Sunday, September 28, 2008


. . . and that's really about all that's been going on in this little ol' boring life of mine . . . ha, wish I had something more exciting to share. But I'm figuring you probably don't want to read more whining about how I dislike my job and miss running ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Know You're a Dedicated Fan When . . .

I meant to write this post earlier in the week just to rub it in Wilson's face that we beat his team . . . but sadly, work is getting more than a little hectic again. Boo. I should have enjoyed those summer months while they lasted!

Anyway, Friday was a bit of a whirlwind . . . I got into work early in the a.m., and worked continually without taking a breath until 12:15 p.m., when I promptly packed up my stuff and headed out the door; but not before purchasing an individually-wrapped grilled chicken wrap in our workplace cafeteria (this will prove to be relevant, I promise). Wilson and I met up at Penn Station and took the train over to Newark to catch our flight to Chicago. On the way, I ravenously attempted to devour my chicken wrap. I had not eaten anything all day, so I was totally starving, and very excited about my sandwich. Well . . . that excitement didn't last long. As with so many items out of our crappy workplace cafeteria, it just didn't taste good. I ate about 2/3 of it, and tossed the rest, bummed but still really excited about the fact that I would get to eat Jimmy John's for dinner. Yum!

We got to Newark with plenty of time to spare, grabbed a coffee and proceeded to wait at the gate for something to go wrong. Well, it certainly didn't take long. They announced that we would be boarding our flight a few minutes early because another plane needed our gate . . . and just as we all foolishly got excited that we might actually leave on time, they announced that there was also a 120-minute delay and that we'd have to sit on the runway for that time. Kill. Me. Of course, Wilson and I ended up next to the mess of a woman who felt the need to loudly converse for 120-minutes straight with every person in the state of Texas about Hurricane Ike. I mean, I wish her nothing but the best, and I know it must be stressful to be away from home when that kind of stuff is going on, but it was SERIOUSLY over the top. And she SERIOUSLY could not have spoken any louder if she tried. Ugh. I had a headache before we even left the ground.

We eventually took off after the 120-minute delay (thank goodness--I was seriously worried we wouldn't get out of Newark at all). The flight itself was rather uneventful once we got going--I napped a bit, stared out the window a bit; the usual. We landed two hours later and found my mother, who was kind enough to pick us up and drive us 90-minutes back to Beverly Shores, IN. On the way, I started to notice I was feeling a little icky. Figuring it was probably just a little car-sickness mixed with some malaise from traveling, I ignored it. We got to my parents' house, collected ourselves for a few minutes, and then Wilson and I took off to go stay with a friend of mine in South Bend for the night. On the way to South Bend, I started feeling more and more uncomfortable. I couldn't really figure out what the problem was, but I just felt . . . gross. Like, I felt all weird and burpy and my stomach just felt kind of funny. I told Wilson I wasn't feeling so hot, and he mentioned that maybe I just needed some food, considering it was quickly approaching 10:00 p.m. and all I'd eaten that day was 2/3 of a chicken wrap.

We stopped at Jimmy Johns and grabbed ourselves a couple subs, then headed to my friend's apartment. I was so disappointed to discover that my Jimmy Johns just didn't taste good to me AT ALL. I hardly ate any of it, and stashed the rest in my friend's fridge, figuring it would make a delicious late-night drunken snack. My group of friends packed into a couple of cars shortly after we'd arrived, and immediately headed out for the bars. In particular, we headed to one of my favorite bars ever, a dueling piano bar called Rumrunners. I had been SO excited about hitting the joint up, but once I got there, I realized I just wanted to take my jeans off and lay down. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but I had on a rather tight pair of jeans, and the pressure of them on my ailing stomach was almost more than I could bear. I hardly made it through the night, imbibing just 3/4 of a bottle of beer. I just had no desire whatsoever to consume ANYTHING. FINALLY, after what seemed like forever, we all headed back to the apartment to sleep.

