Monday, June 30, 2008

And So It Goes

"Diet" is "Evil" Spelled with Different Letters
So I have figured out where I may have gone wrong in this whole food business.

Of course, there are the obvious pot holes – the bad foods, yada yada – I get it, no sugar.

And I have been doing really good with the whole "no candy and ice cream" bit, even if it means I have resorted to knawing the skin off the side of my fingers right by the fingernails.

Anyone else notice that blood can, in a delerium, taste like cookie dough?

But lately I have been eating those 100-calories packs – you know the ones that actual take the guess work out of it and do the whole appropriate measuring for you?

See, my former fool-proof method of NOT eating entire bags of stuff was too keep the bag in the cabinet across the room, so that I would have to actually get up when I wanted more.

And since we all know how lazy I am, it was a safe bet that after two handfuls, no potato chip tasted THAT good for another trip.

But then this little trick stopped working. Why? Well, mostly because I live in an apartment where the kitchen cabinet is three feet from my bed.

You do the math.

So back to that 100-calorie packs. See, I figured this would be my new fool-proof method, and I thought, "Self, you know what 100 calories look like - so you have one pack and move one! Genius! Back to skinny Ironman jeans in no time!"

Turns out my 100-calories guess-timate weren’t all that far off.

If I was a eating for a family of six.

When you actually look at it, 100 calories is really not that much. I mean, it’s like four Triscuits. Who eats just four Triscuts?

Well, I guess me…now.


And I love this whole idea of making everything "mini" - like, you won't know your only eating four Triscuts if they're cut up into twenty ant-size crackers.

Mmmmm, yummmy....can I get a side of air with that?

Bottom line? I can cut out all the sweets in the world, but if I am inhaling eight packages of 100-calorie Chex mix, well then what’s the point?

Ah, moderation.

I hate you.

And on the topic of weight - Here’s a question.

Why are running partners important?

It’s always good to have someone on hand to stop-drop-and-roll your chub when you catch fire from the friction of inner thigh rub.

Without ‘em, you’re just another girl making a run for the waters of Lake Michigan with smoke coming out of her ass.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Difference a Day Makes

How funny that two days ago I posted about wanting to do another Ironman.

Why funny?

Because today I near killed myself trying to get through a 3hr ride/30 minue run brick.

By the time I got home, I was pretty intent on dropping out of Racine.

I feel somewhat defeated right now.

Like, I knew I was a bit undertrained, but today was reality's punch in the face.

Here is where I think I went wrong:

1. All rides post-Arizona have been on the trainer, and without any real intensity. I mean, I get on and pedal, but I do no speed or hill work. On the road, I felt like I was pulling through mud.

2. I rode with an old friend, Larry - you may remember him - old BF who I tried to stay friends with for about a year, then finally decided to part ways last summer? Hence, it's been a while since we have really talked, much less rode together. One thing that hasn't changed is his fitness (3x Ironman finisher), so I spent most of my ride trying to keep up with him without looking winded or slowing down (meanwhile, I think he slowed down so that I could keep up with him, but he would never admit to that - he just told me how good I was riding). Point? By the time I hit the run, I was DONE.

3. My bike is BEGGING for a tune up. The chain and cassette need cleaning, the gears are all effed up...but that's more of a side note as opposed to a reason for the grotesquness of my Sheridan Road expreince.

4. Umm...well...I think I might be out of excuses.

So, in summary - my training's been lazy, and I blew my wad on the ride.

While I can correct the second part, lazy training will ultimately do me in.


I likely won't drop the race (mostly because so many people are doing it and I REALLY want to meet everyone!), but I am slightly more worried about it.

However, like any downer, there must be an upper, and my upper for the day is this:

I am proud to say that I have been candy, cake and ice cream free for four days now. Never you mind the minor blip on Thursday when I discovered three bins of my mom's homemade cookies at Devin's house - I may or may not have taste-tested one (four) of them. But that's been my only slip, and I managed to go over there yesterday and didn't even make eye contact with the damn cookies.



Somehow that is not making me feel any better right now......

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lofty Goals

Yeah, so like any high-glam city girl rockin’ her Friday night, I’m sitting here in my bed listening to politically conservative podcasts and cruising blogs.

And what am I discovering?

Well, besides the pro v. con argument of open borders?

Yup – I am discovering that I WANT TO DO ANOTHER IRONMAN.

I think I have seen every single picture taken of the recent CdA IM, and I am overwhelmed with the desire to abuse my body yet again.

And soon.

And this is all pretty silly, especially since I am struggling right now to just complete my ½ Iron training for my upcoming race.

But there’s been this nagging voice in the back of my head, telling me, “You can do it, and you can do it BETTER.”

But man, I so loved my IM experience.

I want to have the structure of training for such a huge goal.

I want to feel that anticipation of the race getting closer.

I want to feel the exhaustion of a stupid long 7-hour brick, and still have dinner with my sister afterwards.

I want to see my family all together again.

I want to pull my goggles over my eyes and know that I CAN swim over 2 miles while simultaneously getting punched in the face.

I want to feel the sun on my shoulders over the 112 miles bike.

I want to feel the burn of my quads off the bike.

I want to see the 26.2 miles ahead of me, and think, “Phew! Almost over!”

I want to finish while it’s still light outside…which means a sub-14 hour.

I want to cross that line properly – by taking in every screaming spectators, slowing it down, and not flying in like I did the first time.

