Monthly Archives: May 2012

o, memories! o, selective memories.

srsly.  what is it about thomas the train that makes all children go crazy?  i.don’t.get.it.  he is actually kind of creepy, if you stop for one second to consider that he is a TRAIN with a FACE and TRIANGLES FOR EYEBROWS.  i mean, eeeeek:

freaky deeky!

and yet, he is the king of books and toys in the children’s section of the local liberry where i spend my days toiling.  here’s how it usually happens:

laura sits at miniature desk in the children’s room of the arlington public library.  she is dressed in tweed suit, bun, glasses, other stereotypical liberrian regalia.  she is doing very important liberrian things.  meanwhile, a small child careens off the elevator.  it is possible that he learned to run only five minutes ago because his legs are wobbly and he bounces off every wall and surface that comes close to being in his path.  he runs (head-first) into the librarian’s desk.  adult follows in hot pursuit.

laura: oh, hello!  how are you today?

small child: unintelligible babbling noises

laura: oh, yes, i understand.  mondays can be hard!

small child: more urgent babbling noises

laura: oh, i see.  do you want to play with a toy?

small child: babble babble babble

laura: hmmmm, do you want to play with the dinosaurs?  the village people?  the trains?

small child [eyes lighting up]: THOMAS!  TRAINS!  THOMAS!

this is seriously how it happens.  just about EVERY SINGLE TIME.  and there is this one little boy, who, for the purposes of this blog, i will call hermès.  he is my favorite!  not only is hermès the most chubby cheeked two-year-old, but he has the most adorable mom, dad, and baby brother in the WORLD.  so hermès and i have the thomas song and dance at least two times per week.  and it goes basically how i just described.  but the best part of the story occurs when i hand him the coveted bag of thomas the train figurines.

laura [brandishing trains]: here you go, hermès!

hermès’ dad: hermès, what do you say?

hermès: trains trains TRAINS!

hermès’ dad: no, hermès, what do you say to the librarian?

hermès [eyes shiny with thomas-induced joy]: HAPPY.

if you ask me, hearing my tiny friend express his true feelings was WAY BETTER than hearing a cursory thank you.  i appreciate when people can just say what they mean.  good for you, hermès!  continue on this direct and wonderful path, young man!  i could take a lesson from you.  because, using this story as my crutch, what i am trying to say in the most long-winded way possible is that i need to just be honest here and tell you how i feel.

i know that i’ve been a bit lax with my bloggin in the past.  for example, i may have neglected to finish the story of my 2010 boston marathon experience.  and this was after i spent about five months writing many posts on this blog leading up to that large event.  i know that this was lazy, shoddy behavior.  and i wish i could go back and recreate that blog post that i should have written in 2010.  it was going to be epic!  but sadly, now i can’t remember just about anything that happened that day.

which brings me to my most current thought about the marathon experience: it’s one of those things (akin to childbirth and middle school) that is painful to the point that you actually disassociate from the entire thing in order to get through it.  that sounds so melodramatic!  but it’s true.  all that i have left from my two marathon experiences at this point are little hazy snapshots of mostly joy and little bits of sorrow.

this theory was thrown into sharp relief recently when i was searching for a marathon to run this fall.  i was weighing the pros and cons of the likely contenders, of which there were many.  did i want a big race?  a small race?  a flat race?  (actually, there was no question on this one at all.  i absolutely DUTELY want and need a flat race.  no hill escapades for this lady!)  a race in canada?  a race in an exotic locale?  a race in rochester?  there were so many choices!  so i turned to a trusted running tool: marathonguide.com.  this website touts itself as “everything marathoning: information, results, & more!”  part of the “& more” is runners’ reviews of basically every marathon ever.  like the yelp of marathons, one might say.

“certainly this useful resource will tell me all i need to know!” i happily thought to myself, “oh how i love information!”

as i perused different marathons, i thought that it might be fun to look up the marathons that i have run, just to see what the peeps were saying.  so i typed “wineglass marathon” into the easy peasy marathon finder.  and came up with THIS REVIEW from dj from ny:

[The 2011 Wineglass Marathon] was an utter and complete disaster that left me wondering if there was any leadership behind this race at all. 

