Last year on my birthday, I was dancing the night away to DJ Pauly D (“cabs are here!”) with 15-20 of my closest friends. This year, however, my birthday “turnt” DOWN about 10 notches… but I’m surprisingly ok with that! Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait until I can see and hug and go out my friends again, but I’ve been enjoying the extra time with Mo, the extra sleep, and the slower-pace that we’ve had no choice but to embrace in the past nine weeks.
Another year has come and gone, but it was full good memories and adventures. I could go on and on and on about them… but I’ve chosen my “top 8” to share with you!
1. VACAY IN EUROPE
Mo had the incredible opportunity to work an assignment in Amsterdam for a month last summer. He extended his time there so I could join him towards the end of it. We explored Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris and Prague together. It was a jam-packed two weeks of sight-seeing, exploring on foot, experiencing the culture and of course… tasting the cuisine. Some of my favorite memories of the trip include acai bowls in Amsterdam, Belgium waffles, hot chocolate and “frites” (fries) in Belgium, croissants, wine and cheese in Paris, and beer in Prague. We were exhausted by the time we got back to California… but wouldn’t have done it any other way!
2. STANDING UP IN MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING
Monica and I met in second grade and have stayed friends through different high schools, colleges, and living in different states. If anyone loves to dance as much as I do… it’s Monica! Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing at her bachelorette party in Nashville and at her wedding! She was a beautiful bride and it was an honor to stand by her side on her special day.
3. VOLUNTEERING AT THE RAGNAR RELAY
What do you call 24 hours of limited sleep, tent camping, and 15 miles of trail running for 8 different people? (ok, besides “crazy”…) RAGNAR RELAY! I originally planned on running, but made the right/hard decision to be a volunteer instead, and cheer on my teammates as they participated in this event. When you weren’t running, you were either hanging out at your campsite or trying to squeeze in a few hours of sleep. Each each runner completes three relay loops in the woods (3 miles, 4.6 miles, and 7.6 miles) and in total, it took our team about 22 hours. We were muddy and sleep-deprived, but riding that runner’s high like no other!
4. SPENDING HOLIDAYS WITH FAMILY
My in-laws came out to visit over Thanksgiving, and we got to spend a few days together at one of our favorite places in California – Carmel by the Sea. We enjoyed the beautiful weather, the dog beach, 17 mile drive, and many delicious meals. Mo and I spent Christmas in Chicago catching up with my parents, our siblings and their kids, and our friends. We are always grateful for time spent with our families!
5. NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA
After postponing our trip last year due to rupturing my Achilles just days before we were supposed to leave, we finally made it back to New Zealand and Australia this past January! When Mo and I lived in Sydney five years ago, we road tripped around the South Island of New Zealand, so this time, we decided to road trip around the North Island. The South Island is known primarily for its fjords/sounds and glaciers, whereas the North Island is more known for its geothermal activity and beaches. We started in Queenstown, drove east to The Coromandel Peninsula, down through Rotorua to Lake Taupo, hiked Tongariro Crossing, and drove back up to Auckland, stopping for a detour in Hobbiton. We then flew to Sydney and spent the next ten days visiting friends, our favorite cafes and restaurants, and of course… relaxing and surfing at the beaches. The best part? My parents were able to join us for a week of our time in Sydney! Those are memories that will never be forgotten!
6. MY FIRST RACES SINCE SURGERY
The road to recovery has been a long one… but with patience and perseverance, I’ve been able to get back into running. I went a full 228 days without doing any running (not that I was counting)… and since August 25, I have been slowly building my speed and mileage back up. Pssst, I offer a free “return to running” program on my website, which is the exact plan I followed to get from 15 minutes of walk/jog to 60 minutes of running in three months. I ran as part of a marathon relay team at CIM in December and ran the Napa Valley Half Marathon on March 2. Although it was nowhere near my “pre-Achilles” PR, I was extremely proud of the effort and the results I came out with. Being in that race atmosphere lit my fire and passion for running again. I now have my sights on some pretty big goals for the upcoming year… keep reading for more info on that!
7. NEW CERTIFICATIONS AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
I earned a Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification in December and just recently attended a virtual conference to become a certified run coach through RRCA (Road Runners Club of America). I’m excited to use this acquired knowledge to further my own understanding and results, as well as coach to others to achieve their desired fitness goals. I recently started offering customized run coaching programs even though races have been cancelled, because now is a great time to work on base training until we can start to train for a specific race again! Oh… and did I mention I signed up for a marathon?! Fingers crossed for CIM on December 8…
8. QUARANTINE 2020
It would feel wrong to leave out this whole shelter-in-place situation that we’re currently living in. While some may choose to see it as only an inconvenience, I have done my best to shift my mindset and see this season as a time of growth, slowing down and appreciating what we CAN do / what we DO have… not on what’s been taken away from us. As you may know, I manage three fitness centers and a team of personal trainers, and due to the fact that we provide “on-site services”, we had to quickly pivot our program to be virtual. We have launched virtual group fitness classes, virtual personal training, virtual race/run training programs and virtual wellness clinics, and I am learning more and more every day on how to best manage a team remotely. I’m so grateful for my job and my health during this time, and can’t wait for the day I’m back on-site with my team! I’ve been staying busy with virtual church, virtual happy hours, baking, at-home workouts, virtual wine tastings, teaching virtual group fitness classes, running, bike rides and movie nights with Mo, take out from our favorite restaurants and lots quality time with Sydney!
These may not have made “top 8” but they were an important part of the past year nonetheless! Church midweek, exciting opportunities at work, countless wine tastings, workouts with friends, winning the Oktober Fest “stein-holding” competition, pool parties and brunches with my Arete teammates, partnering with brands such as Athleta and Pressed Juicery for fitness-related campaigns, bring a “torn Achilles” for Halloween, weddings, weekend trips with friends to Napa, Lake Tahoe, and San Deigo, seeing Hamilton with Mo, and so much more. What a year!