That time of year

By , November 20, 2014 4:18 pm

On Monday, Steven said goodbye and was heading out the door for work when I called to him, “Wait! Don’t I get a goodbye kiss?!”

So he walked over for one. 

And shocked me on the lips. Ouch! 

Ha ha. It’s that time of year. It’s dry. We’re all picking up static electricity. Poor Data has it the worst. You can see his fur light up if you pet him in the dark. 


And my hands! What the heck! Every year. EVERY DANG YEAR! The right one is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more dried out than the left one. Gosh, it hurts so much. 


What do you people do so you don’t get all dried out when the humidity and temperature drop? Use humidifiers? Actually use lotion? 4za <—-added text from Data

Hmm, maybe the lotion thing would be a good start. Muah ha ha. 

Preferred learning mode

By , November 19, 2014 6:42 am

I’d love to take an anatomy class and woo hoo – our local, fab community college offers one!


I love this muscular system cheat sheet my parents gave me, but I’d like to rely on it a bit less.

Sigh, the problem though?! It’s online, and I struggle BIG TIME with learning from videos. Sigh sigh sigh.

What’s your preferred learning mode? In person? Hands on? Classroom? Textbook? Video? Osmosis?

I greatly prefer a classroom/in-person setting with hands on training when applicable. This is followed by text book. I can learn from a book, I just really have to focus, and hey, that’s easier for me in a classroom. Video? Not a good chance. With dual monitors, I’m constantly screwing around with something on the other screen. It’s pathetic how short my attention span is when it comes to watching videos (for learning or for fun).

Maybe I’ll look around and see if other local colleges offer a weekend course. Or I’ll just have to learn to focus on the screen!

(Total FWP, fo sho. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge, and the money and resources to do so. Just thinking about how I learn best, is all.)

Got what I needed

By , November 18, 2014 7:35 pm

A photo just popped up on my kitchen digital frame that made me realize I’ve only run with my running club once this year. And that was in *cough* January. 



Not really oops. In December I contemplated whether I’d rejoin the club or not. I’d been a member since very late 2010, but hadn’t done much with them for the past year and a half. Not for any bad reason. It’s just that I joined, originally, got/learned what I needed, then cut back.

The running club was a fantastic way for me to meet new people. And then meet people through those people. Like, Brian, at Essential Fitness, which is where I work as a personal trainer now. I first met him in very early 2011, never thinking I’d be working for him some day!

And also, through those people, I learned a lot about the area I live in – places to run I didn’t know about, which schools are the best (not that this knowledge affects me, but it’s interesting), new shops, best roads to take to avoid traffic, and so on. 

The thing is, I don’t use the club anymore to support those relationships (and haven’t for a long time). I’ve taken them outside of the club. They’re good enough that they sustain on their own. I don’t go to club events, or join club runs (I’ve learned I prefer to run solo or one-on-one (group runs are not my thing)). 

I’ve noticed other people are like this too – they got what they needed (and it was good) – and now they are cutting back. Or have completely cut back. 

Again, no malice. It’s just the cycle of life. 

I don’t plan on rejoining in 2015, since my interaction this year so far, has been ONE run, and liking posts on Facebook. 

But hey, thankfully Facebook is around. I won’t be on the club page anymore, but I can still see what everyone is up to on their personal pages (and all the time I see them in person)!

Are you a member of a running club? Have you ever left a club, because you felt like you got what you needed out of it?

Ha! That last question makes me sound like I don’t know what a club is – a group of people organized around a similar interest/purpose. People who mostly don’t just come and go. Oops. Again. 

Homemade only

By , November 17, 2014 11:26 am

What if you could only gift people “homemade” items this holiday season? What would those gifts be?

(Ha ha, I know, another holiday post SO soon! Hey, better this than what I’ve been thinking about – how this time of year makes me feel bad about how well I don’t know certain family members, and vice versa.)

As I am bundled up at work today, wearing some finger-less gloves that a friend made me, I’m thinking about what a nice, thoughtful, useful gift that was… and how I’ve used them for years!


And my mind also wandered to “what could I make for someone?” Um… I bake. I can make those fleece cut & tie blankets. Err… I can offer personal training sessions? Ha ha – no one wants that. 

Man, I need some skillz! Knitting/crocheting (whatever the difference is) is actually something I’d like to learn! And I could probably stand to try a few other things.

