Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Year in Review


Per tradition, I post a year recap close to New Years. Well, this time it is with about 20 min left of 2015 but I'm pretty sure I'll make the cutoff before 2016. 

January: I set off to make this to be the year where I would "have the courage to change the things I can." I took inventory of the things I wanted to change, things I thought would bring me happiness and I set out with a plan to change them. The year started off rough, after a high school friend suffered an unspeakable tragedy, an accident that took the lives of her two sisters, her niece, nephew, sister's unborn child and other sister's boyfriend. I can't imagine what she went through, but it set me off. I felt immense grief and hopelessness for days. It was all for her and her family and I know my feelings are a fraction of what they felt, but it made me think this year was going to be awful. That and my neighbors were getting on my nerves and I was in desperate need of a new job. 

February: As January came to a close, I took a leap and checked out some apartments via Craigslist. I saw a really tiny studio in the heart of South Philly and was disappointed because there was no way I'd be able to live there. I almost didn't look at the second apartment since the whole visit was arranged via text. But I did and fell in love. Cue a week into February and I had moved out of my tiny (but beloved) jr. one bedroom in Center City and into a nice 2 bedroom with a full kitchen, new oven, roof access and laundry blocks away in South Philly. Some friends from work helped me move, but I got really sick during it and had to be put on steroids to help me breathe. It was rough. My second goal was to adopt a dog, which didn't go as planned. The dog I was promised was adopted to another family the night before my parents and I were set to pick him up. I was devastated. It was Valentine's Weekend. 

It wasn't meant to be because a few days after that letdown, I found a dog on Petfinder. The shelter made a promise that no one else would get him if I came up on Saturday. I rented a car, drove to the Poconos and adopted Brutus (now Bronx Brutus). He was so wiggly and happy! He did back flips in the back seat of the car. Of course the drive home was during a horrible snowstorm where I had about 10 panic attacks and one for sure nervous breakdown. Bronx was left alone for 4 hours while I returned the rental car in a blizzard. He was an absolute angel! I didn't know what I'd be coming home to but there he was just sitting on his bed happy to see me. 

Bronx became a huge part of my life and soon was my therapist, hiking buddy, sidekick, running partner, cuddle blanket, comic relief and well..best friend. 

March: I adjusted to being a dog mom. I was happy to have my new apartment and my amazing dog but it wasn't enough. I needed a new job: a journalism job. I had a few interviews throughout the year but nothing came to fruition. I was getting really discouraged. 

April: I ran my first 5K of the year with my friends Hillary and Erin, I trained for the Broad Street Run (sort of) and just took Bronx on adventures.

May: I ran my first Broad Street Run with my friend Erin! Erin ran her slowest ever so I would have someone to pace. I finished in 2 hours and 28 min! I couldn't believe I walked/run 10 miles without training. (I wouldn't recommend it). I also did Susan G Komen but I was recovering from a stomach virus so that one didn't go too well. This month I also went to Sussman Kia and bought my 2012 Kia Soul with my best friend, David! I wanted a green one but the black one felt like mine. She was in better condition and I got the internet price! I drove off the lot with a nice car loan, excellent interest rate and my first car since college. 

June, July, August: Summer was a blur. I took Bronx hiking. I went on a family vacation to the Poconos. I organized my high school's 10 year reunion. It was great to see everyone but was really stressful planning and paying for the favors. I learned the difference between expectation and reality (it was a lovely night, just I wanted more people there and it to go a different way). I did have fun reconnecting with my hometown besties, though. I think that was my favorite part. 

In August I turned 28 and celebrated with my best friend David, Hillary and my Jschool bestie Alexa. We spent my post-birthday celebration (Alexa and I) sitting on my roof talking about life. We all went to dinner and went rollerblading at the Blue Cross Roller Rink in Penn's Landing. It was a great birthday. 

During August I also became a contributor for MOGUL. They "found" me and said they were looking for trailblazing women writers like myself. I joined and have had great success writing for the international platform.

September: I was in the middle of the back to school rush at work. Shortly after, my prayers were answered. A social media job opened up at my company's corporate headquarters. I went for it, with my Executive Director's blessing. By mid-September, after my 2nd interview, I got the job! It came with a really great pay raise and I'd finally be able to use my journalism degree! I set out in 2015 to achieve 4 goals and I did it!

October: I adjusted to my new job and reconnected with an old passion of mine: Kickboxing! I signed up with ILoveKickboxing South Philly and began pounding the bags (and my butt) again. I signed on for a year and continue to work out diligently. 

November, December: Thanksgiving, Christmas, kickboxing, yoga, work, writing. This evening I spent 2 hours in a yoga transform/transcend workshop where we worked on breathing, yoga and journaling. At the beginning of the class, my mind was racing. During the class I had a headache and some things hurt. By the end of the class I felt free. Free of the drama of 2015, the things I need to let go of, the anxiety and stress and doubt. I left laughing and spinning in a circle as I walked home to ring in the New Year with my #1 man, my dog. 

I'm also on standby for work because it is my job to relay news of the 1st baby of 2016 born at our hospital to the press. It is kind of exciting, being on call for something. I'm waiting for that call. 

So how do you top a year like that? How do you top a year where you got everything you wanted? You make bigger goals. You make bigger dreams. You strive to live fully. 

2016 is going to be the year of health. Not just physical health but emotional and mental health too. I'm striving to travel somewhere new each month (including little trips like in-state or nearby). I'm striving to document 2016 to the best of my ability. I'm striving to overcome my fears, workout like a boss and beat my 2015 Broad Street time! 

So here's to HEALTH, ADVENTURE and a BRAND NEW YEAR! Happy New Year to you. I hope 2016 is the year your dreams come true. 

Until next time (and year)....

Monday, December 14, 2015

Little Moments

An end-of-the-year review is due, but I'll save that for another week or so. My blogging has been less frequent due to my continued demanding work/life schedule. Longer days, less hours to do the things I need to do and being a dog mom. This morning as I hustled to get myself ready for work, I laughed thinking how there was no way I would be able to be a functional human parent. My kids would never be on time for anything. 

To cope with the stress of it all, I've been doing yoga every other day and running. I'm noticing the yoga has improved my mindfulness. Like just yesterday as I was in the middle of the practice, I looked around my living room and noticed a few things for the first time. Like how the bottom ring of my grandfather's Irish flag was rusted or how there was a little bug, dead, trapped in my ceiling light. These things seem innocuous but I felt aware, like in the moment. That was the important thing. 

