The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

10 million hits... 1 month

Some people have a lot to say... 
(I tend to find myself talking faster to get all the stories in)

Others... don't say much at all. 

I guess when you have a skill that is quite literally jaw dropping... you don't need a lot of words.

This is Marquese Scott. 
He's from Atlanta. 
He can do this in any kind of shoe, on any kind of surface.
He doesn't really "choreograph" he just freestyles. 
He's very focused, and yet very aware...

That's about all I know. 
Because Marquese is a man of few words... 
And I can tell you that as a woman with a seemingly, sometimes annoyingly endless amount of words, just his presence and his talent even rendered me speechless. 

Perhaps I should think about fewer words for next year instead of fewer toiletries. 
It's a good lesson to let your actions speak - in place of your words. 

Here's the sneak peek I got yesterday at TEDMED

Waxing and Waning...

So I bought something new today..
Go ahead... laugh away.

but here's the deal...they can't be bought used...
I'm sure you're all laughing, fully amused.

Eye hand coordination and team sports proved... not so much my forte...
My mom suggested I try individual sports, so the other kids could go and play.

A little, late, but a much better fit
I found something I wasn't awful at, and I was chompin at the bit.

Naively I jumped in the middle lane
clearly unaware that although my mind was willing... I was in foreign terrain

200 warm up, the coach would yell
How far is one lap?? I hoped they would tell

I was not very good,  I hardly knew any strokes
but those Catholic's...they give everyone a chance... silly folks :)

4 years later and the team hadn't been able to shake me
and to their surprise, and by the grace of God I'm sure... I even swam Varsity!

But amidst the chlorine and early morning breakfasts, dry-land workouts, and those cracker shaped goldfish
My ears were screaming...keep the water out! it's our only wish!

I finally uncovered this stuff called wax...
it's about as amazing as words passing through phone lines and printing out as a fax!

But wax goes bad - don't you know
and you can't buy it used - i'm sure the Docs would agree that's a no no

So I confess 
I made a small purchase.


What's that.... you've never had an earache...???
Well why don't you just go throw your self in a cold lake! 

LUV Southwest

Customer Service has slowly become important again.
 It's largely in part thanks to companies that took it upon themselves to take pride in their customer service again...even though the world had become accustomed to dealing with an obstinate and thoughtless person on the other line... that's, if you could got past the thoughtless and "hard of hearing" robot recording... is one of the most amazingly accommodating companies on the planet...
 but they could be in a close race with Southwest airlines...

Not only are they simple, they are... simple. Boarding is simple, booking is simple, changing your plans and your flights is simple. It's almost so easy... it's scary. And yet they're one of the few airlines MAKING money. 

I was delayed slightly in Chicago last night and they were in an "oversell" situation. I'd never heard of this from Southwest...

All too often I've been in a situation where this happens, but always with other airlines, and naively, I've eagerly jumped on the chance for a "voucher"... Sounds great right? A free trip for taking a later flight! WRONG. 

USAirways proved to be the most formidable when trying to cash in that voucher. It actually ended up being impossible to use... without making my life MORE complicated, or my flight MORE expensive. No joke. I could only use it during times I didn't need it... or I could put the dollar amount towards when I DID want to use it, but the trip cost would still far exceed an amount I was willing to spend. 

So I carefully listened as the Southwest employee explained what they would offer. A $300 voucher PLUS the cost of the one way fare that got you there. No blackout dates and as good as cash - meaning you could put $98 towards a flight to one destination, and $120 towards a different flight, etc. I was impressed. I already know that working with Southwest to cancel and change flights is as easy... No change fees, no nothing, but wow... 
(I was also enjoying a Diet IBC Root Beer in a bottle, a cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup from PotBelly's and the Colts vs. Saints game... which didn't hurt, but I'll still give 80% of my happiness to Southwests SIMPLE voucher system :)

