Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

What a year, eh?

I don't know about you, but I'm normally a big advocate of the use of the number ranking system. And if I were to give this year a number from 1-10, I would give it a solid 6.

It was a good year. Not fabulous or mind-blowing by any means, but it was definitely good. Full of adventures, but also full of adjustments and changes. It was hard, but I learned a ton.

Rewinding to a year ago today, I was living back at home in the Chicago suburbs. This blog hadn't even been born yet, and I was trying to save up all my coin to make the move out to the East Coast to reunite with my beau.


That took a solid two months to accomplish, and on Februrary 13th 2012 (just in time for Valentine's Day) I made the move out to the Baltimore are.


Simultaneously I was training for the Boston  Marathon, which snuck up on me in mid-April. Andrew, Bri and my friend Meg traveled up the coast to the land of awesomely thick accents and Red Sox fans to watch me plod 26.2 through the beautiful city of Boston in 80-something degree weather.



It was definitely one of my all-time favorite memories. If you ever get the chance to run Boston, do it.

Summer came along shortly after and taught me the true definition of humidity. Holy. Cow. The summer was packed full of beach trips, bachlorette parties and country music.



August gave us a grand finale to my first Maryland summer with two epic events.

1. A week-long getaway to the Colorado mountains... followed by one of my very best friend's wedding in the best city in the world, Chicago.



2. A beach getaway to Deleware with a group of a few of our closest homies over Labor Day weekend.



Shortly after, Andrew and I traveled up to Philadelphia to both run in the Philly Half Marathon. It was Andrew's first half and he absolutely killed it, while I surprised myself with my fastest half marathon to date. We both had a blast and enjoyed our first authentic Philly Cheesesteak on the ride back to Baltimore.



And then, tragedy struck and my IT band started hating on me, hard.

Running/training came to a screeching hault throughout most of the gorgeous, color-filled fall, and my Physical Therapy office quickly became my second home. In the meantime, I learned to love other forms of physical activity such as spin class, weight lifting and even some raquetball.

I'm still working on the yoga.

Andrew and I journeyed back to Illinois to get in some quality family time over Thanksgiving, and basically... here we are. Christmas Break 2012 was a fabulous refreshment for me, and I loved spending time with my family, and my parent's new puppy Jane.... in case you couldn't tell from my past couple posts.



I'm feeling stronger, my IT band has quieted down, and this past Saturday morning I was able to run about 70 minutes without any pain. That makes me so happy.

A lot of things make me happy.

Like being able to spend New Years out here in gorgeous Colorado with my boyfirend and his family.

I'll wrap up by saying, I have this sneaking suspicion that 2013 is going to be amazing. Like absolutely epic. I've been telling a lot of people that lately.

I'm going to make it epic. With the full understanding that now, just because something is hard, challenging or even sucky doesn't necessary equate to the fact that something is bad or sad.



I choose to make 2013 an awesome year. Without looking back.

I hope you do to.

Resolutions to come soon, but in the meantime...

Cheers to a brand new year!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Leg 1 wrap-up

Tomorrow marks the end of the Chicago leg of my trip; I jet out to Denver late tomorrow afternoon to spend New Years in the Colorado Rockies with my handsome boyfriend and co.

Super pumped.

So far I've spared you all the glorious details of my time at home, and I'm sure you've all been dying to know what I've been up to. It's riveting really.



Through Christmas we were pretty big bums. All of us.

My sister Bri was pretty miserable from getting her compacted wisdom teeth out, and was popping Advil like they were smarties. We had to go to Costco and get the industrial size for her.


open wide Bri! oh wait you can't.

We did some pre-Christmas shopping at Express so that my mom could buy us both new work pants. Yet surprise surprise, Express didn't have any longs in the store. Life of a tall girl. So I sat and sulked in the dressing room while my mom and Bri got to have all the fun.


Being home is always awesome because my mom keeps our fridge stocked with fresh fruit. My oatmeal has had a serious face lift since being back home.

BERRRRIIIESSSSS
I've been running. A pretty fabulous amount. I continue to feel stronger, and managed my first non-stop 60 minute run since September on Christmas morning.  My sister also got me this awesome shirt that I'm obsessed with, and will find a reason to wear to work.



Jane and I have become the closest of friends.




Even as I sit here and type this, she insists on trying to sit on my lap. She even follows me into the bathroom.




I would say we have gone on several walks together, but like me, Jane doesn't comprehend the word walk. She runs. She pulls almost the whole way on walks, to the point that she may have to go to doggy school if she doesn't chill out.

Jane dragging my mom along


But I love her that way.

Yesterday my mom and cousin, Jessica, ventured into the city to meet my sister for dinner when she got off work. All of the streets were still decked with lights, and it was a beautiful evening considering the time of year.


Jess & me

How have your holidays been? What are you New Years plans?

