This morning, I bid 2011 a farewell by running 8 miles, 5 of which were with Zooey (I had to drop her off at home, as she pretty much taps out at mile marker 5). It was a glorious morning - a sunny Arizona "winter" day, which started off at about 46° at 9:00-ish; by the time I finished, it was at least in the 60s.
When the year began, I had never run more than about 4 miles, and I was gearing up for my first 10K (a scary 6.2 miles).
Now that the year is ending, I am getting ready to run my first half marathon, twice as far as a 10K - and then a little bit more - a feat that I never dreamed I would entertain, much less aspire to, when 2011 dawned. I can't lie - it was due mostly to my friend Katie, who told me about the Disney Princess Half Marathon (hello, tiaras!) and to my friend Veronica, who just laid on the guilt/pressure. I also have to credit my friend Allison as well (no, not me - I don't talk in the third person. Usually.). She started running marathons just a few years ago, qualifying for the New York marathon basically immediately. While she encouraged me in my baby steps of running, I flat out told her she was crazy. I really hope I don't decide to do a full marathon, as then I'll have to eat my words, and I'm more comfortable being right in my diagnosis of her.
Foodwise, I have attempted limoncello (still tastes like burning along with the lemon), yogurt (um, not too successfully), made my own peanut butter (waaaaay better than store bought!), and gotten more comfortable manipulating tofu (PS - if you want to read something super hilarious about tofu, read this link. Wear some adult diapers). While I'm still not ready to make a full leap to vegetarianism or veganism, I am drifting more and more to less and less meat and have enjoyed adding to my cookbook wish list many a meatless tome. Continuing to eat local produce has helped the meatless adventure. It's also helped me realize that I have kind of an obsession with radishes and beets (although *I'VE* been liking them since 2010, so I'm ahead of this year's veggie trend, just FYI). Mmmmm.... beets.... I continue to be a little astounded at how much better I feel during runs when I have had less meat, although vegetarian runners would probably just say, "Psh! DUH!" But whatev, right? We all have to have our epiphanies on our own schedule.
I've also made some great blogging friends who have come together for not one but two fun-and-food-filled theme weeks. Look for more in the new year! While many people worry that the person at the other end of "teh interwebz" is a mad serial killer who will hide the body in a 50-gallon drum, I'm quite certain that all these wonderful ladies share too much love of snacks and goodies to ruin a perfectly good meal opportunity to do something messy like that.
Of course, the end of the year brought about a mammogram and a colonoscopy for me. Super fun. I mean, the nap after the colonoscopy was awesome, truth be told, but Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern (those names were, by the way, very carefully chosen for comic and ironic value) had a rough time of it. All joking aside, this was the year that I kind of "grew up" with regard to making sure that I am healthy. My dad's sister - his only sibling - passed away this spring after I had literally JUST reconnected with her. Knowing that I had wanted to for a long time but dragging my feet makes me feel, still, terrible, but I am thankful that I did get to tell her that I love her one more time (even if it was via Facebook), and I am also thankful that I have reconnected with two of her children, my first cousins, as well two of my second cousins (my dad's cousin and her daughter, so really my second cousin and my second cousin, once removed). My aunt's death made me realize that I can't just go through the motions and say what I've been saying. I need to be proactive about my health, and thank GOODNESS that I have a doctor who agrees (the best thing about having a DO as opposed to an MD - no offense to all the MDs I know). With the ridiculously long list of cancers that has beleaguered my dad's family, getting a baseline mammogram/ultrasound and colonoscopy is something that makes me look positively toward a future in which I will see my daughter graduate from college, get married, and have children of her own.
I have clearly stunk it up in the "It's not a resolution; it's a goal" department, considering I can't even successfully floss on a regular basis (I really hope my dentist brother-in-law does NOT read my blog). I'm hoping to readjust in the new year, but that's for tomorrow's post to discuss. Maybe it was the way I went at it that was still a little too much like a resolution. Who knows - whatever it was, it didn't work (it could also be that I hate flossing, but I don't know).
My husband would also like me to remind my readers (all two of them - hi, Mom!) that I've gotten dangerously close to the "you've become a hippy and we can't see each other anymore" line, considering I have said no to the 'poo and started cleaning my face with either olive/castor oil or honey. I did try a more natural deodorant, but that experience is now classified under the Horrible Disaster category (hence no previous blog post about how I was sweating like a... well, I just can't go there on this blog). While I'm sure that me cutting out these chemicals has only made a dent in my overall chemical absorption (potty training has meant that I've gotten a little too attached to my Spot Shot), I'd like to see how I can be a little more natural (or crunchy, as it were) in my everyday life.
At the end of this year, I do think I have been successful in one thing overall though, and that has been to work to be more compassionate. Sure, I have a good way to go; the idiot who was driving 35 in a 55 zone certainly was offered some choice phrases that were anything but compassionate. But I have tried to take Atticus Finch's advice and walk around in the skin of others before I spend too much time on the Jump to Conclusions Mat. That is one thing I will carry forward into the next year.
Well, I'm sure that this post has been pretty darn boring (unless you already clicked on that tofu link and got my Office Space reference), but that's OK. It's been nice to take a little bit to reflect on the year that was a lovely and positive one.
My wish for all of you is that you can have the same positive reflection for this year as well as next.
Well, 2011, it's been real, but I hope 2012 can beat you.