Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Blog of Three Three's #threes #triathlon #actthree #troisiemeacte #thisis40

I have a bit of a pet peeve against blogs that start with, "I know I haven't posted in awhile, but..."

I feel that it always signals the end of the great and sometimes not-gradual decline of a blog where a writer has moved on with their life, reached their goal, or hit an obstacle that could not be surmounted and stopped them in their blogging tracks.

Well I've written a few of those posts now, vowed to quit the blogging and social media twynmawrmom accounts "ONCE AND FOR ALL!" several times now, and yet, still find myself needing to write and declare and commit and share occasionally.

So here we are. Your favorite Main Line twin mommy, you, and perhaps a cup o' Joe. Let me catch you up quickly, and then at length, since everything seems to happen in three's. Feel free to start with your favorite. And...get a second cup o' Joe...or third!

A Tale of Three Philly Bike Trails
I've ridden my bike more than I ever thought I would. Sure, as a child I enjoyed biking, but I never imagined I would enjoy cycling. When I began triathlon as a challenge for my 30th birthday, I quickly realized biking was my weakest skill. Now, after my 40th birthday and numerous tri's under my belt, I see that it is only with years that you can truly build and witness the progress of one's biking skills. I love my Trek bike, and since my half-iron it has not gotten much attention. Still, every time there is a bit of a breeze outside and I gear up on that thing, I enjoy every minute of it. And, I'm actually getting better! As you know I get bored very easily, so I've challenged myself to try as many bike trails in the Philly/Main Line suburban area as possible.

My fave, of course, is the Schuykill River Trail. It runs from the city of Philadelphia, up Kelly Drive, through Manayunk (via bumpy towpath or bypassing via the streets nearby), up to Conshohocken, Valley Forge, Oaks, and Phoenixville.  I have started and stopped on many different parts of it. For awhile I parked near the Northern end of the Manayunk towpath and biked up to Oaks and back for a 30 mile workout (or twice for a 60-miler.)  Now I tend to park at Valley Forge, head North to Oaks, loop around Perkiomen Valley Trail, and back for a 20 mile workout. It is mostly flat, there are great vistas of the River, and not many runners to work around. As a woman during a weekday midday, I never feel completely alone or vulnerable, but do have some peaceful solitary stretches.

In preparation for the Tour de Cure in and out of Doylestown is the 202 Parkway Bike Trail. It's hilly! Rolling hills, I guess I should say. I thought it was very scenic at parts and well maintained. I would do the Tour de Cure again, Bucks County is gorgeous, but hope for temps less than 90's. I do enjoy this marked trail but it is about a 45 minute drive from my home so I don't do it too often. I sometimes park at the Target there and am able to grab a Starbucks and hit the restroom afterwards. Very convenient.

This summer I tried out Chester Valley Trail, because I heard some stretches had been recently completed and/or updated. I parked behind the Home Depot on 202 in King of Prussia, and rode all the way out to the Main Street at Exton shopping complex. There is a lot of stop-and-starting, street lights, neighborhoods, and retail shopping centers. The good part of that is, there are always people so you never feel alone and you could stop and get a drink whenever you like. There are even bike pumps and safety stops offered by area businesses if you run into trouble. The bad part of that is, there are always people and you can never quite hit 'race pace.' In total I managed to loop around the parking lot a few times to make it an even 30 mile training day. Not too shabby. I heeded the warnings of reviewers online who mentioned starting in KOP would allow you to enjoy a gradual decline heading back. That was true.

A Tale of Three IronGirl Races
"You never forget your first" racing partner, and for me, that is my friend Tara. When I started this business of triathlon, a mutual friend of ours re-introduced us (we actually went to college together but did not hang out) and she committed to try the IronGirl race with me. She had just completed her tenth marathon and was looking for a change. We trained together by biking on the race course, swimming in my condo pool, and checking our running progress. No one had any kids yet so our friends woke up at 5 am with us to cheer us on, and we hit the diner on the way home.

For the second time around, I was training for my Half-Iron and Tara was post-baby, so it was another good time to go for it. We treated ourselves with a stay at the race hotel and a sushi dinner. We raced our hearts out and promised to hit it again at age 40. Ok that was Tara's idea but I was game. It seemed like such a long time away...

Fast forward to two days ago and IronGirl Columbia stole our hearts once again. Sure, they had to cancel the swim for water safety reasons, we didn't train enough, and the race expo was not what it used to be. But being in the comfort of women who just want to keep up the chops for as long as possible (5 ladies in the 70+ group, for one), is flat-out inspiring. Both of us having two kids and a keen interest in the Olympics, we decided to hit the Whole Foods deli bar nearby and enjoy dinner in front of the TV uninterrupted. We missed the bike pump at the start, the parking (what? no shuttle this year?), half our training, and half our preparation (isn't that the Gu you gave me last time because you didn't like the flavor then?), but it was exhilarating. We are STILL in the hunt, people. Still IN IT!

