Saturday, June 28, 2008

The World Looks Different From Here

Despite the fact that I'm on a business trip in Anaheim, California (which might as well be Indianapolis, Indiana or Anywherelse, America + palm trees + Mickey), I am 29 years old today. Yes. The rumors are true. Time does not stop on the West Coast. It’s just earlier here.

So this is OK, right? I’m going to spend my birthday hanging around a booth in an exhibits hall and monitoring some educational programs, and that’s cool. It’s not the usual, “it’s my birthday, and I’ll do I want” kind of day, but that’s fine too. I’m feeling rather Zen… at the moment anyway.

The truth is, as I get older, as I officially enter the last year of my roaring twenties, I feel decidedly better about… well, pretty much everything. This is the third birthday post I have written, and in addition to just loving ze blog for the sake of ze blog, it's interesting, perhaps even valuable, to be able to go back and read and KNOW where I was a year ago, two years ago. It's not necessarily about what I wrote; it's that I can hear the sound of my voice when I read my posts. And I can be thankful about how far I've come and the changes in my life.

Let's recap, shall we?

When I turned 27, I quit my job at the Agency and accepted a position at the Association. I had just moved into a condo in Rogers Park with my now ex-boyfriend. I was spending my Saturday mornings training on the lakefront for my first half marathon. I resented my boyfriend. I was sick of working 10-12 hour days (minimum). I felt disconnected because I didn’t want to tell my friends how miserable my relationship actually was. When I read my birthday post, I can almost see myself gritting my teeth, straining a smile, and saying, “Everything is great. You know, it’s a lot of changes… and it’s going to take some time to get used to everything…” blah blah blah, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I felt trapped because I had managed to get myself into a living situation that very obviously not for the best. Faking happiness is really exhausting. Just FYI.

And then, I turned 28. I read that post, and I can hear that I was depressed. I had just been dumped by a guy who could have been the poster boy for “He's Just Not That Into Me.” Luckily, it was never a serious relationship, but it was the first person I dated after the infamous ex-boyfriend so, for me, at that moment, it seemed like a big deal. (P.S. To the three dudes who read this blog, dumping a girl who you’re just not that into right before her birthday is a really shitty thing to do, and I’m pretty sure you do it just because you don’t want to expend the energy to get a gift and/or card. Think about it. Wait a day or two. That $2.50 you spent on a card isn’t going to break you.) My job -- after a year -- was very obviously not working out as I had hoped. I felt lost. For no real reason, for no “good” reason, I felt like my life was a mess despite the fact that I felt more at home in Lincoln Square -- it doesn’t hurt to have some of your closest friends within blocks of you! Regardless, I still felt like things were never going to “fall into place” for me. I said that. I was still running. I arguably became slightly obsessed with running. And I decided to do the marathon (spoiler alert: it didn’t work out!).

This year, I’m 29. I’m pretty hungry right this second, but other than that, I’m thankful. I’m thankful that my director at work gave me the opportunity to take on some new job responsibilities that has allowed me to do more of what I like and less of what I don’t. And -- AND! -- I am now working with a new team who seems to actually value me and my skill set. It always amazes how much of a difference the people you are working with can make in your moral and motivation. For the first time, in a long time, I’m feeling engaged in my work, and rethinking the possibility of a major career change… in the near future anyway. Even here, in Anaheim, I feel like I have enough great people around me that I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday with work friends (I informed @ like three months ago that she was on the hook for hanging out with me today in California, even if it meant sitting on my hotel room bed and eating a pint of ice cream).

I’m also thankful every single day that MM is in my life. Nothing is perfect, and we have our issues, but I feel so darn lucky to be with someone who makes sense for me -- no forcing smiles, no wondering what the hell I’m doing. Just happy. And, the weird thing is that everything I ever verbalized about the person I was looking for -- Match.com profiles anyone? -- I never came close to describing someone like him. With other boyfriends, I always had “expectations” that weren’t being met, the inevitable “If only he…” Fill in the blank. When I think about that, I realize that I have never once wished or hoped that MM was something that he is not. I have never “if only-ed” MM. I can only hope that doesn’t change.

