The Bucket List That Didn’t Get Crossed Off

Way back last December, inspired by other bloggers, I decided to nix the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and instead create a 2012 bucket list of experiences I wanted to have before the year was up.

If you don’t follow through with resolutions, you have failed. Failure is sad. If you don’t follow through with bucket list items, nothing happens.

Nothing especially happens when you don’t get very many of your BL items in the “DONE” category like me.

I did do some things.  Just not as many as I would have wanted.

I’ve decided to keep this sucker running.  I’m working on my 2013 list with 25 new items to be revealed tomorrow.  The rollover from 2012 will stay on there with the hopes that I’ll eventually cross those items off the list.  And as the years progress, I’m sure I’ll establish a pretty decent list of “gotta do before I die which hopefully won’t happen for 100 years” items.

My actual level of BL completion is below, listed item by sad un-crossed off item.

Items categorized as UNSUCCESSFUL didn’t happen or even come close to happening.  Items listed as ATTEMPTED were at least approached with cheerful effort.  SUCCESSFUL items (the few and far between) were ones that I was able to cross off the list.

How Amy Fared on the 2012 Bucket List

1) Get Passport stamp #4: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though the possibility is MUCH higher in 2013 thanks to some college graduating sisters and their graduation present vacations.  I’m hoping we get invited (hint, hint, Daddy).

2) Pay off credit card debt: UNSUCCESSFUL: I don’t want to talk about this.  At all.  However, still thankful that my credit card debt load is tiny compared to the average American.

3) Ride in a hot air balloon: UNSUCCESSFUL. Shit’s expensive. And I’m kind of scared to go with the cheapest company because I don’t want to die.

4) Run a full marathon: SUCCESSFUL!!! Definitely a lifetime bucket list item.  AND I think I get bonus points for the BQ.  That was also a HUGE bucket list item that I didn’t bother adding to the 2012 list because I didn’t think it would happen for many many years.

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5) Run a race every month: ATTEMPTED.  I ran 10 road races and 1 virtual race, so I missed it by 1. I think doing the smaller ones helped me get better at racing, plus I snagged some age group awards, but the more longer races I do, the less excited I am about paying $10 per mile in a 5-k with no medal and a sad cotton t-shirt.  Sorry.

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6) Compete in a triathlon: UNSUCCESSFUL.  But I think I’m more prepared mentally to take on this challenge in 2013.

7) Learn to swim: ATTEMPTED.  I think I’m closer than I was this time last year.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time:  UNSUCCESSFUL. I knew this would take more than 1 year.  I’ve read some books that I hadn’t heard of that I ended up  loving. But I’ve also been stuck on the 180 pager The Souls of Black Folk since August. I read 7 books this year (on the list anyway…I think there were 2 that I’ve picked up that weren’t on the list) which is better than the 1 I read in 2011.

9) Go on a White Water Rafting weekend expedition: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I’m starting to rethink this one.  I was pretty bored after a couple of hours of kayaking down the river in September. Could I really spend 4 days cold and wet with sore shoulders followed by sleeping on the ground for 4 nights?

10) Start dressing my age:  ATTEMPTED. I think some progress has been made. I tried to avoid stores where the majority of salespeople are in high school and I haven’t worn flip flops since it got cold out. I did however walk around Chicago dressed like this, so whateves. Although, maybe wearing black stretchy pants IS dressing my age. Sigh.

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11) Visit a new state: SUCCESSFULGot to experience Illinois in all of it’s finest! And by finest, I mean Chicago.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays. SUCCESSFUL. I did this at least twice.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos: ATTEMPTED. I started looking up tutorials on Pinterest.  I’m still not Ansel Adams, but I least I know how to change shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, even if I have no idea what any of them mean. I did get a bokeh photo in of the Christmas tree!

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14) Relearn French: UNSUCCESSFUL. Although I’m listening to the French Cafe station on Pandora right now, so maybe I’m picking up a little bit? However, one of the potential graduation trips might require that I learn, at the very least, how to say, “I’ll take another glass of wine!” in order to get around (“plus de vin, s’il vous plaît!”).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach: SUCCESSFUL. It was fun.

