Friday, November 30, 2012

I think you're in the wrong place

I woke up this morning and quickly realized that i have nothing entertaining or valuable to society to say.  So, i present you with the third installment of weird shit people googled to end up on my blog.

1.  olive with drinks  Sounds like someone has heard about the infamous "sara-tini"

2.  "lobotomized teenagers"  I would be concerned about this, if it weren't for the quotation marks.  Somehow that makes it warm and almost lovable.

3.  american watch too much tv  Busted.  :(  Can you blame me though?  Walking Dead?  Boardwalk Empire?  is a girl supposed to just NOT watch these shows???

4.  dan gibbons- dog trainer  Obviously it did not take long for someone to bust me out on Waffles' terrible leash manners during a 5k....

5.  ginger runs back and forth.  So apparently I'm not the only one doing this?

6.  how soon is meow  Apparently, they missed my tribute to meow, who sadly lost his battle with feline obesity.  You are not forgotten, Meow!

7.  junkie lindsay lohan  Hey now, lets not judge.  Who among us can say that they don't get all hopped on a Biebs concert and then catfight a bitch.  Thats not drugs, thats spirit.  And drugs.

8.  turkey running to i will survive  Yeah, i want to see this.  I want it real bad.  Man i hope they found it....

9.  will there be bloody marys at the 2012 dan gibbons turkey trot  Yes, my friend.  And they will be plentiful.

And lastly, what is possibly the best thing ever googled, let alone google-directed to my blog......

10.  raccoon standing on garbage can with cutting torch
Yes.  A million times, YES.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I ran on my lunch break, so i had limited time to heat up my lunch and consume it afterwards.  I was holding my gym bag, and putting my ziploc container of lunch into the microwave when all of the sudden, the condensation from being in the fridge made it slip out of my hand and fall directly INTO THE F***ING GARBAGE!!!!!!!!
Seriously, my whole lunch.  Gone.  Just like that.  I am fighting tears right now.  And my lunch break is over.

My sadness inducing substitute lunch:
Not fulfilling in anyway.



Also, i lost a glove.  Today sucks.

And you thought the whining would stop once it cooled off...


1.  Because we are spending so much time indoors, Matt is spending a crazy amount of time playing Halo, which i nag him about.  Constantly.  I just think any one over the age of 19 should not spend so much time playing a game where you shoot people and yell at the screen.  As a means to distract me, he managed to find "The Sims" for $8.  You know, that computer game for 10 year olds?  Needless to say, i can't stop playing it.  
Probably because she isn't wasting all her free time playing the Sims...
First World Problems.

2.  Speaking of the Sims, i created a Sim Sara and a Sim Matt, and they are beginning to mimic real Sara and Matt in a horrifying way.  Sim Matt keeps getting up in the middle of the night to eat snacks, and then leave dishes all over the house.  Then Sim Sara wakes up, sees the dishes, throws a temper tantrum, and goes to work angry.  It's like they're studying me....

First World Problems.

3.  Also being caused by winter, it's cold.  Like really, annoyingly cold.  I bought waffles a $3 ugly sweater to wear around the house, because we try not to turn the heat up past 68.  
Unfortunately, it was impossible to get on her.  I think they make these sweaters with pomeranians in mind, because the sweater was a nightmare.  Her chest is so narrow that the medium was baggy on her, and her awkwardly large ears and neck didn't fit through the head hole.  I had to cut out the belly part and have her wear it as a shawl.  Why is no on making clothes to fit my super awkward dog??? 

Three dollars wasted.

First World Problems.

4.  I am so sick of everyone celebrating the return of perfect running weather.  Yes, it is in fact perfect running weather.  Things this weather is NOT perfect for:

Walking my skeletor dog.
Getting into my car.
Going anywhere.
Waking up.
Preventing reptile skin.
Living a wool-free, itch-free lifestyle.

I do not like being cold.
First World Problems.

5.  The recent cold front has also left us all with a case of kennel cough.  Ok, Waffles has kennel cough, and Matt and I have people cough.  Either way, our apartment is a nightmare of phlegm and honking sounds.  None of us is really that sick, just enough for us all to be really whiny and annoying.  It doesn't help that some how tiny waffles has the loudest, deepest honking cough i have ever heard in my life.  And she only seems to cough when i am in bed, and she is not.
Once she makes it into the bed, she is miraculously cured......

