Feeling the Love

February 28, 2009

In spite of battling a cold this week, I have put in a solid week of training.  So far coaching myself is going well and I am feeling confident with the way training is going.  I also rode my bike to work three times this week which really makes the day a lot more fun.  I have tried out some of the swim teams here and settled on one which I have been enjoying.  One of the coaches is actually my old coach from childhood so hearing his voice on deck really takes me back.  Practices are in the evenings which is not as optimal for my body as early mornings, but I would rather have someone standing there with a stop watch than train alone in the mornings.

My teaching job  is going really well.  I can hardly believe I have put in two whole weeks already.  The kids are lots of fun and I genuinely enjoy my days with them.  After years at my old job working with angry, angry teenagers at a place that felt like it was built on a foundation of fear, it is an unbelievably healing experience to be working with healthy kids and adults.  As an example, yesterday I emailed the staff to ask if anyone had any mathematics manipulatives I could use for a lesson.  Within an hour I was overwhelmed with manipulatives sent from every teacher who had some.  It takes some getting used to to work in a place where people support each other.  Every day I am grateful that GB and I left our old jobs in search of happier, more loving workplaces.

Today I am working at the triathlon store to make a little extra cash.  It’s always fun to spend a day around triathletes and runners although my body might prefer that I stay in bed today with this cold!  Tomorrow if I’m feeling up to it I might go to a group hillclimb.  My shoulder has been giving me a little grief with all the hills on my bike and a few extra kilometers of swimming this week, so I’ll see what the body has to say for itself in the morning.  My primary goal this season is to avoid injury and stay healthy so I’m trying to be smart.

Thankful

February 21, 2009

Well, things have happened since I last blogged…

I flew to Minnesota and spent 10 days with GB and the dogs.  It was really wonderful to be with them again.  It took GB and I a couple of days to get back in the groove – funny how you change a little just from being apart from 6 weeks – but once we did it was like that time apart had never happened.  It was a big relief to both of us that it was that easy to settle back into life together.  Of course, it was a little bit of a tease since I am back on the island now and GB is still in Minnesota.  We’ll be reunited again in April for a week so we’re already looking forward to that.

For the first few days at the cabin, GB’s siblings were there so I got to fulfill my childhood dream of playing boot hockey with a bunch of people who were as willing as me to pretend they were five years old.  We got in one day of skate skiing but then it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  So all the snow disappeared and that was my last day of skiing for the year.

On my last day there I met with my new employer (the one I was supposed to start working for in September in MN).  It’s a fabulous little school and I was a perfect fit for it and very excited about it.  However, it seems they are suffering financially and may in fact not be able to open.  With me not being American and needing fancy things like work visas, I have had to make the difficult choice and start looking for different jobs.  This hit both me and GB like a mack truck.  I was so glad we were together for this discovery so that we could process it together and come up with a plan B – well truthfully, I think we’re on Plan G by now!

So I am back on the Island applying for jobs here for next September.  Which means that GB and I will have to spend not only the first, but also the second year of our married life apart.  I can barely think about this without crying, but I’m trying to keep some perspective and remember to be thankful that I have someone as amazing as GB to miss this much!

In the meantime I will also apply for jobs in MN but the likelihood of finding something that meets all the requirements of my visa etc. is slim at best for this year.  If I stay here next year I’ll save up and then go to grad school the following year.  This puts all of our life plans on major hold, but it’s all the name of a life together in the long term.

Lots of people in our lives are very angry on our behalf about our situation.  Certainly it seems unfair that we don’t have the same rights as heterosexual couples.  We were talking about it on the phone last night and while we appreciate the support of our loved ones, we personally don’t have the energy to be angry about it.  It is what it is.  Fifty years ago we could not have been open about our relationships.  Ten years ago we could not have been legally married in ANY state.  Two years ago my parents would not have attended our wedding.  We are very lucky to have supportive friends and family and we will get through this with their help.  Everyone has their trials, and I suppose this is ours.  We have each found our perfect match and we don’t have to be in the same room or even the same country to feel the magic of that.

Swimming With Sharks

February 5, 2009

Well, in my exciting quest to coach myself, I decided it was time I swam with others.  It can’t hurt to have people to push me a little in the water and it’s lovely to have someone tell you the workout as you’re doing it so you don’t dread what’s coming.  Unfortunately, there are no masters teams to speak of so….I went to kiddie practice.  In fact, I visited my old Sharks Swim Team, the coach of which is someone I used to swim with.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this all day.  One thing to embarrass yourself around adults, but to throw yourself in with a bunch of speedy kids and try to hang on is another story entirely.  After it was agreed upon that I would try out a session and see how it went, I hit the deck ready to swim.  Much to my chagrin the coach yelled out “Down and give me 100 crunches!”.  And so the story goes: cruches, pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, more crunches, leg lifts, the works.  I was pretty wiped out by the time we jumped in the water thirty minutes later.

The swim itself went well.  It wasn’t as much swimming as I anticipated but I also didn’t anticipate a set of 10 x 200 IM!  I had forgotten how kids skip laps on purpose and hang out all day and all night on the wall.  Funny how in adulthood you just want to SWIM, and as kids we used to work to avoid too much swimming.    Anyway, I survived the experience.  I’m not sure I will swim regularly with that particular club because there is another one closer to where I live, but it sure was fun!

In other far more exciting news, tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis to see GB and the dogs!  After six weeks apart you can imagine how excited we both are.  It will be so wonderful to have an entire week of skiing together with no responsibilities except our fabulous dogs.  I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting for my awesome gift tomorrow night! 

Today  I was driving to work and it was so beautiful and sunny that I decided to just blow work off completely.  It was my job at the doctor’s office which has flexible hours because I am scanning charts, so it didn’t matter that I didn’t go in.  Instead I went over to a friend’s house and hung out barefoot with her in the sun.  I figured I should get a little island sunshine before I go to the Minnesota woods for ten days!

Free Agent

February 2, 2009

I am not ashamed to admit that I fell asleep before the Superbowl got exciting. However, I am a little disappointed. I was grateful for the sleep this morning at 5am when I got up for my swim, though!

I am having an interesting week of triathlon transition. I left my wonderful coach this week. It’s so sad when you do that. Like a breakup. All the “It’s not you, it’s me. Can we still be friends?”. Anyway, she was a gracious as ever and I think she’s smart enough to realize that it is no reflection on her coaching performance. So I am a free agent and not really sure what to do next.
GB and I are making a concerted effort to pay off our debts while I am working on this sunny island. The plan is to make some major positive financial shifts during the next six months. Enter triathlon: the enemy of financial struggles. Giving up triathlon or even taking a break is simply not an option. We both recognize that I am only a nice person because I swim, bike, and run. Without those, I might not be such a desirable wife. In fact, I’m sure I wouldn’t be. But these are expensive coping mechanisms. Gym fees, gear, coaching, racing, travel, etc. – big expenses. Huge expenses for people who are committed to financial improvement.
So I am a free agent until we figure out a creative solution to the coaching problem. Part of me wonders if I could do it myself. I’m terrified of wasting an entire season making it up as I go, but it could also be exciting and rewarding. Tough call. I know tons of people coach themselves successfully, but I’m not sure I could be one of them. Anyway, I’m going to sit with it for a few weeks and see how it feels.
In the meantime, I leave in THREE days to see GB again for the first time in six weeks!! We are so excited. We’re going to a cabin to cross country ski, ski, ski for a whole week. I am beside myself with excitement.