Sunday, April 4, 2010

21st "official" half marathon: speedy legs where are you?

dear queens 13.1,
I had a blast...thanks for the great race. I am, however, looking for one set of lethargic legs. did you find them out on the course? let me know.

indeed, despite my lack of leg speed and overall disappointment in my time, saturday's 13.1 marathon was truly a wonderful event.

a few odds and ends from the day:

I was leery to find out that there were no corrals, but was able to line up quite close to the front and the race thinned quickly and I was left with a broad path in which to pass (and be passed).

I also had my reservations about the course beforehand (the map online was downright dizzying), but it too proved to be lovely: easy turns, well-marked, scenic and varied enough that I never got bored.

after some difficulty locating bag check (signage people!) and finding a bathroom (gross underestimation of the number of port-a-pots needed), I miraculously got to the start on time...even to see the 5k begin before us.

I had no nerves for the race, because I had no expectations...of course once the gun went off, my competitive spirit kicked in.

I went out a wee bit too fast, but tempered my pace and started to cruise. I tweeted, I talked to fellow racers, I enjoyed the scenery (beautiful!). around mile seven, the pack really began to thin, so I kept my eyes on the women I could spot in front of me (and the men) and just kept moving forward.

I had the pleasure of enjoying a little mud running between miles eight and nine. after this fun diversion, I will admit that I began to look forward to hitting the last three miles (yes, lethargic legs...I hate you).

at mile ten I saw my coach...he told me to "go fishing" so I did...I began picking off a couple people at a time...mile eleven I was still hanging on and trying to catch a few guys in front of me. by mile twelve, I had no legs left in me. at this point my morale also fell...why was I running so "slow?" it was defeating...and then I couldn't wait to be done.

I thought for sure my pace would yield sub-1:36...I was on it...until my head interfered. the last stretch I gave it a little added umph...and across the line I 1:36:03. boo.

I said hi to a few friends post-race, but I was tired (I admit, I stayed up past 1am entertaining and drinking the night before), so I took off, definitely downtrodden. just a year ago I was running 1:31 with the same effort...what happened?

I know, I know...I'm training for an Ironman and I'm exhausted...and I didn't exactly give myself an easy week (hello 40 mile hill workout on thursday). but I'm hard on myself...

my dad called to hear my race stats...they really weren't bad...average pace was 7:19 and I finished 10th woman overall (out of 1455) and 3rd in my age group (and I didn't stay for the awards...silly me! hopefully they'll mail whatever they handed out). in a field of 2544, I was 76th overall, so my time might have sucked, but I raced hard and it was a really solid effort.

all this said, if they hold this event next year when I will only be focused on running, I'll be's a great course...and a great one to attempt to win.

so thanks 13.1...I wish it would have had more of a "party on the pavement," but here's to another stab at it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I get to race? really?

yes, I finally get to put these race-deprived, bike-leaden legs to the test next weekend.

as some of you might know, my coach "banned" me from not only racing, but simply running a marathon this spring so I would concentrate more of my energy on the bike for IMCDA. I was more than a bit miffed when he delivered this news and have considered (often) disobeying and running one behind his back.

alas, with all the expenses related to Ironman training/travel/racing, I decided to heed his "no marathon" mandate and focus on a few half marathons.

my first is next saturday and I'm giddy with excitement because I not only get to race, but I also get to participate in an inaugural event: the 13.1 Marathon® New York.

I stumbled upon this race when I was searching around for an inexpensive, easy-to-get-to races in the area. I liked that it wasn't another race in central park (I love you NYRR, but I can only do the loop-de-loop so often)—it's being held in flushing meadows park, queens—and it starts "late"-- 9:13AM! the icing on the cake? packet pick-up is downtown—close to home—or on race day at the event site (again, I love you NYRR, but trekking to the UES is a pain in the butt). I was sold.

after registering, I realized there was a double layer of icing on the cake...the 13.1 Marathon® New York benefits World Vision, an unique org committed to raising funds and awareness for children and communities in Africa. 

you may or may not know, but I spent countless seasons fundraising and mentoring with Team In Training, an endurance program that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. as my MA thesis reared its ugly head last year and my life took on more and more demands, I realized I needed to give up something for the time being...that something was TNT.