For whatever reason, I feel compelled to post something meaty on my birthday, which I've attempted to do here. It's probably lame, but whatever. But I'm serious. Every year the whole getting older thing seems a lot less daunting when I realize that life actually does get better. Eventually, in the future, it's likely that I'll grace this blog with another "how running changed my life" post. And, it's not just the last three years... it's like, holy shit, this is not the life I expected to be living and yet, after years of feeling like I wasn't finding my way, I suddenly am actively living a life that has the potential to make me happy for the rest of my life. I think when we're younger sometimes we gravitate to what we think other people expect or we turn against that and do harm to ourselves. To varying degrees, at different times in my life, I have probably done both. Compliance and rebellion. Running grounded me in ways I never could have predicted, much less imagined. Running has given me community, identity, goals, and passion. I cannot imagine my life without it.

So I guess that's it. 29 folks. I think it's going to be a good year.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On That Note

I realize I never updated you guys on the whole “Ohmigod mah toe” incident, so I’ll do that now.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to treat Athletico like a free clinic. Seriously, I love them. You can call then up, have an appointment within an hour or two, and in 20 minutes they will diagnose you, give you treatment instructions, tape you up, and provide you with referrals to PT-friendly, runner-friendly doctors -- just in case things get worse. And it’s all free! I mean, I wouldn’t go to Athletico for a heart attack, but I figured they would tell me if I could run with a sprained or broken toe. They said, "No." At least for a week or two.

So, on Monday of last week, I limped around like a poor, pathetic victim of toe violence. By Tuesday, the pain had significantly lessened, despite the bruising and swelling. On Wednesday, all seemed fine, so I went for a run. And, as suspected, I was fine.

Now, you should know that it’s fairly out of character for me to freak out over a minor incident and demand medical attention. I generally subscribe to the “aspirin, Neosporin and a band-aid will fix most ailments” medical school of thought. But, I seem to be a little jumpy about leg/foot/knee/hip/toe/back injuries with the training and whatnot.

Anyway, onwards...

I’m going to eventually write a post about the whole PAWS marathon charity business. And yes, I’m going to ask you for money, but only a little. And trust me, if you ever run (walk, bike, swim, whatever) for a charity, I will return the favor. However, if you ask me to buy something off your kid -- i.e. candy, wrapping paper, trinket crap, even Girl Scout cookies -- I will not. Especially if you ask me at work. Espectially if you kid is under four. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think it’s appropriate for a for-profit daycare to use a two-year-old to raise funds.

I said that once. In my head.

So, I’m a horrible person. Whatever. I’m sure all of this will change if I have kids. But I like to think that at least I’ll be the mom in the back row of the PTA meeting bitching to her BFF PTA about how making children (cough*their parents*cough) fundraise is complete bullshit. You may feel the same way about marathon charity fundraising.

But I digress.

Seriously. I am going to have to ask you guys for money… but like $5 or $10… nothing crazy. Why? Cause I know how it is. I’m a stanch believer in giving almost solely to the charity of Lou’s Ridiculously Over-Priced Master’s Education, but I toss a little money around for those racing for a good cause. And, keep in mind, all the money goes to puppies.

Look at that face.

LOOK AT IT.

A few people have been kind enough to give already. To date, without any emails or begging, I have more than $80. My goal is to raise $600. Unfortunately, thanks to my low IQ and/or the wacky online fundraising system used by PAWS, I am unable to figure out how to send a thank you email to these people who gave. I believe the system was built for the Internet neophyte and someone as sophisticated as moi cannot possibly be expected to find it to be intuitive. Hell, maybe the thank you emails are automatically generated. I don’t know. I can’t figure it out.

So, these people are nice enough to give to me and my gang of wayward puppies, and I haven’t even acknowledged them. They probably think I’m all like, “So long suckers!” And then me and the puppies go out on an all night bender -- boozin', and smokin', and startin' fights with their hard earned $80.