I want to actually hear my name called this time.

I want 140.6 miles to figure out where I am going to put my tattoo.

I want to win the lottery so I can fund this desire.

But I want to be there. Again.

Madison 09?

Good lord I need help.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bringing Home the Fat

Plane landed.

Luggage collected.

Guess what it’s time for?

A diet.

At some point, when you eat massive quantities of ice cream, Sour Patch Kids, Junior Mints, Twizzlers, Coke Zero (wha--?), and movie theatre popcorn, your ass looks up at you and says, “Come on, Meg. Really?”

Well, maybe not YOUR ass, 'cause that would be just weird - your ass looking at me.

I mean, MY ass.

And what an ass it has become.

Oh, and in case you might be thinking that I have exaggerated the amount of ice cream ingested, here’s a little story:

Last night, after a baseball game, complete with hot pretzels and peanuts (which I eat WITH the shells because I LOVE the salt), I came home, pulled out the quart of ice cream, and proudly proclaimed that I would finish the whole thing.

Cheese looked at me and said, “Yeah right. You can’t eat that whole thing.”

And them?

Them is fightin’ words.

Less then 20 minutes later – DONE.

And he may or may not have run screaming from the room, disgusted at the ugly display of gluttony I put on, wailing something about “Did not sign up for this food monster…who are you….your double chin is scaring me…..blah blah something.”

But I can’t be too sure, as I myself was laid out on the ground in a sugar coma, eyes in a transfixed state at the empty wrappers of candy in the garbage can, specks of sugar clinging for dear life at the corners of my mouth.

Twice-a-day running and pool visits apparently weren’t enough to assuage the pounds.

So instead, I came home from Oklahoma with belly fat and hips the size of the actual state itself.

Oh, and we are not even going in the direction of the GI issues.

Suffice to say that the body does not process, say, Gummy Bears, the same it would a meal of salmon and spinach.


I seriously can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep bitching about how bad I eat and how fat I am getting. I need to actually do something.

I need a detox.

And not the stick-a-tube-of-liquid-up-your-ass-and-flush kind of detox. Just a real good, back-on-the-good-food-wagon detox.

Wow. Sounds like I’ll be a bucket of laughs for the next few days.


Fruit and veggies have no sense of humor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still Alive, Still on Vacation, and Still Random

How have I been spending my vacation in hot ass Oklahoma?

Sleeping in, eating obscene amounts of candy and ice cream (or, as I like to refer to it - "breakfast"), going to the movies and eating obscene amounts of oil-drenched popcorn ("dinner"), watching the entire Arrested Development series on DVD, and reading (which keeps getting interupted by napping).

Oh, and lest I forget the enjoyable day (not sarcastic - it was actually enjoyable) at the public city pool, during which I managed to score myself a hot, itchy, sweet sunburn (not so enjoyable).

I am pretty convinced it will turn brown in another day, unless the skin just falls right off, in which case....well, let's just hope it turns brown.

I have also been training out here...well, really...running a ton. Oklahoma City has this great running path that treks along the river - and the other night we went for a 7-mile down it.

It was quite nice.

Oh, and speaking of training - good news.

I FINALLY broke the 2000-yard mark in the pool (yes, I have threatened myself with this very high marker that, three months ago, would have been 1/2 a workout, but hey). I struggled to get to 1500, but then, once I got there, I felt like I could keep going, so I did.

End of story.

I think I am going to a baseball game tonight. Since it's Oklahoma, it's a AAA game, but the park looks nice and I am SURE there are hot pretzels there.

Is it me, or is my life starting to revolve around food?

Just a thought.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

To My Sister, With Love

Dear Devin:

With any endurance sport, there will always be variables which we cannot control.

Sometimes, our months of training can be flawless, perfect in every way, and bring us to race day with high hopes and a focused mind.

But these variables can sneak up – they can take a hold of our bodies when we least expect it, and they can quickly dash all those months of hard work.

Yesterday, you toed the line in Minnesota, hundreds of miles away from the comfort of our Chicago lakefront, with one goal in mind: Qualify for Boston.

You knew that, even though your hip problem continued to nag, and you woke up with a spasmed and knotted back, there was nothing that was going to stop you from crossing that finish line.

And while the first several miles went as planned, somewhere along the way, things stopped working. At some point in the race, your body stopped working for you, and instead started working against.

You vomited. You ached. You knotted. You twisted in pain.

But the thing is, Dev, you never quit. You could have – you could have pulled up to the curb, stretched your back, hit the medical tent, and gave a big middle finger to Grandma.

But you didn’t. You stayed in the race.

You stayed in even when you had to walk more than run.

You stayed in even when you knew that you would not qualify.

You stayed in even when the disappointment you felt choked you with sobs.

You stayed in even when you had miles and miles stretched ahead of you, and you simply couldn’t get your body to move any faster.

When I think about what you went through on that course yesterday, my heart and my eyes swell with pride.

The fortitude you have in your heart is indescribable – it is something that, in my darkest hours, I hope I can recall and emulate.

It doesn’t matter what time you crossed that line yesterday – you were already my inspiration, my pride, my hero, and my sister.

While almost ever runner at some point dreams of qualifying for Boston, few ever actually try. And for those that try, few succeed.

Not only did you have the courage to try, but you had the courage to try twice, and to stay in a race despite all odds.

Boston will be there for you one day, Dev.