regardless, running for a cause is extremely important to me...if I can use my running talent to help the world, I'm all for it. thus you can see why I was stoked about the World Vision association. plus, no fundraising minimums (key, as I have tapped out nearly all my outlets for awhile).

so there you have it...I get to race a great event and I get to do it for a cause...what more could this girl ask for? (friends to join me! if you want to sign up, click here...prices go up after sunday, so don't wait). 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

100% cheery

I've said it before and I'll said it again: my blog isn't always about happy go-lucky topics...but such is life...and that's what I write about a

that said, there are a lot of things in my life to be happy about, thankful for, appreciative without further ado and in no particular order, my 100% cheery list (this is for you amarathoner_com...and me):

-my handsome, sweet, caring boyfriend who is not only a great "roommate" but a great friend

-my curls...while I can make my hair pin straight, I love the freedom and wackiness of the curls I inherited from my mom

-my apartment (and building)'s a sanctuary...I am so very thankful to call it home

-my friends...they make me laugh, they listen to me rant, they all-around rock

-my Twitter friends...I could not be more thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know soooo many wonderful, wonderful people via Twitter...and then to meet & become friends with some of them "in real life"...with many more to meet in the future...thanks for inspiring me everyone! requires a lot of this...I'm thankful that I can—most often—let life ebb and flow while being patient until the still water comes

-smarts...I'm thankful that I've been gifted with good gray matter

-determination and perseverance...I've got a lot of both...I'm so thankful 'cause I need them both...a lot!

-a strong, healthy body...I swim, I bike, I run...a lot...sometimes all in one day...I'm so thankful to have the ability to do so...and do so well

-fleet feet (and legs)...I am so grateful for my running "talent"...for the opportunity to participate in and enjoy my "first love" as often as I can...and it's really cheap therapy!

-bourbon...I had to put this in here...such a great spirit (and spirit-uplifter)...must be consumed in moderation, however...and never while writing your MA thesis at 2AM in your bed (like last can probably guess what happened when I fell asleep holding the glass)

-my dad...even though he stresses me out and makes me worry about him endlessly, he's the best dad...EVER

-trying new things...this winter I learned to ski...and LOVE it...I will be out on the slopes early next winter

-being a budget superstar...NYC is not cheap...and neither are my new grad school repayment amounts...thus I've become a crazy budget-er...and I'm even starting to save some for an IRA (I know, I should have started awhile ago, but that's what you get for paying to acquire three higher ed degrees)

-a job...while my current pursuit is less than exciting, I have a job...a lot people do not...I am thankful (even when I bitch and moan)

-my 5'11" height...I love been tall despite the dumb comments people make when I wear heels (which I also love to do!)

-cheese...I'm sure my cholesterol is abnormally high for a skinny athlete because I truly do eat that much cheese (ANY type)

-support...from all sources in my all keep me strong!

I could go on and on and see, I have so very many things to be happy about and thankful for...this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg...thus to many more 100% cheery posts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I am not a good cyclist. nor ever will be.

stop right there (for all who are ready to refute this post based on the title) and hear me out.

some are blessed with the ability to kick butt on two legs (me) and some are blessed with the ability to kick butt on two wheels (not me).

for the most part, I'm ok with this. I LOVEEEEE running (duh) and I wouldn't trade my love for it for anything. there are, however, times (say when I'm training for an Ironman, as in right now) that I just want to be a good cyclist. not just ok (which I am), but good.

I wrote a post several weeks back titled, "it's all about the bike. or is it?" if you read it, you know about my struggles with the bike. after penning that post, I sent my coach an email desperate for advice on how to get better on the bike. his response was as expected: time on the saddle. he also added the following:

"Don't compare your running skills to your biking skills, just not fair! You can become a better biker, but chances of being as good as you are a runner are not too need to be realistic and know that you are a runner -who needs to become strong on the bike-to kick butt when the run starts on IM day."

ok, I agree...I'm not going to ride like I run. ever. but still, it completely bums me out when I ride with my team and about the only butt-kicking I'm doing is on the uphills ('cause I'm light).

so once again I am adjusting my attitude. yes, I have to work a lot harder than others to even try to keep up, but I need to remember that at the end of the day, I'm doing this race for me.

thus from this day forth, I'm going to make IMCDA a personal celebration of all that I have accomplished in my nearly 30 years (in August!). no more bad attitude. no more being hard on myself. no more bellyaching. I am an Ironman and will be once again—regardless of time or place—on June 27th.

so here I come CDA...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"for dad, grandad and diabetes" -- marathon no. 2 -- june 21, 2003

It's fairly accurate to say that I was a bit scarred—mentally and physically—from my first marathon, hence the year+ gap between events.

after my marathon debut, I experienced IT band problems that put me out of commission for quite some time. I also decided to focus a lot of my energy on cycling (then-bf was a semi-pro cyclist) and completed the seven day RAGBRAI (Regent's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) in the summer of 2002 (a must-do event...a complete blast).