I curled up in the fetal position on my friend's futon, and was happy to find that I felt pretty sleepy. I passed right out . . . but only for an hour or two, after which I was WIDE AWAKE and feeling absolutely HORRIBLE. I thought about making myself throw-up, thinking it would help, but opted to wait it out. Well, it didn't take long before I realized I was going to get sick anyway. I was violently ill for the rest of the night, vomiting and dealing with some seriously violent stomach cramps. It SUCKED. I finally managed to fall back asleep, but of course, was awoken by the alarm about a half hour later. My friends generally head over to tailgate in two groups--the early group (who leaves for the parking lot by 7 a.m.), and the "sleep-in" group. I have ALWAYS, always, always been a member of the early group . . . but I knew it wasn't such a good idea, considering how sick I was. I allowed myself to fall back asleep and rest for a few more hours, while the early group headed out without me.

We finally headed over to the parking lot with the rest of the "sleep-in" group around 11 a.m., and I immediately found my parents' tailgate and lay down in their backseat. I just couldn't deal with the ridiculous stomach cramps I was experiencing and the crazy food all over the place. I "slept" (aka napped between violent stomach cramps) for the entire tailgating period, and never even made it over to the "kids'" tailgate to see my friends. I felt really badly, but I was sick as a dog . . . and I just didn't have much of a choice. As it crept closer to game time (3:30 p.m.), I started to question whether or not I'd be able to make it through the game. I felt a little bit better, and knew I was past the vomiting phase, but I was also going on 48 hours or so without any calories at all. I finally decided I had to give it a shot--I'd come all that way for the game; I sure as hell wasn't going to miss it!

I headed into the stadium with my parents and Wilson, and somehow I managed to make it through the entire game without dying. I forgot how exhausting a football game can be even if you're not suffering the after-effects of food-poisoning--goodness, am I out of college football shape! There were times when I literally didn't think I could hold my head up any longer . . . and did I mention it poured rain for the entire 2nd half? Still, I tried to cheer here and there when I'd get a little burst of energy. All in all, it was pretty pathetic, though . . . no trash-talking with Wilson, no Irish jigs, no screaming my head off while we were on D, nothing. In the end, we won pretty easily, which I was very happy about. I don't think I would have made it if we wouldn't have been kicking Michigan's hind end . . . but wow, did I ever have to suffer to earn that victory!

I'm finally feeling okay now . . . but I'm still kind of pissed about the fact that my job somehow found a way to ruin my fun football weekend with my friends. I'd just been looking forward to it for SO long, and I'm still crying over all the delicious tailgating food I missed out on! Of course, my solution for this is that I have to go back for ANOTHER game this fall to make up for it! Now I just have to convince everyone else to go back too! Oh well, we'll see :)

One thing that's still really not making me happy is that fact that I sent an email to our chick who's in charge of the catering/cafeteria stuff and let her know that I got food poisoning, and she sent me back an email saying, "We checked our production logs and all temperatures were recorded properly . . . We did not receive any other reports of illness. Sorry you had a bad experience with the food." Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of feel like they should look into this a little further than just checking their "production logs" and seeing what the temp was in the refrigerator thing that the sandwiches were in! Yuck. I've always been a little cautious about eating stuff from there, but it's safe to say I will NOT be eating anything from our cafeteria EVER AGAIN. Blech.

Alright, well I hope you're all doing well! I have a LOT of posts to catch up on, so I guess I'll find out soon enough. Hurry up, weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Patience, Please?

Do you ever get that feeling? You know . . . the one that's like, "holy sh*t! If I have to ride this damn stationary bike for .00001 of a second longer, I am going to gnaw my own legs off out of boredom." No? Well I'm not gonna lie--I've been getting that feeling quite often lately. Ugh, I know, I know. I should appreciate the fact that I'm able to ride that stationary bike at all--especially considering I wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING just a few weeks ago. But yeah, I guess I'm just an unappreciative little b*tch! Because I am SO not excited about the fact that I *get* to go ride the stationary bike right now.

Oh well, I'm going to go ahead and estimate that I have two weeks to go until I can run again. Now, keep in mind that this is coming out of MY mouth and not out of my ortho's mouth or my physical therapist's mouth--but I secretly tried running for like half a block the other night, and it only hurt a little bit. That's gotta mean something, right?

Oh, and by the way . . . 3 DAYS UNTIL I GET TO SEE MY COLLEGE FRIENDS! YAY :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Here Come the Irish (AKA the longest Notre Dame post EVER)!

