Third time is something of a charm (Boulder 70.3)

So, Boulder 70.3 (2017)   has come and gone.  I planned to write a pre-race ramble, but failed to do so.  Well, actually, I got this far:  So, it’s been a while since I did anything that resembled a race event, over a year, to be precise, and, now, I’m having to remind myself of the protocols – formal and informal – of race week.  I say that I’m racing in parenthesis because, while Boulder 70.3 is my “A” race of 2017, I’m nowhere near to being in true race shape, or what would have been race shape in past years, and really this is more like a dust-off-the-cobwebs-race.  But, so it goes…  Different years, different priorities, a lingering foot injury that kept my running game minimalistic for months, to say the least, and, yet, I’m looking forward to suiting up on Saturday and see how the swim/bike/run legs feel and to be out there, feel the energy of other people, and just embrace the fact that I have the good fortune and privilege to participate in the race.   Continue reading “Third time is something of a charm (Boulder 70.3)”

Advertisements

That commitment piece

With 2017 well underway at this point (hello February!), we’ve officially hit the mid-winter doldrums at school.  Still, I’m looking forward to a break coming up, and a short month will probably feel better too, especially as the days grow longer by small increments.

I’ve mentioned time and again that a full embrace of life in Colorado has come along a bit slower than I expected, and it’s challenged me, but that I need/want to bridge that gap this year.  One major piece that will give me more of a sense of stability and direction is now in place (at least for the next 12 months) – the job front!  Basically, I feel as though I’ve been looking for a future job for the past 15 months.  Even when I’ve had a job (last spring and throughout this academic year), the situation seemed uncertain and left me feeling unsatisfied.  I haven’t had a full-time contract for this year, and I signed it fully aware of that situation, but it’s chaffed to not be truly invested in the community and in teaching. A large part of my sense of dissatisfaction stems from the fact that I’ve felt guilty about not contributing to our household finances (this is full disclosure here!), but it also goes deeper than that.  At my last school and even the Swiss gig, I felt over,-involved, which I loved.  People (teachers) often bitch and moan about that aspect of teaching, but it’s also something that most teachers enjoy – or they wouldn’t do it.  For me, being “all in” regarding the school community energizes me while taking a more laissez-faire attitude has the opposite effect, leaving me with a sense of inertia.  So, that’s a long explanation to say that I’ve had an offer that for the next 2 years.  It will, yes, keep me teaching middle school Spanish (sigh – that is another topic altogether!) but will also give me a sense of stability and focus. Continue reading “That commitment piece”

Hitting the reset button

Seeing as I’ve fallen off the interweb ‘face of the earth’, it seems that a renewed commitment to blogging would be a good shift.  I have the time these days, but finding the energy, focus and, most important of all, the content has been elusive.  As Michael and I have shifted from a life of constant limbo and uncertainty to a more settled experience here in Colorado, I feel compelled and I finally WANT to reflect on where I’ve been over the past 16 months and to look towards the future without the anxiety that has been a constant companion for so many months.

I fear that I sound like a broken record as I keep going on and on about the past year, but it’s been a doozy!  While we knew that leaving California way back in June 2015 (seems like a lifetime ago) would present challenges, I never ever expected the ups and downs that came with the past year.  I’d say that, for 15 months or so, the highs and lows were both extreme.  Enjoying friends and family in CO, spending 3 months in Switzerland, traveling to Asia, and skiing all spring were just a few of those peaks, but the valleys felt more like deep ravines, and I questioned our decision to pick up and move to one of the MOST POPULAR PLACES IN THE US.  Or, if I didn’t doubt the decision, I questioned our timing.  As different fantasmal job opportunities appeared and, poof, disappeared, Michael and I were constantly stressed, and we wondered if Colorado would work out long-term.

Fortunately, after much teeth-gnashing and all of this uncertainty (Yes, I know), I think that we’re finally ‘nesting’.  While I don’t love my current teaching position and might review the what-do-I-want-to-do-with-life question, as a family, we are okay – good, even.  By mid-September, Michael’s job situation fell into place, and we both exhaled.  It felt as though a huge burden of stress just rolled off our backs.  With new jobs that took us both to Denver, it seemed absurd to continue to live in Boulder, so we began to shop around for a new place (to rent, at this point), thinking that we would move for a November 1st deadline. However, a place opened up October 1st and we scrambled to make that date.  To our surprise, we find ourselves living in Golden, Colorado – yes, Golden, the home of Coors Brewing!  I say “surprise” because I assumed that we would find a place in Denver, but Michael was somewhat opposed to returning to an urban living experience.  PLUS, living in Denver, depending on the area, wouldn’t have necessarily been an ‘easy’ commute for either of us.  Golden seemed, in many ways, like a good compromise – it’s still a bit of a commute for him, but he’s driving against traffic which helps, and we’re close to TONS of open space.  We feel that we are about 25 minutes from ‘everywhere’ – meaning Boulder and Denver – and it’s easy to get to the mountains.  I think that we’ll end up exploring Denver a bit more, and while I’m okay that we aren’t living there, I am definitely looking forward to venturing out and about in the city – going to museums, eating at a greater variety of restaurants, having more options in general.

