Friday, February 3, 2012

SeVeN eLeVeN

  A couple of months (?!) ago,my friend,  Mike tagged me in a game where you tell 7 random things about yourself  and then tag  more bloggers to do the same.   Apparently, this took me awhile.  I don't know what the hell I did for three months.  But, I finally did it. These aren't very interesting.  And, I'm not sure how random.  But, blech,  here are 7 random things about me. 

1 -  I was never a runner. I was a swimmer.  Since the age of 5 I swam competitively.  I was never the best.  But, I held my own.  I had the fortune of a birth date that allowed me to swim down an age group for a summer every few years.  These were the summers I got to be somewhat awesome in the pool.  Other than that I was a good bench player.  Was good for rounding out a decent relay.  Could push someone's ass in practice a bit harder.  Not quite beat them.  But, make them work harder for that lane lead.  Oh, yes, and I was a great cheerleader.  Shocker. 

I was captain of my high school swim team  and made the State team for all four years of school.  I also swam for a club team and was lucky enough to qualify for our National Team.  Again, I barely made the National standards, but made them I did.  I got a huge kick out of watching my teammates kick some major ass in the pool though.  How kewl to have two teammates on my team go on to become Olympic swimmers.  One for the U.S.  and one for Italy.   

Connie (L.) and me (R.) hugging Olympian and general great guy
Rowdy Gaines at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials. 
Connie and I were on rival high school teams but teammates on our club team.  She kicked my ass quite regularly.  We just reconnected last fall after not seeing each other  since high school.  Wow. That was pretty great to reconnect.   I dragged her ass to Daily Mile and am thrilled to see her progress in her triathlon training.  Wheeeee!    
Connie, Olympian Steve Lundquist, our
1988 Olympian teammate, Susan & me. 

2 -  I worked at the U.S. Olympic Training Center  While in graduate school I was lucky enough to earn an internship with the U.S. Taekwondo Union at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.  After my internship was over they asked me to stick around and work until the Barcelona Olympics were complete.  I was more than happy to do so. 

Working at the USOTC was pretty amazing.  We ate lunch with the athletes in their dining hall.   Thankfully, we also had access to some of the exercise workout areas when the athletes weren't doing their workouts.  That was fun.  We socialized with many athletes and had fun following their paths towards an Olympic Team.   Since all my friends worked for different National Governing Bodies (sports)  we had fun perks for many sporting events.  .    

Living in Colorado wasn't so bad either.  Waking up every morning looking at Pikes Peak was pretty amazing.  Often we would wake up early on Saturday mornings and take the hike up to the top (12+ miles) and hitch rides back down with some tourist in a car at the top.   A few times we hit the mid point camp and made it a two day trip up and down.  Wow, I was SOOO out of shape.  I look back and think how much better I could do this hike now.  At least I hope so.  

3- I volunteered with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics  For one month I had a very kick ass job with the Atlanta Olympics.  When deciding which areas I would try to volunteer for I made a conscious decision not to pick a sporting venue.  I wanted a more well rounded experience.  Lucky for me, I got exactly what I wanted >>>>> Accreditation.  Every single person associated with ANY part of the Olympics needs credentials.  Athletes, coaches, volunteers, press, everyone.  

I processed a variety of people coming through the accreditation center.  But, of course, processing the athletes was the best part.  It was SO fun seeing some big time names come through.  You were kind of forced to have small talk with each person as they made their way through your section.  My absolutely favorite was the men's Greek water polo team. Hands down.  No contest.  They were absolutely hilarious and fun.  And, gee, imagine that, Greek gods.  

Some days I worked in the Athletes Village.  Credentials for the village were extremely tough to get.  So, having that on my pass was pretty awesome.  Days I worked in the village I would often spend my off time just walking around, taking in all the amazing people around me.  As volunteers we were all invited to watch the complete full on dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies.  A great thrill. 

I met up with my former team mate and former Olympian, Susan, to watch some swimming events.  That was pretty awesome.  She also invited me to attend an Olympic Alumni cocktail party.  Oh, yeah, just a wee bit kewl to hang out with some pretty impressive athletes.  Even chatting up with all those big names in the room, my favorite athlete I talked to was a little old lady ( Annette_Rogers ) wearing her 1932 LA Olympic gold medal and chatting away like it was yesterday.  Wow, she was super cute.  I loved her. 