It’s not like that.

I’m thinking that I’m going to post the first names of those who give, plus any pertinent information over there --> on the right side of the blog. And, if the person who gives is a blogger, I will use their blog identity and link to their site. Of course this means that you will have an influx of approximately two more people visiting your blog.

Good times.

So there you go. Crazy, long. Not “crazy long,” but “crazy and long.”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Calm Before Storm

Do you have a personal motto? I decided today that mine should be:
When the going gets tough,
The tough walk straight to their local grocery store,
Buy a pint of Chubby Hubby,
And eat it in its entirety, alone, while watching Food Network.

Is that a motto? Or a short story… of my life?

Classic stress eater = me.

So, here’s the buzz, here’s what’s a happening… this week, MM and I went on our first “vacation” together. Sure, we’ve been on trips together. We flew to Columbus last fall to spend Thanksgiving with my family. And, we drove to Cincinnati with D to run the Flying Pig in May. But this was our first, all by ourselves, trip for the sake of relaxation, vacation together. We went to a bed and breakfast in Michigan... for two days. Cause that’s all the time we had.

We stayed at the brand spanking new Rabbit Run Inn, which was quiet and perfect and well decorated (none of that frilly, country crap) and oh-so-comfortable. That said, this is admittedly my first time at a B&B. But, the few fears I had surrounding the concept were that the owners would be... ummm... quirky... and I would feel awkward thinking that we didn't have privacy from their... ummm... quirkiness were way off... the owner was very nice, helpful, and not at all intrusive.

On the first day, we had lunch at a restaurant which shares the same last name as MM. It was kind of a bar-food-with-a-twist type place, and surprisingly, really good (and really well-portioned). Then, we took the Inn’s bicycles out for a spin and checked out the beach.

MM really wanted to ride the lime green polka dot cruiser,
but I refused to give it up.


After our bike ride, we went back to the Inn, relaxed, and had a glass of wine on the private porch off of our room before heading out to dinner at a restaurant known less for the food and more for the view.

Sunset. The view from our table at dinner.

On day two, we shunned alarms and slept in until all of 8:30am. After making our own coffee and tea, we tried out the scones and muffins the owners left for us on our doorstep. Then we went out for a leisurely hour long run through Warren Dunes State Park, or as I like to think of it, the “other side” of Lake Michigan.

During our run MM decided to climb up this dune.
I sat on a park bench and waited.

We had lunch at a little cafĂ© called, “Luisa’s.” And yes, we are lame enough to think it was awesome that there were two restaurants in town that shared our names.

So what if it's not spelled the same?

For those of you who don't know... MM is a police officer. Am I aloud to say that?
He purchased a donut from the Swedish bakery.
When I said, "I'm really not a big fan of donuts," he responded with,
"I'm a cop, it's a requirement," which I thought was really funny.

We were lucky enough to pick the two most perfect days to spend in Michigan, and on day two it was sunny, cloudless, and the temperature reached the mid-80s. Without question, we would be spending the afternoon at the beach. Now here’s the thing about me… I’m a water baby. Good swimmer or not, I love the water. I was the girl in high school who still wanted to get in the pool rather than lay on the edge flipping from my front side to my backside. Tanning = bad.

The "other side" of Lake Michigan.

MM, I found out, is a major scaredy cat when it comes to cold lake water. He obviously was not jumping into Lake Superior in 60 degree weather when he was a kid. I had to BEG him to get in the water with me. He did. He was not happy about it. Instead, he fell asleep on the sand.

After the beach, we went back to our room and changed for dinner. We went all out, fancy-like, and ate at the Tabor Hill Winery, which was fantastic.

And easy on the eyes too.

We returned to the Inn, and ended our evening sitting outside in the gazebo.

