Friday, March 30, 2007

Knock, Knock


Anyone there?

It's me, Megan. Remember me?

I know it's been a while since my last visit, and believe me when I say it hurt me more than it hurt you to be away, but I was trying to recover and, you know, that just takes a lot of energy.

Well, oaky fine - I was submerged in pain and self-pity. But mostly pain. See, after the decision, I got a little mopey again. I really tried to be happy shiny Megan again, but I could not quite feel like myself. And despite my weepy performance of the last few weeks, that just is really not me. I like to be funny - after all, sarcasm makes the world go 'round, right? Oh, wait...maybe that was something else....

Anyhoo, I really just did not feel too much like myself. I was mostly focused on pain management, and started to sleep a whole bunch. In the world of psychology, we call that "falling into a big bag of doo-doo." And yes, that is the official diagnosis.

But yesterday I talked to my coach for the first time since the decision. And you know what he told me? STOP. STOP trying to workout, STOP obsessing over the food and weight, STOP tyring to train, just STOP. And I did.

And today, I feel okay. I kept a low profile, worked from home, walked at a slow rate of speed commonly referred to to as the "old man shuffle," and just finished a marathon couch-laying during which I caught up on a week's worth or TIVO'd television (and in case you haven't heard, Friday Night Lights IS the best show on television). No joke, I really haven't even felt good enough to watch the tube. And it seems to have done the trick. Not that I am cured (yes, I have given up that fantasy) but I am now getting ready for beddy-bye and I don't need assistance taking off my pants and putting on the pj's. It's a Christmas miracle!

And tonight my coach sent me a list of food that I need to be eating and those which I should just leave at the grocery store. Too bad the email came a bit late - I hit that bad boy earlier and man did I score some sugary loot! So I guess I need to hand over the candy stash to my sister for the time being (farewell sweet jelly beans! Until we meet again, Chocolate fudge brownie ice cream!) to be locked away from my grubby little hands. And I am pulling out the old food journal, you know the one I started way back when, until I realized how honest it was keeping me from putting garbage in my mouth. Yes, it has emerged, ready to be filled with all sorts of healthy secrets! So bring on the Lean Protein! Cheer for the Fruits and Veggies!

Even though it is mostly food focused, I guess this is as much "training" as I can do for the time being. But hey, if it gets me back on the bike in a few weeks, and lets me go for some short runs by the end of next month, so be it. I kinda like the pain-free days. Hopefully more will follow.

P.S. I tried to post some funny pictures of me to, ya know, drive home my point, but the silly picutre-adding button is mad at me or something so perhaps tomorrow I will grace you with some images.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Fish Story

Okay, so that bad news is that I didn't get Police tickets for the July show at Wrigley Field, because I was in my weekly meeting when they went on sale (must have been the White Sox fairies sprinkling their dust over me to prevent me from attending the show at the home of our Northside Foes - grrrr). Ohh, and speaking of the Sox - season opener in a just a few short days - game on bitches.

But back to the Police disappointment - that's cool because guess what?

April 3rd.

Discovery Channel.

Deadliest Catch.


And "it's even deadlier than before!"


To commemorate the event, we are having a fish party over at the Brummel Street abode, complete with Cod soup, fish tacos and shrimp. Deelish!!!!

What? What's that I hear? Don't know what the Deadliest Catch is about? Blasphemy!!!! It's only one of the greatest "reality" shows on television! And for someone that doesn't watch reality shows, that's a huge statement. Trust me - this show's got it all - danger, cold, ice, attitude, coffee-swilling-and-cigarette-hacking ratchity men and their crews, no sleep, slippin' and slidin', capsized vessels, and the ever present threat of the Bering Sea tossing one of the dudes over the side. And all for some crabs. One word - Awesomeness.

And here's another reason I love it - Despite my love for my city and my more-than-likely never-actually-leaving lifestyle, I have always had these fantasies of moving other places - like out to a tiny rural town, setting up my little practice, living in a farm house with an abandoned barn and hanging out at the small pub that everyone congregates at on Saturday nights and goes to the Sunday morning pancake breakfasts at the local church (even though I don't actually go to the church, but hey, free pancakes are free pancakes, right? I can give an AMEN to that!) .

Well, the other fantasy is living in a small Alaskan town where said small pub is the gathering place on Thursdays, and the locals are all fisherman whose wives wear big parkas and furry (not real fur though) boots, and "winter pounds" are not only sexy but a necessity, and everyone drives snow mobiles or ice skates around town like in the movie "Mystery, Alaska," and ice fishing is a great first date.