Susan and I were there the night of the Olympic bombing.  Literally standing in the exact spot where the bomb went off.  Watching the concert.  It was super late.  We were tired.  We decided to head home.  Less than 5 minutes later the bomb went off.  We were lucky.  To say the least. 

4 -   I lived in Seoul, Korea for a few months.   After college graduation and before hearing about my acceptance into graduate school I had time to kill.  My college roommate, Julie had moved to Seoul to be with her family and start a new job.  She asked me to come join her for a few months, or whatever.   I said, what the hell, and jumped on a plane.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  But, I was young.  Why not?   

I arrived there the day the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) started.  With Seoul, being the home of a very large U.S. Military base tensions were a bit high in the city.  But, we felt pretty safe.  Almost all our friends were U.S. Military.  So, we did spend lots of time on the base as well. 

In the evenings, I taught English to Korean businessmen and university students.  During the day I ran through the streets of U. N. Village, where we lived.  Running by Rev Moon's  house each time.   My mother was convinced someone would open the gate and come out and kidnap me and make me marry in a mass wedding ceremony.    I would run to the local shopping and nightlife district, Itaewon, and browse for deals.  I also spent lots of time in bookstores.  There were very small sections of English books.  But, I think I may have read all of them.  While standing in the store.   Late evenings were spent hanging out with friends, both local Koreans, and U.S. Military.  Our hangout was in the popular Itaewon area.  Nothing like spending your nights out on Hooker Hill.  Was always strange passing by hookers on our way into our little dive watering hole where we all hung out.  

I was a freak in Korea. Im 5'10" and blonde.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I often got whispers, stares and points.  They weren't shy about it either.  It was certainly an interesting feeling for me.  

5 - I once did 15 shots.  I know, I'm classy like that.  While in Korea my friends and I took a trip to Boracay, Philippines.  Whoa, this was amazing.  Super, super beautiful.  The people.  The island.  Everything.  I'll never forget this trip. 15 Shots and Still Standing ? Yup, the first American women to do so.  Check. Playing pool at a cliffside bar we had to hike up to?  Check.  But, the pool table, uh, how the hell.... oh forget it.  Ultragliding?  Check.  Nights with toes in the sand at beach side bars with vagabonds traveling the world?  Check. Unforgettable trip?  Check. 

6 -   I'm a Cubs fan.  Yes, I know.  Go ahead with the jokes. But, it's more than just baseball for me.  It's about my grandma.  My grandma was a life long Cubs fan.  Growing up on the South Side of Chicago she somehow found a love for the Northsiders.  She was a fan all her 102.5 years.  I don't know how, but she never went to a game at Wrigley Field. That's until we took her.  At age 90.  She went to her first baseball game at age 90!  It was awesome. To see the glint in her eye as she looked around the ballpark.  Looked at the field.  Looked at the game.  It was so special.  We took her every year after, for at least one game.  As she continued to get up there in age the Cubs organization always treated her like a queen.  Her last game to Wrigley came at age 102.5.  

So, yes, I'm a Cubs fan. I wouldn't have it any other way.  Go Cubs Go!

7- My home away from home is a little cottage on the beach in St. Maarten.  40something years ago my parents went on a Windjammer Cruise.   Unfortunately the boat hit a bad storm and became in distress.  Somehow the boat managed to barely get to the shores of St. Maarten.  Back in that day there were very few people on the island at all.  But, word somehow got out to them.  People were waiting ashore for the passengers when they came ashore.  

When my parents disembarked they were met by a lovely American couple, Howard and Evelyn DeMyers's,  who were living on St. Maarten.  This couple was from LaPorte, Indiana, but retired to the island to work on their artwork.   They took my parents to their beachfront cottages.  The DeMyer's were leaving on vacation the next day.  So, they told my parents to stay there for the rest of their intended vacation and leave them $10 for their stay.  My parent's did just that.  They kept in touch with the DeMyer's and returned to visit them on St. Maarten in the years to follow.  Eventually, the DeMyers decided to move back to the U.S.  They offered up their little piece of beachfront paradise to my parents before they left.  My parents bought it.   For pennies.  

