People, Places, and Things of 2015

In my first post of 2015, I outlined a few things I wanted to work on this year, and the big one was finding balance. Surprisingly, I didn't forget about that word in the days or weeks after I published that post. I actually thought about it quite often, as I made decisions both big and small, in everyday life and in my long-term plans. I thought that balance was the key to the other things I wanted to work on this year: being nicer to myself, being more flexible with my plans, redefining failure and success. Having been conscious of the word balance throughout this year, I can safely say that my instincts were correct. So for my last post of 2015, I'm taking a look back at the people, places, and things that both helped me achieve or were the product of my intention to live a balanced, flexible, sometimes spontaneous life this year!


Lived
Blacksburg, VA (January-May) | Virginia Beach, VA (May-August) | Blacksburg, VA (August-present)

We temporarily moved across the state, from the mountains to a mile from the ocean, for the summer. While we both grew up in the Virginia Beach area, we'd never lived in VB proper. I'm not sure either one of us is ready to move there full-time, but it was a fun summer being close enough to run or ride bikes to the beach whenever we wanted!

Traveled

New Places: 
New Jersey (January)
I took the train up to meet and visit Alyssa for the first time! Neither of us turned out to be a serial killer, which was a relief for both of us, I'm sure.

West Virginia (June & September)
I'd actually been to the Snowshoe ski resort when I was younger, but I don't remember it that well and it looked way different in summer than in winter, so it was basically a new-to-me place. Alyssa and I met up in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia for a yoga weekend at Wanderlust. The dark, rainy, winding mountain drive there definitely lived up to the "Wild" in the state motto and left us a little apprehensive, but by the end of the weekend I think we could both agree that the "Wonderful" was also well-deserved.

I also ventured into West Virginia for about 10 minutes in September, which wouldn't normally be notable except that I got there by bike! I was quite surprised when I saw a West Virginia sign after riding 5 miles up to the top of a mountain. I didn't even know the 53-mile ride I was on was that close to the VA/WV border, nor that I would end up crossing it!

California (August)
I took my first trip out west in August when Ben and I took a slightly belated anniversary trip to California. We flew into San Francisco, took a scenic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (with an overnight stay in Big Sur), and ended up in Los Angeles. We saw 4 major league baseball games in 4 new-to-us parks (we're now at 13/31), rode bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and all through San Francisco, walked among the redwoods in Big Sur, renewed our wedding vows, hiked up to the Hollywood sign, and made a million memories. 

Wilmington, NC (October)
It has only recently occurred to me that, while maybe I should have been, I wasn't nervous about signing up for a big race (Beach2Battleship Half Iron triathlon) without ever having been to the race location. I suppose I figured that coastal North Carolina would be similar enough to where I grew up in coastal SC and coastal VA, and once I got to Wilmington, I found that I was more or less right. 

Old Places:
Outer Banks, NC (July)
Washington DC (March)
Raleigh, NC (multiple times)
Richmond, VA (multiple times)

Swam/Biked/Ran

One thing that my running/triathlon habit gives me that I'm so grateful for is how many places it allows me to explore. Whether in training or a race, this year I swam in pools, lakes, rivers, and bays all over Virginia and North Carolina. I rode my bike on roads, over bridges, and up mountains, sometimes in different states and sometimes to different states. I ran on familiar sidewalks, new trails,  and through cities in 3 states (plus DC).


Experienced
snow days | meeting blog friends | my 3rd marathon | remembrance | live music | running my heart out | Wanderlust | the ocean on my way to work | sunrises | summer nights | flying | saying, "yes," again | four major league baseball games | the Golden Gate Bridge | Hollywood | Big Sur | fall running | my first half Ironman | home

Blogged
I'm proud of the posts I published this year. I struggled with finding the time to fit blogging into my busy schedule, and many posts never made it out of my head, but the ones I did get out are some of my favorites. I feel like I found my voice this year. I said what I needed to say when I needed to say it. I didn't say things unless I really believed them and unless they were important to share. Since my time was limited, I focused on quality rather than quantity.

