Monday, March 31, 2008

Random Post - #2 of the Day

My tee shirt keeps feeling tight against my throat.

But when I touch it, there a ton of extra room.

So why I am feeling suffocated?

My bra also feels too tight.

But when I look down, there's extra room there too.

What the heck is going on?!?!?!

A Softer Side

I was running on the treadmill today and watching the early moments of the Cubs home/season opener on t.v.

Yeah, I know. It killed a little bit of me, too.

At least the Sox opener is just a few short days away.

Anyway, Ernie Banks was the honoree and they dedicated this statue thing to him. Now, I know next to nothing about historic baseball figures, but I will say this: it brought a tear to my eye watching the whole ceramony, mostly because Mr. Banks looked so happy and excited and he was just hamming it up and loving the whole thing. It really was spectacular to see.

And I got a little emotional.

Then, as the run continued, I realized how good I was feeling, and began imagining myself finishing this race in less then two weeks, running to that line with the deafening screams of everyone I love pulsating from the sidelines.

And I got emotional again.

The whole hour really made me take pause and reflect on the rotteness I tend to spew on my blog.

See, I am not completely bitter and cold-hearted as I come across sometimes. I don't feed off of my internal rage, and I am not always the impatient lady sighing loudly in the grocery line when the elderly pull out their 3400 coupons and all I want to do is get my grilled chicken and high tail it home in time for the Biggest Loser.

Uh..okay, so maybe I am that lady but hold on, hear me out.

Yeah, I am impatient, and people that are slow/dumb/ignorant/self-absorbed really get on my nerves. And I am fully aware tha tI need to just back off every now and then and let people do their thing, because the world does not, in fact, revolve around Megan and her training/work schedules.

I know, it surprised me too, this realization.

And sometimes, I am better with accepting this, and being patient. Other times, not so much.

But it's a work in progress.

What I felt worst about today was my ranting on the elderly and little kids lately. Mostly the kids part. Because here's the thing - I really do like kids, it's bad parenting I can't stand. I am a child psychologist, for crying out loud. So while I may make fun of them, or talk about how annoyed I get when they throw tantrums and their parents look the other way, I actually kinda like kids.

In fact, I just spent the whole weekend with Cheese's family, which included two kids, a boy (5) and a girl (8). And they were great - I never got annoyed, never got irritated, and really had a great time with them. In fact, I can't wait for them to come to Chicago to visit me.

Yeah, I totally did just say that.

And speaking of this weekend, Cheese ran a half-marthon in Kansas. He did well, but had been having some foot and leg pain up to the race which took him a little off his goal time. But he finished, despite the monster winds and the crazy hills.

I ran with him for the last three miles.
At the end of the race!

He even inspired his family to do the 5K, which was the first race EVER for his mom, sister and brother-in-law. It was really very fun to watch them get their packets, and put their bibs on, and get all anxious for the race - could they do it? Would it hurt? If they get tired, could they walk? And then to finish the race, and be so excited and wanting to talk about it. It was so new and fresh for them - I was so happy to be there and be part of it.

So I kinda want to apologize for being so negative about people that aren't, well, me. I really hope I didn't offend anyone. And I would never make mean faces to your children behind your back. Well, at least not if I knew you.

That's just for stangers.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Not To Travel

Tip #1:
If at all possible, AVOID O'HARE AIRPORT.

This should really be the only tip on here. See, I rarely, if ever, travel through O'Hare. Though it has the stellar distinction of being one the largest, if not THE largest airport in the world, it also comes with the distinction of having the most delayed flights, mostly because it is the largest airport, and there is simply too much going on. A clusterfuck of flights, it you will.

You would think that flying home late Sunday from Kansas City to Chicago would be a relatively easy go.

You would be wrong.

Flight was scheduled to depart at 7pm, land at 8pm.

Flight departed at 940pm, landed somehwere just before 11pm.

Little Meggie entered her apartment at just about 1am.

And Little Meggie was none to happy.

Make sure to plan ahead for parking.

See, when traveling out of Midway Airport, Cheese taught me how to avoid parking at that airport by instead using a remote parking location at half the cost, and tons more reliable.

For this trip, I did not plan ahead - leaving me to park in a lot that was miles away from the airport itself. Since I never travel out of O'Hare, I did not know how far said lot would be.

And in my grand rush to get to my flight, I parked, and never looked up at the sign to remember exactly where I was leaving my precious little Harriet the Hyundai.

No matter - I figured I would just retrace my steps once I got back. But there's something about getting back to a full, unfamilar parking at 1130pm, only to realize, "Shoo, I can't find that darn thing." And one might think that such a world-reknowed airport would at least have a little security car trolling to find and help hapless young women too self-absorbed in their own shit to remember insignifcant details such as where she parked her car.

