Running a half marathon with half assed training

This was a costume race – I hate costumes so I didn’t dress up. But, based on this photo, I’m going to say I went as a ghost.

I love my city and today was a good reminder of that. I ran the Run Like Hell Half Marathon and even though it was cold, wet, and my training was pretty half assed (though not as non-existent as it was in July for this race), I loved it.

This has not been a great year happiness wise. I fell into a post holiday funk in January and never really got out of it. Still in the middle of it to tell the truth. I should write about that, when I’m out the other side. But today – today I was happy. At the starting line surrounded by damp Ninja Turtles, Wonder Women (yes, plural, this was a VERY popular costume), and the Noid, I was just excited to run.

The race was pretty challenging. Like, four uphill miles through the Terwilliger Curves challenging. And, it was also beautiful. The leaves were changing, the bums under the Hawthorne Bridge were cheering (serious – they were my favorite cheering section and the course took me through their area twice), and even though I lost a toenail and bled through my shoe, it was fun. I’ll take it.

Signs of something very bad inside…

(PS: For anyone keeping track – and I doubt anyone is but me, but still – this race keeps me on track for the 30 Before 30 goal of running one race per month. In September I did a quick 8k with Race for the Cure (ahhh sorry super lefty lady friends – I needed a race and this was the only one that would work with my schedule. It was super boring and not worth a post.) 



Filed under 30 Before 30, Life, Portland, Running

30 Before 30: In which I do not get eaten by a shark

When I was a little girl I was absolutely terrified of the fish tank aisle of any pet store or Wal Mart. (There were frequent trips to Wal Mart.) I would dare myself to walk down them and then just feel abject terror. So easy to picture the tanks simultaneously shattering and all those nasty little fish getting on me. At Sea World the shark encounter would give me nightmares. It was just so easy to envision the glass breaking, the hammerhead shark bursting forward and biting me in half as its last ask before suffocating.

So, I’m basically the last person you’d expect to go swimming around in the shark infested, fish-filled, coral reefs of Nassau, Bahamas.

But guess what, ya’ll? I DID IT.

And I loved it. Well, there was one huge, mean looking fish, that swam up to me and stared into my soul with his ugly fish eyes…

Besides that though, snorkeling is the best thing in the world. I could have stayed out there for hours. The experience was even cooler because I got to share it with my mom, in her first big one-armed snorkeling extravaganza.

Also, it’s extremely attractive:

All my photos from the trip are Polaroids because I’m THAT girl.



Filed under 30 Before 30, Family, Life, travel

30 Before 30 – Vegan Kickstart is complete

Unless you’re an adorable child in overalls, do not do this in public.

There are few things I like better than a list of things to do. So, of course, I’m attacking my 30 Before 30 list enthusiastically. The first item I knocked off was my 21 day Vega Kickstart, which ended a few days ago.

I’m particularly proud of accomplishing this one because the last two days of it occurred while I was on a cruise to the Bahamas with my mom. Cruises are essentially a celebration of gluttony. At one point yesterday I saw a lady double fisting ice cream cones. Lick one, lick the other, back and forth, like someone was about to take them away from her even though ice cream was free in unlimited amounts aboard the ship.  I’m not usually super judge-y about food — what do I care what anyone else eats —  but that one turned my stomach.

Needless to say – not an easy place to complete the kickstart. (Again: free ice cream.) But I did it. Actually, I liked it so much and I feel so great, I’m going to see how long I can continue this for. I’m not sure it will stick forever because it really does require a lot of work and time that I don’t always have. I figure at the very least I can stay away from dairy for another month though, thanks to the image of weird double-fisting ice cream cruise lady that I can’t un-see.


Leave a comment

Filed under 30 Before 30, Life

30 Before 30 – Grandfather’s arsenal


Got this in the mail today from my Grandfather. The benefit of writing other people onto your 30 before 30 list is that you get to see how they respond. My Grammy is so excited, that she’s actually started her own “80 before 80” list (she’s got 5 years to go – we won’t shove 80 major life activities into a year!) and my Grandfather, whose time in the ATF and other government service I’d like to document, set me the handwritten note on the back of a birthday card. (Apparently Grandfather has a veritable arsenal in his house somewhere. I’ll probably pass on the machine guns, but will happily record his history.)

I’m really excited that this project is giving me the chance to really know my grandparents as an adult. They both had a big hand in raising me, and I’m glad they’re willing to be open with me and share parts of their lives that I’ve only learned about in fragments over the years.



Filed under 30 Before 30

Vegan Kick Start – Day 1

I want to eat all these things

Today was the first day of the Vegan Kick Start I committed to as part of my 30 Before 30 list. Don’t worry, I won’t blog every day of it. That would be almost as exhausting – for me and for you – as the amount of cooking I’ll have to do the next 21 days.

I’ve been vegetarian for a decade and I do eat mostly whole/fresh food. However, I have two significant weaknesses that have prevented me from going vegan: ice cream (!!) and cheese (!!!). On my birthday a few days ago, I went to a vegan Italian restaurant that did some amazing cheese-like things with cashews, so perhaps there’s hope.

Since it’s only been a day, I can’t say that I feel any different – though Alicia Silverstone promises I will soon – but what I can say is that this is really going to test my ability to function as an adult human capable of cooking food, which is intimidating.

