Skip to main content

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.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How strong are your feet?

Who knew my first post in 2020 would be about the work I'm doing on my feet. Not just any work, but the work required to make them strong enough to propel me to faster running paces, the work to make them durable enough to heal up some old injuries and prevent new ones from taking hold. Jay Dicharry , a Physical Therapist and researcher in Bend, OR, says that almost all ankle, foot, and lower leg injuries can be attributed to faulty foot mechanics and a weak foot core.  I listened to him speak on a podcast called Trail Runner Nation today, and all the advice he provided me during my two personal visits with him last year rushed back in a torrent of memory. It seems fitting that his reminders would hit me like a hammer over my head when I consider the nagging foot pain that has cropped up again over the past couple of weeks. I'm going back to my toe yoga, short foot exercises, and working hard to build up the strength in my foot intrinsic muscles. Meanwhile, here's a b

My opinion...For what it's worth

My first Half Ironman 70.3 turned into Boise 29.3. I may be the only one to say that I respect the officials' judgment call on this one, because apparently, a few of my triathlete comrades lack sufficient brains themselves. The comments I'm reading on Facebook leave me pretty disturbed. Let me just put this out there: I entered this sport because it looked tough and challenging. It pushes anyone who enters these races to their ultimate limits and requires a demanding amount of time to complete the training necessary to succeed. I entered this sport because of the people. Healthy, smart, fit, inspiring, motivating. I can't think of a single person who has questioned my ability to participate in this sport. I entered this sport because anyone can do it. I passed people younger and older than me, some as old as 74. I watched one woman hobble along the run course, surely just on her first lap. She looked like her knees were going to cave in. Yet she was running. I did not ent

It is finished

As with everything in life, nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable. It does not always mean it's a turn for the worst. In my case, I think this is a change for the better. As of 2021, I am closing the door on racing triathlon and rekindling my investment in the doctorate degree I worked for in Physical therapy. Thankfully, making money again has felt much more productive than losing it in the pursuit of professional triathlon. Thankfully, my body has responded positively to a slackened training schedule. Thankfully, my head is clearer for the release in pressure to perform.  I needed a new pursuit, a new challenge, a new endeavor. Raising and showing my dogs has helped me slow down, challenged me to learn and communicate differently, and taught me that physical fitness can still be achieved to a lesser, healthier extent.  It has worked so well that I'm also going back to doing what I loved to do 10 years ago. Pursuing a more simple lifestyle (outside of work, of course) a