A Tale of Three Parts of One Heckuva Mid-Life Crisis
As you know, I began searching for a job again last summer. It was quite an adventure in and of itself! Having worked in College Admissions, the majority of the positions turnover in the summer, so it kinda took over before the twyns first year of school even finished. May to August I proceeded to take about ten interviews, including second and even third rounds, only to come up with no offer. There was one in particular that I felt could have been offered to me had I not given them the indication that I was interested in a larger role and that it would have been a step down for me. I left that interview sobbing because I didn't see myself waiting out someone's retirement for ten years doing a job I would probably hate. My husband was so supportive, and hated to see me so upset. He suggested I go back to school, perhaps a Masters in Higher Education would give my career search a boost. I could think of nothing I would rather do LESS than a degree supporting an admissions job. I got into music admissions via music, not admissions, and I always saw myself as more of a musician. Period.

And yet...I didn't want to be a musician anymore. Oh sure, I've said that manymanymanyMANY times before. Music-and-me have been going through a divorce that never gets finalized for over twenty years.  But I mean it this time! I can't work nights and weekends. I can't be taking the train up to NYC or into Philly for unpaid rehearsals while paying for child care. What's more, I'd rather see their performances or soccer games, to be honest. I'm ready for them to take center stage. Neither of them seems interested, but hey, no seven-year-old is dragging their mama around town to every audition notice they circled in the paper, now is she? Oh wait...

I'm sure music and I will get back together again someday, in some capacity, but it will likely entail more writing, not performing. I enjoyed working with my former partner-in-crime Sibyl Kempson last year, and creating with her, but it took SO much out of me. I literally felt like I birthed and raised a child to 18 years of age within the span of two years. I'm gonna need another ten-year hiatus.

So I did some soul-searching. I tried out a few careers week-by-week, "the flavor of the week" we called it, and really dug deep to see if, when examining the details, it was right for me. I literally was this close to buying a food truck, people. But we'll get back to that...

So, midlife crisis part 1: Ironman left behind. You witnessed my struggle with this. Thank goodness they offer fee-refundable registration! I forfeited $90 but not the entire $650. The running injury I sustained while trying to train for the marathon leading up to the Ironman was too tough.  I was eventually diagnosed with "Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome" and proceeded to endure loads of physical therapy. Even now, I am recovering from the little 3.75 mile run from IronGirl this past weekend. I ran a few times this summer to train, but tried to limit it to uphills so as to save my trochanter/back hamstrings. That proved useful for training, but unfortunately taking the downhills during the race did not prove useful for my legs. Goodbye running. Goodbye Ironman. I'm a huge fan. I will be following the triathlon in the Olympics with pride and a special kinship, but I will leave the third leg to my future relay partners (any takers? ;) )

Midlife crisis part 2 is a little more personal. Turning 40 can be scary for some, and I guess I am no different than many others before me. For some reason I really felt it looming over me. I had been thinking, well probably since I got the pair at the age of 16, to lessen the burden on my shoulders and back with a reduction. I consulted a few, I conferred A LOT, and I got the surgery. I can't believe that I did! And I am SO SO happy. ELATED. I feel like I set the clock back ten years. I got my 30's back! I had gotten to the point where NO bra lasted me more than 45 minutes without hurting. And don't get me started on working out, the chafing, the double boob, the unwanted delayed gut-wrenching jiggle-BOOM....everyone wants what they can't have, I guess. But it took me three weeks post-surgery to really understand the weight that had been lifted: I had been in the habit of holding up my shoulders all day (and particularly when sitting at a table or counter) to lift up my chest. I couldn't stop shrugging my shoulders permanently! I had to consciously push my shoulders back down after the surgery. I still find myself doing it sometimes. Only my large sisters know: there could be pancakes on the dinner table every night if we let them. It was my time, my turn, to let them go. It is/was emotional, and I could write about it all day, but feel free to ask me any personal questions you have in a private message of some kind. Otherwise I'm going to start accosting women on the street and advising them to do the same! Scars are better than pain. I mean, it was a group effort, it certainly wasn't easy and couldn't be done [with kids] alone, but I've enjoyed the difference in my swimming, biking, running, golfing, cooking, cleaning...ok maybe not enjoyed that last one, but you get the idea.

Which leads me to my favorite 3 of all 3's! Midlife crisis part 3: the job search journey has led me to my Act 3 in life! I will be starting a second bachelor's (technically it will be my third, how fitting) degree in nursing. They have accelerated programs and the one I have chosen, and been admitted to, will take 14 months at Villanova University, starting in May 2017! I couldn't be happier that I have been called to this choice. I reached the decision late last summer after the series of job interviews and set about taking my pre-requisites at Delaware County Community College. I could write another blog post about how wonderful that institution is, and what an amazing transition schooling can be for the SAHM. But for now I've written enough, and you've read enough, and there is always, ALWAYS a part three, people.

Not a CHILD number three, for me, but a PART three, LOL. A great and exciting Act Trois for this Triathlete. AMEN.

Till next post...

P.S. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you probably knew all of this, 
but I knew you wanted the full story...

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