2016 in Memories || 2017 in Resolutions

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I vividly remember last December 31st. I spent the beginning of the day on a wild goose chase run around Boston taking selfies in front of landmarks like a fool in order to win some last-minute, NHL-Sponsored tickets to the Winter Classic. I was 20 minutes shy of the last prize (which probably was not tickets) and spent the rest of the day deciding whether or not I wanted to get dressed up and go out to ring in 2016. I remember being so excited for the new year to usher in the changes on the horizon. I was ready to leave 2015 behind, for no real reason in particular, and jump in to 2016 full-force, as a newly registered dietitian, freshly admitted graduate student, and chock full of a directed purpose for my next steps in life. It didn’t take long for life to voice its chaotic, demanding cry, straining me to figure out a balance between work, school, friends, family and my own sanity. Even though 2016, was, for most people I talk to, not winning any medals, it had its shiny moments. There’s nothing like reflecting on the past 12 months to remind you how fast time can move and how quickly we can forget the little wins. With the help of the photos stored on my phone, here are the highlights of my 2016, bulleted in memories.

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January 2016
  • Started graduate school full time at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in the Nutrition Communication program
  • Road tripped up to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine for a weekend of snow and fun with my new classmates
  • Gave up drinking for a month (made it 3 weeks until I decided eliminating fun things from my life was not for me and re-adopted the moderation stance, as well as a new identity as a lightweight)
February 2016
  • Turned 24, got my hair blown out and went out to a fancy dinner + drinks with friends old and new.
  • Celebrated my first Valentine’s day as someone’s real Valentine.
  • Ran for student council co-chair and got elected.
March 2016
  • Went to the Boston Beer and Cheese festival and got entirely too drunk off of craft beer and fancy cheese (culminating in getting kicked out from one of my favorite pizza restaurants. I am still ashamed).
April 2016
  • Attended an Inside Tracker event and listened to Mike Wardian, Tawnee Prazak and Brogan Graham speak and felt all the running feels.
  • Watched the Boston Marathon and had the first thought that “I could do this”
  • Volunteered with Food for Free at their fundraising soup event to support and learn more about the community-based food rescue organization.
  • Said an amicable goodbye to a short-lived relationship with a good guy.
May 2016
  • Started the blog A Balanced Pace.
  • Thought I might have developed a dairy intolerance.
  • Signed up to run the New York City Marathon in November, committing to raise $3,000 for Action for Healthy Kids
  • Road-tripped to Burlington and Ran the Vermont City Marathon HALF as a relay with my roommate.
  • Realized I probably didn’t have a dairy intolerance.
  • Found my current running coach, Heather, after reading blogs and discovering her super refreshing perspective and advocacy for balance and health-focused training.
  • Traveled back to Minnesota (after missing my flight in Chicago and bumming around, stranded, in the airport for 5 hours) for my best friend’s bachelorette weekend up north at a beautiful lake house.
  • Finished my first full-time semester of graduate school a little too overwhelmed and decided to back down to part time.
June 2016
  • Stood beside my best friend as a bridesmaid while she married her then-fiance, now-hubby on our gorgeous hometown Lake Minnetonka.
  • Went on a whirlwind drive from Minneapolis to Chicago, stopping in Madison and Kenosha to see friends and family.
July 2016
  • Organized and put on a flop of a fundraiser and learned lots of lessons about running for charity and effectively raising money.
  • Hosted my mom, dad, grandma and aunt in Boston for the 4th of July. Did all the touristy things that you do in the city that hosted the first independence day ever.
  • Decided to step down from my position as co-chair of student council for the coming year.
  • Saw the Twins beat the Red Sox in Fenway with my aunt and cousins from Minnesota.
  • Went on some of the hottest morning 2+ hour runs and felt like a badass.
August 2016
  • Went to the beach, laid in the sun, explored new restaurants in Boston and Cambridge with friends.
  • Went to a COUNTRY concert at Gillette Stadium.
  • Started working at Turnstyle.
  • Chopped my hair into a short bob.
  • Went on my last first Bumble date 🙂
September 2016
  • Got ordained and officiated the small, gorgeous wedding of my best friend from college and her hubby in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Visited Chicago and a few good friends – ate lots of good food.
  • Went apple picking and went home with WAY too many apples – none of which were wasted.
  • Started my second semester of graduate school.
October 2016
  • Volunteered at a local food festival in an “ask the expert” role, and fielded lots of interesting questions from a variety of folks in attendance.
  • Attended my first FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo) as a fully-fledged Registered Dietitian, got blown away/weighed down with free food samples and educated on all sorts of nutrition topics.
  • Strained my foot on my first bad long run and realized it was an issue that was going to need to be seriously addressed.
  • Tried and failed to run the Boston Half Marathon.
  • Bought new running shoes, did not run very much.
  • Started water-jogging.
  • Gave up drinking (by and large).
November 2016
  • Ran my first marathon, finished smiling, drank a cider, and started thinking about running another one someday.
  • Voted in the presidential election.
  • Cried about the presidential election.
  • Cried with classmates, coworkers and friends about the presidential election.
  • Traveled back to visit family in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and realized family > politics.
  • Went to my first badger football game as an alum, and rode the rollercoaster of watching Wisconsin almost lose to Minnesota (but jumped around and sang with pride in the 5th quarter when they didn’t)
  • Went to an impromptu friendsgiving with beloved old friends in Madison.
December 2016
  • Started an internship working with the Tufts Athletics Department as their Sports Performance Nutritionist in a developing role.
  • Finished my second semester of graduate school, almost thought I failed statistics but was happily incorrect about that fear.
  • Realized that I’m ‘officially’ no longer single. Winky face.