Is anyone else as excited about college football season being underway as I am? I'm a bit hesitant to boldly profess my love for a certain team, considering our not-so-stellar performance on the field in recent history ('though I get the feeling that after suffering through over a decade of mediocrity, "recent history" is no longer an appropriate phrase). BUT, as I remind myself every football season, it's not just about football . . . it's about supporting and celebrating an exciting albeit popular facet of my Alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.

To borrow my father's carefully chosen words, I am "cautiously optimistic" about the 2008 season. More than anything, though, I am excited to once again be an active part of such a wonderful tradition. In case you're wondering (and to remind myself should my cautious optimism fade to pessimism at some point this autumn), the following are the reasons--some predictable, some more obscure--that I love and support my Alma mater no matter what:

1) The campus is beautiful. And by beautiful, I actually mean . . . breathtaking . . . and stunning . . . no, heavenly. Okay, I give up--words just can't do it justice. See for yourself:

Somehow (yes, even when buried under 4 feet of lake-effect snow), the campus always appears as pristine in person as all of the promotional photos/videos make it out to be. I can still remember one of the first times I stepped foot on the campus (around the age of three). Even at that young age, I knew I was in a very special place. I could sense the immense respect my father had for the campus and I wanted to emulate that respect. At the time, it translated into a refusal to step foot on even a single blade of grass--I would yell at my family if they tried to take a shortcut or dared to step off the sidewalk. I guess that's the thing that's so cool about the campus, though . . . people just seem to treat it with so much respect--cleaning up after themselves, throwing trash away, using sidewalks, recycling, etc. And I have to say, after 20+ years, I'm still awe-struck each time I drive in from Chicago and catch that first glimpse of the golden dome. Simply magical . . .

2) I have met some truly amazing people through the University of Notre Dame. While I was in school, I was constantly humbled by the brilliance, talent, generosity, ambition, and work ethic of those surrounding me. So often, I found myself thinking, "Wow. I am so lucky to know and get to learn from these people." Even today, my Notre Dame friends are the most remarkable human beings I know. Whenever we're together, I am overwhelmed by how incredible and accomplished they all are--not necessarily financially or professionally (although there's definitely some of that too), but as friends . . . and, more importantly, as people. They exhibit qualities that elude me even in a city of 8 million--things like loyalty, compassion, courage, sincerity and even good old-fashioned manners. I find that I myself am indeed a better person when in the presence of these great men and women. Who could possibly ask for more out of their friends?

3) As hokey as it sounds, there really is a "family" feel at Notre Dame. I think what it boils down to is the communal generosity and respect Domers have for one another. I was constantly taken out for off-campus meals as an undergrad as generous parents would visit and treat huge groups of us to "real food." My friends' parents would send in hometown specialties by the dozen (mmm, Cheryl's Cookies!) for everyone in my huge group of friends to enjoy. Heck, I would answer the phone in friends' rooms and chat with their parents even if their daughter happened to be out at the moment! As a result, our families are all intertwined, and I am extremely close to the parents and siblings of many of the people I associated with at Notre Dame.

Many professors at Notre Dame go the extra mile to make their students feel welcome at the school. Many of my professors, for example, would invite their classes into their homes on their own time--for home-cooked meals or even just a quick escape from campus life. I still keep in touch with several of these professors today, and am so grateful for the wonderful examples they set for me.

Beyond the obvious support from friends, their families and professors, though, were the countless acts of selflessness I witnessed during my time on campus. There was the kindness of the upperclassmen in my dorm and the way they acted like protective big sisters to us as freshmen; the way they would offer us rides to the grocery store, or lend us their favorite clothes, or take time out of their busy schedules to help us with our latest nightmare of a gen-chem assignment; there was the generosity of alumni host families in cities throughout the country, taking students into their homes so that we might serve their communities through summer service internships; there was the response in the dorms to tragic news of any type and the way everyone would immediately band together to support whoever was in need; there was the way random passersby always knew when you needed a smile; or the time I forgot my ID and the stranger in line behind me offered to buy my late night caffeine fix with his own "flex points." The beauty of it all is that being around such kind people really does rub off on you and make you want to act in the same way . . . it's kind of like that insurance commercial where all the people witness a good deed and then go do one of their own. Random tangent, I know . . . anyway, moving on!

3) The lakes at Notre Dame were made for running (see--one that relates to running)! There are two beautiful lakes on Notre Dame's campus (St. Mary's Lake and St. Joseph's Lake), and they are both surrounded by cushy soft dirt paths. Let me tell you, I had some of the best runs of my life around those lakes! Oh how I miss them now . . .

