Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pictures and a Point

Me and the Cheese at the start line

Okay, so I am starting to get really sick so I am taking the lazy approach to posting tonight. I have added the pictures, but if you want the actual recap, you have to visit Cheese's site - but trust me, it's a good report.

So these pictures mostly speak for themselves, and they are mostly in chronological order. We also got notice of the offical photos, so if any one knows how to download them without paying (I know it's stealing, but really, whose gonna pay like 50 bucks for one photo? Not me, sweeties.)

Can you hear the "Rocky" theme song in the background? No? Oh, maybe that's just in my head....
The fact that this is a picture of my tush aside, I totally rocked my new running skirt. I took a cue from Momo and all the other badasses that do the skirt thing, and I am totally addicted.
Cheese trying to figure out what just happened. Either that, or he's giving the hairy eyeball to the guy that cut him off at the finish.

Doing what I do best - eat my face off. I didn't post the actual picture of me with my post-race loot, but I literally had an armful of free food which included a bagel, two Cliff bars, to packages of fig newtons, five bananas (yeah, you read that right - 5) and cookie and a bottle of water. I stuffed it all in my face. All of it.

Yeah, I know. Kinda intimidating....

I will say this about the race though. One of my many observations included a running commentary on the whole walkers-in-a-marathon-type-race. Now, I have nothing against those people that rock the whole walk-run program. Whatever, it's fine, and I am sure half of you actually beat me to the finish line. However, my beef with you is that, when you choose to stop running, you often do so right in front of me, thus causing me to stop and/or trip over you, in turn causing you to give me the hairy eyeball and mumble something about me being rude.
Listen, walk-runner/run-walker. It's a simple proposition. If you are going to randomly stop in the middle of a race to walk, while surrounded by thousands of others who are actually running, can you please, please just keep yourselves to the right side of the road?
This also goes for people who choose to actually walk the whole race (what is that about?), people who push people in wheelchairs or baby strollers (how is this allowed in running races, I don't know), and generally for all those that need to stop for whatever reason. Right side people, right side. Let safety be a friend to us all.
And secondly, let me ask you this - who came up with that whole idea that you are not supposed to wear the actual race shirt in the race? Cause whoever did must have forgotten to send the memo to the the participants of the Miami Half Marathon. And this isn't so much of a rant as it is a question - I really am just wondering where this came from and why. Cheese and I were talking about this. We were looking through our pictures and noticed that in one picture, all five people surrounding him are wearing the race shirt. No kidding. I am sure the pic is on his site, if you want evidence.
So what is this about? Is there like an unwritten rule that you can't do this? Is this a chapter in the racer "Rules of the Road" to not to wear the shirt until you finish the race? So then why do people do this?
Just wondering.
Anyhoo, enjoy the pictures. I am going to OD on some Theraflu.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The First Half

So for some reason, I can't get the race photos off the CD and onto my blog (I carried a disposable camera for the race, so they had to get developed, as opposed to the easy-peesy uploading of the digital camera. So I figured I would at least post the pictures of pre- and post- race. They are mostly of Cheese and I goofing around and enjoying some down time away from work and the Chicago winter (p.s. It was -4 degrees when we left Friday morning, and that was the temp WITHOUT the windchill).

Ahhh, beach time. We spent a chunk of Friday hanging at the beach, but both of us did so without sunscreen. Cheese paid the price with some bad burn to his back legs, but I have toughened up my skin up from years of practice in the sun. Hahaha....oh, I guess that's not supposed to be funny....

I am always happy on a beach and in the sun.

Cheese jumped right in - It was cold and he teased me about coming in.

But this is as close as I got....some Ironman-to-be I am....

Time for the pre-race pasta dinner. We found this really cure Italian place next door to our hotel, which was surprisingly good.

Carbo-loading at it's finest.

Ha! Despite all concerns to the contrary, I eat, and I eat A LOT. Notice I am on the last two forkfulls of my once-full plate.

And this is where the story breaks. This photo was taken this morning, right before we left for home, on the balcony on our room that overlooked the bay. Of course, it was 75 and sunny, as opposed to yesterdays 65, windy and partly cloudy. But whatever. I was just glad to have the sun on my skin for a few seconds.
We actually both woke up feeling pretty good this morning. I have had no back or knee pain since the race, or all day today. I think Cheese had some minor ankle pain this morning, but nothing to severe. I would say that, all things accounted for, the race was a true success.