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16) Write a novel: ATTEMPTED: I totally started one! I am 5 pages in.  At least I have the idea and the characters and the general plot line.  Now that the gingerbread house is done, I’ll have more time to devote.

17) Buy a new car: SUCCESSFULAnd I’m in love.  Aside from the fact that I spend twice as much money on gas. 

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization: ATTEMPTED: I think this will happen pretty soon into the new year.  I’ve cleaned out a few closets and drawers.

19) Take the GRE: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I do want a masters degree, but at this point, I don’t know if it would be incredibly helpful or financially responsible.  And I still kinda don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

20) Go to a live music festival. UNSUCCESSFUL. I think this will require choosing one and planning a year in advance.  But with all of these potential vacations and Boston which is quickly shaping up to be as expensive as an all-inclusive week in the Caribbean, I don’t know if this is the perfect year for it.

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for: SUCCESSFUL. Though, now I’m questioning my decision.  How can a team go from winning the Super Bowl to scoring once in two weeks???

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I seriously tried though.  I even put in for a pair of Uggs last week.  I hate Uggs.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though I have decided that I want an abstract painting with warm colors.  So now I can be on the lookout!

24) Finish a Tough Mudder: UNSUCCESSFUL, mostly because it didn’t happen in Albuquerque like we thought it was going to, however it is scheduled for my birthday in 2013.  I’m rethinking this one because thanks to blog land and some detailed recaps, I’m not sure that I would have the best time.  I mean, cool that you are tough enough to do it, but it sounds mostly miserable. And I could think of better ways to spend a birthday.

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there: UNSUCCESSFUL: but 2013 WILL be my year.  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still feel like I’m just in a holding area until my life really starts.  Considering I’m about 1/3 of the way through life already (if I’m lucky), I want to at least feel like I’m on the right path.

So, over the course of the year, I successfully completed 7 out of 25 bucket list items.  Here’s hoping that more items get conquered in 2013!

Are you creating a bucket list for 2013? 

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When I Just Don’t Feel Like It

This is bad.

It is Friday afternoon and I still haven’t decided whether I’m really doing that indoor tri tomorrow.

I still might.  You never know.

Out of all races, this silly indoor tri is probably the one I am most ok with stamping as a DNS, but still, I feel a real sense of quittership going on, and I don’t like it.

As many good excuses as I try to make for why, it kind of just boils down to that I don’t want to.  I hate that excuse when it comes to throwing in the towel for anything.  Like when people say they are going to run a 5-K, get frustrated, don’t run it, and then never run again.  Or people who enter one of those weight loss competitions, don’t want to put in the work, and then stop showing up because they don’t want to (my husband led a group like this for a couple of years, and I have judged many a person for quitting before it’s over).

I’m tired.  Physically.  I haven’t been sleeping well.  And this whole week I’ve been randomly having a case of what I imagine Holly Golightly was referring to when she talked about having the “mean reds” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.   Except I don’t have a local Tiffany’s to help me feel better. (I should note that I’m a very happy person and not entirely concerned!).  Surprisingly, I’ve actually had a great running week (A hard run last night helped improve my mood! Hooray!), so, maybe I need to have these off weeks more often to reach my running goals?

Yesterday, Aaron said he didn’t feel like going to the gym to swim, and, instead of saying “well, that’s nice but I DON’T WANT TO DIE IN THE POOL,” I didn’t argue because I didn’t want to either (I wanted to go buy a Christmas tree but we didn’t do that either).

And I didn’t ever find (didn’t ever really look) for a swimsuit. So, sparkle bikini it is!

I don’t want to give up.  I don’t want to DNS.  I don’t want to say that I’m going to work towards something and then not. And I don’t want to back out just because I’m not good at it.

Thanks, Pinterest, for the reminder!

Initially, I was proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone (like, waaay out), but now I just really want to sleep in tomorrow, do my 10 miler (Aaron is on injury prevention mode again), and decorate the tree that we will hopefully finally purchase tonight. And continue swim lessons because this is embarrassing.  Like, if we were swimming in lanes next to each other at the pool, you would deny knowing me.

So, that’s my story.  Chances are I’ll do it.  But I don’t want to (imagine me jumping up and down in temper tantrum mode).