I knew my promise to "never run another marathon" wouldn't last, though. thus, when I started fishing around for marathon no. 2 ideas, I stumbled across a flyer for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) advertising their "Team Diabetes" marathon group. my father had been diagnosed with type 2 the year before and my grandfather had passed away due to complications from the disease. I knew I had to sign up (plus the event was in Hawaii...hello!).

the $5000 fundraising minimum scared me (I don't do well at asking for money), but I knew the many generous people in my life would be supportive. I'm a writer so I figured a letter would be my first plan of attack (see above). and whoa, was it a success. at the time, I also worked at a restaurant to augment my just-out-of-school salary. many of my regulars were also so giving. by the time the june fundraising deadline rolled around, I was golden: over $5k in my account. sweet!

so how did that whole 26.2 training part go this time around? well, while the CODA was great at providing fundraising support, umm, training support? no so much. thus what did I do again? I found my way to and that dear old beginners schedule. witness below how I keep track of all my training. such a nut!

training went seamless and I went into race day fairly fit. I also went into this 26.2 a lot smarter: I had a race plan and more than one Gu! I, however, was not the focus. I was doing this race for my dad and my late granddad aka Sport. race morning I wrote their names on my quads so I could look down and be reminded why I was running.

they weren't they only ones I was journeying for though. the pre-race pasta party stories left me completely awestruck—and absolutely inspired. so many of the people ready to run the next day were diabetes sufferers...running marathons in large part due to insulin pumps and other advancements made possible by funds like the $5k I had just raised. story after story left me more and more excited to be a part of this great organization—and to be helping so many in as many ways as possible.

naturally, I was pumped on race morning and ready to rock the course. I knew I was running the legendary Ironman Championship marathon course and I wanted to do it proud. as the race was in June, we started early—6am I believe—in order to avoid much of the day's soon-to-be scorching heat. the sun rose quickly (nearly the longest day of the year) and we were spared little. as we headed out to the notorious "energy lab"—aka black lava rocks EVERYWHERE—the temperature rose quickly. by the time I reached halfway, it was over 100F and rising. the blacktop and clear day were only making it hotter.

I rarely have problems with heat, but the day proved to be a tough one for me. I did everything to stay cool, but I knew I wasn't having my best day. no worries. I kept smiling at the wonderful volunteers and talking to many of the runners I encountered. I was here for daddy and Sport and so many others; whatever my time, the day would be a success.

after 4 hours 6 minutes and 29 seconds of pounding the kona pavement, I crossed the finish line exhausted, but elated. mission accomplished. 6th in my age group. 29th female. that would do. plus, this time I was ready for another. bring on marathon no. 3!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"rookie" -- marathon no. 1 -- october 21, 2001

after I stopped competing collegiately, I knew it would only be some time until I tried my hand at the marathon distance. I really can't recall why I decided to run my first. maybe it was because I was about to turn 21. maybe it was because I was bored with racing piddly races. maybe it was just to say I had finally done 26.2?

regardless, I do remember scouring for a beginner marathon plan. and I do remember putting in some serious miles for it (some with my then-bf russ, an AMAZING athlete). but truly, that's all I can remember. until race day. I actually don't even remember the start line. was there bag check? no clue. what was our plan? no clue. I do, however, recall approaching mile seven...and we were cruising! were we going too fast? no clue.

russ and I separated somewhere around mile 15. he was feeling strong so I sent him off. no worries. I was fine. until mile 18.

oh, mile 18. this is when it donned on me that maybe I should have the chocolate Gu I brought along. I hadn't thought to take in any calories (other than gatorade) until mile 18? I know, absurd.

