People, Places, and Things of 2016

When I think back on this year I just see fragments, like the thousand pieces of a partially-completed puzzle all strewn across a table. I feel like every year for the past few years has been like that, but I especially feel it this year. This year I felt like I was always a step behind and couldn't catch up no matter how hard I tried. I look back on this year and see how nearly all of my actions were reactive, not proactive. Through really no fault of my own, nothing I did was totally intentional. I constantly tried to correct and to adjust - to getting a job in a new field, to moving to a city I had never really planned to live in, to getting injured  and figuring out how or even if my big race plans would proceed, to training for an Ironman and how it flipped my already-chaotic world upside-down, to losing a grandparent for the first and then second time and a pet for the I-don't-want-to-count-th time. With every turn I felt like I was living in a new reality and just when I started to get used to it, something else would change or throw me for a loop. 

And I don't mean to make it sound so depressing, because so many things of those things were just as good as they were difficult. I got a job in a new field! I moved to a new city! I trained for an Ironman! So many big things that I've wanted and have been working toward for years came to fruition this year, and though they brought a lot of challenges on the way, I am so grateful for that. 




Lived


Blacksburg, VA (January-May) / Washington, DC (May-present)

Moving to DC from Blacksburg in DC was a huge change! We have always wanted to experience of city living, and even after 7 months we've only just scratched the surface of everything DC has to offer.



Traveled

This was definitely not the year of travel for us. The only trip we had planned this year was Big Sur in April, but we canceled that after I injured my foot and couldn't run the marathon. I would have loved to still go, but it turned out to be a really busy time for me with finishing school at the same time, so we decided it would just be best to not go. I did travel back home several weekends over the summer/early fall for Ironman training, and all other travel this year was short, spontaneous, and not very far from home!

New Jersey/NYC
I went to visit Alyssa in New Jersey over New Years last year! Literally the very first thing we did in 2016, right when the clock struck midnight on January 1, was run 4 miles through Central Park. We also took a Peloton class in the studio in Chelsea which was awesome! 

Washington, DC
Over the spring I traveled to DC 3 times before I moved here: one quick overnight trip for my interview, one weekend trip for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (which turned into a house-hunting trip since I'd accepted the job I interviewed for), and another weekend trip for more apartment stuff. 

Charleston, SC
I went to Charleston twice this year after not having been since my marathon in January 2014, but unfortunately both trips were for funerals for two of my grandfathers.

Virginia Beach, VA
By the time the 4th of July rolled around and I realized I'd only been to the beach once all summer and that we had zero summer vacation plans, I got really desperate for a beach trip. We ended up booking a few nights at the oceanfront over 4th of July weekend just to get away for the long weekend! Nothing too exciting, and I had a really bad cold all weekend, but we did get one beach day with great weather, early anniversary dinner at our wedding reception location, and I got to do some Ironman training with my dad. 

Blacksburg, VA
Five months after moving away from Blacksburg, I traveled back for an overnight trip to run the Hokie Half Marathon. It was a perfect, beautiful, quintessential fall day in Virginia and I'm so happy I got to see Blacksburg in all its maroon and orange glory.  

Atlantic City, NJ
The only new place I traveled this year was AC! I signed up for the inaugural 70.3 Atlantic City in November of last year and it had kind of gotten overshadowed by IMNC for most of the year, to the point where I didn't even really realize I was going to AC until right before. I really enjoyed the race, especially the run on the famous boardwalk. 

Richmond, VA
My last trip of this year was a quick one to Richmond in November to run a half marathon with Alyssa, Kristen, and Lisa! It's always great to spend time with them, and I'm glad we got together, however briefly.


Experienced

We went to 5 concerts in the first month and a half that we lived in DC. We saw Death Cab for Cutie, At the Drive-In, Thrice, Dave Matthews Band, and Weezer. They were all so different, but it was our first time seeing Death Cab, ATDI, and Weezer so those were my favorites for sure. I'm so glad I finally got to see all of them, but if I had to pick an absolute favorite...and I wouldn't have expected I'd say this...it would probably be Weezer. I had so much more fun than I was expecting to!

Like I said, I feel like we have only scratched the surface of all the things to do in DC, but we did make some effort to do some things we either hadn't done in a while or that we had never done. We saw the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick gallery, kayaked in Georgetown on a whim, visited a few Smithsonian museums, paddle-boated in the Tidal Basin, and saw the monuments on a daily basis.

Something that has surprised me is how many Ironman memories stick out that aren't from race day itself. I suppose it makes sense seeing as the race was only 9 hours out of the 4.5 months I spent training, but looking back now, the things that I remember most are from training: early morning workouts, all the DC things and gorgeous views I got to see on a regular basis, riding loop after loop after loop at Hains Point, all the miles I spent out on the W&OD trail, including the longest 7 hours of my entire life, the treat of getting to run at the oceanfront and see my BFF King Neptune, early mornings and late nights in the pool, the best open water swim I've ever had, and so much more. Training was a life-changing experience, much more so than the experience of crossing the finish line, and I'll cherish every mile's memories forever. 

Although the first 10 months of the year were a complete whirlwind, things have slowed down a bit over the last couple months, and Ben and I have really made it a point to spend quality time together and try to make up for some of the time we missed out on. We celebrated his 30th birthday, saw lots of movies together, enjoyed Saturday morning waffles and doughnuts, and saw the city at Christmastime.


It's sad to say this about what was, at least on paper, a big year, but ultimately...it feels like a wash. There were big ups and big downs and now at the end I feel like I've just finally gotten to the point where I feel in balance enough to look forward to what the next year has to bring. Which, I hope, is some stability, but if this year has taught me anything...I'm not holding my breath.

7 comments :

  1. You had a pretty exciting year with moving and traveling and iron-manning it up!!! I hope that 2017 brings awesome things for you! Happy New Year!

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  2. I am totally in a place right now of trying to settle into one change before another one comes sweeping through and changes my life again. That's kind of been the theme for the year for me, and I totally get how it was for you too. And as far as the year being a wash, I get that too. I mean, some big and great and amazing things happened this year, many of them I'm carrying forth into 2017, but when I look at what end-of-2015 me wanted to change in the coming year, I'm not there. Anyway, how do I always end up making comments on your posts about me? (You just get me ;))

    So glad I got to spend time with you on so many different occasions this year, in so many different places. How fun! Can't wait to do more of it in 2017. Cheers to another year of friendship and more awesome adventures!

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  3. Happy New Year! I think anytime moving and/or finishing school is involved, it automatically makes life crazy. I hope things can be a little more calmer for you in 2017. Your triathlon training posts are very motivating! I'm hoping to do an Olympic tri this fall. Hope you guys have a great weekend!

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  4. Happy New Year my friend! I owe you and Christy an email in the new year for coffee/drinks/___(insert what you want) haha :)

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  5. you had a pretty action-filled year and although you had training ups and downs, you have lots to be proud of! happy new year and may 2017 be even more awesome.

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  6. hey! things look different around here!
    i know what you mean about the year being a wash. on paper, the highs outweigh the lows for me, but i feel kinda eh about the year overal. i don't know.
    i think it's neat that you remember more of the training than the race, i mean i know there was simply more training so it's more likely that you will, but still. you had a lot going on this year, and i am very sorry for the losses. i hope 2017 is a really great year for you :)

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