Edgewater 5K

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The Crew

With all the great neighborhood runs in Chicago, I’ve always been a little bit jealous of the people who can stand out on their front porch drinking coffee and watch the run go by, and of the runners who live in that neighborhood and can roll out of bed and be at the run minutes before it starts. (I realize I can’t do both at the same run, but my heart has room for plenty of jealousy.)

This year, I finally got to live at least one of those fantasies. Edgewater now has a 5K race and I rolled out of bed at 7:15 am for an 8:00 am race and made it up to Granville with plenty of time to spare. The route goes down a closed-off Sheridan road and then loops around on the lakefront path, so not ideal for porch-standing anyway. I’m trying to manage my marathon taper, so I didn’t want to push it, but running with Shaun and Jin got me a sub-30:00 time anyway.

There were more runners than the 81 reflected in my results, but there was a non-timed option and it seems like a few hundred people went for that.

Official Results: Time: 28:46.47
Place: 33 / 81
Place in Gender: 19 / 31
Place in Age Group (M18+): 18 / 29

Twenty

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Twenty miles is about how far anyone can run before their body runs out of its easily available fuel, glycogen, and has to start burning fat, or you know, just hits “the wall” and falls over. If humans were sensible, we’d discover this information and then say “oh, then maybe we should make 20 miles the popular long-distance run, instead of adding an extra 6.2”. But no, we’re all collectively unreasonable and we stick with the longer distance. (I mean, even that extra .2 is just an accident of adding a partial lap of a track so the race would finish in front of royalty.)

But the sensible thing we do use that information for is that a 20-miler is the last long run of most marathon training programs, followed by three weeks of tapered-off training. It’s a significant distance and so worth making a little bit of a deal about. I’ve run all of my previous 20-milers on my own, but I’ve been trying to get better about sticking to a pace in long distance runs, and I happened to see an ad for the Ready to Run 20-miler in one of the 300 running promotions emails I get every week.

Two things stuck out to me about the run. Pace groups, for one, which would be welcome. And it was a point-to-point along the lake path, with buses to take you back to the start. I’ve run from my house down to the Museum Campus and back plenty of times, I thought it might be nice to get to keep going and see a little of the South side for a change.

The whole event was pretty chill—it’s a training run and not a race and so there was less stress about the wave starts. The pace group leaders had special t-shirts, but no flags or group indicators like I’ve seen at other events, and so I kept losing my pace group. I eventually ran with another runner who had lost her group as well and we tried to keep each other at pace (mainly me trying to take off too fast and her letting me know).

A team of volunteers from Misericordia, mostly residents, staffed one of the aid stations and reminded me of why I was fund-raising for that organization. There’s only $315 to go on my $1000 goal if you have a few bucks to spare.

All in all it was an uneventful morning, just with a lot of running. I’m sore this evening, but my knees are nowhere near as bad as I thought they might be. (My right heel is bugging in a new and interesting way, but oh well.)

And so in three weeks I’ll run the Chicago Marathon and finally cross that off my list.

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a delightful modern fairytale. 12-year-old Lillian is bitten by a snake in Tanglewood Forest and the titular cats magic her into a cat to save her life. In her quest to become a girl again instead of a cat, Lillian has a series of adventures, with more than a touch of darkness about the whole endeavor.

FuzzyCo grade: A+

The Steerswoman

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The Steerswoman is a fantasy novel that features a fascinating organization, captivating characters, and a plot device that is, in retrospect, fairly simple, but is very, very well-done. The only downside, for me, is that it’s the first volume of a planned six, of which only four are out. I have no patience!

FuzzyCo grade: A+

Lockstep

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I’m not even going to bother searching my own site to see how many times I’ve used the phrase “rollicking adventure” in a book review, because I’m sure the answer is “bunches”. But hey, I like a rollicking adventure. And Lockstep delivers, in the context of an incredibly ambitious scifi idea. Toby McGonigal wakes up from an accidental hibernation of 14,000 years to discover himself in a human society that is only 40 years older than his disappearance because the entire society uses hibernation to jump years into the future. And, in huge news for me, it’s a stand-alone book. Remember those? It’s not the start of a trilogy or a quadrology or anything.

FuzzyCo grade: A

Raising Steam

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Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld novel. 40th! I’ve read them all, so at this point I’m a safe bet to read a new one. That’s not a way to sneak into saying that this one is bad or anything. It’s actually pretty good. I’m just not sure how good of a judge I am at this point. The Discworld has trains, now, and in the accelerated way things happen in the Discworld we’re suddenly in the Victorian era, more or less. There’s also a subplot of religious extremeism that is introduced in a rather realistic fashion and resolved in a way that rather feels like wishful thinking to me. But then, I suppose the Discworld books are fantasy.

FuzzyCo grade: A

The Giver

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The trailer for the new film version of The Giver makes it seem very much like all the other teen dystopias out there, and that’s really not how I found the book. While it’s set in a future society, I found the book in that vein of scifi that’s very allegorical and not much concerned with the technology of the world. And while the society depicted would be incredibly oppressive to us, and indeed ultimately is to the main character, I feel like this is a book that explores how such a society might seem perfectly reasonable to those within it.

FuzzyCo grade: A

The Fault in Our Stars

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Half the reason I blog my little book reviews here is just to keep track of what I’ve read and when. And so I always feel a little bit at a loss when I read a really good book well after everyone else has. I’m not sure I have much to add to the conversation other than “it’s good”. The Fault in Our Stars is a very good book and I cried while I read it and was also very happy.

FuzzyCo grade: A+

Divergent

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Divergent gets a couple points on the cool scale, for me, just for being set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. And, you know, it’s all in that teen dystopia vibe that’s going on right now.

FuzzyCo grade: B+

The Disaster Artist

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Greg Sestero played Mark in The Room). You know, The Room, one of the worst movies ever made. The Disaster Artist is Sestero’s memoir of the making of the film. It answers a number of questions from the film, like “why spoons?” and “why did Peter disappear?” But despite Sestero’s long relationship with Tommy Wiseau, the enigmatic director-writer-star of the film, it can never really answer the most important question, which is “what the f is up with Tommy Wiseau?”

FuzzyCo grade: B