Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year - New Goals!

The New Year will be here in a mere 8 hours. Last year I set one goal and failed within the first month. This year, I'm hoping that if I write the goals down and share them with someone, I'll be more likely to stick to them. So without further ado...

Goal #1: Run one race a month. This can be anything from a road race, to a scavenger hunt to a triathalon. This coming year has lots of fun in store with a Zombie 5k, Urban Iditarod, and Tough Mudder already on the agenda. Luckily I've got lots of great, active friends who are joining me in this pursuit, so it should be a wonderful time!

Goal #2: Break 24 minutes in the 5k. Right now my 5k PR is 24:19. It's from October 2009. I was in the best shape of my (short) life then and just happened to hit this time. If I want to break 24 minutes this year, it'll take some focused training to do so! I'm hoping to start this training in January so I can knock this goal out in the late winter/early spring time so I can move onto my next goal...

Goal #3: Break 2 hours in the half-marathon. I've run 4 halves in the past year and a half. Each (official) one has gotten faster but my fastest is only 2:11 at RnR Providence. This half was not run as a race, but as a long run for my marathon. While I wasn't running my hardest or fastest at the time, I don't think I could have broken 2 hours if I tried. Again, this goal will take some focused training, but I think it's possible towards the late summer/early fall time of 2012.

Goal #4: Complete a marathon. If all goes well with Goals #2 & #3, I'd like to attempt 26.2 again in 2012. I tried it in 2011, but it didn't end well. An injury, failure to properly train, and pre-race and race day factors all caused me to drop out after 14 miles (my un-official 4th half in my eyes). My goal is to train smart and hopefully complete a full marathon in late fall/early winter. However, I want to be prepared for this race, so if I don't feel like I can race it well, I'll put this one on hold until 2013.

Goal #5: Be active at least 4 days a week. Like most, I have a love/hate relationship with both running and the gym. There are weeks where I never take a break from either and then there are weeks where I never once lace up the sneaks or set foot inside the gym. Therefore, my goal for the year is not to run or lift 4 times a week, but stay active. This could mean going for a walk, playing dodgeball or anything else that gets the blood pumping!

Goal #6: Put myself out there more. I tend to embrace routine and stay away from change. I avoid situations if I think they'll make me uncomfortable or feel awkward. However, I'd like to be more adventurous this year and try some new things: whether it be new sports, new hangouts or anything else that wouldn't normally strike my fancy.

I think that's good enough for now! I may add a few if I think of something I'd really like to do, but six goals seems like more than enough to focus on for one year! Here's to a wonderful 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Everything And What That Entails.

This post is hard to write...

I alluded to some trouble in my Thankful Things posts that all came about on Thanksgiving Day. That trouble was finding out my 12 year old cousin Chris has bone cancer.

Around Halloween, Chris was out rollerblading and came back mentioning some knee pain. My mother (a nurse) looked at his knee and noticed some swelling. Chris hadn't fallen or twisted it, but said it hurt. My mom told him to ice and wrap it, so he did. It was still swollen a few days later so the athletic trainer at my uncle's school (he's a teacher) looked at his knee. Again, he was given the same advice to wrap and ice it. However, Chris continued to have the pain and swelling so a few days before Thanksgiving he went in for an X-Ray and to have some blood work done.

We found out on Thanksgiving Day that it was most likely cancer. It was confirmed a few days later when he went for a full body MRI. He started chemotherapy a few days after that. One phone call changed our whole world.

It has been a rough journey already for Chris, his parents, and our family, and it has only just begun. Chris is/will be going through about a month and a half of chemo. He'll then have surgery to remove what is left of the cancer. Chris will then have another round of chemo to rid him of anything that is still remaining. If this all works out the way it is planned, he should be cancer free.

Please pray for healing, peace and comfort for both Chris and our family!

Chris came up with the motto "Fight like a Knight" as he battles this ugly disease, and he is doing just that!

Thankful Things - Day 18 - The End!

Thankful Thing - Day 18

Today I am STILL thankful for Friendsgiving! Seriously had the best time with everyone!

However, if it's cheating doing the same thankful thing twice, I'll say I am also thankful for getting to spend the day in CT with both new and old friends celebrating A Very Andy Thanksgiving!