And when I watch the Deadliest Catch, I like to live out this little ideal life of mine. Sure, most of these fisherman really live in Seattle most of the year and their wives look more like models than burly parka-sporting broads, and the local pub is filled with raging alcoholics that likely rent rooms in the back, and I really really hate cold weather - but whatever. I still like to picture it.

So next week, this time, I will be settling into my couch, hanging with the family, and indulging in the fish trough (okay, that's gross -sorry). You should check it out - it's fish-tastically magical!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Body Says

I'm out.

There it is, in black-and-white. I said it, it's out there, it's real. Just like the Ironman became "real" when I bought my plane tickets, my withdrawl is now real with that statement.

After several days of great progress, my back locked up on Friday, making is near-impossible to stand upright for most of the afternoon, and blowing any hope of a workout for the day. More importantly, I just returned from the bike portion of my "deciding" brick, and after only two hours, I can barely walk.

Now three weeks without a serious workout, and three more weeks until the race, I now accept that there is just not enough time to fully recover. I hoped against hope, and perhaps a small miracle will prevail, but I can't approach the next few weeks with that even as an option.

In the HUGE support I have gotten from everybody, it was suggested that maybe I just go and see what happens, but when I can't stand up, and a soft cough or sneeze sends my back into a spasm, that's just not a good idea. I have trouble sitting through a three-hour computer training, so a six-seven hour bike is so beyond my comprehension right now. Moreover, I discovered today that, not matter how many five-hour rides you do, a three-week layoff is a LOT of lost fitness. Even with three-times weekly treatments and moderate workouts, the recovery will take a lot longer than the three more weeks I would give it.

So it's over.

Wow, that sucks.

I totally thought I would feel some relief by making that decision, but it is quite the opposite. I don't feel good, don't feel settled or focused - I just feel bad. And bitterly disappointed. And sad in a way that actually leaves me sort of dumbfounded. And I decided that it's more than just the lost training - it was the plans, the hope, the images of the day- you need all this stuff to get through the workouts, and after a while, it becomes real, tangible, right-in-front-of-you-to-grab-it. You begin to see yourself cross that line, hug your family and friends, maybe cry (as I usually do) or maybe not, but then go home and eat pancakes and come back to Chicago with the medal to show just how far you can go. Okay, fine, it's kind of cheesy, but I got through a lot of trainer rides with those thoughts.

So it is. I am now going to turn my attention to recovery, spend a ton of time in the pool and then focus on the iron-distance race in September. It won't have the bells and whistles of an "official" Ironman, but I really just want to do the distance. 140.6 miles is just as far in the cornfields of Central Illinois as it is on the streets of Tempe. It may not have my "City of Blinding Lights" by U2 blaring as a I cross, but I'll have my screaming family and friends.

So at the fork in the road, I am choosing to continue the journey down a longer path, and hoping that this time around, I take all the lessons from the previous trip and am more watchful for the potholes. And of course, I will have to document this trip as well, so don't expect to see me sign off on this "Project" just yet. There's a whole lotta tri-ing to be done.

Later skaters.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Rebuttal

Dear Megan's Will,

You need to ease off with the attitude without knowing the full story. See, I have a lot to say too, but like any other injured body part, we never get our full say - ya'll just wanna jump off the deep end and blame us for not cooperating, ruining the big plans - So hear me out.

First, know that I am not doing this out of spite. I like Megan, got nothin' but love for her (even if she did put that stupid tattoo on me - what a dumb 19-year-old move), but she needed a bit of a wake-up call and I felt that, since the knees weren't doing their job of staying injured, I needed to step up to the plate. See, the reality is is that Megan chose to do this race without having formed a deep and solid tri-base. Yeah she did a couple half-IMs, but so what? You don't just give someone that graduates from high school a doctorate after six months just because they bought the right books. They need to work up to the big time, learning and absorbing all the aspects of event and fully appreciate the enormity of IM.

Meg wasn't ready. Sure, she had the drive, the focus, and the heart, but a couple of marathons don't make for a successful Ironman. Her body just wasn't ready for the pounding she delivered. And moreover, she was doing it all inside, so her workouts were likely traumatizing her body a bit more than if she hit the actual road. We tried to warn her, throwing a couple of sore knees in there, but she outwitted us this time (damn coach of hers!) with her physical therapist to knock the knees back into place. So her body needed to do something more drastic to clue her in - I got nominated so I took her out.