Throughout this process, it’s been interesting to think about what makes a place feel like home or my life feel ‘settled’.  We still see our current situation as a 12-month gig, and after that, we probably will look to buy a house and fully commit to the area.  Even so, compared to where and how we were living in Boulder, I feel more like an adult (at age 44!), and our place, while still small and not what we want long-term, gives me a sense that we’re creating a home.  I’m not overly attached to material possessions, but it is nice to have moved all of our crap out of storage and to find items that we’ve missed for the past 12 months – pictures, books, paintings…   We miss certain aspects of living in Boulder, no doubt, but it is nice to feel that we are no longer in transition.

Another shift is that we’re back to cooking more- real recipes, not just grilling everything. At the moment we’re on a Vietnamese kick thanks to Charles Phan’s (from The Slanted Door in San Francisco) Vietnamese Home Cooking.  I find it funny  that we came from LA with FOUR bottles of fish sauce  and several types of soy sauce  (I’m sure that they have fish sauce and soy sauce in Colorado, but…), but apparently we are now putting all of this to good use, especially since we rediscovered our wok which had been in storage since June of last year.  I’m not sure if my current read, The Sympathizer, which I highly recommend, has influenced our current cooking kick. But, back to cooking in general – there is something so comforting and grounding in looking through a cookbook, trying out a new recipe or returning to an old favorite.  It’s one of those activities that settles me in more ways than one.

Along the same line of renewal and returns, I’m back to a training schedule.  The summer months really got away from me, although I felt quite inspired when I spectated/crewed (sort of crewed; our main contribution was dinner for the “main” crew experts and pacers) at the Leadville Trail 100 which my cousin ran for the TENTH time.  He barely made one of the cutoffs, so it was something of a nail-biter for the spectators/crew (oh, and also for him), but, in the end, he pulled through.  It was an amazing experience, and it definitely makes me think harder about the ultra-running/trail running community and the opportunities to connect with people and places.

My cousin with his 1,000 mile buckle!  His second of the summer because he also earned one for the 100 mile bike race!  He has a wall of bibs in his house – and he might have to start a new wall soon.  The other photos are of his trusty crew.

While that served as inspiration, it still took a while for me to seriously think about returning to some sort of training routine, but as a new month (November) grew closer and closer, I began to seriously think about a new coach and a renewed commitment to training.  It’s been a while, and I cannot deny that I’m out of shape (I am!).  While I’ve kept up my running fitness, to a certain degree, I’ve spent months without swimming or biking once.  So, this will be a long, slow and challenging process, especially as I compare “where I was” to “where I am”.  Obviously I can’t use my old fitness as a yardstick, and it’s okay that I’ve taken a prolonged break.  I might feel even *more* excited to start over again.  We shall see…  But the fun is beginning as I’ve already spent time in the pool and on the trainer this week.  2017 triathlon season – here we go!

Boulder 70.3: Highs and lows

Just a note: I wrote this ages ago and then waited and waited for the race photos.  Yes, I’m one of those people who purchases the race photos, depending on the race!  And, yes, Boulder 70.3 actually happened – a few weeks ago now, which, in racing time is like “years ago”.

In some ways, it doesn’t feel *right* to spend 500 or 5,000 words on a navel-gazing ‘race report’.  Additionally, now that 7-8 days since last Saturday have passed, so many details that seemed oh-so important at the time have faded.  That, however, might be a good thing as maybe I’ll be somewhat more brief.

Continue reading “Boulder 70.3: Highs and lows”

Change in seasons

Cue the ubiquitous and cliché “It’s spring” post – just in time for Earth Day (which we celebrated by watching Chasing Ice – even more cliché, although the photographer spoke at the school where I’m teaching and I’m teaching his daughter, so it had a personal connection).  Also, speaking of new seasons, Game of Thrones tonight?!  I’m equal parts excited and terrified – what other show makes you feel that way?

