Saturday, June 30, 2007

And One More Thing

I meant to say this a couple days ago, but, given the work schedule highlighted below, I sort of forgot.

In a recent post, I talked about how hard physical therapy was, and that it really was kicking my butt, which was good because it was highlighting all the areas that were weak and needed strengthening. I got a comment in response about "stop whining, no self-pity, something else, whatever..."

Let me make this very clear: There is a difference between complaining, and stating the facts. I was not complaining about working hard, but mearly making a statement that the workouts were hard. That is a fact. Period. And they are hard. And I do get embarressed when I can't do them. Again, I need to start at the bottom and work up, that's how it's done.

While I have, in the past, complained about stepping out of the race, my broken back, my getting fat, my this and that - I rarely, if ever, complain about my workouts. I complained about the aforementioned items simply because I was in a bad place, and I was frustrated, so complaining came with the territory.

But in regards to y physical therapy, I was really not complaining. Much to the contrary. Being in that place makes me feel like an athlete again. Sweating, and squatting and lifting, and working the ball - I feel like I am right back into things, or at least on the way. This has been the most progress I have made in the last four months. I love going to PT, I look forward to it, and I love finishing at the end, when he tells me how good I did (he tells everyone, but I don't care, I still believe him). I am clawing my way back and let me tell you - it's hard, and it hurts, and I am struggling through each exercise physically and psychologically, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I am coming back, and I have no complaints about that.

Much Deserved

Yesterday I went to my sister's house to hang before one of my appointment's, and she said to me, "I got a bone to pick with you." I was like, "Great, what did I do now?" And she's all, "Why the heck don't you post anymore?"

Out loud I said:


And in my mind I said,

"Mostly because my work days have become 18 hours long, and the six I don't work, I am either showering, doing laundry, eating, or, god help me fact, today I am technically on vacation, but instead I am answering calls from work, and seeing clients in private practice, which is the only way I can see them - by taking vacation days from the full-time job - and my completer time is, at best, limited to reading the never-ending flow of reports, writing my own, or answering work emails through bleary eyes."

And then out loud, I answered:

"Maybe next Monday."

Clearly, I am running low on fuel, my throat is killing, which is always a sign I am run down, and my once-sharp wit has turned into biting cynicism, mostly reservered for those near and dear like my family, while the sweet, understanding, "sure I'll do all your work so you can go on vacation for two weeks" Megan gets projected in the work place.


Well, hold up - I need to back up for a second. I am not quite the monster I paint myself to be. I vent here, for sure, but rarely in my actual life anymore. I actually work at letting things go, but I am really burning the candle at both ends, so I get a little exasperated every now and then. I guess at timesI just feel kinda irritable, but I am not that bad.

I can honestly say that I go to bed each night and reflect on my gratitude for my life. Sure I work my butt off, but I am sure glad I have job (or two, or three...) And my family? Awesome, and moving ahead. In fact, right now I am sitting in a brand new wood cabin in Saugatuk, Michigan, listening to my family laugh on the back porch and my nephew cry because he's crabby, and smelling the dinner cooking in the oven. I am grateful that my bikini still fits from last year (mostly), that I have a new tan just in one day, and that I have two more days of chillin.' We are here celebrating my mom's 60th, and for that alone I am grateful. I even took Monday off to stay an extra day.

And hundreds of miles to our south, my little brother is proposing tonight to his girlfriend.

Seriously, how can i complain?

Oh, and my own birthday is around the corner...and believe e, I have a lot to say about that!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

El Weekend Grande!!!!!

This is one of the best posts ever! I am so excited to say Congratulations to Momo, Susan, and TriJack for their finishes in Ironman CDA, CDA and Switzerland, respectively. Some have updated their sites, but we anxiously awaits pics and stories from others. Stronger had some great photos of Momo and her family, and it looks like it was a great day out there!

Back here in the farm land of Illinois, I cheered Larry on to his second 1/2 Ironman finish this season. He finished at 5:08:00 for a 21st place finish, one spot up from last year. He looked great and felt great, and if I had a better camera, I would have pics, but I will have to post those later. It was a fun weekend all around and I feel so proud of all the finishers!!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Where Am I Again?

It's almost 1AM. I am still up working on a report after sleeping for only three hours last night due to working on another report. I have absolutely nothing useful or really even remotely funny to say right now. It's more that I am posting because I have no one else to talk to and I need to take my eyes off of Microsoft Word for a second and all my real live friends are likely sleeping.