Post Edit: As I said, Friendsgiving rocked! Anyways, the handsome friend always goes to Connecticut for A Very Andy Thanksgiving. This tradition was started years ago when our friend Andy (who was not my friend at the time) had a few friends over for Thanksgiving because he was not going home. The tradition has continued and this year I was invited to join the festivities. The day was packed full of hanging out with friends, relaxing, and exploring! All in all, it was an exhausting but fantastic way to spend the day after Friendsgiving!

Thankful Thing - Day 19

Today I am thankful for a restful, yet productive Sunday.

Thankful Thing - Day 20

Today I am thankful for my little sister Kinsey Rae. Growing up I was always the youngest and she finally gave me the opportunity to be the big sister! Plus she's an amazing athlete, star student, and all around great person.

I am also thankful for my (not so) little brother Aidan. He makes me a proud big sister every day as he serves our country in the Army.

Love them both!

Thankful Thing - Day 21
Today I'm thankful for my big sister Megan Ann. While we may have fought our way through the first 22 years of my life, she is truly my best friend. She has been my role model and the person I strive to be like every day. She is the quintessential picture of what dedication and hard work will get you. I love you, Megan ♥

Thankful Thing - Day 22

Today I'm thankful for my sweet students who wrote me thank you notes. They had the assignment in computer class to write a thank you note to someone they were thankful for, and 4 of my kiddos from last year chose me. Thank you Nikola for creating this assignment too! Absolutely made my day!

Thankful Thing - Day 23

Today I'm thankful for my amazing family!

Post Edit: This is meant to include all of my wonderful aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and extended family! I really do have the best family ever!

Thankful Thing - Day 24

Today I am thankful for the best parents around!

My dad and (step)mom, Dana, are two of the funniest, most endearing people around! Their personalities are addicting and I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without them in my life!

My mom, Monica, and (step)dad, Keith, are two of the hardest working people I know. They have both sacrificed more than I could imagine. I would not be where I am today without them in my life!

Picture Circa 2008

I love you all more than I can say!

Thankful Thing - Day 25

Today I am thankful for my best friend Danielle! In the past twelve years, we've had more long talks, inside jokes and laughs then I can count. There is no one else I'd rather have as my best friend. She truely is one of a kind and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

I love you Georgeous ♥

Post Edit: So apparently I am bad at math, because it has actually been only about 10 years, but whatev. The message is still the same - my best friend is amazing. We seriously have the best time when we are together and I don't know what I'd do without her. She is that one person that I know will always be in my life. Also, I am not that bad at spelling. Georgeous = an inside joke no one but the two of us will ever understand!

Thankful Thing - Day 26

Today I thankful for a special friend that I know I can always count on.

Post Edit: This "special friend" would also be the handsome friend I have mentioned before. However, we were still newly dating at this point, and my handsome friend did not want to be named on Facebook in a post dedicated solely to him (so humble). However, he truly is amazing and deserves recognition because he has been so wonderful these past few weeks with everything (a post on what everything entails in the coming weeks) that has been going on lately. I am one lucky girl to have him.

Thankful Thing - Day 27

Today I am thankful for my wonderful and supportive colleagues, friends, and family. You guys are seriously the best!

Post Edit: Again, this goes into all that junk (i.e. the upcoming everything post) that will be discussed in the near future.

Thankful Thing - Day 28

Today I am thankful for modern medicine.

Thankful Thing - Day 29

Today I am thankful for having so much to be thankful for!

Thankful Thing - Day 30-31

These did not appear on facebook - although I could have sworn I did a thankful thing for every day of the month. Either way, that was not the point of the thankful things. The purpose was so I could recognize how much I had to be thankful for. And let me tell you, it did its job!

The beginning of the month was amazing and was quickly getting better by the day. I remember driving home the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and literally crying tears of joy because things were going so well! Things quickly took a turn for the worse on Thanksgiving Day, but I still had (and do have) SO MUCH to be thankful for!

I plan to do this every year, whether I make it public or not, because it really did help me to recognize just how lucky I am!

Thankful Things - Day 7 - 17

Thankful Thing - Day 7

Today I'm thankful for genuinely nice people. Had a gentleman take a good 20 minutes out of his day to help me with something he didn't need to. He could have simply brushed me off but took the time to assist me. So sweet.

Post Edit: I left my North Face at a softball game a few weeks ago and have been hunting it down ever sense. I called the head of the league to try and track it down to the teams that played after me. This gentleman spent a large portion of his time calling captains, umpires and players alike trying to find my coat. Although it was never located, I still greatly appreciated his efforts.

