Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chicago: music and running

So, the X show was awesome.

They sounded great, and looked good for a bunch of aging punk rockers in their 50s. (Exene definitely had that "mom" look, but she still rocked out and looked good doing it.) I don't totally get that they were labeled "punk rock" but maybe that's just because I picked up on them after they got a bit more mainstream in the mid-80's. Definitely wish I could have seen them back then in L.A., but that was high school, and I was too busy being a nerd, trying to be a good student, studying for APs and other exams and "working like a demon" to get out to any of the *real* venues (outside of that one Cure concert in '84 at the Palladium and the occasional Oingo Boingo show at the Greek not withstanding).

We were feeling kind of old, except that we were probably the youngest people in the venue, barring the staff and the teenage son who was tagging along with his punk-rock-loving mom. That was cool. An interesting crowd certainly. A mix of people still trying to hold on to their old rock and roll selves, dye-job hair and decked out in leather biker jackets and folks who had moved on and gone "grown-up" but came back to enjoy the memories.

We hadn't actually planned to go, but we saw a flyer after eating at Lula and picked up the tickets when we discovered that the show wasn't sold out. (Yay, late show on a school night!)

The original plan was to come and see the Magnetic Fields and Pink Martini who were both playing the same weekend in Chicago. By the time we got our act together, the Magnetic Fields show was sold out, but we got the Pink Martini tickets anyway, and it turned out that the SOOTTAD had to be in Chicago anyway for work so we decided to stay the week.

I hate to show my limited vocabulary, but I have to say that the Pink Martini show was also awesome (as expected), although clearly, a different sort of show. Perhaps a better word might be "fabulous." Also quite pleased that they ended their encore with "Brazil" -- one of my favorites.

Prior to physically entering the theater, I was beginning to think that Chicago was fucking with me again -- all four of the people with whom we were going to see the show dropped out and we ended up selling one of our $35 + ticketbastard fee ticket to this total PITA for $30, who wanted change for her two twenties. (I had a fiver, but she couldn't find it within herself to pay the 5-dollar difference. Not a compromiser, this one.) And finally following her to the other line where she could get her friend to make change for her, the SOOTTAD ran into her long-lost college roommate who was heading into the theater. (which is actually even more super-awesome if you knew the details. sorry.)

So it was apparently just the universe trying to align itself for this to have happened; although I'm still convinced that Chicago was fucking with us. Just in a nice, trickstery way, if you can call it that. Not really my thing, but y'know, that's cool.

Anyway, the shows were awesome. (Did I already say that?) As much as I knock Chicago, it never fails to impress me what a great town it is for music. It's probably a good thing we don't get Time Out Chicago at the house anymore, because we kept seeing shows we wanted to go to. In Chicago. (I kind of liked their movie reviews, too.)

We had some good eats that the SOOTTAD write about, if she finds the time.

And I did manage to get some runs in.

The upsides to running in Chicago:

  • pretty art and architecture downtown (I particularly liked running past the giant bean in Millenium Park
  • mostly flat
  • nice path that runs along the lake

The downsides to running in Chicago:

  • The time change. Chicago is in central time, which means that initially I was waking up an hour earlier, when it was still dark. (stupid daylight savings time) I was also afraid that I'd be shifted late once we got back to Boston. (so far, I've still been waking up at 7AM, but not liking it at all. Not to say that I was really liking it all that much before, but, I think you can catch my drift...)
  • hard to do hill workouts. (see "mostly flat" above.) Not the worst thing; I swapped the hills for an interval workout I was supposed to do next week.
  • Chicago, being a real city, has real traffic. This translates to many more unplanned stops during the run.
  • downtown Chicago buildings are tall enough to interfere with the GPS, screwing with the distance and pace statistics. (I'm sorry, delusions of speed aside, I cannot run a 3-minute-mile.)
  • They also seem to be do a better job of holding the car exhaust at street level.
  • And the cigarette smoke. Either that, or a heckuv a lot more people smoke in Chicago than in (Metro-)Boston (burbs). Or, at least, when people are visiting Chicago.

Unfortunately, after Tuesday's interval workout I seem to have discovered a flaw in my training plan -- I've been running tempo runs at my DESIRED 5k race pace, as opposed to, say, my ACTUAL 5k race pace. Not that I know exactly what that is, but what I'm realizing is that what I can actually run, is clearly a bit slower than what I'd even like to think I might eventually be running. It seemed like running at my goal pace would be a good thing, but I'm regularly running out of gas on my runs, so I'm thinking not so much.

Somehow it didn't occur to me that the reason that the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon get slower for the higher age brackets might actually be because people get slower as they get older, and not out of some kind of "niceness" to let more old folks into the race.

Hmmm. Got Old?

The upshot of this, or perhaps downshot, really, is that I think I overdid it and now things are a bit hurty. I took 2 days off after the intervals (6x880m) and ran Friday when we got back (6.5mi), and that didn't feel so great either. So I took another day off before running today (11mi). And now I'm thinking that I upped my milage too quickly again. So next week is going to be a REAL recovery week, and I'll just do a bunch of short 3-milers and maybe a really slow 8 over the weekend if things are feeling ok by then. Hopefully from there I'll be back on track, but we'll see how it feels.

Crossing my fingers.

I also need new shoes. It hadn't registered, but it dawned on me in conversation yesterday that my shoes are almost 3 years old. (Bought a few weeks before the Big Lake Half Marathon in 2005) Granted, I actually bought two pairs of shoes and alternate between them. And the number of miles dropped off significantly after the race, but 3 years is 3 years. And I've already put in about 200 miles this year alone. (And if that was a single pair, they'd already be at least halfway to retirement.)

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