I started physical therapy last week, did I mention that? I am working with one of the guys that is a partner with Athletico (does anyone else have those where they live?) He mostly works with professional athletes and when I saw all the pictures that his clients have signed and sent him saying "thanks" I asked if he was going to put one up of me when I crossed the finish line at Ironman. He humored my by saying, "Of course!" and then made me a whole bunch of shit that had my ass muscles burning for three days. And I loved every second of it. Well....every second I wasn't on the verge of tears of shame about my general core weakness, made oh-so obvious my my total inability to do things like Planks or balancing on that stupid see-saw thing with my feet.


I left yesterday thinking, "I will never embarrass myself like that again - from here on out, I am working on my exercises EVERYDAY if it kills me." So I have been. Well, at least today.

My back is moving along slowly. This weekend while a bunch of bloggers are out running down their Ironman dreams, I am going to watch Larry do another half-Iron in Effingham. Those who can't, cheer - Right?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Before You All Go....

I wanted to wish a HUGE HUGE HUGE GOOD LUCK to all those competing in Ironman CDA this weekend, including Momo and Susan. It has been so great to read about the ups and downs of the training over the last few months, about all the insights, fears, hopes and expectations. I am so very excited to track you throughout the day!

I have grown quite fond of all my blogger friends, and frankly talk to most of them more than my in-person Chicago friends. I have felt very privileged to be witness to the brutal truths and souls-exposing experiences that IM tends to bring out. I truly wish you all a wonderful day out there!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Cycle of Life

Twenty-four hours from now, we sign the final papers to close on my dad's house.

Twenty-four hours ago, my oldest and closest friend Joe and his wife welcomed their son, Terrence James (named after my dad) into the world.

In this moment, under a cloudless Chicago afternoon, with a slight wind peeking through the screens, with the heat of a mid-80 degree day, my life moves on.

I am not really sure how to even present these thoughts or feelings here, but this blog has been like my diary, one that has seen my transition from in-training to in-recovery, from student to doctor, from girlfriend to friend, and from raving lunatic to, well, just raving (though this last one is open to interpretation). So why not yap here about the winds of change swirling around me?

This whole thing with my dad's house - my family has never lived anywhere else. Just this house. My parent's bought it over 30 years ago, and raised five kids in it. Every memory, good/bad/ugly likely happneed in the house.

Drunk friends passing out in the basement? Check.

Kitchen where brother threw scissors at me in angry rage? Check.

Swimming pool in the backyard that we spent more time cleaning at the beginning of the season then actually swimming in during the whole summer? Check.

Basketball net where dad taught me how to sink a lay-up after I didn't make the fifth grade team, and then proudly making me demonstrate said lay-up for basketball-star cousin after Thanksgiving dinner? Check.

Bedrooms which we regularly switched around, used mostly for late night talks/whispers with your sisters, and the occasionally peeing on the ground next to the bed I drunkenly mistook for the toilet when it was finally my turn to get drunk? Uhh....check?

Dark basement I ran up the stairs from because, to this day, I am afraid of the monsters that might get me if I didn't? Check.

Closet I used to hide in when my dad got really mad, and I just wanted to run away for real? Check.

Endless phone calls sitting on the stairs while siblings angrily stared me down and complain to mom that I've been on the phone for too long, but I don't care because it was my FIRST REAL BOYFRIEND and I was in LOVE? Check. Check. Check again.

I could seriously go on - after all, thirty years is a lot of memories, and those listed don't even count all the holidays of belly-stuffing food meticulously cooked by mom, stifling towers of Christmas presents we could not afford that my mom sacrificed for to see us happy, the endless nights sitting around the kitchen table with my best friend Anne-Marie, eating Ruffles chips and Domino's pizza and drinking Pepsi (and not the diet stuff), or the cigarettes stolen from my mom and smoked on the side of the house.

I have moved through this house sale almost like a robot, mostly because I am so tired of tying up my dad's estate and I just wanted it over. But now, as a new couple prepare to move in, start planning for their family, and getting to know all the nooks and crannies of my house, it's hard not to reflect.