Now, know that I don't like seeing her in pain. And how bad do I feel when she cries from the pain and frustration and disappointment, huh? Real bad, lemme tell ya. And I know she keeps putting in the good faith that she'll get better, which creates these emotional roller coasters of hope and despair, but I have to keep sticking around and challenging her, both mentally and physically, and testing you, her Will, because ultimately, that Will get her across the line. The stronger I help build you up now, the easier things will be race day.

I hope you can understand where I'm coming from, Will. After all, you should know all about testing people - isn't that how your build your own muscles? If we never test people, how do they ever grow, or know what they are capable of? Meg knows now - she knows what she's about and how far she can go. So we take this little experiment and all the lessons learned, and move on to the next race, even if it's not an "official" Ironman. The distance is still the same - and our girl will finish anyway.

Keep the faith,
Meg's Back

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An Open Letter

(Note: This was first posted a couple weeks ago when we didn't know how bad the situation was, but it was removed almost immediately once reality hit. However, it is again applicable. For some, this may be a repeat)

Dear Megan's Back,

It has come to my attention that you have been seriously trying to throw a wrench into the IM plans for our little darling. I'm afraid I might have some bad news for you.

See, I've been with Megan throughout these cold, miserable months, cheering her on as she pedaled away in her living room for all those hours and hours, rolling her ass out of bed in the mornings into freezing temps just to swim, encouraging her to get on the bike at 11PM even with an out-of-town guest to get the workout in, and forcing her to finish brutally long runs on an indoor treadmill while weirdo meathead trainers stared her down, all in the name of finishing this race.

Now, you seem to want to join to the fun, but my friend, you are a little to late. Maybe this is your way of retaliating for all the hard work she has put you through, or perhaps you have become jealous that her knees were getting all the attention in Doctor's office while you felt ignored, stiffened and compacted. But if you stopped being selfish for a moment, you would appreciate that, in this process, she grew healthier herself. You got stronger, she got strong, I got stronger - We all won. But now you want to pout, throw a tantrum. Why? She's done nothing but treat you right, laying belly-down on the ground in the gym and lifting her legs and arms like Superwoman just to toughen you up, and even got you a coach to keep you happy. And this is how you repay her? Pinching and bulging and tightening to the point that she can no longer ties her own shoes, go to the toilet unassisted, drive her sad little car, or sit through a 30 minute meeting?

So my friend, Mr. Back, here's what I have to say to you - Piss off. See, I am Megan's Will, and me and Meg - we have history. I may not have always been there when she needed me, but she needed to let me develop in her own time, and I let that happen. We grew together. So she loves me more. Plain and simple. And guess what? I'm stronger.

So even if you don't want to do this race, too bad. Her Doctor told her to do her stretches four times a day? She's been doing 'em eight. Go to the Doctor three times a week? Yeah she did, and without insurance. Pain killers? No way, but butt-loads of anti-inflammatory pills, and a new massage therapist to boot. Won't let her run anymore? She's been taking her ass to the pool and running herself in circles for hours. And the bike? Yeah, well, she put in her hours - she'll be fine. And in the in-between she's done EVERYTHING else her coach/doctor told her. And she's been doing it knowing that she may not get to the line, but has done her damnest to try. So there. We win.

Oh, and if your wondering about the weepy, defeated, woo-is-me posts prior to this - she's over it.

See you in AZ, bitch.

No Love for You-
Megan's Will

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Up Goes the Coaster Car

So I decided that the only way I can determine whether or not I can do this is race is not, suprprisingly, by whining and asking everyone else "What do you think?" but rather going out and doing a workout for myself. And that's just what I did.

I did a hour bike and 30 minute run, granted not far when considering that today would have been my 6 hour ride and 2 hour run, but hey, its a start. And while there was some pain, especially on the bike, it was fractional compared to the last week. And I was also mostly pain-free yesterday as well AND sat through a two hour movie. Ha!

So for today, I am not quitting. I am going to keep getting treatments, doing short workouts and building to the race. But I will continue to monitor, and have also looked into other races this season if this one does not work out - after all, disappointing is not the same as discouraging, right Duane?

Keep on keeping on.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

And Another

This one's more of an update on the back, so there are two posts for today - Yay!

I have been reluctant to post because I was waiting for some better news. I have been slowly healing, though not as fast as I want to, and have been off training ow for 11 days (I think, something like that). I was hoping to get a swim in, but have not really (mentally) felt up to it.

Yesterday, I went for a bike fitting. However, after only 45 minutes on the bike, my back locked up again. I had a doctor's appointment right after and that helped in the moment, but does not bode well for the future.

