Friday, September 3, 2010

Ryan's Girls-Help Save A Life

The Courage To Change (re-posted from a good friend)
One of the most difficult aspects of Eating Disorder Recovery is asking for help.... She did, and I know that we can give it to her.
A true emergency.... a medically compromised and quickly deteriorating young woman needs our help to get the treatment she needs. The discrepancy between what her insurance will pay and her copay is unmanageable for her, and she needs HELP. We need to raise approximately $2000 ASAP in order for her to start treatment.... While this might seem like a lot.... the reality is that with several small donations we CAN do this. Please pass the message along to anyone and everyone you know. As the money needs to be raised quickly. Perhaps sacrifice a few visits to Starbucks or the movies and PLEASE give our friend a second chance at life in the same way mine did for me. Please be as generous as you can be.... but no amount is too small.
For more information about Eating Disorders, visit:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stuffitts Review! Have my stinky sneakers found respite at last?

Yes, those are my nicknames along with "Michele the Gazelle." Not nearly as 'cool', but there it is.  In fact my sneakers used to smell SO badly in college that my roommates used to 'lock' them in the bathroom so as to minimize their offensiveness!

Flash forward a few of my apt. roommates bought me baking powder to sprinkle in my shoes guessed it!  They stunk.  I too, noticed a pattern.  Unfortunately at that point there weren't a lot of options aside from shoving newspapers into my shoes.  This is a great trick which actually DOES help dry them out but unfortunately doesn't eliminate the stink! Plus, being in the digital age I don't always happen to have newspapers laying around to stuff in my shoes. Ok, ok and I'm being a dork. The newspapers SMELLED after I took them out. Ew.

Well, enter a good friendship I've developed with fellow triathlete/runner IronBrandon (who is getting ready for IM Louisville!).  Brandon was offering a random contest featuring a pair of Stuffitts as the prize.  Knowing my boyfriend would indeed love my sneakers to be less smelly during triathlon training, I entered the contest.  Lo and behold, I won!  After a very very speedy e-mail exchange and just a few days later, my red Stuffitts arrived!

Visual Impression:
When I first saw them, I admit.  I was a little doubtful.  My stinky feet/shoes are legendary.  The Stuffits looked pretty harmless, they were even soft!  And yes, they are red. I like red.

Practical Impression:
Another thing I noticed is that the zipper on the side meant you could remove the fabric cover and wash them!  I was a bit relieved when I saw this because unlike the insoles that I have in my running shoes (which have no way of being really washed) Stuffitts would be easy to clean. To be sure, I removed the entire cover and put the cedar core back in.  Ok, that was easy.

Practical Impression #2
The 100% eastern red cedar core was NOT overwhelming.  It's slightly woodsy, but the nice kind that makes you think of long trail runs and hiking.  No chemical intensity or super-powerful smell (unlike the foot sprays you get in your local drug store). 

Practical Impression #3
They FIT inside my shoe.  This might seem obvious, but Stuffitts have to be able to fit into the contour of many shoes and the fit in quite easily even with my insole inserts. 

The Test
My Newtons are a little...beat up.  Training for a 1/2 Ironman puts some serious time into them. They're my only pair of running shoes (bad Michele, I know!) But since they are and I wouldn't dare throw them into a washing machine for fear of warping and distortion, I thought that these would be a great testing 'ground' for Stuffitts.   If Stuffitts could work on these bad boys, then they'll most likely work on any shoe!

12-mile run later, I cast off my shoes (much to the chagrin of my nose-wrinkling boyfriend) and pop the Stuffitts right in.

The next morning: Well, since people don't normally WANT  to sniff their sneakers up close I really wasn't a fan of this part!  And....nothing. No stink!  Normally I don't say "honey, SMELL MY SHOES" But I did.