And if I know you, you won’t stop trying until you get it.

Keep your chin up, Kid. You are tough as nails, and an inspiration to all of us.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

HUGE Weekend


Lots of stuff happening.

First and foremost, just want to give my sister yet another shout-out for her race this weekend. I have nothing but confidence that she will meet her goal - I am just sorry I won't be there for it.

Second, MAJOR MAJOR positive thoughts to all those doing IM CDA this weekend - incuding Mom, Tri-Dogma, and Tea. I know there are a ton of other people out there, and I really apologize for missing you, but I will definately spend some time in the next day catching up on blogs and then following people on the computer. Still fresh off my own and first IM, I got chills just thinking about how everyone is preparing in these last few days.

I am not really one for super inspirational words, but for all those doing IM this weekend - take it in - ALL OF IT - love every second, and bask in the day - no matter how cold the swim, how hard the ride, or how miserable the run. You earned your place out there, and come Monday, it's back to real life.


And to Prin, who is celebrating a birthday this weekend - enjoy your secret plans!

As for me, I am outta here for a couple days - using up the last of my vacation days before my contract year ends July 1st. Of course, I can't go anywhere without my computer, so I will still be checking in, catching up on some VERY overdue emails (sorry!) and taking a break from the craziness of life.

To all those not qualifying for Boston, or doing and IM, or having a birthday - Have an AWESOME AWESOME weekend, enjoy the weather and the first day of summer!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Post #2 - Boobs aka Triathlon Giveth and Triathlon Taketh Away

So I noticed the other day that my strapless bra fell off.

Like, slide right down my belly.

Now, one with a rationale mind might think, “Oh, my boobs must have gotten smaller.”

Not me.

I blamed the bra.

“Oh, it must be stretched out…by my enormous jublies.”

So today I took myself bra shopping.

I grabbed a couple of D’s, and threw in some C’s - you know, just in case training really has taken a toll that I was not aware of.

When the D’s left room for a whole separate watermelon, I reluctantly tried on the C’s.

No matter how much I hoisted, pulled, twisted, adjusted – the suckers just would not fill the cups.

So I did what I am best at –

Turned on the denial, and bought myself some ice cream.

And then bitched up a storm.



A B-cup?

Not since the 5th grade had I ever sunk so low.

And it’s crazy – for as long as I could remember, I have lamented my large boobies– couldn’t wear the cute little tops, had to buy the orthopedic-looking bras – you know the drill, my large-breasted friends.

But now, all I can think of is that it’s not fair.

The whole episode trigger a memory of a scene from one of my favorite movies – “Beautiful Girls.” If you’re familiar with the movie, it’s the scene where Rosie O’Donnell give Timothy Hutton and Matt Dillon a tongue lashing for their love of all things Playboy and airbrushed.

She says that, in summary, God is a fair man – he gives heavier women big boobs, and skinny bitches small boobs.

And every time I watch this, me and my double D’s would scream at the tv, “Hell YEAHH!!!! Right on!!!”

Then I’d high-five each boob and eat a cheeseburger.

But now I’m like, “Hey - WTF?”

Okay, fine – I do work out a lot. And yes, my body has changed as a result.

But if God was going to take away my basooms, why’s he stop there?

What? He can’t see the sizable ass and hips from Heaven?


The Man, I am told, can see all.

Shit’s not right, man.


I know I promised my sister I wouldn’t do this, but I can’t help myself.

I have held the secret for too long.

This weekend, in Duluth, MN, my sister Devin will be running the Grandma’s Marathon in an attempt to qualify for Boston!!!!!!!!!

Dev’s really amped up her training these last few months, and I would post pics of her running, but she’s so fast now, they all come out blurry…..

So before she leaves tomorrow, I just wanted to say:

“KICK GRANDMA’S ASS!!!!!!!!!!”

I love ya kid.

Now go run you tiny ass off.

Meanwhile, I'll start booking the flights to Beantown.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In The Mail

A small white envelope, opened up to this card:

This is what I see when I look at you:

I see a remarkable woman with a kind and caring heart who is beautiful in every sense of the word

When I look at you I see a smile that lights up the room

And laughter that is truly contagious

I see a strength and wisdom beyond anything I have ever known

I see love – pure and true

Compassion and thoughtfulness

I see a woman who walks though this world with gentleness and grace

I admire you for all that you are and for all that you do

You are everything wonder in this world

And if I had just one wish it would be that you could see what I see when I look at you

Thinking of you

Love Always


Thanks Mom - I'm trying.

Believe me, I am trying.

Monday, June 16, 2008

If at First You Don't Drown, Try, Try Again

And so goes another round of pool fun.

Not much else to report except that I am going to increase my yardage tomorrow. I have pretty much hung around the 1500 yard range since returning to the pool last week, which, in writing, seems so, well, low.

But it's all about rebuilding, yeah?


In other Megan news, I ate two ice cream sandwichs for breakfast, one for lunch, and then a balenced meal for dinner.

It's like my own little Weight Watchers program.

Except without the "watching."

Or, uh, the weight loss.

Dang my life is boring today.

Tune in tomorrow - maybe a Leprechaun will show up and work his wiley magic on me.

Now THAT would be a good story, right?


