Stunted Adults

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I Ran A Marathon, And I Liked It

After five months of training, a namaste-killing explosion, and a runaway gallbladder, the time had finally come.

It was marathon day.

I woke up at the inhumane hour of 4:15 am, laced up my running shoes, and headed out the door without truly comprehending what was happening.

About an hour later, I was standing with my friends at the start line when my stomach dropped to my feet.  The caffeine  finally kicked in, I woke up, and I realized that we were about to run a marathon.

WHAT?!

I immediately recognized that this was a bad decision.  I was filled with terror.

But, I was trapped in a crowd with no clear way to flee.  And, you all know that there is nothing that I find more attractive than a bad decision.

So, this was totally happening.

The starting gun went off.

We were on the move in the midst of a pulsing crowd.

And, just like that, my terror was replaced with unbridled excitement.  I was running a marathon!! I WAS RUNNING A MARATHON!  I WAS REALLY DOING IT!

MARATHON!! YAY!!!

After a few minutes of that nonsense, I remembered that I had a long morning ahead of me and tamed my over-achieving adrenaline.  I took a couple of deep breaths, locked in my pace, and put my faith in my training.

It was all good.

But then at mile four it wasn’t all good.  The course was still very congested with 25,000 runners, I had zoned out, and I had lost my friends in the crowd.  I was alone!  Adrift in the sea of sweaty masses!   Never to be found again!

And I didn’t even have a volleyball to keep me company.

Things were not going according to plan.

But, my surprise solo time turned out to be just what I needed.  I reflected on how much I had changed for the better since I started training in September, I reveled in how proud of myself I was for not giving up on this insane idea to run a marathon, and I rocked out to my music.  With each passing mile, I felt stronger and more relaxed.

Watch out world — I am carefree and running a marathon!

It was magical.

But then at mile 10 everything fell apart.  I was bored and hungry.  My shoulders hunched as I despaired over the fact that I wasn’t even half way done.  The sun had risen and was beating down upon me with a tropical fury that had no place in the era of the Polar Vortex.

It was decidedly not magical.

Screw Gatorade and water, where is the pastry aid station?

My mind was invaded by all of the advice that the assorted marathon vets in my life had dropped on me.  Snippets of articles that I had read about proper pace, hydration, and nutrition bombarded my brain.  Was I doing it right?  Was I following the rules?  What if I was making mistakes?

But then I realized something.

Marathons are a lot like life.

The only way to get through them is to take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and just keep on keepin’ on the best way that you know how.

True that, Matthew, true that.

So, I did just that.

I relaxed.  I banished all pastry-related thoughts from my mind.  And, I went back to running how I damn well felt like running.  And, as usually happens, after I shut down the pity party and quieted my thoughts about what I “should” be doing, things got better.  By mile 12, I felt my inner-Phoebe creeping back in.

I easily cruised to the halfway point, which was where a few awesome friends were waiting to cheer me on and where Country Boy was waiting to join me for the back half of the race.

Country Boy was more than a smidge skeptical of my plan to run a marathon less than a month after I lost an organ via abdominal surgery, so he told me that, since he was pre-med for one entire year in college, he was basically a doctor and was going to run with me to keep an eye on all things medical.

Country Boy also, and I suspect primarily, ran with me because he is amazing and knows how to be supportive of his I-can-do-it-all-on-my-own wife in just the right way.

With Country Boy by my side, the miles ticked away.

We laughed, we talked about utter nonsense, we moved together in comfortable silence, and he knew exactly how to motivate me:

Hang on Leo! I’m coming!

A few miles later, my friends showed up, and they showed up hard.

As the crowd thinned out, I finally spotted my friends who I had started the marathon with and was able to catch up to them.  Together, we totally had this thing.

A marathon? Bitch, please, I’ve got this on lock.

At mile 16, two of my college friends were waiting for me with a sign to remind me that, at the end of the marathon, there would be all of the beer.  Just for me.  All of the beer!

