Friday, February 3, 2017

The journey isn't always what it seems to be

The plane tickets are ordered.  The hotel room is paid for. Training has started, generally speaking.  I guess I'm on the journey.  The more I look at the future to September, which seems so far away, I keep looking back (which has me looking forward) to a different journey- my road back to employment.

In my previous life, I was a teacher.  I was the be-all-and-end-all crazy kind of teacher.  I would tell people what I did for a living and they looked at me as if I had 2 heads.  See, I taught middle school-- 7th and 8th graders.  And it was MATH!

I was fine stepping away from it to raise my kidlets.  It took 2 or 3 years for me to really get over the depression of being alone.  Alone?  You were with your kids, you say.  True, but there was no adult contact.  Friends were working, family was far away.  I adjusted and was quite happy after a while.  We visited the zoo once a week, took trips to the library, explored in the summer... but I always had the dread looming over my head of needing to go back to work.  The work didn't scare me.  It was the application process, interview process, creating new relationships at the location where I worked.

I hit a roadblock back to "the grind" when I had 3 ear surgeries to fix my hearing.  Hearing wasn't so great anymore.  Now what do I do?  Teaching was out, in my mind, anyway.  Kids have a way of using weaknesses against you in a classroom.  Plus, it is very brain tiring digesting every mumbled word you hear, having to make the garbled words fit the sentence you think you heard.  Well, now that the 3rd surgery is behind me, words seem to be clearer, although my voice is extremely loud in my head when I speak.

In the spring, I had the opportunity to co-coach swimming for kids, roughly 5th graders.  I missed the interaction.  I forgot the humor that they bring.  I cherished their care-free spirit.  The other day, my son came home from school with pre-algebra homework that he was stuck on.  Once again, after helping him out, I realized I missed the math; the ability to translate something difficult into something easier to understand and decipher.

I realized I needed a job.  I was aware I should probably go back to teaching.

But what about Rotterdam?  Hahahahahahahaha!  I don't mean to mislead you.  I am looking to substitute teach.  (Something I swore I would never do!)  I could use the freedom of scheduling to train, I could get my teaching fix and interact with witty middle-schoolers, and hopefully NOT HAVE TO GRADE PAPERS!

So, the journey has turned into looking ahead for the long-term future:  the never-ending searching for past principal's contact information, creatively writing my job summary so it sounds more than just "I created lesson plans, taught, and time/behavior managed.  Or, called parents..." This journey has not been enjoyable.  I never feel good enough or creative enough on paper.  After all, my specialty was math, not writing.  I'm not one to fluff myself up just to wiggle my way into a spot.  But, this is my journey.  Two very different roads going in the same direction, for now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Don't just talk about it....

I have this habit.  It's a bad habit.  I have these dreams, desires, things I want to do, accomplish.  If it only revolves around me and doesn't affect other people, I am fine with working on those goals.  I won't let anyone down but me.  These goals are inconsequential in real life.  These goals have led me to places I have never expected them to go.

I began my triathlon journey 15-20 years later than I wanted to.  My friend Andy (who just happens now to work for USAT and their high performance coaching-- yeah, Olympians) was competing while we were in high school.  I was intrigued.  I wanted to do it, but I swam just well enough to lifeguard, rode my 10 speed that was my birthday present at age 10, and hated running.  His races always stuck in my mind....

Fast forward to 2010 when I finally decided to go for it.  I was a stay-at-home mom, wanted to get my competitive self back, and swam a ton while pregnant (and taught myself to bilateral breathe and flip turn in the process).  The kids were little and I was able to take them to the gym during my workouts.  I fell in love with the sport and training and set my eyes on the Cleveland Triathlon olympic distance.  Why Cleveland?  Well, that's my hometown and it supports United Cerebral Palsy and I was racing in honor of my late cousin Mark who wrestled with CP with a smile on his face.  What better place to do it???

Who knew that that one challenge-- to complete an olympic tri would take me to explore Ohio's state parks, journey to Burlington, Vermont, Milwaukee, and Omaha.  This sport has given back to me and my family in ways I never imagined.  Yes, many hours in the car, packing food and snacks, playing movies, watching cartoons while training in the basement, miles upon miles in the snow, rain, heat, and georgeous colors of fall, countless soundless hours in the cold pool whle creating memories with teammates in master's swim, encouraging others to begin their journey, becoming friends (and long-lost family, who knew?) with my favorite water-bottle company #simplehydration, meeting my newest Eagle family at Team RWB tri camp (along with #DJTAIBAI - great music mixes, btw), rubbing elbows with triathlon pros....

....and now representing the USA in the Age Group ITU Worlds in Rotterdam.

The hotel room is officially booked.  *gasp*

While triathlon is, in the grand scheme of things inconsequential, the things I have learned, the friends and family I have made through this sport, the modeling of healthy behavior for my kids, are most definitely not inconsequential.  I have gained so much from this hobby.  My family has seen parts of America I never thought I (or they) would see.  Heck, we're going to Europe-- during Octoberfest and in the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, nonetheless (yes, I'm Lutheran--beer and Bible through and through)!!!!  No matter what happens during that race, I am amazed by the ability God has given me, the flexibility and time/financial support Steve has provided, and the patience the kids have had with my training.  This isn't about just me anymore.  They are on this journey with me.  They always have been.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Where do I begin???

I have struggles writing blogs in the past, but I think that is due to my reasoning to have one.  I'm not a person to write down random thoughts just to get my name out there, or create my "brand", or to highlight myself.  I also stink at taking quality photos.  Those people who include detailed photos of steps to make something or the food that they eat....  amazing.  Just to forewarn you, that is not me.

However, I do believe that blogging may be a way to clear my head of the conversations that go on between my ears between me, myself, and I.  I am an over-thinker who wants to make the correct decision the first time instead of wasting money or extra time with a task.  I like to find different solutions to a problem, but then never act on them because I never know where to start.  So, where do I start with this blog????

I'll start with a simple purpose of the blog.  My goal is to chronicle my journey to Rotterdam, Netherlands while throwing in some other thoughts and ideas along the way.  In the middle of August, I completed the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals.  I have never come close to the top 25.  Without writing a race report and boring you to death, I ended up qualifying for ITU World Championship which takes place in September 2017.  Happy birthday to me!!!!

So I will leave you now with a few videos:

USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals video

ITU Paratriathlon Worlds in Rotterdam (which I can only guess will be a similar course)

And a video of the boat traffic in Amsterdam!