Back to report writing.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Making Me

In a recent conversation, Cheese and I were discussing accountability in the world, the US in particular. Among the topics were the politics of education and the Democratic way of thinking.
The conversation was started by a recent report of a suburban school here, where about 50% of the 8th graders did not graduate. The school sent notices home all semester, provided tutoring and tons of extra services, but yet the children still did not pass. And then the parents were on the news saying, “It’s not fair, it’s not fair – nobody warned us, they never told us,” and the kids were saying, “Man, it’s not fair – now I gotta go to school in the summer.”

Huh? What part of that is not fair? The part where you didn’t do the work so you couldn’t graduate? Who’s fault should it be?

When do we start holding parents accountable for their children? When do we stop passing off the responsibility of raising children to teachers, and then plead ignorance when the kid doesn’t pass? Where are the parents in this – the parents who should be instilling the ethics of hard work and value of education? That stuff is what is learned in the home – if a parent can't be bothered enough to know how the child is performing in school, or actively dismisses academic reports or teachers phone calls – what does that teach the child? What is that modeling for them?

And during this conversation, Cheese said something that hit me hard – he talked about my grandfather, who was a bridge tender here in Chicago, a real blue collar guy who had no money and no wife (my grandmother died when my dad was like 8), but worked his ass off to get my dad out of the “neighborhood” and send him to private high school. He was a guy that knew life could be better for his son, and worked hard to make that life for him. He was a guy that eventually raised a son who had the same high value on education and work ethic, who didn’t just sit back and say, “I’m poor, so what are you going to do for ME?”

And my father, in turn, was the same way. He was a full-time police officer, pulling himself up through the ranks to captain during his 33+ year career. He worked 5-6 side jobs at any given time, often working up to 20 hours a day, just so his kids could go to the best high schools. Sure, we were living paycheck to paycheck and broke as hell most of the time – but we were educated. And we saw how hard he, and my mother, worked to give us that. We may not have had electricity at some points, but gosh darn, we had diplomas.

And Cheese said, “Do you think your grandfather ever thought that all his hard work would ultimately produce a doctor in his family? I mean, all those years ago, when he was sending your dad through school – do you ever think he ever thought that all those painstaking hours of work would give him a doctor? You being a doctor was three generations in the making – it didn’t happen overnight, and it happen because of the hard work that came before you – that’s what was modeled for you.”

My dad died before I graduated with my doctorate, though he was calling me “doctor” long before I earned that title. In the months before he died, he told me that he thought he was a “terrible father,” referring to his work-related absences, his hard-nosed approach to discipline, and his alcoholic past. I think he regretted a lot of things he did, but yet I don’t know if he gave himself credit for those things, either.

There were a lot of years as a child that I was ashamed of our blue collar status in a white collar neighborhood. I was embarrassed of not having the things my friends did – the summer homes, the designer clothes, etc. But now, looking back on where all those other kids are and where I am – it’s clear that what my father gave me was more important then the things you wear or drive, or the places you go.

My father, with my mother, made me who I am.

I am driven, focused, educated, “hard-headed” and sometimes too hard on myself.

And I am NOT ashamed of that.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I think you’d be proud.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Three Tragedies and Some Idiots

#1. Tim Russert, dead at 58. What a shame. For months, I would mount my bike at 9am on Sunday, turn on Meet the Press, and watch the man work. I don’t claim to know a lot about politics, but I could appreciate the man’s intelligence. And he reminds me of someone who would have been a friend of my dad’s – just a really home grown, friendly kind of guy. It’s really too bad.

#2. R. Kelly, Not Guilty on all 14 counts. What a fucking sin. This mother fucker is as guilty as the day is long. Lemme tell you this – R. Kelly is from Chicago, where it is WIDELY known that Mr. Kelly has a – how do I say this? – thing for young girls. The girl on the tape is only one of a long list of other victims, and now this asshead gets to walk free knowing he had sex with strings of underage girls AND GETS AWAY WITH IT. God, it must be nice to be able to pay off so many people. This makes me sick to my stomach.

#3. Midwest weather. Oh my gosh, half of Wisconsin and Iowa are underwater. And the rain keeps coming. Plus all the tornadoes and high winds – is it me or has the weather been really bad this year? Weird, though, I don’t recall seeing any fund raising telethons a-la-Katrina, to help out. Maybe I’ve been watching the wrong tv stations.

Idiots: And speaking of things seen on tv, why do people try to drive their cars through five feet of water? Seriously, if I have to watch any more tv coverage of people trying to climb out the windows of their submerged cars, I will go running for the hills. Note to idiots – if your neighbors are floating by on dislodged roof tops and the police are patrolling in row boats, chances are your 1989 Ford Tempo is not going to make it.

Just a thought.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Right Back At Me

Well, karma showed up today and took a chunk right out of my behind.

I think we all know how I feel about lane sharing when swimming, right? Well, if you don’t, here’s a hint – I hate it.

Of course, I hate mostly when I am the one already swimming, and someone wants to share my lane.

I try my best to do them like a street begger – make no eye contact, keep on going.

But when I am the one standing at the end of a lane, needing to get the swim in during my lunch break, well, then, that’s a whole different story.

Which, of course, was the situation today.

Ah, but when I arrived, all lanes were taken. So I assessed which one of the swimmers look the least serious, and tried to get into that lane.

Cause those serious swimmer make me look like a fool.

Kind of like being the special ed kid put into the AP courses in high school – why set me up to fail, and feel like crap about myself, right?

