What's Next? You May Be Surprised (or maybe not)!

I'm sitting here willing my impending cold to just go away. My throat hurts, my body aches, and I just want to take a nap. 

This is my third illness in about two months. I'd blame the start of school and all the germs that come with it—and I am sure that is partly at fault—but I think my immune system is on the fritz. As most of you know, there's been some stress in our family of late—some good, some bad. Stress in itself can compromise the immune system, and add to that the need for constant comfort food, I haven't been nourishing my body the way I should. At the end of a hard day, all I want is a pint of Ben & Jerry's while I catch up on Outlander. 

Jamie "Hall Pass" Fraser

Jamie "Hall Pass" Fraser

Training has been relegated to the back burner as I try to focus on more "important" stuff, like my increasing copywriting workload, family demands, and my marriage (not in order of priority!). Workouts have been missed and my fitness has taken a hit, but all in the hopes of re-building the strong family foundation I need to get me to my next Big Goal.... 

But before I get to that, a story:

The day I finished Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene in June, Bill presented me with a gift: his blessing for me to train for a full Ironman. I was shocked, excited, and terrified all at once. I'd just endured almost 6 hours of racing—was I ready to more than double that? What about the hundreds of hours of training leading up to it?

And even if I could handle the intense training load, could our marriage? After all, we'd just been through a really rocky time. Could we really stay focused on keeping our relationship healthy while I put in 15-20 hours of training each week? Divorce by Ironman is not just a myth—training takes its toll on families, sometimes even breaking them up. I am, admittedly, often selfish, but even I am not willing to risk my family for a one-day athletic event.

Despite the risks, Bill convinced me that he would support me, as long as we kept making progress in our marriage throughout the training period. I could saddle him with chores and childcare, but there could be no backsliding or neglect of our marriage. 

So, I'm taking the leap.

Barring any unforeseen events, on July 29, 2018, I will be diving into Alta Lake in Whistler, BC, for Ironman Canada.

I am hoping you, my friends and family, will support me on this journey. It is the ultimate selfish pursuit, and I expect some of you non-triathletes may be trying your best to withhold judgment, so maybe this will help:

The kids with pro triathlete Andy Potts after their fun run.

When I told my kids I was hoping to do an Ironman, they jumped up and down and said "YES, you can do it!" I told them this meant I might not be able to spend as much time with them; their enthusiasm didn't waver. Yes, I realize that they may be telling a different story 6 months from now as I leave for yet another ride or run, but if my kids come away from this experience realizing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, I will have accomplished far more than I set out to do.

However, if at any time the training becomes too much for my family to bear, I will defer my entry (an option if I register soon). Ironman will be there for years to come; if I lose sight of what's most important, my family will not. 

Until my training begins in earnest in a few months, I will be enjoying all winter in Bend has to offer. Another season of skiing as much as possible, spending time with family, and generally not being too concerned with TSS, FTP, and MPH (not to worry, Coach: I won't completely abandon my fave acronyms).

Thanks for everyone's support, and stay tuned for more updates!

Don't Call it a Comeback

Ugh. 2017 (and late 2016) has been pretty sucky on many levels, for many people.  Today I'm wallowing in the total suckage that has sucked my fitness from Pretty-Solid-for-My-Age to Basically-A-Couch-Potato.  I think I've been less motivated to write for the blog because there's not a lot of fun stuff to blog about. Unfortunately, while there's a comeback lurking somewhere around a corner, you loyal readers might forget who I am if I wait for the comeback before writing again. Let's start at the beginning of the suckage.

August 2016: Officially bailed on my plans to do the McKenzie Trail Ultra I had registered for and lotteried into.  Training was taking way too much time away from family on the weekends, and I wanted to have some fun with the rest of my summer!  Proceeded to slack off even from my normal 20-ish miles per week, took two separate week-long trips, and generally enjoyed myself.

