Saturday, November 15, 2008


Look what I found!

Do you know who this is? Have you any idea?

This is Clucky. My lucky chicken!

A few months ago I searched – fruitlessly – for Clucky at my mom’s house. Boxes of toys circa late 1970s containing Fisher-Price little people, barnyard animals and furniture. Back when you could still find toys small enough to choke on (though I never did).

Anyways, I had written about Clucky on my blog which prompted a full on APB search in mom’s basement. When I could not find him, I got kind of sad. A relic from my past as both a child and a runner was gone.

Fast forward to Saturday. I was sitting around trying not to be taken hold of the half Ironman recovery/Ironman taper blues. Motivation to do triathlon = all time low. Motivation to dress Boss up in stuffed monkey clothes = all time high!

Off to the bedroom we went where I have a drawer filled with clothes for Mr. Pickles. Mr. Pickles is my stuffed monkey. He travels places. He also likes to wear clothes from Build-A-Bear.

Maturity is highly overrated.

I put Boss on the bed while digging through the drawer. To my surprise I found all kinds of fun stuff! Finger puppets, lederhosen (I totally forgot that a trip to Germany for Chris meant searching all over Heidelburg for lederhosen small enough to fit a stuffed monkey) and….

What is this?

Boss waits patiently to get dressed…

Could it be?


I couldn’t believe it! He was found. Boss get off the bed, dress up time is over. I’ve got a new toy! THIS IS A SIGN for sure! Of what, I don’t know. But it means something! I ran downstairs shouting Chris, look what I found! Clucky!

Chris asked if I was going to put him back in my car. What? Wait – yes! Then it hit me. Clucky was last affixed to the dashboard of my first car – a Mazda Protégé. All that crusty gunk around his bottom was gum. In fact, I remember the day I took the gum out of my mouth, put it on Clucky and forever stuck him to the dashboard. When I sold the car, I took Clucky off and somehow he ended up in the toy drawer.

Clucky used to be on a string that I would wear around my neck on the bus trips to cross country meets. That along with a Three Musketeers bar I would keep inside of a plastic Sesame Street lunchbox where I had taped motivational quotes clipped from magazines. What can I say. I thought that top performance was an elusive mystery requiring a plastic chicken, a lunchbox and a candy bar.

Not much has changed.

Everyone knew Clucky. He was lucky. How did I know? Well, I kept getting better and better and it had to be because of the chicken. Even if it wasn’t, who would tempt fate enough to find out?

I remember having breakthroughs as a cross country runner. The first time I averaged 6:20 miles. The time I cracked the top 10 on the race day where it rained. I cried as I came through the finish chute and realized that having stuck it out longer than anyone else in nasty conditions made me a champ that day. A lesson I still go back to. My last meet as a senior where I was right on first place’s tail thinking to myself – why won’t she let me win! This is my last race just let me win! Realizing at that time that you have to really want something to win – you can’t expect someone to give it to you.

These are the memories that Clucky holds. He is a plastic chicken but symbolizes achievement, success, friendship and hope. He reminds me of good things I did as an athlete but also reminds me, reluctantly, of my flaws. Of not surging for first place. Of never accepting the push to the varsity team because I was too scared. Lessons learned.

Today I was feeling low. I am tired and ready to be done with triathlon. I have sat on the (barnyard) fence of maybe I shouldn’t even do Ironman. I want to skip my workouts today and just rest. I know I have worked hard but I am also ready to put 2008 behind and look ahead.

I am still not decided about today. But I have decided that on race day I will put Clucky in my bento box. He reminds me of good things. And maybe on the run I will hold him in my hand. He’s been running with me since I was 15 years old. What’s one more marathon?

As a side note – I just realized Clucky is not a boy. He is a hen. Please don’t spoil it for me by telling me boys cannot be hens. There are some things Clucky and I do not need to know.


IronMatron said...

You and Clucky will have an awesome day down at IMAZ. It's so close now.
Then you can rest! Yeah, rest!

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh tonite! Tomorrow is my first half marathon, thanks for giving me a break from my own thoughts! I found this post especially interesting seeing that I am turning in a report next week about layer hens (yes, they make us do that in vet school). But seeing how sir Clucky needs to be kept in the dark I will go no further. Thanks for keeping up such a great blog!
Jenny in Grenada

Melissa said...

Hey Liz. How cool is it that you found Clucky....perhaps you should gum-affix him to your helmet for IM AZ, just like the old dashboard.

Good luck in your last week of taper!

Alicia Parr said...

All my best to you and Clucky.

Leah said...

I had that same chicken when I was a kid! It came with a whole barn/silo set-up. Are you sure it's not a rooster? Do hens have that red crown on their heads?

Anonymous said...

You loved clucky, I am glad you have found him (her).

BreeWee said...

Go Clucky, Go Liz!
Love the memories of digging deep and knowing nobody will let you win...

I wish AZ was today, I am so excited to watch you and cheer and yell at my computer!

TriEVIElon said...

I can SO relate to your attitude about Ironman. I am training for my first ever and perhaps very last marathon and frankly, I couldn't be more sick of it.

I guess I am smack in the middle of my "deliberate practice" phase of success in this race. I could so use a Clucky! He is adorable and I think you should definitely run with him.

I will, through your fancy phone, virtually access Clucky for my marathon on the 29th. Long about the 20 mile mark I may be so tired that I'll hallucinate that he's running with me.

BEST POSSIBLE WISHES for IMAZ - you will be spectacular!