“wha-whaaaaaaaat?” i said aloud.  “i loved that race!”  here’s one of the main images that i remember from the day:

me and my two favorite ladies in the world, also known as my mom and little sister helen. this was taken two minutes after i dragged my body across the finish line.

and then this, i remember this, too!

it’s my sister-in-law, thea, and i, after completing 26.2! although we have similar headband taste, she is much more reasonable in her post-event beverage choices.  also, can we please discuss how she looks like she just stepped out of a salon.  meanwhile, i resemble a bedraggled cat.

and finally, this!

yes! it’s true! i ran the 2011 wineglass marathon with amazing folks, including my husband the baby panda (who looks like he is in pain or on the verge of singing the opening lines of “don’t stop believin”), his two sisters thea and sarah, my brother-in-law nick, AND one of my dearest friends in the world, the illustrious erin!

so as you can see, my 2011 wineglass marathon recollection is basically akin to this:

wineglass marathon = totes rainbows and happiness!

so there was basically no way in the world that this marathon possibly could have been the cluster-eff that the reviewer dj from ny spoke about.  but then, as i kept reading his review, i realized that his thoughts might have some merit:

Granted, the weather that day was about as bad as you can get. Nothing like standing in 40 degree pouring rain an hour before a marathon. 

oh right!  i remember now… WE RAN THAT MARATHON IN A MONSOON!  A FORTY-DEGREE MONSOON THAT  WAS SO DRENCHING THAT WE RAN IN GARBAGE BAGS WITH ARM AND HEAD HOLES FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL MILES.  shizz, i completely forgot about that!

the kind reviewer went on to state that:

Somehow, they managed to change the starting line from the traditional parking lot at Phillips Lighting to a new site about a half-mile up the road, without telling anybody! So here are all these buses dropping off hordes of runners at the wrong place, with no one to tell them where to go. And here come these runners, minutes before the start, realizing that ‘oh my god’ they’re in the wrong place. For them, it was a frantic ‘warm up’ (to be generous), racing over to make the start. Unforgivable! 

oh right!  i forgot about that, too!  me and my merry band of family and friends were some of the runners who were dropped off at the wrong place and had to run a half mile in order to make it to the start in time!  and that was after our busdriver got lost for almost a half hour!  and that was also around the time that we realized that there were only about four porta potties for about 1,000 runners, which caused me to run into the woods to try and go to the bathroom, only to be plagued with the most crippling case of stage fright ever.  wow, i had buried all of those memories!

and, now that i think about it, all of these situations were direct causes of my most legitimately insane moments ever (about which i had also conveniently forgotten).  my friend erin calls it the psychotic break.  as the BP and erin and lovely thea and i were hoofing it over to the starting line, i decided to turn on my GPS watch.  i was intent on running a 3 hour and 55 minute marathon and i was counting on my GPS watch to help me reach this goal.  but when i turned it on, it gave a sickly beep and the following error message:

BATTERY LOW

um.  WHAT.  THE.  EFF.  i had just charged my watch’s battery.  there was no WAY in the WORLD that it could possibly be LOW!  no way! except, of course, that it was.

and then i lost my mind.  i think i started yelling.  i definitely started crying.  i lashed out at everyone who tried to help me, including my wonderful husband and sister-in-law and erin, all of whom offered me their own GPS watches off their own wrists!

“NO!” i screamed, “NO NO NO!  that won’t WORK!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

i even freaked out thea’s friend andy who had come to wish us well at the start.  it was, well, a psychotic break.  i was still sobbing when i parted ways with my peeps to join my pace group at the start.

okay, so maybe this curmudgeonly marathon reviewer knew what he was talking about.  he finished up his review by saying:

But at the end… they left everyone’s checked bags out in the rain, even though there was lots of room inside! And not only the rain, they basically dumped everyone’s bags into the mud. It was foul, and like a delivery guy tossing something fragile over your fence, thoroughly disrespectful. The race directors should make a public apology. 

oh yes.  i did dig my bag out of a mud pit!  yet another repressed wineglass memory!  it was, as our reviewer points out, totally disgusting.  and all of my things were, in fact, covered in mud as a result.

