Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking back at 2011... Looking forward to 2012

This blog is mostly for the purpose of everything health/running related, but since I have yet to start my 2nd blog site, I thought I'd give a general end of last year/beginning of this year post here! Looking back at 2011, a lot of awesome things happened. I have spent too many years in the past feeling sorry for myself and for all that I didn't accomplish in the previous 364 days. On New Year's Eve, I thought a lot about the things that happened in 2011, and for once, it left me with a positive feeling.

- At this point, 99% of you are aware of the surgery and the 5k's I did last year. All of that was HUGE for me! I won't go into too much detail about it, since most of it has already been said. But it truly was the first time I can really say that I set my mind to something and gave it my all and was extremely happy with all of the results I got out of it. I followed my Dr's ordres to a T after the surgery - everything from the 2 weeks I had to sit on my ass and barely move at all, to the massaging of the scar tissue, to the sunblock anytime I went outside, to actually using my leg once it was time to do so! I honestly couldn't have asked for any better results than what I received out of that surgery. Dr. Silverstein was amazing, but I must say, that I did a pretty amazing job with it myself. And again, the 6 5k's and the Manchester Road Race.

- In July, I met the Goo Goo Dolls. This was also huge for me. If you know me, you know how much I love them and how much their music means to me. Winning the meet and greet was another example of making my dreams come alive. I put meeting them on my bucket list, as I sat on my ass recovering in January, and 6 months later, it actually happened!

- I turned 30! A lot of people freak out about getting a year older, especially when they hit a "big" number - 30, 40, etc. I knew when I did that first 5k in March, that when I turned 30 there were only bigger and better things to come for me. So far, I'd say my 30's have been pretty kick ass!

- I turned 30, Part 2 - My BFF Jamie came to surprise me! She and Rich had been planning the surprise for my birthday since (I think) January. Those two are two of my favorite people in the entire world. They are the people that I can go to about absolutely anything and everything. They understand all that I say and what I don't say. It's hard to have a best friend who you can text all the time, but never get to see. Jamie lives in NJ, and even though it's only about 3 hours away, we are lucky if we get to see each other once a year because of both of our schedules. To have the doorbell ring that day after coming home from work, and see her standing on the other side when I opened it... I can't even put that feeling into words :)

- I turned 30, Part 3! As the final gift of my "30 things for turning 30" basket that my sister put together for me, I got 2 tickets to see NKOTBSB! And not just any 2 tickets... FRONT ROW TICKETS!! I had wanted to see the New Kids for as long as I can remember. Whenever they toured in CT when I was little, I was away at camp, or we didn't have the money for the tickets. This was like a dream come true for me, 20 years later! It was another complete surprise for me, and for Siara as well, who went to the concert with me. For some reason, my sister didn't want to hear me scream for 2 1/2 hours :) The Backstreet Boys are one of Siara's all-time favs, so it was pretty effing awesome that the both of us got to see 2 of our favorite bands performing together at the same time.

- In August, Rich and I went to Myrtle Beach for 4 days. It was our 3rd year going there. His parents were going to be there for a BBQ festival (they live about 4 hours away from there) and Rich threw together an amazing last minute trip for us to get down to the beach! For 2 broke people, one of whom was unemployed at the time, this was huge for us! I think that because of that, as well as having complete mobility after the surgery/recovery, this was probably my favorite trip there so far. We had great weather the whole time, and some awesome drinks :) I will never hear "Sweet Caroline" ever again and not think of the last night we were there at the Red Parrot with the Voodoo Bucket & the dirty martinis!

- I got a new job! Technically I didn't start it until January, 2012, but I was hired on in December (with a huge thanks to Ismarie!). I was laid off in June from Iron Mountain, and it was a horrible struggle to try to find something new. I know I am fully capable of a job that a job that pays much more than this job does, but in this economy, I will take anything I can get! I have worked at some really shitty places in the past, but so far I must say that I truly enjoy going to work at TicketNetwork every day. The hours/days are tough, since it's opposite what Rich works, but as far as the atmosphere and the people there, I can't really complain at all.

I'm sure I could continue on with more awesome things that happened, but I think this will do for now :) I'm hoping I'm not forgetting anything major though! So, looking on to 2012....

Nearly everything you see and hear in the media in the weeks surrounding New Year's Day has to do with a resolution. The radio is talking about it. The posts on Facebook are talking about it. Your friends are talking about it! Everyone wants to know what it is that you're going to do different this year. For once, I'm not making any New Year's resolutions. I'm going to stick with the same thing that I did in 2011. It worked for me last year, and it's going to work for me this year too. Because I am determined, because I have motivation, and because I CAN!

In 2011 I made a conscious decision to stop making excuses and start making things happen. And thank God, for once it finally worked! And when it worked once, I wanted it to keep on working. I knew that I was capable of things that I had never before thought possible. I just had to put in the effort! My main goals for 2012 are for my running and for my finances. In addition to the numerous races that I want to do locally, I am also setting a huge goal at being able to afford a trip to Chicago and to run the marathon there in October. It will be a huge test for me both physically and financially - 2 things I have never really had a great grasp on through my entire life. In addition, I also want to try to eliminate as much debt as I possibly can. I want to owe less going into 2013 than I did going into 2012. I am not officially making any weight loss goals for 2012. In 2011, I made a significant change in my weight just by being more active and sticking to the running regimen. I believe that the same will happen in 2012; by continuing to be physically active and training for the marathon, I cannot imagine possibly weighing anymore at the end of the year than at the start of it. I am pretty excited to see what I look like a year from now though :)

As always, I welcome any of your comments. I also encourage you to feel free and comfortable to share any of your accomplishments from last year and goals for 2012!