September 2016: Had a blast doing the Gorgeous Relay, which ended up being a 23-mile day for me (over the course of four relay legs).  It was fun but kicked my ass, and I definitely spiked my mileage too aggressively in the two weeks leading up to it.

October 2016: My left foot hurt every time I ran, which was only 3 or 4 times before realizing something was definitely wrong.  Visited a clinic on a lunch break, and they said not to run for a couple of weeks and it would probably go away.

November 2016: It didn't go away.  After two more excruciating weeks of hobbling around, an x-ray showed a stress fracture in the third metatarsal in my left foot.  Classic overuse/running injury, likely caused by that super-fun 23-mile day in September.  Got to give all my left shoes a break and rock a walking boot for 6-8 weeks.

The view under my desk.  I also had to give up my standing desk for 2 months, which was torture.  Sitting all day hurts!

The view under my desk.  I also had to give up my standing desk for 2 months, which was torture.  Sitting all day hurts!

December 2016: Started physical therapy, which was also a bit of non-physical therapy, given that my poor PT had to put up with my nagging about when I could start running, alternating with my worrying aloud that I had a little pain and maybe we were pushing too hard and oh my god what if I never run again?!

January - February 2017: Kept up the physical therapy while performing in a show and digging out from under mountains of snow, and I even got to run on the Alter-G, this amazing machine that encapsulates your lower half into a bubble of air that somehow allows you to run with just a percentage of your body weight.  We started at 70% and worked our way up to 95%.  I was ready to run again!

March 2017: I was all ready to do my first run on the roads (10 minutes!) when I came down with strep throat. Like a 10-year-old.  So I waited. A week of antibiotics later, and I headed out for a .75 mile slow run around the neighborhood.  It felt great!  Except that an hour later, my back had completely seized up--turns out that being in a walking boot for 2 months messes with your alignment--and I was out of commission for several more days.  I waited AGAIN. The triumphant return to running would have to wait until the last week of March, when I would finally have the time and the health to try again. I even mapped out an optimistic little training plan to make sure I would be ready for the annual Mt. St. Helens climb on Mother's Day weekend.


The little cold I developed over the weekend turned into pneumonia.  PNEUMONIA, people.  I'm really an optimist most of the time but JEEZ. Can a lady get a break? I'm really getting tired of the couch potato life.

Yes, that's a hot toddy.  It's therapeutic!  I need something to take the edge off while I daydream about trail running and read horror stories of runners who tried to do marathons with pneumonia.

Yes, that's a hot toddy.  It's therapeutic!  I need something to take the edge off while I daydream about trail running and read horror stories of runners who tried to do marathons with pneumonia.

So that's what's going on with me.  The pneumonia diagnosis came through just two days ago.  The comeback has to wait until I'm done with this round of antibiotics and I can breathe deeply without hacking up a lung.  In the meantime, I'm going to start blogging some recipes I've managed to cook up in the last few months, and I'm keeping fingers crossed that I'll still be able to climb St. Helens in May.  

I promise I'll try to spend less time perusing race websites and dreaming about what might have been.  And maybe I'll have a race report for you sometime later this year.


PS: I can't end this post with all that negativity, so here's a list of great things that have happened over the last few months:

  • My adorable kids turned 4 and 1 and we had wonderful holidays.
  • My wife started a volunteer gig teaching coding to women and got a much-deserved promotion at work.
  • I got to do a show I've wanted to do for decades, with an amazing cast of awesome people.
  • I am successfully getting my Spanish back in shape as I prepare to take on some pro bono immigration cases. 
  • I finally learned how to drive in the snow.
  • I continue to love my day job.

Apparently I'm still an optimist, albeit a slower and lazier one.





Easing in with an Easy Recipe (and an Injury Update)

I've been away for a while!  As it turns out, having a stress fracture--and therefore not being allowed to run for months--did not result in me spending all that extra free time writing for the blog.  Instead, I've worked a bunch, enjoyed a busy holiday with the family, and performed in a musical (which is something I do sometimes!).  My stupid metatarsal is taking its sweet time getting back to normal. I blame the kids, of course (shhh, don't tell them).  Not being able to truly stay off my feet has taken its toll, even with the walking boot that I was rocking for 2 months.