As I boarded my Southwest flight I sat next to a gentleman who had been with me Saturday morning running our Rock n' Roll 10K race in NYC, and then boarded a flight Saturday afternoon to run our Rock n' Roll St. Louis Marathon the following morning (Sunday), and was now headed home just a few hours later, like me...
 I thought he deserved a cocktail (he did too), so I handed the flight attendant one of my free drink tickets (also a courtesy of southwest airlines, just for flying with them) to get that guy a celebratory beverage. Well aware that positive comments are far fewer in this world than negative ones, I also let that flight attendant know that I feel in love with Lorna Doones 100 calorie snack packs thanks to them. 
(So much in fact that one of my friends bought me a box for my birthday)

Lorna Doone's aren't available on all flights, including that one, but I just threw it out there anyway. They were being so LUVing with their vouchers, and drink tickets, and fun announcements over the PA... I wanted to show them some love too. 

 A few minutes later he arrives with our drinks and some peanuts... and the very last bag of Lorna Doone's leftover from the previous flight... Did I mention how much I LUV Southwest? 

I wish I was sponsored by Southwest airlines, because then the whole world would be privy to the honest-to-God hailing reviews I give them. But they're that good... I'll do it for nothing...

By the way... I mentioned how they have "fun" announcements... here's a perfect example. This is COMMON... And in case you were wondering LUV is their Ticker symbol and their home airport is Love Field in Dallas. How appropriate.

Steve Jobs will thank you...

If you see a yellow wristband on someone... 
you probably immediately think of LIVESTRONG...

Remember Dorothy's ruby red slippers? 
Nowadays you'd question whether she was wearing red because she was helping raise awareness for AIDS research... 

So what would you think if you saw someone wearing these?

Aside from the shock that someone would actually wear them... ha! You probably don't know....

Just a few weeks ago Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. Although a lot of people changed their Facebook profile pictures to the black apple symbol with his face profile as the "bite" out of the apple... The official color of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness- is purple.

This month especially you're seeing a lot of Pink. 
NFL players are rocking pink socks, pink mouth guards, pink shoes. Race for the Cure 5k's are inundated with pink feather boa's and tutus, and companies from Kitchenaid... all the way down to NASCAR are sporting pink right now.


A portion of the proceeds for most of the specialty colored products go to support breast cancer research. 
We get it! 

Last year my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The only way I found out was because while I was home one day she couldn't go to the lake with me and walk because she said she had a doctors appointment. 

For what I asked?
"Oh they removed some cancerous tumor from my breast a few weeks ago and now I have to go in for radiation. It only takes a few minutes. I'll meet you at the lake"

She was very nonchalant about the whole thing.
 As she walked out the door I looked over at my dad with my eyes bulging out of my head, and a look of confusion on my face...of course his face was all winced up as he held back tears. Hello? Why wasn't this a part of the conversations I'd had with them over the past month? She'd go on and on about the stitching for the new place mats she was sewing for my "casserole night" dinner parties, but failed to mention anything about having cancer. That's my mom. 

I could just imagine what went through her mind when they told her. Here are a few I'm sure would have rolled right off her tongue... or maybe even did...
"Suck it up"
"I'll offer it up for penance"
"Tough Shit"

Well she probably wasn't that concerned, because funding has been phenomenal for breast cancer, and she didn't really have much to worry about...

Well either way, sending her a bouquet of pink flowers to commemorate her being cancer free the following October - wasn't something she'd really be that impressed by. She's too practical. 
"Flowers die.What a waste" 
 So I decided that, thanks to all that research, she was able to fight it... and my way of giving back, was to say "yes" every time I was asked at the grocery store if I wanted to donate to Breast Cancer research. Remember I'm very forgetful, so sometimes I'd find myself at the grocery store more than once a day... and then of course there's the pharmacy, and Target, and every other retailer in the world... I felt pretty confident I did my fair share of funding that month. 

Well, one of my good friends is celebrating a birthday in October, but for her, the month of November is really a month to celebrate.
 Her father passed away from Pancreatic Cancer, like Steve Jobs, just before we became roommates. I was aware of the low survival rates for that kind of cancer, but I was floored with just HOW severe and un-talked about, it really is. 

