2012.

Looking back on my photo-a-day blog, I realized that there were so many little moments I forgot about. So, here are some bits and pieces from this year.

I brought in 2012 with Oscar. I tried Bikram Yoga. I said goodbye to Pete’s cat, Hobbes. She was amazing. I bought an iPad. I ate Chipotle for the first time. I interviewed for jobs in New York City, and locked down an apartment and roommates. I went to Key West. I left my first job out of college. I left my college coaching job. I decided not to move to NYC. I was truly unemployed for the first time ever. I got into a new relationship. I PR’d in a half marathon. I saw the biggest spider ever on my windshield. I PR’d in another half marathon and got sub-2:00 for the first time. I celebrated the life of my brother-in-law. I officially started Crossfit. I learned that just because someone seems like an adult, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person is or knows how to handle uncomfortable situations like one. I said goodbye to my best friend, Oscar. I said goodbye to my half sister, Karen, who passed away after dealing with complications from Lyme Disease for half of her life. I escaped to New York City, and then Boston, and was able to feel like myself again for the first time in months, thanks to good times with good friends. I got a new job that was everything I wanted. I said, “See you later,” to my brother, who moved across country to California. I convinced one of my best friends that Taylor Swift’s real name is Maya Marcus. I picked up Maeby from the rescue that pulled her for me. I was summoned for jury duty. I ran another half marathon, and for the first time ever, didn’t care that I didn’t PR. I took Maeby on my friend’s boat, and took her swimming for the first time. I started coaching again, only this time, it was at the high school level. I carved a pumpkin for the first time. Stop judging me. I signed a lease and moved into a new apartment, after living at home for a little over a year. I celebrated my 24th birthday. I ran a race on Thanksgiving for the sixth consecutive year, and got a PR. I ran another half marathon in Las Vegas, my fourth this year, and had a lot of fun. I went to California for the first time. I celebrated Hanukkah at my grandma’s house, had family over for a holiday dinner at my apartment the following weekend, and then celebrated Christmas at my mom’s.

I am closing out 2012 with my half sister, my niece and my nephew.

This past year was a year of change. A year of growth. It was a big one for me.

Here’s to hoping that 2013 is…

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I hope someone out there got the reference.

There are no words.

I don’t write on here as often as I should, and I haven’t written about Sandy Hook because the words wouldn’t come.

As a resident of Connecticut, the past week has been difficult, as it has undoubtedly been for the rest of the nation. On Friday, as I went to submit a press release to a local news site, I learned of the tragedy and immediately became consumed by it. I checked every major news site and refreshed these pages non-stop, learning more of what was happening in Newtown with each passing minute. I left work early and headed to my mom’s house to watch live coverage of the news. I woke up Saturday morning with a knot in my stomach. I couldn’t comprehend how the news from the day before had happened.

I’ll admit I’m fortunate, in that I don’t live in Newtown and I didn’t know anyone who passed away, but everyone around me is affected, with some having friends who lost their kids and some trying to understand the events after growing up in Newtown. I’ve been somewhat disconnected from the tragedy, being that I don’t have television at home. But I still hear about it on the radio on my drive into work (all the local stations are still talking about it) and still see the updates on websites, because I want to know. I want to know why someone would do something like this and why they would seek out kindergarteners, let alone commit any sort of act like this.

Today, on my drive into work, as I listened to a local station talk about the latest news and the latest ways that we can help, I broke down. I stopped and waited in the parking lot for a few minutes before going into work.

Tomorrow at work, since we are a community-based non-profit, we are joining the rest of the country in a Moment of Silence, and we are lighting candles and saying a prayer for them as well. In an effort to help those in attendance, I was given the task of putting together a list of resources, including where one can get help if they are having trouble coping, and how one can reach out to help those in Newtown. In my efforts to put together a comprehensive list of ways to help, I began finding more and more scholarships set up in memory of victims, and a list of organizations to which I could donate in memory of a victim. With most, there was a link to the website for these memorial funds, and on each of those sites, a photo. Or several photos.

The photos.