Back to this spring thing…   Continue reading “Change in seasons”

March and April theme: Focus

As I mentioned, I’ve moved past the (f)Unemployment phase – at least for now – and am working at a charter school in Boulder through the end of the school year.  While it isn’t the *ideal* job in some ways, in other ways, I was very lucky.  It was a maternity leave position that was posted in January, I interviewed for it, and then started in March.  It’s been an interesting experience.  First of all, working as a sub is a challenge, even as a long-term sub, and coming in at the middle (or almost end) of the year compounds that.  However, it was also a good transition for me – I met with the teacher who was leaving multiple times to learn about the students and the curriculum and was able to sit in on her classes for a few days.  Also, while I am *just a sub*, the school community (teachers and administrators) have given me a nice welcome, and although I don’t feel 100% a part of the community, I feel fortunate to be as integrated as I am.   Continue reading “March and April theme: Focus”

A true off-season

Yes, the ubiquitous post-Ironman blab here!

To begin, life has kept me busy with tons of family time and quite a bit of travel – to New Hampshire and Texas!  I might have experienced a few moments of the post-race blues, but not many. The New Hampshire trip was work-related – faculty orientation in the lovely town of Hanover.  That went quite well and I enjoyed meeting my colleagues for the fall, but I had the worst return trip when my flight was canceled and then I was re-routed through Boston the next day.  I have to admit that a few tears were shed because I just wanted to get home.  And, once I got home, I had a quick turn-around, leaving to drive to Texas a day-and-a-half later.  The drive wasn’t as bad as I had expected – low expectations?  In Texas, I spent some quality time with the family and embraced some good old debauchery, eating and drinking with abandon.  Even with all of this traveling, I also tried to rest so that I’ll be ready for the fall, which will involve some high-intensity months (but not training!).  In the past, I’ve taken a step back in the fall but tried to maintain some semblance of training.  This year will not follow that pattern!  So, what will I be up to?

First of all, I’ll back up to my post-ironman moment – I know that it’s silly to return to the race saga/drama, but immediately after finishing, I felt like total crap but better than I did at IMCA.  I suppose that this is progress?  Either that or I learned from last year’s ironman to set very low expectations for any sort of post-race celebration.  This year, I briefly hung out with friends and family, drank a sprite and some chicken broth.  Fun times!  Once Michael and I went back home, I did eat some chicken and even drank a bit of his beer without feeling sick.  Perhaps, if I ever do another one (which I promised myself I wouldn’t when I was finishing the run but never say never), I’ll actually manage to eat the post-race pizza?  You can always hope…

Anyway, getting to the start line reasonably healthy and making it to the finish line in one piece felt like a huge challenge, especially with my foot issue and other aches and pains that I dealt with over the course of the season.  I’m not complaining, but I recognize that my body really needed a break.  So, in the month of August, I biked twice (I actually felt okay the first time, but the second ride just about killed me!), swam a handful of times, and laced up my running shoes a few times a week for very easy runs.  The running fitness, for whatever reason, seems to return fairly quickly, I would expect because it is the discipline that feels most natural to me.  However, I’ve continued to deal with and try to manage my left foot issue and make sure that running doesn’t aggravate it too much.  I hope to continue to run into the fall, but I suspect that continuing with swimming and biking will present more of a challenge to me while I’m in Switzerland!

Yes, I leave a week from today (YIKES – how did that happen?) for Zermatt, Switzerland to teach at a 3-month program for American high school students.  I am crazy excited but also a bit overwhelmed and nervous.  I spent the last 10 years teaching at the same school, so for the last few years, the beginning of school wasn’t a time that provoked “Holy crap!” thoughts.  This, however, does.  But, one of the reasons that we moved from Southern CA was to take on new challenges and experiences, and this teaching gig will definitely fit the bill for both of those, in the classroom but especially working with students outside of the classroom.  A major component of the program is outdoor education, so I am looking forward to exploring the trails on foot and skis this fall!

Zermatt - and, yes, that is the Matterhorn!
Zermatt – and, yes, that is the Matterhorn (which means “mother mountain”)

This opportunity will be a fantastic chance to travel, explore a beautiful part of the world and learn quite a bit, hopefully!  So, yes, this is my off-season – my focus will shift, which feels like a healthy move right now, but keep me very engaged.  It’s time to expand my world a bit more, and I think that I’ll find plenty of new adventures in Zermatt and beyond.