Luckily, that same year Randy Pausch made a splash in the awareness community when he held his "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University. But this time, his lecture wasn't for his students, it was for his kids... It was his last chance to give them guidance.
His diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer...was a death sentence.

Then Oprah took notice and the whole world heard his "Last Lecture", and we all lost our marbles.... 
And then, it was etched in history... as it was published in book form as "The Last Lecture". 
For the first time... It brought it to the forefront Pancreatic Cancer - and it's severity... as the deadliest form of cancer out there. 

When her dad was diagnosed...My new roommate had quit her job and moved home to help her mom care for him in his last days. As we talked about it, just a few days after she moved in, I was amazed at how poised and serene she was given that he had died just a few weeks prior. I of course was a teary mess.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when just a few months later she was asking for a ride to the airport. 
Where are you going I asked...
"A meeting at the White House to try and get more attention and funding for Pancreatic Cancer "

Talk about taking matters into your own hands. She was only 27 years old!
She came back with pictures and memories... but more importantly... she was armed with a plan. 
There were a lot of advocates holding events to raise awareness and she wanted to join them. The next thing you know we were at a park on a Saturday morning decked out in purple walking with about 100 people to raise money for research. 
Then I was making curry guacamole in a funny costume to raise money, and she was off to meetings and D.C. again and the next thing you know it's time for our fundraising walk again, only this time... it's at a different park. 
What's wrong with the old one I asked?
Won't hold 700 people she responded... 
She raised $70,000 in money for Pancreatic Cancer research that year at that walk alone.

So what do you get one of the most amazing people you know, who has a thing for purple... and you've promised not to buy anything new for a year?
Well as I perused AmVets the other day (thrift store)... I couldn't help but spot the sparkle of purple sequins on a size 9 high heel. Her size. But there was only one. I had employees looking, kids looking, I was even digging under bowls and other shoes and nothing... 

It was so reminiscent of Dorothy clicking her shoes together, wanting them to take her to a better place...

I wanted those shoes to signify my commitment to my friend and her efforts to get people suffering with Pancreatic Cancer to a better place, a chance for a cure.

I had to get it.
 One is better than none I figured. 

As I checked out, the cashier asked if I wanted to complete the pair as she pulled another purple sequin shoe from a box... :) Everything happens for a reason you know.

It's still October... but it's almost November and as I watch my mom and so many others diagnosed with breast cancer who are greeted with survival rates from 15-93%...

I can't help but think about all those people who hear a Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis... and doctors who can't promise ANY rates of survival. The best they can offer is a max of 5 years
... to live. 

I'm hoping those shoes will remind her to never give up, and I hope this blog will reach a few more people who might think about November as Pancreatic Purple month and help. Randy Pausch, my friends dad - Jerry Vanderkam, Patrick Swayze, and now Steve Jobs....

Maybe K-Swiss could make a portion of the flying purple people eaters go to PanCan...

Or maybe next year I'll be able to order her a purple Kitchenaid Mixer and have a portion of the proceeds go to what matters to her most.... Kitchenaid? are you listening?

Being interesting... is free.

                  I was watching Dancing with the Stars last night and saw a commercial for a V. Reader

It's pretty cool. You can touch the screen and learn definitions of certain words, and play games, but what happened to good ol' fashioned book reading... Of course, I chided the TV... as I put my Kindle to "sleep"...

According to the website, this V.Reader is the best selling e-reader for kids. 
My next train of thought was... "back in my day we did it the old fashioned way... we watched Reading Rainbow on PBS" :) I didn't have cable. 

You know the tune... "Butterfly in the sky... I can go twice as high..."---click here if you need a little trip back in time

Of course, if you asked my parents.... They're the only ones who did it the old fashioned way  (they're also really old...) "by flipping tattered pages from books passed down from their parents." 

and they're parents would say - "but we did it by candlelight, after we walked up hill both ways to our one room schoolhouse".... ok I get it. We all have to evolve.

