Thursday, August 29, 2013


This is NOT what I'm posting about today. I'm posting about that time when a bunch of stuff is starting to catch up with you, your to-do list is getting much longer than you have time for, and you're adding another thing to the list, and your friends texts you to say, "I'm ordering pizza tonight, bring wine and your kid if you want to hang out."

And you spend 3 hours talking about everything from work stress to how many bras a woman should legitimately have. And hairspray. And whether or not gifted children get into their first choice of colleges. And you come home, happily tipsy after splitting two bottles of wine, and think to yourself, "Yeah, there's a lot going on right now, but everything's going to be jussssst fine." and fall asleep with your spouse for just a few hours of quiet soft sleeping time.

Life IS good!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Overheard: Night Shift Reality

Me: I was thinking about waking up early to run tomorrow.

Him: I was thinking about coming home and getting drunk.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Just less than a year ago, I wrote a very bold letter. It went something like this:

Dear bipolar II,
You will not take my sense of humor away from me.
Check. And Mate.


And how did bipolar II respond? 

Dear Anna,
Yes. Sometimes I will. I will take your humor, and your passion, and your smile, and I will toss it in a blender, pour it over ice, and drink it with glee. I'm sorry, that's just kinda my thing. 

Your mental illness

My response to its response? 

Dear bipolar II,
Although I'm surprised we're still on speaking terms, I'll see your blender, and raise you a group of amazing friends, a truly heroic family, and an internal fortitude that does not fear your glee. And while we're sitting at this table together, I'd like to remind you that my humor and passion are limitless and come from an infinitely renewable source. Drink your fill, there's more where it came from. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wait... 5 HOURS of Yoga??

Yes. 5 hours a week. That's about 6 days of yoga for 30-45 minutes a day. Oddly, getting the yoga started has been a real challenge. The runner inside me really wants to find a way to 'count' or 'add up' all the yoga time. But in reality, about 25% of the time I'm doing yoga, I'm doing this....
The challenging part is to shut my brain off. It keeps telling me, "This is not burning calories. This is relaxing. You could do this in bed with covers. This is worthless laying, not meaningful progress." Which is when the Mindfulness comes into play. The only way to turn off my brain is to let it focus on what's immediately going on. The push of the carpet into my back, the feeling of the air in my nose, how the fabric of my shirt moves every time I inhale.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catching Up

It took me a while to realize that this was going on. But I'm here now! A virtual runner friend named Ali tagged everyone she knows in a post on her blog, and that includes me. So here goes:

1. What is your ideal weekend?

I'm such a home-body. It would be sleeping in, eating homemade breakfasts and 'bumming' around with my husband and kid. But not housework. Just going to the park, the pool, a movie, snuggling in bed in the morning... that kind of thing. 

2. When you were in school, what was your favorite subject?

Choir. Seriously?! They give you credit for standing around singing songs? No tests. No homework, and it can be taken for honors credit. Sign me up baby. 

3. Name one teacher who you remember - for something positive - and tell me why you remember them.

Mr. Deignan, the theater construction teacher, told me I should NOT go into theater design and should find a real job. I got so mad at him I majored in theater in college and became an award-winning lighting designer (for a few years before finding another "real" job). 

4. What was your first race?

My first official bib-wearing race was the 2011 Nashville Rock n Roll full Marathon. Insane. 

5. What is your favorite takeout food?

Pad Thai. It's a pre-race carb loading tradition for me. 

6. What's the earliest you've ever gotten up to go for a run?

Does my 2am Ragnar run count? Other than that, races have me up between 4 and 5am.

7. What's the latest you've ever headed out for a run?

I think I did one at 11pm one night to get one mile done in the middle of a run streak.

8. What is something you've accomplished that you're proud of?

Having the courage to change careers when I realized that what I was doing wasn't healthy for me. Walking away from a very prestigious and profitable job to spend days in quiet rooms healing souls was incredibly gutsy. And surprisingly rewarding.

9. Who is your biggest cheerleader/motivator/supporter?

My husband!! And Melanie.

10. If you could go back in time and change one event from your life, what would you choose, and why?

I'm paranoid about wanting to change my past, because I'm always afraid it would mess up the absolutely amazing life I have right now. Like, if I had gotten in that limo with Michael Buble, or had not gotten into a cab with that stranger in New York (Mom, you don't want to know), the wacky chain of events that brought me to Stephan, massage, Sawyer, and Montana might never have worked itself out. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Running + Yoga = Balance

Here's why: They are almost total opposites. In running, you measure distances, reach goals, and push yourself harder. In yoga there is no measuring. The only thing you can really measure is the amount of minutes you were active. But 20 minutes of...

And 20 minutes of... 

count as the same thing. The goals you achieve in yoga come from your soul. They are the peace and stillness you can find in a difficult physical posture, or the complete integration at the end of the practice. These are things no one else can see. There is no finish line to snap, no age group to place in. Instead of pushing yourself, in yoga, you wait for your body to blossom into the pose you are trying to achieve. This might be the realization of your hamstrings to let your heels touch the floor like this...

I've recently added a LOT of yoga to my weekly routine (like, 5 hours a week) and I'm finding that it's mentally making me better at running. I feel like I'm undoing the physical and mental "damage" that running has the potential to do. My legs feel better and I'm breathing better than I have ever in my life. 