When we got home to Chicago, we had dinner with my mom. It was really nice to catch up and hang for a while.

Me and my mom. She was so great, she listened to all our stories, and looked at all our pictures. She even sat next to me, which was no small feat, given the fact that I was super stinky from sitting on a plane all day.
So that's it for right now. I will try the race pictures again tomorrow, and give a race report (sorry, no split times or anything technical - first, this is not that kind of blog and I would not bore you with that, and second, we stopped keeping track of that after mile 3 and just enjoyed ourselves - mostly just some observations about runners and races and all that stuff).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Better Half

Hey all - Still here in Miami, just finished the 1/2 marathon. I highly recommend this race - the course was mostly flat, the weather was much better than it is currently in Chicago, it was super well-organized and staffed, and hey, it's Florida in January.

It was a fantastic race -Cheese and I ran together as he completed his first 1/2 marathon in 2:18 (but he got cut off right at the finish line photo area!!) It was really cool to be able to cross the finish line together. My knee held up fine (the pain almost paralyzed me that first mile but then it miraculously disappeared - and yes, I do believe it was a miracle, given the pain of the last week) I even got to wear my new running skirt and visor, which will be making their next appearance at Ironman AZ!!!

Right now, we are about eight hours post-race and I feel fantastic. No pain in any of the sensitive areas (knees, back) AT ALL. This alone gives me reason to celebrate, especially after this week's knee scare - needless to say, I am fullsteam ahead for Arizona. We had a great post-race rest and lunch, went to the beach, and are not getting ready to go to the after party. We have tons of pictures, but I am not on my computer so I can't post them until tomorrow night when I get home.

I am almost sorry to come home to that brutal cold, after being able to sport my bikini here for the last two days. Sigh. Guess it's time to start planning another trip for next winter.

Talk to you all soon!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Runner's High

Tonight was the nationwide screening of "Spirit of the Marathon," a documentary that follows five runners as they attempt to complete the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It was only shown in a handful of theatres here in the Chicagoland area, and most were sold out by the time I tried to get tickets. But I did, and Cheese and I went.

It was cool, especially since it was in Chicago, and it was also one of the Chicago marathons I ran. In fact, about a month ago, I posted a picture of me in what looks to be agonizing pain (I was) about to cross the finish line of a race - that was the 2005 Chicago marathon.

Speaking of running, in just a few hours, Cheese and I take off for sunny Miami (eat it, Midwest winter of your negative degree temperature days! No seriously - you cannot possibly understand how brutally cold it has been here, and especially tonight - I mean STUNNING-snatch-the-breath-right-out-of-your-mouth-and-squeeze-the-air-from-your-lungs cold) for the ING 1/2 Marathon. This will be Cheese's first, and longest distance race, which will be super cool for him.

For me, I am still on the fence. I have been registered and trained, but have been managing what might be a torn cartilage in my left knee (not yet confirmed) but I have gone to the doctor twice this week for some adjustments, and he also fixed my orthotics, so if the pain subsides by Sunday, then I say "Race on, Racer!" Otherwise, it'll be time-off for me, at least with the running - helllooo aqua running!

That being said, I should also note (and will post later when I get home) that in about four weeks, it will be the anniversary of when I injured my back last year. So basically, I am one month short of that ugly milestone, and wouldn't ya know it? Here comes another injury. Fingers crossed that I just need to lay off it.

So the next time you hear my whining voice, I'll hopefully be poolside with a good book and nice tan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Voice in My Head

I have a feeling tonight will be another one of those, you know, long ones. So since I have sit in my own mind, I figured you should all have to bear witness to it as well.

So here are just a few musings found rumbling around the vacant corners of my mind:

When you're running the run portion of 4 hour brick, and the chronic searing pain beneath your left kneecap is so intense it actually blinds you, keep running. Why? Because eventually, the pain will numb your leg 'til you can't feel it, and the following hallucinations can be really interesting....

In case you haven't heard, Heath Ledger died (feel free to grab a Kleenex to wipe away that sarcasm dripping from that sentence). In Chicago, my program got a case about a mom who beat the crap out of her toddler children and locked her mentally retarded child in a cage. Odd, though, I don't remember seeing that in the newspapers...

Bikini waxes and 3-hour trainer rides should never occur in the same sentence, much less the same day. Come on, ladies, you know where I'm coming from. There's not a tube of saddle lube that can help ya in this situation.

