Quick update on life, training, racing, etc.

You’d think that going silent for a while might indicate that I have nothing going on in my life and thus nothing to write about, but the inverse is actually true – I’ve actually got quite a bit going on.  Some of it is actually relevant to this blog, even!  So I decided to take this rare evening of quiet time and write a quick post updating the readers who have remained with me through my ever-decreasing post frequency regarding a few major things that are happening.

And no, there’s no baby on the way, so I’ll just go ahead and pop that suspense bubble right now.

PERSONAL JUNK

The first big change is that I’ve decided to leave my job as a digital media producer for a 24/7 local TV news station.  The reason why is simple, and can be found in the preceding sentence: “24/7 local TV news.”  I’ve been at my current job for over eight years, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve learned in that time. I’ve gotten to do cool things like cover the 2012 RNC and a space shuttle launch, I’ve become a better writer and editor, and I’ve learned how to work productively with all kinds of people.

But what’s also happened is that I’ve spent most of my waking hours immersed in what are essentially the worst days of other people’s lives.  I kept waiting for the day when I would finally be unaffected by the things we covered – or if not unaffected, at the very least capable of compartmentalizing it – and it never happened. I’ll refrain from sharing the gory details of my actual burn-out but I’ll just say that it has not been pretty.

I do have another job lined up, and I’m incredibly excited about it.  Starting June 1, I’ll be working as an editor for The Penny Hoarder, which is a personal finance site headquartered in downtown St. Petersburg.  Everything about the new job sounds wonderful, and I am so thrilled to be working with them (even though I am sad to leave my coworkers behind).

Somewhat connected to this is that I became a guardian ad litem in large part because I was so tired of writing and editing stories about terrible things happening – especially to children and teenagers – and feeling rather helpless about it.  I started doing this volunteer work in January 2015, and I finished my first case last month, with what I consider to be a positive outcome.  I picked up my second case today and I plan to keep doing this for as long as it is feasible.  (And if you’ve ever been interested in becoming a guardian ad litem or a court-appointed special advocate, feel free to comment below with any questions. I’m happy to talk about it!  It’s a tough gig but it’s incredibly rewarding, which is so often the case, isn’t it?

TRAINING & RACING

I gave myself a full week to enjoy the afterglow of my Boston Marathon experience, and it was wonderful.  I ate whatever I wanted, I stayed in bed in the mornings – it was great.  But it didn’t take long before I started feeling kind of sluggish, so I started swimming again and riding on the indoor trainer and doing some yoga.

(I took my bike out once, two weeks before Boston, and had my first low-speed spill in literally two years when an SUV decided to start rolling forward after stopping for me, causing me to totally freak out and to fall on the side that wasn’t clipped out.  I was OK and was able to finish the ride, but after that I decided I wasn’t going to take any chances with errant SUVs ahead of Boston.  So, back to the trainer! And back to Gossip Girl, which was as delightfully awful and trashy as ever.)

Since then I’ve eased my way back into a full multi-sport cycle of training, which is important because I signed up last year to do Ironman Louisville, which would be my first ironman. I’m literally about two full weeks into my training plan and already I am drenched with feels about it. Mostly they are positive but I’m not going to lie – I’m a little scared too.  This is worth a post of its own, so more about this later.  Although, who am I kidding – training for a first ironman is, like, six months’ worth of blog posts right there.  I promise I will write about other things though.  (Maybe. I’ll try.)

In addition to setting Ironman Louisville as a personal goal, I also set a long-term goal of making USAT All-American as an age-group triathlete.  I cut out the women’s 35-39 rankings from USAT magazine and stuck them on my fridge as a reminder of my goal, the way my “Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston” magnet served as a visual reminder of my long-term goal to run Boston.

New fridge #fitspo: the top 200 female U.S. triathletes in the 35-39 age group. #goals #triathlon #training

New fridge #fitspo: the top 200 female U.S. triathletes in the 35-39 age group. #goals #triathlon #training

I haven’t raced much in the past couple of months because I was so focused on Boston.  I ran a 5K in a local park and was fourth female overall, which was pretty neat.  I spectated at two of the big local triathlons of the year and felt a little bummed about that, but I don’t have a body that can handle doing ALL THE RACES! so I sucked it up and recognized that I was making smart decisions for myself.  I did volunteer the day before St. Anthony’s Triathlon at the KLR coffee barge, providing paddleboard support to the swimmers, and in the process I got to have my photo taken with this triathlete….oh, what’s her name….oh, that’s right. Mirinda Carfrae!

My friend/teammate Lisa and I with Mirinda Carfrae!

My friend/teammate Lisa and I with Mirinda Carfrae!