In any case, today was mostly pain free so again I am hopeful. Tomorrow is my test ride and deadline for decision making, but I feel almost if I need another week. I guess we'll see tomorrow, but I don't want to make any dumb decisions. Part of me has come to terms with maybe just doing the September iron-distance race, though I sort of (selfishly) wanted the bells-and-whistles of the official Ironman, and I really was looking forward to meeting in-person some of the people I have met throughout this experience, and sneak in a vacation with my family.

So that's where I am at. I wish it was more definitive. But I will definately post after the ride tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The Home Team

There is this guy at the gym who we call Paul. Larry knows him from other races or gyms or something, and somehow he has recently landed at ours in Evanston. Anyway, Paul is one of the super-athletes who is a normal, regular day-to-day guy who consistently places in his age group at all his races, including Ironman. He is actually so good that he called a bike store to see if they would sponsor him in his quest to qualify for Hawaii, and they not only said yes, but gave him a rockin' $6000 bike for his effort.

The fact that Paul is an atrocious swimmer is made up for his lightening fast times in the bike and run, so he doesn't seem to mind. In fact, anytime I see he he's in the pool, going back-and-forth with such effort that you almost want to stop him and give him a few pointers.

But here's the thing - Larry has actually tried. Not to coach him, but rather refer him to a swim coach (ours) to help make his stroke more efficient and, hopefully, his time better. Yet Paul refuses to reach out to the coach, or anyone for that matter, but instead continues to plug away, logging the 4000-5000 yard swim with bad form (and he can't flip turn).

Larry and I have discussed this, as it frustrates Larry to no end that there's this guy who has potential to qualify but won't just take minimal instruction to help him do it. It's weird, right? That you would spend so many hours a week training to be at your peak, but refuse any instruction that might actually help you meet this goal? Oh, and I know this because all Paul does is talk about himself. Everyday, all day. You tell him you did race such-and-such, he not only did it, but smoked your ass. Ironaman Wisconsin, you say? Been there, done that, he says. Whereas most of us (myself obviously included, as evident by my blog) talk about triathlon with reciprocity and like to EXCHANGE stories of adventure, victory and defeat, Paul really just like to it be the "Paul Show" at each meeting.

So based on the information we have assessed, we have come to the conclusion that Paul prides himself on being "self-made" and has gotten to this level without any coaching or assistance. He mostly just read, eats, sleeps and breathes triathlon, and does nothing but consume himself with learning more on his own. So if he makes a mistake, he doesn't really know because no one tells him and he has no one to compare himself to. He's actually married and can you imagine being his wife? Yikes - she's gotta listen day in and out to this hot mess. And this is year round - not like some of us who an train off and on, or allow ourselves a semblance of a real life on the side.

Myself? See I can't imagine doing this thing without other people helping me. In fact, that's been one of the coolest parts of this, is seeing how much people care and want to help - how much information other people have and want to share with you. In fact, in the last few months, I have built up quite a little team. I have my coach, Craig, who mostly just gave me my training plans in the beginning, but has definitive moments of greatness, especially throughout this back injury (and he's smokin hot, so that's cool too), I have my chiropractor/miracle man/voodoo witch doctor Dr. Kurtz, who is curing all my ills, be it with the eye of toad, fairy dust or a simple band-aid and duct tape. I also now have my new massage therapist (yeah, I said it) who can rub a knot out of my butt cheek like nobody's business, and a training partner, Larry, who is definitely one of those that likes to share experiences and has supported me all the way.

And that's not even to mention the family that puts up with me pedaling away in the wee hours of the morning each weekend, listens to my cries from injuries and disappointment, ask how the swims/bikes/runs went and listens with real, sincere attention, and just supports me no matter what. And finally the blogger community, who listens even when I post five complaints in a row, and sends me comments that just nail what's going on. I can not express the gratitude.

How can one do this without that support? I think I once said that I may put in the miles, but I am carried on the shoulders of many. It's so true. And moreover, how can you do this and not take guidance or instruction? Just because one has three or four races under the belt, isn't there always stuff to learn? Maybe that's just the student in me, I don't know. But I am certain that this experience would have never happened without my teammates. All of them.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

At the End of the Day

"Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet
voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

And that's where I am at right now. Waking up each day, hoping for no more pain, and just muddling through the day once it sets in. Then doing it all over again the next day.

I was hoping to make a decision about AZ after this weekend's workout, but with no pain relief, that workout might not happen. And the decision makes itself.