I remember "climbing" the one hill that the Columbus marathon is known for...and then bonking, badly. I took the Gu in an effort to revive myself. and while it give me a bit of energy, my fatigued stomach hated it. no, I didn't throw up...I'm not that kind. I just kept total misery. I hit mile 21 and met a guy who was super chatty...he exclaimed (yes, exclaimed) that this was his 2nd marathon that month. I couldn't believe anyone would do such a thing! (yeah, umm, I've never done that before..."snicker"). he bid me farewell and I keep plugging on.

I was hell bent on not walking. and I never did...until I crossed that beautiful finish line. my time-3:24:37-meant nothing to me. BQ time? what was that??? oh, how naive.

the most significant part about that day--other than finishing--was a few hours later. nauseous, sore and unsure what to do with my destroyed body, I was laying on the floor my apartment just "being." I hadn't seen my bf after. neither of us had a plan as to how we were getting home, so we had each hitched rides back with random friends who had been spectating. he called me once he was home and showered, "that completely sucked," he said. I replied, "I know." I think I also added that I was never, ever doing it again. (hah!) tell that to the girl that sits here typing this.

so there you have it. marathon no. 1. columbus, oh. october 21, 2001. 3:24:47. 18 more recaps to come.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

missing in action: my mom

 mom + me: a trio framed in my bedroom

for regular readers of my blog, you know my posts often address subjects and situations that have shaped me into the individual I am today. alas, here comes another. put your seat belts on, folks.

I recently (yesterday) visited a new psychiatrist to try and work out my panic attack med situation. she was almost everything I hoped for...sweet, interested, caring...thoughtful (with a really heavy polish accent). regardless, I left her office feeling a bit hopeful. no, she didn't tell me I was ready to abolish all meds from my daily routine, but we had decided on a new course, one I couldn't help but think might work.

my point. she asked me a zillion questions (being new to me and my situation). I had dreaded the appointment knowing that I would have to give up all the little details of my so-called screwed-up childhood and early 20's. once I started relaying this info, no problem.

I related all the key facts: my father's history with panic attacks, my two trips to the ER due to my then undiagnosed condition...and, oh mother's "disappearance" from my life at, I believe 14. when I told her this, she stopped dead, "I have never heard of such thing" (read in a polish accent). yes, smack dab in my teens, my mom took off.

I suppose she had reason. when my parents separated (after 19-odd years of marriage), my sister, brother and I decided to go live with my dad because, well frankly, he fed us. my mom was going through an EXTREMELY rough time and simply forgot to take care of us. no biggie...we shuttled off to live with my dad where we got to eat chinese take-out several times a week, sleep in one room like a big slumber party and generally live life like rockstars.

the courts eventually got involved. we were all supposed to testify about our intentions to live with our father, but somehow they spared us. in any case, my mom was PISSED! we had betrayed her. we were her children. we didn't want to live with her? no, actually we didn't.

after the courts granted my father custody, my mother grew increasingly distant. she wouldn't tell us where she was living nor provide a phone number. I didn't mind at the time. I was making my way in the social maze that was high school, so whatever, right? plus, I had my older sister. she was a better mom than I could ever imagine at that point.

at some point (I can't remember when), my mom disappeared off the radar...pouffff! she was gone. I hate to say it, but many years passed by and I just wondered, "I hope she's okay. I hope she's still alive." that sounds terrible, I know, but she had vanished from my life as well...she was...gone.

I grew up. 5 feet. 5 feet 10 inches. high school graduation. NYC move #1. college graduation #1. 1st marathon. college graduation #2. biggest heartbreak #1. NYC move #2. grad school. biggest heartbreak #2. marathons #15, 16. ironman florida FINISHER! true love...found. MA graduate (degree #3). marathon #17 (PR). ultra-marathoner. success...

many people have asked me about my mom in the last 15 or so years. it's a "weird" subject for most inquirers, but for me, it's simply life. I can say with certainty that it's not a sore subject; I don't recoil when someone says, "so, how about your mom?' it simply is.

close to two years ago my brother went on a serious search for my mother (he was the closest with her and his search was definitely a sign of this). he hired a PI and went about locating her. slowly he was able to piece together her path since she left us: cincinnati to becoming a buddhist monk (my jewish mother, mind you) to shaving her head to getting remarried in colorado to...texas...somewhere.