My recommendation: try yoga. I highly recommend YogaZone. You can watch episodes for free on Hulu and the instructors are very "human" human beings. No pretzels!! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Overheard: Text Messages

**Warning: This post contains language not suitable for sensitive people. But it's not my fault.**

I was laughing my butt off at this text exchange between myself and a friend. I thought you might enjoy it. It started because I said I was glad I had a boy child, since the total cost of his extracurricular activities would be less than a girl's.

HRHPAD: If this makes you feel better -- I heard from a mom whose son plays baseball. $700 for the season. Plus gear. You're screwed too.

Me: Hockey.

HRHPAD: Bwahahaha. That's the most expensive sport out there. Plus -- he's almost four. Why haven't you started lessons yet??!!?!?

Me: I'm home-schooling him in hockey.

HRHPAD: Hmmmmmm.... I thought you didn't want the other kids to mock him.

Me: Have you met us? Children mocking our son is something we're cultivating to build character.

HRHPAD: I'm calling DCFS. I will take him and the other boys we know and build myself a snarky little army..... it will be amazing......

Me: You will be exhausted after 6 hours with the bots... I mean boys.

HRHPAD: I'm outsourcing their care to my 10-year-old daughter.

Me: "Yes, Ms. Hannigan."

HRHPAD: Is that supposed to be insulting?????

Me: I dunno. Is your bathtub full of gin right now?


Me: Can I post this to my blog later a la The Blogess?

HRHPAD: Yes. But my fake name shall be Her Royal Highness Princess Ariadne of Douchtopia

Me: K. But then I'll have to tell the Douche Dog Story.


The Douche Dog Story
Once upon a time, an elder princess looked up from her Candy Crushing duties in the kitchen to see her loyal canine companion awaiting entrance into her castle via the scullery door. Without thinking, the princess allowed the pet inside, only to immediately be accosted by the strong odor of skunk.

She bathed the dog in the shower, then left it in the garage. Woe to her, it was raining that night, and the trusty steed was petrified of rain. The poor creature was tied to the princess's night stand and spent the rest of the evening on the royal carpet, in the royal bed chamber.

When the princess was awoken by the dawn, she resumed cleaning the castle. At Ye Royal PetSmart, the High Alchemist divulged her secret formula for expelling the evil stench. The Princess looked at the Alchemist askew, but proceeded to the Witches' Coven to procure the brew. Most items on the list were common: baking soda, vinegar.... but then, amongst the ingredients, was a new and different type of deodorizer. It was feminine douche. This most sacred ingredient was available in bulk packs of four, at a discount. And so it was that the princess bargained heartily for the Witches' entire stock of douche.

Three turns of the hour glass later, the castle was shimmeringly clean, resplendent in the lemony fresh scent of the most sacred of the Witches' brew. Various dignitaries arrived that morning to reassure the princess that there was no trace of the evil odor. Alas, the once mighty princess had been bewitched by the skunk's potion, and was forever doomed to smell his odor whilst inside her castle. To this day you can hear the princess asking her friends, family, and ghosts inside her own mind, "Does it smell like skunk in here to you?"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"... does not know she will soon face an Intervention."

Forgive me, asphalt, for I have sinned. It has been 2 months- to the day- since my last run.

*I couldn't sleep at 5am this morning.
*I was researching marathon training plans for an amazing runner I'm mentoring through the Chicago Marathon.
*There are 16 weeks - to the day - before the Turkey Trot 1/2 Marathon I've run the last two years.
*I looked pretty pregnant in a summer dress I wore to dinner last night.
*I am NOT pregnant!!

So I opened that drawer in my dresser that holds all the running gear. And, like an addict gorging myself on my drug of choice, I put on my best stuff: DNation shirt, calf sleeves, $20 socks, RoadID, $50 bra.

The run was amazing. I mean, my pace sucked, and I walked 2/3 of it. But I changed up my form completely to focus on breathing completely into my toes, and pointing my shoulders to the trees instead of the sidewalk. I thought about all the things I've been learning through yoga over the last 2 weeks to bring energy into my body instead of burn it off. Inhale Qi, Exhale the Past. Create heat. I sweat.

And snuck back into the house, and back into bed, and slept for 2 more hours. It was delicious.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


And I found you with a bottle of wine 
Your head in the curtains 
And heart like the fourth of July

I'm not generally a fan of pop music. But I was pondering the meaning of life when this one began playing on the radio and it struck me as related to what I was thinking about. I was thinking that 'endure' is not just a synonym for 'tolerate'. Nor is 'endurance' replaceable by 'patience'. To endure something you do more than tolerate it. You live inside it for as long as it lasts. You don't just patiently, passively let it wash over you. You are actively participating when you are enduring. 

My head is on fire 
But my legs are fine 
Cause after all they are mine

As runners, we endure a lot of long runs, interval sessions, short, hot, fast, freezing, wet, scorching, hilly, painful runs. 

As women we endure... well... lots of stuff. And people. 

If you're gifted with mental illness (or life) you get to endure mood changes, ups, down, swings, pits of despair, R.O.U.S's (anyone? Funny? No? Huh.)...

May your past be the sound 
Of your feet upon the ground 

But no matter what it is, I think the best among us endure. I think it's what makes us proud to be runners. We aren't idly sitting down waiting for another day to pass us by. We're taking up with it, linking arms with whatever we think sucks and is hard, and walking one step at a time, together, with whatever the hardest thing we can think of is. 

Like Ali reminded me a few weeks ago: Relentless. Forward. Progress.
Even if you're just waiting out a 9 hour migraine.