This year I saw so many blogging how-tos and advice for growing blogs and seemingly half the blogs I follow talking about monetizing and/or becoming full-time bloggers. Did I want to grow my blog too? Well, sure! New friends are awesome, why wouldn't I want that?! But I've never had an interest in making this my job, or turning my blog into a brand, or mastering pinnable images. Truthfully, by the end of the year, after what felt like the 100th Instagram tips post I'd seen, I felt more than a little jaded with blogging. I understand that there are those out there who do want to use their blog for more than simply documenting their memories and sharing experiences with others. That's great. I'm happy for them. I just don't want to be them, nor do I want to read their blogs when they (inevitably, it seems) start to become disingenuous. And I felt like a lot of what I saw from other blogs (okay, it's probably not "a lot" but it felt that way sometimes) this year was fluff and/or an obvious attempt to get clicks or page views. Some bloggers are able to grow their blogs while still keeping their dignity, but I found that a lot of the topics they chose to write about in order to appeal to a larger audience just  didn't resonate with me. I understand that I'm not everyone's cup of tea either (which is what's amazing about how many blogs are out there...surely everyone can find something they like!). It just made me a little sad this year to see so many blog posts spent talking about blogging and not so much on the actual...you know, blogging.

I feel like I should mention that there are still plenty of blogs that I truly love reading. That diatribe was really all just to say that this year I've realized there's a certain type of blog I like to read, and that's the type of blog I want this to be (because why would I write a blog I didn't even want to read?), and this year I feel like I accomplished that. I may not have thousands of followers or page views every day or 100 comments on every post, but I love each and every one of you who reads my words. I put my heart and my mind into them and I'm grateful to you all for sharing yours with me as well.

Some favorites from this year:

Thanks for being a part of my 2015! 

6 comments :

  1. I had no idea you were from Blacksburg! That's so cool! I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road in Lebanon (right near Abingdon/Bristol area) That's awesome that you were able to travel so many places this year and accomplish living more of a balanced lifestyle. It can definitely be challenging for sure, but oh so rewarding!

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  2. i feel the same way about blogging - i only read/follow those i can relate to and all those fancy pictures that are so perfect seem so fake and staged. sorry to those if you put all that effort into pictures and all but that's just not my jam. i like smaller blogs because they feel real and i love fitness blogs because fitness.

    may 2016 bring you lots of amazing training days/weeks/months, new PRs on your races and lots of love, joy and happiness!! xoxoxox

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  3. A wonderful 2015 and I enjoyed following along! So excited you will be training/participating in your IM Full next year!!

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  4. I have so enjoyed watching your flourish and adventure this year. You did so many incredible, amazing, fun things! And I'm beyond happy to realized how much we were able to do together too! :)

    As for your blog commentary, I couldn't agree with you more. I just feel like when 50% of your posts are about blog branding or blogging business and sponsored posts, you should stop calling yourself a lifestyle blogger, because you aren't. I click onto lifestyle blogs hoping to read about adventures and trips and hobbies and thoughts and ideas and pets and recipes and home style.... etc. Not blogging tutorials meant to make me feel bad for not spending 20 hours a week on this space. I've said it before and you pretty much said it here too: I don't want blog fans, and I don't need mass amounts of followers. I love my blog friends, and THAT's what I get out of blogging. Case in point, you're on your way to me as I write this! Woo!

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  5. I totally agree with you about blogging :) Also, what a great year with travel and races, etc. I'm glad you were able to find balance through all of it! I also enjoyed your wardrobe posts, even though I don't see myself doing a capsule wardrobe, it was fun to read other people's!

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  6. what a fabulous year! i'm glad that neither you or Alyssa are serial killers as well. I can't wait to follow along in 2016. I agree with what you said about blogging - when I first started I was like oh my gosh, I'm gonna be big and great and it'll be fabulous. Now I'm like no thanks! Not that I could be, but I don't want to be. I like writing what I want and I can't imagine the pressure on bigger bloggers. I know I write fluff but I enjoy what I write, and I only ever write what I actually want to share. I have no desire to do this full time or turn it into my job but I don't judge those who do. Like you said, it's more that I discovered what kind of blog I like to read, and I want my blog to be something I would want to read. Anyway. Rambles. Happy NYE!

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