it took the PI some time to locate her within in the great state, but eventually he provided my brother with an address. ezra (my brother) called me shortly thereafter. he wanted me to go with him and his wife. I desperately wanted to, but at that time I was entrenched in grad school, work and coaching a group with Team In Training (and scheduled to go to the next marathon to support them). I couldn't let down the individuals that were counting on me. so I declined.

he called me immediately after ringing my mother's doorbell and spending the next hour with her. one of the first things he said was that she looked good. and that her "new" husband was very sweet. and that her beautiful curly hair that we all had inherited had gone straight. and gray. whoa. really?

he relayed other info, but it's too detailed to enumerate here. I did, however, ask if she was well, truly well. my brother indicated as such, although with some reservation (my mother has always been a bit off...she certainly gave him the sense that she was not altogether well).

the visit affected him for sure...he was, after all, her "golden child"...think what you may of that. he was hesitant to provide the phone number she gave him. I prodded him for sometime but gave up eventually (sorry, but my brother can be a selfish bastard at times).

so, here I am...15 years later and mother-less...but as my new psychiatrist said to me yesterday, "my dear, you have done so very well for yourself. be proud."

yes, I am proud, dammit. I have overcome SO much adversity, yet I don't let it define me. I am just a girl in the city working, running, training for her second ironman, overcoming a mental disease and kicking ass.

I truly hope I am able to reunite with my mom sooner than later. I'm excited, actually. we have so much to catch up on...and so many hugs to give...and receive.

here's to hoping whatever is right works out as such.

I love you mom. xox

Monday, March 8, 2010

i swam. i biked. i ran.

I was cleaning out some files at work this AM and came across the post I wrote about IMFL for figured it would be fun to share it here as I'm once again relearning these top 10 things. hint: click on the image to view it a fairly readable state.

Monday, March 1, 2010

((((panic)))). a wild ride.

when I was growing up, my dad would sometimes seize up with panic. frozen with fear, he would hyperventilate, become non-communicative and pretty much scare the shit out of my sister, brother and I. eventually he sought medical help for what would be later diagnosed as "generalized panic disorder" and today, while still taking meds for it, he has it mostly under control.

while I witnessed my father's panic attacks, I never truly understood why he couldn't just take a deep breath and relax...until the summer of 2006. I had just moved back to NYC and was under extreme pressure: a new job with a heavy workload, the beginning of grad school and a "new" city where all my old friends had left.

"it" hit on the fourth of july. I went to coney island to witness the infamous hotdog eating contest. it was blazing hot. and crowded. and loud. jammed between a mass of people, I freaked. I sent the friend I was with a text and made my way to the less crowded boardwalk. a million thoughts pummeled me. was I dehydrated? did I have low blood sugar? was I just under the weather? I had no clue, but I knew I wasn't well. my friend came to find me shortly after and tried to get me to eat. I couldn't. shaking, I was certain I was going to throw up. maybe I was just getting sick...

I decided to pull the plug and head home to the UWS to get out of the sun. I didn't have a couch yet for my apartment (and at the time, a pain in the ass loft bed), so I curled up on the hardwood floor with a pillow. I flipped on the tele to distract me...hours later, I had yet to move...and felt worse. but not sick worse, just simply freaked out. I remember watching the NYC fireworks on TV and weeping, thinking 'what is wrong with me?'

I didn't any feel better the next day. when I was still in a tizzy the following day, I decided to go see an urgent care doc. he took my blood oxygen and flipped out; he was certain I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung) and called 911. in an ambulance I also REALLY freaked out that there was something seriously wrong with me. yet after blood tests, MRIs, chest xrays...the whole nine yards, the only thing the could determine was that my iron was a bit low. brilliant. I was discharged seven hours later and went home to my apartment, feeling no better than when I left nine hours before.

over the next few days, I continued to feel worse...short of breath, heart pounding, body shaking. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. the only thing I did was go to work and hope I could endure the day.

on july 11th, a week after the initial symptoms, I couldn't take it anymore...I hauled myself into a cab to another ER. something was wrong with me. it had to be. hours later...the same news...nothing wrong. this couldn't be. I remember sitting in my apartment that night sobbing and wishing that someone would help me.

it turns out, I helped myself. the next morning on the way to work I realized what was wrong: I was having constant panic attacks. duh. my sister had struggled with it for years and obviously, so had my dad. I immediately got on the phone with my insurance and picked the first doc with availability.