First World Problems.

6.  Matt and I are getting our Christmas tree this weekend.  We had a beautiful real tree last year, shown here in blurry exhibit A:
This will be Waffles first Xmas tree!  Only problem is, we were out walking her last night, and there was a man walking with a Christmas tree, like a tiny one you would put on a table, and Waffles saw it and FREAKED THE HELL OUT.  She almost strangled herself trying to run from it.  The guy was even nice enough to stop and put the tree down so she could investigate it, but she was having none of it.  This dog hates Christmas.

First World Problems.

7.  Among other winter weather proofing, we had to put plastic over all our windows.  I want to say its because we are so environmentally conscious that we want to minimize our fuel consumption, but honestly, its because i am cheap and hate being cold.  We also did a shitty job of planning and had to tape multiple scraps together to cover the last couple windows....

First World Problems.

8.  I spend a lot of time talking about waffles on this blog, and i am pretty sure none of you even know that we have a second pet.  We have a pufferfish named Potbelly, and honestly, i hate the little jerk.  It is solely Matt's responsibility, and i choose to ignore him.  I tried to get along with him at first, and i even bought him fish friends, but he proceeded to eat every friend i got him.  He even bites me if i put my hand in.  This fish is an asshole.  Matt noticed a big puddle of water near his tank last night, and accused Waffles of having an accident.  She never has accidents, so i called BS.  It's also a huge puddle. I am pretty sure she isn't hiding a 2 liter bladder.  We cleaned everything up and put towels down, but we can't find a leak in PB's tank anywhere.  I am 95% sure that little jerk is spending all day splashing water out of the tank just to piss me off.  There might just come a day when Matt come home and PB is missing.  And i will not be the least bit sad.  Or guilty.  I swear.

First World Problems.

9.  I am already about to drive my car off a bridge if i have to listen to one more Christmas song.  I made it 6 days this year, which is a new record for me.  Except Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is coming to town.  I could listen to that shit on repeat.

First World Problems.

10. Annndddd i feel the same way about christmas movies.  Except Mickey's Christmas Carol.  I love Scrooge McDuck.  I could watch him all year round.  But seriously, all the other santa/reindeer/home for christmas/christmas miracle crap needs to GTFO my television. * 

(*I'm not a total grinch.  Although i hate that grinch movie, too.  I am actually quite fond of a miracle on 34th street.  I like that sassy girl that calls santa out on the absurdity of his existence.  She reminds me of a young me.)

First World Problems.

Notice there are no Running FWP.  I hate to admit it, but it is good running weather.  And that is only snark-free comment you are getting out of me today!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot!

Sorry this is late - suck at most things.  Running, Blogging, and Photo-documenting included.  

Every year, i run the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot in Elmhurst with my cousins.  This was my fourth turkey trot!  The first year was ridiculous in that i was seriously wearing chuck taylors and sweatpants.

I've come so far.....