Cheers to 2013 coming in hot!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Value of Consistency


Many of you have heard me reference my boyfriend Andrew many times on here. Recently I reached out to his middle brother Brian, asking if he would be interested in writing a guest post over the holidays. Brian is 

1. Hilarious
2. Awesome 

and has one of the more serving-oriented jobs that I know of. In the spirit of Christmas, I present to you a well-word, simple post on the concept of consistency, and giving back.

The 3 brothers, in age order.
Kait asked me to do a “guest blog post” for her blog this season for which I immediately had two reactions. The first was that Kait must have mixed me up with another friend and the second was that I should go online and copy someone else’s blog for some good content so she doesn’t laugh at me.

However, if you’re reading this, apparently Kait did have the right person and if you can find anyone else on the internet who wrote this exact blog please let me know because they obviously copied me and I will not hesitate to seek litigation.

For the past four years I have worked with the homeless at a Rescue Mission in the Pacific Northwest. I have learned a lot over the years and felt this would be a good topic to write on. Specifically, one of the most basic, profound things I have learned working with the poor has to do with consistency.

Every day at our Rescue Mission facilities we have over 100 kids and over 300 men/women staying with us and utilizing our services. We also get thousands of volunteers that want to support what we do from providing meals, tutoring in GED, creating memories for families, and working with the youth.

Throughout all this, I have met some truly amazing people in the community who give above and beyond their resources for others in need and have been a huge factor in facilitating life transformation. Contrarily, I have come across others, volunteering or wanting to get involved, who are detrimental to life transformation. The difference, I believe, between these two different groups is consistency.

Sometimes, and especially with the homeless or other vulnerable populations, not being consistent with good intentions can be very detrimental. You end up being just another person in someone’s life that has walked out on them. You end up being another person whom they will never see again. You must be careful to not use others in need as a way to fill some need in yourself.

With consistency, relationships can form which are the foundation for life transformation. Through consistency you can gain trust. Through consistency you can gain clarity and begin to see others for who they really are and how they truly were created. Through consistency I think you will learn a lot about other people as well as yourself. Being consistent is one way I view love.

There are various ways to give back from supporting an organization financially, being on a board, or simply volunteering your time. Whatever you do, thank you for what you are doing, and remember to do your best to be consistent with what you do.

Cheers to a very Merry Christmas!

If you're interested in giving to Brian's Rescue Mission in a quick and simple way, simply... 

Text GIVEBACK to 85944 & reply YES to confirm your gift of $10.
The average cost to serve one meal is $2.42, by generously donating as little as $5, you can provide dinners for community members in need.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

48 Hours

Due to my lethargic-ness, and need to get out the door and get my Christmas shopping done today (I'm bad, I know), I present you all my past 48 hours in pictures. From Friday morning until now.

Went through the Starbucks drive-thru on my way to work. The woman in front of me bought mine for me.
It undoubtedly made my day. #26acts

I discovered the joys of compression shorts, and ran 7 miles in them.

7 windy, cold miles. Then I tried to make a new face for you guys. 

I started packing for my 10 day trip

It only took 2-3 hours.


I met my new sister, Jane!
My other sister got her wisdom teeth out that morning, and was zero fun. 

So I headed over to my friend Greg's 3rd Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. 
sh*t got weird.
I woke up feeling great not great but got plenty of puppy kisses. 

we hung out all morning.
then headed to our Family Christmas party.

this morning has been a lot of laying around.



But now we are off to the mall to shop 'til we drop! Did anyone else procrastinate like me and is getting some last minute shopping done today? Any other Christmas party attendees this weekend?

Cheers to the holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

PT Graduation

My friends, I have some wonderful news.



I had a green tropical smoothie for lunch.

I officially graduated from Physical Therapy! (cue horns, confetti, high fives, etc.)

My initial reaction is to launch into a long sob story about overcoming obstacles and lessons learned, but let’s be honest here, that’s for another day. Why?

1.      Because I wouldn’t call myself 100% back to normal. My IT Band finally shut the freak up, but I continue to attempt to calm down my ever angry hamstring. Ya win some, ya lose some.

2.      Because I’m too excited about the impending holidays to write such a post.

In other news, 2012 New York Marathon runners (including myself) finally received emails today with notice as to what our options are regarding the race cancellation. Basically we can get a full refund come January, or we have the option run it in 2013, 2014 or 2015... but would have to pay the entry fee again.

Due to my poorness and hopes to run Chicago in the fall of 2013, I choose option #1. Boom.

Tomorrow is exciting for two separate but special reasons. Do you want to know them both? Ya I thought so.

#1. I go home tomorrow! (fingers crossed) My flight into Chicago is scheduled for 6 p.m., and I’m holding my breath that it’s late enough that my flight won’t be affected by the current atrocious weather in the midwest. 