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Good luck to the Sarah and Kara who are both running their first marathons this weekend! You can do it!

WINNER! And (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Random.orgCongratulations, Emily! I’ll be emailing you later today, and I hope you enjoy your North Beach Sunglasses from The Sunglasses Shop! And thanks so much for everyone who entered!

Project Gingerbread House hit a bit of a bump yesterday while I was heating sugar for the windows.  I do this every year (one year I set the microwave on fire because I put the sugar in a METAL cup), and I’ve gotten good at the process, but as best as I can tell, I probably caused a crack in the glass when I rinsed it out right after it was super hot (extreme change in temperature), so the next time I put it in the microwave, it shattered because the glass was compromised.

Sometimes it helps to know science! (I don’t know science).

BUT, this is what the windows look like when finished! What’s a little fire or shattered glass when we’re talking Christmas joy?

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Oh, and I take back everything I said about making swimming progress.  I couldn’t even get my head underwater in the pool yesterday without hyperventilating.  So, it’s looking more and more like doggie paddle for me! If you ever thought I was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people (then you probably haven’t met me?), this should prove you wrong!

Happy Wednesday!

(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TIME!

I will be the first to admit that for me, Christmas time started right after Halloween.  I’ve been watching those high quality holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, listening to Christmas music, and plotting ways to make this year’s holiday season the best ever.

Aaron has very politely indulged me, even giving up his Saturday nights to watch Eloise at Christmastime and not getting mad when I switch his Pandora station to Christmas music.

But now, my Christmas cheer is completely socially acceptable.  Thanksgiving is over, so I can prance around in Christmas happiness without fear that some Bah Humbug will squash my dreams.  However, I still haven’t put up a tree unlike everyone on Instagram/facebook.  We’re real tree people, so we always wait until December to make sure it doesn’t look dead by Christmas. I’d like to think this makes me slightly less crazy.

Meanwhile, on the running/half marathon training front, things have been going ok.

On Thursday my whole family (aside from my mom who was busy on Operation Thanksgiving Dinner duty) ran our Turkey Trot 5-K.   A few weeks ago I was thinking I was going to use this race as my attempt at a sub 21.  But I got out on that course, fell into a solid 7:00-7:15 pace, and was feeling really good.  I remember what it felt like for me the one time I did hit 21:05, and I decided I didn’t really want to get that awful sick feeling again.  So, I didn’t.  Maybe not the most competitive thing I could have done, but I’m ok with it.  I dread 5-K’s more than anything, and I don’t want to anymore.  I came in at 22:18 (7:10 average pace).  Still better than my last few 5-K times, and definitely a confidence booster than I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace in a couple of months.  Plus, I think this is my first ever 5-K that didn’t make me want to hurl.

To celebrate the amazing weather we’ve been having (still in the low 60’s during the day) we decided to get one more climb up our mountain on the La Luz Trail.  Typically the top is snow covered and dangerous by late November.  It is a little sad that our weather is so dry that we don’t have any snow on our mountain but it made for perfect hiking conditions. This hike is about 8 miles up a 3,600 elevation gain.  My dad and sister made their way up for the first time!

Yesterday’s long run was a little harder than it should have been after the climb up a mountain.  We had 8 miles on the schedule, so we headed to the most flat course we could find, and knocked them out.  I had an average pace of about 8:38, so I was going a just bit faster than last week.  And definitely minutes faster than I was running a year ago.  I felt pretty fatigued, my face got sunburn, and after we finished, my calves tightened up to a point suggesting I’d run much harder/faster than I really did.  I spent the morning doing some intense rehabbing just to get myself back to walking like a normal person.  But definitely on track with where I want to be right now.

On the non-running front, I’m pretty sure I did something very close to swimming last week! I’m working on a breathing rhythm, and after a few failed attempts (and lots of inhaled water through the nose…very yucky feeling), I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping that with a few more lessons, I’ll at least be able to not look like a drowning abomination on Indoor Tri Day!

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving week was pretty normal:  I baked! (gluten free pumpkin snicker-doodles), two dinners with two families, late night Black Friday shopping, football watching (GO GIANTS!!!), and planning my annual gingerbread house (you can see last year’s HERE).

