Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yep, Another Year Recap

So...let's do this thing. Recap of Awesome, 2013 Edition:


2013 started off with Ava and her friend Grace running (ok, run/walking) the Run Into the New Year 5K at State Fair Park. Leading up to the race, they helped raise over $500 for the family of a friend of hers who had been recently diagnosed with cancer. Bonus point: Her Blogger profile now reads, “I once ran 3 miles in 17 degrees.”


1. After about a dozen years, we finally figured out the correct way to vacation in Florida. This year, after stopping to visit my grandparents in Naples (which I like to call The Midwest of the South), we drove out to the Keys for a few days. Needless to say views like this:

And this:

Totally had me at Hello. Vacation Win!

2. For our “kidless” vacation this year, Jason and I spent a fantastic week in San Francisco visiting friends. Naturally, we pretty much ate our way through the city with panache, and the trip culminated with a baseball game at AT&T park. Go Giants! Or whatever. Baseball isn’t really my thing. Sure was pretty though.

3. The third “trip” wasn’t really a single vacation at all. This year we spent many, many, weekends in Chicago- which, if you know me at all, made me absolutely happy as pie. I feel like this year gave me a chance to rediscover the city I love so much. From wandering Graceland Cemetery and lounging on Montrose Beach, to seeing musicals and choral performances and running the Chicago Marathon for the 2nd time, this year had a definite recurring theme and Chicago was it.

Speaking of which;

HOW COOL was my PR at Chicago Marathon? I took over 6 minutes off my previous best (from over 2 years ago) and ran almost *to the second* the time I had been training for/dreaming of for so long. In addition, it was a HUGE confidence boost for me as a runner. I’ve now fully committed to training my butt off for the Wisconsin Marathon in 2014 to hopefully build on whatever mojo I’ve got going at the moment.

Other Running Highlights:

I can’t recap my running year without mentioning two people that were there for such a huge part of it. First off, I completed a ton of amazing races with Sara- not to mention all the miles we ran together in training. Starting with the Icebreaker Gold Medal Challenge (where we ran a half marathon followed by a full marathon the next day), onward through the Chicago Lakefront 50K and the Dances with Dirt 50K (with special appearance by Marty!), we then ended our season in Chicago again for the marathon. Although we didn’t run that final race together, we were lockstep through the first three races (as well as the previously mentioned countless training runs.) I’m so happy to have her a running buddy and as buddy in real life as well. I think we’re in for some spectacular accomplishments in 2014!

The other person I logged a lot of miles with was my dear friend Rochelle. Although we didn’t train together a lot thorough the bulk of the year, we had a fantastic one-two punch of ultra races together with the North Face 50K and the Door County Fall 50. The first one was the fastest, most enjoyable trail 50K I’ve run, hands down. I had such a blast on the trails all day out there with her. Now, the 50 miler in Door County was considerably harder, but having a great running partner made it worth the pain. (And oh. The pain. Remind me not to do any more 50 milers on the road, ok?) Our finish line photo is one of my favorite photos of the year.

My Girls Rock. And Rule the School.

I feel like Ava really found herself this summer at the Girls Rock Milwaukee camp. She spent the week learning how to play the guitar (and about the history of women in rock music), formed a band with 3 other girls, wrote a song together, and performed it on stage at Turner Hall in front of a huge crowd of people. It was nothing short of amazing to watch the confidence on the faces of the girls as they walked out onto the stage. The camp not only inspired her to start taking weekly guitar lessons, but her band has stayed together as well, rehearsing weekly and even recording some of their songs.

In Juliana’s world, after navigating our way through multiple high school open houses, applications, and testings, she got into not one, not two, but ALL THREE of her top school choices. We had to turn down a couple of the best schools in the state! I’m so excited for her to get into an environment where she can be challenged and start using her talents more. Not only is she an off-the-charts smarty pants, she’s a super great artist as well. (Also, I’m still kind of in denial that I’m going to be mom to a high school student, but that’s another story.)

Power UP Bootcamps (and Personal Training clients)

Oh hey, I became a certified personal trainer this year. I’ve been kind of mucking around, trying to figure out exactly where I want to go with this, but the people I’ve met and worked with through the year have been so awesome. I had a great group of ladies showing up to work out at the ass crack of dawn at Cupertino park, as well as a handful of personal training clients throughout the year. Verdict: I learned a LOT. And holy crap, there’s a lot to learn. I think I might have a knack for it though so hopefully I’ll cobble together a better plan in 2014 for what I want to accomplish on this track. I have issues with how much it costs for a person to hire a trainer or go to a fitness class so I’m looking into some way I can volunteer my time in the coming year. I’m also not totally jazzed about how fitness programs tend to be marketed along with a “weight loss challenge” or whatnot but… ok, this probably needs to be saved for another post. (Puts it on the to-do list.) :)

Favorite shows of the year:

1. Leonard Cohen- Holy moly. Best, most inspiring performance I've seen in years. Hands down.
2. The Book of Mormon- I know, a musical! So insanely good. I saw it once with Jason and then had to go back with two of my bestest lady friends. Seriously though, I don't know how anyone will make anything funnier than this show. Ever.
3. The National- I'm not hip anymore so I'm very late to the party with this band. I really didn’t know much about them going in. Now I would like to know everything, please.

Honorable mention: So You Think You Can Dance Tour. Oh, shush. It was awesome.

Favorite Food:
L20- Suuuuper fancypants place. (They offered me a hot towel when I sat down. What, am I dirty already?) I don’t even care though. It totally lived up to the hype.
Graham Elliot- Love this place because you get amazing food without the stiff upper lip atmosphere.
Odd Duck- My favorite place to eat in Milwaukee. The best is sitting at the bar and loading up a bunch of small plates and cocktails. Best.

Honorable mention: Bacchus Birthday Dinner with Sara and Renee!

Favorite Races:

Door County Fall 50 (Even with how difficult it was. Finishing is divine.)

Well, that’s all I got for this year. I've have some super cool plans so far for 2014 though. So let’s keep the ball rolling.