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm trying to be mindful of the little moments. Like how it feels when a breeze sneaks in my bedroom window (we've had unseasonably warm weather this winter). Sometimes I play a game. I close my eyes and just listen to everything around me and then identify the sounds in my head. I think I named them all until I realize there is a cricket chirping in the background or someone's back door is screeching as it comes to a close. The game relaxes my mind, as does the yoga. Both are beneficial considering my weekdays are days of survival. I must get up on time. I must take care of Bronx. I must be productive at work. I must eat well. I must find time for kickboxing. I must get ready for the next day. I must get to bed on time. I must get a good nights rest. 

Another one of those little moments happened on Sunday. You wouldn't think much of it, but it was a great moment. I had just finished a two mile walk/run with Bronx. He was panting and slowing down, the warm weather and the exercise wore him out. I reached down and pat him on the head. He moved it up toward my hand, smiling wide, looking happy. Sure, he was probably just panting but it was the perfect mother dog moment. I did it a second time and so did he. He looked me in the eye, tongue hanging out, mouth open wide and pushed his head against my hand. He seemed pleased. 

I plan on continuing to look for those little moments as the days of December pass by. I'm still working on my goal list for 2016. It is going to be hard to top this year, as you'll read in a week or so. All my goals were met this year, I'm not sure I can do that again. We'll have to see. 

Until next time...


Friday, November 6, 2015

Alive and Well

I'm alive, I swear. I've been working at my new job for a month and a half and am starting to get the hang of things. I've been given full editorial responsibility for our wellness blog and I've been maintaining all social media platforms. So far so good!

I'm getting used to the commute as well. It's about an hour in and a little over an hour back. Bronx has adjusted to the new schedule and I try to take him to doggy daycare once a week to mix up his week and give him some daytime interaction. 

That's pretty much my life. Work. Bronx. Kickboxing. I did go to William and Mary's Homecoming for the first time since graduation. That was a lot of fun. I dressed Bronx up in a W&M shirt and paraded him around campus. Everyone loved him! A lot of people took pics of him. :)

I finally got to go to the W&M Rec Center tailgate! Six years ago I told my bosses that I wanted to adopt a Boxer and name him Bronx. It was such a joy being able to show them that I made that dream come true!

Oh and for Halloween, he was a lion. We dressed up (I was the lion tamer) for the Trick or Treaters on our block. It was a riot. 

That's about it. Until next time...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Greetings from the Corporate World


I'm back where it all began. Literally. Today I had lunch in the same gazebo I sat in while talking to my parents on the phone about my Redeemer Ministry Corps interview process. I remember looking out across the field in front of me seeing nothing but possibility. I'm pretty sure a "don't get your hopes up" was thrown into the conversation. 

My office sits in the same building I interviewed at (and stayed in) 6 years ago. The dwelling rooms have been turned into offices. Construction is ever present. Oh, if you're just tuning in I work in a former convent. The Provincialate used to be the headquarters for the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer. It is now Corporate headquarters for Holy Redeemer Health System. The Sisters have relocated to the Province Center and I'm over here with the "big wigs" trying to make magic happen. So to speak. 

While I work in the marketing department I get to do a lot of journalism things. Today I wrote an article for our employee newsletter. I'm constantly promoting things on social media. I get to guide the editing of videos and work in a production studio. I get to create images to post. I get to be creative. Each day is different. I have a set of running deadlines and new projects that get popped on my desk. My boss is very grateful to have me on board and expresses her appreciation daily. 

My lack of posts have been because it has been pure insanity. Life, that is. The new job is great and I'm enjoying each day, however the work life balance is not something I've mastered yet. My commute in is about 40 minutes. My commute home can take about an hour or more. Bronx is alone for 11 hours a day and while he is a trooper, it makes me paranoid. He's been enjoying his treat toys and the solitude but he has to pee the second I get home. I literally drop my bags and run him out the door. He went to daycare yesterday for the first time. My landlord was finally fixing my leaky roof. Bronx did awesome, loved daycare and daycare loved him. He was in individual daycare so he didn't get to play with the other dogs since he might try to eat them. But it was a good experience for both of us. Unfortunately his daycare is near my work which means a lengthy commute to it in the morning and equally arduous journey home. He'll only be able to go once a week but hopefully that will mix up his life in a good way. 

I'm still kickboxing but that is stressful too. The classes are great but coming home after being up for 12 hours straight just to run to kickboxing and have my ass handed to me and come home after 9pm is tricky. I'm pretty much always exhausted. I can't sleep because I'm so wound up at night but I can't seem to get enough sleep to power me through my days. Plus I'm learning new things on a 24/7 cycle. 

It will all take some adjusting. I'm happy and I was really happy when I got my paycheck this morning. But finding that balance that keeps me healthy, work going well, and Bronx happy is going to be a challenge. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Time Has Come/I've Arrived!!!

It finally happened. It took a year and a half. There was a lot of tears. I ate horrible things. I drank...a lot. I sat on my roof and looked to the sky thinking there has got to be more than life than this. I wrote about existing instead of living. I got rejected...A LOT. I got my hopes up and watched them crash and burn. I felt stuck. It was an awful feeling. 

Then I got unstuck. Nothing is at random. 

I finally have a full-time paid journalism job. I'm going to be the Social and Digital Media Manager for the health system I currently work for. The ENTIRE health system. I'm going Corporate! 

The process took a little over a month. It felt like forever during the wait but now it seems like everything happened quickly. I applied, was the first interviewed. Waited for the rest of the applicants to go through. I checked back. I got a 2nd interview. I got an HR audition. They called me with an offer that afternoon. I accepted. 

This new position will be a major life upgrade to me. I will be able to develop a sound financial nest egg, I'll be doing what I love and I'll be doing it for an organization I believe in. Ironically, my office is in the same building I had my RMC volunteer program interview just 6 years ago. Talk about full circle!!!

This new major life development has already made quite the effect on me. I'm happier. I've been diligently working out. I've been running and kickboxing and trying hard to eat healthy. My skin is glowing. I swear my teeth are whiter. I'm more social. This past holiday weekend I took Bronx out for a 3 mile hike! He also got Rita's water ice so he had a fantastic weekend. 

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in total control of my life. I'm unstuck and heading in the direction I always wanted to head. I get to do journalism and a little marketing full-time and get paid a nice salary for it! I get to work in a new environment that has traces of familiarity. My new supervisor is really excited to have me on the team and that feels awesome knowing I was first draft pick. 

I did it. In 2015, I got an apartment in a rowhome in South Philly. I adopted a Boxer and named him Bronx. I bought a used Kia Soul. I secured a full-time paid journalism job. I have arrived. 