St. Maarten Greenhouse 10k
It's been our little piece of happiness ever since. These cottages are nothing special.  Little cottages on the beach.  Nothing fancy.  But, it does me right.    I am my most happiest here.  No contest. I have many fond memories of my childhood here.  And, even more amazing memories as an adult.  I have friends on the island I have known for over 25 years.  Including my dear friend Robert-Jan .  I did my first St. Maarten race  last year, joining RJ at The Greenhouse 10k.  After 3 weeks of constant partying this was a really tough one for me.  Ahhhh, but, lookie here, I won my age group!  Hee, hee.  I really should have vomited afterwards.  A lot.  I would have felt SO much better.  RJ joined me last August to run his first half marathon, running start to finish with me at Rock n Roll Chicago. 

Unfortunately, we've had many horrible hurricanes in the last decade or so.  Two, were particularly devastating for us.  Backwards hurricanes.  Coming from the west, back tracking again towards the Caribbean. We've suffered some pretty terrible damage to the property.  Seems like we would never get back to what it once was.  And, somehow, we do.  But, not before a lot of my blood, sweat, and many, many tears.  

I feel so lucky to have had this special place to escape to.  It brings me such peace.  I am my most happiest here.  Always.  
~~~~~~~>>>So, that's SeVeN about me.  Not very interesting.  But, something.  The instructions for when I was tagged was to tag other bloggers to do the same.  I know, I know.... it's maybe not something ya'll want to do.  But, dammit, I don't care. 

>>>>>>Addendum:  I was gong to post this last night.  But, then later yesterday Becca tagged me in another post.  So.... I guess I'll combine the two.

The rules:
1)  Post these rules.
2)  You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3)  Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4)  Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5)  Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6)  No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Sooooo......4 more random facts:

8 - I met both Ozzy Osbourne and Tommy Lee While I was in high school we were in Indianapolis for a swim meet and they were in concert in town.  They happened to be staying on the same floor of the hotel as us.  I know, weird.  Women were jumping in laundry carts, climbing up fire escapes, you name it, to get on our floor.  We thought it was hilarious.  Very entertaining.  One of our parents called us up to the hotel bar because he was sitting with Ozzy and told him we wanted to meet him.  Ozzy couldn't have been nicer.  I still remember holding his Heineken as he signed autographs for us.  We met Tommy later.  They were SOOO loud in their room.  (duh)  We giggly girls just went up and knocked on the door and Tommy, dressed only in itty bitty running (ha) shorts opened the door.  Invited us in.  This is where I could get all Dear Penthouse Forum on you.  But, it was actually really normal.  We sat on the bed and Tommy asked us about our swimming and we talked about their music, the concert, the silliness going on in the hotel.   He offered us tickets to the concert, but we had to decline because we had to be up early  for our meet. Honestly, he couldn't have been nicer too.  

9 - I have a double jointed hip .  Great bar tricks in college.  And, I suspect the REAL source of my leg injuries.  If I only knew back then....  I can also do the splits.  Or could.   It's been a bit hard with the leg n shit.  But, this is when I know I'll be back.  When I can do the splits again.   I can also do a mean cart wheel. But, y'all already knew that. ;) 

10. I've been to a nude beach.  A lot.  Meh, it's not as exciting as it sounds.  St. Maarten beaches are pretty Euro anyway.  So, you kind of see and do pretty much anything.  But, there is a specific clothing optional beach where wearing a suit is NOT the norm.  You really do get over the giggling pretty quickly.   I think last year at RnR Chicago a group of us  decided that we wanted to have a nekkid 5k on the beach early one morning sometime.   The St. Maarten Pink Monkey Nekkid 5k is still in the works.  Y'all are invited. ;)

11.  I love to wear heels.  They are more comfortable than flat shoes for me. Again, also probably contributing to my injuries.  And, yes, I'm 6'1"+ in them.  And, that suits me just fine.   

Questions asked by Becca:
1.  If you drink coffee, how do you take it? Cream, sugar,  Ya know, like a hot chocolate. ;)
2. What is your guilty iTunes pleasure? You Shook Me All Night Long,  AC/DC