BUT.  GUESS WHAT.  i still effing LOVED that race!  LOVED IT!  beat my goal by three minutes, ran most of the way with a wonderful pace group and equally wonderful lady named susan from my runnin club here in boston, and had an okay blood sugar experience.  i saw family and friends who braved the rainy and windy elements at countless spots along the course.  and at mile 20, my mom, dad, sister, and aunt P drove up beside me as i was running along a lonely stretch of highway, honking the horn and screaming accolades out the window.  and since then, i have only run one race with my GPS watch.  turns out that i do much better without one.  who knew!

yup, wineglass marathon, despite it all, you’ll always be an elephant trunk rainbow to me!

so, there you have it.  a half-@$$ed, incredibly lengthy recap of the marathon that most of you never knew i ran.  lintzy on the loose continues to deliver!

everything that rises must converge. or, hello again.

so it looks like i am back to blogging!  and there are many reasons why, of course.  like, i like to write!  that’s a big one.  also, i now that i am all graduated from liberry skool and stuff, i have way more time on my hands.  but over the past few weeks, a few things have inspired me to dust off my old and gross (SERIOUSLY, WHO THOUGHT THAT WHITE WAS A GOOD COLOR FOR A COMPUTER?) laptop and resurrect lintzy on the loose, complete with a slammin’ new design.  (thanks, wordpress!)

so, let me begin at the beginning.

inspiration number one: kate b. and the ‘betes

if you are reading this, you probably know that i’m a type one diabetic.  if you don’t know much about diabetes, you can find out more about it by accessing this great nytimes guide.  but if you’re like me and don’t really like clicking on embedded links (no matter how helpful they are), here’s a short synopsis of type one diabetes:

  • if you have type one diabetes, you need insulin to live.  so, basically, you either need to give yourself a shot every time you eat a mouthful o’ food OR invest in an insulin pump, which is a tiny machine that pumps insulin into your body via a tube.
  • type one diabetes usually stems from a combination of an autoimmune disorder and genetics.  and it’s way different than the much more common type two diabetes, which is often seen in adults and can be treated through diet, medication, and exercise.
  • type one diabetes is a mentally exhausting disease.  really, really, REALLY.  if you are striving for “good” control, you must count the carbohydrates in every bite of food that you eat, calculate how much insulin that means you should take (there is no one-size-fits-all formula, btw… it’s different for everyone), and balance that with all of the other shizz happening in your life (if you’ve exercised, if you’re stressed, if you have a cold, if there’s a full moon, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah to infinity)… and still be okay with getting it wrong about 75% of the time.

so, in a nutshell, that’s what my kind o’ diabetes is.  and i think one of the hardest things about it (besides what i just mentioned) is how invisible it is.  just like how you’d prolly never know that i am struggling with this pesky problem, i am hardly ever able to recognize my fellow diabetic peeps.  which is why i think that the internet is magic!  there is a host of diabetic resources out there, including blogs, social networks, and oh so much medical information.  so much of this disease can be so isolating (’cause you have to think about you you you like all the effing time!), and it’s reassuring to know that there ARE other people out there who are dealing with the same proglems.

which brings me to kate b., my fellow librarian and diabetic!  she is the amazingly amazing author of tenaciously sweet, a fabulous diabetes blog.  she writes compelling and realistic posts and that strike oodles of chords with me because we are at very similar points in our lives.  plus, she is very funny.  anyhow, we went to liberry skool together and it turns out that she read lintzy on the loose way back in the day when i was chronicling my experiences training for the boston marathon.  so last week, she completely called me out in a post about diabetes bloggers, saying that i should write some more.