I have a tendency to get focused on type of food, until I completely OD on it and can never eat it again. For example, when I was writing my dissertation and essentially locked in the basement of my then-boyfriend's home to get it done, I subsisted on chicken nuggets. Not real ones, because I was a vegan at the time, but actually the fake-chicken ones form Whole Foods. And I would eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the only difference between the meals being the condiments I used to dip them in (ketchup for breakfast, bbq sauce for lunch and dinner). I did this for MONTHS. Then, no more.

So recently, my obsession is raisins and orange juice. Not that I am cheating on my first love, pretzel nuggets and lemonade (oh no, sweet lemonade, I could never go behind your back for the sweet, sugary juices of the OJ, but sometimes a girl has needs, ya know? Oh, don't be like that, liquid's you, lemonade, that I crave...I just need some variety) So raisins and OJ it is for now. In fact, there was one day recently that I ate ONLY raisins. Yes, I see the grossness of that confession. And yes, it does a number on the old GI system, if you know what I mean. But yum, I just can't stop.

That's it for now. But sit tight - I am sure I have some more madness ready to make the jump outside my cranium onto the page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can't Think of a Title

Today was a bad day.

My training was fine - great in fact - but the rest (like my job) was really, really sad.

And I had yet another sleepless night last night (literally, I have not gone to bed since Sunday night), so I have been up for way too many days in a row now.

I am sure the fatigue is depleting my usual resources to cope.

Wow. I sounded just like a shrink there.


I don't even want to make fun of the Biggest Losers when they fall off treadmills.

I must be out of it.

So no funnies today.

Maybe tomorrow.

I am sure I will be fine then.

Just need to sleep it off.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Weekend in Pictures

As promised, here are some pics from this weekend, beginning with Dev's birthday dinner. Of course, I had to start with a picture of my main man, Baby Nolan.

His mommy's been spending as much time on his hair as I do on mine.

Case in point on the hair issue. I got to keep him on my lap and feed him dinner. Little dude made quite a mess.

Ellie's been getting back in fighting form since the Big Guy's birth. She's looking incredible these days, and she wants you all to know it.

Dev's cake. Note the blue frosting. It's important for later...
Making a wish...

Guess who stole everyone's extra frosting? Hey, I ran five miles after this, so I needed the carbs...

First shot at the bachelorette party - We had a champagne and lingerie party at the hotel downtown (all the girls were from Tennessee so they were staying downtown - pretty swanky). Here's Ellie doing bartending duty. She actually organized a ton of this weekend, so hat's off to her!
Aren't my sisters beautiful? This was at the restaurant, Uncle Julio's Hacienda. Other than the fact that we sat at the table next to Rex Grossman (Bears quarterback, and no, I was not so lame as to take pictures of him like a tourist...I just stared repeatedly) I am afraid my story with this party ends here, because I went home after dinner, while they all went out to the Baton Club. Don't know what that is? Look it up - let's just say drunk girls and transvestites make for a fun night. Or so I hear...

This picture is actually for Ellie, who completely ridiculed me for taking a picture of myself. But in my defense, I feel like I need to document this whole IM journey, and on this particular day, I felt pretty strong (we all know how rare that is these days), and wanted to remember that feeling. This is me, off the bike. I've taken to wearing a visor these days. Helps with the sweat. How I ever lived without one I will never know.
So that's that. I told you - kinda tame. I guess that's what happens when you turns 31, your life revolves around sugar and training, and you have to be in bed by 10pm.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How I Spent My Sunday

I woke up this morning, made some coffee, ate a Clif Bar and some egg whites, and then got on my trainer for my ride/run brick.

Six hours later, I was finished working out.

I am going to make some tea and take a nap now.

Perhaps I will update you later on last night's bachelorette party for my brother' s fiance, but be warned - all the incriminating behaviors were put on display Friday night (I believe one fine young lady even blacked out and peed on the coffee table, and no, her name was not Megan) so my stories might be fairly tame (read: boring, because I am a 31 year old women in an 80 year old bedtime body).


****UPDATE***** It's just after 930 pm. I have barely moved from my bed, barely peed (despite my 10 cups of tea and three bottles of water), took a 30 minute nap, and tried to shove a piece of salmon down my throat, to little avail. My body temp won't regulate and my muscles in my neck and back are tight as all get out.

