Tag Archives: life

The Breakthrough Year

30 Nov

Without fail, at the end of every year I always seem to reflect and think “wow, what a crazy year.”  So hang with me for a moment here when I tell you – 2016 has easily been the most tumultuous year of my life.

I am a software/test engineer and my job has always involved some amount of travel, but up until this year, that typically meant maybe a one week trip every 8-10 weeks.  This year, that all changed.  In the first third of the year alone, I was gone for half of January, the entirety of February and March, and half of April.  

While I was on the road, I was also dealing with a pretty big breakup.  I was in the process of ending a 9 year long relationship (I say in the process because as you might imagine, breaking up with someone is incredibly difficult when you technically live with them and yet are never home) and while it was something that had been in the works for a while, you don’t flip your life upside down like that without incurring some mental stress along the way.


I lost my dog in the “divorce” and honestly, I’m still not over it yet.

I thought I was handling things ok, but as I look back – I was flailing.  I was making the best of a difficult situation, sure, but I was staying out way too late, drinking way too much, making way too many “temporary friends,” all while claiming to be seriously training for the Utah Valley Marathon.

In March, I flew from Salt Lake City to Virginia Beach for the weekend to run the Shamrock Half Marathon with Hollie.  The weather conditions that day were tough, but I had been essentially living and training at altitude (SLC is approximately 4400’ above sea level) for months.  I had secret hopes of a PR and ended up incredibly disappointed to run 1:38:10.  “I’m a 1:38-1:39 half marathoner,” I remember grumbling to Laura.  “That’s just what I am and what I’ll always be.”


Not. Pleased.

Of course, Laura never lets me throw too much of a pity party and I’m eternally grateful for that. Chatting with her got my brain back into a more positive gear. Out of all the stories of weather related misery, I noticed that one person happened to PR at Shamrock. I also knew that Laura was seeing success and enjoying working with her new coach, and I knew that oh, coincidentally, Mary and Laura had the same coach. I finally realized that if I wanted something to change, I needed to do something different. That it was stupid to think I wasn’t fast enough for a coach.  I gathered up all my courage and made a phone call. And then a day later, James became my running coach.

What happened over the next few months is something I’m still processing, and writing this post (and reviving this silly blog) is a way for me to do that. As I mentioned, I did end up running the Utah Valley Marathon but it became less of a goal race (I only gave James 11 weeks, I didn’t expect miracles yet) and more about getting another 26.2 under my belt and enjoying the time in Utah with my best friend.  I might go back and recap it at some point, but that is for another day.


I guess I’m gonna run a marathon tomorrow or some crap like that.

After taking some time to recover from UVM, the focus became Dublin Marathon at the end of October.  I was still traveling quite a bit for work over the summer (and to Texas, no less – I have SO much respect for all you runners down south) but my attitude had changed.  Workouts became a priority, if I had a quality session on the schedule I was doing everything I could the day before to make sure it went well.  Nutrition was still a challenge due to some circumstances out of my control but I started making better choices when I could. (Long story short: I was working 16 hour days, unable to leave to go get food, and surrounded by donuts constantly. Damn delicious donuts ….)

More importantly, I started turning down happy hour invitations and I focused on getting more sleep. This all makes me kind of sound like a drag, I know, but I was really doing it because it made me happy.  I won’t try and tell you it was all glitter and rainbows, but most days, I hopped out of bed completely PUMPED for my run that day – even if it was just an easy hour of jogging.


Not turning down ALL the happy hours though, gotta get your tan on sometimes

As Dublin crept closer, I had my doubts.  There were some amazing workouts that had me feeling on top of the world and then there were some reality-smacking-me-in-the-face moments that had me wondering if a BQ would even be possible.  I ran the Hartford half marathon in early October and while I did set a PR, I was minutes off of where I secretly thought I would be. That race would lurk in the back of my mind for the next 3 weeks until Dublin.  


My goodness … I’m moving so slowly, yet feeling so terribly.

Even as James and I discussed the race plan for Dublin, Hartford was there whispering – “you’re a fraud, none of this is real, your watch is broken, you don’t deserve 3:2x.”  And then suddenly, I was in Dublin. In the starting corral. And suddenly I realized if I wanted this, all I had to do was execute.  The fitness was there. One bad race didn’t erase everything I had done, all that I had worked for. I could let my mind ruin it for me or I could just tell myself to just. shut. up. and execute.



I ran 3:22:56.  A 4 minute negative split.  And while I do intend to recap the race itself, I will say here – the second half of my FULL marathon was 1:39:22.  Around the same time as I was racing HALF marathons earlier in the year.


It’s weird because in a way, it doesn’t feel like I did anything drastically different yet at the same time, I feel like a completely different person than when the year started.

As far as running goes, I loved the workouts I was doing, but none of them were totally foreign to me – it wasn’t like I was being presented with concepts that I had never heard of or hadn’t tried before. (That’s not to belittle the impact hiring a coach had — more on that later).  I didn’t make any dramatic dietary changes, I still drank beer and ate desserts and all that jazz. There isn’t one major thing I can point to and say “that’s it – that’s how I ran 3:22.”  It was really a lot of small changes that added up to something big. Which is not to say that it was easy, just that it wasn’t some huge overhaul.

And as my running and approach to running changed, I found my attitude changing about other things.  I found myself opening up, accepting other points of view and opinions, allowing myself to feel and think and care about things again.  I don’t claim to have it all figured out now, but I think I was frozen in a cycle of unhappy relationship – unhappy at work – unhappy with running – drink to numb the pain – repeat.  Tackling the most superficial of those problems just happened to lead me down a path where I started solving the harder ones too.  2016 wasn’t just a breakthrough for running, it was a breakthrough for my life.