After sleeping in the next day, we left Michigan for Chicago. With the time change, we made it back to the city before noon. And then, in stark contrast to our two days of total relaxation, we drove to MM’s condo and packed everything. The initial plan was to pack up the kitchen, but we were on a roll and pretty much finished the job. We didn’t get back to my apartment until 9:45pm. And now I'm stress case central thinking about moving his boxes, subletting my apartment, finding a new apartment for MM and I, going to Anaheim next week for a conference...

More on that later...

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Circles

The open water swim yesterday went well. I decided to wear MM’s tri suit, which is a onesie type outfit made to dry quickly and be used for the entire triathlon. That’s right. You swim in it; you bike in it; and you run in it. It also has a padded ass. I wore a regular sports bra underneath it, and nothing else.

FYI… I went to check out “tri bras” at Fleet Feet – the equivalent of a sports bra made specifically for triathlons (they dry faster). The owner of the store, a dude, took one look at me and said, in the least creepiest way possible, “I am looking into your eyes when I tell you this. You will want to wear a regular sports bra. Tri bras provide minimal support.”

Oh.

Ohhhhhh.

Yes. The trials and tribulations of having a larger chest.

Despite the fact that it was probably only in the mid-70s yesterday at 11am, the water was not extremely cold. The clinic people put us in the lake immediately, and split us into beginner, intermediate, and those who had been in the clinic before. I went with intermediate. We did some drills. They talked. We did some more drills.

The most jarring part of the clinic was having to swim with about twenty women and a couple dudes packed in around me. My biggest fear in the open swim is getting kicked in the face and having my nose broken as a result. Similarly, this is the reason I don’t want to play volleyball on the beach –- the possibility of a broken nose. And this was only 20 some odd people. There will be 5000 at Danskin, and approximately 1500 in the water at any given time.

The other difficult part is this sighting business, where you have to lift your head up to look around and make sure you’re heading in the right direction. It’s just awkward and tends to throw off my stroke. And, a lot of times, I simply forgot to do it. Luckily, I don’t seem to be veering wildly off course, but I do favor my right side a bit, so I will have to sight and correct for that.

They also showed us the Danskin course – you swim from one end of the lake to the other, a straight(ish) line, and for whatever reason, I didn’t think it looked so bad.

Finally, they had us all sprint into the water and do a simulated race course, which was about 250 meters. I was fifth out of the water. Nice.

I also had a chance to ask a couple of questions. Do people ever get their noses broken from being kicked in the face? They had only heard of that happening once. Second, at Danskin, once you’re out in the middle of the course, does it thin out and you have some room? They laughed at me. Apparently the answer to that is, “Um. No.”

Overall, it was – without a doubt – a good decision to attend the clinic. I’m sure I will be scared jumping in the water with all those women (particularly the ones who do not know how to swim), but I loved getting in the lake! And, I feel confident I can make it to the other side.

On a less positive note, I am going to get my foot checked out in about an hour or so. I think I broke my pinky (baby?) toe last night. I stubbed it walking into my bathroom. I immediately said to MM, “I think I broke my toe.” He replied, “You didn’t break your toe.” I woke up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom and noticed that it still hurt. When MM left at 4:45am, I managed to tell him again, in my half-asleep state, that I think I broke my toe. Once I got up at 7:30am (I am so freaking tired), it still hurt and was obviously swollen.

According to the Internets, there’s basically not a whole lot they can do – in many cases they can’t tell you if it’s a break or just a sprain. If I wasn’t training, I probably wouldn’t have even made the appointment, but I need to know what I should do so I can keep running. I can’t even believe this. Anyway, send some positive thoughts my way.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

She's All That

It's 9am on Saturday morning, and I've already had breakfast, gone for a six mile run, and had breakfast again all by my lonesome in a neighborhood coffee shop. I ate an everything bagel, read Conscious Choice magazine, and learned about natural fertility options... like you know... if I ever need them or anything. Now I'm sitting on my couch in MM's wetsuit wondering what to do with myself for the next several hours.