Do my shoes smell brand new?  Well, no. I've run many MANY miles in them. However, they smell a heck of a lot better than they did before!  Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and family remembers rejoice.  Stuffitts are one stocking stuffer you'll want to include for your athlete.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dating A Triathlete

I saw this a couple of years ago in an e-mail thread and it's making the rounds again, so I thought I'd share!

Dating a Triathlete
"I am an outdoors type of person." Really means: I train in any type of weather. If its raining, snowing, 90 degrees w/100% humidity, or winds gusting at 30 mph. I don't want to hear any complaints because I will still train in it and youre just a big wuss for complaining about it.

"I enjoy riding my bike." Really means: with or w/o aero bars, alone or in a peleton, I don't care. If you can't do a spur of the moment 30 miler then youre not my type. I will let you draft, but if you can't hang and I drop you - I will see you later. I am a capable mechanic, but don't expect me to change your flats or tune your bike. You need to learn that on your own.

"I enjoy jogging." Really means: Lets run hills until we puke. I have just as many shoes as you only mine are better because they are functional and all look the same.

"I enjoy dining out." Really means: I enjoy eating out, in or anywhere else I can find food. Don't be shy because with the amount of food I eat, you can have that main entree instead of a salad and you will still look as though you eat like a rabbit in comparison. Don't get your limbs too close though as I may take a bite out of you. Most importantly don't expect any taste off my plate unless you can bring something to the party like more food. Eventually though if your not burning 4,000+ calories a day your going to plump up and have a terrible complex due to watching me eat deserts and not gain any weight. Friends and family will eventually decide not to dine with us anymore due to my horrid table manners. Oh, and don't ask me any questions during breakfast, Mid Morning Lunch, Lunch, Afternoon lunch, Dinner or Recovery Dinner as it does not lend to efficient food intake.

"I enjoy quiet walks on the beach." Really means: Walks on the beach warming up into an 8 mile run and then plunging myself in the ocean for a 2 miler. If you get in my way youre going to find out what mass start is and let me assure you that you don't want to find out.

"I find fulfillment in charitable work." Really means: If I am not racing, I am volunteering and I expect you to be there along side me as I stand out in 90 degree weather for 8 hours handing out sports drink to cyclists going 20 mph. Just stick the ol' arm out there and hope it doesn't get taken off.
"I enjoy sharing quiet moments together." Really means: It's taper time. Just back off because I am strategizing and in a pissy mood because I am worried about my "A" race and can't workout.

"I am an active person." Really means: Aside from my 40 hour job, and the 8 mandatory hours of sleep a night. 10 hours a week are devoted to me during the off-season and 20 during race season leaving us 4 hours. 2 of which are spent inhaling food and you not talking to me, so lets make the best of the 2 hours we will spend together on average each day. If you are a licensed message therapist or doctor this would make the most optimal use of our time together. Nutritionist is also acceptable, but I probably already know just as much as you.
"I enjoy road trips and leisurely drives." Really means: You have your choice of Wisconsin, Idaho, Florida, California, Arizona, and New York, but don't expect to do much site seeing. If I get enough support from you we might be able to include Hawaii in there.

"I enjoy site seeing." Really means: Lets grab a mountain bike and get our HR's up to 90%. There's plenty of time to look around on the descent as trees and bushes whiz by you at 40 mph.

"I like stimulating conversation."I like stimulating conversation." Really means: while we are running, we can talk about food. Then we can talk about how we decided what to wear on this run based on the temperature at start time versus the temperature at the time we expect to finish, how horribly out of shape we are, how many miles we did last week, and how many we will do this week and next.

"I enjoy relaxing soaks in the tub." Really Means: I'm going to stop on the way home and buy two bags of ice, throw them in the tub with some water, and sit in this torture chamber for 30 minutes.

"I'm interested in photography" Really Means: My camera is permanently perched a tripod in front of my trainer. I obsess over taking photos of my bike position and analyzing them to get the perfect setup.