Now onto the next year.

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New Years Resolutions have become the guaranteed cliche headline undoubtedly already flooding your feeds and news outlet sidebars this week. Even though I could spend hours arguing that we should approach goal setting as an ongoing process, and that the last week of December does not have to be a farewell to all that is fun and exciting in life, there is something intoxicating about the first day of a new year and the allure of a fresh start. In reality, there are no fresh starts. Life moves along and forward with drudging certainty no matter what the calendar says. Real life is messy and there are no hard and fast boundary lines keeping all of the baggage of 2016 from seeping into the fresh new order of 2017. Moving forward and improving aspects of our lives is a process that happens day in and day out, but starting the year off with a few clear goals in mind can keep the good motion in motion. If this is the only time you remember to reflect on all you’ve accomplished and assess your status as the person you hope to be, I think setting a few goals in January to mark a new year is better than not setting any goals at all.

These are goals I’ve been working on and mulling over for months. January 1st does not signify the “start date” and December 31st is no “deadline”. These are goals that represent where I’m at on the 2017 year mark on the timeline of my life. These are not drastic goals. They don’t signify a major change in character or lifestyle. Some are more concrete than others. Many are simple additions that will bring me closer to that floaty dream of “the life I’ve always imagined”. All of them are feasible, and all of them make me smile.

Personal

  • Continue to hone in on intuitive eating and nurture my own relationship with food and my body.
  • Read BOOKS. My list is already about a mile long and growing by the day, so it’s about time I start chopping a few off. Most of them are focused on eating behavior, economics, and other nerdy topics, but I do have a few fictional recommendations in there and always welcome suggestions. I tried the whole Audible.com thing and really it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s too easy for me to zone out and realize I’m not listening, and I can’t just miss whole chunks of a book, that’s not cool. Must read words, that’s a need.
  • Run Marathon #2: Faster. With my first 26.2 under my belt, there’s only one direction to go and that’s forward. Since I didn’t go into the first one with any sort of time goal, I feel like I can definitely push myself to prune up in race #2. I’m looking forward to the training, the strategizing, the running. More to come with my plans for this race, but I already have a few ideas brewing that will hopefully be solidifying very soon.

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Etc.

  • Call distant friends weekly. It is way too easy for me to disconnect and be hard to reach. I want to make it a priority to stay in touch with those I care about even if they are far away.
  • Post more recipes to the blog. Start a recipe index and make food more of a feature of A Balanced Pace!

