Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Guys, it's been a year. An entire YEAR since I first sat down and started rambling my thoughts to nobody. Or technically, everybody? This is the interweb where freedom to do, read, and say as you please is everywhere. When I first started this blog, I had no idea how long it would last. "Who even cares about my racing life? No one will ever read this. I'm just wasting my time." It wasn't until I was stopped by a stranger at a race who told me, "You're Megan, right? Oh I read your blog!" That was all it took. That small moment warmed my heart like you wouldn't believe. 
So here we are, one year later. Obviously my blog has recently undergone a birthday makeover, and I'm kinda diggin' it. I've added some new content. Make sure to check out the new tabs. I've added a little more about me, some of my all time favorites (Race related, food related, life related. You're welcome.), and (my personal favorite), MARK'S CORNER! Mark decided to dive into the blogging world and will be adding to his corner of thoughts periodically. I'll keep you in the loop when he decides to dust off his keyboard. 

And what a year it's been. I could rehash everything we've been through this year, but that's what the blog archive on the right hand side of the page is for, right? But what about all the stuff I left out? Like real life? I think it's safe to say, I like to tell it like it is. I'm a pretty real person. So I've decided to be a little bit more real about my life. Ya know, the happenings when I'm not training, eating, working, racing, or sleeping. Or how about some of the details that go into the hours of training? Here it is, the rest of the year that I left out.


November 2015

Only a few weeks after crossing the finish line in Maryland, my brother tackled Step 3 of 140.6 miles; 26.2 miles. Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Running is his necessary evil. He may have hated every step of the way, but he did it.

Just before the holidays were in full swing, I made my way to the United Center for a Chicago Bulls game with Lindsey. I'm not a fan of basketball at all. All I know about Chicago Bulls basketball is that Derrick Rose is (was?) kind of a big deal. However, the tickets were free, the company was great, and the beer was cold. Consider me a lucky girl. And lemme tell ya, the Madhouse on Madison is a lot different without ice.


December 2015

Jess' birthday was just before Christmas and Mark and I agreed that she wasn't allowed to spend it on the couch. We kid-napped her at the last minute for some birthday shenanigans. Needless to say, she may or may not have been over served.

Post Car-bomb, pre word slurring
The holidays came and went. I ate my weight in sugar and had more than my share of Holiday cocktails. But that's what the holidays are all about, right?

We can clean up ;)
Ringing in the New Year!


January 2016

As soon as the holidays were over, we laced up our running shoes again.. kinda. The S-NO-W Fun Run in Lake Geneva, WI isn't a race to be taken seriously. It's fun and relaxed and 100% about the post-race party at the Grand Geneva. We were able to have 2/3 of our LP Partee at the race and between the 6 of us, we have very little recollection of what went on that night.

Onsies were all the rage that night

February 2016

Winter in Chicago is supposed to be the worst, right? This year, we got lucky. How lucky? This photo was taken on February 28th. It was 60 degrees and yes, Rob is wearing a t-shirt while he plays a little badminton with his sister in the backyard. {don't mind little Leo in the background, he finally surrendered that his Aunt and Uncle weren't going to let him play.} And yes, it snowed only 2 days later.

I also had the opportunity to head over to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in February. They were looking for a lab rat. So I decided to let them hook me up to a bunch of machines, measure my heart rate and 02 count, all while they made me run on incline on a treadmill. The catch? I could only breath through a tiny little tube that was connected to another machine. The best part? I wasn't allowed to eat for 8 hours before the test. And I couldn't have caffeine. They actually almost turned me away because, "I'm sorry but your blood sugar is almost TO low." I wasn't about to let myself go 8 hours without food for NOTHING. This experience was so wonderful the first time around that I've decided to go back for round 2 in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.


March 2016

March was fairly uneventful. I was in full training mode for IMTX so time was limited. But, don't fear. I found a way to mix my social life with my training life. 

What better way to spend 4 hours on your bike on a snowy Sunday morning than with your friends? Thanks to Sammy's Bikes in St. Charles, Ryan was able to snag us a pretty sweet setup for a long computrainer ride with some of the RyBread Athletes. The best part? Watching Sammy brew fresh espresso in the shop while we were stuck on our bikes, pedaling nowhere. 