Uh uh. Nope.

So there I was, wondering the enormous lot, in the dead of night, while all these other families, happy packed their sunburned asses into their SUVs and drove back to their surburban homes to tuck their precious kids in and smile at what a lovely time they had down in the Caymens.

While little old me went up and down the isles, dragging this suitcase behind me like a kid whose mom left her behind in grocery store, if that grocery store was outside and filled with cars.

So after about 35 minutes and a near breakdown (we all know how sensitive I have been lately), I find good old Harriet, nestled right in between the two SUVs where I left her. Crisis divereted.

Tip #3:
Thinking ahead about parking alliviates not only lost car drama, but also the price tag of said parkng stay.

After exchanging the naming rights of my first born for the small fortune O'Hare milked from me for my three day car nanny, I finally left that montrosity of an airport.

But not before I shoved 2 or 12 handfuls of jelly beans into mouth to soothe my frustration.

And you bet I mother-fucked everybody and their grandma all the way back home. Maybe blew a couple red lights to, but who can blame me?

The worst part? It was all my fault. Well, aside from the flight delay (oh, which was because O'Hare had "too much air traffic" - no seriously - wouldn't that then make our aldermen step back and say, "Hmmm...the already-established flights can't get in because we are too busy, so maybe pushing for this airport expansion might NOT be the best idea...hmmm...lemmme think about this...." Seriously, I was one handful of jellybean-infused rage away from driving over to Mayor Daley's house and putting my blistered foot in his ass for this expansion nonsense).

Yup, the rest of the frustration was my own lack of planning, which was due to nothing other than pure laziness.

Don't you just hate when crap doesn't work out, but you have no one to blame but yourself?

I do. I hate that.

So what did we learn today?

-Plan ahead when traveling.

-Don't eat too many jelly beans before bed, or you will find yourself unable to sleep and blog posting at 2AM.

-Giving nasty looks to tantruming crabby four-year olds behind their mother's back in crowded, hot terminals does actually get them to shut up, at least for a few minutes. A good IPod playlist should take care of the rest.

And with that, class dismissed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to Wrap Up Two Years of Training - A Brief Pictorial

What does it look like in my house after a long trainer ride? Let me introduce you to the Nutrition Graveyard. Please note the wet sopping sports bra to the left - again ladies, make sure to change this or you're lookin' at some pretty bad discomfort.

Yes, that watch does read "6Hours." In case you all thought I was making it up.

My new "gymmies," all nice and clean - not for long. And though you can't see it, the feet inside them are swollen and throbbing.

If you have ever wondered what beauty looks like after seven hours of physical excertion, I give you Exhibit A: Please note the unruly hair that has not been brushed since the haircut...LAST FRIDAY.

Home and showered! Of course, it's a shaky picture, but hey, if shaky hands were the worst consequence of the workout, I would say things went pretty well.

The Easter Bunny came to my sister Devin's house on Sunday, and he must have forgetten that I moved a year ago, 'cause he left my basket there. I got it today - and that darn Easter Bunny sure knows me well - Balence bars, Go Lean bars, raisins, Gatorade, pretzel nuggets and jelly beans. Oh, and don't miss the snow out the window - yeah, it snowed here today. That's reason enough to binge of the jelly beans.

Speaking of jelly beans, they complimented by dinner of raspberry sorbet tonight. One man's sugar high is another man's carbo loading.

Hey, sometimes you get too busy to wash the dishes, so you improvise.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The 7-Hour Brick

Six hours on the trainer.

45 minutes run afterwards.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the brick except that it’s over, the last big one of the Peak. The only big thing left this week is the 3.25 hour run, and then it’s into taper. I was thinking about doing it Friday, but I am going to see how my body feels.

And although I was pretty solid in my performance today, I was most proud of the fact that this brick came only two days after my last long brick this past weekend, not to mention the two back-to-back weekends of 6-hour bricks before that.

I had to make some adjustments in my schedule because I am going to Kansas this weekend to cheer Cheese on in his second ½ marathon. I know I took a risk putting such long workouts so close together, especially given my vulnerability to injury and being so close to the race now. But I really wanted to go to Kansas, so I felt this was the best way to handle it.

The plan was to do the three-hour run on Sunday in Kansas, but I am not sure of the roads out there, and don’t know how to get it in. The alternative to Friday or Kansas is to do it Monday night, after work.

I will say this though: You will not see any more posts about my insecurities regarding my fitness or my ability to do this race. I felt almost euphoric today running on that lakefront (in shorts no less!), and with each runner I passed, I thought, “I already have six hours under my belt today.”

