The Habit of ‘Reading Later’

Lately, I’ve been into long reads. I’ve been saving every link that sounds remotely interesting to Pocket and spending time each day reading articles that I normally wouldn’t. It’s no surprise that there’s so much interesting content out there. Instead of scrolling through links and thinking to myself, “well, that sounds interesting. I’ll read it later”, it’s refreshing to sit down & devour interesting reads each day. Here are some of my recent favorites (some running-related, some random):

15 Things to Keep Doing in Your 20s

Like most, I’m a bit overwhelmed by all of the things we’re “supposed to do” at a certain age. I think I’d change the title of this article to “15 Things to Keep Doing Until You Die”. Yep, that sounds about right.

Company Man by David Sedaris

I recently read Sedaris’ new novel and it was just as good as I expected it to be. (Perfect vacation read for anyone looking for one!) I used to sleepwalk when I was a kid so the story about his sister in this New Yorker article is especially entertaining.

Summer Reading: 2013’s Best New Running Books

I added several of these to my Goodreads ‘To Read’ bookshelf. Hoping to find the time to read them this summer.

What Life Was Like Before Smartphones

Simple and true. (Unplugging on vacation was quiet and heavenly.) Along the same lines, this NYTimes article discusses techies ditching their online time as well: Disruptions: Even the Tech Elites Leave Gadgets Behind.

Bret, Unbroken

If there’s one article you read from this post, this should be it. Runner’s World published it at the beginning of May, but it’s still got me thinking. Note: get the Kleenex ready!

This Is Water

Still sorting through thoughts on this speech by the late DFW. One of my favorite sections is:

And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the “rat race” – the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.

Your Coffee Horoscope

On Saturday, I somehow managed to make it to 4 pm without a single cup of coffee. While it was unintentional, I realized the true extent of my caffeine addiction after a lingering headache and a killer 3-hour nap on the couch that afternoon. 🙂 Still, I find anything relating coffee choice to personality interesting. My only question is, what if I order something different every time?!

Alexi Pappas: The Rawbook

There’s no doubt Alexi has somewhat of a following, especially after the Youtube video of her cheering on Jordan Hasay. The Rawbook interview just adds another layer.

WANT! Get Shit Done Mug

This isn’t a read, but a WANT! They also have the design as a large format poster that I’m considering. I might have to dedicate a wall to GSD-related prints because it would look good next to this one (that I have yet to frame).

What have you been reading lately? Do you save articles to read later or just in the moment?

– J

11 Things I Learned On Vacation


This past Tuesday, I returned from a 5-night vacation in Cabo San Lucas. This is what I learned:

  1. It’s never too early to order a piña colada. They’re especially delicious for breakfast.
  2. Buying “real books”, as opposed to using my Kindle, was liberating. No screens = happy eyeballs.
  3. Taking the time to think about absolutely nothing is time well spent.
  4. I missed the Chicago lakefront after approximately 4 days away. A humid gym at the resort just didn’t cut it.
  5. Avoiding clocks is something everyone should do on vacation (or whenever possible. weekends?)
  6. Note to future self: do not go to a resort for my 40th birthday with a gaggle of girlfriends. You’ll look ridiculous, tired, & drunk.
  7. My cup of coffee in the morning has never tasted so good as it did on that balcony overlooking the ocean. :sigh:
  8. Fresh fruit and Nuun. Fresh fruit and Nuun. Margaritas. Fresh fruit and Nuun.
  9. SPF50 prevented a sunburn. It also prevented a nice tan from developing.
  10. Never, EVER take full advantage of the open bar on a dinner cruise. (You and your boyfriend will be the only ones on the dance floor and the ‘audience’ will proceed to take videos of you “dancing” and post them on Youtube…). And no, I’m not speaking from experience.
  11. Doing what you want to do, when you want to do it is exactly what vacation is for. Mission accomplished.


“They Went Out and Happened To Things”

I saw this quote from da Vinci the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I have a feeling every runner would appreciate the sentiment, especially because we make ‘happening to things’ part of our lives.