Side note- I just checked in and snuck into the A boarding group somehow. THAT NEVER HAPPENS!
Southwest was just as excited as I am.



This event is particularly riveting because I get to MEET MY NEW DOG SISTER JANE for the first time, ever. Can’t. wait. 

she's excited too.

#2 reason why tomorrow is special. I will (hopefully) be running my furthest mileage to date post-injury. I am planning to run 60 minutes tomorrow morning before work. I’m super pumped.  More to come on that.

I think that’s all for today. If my flight is delayed tomorrow expect an explosive ranting post.

Cheers!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

#26Acts

Today was twin day at work today. You can’t even tell us apart, right?




Actually it was my office Christmas party, which included a potluck and a secret santa gift exchange. I brought the only crock pot recipe that I know how to make; buffalo chicken sandwiches. Apparently it was a huge hit:



The recipe is easy as pie. Except it isn't pie just to be clear.

- 3 lbs chicken breasts.
-1 16 oz bottle hot sauce (I used Frank's wing sauce)
-1 oz. package of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning

Throw all in crock pot on low for 7-8 hours. Stir up, shred with fork. Throw on buns/bread. Voila.

Word on the street is that Friday at 9:30 AM EST there is going to be a National Day of Silence for the Sandy Hook victims. I’m not sure if this is ‘official’ yet or not, but I plan on participating regardless. You should too.

Also, there have been a few blurbs out there about sending ‘Hearts to Newtown’. The basic concept is to cut out a heart and write a loving/encouraging message that will be hung in the local church/around town.The address to send your heart to is listed below, and more information can be found here.




Newtown Congregational Church 

14 West Street 

Newtown, CT 06470 


And, if you’re still looking for ways that you can ‘help’ without actually being present in Connecticut, which I know I am, check this out. The hashtag #26acts (of kindness) is spreading like wildfire and I LOVE it.

The general idea behind it is to commit an act of kindness for each victim of the Sandy Hook shooting. Any act of kindness, big or small, can help to make a difference across the country.


Love someone today. Give someone a hug. Buy the person behind you in line their coffee tomorrow. Bite your tongue when you really don’t want to, or smile at a random stranger on the street. The concept is simple, but you never know whose day you may brighten.

Oh, and of course there's already word of a 5k for Newtown that will be put on to raise money for the victim's families, etc. No details have been confirmed yet, but if you are interested at all you can join the facebook group for it at this link.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday.

Cheers!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Day of Silence

Today has been deemed a 'blogging day of silence' in honor of the Newtown community, Sandy  Hook Elementary, and the beautiful little children that we lost 3 days ago.

I'm logging off for today. I hope you do the same.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

that blogger

This weekend was full of life, and I loved it. For so many different reasons.

First and foremost, this picture continues to crack me up:



Weekends like this stand out to me because we forced it to be epic. Andrew and I both had very little on the agenda, yet refused to let it go down in the books as one of those 'boring' weekends.

Efforts included but were not limited to:



Sipping on some wine called 'Truth' while watching The Dark Knight Returns for the first time. Loved it. The wine too.



Playing racquetball.  I suck am not the best and definitely inferior to Andrew at this particular sport, but he had fun humoring me and playing "let's try to get 10 hits in a row" type of games. Needless to say, my right arm is super sore today.


Two for one holiday lattes at the 'Bucks. Boom.


I poached my first egg! Great success!



New Belgium Snow Day while we both watched our favorite football teams. His (Denver) rocked while mine (Chicago) didn't fair so great. No comment.

AND last but certainly not least, we ran the 4 mile Rudolph Run Relay Race through a nearby park. With neither of us being in tip top shape, we decided a reasonable goal was a sub-30 minute finishing time.


We succeeded with flying colors, coming in around 28:40-something. We were one of the first co-ed relay teams to finish, and were both rocking our red and green race clothes for a little holiday cheer. I was super pumped to pull two consecutive sub-seven minute miles for my leg of the race (the second leg), as I haven't pushed a faster pace since pre-IT band issues. It felt great.


BUT, what felt even cooler was what happened after the race. While sipping on some hot chocolate and waiting for the  awards to be given, a man walk past me and said,

"Hey, are you that blogger?"

I was startled and confused, as I (thought) I didn't know anyone else at the race besides Andrew. The guy proceeded to introduce his daughter to me, who had recognized me from reading my blog! She complimented me, and I of course thanked her for reading.

It was heart-warming to me, mainly because I still consider myself to be kind of a loner out here in Maryland. I don't run into people I know simply because there just aren't a ton of people I know. I didn't grow up out here, my family doesn't live in the area, etc.

I was honored, and if she's reading, well, thanks for reading! Thanks to everyone reading actually!

How was your weekend? Any holiday cheer woven into your activities? Would love to hear about it.

Cheers to a very merry weekend.