In my whole life, NOTHING has eve felt as good as my performance today. I got off that bike, looked at my legs, and thought, “I can’t believe you little guys just did that!”

I actually felt proud today. Proud that I finished, proud that I made it this far, proud that I will do this race in two weeks, and proud that I am now at the end of TWO YEARS of having this goal. Two years I have been working towards this!

I look at my life two years ago, and my, how different it was. I look at my relationship with food, my ability to commit to this, the people in my life then and now – wow, are things different. I look at my life and fitness today, and have never felt more proud. Not even as I walked across that stage and got my diploma for my doctorate – mostly because I think I always had faith I would finish that damn dissertation, but this IM stuff – so many times my faith wavered, so many times I doubted.

On a separate note, training aside, another amazing thing that happened today was that I was able to book a flight so that my brother (the newly married one, not the kidney one) can come to Arizona to see this. I really wanted my whole family to be there, because my family has never faltered in their support of me, and I wanted them to see this and feel as proud as I do. And now they will all be there. This almost made me cry today because I was so happy.

There will never be another “first” Ironman, and there will never be another time in my life when I can be this selfish. And while life-as-usual resumes April 14th, there will never be another time when my life revolves around something as much as this. This has been the biggest undertaking of anything I have done, and I am steps from completing this goal.

Oh, and Andra?


Monday, March 24, 2008

Three to Chew On

I got up to go to the bathroom a short time ago after laying bed, and saw something dark smeared on my leg. I thought it must have been ink from the pen that was next to me, or my rottenness was finally seeping out through my skin. Turns out it was cookie from the ice cream sandwich I ate for dinner.

Eh, well.

Before I say anything, let me just state that all kids are miracles, and if you believe in that sort of thing, they are also all God’s gifts, blah, blah, blah.

But every now and then, you might just get stopped in your tracks when you see a funny looking one.

You know.


Funny Looking Kid.

This happened to me today.

I was pulling in the parking lot, and lo and behold, here comes an FLK walking straight towards my car.

I guess in a way he could have been cute, but really, he looked like a man, but in a really little body.



Come to think of it, it may have been a little man.


But nonetheless, getting back to my point – though most kids are cute, some are also kinda funny looking.

Just like many adults, though cute, are also funny looking (see also: Sarah Jessica Parker).

And trust me, no one knows this better than I – after all, I just did a whole post on how I generally think I am funny looking.

And not only do I think I look funny now, but I know FOR SURE I was an FLK in my wee years.

Oh yeah, I was. What, did you think this forehead just appeared around age 13? Uh uh. No. It was there – just imagine it on a one year old.

In fact, I am pretty sure that once I came down that chute on that happy day of birth, my mom took one look at me, rolled her eyes, shook her head, and cursed in Croatian at my father’s genetic contribution of his most dominate feature.

There was a while there when I wondered if my nephew might be an FLK, but then he grew, and his wrinkles smoothed out, and his features got less, well, funny looking. And now I think he’s a darn cute kid, but truth be told, I’m kinda biased.

Like Suri Cruise, for example – cute kid, but isn’t she kinda, well, funny looking? And that Affleck baby – cute as a button, but funny looking. I mean, Ben Affleck is her dad, after all.

So, I have no real point in all of this except to say that seeing an FLK when least expected can be startling, especially when operating heavy machinery, i.e. a car.

Bitch is Back
I am going to save any rants of old people for another post, seeing as I pretty much did myself in with the FLK, but I will say this: If that old lady comes into my lane ONE MORE TIME, despite the fact that the other four lanes are WIDE OPEN, without warning, and then gestures AGAIN for me to move lanes, I will be forced to pull out the “tell-it-like-it-is-Megan” on her ass. That, or drown her. One or the other.

And since I'm a nice person, I'd let her chose.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why Is Ironman Turning Me Into A Sissy?

Woke up late.

Got on bike by 8.

Coach originally said three hours, but okay to push to four hours.

But body wasn’t taking any nutrition, thanks to ongoing sickness.

No nutrition = no fuel.

So ride over at 3 hours.

Onto run -1:45 on treadmill.

Saw friend at gym, engaged in brief conversation while running.

Brief conversation turned into open sobbing.


No reason, yet every reason.

Still running.

Strange looks from other gym patrons.

Gasping for breath between sobs, tears mix with sweat and sting eyes.

Friend supports/reassures, then leaves.

Self mortified at ease of outburst.

Self collects, tries to understand, sort it out.

Run continues, body feels surprisingly fine.

But mind mostly blank for rest of run, no new answers.

Self already knows answer.

Finish run.


Back to work.

