Friday, January 2, 2015

Top Hits: 2014

Every year has some ups and downs and 2014 was no exception. Not every day was filled with sunshine and roses and there were brief moments when I would have preferred a beach vacation to a race vacation. But the life that I’ve sculpted played out pretty well in 2014. There were times when I got to see the sun rise up over a glassy Lake Washington, many finish lines I was healthy enough to cross, mountains I climbed via two wheels, miles and miles I was able to run, and family and friends I could turn to anytime I needed a good cry or a laugh (mostly laughs). I put together a Top Hits List of 2014 that made my year well-rounded. I hope you enjoy it.

1.   My Dad’s Clinical Trial – about a year ago my dad entered a clinical trial for his Melanoma. I’m happy to report that the drug seems to be working and the doctors and nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, as well as the supporters from Bristol-Myers-Squibb believe this drug may someday go to market.

2.  The Pantry Kitchen Assistant – Prior to August, I had attended a handful of cooking classes at The Pantry. It’s a community kitchen in the space behind Delancey Restaurant in Ballard. The classes have 2-3 assistants helping with food prep, serving wine, clean up, etc. In August I asked what I needed to do to become an assistant, and the instructor simply said, “email us and let us know you’re interested.” I’ve been helping with 2-4 classes per month ever since and I absolutely love it; it’s very different than my job and a lot of my activities. Plus I get to meet new people interested in cooking good food and I get to try all sorts of different cuisines. I will continue to help as an assistant in 2015.

Honorable mentions in this category are also the pie making class I took at A la Mode Pies where I learned the secrets of a perfect crust (chunks of butter + lard) and the dinner boxes I've been ordering from ACME farms. Their meal boxes provide fresh local meat, grains, and produce along with new recipes for me to keep mealtime healthy and enjoyable. This lets me experiment in the kitchen without the list of ingredients getting out of control.
3.   Cohabitation – my boyfriend moved in with me in August and I certainly do not miss the routine of packing an overnight bag (+ workout clothes for the next day). So far it’s going well and we’ve learned to share space. We’ve also set up the spare bedroom as a bike storage/Computrainer/TRX area. And for our Christmas gift to each other, we split the cost of a pair of Recovery Boots.

4.   The Joys of Running – it is no secret that my love for running runs deep. While I came up short with some triathlon PRs this year, I did best my half marathon time (1:22:51) and my 5k (17:49…though the course was short, so it was probably more like an 18:36). Not only that, I was able to run in a couple really fun xc races and got to see some great track meets in Seattle. 

5.   Read more books and GEEKED out on public radio: once I realized how much I prefer to listen to audiobooks versus the local radio stations while commuting, I started reading more books via audiobooks from the public library. When I read before bedtime, I usually only get through a couple pages, but this way I am able to “read” 15 to 30 minutes before and after work. I also listened to some audiobooks on long road trips when we traveled for races over the summer. For audiobooks, I recommend autobiographies or ones with uncomplicated plots (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Lena Dunham’s books were all good). My favorite books that I read (with my eyes) were “The Opposite of Loneliness” and “Looking for Alaska.” The books Gerry and I “read” together on road trips (and good books for men or women) were “Unbroken” and “The Boys in the Boat.”

And just like millions of other people, I was sucked into “Serial,” but this wasn’t my first exposure to NPR podcasts. I’ve been nerding out “This American Life” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” for years. I like to listen to them on long runs or when I’m cooking. Sydnie surprised me this year with tickets to see “Wait, Wait” when it was taped in Seattle.

6.   In January of 2014 I started a job at Seattle University that I really love. I get to work with smart people who believe in a mission that strives in empowering students for a just and humane world. I’m inspired as I walk around campus and hope to make a difference as an employee and a human in 2015.

7.   My Life of a Professional Triathlete was a lot like the life of an amateur triathlete, but it did have some perks. And after every race, even during the races, I was 100% happy I made the move to the pro ranks. I know I have a lot to learn, but after one year under my belt I am even more inspired than I’ve ever been.
Top left clockwise: prepping at The Pantry, my parents on NYE, xc racing with Oiselle,
seeing Wait Wait in person, the start line at IMCdA, and one of my favorite books from 2014.
Looking ahead to 2015: I have a new coach and a new sponsor (more on that later). My race schedule looks awesome! And my resolutions include keeping my desk organized at work and cleaning out the trunk of my car (aka – my traveling locker room).

Health, Happiness, and PRs in 2015,

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