I wasn't cured instantaneously and I'm still not "cured."in the summer of 2008—after two years of being on meds—I decided that maybe I'd have a go without them. I was fine for two months, then WHAM! the panic hit me like a truck (right in the middle of my training for Ironman #1). so back on the meds I went. I also switched from Effexor to Lexapro at one point...the withdrawl from Effexor was like nothing I've ever experienced...absolutely HORRIBLE.

now nearly four years since my first being diagnosed with the same affliction as my father, I am struggling once again. I haven't stopped taking any of my meds, but the panic attacks are creeping back...ALL the time. up the meds? change again? add something? maybe, but to be honest, I'm SOOOO tired of all of it. the panic, the side effects, the cost, the slave I am to daily (sometimes twice daily) little white and yellow pills. I'm 29 years old, not 89!

I don't have a plan of action to tackle this yet. my bf understands which is nice. and I do have the name of a new doc (my present one is just, yet wayyyyy overdue for retirement). I guess my first step was to write about it...just talk to myself in the way I know best: through word. and then take action. and as we all know—myself included—I'll find a solution no matter how pretty or ugly the path is.

so here goes...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

eleven things. the best pre-IM advice.

I had the above printout posted by my desk for the many months leading up to my first ironman. it stayed there well after my race (actually, until they moved me last week...over a year after my ironman). it's pretty much the best "advice" anyone gave me before IMFL (passed along by a teammate...I can't recall where he got it). I've re-posted it by my new desk, but wanted to share it with everyone.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

missing: motivation.

I can't deny it any longer: I'm REALLY having difficulty drawing much enthusiasm for my Ironman training.

I feel kind of sacrilegious writing that, but it's true; my motivation is lacking. I checked my Coeur d'Alene countdown on Facebook yesterday. it nearly made me cry. yes, I'm putting in the workouts. yes, I don't "super suck" at any of three disciplines (not that I excel at all of them). yes, I'm moving myself from the road to the trainer to the pool...but it's just not there this time around...the excitement.

I can pinpoint several things that are making it difficult during this go:

1. it's winter.
2. I hate the bloody trainer.
3. I have yet to have a single ride that has felt even remotely good.
4. have I mentioned I hate the bike?
5. I'm doing nearly all my training by myself.
6. I'm tired. I feel like my body hasn't fully recovered from my 3rd meeting with mono nor the b12 deficiency.
7. I just want to be

blah, blah, blah...right? I wish I could just tell myself to suck it up...but I haven't found that meanie within me just yet.

right about now you might be wondering why in the world I signed up for IM #2. yeah, I am too. I guess I wanted to try my hand at the distance when I wasn't in grad school, working full-time and juggling a long distance relationship (that was a juggle). so I took the crazy leap (again) and paid my $576 to last June. reality hit in December when the training plans started rolling into my inbox. 'shit, I've got train for this thing again!'

I know I won't regret my decision to go another 140.6 when I cross that absolutely wonderful finish line come June 27th, but on February 8th, I'm struggling. So, for now...come on motivation—I'm missing you madly!

Friday, February 5, 2010

to settle: a dirty verb. or my best friend?

a couple words in the english language make me shudder with fright: average, normal, boring, milky and moist, among many others. none, however, scare me more than a seemingly innocent verb: to settle.

I've been thinking about this word a lot lately, perhaps because I feel as though I'm in a bit of transition period in life. while certain things are very solid, others are in a bit of flux. naturally, my always racing thoughts send me down memory lane.

in reality, there's no reason to fear "settling." I never have. my freshman year of college—despite kicking ass on my cc team—I chose to transfer because the school wasn't right academically. I didn't settle.

after returning to ohio to complete a second undergrad degree, I built myself a bit of resume by working at a couple good companies, but I had to get back to NYC to get my MA at a school I always wanted to attend: NYU. so I found myself a job, got myself into grad school and moved back. I didn't settle.

one of the hardest decisions in my life came when I was faced with a question that should often brings extreme joy rather than extreme confusion: will you marry me? I took a year to answer and ultimately gave back the MOST beautiful diamond ring to a man I knew I just wasn't in love with anymore. I didn't settle.