My chosen lane was occupied by a slightly older man who, although considerably overweight and wearing a VERY tiny suit, was doing a lovely job at keeping to one side of the lane. I thought for sure that I would be able to squeeze in without being a bother.

Alas - it was not to be - I was thwarted by Mr. Should-Not-Be-Wearing-A-Speedo, who played me like a Streetwise vendor, and did everything in his power to pretend I wasn’t standing there for 15 minutes.

And I would never just jump in the lane without asking pleasantly to do so, so I continued to stand and wait for him to finish each lap, hoping he would look up and welcome me into the cool water.

That would never happen.

And it’s not like he was flip turning, which would have made it easy for him to avoid my glare – no, he would finish his lap, stop, but then turn his head to look at the clock to my right, instead of up at me.

So I curse at him under my breath (of course, not using cuss words, as I am trying to change that, though this situation would have warranted it - wait, does "douche bag" count as a swear? Huh, then maybe I failed this attempt), and wait until I am invited to swim in the Circle Only lane by a clearly more advanced swimmer, to whom I needed to make my apologies for “not being fast.”

But I got in, and dutifully did my swim.

Of course, the swim would not have been complete without one final kick in the pants: Since I was in the lane NEXT to Old Man Marley and his D-cups, I got the pleasure of staring right at his, ahem, overstuffed Speedos, every time I turned my head to breathe.

Trust me, it was a site worth drowning for.

Lesson learned?

Uh, lemme get back to you on that - I am still trying to bleach my eyes and develop temporary amnesia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Post #2 - Even More Random

Well, there's that...
I think it says something about your day when your biggest accomplishment is “not drowning.” What exactly it says, I don’t know, but once the chlorine high from all the swallowed water wears off, I am sure I’ll have an answer.

Rewarded for Stupidity
Speaking of accomplishments, I paid my parking tickets today. Oh yeah, it’s plural. And guess what? Laziness really does have a price, because when you get a parking ticket and throw it in your back seat and it slips under the spare tire you still haven’t put back in your trunk, and starts to party with the tickets left there from the last few months – well, I sort of forgot about them and the shit adds up. Like, a lot. So after signing my name over in blood to the City of Evanston, I decided my reward for paying my severely overdue parking tickets (never you mind that it was my fault they were overdue in the first place) was a piece of cake from the bakery. 'Cause every good deed deserves a piece of cake, people. Life rule #302. Write it down.

Potty Mouth
And speaking of shit, I have decided that I cuss WAYYYYYY too much. It came to my attention this weekend at the race, and I thought, “Huh, no one else seems to be cussing.” And people, I cuss at everything – it used to be for emphasis, now it’s just like everyday language. For example, in a greeting, “Hey! What the fuck is up?” Or a simple observation, “Waukegan sure is a shithole.” Or an update on the weather, “Fuck me it’s hot!” Point being is that my cussing is far beyond the blue streak and more like the Pride rainbow right now, so I am going to try to tone it down a touch.

Much Better
And following this point, I decided I am going to replace said cuss words with nice, happy words. For example, “No shit” will become “No Snapple!” And “Shut the Fuck Up!” is now “Shut the Front Door!”

Don't Hate
Yeah, so here’s some embarrassment for the day: I happened to click upon the movie “Hairspray” (you know, the one where John Travolta is the tranny? Yeah, that one) the other day when I was lounging around the apartment. Problem is: I can’t stop watching it. No seriously. Like, I know the words to all the songs now, after only three days, and I sing along while I ride my bike. Is this weird?


Well, Frappacino Off.


I ate a handful of stale Bran Flakes and a GU for lunch.

Man, I gotta go grocery shopping....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Relay in Pictures

Since my actual race report post was 89 pages long, and I would totally understand if most of it got skipped over, I am going to give it to you in pictures. Of course several of them are missing, as the photos I have are only from one camera in my van. I suspect more will come. So enjoy! (note: click to enlarge if you can't really see them)

And they're off! We were in the 11am wave.

Waiting by the van, getting nervous about my first leg. the wind was fierce, so it was blowing my skirt all over. Notice the full black outift - apparently, I was not thinking that morning.

Van pals - almost time to go!

The first hand-off is just about to happen - the below picture is of Mark passing me the slap bracelet, which was what we used as the baton.

Eventaully, the shirt came off - between the 90 degree weather and the suffocating humidity, I simply couldn't tolerate anything extra. Oh, and if that effing mountain lion didn't eat my ass half a mile back, I am sure my skirt would have fit a little better...

I love this picture - I love that image of running down the path (although this one falsly represents the severe lack of shade throughout most of it). We don't really have many of these paths around where I live, so I loved that I had a chance to run down it.

My pass to Caroline - and the end of my first leg.

My van pals - Danielle, Shaun, Caroline and Mark - all waiting for Joe to come down the path and give him water. The sun is beginning to set, and the next leg would be the start of night running.

And the hand-off to Runner 1 - Megan from Ames - from Van 1. Now it was time for my van to chill out, eat dinner, get some sleep, and get ready for out middle-of-the-night legs. As far as I know, there are no pictures of that cycle, though.
But I will say this - there is something Super Duper Bad Ass about running the dead streets of a town covered in blinking lights and a head lamp while drunks are falling out of bars and cars scream at you wondering what the heck you are doing. Super. Duper.Bad.Ass.

Saturday - otherwise known as "God, please let me live through this" day. Danielle got us up at around 10-ish, and hands it off to Mark.