This was Matt's 3rd time, and Waffles very first one!
I wanted to get us turkey hats, but i couldn't find anything, so we had to settle for antlers.  I think it was a wise purchase though, because now i can wear them for any christmas runs i might attempt!  We drove to my cousins house the night before, and drank ourselves stupid late into the evening.  Waffles was smart enough to stick to water, but she did play all night with my cousins dogs, Cubby and Wrigley.  She normally goes to bed around 9:30, but she was up until 2am!  The race starts at 9, but Waffles was so excited that she decided to wake up at 6am to try and sneak in some more play time with Cubby and Wrigley.  She was very quiet, but they both weigh 80-90 lbs, and made so much noise they woke everyone up, and everyone was pissed!  We got to the race early so i could get our bibs and t-shirts, and so that Waffles could do business before the race, and hopefully settle down
She went potty, but there were so many dogs she was freaking out with excitement.  We let her play with a few dogs, and she finally settled down to scope her competition
I love the dan gibbons turkey trot, but it has gotten huge the past couple years - over 8,000 runners this year! We started with the walkers, which ended up being a huge mistake.  It was so crowded that we had to carry waffles because she kept getting stepped on (her own fault.) Next year we will start with the runners in the back.  Before we even got to the start line, we had to be moved to the sidewalks to make room for the winners, whom were 2 minutes away!
We finally crossed the start line, and things began to clear up.  We stayed on the sidewalk where there were less people for waffles to trip.  Luckily, within the first half mile, she spotted a bloody mary station! Last year, they had changed the course to accomodate all the extra people, and i had missed the bloody marys.  This year, i am pleased to say there were not one, but TWO bloody mary stations, a screwdriver station, and a jello shot station!  Who needs water!
Apparently, Waffles does.  We had to stop a few times so she could pee.  We totally neglected to stop during the race to give her water, so when she finished, she ended up chugging TWO (mini) BOTTLES!
Waffles did very good in the race, and even ran the whole time! (minus the potty breaks)  She had a lot of trouble finding the right pace - she has a slow pony trot, and cheetah style sprint.  She kept switching back and forth trying to find the best approach.  She seemed to find her groove after the first mile.  She still has a lot to learn about race etiquette though, as she weaved a lot, and kept tugging at the leash whenever she saw another dog.  Or a squirrel.  Or a stroller.  Or people.
In the end, we were very proud of her!  She averaged a pace of 10:40, which is very impressive for a first 5k, and considering all the stops.  

We went back to my cousins house victorious, and had more bloody marys.  Waffles spent all day playing with the other dogs, and following around my little cousin Emily, who somehow had convinced Waffles she was also a dog.  Waffles even managed to get some turkey.  No comment.

I will of course be running the Dan Gibbons turkey trot next year, rain or shine, as will Waffles.  Hopefully she will be a little better at running form by then.  This race is very fun for the casual runner or walker.  There is a lot of booze on the course, costumes, and everyone is super friendly.  It is untimed, so the competitive edge is taken down a notch.  On the plus side, dogs and strollers are allowed!  On the down side, dogs and strollers are allowed.  If crowds and chaos annoy you, this isn't your race.  If you are trying to PR, not your race.  If you get annoyed by 8 year old walkers starting in the very front - not your race.  If you like booze, running casually, costumes, dogs, dragging your family along, etc, then this race is totally for you!

On side note, if you are HYPER competitive, the York track team and alumni compete every year.  the top three men usually run sub a sub 15 minute 5k, and the top three women under 17:30.  SO, if you think you can compete with that, it might be worth it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obvious Solutions

I was going to write all about waffles' first turkey trot, but then i left my camera at home, and what is a waffles story without adorable pictures of her.  #FWP, for sure.
Instead, here is a photo of Matt and I wearing candle wreaths on our head for  one of our thanksgivings.  Have you seen the Ref?

Anyways, i was trying to think about what would be a relavant blog post today, but i have been such a cranky bitch for the past two weeks, i was afraid that the second i opened the type window, it would just become a pile of whiney word vomit.  "I don't have time to run, I can't stop eating, It's cold out, My house is a mess, waaaaahhhhhhhh"

Then, as i was sitting at a light waiting to get on the jam-packed highway so that i could whimper for an hour about my commute, a light turned on in my brain (finally) - I had once again packed way more food than a single person should ever eat in a day, and there was my favorite underpass transient scavenging for food and change.  So i gave him my apple.  


I know this doesn't seem like rocket science, but it got me thinking - what else is making me miserable despite obvious answers right in front of me?  For example, i am simultaneously depressed about the lack of sunlight preventing me from running in the evenings, and my lack of extraneous cash preventing me from going out to lunch everyday.  Wait for it - since i pack a lunch, and hoover it down in less than 5 minutes, what if i started running at lunch??  HOLY CRAP, i'm on fire!

To top it all off, every thanksgiving, visiting my moms cluttered house sends me into a maniacal cleaning spree, only this year rather than throwing away my gently used running shoes and cardigans that Matt has shrank, i will be trucking them to goodwill, so that some very tiny person can hopefully use them this Christmas.  

In the spirit of all the upcoming religious holidays, what eureka moments are YOU finding to help give back, and appreciate what you have?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest post!