I didn't settle when I hated (yes, hated) the job I took during my first year back in NYC; I got a new one. I didn't settle after needing to walk nine miles of the 2007 Chicago "heat wave" marathon because of a stomach infection and mono (didn't know I had the latter until post-race); I came back three weeks later to finish another hour faster in the NYC marathon.

And I'm not settling now as make another change in my career; whatever comes next is sure to be a great next step.

thus, I think I can stop fearing "to settle" and see it as a friend. I wouldn't be where I am today without it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

it's all about the bike. or is it?

when I was training for my first ironman, I had a lot of people tell me the same thing about 140.6: "it's all about the bike." this made my stomach writhe every time I heard it as the bike is my "weak" link. if I was going to "suck" on the bike, how in the world could I complete the ironman in a respectable time?

I swapped out my pinarello (too big for me) mid-training for a kuota kalibur I bought off ebay (after extensive time spent roaming NYC bike stores and looking for my next best thing). two weeks later I raced on it and took 7 minutes off my half iron bike time (3:23:10 at Tinman in June; 3:14:59 at Timberman in August). sure, I was more fit, but the bike was always a better fit for me.

with a little more confidence in my back pocket, I plugged through the rest of training with the realization that I wasn't going to bomb the bike in florida. no, I wasn't going to burn up the road with my killer speed, but I was going to make.

enter race day. a solid swim (1:14:06) started me off on the right foot. then I hit the bike. the first 30 miles was a slaughter fest; so many people passed me that I eventually started laughing out loud in disbelief. to keep my spirits up, however, I kept reminding myself that I got to do the same thing when I hit the run course: pass each and every one of the individuals who had just passed me.

if you've ever done ironman florida or read about it, you know the bike course is flat and monotonous. one big loop with only a few little inclines to get you out of the saddle (and my strongest suit it climbing...IMFL: 1, me: 0). regardless, I tackled each mile the best I could, prayed for no flats and just keep eating to fuel my run. I remember hitting mile 90 and feeling really fatigued, but after digging deep and passing the century mark, I knew I was almost home.

I cruised into T2 with a HUGE smile on my face; I had made it in 6:27:18, a 17.35 average. I saw my sister and declared, "that was a long way to ride." I didn't care though. I finally got to run! And while I didn't have the most awesome run, I still kicked enough butt in order to cross the finish line in a thrilling 12:25:21.

I am now training for ironman #2 in june. I have a sub-12 hour goal, "lofty" as my coach says. while I know I can improve on both my swim and run, I still have it ingrained in my head that it's all about the bike. and it's defeating. you might think my confidence from training for and successfully finish my first ironman would give me some ammo; not so much. my first month of riding has felt horrible: painful, painful, painful. I got off the bike last night cursing and wondering why in the world I'm doing this again.

this is when I got to thinking (on my post-ride run...the best thinking time). yes, the ironman is about 112 miles on the bike, but it's also about 2.4 miles in the water and my favorite, 26.2 miles on the road. it's not all about the bike...and my first ironman time proved that.

so I'm going forward with this in mind. the ironman is about the swim. and the bike. and the run. it's about how well I can put all three of these things together. it's about remedying my weakness, fortifying my mind and body and making it a kickass second 140.6.

it's not all about the bike.

Monday, January 25, 2010

everything happens for a reason

my father is a huge fan of mantras, sayings, quotes and the like. I am too, but only when applicable and only when I wholeheartedly believe in them.

one I picked up from him is, "everything happens for a reason." I'm a firm believer in this saying while it's not always easy to remember when in the heat of a bad moment, at the end of the day, I always look back and realize that I wouldn't have arrived at my present position without going through something I thought was hideous.

this saying has been on the tip of my tongue the last few months as I have been hit with some pretty ugly physical obstacles: mono, a B12 deficiency, a knee injury...not fun nor pretty. yet through it all (and even during the really ugly days), I knew in the back of my mind that these physical struggles would lead me to some place and space (physical and mental) that I needed to be.

I also use this saying during times when I begin to regret life choices or begin the "woulda shoulda coulda" game with myself. I remember every decision I make is for a reason. every struggle I go through moves me forward. every shift in life results in a shift for a purpose.

yes, everything happens for a reason and I'm so thankful I have this little bit of wisdom in my back pocket.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I have a confession to make...