Almost nine miles, 100 degrees and an Achilles injury later, Mark rolls into the Lake Bluff train station to send me off on my final leg. It's about 1230 pm, and simply sweltering. At this point, I was so hot and dirty and grimy that I just stopped wearing a shirt all together, and just started walking around in my sports bra in public. The day before, when I took it off during the run, I was sort of self-conscious about my scars (which I still have) so I put my shirt on right after my leg. But by this point, in the heat, I was like, "Eff the scars - my skin is melting off, my brain is dripping out of my ear, and my legs won't move. I'm half-naked and I don't give a shit."

And off goes Caroline!
So that's what I got so far - I am sure some more pics will trickle in, and I will post them as they do!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Another birthday, huh? Hey, at least it's better than a yeast infection.
Now, where's the cake?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Team "Back Off Man, I'm A Scientist" and the MC 200 Relay

So here’s how it all went down (sorry, sort of long, and somewhat weaved with inappropriateness).

I met the first half of the team – Al, Caroline, Joe, Lauren and Shaun – for the ride up to Madison. We arrived in Madison Thursday night, and I met the rest of the team – Danielle (team captain), Megan, Mark, Tim, and Chris - went out for dinner, and then reviewed some details for the following day – a 203 mile trek from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL, basically in the span of 24 hours.

Honestly, I had no idea how much went into all of this, all of which Danielle orchestrated flawlessly. I mean, we are talking two vans, two binder of directions (literally, step-by-step, mile by mile) of each running leg and van trip. Food, timing, rules, designated legs, etc. It made my head spin. I simply showed up when they need me too, ran when they said, and let the pros do what they do.

We started at 11am Friday, and since I was in Van #2, I didn’t start until the afternoon, So we grocery shopped (my contribution was red apples, Red Vines, and Mike n Ikes – surprise, surprise), ate lunch and hung out until out time came.

After a brief weather delay, my group started the seventh leg of the race, in south Madison. I raced legs 9, 21, and 33.

Before I break that down – let me say how unbelievable hellacious the weather was. (90s and 100% humidity made for some really difficult runs). In hindsight, I consider this to be a badge of honor, making an already difficult task almost impossible. Like I said in the previous post – there really are no words to describe these conditions. A Chicago native my whole life, I can say that this was easily one of the worst weekend in memory. There was simply no relief.

Leg #9:
Start time: About 330 PM
Distance: 6.1 miles
Time: 59 minutes
Description: Hot, Hot, Hot. No other words. I ran the street for the first mile or two, then it was all trail after that. But no shade, and the heat pouring off the surrounding open fields. I knew immediately I was dehydrating. Thankfully, my team met me at about mile 3 with water, and by that time, I had stripped off my shirt and was DRIPPING with sweat. Water down, continued on the way, and finished the leg.

Intermission: Dinner, post-run review, and some serious concerns about my digestion, nausea, and dehydration. We rolled into a local high school, laid on the floor of a high school gym in the hopes of sleep (which was not to be had) and then it was off to start again at about midnight.

Leg #21:
Start time: 230 AM !!!!!!!
Distance: 6.5 miles
Time: 61 minutes
Description: Middle of the night, running streets of Racine-ish. After a brief moment of being lost with four other runners, we got it together, and I took off. I mean, took off – at least by my measure. I loved the night running, and again, my team met me halfway with water. I wasn’t afraid of dark, bugs, animals, or even getting passed by all the other runners on that leg (which I did, often). Blister started to set in, and I didn’t even care. I finished around 330AM, and it was off to support the rest of van until we completed our cycle at about 5AM.

During this run, I wondered what local drivers must have thought about a bunch of people running through their streets with headlamps and front/back blinking lights at 3 in the morning. It was a pretty cool feeling, not gonna lie.

Intermission: I was tired, but all earlier problems seem to be correcting themselves – well with the exception of my poop, which was being as petulant as a five-year-old child on the first day of kindergarten – it simply didn’t want to go. Interject about an hour of sleep on a church couch while the other van completed their legs, and then it was off again. Sunrise came FAR too early.

And of the digestion – when you are awake for that long, take in minimal foods, put your body through stress, and then expect to digest itself properly, the body fights back. Let’s just say my stomach wanted to poop but my butt didn’t. And I refused to be one of those ladies sitting in a stall ripping ass for the rest of us to hear (you know what I mean, Danielle?) just to push a little guy that clearly was not ready. So bloated constipated belly it was. Yuck.

And p.s. – When in this situation, it is important to NOT have your morning coffee, because you spend the day in fear of doo-dooing all over yourself at inopportune times. Holy cramps – the ones where you keep going back to the port-a-potty thinking “Oh man, this is it – it’s blow time,” but then getting nothing but waves of nausea.

Leg #33
Start time: 1230 PM
Distance: 5.9 miles
Time: 65 minutes
Description: HELL. Between the saturated air, stifling heat, and some sore legs that were simply not recovered from the first two rounds, I pretty much shuffled myself through Lake Forest and into Highwood – however, this time it was in familiar territory, over the bike path I ride. Joe met me towards the end and ran me in. Man, did I need the support at that time. Unlike the first two legs, I had to walk twice during this one. I was done – spent – and for the first time EVER, I had to “dig.” I had to completely talk myself through each step – literally. I cannot explain this. In Ironman, I had my family, I knew I would never quit. But today was a new day, a new race, and I was almost ready to give in.