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Much as when we were in college, that is all the motivation that I need to do anything.

A few miles later, boredom and exhaustion were poised to make another assault on me.

But then, in the distance, I spied a very large panda clinging to a tree.  We’re talking 6’4″ large.  Next to Andre the Giant Panda was a giraffe and a banana.  They were also human-sized.

I assumed I was just experiencing some light hallucination.  That seemed like something that could happen.

But then my eyes popped open.  Those were people in costumes!  And you know what kind of people would do that?

People who I would be friends with.

I picked up the pace and, sure enough, that was my panda, my giraffe, and my banana!  Alongside a whole crew of other smiling familiar faces.  I couldn’t believe it!  I mean, I could because this is totally normal behavior for the type of people with whom I associate, but I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening so early in the morning!  And for me!

The Beatles were right, I do get by with a little help from my friends.

Who knew it was possible to laugh hysterically during miles 18 through 20 of a marathon?

By the time I got my case of the giggles under control, I realized that I had crossed the 20 mile mark.  I had never run further than 19 miles before in my entire life.

Every step I took was a new record!

It was incredible.

And then it started to rain.  And not in an “oh, isn’t this refreshing” kind of way.  Oh no.  It was raining in a soaking, horizontal, sunscreen running in your eyes kind of way.  I was soaking wet, cold, and blind.

Just when I was ready to call a rain delay, I heard some familiar voices.  My college friends were back!  They were standing under a tree in that crazy monsoon to cheer me on!  Again!

Upon hearing their voices, I wiped the sunscreen out of my eyes, regained the power of sight, and kicked it up a gear.  It was time to keep on livin.  If they could show up in the rain for me, then I sure as hell could show up at the finish line for them.

This rain ain’t no thing.

I was back on the upside of the roller coaster that was my marathon experience.

I had a huge smile on my face, I was chatting Country Boy’s ear off, and the miles were flying by once more.

Running

23 miles down, the sun was back, and I was straight chillin’

But, what goes up must come down, especially in marathons.

Around mile 24, I hit another wall and I hit it hard.  I knew, logically, that I only had 2.2 miles to go.  I was totally there.  I was going to cross the line in 20 minutes or less.  No big thing.

But it was totally a big thing.

I managed to make it past mile 25, but I felt defeated.  My running friends had slowed down to drink water, and I regretted not joining them.  Every step felt like it was sure to be my last.

But then, out of nowhere, two more of my friends popped out onto the course.  I was so excited to see them that I started jumping around in the middle of the street, much to the extreme displeasure of every other runner.

Not only did my friends surprise me with their appearance, but they also started running with me.  It was so unexpected, so kind, and so needed.  We smiled, we laughed, we took selfies.  The other runners continued to not be amused, but I was having a great time.

Yes, those are my friends photobombing your serious marathon experience. Sorry!

After we climbed the last bridge of the marathon, my friends and Country Boy peeled off the course.  It was time for me to finish what I started.

I turned the corner and, much to my surprise, there was the finish line.  It was right there.  RIGHT THERE.  A huge smile broke across my face, and I sprinted across it.

tumblr_mhocu7tv1e1qh9nffo1_500

F*ck yeah I just crushed a marathon!

The feeling when I crossed that line was incredible.  I didn’t feel tired (even though I was) and I didn’t feel destroyed (even though my muscles were).  Instead, I felt energized, I felt strong, I felt proud, and I felt incredibly loved by my friends, my family, and, most importantly, myself.

I was unshakably happy.

I dedicated five months of my life to running.  A lot.  Even when it was inconvenient.  Even when it was hard.  Even when everyone in my life hinted that I should give up.

But I didn’t give up.

Instead, I became mentally and physically stronger than I ever thought was possible.  Not only did I run a marathon, I did it while smiling, laughing, and having the time of my life.  To me, that, and not my finish time, was the true victory.

I found my happy place in the simplicity of just putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where it took me.

