The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Light posting this weekend

I've already done 8 km of walks this morning, and tomorrow I'm doing another 9. (Tomorrow's will end at Sketchbook Brewing, so I'll be even more motivated.) After being cooped up at home and forced to get my daily steps bundled up like the Michelin Man for a few weeks, I feel a bit liberated. The sidewalks are almost all clear (except for a few buildings whose owners suck, like the Cagan Management-run apartments near me), it's already 8°C outside, and the sky is crystal-clear. Tomorrow we might get a little rain before 9am but the afternoon looks absolutely gorgeous.

Spring hasn't officially begun yet, but it sure feels like it.

Cutting myself some slack

I'm once again not going to get to 10,000 steps today, and that bothers me irrationally. I just need to accept that when it's -10°C and snowing, and I've got a full day of work and chorus business to do that will take me until 10pm, it's OK not to take an hour-long walk to get the steps I need. I'll still manage over 5,000, and I'm certain I'll hit 280,000 for the month. (The worst month I have on record was January 2015, when I got 310,514 steps—just barely 10,000 a day.)

OK, I'm now going to bundle up, put on boots and a mask, and go for what will certainly be a brisk walk. And then I'm not going outside again until tomorrow.

Accurate predictions

Yesterday I predicted that I would not get 10,000 steps for the first time in 2021. I was right: I got 7,092. Respectable, but not a goal.

Right now I'm at 4,753, so I could get to 10,000 just by going for a 30-minute walk and then doing normal things the rest of the day. Of course, it's -15°C outside, an improvement over this morning's -22°C but still so cold that only obscenities suffice to describe how cold.

OK, I can do this...I just don't want to.

Nope, not getting 10k steps today

At least, I don't think so. I'm about to go to a very small wedding where somehow we'll all stay two meters apart, meaning I'll be in my car or indoors all day. Outdoors, meanwhile, it's -13°C. It got down to -16°C overnight, so this qualifies as an improvement.

I was hoping to make 10k steps every day this year, but living in Chicago and having some ability to balance "would like to" against "have to" goals, I say no to today.

I will get 5,000 though. I haven't missed that number in six years.

Ten years to the day

On this day in 2011, Chicago got so much snow it shut down the city for almost 48 hours. So it's fitting we're having the biggest snowfall of the winter so far right now:

With 241 mm of snow recorded at the National Weather Service office in Romeoville and 173 mm at O’Hare International Airport as of Sunday morning, the city officially logged its second storm this week with more than 150 mm of snow — something that hasn’t happened since January 2014, officials said.

The heaviest period of snowfall was between 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday, according to meteorologists. Visibility during that time was reduced to less than 400 m during much of that time, with snow falling at a rate of an 25 mm an hour or faster, according to the weather service.

The Tribune published that around 9am; as of noon, O'Hare's snowfall reached 330 mm. They also have some photos for those of you who live in climates that have no interesting variations to gawk at. Here's my neighborhood:

And it's still coming down. Which means it's a perfect day to go to a warm (-ish, they still have to keep doors open) brewery and read for a bit. Because, dammit, I will get my 10,000 steps today.

Mixed personal milestones

As of yesterday, I've hit my daily step goal 250 times in a row. My previous record streak, which ended 7 November 2019, was 207 days. I'm pretty sure I'll make it another 115 or more days, barring injury or impenetrable snowfall.

And because this current streak began on the last day I traveled outside of Illinois, that means it's also been 250 days since I last flew anywhere. The previous streak of 221 days ended when I flew to London on 31 August 2018.

So, every day I'm prevented from traveling by fears of an entirely predictable (and predicted) disease, the response to which dozens of governments predictably botched, I'm setting a new record.

So frustrating.

These PRs will stand for a while

As planned—exactly as planned, if I may pat myself on the back a bit—I took a walk yesterday. To wit: the first thing I did immediately upon turning [redacted] years old was to walk an entire marathon. And I did it in the Chicago Marathon course time of 6:30*:

* Unfortunately, my course time was 7:11, which is 41 minutes too long. My goals were distance first and pace second, course time third, because I knew (a) my pace would be around 9:00/km and (b) I knew I'd need more than 10 minutes of rest along the way. If I did the actual mass event, I would aim for 8:45/km and 20 minutes' rest along the way, so I clearly need to train a bit.

It felt great, possibly because I planned food and fluids well. Along the way I drank about 3 L of Gatorade and a liter of regular water, plus a grande iced tea from a Starbucks in Evanston; ate 4 Clif bars; and changed my socks just before the 27th kilometer. I also managed to take a few photos.

At 6.8 km, 59 minutes in, Juneway Park on the Chicago/Evanston border:

Just a bit farther up, at South Boulevard Beach in Evanston, I found this gentleman in his shady practice room:

At 14.0 km, 2:05, the Bahá'i House of Worship:

Just past 20 miles, at 32.5 km and 4:51, one of the nicest parts of the Robert McClory trail if you're on foot, and one of the scariest if you're on a bike:

The last 5 km or so looked like this, with no trees and lots of sun:

I finished the walk just a block or so shy of the Lake Bluff Brewing Company, which I reviewed way back in February. Since my goal was to end up exactly at that place, it felt pretty good to plan a route that long to 99.1% accuracy.

My total stats for the day: 56,562 steps, 47.7 km.

Today, on my official birthday, the weather is once again absolutely perfect, but given the growing blister on my right foot, I will probably not walk another 40 kilometers. That said, I may walk the Chicago Marathon virtual half-marathon in a couple of weeks, because why not?

Yay, Fall!

I woke up this morning to a beautiful early-autumn morning: 16°C, low humidity, clear skies, and a gentle breeze. Parker celebrated by eating a live cicada, which made the mistake of buzzing when he sniffed it.

My plan today? Starting as close to 9:09 am as practical, I'm going to walk up to Lake Bluff, about 42 km. Full report when I recover.

While Garmin tries to fix its Cloudflare setup...

I'm glad I took a long walk yesterday and not today, because of this:

In other news:

  • State health officials warn that suburban Cook County (the immediate suburbs surrounding Chicago) has experienced a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, and placed it and 29 other counties on warning that social restrictions could resume next week.
  • Moreover, Covid-19 leads in a massive wave of excess deaths reported by the Cook County Medical Examiner this week. Suicides, homicides, and overdoses are also at near-record levels.
  • Jonathan Russo, writing in TPM Cafe, lays out the case that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin got what he wanted with his meddling in the 2016 US elections, and stands to gain even more if the president wins (or somehow achieves) re-election.
  • The nationalist, right-wing disease has started to infect Canada as well, as their new Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole has adopted a "Canada First" platform.
  • Graceland Cemetery, which doubles as an arboretum, will be closed for the longest period in its 160-year history because of damage from the August 10th derecho.
  • Mother Jones obtained video from a 10 December 2015 deposition showing Donald Trump boasting about his lack of ethics and ignorance of the law.

Finally, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has called for an end to Daylight Saving Time—not just the twice-annual time changes associated with the practice.