Hey everyone!  Waffles here!
Mom's been busy at work this week with a presentation, so being the amazing dog that i am, I decided to come to work with her so i could help out with administrative things like blogging and trying to knock bagels out of the interns hands so that i can steal them.  

I'm a little nervous because tonight we are all driving to Elmhurst, (which for a dog is really REALLY far away) so that i can run my very first 5k tomorrow!  Mom and Dad are even running it with me!  I have never run in a race before, and i have all the same concerns that anyone has before their first race.  
I figured i could vent on here-

1.  What do i wear??  Mom bought me an ugly dog sweater at target, but i panicked when she tried to pull it over my head and ended up karate chopping her in the face.  Now she is going to have to modify it so that it velcros on, but that will take a couple days!  Luckily, it's supposed to be a warm thanksgiving, so i think i will be ok.

2.  What pace do i run??  I don't have much training, but i am naturally very fast.  WAY faster than mom and dad- they could never keep up with me!  I think i could beat a greyhound if i was taller!  I have tried running with mom before, but i like to tug and that annoys her....but she really should run faster.  Sometimes dad will sprint with me, but then i will see something cool that i have to sniff, and i will stop suddenly and end up tripping both of us.  I think we can run the 5k in 40 minutes tomorrow (even though it's untimed!)  If i can ditch mom and dad though, i think i can do it in 15.  If i could stay on the course...

3.  What do i eat?  I have IBD, so a lot of food makes me sick.  I think my meals will all be prepacked for me.  I think i might get some treats on the course though to help keep me focused!

4.  What do i do after? I heard there might be lots of food.  Sadly, my parents are really strict about table scraps.  I'm hoping that if i am really good, i might get some turkey under the table!

I am both excited and nervous.  Since the race isn't competitive  I am just going to try and have a good time, and use my sighthound abilities to  spot the bloody mary station, because mom was so hungover last year she missed it.  I think my mom might take me for a quick shake out jog at lunch too, because i keep running around the office like a maniac and she looks pissed.

I hope everyone has a very happy thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not to brag, but I'm a -20.

So for my health insurance through work, we have the option to have a yearly screening that, if you score in the "healthy range" (cholesterol, weight, blood sugar, metabolic functions, yada yada yada) you get a huge discount on your  health insurance rates.  Basically, you want a "0" or less (On a scale from -20 to +20)  And, I am happy to announce that for the second year in a row, i am a -20!  Apparently, I excel at health!!  I have been pre-diabetic for years, and i am very pleased that for a second year in a row, i have just managed to squeeze my blood sugar level into a healthy range.  So apparently, running lots of marathons is good for you.

I don't know how to put this, but I'M KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

There is literally no other point to this post than me bragging about my amazing cholesterol levels and discounted health insurance.  Maybe i should turn this into healthy living blog???

I'm just kidding.  This will never be a healthy living blog.  I love gummy bears and vodka too much.  Both together and separately.   Is it Thanksgiving yet?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some goals for the off season.

From now until January 5th, I get a reprieve.  That doesn't mean i get to just skip running.  (I did that all last week, and it was both glorious and traumatic to my waistline.) But it does mean that i am just running around all "willy nilly" with no goals, no target, and no plan.  Its a little scary to not have a paper schedule telling me what distance to run everyday.  I was (am) very tempted to sign up for the Schaumburg turkey trot half marathon this weekend.  VERY tempted.  But truth be told, the next month is about rebuilding and regenerating, and NOT signing up for races like a maniac.  

But, as someone who fails miserably at life without structure, i thought i could make a few goals to ride me through until probably February when my mileage will kick back up for spring marathoning. 

1.  Think up some goals for next year (yes.  one of my goals is to make more goals.  go easy on me.)  I need to make some realistic goals for next years running season.  Realistically, i think "PR at everything" will be part of it- one of the benefits of being mediocre at best is the room for infinite improvement.

2.  Focus on speed.  I spent all year making sure my body can handle the brutality of 26 miles, which leaves very little room (or energy) for speed training.  This winter i WILL crack the 8 minute mile barrier.  I don't know when;  I don't know where; but 7:59 - I am COMING FOR YOU!