When the weather did cooperate during this awkward month, I was able to get a couple of long runs in on the pavement. Even if that meant running on a freshly salted/slippery street. Kicking up what felt like pounds of salt. At times, it would hit the back of my legs like little pebbles that were out for death. After one particular run on the March Madness Half Marathon course, I took my final steps towards my car and when I looked down at my shoes all I saw was this:

Bloody ankles

That's right. I kicked up so much salt that it eventually lodged itself in between my socks and my skin and caused me to bleed THROUGH my shoes without even feeling a thing. Until I stopped moving. It wasn't until then that I felt like my ankles were on fire. Every step I took was excruciating. And then, the shower. I, I just can't relive it. Lemme tell ya, this was only a preview of what my left ankle would look like in Texas after the monsoon of rain causing my timing chip to rub my left ankle raw on race day.


April 2016

You think March was blah? Wait til you see what how exciting fun April was. I got home from work one day and shortly after, my brother walks through the door. But he looks as white as a ghost. And he tells me that he managed to hit his head on a rusted drain pipe on the outside of his building. Don't ask me how. Just know that it happened. After a quick examination by yours truly, I made him get right back into the car and I ushered him to immediate care to have a staple put into his head. "Sister, no! They are NOT going to staple my head!" Yea, ok Mark.

Right before he made me hold his hand
And just like that, put back together again

The BFG turned all shades of white and even insisted that the nurse waste a staple from her staple gun so he could see exactly happens before he allowed her to staple his head shut. What a baby.
May 2016

May began my 3 month stint of "omg I don't know if I'll make it through the next 3 months without collapsing." Triathlon season officially kicked off for me during the month of May with Ironman Texas. May is also a special time in the Hode house. Baseball season is upon
us. My cousin Todd started playing baseball at the ripe old age of 4 in 1980 and my brother finished his baseball career in 2014. Meaning, our family went 34 continuous seasons of having a Hode on the baseball field. After a 2 year hiatus, we found our way back to the diamond. Todd's twins, Jonathon and Iva, debuted their baseball careers. They showcased their abilities in dirt kicking, nose picking, and the occasional tear over getting a little to dirty. 

Stella's Bar & Grill Bellevue, NE
After show casing my talents of not drowning at Ironman Texas, I found myself in Omaha, NE to visit my Aunt & Uncle. I showed up within hours after my uncle had yet another ankle surgery to repair damaged nerves. We spent the weekend laughing, reminiscing, and talking about our up and coming trip to Lake Placid, NY. Oh, we had some awesome grub too. Behold, the most amazing burger I've ever had. Served to me in a teeny tiny diner seen on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" on a napkin. 

Coming off of Ironman Texas, I knew I wouldn't have to much time for rest and relaxations like I normally do. Ironman Lake Placid with the LP Partee was quickly approaching so I had to make the most of my 1 week of freedom before training got down & dirty again. And what better way than at Wrigley Field, right? Over the course of 10 days I had completed Ironman Texas, enjoyed a weekend in Omaha, NE and graced Wrigley Field with my presence, right before I had to get back on my bike for the summer. And in true Megan style, it rained on us.

June 2016

In June I decided to race 3 of the 4 weekends. Sleeping hours got less and less, and training hours got more and more. And life went on. Friday nights were spent in a variety of places. The first Friday in June I was able to catch a 7pm movie with 2 of my best girls. That's not to say we didn't go with dripping wet hair fresh outta the pool and sneak dinner (Panera sandwiches/salads) in our oversized purses. Because that's exactly what happened. And we weren't even ashamed. 

The following Friday in June, Rob and I planned on having a nice relaxing evening at home. Maybe put a movie in? Wrong. After dinner cleanup was over we found ourselves at the vet with Josiee, who couldn't stop nipping at a cut on her paw, clearly making it infected. We did the waiting room game, the wait for the doctor game, and then entertained ourselves watching Josiee run into EVERYTHING in the house with her fresh cone head. It was such a romantic evening. 

The LP Partee was also able to get together (on a WEEKDAY!) for a group open water swim WHILE we celebrated Nate's birthday. He insisted he wanted to spend his birthday with us. So we got in some strokes and then demolished some pizza.  Of course we couldn't get a picture of all of us together. Missing on the left: BFG and Mrs. Speedy (Jacqui). 


July 2016

July. IMLP month with the LP Partee. 10 days in the Adirondack mountains, breathing the fresh mountain air, and racing in one of America's hidden gems. Surely there was no time for anything else, considering all the heavy mileage leading up to the big day? HA! Over the 4th of July weekend I took a red eye flight out to Denver for a cousin's wedding. That weekend also happened to be one of the biggest training weekends to date, so I had to figure out a plan. OH! I know! Why not just rent a bike and ride through Steamboat Springs and climb an ungodly amount and call it a day?  Guys, this ride was no joke. 60 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing. Woof. And then, I danced the night away on top of a completely different mountain, all in the name of love.  

