Friday, August 19, 2011


So the summer and Ironman training are quickly coming to an end.

I have my last "official" event of the season tomorrow morning. A 2.4 mile swim in Lake Monona, as part of the Madison Open Water Swim event.

The course will mimic Ironman's route, so I'm doing it as a practice event. After I'm done, I'll ride my bike for about 70 miles, doing the stick and one loop of hills and then it is back to Minneapolis.

I'm in Madison by myself. None of my friends that are doing Wisconsin signed up for this event. I do have one other swimming buddy down here, but we are really only pool and facebook friends. We don't spend a lot of time together outside of the water and cyberspace.

This whole training year has been a little lonely. Natalie moved to North Dakota to marry the love of her life; my other running friends did a couple of shorter tris; the folks that I met through training this year and I are "friendly" but not particularly tight. Plus, I traveled a lot for work this year, so connecting for training runs or rides was pretty tough.

So I did a lot of my training and my events by myself this year. Not terrible, but a little lonely.

In some ways, this was probably pretty good for me, since even though I'll be surrounded by 2,499 other Ironman participants, the race is really just about you. And your endurance. And your thoughts.

I finally got to stay at Memorial Union this time around. Every other time I came down to Madison this year, the Union was booked.

I like staying here as it brings back some very vivid memories of my college days. Some memories are wonderful; some not so wonderful. All in keeping with my trying to make amends to myself for the years I lived here as a young person.

I sat outside on the Terrace for a long time tonight and watched the sunset, the lake and the action. Kids are coming back for the school year and lots of them were enjoying the evening outside -- many with their parents.

I thought about how, when my Dad drove me up here to drop me off for the beginning of my freshman year, I felt like I was being banished from home, Milwaukee and all things familiar.

I really didn't want to come to Madison. All my friends from high school were going to the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee or just to work. I really wanted to stay in Milwaukee and to go to school there, but my Dad put his foot down and that was that.

I thought that the world would end if I couldn't see my friends every day; if I left the comfort of the house, even though my Dad and I were constantly fighting about every thing there was to fight about.

That fall, he drove me up, helped me unpack my stuff in to that tiny dorm room in Witte Hall, took me to dinner and then got in the car and zoomed off down I-94 back to Milwaukee.

And that was that.

It didn't take long before I met a couple girls on my dorm floor that I became friendly with, so I felt a little more comfortable.

I did make the mistake of going back to Milwaukee pretty much every weekend that first semester, trying desperately to catch up with my old friends, who were living their lives pretty well and easily without me.

By the time Winter break came, I had made a number of friends at school and when I went back to Milwaukee for the holiday, a lot of my old friends basically told me I had changed so much that they didn't know me any more -- and they didn't want to get to know the new me.

And that was that.

I came back to Madison that January knowing that my life in Milwaukee was pretty much done and I had to make it in Madison. I found a (non paying) job at a radio station, fell head over heels in love with a boy, got better connected with others and never went back to Milwaukee for longer than a weekend again.

I bring this up now for a number of reasons.

One, I'm here in the hot bed of Memoryland. The Union. For good or for ill, I spent countless hours here. Some -- okay, A LOT of them --when I should have been in class..... Some -- okay MOST of them -- under the influence of some substance or another. So the memories flood back, along with the immense gratitude for having survived those years (and all the ones following) until I finally got sober and started really living my life.

The other big reason for these feelings now is related more to current day. I just found out that I'm being transferred from my current job in to a new position.

I'm working for a company (like many others) that is going through the process of "reducing redundancies and increasing efficiencies". For those of you in Corporateland, you know what that means.

Apparently, what I do is redundant. So, I'm being moved under another umbrella withing the organization.

The good news is that I'm being moved and not eliminated.

The bad news is that I have no choice in this decision. Neither does my business line, my boss or my Executive Management Team.

I happen to really like my job and what I do. I like my boss; for the most part, I like the people I work with. I've been happy, productive and successful for almost six years with this group.

I'm sad to go; I'm uncertain of the future; I feel like I've been banished.

So, in addition to reliving memories from early college years, I've been trying to remind myself that, although the change from Milwaukee to Madison was a tough transition that I really didn't want, it, for the most part, turned out okay.

The new position may be very exciting. It could open up lots of doors. It could be the best thing that happened.

I'm just stuck in the shock of the change and am trying to struggle through it a little bit.

If I can reframe my thoughts a little bit, the transition should be just fine.

At least that is what I'm hoping.


Nat said...

You are going to do awesome at this race. I may not be training with you everyday like we used to but I will be watching and rooting for you every minute of the race day, every minute of the days up to it and will be tailing you all over on that course. You are awesome. You will do great. I know you will. I know you have it in you to rip up this course. YOU WILL DO IT.

Beth said...

Fitting that you are back in Madison during a time of change and on the eve of a major event in your life. You've proven that you have what it takes to make it on your own in life and you have proven that you have what it takes to become an ironman. You are going to do it! Even though it will just be you out there, you have many people with you in spirit and wanting the best for you. Hang in there!

cheryl said...

I too have been "promoted" in my job to do more with less...doesn't happen!
And just let me add that training by yourself (for long stuff) lets you tap into things that you will need on the course come race day. So it's all good! Hope you had a great swim/ride!

GoBigGreen said...

Hey i cant wait to see you and support you on race day. Sorry about the work stuff, seems a bit rough, and yes its sad how little control we have over those things but at least you still have a job!
Good luck Amy!!