The Googler in me yearned to hear that song again. After I found it on YouTube and played it a few times, I wikipedia'd it and found it only went off the air in 2006. Due to the advent of e-readers, and the internet, iPhones, and iPads, etc. I'm sure...But those things all cost money, a lot of money. 

What I learned in my internet research was that Reading Rainbow was not only designed to educate, but also to help kids find a good book the next time they went to the library. You know, that place with free books...FREE books. 

I know parents everywhere are always trying to find ways to entertain their kids and sitting them down with an educational e-reader is a better choice than most, but what about reading together? Not only does a lively and fun read entertain kids with the story, but if you really get into it as the narrator... the kids get a kick out of you! And they get a feel for the way a book "sounds" as they're reading. The way they should "sound" when they talk!

 Have you heard the younger generation on TV? - reality stars especially - they sound flat. There's no rise and fall or any sort of inflection in their spoken word. Using all caps and exclamation points in your tweets don't count either. Don't get me started with how often I hear the word "like"... and I don't mean when it's used correctly as a verb... Yes, this is directed towards the Kardashian family especially. 

With a generation growing up texting and emailing, requiring very little interaction with real people... I'm afraid the art of "good" conversation is being lost. I know I'm ranting but it's such an easy fix.

 Read a book, out loud, to young people, and make a fool of yourself doing it. It's FREE! It's a good reminder of how cool being silly is, and the kids forget that reading doesn't have to be "work". 

If you're in the Des Moines area and want to check out my dad... he's an especially good storyteller, every Sunday at church! ha 

P.S. Like it all began in 1983, out of ingenious beginnings... apparently it's 2.0 version is in the works. An app that would bring Reading Rainbow back! And... the books are being read and recorded... by real people. I hope I get the call... I sure do enjoy making a fool of myself :)

I'm a loser...

I'm a loser.
 I lose everything. 
Well not everything... but a lot of things. In fact I lose things so frequently that if I can't find something, I assume I lost it.
 I'm terrible about remembering my purse, so I don't usually carry one... My theory is, if I put in that little bag... my phone, my wallet, my ID, my money, etc. then if I lose the ONE bag, I lose EVERYTHING. I'm better off just risking the loss of one thing at a time... right?
But... it then becomes a burden on my friends... If we have to dress up. Not usually my preference I'll have you know. 

I'm not a big lipgloss, extra makeup, brushes, teeth whitener (yes some girls carry whitening strips in their purses...and probably more than you think) etc person, so usually I just need someone to hang on to my ID and a credit card, and my phone. Or, I wear clothes with pockets. Like boys. But as I mentioned there are times when I'm not allowed to wear clothes with pockets. 

For example. One night in college, I was peer pressured into going out on a Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, I had my fair share of nights out in college, usually Fridays, but for the most part, I liked to stay in and clean my friends dorm rooms while they went out. No joke. 

1. their rooms were filthy.
2. I lived in "temporary housing" for the first semester so I didn't have a dorm room. Vicarious living...
3. "going out" tops weren't a staple in my wardrobe.
  (I also liked to get up early and wake them up wearing silly outfits, singing songs very loudly as I jumped on their beds. In my defense they always promised Friday night that we would get up really early for tailgating, and then every Saturday morning when I tried to hold them to their word, they pulled the covers over their heads and yelled obscenities at me :) 

#3 was what really annoyed my friends. 
(wearing those pants in public might have been a close second...)

One of the few times I gave into their taunting and agreed to go out on a Saturday night, it turned into a wardrobe debacle. Apparently jeans and a t-shirt weren't the protocol. Black pants - were required for Saturday nights. This was frustratingly explained to me as one girl rummaged through her Saturday night attire section of her closet for a new outfit I would wear, while the others pulled out my pony tail to give it some curl, and smeared a variety of colors on my eyelids.