I am not going to talk to much about this right now, as I feel all I have done as of late is complain or moan about the unfairness of it all. Everyone has been great listening to me, but even I get tired of my own voice. Suffice to say that the feelings are overwhelming and the pain is, at times, still agonizing.

I feel like at the end of this, I will will have a more positive perspective and all the insight and wisdom I hear I might get. Maybe. But right now, I really just want my body, my training, my humor, and my mind back. Just a small request...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Deal (with the Devil)

So here it is:

Today I has my first almost pain-free day since this whole fiasco began,which indicates that my treatments are working. So good. However, I talked to my coach, who basically said, "You can do this race, but you will risk not being able to do any of the run, or have to walk the whole marathon." I said, "Well, those aren't really great options. What else do you have?"

So we talked about my goals, and if it made a difference to me whether or not I finished in 14 hours or 17 hours (not really if I knew I was giving it my all-out effort), if I wanted to walk the whole marathon or run at least part of it (definitely NOT walk the whole thing - to me that doesn't count, but please note that is my own opinion) and if I wouldn't just feel better skipping this and training for the September one (jury's still out - I don't know). So I made this deal:

I would begin training again this weekend, starting with some water running, then a swim, and then a short brick on Sunday. If I even have a hint of pain on Saturday, or from this day forward in my back, I am done. And I fully accept that. I cannot imagine doing six or seven hours on a bike with a sore back at the beginning of the 112 miles. I wouldn't even be able to get off the darn bike at the end, much less try to run/walk, so what's the point? Should the pain return, in any form in my back, I will resign AZ and focus on September.

And I can be okay with that. No tears, no pity, no ice cream. I broke through a lot of "mind shit" to get this far, and I can keep breaking through it to get past this setback.

So there it is.

Now back to training.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Where Its At

This weekend was unbearable, to say the least. While the pain somewhat dissipated on Saturday, which was likely due to Friday's treatment, it returned full force on Sunday and put me right back in bed.

The physical pain, however, is nothing compared to where my mind is right now. I go up and down, one moment confident that this will pass, and the next devastated at the likelihood that this whole thing is over. Not working out for now six days is only complicating things, as I feel more and more sluggish and behind. Even if my disk does go back into place, there's not a whole lot of time for the back to recover before putting it through the pounding of a race.

I am trying very hard to stay positive, and I know everyone has been supportive and helpful, but sometimes the intensity of the pain racks my body and literally makes me sick to my stomach, and its really hard to keep positive at those times. Most of yesterday and right now have been spent managing the anger and tears, as even contemplating this is almost too much. I spoke with my coach on Friday after we got the news, and he was all, "It's all about the journey, you've learned so much" and I agree and don't want to dismiss that point. But as anyone who goes through this can attest to, this becomes your life. I attached so much to this race as a goal, and while the learning process was great, the possibility of not actually fulfilling that goal is literally heartbreaking.

I have also been trying not to get so dramatic about this, repeating to myself, "People go through worse loses, this is nothing," but the reality is that to me, it is something. We don't make goals with the mindset of "Well, maybe I'll get there," or "I'll half-ass it and see what happens." We make them, and then do everything in our power to achieve them. This is what I did. And while I know I gained a lot in the process, that end goal, the finish line, may no longer be there for me.

So in the meantime, I will as hard to stay positive as I have to physically recover. I will make my final decision at the end of the week, of course with my doctor's and coach's input. And if anyone has any suggestions at all on things they have found helpful for their own hurt backs, please pass the knowledge on. I could use it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In The Moment

Today I had ice cream.

For breakfast and lunch.

Let the pity spiral begin...

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Final Word?

Just got back from the doctor. Since my insurance has not yet kicked in and there is no MRI, we are operating under the assumption that I have a bulging disk in my lower back, based on preliminary tests. What does that mean?

Given that we are four weeks out from the race, it is likely that training is over for me, and I have to make the choice whether or not I can do a race with after a four-week hiatus. My initial response is no, as I can barely sit or lay down without excruciating pain at this moment. I will have to go to physical therapy three times a week until the race, and that might not even be enough. I can't see beyond the searing blinding light of pain and my own tears right now.

So for the time being, I have nothing else to say. There are actually no words for how bad and disappointing this feels. Absolutely no words.
No improvement today. In fact, my legs periodically go numb now. I am pretty sure, though am not a medical doctor, that this is a disk thing pushing against my nerve. I have more treatment today. Third day no workout.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Still broken. Went for therapeutic massage tonight, will evaluate results in the morning. Day two without training, none for tomorrow either. Sad and worried. Will continue to update.

