Monday, December 19, 2016

2016: A Year in Review

As 2015 came to a close, I began to make my vow for 2016. Instead of resolutions, I dedicate the year to something. In 2014...I vowed I would move to South Philly, adopt a Boxer dog, get a journalism job and buy a Kia Soul for 2015. I did all of those things. For 2016, things were a bit more generic. I dedicated the year to health. I wanted to focus on my mental, emotional and physical health throughout 2016. 

To start the year off right, I attended a wellness yoga workshop on New Year's Eve. That was how I wanted to set my intention for the year ahead. Wellness. Health. Life. 

I'd say this has been a very interesting year. Did I lose 30lbs? No, actually I gained and am seeing doctors about that. I did however run the most races I have ever ran in my life. I finished 2016 with four 5Ks, one 5 miler, two 10ks, one 10 miler, and a half marathon under my belt. I kickboxed, got to do yoga on the Phillies outfield, and did training runs on the Ben Franklin Bridge. Let's take a look at 2016. 

I started off 2016 with a cold. I was so ready to kick 2016's ass and be super healthy. I was knocked out with a cold for about two weeks before I could really get started working on my goals. As January came to a close we got hit with a massive snow storm. 
Bronx had to wear booties! 
It was a lot of snow in a very short amount of time. Also during this time, work was kind of insane. Our department was undergoing a lot of transition at once and I was just trying to keep up with all of the changes. 

In February, Bronx turned 3! We also celebrated our one year adoption anniversary! The weather was great and I started to run again. I participated in a Valentine's Day run in 14 degree temps! (Ok, so the weather wasn't that great). I was also involved in a few kickboxing challenges and was going religiously. I bought a waffle maker after tax time. also, on the 21st, I ran my first 5K without stopping to walk! That was a huge accomplishment.
My baby boy turned 3!

This year I had the opportunity to have a few visitors. My college friend and sophomore roomate Catherine came to visit me with her husband James. I also got to see my good friend Chrystal from high school AND my sorority little, Reba paid a visit as well. I was a hot spot on the friends tour. March brought about more running. I did two races this month. I also felt really accomplished at work. We underwent more transitions and I had to step up and take charge. I was thrown into the deep end of the pool and I surprised myself by being able to swim (metaphorically that is). I landed an important news story that highlighted some of the work we do. 
Kickboxing outing with the crew!

It was around this time where I started participating in bridge training runs on the Ben Franklin Bridge. I paid like $30 or something and got a Ben Franklin Bridge scotch glass and got to do these training runs with other area runners. I met a lot of friends though that series and it made me feel like a solid part of the Philly running community. I was typically one of the last runners to finish the bridge, but everyone was very supportive. Afterward we'd head over to Dave and Buster's for a free beer and raffle. I really enjoyed these runs. 
After one of the bridge runs 
At the conclusion of April, one of my high school best friends got married! I traveled down to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to be one of her bridesmaid's. Our whole hometown crew was there so it was a reunion of sorts. I felt really privileged to be able to be a part of her special day. 
Hometown besties for Heather's wedding
I thought I was ready. I thought I had trained enough for the Broad Street Run 10 Miler. I did not. It rained and poured the whole day. I slowly made my way through the 10 insufferable miles in the pouring rain. It was brutal. I hoped to PR, but I did not. I finished about 5 minutes slower than I did the year before. Ugh. I'm hoping 2017 will be a PR year for me. That was one health goal I set for myself but did not make it. I did finish though, as hard as it was. The night after the race I set my alarm for 11:55pm so I could be one of the first 600 registrants for the discounted rate for the 2016 Philadelphia Half Marathon. I loved RUN 215 and the Philly running community. I leaned on them for support leading up to Broad Street. I didn't want that connection to end so I set another goal: my first half. 
My survival photo after Broad Street Run (or swim really) 2016

The summer was hot and my running sort of fell to the side. I did other active things though. I spent a lot of time with my best friend, David. We did an evening event at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. We did yoga on the Phillies outfield (amazing). 
We were all about the adventures. It was a hot summer, though. I just didn't have it in me to run in the heat. So running took a backseat for a little while. I spent quality time kickboxing or in my air conditioning with Bronx (who also can't stand the heat). I'd have to take water bottles with me on his walks because he would get thirsty so quickly. 

My favorite holiday (July 4th) came and went but it was splendid. Summer was in full swing for sure. David and I made it to the Jersey Shore twice which was really fun. I participated in a DNC donkey run (run around Philly taking photos with the DNC donkeys for each state/territory)
Donkey Run crew
The donkey run was a donkey walk due to heat. When you mention the run to those who did it, people joke and ask not to speak of it. (It was brutal). Fun though. 

August was jam packed with so much fun. It started off a little rough, I found myself in a bit of a funk. I was super stressed and just an emotional tornado. I bought a few books to help me get through the rough patch. I was feeling really alone at work because another person left our department and it was literally like survivor. I was the last man standing. But the middle to end of the month made up for that. I saw the Goo Goo Dolls and Collective Soul in concert (2nd row!). David and I did our annual tradition of Crabfest. I got to attend my friend's family reunion again. I celebrated my birthday on a Drink Philly boat cruise! 
Made some new friends on the cruise
I was slowly starting to take steps to take care of myself. I had become such a workaholic that I'd power through my days off doing work at home too. I started a bullet journal which helped keep me sane. It became a great tool to organize my life, write down memorable moments and keep track of my moods. I still use it today! 

I rounded out August with the Philly 10K. I winged this race and ended up paying for it. I don't know what happened, but after the race I got horrible edema in my right leg. This put me out of kickboxing for a little bit. My leg was so swollen!
Made it and then paid for it.....