I have to admit... I did look the part - Saturday night floozy - but I wasn't happy about it. Needless to say, those fitted black pants did NOT have any pockets, nor did the flouncy, open back handkerchief of a top they made me wear. So... it was their civic duty to carry all my crap, unless they wanted me to put back on my jeans... They carried my crap. And have ever since :) 

But they're not always around, and so it has become one of the pains of "growing up" that I keep track of my own crap. 

I'm not doing a very good job.

 I lost my phone charger soon after I started this whole nothingnewforayear thing... I've been carting my laptop with me everywhere because I do have the cord that can charge my phone through my computer. 

The un-forseen advantage of this is the fact that I'm constantly updating and backing up files... the disadvantage of course is that I have to haul out my computer every time I want to charge my phone.

Along with the cell phone charger, went my kindle charger. They were one in the same. Actually a great product. It had a different hole for both the phone and the Kindle in the SAME charger. Pretty ingenious for a girl like me who doesn't do well with a lot of things to remember. That is, until I lost it. 

But now I'm torn. My Kindle is rendered useless until I get it charged which would require a purchase. My phone I can manage with my computer - but lugging my computer out at the airport just to charge my phone is getting kind of ridiculous. Especially considering I will be spending most of the fall traveling... not the most convenient of places. 

I guess we're back at the great Kindle Debate - which was never really answered... Do they sell used chargers like this down at the Salvation Army? or are used books from AmVets the way to go? 

In lieu of the anticipated response from my mother... I've already tried this one:
St. Anthony, St. Anthony
 I've been looking around, 
I've seem to have lost my chargers and they can't be found

Quarterly update

I'm a little surprised that the supplies haven't dwindled more. In an attempt to drag out certain, relished, products as long as possible, I have been integrating a regular switch out... perhaps that's why product levels are lower, but bottle numbers are still high. I feel like I'm on CNBC right now! ha

A few things I've learned... 

Heed the "Use sparingly" advice: 
the intensive conditioners... should not be used on a daily basis. Hair becomes too nourished and then just greasy. My mom has been sending me these for years... now I know why! ha

2 in 1 helps me a ton: 
Non moisture bar soap, contains no moisture. Therefore more lotion is required. Dove really does have more moisture... Noted.

White after labor day...ok, cinnamon in summer... not ok:
Certain lotions (pineapple, coconut scented) aren't really appropriate all times of the year... Sorry in advance if I attend your pumpkin carving party smelling like the caribbean. I did not adequately prepare and use up those lotions this summer...

Magazines make me depressed:
 I no longer wistfully stare at people in airports reading about Pippa's derriere or that Marigold is the new "in" color... I for one know Marigold is not my color anyway.

Write more... Key word "write":
Saving cards and repurposing them as postcards... has made me more inclined to keep in touch more frequently...and... the old fashioned way. I think it's appreciated :)

Magazine Magnets

One of the things I was missing most since my departure from the "new" world... magazines. 

Then like an angel...A friend offered out of nowhere... to give me her old ones for my 5 hour flight. I barely managed to keep my nose out of them until we were well above the clouds (didn't want to waste them)

 I was downright giddy... removing them from my bag, putting them in the seat back pocket in front of me... using all self control to wait until we were at least 10 feet off the ground before I tore into them. It was almost scary how excited I was to peek at what the rest of the world was seeing inside these colorful picture filled pages. For the first few minutes it was exactly how I remembered it...

Then... my whole mood shifted. 

As I thumbed through the pages I became more and more aware of all the "new" products... that are sitting on those shelves... in those stores I don't frequent anymore... and I felt jilted. This sucked. New scientifically proven eye cream amped with caffeine to lessen the bags, and fortified with resveratrol to help reverse aging... that's tinted! It probably promises to make you more likely to win the Lottery too! 

Then... the taunting came from nail polish hues that are in for the season, which I definitely don't have and can't buy, and those feather colored things for your hair, and spritzes and sprays that lure me in with their pull and sniff pages... and these aren't even the smut magazines!

 That's when it dawned on me. This whole thing was just a huge marketing ploy. Even the few articles that are in there are laden with tactics to get you to join a gym (to buy new "workout" clothes) so you can lose weight (and have to buy new "going out" clothes), get a date (and feel obligated to test the new makeup trends) you get the idea...