My bike came, though. So pretty, as it sits in the corner. Maybe pictures once I can walk again.

Good night.
Doc got me in at 8PM last night for emergency session. No progress yet today. In bed. Will update.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Can't Even Title This

It started as a little tweak, insignificant enough that I didn't even bother mentioning it to the physical therapist last week. Last night it got worse, and today it became full-blown, so bad that now I can barely walk (no joke). I figured there would be some fallout after last Wednesday disastrous run on ice and snow, but when it didn't happen immediately, I thought I was in the clear. When I could barely get out of bed this morning from the pain in my lower back, which grew so bad over the day that pain is now shooting down my leg, I knew it was not good. Excruciating does not even do this pain justice.

I am trying not to panic, as if usually my MO, though the intensity of the pain is not making that task easy (maybe a few tears of fear were shed earlier, but I've since recovered). Instead, I am mostly praying that my physical therapist can work his voodoo magic and pop whatever it is back into place. Either way, I am out of commission for the next few days, not a good situation with a race that is 39 days away (thanks to those who provided that number!) Please send really good positive thoughts my way - I am too far along for things to go bad now.

I want to use a curse word, but I won't. Too scared to be angry. Yet.

Need pain meds, a floor and a blanket. Will update.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I Am Boring

How can you look at this and not smile back? Come on know you want to....
So I needed to put this little guy up because I needed a little smile right now.
I had another molasses swim today, and I am convinced the my coach tricked me into believing I was doing a 3200 yard number, but it was really a 4200 yard job, given the time it took. And I still have pool foggy head, so please excuse me if I seem somewhat disoriented (of course, it could also be me coming down from an intense sugar high fueled by a bag of jelly beans and some delicious chocolate fudge brownie ice cream otherwise known as dinner - starting to get sleepy....snore.....)
It occurred to me today that this race is creeping up so very quickly. I don't know the actual count (I was depending on a friend who was doing the race but he dropped out and I forget to ask him now) but I know it's soon, a few weeks, maybe six. After this weekend, I only have one more hard week and then taper. Whoa. I will really be an Ironman (hopefully), and soon. Weird.
I really have nothing else beyond that tonight. My wittiness got lost at the Al-Anon meeting tonight, now I just need to brush my teeth and hit the sack, as my dad used to say. So sack, here I come.

Monday, March 5, 2007

My Magical Toothbrush

I am usually the first to shoot my mouth off about how lazy this world has become, what with our fast food, DVDs delivered right to our house, everything we need with the click of a mouse - gosh, one doesn't ever need to leave the house, and rather have the world come to them. And then people seriously can't understand why obesity is a problem in this day and age. I mean, at our staff meeting last week (yeah, I have a staff now :)) the team found out I am doing the Ironman and one guy was like, "My mind gets tired even thinking about 140.6 miles."


Of course, I can be a walking contradiction, I can admit this. How many times have I driven to work, when I could have taken the "L" just because I was tired/cold/lazy? And how many times have I let my newly clean clothes sit in the laundry basket until they got good and wrinkled again, prompting me to iron them and thus defeating the whole "easy way out" to begin with? And who hasn't sat on the couch and watch public access t.v. on mute because they couldn't find the remote, or driven past the oil change place on the way home from work even though her car was six thousand miles over, promising to do it the next day even though the oil change place is on the other side of town, because she really just wanted to go home and eat a sandwich? What? Oh, only me? Oh, well...nevermind...anyhoooo....

My point being that I try my best not to be overtly lazy. Like, I committed to this Ironman, hence, I am not lazy. Even when I am spank-ass tired, I will ride my bike at midnight and with a friend in town, just to get in the workout. And getting a doctorate? Can't be lazy doing that (well you can, but then you come frightening close to failing, say, Statistics, and getting kicked out, and that's not so good....or so I've heard).

So imagine my surprise when I was in the Target this past week, looking for a new toothbrush, and come to find that apparently, the hand-help manual ones that you actually have to move your arm up and down to work, no longer exist. No my friends. It's the Day of the Vibrating Toothbrush. Standing in front of the excruciatingly long row of these mechanical devices, I thought, "Now Self, this is the EPITOME of laziness. Can't even brush one's teeth on one's own arm anymore, huh? Moving the arm too much work for us now? Why not just hire someone to come in and do it for you while you just stand with your mouth gaping open? And maybe said tooth-washer has a friend that professionally wipes butts too - you could get, like, a two-for."