3.  I know i say this all the time, but strength training.  It seriously has to happen.  I walked into a door this morning.  My noodle arms suck so bad right now.  
Wearing every piece of weight training gear my brother owned.
4.  Try somekind of new-fangled exercise class.  Last year it was hot yoga (which i love, providing it's just childs pose) but its time to expand.  Crossfit?  P90x? Barre? Bootcamp?  Quite frankly, they all sound terrifying, but if you aren't at least a little terrified, you aren't trying hard enough.

5.  Work-Life-Running balance.  Maybe this year i will get it right!  Or maybe not.  We'll see.....Either way, i need to at least try to find a truce between running as much as i want, advancing in my career, and keeping a clean house, with a happy and well fed Matt and Waffles.  

Ok, who am i kidding.  The last one is never gonna happen.  But i can promise you that they won't starve.  

Do you have an "off season"?  Or are you totally badassing it and marathoning all year round?  What is your game plan for the next couple months?  Do you want to run with me?  I am seriously lacking motivation to run in the cold dark world right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dead week and mixology magic.

If you follow me on daily mile, you may notice the big fat goose egg that has been sitting next to my name this week.  Yeah, it's driving me crazy.  But honestly?  I have been training my bootie off for the past 10 months, and quite frankly, I'm exhausted.  I'm not so much physically exhausted - it's not like i have ever (or will ever) put in a 100 mile week, but i am mentally drained.  For me, the hardest part about running as much as i have this year is everything i have to skip to make it possible.  Working and commuting as much as i do doesn't allow you bundles of free time, so every morning i wake up, and if i want to run, i have to decide what to skip.  (Spoiler: It's usually laundry)

So, this week i am catching up on sleep, dishes, laundry, housework, cooking healthy meals, training my monster dog, visiting with old friends, and just a crap ton of stuff i have been putting off (I'm looking at YOU broken tail light!)  I am also in the process of weening myself off the horrifying levels of caffeine and sugar that have sustained me the past ten months, as well as the 4000 calories a day that i really don't need right now.  I could always just run another marathon, but i like to think that taking a little me time right now will set me up for a stellar year next year, where i will be faster, stronger, more organized, and will succeed in keeping laundry mountain in check.

While major changes to the diet are a huge struggle (how do i feel so deprived on 2500 calories a day?  I would die in the third world. FWP.) There have been two really easy transitions.  One is weening myself off of candy.  I always have it in the car during my 2-3 hours commuting every day.  I am not banning candy - it's just not allowed in the car.  The second is soda.  During marathon season I enjoy a full sugar soda a few times a week.  To me it's almost the same thing as gatorade only 10 million times tastier.  It's also quick and easy carbo-loading. (nutritionists, please pause - i know there are different types of carbs.)  However when i am not running 40 miles a week, all that sugar is just extra calories i don't need right now.  I am also not a huge fan of diet soda.  It is not the same thing.  Thats why thanks to Coca-cola and there new freestyle machines (have you seen them? They look like soda robots from the future!), i have made up a few "compromises" that have less calories, but still taste deeeeelish!

Ignore the fact that i look homeless, it's been a long week.
 Basically, these machines let you customize your drink.  You can literally make hundreds of different combinations, so its pretty sure to please everyone, even picky divas like myself.
You can locate machines through their website HERE.  We found one that was supposed to be at the walgreens by our place, but sadly, they are still remodeling and the machine wasn't there yet.  Luckily, i bribed Matt to go with me to Potbellys by offering to buy him a beverage and dream bar.
 My #1 drink is "The Gingerfoxxx"  It's half coke zero, half cherry coke.  Unfortunately though, we went in the evening, and i was worried the caffeine would interfere with my 9:30 bedtime.  So, i improvised with:

"The Nightfoxxx!"  A caffeine free and sparkly alternative.  Its 2 parts Dasani raspberry sparkling water, 1 part Sprite Vanilla, and 1 part Seagrams club soda.  It's delicious, and slightly reminiscent of cream soda! 
I also created a drink for Matt that we named the "Deans Delight" which was half Hi-C raspberry lime, half Seagrams club soda (we're big club soda people.)
Both of our drinks had less than half the calories of a normal soda (Matt isn't running these days either) and were still really tasty.  I really hope to see more of these machines, because to me, mixing soda flavors kind of comes naturally.  If one flavor is good, 4 flavors will be even better.  I vote to see them in 7-11's and gas stations.  And i told them this.  But until then, you can find them at some of the new "Super-Walgreens", Burger Kings, and some of the "fast casual" restaurants like Potbellys, Go Roma, Noodles & Co, and Five Guys.  And some movie theaters too!