It's funny because I was on the treadmill for the run portion of the brick (it never got out of the single digits today so everything was done inside) and I was so proud at myself for how good I felt. But now I feel kinda wrecked. I admit it. Kinda wrecked.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Costs and Benifits

I have wondered what my life would have been like if I just stayed at my first college, instead of transferring home. Who would my friends be? What would my career be? Where would I live? Would I have ever found triathlon?

But I didn't stay, I chose to come home, and everyday since then I have made a series of choices to get me to where I am. I changed my major, went to grad school instead of worked, stayed in Chicago for internship, moved away from home, made various relationship choices, etc.

When faced with these decisions, it's always a risk, because you never know what lies on the other end. But sometimes, you just have to make them, take the plunge, jump in, and deal with whatever the consequences might be.

I face decisions everyday, and in every area of my life. Should I skip my swim today? If I do, I might regret it race, but if I don't, I might have a strong showing which would give me a motivation boost for the rest of the week. Should I quit private practice? If I do, I might lose out on a potential for a lucrative career, but if I don't I might continue to feel burned out and quit anyway. Should I buy a house? If I do, I might be making a solid future investment, but I might also be putting myself in more debt than I can carry right now.

Sometimes I seek out help or guidance when faced with a major decisions. Whatever - I'm a talker - I need to talk through issues so that I can best understand. This is a great thing about friends - most of them never, ever tell me what to do. They never gives me advice, even if they secretly want to. Rather, they let me sit there and mull over the different sides of an issue, and figure it out for myself, while raising some questions or presenting an insight about something. But do they turn me down the path they think I should be on? No.

Sometimes this makes me mad, I'll admit. Sometimes I want someone to tell me what to do to make it easier for me. But the reality of this is that it really just gives me a person to point the finger at when the consequence backfires in my face.

And that's the other thing. With each choice comes a consequences. I can't expect everything to work out my way just because of I make a particular choice. But I have to accept that every decision has repercussions, good and bad. I know that, with some or most decisions, other people will be affected, and I need to consider feelings, and respect them.

For example, I imagine that, should ever get married, decisions I make will not only be considered in terms of what I want to myself, but how it will affect the other person. Like if I decide to do another Ironman - this final decision will be made by me, but not without consultation regarding how it might affect the relationship. Can we afford it? Can I be thoughtful to the time it will take away from the time spent with the significant other? Are there any other things we as a couple have planned, and will this interfere? All this has to be respected.

Will the costs outweigh the benefits? Are the costs too great and do I stand to lose too much? What is most important to me?

If the answer is yes - if the costs are too great and there is too much to lose - then my answer is no.

So I just have to weigh out what matters most to me. If I decide to go in one direction (like doing the swim, for example) it means I am putting my physical fitness over my laziness. The path that is chosen is the one of greater importance. If I go in another direction (lay in bed and sleep), I also have to face the consequence that I might not be ready on race day.

Training, friendships, relationships, family, work, etc. All areas of life are filled with this stuff.

And the thing about me is that I want answers right now. When faced with a potentially life-altering decisions, I tend to agonize, ponder, obsess. I find, though, when start to do this, it's a huge red flag that I am in no good place to make that decision. As hard as it is for me to do, I try to give up, let it go for the moment and just let the decision make itself. Sometimes this works. Sometimes, if I just wait long enough, the answer will present itself, this taking some of the pressure off of me to have to do. I like when this happens. If I just wait for enough signs, or the right ones, that path will be determined. Of course, having said that, I still have to make the ultimate decision to proceed down the path that is presented. But usually by this time, there is enough evidence to support that journey.

Am I babbling? Maybe. I guess this might make sense to anyone faced with a decision at the moment, but maybe not to those just plugging along.

In the end, anybody can tell me what to do, but ultimately I have to take responsibility for my own decisions.

And then I need to own the consequences.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Today it is my sister Devin's birthday!!!

I almost can't believe she is 28 - mostly because she's the size of a 10-year boy but anyway...

But really, I still look at her as my little sister, despite the fact that she is a full-time teacher, just got married and owns a home.

They grow up so fast!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

True Turnaround in Thinking

I did something today that I have never done before - I went to the gym at 530am to do my long run. I needed to get it in, and it was still way to dark to risk it alone on the lakefront path, so inside it was.

The astonishing thing is that my eyes were actually open at that time. But I didn't sleep last night, so I didn't exactly have to wake up (I messed up at work and needed to get a report done by this morning, so all-nighter it was).