However, I still needed a gib-cleaner, so I had to break down and get one. Have you ever lifted one of these jobs? Seriously though, it's a good thing I've been doing my strength training - these bad boys need a little muscle behind them.

So I go home, unwrap it, and give it a go.

And then the angles sang.

It was a new day.

How can I best describe it? It is as if the little tooth fairies come down from their fluffy tooth clouds and personally massage your hard-working gibs, and all-the-while hum sweet tunes of sugar-free cleanliness as they do. The little bristles just go around and around and around, rolling over the teeth, tickling the gums and making sure your chompers are as clean as a baby's.....mouth, I guess. It's like being at the dentist's office, but without the dentist, and without all the blood, drilling, numbness and screaming.

Sure the vibrating arm of the brush is so loud that you have to repeatedly explain yourself and point sheepishly to your teeth every time you leave the bathroom and your sister looks at you funny. But whatever.

So I have re-thought my position on the vibrating toothbrush. Sometimes, in the morning, just to make myself feel better, I try not to turn it on, and go all old school on my mouth, manually moving the brush up and down. But I always give in, and you know what? If mechanically-cleaned teeth are wrong, I don't want to be right.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Roller Coaster

Wow what a crazy last few days (see previous posts for updates). The bike situation has been fixed, and I was able to order the LAST Felt S22 size 50 from Inside Out Sports, who were as nice as nice can be. It should be here Friday. Score. So crisis averted.

I managed to get in the five hour trainer ride without injury or incident, followed by a short 45-minutes run, again without injury. So that was a weight off my mind. Maybe next week I can actually get on the road. Woo-hoo!

I spent the night in Wisconsin with my friends from internship (one is from Kentucky and now lives in New Jersey, and the other lives in Wisconsin, both pictured above, with me in the middle). It was good to see the two of them again, and I am always struck by how hard it is to live so far from those so close. We see each other only a few times a year, and it is never long enough to get all of it in. So much to say, but never enough time. And this weekend was even harder because I missed an all-day shopping excursion due to training yesterday. They understood though, and were even kind enough to indulge me by asking how it all went. So nice.

Anyhoo, I had great expectations for this post, but am feeling a bit worn and need to get my clothes ready for tomorrow (now that I have a grown-up job, I can't wear jeans least not until I put a few more weeks into this).

I'm out.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Ask, and You Shall Receive

Three posts in one day! It's a Christmas miracle!

Literally as I was hitting "publish" on the last post, my sister called - her hockey coach told her to tell me to check out and, both of whom appear to have the bike. And again I am hopeful. I'll kept ya posted....

Triathlon Karma?

Perhaps it was the tri-gods punishing me for making fun of the suburbs in the previous post (sorry if I offended anyone by my sweeping generalizations - again, sometimes it's hard for me to totally convey humor, assuming I have some), or maybe just for my periodic complaining of the weather/training/whatever. Or maybe this is the gods creating another hurdle in my quest to be an Ironman to make me mentally stronger. I don't know - you decide.

Remember when I posted about finally finding a bike and the bike shop ordering it and me getting it in two weeks? Yeah, well that was over four weeks ago, and I never heard from the store. So, two weeks AFTER I should have already had it, I called them yesterday, only to find out that they never actually ordered it, and no one ever called me to let me know. Nope. Never ordered it. And the best - no apology, no responsibility taken.

So I kept my composure, hung up the phone and internally raged. WTF? Seriously. How do you run a business like this? Oh, and this was one in a serious of mess-ups with this shop, but that's another post. No more.

So not all is lost, right? Wrong. Went to the local bike shop where my first Felt road bike is from (the one I have been training on with the clip on aerobars - yeah - totally pimp) and turns out Felt is not shipping out another load until MAY. As in, after my race. So I asked about the Cervelo. Next shipment? June 18th. Translation? No bike for the Ironman. I have no bike for the Ironman. It might be hard to get those 112 miles in on my mountain bike.

This bike store (the second one) is going to do a national search to locate it at other dealers, but it is not likely they will find it, given the size (50cm). I emailed Felt directly, but am not hopeful.

So my road bike with clip-on aero bars is becoming the front runner for my highly anticipated first showing. Figures. I am about as scrappy as they come anyway, so its fitting that my bike (which by the way, is not even mine - I bought it from my sister who stopped racing right after she bought it to have a baby - she used it once) is basically put together with duct tape, a wing and a prayer. Fantastic. This is the equivalent of bring my 2001 Hyundai to the Daytona 500. That's the hotness right there.