I must own up to something: I really don't do well without a "project."

yes, at 29 years old, I'm finally realizing that I thrive on achieving things. I know this sounds dumb coming from a person who has done 19 marathons, one ultra and an Ironman (and who is training for her second), but I knew this before; I just needed a period of downtime to really realize that indeed, I need a "project" to keep me on my toes.

I owned up to this realization to my bf first. lazying in bed yesterday AM with this bloody cold,  I turned to him and said, "I've figured it out. I'm so restless because I'm bored. I need to do something that's not about work, that's not about me, that's impacts lives in a positive way...I need a project."

I'm not surprised that I'm bored out of my skull. for the last several years I have juggled grad school, full-time work, a long distance relationship (at one point...and not with the present bf), mentoring for Team In Training, training for an Ironman, fundraising for blood cancers, running marathons, competing in 70.3's and on and on.

now? I go to a job that presently bores me to tears, I'm training for an Ironman that, truth-be-told, I'm only half-hearted about at the moment and I'm scraping by on a measley budget due to my grad school loan repayment.

thus, I feel lost.

it's not that I don't have several "projects" I want to be doing...I'm anxious to get CPR/AED certified, I can't wait to get my personal training certification (suggestions anyone??? ACE? others?), I would LOVE to be coaching right now, I'm dying to take up bikram yoga at the studio down the street...and SO much more. the catch? moola. dinero. dolares. everything I want to do seems to cost money.

I had no point when I set out to pen this post, so I won't attempt to end with something insightful or significant. I guess I just wanted to say that I'm lost...looking for a "project" that keeps me away from the awfulness that is the bachelor on monday nights.

I'm sure I'll find it sooner than later...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

(three of) my boys

two months ago I "compromised" & drove my two beautiful kitty boys to Ohio to "retire" with my dad.

I knew I would miss them, but I also knew they would be happy in a place in which they could roam, inside and out.

so I drove 500+ miles, shed some sad tears as I parted with my roommates of many, many years and headed back to the big apple.

two months later—despite knowing that they are sooo very happy—I miss them. terribly.

I spoke to my dad this AM and mentioned this to him (actually, I mention it a lot). two hours later he sent me pics of a "little and diez" photo shoot (my dad is a photographer). witness three of my boys (dad included).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the view from seventeen angles

last night I sat on our sofa marveling at the view from our place. a gleaming woolworth building to the left, a straight-on look at the empire state building and a peek at the chrysler building on the right...from the 32nd floor.

I adore it.

a little over a month ago, I bid farewell to my beloved UWS (and central park right outside my doorstep) and headed...downtown, financial district to be exact. four years ago I NEVER would have imagined a move like this. furthermore, I NEVER would have imagined uttering what I said last night: "I really like this neighborhood." yes, it's true: I LIKE the financial district.

being happy in a place and space got me thinking about my journey to the present...and all the moving I've done in my life. I reflected briefly upon this when I was packing up my possessions during this last move, but I wanted to put it on paper: where and how many places I have lived in my 29.5 years.

1. birth to 5 yrs: northwood avenue, columbus
2. 5 to 8: bowerman drive, worthington
3. 8 to 11: wickford road, upper arlington (the golden years)
4. 11 to 11.5: marconi boulevard, downtown columbus (in my dad's office!)
5. 11.5 to 14: west fifth ave, grandview (world's shittest apartment)
6. 14 to 16: woodstock, upper arlington (known as the golden ghetto by the rich kids at school)
7. 16 to 18: larwell drive, columbus (with dad and stepmom)
8. 18 to 19: emory university, atlanta (a wonderfully wrong college choice)
9. 19 to 20: west 27th street, nyc (degree #1 from FIT)
10. 20 to 21.5: west 7th ave, columbus (degree #2 from OSU)
11. 21.5 to 25: baldridge, upper arlington (with bf)
12. 25 to 26: thornwood road, grandview (post-break-up)
13. 26: west 76th street, nyc (back to the big apple for degree #3)
14. 27: west 109th street, nyc (almost harlem)
15. 28: west 112th street, nyc (HARLEM!)
16. 28 to 29.5: west 79th street, nyc (degree #3 from NYU)
17. 29.5 yrs old: pine street, nyc (ahhhh!!! happy.)

seventeen places I've called home. I think I'll stay put (with my view) for awhile.