Right off the bat, I knew this run would be trouble. I hadn't eaten in about 12 hours, was running off of an calorie intake of about 600 from the previous day, and my stomach wasn't taking anything in. When I got to the gym, I could barely get my body to walk up the stairs to the front desk. But I still got on that treadmill, armed with my Cliff Bar and water, and started out for a 1:40 run.

And I was right - it was a disaster. First, I started slow, with the intention of speeding up. That never happened. Second, I ate the Cliff Bar in intervals, only to promptly regurgitate it back up in my mouth. Hence, still no food. Third, my heart rate was skyrocketing, and I could barely catch my breath. Of course that makes sense, given the lack of sleep and food.

I hung on for about 65 minutes, and I truly couldn't do it anymore. I battled through that last 30 minutes questioning myself, but when the Cliff Bar reappeared in my throat and my hands started to shake, I knew I should cut my losses.

But here is the thing - instead of berating myself about the shortened workout, I gave myself credit for even showing up and attempting it, given my physical condition. Rather than allowing my mind to check itself into another round of "Motivation Gone-Gone," it actually made me feel okay that I tried, like I broke some sort of mental hurdle.

So today it was a small physical deposit in the bank. But a small deposit is better than no deposit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Three for One

1. Have you ever walked into a public bathroom (like at the gym) and noticed that the air was rank with doo-doo smell, only to then enter a stall and discover that, given the density and intensity of the doo-doo air compacted within those small walls, you have just entered the actual receptacle toilet of the stanky doo-doo?


Me neither.

2. I hate swimming. That's no surprise, we all know this. Now, there are days when I love it, but it's like this pseudo-type of love, like when you were a kid and you aunt gives you a fiver, and you love her for that minute, but once she starts nagging at you to come and visit her, you don't love her as much anymore. Like that. Conditional.

So it's no big shocker that I have to pull out the mental big guns on my swim days. I go through all my little mottos in my head, then through all the excuses, berate my laziness a bit, then back to the mottos, and then finally I haul my ass into the cold car and go to the pool. And you never know what kind of swim you'll pull off - perhaps the best ever, perhaps one where the 75-year-old lady water-walking in the lane next to you has to notify the lifeguard of your lifeless body at the bottom of the pool. It's a crap shoot.

So imagine my surprise when I hit the pool today and not only was it semi-warm (score!) but I got my own lane. For about 200 yards.

(Note to self - when finishing a set, stand up facing the wall, so as NOT to make eye contact with the swimmers waiting to ask you to share a lane).

Some young looking kid in surf shorts asked to share my lane, and because I'm a nice (kinda) old lady, I said yes. I should have been tipped off to his swimming skills by the shorts, and pretended like I was deaf. Dang, I need to work on thinking on my feet.

And things were going swimmingly (ha) until, after one of his flip turns, he managed to shoot himself in my lane, and hit me head-on. Underwater. Like oncoming traffic.

This must be like, his "thang," because it bothered him none. I, however, jumped up, stopping midlane and breaking what was working up to be a righteous set of 500. I stood at the end of my lane for a second, just to make sure it wasn't me who was violating the lane markings (and no, it was not, as I already knew, since I was repeatedly hitting the wall just to make room for the octopus swimmer) and sure enough, here he came, down the lane, arms and legs flailing like me in my first triathlon.

So I sucked down my frustration, imagined I was at the swim start of the IM, and pretended what it will be like to have my face kicked underwater in Arizona in a few short months. I got about 2000 yards into my swim before the young lad got out.

Ahhhh, and the remaining 1000 was like heaven.

3. Yes, I am a fan of the Biggest Loser, aka The Biggest Whiners (man, they are ALWAYS crying or whining about something!) I am so over Neil and Amanda. First of, he's a lazy bag of bones and big baby complainer. Second, his wifey enables the bejeezus out of him. Sooooooo glad they got kicked off. And while I am on the topic of the Biggest Loser, their product endorsements of Exta, Brita and Subway are nauseating.

On second thought, perhaps I should contact them and offer my psychological services....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Me Again!!!

Another two-post day!!! Aha!!

First (and I meant to say this earlier) my motivation seems to have returned this week, and I very much appreciate every one's patience as I complained my way through my lack of enthusiasm last week. I am not sure what has happened in the last two days that seemed to have put me back on track, but it was like I woke up Sunday, and WHAM! Motivation kissed me good morning.

That, in addition to the fact that my diet has returned to normal as well, and I think that alone greatly contributes to my motivation (and hip size).

So Yay for Me!