Thankful Thing - Day 8

Today I am thankful for amazing coworkers. I've got some of the best around!

Post Edit: Now that I am typing this over a month later, I don't remember what exactly it was that caused me to write this post. However, this thankful thing still stands. My coworkers rock!

Thankful Thing - Day 9

Today I am thankful for running. While I may not be the best at it, and some runs just plain suck, I know there are plenty of people out there who don't have the ability to run and would love nothing more than to be able to do so.

Post Edit: Still so true. I have really been slacking on the running front. However, I ran three out of the last four days, and realized just how much I missed it! Running and I are going to have a kick-ass reunion this coming year!

Thankful Thing - Day 10

Today I'm thankful for my students. They rock (sometimes).

Post Edit: Again, I forget what specifically they did, but my kids really are awesome, SOMETIMES. They still drive me absolutely insane most days, but there are also those days where they literally make me smile all day long.

Thankful Thing - Day 11

Today I'm thankful for those who have served, are serving and will serve our country one day. Without you, I would not be here today. THANK YOU!

Post Edit: This will ALWAYS be something I am thankful for.

Thankful Thing - Day 12

Today I'm thankful for friends who travel to Boston for the weekend to visit me! ♥ you Hayley!

Thankful Thing - Day 13

Today I am thankful for friends who make me smile when I'm having a bad day.

Post Edit: I'm pretty sure this thankful thing was directed at my handsome friend Stephen. We had just started officially dating but hadn't told our mutual friends yet so I had to keep him incognito. Either way, he still makes me smile on a daily basis and I am oh so thankful for that and for him!

Thankful Thing - Day 14

Toady I am thankful for parents who are seriously invested in their child's success and are willing to do whatever is necessary to help them to flourish.

Post Edit: This all goes back to those darn kids I am thankful for. I remember this clearly - one of my kiddo's mother came in for his parent teacher conference. As a special ed. teacher, I get 1 of 3 parents: those who don't care (or put up the facade that they don't), those that do care but don't have the means to help like they want to, and those that care and do whatever they can to help their child. Unfortunately I usually get the former, and sometimes that middle one. Very rarely do I have the parent who is 100% invested in their child's success. However, this day, this parent was willing to do anything necessary to see her son succeed. We talked for nearly an hour about what WE could do TOGETHER to help her son. It was amazing and I truly am thankful for parents like her.

Thankful Thing - Day 15

Today I'm thankful for having so many things to be thankful for that I can't narrow it down to just one! But if I must, I'll say one of my kiddos telling me I'm gangster. Definitely made me laugh out loud.

Post Edit: We were doing character analysis and of course we had to analyze a character they knew quite well first - ME! So I modeled for them with what I say, do, feel, and look like. I gave one or two answers for each category and then asked them to come up with some of their own. Needless to say, one of my students called me gangster. When I asked him to provide evidence of how he got to that conclusion, he could not. However, it still made me laugh for a very long time!

Thankful Thing - Day 16

Today I'm thankful for pictures. It's amazing how looking back through photos of the past can make me smile!

Thankful Thing - Day 17

Today I'm thankful for all my amazing friends who came to Friendsgiving! I have the BEST friends around!

Post Edit: Friendsgiving will get its own post at some point because I have so many pictures from it. But needless to say, it was EPIC!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 5 and 6

Thankful Thing - Day 5

Today I am thankful for my cross-country kiddos. I've talked about how I'm a teacher before but never really elaborated on it. Fact is, I teach at a K-6 school in an urban area where a lot of the children sadly don't have the opportunities their peers in other areas do to get out and be active. Whether they live in an unsafe area, or have other responsibilities that take precedent, many of our students aren't as active as they need to be.

Luckily, our school has an awesome athletic program that affords 5th and 6th graders the opportunity to be involved in a multitude of sports throughout the school year. During the fall, students can choose between volleyball and cross-country. Having run xc in high school and still being active in the running community today, it wasn't hard to decide where I would be helping out.

I unofficially dubbed myself "assistant coach/cheerleader" and showed up to as many practices as I could. Whether I was yelling encouraging students from the sidelines or pacing them in a run, I've been working with a small group of students for the past 2 months.

They are a great group of kids who seriously picked me up with their spirits on those days when I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. I always left practice with a smile on my face.