So cheers!  Go forth and create awesome drinks.  Or if not, just try the Gingerfoxxx, you won't regret it.  It's totally a thing now, because i said so.  Orrrrr, try to make something better- what crazy combo can you think up??

***Also, It looks like the coke freestyle team will be at the Northwestern/Illinois game the weekend after thanksgiving - go check them out, and go Illini!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sligo and N. Ireland, and then I'm done.

I swear.

After galway, we stayed for a night in Sligo, just south of Donegal.  Sligo is also the birth and resting place of W. B. Yeats, if thats your thing.  Also, don't pronouce Yeats "Yeets" because Irish people will not hesitate to correct you, (as Matt learned the hard way.)
Sligo was full of rainbows, and oysters!  Matt and I ended up sneaking away from my family one night to stuff our faces with oysters at Yeats Tavern.  Normally, i wash my oysters down with a dirty martini, but they had never heard of it, so i had to settle for wine instead.
Our B&B had a stunning view of Ben Bulben, a natural plateau which i totally intend to hike up next time we are there.  After leaving Sligo, we headed up to Northern Ireland.  My mom never got to visit before because of the conflict, so we wanted to take advantage.  We drove along the causeway passage, which is basically a beautiful coastal road.  We stopped at Mussenden temple so that i could chase some sheep, and Matt could take 3,000 more pictures.  (I didn't really chase the sheep.  It started raining, so i started running through the field and it startled all of them.)

Mussenden's temple was ok, but i liked the sea view better.

After the temple, i was starving as always.  We stopped in Bushmills, the most beautiful little town ever, and a nice lady at a cafe made me a cheese toastie.  (so much cooler to say than grilled cheese, which is a blatant lie if you think about it)  After lunch, we went to bushmills distillery for a tour and tasting.
If you are in Ireland, skip The Jameson tour - but the Bushmills tour is a MUST!  Its the oldest licensed distillery in the world - operating since 1608!  A huge fire destroyed most of the distillery about 100 years ago, but they rebuilt, and that is what stands today.  This tour actually takes you through the warehouse to see how whiskey is made, bottled, and distributed, as well as the aging warehouse, filled to the rafters with barrels of whiskey.  So awesome.  You also drink both before and after the tour, which is smart, because by the time i left, i was drunk enough to buy a very nice bottle of whiskey to bring home.
We left Bushmills and raced to see Giant's Causeway before the sun set.  It was quite the race, and Matt and i ended up running close to a mile, fairly drunk on whisky, in order to make it to the hexagonal volcanic rocks.  These geometric rocks formed naturally, and are staggered along the coast in one small area.  It was unlike anything i have seen before.  We got to watch the sun set, and then spent our last night in a little B&B before flying back in the morning!

Obviously, this is the extremely abridged version of our trip as i don't want to bore you, but i would highly recommend both the Dublin Marathon, or just about any part of Ireland to anyone - Its a great place to visit, and I am already plotting to return!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thrill-seeking and the west coast (of Ireland, obvi.)

We only spent one night in Dingle, and i think that was one of my biggest mistakes of the whole trip.  I loved it there.  Matt and I went for a very hilly run through the bay, and stopped to look at sheep.  I really wanted to go to the Dingle Brewing Co tour, but the brewery had really weird hours in the off season.  I will be back.  Oh yes, i will be back. 

Our next stop was Bunratty, which wasn't far, so we did some sight seeing on the Dingle Peninsula.
This road side statue caught my attention, apparently it was there when my mom was visiting 30 years ago!

We did some shopping in Bunratty, but didn't have time to visit the castle there, so we just admired it from afar.
We also drove through Kilarney National Park, but it rained the whole time, and i was displeased.  We had to stop for an hour while Matt photographed a stupid waterfall, so my brother and I started goofing around.