Or, I could just buy items from my talented friends and family! I have a second cousin who makes pens, bowls, jewelry and other items out of wood. My friend Kelly makes beautiful wreaths. And Steven is super duper handy! Hee hee.

Training Week 265

By , November 16, 2014 10:09 am

Highlight of the Week: Rachel joining me for all of my 22-miler! It was such a treat to catch up, and the run just flew by!


Monday | November 10, 2014: 3 m run (w/Kelly) + 5 m run + teaching strength class x2
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 42°/42°, Time: 29:57, Pace: 9:59 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 49°/53°, Time: 46:29, Pace: 9:17 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: angry
Strength: Two dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay
Strength: Two dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay
Tuesday | November 11, 2014: Strength in Numbers Virtual Half Marathon + 1 m run (w/Kelly) 
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 52°/44°, Time: 2:10:21, Pace: 9:57 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great 
Wednesday | November 12, 2014: rest
Thursday | November 13, 2014: 7 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 25°/25°, Time: 1:11:01, Pace: 10:08 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | November 14, 2014: teaching strength class + 5 m run (w/Dawn)
Strength: Body bars, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good – got me out of a cranky start to the morning
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 24°/23°, Time: 50:42, Pace: 10:08, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | November 15, 2014: 22 m run (w/Rachel)
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 20°/31°, Time: 3:51:28, Pace: 10:31 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: really good!
Sunday | November 16, 2014: 4.6 m run (w/Jen)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 25°/27°, Time: 59:08, Pace: 12:52 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine


  • I remembered not to go all out teaching back-to-back strength classes on Monday (and it helped – no mid-week DOMS)!
  • Saturday was the first long run in awhile where I didn’t feel delirious for the last 3-4 miles. WIN! I think the fueling strategy did it (AND, having awesome company the whole time!). I still ate something every 30 minutes (and took an electrolyte tab with it), but ate more honey stinger waffles than normal. So (just for my records), I would have a gu or clif gel at 00:30 and 1:00, then a waffle at 1:30, then repeat. I also opened my Vitamin Water earlier than half way through, to take sips. It’s crazy what a difference the “right” fueling strategy for me makes. Have you figured out your long run fueling strategy?
  • Hmm, I wonder if this has been my highest weekly mileage of the year (just over 60)? I have a cut-back week next week, another peak week, then two weeks until the marathon. Hard to believe it’s four weeks from today! Training went FAST! 
  • Sunday was my first run on the season on snow. YAY! (although, as much as I love snow, I’d be okay with not doing my last two longer distance runs on it, hee hee)


Link to Training Week 264

Would you use Facebook if the “likes” count went away?

By , November 14, 2014 6:39 am

Or instagram or any other social media platform that uses metrics to show you the amount of “interest” in your postings, whether by likes, followers, etc. (And really… was the “like” feature always there? I can’t even recall!)

Well, this article is interesting (pdf here) (highly recommend if you have the time to read it!). The author discovered there is a browser plug-in called “Facebook Demetricator,” which removes all of the “numbers” from Facebook – likes count, who liked it, dates, etc. The plug-in description explains it well:

The Facebook interface is filled with numbers. These numbers, or metrics, measure and present our social value and activity, enumerating friends, likes, comments, and more. Facebook Demetricator is a web browser addon that hides these metrics. No longer is the focus on how many friends you have or on how much they like your status, but on who they are and what they said. Friend counts disappear. ’16 people like this’ becomes ‘people like this’. Through changes like these, Demetricator invites Facebook’s users to try the system without the numbers, to see how their experience is changed by their absence. With this work I aim to disrupt the prescribed sociality these metrics produce, enabling a network society that isn’t dependent on quantification.

Interesting to think that you get your “social value” from places like Facebook, but hey! That is the society we live in now. And that is what made the author of the article try it – they read a paper the plug-in developer, Benjamin Grosser, had written, where the point was that people are using these numbers to assign value to their relationships and life. SCARY! (or not? normal, maybe? sadly?)

So what did the author think after using the plug-in?

  • They weren’t sure if it was “liberating or invalidating” to not know how many likes a photo would get. 
  • They did like not seeing who liked something, then liking it themselves, based on its merit and not feeling like they had to, because their friends did. I thought this was really interesting. I have liked things after seeing a friend like them, too. 
  • They felt immune to “viral posts, to Facebook peer-pressure, and to acutely targeted ads.” They hardly clicked anything, anymore, feeling like they were in a vacuum.

Super interesting, right?!

