This Girl Doesn’t Race- And Here’s Why…

Hey kids!

I’ve been absent.

I know. SHAME.

Life has been busy. And when I haven’t been busy this week, I’ve been boring.

Hard to believe, I’m sure.

Thank goodness for Mon. Being as how we both share the same twisted humor and love of sarcasm, I figured she could fill in and pick up where I left off and maybe no one will notice. ;)

So when she asked what I’m forcing kindly asking her to write about, I suggested something people might relate to.


I like to refer to the event as the Great Cock Debacle of 2010. Before you go jumping into the gutter and trudging through the grime to come to your conclusions as to what I am referring to, I’ll just say this: Hancock Stair Climb for Respiratory Health.  I was asked by a friend of mine to join his team for the 2010 event to benefit those affected by emphysema and COPD. After much deliberation (I had never done any sort of race before), I decided that it was for a fantastic cause and it seemed like a fun thing to do with friends.  So, for three months, I trained on the stair-master and psyched myself up, for I was training a lot harder than any of my other team members. They even suggested I lead our team when it was time to climb. My head exploded with over-confidence.  I had the moves. I had the outfit. I had the glow. I had the butt and thighs toned and taught.  I thought I was super-awesome and the world would soon know it. Or at least Chicago and the 3,000 people attending the event.The day came to conquer the ‘cock.  I was up and at em’ early to meet my team and we headed to the Hancock Building located on the gorgeous Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. I stood outside the building and my ego suddenly went into shock.  I looked up and the building seemed as though it went straight to God’s desk (where he does all of his paperwork of course), however, I pretended it didn’t bother me and kept going.

After walking through the revolving doors and feeling like I could lose my coffee from the quick spin, I quickly realized how large a group of 3,000 people actually was.  I also didn’t realize what a mass of this many people smells like when gathered like cattle in the lowest level of a building. My head was spinning rapidly, I was growing more and more nauseous and the walls seemed to fall in on me.  Was I claustrophobic?  How could this be?  I’m a self-proclaimed extrovert.  I love concerts packed with crowds of people – what the heck was wrong with me? And what going on with my stomach?  I told myself to shake it off; after-all, I was the LEADER of our pack.

When we finally reached the start line, I took a heavy breath and a quick gulp of my Fiji water. When it was my turn, I darted through the doorway and ran up the stairs. The stairwell was constructed of cinder block and cement.  It stunk of BO from the climbers before me. Drips of sweat were still on the ledges of the steep steps that I was trying to run up as fast as I could. At each sharp turn in the stair-well, I grabbed the railing and pulled myself forward to catapult to the next level. When I got to the 4th floor (yes, 4th floor out of 97), my head started spinning again.  At floor 5, nausea consumed me.  I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth and slowed down to a walk.  Teammates began passing me. At floor 9, I knew exactly what was going to happen, but WHERE do I GO?

I was trapped!!  I made it to floor 10 where I saw light and a man that, I swore in that moment, was Jesus, blocking a doorway that would get me out of there. I yelled “WHERE ARE THE BATHROOMS!!??” He casually responded, “There are no doorways, hun.” I looked at him, pushed him out of my way, made my way out the door and projectile vomited in front of a BMW that was trying to park.  Apparently I was in a parking garage.  I leaned forward, put my hands on my knees and puked again. This time in front of a less expensive model.

‘Jesus’ came outside with two paramedics (yes, to add to the humiliation, they called the paramedics) who took my temperature, blood pressure and asked if I was pregnant.  Fortunately, my vitals were normal and I was happy to say that I was not pregnant.  They took me to the elevator to ride up to the top of the Hancock building and find my family. They were waiting with cameras and flowers in hand.  I wish I had a picture of their faces when I came up from behind and tapped them on the shoulder.  They were startled and confused. “Why didn’t you come out the other door?  And why is your makeup so perfect?”  At least I had that going for me.