Yes. I'm sitting on the couch in a wetsuit. There's a reason for this, but first thing's first... today was my first long run with CARA, the group I will be training with for the marathon. And, I got to be honest folks (you like that?), I went with the hope that I would "spark" with someone... in that running buddy sort of way. Not that I want to replace Meg. I could never do that, but at this point, I think (I hope she feels this way too, or this is going to be a little weird) our friendship goes far beyond running.

To say the least I went with an open mind, hopeful that I would meet a few people with positive energy who would be conversational on the path. No iPod people. Just me. Baring my running soul to the world.

At the very last second, I decided to join the 11 minute mile group when I saw that the 11:30 and 12 minute groups were going to be combined, and as far as I could tell, consisted of about four older gentlemen. Not that I have anything against older gentlemen... it's just not what I had in mind. Heck. No time like the present to give a faster pace a shot.

I sized up the crowd of 11 minute milers. And, truth be told, one of the woman caught my eye right away. Gawd, I sound like a stalker or something... Anyway, as it turned out, that woman was running in front of me next to another woman who promptly put on headphones. I was next to yet another woman who didn't seem too chatty, but after the first half mile or so, I struck up a conversation. We'll call her J, and she was very pleasant. We did the whole, "Is this your first time?" routine, and she mentioned that she wasn't a morning person. I decided to take that as a hint and left her alone.

About two miles in woman with headphones dropped out. At the turnaround point, woman next to me apparently woke up and started chatting a bit more. And, the woman in front of us turned around and chimed in the conversation. We'll call her DB. DB was super friendly, and I got the feeling that like me, she was new and looking for people to make this time together go a lot faster.

Making friends, whether it's for the purpose of running or for the general purpose of getting to know people, gets trickier as you get older. You have to be savvy enough to assess is whether or not the other person is open to friendship -- some people aren't, especially when they have been established in a place for a very long time. I think transplants like yours truly tend to be a little more open to friendship because, at some point, we have been forced as adults to put ourselves out there.

It's really too soon to determine whether or not I've found someone (or a couple people) who will, at the very least, get me through Saturday morning long runs. Those of you who run know how much easier it is to get through two-plus hours of distance with someone by your side who is willing to entertain you with stories and conversation. If I sound desperate, it's because I'm scared to death of running two-plus hours without someone entertaining me. And we're talking about a marathon people! Two-plus hours is nothing compared to five-plus hours!

I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Oh yeah. The wetsuit. So, tomorrow is my first open water swim -- that's code for swimming in a lake people -- and I'm a little bit... lost. I have no idea what to wear. I could go in so many directions, I'm becoming nerve-racked, and the decision I make needs to be based on a myriad of factors like weather and comfort level and safety and who knows what else. I wish someone would just say, "Do this." I have too many options right now and not enough knowledge.

Anyway, a few days ago, when he moved his hella large TV into the apartment, MM brought his wetsuit so I could try it out. Wetsuits (as far as I know) are primarily unisex. His is a medium. According to the size chart, I should be wearing a large. This of course, makes me feel bad about myself but whatever. In the interest of cash and time, I decided to make the attempt to stuff myself into his wetsuit.

I have no idea how these things are supposed to fit. I tried the wetsuit on for the first time a few days ago, and for lack of a better description, basically couldn't get the legs pulled up high enough. I figured I was simply too fat. I pulled on it quite a bit, and managed to figure out that if I could somehow loss approximately four inches in the ass-area post haste, the torso would fit just fine. Of course that leaves me about exactly where I started. Confused.

I talked to MM about how much he had to pull on the wetsuit to get it up, and he seemed to think that I need to pull harder, so I gave it another shot today... with some "Suit Juice," a spray that greases up you and your wetsuit for ease of pulling it on and off. Lo and behold, the damn thing fits today. I even tried it on over MM's "padded ass pants" and a sports bra, because this very well could be my tri outfit. I still look like a rubber sausage, but I'm pretty sure there isn't much getting around that, now is there.