Happy Easter.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Low Down

So final preparations for the big race are finally underway.

Today, I learned how to change a flat and am going to be practicing on my bike over the next few days. I got a new tire put on to replace the one that has been spinning on the trainer for the last six months, although the bike guys said that the old one is actually fairly intact.

Needless to say, I will probably be returning to the bike store in the next few days to have them repair the eff-ups I do to the tire, but oh well. It's a learning process. Better now than on the road April 13th.

In regards to the sickness, it seems to be getting progressively worse and painful. It's not the flu or anything like that, and nothing that is taking me out of training, or will comprimise the race, but it is enough to make me pretty sick most of the day. Swimming, ironically, seems to be the one thing that makes me feel better (the cool water seems to settle my body), and I have an appointment with the doctor on Tuesday, so hopefully after a few tests and blood work, we might have an answer.

For the most part, my body parts, like my back and knees, feel good (knock on wood, if I had any in the vicinity). And I even managed to get a new snappy haircut today, so yay for me.

But lemme ask this. Didn't Spring start, like, two days ago? Perhaps someone forgot to mention it to Mother Nature, because she is deciding to foil yet another last ditch effort at outdoor riding this weekend with the snow she is currently dumping on us. And if the snow isn't bad enough, the 40 mile an hour winds are going to be the death of me.

Yet another boring post. Sorry guys. I am sure once I start to feel better, I will be back to my old cynical and sarcastic self. Believe me, I miss that Megan too.

Mostly 'cause there is no shortage of old people stories or a good old fashion rant over here in good old Chicago. At this point, they are stock piled, just waiting for be splayed for my own personal enjoyment.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gettin' Right

Yeah, I have disappeared - I have been pretty sick the last few days, so I am trying to get myself right and hopefully come back with a real post in the next day or so. Unfortunately, my doctor's appointment is not until next Tuesday - so hopefully I can hang on until then.

Training is fine - haven't missed a workout in a while, kind of being pushed by the urgency of race approaching. But who cares what's behind the motivation - at least I am getting it done, sick or not.

Take care and talk soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008



Because it is freaking me out.

I seem to have found all the blogs of people doing IM AZ, and of course, everyone has posted their training plans, their milage, etc. And of course, like the self-abusing individual I am, I sit and compare what I am doing to what everyone else is doing.

But the thing is, it's hard to compare their multiple century rides to my multi-hour indoor trainer rides. I don't know how far I have traveled in my apartment, but I know that when I get on that thing, I stop only to go to the bathroom. And I ride long enough that I am not fully recovered from my saddle sores even a week later. I could estimate that I have probably logged a couple of centuries myself, but I have also not trained in the wind or cold. Also, I have had the company of movies or my IPod to get me through the mind numbingness of it all, which I won't have on race day - there are some things only outdoor training can get you which I have not had.

I have swam at 2-3 times a week, and am currently swimming between 3600-3900 yards each time. But is it enough? Plus, I'll admit it - I don't always do my speed swims as fast as I need to. Sometimes I get lazy, and think, "Hey, at least I'm in here."

I know I can run about 20 miles, and I have a some marathons already under my belt. But again, I use the IPod.

But is it enough?

Not when I read what other people are doing.

Will I finish?

I hope, but it might not be pretty.

So here's my pledge - no more blog reading of people doing IM AZ. Everyone else's - yes.

I am pretty sure I have enough crazy in me aside from this race - no need to add to it.

Carry on.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What I Learned on My Brick Today

Over the course of the last several months, I have learned a lot about training, myself, life, etc. And along the way, I have disseminated various nuggets of knowledge that I have picked up along the way. For example, we all now know that a three hour bike ride and Brazilian wax should never occur on the same day. Also, five hour bricks and pedicures are never a good idea. And let’s not forget the general importance of eating more than 500 calories a day while training for an Ironman.

See? All good lessons, all nice to know in the event one should even encounter those particular situations. If you need to write them down, keep ‘em in your purse or pocket, by all means do so. I’m here to help.

So, after another five hour trainer ride and 45 minute run today, I have a few more to share. Enjoy.

1. No matter how hungry you might be after said brick (or any brick for that matter) it is never a good idea to pair a large chocolate/peanut butter milkshake mixed with two scoops of protein powder, with a tuna sushi roll. Now, they may both look very good, especially when all you have consumed that day was GUs and power bars, but trust me on this, people. Pick one or the other. Not both. EVER.

2. In a similar vein, don’t go grocery shopping immediately following a long workout. Inevitably, you will find yourself buying stuff you will never eat, and likely would vomit at the thought of on any other day. Take for example smoked salmon. Good on bagels with cream cheese, but not for a snack in the car on the way home from the store. Another example? Ranch flavored pita chips. Why? Because Ranch-flavored anything should be banned from all things edible, and it you’re going to buy chips after a long workout, indulge in the real shit – save the pita for hummus when you’re trying to be health conscious at an office party.