"I'm into in technology" Really Means: My HRM and bike computer are my best friends. Until you can give me some hard data that can improve my training, don't bother trying to buddy up to me. You could one day break into the top three if I find you as entertaining on long runs and rides as my mp3 player.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How Do You Stay Inspired/Motivated

A few days ago, I mentioned that yet another one of my high school friends had qualified for Kona. I was inspired! I was motivated!  I was ready to take on the triathlon world and beat my bike into submission.  I was gung-ho, so to speak.  Of course, this intensity level doesn't last very long.You settle into a training 'groove' or....not.

So here is my question for all of you.  Since it's so easy to become inspired/motivated by others, how do you keep yourself going after that initial "wow, I want to do that!" glow has faded?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Finding A Way Back Out...Again and Again.

I've been inspired by the bravery of several souls on twitter to share this.  I too, have been called an 'oversharer', but I know that if I don't talk I will self-destruct.  Another thought I've had is that maybe, just maybe, if I actually let it all out-I can let it go.  Another inspiration to write this is the suicide of my cousin a few weeks ago. I hadn't seen her in more than 20 years. My heart broke when I heard because I wish I could have helped in some way and I knew that her children's lives would be devastated forever.

There's one thing that I don't see people write about often and it's that depression/anxiety can be comforting in a very very twisted kind of way.  Going to those dark places is familiar. Beating yourself up again and again is something that you know how to do and do it well.  Familiarity breeds comfort, so it's no wonder that I, like others find myself coming back to this place again and again.  It's not that we WANT to, by any means.

I'm not sure when my depression/anxiety started, but I'm guessing around middle school when I was teased so badly that I would stay up all night in dreaded anticipation of the kick-me signs, spit balls and taunting that would inevitably form my day.  High school was a bit different, because I had found an athletic ability which did include me somewhat in the 'cool' circles. But not really.  I was the 'uncool cheerleader', the track captain that no one really spoke to. 

I'm pretty sure I survived going to a very big university only because I had the crutch of my hometown boyfriend to rely on. I knew no one and walking into my first class that was roughly the size of my entire high school was beyond daunting.  When we broke up my junior year, I fell apart.  I made some extremely unwise choices in men and it took me a long time to realize that I was doing absolutely anything that I could not to feel.  I was manic, I was crazed, what I didn't realize is that I was actually depressed.  Did I mention that I think it's genetic? Yup.  But my family doesn't deal with this the way that I do, so I will respect their feelings and not go down that road.

Anxiety found its way onto my athletic endeavors as well.  I was the back (the person that catches people in cheerleading) who would turn away because I was scared.  This does not endear you to your fellow teammates, believe me.  In college I would actually freeze. Dry mouth and all.  I was so scared of what would happen if I actually did well that I quite literally froze.  I never lived up to what I could have accomplished and it's something that still pains me to this day. My failure.  How much better I could have been if I hadn't gotten in my own way. It's still painful for me to go to visit my alma mater (I've been back once) because it reminds me of all the ways that I failed.  I know I'm not strong enough yet or well enough yet to go back and see all the good things that came out of it. 

Post college probably brought depression to the forefront.  My security blanket, school, which I had for so long was gone forever. Everything I thought I was-the student, the athlete was gone now. I didn't know who I was or anything about myself. My boyfriend didn't recognize who I was becoming and my roommate and best friend couldn't bear to be around me because I was so self-absorbed.  Looking back on it now, I realized that he was quite the shitty boyfriend who didn't care that I was crumbling. He told me to just 'get over it'. To this day I hold some anger/resentment that he didn't lift a finger to help me. I'm trying to let go of this as I was in such denial that I allowed him to treat me that way.  I swore, any man who couldn't handle this part of me would never be allowed into my life.  It's taken several mistakes to finally get that part right.

