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!