Photo op before I started the climb of death.
First dance with a special vocalist

And then I went to IMLP and raced my ass off and had the time of my life. When I returned, surely it was time to relax, right? Please, the fun was just beginning. Meet Beth. One of my college roommates and best friends. And Beth was getting married. And of course we had to send her off the right way. With a Wrigely Rooftop game. The first sip was taken before the PM hours and because we're not in college anymore, we were all in bed before the AM hours. But damn, what a great day it was. 

College roommates acting like we're still in college.
Clearly I did my job as a good bridesmaid should.


August 2016

This wedding had fun props and Mark took it a little to far.
August arrived and showed little mercy. I wasn't quite done racing for the season and wedding season had only just begun. I found myself back in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the Florida Pit Crew's wedding! Of course I was there with water and Gatorade in hand, just like they have been for me.  This time, I wasn't alone! Mark and I enjoyed a casual morning hike with our cousins and their 2 four year old twins, one of which knew more about the nature trivia signs than I did. And in the evening, we took off for the ranch and watched 2 families become 1, almost 30 years in the making.

At some point over the last year, Jess told me that she had never been to Wrigley Field. Better yet, she had never been to a baseball game. Instead of telling you how I may have overreacted to that, I'll let you rest easy knowing that Jess has now officially been to a baseball game at Wrigley Field. She even had a hot dog and chocolate malt cup to top it off. Consider it a win.

Of course the pup went with :)

With the highs come the lows. And during the month of August I also had to say goodbye to my best friend from high school. Her and her husband officially packed their bags and are now living abroad in Tel Aviv for the next 2 years. We've always been scattered across the country so we're used to the distance friendship. But this kind of distance is unknown territory and a little scary. And frankly, I couldn't be more excited for her.

Just before the end of the month, Rob's sister EB (short for Elizabeth) graduated from nursing school. She followed in her mom's footsteps and had quite the journey to walk across the stage. But she did it. With her dad and all of 9 of her siblings in the audience to watch. Two days later we celebrated with jello shot filled syringes and a bouncy castle for all the kids.



BIRTHDAY MONTH! Only the best month of the year! AND! I'm lucky enough to share the glorious day of September 9th with Lauren, LP Partee member and RyBread Racing teammate. And this year, I was able to celebrate with her, Portillo's chocolate cake and all. PS - if you can guess why our candles add up to 36 you win the prize!

Photo by Lena Marie Photography
After Beth's bachelorette party shenanigans in July, she finally tied the knot in September. We had the whole college crew back together again. We sang and danced, drank and laughed. And in the morning, we woke up and all sat on the bed, piecing together the night before. Just like we used to. It was like nothing had ever changed.

As the summer came to an end, we had one last celebration to attend. My twin cousins, my Colorado hiking buddies, turned 5 years old. Five and full of personality, spunk, sass, and all that comes with it. They have opinions and they are sure to share them. They have contagious laughs and right now, they think I'm the coolest "Aunt" ever. They're no longer babies or toddlers. They're miniature people that bring so much joy to everyday.

Life is good at 5


My life isn't the most exciting, I realize that. And the point of this was not to brag about "all I've done this year." But I've learned in this crazy sport that it is SO easy to be overtaken with swim/bike/run ALL THE TIME. Of course it's something I'm passionate about. And I have some goals that personally scare the crap out of me and require a disgusting amount of time and energy. But there's so much outside of this triathlon world.

I think 'balance' is the word I'm looking for. There's more to me than Swim/Bike/Run. I'm currently wearing an adult Harry Potter themed t-shirt (I'll wear my Disney/Mickey Mouse themed t-shirt tomorrow), have plenty of Chicago Fire/PD/Med to catch up on, and can't wait to find some more time to dive into my Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. I'm a closet Disney freak who always tries to steal a little cousin to go see the newest movie in theaters. I bleed Orange and Blue and will forever refuse to put "the" in front of Ohio State. Traveling to new places might give me as much joy as racing, and as a result I have a beautiful love affair with the mountains. I'm a pizza and beer snob like you wouldn't believe. (Dominos? Bud Light? Why bother?) I'm as awkward as they come when receiving a gift, but I'll give them all day long. I have an obsession with latte's that started to get out of control, so now I use them as a post-race motivation only. And most importantly, you'll never meet a bigger Cubs fan than me and my family. And right now, there isn't much you could do to ruin the mojo in my house. I guess you could say I'm a child trapped in an adult world, who happens to also be a triathlete.

Thanks for reading along the past 365 days. I promise the next 365 will be just as fun because I already have a lot on tap.