4) Notre Dame is set in the middle of crappy South Bend, IN . . . so it's like an oasis in the middle of an urban crap desert! I kind of love that about the school. I'm pretty sure the fact that the school is able to thrive in South Bend, IN is a testament to how special it really is.

5) People take pride in their dormitories. At Notre Dame, we don't have sororities or fraternities, but there is some crazy dorm rivalry going on. When we attend football pep rallies, we all wear our dorm shirts and scream dorm cheers at the top of our lungs. Personally, I was a BP (Breen-Phillips Hall) "babe." ("WHO are we? BP! WHAT are we? BABES!"). Ah, good times. I think the emphasis on dorm pride and the relationships we have with our dorm-mates do tend to keep a much larger percentage of students on campus all 4 years than at other universities. While I did NOT choose to stay on campus all four years, I can certainly understand why people do it . . . dorm life at Notre Dame is actually a lot of fun!

6) The number of t-shirts I ended up with. I swear, I do not even know HOW this happened, but one day I woke up and realized I had somehow accumulated approximately 70 ND t-shirts. I know I didn't pay for all of them, so I'm not quite sure where they came from--it's a mystery to this day--but hey, between ND shirts and race shirts, I'll never need to buy another t-shirt so long as I live!

7) The fact that my ND friends are so into football, they create multiple tailgate spreadsheets during the weeks leading up to the games. I know this one is football-related, but it just goes to show . . . even if the game ends up sucking, at least we enjoy the tailgating!

8) The fact that students come to Notre Dame from all over the country/world--it just makes for such an interesting dynamic. My freshman year roommate (who I'm still really close to) was from the island of Maui. I had SO much fun watching her and another close friend from Savannah, GA play in snow for the first time ever . . . it's just one of those super cool things that not everyone gets to experience.

9) Our band is incredible . . . truly incredible. And at ND, we don't look at the band kids as "band geeks" or whatever. There's again a tremendous amount of respect for the band members and the fact that they are just so . . . talented! Oh, and I should probably mention that our victory march is pretty much amazing.

10) The pasta stir-fry in the North Dining Hall. Okay, seriously . . . this was pretty much the best thing ever. You could pile various types of pasta, veggies, meats, etc. onto your plate, and then give it to the dude and he'd cook it all up for you with one of their yummy sauces. The line was always SO long, but it was SO good. Mmm, chicago pizza sauce!

11) The Grotto. In case you've never seen it, this is the Grotto:

It's one of the most comforting places on earth. Freshman year, my roomie and I would always go to the Grotto on Friday nights before football games and pray for the team. Okay, fine . . . we were specifically praying that our team would win. Maybe it wasn't the most well-guided of prayers, but it was a neat tradition. In addition to these Friday night rituals, I spent many a low moment at the Grotto. Somehow, I always walked away feeling far more balanced and at peace than I had been before.
12) The Hesburgh Library. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I used to hang out a lot on the 2nd floor of this magnificent building. I was lucky enough to be placed in a dorm right near the library, so it just happened to be really convenient to spend a lot of time "studying" in there. Okay, fine. So maybe I did have a crush on a football player who frequented the 2nd floor of the library, and maybe I didn't really get all that much "studying" done in there. But still, it's frickin' gorgeous, no?

13) I love that I am actually proud to call myself a Notre Dame fan. I've visited many other campuses for away games, and I'm not going to name any names, but opponents aren't always treated with respect on those campuses. I am happy to say that, in my 20+ years of attending football games, I've never seen a Notre Dame fan taunt or try to start trouble with an opposing team's fans (and I've certainly never seen full beer cans chucked at middle-aged women's heads . . . or full buckets of water dumped over innocent students' heads). That's not to say it doesn't happen, but a true fan would never ever risk harming the reputation of the University by acting in such a way. I know the second I use the "c"-word (class), I'm going to get screams of "elitism," but we really do expect it of our fans. People can call us "elitist" if it makes them feel better, but the truth of the matter is we're just extremely proud to be a part of the University of Notre Dame. We don't look down on those who are *not* fans; but we totally get a kick out of those who are. It doesn't matter if you attended the University or not . . . so long as you are a true fan, I think you're awesome (and will talk your ear off, if you're not careful!).