Leg finished, and I was almost hallucinating. No shit.

But here’s where it gets crazy.

Last leg, Leg 36, waiting at Northwestern to get it done, and the race gets delayed by weather. Tornado warnings, storms – it was bad. We waited, waited. I finally decided to go home from there, shower and get ready for the dinner I was to have later for Ellen’s birthday. The Leg (Joe) didn’t end up leaving until almost six, which meant that I could only go down to the finish line to say goodbye, while they waited for him to come in.

I didn’t get to see it, and I didn’t get run across the line with my team. I was pretty disappointed – a whole weekend with former strangers-turned-friends and I couldn’t even end it with them.

I found out later that Joe finished what would be a tough leg (he was also pretty sick the whole time). Team “Back off Man, I’m a Scientist” was in the record books.

There were so many funny little details of the weekend (after all, you spend 24 hours with a bunch of people in a sweaty hot van and fun abounds) but I feel like many of them would need explanation and I can’t do them justice (“Fuck you old lady!”, "air hugs" or when I got pulled over by a cop flashing his lights for what we thought was my jaywalking – turns out he just wanted to know if he could “do anything to help” me and my running skirt – oh, I mean “the other runners”).

So instead, I will just wrap this up by saying this was one of the most fun weekend I have had, one of the craziest experiences, and something I would do a million times over if asked. My team was amazing, especially my van, even if we got lost due to my poor navigation, and hit a pole or two in the rental car.

And I even surprised myself because meeting 10 strangers wasn’t as hard as I thought. In fact, I felt very much myself the whole weekend.

At one point, I asked Danielle if I was what she expected based on my blog (which is how she knew me). She said, “Pretty much – you’re an over-discloser, just like on your blog.” Or something like that.


Turns out she was referring to my newfound lack of filter when discussing all things taboo – something I used to do only when hidden behind the safety of my blog. Guess it’s starting to make it’s way into the real world.

Hey, when you’re comfortable, you’re comfortable.

Enough said.

I need another shower and nap.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What Words?

I just got home from the craziest weekend. I seriously have no words to accurately describe the shear fatigue, sunburn, layers of dirt and grime, and overhwleming sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

I can't post the whole thing right now, but let me summarize by saying that my final leg of the relay was comprable to marathon of the Ironman. I am sure there were many factors that heightended the level of difficulty during that last 65 mintues of activity, but honest to goodness, I was just as spent crossing that line today as I was seven weeks ago in AZ.

And much, MUCH dirtier.

I will post the full thing in the next 24 hours, including the craziest end to the whole thing, and hopefully with pictures!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Bags are packed (mostly), reports are finished and sent off.

I am getting ready to blow out of here for my first relay!!!

I am a mix of excitement and nervousness - mostly because I haven't been feeling super fit lately and I am about to spend three days with people I have never met before.

If this isn't a confrontation of fear, I don't know what is.

One of the team members contacted me last night to introduce himself and see how I was feeling about it all, which I thought was nice - takes a little pressure off the first meeting of everyone today.

So now it's just a couple last errands and I head up to Madison.

I am not bringing my computer so it's highly unlikely I will post or check blogs until I get back Sunday (well - I get back Saturday but go straight to my sister's birthday dinner from the race, and then to a late night Rib Fest bbq at a friend's house).

Have a good weekend!!

Stand Corrected

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the LONGEST DAY EVER.

I was wrong.

Turns out – it’s actually today.

In hindsight, I am fairly certain my drag-ass has everything to do with complete caffeine depletion.

Although the details are hazy, I am pretty sure I had only one cup of my drug this morning. And when you throw in a hot mess of a schedule that includes driving to western suburbs for the day - lemme tell ya – my poor old body is giving me a big middle finger right now.

The fat-ass part of me is begging to go for a run, but the lazy-ass part of me is satisfied sitting here, eating pretzel nuggets and drinking Coke Zero.

Ten bucks if you can guess which ass will win.

On a more positive note – I got a clean bill of health from the doctor today – green light to run this weekend. Of course, I would have run anyways, but it’s always nice to get the go-ahead. Of course, I was evaluated by a doctor I have never seen, and he basically made me pull my shirt up and my pants down, checked it out, and sent me on my way.

Just like any given Saturday night in my 20s.

Naaaaa….just kidding…

I ALWAYS made sure I got dinner first.

It’s the ol’ “get a little, give a little.”

Oh, and turns out the Pucker is almost gone too – now, the only reason my belly sticks out and hangs over my pants is because I eat too much cake.

Oh, and apparently ice cream for breakfast can also cause this. Ice cream with JuJuBees mixed in. So I read somewhere.

And lastly, turns out our relay team lost a member, so our legs got changed. My new legs actually have me running literally right past my apartment. Crazy. And the new mileage looks like it will be 5.7, 6.9 and 8.22.

Two months ago, I would have been like, “Peshaw – 8 miles? Gimme something hard!”

I saw it today and was like, “8 miles?!?!?!?” And immediately started praying to the god I seem only to talk to when I am in such predicaments.

Like I have said before, sometimes its good to be humbled.

Off to pack.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Swimming and the Criminal Element

Or otherwise titled: Things I Typically Try to Avoid on a Daily Basis.

But alas, today would not be that day.

I went back to the pool today, six weeks post surgery.

Let’s just say those six weeks off did not do a body good.