As spring approaches and I ease my way back into running, I'm also easing/barreling my way back into the wellness-focused life I'd been living.  Yes, I know it's "wellness-focused" to take necessary time off for physical therapy, but in the moment it just feels like one big couch-bound Netflix marathon.  In the vein of easing, I tried an amazingly easy recipe yesterday that turned out to be AMAZING.

This beautiful image--not mine--clicks through to the source site--OhMyVeggies.com

This beautiful image--not mine--clicks through to the source site--OhMyVeggies.com

As it turns out, I made a couple of tweaks to the original recipe, but they were minor:

  • I pureed 2 cups of canned corn kernels into the soup, and added 2 cups of frozen corn kernels at the end for texture.
  • I slow cooked on low (in my new Instant Pot!) for 10 hours, but the potatoes were still not tender enough for my immersion blender, so I pressure cooked the soup for 15 minutes before pureeing,  If you're using a regular slow cooker, just give it more time or cook it on high instead.
  • The only toppings I needed were some toasted and crushed corn tortillas and a ridiculous amount of avocado, but Wife stirred a load of sour cream into hers and loved it.
  • Bonus: turns out toddlers love this soup.

Next up:

  • I'm hoping to be cleared to try running on the ground soon.  I've only run in the Alter-G treadmill (which is this amazing anti-gravity thing), and I'm starting to work out on an elliptical and stair climber, but I'm itching to get back on the trails.
  • As my show closes and I have more time for cooking actual meals--much to my family's delight--I'll be messing around with (and sharing) more recipes!
  • I'll be sharing my 2017 race plan as soon as I have more info on my foot.  2017 is supposed to be Year of the Triathlon!

Life Update 3: Career and Other Stuff

Welp, I finally made the leap from my cushy, cliff-top perch that was part-time employment, into the roiling, ebbing, and flowing sea of freelance writing work. (In related news, I heart flowery language.)

My new logo!

My new logo!

Last week I gave my notice to XPO Logistics that I would be leaving in mid-February for greener yet more uncertain pastures. My manager of just a few months took it well, congratulating me and asking for feedback on what could make XPO a better place to work.

Honestly, there wasn't much that XPO could have done to make me stay. Sure, its culture has gone downhill a bit since being acquired (Con-way was bought by XPO in 2015). But I work from home, so I have been largely unaffected by that. They have also made some policy changes that I am not thrilled with, but again, those alone didn't make me leave.

The real reasons I left are:

  • Boredom -- I needed a change from the corporate life of status reports and Sharepoint sites.
  • Lack of flexibility -- I would like to be able to take a couple hours off occasionally to take my kids to the doctor or volunteer at school.
  • Passion -- This is the main reason I left. I have always loved to write, and I am discovering that everyone needs a writer, whether it be for marketing copy or long-form articles. Businesses are willing to pay for good writing. Passion meets income: voila!

That said, my decision to leave was not an easy one. I truly loved working with the folks on my team. They are all so talented and professional, and most important, fun. Since I started working from Con-way in 2006, I have made some lifelong friendships. I will definitely miss the people.

So, what's on tap for me after I leave? I will start working for Les Schwab as a part-time, flexible contract instructional designer. I have been working for them for months, evenings and weekends, and have really enjoyed it. The team has been so welcoming, and I am learning a TON about tires. Bonus!

I will also be writing marketing copy for a couple software companies based in Portland and San Francisco. These jobs will be hit-or-miss, but will be more writing-focused, which is what I am looking forward to.

I am always open to more writing opportunities, so if you have any leads, please send them my way!

In the meantime, my new business website is up at www.cascadecopy.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @Meg_CascadeCopy