WELL, MS. BOYLAN, I HAVE ACCEPTED YOUR CHALLENGE.

inspiration number two: the marathon dream/conundrum

so far in my life, i have run two marathons.   i ran boston for charity in 2010 and finished in 4 hours and 17 minutes.  i ran the wineglass marathon in 2011 and finished in 3 hours and 52 minutes.  now, it’s 2012 and time for another big race!  for the past several months, i have been fixating a not-so-secret goal for myself: i would really really really REALLY like to qualify for the boston marathon.  in order to do this, i have to run my next marathon in 3 hours and 35 minutes.   according to my math, that’s like an 8:12 pace per mile.

yikes.

in other yikes-y news, i have been visiting my diabetes doctor a lot lately in an attempt to get my blood sugar levels down.  they were pretty high for a while there.  and at first, i was really doing well!  i managed to get my hemoglobin a1c (a three-month average of all my blood sugars) down from 8.0 (eeek, i know, i know, it was up there) to 7.4 (still not stellar, but better) in a matter of a month.  but in the two months since then, i have completely stalled.  my a1c is still hovering right at 7.4, much to my (and dear doctor’s) dismay.

so in my most recent appointment last week, my doctor quietly pointed out that my workout regime may be part of the problem.  it’s really hard for me to handle my diabetes when i work out– i think that this is common for endurance athletes.  before a workout, i often need to get my blood sugar really really high (like 300), because it’s been known to drop several hundred points during some of my feats of strength.  but, being the wiley beast that it is, sometimes my blood sugar goes rogue.  for example, my blood sugar levels after two very similar running workouts this week were 301 (WTF) and 37 (i almost passed out in front of the gym).  i have been to exercise physiologists, diabetes specialists, and nutritionists.  I DO NOT KNOW HOW ELSE TO APPROACH THIS PROBLEM.

“well,” said my dear doctor, “why don’t you just scale things back?”

“um,” said i, “what exactly would that mean?”

well, apparently, it could mean a variety of things.  i could not run another marathon.  i could run another marathon but give up on my goal of running a boston qualifying time.  i could quit trying to vary my workouts (in addition to running, i try to swim and spin and get stronger).  i could give up working out altogether for a few months, just to see if it helps.

but.  i don’t want to do ANY OF THOSE THINGS.  I DON’T WANT TO.

inspiration number three: swimmy… and michael j. fox

as part of the toddler storytime schtick that i do at the liberry, i often tell leo lionni’s beloved story of swimmy, a tiny fish who is made into an orphan after a big fish eats all of his brothers and sisters.  (also, i have fashioned the world’s greatest flannel board to go along with the story.  i heart felt!)  after he is left all alone, swimmy explores the underwater world and meets lots of fun creatures.  and one day, in the shade of rocks and weeds, swimmy finds a school of fish much like his old family.

“come on!” says swimmy to the other fish, “let’s go and play and SEE THINGS!”

“we can’t,” say the other little fish, “the big fish will eat us all.”

“well you can’t just LIE HERE,” says swimmy, “we must think of something!”

in an attempt not to ruin the story for those of you who have not read this wonderful tale, i will not reveal swimmy’s AMAZING IDEA.  because i think that this makes my point.  i do not want to just lie in the shade of rocks and weeds just because my blood sugar is a wonky devil beastie.  i want to go and swim and play and SEE THINGS!

last night at the panda manse (a name that i just made up for where i live with the baby panda), we were watching some bad tv, as is our custom.  as i was flipping through our six channels, i noticed that jane pauley was interviewing michael j. fox about his struggles with parkinson’s disease.  i’ll paraphrase the portion of the conversation that really hit home for me.

jane (who looks amazing, these days, btw): so, stress exacerbates your condition, right?

mjf: yes.

jane: so, why don’t you rest?  if i were you, i’d stay in bed all the time, conserving my energy.

mjf: you say conserving energy, but for what?  what am i conserving my energy for?  if you conserve it to use it, when are you going to use it?  if you want to do something, do it, don’t make excuses for why you can’t do it.

i sat there, stunned.  listen, i know that i can handle my diabetes better.  i know that i can plan my workouts more thoughtfully, and not treat my lows and highs with emotional responses.  i get that.  but just because i want my blood sugars to improve does not mean that i need to hide, staying away from one of the things that i enjoy most and makes me who i am.

so.  guess who has signed up for the 2012 marine corps marathon on october 28?

me, obvi.

i’m planning to use this blog to chronicle my struggles, successes, book choices, long runs, bouts with stomach issues (ahem, what runner DOESN’T have these?), mustaches, bears, and well, anything else that i want to talk about.

thanks for listening.

my main fish, swimmy.