So what to do tomorrow? I figure the best course of action is to show up a little early and bring everything I own and could possibly wear -- the wetsuit, my bathing suit, and a tri suit. Hopefully one the clinic instructors will point to the right apparel.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mad As Hell

Last night, I recruited MM to accompany me on my first brick workout: a 30 minute bike followed by a two mile run. According to triathlon lore, it’s called a “brick” because your legs feel like bricks when you start running. Sounds fun, right?

At about 6:30, after a few false starts (when we first left the house and got on our bikes, I realized I wasn’t wearing my helmet, but a baseball cap!) we rode our bikes down to the lake, which is approximately two miles away. Just a warm up people.

When we arrived at the semi-crowded lakefront path, the real fun began. We set our watches, and off we went south from Montrose to Ohio Street Beach. I asked MM to ride in front of me and attempt to pace me at about 15 miles per hour. I quickly fell behind… way, way behind, cursing every minute of the ride because as per usual in Chicago, we were riding directly in to 20 mile per hour winds. Good times. Not to mention, navigating the path is nerve racking as all hell -- walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and other cyclists, all crowd a 10 feet or so wide path.

By the time MM and I made it to Ohio Street Beach, approximately 5.5 miles later, I was ready to toss my bike into Lake Michigan, and scream bloody fucking murder at random bystanders because their mere presence was pissing me off something fierce. As we were locking up our gear, I told him I was done; I wasn’t doing a triathlon because I QUIT I QUIT I QUIT I QUIT.

We started our run, heading south still into the wind toward Navy Pier and beyond, and I kept bitching. I bitched so much that I missed my turnaround point! We turned headed back to the beach, and MM took off ahead of me. Oddly, I took some solace in that mile or so I ran alone with my anger. I managed to calm down a bit and stop screaming, “FUCK!” inside my head.

The lesson: PMS does not compliment my workouts.

Back at the bike rack, we watched the swimmers decked out in wetsuits get their freestyle on in Lake Michigan. I envied them. Oh how I’d rather be out there in the freezing cold water, than here on the shore in 90+ degree heat getting back on my bike for the approximately eight mile ride home.

It’s not fair. Everyone else loves the biking part. I had chicks in bikinis chatting on their cell phones (fucking morons) leisurely pedaling down the path pass me. Why is biking so hard for me? After all this… ALL THIS… why am I not stronger?

MM and I headed back up the path, going slowly now, riding next to each other and talking. He swears my biggest problem is my bike. “That’s a mountain bike. It’s built to be on rough terrain, and it’s heavy,” he said to me. I answered for the tenth time, “No it’s not. It’s a hybrid.” Then he pointed out a woman riding past us, “That,” he said, “is a hybrid. See how the frame is thinner. See how it’s built differently than your bike.” “Huh,” I said, “I guess that does look a different.”

Despite every effort I have made NOT to throw down oodles of money on this sport, MM and I are going to go out to a bike shop on Sunday, and I’m going to try out some different styles, get fitted, ask a bunch of questions, probably cry, who knows.

Anything is possible.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Absenteeism

I know. I’ve been a bad blogger (Sit. Write.). Sadly, no one seems to actually care because the two or three people who are usually kind enough to bring my slacking to my attention haven’t muttered a word that it’s been nearly a week since I last posted.

Perhaps everyone stopped reading… hmmm?

Well… um… Nobody… there’s been a lot going on: work is airing on the side of crazy; MM did the first (of probably a couple) major move of his stuff into my apartment this week; and I started running again and began fitting in all my training with two-a-day workouts. I know. It’s wild ‘round these parts.

But, first I have some news. It’s not good news. So don’t get excited.

Last night trusty running buddy Meg picked me up from work so she and I could get some strength training in at the gym before we met trusty running friend Lindy for dinner.

Lou: Meg, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. And, I’m afraid that this is going to sound selfish and not very sensitive, and I don’t want to upset you. But I’m not really sure what to do… You know… you cameo on my blog quite a bit and training is about to start. And… well, I didn’t want to write anything until I got the OK from you.