We’ll take some of that turkey, please!

Muppet Christmas Carol is a Thanksgiving tradition.

Aaron is obviously adopted

Macy’s at about 1:00 am. 

Hope everyone is having a minimally painful Monday!

P.S….there *may* be a giveaway coming later this week! (And by may, I mean I’ve already agreed to do one in exchange for free stuff, so…)

Winter is Different Than Summer

First, check out Hyedi’s blog for a running headband giveaway and Sarah’s blog for a basket full of Hawaiian goodness giveaway.  Although, if you don’t, then my odds of winning go up….

Obviously I have been through winters before.  And obviously I have seen a time change or 60 in my lifetime.  Yet I am sitting here shocked at how much different this time of year is than summer.

I even trained for this same half at this same time last year, but here I am like, “Oh! It’s Dark!” and “Oh! It’s Cold!”

So we’ve had to get creative with our workouts.

The track that we use isn’t lit.  It also is not made of that fancy newfangled track spongy stuff…it’s dirt.  And the last turn is washed out because it is in the middle of a gulch.  It doesn’t rain here just about ever, but erosion has occurred   So running on this track in the dark or without complete sunlight makes the sprinting aspect of the sprinting workout pretty impossible.

So, aside from dragging ourselves out of a warm bed (is this even a realistic option?) before work, we are doomed to the treadmill.

Fact: one of the busiest weekends at the gym is the week before Thanksgiving.

For some reason, I always feel really self conscious when sprinting on the gym treadmill.  It makes this really obnoxiously loud BOOM BOOM BOOM noise, generating annoyed stares from the people there to walk in peace.

On Tuesday we braved the BUSY gym and did a 5 minute warm-up, then sprinted for 1 minute/walked for 1 minute for a total of 20 minutes before our cool down.  I was hitting between 6/6:10 minute mile pace during the sprints.  I would like to be at about a 5:30 sprint pace by the end of this training cycle.

I do think that sprinting on the treadmill is easier than being in the real world, BUT the treadmill doesn’t let you slow down, and keeping up with the pace is essential if you don’t want to be launched back into the wall/the nice walker behind you.

We followed the sprint workout with plyometrics.  This isn’t something I’ve done too much of in the past, but according to coach Aaron, plyometrics increase your eccentric load (I THINK) giving you more of that explosive energy needed for speed.  Wikipedia says, “plyometric exercises use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power and to improve overall speed.”  Meanwhile, all the cross fit people are sitting there saying DUH.

We looked kinda like these people.

Basically, we ventured deep into the weight lifting area, and jumped onto a box and jumped off it.  All the meatheaded weight lifters were giving us weird looks (Why these people jump?  Jumping no give big muscle….I always give meatheaded weight lifters cave men accents).

In addition to more gym speed training, we’re having to cram in 3 weeks of “Amy doesn’t want to DNF in the indoor tri” training.

For the next few weeks, Wednesdays will be our Spin It To Win It day which is a fancy way of saying that I’m trying to  master the art of spin biking.  Yesterday was spin class #2 for the year and today I’m feeling the saddle soreness.  At least I think that’s what it’s called.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Spinning really works out muscles that I must not use very often because I was having a hard time sprinting up the imaginary muddy hills that the instructor kept leading us through.

There is work to be done here.

There is also work to be done on indoor tri logistics.  Aaron doesn’t seem to think that the transition area will include locker room access meaning no changing that requires privacy.  As a girl of ….um…a certain size I can’t really run without a sports bra.  An option I suppose is to wear a sports bra over a swim suit and remove as necessary (and deal with the fact that this will look completely ridiculous).  I’ve been trying to research swimsuits, but I haven’t found any yet with the support I need.  I haven’t looked into full tri suits (I kind of don’t want to buy something that I may only use once), but apparently they take the whole issue into consideration.

So, that’s where we’re at.  Today is more speed work, tomorrow is yoga, and this weekend is our long run and intense swimming crash course.

THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT on my indoor tri.  I feel silly for being so nervous about it especially since it really isn’t half as scary as an outdoor sprint.  We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Thursday! (Also, I wrote this REALLY fast today, so I didn’t edit.  I don’t even want to know how many mistakes you can find).