After sitting on the sidelines for a while, I finally got to race this last Saturday. I took part in the 2.4-mile Hurricane Man Roughwater Swim.  It was most excellent.  I actually started writing up a mini-race report in this post but that became pretty long rather quickly, so hopefully I’ll be able to write another post about it, because it was such a wonderful, interesting experience for me.

I’m also set to do the Chattanooga 70.3 two Sundays from now, which is a whole ‘nother story in and of itself.  Basically I peer-pressured myself into doing that race, and as I am not even close to being trained enough for it, I’m going in with the goal of having fun and not trying to hit any sort of times.  We’ll see if I have the mental discipline to follow through on that. Probably not, if I’m being honest.

So, like I said, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now, so I appreciate you letting me post about them really quickly, and hopefully soon I will be back to elaborate more on some of the things I touched on.  Hope you’ve all been well and that you’ve got some cool shit going on too.

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23 responses to “Quick update on life, training, racing, etc.

  1. Pingback: Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News·

    • Thank you! I’m hoping the new job gives me the brain space necessary to let me get back to blogging regularly. The old one was wringing my brain out like an old dishrag, leaving me with not much left.

  2. Huge congrats on the new job, Boston, everything. When life gets momentum like that, it is amazing. Cannot wait to hear more!

  3. I’m telling you something very, very important: While you’re in Chattanooga, you need to go to a brunch place called Aretha Frankenstein’s. Do you want a waffle that will make you weep? Served in an adorably eccentric little house? I know you do. Go to Aretha’s. You’ll have to wait but it’ll be worth it.

    • Okay, I will bring this up with Brian, but I will say ahead of time that Brian is not the kind of dude who likes to wait to eat. Are there ever any times when you don’t have to wait a while?

  4. Hmm, I honestly don’t know. I’ve only been there once, on a weekend, which I assume is prime waiting time. I feel like the Yelp reviews made it clear that waiting is normal (it’s a small place so there’s just not that much room). BUT, if you’re early birds I bet getting there first thing would be helpful. We were probably there at 9 or 10 which, again, is prime brunch waiting time.

  5. Congrats on the new job! It sounds like a good move and not so emotionally draining. I’m glad your bike wipeout wasn’t worse. I enjoy the trainer because I can catch up on shows too, but it’s frustrating that I feel like I only have a couple of somewhat safe places to ride close by. I need to get out more often so I can get more comfortable handling my bike.

    So cool that you met Mirinda Carfrae! Best of luck with the Ironman training, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about that crazy schedule.

    • I try to get out at least once a week to maintain bike handling skills, but yeah, I don’t like riding outside most places. We did go for a 40-mile ride yesterday on the Suncoast Trail, which runs along a highway through a rural part of the area, and that was great. I could really put the hammer down without having to spend a lot of energy worrying about cars. I am going to try to ride there more often.

  6. Congratulations on your new gig! I know it can be difficult to make a change when you’ve been at a job for so long. And yay for taking a break after Boston + winning 4th!

  7. One of my closest friends is doing Ironman Louisville this year! I just ran the marathon down there and it is such a cool city. Best of luck with your training!

  8. I love that your guilty pleasure is Gossip Girl, too. Good luck with the new job and Ironman training!

    • Thanks! And yes, I love/hate Gossip Girl. It’s so enjoyable but most of their conflicts could be solved with a simple conversation lol

  9. Good luck with the new job and all the training! I am both curious and despairing looking at my age group USAT rankings so I’ll try to avoid that while I can LOL. Also I used to work as a foster care case manager and was always thankful to have extra people on board for my clients, however, GALs are attorneys in my state, only CASAs are volunteers. Can you talk a little bit about what your GAL role is and how do you accomplish it as a volunteer?

    • Hey, sorry for the long delay but I kind of dropped offline for a few days. BTW thank you for all you did as a foster care case manager. That is NOT an easy job and my hat is off to you for doing that.

      The situation does vary from state to state and in Florida, GALs are all volunteers. I basically gather information from everyone involved in the case and then try to make sure the kids get what they need so they can have some semblance of a normal life, usually by working with case managers or non-profits. We have attorneys who we work with so if I ever have any questions about legal things I can talk to them. I think the most important thing I and other GALs do is be a consistent person who is following a child’s case through the system, esp. as case management turnover can be rather high. Having one person who is aware of what’s going on and who can give the appropriate people nudges prevents cases from falling through the cracks.

      This is only my second year as a GAL and I already love it (as much as you can love working with people who are in some really heartbreaking situations) and want to continue to do it for as long as I possibly can.

  10. I know that being a writer can make it difficult to publish a blog post that is quick and dirty instead of more polished. We don’t care, we just love hearing your thoughts! As long as you want to keep blogging, we will read.
    I hope your new job is way less stressful. Good luck with all your training and races. You are a personal inspiration to me.

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