The stories. I re-read stories of how one teacher who passed away was found cradling a student that had passed away, or how another teacher lost her life in an effort to save her students, or how a child lost his life trying to lead his peers to safety.

I broke down at work.

I don’t know how to end this, but I needed to get the words out.

But there are no words.

Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas: Round Two

I signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Marathon back when registration first opened. It was the same price for the full and the half, since I ran the marathon last year and Competitor really messed up with last year’s race. I really wanted to do the full, but when it came down to it, with working a full-time job, coaching on the side, a number of busy weekends full of family commitments and games I had to coach, and time spent with Maeby, I didn’t have time to train and I didn’t make time for it. It wasn’t a priority for me.

That being said, I had already signed up and the flights and hotel were booked, so on Friday, off I went to Vegas. Up until the morning of the race, I debated whether I’d do the full or the half. Ultimately, I realized how incredibly dumb it would be for me to run the full without training. To be honest, I thought I’d be able to do it, but I knew I would be in a lot of pain, didn’t want to get injured and was genuinely concerned I’d have a heart attack…and since I didn’t feel like the Las Vegas Strip would be an ideal place to collapse/experience any of the above, I chose to do the half.

I got to the start area around 4:00 p.m. The half was supposed to begin by 4:30, and after waiting in line to use the bathroom, I got to a corral just in time for the first wave of runners to start. I ended up in corral 15; since I had chosen to do the half, I just had to hop into any corral since my seeding had initially been set up for the full marathon.

Overall, the race was great. We don’t need to talk about how difficult it was running against the wind more often than experiencing a tailwind. That was tough, and obviously made maintaining any sort of normal pace that much more difficult. Instead, I think it is worth mentioning that there was more than enough water (and no stations had run out of water and been abandoned like last year, when I experienced this at mile 20), there was way more course support than last year (both with volunteers and spectators), and it really was a lot of fun. A very special shout out goes to the police officer around mile 7.35, who was blowing his whistle and cheering everyone on. I felt good pretty much the entire time, even though my splits were slower and slower as the race went on. But honestly? I don’t really care. I ran faster than I did in Providence back in August and I managed to run the whole thing. The human body never ceases to amaze me.

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The finish line was full of water, Snickers Marathon Bars, tons of apples, chocolate milk, Gatorade, bagels, and pretzels. Oh, and there were also mini smoothies from Jamba Juice.

My only complaints?

I didn’t see medical staff until around mile 7. Around mile 4, I started to experience serious chub rub since I had chosen to skip the capris and wear awful women’s shorts that I tend to avoid for that very reason. But I figured that’d be worth it since it was around 70 degrees and I didn’t want to overheat with capris, which knowing me, I would have. So that was frustrating. Maybe I missed the medical staff earlier on, but there needs to be an actual tent or some sort of sign. I actually almost completely missed the staff around mile 7, because there was no tent and it was dark so I couldn’t really see their shirts. Again, it’s possible that I completely missed the medical staff earlier in the race, but the signage needs to be better or something if that’s the case.

And then there is this complaint, and this one is big.

There was no family gathering area at the finish. With a race of tens of thousands of runners, this is an absolute must, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. I had planned to meet my mom at a specific letter, but there was no area to meet after. So she went back to the hotel and I borrowed people’s cell phones to try to get in touch with her. And a lot of people I talked to were going through the same thing and were just as frustrated. It took over an hour for me to finally meet up with my mom. So there was that. Again, with a race of this size in a city this size, I cannot understand why Competitor chose not to do this, especially since they have done it at every other one of their races I’ve done (including Providence, which had only a few thousand people).

One of these days, I feel Competitor will get it right. I honestly feel like they were so close this time, with the tremendous improvements compared to last year’s fiasco. But the finish line and its lack of a meetup area was really frustrating.

My night concluded with a really delicious (and huge) slice of pizza and a cinnamon sugar pretzel from New York New York. I’m happy I ran the race, and very pleased with how good I felt. As for my next race? I’m considering Rock ‘n Roll Pasadena in February, but we’ll see. It would be good incentive to keep running through winter though, that’s for sure. And based on the afternoon I spent out there on Monday visiting my brother, it seems like it would offer a beautiful course.