After the humiliation of my epic fail, I vowed to never, ever, ever enter any sort of race again.

This vow lasted all of 11 months.  I entered the 2011 climb and finished it.  

I didn’t go fast, instead concentrating on breathing.  I also took anti-nausea medicine before hand as well as stuck Vicks Vapor Rub up my nose.  After I accomplished it though, I vowed to never enter any sort of race again.  Ever.

The other day was spent perusing a copy of Runners World about planning for your first Half Marathon.  I like to run (for instance, this week I ran 4.5 miles Monday, 6 on Wednesday and 6 on Friday) and have always wanted to run the distance of a half. But the thought of running in an actual race terrifies me because of my intense fear of the following:

OCD will bust my knee. I’m not so self-absorbed to admit that when it comes to certain aspects of my life, OCD rules.  When there’s a task at hand, I throw myself into it full force, no matter how much effort (or pain) it takes.  If running an actual race, I would practice run until I didn’t have kneecaps because I don’t know when to quit.

Throwing up. Because of my ‘Cock Debacle’ I’m mortified I’ll end up throwing up again from stressing myself out.

Pooping my pants. I’ll be the first to tell you about my digestive issues.  When stressed, my digestive track goes into overdrive. I would rather throw up in public than poop my pants.

I’m a baby. I run in my own home, on my own treadmill, with an overhead fan and the air conditioning on full blast.  Oh, and while watching my favorite programs on tv. Because I get hot and I don’t like it one bit.

And then there is this:I do have a lot more excuses, but those are by far my biggest fears.  The climb ruined me; even if I finished it the next year.

However, I LOVE to watch and support my friends in any race I can attend.  But me being part of the big show?  No thanks.  I’ll run my half marathon but it will be my own.  All for me with no weird smells, people hovering over me and no fear of having to call the paramedics. And hey, if I poop my pants, I will be the only one that knows.

Hustle Up the Hancock 2011

94 floors. That’s nothing… right?

Similar to a Sunday stroll in the park?  Yes?

Um… well…

Let’s start from the beginning.

Yesterday was the Hustle Up The Hancock in downtown Chicago, put on every year by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. A 94-flight stairclimb all the way to the observation deck at the top.  

Mon and I set our alarms and made our way down to the city early in order to meet up with Megan before our scheduled climb at 10:45. Yes, Mon was with us. If you’ll remember from last year, I did not participate (the girl I was going to fill in for did the climb afterall) and Mon made a quick exit on the 10th floor to um… well, let’s just say she didn’t finish.

And she swore against ever doing it again.

Well when a team member from the Flyin’ Hawaiians dropped out this year, she took a deep breath and stepped up o the plate.If you’ll notice, Mon brought “Ramone” as her good luck charm.

Now you know where I get part of my crazy from. Poor Cecil had to stay home– the grandkids were coming for a visit.  ;) 

And let’s ignore that my race number ended in “666”. There was such a rush for us to get to the right line in the beginning, I didn’t even notice until much later that day. Whew… that could have really psyched me out…

Anyhoo, this was my first time as a climber and dealing with the crazy that is the “hustle” first-hand.

It’s crowded. And there are long lines. To do everything. Wanna take a group pic? Stand in line… Want to climb? Stand in line… Wanna take an elevator back downstairs? Stand in line…

You get my point.

But it’s all for a good cause. And as a member of a family that has been affected by lung cancer, I was proud to be there and amazed at how many people talked about doing this climb every year for YEARS.

This was not a real “race” for any of us. But more of a unique experience. They staggered the start (everyone waits 8 seconds before they can take off) but Megan and I climbed it together.

Thank goodness. Because 94 flights of stairs are pretty boring. And even just having someone there to say a quick word to (like “omg, only 40 more flights to go!)  helped immensely. There’s not much to look at (believe it or not). But we did have people cheering us on every 5 or 6 flights. Which was nice.