In this time I have been able to watch first hand as my good friend, Bridget (the real coach) did some amazing things with a bunch of adolescents who, a few short months ago, struggled to run a lap around the track. Today many of that original bunch ran their little hearts out at the state meet for over a mile and a half! It was so amazing to be able to witness this awesome personal growth in such a short period of time.

And so the countdown to track season begins!

Thankful Thing - Day 6

Today I am thankful for good friends. Plain and simple.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 3 and 4

It is really hard to keep up with this whole blogging everyday thing so it's probably definitely not going to happen. Even blogging once every two days is still a long shot. Anyways, on to my thankfulness.

Thankful Thing - Day 3

Today I'm thankful that in less than a month I'll be on a flight to California to see my good friend, Mr. Johnathan Brecht, for the first time in far too long! You see Mr. Brecht and I have not seen each other in almost a year. This time last November, Mr. Brecht made the long trek from warm(er) California out to the greater Boston area for a visit. While he was here, we:

did some sight seeing:

did some team-teaching:

did some obstacle course racing:

and did some partying:

Then this thing called life happened, and no more visits were planned. Fast forward to about six weeks ago (aka the terrible week before the marathon) when A LOT of bad things happened all at once. I was miserable and Mr. Brecht was there to dangle a visit out to sunny California in my face in an attempt to cheer me up.

While it cheered me up, temporarily at least. Almost six weeks later, and we finally found a time that works for both of our schedules. Before it could change, I booked my flight!

In less than 4 weeks, I'll be flying out to California to:

do some hiking.

do some running.

do some cross-fiting.

and do some relaxing.

But mostly I'm just looking forward to hanging with this crazy guy,
before he heads out to dominate his dream and become a Navy SEAL. Hoorah!

Thankful Thing - Day 4

Today I'm thankful for the smile that has been plastered on my face all day.

It all started off with a wonderful morning. I'll just leave it at that for now.

It was soon followed by a phenomenal work conference, where I spent 7 lovely hours with two of my coworkers listening to an amazing woman speak passionately about teaching. We walked away re-energized, and filled with a renewed fervor for our ability to shape and mold young minds everyday.

As soon as I walked in the door from my conference this afternoon, I was greeted with some spectacular news on the dodgeball front. Since dodgeball was my Thankful Thing on Day 1, you already know how much this means to me. Again, I'm going to leave it at that for now, but trust me. It is EPIC.

After relaxing for a bit, I (begrudgingly) proceeded to a VERY cold softball game. While I may have spent the first 5 minutes entire game complaining of the bitterly cold temperatures, I thoroughly enjoyed being back out on the field with a lot of my old teammates. To make the trek into the chill even better, we completely demolished the other team. Competitive much?

While this hasn't happened yet, I will soon be ending the night hanging out with good friends, drinking and dancing the night away :)

Seriously, so blessed!

A Marathon That Wasn't Meant To Be

So the last time I posted, I talked about signing up for a marathon. Obviously, that has come and gone, and I did a phenomenal job of keeping up with documenting that.

I trained, got injured, and then had A LOT of not so wonderful things happen the week before the race. I knew it was a long shot that I could finish the whole 26.2 but I wasn't about to let my best friend, who was training over 300 miles away from me this entire time, down. So on Sunday morning, I toed the line with her.

The first 6 miles felt good - minus the fact that I could not keep ANY liquids down. As soon as they went in, they came right back out. Also, my hands and feet were numb. No blood flowing to them. Definitely made for an interesting first 6 miles. Around mile 7, the GU I took at mile 5 decided it didn't want to stay down either.

Needless to say, I knew this was not going to be my race. Slowly the pain in my leg that had plagued me from halfway through my training cycle kicked in and I had to stop to walk. Lydia went on without me. I hated that I wasn't going to be crossing the finish line with her but I wasn't about to hold her back.

P.S. That's my awesome mama who rode her bike next to me the entire race, and then rode ahead and found Lyd and rode her all the way to the finish! Talk about a rockstar!

I thought I'd be able to run/walk the rest of the race, but as the race progressed it began to heat up. Not being able to keep any fluids or gels down, I quickly realized that even with walk breaks, finishing might not happen. To make matters worse, that old injury (that I had never let properly heal) was REALLY bothering me. Around mile 12, after much discussion with my mom, we decided it did not seem smart to push my body. After crossing the 14 mile mark, I finally saw my amazing cheering section comprised of my dad and (step)mom. I sadly walked off the course and hopped in their car, determined to see Lydia along the course and cross the finish line.

