 seconds needed to crank my desk back up to standing height.

Haven’t been sleeping well which I guess makes sense.

Also not doing so well on fundraising, eek. This is what I posted to a running group I am in.


Dear ones, with the world on fire I have been lagging in my fundraising for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. I promise not to spam this group–maybe one more ask before October.
I will throw in a personalized limerick as a thank you. No pressure if your donation commitments are already overextended. Donation Link

Much has changed since this group started
It’s hard not to be broken hearted
We run for our lives
Our hopes won’t capsize
From convictions we won’t be parted

Or. . . to be less mature and more overtly political

Much has changed since this group started
It’s hard not to be broken hearted
Thanks to SCOTUS turds
We’re sliding backwards
In their way, I wish I had farted*

*Monty Python reference

try again tomorrow

I bungled my long run today in a few different ways I don’t feel like going into. Going to try again tomorrow. I am frustrated because I didn’t meet my goal for the week but at least I ran the number of days I intended to.

Feeling a little down today on the corporeal front. Weight has been creeping up and it’s not just muscle. I’m chalking the last two weeks up to birthday ripples. Now that kiddo is back (❤️), I am going back to a light touch with booze (ie wine). It’s easy for me to slip into a nightly habit and that’s not what I want for my body, brain, or role modeling.

space ship or clown shoe

I haven’t purchased new running shoes in years. While I can’t blame them for  my lead feet, they are definitely worn down to match the degrees of my pronation. It’s not extreme, but does become self reinforcing.

I’ve leaned towards minimalist-ish shoes since reading Born to Run ten plus years ago. It called into assumptions that our feet need to be swaddled with cushy heels and arch support.  I don’t want to go into details but bottom line: challenge orthodoxy in a way that seems logical? Sign me up! I’m not patient enough to build up thick skin to run barefoot or attentive enough to dodge hazards. The Vibram foot gloves looked like they would be as hard to get into as a wet suit. I landed on Newtons, a lightweight, “neutral” shoe. Every year or so, I ordered a new pair on line from the company because they were not as easy to find in stores… perhaps because ye olde pendulam was swinging.

Today I went to a local running store to get advice on fit and where things stand today. What’s the current thinking on the shoe-injury – performance – comfort relationship?

Hmm, it’s ten and I need to be up early tomorrow. Ten mile slog to the lake and back ( fingers crossed) plus kiddo coming home from a two week trip to my parents (❤️).

Bottom line is I’m torn between a super cushy space ship (from Hoka) and a barely there clown shoe (from Altra).

I came home empty handed because I couldn’t choose. They are getting a different size to try for the space ship and different color for the clown shoe (I run away from neon) from a sister store. I promised not to go home and order from somewhere else online.