Alright, now tell me…  would you try this Demetricator plug-in? Or do you NEEEEEED your numbers?!

Of course, I turned it on, to try! Here is a screenshot of the changes I noticed so far (showing my blog page for privacy reasons, but it’s similar on the personal page):


(Also, if someone likes a comment, it doesn’t show who, or how many, just that it was liked – you have to click on it to see by whom. And I really like that it turns off how many unread posts you have in your groups!!!)

But, I think I will still see these metrics in the pages app on my phone and on the iPad! We’ll see how this experiment goes!

With which “tribe” do you want to be identified… if any?

By , November 13, 2014 6:31 am

Crazy how much the closing statement of an article can make me think so much about “tribe,” labels, and branding.

In Rachel Toor’s December Running Times column, she compares the “excessive celebrations” of football to the ways runners display their accomplishments. It inevitably comes around to the way runners sometimes celebrate themselves (and their feats) on social media, or by putting a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car, or by wearing their medal or race shirt around. She ends the article saying she misses the subtlety of an old giant Timex Ironman watch she used to wear, because it identified her to the tribe of runner without being so “in your face” about it (now she uses her phone and a Garmin instead). 

Tribe. What a perfect way to put it. 

There are many tribes to which we can choose to identify ourselves with – the type of exercise you do, what you eat, what you drink, if you have kids or not, if you have pets or not, the types of activities you do (or don’t do), your religion… you get the idea. But! How do we identify ourselves to these tribes, and… do we want to?


Like Toor, I personally prefer subtlety in my tribe identification. Ha ha, funny I say that, since I have the tribe of running permanently inked on my back, but that is not going to be visible that often.  I like the tribe reveal to be more organic, like a few weeks ago, when wearing an old pair of running shoes (to change out of, obvs) to a meeting caused a contractor to ask me what I think of those shoes, and ask me about running.

Subtlety (actually, privacy) is something I’ve started to prefer over the last few years, really, as social media has expanded. It’s blatant that people are making assumptions about me based on what I put out there (and how they interpret it), so I really don’t put much of critical substance in the interwebs. 

And that is the risk with tribe identification, and why I avoid being identified as part of some of the tribes I could. We identify in the first place, because it makes us feel good to belong. It feels good to be part of a group. It feels good to say, “I did that!” or “I don’t do that!” or “I made that!” or “I drink that!” or “I believe that!” or whatever. And have people relate. 

And it gives you power. By claiming a tribe, you are taking control over your identification/personal branding. But you are also giving power to other people, to make assumptions about you, based on what they already think about that tribe. Confusing, right? So do you claim or tribe, or not?

Not that we should give a crap about other people’s assumptions. But, it may still make you think twice about which tribes you identify with! That is why I avoid the tribe of vegan. I don’t go out of my way to tell people I am vegan. Vegans have a pretty negative connotation, and I can totally see why. A lot of them that I’ve met have been judgmental a-holes.  Which is a shame, because “vegan” can be a really useful label to use, when trying to explain your dietary preferences. Too bad it’s so damn loaded of a word. 

Now that you’ve read this far (if you made it through the blabbering), you can probably think of some tribe identification you have seen in other people. I see it A LOT. And unfortunately, some of it is people forcing themselves to do things to identify with that tribe, despite not liking it, or preferring it. I see this a lot in the health and fitness arena, and honestly, it concerns me. People who really want to do a certain exercise, because they want to be seen as someone who does that… despite hating the exercise. Or people who follow a certain diet, and struggle with it, but want to be seen as “healthy.” I am sure you’ve seen it to. 

I encourage everyone to follow what Torr said in her column - ”We each get to figure out how much cheering we require and get it where we can.” Do what you need. Identify with the tribes you need to, how you want to. Post away on Facebook if you need to! Don’t, if you don’t like it. Share what you want. Keep things private. Whatever. Just don’t get too lost from the tribe of you! That’s the most important tribe with which to identify. 

Places with bad running juju

By , November 12, 2014 5:00 am

In 2009, feeling ecstatic about running after my first half marathon, I immediately signed up for a full marathon, and continued to run all of my runs at my half marathon race pace – 9:00 minute miles. This was before I understood that running plans ideally have a variety of paces in them* (long slow distance, speedwork, tempo, and my fave – easy) and that I really, really should not be “racing” my long runs. 

During one of those long training runs, I visited a beautiful local forest preserve – Grant Woods. The forest preserve is split in to north and south sections. The north section is forested and hilly,


and the southern section is mostly flat prairie. 