My dad's passing marked a milestone in the life of my family. It came at a time when my mom was trying to find herself (in Arizona), my siblings were on the brink of meeting and marrying their significant others, my brother was about to embark on his Tennessee life, and I was finally reaching the end of my degree. He died when our metaphorical lives were just starting, or at least the new phases were. And few of these things would have actually happened if my dad had not died. The house was the last piece of this former life, so to speak.

So with the birth of Terrence James (named for my dad), the birth of Baby Nolan (who looks freakishly like my dad), the house, the marriages, the graduations and the reconciled relationships with my mom, life really does go on. And for someone that HATES change, I am actually excited for all of this. Like I said in a an earlier post, its these moments of reflection and contentness that I will recall when times are not-so-great, because they will remind me that what seems bad at the moment is really only preparation from the greatness that lies ahead.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Gooch

I feel I need to preface this post with a few statements about my humbleness. See, I am not one for the finer things in life. It's not that I don't want them, per say, but more that I have been a student for so long, I simply can't usually afford them. I drive a seven year old Hyundai that is finally paid off next month, most of my clothes come from my sister's closet (which is not the name for a fancy store, but quite simply my sister's actual closet), and shopping at the Gap is typically a splurge for me.

The point is, I am as far from a Material Girl as you can get, about as far from that as Lindsey Lohan is from sobriety. FAR.

My sister Ellen, on the other hand, as her finger on the pulse of high fashion, and her palm on the backside of a smoking credit card. She loves herself some style, and boy, can she rock it out. She'll show up with the craziest outfit, and at first look, I'll be like, "What the...?" But the more you look at it, you realize, "Wow, that wackiness looks good!" She just knows what to wear, how to war it, and when not to wear it when the season's over.

And not only does she know style, she buys style. Shopping is to her what triathlon is to me. But more so.

I'll go to the Gap and be like, "Oh, I really love this sun dress for Nolan's graduation and I could probably wear all summer long to my million events, but its $78 . Maybe next time...." Ellen, on the other hand, will be like, "Oh, I love this Fendi Spy Bag that's all the rage in young Hollywood, and sure its more than my doctor-sister's car, but I'll really wear the hell out of it for the next months." And you know what? If ya got, spend it. More power to her. Just pass me the hand-me downs when your done. My style has no season.

And to take this a step further, Ellen is all about the finer things in life. Now, that's not to say she's "ballin'" but she just knows how to make the small things work. For instance, Devin and I went to her house after running the Chicago marathon two years ago. She had the most delicious shampoo and soft, fluffy towels that made you feel like you were a guest in Oprah's house. For her wedding, she by-passed the Crate and Barrels and went to this French boutique, and got the most lovely French country style plates and stuff (wow, see my knowledge about that stuff? Stunning, it is). I would never have thought about that, but yet she just knows the right touches.
So the point of my story - Last year I was at the Gap (surprise) and I needed a new bag for work. I don't EVER carry a purse, at least not since 8th grade when the Liz Claiborne ones were high style - you remember - the ones with the little triangles all over? But I do like myself a nice tote every once and a while. So I purchased a black (again, surprise) tote with leather handles. And ol' girl (aka The Bag) got me through the last year fairly well. Until it get really dirty. And the handles started to fray. And it began to look ratty.

But I held onto it. And every time Ellen encountered The Bag, she would ask, "Seriously, Meg - what's that about?" She would implore me - "You have a real jobby-job now - let's step it up!" or "What do your clients say when you walk in with that thing?" And still I carried the little bugger.
Until recently.

See, while I have been faithfully toting around The Bag, I have secretly been coveting a flashier, stylish, so-out-of-my-league brand. Said brand is beyond anything I would have ever lavishly spent on myself. In fact, every time Ellen would see me, she would ask when I was going to purchase said bag, "because the Spy bag is kinda embarrassed to be seen with the Gap one." And I put it off, put it off - spent my first REAL paycheck on my now-collecting-dust triathlon bike (hey, priorities, right?)

And then, The Gucci Gods smiles down on me in the form of:

Yes, there it is.

The Gooch.

It's too bad the black-and-white photo doesn't quite grasp the rays of sun bestowed now upon me wherever I go.

When I first walked in with it, my future brother-in-law says, "Wow, you got your self a nice fake." And he was serious. But let me assure you - this is not a fake. No siree bob. This is the real deal. The only thing fake about me is my tan.