 

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What are your new year goals or resolutions? Do you believe in the power of fresh starts?

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Back in Action

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Needless to say, blogging has been the pot relegated to the back burner among the other pots and pans on the range of life at the moment (how’s that metaphor feel going down?)

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After finishing the marathon, I admit I was ready to take a break from structured running and the recaps that went along with it. It was nice not to attach any extra accountability to my running, and to be quite honest, I didn’t do a whole lot of running at all. Of course, the first few weeks were full of recovery and taking it slow, walking mostly and doing quite a bit of easy yoga. But soon I got antsy to work out. My first real run after the marathon felt AMAZING despite only running a short 30 minutes and not even making it fully across the Mass Avenue bridge. My ankle and foot had calmed down quite a bit since the full 26.2 jaunt, and I wanted so badly just to jump back in to a casual running routine, but they weren’t fully back to complete painlessness and I had to remember that I couldn’t expect to just jump back in to where I started pre-marathon training. My body had endured quite a bit of stress, more than I’d ever put myself through at one time before, and I would just have to be patient and avoid making anything worse for myself. Easier said than done.

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Working at the spin studio was a cursed blessing at that time, and I was all to easy to tempt right back into taking classes since they were free. I took a bootcamp class that left me sore for a full week before Thanksgiving. But I did enjoy the flexibility that having no real training plan afforded me and went to spin classes and yoga classes whenever I so pleased.

I didn’t run too much.

Coming off of race day, Heather agreed to put in some training notes in for the rest of the month, which I mostly followed 🙂 During my Thanksgiving trip back to family in Wisconsin, I had agreed to run the 2-mile Turkey Trot with my parents and brother. 2 Miles was what I knew my body could handle, and a totally appropriate effort to be comfortable with. But of course, I couldn’t just sit there and only run 2 miles when there was a 10k option that I had run the year earlier and I knew I’d be vegging out the rest of the day watching football and eating sweet potato casserole. So as anyone probably could have predicted, I ran the 6.2 miles of the 10k, and by mile 4 knew I had bit off more than I could chew. My legs still felt weak and finishing that race brought back memories from mile 24. It felt fabulous to be done, and I’m glad I had that learning lesson that yes – I had to be taking things slower and that would have to be OK with me. I ran a few more times that week – little ones – that still felt a little questionable but overall good just because I had run.

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That was pretty much the peak amount of running I’ve done. After getting back from Thanksgiving, coursework amped up as the semester came to a close, I started working on my new internship with the undergraduate athletic department at Tufts, and work at the dietary assessment unit was as busy as ever. It was nice not to have the added pressure to need to fit in this or that workout in to my day – I could take a rest day and it would be totally fine. I battled a few colds and bouts of the flu that couched me, but a few key yoga classes served as my life elixir, and overall I think just have enjoyed a little less intense exercise regimen over the past month and a half.

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That being said, I am more than ready to start adding some structure back to my running routine. I’ve decided on a spring half marathon with a few friends up on the coast of Maine that I can only imagine will have the most gorgeous sea views. I’ve been off a training plan for the winter, but will start back with Heather in her Spring Training group using a 14-week plan and as a part of a support group of other runners also training for spring races. It won’t be as individualized of training as I had over the summer, but it will be a great middle ground between me just doing what I think I should do to train and having a daily dialogue with a coach to plan each week. I’m hoping to maybe PR the race …?? but really not going into it with any super serious goals. It’s honestly hard to imagine running a PR after growing so accustomed to this 9:30ish comfortable pace that is a full minute per mile slower than my first two half marathons. I haven’t really tried pushing myself or incorporating any true tempo runs into the runs that I have managed – I’ve mostly stuck to easy runs at a low heart rate just to keep my aerobic fitness in check, and build up even more of a base for the future marathon on my horizon… Hoping that these spin classes and bootcamp HIIT classes I’ve been jiving on are building some extra oomph in my runner-muscles and maybe can bring back some speed. To be determined!

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