You should try it.


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Just Call Me Jay-Z

Two weeks ago, my gallbladder got its drama on, up and left me in a very public fashion, and became an Internet sensation.  Thanks to the antics of the organ posthumously known as Kallbladder Kardashian, I was left with three stab wounds in my abdomen, a digestive system held together by duct tape and magic, and a world of pain.

During those first few days, I felt as if my life as I knew it was over.

I was exhausted.  I had no motivation.  And, it seemed impossible that I would ever be able to replicate the greatness that was my pre-surgery exercise and wine fueled lifestyle.

It was time for me to retire from the game.  It was time for me move on to running a record label, buying a sports team, and spending my days with Beyoncé.

I get you H-to-the-izzO V-to-the-izzA.  I GET YOU.

I get you 2003 H-to-the-izzO V-to-the-izzA. I GET YOU.

I was totally on board with the Jay-Z post-Black Album retirement plan.

But, then I realized that I knew nothing about the music industry and I didn’t have enough money to buy an NBA team. And, Beyoncé didn’t return my phone calls.

I know that you don't like the telephone, but it's me Bey.  IT'S ME!

I know that you don’t like the telephone, but it’s me Bey. IT’S ME!

My surgeon, however, did return my calls.  And, late yesterday afternoon, I met with him to assess how I was healing after surgery.

After he gave me a quick once-over and asked a few questions, I got down to brass tacks.

I asked with trepidation, “So, can I go back to normal?”

He responded, “Well, that depends on what normal is.”

I took a deep breath, and just let all of my weird fly.  If I was going to be forced into retirement, I was at least going to go down in flames.

I explained “Normal for me would involve running a marathon in less than 3 weeks, consuming wine in bottle serving sizes, eating a shocking amount of dessert, and having impromptu dance parties.  Can I go back to doing all of those things, preferably tonight?”

The surgeon stared at me in contemplative shock for several moments.  He took an audible deep breath.  Then he said “I don’t know how you pulled this off, but you appear to already be completely healed.  So, yes, you can do all of those things.”

WHAT?!  He actually said yes?!  I didn’t have to retire?!

I was not prepared for that answer.

Not knowing how to quit when I’m ahead, I asked “Are you sure? I really don’t have to retire?”

The surgeon paused, shrugged, and then responded, “Listen, I gather that you are the kind of woman who just does whatever she wants.  If I tell you no, you will just look for loopholes and badger me into saying yes.  And it’s late and I’m tired.  And, after a few weeks, you’re in better shape than most people are months after this surgery. So, you know what?  You win.  Do whatever you want.  We both know that you will anyway.”

Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth twice, I said thank you, shook his hand, and got the hell out of his office before he changed his mind.

Like Stannis Baratheon, I will take my victories any way that I can get them.

Like Stannis Baratheon, I will take my victories any way that I can get them.

And then things took a turn for the amazing.

When I got home, I immediately threw on my running shoes, cranked up my favorite work-out playlist, and took off on a five-mile run at my pre-surgery training pace.  Why do things in moderation when you can be excessive?

Hello old friends.

Hello old friends.

Despite initially appearing to be a smidge over-ambitious, last night’s run was one of the best runs that I’ve had in a long time.  I literally felt like I was flying.  I was back and ready to make the marathon my bitch.

Apparently, it’s easier to run with stab wounds than with a failing organ.  Good to know.

I returned home from my run to an invitation from my neighbor to come over for dinner since he had made too much food for himself.  Given me new-found freedom from my post-surgery diet of water, jello, and plain bagels, I grabbed Country Boy and a bottle of wine and sprinted across the street.  Within a few hours, I had defeated a giant plate of BBQ, the bottle of wine, and at least half a package of soft batch chocolate chip cookies.  You know, just a light mid-week evening meal.

Hello other old friend.

Hello other old friend.

After that festival of gluttony, I felt absolutely fine.  Actually better than fine, because, well, wine and cookies.