Meg: You can write about it. I appreciate that you asked me first.

So, here’s the deal. A few weeks ago, Meg slipped and hurt her knee. A week later she found out that she tore her ACL. She’s having surgery in about two weeks. So marathon training is kinda out of the question.

This is all very upsetting and unexpected. She has been running for years, and has encountered several setbacks to the marathon along the way -- up to and including last year’s Chicago debacle. It sucks. It just really sucks.

The thing is… I don’t really know how to write about this. I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. It’s not about me, and I understand that, but at the same time, I feel like, “Shit, I’m all alone.” The Saturday morning long runs that go by in the blink of an eye due to our stories that blend seamlessly into new stories… it’s not going to be the same. It’s weird, ya know? In some ways, it doesn’t feel “real” yet -- to me anyway. I mean, she and I are still going to the gym together and lifting weights and swimming. The group runs don’t start until Saturday. Everything -- again, to me -- seems normal. But I know. And it will hit me soon enough.

I’m doing my best not to moan about my aloneness because it’s not me who has to go through surgery. Or who has to recover. I’m trying to stay positive and focus on some fun stuff: breakfast dates on Saturday mornings, being a cheerleader for her newfound “like” of swimming (this, of course, is part of my evil plan to get her to train for a triathlon with me next summer), possibly entering the New York City Marathon lottery in 2010… things like that.

So that’s The News… part one. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Competitive Edge

I’m starting to regard my break from running as a bit of a countdown. Tomorrow will be the only Saturday I will sleep in... until mid-fall. After tomorrow, I will be rolling out of bed sometime around 5:30am to run in Chicago summertime heat and humidity.

I recently became the proud owner of a subscription to Runner’s World, which is the first magazine subscription I have “owned” since the budget cuts of 2006 when I canceled InStyle, Health, Fitness, and US Weekly. RW was a solid investment. I look forward to receiving my Runner’s World magazine every month. And, yesterday… Tada! The July issue arrived!

I love it how magazines just show up...

I was reading my brand spanking new issue this morning on the bus, and I seriously almost starting crying. I swear. And, yes. I am PMSing. But, the sport of running just continues to inspire me. All these people, running… for different reasons… it just… I don’t know. It’s amazing. Everyone has a story, ya know?

My point is, in some ways, despite the early morning wake up calls, I’m exciting to start training.
The new, fun challenge this year will be balancing the remaining weeks of my triathlon training with a sharp increase in running mileage.

Here’s a funny story about swimming. So last night I came home to find MM sitting on my couch…

MM: I swam 80 laps today.

Lou: Seriously? 80? That’s a lot.

MM: Well, I want to become a better swimmer.

Lou: You mean, you want to become a better swimmer than me...

At this point, MM gets this huge, guilty grin on his face.

Lou: Oh my god! That’s really it!

MM: No it’s not. I want to be a better swimmer in general.

Lou: Yeah. Cause you swim like all the buff dudes in my class… like this…

At this point, I proceed to flailing around, which I later reenacted to @ who described it as, “…swimming like a drowning meathead."

Which I thought was hilarious, and still do… which is why I’m telling you now.

What's even funnier is that while I was writing this post I had to have @ help me spell the word "flail," because I kept typing it out "flay" and I knew that wasn't correct, but phonics failed me (and flailed me... and flayed me...).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Scattered Brain

Man, I am all over the place today. All of the place to the point that when I decided to blog about my apparently inability to focus this afternoon, I instead checked my email (four or 12 times), my Facebook, and the MySpaces, read a couple blogs, did something menial related to my job, checked out the Ironman.com Web site, checked out the Chicago Endurance Sports century cycling program, scanned the Beginnner Triathlete forums, and finalized dinner plans for Thursday. Then I checked my email again. And, I signed into Yahoo chat to see if Meg was online. She’s wasn't.

