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.


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.


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!


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? 

Race Shout Outs and Last Post as a Non-Marathon Finisher

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

Fellow Chicago Runners: Brandi, Scott, and Lisa.  We are going to dominate this city!

Hyedi is running her first marathon at the Twin Cities Marathon.  We’ve been pretty much doing the same workout every weekend…we even got sick at the same time! And I think she is just as excited as I am to not have taper anxiety!

Jon, Ellie, and some other 2FNers are running their first half marathon at the BAA half (the 13.1 version of the Boston Marathon).  It has been awesome watching this group progress from 5-K’s to half marathons over the last year.  I’m very excited for them!

Good luck to you all and everyone else racing! (This was written a few days ago late at night, so I apologize if I missed you!).  

Well, folks, next time we talk, I will have (hopefully) crossed the finish line to my first marathon!

What a crazy journey the last 4 months have been.  Ups, downs, happy times (hearing my Garmin beep at 20 miles and realizing that I JUST DID THAT) and sad times (we won’t dwell on those too much). After a great run, I’d feel so accomplished only to have my confidence completely shattered the next day after a really bad run.

Training for a marathon is no joke.  It was far more physically AND emotionally taxing than I ever imagined.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that I’m likely still stressing about everything.  I have a big goal I want to meet, and I’ve really talked it up so much that I will feel a bit foolish if I don’t come in anywhere near it. But, life will go on and there will be other marathons if I don’t BQ (maybe….).  This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try my darndest.   I promise that I will remember to enjoy the experience!

There isn’t anything left to be said that I haven’t babbled about already over the last 4 months.  I’ve worked hard for this, and truthfully, I have never been more proud of myself.  I am doing something on Sunday that up until a few weeks ago was beyond my wildest imagination.  I never knew that running a marathon would be a dream of mine, and now I can’t imagine a life without it.

And you guys have been with me every step of the way.  The running community is so awesome, and I can’t imagine that this would have been as much (dare I say) fun? without my internet friends (and real friends!) and your encouragement.  I’ve enjoyed following your journeys and I’m excited to see everyone conquer goals and cross finish lines!  You’ve helped me in my quest more than you’ll ever know!

So, enjoy your weekends, enjoy your long runs, race hard, and enjoy the fruits of your labor however you feel appropriate (I know for most of you, this means a big fatty meal and a tasty beer…I know I fit into this group).

Catch you on the other side of 26.2!

The Cherry Garcia 10-K is a Mean Kid

First, I am officially my own person! I am now WordPress free.  And by that, I mean my new web address is  It looks like everything is redirecting just beautifully, but let me know if things start getting funky.


Wow. I was re-reading my Monday Reflection Marathon post at lunch yesterday, and I felt so sad for early Monday morning Amy.  She was obviously quite grumpy.  I’m already in a much better mood today, and ready to take on the challenge of training for a marathon in the summertime! But THANK YOU again for all of your encouragement and positive energy!

So, a big part of the reason I was grumpy was because of a disappointing 10-K on Sunday night.  In still keeping with my “a race every month” bucket list item, June’s race was the Cherry Garcia 10-K held at 7:00 p.m.  My sister joined the fun and ran the 5-K!

{It was an ice cream race, so I wore the most ice cream looking shorts I could find! Also, how awesome are Aaron’s sunglasses?!}

I kind of view this whole running thing like school.  You work hard all semester, studying and soaking up information, and at the end you have a test to see how well you’ve prepared.  The learning part is wonderful (at least nerd Amy thought so), but it kind of all rests on how well you do on the test.  That is where you prove your abilities and show what you’re made of.

So, if you don’t do well for the test, then what makes you think you can ace the final exam?


I don’t think I will be doing another evening race (MAYBE RnR Vegas once they get their shiznet together).  Sunday felt like a waste of a day.  We had this race looming over us, and our activity and food consumption were limited because of it.  Plus, running a 10-K before bed made me really wound up, so I couldn’t sleep to save my life (which probably also contributed to the grumpiness).

Oh, and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. was somewhere between 96-100 degrees.  The pavement was radiating heat because it had been baking in the sun all day.  Though I do realize that it is probably more miserable in places where it is that hot and humid (we have no moisture in the air at all), or in places like Scotland where Rachel and Danielle are freezing, it is definitely not ideal for exercise.

My goal going into this race was to come in under 48  minutes.  This would constitute a PR since both of my last 10-k’s were either the first time I’d ever run 6.2 miles in a row, or when I tripped and twisted an ankle.  Plus, if I can’t run slightly under 8 minute miles for 6.2, then I don’t have much hope to run 8 minute miles for 26.2  At least that was my reasoning going in.

I am still kind of bummed that I missed my goal time by over 2 minutes.

