Thursday, November 30, 2006

Getting Back in the Horse

Holy meltdown Batman!

So I am making the decision to move past yesterday's "moment" and get right back into fightin' form. I felt a little bit guilty about such a vivid display of emotion, but I have convinced myself that the whole reason I started this blog was to talk about my life, particularly as it pertains to the AZ endeavor. And that means, all the good and all the bad.

So the first stop on the road to AZ: meeting with new coach. Given that the weather here today is 25 degrees and we are expecting 8-16 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, I needed something to pick me up. I am really kind of excited, a little nervous, but I know this is a good thing.

Also on a good note, got a second interview for a potential new job. VERY EXCITED. The only catch - pass my licensing exam. For crying out loud, this thing can't get here soon enough. I am on practice test overload right, and even almost feel asleep today taking one. Poo.

So I am off to meet my coach. Ya!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And Now, the Fear

“This race is one big Rorschach card. No matter what your sense of yourself is, your character flaws, your view of the world, what you think you know about yourself or don’t know about yourself, what you think you are capable of or don’t even know what you’re capable of, this race will show you, will force you to look at it, will take all your insides and put them right out there for you to see.” - Larry

Today I had a day. I had a day that ruins the Ironman party in my head (you know, the one that’s all “finish lines and medals”) simply by slipping in a moment of reality where, in a quiet moment (for me it was in the shower) I suffered a subtle but devastating lapse in self-assurance and overwhelming desire to quit. And today, I want(ed) to quit.

The funny thing is that it had nothing to do with my day’s workout. Matter of fact, the workouts were great. I wanted to quit because I was overtaken with fear. That’s it. Sounds so simple. And when it comes down to it, it is not even the race itself that scares me. Nope, for me it’s the training. I am f-ing terrified of the training. I said it, I own it, and I can see how shameful it can be right there in black-and-white. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I can make it through the winter here in Chicago, with a snowstorm 24 hours away, and four months of long, painful rides and runs that will, undoubtedly obliterate my already tentative self-esteem.

In the front page of my blog, I state that I procrastinate because I am lazy. But the sad truth (ready?) is that I am just afraid. Afraid, really, of everything. I purposely don’t do things because I am afraid the they will hurt, that I will fail, that I won’t win, I will realize I am really not good enough, I will be rejected, I will not be fast enough, insert a million other reasons here. Wanna see how big my fear can get? My first ½ Ironman there was the threat of rain, and I prayed that it would be cancelled due to weather, even as I stood on the shore line water for the starting horn. Prayed. I stood there, surrounded by all these people in wetsuits, all talking and laughing, predicting their times, and I thought, “Maybe I will get kicked in the head and drown, then I won’t have to do the bike.” So to deal, I would rather laugh it off by creating a website about my laziness, then admit that I hide from life because I am just really a coward. Today, however, the fear is so great that I am not laughing.

Larry said tonight that if it really mattered, I would overcome the fear. And the realitiy is, when ANYTHING matters to me, I overcome it. I overcame my fear of failure to complete graduate school, my fear of “not knowing enough” to be a supervisor, my fear of "not being good enough" to tackle 12 years of an eating disorder, my fear of rejection to be in relationships. That's the hard evidence. So boy, does this race matter.

I “tri” to give myself goals, or else I probably wouldn’t get off the couch and my fingers would be stained with Cheeto cheese. I train because it keep me healthy, and after 12 years of said disorder and 10 years of smoking, I am healthier (body and mind) than ever. I train because I can leave “it” all on/in the street, path or pool and not on other people. It matters because I am afraid of life, and I have to keep challenging myself or sometimes, I think I might never leave my bedroom. And sadly, that is not a joke.

So my moment came, sort of passed, and is still kind of lingering and wanting me to acknowledge it, so I am trying to get rid of it by writing about it, putting it out there, in the hopes that it will just leave me alone again to train as needed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is it bedtime yet?

Sleepytime Megan has arrived and she is ALL over the board tonight.

I just watched my one dog lick the wall and the other dog lick himself. You have to wonder what happens when I'm NOT at home.

I ate some Dots for breakfast today. Which is not unlike breakfast yesterday (jolly ranchers).

Red Vine Licorices are mighty good after interval training run. Deelish!

Do recovery weeks make anyone else feel like a fat slob?

Lately I spend more time trying to figure out how to avoid work/studying by way of running/swimming/biking than I do actually doing work, and today I got in trouble for it. Oops.

Today I remembered that my first "album" was The Muppets. My first music tape was Billy Ocean.

I am taking my licensing test three weeks from today, after which I can hopefully call myself a psychologist (because in our state, five years of grad school, a murderous dissertation and a whole year of post-doc work is not enough - no, you must plunk down several thousand dollars more to study for and take this all-important exam which is really more a test of how well you can, well, take a test, than actually knowing psychology - Bitter called, it needs it's attitude back).

And my final thought of the night (sigh, drum roll) One of my favorite things about training is I finally have an excuse to always wear my hair in a ponytail.