My calves started to burn a little around the 55th or so. Even our practice run didn’t prepare us for the whole thing. And the stairs were much more narrow and steep than anticipated. So it was much more of a workout than I figured it would be!

But Megan and I persevered. And kept that steady pace. Low and behold, we even passed people.  Woah!

Finish time?  19:15. Hells yeah!Balla’.

Actually, I don’t really feel like a balla’ because I’m pretty sure the fastest girl was 14 and had a time of 13:40. Seriously- did she sneak onto an elevator at some point?  What a show off…

Either way, we all made it up and celebrated from the top!

We enjoyed the view and took it in for the entire time we were standing in line for the elevator to get back DOWN. And then went next door to the Hilton for our goodie bags and snacks at the Expo…Gah! More lines!

But it’s cool. We had a LOT of fun doing it. The stairclimb was much like any other smaller race. It’s a good time and everyone is excited. What more can you ask for?Silly question.

Everyone needs a victory beer, right?  Even Ramone- who got kicked out of the bar after this. No shirt, no shoes, no service… sorry buddy…

Between the stairclimb itself and the walking to and from Megan’s place, I was exhausted. And crashed like a ton of bricks onto my bed last night.

Tonight I have a 5-mile run to look forward to.  Now that the Hustle is over, I plan to focus a little more on running versus always making sure I had enough time to get my stairmill (“crosstraining”) in. My booty is tired. And since it’s on the verge of getting its own zip code soon, I should probably give it a rest.  Seriously- those stairs are good for the butt if you’re looking to sculpt. But first let me warn you- sometimes with sculpting comes extra mass. And since all new pants aren’t in the budget, a break from the stairmill won’t upset me that much… ;)

Have you ever done a stairclimb event?  What are you thoughts? I may do it again, not sure. Definitely more of a “run outside and see stuff” kind of girl…

So here we are… it’s Monday. The beginning of the week. Hopefully one that will fly. Because I’ve got a trip to Vegas on my radar and could not be more excited! Have a good one, kids!

Coming to a Stairwell Near You…

Megan and I met up around noon to walk over to her friend’s apartment building.  We needed the tallest building we could get access to.  22 stories?  We can make it work!

There’s really not much to climbing a stairwell.

You just sort of walk into the stairwell.  And start going up the stairs.

Basically, Megan and I thought it may be a good idea to practice a couple of times- make sure there’s no claustrophobia or dizziness that might sneak up, see if we’ve got the right muscles ready for it, use it as an excuse to hang out, etc…

We made it to the top (22nd floor) and rejoiced:It didn’t take much of a debate to decide to take the elevator back down instead of actually walking down the stairs.It’s training to go UP, not DOWN, afterall…

Although twice we did have to ride the elevator down with people.  And twice it was pretty awkward.  Heeeeyyyy… just hanging out in your building’s stairwell… don’t mind us…

In total, we climbed three times.

And it wasn’t hard!Well. That may be a little overly dramatic.  Or a lot overly dramtic. But we felt it.  And noticed that we relied on using our arms a little more towards the end. Guess I should start doing some more curls… :)

But I think it’s safe to say that we’ve SO got this.

We rejoiced with the consumption of bar food. I heart sweet potato fries.  And am such a nerd when it comes to how excited I get when I order them.  Fact.

It was a good day.

And a good night.  My neighbor Bailey and I went out to see a local band at a local bar last night. I like to think we’re doing a good job of supporting the community this way. It’s very important to do so. Even if this means having to buy a few beers.

Gotta do what you’ve gotta do.  Ya know?

Either way, it was a good night.  With a lot of socializing.  And a little dancing.Any morning that you wake up with a hand stamp is usually evidence of this.

Ignore the pancakes.  They were bad.  Even with the white chocolate chips.  I tried a new recipe for whole wheat pancakes and added my own spin to it.

It was a bad spin. And they were almost rubbery?  Not ideal pancake texture.  Unless you’re into that kind of thing. Which would be weird.