Something to think about 🙂

Vacation Brain

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I think pre-vacation brain is like taper brain. I’ve managed to forget the simplest things, my mind is restless, I dream of calories in the form of beer, and I’ve checked the weather no less than 5 times today even though the weather should be sunny and gorgeous where I’m going.

I’m really looking forward to this vacation. Last time I went to Mexico, I literally turned my phone off the moment we landed and turned it back on only when we arrived back in Chicago after 6 days lounging in the sunshine with a margarita in hand. I’ve been thinking more about unplugging 100% for the 6 days, just as I did then. That feeling of becoming detached from technology was scary and wonderful at the same time.

I’m anxious to take some time away to READ. My Goodreads list is out of control and there’s no way that I would be able to read all of the books I want to read in my lifetime while still trying to hold down a regular job. I bought the three books above to devour on vacation. I’m a Kindle-reader and read 3/4 books on it. But I’m leaving it  at home, all by its lonesome. Maybe if I pretend I’m allergic to technology for the next week, quitting it cold turkey won’t seem so scary?

Have you ever done a technology detox? Was it as easy or hard as you thought it would be?


Old Songs and New Races

Recovery. Ahhh sweet, glorious marathon recovery. If recovery means stuffing your face with leftover pizza and eating ice cream out of the carton with a spoon, and sitting on the couch watching stupid TV , then apparently I’m doing it right! To be fair (to myself), I haven’t been a complete bag of lazy bones. I took a mandatory week of rest following the marathon and slowly (very slowly) began to get my legs back. I ran 3 times last week and did some light strength work, but I haven’t been sticking to a routine. This week will be the first week since Boston that I’ll run over 25 miles. Baby steps, people! It’s nice running when I want to and not running when I don’t want to.

After the physical and emotional whirlwind of Boston, I didn’t think that I would come around very quickly to planning out a racing schedule for the rest of the year. But all of a sudden, this week I started thinking about the next potential race and a full schedule through a fall marathon  (yep! another!) fell into place.

So, my 2013 racing schedule:

6/23:  Chicago Women’s 5k

7/21- Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half

8/23-24 Hood to Coast with Nuun!

9/28- Crosstown Classic 10k

10/20- Grand Rapids Marathon 

One race per month sounds a bit aggressive to me right now, but this schedule is more than I can handle considering I ran an intimidating (in hindsight) schedule in 2011. I’m looking forward to the mix of distances and dedicated speedwork starting at the end of this month to prepare for a challenging 5k. (I’ll be more nervous for the 5k in June than I was for the Boston Marathon—guaranteed.)

I am excited for summer running again. Training through the Chicago winter was incredibly difficult and draining–but I’d like to think that I’m stronger for it. My heart was in it especially for a race like Boston. (I’m not sure how anyone can train through a bitter cold winter if there heart *isn’t* in it.) Looking back on it now, it seems like it flew right by, but each week was full of challenges that made training more difficult than expected. But NOW! SUMMER IS COMING! The lakefront in the summer mornings and evenings is my happy place. It’s going to be an interesting transition because my body doesn’t know how to even operate until I’ve stumbled into the kitchen and had at least one huge mug of hot coffee. When 4:30 AM alarms start back up again, that routine will have to die a painful, slow death. I will not have time to leisurely sip coffee when I need to race the sun and hot temperatures.

Grand Rapids will be a nice change of pace (heh…) in the fall. It’s a very small field compared to Chicago or Twin Cities (duh) and the course is pretty much flat with some rolling hills toward the middle. My mom recently bought a house in Michigan so it will be nice to feel like somewhat of a local after spending a few weekends up there this summer. Plus, ALL THE BEERS afterward! I mean, let’s be honest. That was a big selling point in the decision-making process, for sure.

With a new training cycle starting in a few weeks, I was thinking through what keeps me motivated. I listen to music during pretty much all of my runs (I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but you never know). Training through this past winter was tough but considerably more enjoyable with some songs that helped keep the legs moving.

My (Recent) Favorite Running Songs:

(links are to Spotify!)