Notice, though, that it is not outrageous. Not flashy, not gaudy (though I guess that's a matter of opinion...but mine is the one that counts when it comes to the Gooch). And not, NOT a purse. No, my friends, this is sensible, though stylish, tote that is a practical and classic approach to the briefcase.

Okay fine, and its awesome.

Somewhere down the road a black Gap bag is crying, stuffed back into a cold, dark closet, just waiting to be used in his next life as the passed-around Christmas gift everyone laughs at.

And the best part? I didn't even buy it - my family gave it to me as a gift as a thank you for some stuff I did. And a big thanks right back at ya, little Q's.

Nothing says pimpin' like rollin' up in the Hyudai rocking the Gooch on my shoulder.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Opinion #3

Before I launch into the newest news on my back, lemme ask a question:

If you are scheduled for a 10:45 appointment, is it really too much to ask to be seen at least somewhere within that hour? Is that really too much?

I guess it depends on the type of doctor you are going to see. In my field, most of us are sticklers for doing things on the hour. On the Dot. In fact, it's one of the nicest aspects of my job - you know when you'll be seen, you know when you will leave. There's not much leeway there. Nice, firm limits. Everybodys time is equally important. Everyone's happy.

And then there are the medical doctors (for those of you who are doctors and reading this, please bear with me if you do not fall in this group, and if the following does ring true for you, please take note). In my life recently, these doctors are orthopedic surgeons, "rehab" doctors, etc. But even my gyne has this issue, so let's not discriminate.

Today was the second appointment in the last few weeks that it took over an HOUR for the doctor to actually make an appearance. AN HOUR. As I neared the 60 minute mark, I actually began to cry out of frustration. Cry. Like a baby. Because I was mad.

If you schedule someone for a certain, at least make an attempt to see them in a reasonable amount of time, and one hour is by no means reasonable. This was not the county hospital, this was a prestigious medical center with renowned physicians - we respect you, please respect us. See, we patients also work, have jobs to go to, just like you. Booking eight people in the same 5-minute slot may guarantee you some type of payday, or ensure that your time will be of use, but for us patients, we are wasting half of our days that we needed to take VACATION time to see you because it already took a month to even get the f-ing appointment to begin with-



Moving on.

Rainbows, puppy dogs, bluebirds.....

And......I'm back.

So I saw the rehab doctor today. I actually thought I was going to physical therapy and I thought when I walked in, "Wow, this is some fancy physical therapy place." But alas, it was not physical therapy. I even said so much when the doctor finally saw me (and to her credit, so was just about as sweet as apple pie and genuine as all get out, so I forgave her. In my mind.) So she informed me that she was not, in fact, a physical therapist, but rather a rehab doctor that will "coordinate" my services. She said she would be the one to refer me to physical therapy.

And that's exactly what she did.

That's all she did.

Seriously? This is what she does? Why couldn't the ortho doc just refer me to physical therapy? Did I miss something? Perhaps, but whatever at this point.

The good news is that she told me that the other doctors were basically full of shit because I WILL run again, and my injury was likely caused more from the hours on the bike and not the running. So phooey to the other docs.

Funny how I believe the one doctor that tells me what I want to hear. If you just look around enough, someone will eventually tell you what you want, and then you go with that. Right? Good idea?

Just kidding, but she did really say that. She said that my back MRIs do not look as bad as everyone has been telling me and that "there is no reason that you should not be able to compete in April." Ah-Men!

But seriously, I figure that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of all the opinions. But at least it feels good to be moving forward, getting my broken ass into PT and maybe coming out of this whole thing with a new set of abs and a rockin' tough back.

Oh, a girl can dream.

Now if you excuse me, I have to pack my bag for the gym tomorrow. There's an empty elliptical with my name of it.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

My Transformation Realization

Have you ever noticed how you can tell the difference between those "in training" for something and those who are just working out?

Pounding my way through yet another Elliptical workout (whoo-fing-hoo, but its better than sitting around crying about how my underwear doesn't fit and I was pretty tired from spending yesterday doing that) I saw this guy get on the treadmill and start running. Another gym dude, but something was different.

This guy had the clothes. You know, the technical ones you buy to "train," like the ball cap with the sweatband inside (Larry wears them, anyone who does Ironman wears them, you know which ones I'm talking of), the actual wicking running shirt, track shorts, running shoes. He's got a good pace, better form, and a focus that is more on the heartrate than on the televisions ahead. Okay, so not the best description, but you get the picture.