Second (you knew there was rant in here somewhere, didn't ya?) I am just now making dinner and watching Access Hollywood in the background (ahem, I mean, someone turned it on...must have...I didn't...intentially...) and Katie Holmes-girl was on. Here's my question: Does bitch know any other words besides "amazing" and "wonderful?" Actually, I stand corrected, because she used the word "glorious" to described motherhood or some shit. With a straight-faced she used that word. True story.

Let me tell ya something, Holmes-girl - you are married to the craziest man in Hollywood, second only to Brit-Brit at this point, you get paid three million dollars a year to maintain your fake marriage, you drown your sorrows at Barney's, and you still make bad movies (have you seen her in Thank You for Smoking? No thank you, Ms. Robot). There is nothing "glorious" about your weird ass life (okay, maybe the 3 mil might qualify, but still, her husband believes in a religion of aliens...okay?)

And when you sit in interview with this weird-ass drugged-up smile and proclaim how "amazing" and "wonderful" and "normal" and "amazing" your life is, as if to have someone feeding you lines through an earpiece, no one is really buying it.


Because relationships are WORK, 'ol girl, and yours must be an overtime job. They may have moments of glory, moments of amazing, but when you sit up there and regurgitate BS about how you have never felt a moment of difficulty in your relationship, you are a liar. A rich liar in designer clothes, but a liar nonetheless.

Down here on planet Earth, I have never met anyone that hasn't said, "Yeah, I wondered if we could make it" or "We definitely have our struggles" or even "Sometimes I want to smother the bastard in his sleep." Again, I am sure there are probably more good times than bad times in most relationships that work, but I think we need to be realistic about the fact that even the best relationships aren't problem-free, as Holmes-girl would like us to believe.

That, and I still haven't found out for sure if she paid her way into the Boston Marathon.


Right Now

It's 22 degrees.

It's snowing.

I have a throbbing headache.

I am about to lose my job.

And other stuff.

Maybe these are all blessings in disguise.

Maybe this means I can relocate somewhere warm.

Maybe I just need to go do my run.

Yes, that is what I will do.

That's enough for right now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Long Overdue Props - The Second Post of the Day

I have been pretty consumed with bitching about my own personal self-induced hurdles lately that I have forgot to mention some of the other people that are overcoming their own, and it's high time I throw some props out there.

First, my youngest sister, Devin, has been working HER ASS OFF training for her Boston marathon-qualifying race next month. She decided about two months ago to try to qualify for this year, and in a very short amount of time. She recently got married, and wants to start having a family (kids) so she thought this would be a good time to tackle this long-standing goal before reproducing.

Almost seven days a week, Devin has been getting on that treadmill (for three-hour runs!) or on the track knocking out blazing fast miles to get ready. She has battled her own food issues (she likes the candy, much like her older sister) and has even lost quite a bit of weight trying to get things regulated (she is teeny-tiny, and now even more so). So is also finishing her first year as a 4th grade teacher, managing a new marriage, and completing her first ever 2-a-days.

This weekend, she went to Ohio to run the course, and did it beautifully. She is one of the strongest mental and physical people I know, and you cannot imagine how very proud of her I am. She gives me daily updates, and I silently stand in awe at what she is doing. This Boston business is the real stuff, and I want to scream at the top of my lungs how happy I am for her.

February 16th is the weekend of her qualifying race, and it consists of a 26 mile loops around a corporate park. How I can't wait to update you all and tell you she did it!

The second person is my sister Ellen. Ellie is a new mom, and her son (whose adventures I have often detailed in this blog) is amazing, but has recently been really sick. Ellie has dealt with it remarkably, and every time she call me with him screaming his head off in the back seat of the car because of a new fever or ear infection, I wondered, "How is she not crazy by now?" But she just carries on with the conversation, wants to know all about me, Cheese, and training. She doesn't think she is doing a good job, but hell, her child is still alive, and probably one of the happiest kids I have ever seen. You're doing amazing, El, like a natural at job that rightfully dubbed "the world's toughest."

And finally, I want to give a shout out to Cheese, who is going to be completing his first half-marathon in two weeks. Last night, he told me that it "probably doesn't seem like a big deal," but it is. It's huge. It's huge because we live in the Midwest, and this training is tough enough on it's own, but Cheese has trudged through the snow, ice, long treadmill runs and sleeting rain to get it done. He's made unbelievable strides in the last several months, has stuck to his training plan despite his travel schedule, and is so focused it's funny. He wants to do the Chicago marathon in October, and there is no doubt he'll do it. But for now, he's concentrating on the race ahead, a race that I will be running with him, and when he finishes, IT WILL BE A BIG DEAL.