September was looking to be a pretty uneventful month. I celebrated David's 30th birthday. I got a new and permanent boss (who I admire greatly). I fixed my toilet on my own. I was getting back on track with kickboxing again. (We never figured out what the edema was all about but it resolved). As September was wrapping up, my world was a bit shaken up. I was headed to work early for a big video project when I got in a car accident and totaled my 2012 Kia Soul. Sasha Fierce was no more. 
I was okay and the other guy was okay. No one was seriously injured but I had airbag burns on my arms. I was hoping my car would make it but the damage outweighed the cost of the car. I was going to need to buy a new car. I rented for almost a month before I had to purchase a new car....a task I really didn't want to do. 

Buying a new car is a terrifying process. I mean, it is exciting but it is also scary. I had to do it though. Instead of another used car I got a brand new 2016 Kia Soul. Designer package! Her name is Caribbean Katniss. Caribbean for the Caribbean blue color and Katniss because she couldn't be killed in the Hunger Games. I love it. I felt like such an adult in that thing as I drove it off the lot. 

The rest of October went smoothly. I was Becky with the Good Hair for Halloween. I got a jury summons exactly one year to the day from last year. 


Usually my years start off epic and peter out toward the end. 2016 was the opposite. Life continued to get better as the year went on. In November, I got to travel for work for the first time in a long time! Work sent me to Las Vegas! I had never been that far west before. My boss and I attended a great Healthcare Internet conference out in Vegas. I loved every single second of it. Vegas is the most non-judgmental place on earth. Seriously. Also I won $75 on slots at the casino! It was such a unique experience that I will never forget. 
Binion's Casio on Old Las Vegas

It was also in November when David and I went to The Fray concert. We were in the front row! Words can describe how perfect that concert was. Twice the lead singer from American Authors and The Fray came over to us and sang right in front of us. Issac from The Fray crowd surfed in our section! 
The Fray!!!
Wondrous November wasn't done with me yet. It was November when I attempted and somehow actually succeeded in completing the Philadelphia Half Marathon with ZERO training. I would never recommend winging a half marathon but I didn't want to lose my money and I thought I'd attempt to finish. There was a lot of walking....a lot. However, I finished and got my medal and wrote a hilarious article about the whole ordeal. A fellow runner read my article, messaged me on Facebook and we're now friends. We just hung out the other day! So, the power of writing can bring people together. (That and really well written self-deprecation). If I ever attempt a half marathon again, I'll be sure to actually train for it. 

It was a miracle I survived. I was so sore for a few days (and may have done something crazy to my back). What an accomplishment, though. 

I went home for Thanksgiving and got to spend some time with the hometown crew sans one. My parents and I got to practice shooting in the back yard. Bronx enjoyed the sweet smell of turkey. After Thanksgiving I left Bronx in Virginia for a bit.....

At the close of November, I had jury duty, was actually picked...reported to serve and was mercifully released because the case settled. However, I had another work trip coming up and I wanted to make sure Bronx wasn't left in a kennel. So I left him at Thanksgiving for what would be 22 days. 22 days without my fur child!!! He was having the vacation of a lifetime but I really missed him. 

My next work adventure took me to Scottsdale, Arizona. Again, another taste of the west for me. I loved it. My conference was a day-long residency program for social media in healthcare. I didn't want the learning to end! I met some really fantastic people. I also got to go one some epic hikes. After my conference, I spent some time in Sedona, Arizona and even got to take a tour of the Grand Canyon!!!!
I did three hikes in one day in Sedona....
I never thought I'd be in a position where I was encouraged to travel for professional development. I have plenty of friends that get to travel for business all the time. This was the first time that opportunity was really offered to me. I had so much accrued vacation time from working my butt off as the solo jack of all trades that I was able to take a few days for myself to really explore Arizona on my own. I learned a lot about myself, especially that traveling gives me a different level of happiness. I also learned than when you are female and travel alone, people applaud you for it. Everyone kept telling me how great it was that I was exploring on my own. I guess I took it for granted. I'm very independent so it felt like any other adventure for me but people appreciate having guts I guess. Yay guts! 

There are not enough adjectives out there to describe the Grand Canyon. 
Seriously. I also happened to have the best tour group ever. It was three of us and our guide. What started out as a tour with strangers ended up a road trip with friends. The memories and experiences I got to have while out there will last a lifetime. Not to be cheesy but it is true. 

December is still going strong as I write this, but Christmas is this weekend and then we're greeting 2017. I've spent the past few days doing traditional Christmas things in Philly including the Macy's Light show, Comcast holiday show, South Philly Lights Run (ok, I drove the route because it was cold but I did with with my new running friend who read my article about my half marathon and reached out). I made a point to really get ready for Christmas. Like, stare Christmas in the face and say bring it! I feel so prepared and full of Christmas spirit! Shopping is done, apartment has been decorated all month. I've been able to connect with some dear friends and spend time with them this season. I've been very happy and I feel somewhat balanced in life...for once. 

So what lies ahead?
Well...opportunity. My department is going through a rebuilding phase which will lead to a strong and robust team. I'm very excited to be a part of that. I now have a bunch of races I want to do again. (See you in May BSR). I'm working on some new friendships and strengthening some old ones. 

Since I dedicated 2016 to health, I'm dedicating 2017 to love. Love of all kinds...romantic, friendship and love for myself. I think it is going to be a great year. As of right now, it looks like I'm ringing in the new year with the purge. Not a bad purge, but a purge of my apartment. I want to go through all of my belongings and donate stuff....lighten the load for 2017. Start the year off clutter free. That's the plan unless another activity presents itself. 

2016, you've been cray....but you've also been pretty great. Every year has been great since I started ringing in the New Year as the best version of myself. That is a tradition that I'm going to keep doing. 

Until next time....

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