Tuesday, March 29, 2011

he said, she said.

cat's out of the bag. I got engaged this past weekend. and it couldn't have been a more wonderful surprise (+ weekend).

nick and I both decided to draft emails to family/friends as we were out of cell range yet wanted to tell our loved ones. below, the result.

he said...

subject: dunton

yesterday morning eissa and i got engaged. now we are in dunton. we plan to find a telephone later to call and say hello.

mom, i'm sorry i missed your calls yesterday. below is my excuse demonstrating that i was busy. i'm fairly sure i can say this will not happen again.

we went for a morning run at 6:30 or around sunrise. after showers, coffee, prosecco, and egg sandwiches, our car to newark airport was diverted to the downtown heliport. after looping over midtown, somewhere north of 59th st, slightly eastish, probably a couple thousand feet over the central park reservoir, i hit her with the sucker punch (nice words, ring, blah) and she acquiesced.

after that it's hard to say. we saw some other things from above; baseball stadiums, bridges. this part was blurry for everyone but the pilot. landed in newark, landed again in denver, and after being shaken like the object of divine wrath, thankfully touched a 16-seater down on runway in telluride.

drove an f150 pickup south-southwest from there 50ish miles, around the base of a closed high pass, and back north again till the road lost pavement and then 9 miles more to dunton. dunton is a mining camp that suffered from isolation and lack of good transportation. everyone left by 1918.

enclosed please see the last memory of my single life.

she said...

subject: it started with a bike ride... 

it started with a bike ride. then a helicopter trip into an obscure town in guatemala. I was immediately taken. fast forward nearly 2.5 years. I have fallen so deeply in love with the guy I first spied in spandex.

yesterday, we took another helicopter ride. this time over manhattan. right near the top of the park where we first met on bikes, the love of my life proposed.

I am the happiest engaged girl around.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

a new PR (but not the type you think)

i did something yesterday that was a total first. a total milestone. totally awesome.

i opened my first investment account.

for some, this isn't terribly exciting or even worth the words. for me, however, it's like setting a PR. actually, it is a PR.

i was very fortunate to do, experience, learn and accomplish a lot in my 20s. but it came at a price. i didn't have the funds to go to grad school, complete two ironmans, run 19 marathons, travel a ton of places AND save. so, I made a choice.

when I turned 30 last august, I had zero in savings, but also nearly zero credit card debt (I still have loans from grad school, but these are an "investment"). so, I set out to abolish the remaining debt and save. and because I don't do much in my life without vigor, I went at it with all my heart.

i was frugal, often spending only $2-$3 per day. i packed my lunches. i rarely ate out. i avoided buying anything unnecessary or superfluous. i was a saving queen.

it wasn't easy. setbacks game in the form of surprises. doctor's bills. unexpected expenses. small splurges. but i kept my resolve.

i obviously knew how much debt I had left. and, i paid it off in november. (i will pay off an account in my name that's NOT my debt next month...this is an entire story in itself...)

as for savings, i had an approximate number i wanted to save before i could open an account. I charged ahead. head down, straight into the wind.

december (the holidays). january (deprivation). february (finally).

at the end of last month, i hit my goal. i was there. and man, did it feel good.

yesterday, i pulled the trigger and transfer my hard-saved money into the hands of a company the bf invests with (if he invests with them, it has to be good.)

today, i received an email confirming the creation of my account and a notice of my "transaction in process."

i did it. i am the proud, proud owner of an investment account and a new PR.

up next? topping it times two. look out world, i am a girl on a mission.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

finally 2011. (+ a new post)

I have mentioned this to several people over the last several months. and it's evidenced by the date on my last post (april 4th): I've lost my writing mojo. I didn't even post about my second ironman! yeah, bad...

I attribute this malaise to one thing only: my job. it has destroyed my confidence for and love of writing. really sad for someone who used to love putting pen to paper. now it just makes me cower (not to mention wake up nightly with horrific work dreams.)

but that was 2010...a shit year in A LOT of ways. I am not, however, going to dwell on that here. this post is about the best of last year. and a look forward to the new year...because it is going to be and HAS to be better than the last year.

so...goodbye 2010. we didn't get along, but I didn't let you steamroll me either...I fought back and can say with fondness that I showed you who was boss more than a few times. my favorites:

-kicking mono, a b12 deficiency + a minor knee injury in january
-learning to ski in february. I'm not great, but I adore it...another expensive hobby.
-making it through the madness of march. aka indoor ironman training. TOUGH.
-forgetting about april. it was an ugly month.
-conquering my ironman training in may while switching jobs.
-becoming an ironman AGAIN in june despite hypothermia after the swim and some trying moments on the bike (killed the run...would you think otherwise?)
-july was uneventful. nothing to see here.
-turning 30 in august with a smile on my face despite being on an island off of maine with no luggage and sans my beloved running shoes.
-running a surprisingly solid half marathon (1:30:58) in september despite thinking I wasn't that fit.
-not quitting my job in october when I really thought I couldn't take anymore of the sexual harassment. PLUS finally paid off all my credit card debt (nearly $7k-- all done in 2010)
-dominating the NYC marathon (3:18) in november despite being horribly ill for days before.
-making sure I made it to the new year with my sanity intact in december.
-ending the year with great mileage totals: 3875 swim.bike.run total. 48 miles of swimming. 2395 miles of cycling. 1417 miles of running.
-having a really awesome best friend and bf by my side. he has definitely been one of my favorites of the year.

so see ya 2010...I totally beat you at your own game...and hello 2011.

a few goals to get me moving into the new year:

1. it almost goes without saying: new job. pronto. I've been working hard at this for months...hoping I secure something in january.

2. ski! it's hard, but I love it. looking forward to a number of fun days on the slopes in the northeast and hopefully at least once out west.

3. run a great boston marathon: this will be the first time in YEARS and YEARS that I have the opportunity to focus solely on running. no coaching. no grad school. no ironman. nothing but being smart, getting fast and smoking boston. goal is sub-3:10 and I am more than confident that if I put in the training, I will have no trouble.

4. pay off debt that someone else accumulated in my name. I could go into detail, but I shouldn't because I need to remain positive. (let's just say I learned the hard way that lending money to a family member is a bad idea.) regardless, with her help I should have it paid by june. hallelujah.

5. start saving and investing...it seems like I'm late to the party at 30, but when you pay your way through three degrees, you don't always have a lot of money left over. 2011 is my year to kick start something for the future.

6. maybe do a 1/2 ironman. but this isn't do or die. I want to save money by not racing the expensive ones, so this pretty much rules out a 1/2 iron. otherwise, maybe have fun doing a few sprint or olympic tris at harriman...cheap and close!

7. celebrate my 10th anniversary of marathon running by returning to columbus (hometown) to run the same course as my first (october 21, 2001). also would like to be aiming to run sub-3:05.

8. I would be thrilled to get engaged. nick is truly my one (after being engaged before and then giving back the ring to the guy I knew wasn't right, I feel like I know this time).

9. just.be.happy. not sweat the small stuff. spend more time with friends. laugh a little more. cry less. cry a lot less. embrace the bumps. gain confidence. take life less seriously.

happy 2011 all...

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 came...in 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 back...it'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 lot...life.

that said, there are a lot of things in my life to be happy about, thankful for, appreciative of...so 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)...it'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!

-patience...life 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 summer...you 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 life...you all keep me strong!

I could go on and on and on...you 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 optimistic...you 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...