 Here I was feeling like I was somehow behind, inadequate, outdated...
But prior to picking up those magazines, I was a pretty happy camper.
No one had commented...if my clothes were out of style, or that my nail polish was the wrong hue... I never felt like people were looking at me funny (although I was hanging out with people who were running around in their underpants....)

Heck, I even managed to pack for my trip to Hawaii without shopping, and wasn't sad about it at all! until now...
Leaving that island felt like I had just enjoyed a retreat... but reading those magazines threw me for a little turbulence. 

 Also in that seat back pocket...a book about the 1989 Ironwar between two Ironman greats.

And filed away upstairs in my memory - not clouded by any guilt or marketing gimmicks... the year Lew Hollander and runner up Mirinda Carfrae had brought me to tears twice in one day and once again, renewed my faith in ones own strength... My belly had welcomed a slew of fish tacos and acai bowls throughout the week... I'd been for a swim with the tropical fish, a few runs down the famous Alii drive... and not ONCE... thought about all the stuff  I couldn't buy... that wouldn't make a darn bit of difference in my life anyway. 

When the Hawaiian airlines flight attendants came by I offered my magazines up for their trash pick up. They just smiled. Oblivious to my newfound revelation... they probably flipped through them later,  not realizing that each page was secretly ratcheting up to that extra $20 they didn't intend to spend on their next trip to Target. Not me. There's no bullseye on my back, on my bags or on my credit card statement.

The next thing you know we were about to land and I was 120 pages deep into a true story that was not only giving me a history lesson, but also a good reason to do something... rather than buy something...

In case you were wondering... It was a Gift... and I've already promised it away... when I'm finished :) 

Disappearing Gifts

Forget gifts that last a lifetime! ha. Not this year anyway :) 

I came home the other day to a belated birthday package. Inside was an array of gifts that I could enjoy that would all "disappear"... that was the logic from a friend eager to help me on my nothingnewforayear journey. I was pretty impressed. Having been on this train since June, it was pretty insightful!

Gift #1 - the always appreciated baked good :)

Gift #2 - a "Jiffy" blueberry scented candle that will burn itself away 
(Growing up in the midwest I have an affinity for Jiffy blueberry muffins. I know they're not the healthiest, or the most "real" blueberry muffins on the market, but I can't tell you how many Saturday mornings I spent watching Gladiators, and WWF wrestling, with my brother, taking turns holding the rabbit ears for optimal signal, eating an entire tray of those muffins)

Gift #3 - A Groupon for Jamba Juice! 
(The most wonderful part of that... she also got a good deal!)

This whole nothingnewforayear has been an eye opener for me in terms of my consumption... but it's been even more interesting to see the interpretation of this from my friends and family! Obviously receiving Kotex pads from my dad was a good laugh, but I gotta tell you, the influx of baked goods flowing INTO my home, at an equal pace that they seem to go OUT is something I'm enjoying immensely... although it may require my training to stay at Ironman pace! ha 

My Midnight date with a Great...

We met on a very lonely stretch of highway in Kona Hawaii 3 years ago. 

October 2009...I was a "rookie" so to speak. My "initiation" at the Ironman World Championships was to stay awake long enough to adopt an athlete. That meant heading outside of town a few miles and choose an athlete who was in need of a reminder that they could make it to that finish line before midnight. Not nearly as challenging as actually doing the race... right? 

The recession was upon us... and the Queen K highway street lights were all dark except 1... every quarter mile. His figure was the only thing I could make out in the distance. This 79 year old physicist from Oregon was after his 20th Ironman finish here in Kona and although his feet were tired, his wit was unwavering. 

If my watch was true, he was going to need to pick up the pace a little if he wanted to earn that title once again. As an incentive...I reminded him that just a few days ago I was running around in my underpants at the annual "underpants run"... and really... there wasn't much I wasn't willing to do to make sure he crossed that finish line before midnight. He chuckled and told me "we don't have enough time for that sweetheart!" 