So yay to the three of you - with all you have going on, you still support me unconditionally, ask me about my training, get me up when I am down, and are so humble to your own achievements that it's teaching me a few lessons of my own. I am proud to have you in my life as my inspirations.

Funny Thing About Saturday Nights...

There is literally nothing on television.

Sure enough, as I wrote that, I stumbled upon Norbit on HBO.


Maybe I'll read a book.

I love that reading is now the fall back to zero television. I remember back in the day, like in May, when I didn't have a television, and all I did was read and work. Now it's like as soon as I walk in the door, the tv goes on, the computer starts up, and my brain shuts down.

I got spoiled the last few weeks because Cheese was here, then I was in Kansas with him, and then he came back here on New Year's Day for over a week - enough visiting time to make the quietness of my apartment deafening right now.

So it's now 7:00 on Saturday, and I have surfed my way through all the blogs, am about to make dinner, and I guess try to do some work.

Oh wait! I just found "The Last Kiss" on one of the other HBO channels.

Guess work can wait....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Ups and Downs

The last couple weeks have taken a bit of a toll. I initially chalked it up to the hecticness of the holidays, the stress of house-hunting, the increase of work at my jobs.

I regards to my workouts - I have been hitting them all, but have noticed a lessening of motivation with each session. Run 13.5 miles? Ugh. Swim? No thanks. But I get out there and do them, if for nothing else than avoiding that dang Wall of Shame (why on Earth did I have to do that to myself?!?!)

But here's the thing - I have been really reluctant to complain about it, of even really talk about this. Yeah, I came off an 8-month layoff and jumped right back into IM training. I have been doing 2-a-days for the last three months, and my mileage/time on most things is just about where I was at when I got injured last time. So I guess it makes sense to feel burned out.

But I chose this. And it's not like I didn't know what I was getting into. Hell, I had an entire training season last year up to the four weeks before IM AZ 07. It's not like someone took a gun, put it to my head, demanded I put down the Twizzlers and popcorn, threw my ass on a bike and screamed "Ride Bitch Ride!"

No, no. I did this to myself.

So to complain felt stupid, selfish, whiney - spoiled. But then I read this post by Curly Su, who recently began her own IM training. She stated:

"IM training can totally defeat you, or else it can make you feel more confident than ever before. I've already traveled between those two extremes countless times in the last few days. Looking ahead, it's hard to understand how I'll manage to get through almost 6 months of this intensity (and more, of course), but I suppose that's why coaches only put up two weeks of the training plan at once; you're not supposed to look that far ahead. You just keep doing your daily workouts, and before you know it you'll be biking 112 miles and then running a marathon... with a smile on your face."

When I read this, I felt like, "Phew." So I am not alone in this. So even though I LOVE training most of the time, I may not LOVE it all of the time, and that's okay. So I might not feel like there is an end in sight yet, but I will soon, and the little daily victories are enough for me right now. So it may be okay to just suck it down, plow through a workout just to get through it, and consider it a deposit in the IM bank (thanks Go Mom Go!), and not beat myself up when it isn't the best workout ever.

To finalize this point, I should mention that today I did my 13.5 mile run. I did the first 4.5 with Cheese, who was completing his own record distance (9! Yay!!! Two more weeks 'til the 1/2 marathon!), and then he turned around, and I put in 4 more before my own turn around. And it rained. The WHOLE TIME. It sprinkled in the beginning, but downpoured from 6 miles on.

And if I didn't go into this run with all the enthusiasm of a soon-to-be-Ironman, I sure felt it by the end. There is nothing that feels tougher than running at an almost-sprint speed, with rain pelting your face, the 35-degree temps making your cheeks pink and vaporizing each breath, socks squishing, and the dark of night surrounding you on a path that few other runners dared challenge on such a crappy day.

But I did. My ass was out there.