3. During long workouts, you may find that feet go numb, or hands start to tingle from being on the handlebars too long. Today, I discovered what it feels like to have a burning sensation go from my chest up the right side of my face, through my ear, singe my cheeks and almost knock me off the bike from the intensity of the heat. I find that it is best to just ignore this. The way I see it, if I was truly having a stroke or a heart attack, at least it was during something worthwhile. And my sister would find me after a few days anyways. But if you quit the workout and you don’t die, well, then, you just lost a workout.

4. If you ride for five hours inside, and then take your run to the streets on a cold Chicago day, it is imperative to change sports bras. Ladies, listen up – you will pay dearly with bone piercing cold if this is not done – so take a couple extra minutes, struggle yourself out of the soaking wet one, and replace with a nice dry one. ‘Cause nothing says “add to my overall misery” than a nice frigid run along the lake with only a soaking wet sports bra and windbreaker to keep you warm.

5. When running outside, remember to fully turn your head to spit your mucus into the grass. Otherwise, you may end up with it on your brand new running jacket. While other runners watch. And laugh. And you don’t discover it ‘til ya get home. Similarly, the cheepy knit gloves are a fantastic substitute for Kleenex.

And that’s about all I can muster right now. My brain is slowly starting to leak out of my ears, and needs either a nap or a strong cup of coffee so I can write some of these reports that have been sitting on my desk for weeks. It’s five o’clock here, so coffee it is.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Thoughts on a slow day:

As you know, I went to my brother wedding about a week ago. I posted a bunch of pictures, mostly of me and family nice and happy and smiling. But I did have one sort-of issue with that weekend.

My issue involves drunk people. See, I don’t really drink (but I did have a beer and a half both nights – whoohoo!) and I don’t really care if other people do. Honestly, I don’t – I know that Cheese thinks I judge people that drink, but I really don’t – I just chose not to do it myself, mostly because I hate the hangover that I will inevitably get. And just like I don’t expect everyone in the world to love triathlon or adhere to my lifestyle, I don’t really do the whole drinking thing. Just like I also don’t eat red meat. No condemnation – just a choice.

So here’s the thing about drunk people. They can be all kinds of fun when they are being silly. Frankly, some of the funniest shit happened around my obliterated friends, who are funny sober, but brutally hysterical when drunk. Like, for example, my friend Bridget that weekend. Hysterical, fun to be around, pretty much just laughed and joked and had a good time.

But then, there are the others:

1. They can’t just stay silly (like the fine young lady that pulled her bridesmaid dress up to her waist, exposed her undies, and rubbed on herself to Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Seriously folks, how is that NOT silly?) At some point, they get really serious, and try to have a “meaningful” conversation with you (that they will NEVER remember). And then they get all kids of pseudo-philosophical, and inevitably tell you how wonderful you are of a person and they “can just tell” how good you are inside (which you can bet is soley based on the fact that you are the only person left standing in a room that can actually maintain eye contact with them). And all you want to do is give them a stick of gum and join your sisters on the dance floor to “My Humps.”

I lost about an hour of my life that I will NEVER get back the night of the rehearsal dinner. I won’t go into detail, but apparently because I am a psychologist, I should want to talk to/associate with any other person in the room that has anything to do with the field of psychology, even if they just cut the grass. Here’s a hint – I don’t. Frankly, the last thing I want to do at a bar while socializing with all my friends and family is get caught in a conversation where a stranger who happens to be a “therapist,” while he reads me his dissertation. Chapter by chapter. And not only will he NEVER remember that conversation, but he spent most of telling me how everyone he knows tells him he is such a great therapist because he "can really reach people like no one else can/I just get people, you know?/ People just listen to me.”

(Here’s another hint – if you are really a good therapist, you don’t need to brag about it. Frankly, if you were good at all, you would have spent more time trying to get to know me, instead of flapping your jaws UNBROKEN for an hours, telling me how you can really touch adolescents even though you are 35 “cause I just get ‘em, you know? I mean, I was them once, right?” Yeah, cause that’s all it takes. Good luck with that pal. Oh, and buddy? When I asked you about the dissertation “defense,” I was referring to the one in front of the committee, and not to actually strike up a debate with me.)

2. And the stories that drunk people tell are so FUCKING long. There’s no cutting to the chase with drunk people. They could initially be telling you what they ate for breakfast that morning, but 45 minutes later, they’re still stuck on how they boiled the eggs.