To wrap this all up in the cheesiest of ways, allow me to hop on my soapbox for a moment. If you’re unhappy with your life, it truly only takes a few small steps to start changing it. If you aren’t reaching your goals, reevaluate and try something new.  At the end of the day, the beautiful thing about life is that YOU are the one in charge – you are the one who gets to set your own priorities and make your own decisions. I sat around waiting for my life to happen, to change, to get better, to refresh itself, etc, for far too long.  2016 was the year I realized — you have to change your own life.

Adventures in Oklahoma

12 Aug

Last weekend, my mom and I flew down to Oklahoma to visit family for a long weekend.

I expected all of Oklahoma to look like this.  At least I lived my dream thanks to this one block in downtown Broken Arrow.

I expected all of Oklahoma to look like this. At least I lived my dream thanks to this one block in downtown Broken Arrow.

It was sort of bittersweet … we had booked the trip in early May.  My uncle has been fighting stage 4 cancer and we wanted to go visit before it was too late.  Sadly, he passed away the week before we flew down.

My uncle and my grandpa back in the day.  Hopefully, if there is some sort of afterlife or whatever, they are hanging out being dorks just like this.

My uncle and my grandpa back in the day. Hopefully, if there is some sort of afterlife or whatever, they are hanging out being dorks just like this.

I don’t like getting super personal on the internet, or in real life, or at any time, really.  I am sharing this because it was a great reminder to me that no matter how cliche the saying is – life is short.  We only have so much time on this planet and what we do with it matters.  Don’t hesitate to tell someone you love them, or how much they mean to you.  Don’t waste your time doing stuff you don’t love, or participate in activities that you aren’t passionate about.

I saw this graffiti on a trail marker while on my long run in Oklahoma.  It spoke to me.

I saw this graffiti on a trail marker while on my long run in Oklahoma. It spoke to me.

I see a lot of grumbling about training around the blog world.  I get it.  Every single workout isn’t sunshine and kitten farts.  Sometimes you don’t feel like getting up at 5am to get a run or a ride in.  Other days, you feel entirely worn down and wonder why you’re doing this to yourself.  That’s to be expected.  But if all you do is complain about the event you’re training for, and if it always feels like a drag: STOP IT!  Find something else you love doing: yoga, pilates, zumba, competitive beer drinking, underwater basketweaving, power-walking, whatever.  When you’re living out your final days, nobody is going to care that you ran a marathon.  Finished an Ironman.  Etc.  Those are accomplishments that only mean something if they are truly meaningful to you.

I am passionate about margaritas the size of my face.

I am passionate about margaritas the size of my face.


I am also passionate about my cousin's brigade of tiny shih-tzu pups.

I am also passionate about my cousin’s brigade of tiny shih-tzu pups.


I am extremely passionate about these miniature horses because MINIATURE.  HORSES.

I am extremely passionate about these miniature horses because MINIATURE. HORSES.


Seriously.  Miniature freakin' horses.

Seriously. Miniature freakin’ horses.

So with that, I remind you all to really try to live life to the fullest.  Try to enrich others’ lives, and be enriched in return.


Life Updates

20 Apr

I woke up this morning and for the first time all week, I felt normal.  Renewed.  A calming feeling like everything was going to be okay in the world.  I know that catching the people responsible for the horrific events of Monday (and the further lives lost during the events leading to their capture) doesn’t erase the tragedy, or undo the damage caused by these men.  But something about watching the community in Watertown gather together and applaud the police force and everyone else involved in the capture helped open my eyes to the more beautiful side of humanity.

With that said, I am feeling more ready to carry on with life as usual with a slightly smaller side of guilt.  So I present to you: a brief overview of the events which have made me smile over the past week or so.

Running With New Friends!
I knew Hollie was planning on running a 5k at the park where I frequently do long runs, so I asked if she’d want to meet up for some miles after the race.  She accepted, and we awkwardly transitioned from internet strangers to real life people talking to each other in real life.  We hung out while she collected her award (for winning 2nd place OVERALL because she’s a rockstar), then set off for 10 miles through the park.  We didn’t even take a picture, which should make you question whether or not this actually occurred because if two bloggers meet and don’t document it in photos, DID IT EVER REALLY HAPPEN?!?!  Ahem.  Anyway, I had a really great time and the miles flew by so I’m hoping there will be other fun running adventures in the future.

This Burger.

I am getting hungry just looking at this.

I am getting hungry just looking at this.

Handmade patties on a sourdough bun with spicy pickles, sharp cheddar, and bacon on top?  Don’t mind if I do. (They were not both for me … I swear.)

Winning Things!
I’m not particularly lucky in life.  The last contest I won was a coloring contest in the local newspaper when I was 6.  (Not to diminish that experience because let me tell you … winning $50 when you are 6 produces a euphoria I have yet to be able to recreate.)  So when this tweet came through on Friday night, I literally jumped up and down.



I know Oiselle takes a fair amount of criticism for being all over the blog world, and that partnering with bloggers in general seems to be something that ruffles the feathers of some.  I don’t want to step into those politics.  I just want to be excited about winning something from a company that I personally think is awesome.

This Nail Polish.

Essie's Madison Ave-hue

Essie’s Madison Ave-hue

A fun color that is still office appropriate and makes me think of spring? Yes please.

The Best Pizza Ever.



To be fair, I say this about every homemade pizza we make.  But this one was a real standout, with a perfectly crispy crust, black olives, mushrooms, fancy pepperoni, and some fancy pants parmesan sprinkled on top.

What have we learned from this post?  Apparently, I’m very food-motivated.  Oh, and to be running related for a moment, I will say that I threw down 30 miles last week and am on track for 40 this week, and I think I am turning a corner with my hip.  So let’s keep this positivity train rolling, because after last week, I don’t think I can take anymore doom and gloom.