3. What is your favorite junk food treat?  Any salty chip. Cheetos?  Yummy toxic goodness.
3.  Cats or dogs.  Dogs.  No friggin question.  Dogs all the way.  I hate cats.  They also make me die.
5. What is your favorite part of your body (we all have one and I don't want to know your least favorite)?  The body part that least makes me want to vomit? Oh, my legs.  If only the rest of my body matched.
Our CM11 race sign
6. When drinking beer do you drink out of the bottle of use a glass?  Bottle.  Unless it's on tap.  Then it's kind of silly for them to put it in a bottle. 
7. What would your dream job be? Professional Beach Bum
8. If you could choose a different first name what would it be?  Annastasiabeaverhausen
9. What is your favorite "That's what she said" line.  also one of my favorite race signs
10. What are you most surprised about with regards to your life today? The confidence that running has given me.  Yes, I still loath myself.  But, not nearly as much.  And, I'm not nearly as shy.  Or full of self hatred as I was. Before.   Still a work in progress. 
11. What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I would think I would say each and every new running distance I accomplish.  And, I would hope it will someday be finishing a marathon.  But, in reality the thing I am most proud of is taking care of both my dying father and grandmother until their deaths.  I know that sounds weird.  But, during these times I felt like I had a purpose.  It was the most difficult thing I've done.  But, at the same time the most rewarding.  To be there when they needed me. The most. To feel their love and gratitude.  To my core. To have them tell me so over and over again.  It made me proud to be his daughter.  It made me proud to be her granddaughter.  Still am.

>>>>>  Addendum #2  I got tagged again this afternoon by Nathan

Sooooo, here are his questions and my answers:

1) Favorite running race? Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k
2) What’s your favorite Neil Diamond song? Sweet Caroline
3) Who's the first person people you text after a race? I plead the 5th. 
4) Who makes your favorite race day underwear? Underwear? 
5) What’s your second favorite Neil Diamond song? The 2nd time they play Sweet Caroline after I've had 4 more beers
6) Flip flops or sandals? Sandals
7) Favorite vacation spot? St. Maarten
8)  Favorite Sports athlete? Michael Jordan
9) If you had to get a tattoo what would it be? You mean I'd be forced to? I've never been able to think about a good one here.  I have a few ideas I go back and forth with from time to time.  Maybe an infinity symbol. A palm tree. I don't know. I just don't like the idea of permanency.  Today I guess I would get a tramp stamp picture of  Steve
10) Swim, bike or Run? Swim

11) Favorite day of the week?  Rest day. 

My questions:

1. What was your most emotional race finish and why?
2. Where in the world would you want to run/swim/bike?  For fun.  No race.  Just fun.
3. Who do you miss?
4. What is your favorite t.v. show?
5. Are you worried about doing things right?  Or doing the right thing?
6. What's your happiest childhood memory?
7. If you knew that everyone was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? 
8. What extreme sport would you love to try or be able to do?
9. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?
10. What would you tell the 10 year old you about the you of today? What would you tell the 10 year old to do differently?  
11.  What, if anything,  have you learned from ME?

You're it >>>>>  (11 random things, answer my questions, pose your questions, tag others)

(and yes, I know some of you won't do this.  But, I had to try... )
1. Suzi - Ok, just one more beer...
2. Steve - Soul Runner
3. Jeremy - Jeremy Runs This
4. Michelle - Life is Good
5. Logan - The Una Runner
6. Brian - bgfay750
7. Claire -Run Fa(s)t Girl Run
8. Connie - Reaching For the Wall
10. Becky - The Good the Bad and the Becky (I giggle because I know there's no way she'll do this!)
11. Kristie - coachkristie
12. Greg - From Zero to 70point3
13. Kim - Outside My Head


  1. Your legs are amazing!!!! And you are amazing as well!

    1. Awwww, gee, thanks. And, uh, um, it just got really dusty in here. Gettin' in my eyes n shit....

  2. Okay, you are way more kewl than I had even imagined, and OMG YOU HAVE A PLACE IS ST. MAARTEN???? My most favorite place of all time???? I think I love you.

    1. You have been imagining things about me?!?!? Omg, I just pee'd again. Yes, SXM is pretty damn kewl. Pink Monkey Nekkid 5k >>> You are SO there.

  3. LOVE this post! Appreciate your story!