3. They spit all over you. And I have learned that there is no easy way to slyly wipe someone’s roast beef off your party gown.

4. Everything is a good idea to drunk people. Dry humping the dance floor? Alright! Riding on the roofs of SUVS doing donuts in the parking lot? Where do I get on! Spending $300 to by an entire bar of strangers shots? Just gimme the credit card receipt! Needless to say, drunk people lack judgment.

5. One of the reasons bananas are great? Because you never have to actually touch the fruit part – just peel and enjoy. Don’t have to wash it, or your hands. Genius.

Okay, so I threw that last one in there, but seriously, bananas are great.

So that’s what I have on this fine Saturday. At some point, I may get out of bed to go do a swim and short run, but there is no telling when that might happen. For now, I am just enjoying some needed down time in the comfort of my pillows.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I am home from a long two days of a child abuse conference. There is one thing that really stuck me over the two days, but honestly, I am so stupid tired right now that I really want to take a shower, eat some dinner (of god knows what cause I have no groceries), figure out why my house smells like a dead mouse (probably because there is another one hiding somewhere), read my new Triathlete, return some overdue emails, and go the hell to bed.

I took the day off of private practice tomorrow, so I will give ya all a nice long one.

I get to sleep in!!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

3 Hours and 19 Miles Later...

I am home and recovering.

Wow, this one was a bit tough.

I ran it alone, with the company of only my IPod to keep me going. I thought about calling some friends to see if they wanted to join me for parts of it, but then I figured, "Hey, you'll be on the road alone that day, so you might as well get used to it."

I guess what made it tough today was that I never really felt good - couldn't find a stride, had right hip problems and left IT band issues. Plus, I was somewhat overcome with severe cramps and back pain as I left the house, due to, well, girl stuff.

I think that last part played the biggest role - the cramps just made me feel pretty sick the whole time. Like, wanna-vomit-my-Mocha-Clif-shot sick.

Then there was the whole issue of no hydration, due mostly to yucky Fuel Belt bottles that I discovered at Mile 5.5 (and stupidly proceeded to toss in the garbage instead of just unscrewing and drinking straight from the bottle), and then the late decision to keep running south, instead of looping back north to replenish at my car. I was basically left with one Fuel Belt bottle of water, and one of Gatorade, for the whole 19 miles.

You know it's bad when you start praying to God and making promises that, at some level, you probably won't keep. For example, it went a little something like this:

"God, or Dad, if either of you are listening, I swear I will throw out that box of candy I keep in the car if you can put just a little more strength in my legs."

Didn't work.

"Hey God? Dad? I promise I won't skip another swim from here on out if I can just get through this."

They must have called my bluff.

So I was left to fantasize about the food I was going to inhale once this long run was over. Sushi played a role my little mind game, and there was also a chocolate milkshake that was calling me home.

So that's how it went down.

After the run, I met my sisters for a chocolate/peanut butter milkshake and dinner (no sushi), but went straight from the run, so I shivered through the whole event.

The shower seemed to help. I am now laid up in the bed, ready to crash and then go to a two-day conference at NIU tomorrow. Hence, I may not post until Friday, when I get home that night.

So, it's done, checked off the list for the week. I think I only have one more three hour run left before taper, so I am pretty happy about that.

Ironman is in less than five weeks.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brown Hair

“I had no idea you were that old.”

I heard this twice this past weekend, both by 24 year old guys. The first time, these actual words were spoken, and the second time, it was paraphrased.

Granted, both times it was followed up by a softer comment about “not looking my age,” but I think it was only after my stunned silence and wide-eyed stare at such bluntness.

And it still made me feel sort of like shit.

But I brushed it off, put on my cute party dress and didn’t really think much about this until today, when the bad feelings about it crept up.

The issue of my appearance has always been a sore spot.

I look more like my dad, who, by definition, was a man. Hence, I have more masculine features than feminine. I have never been considered cute, not really ever in my life. In fact, when I was a junior in high school, and my sister was a freshman at my same school, all the boys in my grade wanted to date her, and still had no idea who I was. When I was a senior, my boyfriend’s high school baseball coach called me ugly.

So needless to say, I have never really felt all that pretty.

In my family, we were assigned roles – of the three girls, I was the bookworm studious one who liked to eat too many donuts on Saturday mornings. I was always a little overweight, had unmanageable hair, combination skin, and hips before any of the other girls knew what they were. My friends were always popular and beautiful, and though I was part of this group, I was never considered to be in the same league. And when you are in 8th grade, or high school, being pretty and liked by boys is a big effing deal. In fact, it’s kinda like the WHOLE deal.

