A year ago I sat writing my year end thoughts so very ready for the year from hell to be over. I could never have known what 2014 would have in store for me, nor would I have wanted to, because it kept me guessing and growing.
If 2013 was a year of being broken, 2014 was my year of growing. I learned just how resilient I am, how strong I am, and most of all, saw just how much stronger I can become when I’m pushed.
I had HUGE plans and goals for my running year, that I quickly made the decision to push aside when I was offered a career opportunity I could not turn down. But even with putting my running goals on the back burner, I had a pretty big year.
– I completed my first full marathon (and got my first black eye) with Karen at WDW Marathon Weekend, presented by Cigna. It was an unforgettable experience. I am so sad I won’t be there again in a few days.
– I completed 13 races. Without realizing it, I ran 13 races this year, 4 of those were half marathons, and 2 were 10 milers. I had fun doing smaller, shorter races for the latter half of the year, and even got to see my cousin cross the finish line of her 2nd ever 5k on Thanksgiving day.
– I realized no matter how hard you train, sometimes it’s just not your day. My goal race, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, this spring went horribly wrong, for no reason. Things went off course early, and my attempts to rectify them only made things worse. If it hadn’t been for Christine texting with me halfway through, it might have been a DNF.
– Don’t fix what’s not broken. In late Fall I decided to try out some new shoes. 9 miles later (broken into 3 runs) I was in serious pain. Just walking hurt, and I was not pleased. A quick trip to an orthopod told me to take a few weeks off running, and to pick up foam rolling regularly again. 3 short runs in the wrong shoes undid months of pain free running thanks to strength training.
– I learned that Cross-Training works. After barely any running, and focusing on cross-training with PiYo and T25, I set a new PR in the 10k, without trying. I signed up on a whim, and ran it without trying to PR, when I crossed the 6 mile marker, I realized I was cutting it close, and booked it in. It was an incredible feeling, and solidified that just adding speed work to training would never be enough to get me much faster.
Overall Health & Fitness
After finding a program I loved in Philly with Unite Fitness, I found myself in a rut, and backsliding hardcore after only a few weeks in Chicago. I lived in hotels for almost 2 months. I was eating out for nearly every meal, and all the fitness gains I’d seen in the first half of the year were completely undone. With one outreach from Jillian, I committed to getting back on track.
– I became a believer. I tried out PiYo and Shakeology and became addicted. I quickly decided to become a BeachBody coach myself, and am loving sharing my journey with friends and family who have also changed their lives.
– I rediscovered my love for cooking. I spend most of my Sunday’s creating new recipes or remaking old favorites in the kitchen. I make enough for a week or two, and fill my freezer up with things for those weeks when I’m extra busy, or traveling for parts of it. The kitchen is one of my happy places, and finding new & delicious healthy meals is one of my favorite things to do.
This year threw me some unexpected challenges, including a completely unexpected promotion and move halfway across the country. I definitely didn’t conquer every challenge, and a few of them made me seriously question what I’m doing, but in the end, this year made me stronger, more confident, and realize what I want more than ever.
– I learned to say no. I finally figured out that saying no didn’t hurt anyone. In many cases, it helped me, and at work, my team, focus on what’s most important. Trying to do too much, all the time, will only end with being overwhelmed, and likely not doing anything too well.
– It’s not selfish. I finally learned that focusing on me isn’t something to feel guilty about, ever. If I’m unhappy, unhealthy, stressed, angry, or whatever situation it might be, I can’t do what others need me to do. Whether that is at work, at home, or with friends, there is NOTHING wrong with taking time to do what you need to do, and being proud of what you’ve accomplished.
– Listen to your critics, but don’t let them get to you. As long as you’re happy, successful, and healthy, someone will always criticize you. In some cases, those critics might have some great feedback for you. So I’ve learned to listen, but not dwell on criticism. So much, especially in the blogging and social media world, is based on opinion and, often, jealousy, you can’t take everyone too seriously, including yourself. Identify areas you can improve and be willing to listen, but don’t let it define your everything.
– Learn what you need. I’ve spent much of this year learning and defining what I need, and parsing out of that what I want. Both are important, but are also very different. In everything, it’s just as important to know what is a need versus a want, and on the opposite end, the definitely don’t want.
– Good friends don’t have to be close. After 3 major moves in 18 months, and after making some bad decisions about priorities in my late 20s and early 30s, I found myself in yet another new city without a close group of friends. It made me realize that while I need to find those people locally, I have an amazing group of friends all over the country (and world). I cannot count on my hands the number of times when a few texts with good friends is all I need to calm me down, cheer me up, or motivate me to keep going.
2014 has been a fabulous year that has challenged and changed me in ways I could never have expected. I am happy to look back and see how far I’ve come, while looking forward to another year of new goals, experiences and adventures. I hope to see you along the way!
What was your biggest moment of 2014?
Looking back, was there anything you learned?
Are you ready for a new year?