And with that, I'm out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ya Gotta Know When to Shut "Er Down

IM Arizona Countdown: 4 1/2 months
Today's Workout: No Hours
Today's Studying: Five Hours

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Before I get any negative feedback on my fitness output for the day, I should also mention that this was my first "day off" in at least eight days. Believe it or not, this was not caused by procrastination. So instead, I spent my day taking a practice test (and another one as soon as I post this) and taking care of my laundry (does anyone else wash their clothes three-four times a week, and mostly because it's workout clothes? Jeesh. And no joke, it gets to stinkin' in the basket, so it HAS to be washed with increasing frequently). But I digress.

On a separate, and less foul-smelling note, I decided to get a coach. I have been working off a training program that Larry devised (did I mention he is a two-time IM finisher? Oh, don't worry if I didn't tell ya, I am sure he would, if you ever met him). It is actually pretty accurate, when compared to other plans, so I trust it. However, I decided that, given the fact that I have some major weaknesses (core strength being the biggest culprit, and aided, in no small part, by my refusal to work on it) and that I will likely need some motivation throughout the dead of winter here in Chicago, it was a necessary expense. Sure, it's all fun and easy to dream big and imagine hearing "Megan you are an Ironman" with the Arizona desert in the backdrop, but you forget that it means riding 6 hours in February in Chicago, or climbing out of bed at 5AM in the pitch black sub-zero windchill to put on a bathing suit and jump in a cold pool. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

So why didn't I just wait to do Florida? I was asked that earlier today. Because, as noted in the sidebar, I am IMPATIENT. I did my first couple tri's this year, bumped up quickly to the half-irons, and, like any other addict and their drug of choice, I needed to continue feeding my addiction as quickly as possible. I get the flaw in reasoning, really I do. Also, I would be lying if I said I didn't love the training. But alas, I have said too much, so I'll save that nugget of insight to the next post.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Wind at My Back (and front, and side...)

After letting two 60 degree days (in Chicago, in November) pass me by, I grabbed the old Felt, loaded her up with water and Go Lean Chocolate Turtle bars (mmm, chocolate turtle...), put on my finest running/riding windbreaker (some call my "versatile" gear scrappy, I call it graduate-student-on-a-budget-resourceful) and hit Sheridan Road with my pallie Larry. Larry, by the way, hates riding behind people so he ended up blocking the wind for me for a good part.

And then, just as we are about 3/5 of the way done and on the Skokie Valley path, he decides that he'd be "damned" if the 50-year-old lady on the recumbent bike that had been drafting us for most of the path, succeeded in passing him (oh the horror!) So he engaged in what can only be described as the cycling version of "Duel in the Sun" with this poor lady who was shifting her life away just to keep up (and the lady on the recumbent bike struggled too!)

Eventually, recumbent lady ended up breaking from us at about Clavey Road, and left us to finish the last 1.5 miles at a somewhat moderate pace. By that point, however, even my little turtle bars could not revive my spaghetti legs. I bet Larry was hurting a little too, but he would NEVER admit it.

Overall, the weather was warm, then cold, then warm, then coooooled. But it was so good to hit the road after long trainer rides in front of the t.v. But fear not, in true procrastinator form, I opted for a HOT shower and the Bears game as opposed to weight training at the gym. The way I look at it, there is always tomorrow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And My Skin Still Itches

For all three of you who read this site, you'll be happy to know that I actually accomplished two of my many things scheduled for today. After my meltdown this morning (see previous post, if you dare) I tried to "swim it out," with a swim-run combo, only to find out that I forgot my running shoes. Nice.

So I went home to get them, with all the intentions of returning to the gym, but then got sidetracked at Larry's to try and fix his long-broken printer. Why? Good question - After the fiasco this morning, I thought that, once I got this on-line practice test figured out, I would just take them form his house, where I could print out the ones I got wrong. Then I was certainly going to go to the gym, and then even a meeting.

Alas, two and a half hours later (thank you Dell), the printer was revived, and I was one run short of insanity. But to be fair, the feeling of actually having accomplished it made me just a little more calm, and willing to accept the lost run. Sure my blossoming friendship with the Dell technician (who, by the way, was talking to me from the Philippines - I'm thinking a future race-vacation venue to visit my new friend?) was filled with loving and supportive advice like, "Now close the window and restart your computer, let me know when it comes back on." But I , nonetheless, was still pining to get outside, given the 60 degree day here in Chicago.

After talking with Larry, we decided to turn tomorrow's 2-hour ride into a 3 hour number, so it all works out (and my knees can relax for one more day). And I got a salmon dinner out it. Deelish!! So hooray for Dell, three days of unseasonable warm weather, a long ride on a Sunday morning, my ever-developing ability to be more flexible, and a long shower to come home to ('cause did I mention that I procrastinated taking shower after the swim cause I thought I would be running, and then it just become less of a priority as the day went on - oops). My skin a little raw from me trying to crawl out it.