Hee hee, it didn’t look quite like these photos then, because it was summer, but you get the idea. 

I ran there once in 2009 and then avoided running there for an entire year, despite it being so close to my house. 


I was convinced, CONVINCED, that the hills there hurt my calf, and eventually caused a chain reaction that caused a stress fracture in my shin, and derailed me from running my first marathon in 2009. I thought the place had bad running juju.

Yeah, 2009 Kim was not so smart. 2009 Kim was a running n00b, and did not have running friends (or read running magazines) to tell her to not race her long runs, ha ha!

After I got three more stress fractures in 2010 (not from running fast, but) from lack of strength training and wearing the wrong shoes, I finally admitted it wasn’t the fault of the Grant Woods Hills. And went back. 

But every time I go there, now, I think about how I felt like the preserve had bad running juju for me, for so long. And how I let that keep me from maximizing a beautiful place to train that is so close to home!

Do you have any places you’ve deemed to have “bad running juju” (for you)? If so, why?

The other place for me is not so close to home, but it’s a place where I’ve had a bad run nearly every time I’ve gone there – Busse Woods. And I am thinking about doing a half there this month. It’s time to let that place have some redemption (although I am not sure how it could become any less boring… maybe a lot of runners crowding the path will make it interesting!).

*Ha! Not that I by any means do them – I just know it’s advised. I do most of my runs at an easy pace. 

Too early or not early enough?

By , November 11, 2014 11:58 am

To be thinking about holiday gifts?

Usually I am all ready for Christmas by November 1. I know. I am one of those people. 

Oh! And I don’t mean ready in the sense that I have my house decorated and meals planned and gifts purchased. Ha ha ha. No. 

I mean ready, in the sense that I am excited for it! Feeling gung ho about it!

Well, it’s November 11th, and I am still waiting for those feelings to kick in. The holiday still seems far away, even though it isn’t. 

I’m not feeling grinchy or anything. I was super excited to get my first Starbucks red cup drink last week. 


I’m ready for the radio station to start playing holiday tunes. I’m greatly looking forward to watching holiday movies with my mom when she visits in a week. And somewhat looking forward to outlet mall shopping with her, ha ha. 

And that’s probably the big thing that is making me feel like I am not in my normal holiday mood – the gift ideas. I usually only have a few presents purchased by this time in November and some ideas for the rest, but this year, I have very few (I have an idea for one friend, and a few for Steven). And I am not feeling too excited about present research. 

Because of that, and because I think it’s a fun idea, I asked a few friends if they wanted to do “experiences” this year instead of gifts. A spa day. A hotel and a race the next day. Spending time together. Making memories. Ha ha, queue cheesy music here—>!

Luckily, the friends I talked to about it really liked the idea, and didn’t seem to think it was somewhat (only somewhat) what it feels like to me – a cop out. But the thing is, the friends I asked are the friends I would have no problem finding gifts for, and kind of gift to all year long.  They’re the people I feel really excited about having a day planned out in the calendar to spend with. 

And researching races and other things to do with friends is a lot more appealing to me, right now, than researching gifts. Ha ha, that is probably because another reason I don’t have Christmas-brain yet is because I have marathon-brain! I am so focused on that December 14th marathon, that 11 days after, I’m going to be like “Christmas, what?!??!?!” Ha ha. 

Do you get in to the holiday mood? About what time of year?

An option to stand

By , November 10, 2014 12:42 pm

Where you work, do you spend most of your time sitting or standing? Do you have the option to switch from one to the other?

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a lecture on how sitting all day is killing us and negating any exercise we do, ever (we’ve already discussed that!).

My day job is actually in office design, and it excites me that one of the current popular trends is adjustable work-height desks. So, throughout the day, you can move the height of your work surface so you can sit or stand (sometimes this is a function of the desk itself, and sometimes, it’s something you put on your desk, and sit your laptop on). 

I really hope this trend sticks around, because I like the idea of being able to adjust how I am working. In fact, I do it now, at the office and at home. Neither place is fancy enough to have a moveable desk height (manual or automatic), but I have bar height surfaces at both locations that I do use when I feel like standing – typically in the afternoon at home, and last week, at work when I realized how sore I was from my self-inflicted DOMS. Ha ha. 


Chair for Data to use to keep me company

Now, just don’t ask me how I feel about the trend of treadmill desks… I still need to try one before I can form an opinion. Yeah, that’s it!

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