We got a little lost but headed to mile 18 in hopes of seeing her before the finish. We thought we had missed her but before long, she came out of nowhere looking great! She yelled to me that she missed me. While it broke my heart that I wasn't there running along side of her, I knew it wasn't my day. We cheered her on and then headed to the finish, as there wasn't anywhere else to spectate until the end.

As we waited, it was hard seeing everyone crossing the finish line, knowing that should have been me. But I pushed those thoughts aside and cheered my little heart out knowing that one day that WILL be me.

Before long, Lydia came around the corner and flew across the finish line! She had done it! She had completed her first marathon! She had run 26.2 miles! To say I was proud would be an understatement!

The next few days were rough as I had an wondered if I should have kept pushing. If I should have pushed through the pain. However, I know that if I had, I probably would have done more damage than good. While it was hard to pull out after only 14 miles, I still ran 14 miles!

And this isn't the end for me and the marathon. I WILL get that 26.2. October 9th just wasn't that day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 1 and 2

It's November (or Movember for all those hunky men out there growing out their 'stache for a good cause) and that means Thanksgiving! While many people immediately have thoughts of massive amounts of turkey, pie, and stuffing (okay sometimes I do too), I usually think of what I am most thankful for.

Some days it's hard to narrow it down to just one thing, while others it's hard to come up with a single thing I am thankful for. However, if this girl can come up with a list EVERY Thursday, I can come up with something once a day. I know I am seriously blessed so my goal is to detail one thing I am thankful for every day of November.

Thankful Thing - Day 1

Today I am thankful for dodgeball. This may sound silly to some people. I am thankful that people are purposely throwing balls at my head in an attempt to hit me? Yes, yes I am.


Not only is the sport itself - and yes, I consider it a sport - slowly taking the #1 spot in my heart over running, but the people who play it are some of the best around.

I joined a local league through Social Boston Sports about a year ago after being invited by a friend, Janna. I didn't know anyone on the team besides Janna so I was a little hesitant to say the least. I should have known not to be worried because everyone on my team was AWESOME!

Fast forward a year and many, many seasons of dodgeball, and most of my best friends here in Boston are those same dodgeballers that I was so scared of. I no longer just see them on Monday or Tuesday night out on the court. We have movie nights together, throw some crazy birthday bashes, and even head 6 hours away to run Zombie 5k's with each other.

They are the first people I call when I have good news, and the first ones to come to my aid when I need a pick-me-up. I can honestly say that I don't know where I would be if I had not met them throughout the past year.

And I wouldn't have met them without dodgeball. So dodgeball - I am thankful for you!

Thankful Thing - Day 2

Today my thankfulness is three-fold:

1. I'm thankful that Keith, my step-dad, so generously donated his bike to me over the summer.

2. I'm thankful to Andy for taking me on my first biking adventure since having said bike here, in the greater Boston area.

3. I'm thankful this biking adventure included 26 miles of dominating the Minuteman Trail.

I'm sure my butt will be thanking me tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What did I do?

So two weeks ago,

I did the unthinkable...

I signed up for a MARATHON! This one to be more exact:

At the time, I was so pumped. However, lately I've been getting more nervous as the beginning of my 16 week training (from RW Smart Trainer) is about to begin. I made it 20 weeks long (since the marathon is 20 weeks out) and have been doing well with the easy run and speed workouts every week, but have yet to squeeze in my long run. This is a huge problem as my longest run in the past 2 months has been 4 miles. My weekends have just been too crazy! Hopefully when the real 16 weeks start (the last week of school), I'll have more motivation and time to actually do it.


Let the countdown begin...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where to begin...

Unbeknownst to many (except for maybe those family members who see me blog stalking during family get-togethers), I've been reading blogs for quite some time now. I've always wanted to start one myself but decided not to for many reasons...

1. I didn't think I'd have enough to blog about. Then I remembered a few things:
a) I'm a teacher. This in itself produces countless "blog worthy" stories.
b) I live right outside of Boston and therefore there are countless things to do,
and subsequently blog about.
c) I'm constantly on the go, so to say I don't have enough to blog about is

2. I wasn't sure anyone would want to read it. Not to sound conceited but I know I'll have (I hope) at least a few followers in my family.

3. I wondered if I'd have the time to keep up with it (still wondering about this one).

Anyways, I decided to stop procrastinating and finally do it! What "it" will be about is still undecided.

Until next time...