We laughed our way through the next mile and turned onto Alii Drive as the resounding cheers lifted his worn shoes and spirits and carried him down that finish shoot just 7 minutes before midnight. 

I never saw Lew again. 

October 2010...One year later, I'm once again at baggage claim at the Kona airport. I overhear rumblings that there's an 80 year old competing this year, and he's got his age group all to himself. I know it's got to be Lew. Facebook pulls up a guy by the name of Lew Hollander so I befriend him and shoot him a message. It's his son, who puts me in touch with his dad. Just a few hours later I'm on my way to see him... this time in daylight. I humbly explain that I ran out to find someone, hoping to motivate them to the finish line, but instead came home motivated to get myself to an Ironman finish line... He laughed and says he's glad I actually exist. Last year had been a tough one for him and he wasn't entirely sure he hadn't made me up! 

Thankfully, he asked if we could meet up again for our "date" at mile 24. I was ecstatic. Closely following his splits all day, I had naively planned to meet him between 11 and 11:30pm again. Silly me. He was averaging an entire HOUR faster... despite being one year older. 

10:30pm arrived and so did Lew at our annual meeting place...mile 24...2.2 to go. 
I jokingly told him that I couldn't run with him... clearly he wasn't struggling... I was supposed to be out here helping those in need... He asked me to join him for at least a little while. Not 5 minutes went by and a convertible with a camera crew rolls up alongside us. He informed me it was the NBC crew. They had been to his house in Bend Oregon to film his preparation for this big race and had popped in on him throughout the day. I offered to step out so he could enjoy the spotlight and he said "oh no! wait till they get a load of this... the old guy... gets the hot chick!" 2010 was a good race year for Lew...

The first year I met Lew I thought, if he can do this, I should be able to as well. I vowed to complete that same distance... 140.6 miles. The second year I ran with Lew, I still hadn't lived up to my word. This year, I vowed to make good on my promise so that if/when I saw him on that lonely stretch of the Queen K I could pound that pavement with a newfound understanding. 

October 2011....I shot him a text 2 days before the race. No response. Not everybody texts. I called and he answered. 
"Is this Lew Hollander" 
 "I sure hope so!"

"This is Ann Wessling"

"I'm the blond girl who comes out and runs with you."
"Oh yeah... I remember you. Are you here this year?"

"I am. Would you mind if I joined you again?"
"Sure, but it's going to be late. probably 16:20. I had a rough year"

"I wouldn't miss it Lew"
"Great. See you out there"

For our crew and family and friends, working, heck even spectating this race is exhausting. After we had done our work for the day, our editors went back to start putting it all together and I saddled up with my computer to keep an eye on Lew's split times which would help me gauge when to head out for our "date". I was getting text messages from people who were out on the finish line welcoming more athletes, but I was glued to my computer waiting for updates. It finally came. Lew was right on track. I headed out of town and out on the blacktop. Only this year... they left a few more lights on for us :)

Right on cue... the most strapping 81 year old appeared.

With camera crews in tow... of course.

It wasn't long before more and more people were asking... are you Lew? 
We shook the Paparazzi for a few moments so I could snap a picture. But it seemed Lew's affect on me, had had the same affect on the whole world. 

I caught a few minutes of our run on video. It was about the only thing I could do, since the waterworks drown out most of my intelligible conversation :)

I'm not sure I ever told him I did that race I promised I would do... but who the hell cares... He's done 22 of these suckers, is the oldest person to ever complete this race... and now he's the 2 time defending champ in his age group (this year there were 4 competitors!)
... and doesn't he look good doing it :)

 I think maybe I have a little more work to do before I can gloat about it to him! ha

Running down Alii...

Legal: Aloha Elixer :) 

Iconic: Ironman Finish Line Festivities

Priceless: Support Crew with matching shirts

Tearjerker: Support Crew with the same last name (Raelert Bros)

legals... and illegals.

The Illegal:

Wouldn't this match my sweet neon bike shoes nicely? Well... dream on Ann. Maybe next year.