Ah, food.  How many times have you heard someone (or even I've said it) that person needs to eat something/not eat.  It's not about the food. It never is. For me it's always been about burying my feelings (in the case of binge eating) when I just didn't want to face reality.  I remember going from McDonald's to Burger King to a CVS all in a row and chowing down at each and every spot.  I felt disgusted with myself, but I didn't have to, at that moment face reality or my loneliness. Anorexia?  Been there too. For me this was about control.  I meant well at first, I wanted to lose a few pounds for friend's wedding. Then came the attention. So I kept going.  I would count calories and see how long I could hold out without food. This made working in New York City and having no friends nearby something that I didn't have to think about.      

Money.  Depression and anxiety manifest themselves in so many ways.  I bought things I didn't need and 'kept up' with friends that made much more money that I did.  I'm now 31 and just paying off debt I am sure that I accumulated when I was 20.  Spending-it's denial, it's another way to not feel the reality of your life.  You can't afford it right now and you have to sacrifice.  I didn't want to think about that, I didn't want to feel it.  I didn't want to deal with the mistakes that I had made before. Finally, NOW.I am dealing with it. Reality is one hell of a vicious bitch when you ignore her for too long.  She'll drag you down and make you pay 100x what you would have if you had just faced facts right then.

Of course, depression has reared it's ugly head for me in some of the more 'traditional' ways too.  I've wanted to curl up in a ball in a corner or just sleep for hours on end. I've wanted to hide myself from the world because I didn't feel like I was pretty enough, smart enough or just good enough to interact with anyone.  Why would anyone bother with me?  Medication is great, but it's not the solution.  It's an aid, and yes, that might sound like an obvious statement.  But it doesn't make stress and pain go away; it just puts it back on your shoulders instead of pressing down on your head. 

Today, I am still struggling, the battles with depression still come and hit much harder when my life is out of balance.  Recently, it's been cycling that has been my most visible form.  The anxiety I feel when I go downhill on a bike is incredible. I am so certain I am horrible and have no place on a bike.  I punish myself and beat myself up and berate myself to no end. I'm also making some big life changes over the next few months which will be positive, but by no means not scary.  I've been in an industry for 8 years that I never really wanted to be in in the first place. Now, I am making a choice.  Some people say it's brave to follow my dream, but that's not a description I feel I deserve.  I wonder every day if I'm making the right decision and if I'm going to fall on my face. The demons call to me and make me want to buy things that I don't need and to not take the medicine that helps me because, well, I know how to do depressed.  I know just how that low place feels, looks and tastes.  This new possible reality of happiness is a much stranger and scarier place than you might think. 

I've lied to myself for years but I won't lie anymore.  Depression, yes, it's a part of who I am, it could be there forever, I don't know.  What I do know is that the fight, the battle, every day and even every hour on some days it worth it.  It's everywhere, I have to fight it all the time.  Some days are easier than others.  I've also come to accept that some people will never 'get' it. They just won't and that's ok. Some people WILL get it, some people will understand.

Have you ever seen the poster on the subways (for depression) that says "If a friend had cancer, would you tell them to just 'get over it'?  That's how it is for a lot of folks.  But the support, even from strangers, means something, it helps in ways you wouldn't imagine. It's not always a kind word or a hug though, some times it's a good old-fashioned kick in the ass to get you going.

I guess I wrote this to tell folks that depression and anxiety manifests itself in many different ways.  Recognizing it yourself is a HUGE step.  Don't lie to yourself.  Get help in whatever way you need. Talk if you need to, but don't just talk to reinforce your negative circle.  Talk to move forward, talk to heal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Whenever a tragedy strikes, we often stop and take stock of our own lives. Our values, our priorities.  This week is no different and I am no different.  Of course, instead of a positive outpouring of support, some choose to set themselves upon a pedestal of ignorance, hatred and cruelty.  I won't name the people as they are receiving far more publicity and attention than they deserve. My point is simple. Don't make this tragedy about ignorance, hatred or differences of opinion.  Your time (and mine) can  be beter spent helping the people of Haiti by donating our time, efforts and finances (however small, help IS help). 
From MSNBC, here is a link to A TON of charities that can use your help.