Until next time...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthdays and 5K Races with Kevin Hart

From the Crabfest adventures of mid-August to my healthy journey of eating more vegetables and participating in FitBit challenges, August has been a good time. 

Mary Anna's Non-Monday Birthday was a success. I made this fun Etsy-like sticker that read 336 months for the amount of months I am. You know, how they put those stickers on babies "3 months," "5 months," etc. I'm 28. Someone asked me how long it took me to do that math. I said "12 seconds, I used a calculator." I met up with my best friend and we caught up with my other friends at Morgan's Pier for dinner and drinks. They had this delicious concoction called "Mango Shandy" and it was made with apple cider and mango puree. I could drink those all day. Then I'd get diabetes. 



After dinner we went to Penn's Landing Summerfest and caught up with Jschool bestie, Alexa. Alexa and I tried our hand (or feet rather) at skating. I put the skates on and thought "nope." I quickly traded them for in-line rollerblades. I felt a bit more in control on the blades. Alexa skated around (her first time ever) with no problem at all. 
I was a wall clinger but I made it around a few times. People on the outside were cheering me on. It was pretty great. I didn't fall! I didn't fall at all! That was the biggest accomplishment. After skating Alexa and I went to Spruce Street Harbor Park for a little Cards Against Humanity. Then we traveled to The Tattoed Moms, the very first Philadelphia bar I went to when I moved here. The Moms staff made me a Not Your Father's Root Beer Float AND paid for my actual Not Your Father's Root Beer for my birthday. It made me love that place even more. 

After that Alexa and I retreated back to my apartment. We hung out on the roof for a little bit. I ended up going to bed at 3am, something I haven't done in a LONG time. It was a great birthday celebration with some awesome friends!

My actual birthday was pretty good too. I went to work on my birthday (like I do) and wore this huge birthday hat. It had candles on it and everything. A few coworkers gave me some presents. After work I went to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my annual birthday shot. I ended up hanging out with the bar patrons and we watched Jeopardy. It was fun guessing really wrong answers as well as the right answers. haha After a PBR I headed home. As I walked through South Philly I looked up at the pink sky and just thought, what a great way to end my birthday. 

I picked up some sushi and wine on the way home and enjoyed the last hours of my birthday chowing down on one of my favorite meals. I had an apple cake, put some candles on it, made a wish and then shared my cake with Bronx. 

My first week as a 28-year old was unremarkable. Work was work. Job hunting was job hunting. I was tired a lot. I felt, old. That all changed when the weekend after my birthday arrived and I found out Kevin Hart was hosting a spontaneous 5K run on Saturday. I immediately registered for the run and plotted out how I could get really close for pictures and still enjoy the run. 

The morning of the race I got up at 5:30am. I made it down to the art museum by 7. I got my shirt (my new fav shirt) and put my sign on my back. 

Little did I know this sign would be a huge hit with the crowd. People were taking pictures of it, taking pictures of me, taking selfies with it and posting it on social media. My joke was my "ass is trending." haha As I was running, people kept patting me on the shoulder and giving me a thumbs up. The irony was it was my 8th 5K and I ran Broad Street last year and I'm still SLOW as a TURTLE. 

Anyway, back to pre-race. So donning my sign and my new shirt I took my place by the DJ and danced it out a bit. Everyone was in this great party spirit. I didn't feel out of place, I felt in my element. Suddenly the crowd shifted to right in front of the art museum entrance. I made my way to the barricade and scored a spot front and center. Little did I know that I would be right in front of where Kevin Hart was to deliver his pep talk!


Everyone was friendly. I mean everyone. Then Kevin's step squad came out and the crowd started to get hype. Next thing you know, Kevin comes out with his kids Hendrix and Heaven! I was CLOSE.
Kevin stressed that it was not a race it was a run. This stuck with everyone who participated. (I later found out it was 4,500). After the pep talk we got in our running waves and were off. I ran the entire first mile without stopping to walk! I have never in my life been able to do that. It did go a little downhill from there but I was still glad to be out doing this free and fun run. The Nike + app is my new best friend. I loved how it updated me as I reached each mile and told me my pace. I'm an idiot for not using it before. 

I finished at a horrible time of 44:44. But I never felt the drive to really run and kill myself doing it. I ran at my pace and was happy with that. The race ended going UP the Rocky Steps. At that point, Kevin was surrounded by people and security I couldn't get my high five. I was really happy with my pre-race pictures though so I didn't worry about it. I went off to get water, bananas, apples, pretzels and water ice (how Philly) before heading home. 

I have to say, they cheered the last runner up the steps. Everyone was really positive and motivational. It felt like fitness was FUN. It also motivated me to run more. Now that I know how fun the Nike + app is, I'm planning on using it more often to train effectively. I can't wait to get out and kick asphalt again. In fact, I'm donning my new Kevin Hart shirt tonight at kickboxing because I feel fierce in it. 


Later in the evening I saw the professional shots of the event. I'm in a bunch of them (AND SO IS MY SIGN). I also landed in an NBC10 video of the event where they zoom in on me 17 seconds in. The whole event was an affair to remember. I'm so glad I got up early on a Saturday to take part in that. I wish Kevin the best of luck with is on-fire career and with his campaign to get people moving. #rallywithkevin #runwithhart. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Road to Health

I'm back on the green smoothie kick and I'm eating a lot more kale than I ever have in my life. It's summer and I wasn't too happy with how I looked in some of my vacation pictures. I felt I could benefit from some healthier decisions. I realized one thing really helps me make the healthiest choices: accountability. 

I am now back to using my FitBit on the regular. I've joined Wellcoin, an app that gives you coins for completing healthy tasks. The coins can be redeemed for actual gift cards and merchandise. I'm checking in with coworkers about their fitness journey. So far I'm doing pretty well with the eating well part but definitely need to step up my exercise. I'm finding that after work I'm just too exhausted and it is too hot outside. I just want to enjoy my parking space on my block and hang out with Bronx. I need to start training soon because the Broad Street Run is a 2016 goal I have. I finished the race under two and a half hours this year but next year I'd like to finish in under two. That is going to take a lot of training to get to that stamina level. 

In other news my birthday weekend is planned. I'm doing some fun waterfront events with some of my closest friends. My Jschool bestie is even going to try to make it down to celebrate with me. It's going to be a blast! 