Until then...

The Legal:

I told you about the Acai bowls here. The fruit is so fresh it's bad... (this was my lame attempt at the Tosh.O web redemption video from ASU campus... anyone? anyone?)

Strawberries, goji berries, bananas, coconut, acai, hemp milk... I'll stop now... so you can wipe your face :)

Underpants Run

Ok, so as stressful as the Ironman is... it's important to stay relaxed with priorities in check...

Enter... a .5 mile run around town in your underpants!

or in my case... my underpants with my swim cap skirt :)

I was tame compared to some....


Dropped by the Goodwill before I left for Kona... 

Ruffly yellow dress - $2.95

You can see more of it on TriCenter at

TriCenter from Kona! #1

My dark (chocolate and sea salt) secret

I can't seem to escape it. Even at the airport!
The one on the right says Salted Carmel Mocha Frappuccino. They traded "chocolate" for "mocha" but it's not like we're idiots... I get what you're trying to do...
If it's at Starbucks, it's going to be on every street corner, in every city, everyday until my scale tips 300 pounds... 

First it was those dark chocolate salted caramels from the restaurant Purple, in Seattle... I think I could lay sole blame there... I had to suffer through the delicous decadence of three whole pieces all by myself in June, and then AGAIN in July! They're like drugs... In fact... I still have 2 in my freezer at this moment... that feels good to get off my chest. I have no idea how I made it home without eating them but I did. The saddest part of this story however is that... I am so mad for these little buggers that I can't stand the thought of ever being denied them... I flew them 1,254 miles back to my home... for my own peace of mind!

But it didn't stop there....then it was dark chocolate almonds with sea salt from Trader Joes. I was so grateful I couldn't find them  at a TJ's close to my house... until the other day. They're hidden back by the wine... also not fair. 

I stopped frequenting that section because my self control around these things is embarrassing. 

But these!!! they put these suckers right at the checkout!

Then... it was my birthday. What do you get a girl who is trying not to accumulate more "stuff" but for whom food is fine...?

My name is Ann and I have a dark chocolate and sea salt addiction... I pray it's not contagious. Mom, you should pray too...

The Faceoff

Well... I may not have the pipes of Carrie Underwood or the dancing feet of Julianne Hough... but I too use Proactiv. (I'd also like to add that I am in no way endorsed or sponsored by Proactiv... yet :)

Ok, so here's my sob story... I'll make it quick.

Never had great skin, but I figure we all need a little pain in our life.
( My mom would probably claim it was how I was being punished for sneaking out, dating boys older than me, being a little too mouthy... you know, the usual teenager drama parents dread the moment your born and then suffer through from ages 12-30.)

Back to the point... I was a swimmer and contrary to popular belief that chlorine "dries up acne" mine actually got worse. Always looking to improve her daughters shortcomings
(she even convinced me once to get eyeliner tattooed on my eyes... and I got pink eye and looked like a freak until it faded away. Her response... well you look like a Holocaust survivor when you don't wear eye makeup and I worry you'll never find anyone willing to wake up next to you looking like that) 

she intervened again... this time with my skin.

So... one day a box is delivered to our house from Proactiv. She had ordered it off of one of their infomercials as her last ditch effort before she headed downstairs to start working on a lifetime supply of habits for my impending time at the convent... with the other nuns.

 I diligently scrubbed my face morning and night, watching closley as exactly 60 seconds passed by because that's what the bottle said. A few weeks in, it actually started working.

It's now been more than a few years... and I still use the cleanser. Do I still need it? I guess I don't really know... but I have a feeling I'll soon be well aware...

It's almost gone. I'd like to think I've grown out of that stage of my life, but I'm afraid it's not always that easy. Ironically enough the other face soap I have is also from her too... I guess we'll see whether it's her daily novena's sent to all the corresponding saints and the Big Guy... or the actual product that pulled my face out of it's pepperoni pizza looking state.

I guess we could call it "the Faceoff"... stay tuned.