You might think that this blog’s title implies a fondness for cooking. And you would be wrong. I like to bake. But, when it comes to feeding myself my defaults are:  eat whatever is leftover from the last time Oliver cooked, eat whatever fruit is sitting around, or eat popcorn.Sometimes I’ll make toast. That doesn’t really cut it for this kick start which focuses not just on eliminating animal products, but also on actually being a healthy person. Damn it.

This will be a stretch, but possibly a good one, and if it goes well, maybe I can leave popcorn for dinner behind with my 20s.


Filed under 30 Before 30, cooking things that aren't pie, Life

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone.”
― John IrvingA Prayer for Owen Meany

Today I’ve written three posts and deleted them all. What is there left to say about August 29th that I haven’t already said? What points could I possibly make about unexpected accidents, that John Irving didn’t say better above?

Love you Mom.


Filed under Uncategorized

Thirty before 30 – the official bucket list

I can’t find any photos of myself from 2002 – did no one have a camera? That’s probably actually a good thing… I wasn’t super camera ready back then.

A few months ago I read this list of 30 things everyone woman should have/know by the time she turns 30 on the Huffington Post. Some of it I agreed with – some of it I thought was lame. (Item number one in particular – why would you want to have an old boyfriend you could see yourself going back to? Unless you live in a rom-com, this is actually a super sad thing to have.)

Even though the Huffington Post’s list was kind of stupid, I liked the idea and decided to make my own list.

My 29th birthday is in a week, and inspired by the article and by my friend Mindy,  I’ve come up with my own 30 Before 30 list. Thirty things I want to make 100% sure I do before I step foot into my next decade.

Turns out, coming up with 30 things I want to do before my 20s die was actually kind of hard. But, I think this is a pretty good list and I think I can actually accomplish it. In no particular order:

  • Shoot a gun with my dad. Shooting just feels like one of those basic skill things that I should at least attempt to learn how to do. And, my dad was a rancher in his life before kids, so he feels like the right person to ask to teach me.  I planned on doing this over the holiday break and then, two days before I left for Tucson, Sandy Hook happened. “Shoot a gun” no longer feels right to me as a life goal, so I’m changing this one to: Go on a long hike with my dad at Turkey Creek. He’s a huge hiker and knows all the best trails in Southern AZ, so this way I still get to spend time with my dad, without recreating using an object I don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Attend a silence and meditation retreat weekend. Earlier this year a very zen coworker of mine suggested this to me after he returned from a 10 day silence retreat. (He probably wants me to stop talking so much. I don’t look super Irish, but am definitely blessed with the gift of the gab.) If I tried a full week, it would end like the episode of the L-Word where Bette tries this and goes all crazy. But I can do a weekend. Um, I can probably do a weekend.
  • Take a real baking class
  • Finish reading Love in the Time of Cholera. Jesus Christo – I’ve been trying to get this book read since I was 27. I’m still on page 200. I think it’s because Florentino Ariza is SO annoying and creepy and I hate him.
  • Take a trapeze lesson. This one comes from my amazing, beautiful best friend Adriane. It’s going to be super-awkward.
  • Ride a horse. Haven’t done this since my age was in the single digits.
  • Take my mom on a hot air balloon ride. She’s always wanted to. I’m scared of heights. Seems like a must do.
  • Participate in a grape stomp.
  • Take and do well on the GMAT
  • Take ballet. When I was 5 I quit ballet, because the teacher at Tucson Parks & Rec didn’t think I was graceful. (Who says that to a 5 year old?!) I’m still not, but maybe I can approach graceful-ish?
  • Run a marathon in 4:45.
  • Run one race – any length – a month just to stay in the habit.
  • See the Grand Canyon. Yeah – born and bred Arizonan whose never seen it. Humiliating.
  • Buy a washing machine. I hate spending money on boring things, even boring things I can afford. Putting this on here will force me to do it.
  • Be a better friend. The kind of friend who calls people back, keeps up on letters, and isn’t afraid to actually talk about feelings and stuff.
  • Finally get that brother-sister tattoo with my brother, and sister-sister tattoo with my little sis.
  • Overcome my fear(s) of swimming, fish, and the ocean and go snorkeling with mom when we go to the Bahamas.
  • Visit two countries that are not contiguous to the U.S.
  • Do the 21-day Vegan Kickstart 
  • Visit a state I’ve never been to, for non-work related reasons.
  • Join the St. Johns neighborhood association. (Update I haven’t done this yet, but I did join the City Club and I’m counting it because it’s similar in spirit and also, I think we might have to move out of our St. John’s shack in which case joining the neighborhood association makes no sense.)
  • Find meaningful volunteer work to do in my neighborhood and stick to it for longer than a month.
  • Go home to spend time with my parents once a quarter.
  • Get my Grammy to tell me her life story, and write it down.
  • Get my Grandfather to tell me his crazy ATF moonshiner stories and write those down too.
  • Write something and get it published again. Don’t be fussy or pretentious about where – four years is a really big gap in the old clips portfolio.
  • Get in contact with the other Megan E. Irwin from Phoenix and find out if she is my evil twin.
  • Visit the house I grew up in and say good-bye to it, finally.
  • Get completely debt free, including student loan debt.
  • Celebrate and make a big deal out of our 10-year friendiversary with Luis and Adriane.


Filed under Growing Pains, Life