Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011

I have a confession... I haven't really been doing a lot of reflection on 2011 or resolution making for 2012 just yet.  Maybe it's because time seems to be flying by lately, and I just haven't had time to think much about it.

Regardless, I have to admit that it's been a mostly good year... but I also look back on 2011 as being a hard year.  Nonetheless, I feel like the year is ending on a positive note, and I'm looking forward to 2012.  It HAS to be a better year.

I did some fun stuff and some not so fun stuff this year...

In January, I ran the Goofy Challenge in Disney World.

I met a boy.  The boy went on to not be THE boy, but I consider him a good friend now after all that transpired this year.

I got to see my two best friends in Chicago in April.

I ran some other races.

I ran the Ragnar Relay from Madison, WI to Chicago in June and had an absolute blast.

I spent a week on the beach in Florida with my family and got to see the Harry Potter Wizarding World at Universal Studios.

I saw my two best friends again in Chicago when I went to run the marathon in October.

I ran the Flying Monkey Marathon again.

I met a boy, one that is causing me to feel pretty freaking lucky... I'm looking forward to seeing how things go there.

I have made some plans for some trips and races in early 2012.

And along the way, I've found myself surrounded by some of the most amazing people in my life.  I am so thankful that I've had friends and family support me along the way this year... people to be excited with me and have fun with me, people to be there in the moments that weren't as fun, etc.

I have a lot to be thankful for from this year, especially the new friendships I've made and the ones I've deepened over the course of the year.

There have definitely been some high points and low points over this year.  I'm hoping for some positive changes in 2012, and I definitely want to have a lot of fun. I have a feeling that there will be many more high points than low points this year.  I sure hope so anyways!

So in the words of The Counting Crows, "and there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.."

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone has had a very merry Christmas this year!

It's definitely been a busy Christmas season for me... it seems like something was going on every day between all of the family gatherings, my sister's graduation, parties, and shopping.

Just before Christmas, the boy and I went to a tacky Christmas party.  Definitely a ton of fun!

On Christmas Eve, I insisted on my friend Erin joining us for dinner.  We had an awesome meal and enjoyed a quiet evening in with the family and our neighbors.  I plan on celebrating New Year's Eve with this girl, too!

Christmas ended up being a really nice day.  I had taken Tucker home with me to my parent's house, and he enjoyed running around with their two cats and playing with all the wrapping paper.

Dexter in particular found Christmas to be exhausting....

My sister and I are definitely spoiled, and we both got some nice presents.

I got to see the boy for a little bit before he heads out of town on a family vacation (excited for him, but also jealous!)

All in all, it was a pretty great Christmas season this year.  I ended up with some cool paintings of famous sights in Nashville that I can't wait to hang, and I also got a nice little collection of Vera Bradley items that will come in handy.

I love giving presents, and I think that all of my friends and family really loved their gifts this year.  It's always so fun for me to watch them open them.

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas!  I'm looking forward to a few days off work and celebrating 2012.  I know it's going to be a good year.  I'll have to start making some plans for some trips and races soon to tell you about!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Race Report: Santa Hustle Half Marathon

This weekend, I went with my two girlfriends Jenny and Andrea to run the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in Sevierville.  I haven't been to Gatlinburg in a few years, so I knew it'd be a fun weekend trip.  We headed out on Friday and found that our hotel room was quite nice.  We had opted to not stay at the Wilderness Lodge where the race was being held in an effort to save some change.  We made a good choice.

On Saturday, we went to get our race packets.  We were super excited about our Santa hat, beard and shirt.  It was going to be a blast to run in them the next day!

Then, we drove into Gatlinburg and had brunch at The Log Cabin.  They have amazing blackberry crepes.

We wandered around Gatlinburg for a while and checked out all of the little shops.  It was pretty cold, and I have been having some sinus issues.  I can't say I was in the mood to shop, but it was fun to roam around and hang out with the girls... and taking some photos.

We visited a cat store in Pigeon Forge that I remember going to a few years ago.  This sweet little cat climbed right in my lap when I knelt down to pet her!

We hit up the outlets, and I did buy a sweater at Banana Republic.  We grabbed a yummy dinner at Johnny Carina's before heading to our hotel to watch a movie and crash.

The next morning we donned our Santa apparel and met up with Andrea's sister who was running the 5K.

Everyone was wearing the Santa items so we took off in a sea of red!  Before long, we came to the first candy stop!

There were several candy and cookie stops along the race course in addition to the normal water/Gatorade/Gu stops.  No complaints here.  I even found a guy with a box of tissues once.  Since I still had a stuffy nose, I was excited about this!

We all agreed there was no reason to push ourselves.  We wanted to just run and have fun.  All three of us ran together and chatted for the first 5 miles or so.  The course was an out and back, and while there were a few long inclines, it really wasn't as hilly as I thought it might be.

Andrea and I ran the rest of the race together, talking and taking in the sights of Sevierville/Pigeon Forge... sights like this one...

The race actually went by pretty fast, and we crossed the finish line in 2:15:52.  I'll take that considering I haven't really been running much lately.

The medal had Santa on it!

All in all, it was a pretty fun event.  It's definitely the kind of race that I think is best to do with friends just for fun.  It was a great reason to get away to the Smokies and have some girl time for the weekend, too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My 5th Annual Christmas Party

On Friday night, I held my fifth annual Christmas party for all of my friends.  This is my second year to do it in my apartment, and unfortunately I just don't have room here for the giant tree I bought when I lived in a house.  I was doing good to fit the 20 guests in my place. :)

It's always so much fun to get everyone together for a bit before the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

We sat around and laughed and talked for most of the evening over our snacks and drinks.

We hung out a lot in the kitchen where all of the food was hanging out...

Oh yeah... there was a keg.  This is the first time I've ever had one at my party.  Everyone also brought some awesome snacks for sharing.

All night I kept saying how I should really have everyone over more than just once a year.  We all got to talking about having regular game nights starting soon.

One day, I hope to be able to have the kind of party where I take care of everything and have an awesome presentation instead of having to cram everyone and everything in my little apartment and ask everyone to bring something.

But for now?  This is pretty awesome.  I love being able to get everyone together!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

I honestly think I'm going to abandon the list soon... I've done pretty much everything I still care about or have plans to do the few that I still care about... things have just changed since I made the list, and I have decided I'm ok with that. So we'll see!

2. Run at least eight marathons -Well, I hit number 8 this month when I ran in the Flying Monkey Marathon.  Good times!

8. Get a massage (or other special reward!) after every completed marathon - I didn't really feel I deserved too much since this wasn't much of a race for me (more of a training run), but I did treat myself to a little shopping.

39. Learn more about how to start a business - I read several books last month and continued to check out some stuff to get some more knowledge. I'm definitely just brainstorming right now.

45. Give money to people who are fundraising at least 4 times a year - I love being able to support people and their causes.

68. Go to three concerts per year - I went to see Lady Antebellum at the Ryman.  It was awesome.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - This month I watched season 5 of Dexter.  It's not a movie, but I say a season of tv counts.

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I read a book that a friend told me about called Why Men Marry Bitches.  It's bascially about how at the end of the day, guys really want a girl who is independent and not one to just go along with everyone he says and does.  It's been a nice reminder that I'm single because I won't settle for anyone who doesn't love me for me.