Nothing else to report, really. Bronx is fine. He has taken to sleeping at the top of the bed with me each night. I usually wake up to him nosing my head, sneezing on me or pawing me in the face. I spent a few extra minutes with him this morning before I left for work. I think it is important to make sure you let your pet know how much they are loved. All too often we get caught up in the chaotic world of "adulting" that we forget that our pets sometimes need reassurance that we love them, that we'll be back, that we have to go to work but will return soon, that we're doing ok. I feel so bad on mornings when I yell at intimate objects because of well...gravity fails and Bronx's ears go back. He gives me this look like, "I didn't do it!" I always make sure I get down on his level and pet him and let him know that I'm not mad at him. It usually ends with him giving me a kiss. 

Adopting him was one of the best decisions I have ever made. :-)

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Whirlwind Tour of August

Today is August 11th. There are 31 days in August. We are on the 11th day. When did that happen? August has always been a good month for me, mainly because my birthday is August 24th. I've got some fun plans with good people in store for that birthday weekend. Sadly my actual natal day is on a Monday. I'll make the best of it though. 

Where do we start? Well, the reunion I suppose. I coordinated/planned/shelled out my own cash and collected cash to pull of Nandua High School's Class of 2005 10 Year Reunion. It was an anxiety inducing process but at the end of it all, the reunion turned out well. I had some no-shows and we didn't have the faculty guests we expected (which proved to be a huge bummer). However, everyone had a great time. It was so good to see some people I haven't seen in 10 years! Almost every knew about Bronx and many asked about him. haha It was like he was my son for real. 


The highlight of Reunion Weekend was undoubtedly the night prior to the big event. I drove down to my friend Heather's house where me and my three high school best friends got together like old times. Heather asked if I needed directions but I knew the way like the back of my hand. The four of us and Heather's fiance sat out on the back deck surrounded by tiki torches while reminiscing about the good times. It was great to be with them again. So, great that I made them pose for this picture so we could recreate a moment from 10 years ago. 

The bottom photo was taken at Paradiso Pizza, a now defunct pizza joint on the way to Maryland. The top photo was us now, 10 years later on Heather's back deck. We didn't nail the poses exactly but you get the point. I am absolutely in love with this photo. The top photo is my Facebook cover photo. "The four best friends...la de da da."

Hot off the heels of my reunion I washed Sasha Fierce (my car) and got ready to head back to Philly for a hot second before continuing north to the Poconos for my family vacation. Unfortunately on I-95 in Delaware Sasha Fierce took a rock to the face (pebble to the windshield) and it cracked. Now I have to get her fixed. That is not nearly as bad as what happened to my parents who blew an RV tire on the way up to the campground, got it fixed, bought a new tire and then proceeded to blow ANOTHER tire on the way home a week later. Sigh They're doing well and glad to be back home in Virginia but the RV is going to need some help and some brand new tires. 

Vacation was nice. I could have used more sleep but I did enjoy lounging around and swimming in the pool. We went hiking in Bushkill with Bronx and he loved it! I also went stand up paddleboarding for the first time. I got lessons on the Delaware River and was able to stand and paddle around! I didn't fall in (though the water was really clear so I don't think I'd mind if I did). 


We had a wonderful time. I came back to Philly Sunday night, exhausted. I'm still exhausted on this Tuesday August 11th. I need a vacation after vacation. haha 

Some other awesome stuff is I'm now a contributor for MOGUL, a website dedicated toward providing news and stories for women readers across the globe. I've published three stories so far and they're doing well. I enjoy the carefree nature of MOGUL. Elite Daily edits your work and Thought Catalog is like an exclusive nightclub you have to beg to write for free for. MOGUL lets you post whatever you want, no edits, no approvals. Granted I don't post controversial or crappy content, I just like knowing that when I hit publish it does that...publishes. This outlet has provided me with a place to let my creative juices flow, especially in the world of Humor Articles. I look forward to posting more stories in the future. 

So, on deck we've got more wishing, hoping, praying for new opportunities. We've got Mary Anna's Non-Monday Birthday Bash. We've got a serious fitness plan and motivation. I've got to get kickboxing again and find time to start training for next years Broad Street Run. We've got the sadness that comes with the plethora of Back to School ads. I miss school. We've got a new writing outlet. We've got social media information dissemination. Good stuff but the stressful month of July is finally over!

Until next time....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting Closer to Everything

Huge sigh of relief. I, as well as some of my fellow classmates, managed to secure 51 individuals to attend our 10 year High School Reunion! That is a great turnout for an equally great event. All the prepwork is done, party favors have been created/bought (just need to assemble gift bags). My DJ is an alumni and he's confirmed and everything is just waiting to go down. I can finally say I'm excited about the event now that the whole attendance situation has settled. There are a lot of great people going, many of whom I haven't seen in 10 years! Plus my three closest high school friends will be there as well so our little crew is reuniting for a weekend. I've got a really cute dress, matching toenails (pedicure this past weekend) and have a good idea of how the evening is going to go. After all, I'm am the emcee!

Once the reunion is over, I have one day to collect my thoughts before driving up to the Poconos for a week-long vacation with my family. I'm excited Bronx gets to attend all of these things. There are many times when I'm doing something fun outside and I think "I wish Bronx were here." Yep, I have an unnatural obsession with my dog. This morning he jumped on the bed to wake me up and sat on my arm. Sat. On. My Arm. For a good five minutes too!

There are some important opportunities on deck that I'll post about if they come to fruition. All I can say is I feel like finally things are falling into place. I am going to be a contributor for another writing outlet and I'm feeling positive and well, a bit hopeful about the future. 

As I mentioned before, I've been working on perfecting my cold brew coffee recipe. As you may know, It all started with Federal Donuts coldbrew coffee. At a steep (no pun intended) three bucks a cup, I knew I had to find a way to make my own coldbrew. My first attempt with my French Press was awful, it was bitter and gross and I got discouraged. I tried Starbucks coldbrew (better than Federal actually...I could drink it black) and that is also a steep price. So I finally caved and tried with my French Press again. Ground beans didn't do a good job. My cold brew was lackluster. So I went out and bought whole beans, coffee grinder, half and half and made my own simple syrup. IT WORKED! The process takes a whole five minutes to prepare. Then I pop the French Press in the fridge for 12 hours and the next morning I have a delicious cup of strong, flavorful, less acidic coffee. 

Today I made my best batch yet. It was perfect. Seriously. 

Here's to getting a little closer to everything!

Until next time...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Little Accomplishments

The past two weeks have been peppered with little accomplishments. Last week I helped our agency get Sanctuary Certified! I contributed by giving our assessors tours, participating actively in case management meetings and teaching my weekly class about feelings and feeling poems. It was exhausting and the pressure was on ALL of us, but we did it. Took three years but now Drueding is Sanctuary Certified. It is a big deal and we are relieved. 

