Things I should have done sooner.

Oh my god, did it really take me five years — or, at best, 9 months, since that’s how long ago I picked running back up — to take a run along the lakshore? That’s not even really fair — I did do a couple of runs along the lake in law school, but I did them up by the law school, not downtown near all the fabulous buildings. And let me tell you…there is something completely amazing about running along the shore with a stand of tall, architectural wonders looming over you.

So yeah, I had a great run this afternoon! It was exactly the kind of run I needed — burning off a lot of my stress, filling me with endorphins, and making me really nostalgic for this city. This city that I have liked but never really loved, this city that I’m leaving in four weeks.

Anyway, now that I’ve done it, I’ll be doing a lot more of it. It’s so easy to take my gear to work, change at the end of the day, take a long run, and then swing back by the office to get my stuff and go home. And this is the time of year to maximize my laekshore running.  In fact, it’s likely I wouldn’t be able to do much running along the lakeshore four weeks from now, even if I were staying here. (OK, that’s not totally true, but I would have to layer more. And I think eight weeks from now I really would be in trouble trying to do much lakeshore running.)

I guess it’s good to leave on a high note. I have always had a rule about parties (courtesy of one of my college roommates) — leave while you’re still having fun.  I guess I’ll be leaving Chicago when I’m still having fun.

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It’s like fording a river

I go back and forth on the upcoming ten weeks apart from Mr. D. Not back and forth on whether it’s going to suck — it is, undoubtedly — but on how bad it’s going to be.

Sometimes I think, It’ll be OK — I’ll make some progress on that article I keep trying to write! And I’ll probably eat less and more healthily. And I’ll fill my time with yoga and running so I’m not bored. When I’m thinking that way, it doesn’t seem all that awful.

But other times I think, I am going to be all alone. I’ll be watching TV by myself, I’ll come home to an empty house, I’ll only be making coffee for one person. I’ll have to get up early and stay up late every day to take the dog out. I’ll go days without talking to anyone outside of the office.

The reality will probably fall somewhere in the middle, at least for the first few of our ten weeks apart.  I may, in fact, go an extended period of time without talking to anyone (though hopefully we’ll be regularly Skyping, so maybe not). But I probably won’t be completely deprived of human contact — I will go to yoga once a week and I’ll have choir on Sundays and I’ll obviously being going to work every day. And I’ll have the dog.

At least for a few weeks.

Because, while those few weeks won’t be fun, at least I’ll be in our current apartment — our home, where we’ve lived for three years — with all of our stuff and the dog. But somewhere in the middle of August, the dog is going to go stay with Mr. D’s parents for a while and the movers are going to come and get all of our stuff.  And then I’ll spend two weeks in an empty apartment.

And you know what? Those two weeks won’t even be all that bad. I’ll still be in a familiar place, my clothes will still be in my closet, I’ll still be showering in my shower and cooking in my kitchen, albeit on a very reduced scale.

No, it’s the last four weeks that have me pretty much terrified.  I’ll be moving into a sublet, because our lease on our current place will be up.  I think I’ve found the sublet and, while it has a lot of pluses, I’m not sure they outweigh the minuses. It’s at least a wash.

The sublet is a tiny studio in an old building that looks like it was probably once a hotel — probably, in fact, an SRO at some point. The unit has its own bathroom and kitchenette, but the room itself is no bigger than our current bedroom. The hallways are dim and sort of depressing — long corridors with evenly spaced doors behind which the occupants do little more than sleep, bathe, and maybe eat.

There are some good features: it’s a block away from one of my good friends here, and three blocks from another couple of friends. It’s in a lively neighborhood with lots of amenities (including three grocery stores in walking distance). It’s a short walk to an easy express bus route to work. And it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. I mean, really really cheap.

But it’s insanely small. And a little dumpy. And I won’t have any of my furniture in it — just a mattress on the floor that the current tenant is willing to leave for me to use for the month, and maybe a small table she might also leave. I can live in cramped quarters if I have my personal touches, but a lot of my personal touches will be across the country by then. And I’ll be without my personal touches in this depressing, former SRO building.

I know I’ll get through it, past it, and there may even be things about the experience that will be good for me. Maybe I’ll be forced to be more social, to make plans with other people more regularly, to get out from behind my computer. And maybe I’ll lose some more weight because I’ll be cooking for one instead of two very differently sized people and living so close to a nice running path. And maybe I’ll learn to be a little more OK being alone.

But I’m really not looking forward to it. Right now, I’m really struggling with serious sadness, in fact. The kind of sadness that compelled me to buy the fixings for pimento cheese and make a huge batch of it. I know from experience that I can’t bypass this part of the experience — I’m going to have to get through it before I can come out on the other side of it. And once I do, I think I’ll be pretty much at peace with all this reality. The getting there, though…oof. Not fun.

Running

Today I did my first sustained Couch to 5K run, that is, the first run that doesn’t involve cycling between running and walking. Today was a 20 minute run sandwiched between warm-up and cool-down walks of five minutes. And I completed it.  Well, I more than completed it — I did it without killing myself or feeling completely awful afterwards. And that after a pretty heavy breakfast (sour cream pancakes with macerated strawberries, which is a whole other post).  So I’m pretty proud of myself — I may, in fact, be ready for that 5K in six weeks.

And I may even be back on track to picking up a running habit again.  There was a time in college when I was running 12-15 miles a week — I felt good, I looked good, and I even enjoyed it.  But then I went home for the summer, to Texas, in a year when the state was experiencing record high temperatures for record-setting stretches.  And running outside in didn’t feel good and wasn’t enjoyable and I didn’t have access to a treadmill.  So I got out of the habit and never really picked it back up.

It’s true that I’m now 12 years older than I was then and about 15 pounds heavier (but at least not 25 pounds heavier, like I was a few months ago), but I don’t think it’s too late to get back on that track.  I think I can still find a spot in my life for a few miles a week, right?

I just need to run that first 5K.