Bizness by the TuneYards

Around the Bend by Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Sacrilege by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Closer by Tegan and Sara

Sun by Two Door Cinema Club

Books From Boxes by Maximo Park

Five Seconds by Twin Shadow

Dancing on My Own by Robyn

Default by Django Django

It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

Undercover Martyn by Two Door Cinema Club

Loud Pipes by Ratatat

Ambling Alp by Yeasayer

What’s on your race calendar for the rest of 2013? What are your favorite songs to run to lately?


A Serious, Long-Term Relationship With a Running Shoe

The first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? Alright guys. I’m addicted and have been for a few years now. The Saucony Kinvara certainly hasn’t been the only shoe to carry me in the past 2 years but let’s just say it’s been there for me through thick and thin. I bought my first pair in April or May 2011 when I started training for my first marathon. After a short transition period, they quickly became my favorite shoe. And they’ve remained a constant in my shoe rotation ever since.

My Addiction. Illustrated in race pictures….

Chicago Kinvara

First marathon. Kinvaras.

rnr dc

Rock ‘n Roll DC 2012. Kinvaras.

carmel 2012

Carmel, IN Half 2012. Kinvaras.


Bayshore Half 2012. Kinvaras.


Batavia Half 2012. Kinvaras.

Twin Cities

Twin Cities 2012. Kinvaras.


Boston Marathon 2013. Kinvara 4s!

Saucony was generous enough to provide me with the newest version of the Kinvara before it’s officially released on May 1st. I received them in the mail 2 weeks before Boston and was anxious to see if they could be my race shoe for the marathon.

So far, the Kinvara 2 had been my favorite version. When they released the Kinvara 3 last year, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to wear them. The 3rd version had a higher ankle rise and it rubbed my achilles raw during a 12 mile run. I have a very short period to break in a fresh pair of Kinvaras because my feet and legs are so accustomed to them. But I knew that it was trouble if they bothered me on a relatively short distance run. [More details if you’re curious about the differences between the Kinvara 2 and 3!]. Luckily, I was able to stockpile a few pairs of Kinvara 2s and track down a few more pairs with the help of Saucony when I could no longer find them online (super nice of them!). I guess you’re truly addicted with a shoe when you have to solicit the aid of the brand to find it…

The Kinvara 2s provided enough cushion and stability for my first marathon and I haven’t ventured too far from them since then. (The other shoes in my rotation lately have been the Saucony Fastwitch 5 and New Balance RC 1600s). Beyond the achilles issue, the Kinvara 3 was much more firm and didn’t respond to the ground the way I was hoping.

But my love affair continues….Loving the Kinvara 4! 

Kinvara 4 Blue

I put about 25 miles on the Kinvara 4s the week leading up to Boston. (I know, I know.  “Never try something new so close to a race”.) But they seriously felt like a glove and I had no issues with the achilles rubbing in the back. The longest run in them before Boston was 12 miles and they felt great. The biggest difference that I can feel between the Kinvara 2 & 4 is the cushioning in the heel (due to the PowerGrid in the new version). The ride seems to be a bit smoother because of it. I pretty much consistently land on the midfoot and there seems to be less “bulk” in the 4s. Overall, they’re super responsive and light as a feather (just as they always have been). If you want more details on the specific changes Saucony made to the shoe, check out their dedicated Kinvara site.

Kinvara 4- Left. Kinvara 2- Right.

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Saucony stripped away a lot of the soft padding from the K2s but I haven’t had any issue with the achilles rubbing on the K4s. The heel is flexible enough that it bends when I flex my foot forward.

I couldn’t help snatching up a pair of the Limited Edition Boston Kinvara 4s before Boston a few weeks ago [SEE?! I AM ADDICTED!] I know they’ll always be a special pair…

kinvara 4 boston

Looking forward to an early Cinco De Mayo celebration and the Kinvara 4 Launch party at Fleet Feet on Friday, May 1st. [If you’re in Chicago and want to attend, be sure to RSVP so they have enough food and drinks for the crowd!]


I thought I only had a few pairs to donate but after rummaging around in my “shoe closet” (AKA underneath my bed) for a few minutes, I found more than a few pairs to donate to Step Into My Sole….

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