"Ain't seen the best of me yet..." - Goo Goo Dolls

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I've been told I'm A Versatile Blogger!

Stephanie/RunnerMom at "A Mom's Journey in Today's Runner's World" tagged me as a versatile blogger!

The Rules are as follows:

1) Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their post.
2) Share seven things about yourself.
3) Tag some recently discovered blogs, and pass the award a long.

Thank you Stephanie Famiano! A friend of mine that graduated in the same class as me, but who is MUCH MORE advanced than I am in regards to running! She is a wife and mother, has completed marathons and triathlons, and is more of an inspiration than she will probably ever know.

Soooooooo... 7 things about myself. Hmmmm...

1. Well, if you're reading this blog, you probably know that I now consider myself a runner. Up until a year or so ago I never would have thought in a million years that I would say that. But an injury led to a surgery, a surgery led to a bucket list, and a bucket list led to finally having motivation and determination like I never before thought possible! As of this writing, I've done 6 5k's and one (almost)8k.

2. Rich and I have been together for just shy of 10 years. We have a cat named Hercules. We've lived in 3 different apartments. Once, when we lived in East Windsor, Rich woke up to find a squirrel in apartment. Yes, a squirrel. Both of us had to go to work and couldn't figure out how to get him out. We called Animal Control and they told us that they only assist with "domestic animals." I told Rich I couldn't leave for work knowing that this thing was still in our house, urinating and defecating all over our computer room! Rich finally got it to jump out the window and into a tree :)

3. The Goo Goo Dolls are my favorite band ever. I've seen them live more times than I can count - from the Meadows back in the day, to the casino, to the Oakdale, to the Warner Theater... I'll stop :) I was lucky enough to meet them in July, 2011 - one of the best nights EVER! I can't put into words why their music means so much to me, but there are just numerous songs that speak to me. J.R. is an AMAZING songwriter in my opinion, and puts so much emotion into his lyrics. My favorite songs are "Something For The Rest Of Us", "Become", "Acoustic #3", and "Iris."

4. I have been somewhat of a vegetarian for the better part of 20 years. I have never eaten a steak or ribs. I originally gave up meat for Lent as a teenager and stuck with it for way longer than 40 days! Since that time I haven't had any beef or pork, but I have gone back to eating chicken and turkey for medical reasons.

5. My favorite movies include A Lot Like Love, City of Angels, Good Will Hunting, Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Elf and Moonlight & Valentino. My favorite TV shows include Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, New Girl, Whitney, and Jersey Shore. Rich and I have also started re-watching Cheers and Family Ties starting at Episode 1. :) I also love watching Jeopardy!, but we got rid of "regular TV" and only use the Roku box now.

6. I have participated in a Penguin Plunge twice, and this will be my 3rd year. It was something I always wanted to, but always thought of as just a bunch of drunk and/or crazy people jumping into the ocean on New Year's Day as the "Polar Bear Plunge." I remember sitting on the floor of our apt. here in Vernon, late one night, when we had no couch (which is pretty much irrelevant, but I'll mention it anyway :) ), and we saw a commercial for it. I told Rich I'd always wanted to do it, and looked it up online. I was ecstatic to find out that the ones in our area actually benefited a great cause - Special Olympics of CT - and that there were several to choose from. We did our first plunge in March, 2010 at Crystal Lake in Ellington, where they had to literally chop blocks of ice out of the lake for us to do it. It's a little scary, but so much fun. To anyone who would like to make a donation to this year's plunge, please go to http://soct.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General?px=1215543&pg=personal&fr_id=2542.

7. One of the items on my bucket list is to visit each state in the US at least once. Layovers don't count. So far, 15 down, quite a list still to go!

Stephanie noted that the original rules said to tag 15 blogs. I, as well as her, do not read 15 blogs. I will add some of my favorites though, in addition to Stephanie's. The versatile blogger's I'm tagging are:

Bonkie Bit Garp - The blog of my friend Sarah who I went to middle school and CCD with. She started her own cheesecake business, 7ate9 Bakery in the Boston area and sells in the summer and winter at local farmer's markets. She posts pretty frequently, about bakery stuff, recipes, life in general.

Daily Thankful Thoughts - The blog of my sister Mandy, who is an amazing woman. She always tries to find the positive in everything! She hasn't posted on this site in quite some time, but I'm hoping that she picks it back up again in the future, as I always loved reading her posts of gratitute every day.

Jeannine Jersey - Jeannine used to co-host on the Damon Scott Show on 96.5 TIC and then moved to Alabama. I miss hearing her on the radio up here, but I like to read her blog when I have time. She is another one who frequently writes about her gratitude, as well as a number of other things.

A Daisy On My Toe - My friend Christine who I met when I went to Chicago in 1995 for 2 weeks. She inspires my running by how she tackles cycling! She is amazing and I always love reading about what she's up to!

Sweet Spot CT - A blog started by my friend Tenneille who I know from high school who opened her own bakery in Windsor, CT this past year - Sweet Spot Bake Shop! Sweet Spot makes the most amazing cupcakes you'll ever have in your life! She also makes custom cakes for all occasions in all shapes and sizes. She also hasn't posted in a while, but I'll assume it's because the business has been doing so well. You can skip the blog and just head over to Tunxis Street to get yourself a cupcake instead :)