So tomorrow, when I don't want to drag my lazy bones to the pool, I need to pull up the sensory experience of tonight - and remind myself that getting in that pool will take me one step closer to that finish line. And then keep doing that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


"A couple of bucks, a pocket full of change, and hope for the best - maybe I'll even find a snubbed out cigarette to smoke!"
My friend Bridget, on her preparations to take her infant son on a walk

"I just checked, he's still breathing, so we all win."
Me, when Bridget and Joe arrived home to my babysitting adventures with their son

"Your failures fell."
Cheese, in reference to the workout cards that fell off the Wall of Shame onto the floor

"Crazy weather we're having, huh?"
Asked by every grocery store bagger in the last week, in reference to our 50+ degree days, as if strange crazy weather patterns were unusual to the Chicagoland area

"So yes, there is a really good possibility that the program will be shut down in May, and we will not have jobs."
My boss, in reference to the possible consequence of an ongoing arbitration between the Union of state employees and the Department regarding contract violation, and the likelihood that the outcome will not be in our favor

"Oh my gosh, there's a box of Mike 'n Ikes in my desk! I just found lunch!"
Me, interrupting my boss mid-conversation about my potential job loss, upon discovery of said found object (side note - the box was left there before Christmas - perhaps I should make it into the office more regularly....)

"And our first stop is the fattest city in the United States - CHICAGO!"
Alison Sweeney, talking about the Biggest Loser online weight loss challenge. I was making dinner when I heard this, snapped my neck around, and was like, "Say what?!?" This speaks to my self-centeredness, such that I thought, "But I work out all the time!" I was stunned, but then got a good laugh when the mom-lady fell off the treadmill.

I know, I suck.

Karma's a bitch too - that little crack likely just sealed my fate for a new injury.

Helloooo, plantar fascitis.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Today I Learned...

1. That there is no degree of Fat Day that can't be resolved by a 4-hour ride. I caught a glimpse of my ass in a store window this afternoon after said ride, and I have to admit that, if I wasn't me, I would want to touch it.

2. I can drive, drink Starbucks and eat a cup of chili and a pickle all at the same time. And not throw up from that combination - there's the victory, people.

3. My hair looks kinda cute in pigtail braids.

4. I really should ride outside if the temp is above 50 degrees.

5. Sundays sure go by fast when most of it is spent on a bike. Dang, it's already 4:30 and I swear I just woke up.

6. "Rescue Me" is my new favorite show - Cheese gave me the last three seasons on DVD, so I am slowly making my way through them during my rides. It is actually possible to hate/love all the characters at any given time. If you're not watching, get to it. Trust me.

7. The binge known as Saturday night Date Night with my honey- complete with a full dinner at the delicious Turkish restaurant, full container of Ben and Jerry's (by myself) and movie-size box of Mike n Ikes that Cheese had to pry out of my hands while watching a movie (he forgot to check the pockets of my robe, though - hee hee hee) - was still not enough stored "energy" to get me through the bike today. Guess I still need to work on my nutrition plan. Hmmmm....

That's pretty much it. Only seven things. It's almost amazing that I actually got to be a doctor having learned so little in the course of my days.


Maybe I will get smarter tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Swim: Done (thanks for all the positive thoughts!)

Workouts-to-date: Done (mostly, minus a 30-minute recovery swim which ended up being the only casualty of my Kansas trip).

Motivation Level: Vacillating. For the most part I have been getting through, and I hope that this minor downslide is more about the hectic holidays than anything.

I went back to work full-time this week, so I am trying to settle in there. The best part of the last week? Cheese surprised me by driving out to Chicago on New Year's Day when he found out he would not be sent away for work. We haven't talk about how long he might be staying, but it really doesn't matter. I can't believe he did that, and I am just happy to have him here.

I am sure once my mind gets right after these holidays, some more interesting posts will follow. And if anyone has any more suggestions on how to stay focused and positive during IM training, lemme have it.

Later skaters.

Swim Dread

Ever notice how hard it is to get to the pool when it's like, oh, about 9 degrees outside? It's not like the pool itself is outside, but the mere thought of getting in my freezing car, putting on my cold suit (cause it's been in my gym bag in the car) and jumping in a freezing pool excite me nothing. Nada. Zilch. And out that on top of the fact that all my swims are now over an hour. I have to keep reminding myself, "Once you get in, you're fine."

No, in fact, I would much rather be nestled all snug in my bed, covered with my way-too-hot-it-give-me-night-sweats comforter, and watching The Biggest Loser while eating gum drops (they're my new favorite).

So now, as I sit here, feeling the cold draft of the outside finds its way into my tiny apartment and through my little tank top on onto my skin, I am yet again dreading the pool. Man, I can sure do some whining, huh?

I chose this, I chose this, I chose this.....