The first 200 were like swimming through concrete, the second 200 were about as close to drowning as I have come, and the next 400 were simply a battle with my mind.

When I hit 800, I decided that I would just round it out at 1000, and call it a day. I rationalized that, just like when I returned to running, it all starts small.

But just to prove I haven’t lost my competitive edge, I was doing my flip turn at the end of the pool, and noticed the woman next to me also doing hers. I saw out of the corner of my eye that she had good form, so I thought I would race her (in my head). I pulled ahead fairly easily, and was giving myself an d underwater pat on my back when I noticed something.

She was, like, 86.

As in, years old.

And wearing flippers.

So it was a hallow victory.

And Then:
Remember my sister’s neighbor – the dogfighter?

Yeah, so I ran into him today. His name, I believe, is Dante.

I see him almost everyday, because given his other line of work, he often hangs out outside waiting for his, ahem, customers.

The typical exchange is usually a couple of “Hi’s” a wave, and a “have a good day.”

The way I see it, it is always good to be personable to the criminal element, especially if you frequent the neighborhood. See, that way, if I ever got jumped, or my car got damaged, I know I would have at least one person who might step up for me.

I imagine the exchange to go something like this:

Cop: Did you see anything?
Dante: With who?
Cop: Young woman, 31 years old….
Dante: Oh, that nice girl whose always walking around in gym shoes and carrying a laundry basket? Drives that tore-up little car? Looks like she doesn’t really brush her hair?
Cop: That would be her.
Dante: Oh yeah, she a nice lady. Always says hi, nice smile. Got mugged, you say?
Cop: That’s what I said. What do you know about it.?
Dante: Well, she seems like a nice lady, so I guess I can tell you that it was my brother. Yeah, my brother did it. He lives right here, in this building behind me. He did it, yup.
Cop: You just gave up your own brother?
Dante: Well, like I say, she a nice lady – always says “Hi.” I dig that.

See- Mugger caught, I win.

So today, I saw Dante, we had our friendly words, and I SOOOO wanted to ask him about his recent legal “struggles.” But how do you do that? What is the etiquette for addressing one’s criminal activity? Like, do you ask about it and validate their street cred, or do you ignore it, make nice, and go about your day?

I picked the middle ground.

Me: Hey, where’s your dog? She’s usually always with you.
Dante: (Smiles politely) Have a nice day, Miss.


I’m so getting mugged.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bouncing Around In My Head

1. I was called “peach” today. In my opinion, that term doesn’t get used nearly enough. How sweet!

2. The upstanding gentleman that lives across the street from my sister got arrested for dog fighting. Apparently, busting him on his "open air" crack dealing operation was too difficult, so the cops somehow managed to get him on dog fighting. But here’s my point – why do people dog fight? I mean, I really don’t understand it. It seems to me that those who do rank right up there with psychopaths. And that is my clinical opinion.

3. Have I told you how nice it is to walk outside in the morning in a tank top and skirt, and not freeze my ass off? Each morning, I am almost startled at how warm it is when I walk out the front door, and how hot the car is when I get into it.

4. Three more perks about the spring? How it smells, sleeping with the windows open, and crazy low gas bills.

5. The downside? Working on the nice days. Right now, there’s nothing harder than saying “no” when a friend calls wanting to waste a Sunday sitting outside, drinking ice tea, and shooting the shit. But as soon as I win that lottery…..

6. It’s vacation time!!!! This year, with all my family has going on in their respective lives, we decided not to get a lake house for the week of July 4th. However, it just paved the way for a mid-August long weekend vacation!! Right now, destination is still under wraps, but trust me, I’ll let you know. That, and I may take a friend up on the offer to travel out-of-state for the 4th – those details are also still being worked out.

7. WEEEEEE!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

MC 200 Relay - Almost Here!!!

So the details are starting to pour in, and my excitement is growing.

The relay is a 200-mile hike from Madison to Chicago. It’s broken down into 36 (?) legs, and I am Legs 9, 21, and 33. The respective mileage is 6, 6.5, and 6.

The craziest part is that my final leg is runs right down the bike path which I ride, so it’s really familiar territory. And I am pretty sure the Chicago legs run right past my actual house.


While the mileage itself is totally doable (I am running about four days a week now, and riding about the same), I am a little nervous about the speed. It looks like there are some super fast runners on the team, of which I am not one.

Prior to IM, I was able to increase my overall pace, but since the surgery, I have gotten a tad slower, and it’s been difficult for me to pick it back up.

So right now, I am at about a 10:15/mile pace. But who knows – maybe the adrenaline of the event will help me kick it up.

We leave Chicago on Thursday, and start the race Friday from Madison. The team is comprised of 3 other girls and 7 boys, none of whom I have actually ever met in person. It sounds like Friday night, we sort of camp out (or least that’s what I gathered from the recommendation of sleeping bags).

This should be interesting, as I have never camped anywhere before. Well, unless you consider sleeping in an un-air conditioned studio apartment in a Chicago July "camping."

In other training news, I did a 2-hour brick today, and felt great. Definitely feel like I am getting stronger, and now getting used to running in hotter, more humid weather. My weekday workouts are moving forward, though I have successfully managed to escape the pool this past week (although I don't know what kind of success that actually is).

So my goal before Thursday is to hit the pool at least three times. Kinda lofty for me, but hey, I signed up for Racine for the sole purpose of giving me a structure and forcing my hand at working out.

And so goes another weekend in Chicago!