As I recovered from that I got invited to a luncheon on behalf of one of my volunteer's. She had received a grant for our agency to help purchase enrichment materials for our school age tutoring programs. I got to go to a nice lunch with her, and speak for a video that will promote our program and volunteer opportunities throughout the community. Being on camera made me realize how much I love the media/journalism world. I had the communications crew cracking up and delivered a solid, flawless, no stutter answer sequence to the questions. I even kept my right hand steady since I was holding the mic pack and they didn't want to see that on the camera. I loved it. 

Feeling accomplished from that I cruised through the week. On Weds I managed to grill on a charcoal grill for the first time. I had to feed our families for an awards ceremony that I host quarterly. Nervous as hell, I had a coworker help me fire up the grill. I can grill I just never used charcoal before. I'm more a gas grill kind of girl. Well, low and behold the food came out perfect, we had barely any leftovers, the building did not burn down and I felt really good about the whole experience. Especially because I was anxious all day about it. 

The last little accomplishment is that I finally perfected my recipe for cold brew coffee. I am addicted to the stuff and it costs $3-$4 a cup. So I set out to make my own via French Press. Cold brew coffee steeps longer, is stronger and less acidic on your stomach. With the perfect combination of half and half and simple syrup, it makes a creamy and smooth flavorful breakfast beverage. It took three attempts, a coffee grinder, special beans, regular half and half and a new simple syrup to create the perfect brew. I love it. I was so happy drinking it on my way to work this morning you would have thought I got a journalism job. haha

Upcoming is my 10 year high school reunion next weekend. Attendance is looking good and I'm getting really excited about the whole affair. Then I get a nice long vacation to relax after a lot of hard work and mini accomplishments. TGIF!

Until next time...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Jittery July

This month is proving to be quite stressful. First, my workplace is being evaluated by a trauma-theory Institute to see if we have indeed reached accreditation with them. For two days two assessors will inspect every facet of our program to determine if we are worthy of certification. Personally, I think we will be certified. We've done everything from paint the white hallways fun colors to increasing signage, preparing a structured but relaxed schedule and provided multiple opportunities to see just how we run things around here. It doesn't make it any less stressful. Especially because I liaison for an outside group coming the same day the assessors arrive. And that group has requested a mandated attendance of 3. You see, we don't mandate anything at our agency. I'm hopeful I have at least 3 families and that I can do well with my four to five pieces of the evaluation process. 

Tack on the final countdown to my 10 year high school reunion that I'm planning. Enthusiasm is up and many people are interested and excited to go. The problem is people are waiting, in true Eastern Shore fashion, to pay at the last possible minute. That makes for a nervous MA. I'm sure, just like the work certification, that we'll have a nice turnout and a grand ole' time. But the pressure is on until I submit my final headcount. I need numbers! I'm getting them but at a turtles pace. It should be a nice reunion though. 

Thankfully at the conclusion of this jittery month, I'm going on a week-long vacation to the Poconos with my family and Bronx gets to tag along too. Five days of no humidity, swimming, hiking, eating junk, drinking margaritas and just enjoying nature. I can't wait. It will be the respite I need after this mess. 

There are other little pin balls of anxiety in my life too. My mantra for the week is this:

What are we not gonna be? ANXIOUS!
What are we going to be? SUCCESSFUL, PRODUCTIVE and FOCUSED!

I was literally shouting these things in the car on my way to work. Just got to focus and breathe. Everything will work out great. 

Until next time...

Monday, July 6, 2015

From Sea to Shining Sea

Whew! What a 4th of July week/end!

Adventures started for me on June 30th when my best friend and I scored suite seats for the Phillies Brewers game. We got free food and free beer, a private bathroom and a great view of the game. A guy in the box next to ours caught a Ryan Howard foul ball. (If only the wind worked in my favor). It was a really neat experience to be a VIP for a night. Of course the Phillies lost because let's face it, they resembled the 90's Phillies. It was still a good game. 

Wednesday night my friend Hillary and I went to watch Rocky on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps (where Stallone famously ran up in the movie). It is one of my favorite Philly traditions. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday so I have all these fun little things I like to do every year. Rocky is one of them. Hillary hadn't seen Rocky prior to that night so she had the best first experience of the movie. 

Thursday I kidnapped my co-worker and friend, Erin and we trekked down to Independence Hall for some free Wawa hoagies. It was Hoagie Day and we got free lunch! Always a delicious experience if you're willing to wait for a bit. 

Friday I ran errands and watched fireworks from my roof. Saturday I dressed up my minion to celebrate the 4th in style. 


Bronx - the patriotic pup. He didn't mind wearing his outfit save the hat. He isn't a big fan of headgear. 

His shirt says "Made in the USA." I'm sure he was even though Boxers are German dogs (originally). He was such a good sport about it and quickly became one of the most popular attractions at the Philly Party on the Parkway event. Everyone had a Boxer story or murmured "look at the Boxer!" And he got lots of pets and hugs too. What can I say, my dog is a charmer. 

The two of us made quite the pair. I was rocking my new Ray-Bans (old ones broke Memorial Day weekend after three years of being my go-to sunnies). I kept fixing Bronx's hat but he kept knocking it off. I don't blame him, I mean really. We had a blast getting some free Wawa drinks and Tastycakes before heading home to relax before the fireworks. After some delicious beer and my famous chili dip, I climbed up onto the roof. There were fireworks to my left, right, behind me, in front of me and the skyline...everywhere. It was like Grand Illumination at William and Mary. I had a moment where I thought "God Bless America" and "I love South Philly." South Philadelphians are very serious about their fireworks, btw. I mean 4 hours of snap, crackle pop. People shooting stuff off their roof and in the street, in parking lots and street corners. It was an experience for sure. 

Happy Independence Day!


Until next time...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Road Trip with Baye


My joke was that I want hiking with "baye" this weekend. Baye is actually my dog son, Bronx. On Sunday we decided to be spontaneous and take advantage of the no-humidity weather. We drove up to Bushkill, PA to hike Bushkill Falls. It was the perfect day for it. The park was pretty muddy so we got wet and dirty hiking for 3.5 hours, but it was worth it. Bronx did really well on the leash. I am convinced he is part mountain goat because of how well he handled walking on the jagged rocks.


He barked at his first waterfall. He walked up to it, all curious and cocked his head to the side. He decided to bark at it. It was kind of funny even though he startled some visitors next to us. He hates water and is afraid of loud noises but he was pretty brave throughout the whole hike. He didn't slow down, not even after I realized we missed one of the falls and had to double back to go see it. It was wet and treacherous, (think uphill slippery rocks and mud) but worth it. I had his portable water dish with me and we'd stop every so often for a water break. He was so excited to meet all the other visitors (who were thrilled to see him and pet him). I can't count the amount of times someone asked "is he friendly." 