You know how I was complaining about all the bad movies I’ve seen recently?  Well, I watched The Other Guys during my bad pancakes this morning.

The movie was quite the opposite of the pancakes.  I really really liked it. Classic Will Ferrell. I’m honestly surprised more people haven’t talked about this one?  There are soooo many good lines from it!

I should probably get that movie back to Red Box. And just get out of the apartment in general. Sounds like a good idea…

Have a great Sunday!

100 Words Saturday- Anti-Social Edition

Happy Weekend! I hope your Saturday morning is going well!

I’m about to go climb some stairwells with Megan to prepare for Hustle Up the Hancock (oh yeah- remember that stair climb I’m gonna do? I almost forgot, too.).

Last night it snowed.

It was Mon and my justification for being anti-social. And watching a crappy movie.Knight and Day. We knew it wouldn’t be the greatest going into it. 

We were so right.

After a couple of vodka clubs, we didn’t even pay attention.

And gossiped instead. Sounds about right.

What’s the last bad movie you’ve seen?


Thursday!  It’s here already!

I celebrated by another morning workout.  I know- kinda lame.  But that’s sometimes how I roll in the middle (ish) of the week.  Just go with it.  :)

Yesterday I did elliptical, but I wanted to get one more decent run in before Saturday’s race. So today, I strolled into the workout room and it was empty.  Again.  I sort of love it.  The only other people I’d ever see in the morning is the woman who refused to acknowledge my existence and the old man running around in his super tiny swimming trunks after chillin’ in the hot tub (I’m still weirded out at why he’s doing this at 5 in the morning?).  So I welcome the alone time.

I did 4 miles at almost exactly an 8:30 pace.  I’m not wearing anything to track mileage for Saturday’s race, so I’m hoping this is my natural pace that I’ll fall into (considering I’ve been hovering around it for the last month).  I’ve worn my Nike+ for a couple races, but end up just driving myself mad by looking at it over and over.  I’m sure they’ll have clocks at the mile markers.  That’s all I need.

Now for a few announcement of sorts…

I got a haircut last night!  It’s like I’m a new woman.  :)

Actually, it was just a trim.  And that’s a lame announcement.

Surely I can think of something better?

I am signed up to do the Hustle Up the Hancock!

For all of ya’ll who have been reading for a while (seriously- I can’t believe you’ve made it this far!), I went to support my friend Mon as she attempted it.  That didn’t work out so well- but I’m going to let her tell you that story in her words eventually.  ;)  Anyways, Mon refuses to do it this year, so when her friend started to get the team together, she asked if I’d consider it.

Heck yes I will! 

At first I wanted time to think about it (it’s a bit pricey for me when it comes to events), but it was sort of a “need to know in less than a week” sort of thing.  For the last couple of years it has sold out within an hour or two of registration opening.  For real- I had to double check that I wasn’t accidentally signing up for the Boston Marathon or something… it’s crazy how many people want to do this!

So on February 27th, yours truly will be climbing the 94-floor stairwell of the John Hancock Building.  I even have a partner in crime to participate in the insanity…  I bribed convinced asked Megan if she’d want to do it, too. 

I’m not sure, but she may be just as crazy as I am- because she totally said she would!  So watch out friends- there’s training that will need to go down and we may be coming to a stairwell near you!

That did not sound creepy in the slightest.

I’m hoping that training for this will be just the thing I need to change up my workout routine.  Not gonna lie- I’m on the brink of running burn out.  Some serious cross training will do me good.  :)

And finally… I guess it’s time I tell you about who won the Adora Giveaway, huh?

Congrats Lindsey!

Please email me your mailing address so I can pass the info along and get your chocolate to you!  :)

Oh and thanks for all the comments on my random things.  I can’t believe how many of us loved Doug!!!  Hilarious.  And the getting kicked out of band story isn’t nearly as cool as I wish it were.  The new teacher didn’t really care for my friend and I (probably because the old teacher loved us).  As soon as he found an excuse to get rid of us, he did.  We were late.  Once.  Got the boot.  Lame.

