OK, so maybe it's not exotic, but I will go to my grave telling skeptics how underrated Columbus is. I grew up here, so I'm perhaps a little biased, but really, this is a great town. It's a good size, not too big, not too small, has a strong university presence, lots of culture, good restaurants, ample parking day and night, and is just generally pleasant. I had a co-worker a while back, a double Michigan alum (the Ohio State- Michigan rivalry, in case you didn't know, is absolutely huge), who was assigned to a case that required lots and lots of travel to Columbus. He went, kicking and dragging his feet, sure he was essentially being sent to purgatory. A couple weeks later, I swung by his office, and he looked up at me sheepishly, and said, "Yeah. Columbus....doesn't suck." For a diehard Michigan fan to say that, you must know that it truly doesn't suck.
The fancy schmancy student gym at OSU that I use now, but of course did not exist when I was a student because life is not fair.
So, how I got here when I'm supposed to be traveling the world... well, I was supposed to spend some time this month in South America. The reasons aren't important although they are very unfortunate, but the South America segment fell through. By the time I realized that portion of my trip was falling apart, I was already a little exhausted from my travel, a little homesick, and a lot concerned about my rapidly dwindling cash flow. I decided that instead of trying to find some new locale to visit or extending my time in Europe, I'd just head "home" for a little while (of course, my real home is occupied by tenants, so I'm squatting at my parents' place instead), regroup, decompress, visit family, get myself into something resembling a routine, and prepare for the next major leg of my travels. Once the holidays are over, I'm moving myself down to New Zealand, and will be there and in Australia through mid-March.
The day I got home, we went to the zoo
So jetlagged I was falling asleep on my feet, but there were manatees. Hurrah!
For now, I'm enjoying my "quiet" decompression. I underestimated how exhausting and stressful travel would be, especially that last month when I was moving around a lot, and it's taken me a while just to feel back to human. I spend my days visiting with my family (we are very eagerly awaiting my brother's return home from his Army base), getting ready for the hoildays, taking care of all the little logistical "life" things I couldn't really handle while overseas, doing some career research and contemplating and discussing with others my next steps, and mostly just enjoying all the little conveniences that I missed (**cough, Starbucks, cough**).
My parents' weird six-toed cat that hangs out on his back for extended periods of time.
Oh yeah, and there's been some swimming and biking and running, too. Actually, quite a lot of that stuff. I had a minor panic attack this morning when I realized that my first big race of 2013 is in just over a month, and there's a pesky little Ironman looming on the horizon in roughly two-and-a-half months. Yikes. So I'm putting in the lotsa hours and loving every minute of it. Seriously. I'm really enjoying training right now, notwithstanding the long, long rides on the trainer in my parents' living room and the overall darkness. I just feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do this. Ironman training in December is so very different from Ironman training in July and perhaps requires a little more mental toughness, but I'm convinving myself that it's making me grittier. Hopefully that pays off in the long run.
Forgive my obsession with taking pictures of the pools I use, but this is the best one yet.
Tomorrow, I'm hitting the road and heading to Sweet Home Chicago for a little while. I'm excited to see friends (many of whom I haven't seen since July!) and hit up my favorite spots.
In the meantime, here's some more highlights of my Columbus time:
- I have an interest in getting into race directing and shadowed a race organizer at a local 5K. It was amazing to see things from the "other side." Anyone with contacts in the race organization community, please let me know.
- My coach has been making me the happiest little athlete on the planet by assigning track workouts every now and then. When I first started triathlons, track workouts scared me because they served as a very tangible reminder of just how much faster I was in a previous life. I got over that, though, and now I really, really love track workouts, and to be able to do them on the very track I grew up on is an extra special treat. If only I had Dale Hartney (my high school coach) in the stands, shouting out splits and calling me a communist, I'm sure the workouts would be going better, but unfortunately, a girl can't have everything she wants.
However, this disrepair makes me sad. A hill in Lane One? C'mon!
- The weather's been somewhat cooperative, for December, and one day I set up the trainer on the back porch. Yup, that's our "backyard." It's actually OSU's turfgrass research facility. But it made for a fun place to play soccer growing up.