Then there are those who are casual fitness people, the ones who might sneak a workout in after work but more often than not talk themselves out of it, the ones in the cotton shirts and sweatpants walking on the treadmills or aimlessly pedaling away on the stationary bike READING MAGAZINES (geesh), with no real perspiration to be seen but a gallon jug of Gatorade.

But mostly you can tell by the clothes.

Now, I am FAR from a snob when it comes to working out or even clothes (most of my actual daily wardrobe is actual making its second appearance after spending its first go-round in my sister Ellen's closet, but that's another post) but you can tell. Right?

When I was IM training, I used to go to the gym, smirking in silent satisfaction that, although I may not look like much, I was IN TRAINING, and for a BIGGER event than most of the other gym regulars would ever dream of doing (okay, that's a bit more snobby than it sounded in my head when I originally thought it). I thought, Yeah, I got focus, I got a goal, I got dreams.

And today, I realized I crossed the line. The line that separated the "trainers" from the (gasp!) "regulars." I understood today that I have become a gym regular.

(Cue single tear)

The final straw? I even went out to buy new workout clothes different than my triathlon training clothes, so as to be more appropriately outfitted for the Elliptical, rather than the treadmill. They pretty much consist of Lycra pants that go down to the knees (my thighs have taken a bit of a beating in the downtime) and a tank top. Like an actual tank top. Not a running tank, but one you might wear out. With friends. For brunch.


Evey time I go to the gym, I want to scream, "Just wait! Just wait! I'll be an Ironman again! This is just recovery for me! This isn't the real Megan! I'll comeback!!!!" Then it hits me that I know no one there, and they likely wouldn't give a sh** about what I need to come back from anyway. So I tell my pride to shut the f-up, climb on the elliptical, adjust the tank top, and pound away. Again.

Alas, this is my current plot in life. And some days I am better with it than others. I had this HORRIBLE meltdown yesterday about the aforementioned underwear issue, and Larry said to me, "Just consider this time base building for training...This is the time when you begin to build yourself back up slowly, mentally and physically, and start to re-learn how it feels to just build, go steady and eventually go long for long periods of what if is the elliptical or the stationary's all new foundation."

Good perspective, I give him that. And I did stop whining (read: sobbing) after it, so that helped. So I guess I need to (at least momentarily) embrace my Gym Rat status. Maybe I'm a regular now, but give me a few months - My super human powers will be back!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

He Places in 2:29!!!

The fruits of Larry efforts left him with an 11th overall finish (overall!) and third in his age group. Of course, he has some complaints, but in my middle-of-the-pack eyes, that pretty stellar.

Out of the water!

Leaving T1! Holy bike, Batman!

And the final finish!

Ahhh, feels good to be done!

The humidity was brutal (check out my hair! Grrrr! You can't even see my new hot haircut!) but it was mostly overcast and a good day for racing.

Up next - Spirit of Racine 1/2 Iron on July 22nd.
Way to go Larry!!!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Not About Me

"Don't get in my lane or I will spit on your car."

Pretty nasty, huh?

Yeah, and it came from MY mouth.

Yes, I am shame-faced and no, I did not actually spit (but I had it ready). See yesterday, I was driving from the downtown office which is smack-dab in the middle of downtown, to an interview out in a far, far suburb (aren't they all?) and I had to take Clark Street.

Unfortunately, Clark Street runs alongside the Daley Center, where the Farmer's Marekt was being held, and City Hall, which is flanked by trucks and television station vans that take up driving lanes. And then there are the world's most idiodic cab drivers who try to make left hand turns from the center lane. And then me.

So immediately following a work-related crisis, which was making me already late for said interview, I was running on a growling stomach at 2 in the afternoon, knowing I would not eat until I got home at 730. I was trying to navigate the mine field of Clark Street while keeping Harriett the Hyndai safe (not an easy task, as evidenced by her collection of dings, scratches and outright smashes) and this cab literally pulled out from the curb, swearved into my my middle lane and then tried to make a left hand turn from said lane onto Waashington Street.

As my dad would say, my sh** was hot.

By the time I got home that night, I was tired, hungery, wet from the rain, and totally, totally wiped out.

So today I am taking a time-out to go see Larry do his first tri of the season, which is actually tomorrow in Wisconsin.

Go Larry!!!!!