14) Waffles. Weird thing to list, no? But seriously, our dining halls have waffle-irons that create a cute little interlocking ND in the middle of your waffles. How cool is that? I'm so sad that I can't find a photo to illustrate this phenomenon!

15) The student section. Oh, how I miss the student section of the football stadium. Some of my fondest memories in life come from there. Our electrifying chants of "WE ARE . . . ND!" reverberate in my head from time to time, and I'm brought back to those moments of complete and utter unity amongst the student body. Win or lose, we were (and still are) proud to be ND.

16) Each day of my life, I can't help but wish I could go back to Notre Dame and relive my college experience all over again. It was simply . . . perfect. And that's saying a lot. I spent countless hours during my childhood dreaming about what it would be like once I finally got there. I worked my butt off and completely over-extended myself during my junior high and high school years with the hopes that maybe-somehow--I would find my way into that University. I cared so much about the football team, I cried when we lost. Getting into Notre Dame was literally EVERYTHING to me. Thus, it's only natural to think that I might be a little let down upon arriving there. But that simply wasn't the case. My experience at the University of Notre Dame was far more than I ever could have expected--more than I ever could have asked for--more than I could have possibly deserved. The school truly does shape its students and turn them into remarkable people. I am forever grateful to the University of Notre Dame for the person it has helped me to become.

I'll end this on a lighter note. This is what I will be doing one week from Saturday at the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game in South Bend (let's hope I learn how to make a prettier face before then!):


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Introducing . . . Gertie

Everyone . . . meet my first running skirt, Gertie. Not sure why I decided to name her, but it totally just came to me, so roll with it and pretend like it's normal. And no, that's not a "going out" top--it is indeed a running tank (made by Prana, who has some super cute stuff). If only I could run in Gertie and try her out . . . oh well, I'll be sure to write up a review when that day finally comes :)


I JUST GOT MY RUNNING SKIRT IN THE MAIL!! How tempted am I to change into it and wear it around the office for the rest of the day? It's a skirt--it counts as "business casual", right? HA. You better believe that if I don't convince myself of that at some point during the work day, I will be trying it on the second I get home tonight! Pics to follow . . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Travel Plans

So . . . I may or may not have picked out my next marathon (eek!!). Now, I say it that way NOT because I'm trying to be sly or sneaky, but rather because I'm just not ready to make a commitment yet. There are several factors that will play into this decision--obviously the recovery of my bum knee is a huge one--but beyond that, one of the most important factors is whether or not the boyf is game to tackle 26.2 miles as well (no pressure, Wilson!). I mean, this could really be a win-win situation for both of us . . . Wilson has been talking about the possibility of adding a marathon to his running resume; and if he were training with me, I wouldn't have the unfair advantage of forcing him do anything and everything for me all winter long--after all, he would be running as far as I was every weekend. Oh, and I've always wanted to try out that whole training partner thing. It seems like people really dig that, no?

I'll put it this way: the last time I trained for a winter/early spring marathon . . . um, well it sucked big time for a variety of reasons. Not only was I lacking a training partner, but I was usually one of just a handful of runners brave enough to be out running at all in the frigid cold (when you run your long runs around a 3.35-mile park loop, it's glaringly obvious when you're the only idiot out there!). One of the other aspects that kind of sucked was the fact that it was virtually impossible to run anything but long runs outside. Frigid weather aside, there just aren't enough daylight hours during the winter to allow me to get outside by myself. Now I know what you're thinking, "Oh man! Irish is afraid of the dark." And yes, that's true. (Ha, just kidding!) But you know, living in NYC and all . . . well, let's just say we have a lot of crazies, and that it's probably not the best idea to be out running in the dark all alone. So yeah.

Oh, wait. What's that? You're sick of my rambling and you just want to know what marathon I picked already? Oh, fine. It's this one:

EEK! Excited! I've heard great things about this race (despite the fact that it's no longer as fast as it used to be--but c'mon, who doesn't love "the challenge" of hills?) and I've always wanted to explore Austin. What's up, race vacation? The only downside is that I've had a secret desire to move to Austin for several years now. If I go through with this, I might never return! It's worth the risk, I suppose. Now I just have to work on healing the knee up and convincing Wilson to train with me. Minor details . . .