I guess at some point, I decided to make up for my lack of beauty by doing things – I earned straight A’s, I went to graduate school and earned a doctorate, I am training for Ironman, etc. If I can’t be pretty, well, at least I can set myself apart through doing things.

When I got into my mid and late 20s, this appearance thing never really subsided, but I think I sort of grew into my looks a little more. My body seemed to even out (thanks to my newfound love of running), and my face didn’t seem, well, so big or manly. I never LOVED my body, despite what Oprah told me, but I stopped hating it and trying to destroy it like I did throughout most of my teen years and early twenties.

But today, for some reason, this reached a head. And I know why – I was scrolling through the pictures that I posted at the wedding, and realized – I still look really masculine. And then I came across a completely separate picture of a 20-something girl (not from the wedding), all cute and perky and blond and perfect with just-as-perfect girly features, white teeth and huge smile – and it hit me.

I will never be “cute.” I will never be the pretty chick with straight blond hair (good for flipping when flirting) cherub cheeks (good for blushing when flirting) and a button nose (good for wrinkling when flirting). I will never have smooth, milky skin or bright blue eyes. I will never have the petite, taut body with smooth thighs, firm round ass, or perky boobs. I will never be the girl in the bar that smiles and laughs at all the right things, like she’s carefree, silly and knows she’s got the attention of every guy in the room.

I will always have dark skin and dark curly hair. I will always have hips and an ass and the occasional break out (thanks mom). I will always have a longish, pointy nose and a huge forehead (thanks dad). I will always rock the saddle bags, and love handles. I am watching as my once-full boobs slowly start to fall. And I will probably always wear a furried brow or scowl more than a carefree smile, which will always cause wrinkles on my forehead.

Most of the time, I don’t give a shit about this. Most of the time, I am aware of my own insecurities, but I can deal, and tell myself I am more than just a face. Most of the time, I can look in the mirror and not loathe the body or face staring back.

Today was not one of those days.

And I hate that. I hate that I still care, I hate that it still bothers me that I am not that cute blond, I hate that I am jealous and insecure about that blond. I hate it all.

And I hate it because, cognitively, I know I have so much going for me that makes me good, maybe even better, than this blond. I know that I would murder her in intellectual conversation or witty one-liners, or if comparing lists of life accomplishments. And I know that I will never need to chase a man to validate my self worth, and that I have already established myself as independent and successful.

Then why do I want to be her?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Round Two - More Pictures and Commentary

Okay, so these were taken with a disposable camera, so the quality is subpar at best. But I wanted to post them, cause mostly it reminds me of how fun the night was. Above are the sister girls, with their matron, Big Mar.
Oh, Bridget. So cute! Bridget laid off the hooch that night, seeing as she did a doozy the night before. But she was still hysterical - her sense of humor is brutal. She's the kind of girl that you can sit in a corner with and make fun of other people all night long....not that I would....

Me and Devers.

Ellen busting her fancy dance moves. I seem to remember this partuclar one - I think she perfected it the summer of 1993, somehwere in the parking lot of Soldier Field at a Grateful Dead concert. Somewhere in the world there's a VW van missing their Dancing Bear.....

Devin, confused at Ellen's happy feet. Franky, so am I. What the....?

My mom never left the dance floor. I believe this particular photo was taken during a choreographed version of "I'm Too Sexy." Yeah, and my mom actually did strut around like she was on the catwalk. No shit.

Is it over yet? My little dancing feet were pretty beat at this point. I still had my heels on, and when I got home, the feet were swollen like little pillows. It made for a fun 6-hour brick when I got home yesterday!
I think the best part of the whole night was at the very end. Everyone left, and I went to say good-bye to Nolan. He pulled me into the tightest hug, and didn't let go. He spoke softly in my ear, telling me how proud he was of me, the life I live, and the decisions I make. He told me I was the strongest person he knew, and that he was so grateful for all I have done for him. He asked me if I was happy, and told me that I was the best, and deserved only the best. He told me I that I have overcome so much in life to become who I am, and that made me an amazing person, and that I should never settle or compromise myself. Then he kissed my cheek, hugged me again, and pulled away.
I have relived that moment frequently since I left TN. For all me and him have gone through in the last 20 years, he has become quite a man - insightful, honest, genuine, good. And all at the ripe old age of 24. In the last few weeks, his phone calls have literally picked me up out of bed, made me think about myself and want I want in this life, and reinforced the full circle my family have traveled.
For him, I am truly grateful.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nolan's Wedding - Round One

I landed about two hours ago, and thought that I would at least start out with some pictures of the weekend. I am going to break this down into two parts, becuase there is a whole set of reception pictures that I have a feeling deserve their own post.