Since we had to double back to catch two more falls, we ended up running into a lot of the same visitors more than once. I swear by the time we were done hiking I knew at least 75% of the visitors in the park. 


 The park offers beautiful views of waterfalls like this one. Bronx and I took selfies in front of most of them. He was pretty cooperative for a dog that doesn't have the patience for photo opportunities. 


All in all it was a very successful hiking day. I'm sore which means I got a good workout. Bronx didn't even put up a fuss as I left for work this morning. He calmly walked me to the door and then went back to whatever he was doing. I bet he sleeps most of the day. I think that is the most physical activity he's had in a long time. I'm so glad I got myself a little hiking dog. We're going to take advantage of day trips like this as much as possible. I know what happens as dogs get older, the hiking doesn't come as easy. We'll milk up these toddler dog years as best as we can. 

Until next time...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Books

During my second year of graduate school at Temple University, I was enrolled in this nearly impossible class: Editing the News I. You'd think we'd just be copy editing existing articles or learning the ins and outs of the editing world but it was so much more than that. For starters, we had to bring all 14 of our textbooks to class every day. Yes, 14. All of us had rolling bookbags to accommodate the load. I remember having to take SEPTA with my stupid rolling suitcase of books, resenting the world as I rolled my way down Girard Ave into work. We never used all 14 books in one class. At the most, we used 3 or 4. But we'd get called out if we forgot one. It was ridiculous. 

Our assignments were also unreal. We'd have to read a chapter and summarize it. Hey, not a big deal. But we'd also be given some huge task like creating a double truck layout on whales or collecting and identifying leaves. THEN we had to find time to study for the following quizzes which took place every class: a spelling test, a geography test where we had to fill in blank maps AND spell the locations correctly (capitals, states, countries, major landmarks, rivers...anything was fair game), an AP Stylebook and New York Times Stylebook quiz (random questions from each book...we'd be quizzed on ABC entries on week one and EGF on week two), and a visual dictionary quiz (the prof picked a random entry and we'd have to memorize it and regurgitate the facts on that page).

Every Monday we'd start class with those quizzes. Then we'd grade each others. We'd get the laundry list of assignments for the following week and the prof would teach a short lesson. The class was almost 3 hours and at the time I hated it. 

I'd have hissy fits and throw my suitcase of books in the middle of the room or knock over a pile of books on my desk. I had a crying spell in the elevator once because I felt so challenged that I didn't think I was going to pass. It was the hardest class I ever took in my life and I ended up getting an A-. 

I've been out of school for a year now and I miss it. Last night I felt so disconnected from journalism that I sought out my old Editing books. I realized how happy I was that I had them. While it was a pain to drag all 14 of them to class, I now have this library of journalism information at my disposal. The stressful, deadline driven random assignments? That emulates the newsroom. That is what journalism would be like every day. Here are 1,000 things you must accomplish in 72 hours, go. The class was preparing us for the real world and giving us the resources to succeed as journalists. Kind of like the Karate kid, we were beaten down in practice and realized our strength and resilience after the fact. 

I've started rereading "Think Like an Editor" and doing the activities in the back of the chapters. I'm hoping to refresh my journalism mind so I don't lose all of the things I learned in graduate school. It is easy to lose sight of the skills from your passion when your work is so far removed from anything you actually want to do for the rest of your life. I'm a babysitting paper pusher. I make a difference but not in the way that makes me feel like I make a difference. 

Battles prepare us for what lies ahead. I'd like to think that this stagnant career situation is preparing me for something. As the dust begins to collect on my degree and my desired field relies on unpaid interns to survive, I plan to use this time to refresh my memory and remind myself how to be an incredible journalist. I can't lose that part of me. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Awards and Accolades

I have arrived. Or something like that. 


After six years with Drueding Center (one as an RMC volunteer), I have been awarded Employee of the Quarter. I was recognized for my endless creativity, ability to go above and beyond and take on many tasks outside my job description. I also fostered a meaningful professional relationship with one of our volunteers that got us a $1,000 grant for our tutoring programs. BAM. I have arrived. 


That is as high as it gets. Granted, I am in the running for Employee of the Year now. However, that usually goes to someone who feeds their neighborhood kids or rescues baby animals in their spare time. I'm not quite that worthy. But, that is as high as it gets in a work environment that can't afford to give raises and has no room for promotions. I'm chilling at the top of the mountain, metaphorically speaking. 

I'm grateful. Recognition and appreciation always feels great. Plus I'm someone who maps out my life by awards and accolades so this is another one for the books. It sounds awfully proud, but recently I realized that my life is defined by achievements both big and small. I'm driven by the need to earn awards like this. I remember in grad school when I learned there was a Top Scholar award for the MJ program. I was determined to win it. I stayed up late, got up early, damn near slept in the Tech Center, cried, coped and earned it. I see things, I work hard, I try to get them. The driving force in my life is achievement. 

Which is funny because I achieved the "highest" prize and I feel like I did when I graduated Temple...yay I won...now what. 

I am attempting to add non-achievement memories and events to my life. This past weekend I saw Matt Nathanson, The Fray and Train in Camden. It was a really fun concert and I'm so glad I went. I've been obsessed with The Fray since they came on the scene years ago. 10 years ago?  I knew all the songs. 


Upcoming, Erin and I are going to Runner's Night at the Phillies where we get free Runners shirts since we did Broad Street this year. Also Bronx has a playdate scheduled with Erin's dogs, Utley and Maggie. I'm hoping Bronx behaves himself. He's a bit of a talker around other dogs and I'm trying to help socialize him into being a bit calmer. I think if he has a few positive interactions under his belt he'll act better around dogs. I am still every so grateful that he is such a people dog, though. I'm serious, he LOVES everyone. So that's a good thing. 

Also on deck is Philly 4th of July, Rocky on the Rocky steps and a potential stand up paddle board adventure in North Jersey. Love outdoor stuff in the summer. Hate this June heat and nervous about July/August heat wise. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wiggle Butts and Parking Spaces



What can I say, he is pretty precious. This is what Bronx looks like after a day full of car rides and hiking in the suburbs. He sniffed everything so hard, a white foam formed around his nose. He had a really fun time and as you can see, he is dog tired. 