So sarcasm aside (it might be hard, but I'll try - oops, lost already), I am obviously upset, frustrated, you name it. Following this disaster, I went to physical therapy, and literally sobbed in the office, in turn horrifying my already socially-anxious doctor into a near coma from his discomfort. And now I am just angry.

So if anyone knows a dealer that can get me a 50cm Felt S22 (see, and it's not even the higher end model - I'm a simple girl, with simple tastes) you will win my life-long gratitude, and maybe even a bit of servitude - we can see what can be arranged. Otherwise, feel free to wave at me on April 15 - I'll be the girl hunched over my fake aero bars, chanting voodoo witch curses on Mission Bay Multiport.

Chasing My Own Tail

You may (or not) have noticed the lack of training posts in the last few days, and frankly, it's because training has just been training. There hasn't been too much to report in the last week or so (minus a recovery week that I took FULL advantage of) and the most notable training-related issues have been in terms of scheduling around a full time job and four hour commutes to random towns (I know, I know - welcome to the club).

Until Wednesday.

Oh yeah. This little gem of an experience will make the wait for an update is well worth it.

Let me preface this by stating off the bat that I have no hate for suburbs or even subdivision-living. Rather, its a personal preference, and my preference is to stay far, far away. Having lived in the city all my life, I have come to prefer a set up in which the streets run on a grid with 99% straight streets that run the four directions. Easy. Makes sense. I do not prefer to live in a pseudo-town comprised of circular streets, all of which ultimately culminate into a park named after a dead county board member, and dotted with houses that like EXACTLY like the next. A little Stepford, a little creepy.

So here is the setting of my story. As I mentioned earlier posts, I was staying at a friend's house in the 'burbs, a town populated mostly by long, long roads of strip malls and, you guessed it, subdivisions. The problem began when I had to do my long run after the job training, beginning a 2.5 hour run at 5PM. However, my friend said that she mapped out a four-mile loop along the sidewalks of long stretches of busy roads populated by said strip malls. I would just have to do a few loops. Good enough.

Then, my friend said she would run the first hour with me, which was all fine and good, until 23 minutes into it (and three rest breaks) she decided that maybe she was not in the best shape to continue.

So I was left to my own devices after about 530PM. By this time, the sun was setting, it was getting cold, and I began to notice that all the sidewalks along said path were unplowed, presumably because they are technically city sidewalks so they don't bother to shovel.

So I ran through the snow for the next 45 minutes, slipping and sliding, knees twisting and turning with each step. Ouch. Finally, I made the decision to just take it to the streets in a nearby subdivision because they were quiet and plowed. And now the party begins.

When you spend so much time making sure you're not breaking an ankle by looking down for potential ice and snow, you tend to get preoccupied - the mind can only do so much and something gets put to the side. For me, the "side" was my sense of direction, and 1 hour 15minutes in, I looked up and said, "Self, you are lost." Lost in a subdivision. In a town I don't know. With no cell phone. And no number to call friend. So I ran from one stop light to another and finally begin to panic. Think getting chased and eaten by a grizzly is the scariest thing ever? No way, my friend. Subdivision disorientation kicks grizzly butt.

So I finally get my wits about me, freezing, shoes soaking wet from snow and slush puddles, and go to a gas station. The girl with blue hair redirected me a mile down the road to get back on path. However, the mile ran along a unlit stretch of busy street (oh, yeah, forgot that part - apparently the people that build subdivisions and strip malls pour all their money into Wal-Marts and Super Targets, so there none left to install street lights, but no worries, because cars have head lights and you have to drive everywhere out there anyways). So I run along the CURB against oncoming traffic, every now and again slipping off into the street, and diving back onto the curb. Awesome. So much for heart rate monitoring by this point.

I arrive at the prescribed intersection and it's familiar. Yea! But then....the IPod dies. It's been doing this lately, the battery dying after only being on for one hour. So now I have one hour left, a minor heart condition, wet feet, no IPod, BUT - I am back to my friend's subdivision. So, like any self-respecting almost-Ironman, I cried a little. Whimpered, really. And I looked at my watch - one more hour.

And then I ran about the block.

For one hour.

One block.

Around and around.

With no IPod.

At the very end, I decided that I awarded my self the "One Tough Bitch" award for perseverance.

And the best part of the night? When I walked in the door (at 730PM), my boss called - he was pulling me out of the suburb training, sending me back to Chicago that night, and putting me in a Chicago training. So I could have just gone home and done this whole thing on the Chicago lakefront.

Is this race almost here?