By No Fault of My Own

I can totally own up when I put things off and then end up getting in trouble for it later. Today, however, is not one of those days. See, what happened is this:

I am supposed to take my licensing exam in about three weeks, and just paid a TON of money to order some new practice tests to, well, practice with. Given that this is Thanksgiving weekend and I had the whole office to myself, no other work to do, I thought it would be ideal to spend the next two days and about six full hours (at least) taking as many tests as I can. However, when I got to the office, I realized that the Log-in info the sales lady gave me is WRONG!!!!!!!!! So I can't Log-In to get to my tests (which are on-line obviously). And the best part - their office is not open until Monday, just when everyone comes back in to my office, and I can't use the computer anymore. Awesomeness. So now I have two full days of NOTHING. What a waste. I would almost feel better if this procrastination was self-imposed, because then at least I would feel like I had some control over it.

So now I guess I will just go for a swim and run, maybe some weights. Great. At least it will cancel out the four banana cupcakes and spoonful of cream cheese frosting I ate for breakfast. LOVE the holidays....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not Bad for a Turkey (trot...)

Of course, leave it to the procrastinator to wait until Thanksgiving is over to write a grateful list...

Perhaps it was the training, weights, nice weather, festive atmosphere or a sub-4 hour marathon-running-sister next to me, but I managed to pull a 42:42 8K out of my bum this morning. Not bad, especially for a gal that's made a nice little comfy niche for herself in the 10:00 minute miler group. FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS. So at the top of my "grateful list" tonight is the ability to run, bike and swim, even if it's slow, because it lets me feel proud of myself. I am also very grateful for the support and love of my family, without whom I could not live the life I live I do (for many reasons). For all the conflicts, dysfunction and craziness we engage in, they are still my family and would lay down and train tracks for me, and never ask why. And for my friends, again for many reasons, but mostly for the constant challenges they (knowingly or unknowingly) put in front of me to make me a better person, (because without challenges we never progress,) and for their unwavering support that I sometimes don't give them enough credit for (until crisis). And finally, I am grateful for change and second chances -the ability I have to endure it and thrive because of it, and the opportunity to do things differently with each new day. For that, and so much more, I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Done and Undone

Believe it or not, nothing was put off today. Not only did I get my ducks in order, but I sent them quacking. This brief diversion from my otherwise avoidant existence is not that uncommon, I do admit, not unlike the elusive "perfect" swim stroke. You know, the one that you might get MAYBE once every couple of swims, that lasts maybe one or two stokes down the lane. Yeah, my mania days are like, with that frequency.

Speaking of swims, I have to say that today's effort goes right up there on the list of All-Time Things I Need Erased From My Memory. Wow, was it embarrassing. So bad, in fact, that I became convinced that that geriatric hot-tub party of five was conversing among themselves about the joke I tried to pass off as a stroke. By the end, I just had to climb out of the pool, keep my identity shielded by my cap and goggles, and slink off into the far corner to the locker room and wallow in swimmers shame. It's a good thing I am not to hard on myself though...

Tomorrow is the Turkey Trot (doesn't everyone, every town, have one of these?) Here in Chicago, the weather is supposed to be actually nice, so nice in fact that I almost ditched to go for a ride instead. But alas, I have committed, so off I go. Run on, Turkey runner, run on.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another day, another waste (sort of)

For those of you keeping track (as I am sure there are many), here is a breakdown of the today, thus far: wake up and coffee (45 minutes), bike/run brick (2 hours), shower and dress (30 minutes), take dogs to the park (5 minutes until an unfortunate man attack), drive friend to airport and go to office (2 hours). Not bad, until you consider that this day was supposed to be spent studying Statistics and completing a practice exam. Phooey. Well, there is still time, and a right after I log off, I am sure I, I will...well, oh, who am I kidding? I am sure I will find something else to do besides studying.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How it all got started

You might think that being a procrastinator is not the best trait for an Ironman-hopeful, but hear me out, I can change your mind. See, I am all about procrastinating, be it in school, at work, and most recently studying for my license exam in clinical psychology. How it works for IM training is this: I tend to avoid doing work in all these other areas, and spend my time training instead. See how well it works for me?

So you might think that, with all the time I must then have to train, I would be this ripped, rocking tri-monster with callused palms and gym rash. But alas, I am not. I am just regular Megan, a 30-year old, relatively new-to-the-tri-scene-wannabe-Ironman (Ironwoman?) with huge ambitions but a sometimes (okay, most times) lazyman's approach to the world. My biggest hurdle is my tendency to become too comfortable, to run at a pace in which I can also conversate (10:00/mile), ride at a pace at which I can avoid lung burn, and swim relatively smoothly without much exertion. But, as I am FULL of contradiction, I can do this stuff all day long (again, mostly to avoid my other obligations, but anyway...)

So as I stand on the cusp of a new career milestone (that license thing), a potential new job, a long winter of training for IM Arizona (in Chicago nonetheless), I figured a new blog would be a great way to distract me from what I need to focus on at the moment, while uniting all those who, like me, can embrace the avoidance, accept their laziness, and appreciate all there is to do that is not quite what you SHOULD be doing. After all, if it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done, right?