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Vagina Monologues for the Ironman in training

I marvel at the view from the couch in our spacious, three-story condo. Simply put, Whistler is spectacular. Clouds currently idle over us, tangled in the mountains, yet it far surpasses the alternative: smoke clinging to Spokane, I left the city with eyes burning and throat itching. This morning, all I smell is mountain air.

After Boise 70.3 and 5 days of recovery, my first 5-hour ride met me in the way of a glorified ass whooping. I knew building to Ironman Canada would require considerable concentration and dedication, but I didn’t want to think what I’d feel like, what I’d think, and what I’d want to do 4 weeks into it.

Yet I made it. Six brutal weeks of 5-6 hour rides, long morning runs that had me up before the sun so as to be done before work, and too many 4000+ yard swims to count, I’m thoroughly enjoying the benefit: this small little town of Whistler, Blackcomb.

This Ironman will be my second, and for some reason, training for this one—compared to Ironman CDA—felt harder. Isn’t it interesting how Ironman training can make one embrace the beauty and fulfillment of a workout (of the entire experience, for that matter) in one breath, yet curse and swear out of frustration in the next? For this training bout, I had the pleasure of sharing some of it with Bryan. Not only could I commiserate with him, but he also provided a certain level of comic relief to the whole experience.

For instance, just 4 weeks into our build phase, I started receiving text messages from Bryan that read, 

            “This vagina just dragged his way through 2200 yards,” or

            “I ran. It was hot. I was hot. My penis was drowning in sweat,” and

            “I’m such a pussy. No juice in my legs. Believe it or not, I’m still slow.”

Truth is, Ironman training has seemed to make the holes in our "what's appropriate" filters bigger, and the things Bryan and I have succumbed to saying in order to express frustration, pain, or disappointment would make my mother cringe. Vaginas, pussies, and penises have made their way into mainstream conversation, and I’m not sure exactly how to feel about it. One part of me feels as though they accurately describe the moment. Another part of me feels like I need to find some hand sanitizer for my keyboard, and I’ll be damned if I’m ever to read this blog post aloud.

What's the allure of the God almighty vagina, anyway? I remember looking with disgust and disdain upon guys in high school who used it nonchalantly among themselves. I was raised to know the vagina as a body part, so imagine how I'm reeling with bewilderment when I say I've grown to know "the pussy" in an entirely different context. While I'll admit I own one, I can't ever say I've called myself a vagina outright. I may have admitted to some poor performances by calling myself a pansy, but never a vagina. And I've certainly never called myself a penis. So why do guys call themselves vaginas? What about this whole training for an Ironman thing has made us use such deprecating terms to quantify and qualify our training? Yet what's so insulting about a vagina anyway? What happened to parts are parts?

During one of our countless times climbing Mt. Spokane, Bryan decided he’d had enough following me at my measured pace. So he passed me. I thought to myself, why not congratulate him on his ballsy move? So I exclaimed, “Sir, glad to see your vagina just got a little smaller!” He smirked. It wasn’t ¼ miles up the road when I’d caught back up to him at a particularly steeper section. He looked at me and said, “I’m just going to Bear Creek Lodge. No further.”

To clarify, we’d set a point just past Kirk’s Lodge as our turn around point, maybe a third of a mile higher than where he only wanted to go. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the thought came to my mind, “Your vagina got a whole lot bigger. Can I find you a tampon?”

Vaginas, pussies, and other body parts aside, this round of Ironman training has proven to feel especially hard, but fulfilling to me as well. I’ve managed to keep my full time job as a physical therapist. I looked forward to the early 2 and a half hour long runs that fell on every Tuesday. They provided me an opportunity to enjoy a part of the day many people don’t get to see, and I could run with my two girls, Maci and Ryder, who noticeably enjoyed their roles in caravanning me—Ryder in front, Maci behind—through the woods and on trails that would soon transform into the Ironman course. We make a perfect team.

The final taper week to race day has come. We biked the first part of the course yesterday, and Callaghan Valley didn’t feel nearly as hard as the last time we rode it (no derogatory, dirty words came to mind). In fact, we entered Whistler Olympic Park and witnessed where the biathlon events and ski jumping took place in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The views and scenery were just as breathtaking as before. We enjoyed the Whistler Farmers Market yesterday afternoon, picking up some local produce—berries, cherries, and vegetables—that came from Pemberton Valley.

The view from my place on the couch hasn’t much changed since I began this post, and I hope it doesn’t. May Canada be good to us!

Bryan races as #265. I race as #141. Your prayers and thoughts would be appreciated.


  1. Meghan & Bryan, after reading that blog post, you both deserve to kick ass. Steve T.


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