I’d like to think I’m over it and moved on, though. And it’s just fun to say it happened.  :)

Ok kids, it’s time to get to work. Later!

A Jog Downtown

So I didn’t end up getting to do the Hustle up the Hancock, but I did get to do my run.  I was excited because this was the first time outside of a race I was going to go jogging to explore the streets of Chicago.  The morning was extremely overcast, but not frigidly cold (which I was nervous about).  I walked down to Lake Shore Drive and was off! 

I ended up not getting over to exactly where I wanted- up on the lake shore.  There wasn’t anywhere in the near vicinity for me to cross over!  So I settled for on the other side of the highway with Navy Pier in my view.  I ran south towards Navy Pier until I decided I wanted to turn around and do more exploring.  I zig-zagged back and forth through streets until I got close to the hotel again.

I decided Monica was probably waving at me at this point.  I decided to wave back.  Little did I know she was probably sitting around feeling nauseated after hurling on the 10th…I didn’t have as much time as I originally thought I would before the necessary shower, so I only ran two miles and then did a walk through part of the Gold Coast before returning to the hotel.

Of course, as I’m out being a healthy young gal, I would run into the Hershey’s store…Look away, Amy!  Look away!  Wait, seriously?  I look the other direction and this is what I see? Oh dear… I heart chocolate…  But I trudged on.  That’s when I found this little building…This is my car, actually.  But mine is gray.  And about five years older.  And a Ford…One day… right?  Then I did some window shopping at Jimmy Choo:

Then I realized, would I really spend a couple hundred on shoes when I know what my feet are going to start looking like soon?  Yeah… no thanks- maybe I’ll wait for boot season to splurge?  Or not.  Instead, I could spend the shoe money on something else.  Like a large piece of furniture… :p

Anyhoo… I was wiped last night when we got home.  And after long weekend, I do enjoy my chilling out and this:

Yea for salad!  That and I hit a “buy one get one” on salad mix at the grocery store… so I’ve got a lot to get through in the next couple of days.  :)  Don’t want to be wasteful!

Are you aware today is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day?  My friend at work marked it on the calendar for me- thought I’d appreciate that one…  :)  Already had it in the oatmeal- and I’m sure it’ll make another appearance in my day.  Always does…

Have a good Monday!  Since I didn’t pull out the five-mile run yesterday, I’m looking forward to it tonight!

A Day of “Almost”

For our “staycation”, Mon and I stayed in the Hilton Suites right next to the Hancock Building- absolutely gorgeous.  I of course jumped on the bed when we got there (took my boots off first, of course- no need to pay for piercing the mattress).  Then we took a little tour of the hotel.  The pool and workout area were on the top floor.  And I will say, if I had a view like that, the treadmill runs would not be nearly as monotonous and boring.  Can you believe this?  I would never leave the gym… ever.

After the little tour, we got all ready and cute for the night we had ahead of us and went to the hotel bar for a drink:

Since people from their climbing team weren’t going to be able to attend the reception in the Signature Room on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building on Saturday night, I happily stepped in to take their place.  No one refuses a free meal from the Signature Room.  It was buffet style and it was fabulous.  I went back for seconds- but I blame the tiny plate.  ;)  Most of the options were pasta and little appetizers,  but I was ok with that- I don’t remember the last time I had tortellini.

As we were eating, two of the girls who were supposed to do it were calling/texting and saying they probably wouldn’t participate.  Enter me.  YES!  I will climb!  I was so lucky because I had already brought stuff down to run in, so it wouldn’t be a huge problem at all!  And I didn’t train for stair climbing at all, but I could do it!  So last night, it was decided I would be stepping in.  How cool!  I was going to climb!  For free!!!  :)

Since I was stepping in as a “climber” that night, I also snagged a swag bag- with a $15 gift certificate to drinks or food at the Signature Room.  Of course Mon and I decided to use it at the bar.  Don’t get excited- it covered one $13 drink.  We both had “Rush Streets”- which were iced kahlua, baileys, ameretto, and everything amazing- topped with whipped cream.  I like liquid dessert.  And because I like liquid dessert, I also went for a hot chocolate pixie- which was basically heavily spiked hot chocolate- even better than the Rush Street cocktail.