After Bunratty, we drove up to the Cliffs of Moher.  Everyone told me it was the most beautiful place and i HAD to go there.  It was beautiful, but i won't lie - it was touristy.  Even in the off season, it was so crowded you couldn't get a picture without some random Italian teenager in the picture.  So, i did what any American would do, i illegally hopped a fence with Matt, and we followed a cow trail along the edge of the cliffs for about half a mile so that we could get some pictures!
Sign?  I don't see a sign.
Matt stopped to take a picture of some cows whose space we were invading.
And so did I! (Look how close she is to the edge!!)
After the cliffs of Moher, we arrived in Galway, and it proceeded to hail the entire time.  So, we made lemonade out of lemons and got drunk at Tig Coili, a trad pub.
Which might not have been our best idea, seeing as how Matt and i were going to climb Crough Patrick (Mount Patrick) in the morning.

Croagh Patrick is a pilgrimage site, so Catholics from all over the country travel there to climb to the top, where St. Patrick supposedly fasted for 40 days, and built a little church.  (You have a lot of free time when you don't eat for 40 days, i suppose)  Aside from the ruins of St. Patrick's church, They built a little modern church at the top, and hold services twice a year.  On these two days, 10's of thousands of devout catholics will make the pilgrimage, sometimes barefoot and shirtless.  The day we went was just a random Saturday, but apparently there are pilgrims 365 days a year, so we weren't alone.  
I will never know why we would think a pilgrimage would be a fun Saturday afternoon.  About a quarter way up, we stopped to check the view, and it was so beautiful we decided to carry on.
We were stopped about half way up by a medic crew, who advised us to turn our American asses around because we were dressed like morons.  Apparently jeans and nike rain jackets are not appropriate hiking gear.  The weather had been a rain/sleet mix with gale force winds, and the suggested we might not be able to handle it.  Naturally, we ignored the warning, and continued on.  Our main reasoning was that obviously, you don't hike all the way to the snow capped top.  For the record, you totally have to go all the way to the snow cap.  We began to realize this when everyone around us were suited up in snow pants, boots, and heavy winter coats.  
Not only were we the only Americans, we were the only people under 50.  Apparently, young people have no appreciation for pilgrimages these days.  As we neared the top, the sleet became snow, the wind picked up, and the terrain became a vertical sheet of ice with a smattering of loose, melon size rocks.  Every time you put your foot down, rocks would shift, and you would start to slide.  Luckily, the 50mph winds helped to keep you upright.  As we neared the very top, everything became hazy, and you couldn't see in front of you, or behind you, and I proceeded to have an anxiety attack.  
This was all i could see.
I became hysterical, because i couldn't see any other pilgrims, and i assumed they were smart enough to turn around because the weather was SO bad.  I was convinced Matt and I would die up here, wearing our blue jeans, and they would make a TV movie about us.  I wondered if Emma Stone would be available to play me.....

Then a woman in her 50's came up to us, passed us, and said, "you know, the top is only about 100 meters from here...."  Ouch.  We followed her to the top, and found about 8 other people just hanging out in the blizzasterous conditions.  The woman was nice enough to take our picture, because my hands were frozen by this point from not wearing gloves....
Is this the resting place of St. Patrick?  No idea.
The little church that St. Patrick built.
On the way down, it was even scarier.  I kept sliding and falling.  There was an 80 year old man with a cane next to us, with his 60 year old son helping him.  They were joking, and laughing, and having the best time.  He was so grateful that he could still walk to make the pilgrimage, and that was incredibly humbling.  I was still visibly in panic mode, mumbling about wanting to live, and another older gentleman asked me if the bar at the top was still serving drinks, which made me laugh out loud despite my terror.  I am not a catholic, or religious, but i still found this pilgrimage to be extremely spiritual, and i have great respect for all the people making it.  Eventually, the descent got easier, and finally we left the haze, and i could see again.  At the bottom, we found a sign with instructions on what to do if you panic near the top of the mountain, so apparently, i am not the only one.  
Did i mention that morning they had a dualathalon that involved ascending and descending most of the mountain?
Seriously, the Irish are so hardcore.

I was going to talk about Sligo as well, but this seems like a lot of pictures for one post, so tomorrow i will wrap up with Sligo and Northern Ireland!