We're in a good place. He was exhibiting some recent separation anxiety. In the mornings as I'd get ready for work, he would get really antsy, start whining, charging the front door in an attempt to run down the stairs. Kind of like a "well, I'm down here so you HAVE to take me with you." I think the whole getting a car thing threw him off. Mom has a rolling box that I can ride in, therefore I can go with Mom wherever she goes. haha I don't know if dogs can reason, but I think there is a connection between my new car and my dog. 

So mornings were rough. As were afternoons. My otherwise angel of a dog was finding new things to get into like...the trashcan. This dog is scared of my trashcan. For three months he wouldn't go near it. Then one fine day he decided to explore. And the day after that as well. Trash all over the kitchen floor. I was really mad, but I get it. He is bored. I decided to get him some new toys to help keep him occupied and it worked!

I got him an everlasting treat ball which has a long-lasting treat on one side and dispenses little treats on the other side. I also bought Kong filler treat paste. He LOVES it. Now in the mornings, once I get his interactive toys filled with food, he barks at me for his Kong. "MOM GIVE ME" haha. I'm able to tell him to be good and leave the apartment without him making a ruckus. It is great. I'm glad we got past that whole him being upset with I leave thing. He didn't act that way the first 3 months I had him. 

The other new adventure in my life is remembering how to parallel park again. I'm out of practice having not owned a car in six years. I've driven cars but haven't had to parallel park twice a day, every day since college. I'm still rusty. I seem to think my little Kia Soul is a Suburban and three times its length. It is a tiny tiny car. This morning I managed to park in one fell swoop. I consider that a major accomplishment. 

That is about it. I'll leave you with a photo of Bronx and I from our hike last weekend. 

Forward facing camera makes his face look distorted. I feel like he looks like a Great Dane here. haha. Nope. He's all Boxer. 

Until next time...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life Update No Updates

Hey everyone. Nothing much is really happening. I've been adjusting and enjoying life with a motor vehicle. Bronx and I went down to Virginia last weekend to visit my parents. We had a great time and Bronx loved the "country." He got to run around and lay by screen doors all day. I just tried to rest and relax and plan my next goal. 

No news on the job front. I have a few applications out but I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I know I'm trying to enter a dying field without an internship to show for it. I can either work for below living wage, try to take on an unpaid internship in addition to my full-time job, or keep hoping and praying something will come along. Why did I have to fall in love with Journalism? Couldn't I have picked something more lucrative like accounting or law? haha No regrets. 

I've got some fun things planned for June including a Phillies game where they're giving out "Runner's Shirts" for those who completed the Broad Street Run and I'm going to see Train, The Fray and Matt Nathanson next weekend. I'm pretty excited about the concert since I've been wanting to go for months when I first heard about it. I'm also hoping to take Bronx up north to the Poconos for some hiking if we ever get a cooler weekend day. It seems that Philly just skipped over Spring and went right into Summer. Bronxie doesn't tolerate the heat very well so we got to be careful. 

In other news, I just started watching this show called "Chasing Life." It's about a girl who is 24 and finds out she has leukemia. The catch is she's a "floater" for "The Boston Post" which I swear is set at the Globe because the setting looks just like the Globe (I've been there). So she's trying to break her first real story to get promoted to a staff member. She's also dating a hot coworker and trying to be the support system for her mother and troubled little sister. She finds out she has cancer from her estranged uncle who is a pediatric oncologist and keeps putting off treatment because "it's not a good time."

The show is interesting because it takes a look at this fictional yet possibly close to reality, cut-throat world of journalism. It makes me laugh thinking I could have secured a staff position with the Boston Globe because I sent in an application and toured the Globe a week later. I'd be lucky enough to be considered for a "floater" position. What do "floaters" do? They get great stories and take notes on them for senior staff to write up and publish. I don't know if that is how the Globe works but I do know you have to be prestigious as hell to be considered for a byline. That's the journalism world and I am the water boy. 

That's about all for now. I'm headed out in a bit to see Pitch Perfect 2 and squeezing in a workout before relaxing this Sunday evening. Got a busy work week ahead. 

Until next time... 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Revisiting "The Courage to Change The Things I Can"

As 2014 came to a close I began wondering what kind of resolution I'd make for 2015. 2014 had been a pretty epic year. I graduated from Temple with my MJ, ran some really good races, got exceptional high pass on my comprehensive exams, visited Boston. Good year. So, if you've been following along you know I designated 2015 to be the year where I find "the courage to change the things I can." 

January was rough. It made me sit down and think about what I have control over and what aspects in my life are completely out of my control. My one bedroom apartment in Center City was beginning to feel small. I really wanted a dog. I wanted to live in a neighborhood where people actually talked to you. I wanted an oven so I could cook actual casseroles and eat them throughout the week. After four years, it was time to move. 

I haphazardly looked up some Craigslist ads and found two apartments in South Philly, the neighborhood I wanted to move to. The first apartment was a little too small (smaller than my Center City place) and the second apartment was huge. So at the beginning of February I had moved to a two bedroom apartment with a brand new kitchen, roof access, and it was pet-friendly. 

South Philly apartment. Check. 

The next step was getting the dog. After two failed adoption situations I wanted to give up. But ever the stalker I found Brutus in Stroudsburg. After some phone calls and e-mails they put him on hold. I remember when they brought him out of the kennel. He was so wiggly and happy. I don't know if he knew what was about to happen but he certainly seemed happy about it. I loaded him into the back of the rental car and he started doing flips. It was the scariest drive of my life because it started to snow but we made it home safely. It was the end of February and I had my Boxer dog, Bronx Brutus Rodabaugh. 

South Philly apartment. Check. Boxer dog named Bronx. Check. 

I adjusted to dog mom life and continued to search for journalism jobs. I was nearing my one year anniversary of graduating and really wanted to find full-time journalistic employment before dust began to collect on my diploma. It was hard, very hit or miss. I began to realize that the journalism job was one of those things that were out of my control. Sure, I could apply everywhere but it was up to so many different factors and people to decide if I got the job or not. What else could I change? 

My commute to work was getting longer. If I missed the trolley I could be 15-20 minutes late. If the trolley was late I'd get home late. Bronx was being left alone for 10-11 hours a day. Originally he was an angel with other dogs and I was going to enroll him in once a week doggy daycare. However my angel warmed up to life and now is very vocal around other dogs. He still wags his tail but he gets so excited his vocalizations come off as aggression to other dog owners. We have to avoid most dogs to avoid "a scene." No doggy daycare for Bronx. He does well in the apartment, no accidents or anything but I can't imagine how hard that is for him, being alone for so long. 