At that point, we were faced with two options.  Go out all dressed up and have quite a night out on the town.  Or explore the area- after going back to the hotel to change.  Because we both splurged for the extra cocktails at the bar, we decided to go for the second option.  We didn’t want to get too tipsy before the climb, didn’t want to kill our wallets, and could use the exercise to “help digest”.  Ugh- help digest.  That makes me sound old.

We took the walk down Michigan and did some window shopping as we gossiped and snapped pics.All the way to Cloud Gate… which is alot further than we originally planned!  And then turned around and went all the way back up Michigan.  The weather was tolerable, but we both snuggled like children into our beds when we got back.  Aaaahhhh.

I had a few issues sleeping because I was still processing my agreement to climb.  Am I really going to climb up 94 flights of stairs???  What if it kills my knees?  What if I can’t make it?  How am I going to carry my camera with me the entire time (important things, you know…)?  Monica’s phone rang at 7:30 the next morning.  And she talked to her friend who organized the event.  Both girls who had sworn they weren’t doing it had decided to jump back in.  What?!?!  Nooooooo!  I was a little disappointed.  I knew it’d be fun.  But that’s ok- back to my original plan- the run along the lake shore.  I was ok with that. 

They were the “flyin’ Hawaiians” (yes, they watched CNN to keep tabs on the tsunami situation- making sure it would still be an acceptable name to keep) and made their way to the Hancock Building across the street and I set off to run.  I’ll discuss the run later.  Other things to discuss now- but here’s Mon in her climbing gear: Too funny.  I don’t understand why she didn’t go with the coconut bra that came with the skirt, but I guess maybe after 20 flights or so, it might start to chaff….

I made sure to get back and be showered by the time they made it back to the hotel room.  Mon burst in- “I’m the only one who didn’t make it!!!  AAAHHHHH!”  Of course I didn’t believe her- she had been training for this thing for months. 

Whatever Mon.  Don’t lie.

She was serious.  After discussing it in detail, we decided she was probably a little claustrophobic and had too much coffee and not enough breakfast beforehand.  It probably didn’t help that people had been climbing for three hours at that point (they have spaced out starting times for over a five-hour span) and it most likely smelled like body odor and Bengay. Her pace was a good one- and she felt great.  Then, she started to black out a little and get dizzy.  And ran out the 10th floor stairwell exit… to hurl.  Of course, when this happens, they take it seriously.  Blood sugar was checked, water was supplied, and she just couldn’t keep going up because she was too dizzy.  Poor thing… although she laughed about the entire thing.  I’m pretty sure she was the most prepared.  But the Hancock won the battle.  Boooo…

Afterwards, the reception for the runners and friends/family only provided chips and pretzels to participants.  This just would not do.  So we went to a restaurant called Feast a few blocks up the street.  I all but licked my plate.  After a granola bar for breakfast (probably 300 calories short of what I usually eat) and a run- it was past lunch time and I was STARVING.  I had a custom omelette with mushrooms, feta, spinach and chicken sausage.  I took an awesome pic of it on my phone, but my computer is refusing to recognize it.  So I can’t get the photo at this moment in time.  Just imagine omelette awesomeness…

I almost got to do the Hustle.  Mon almost finished it (ok, not “almost”, but it was just an unfortunate nonfinish).  But even after the “almosts” we had, the little trip downtown was so much fun!  And exhausting…  I will now be taking my spot on the couch to finish out a lazy afternoon.  Have a good end of the weekend!  :)


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