My horoscope on Monday said (and I quote): Pluto is helping you dredge up every possible phobia or neurosis. Fortunately, this is only temporary. Unfortunately, it still sucks because this week you’ll be crazy as a loon.

I’m wondering, does this horoscope actually give me permission to be nuts-o?

So many things going through my head right now…

Let’s start with Facebook. On Monday, I received an interesting friend request… from my mom. Speaking of, my mom also informed me about two weeks ago that she has been reading my blog for approximately six months now without telling me. Thank god I don't blab on and on about all the wild, unprotected sex I'm having with strangers!

Everyone say, “Hi Lou’s Mom!”

Hi Lou’s Mom!

So mom's all tech savvy and whatnot.

Speaking of... I’m thinking of shutting down my MySpace account. I check it every couple of weeks, and for some reason, it makes me feel a little dirty. There’s something a bit seedy about MySpace. I dunno. I’m just making shit up. Perhaps I have social networking fatigue. Or perhaps, MySpace doesn't offer me hours of entertainment... like Scramble or Word Twist.

Also… at what point does one stop reading someone else’s blog? Don’t worry… I’m not talking about YOU. I love YOUR blog. Your blog is AWESOME. I’m actually referring to some guy whose blog I stumbled across months ago, hell, maybe a year ago -- a blog friend of a friend of a friend kind of scenario. I thought he was funny, and I kind of got invested, but now… eh… honestly… I just don’t care that much anymore. And it’s not like he even knows I’m reading -- I’m totally lurking. So what do I do? Do I remove him from the Almighty Google Reader? Or do I just ignore the posts piling up, and read him on a day when all my other bloggers are on hiatus? Kind of like an emergency back up blog…

So whatever.

My Ohio driver’s license expires on my 29th birthday, which is approximately three weeks away, and I have decided that it is time to claim residency in Illinois. I mean, let’s face facts people, I’m probably not going anywhere any time soon. However, I find this process of actually getting a new license in a new state somewhat… troubling. I’m am oddly attached to my Ohio license, as though it is the last thing that attaches me to that state -- with the exception of my mom… and my grandma… and some close friends… and… my cell phone number… and… yeah… I sound ridiculous.

I think we’ve had enough for one day, don’t you?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Somewhere Along The Way

First... OMG -- I missed my own two-year-blogoversary! Shit. My blog turned two yesterday, and in true to Lou form, I totally spaced. Can you believe it's been two years? I can't. I love this blog like a child. A child who I can neglect from time to time just because I'm... you know... bored or tired or hungry or drunk or whatever. Really, if you think about it, a blog is really the ideal child for a single person who has no real attention span or sense of responsibility.

Now on to the thing I actually was going to say:
Since I’ve decided to “take it easy” this week training-wise, I’ve had time to do other things, like work and force MM to take a vacation with me.

That’s right. Vacation. Not like an awesome vacation -- think Cabo for a week -- but more of a, we-both-have-three-days-off-let’s-go-somewhere vacation. Such is life.

I may or may not have mentioned somewhere along the way that MM is currently working full time and in graduate school part time, so his schedule tends to get a little crazy. And, though I keep more regular hours than he does, all of the crap I sign up for seems to take up a decent portion of what I like to refer to as my “free time.”

So we are off to sunny, probably chilly Michigan in two weeks where we will stay at a bed & breakfast, lay around on the beach, possibly ride a bike somewhere, and -- if I have anything to say about it -- drink some wine and eat some food. I have never stayed at a B&B before (though this is MM’s preferred accommodation) so this should be interesting. Err... romantic. Whatever.

It will be our first vacation, just the two of us. Two weeks from now. Can you tell I’m ready for it?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

R & R

I have made an executive decision. I am not running this week. I had planned to take last week off, but because I was in Baltimore at a conference, running was really the only convenient workout.

Instead, I will focus on cycling and swimming, as well as some strength training. Marathon training begins the week of June 9 (holy crap!), which means, this is really my last chance to take a break just… because.