So basically, my younger brother Nolan got married in Tennesse this weekend. Ellen and I stood up in the wedding party, and Devin was the photographer. Above are Ellen and I, before she had to take off back to the hotel with her kid, Baby Nolan.
Joe and Bridget and me. Joe has been with our family since high school. He and Bridget are two of my closest friends, and Joe is like a brother to Nolan - always has been. Hoe and Bridget are amazing on their own, but I discovered are that much more hysterical with a few "pops" in them.

Following the rehersal dinner, we all headed to the bar, where shots were the drink of the night. You can't really see my brother here, but he is the kid with the dark hair and brown jacket on.

Ah, here is a better picture. Doesn't he look young?!?!?!

The Chicago "posse." It's PAtrick, Devin, Nolan, Joe, Nathaniel (in the back), me Bridget and John C.

Me and the Devers.

It's wedding day!!! This is Jenny, my new sister in law. On top of being stunningly beautiful, she is one of the sweetest, nicest, most genuine, true Southern girls I have ever met. She is truly a valuable addition to this family. Welcome, Mrs. Nolan's Wife!

Joe walked Nolan down to an insturmental version of a song my brother picked out for my dad. They lit a candle for my dad. It was sad.

This one's for Clyde and Cheese. Does it really take off 30 pounds?

The fam - I think they are all pretty much regular to this site, except for my older brother whose getting my kidney. He's on the end with his wife.
Sisters. Doesn't get any better than these two.

And now we are four.
More pics and my overall weekend commentary to follow.
Off to ride for five hours. Fantastic.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Wow, it feels like it's been forever since I put up a post. So much has been flurrying around these last few days that it's been almost impossible to take a second to drop in on ya.

I arrived in Tennessee a couple hours ago for my little brother's wedding. Me aside, he is the last of us to get married. All four, gone and done it.

I left a frigid Chicago, only to arrive to a frigid and windy Tennessee, and a town that is now all but shut down due to their pending four inches of snow.

Seriously, four inches and the town shuts down.

You know what we call four inches in Chicago?


Everyone is just beginning to arrive, and my friends just got here. I guess since all the planning has been in another state, and I have had little imput on things (unlike my other two sisters' weddings) it's taken a while for this to feel real. But the last day of two, I have felt the excitement growing.

Any posts or pictures will have to wait until Monday because I can't link up to the wireless here, and I left my camera cord at home.

Later skaters.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Street Cred

I promised myself I would take my workouts out of the gym this week, and I hate letting myself down.

This morning, Cheese and I arose at 6AM to conquer our individual runs - he for 50 minutes, me for 2hours 45minutes. And since I have all but married the treadmill as of late, I decided the relationship wasn't totally meeting my needs, so I vowed to go on a date with the lakefront this morning.

We checked WGN News for the weather. It said 22 degrees, which, given winter in Chicago, didn't seem all that bad.

Ooops. We must have left the house before we saw the wind warning.

Holy Mother of All Things Wind Chill.

As we got out of the car at 7AM, it was cold, for sure. But the first 2.5 miles were south, so the wind was at our back.

We turned around at Oak Street Beach, literally running along the shore of Lake Michigan, and this is when the pain started.

Literally pain.

Like, wind cutting through your cheeks off the frozen lake and piercing through otherwise uber-warm running clothes.

It was so bad on the way back that Cheese ran in front of me to block the wind (and he wasn't even wearing a winter hat!). And it did help, for the most part, but the reality was that the wind was determined to have its way with us, regardless of who was in front.

I dropped him off at Diversey Harbor, and he waited for me in my car while I ran for two more hours. Yeah, he waited for two hours. I offered to let him to go home, take a shower and come back, but he waited - in case I needed some more water or gatorade.

So I completed two more 5-mile loops. At about 7.5, I had decided to quit. I stopped, drank from frozen gatorade, ate a GU, then slapped myself, got back in the game, and started running again.

Everything was cramped, frozen, stiff. ButI kept saying to myself over and over, "You won't quit race day, you won't quit today." So I didn't quit. I kept running.

In the end, I was about 10 minutes short (2:35, about 16 miles), but I was okay with that.

It took most of the day to recover from this one, mostly due to the cold. But I'll take that deep-bone cold shiver over a no-quit run any day.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Here Ya Go

Woke up at 7.

On bike by 8.

Rode 4 hours.

Watched Last King Of Scotland (good)

Watched We Own the Night (bad, but Eva Mendez -Goooooood and Smokin Hot!)

Ran 1 hour, 45 minutes.

All told, nutrition finally dialed in.

Home to shower.

Now off to errands.

Minor back pain, no pain elsewhere.

Ironman Arizona?

Bring it.