But When I Stop To Think About It, I Deeply Despise Choke Cherries

This could also be titled “Hey,  An Entry That Has To Do With A Run I Went On. How ‘Bout That?”

After severely oversleeping (woops) and missing my morning trek window that I did at least once on a Thursday morning of recent memory, I took to the shaded overcast streets at lunchtime. 

Plan, especially after yesterday’s entry lamenting the problems of urban running: Halsted to 16th to…Pilsen. I like running along the trainspace on 16th; there’s life so it doesn’t feel scarily isolated and minimal traffic so I can stay on the asphalt and do my thing with very few stoppage points along the way. 

Turning onto Halsted made me sad. UIC begins commencement ceremonies today (at least, my assumptions of what people were doing) and everyone carrying still-wrapped cap and gown combos, walking towards the Forum…they all looked so somber and unhappy.

I know that students may not have the greatest experience whilst at this institution of higher learnin’, but come on people! You are graduating! The weather is nice and life moves forward and you made such happen. Should be exciting, not watching a-dog-be-kicked-before-your-eyes depressing. Sheesh.

Southbound down Halsted went I. Shorts/shirt was the right choice; upper 50s with a slightest of breezes to grace my face. 

It’s important to note at this point that I went sunglasses-less and tried out a newly acquired visor for today.  I’m all for pre-aging avoidance and I don sunscreen/always sport a hat/glasses to avoid excess wrinkling. I tend to wear glasses (only the cheapest Target Champion brand glasses need apply) mainly to avoid crap getting in my eyes, but the hat is a normal spring/summer mainstay. Alas, my go-to hat over the past few years, a Nike dri-fit lightweight hat I got from volunteering for the Chicago Marathon in 2008 has seen much, MUCH better days. It’s now a shade of yellowed-gray and has been washed to the point that the Velcro cries “surrender!” so the visor got its debut on Cinco de Mayo. So the visor made its debut today. Its navy blue; can’t wait to watch the crusted salty sweat stains to lay claim to the fabric.

Along 16th I went. The trees all over campus and down along the street seem to be instantaneously in full blossom.  Passing under the pink and mauve choke cherries, the light fragrance is present but not overwhelming. It is spring,toad.  

My throat still seems to be bothered from last week’s cold/allergy experiment, but ive only been sniffling for the past few days. Made breathing a bit difficult, but that might have been due to the only thing I have consumed all day (now, such is no longer true after a spoonful of peanut butter and a bad piece of jerky) is coffee. My intelligence isn’t looking too solid, the more I write….

16th street ran into Blue Island after blocks of uninterrupted road and gravel, alongside the retaining wall painted in childlike/naïve Hispanic theme (I have to assume the nearby school had something to do with it). This took me a few blocks further south onto Blue Island/Loomis, which has to be considered authentic Pilsen. People down “there”, standing awaiting buses/surrounding a statue looked pleasant and content with the day. Can’t blame ‘em. 

Basing the run off of time (15 out and back), I returned back to the start and felt…well, is blumpy a word? MS Word disagrees, but I stand firm. As I move, I can feel the inner waif I once was, visualizing all this excess weight I carry spontaneously flaying itself from my muscle in suspended animation (like the bodies exhibit) and disappearing into the ether. My step felt springy and quick today, so perhaps it’s all in my head. But I know I need to get back into shape so it would be nice to continue this running nonsense to achieve such. 

Wasn’t interested in my pace (that wasn’t the purpose of today, my first run in over two weeks), but being as close to 10 min. miles as I was (though today was not difficult) is deeply humbling. I’ll be spending some quality time on a bus to Dayton Friday, returning Sunday so I’ll be updating and adding more sections to this creature—including race goals. Time has it’s place forever etched in my mind, so I should probably start working to achieve such. 

Editor’s note: Choke Cherries, or Prunus virginiana, are highly abundant at my grandmother’s house where I have spent solid amount of time in my formative years hacking them down. They are hearty and resilient and one wants to cut them down in their infancy before they shoot up and are too thick for a weed whacker or hand trimmer to destroy. They, by all intensive purposes, are evil.