So we have a crappy commute on public transportation and a dog who is alone too long. Oh, and you can forget doing things after work. Happy hour? Got to let the dog out. By the time I get home and let him out and hop back on SEPTA to get to happy hour, it is over. Not Bronx's fault but I was feeling restricted. 

Time to look at cars. I had my heart set on a green Kia Soul. I've wanted one for two years and have been hellbent on getting that car. I found one in Jenkintown and decided to make the moves to potentially purchase a car. I haven't owned a vehicle since 2009. I've driven rental cars or my mom's car when she comes up to visit but that is it. 

Dead set on the green Kia Soul I was surprised to find myself drawn to a black Kia Soul after test driving both. Long epic story short, I bought the black one! It had double the mileage of the green but was in really good condition. It FELT like my car. For women, you know when you're prom dress shopping or wedding dress shopping and you find THE ONE? It was like that. The car and I just fit together perfectly. I didn't get that feeling with the green one I thought I'd be buying. 

Five hours later I'm driving off the lot with her. 


I've named her "Sasha Fierce." It started as a joke in my head and now I can't picture myself naming her anything different. She is a 2012 Kia Soul with low miles and is in excellent condition. I find myself looking outside my apartment window looking at her or finding excuses to walk Bronx past her just so I can stare at my car. I can't believe it. I own a car. It still hasn't sunk in yet. 

This morning as I drove to work, the trolley, MY trolley pulled up next to me. I smiled. It was a perfect moment. I felt so grateful to be in my nice smelling air conditioned car. The best part? I rolled into work right on time. 

Sasha Fierce and I are going to have a very happy life together. I can only imagine the adventures we're going to have. 

Until next time...

Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Miles



Yesterday I did something I never thought I could do: I ran/walked 10 miles in the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run. I along with about 40,000 other people made the epic trek from North Philadelphia to South Philadelphia. 

I got up at 5am on Sunday morning, got dressed and took my very confused dog out for an early morning walk. He isn't used to being out so early but he got up and happily went out. We took a brisk walk on our morning route. It was a little chilly but I knew the day was going to warm up. We got back home, I gave him an early breakfast, then ate a bagel thin and peanut butter and banana myself. I tape up my legs with KT tape, put on my compression sleeves, fastened my bib to my shirt and gathered my race supplies. 

I made it to the subway around 6:05 and was happy to see it wasn't crowded. The SEPTA attendant wish me luck and several other runners exchanged smiles or small talk with me. We were all there for the same thing and there was a strong sense of comradery. Only one subway passed us due to being full. The next one came and there was room on it! I got a seat which I heard was "very lucky on Broad Street Day" and listened to a motivational podcast until we reached Olney station. 

I found my friend and co-runner Erin within 5 minutes of stepping off the sub (another amazing thing to happen). We were plenty early, had a short wait in the porta potty line before stretching for a bit and picking a spot in the front/middle of my corral. It was like driving down a highway with nothing but green lights. Erin said it was the least complicated Broad Street Run morning she had ever experienced and this was her 4th. 

The only downside to being in the last corral is that the winners of the run were finished before we started. It took an hour and a half before we reached the start. I was a bit nervous. Erin tried to encourage me to run the whole thing and keep a slow and steady pace. I felt like I had to use the porta potty again but it was nervous bladder. The crowd began to move and we were off. I clocked my watch to start, pumped up the playlist and ran. 

The "wall of runners" wasn't that thick and I ran and what I thought was a decent pace. It was too fast. We finished our first mile in 12:30 which was fast for me. I got a massive cramp in the center of my chest and had to walk. Then I was off running again. Erin kept behind me. At first I thought she was doing that so she didn't lose me since I was slow and she was fast. Nope, finally she told me "Stop running ahead of me!!!" She was pacing for me! Running at a slow and steady pace for me to follow her with so I wouldn't get too winded too early. 

The crowds were great but I had to do a lot more walking than I anticipated. My hips, despite stretching every night, began to feel like knives. My lips developed a thick film over them because they were dry. We stopped at every water station, even just to throw water on our faces. My pace got longer and longer. By mile 5-6 I was walking more. I'll be honest, mile 6-9.75 I walked a lot. I was walking really fast but walking not running. I wanted to quit. I didn't think it was possible. Finally the finish line was in sight. We ran for it but I had to stop to walk again. My body couldn't take it. Then I picked up running and crossed it at 2:26:53. 

I had two goals: finish the Broad Street Run and finish within 2:30. Done!

It was the hardest athletic thing I have ever done in my life. I remember around mile 7 (what feels like the longest mile), looking around and seeing tons of walkers. I wanted to tell Erin, "look, I'm with my people!" She ran her slowest Broad Street Run so I wouldn't give up and stay with her. That's friendship. Poor thing ran well over the time she normally finishes. But we finished together! 

After the race we got food and medals. We took a shuttle bus to the parking lot. (Another green light!) Then after about 15 minutes cruised down Packer Ave to get to the diner by my apartment for some post-race lunch. I had a delicious burger and fries. There were a lot of other Broad Street runners in there too. We exchanged knowing glances that said "I know what you just went through, enjoy your meal."

I walked home and was greeted by my neighbors that knew I did the run. I had to let the dog out since it had been almost 8 hours since I last saw him. I wore my bib and medal for our walk. People congratulated me or asked me about the race. When I returned home with the dog my neighbors invited me over for a post-race beer. They even gave Bronx some ice water. It was perfect. 


Later that evening when I went to pick up my pizza and wings for dinner, I wore my medal again. More people stopped me and asked me about it. Some had ran their 10th Broad Street, some said their knees were already killing them. It felt so good to be a part of something. I've got another Philly tradition under my belt. So far we've got Mummers, 4th of July, Phillies Games, the Christmas stuff, Komen 5K and now the Broad Street Run. 

I learned a LOT of things during this race. 1) we're all winners. 2) those signs make a difference including the famous little girl with her sign that says 'touch here for power.' 3) I will train and do the race properly next year because 4) it was a miracle I finished under 2:30 (barely). I didn't train like I should have. My longest run before this was 3 miles. I couldn't even run a single mile straight through (though I kind of did during my first Broad Street mile). I think next year it is going to be a lot different because I will be way more prepared. 

But I DID IT. I set my mind to it, I had a great supportive friend and I DID IT. It felt great getting the text updates after the race with screenshots of my friends who signed up for my race updates. I've got one more race this year and then I think I'm going to work on body conditioning for awhile. It's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Breast Cancer 5K. I do it every year. Its my favorite race. Hopefully I'm able to PR again because after Broad Street, anything seems possible. 


Until next time...