Country Boy and I eventually made the long walk back across the street to our house.  I had planned to get going while the going was good and go straight to bed.

But then I heard the sweet, sweet sounds of a young Michael Jackson coming from the stereo that I had accidentally left on when we went to dinner.

And then I realized that he was singing my jam:

So, obviously I had to dance.  And I danced hard.  I spun.  I got low.  I slid across the floor.  I might have even twerked a bit.

When the song finished, I took stock of myself.

I was a bit sweaty, but, otherwise, I felt fan-f*cking-tastic.

I had run, I had pounded wine, I had nearly overdosed on cookies, and I had danced like a boss.

My retirement was officially over.

Just call me Jay-Z, because I’m back in the game and better than ever.

31-Roc-Boyz


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Even Lindsay Lohan Is Better Than Me (Otherwise Known As Adventures in Organ Removal)

I’ve had many a low point in my life, but 2014 may have just kicked off with the lowest yet.

On January 2, 2014, I learned that Lindsay Lohan is better than I am.

That’s right.

I can’t even bring myself up to Lindsay’s level of competence.

Better than me.  Sad but true.

Better than me. Sad but true.

Wow.

I had no idea things had gotten so bad.

It all began the prior Sunday.  As I’ve let slip, I’m training for a marathon.  After a week of holiday gluttony (champagne, cheese, cake, lather, rinse, repeat), I had to pay the piper and slog through a 15 mile run.  I was unusually thirsty during that run, but I just chalked it up to too much boozing.

All your fault.

All your fault.

I guzzled liters of water and Gatorade, but I just could not quench my thirst.  Over the next few days I continued to deteriorate.  No matter how much water and how relatively little champagne I drank, I just could not get hydrated. Although I’m generally a ravenous eater, I had to force myself to eat a single piece of pizza for dinner. Despite treating myself to naps as soon as I got home from work, I was constantly fatigued.

It was the hangover that would not die.

I was suffering from the Betty White of hangovers.  No matter how old it got, it still had a shocking amount of spunk and stamina.

I was suffering from the Betty White of hangovers. No matter how old it got, it still had a shocking amount of spunk and stamina.

On the evening of New Year’s Day — nearly 24 hours since I had last hit the sauce — I was swept with a wave of nausea.  This struck me as odd, because, while my body has often rebelled against my questionable judgment, nausea has never been its weapon of choice.

As with most things in life, I decided that the best way to deal with this new development was to sleep it off.

The next morning, I shot out of bed at 7 am and knew that something was wrong.  I immediately threw on jeans, grabbed my book, told a still-sleeping Country Boy that I was going to the emergency room, and ran out the door.

As I sat down in my car, I realized that I was FINALLY having my very own Stars — They’re Just Like US! moment.

Stars -- They're Just Like ME!

Stars — They’re Just Like ME!

It was obvious!

I was clearly suffering from dehydration and/or exhaustion.  Granted I had previously thought that “dehydration” and “exhaustion” were just code words for “light cocaine addiction,” but I now realized that they were actually legit medical conditions and that I had them.  Lindsay Lohan had just been really misunderstood all of these years and now we had something in common.

I get you girl.  I GET YOU.

I get you girl. I GET YOU.

My illness would finally be my ticket to a stay at Promises Treatment Center in Malibu.  If its a good enough place for my girl Britney to recover from “dehydration,” then it’s certainly good enough for me.

It was about time I finally ended up where I belonged, which is amongst all of my celebrity friends.

It was about time I finally ended up where I belonged, which is amongst all of my celebrity friends.

As I pulled up to the ER, I chastised myself for over-reacting and was gripped with fear about the amount of money that this little jaunt was going to cost.  I realized that I probably didn’t need to go to the ER if I could drive myself there.

But, as you all know, there is nothing that I find more attractive than a bad decision, so I marched myself right on in.

At first, everything was seemingly on track.  After about 45 minutes of sample taking and test running, a nurse came into my room, poked me with a needle, and hooked me up to an IV full of fluids.  She stated that I would be getting two bags of fluids to re-hydrate me and two bags of potassium since my levels were low.

I almost squealed in delight. I had dehydration!  I was going to join my celebrity friends at Promises!

But then things took a turn.

Someone else came into the room with an ultrasound machine and did a scan of my entire abdomen.  She didn’t say anything and then just walked out.  This raised a few red flags, but I kept my eye on the celebrity prize.  I convinced myself that they were just making sure that I wasn’t knocked up before they handed me my ticket to Malibu.  They only do ultrasounds for babies, right?

Wrong.

About 10 minutes later, a doctor rushed into the room. After discerning that I had come to the ER alone, she told me that I had to get someone to the hospital immediately to serve as my medical decision-maker, that I had been admitted to the hospital, and that I was going to have surgery to remove my gallbladder as soon as a surgeon was available.

There was absolutely no mention of Promises.

WHAT?!

Lindsay is good enough for Promises, but I’m not.  I can’t even figure out how to properly retain my organs?!

How could this be?  HOW COULD THIS BE?!

I burst into tears from the sheer shock of all of it. Not my finest moment, but I really was not expecting to lose an organ when I got out of bed that morning.

I'm still kind of like a celebrity?

I’m still kind of like a celebrity?

After I pulled myself together, I called Country Boy and was whisked off to do a bunch of extra tests to make sure I wasn’t dying of pancreatic cancer before finally arriving in the operating room around 9 pm to bid adieu to my gallbladder.

The anesthesiologist arrived, and he was 100% unadulterated bro. He had a diamond stud in one ear, he had carefully groomed two-day scruff, and he punctuated EVERY sentence with a “ya feel me, right?”

This dude was my doctor.  Seriously.

This dude was my doctor. Seriously.

As Dr. Bro and I were cracking jokes about the creative drug cocktails of our past, he tapped a vein and started mainlining me.

Dr. Bro then said: “Are you a cheap date?”

I responded: “I think so.  My head already feels tingly. This is like in college when I wouldn’t eat all day, would pound shots of jager, and then totter off to a party in a short skirt.”

Dr. Bro said to Country Boy: “Man, I don’t know if you want to be hearing these stories.”

I chimed in with “It’s cool. We went to college together. He knows he married a classy broad.”

And then I passed out cold.

I’m nothing if not consistent.

Maybe we are kind of alike after all.

Maybe we are kind of alike after all.

I woke up from surgery at midnight in a world of pain.

About two minutes after midnight, I realized that hospitals are gross and that I did not want to be there any longer.  The sheets were scratchy, the smells were weird, and the other guests were making a lot of undignified noises.  This was not a proper place for Princess PinotNinja.

Precisely, Blair, precisely.

Precisely, Blair, precisely.

One of the nurses made the mistake of telling me what I needed to do in order to be discharged from the hospital.  She said that all I had to do was drink juice, eat an entire sandwich, and walk the length of the floor three times.  She then said that it takes most people one to two days to complete those tasks.

My response to that was a very mature “f*ck that noise,” and then I got to work.  Within three hours, I had pounded an absolutely foul sandwich and was walking laps around the hospital floor while swigging from a juice box and pageant waving to all of the nurses.

After a lot of commentary about how I was having the most miraculous recovery that had ever been seen, the nurses sprang me from hospital jail at 9:30 am and I walked out unassisted with a big smile on my face.

As soon as I got into the car, I crumpled into a ball and started screaming in pain. Country Boy gave me a perplexed look, which quickly morphed into a knowing glare once he realized that I had just put on an Academy Award worthy performance because I wanted to get home to my fancy lululemon lounge wear and 1000 thread-count sheets even though I was clearly and absolutely not ready to be discharged from the hospital.

A girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Last weekend was a blur of pain and it will be another few weeks before I can get back to running and causing trouble, but I’m definitely on the mend and getting along just fine without my gallbladder.

Only I would go to the ER thinking that I was Lindsay Lohan and end up losing an organ.


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Woman vs. Juice

I’ve been a bit under the weather this week with one of those nefarious “summer colds,” and, after coughing my way through a yoga class, I was besieged by a bevy of well-meaning yogis who were all imploring me to cure my illness with a course of green juice.

Greens with ginger will fix you right up, they said.  It’s a miracle elixir, they said.  It will change your life, they said.

I politely said thank you and shook my head at them when no one was looking.  I knew this was a bad idea.

Three days later, despite a continuous dosage of Tylenol cold and Chloraseptic throat drops, I still sounded like an 85-year-old chain-smoking mouse every time I spoke.  All that came out when I opened my mouth was a raspy whisper squeak.  It was not hot.

I was desperate.

The time had come to try the juice.  I had nothing left to lose.

I marched myself to Whole Foods, because that seemed like the kind of place that would have miracle elixir green juice.

I found this item:

Yummy...

Yummy…

I brought it home.

I stared at it in the refrigerator for a day.  We sized each other up.  I kept putting off throwing that stuff down my hatch.  Every time I went to try it, something else in the refrigerator caught my eye, because I knew that anything else, even those dried out old baby carrots in the back of the crisper drawer, would taste better.

I realized that I would never drink the green juice if I had any other available options, so I decided to skip my usual breakfast and bring the juice with my to my office, where I had no other food source, to have for breakfast.  I figured that eventually I would get hungry enough that I would be able to get myself to try the juice.

Around 10 am, my stomach was growling.

It was time to face the celery, cucumber, spinach, lime, romaine, wheat grass, and clover sprouts.

Seriously, that's what was in this stuff.

Seriously, that’s what was in this concoction.

I opened the bottle.  I sprinkled in some ground ginger.  I shook it up.

I stared at it.

I sniffed it.  That was a bad idea.

I stared at it some more.

I dramatically sighed.

And then I finally took a sip.

I could barely keep it down.  My face puckered into a shape that it hasn’t made since that time I accidentally took a shot of warm Popov Vodka in 2004.

I knew that I had to pull it together.  I needed to get on with my day.  And, I was STARVING.

I was not going to let 15.2 fluid ounces of liquid vegetables defeat me.  I had climbed international mountains.  I had survived attacks on my home and having my face vomited on.  I am a dive bar trivia champion.  I had made Home Depot my bitch.  I had saved my husband from killer deer.  I COULD, NAY I WOULD, DO THIS.

Move over Adam Richman, there's a new sheriff in food crazy town.

Move over Adam Richman, there’s a new sheriff in food crazy town.

Of course, every great triumph requires preparation.

I cleared off my desk.

I rolled up my sleeves.

I blasted Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger while imagining myself in a boxing ring.

I did a few jumping jacks.

I took a deep breath.

And then I slammed that motherf-ing juice down my throat.  Take that vegetables.  TAKE THAT!

After approximately one second of relishing my triumph over the juice, I was frantically speed-walking down the hallway to raid the candy jar that my co-worker kept in her office. I had to do something about the superfund site that was my mouth, and I knew that the only way to eradicate the heinous taste of extreme health and wellness was to pound multiple fun-sized Twix bars.

The whole experience looked a lot like this:

I had actually become Ron Swanson.  This was a pretty low moment for me.

But, about two hours later, I felt better.  I was talking like a 30-something year old human being again.  I had energy.  I was really focused on my job.

What the?

It worked!

Green juice really was a magical elixir!

Green juice forever!

I bought another bottle on my way into work today for breakfast.  It has been one hour and I have only made it through three small sips.  It smells and tastes like actual dirt.  It has been torturous, but I’m STARVING and I need my post-green juice focus high to hit before my late morning meeting.

Looks like its time to cue up Eye of the Tiger and the candy bar chaser…