My legs felt great.  I didn’t feel dehydrated (thanks Nuun!).  I actually felt like I was running a fast race for the last 3 miles.

But I wasn’t. I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t make myself hit 8 minute miles.  Even though I started passing people toward the end, I didn’t make it down to my goal time.

I also apparently started and then stopped my Garmin at the start line, and didn’t realize for half a mile in, so I don’t really have an accurate breakdown.  I need to get better at using that thing under pressure.

In retrospect, I do think aside from the heat, what slowed me down was stopping at water stations.  I never stop at water stations for 10-K’s, but I stopped at all 4 for this race to take a couple of sips and pour water down my back.

Also, the course and timing were not laid out very well.  The course was a loop twice around a block, so as the 10-kers made our way around for 2nd time, we came across the 5-k walkers.  They also didn’t have most of the major roads closed, so we were running in the bike lanes right next to traffic, trying to weave around the walkers walking 2-3 people deep.  Aside from being slightly dangerous, weaving through walkers can slow people down.

The course ended on a sharp 180 on grass into the sun where again I had to navigate my finish line sprint around walkers.

Would all of these factors cause me to go two minutes slower? I don’t really know.

Final time: 50:16.  30th overall, 3rd in age group.  Yay for small races!

There was an issue with the timing chips, so some 5-Kers were classified as 10-kers.  Right after the race I was listed as 4th in age group and didn’t get a medal (I’ve tried emailing the race director).  Also, they didn’t take out the top 3 finishers from age group awards, otherwise I would have been 2nd in age group. Victory!

Aaron also came in over his goal time, but he finished 9th overall (woot woot!), 1st in his new age group!

{Aaron and his age group medal.  Little did I know that I earned one too!}

I had wanted this race to be some sort of confirmation that the training I was doing for the last few weeks was working and that I was on track to hit my ambitious goals.  Not getting that confirmation made me uneasy.  But life goes on.  Really, a 10-K in June isn’t the most accurate indicator for a marathon in October.  I still have time to study for that big final!

The Cherry Garcia race lived up to its name, and we got some Cherry Garcia ice cream post-race! At least that part was awesome!

We celebrated with a post race beer celebration at our favorite microbrewery! Aaron, who has been avoiding beer because of the whole wheat thing, figured this was an occasion worth getting an upset stomach for.   Sometimes, a cold beer is the only cure for a hot hard race, gluten intolerant or not!

{Why yes, that is a Range Roller in the background.  You gotta do what you gotta do}

Finally Getting Around to that Bucket List

In January, I made myself a bucket list of items that I wanted to accomplish during 2012.

Well, here we are, May 1st, and I don’t have too much to cross of my list.  I am rapidly turning into a bucket list failure.

HOWEVER, this weekend, I finally got around to bucket list success #1.

This weekend, for the first time ever, I bought a car.

For the last 6 years, I have been driving a Ford Taurus.  On Friday, I traded it in for an Acura MDX at a price that was too amazing to ignore.  The Taurus was starting to not run as smoothly, and it was starting to look a little dated and beat up, but I still had a hard time letting it go.  So much of life is spent in cars, and this one got me through a lot.

I know it is a little ridiculous to be slightly sentimental about something like a car (it wasn’t even my first), especially a Ford Taurus, but me and the Cheese Biscuit have been through a lot.

My dad bought it in Virginia when he was getting a master’s degree.  It drove us to our first visit to New York (and started smoking, causing us to miss a turn and take a detour through a tunnel into Brooklyn). It brought my dad back home to Albuquerque, and then passed into my hands.

It drove me back and forth to California for college, and took me all around the Bay Area.  It braved the hills of San Francisco, and got used to driving in the fog. Many friends who I hardly ever see anymore have ridden in that backseat.

During my senior year, a deer ran into the back driver side door, and for a couple of months, I had a huge deer sized dent.  About two years after getting the door fixed, we moved to a place with a garage, and for the first time I had to learn how to back out of one.  That same door got smashed during one of my unsuccessful attempts.

When I graduated, it drove me very reluctantly away from California for the last time.  I proudly displayed my alumni license plate, and my college window sticker. My campus parking pass stickers though faded and expired, were still ready to grant me access.

It drove me around for my first job out of college (and there was a lot of driving involved!).  It drove Aaron and I to our first date (don’t ask) and it got me to the church on my wedding day.  The moment I got home after I ran my first half marathon, it got decorated with my 13.1 sticker.  It has endured only one break-in, and only a few dings to the windshield.

I can’t even count the number of states that it has traveled through, and despite it’s faults, it has been a good car.

When cleaning it out, I found a Valentine from the girl I baby-sat in college.  I found a name tag from my summer department store job.  I found my wedding binder in the back pocket (my wedding was 2.5 years ago).   The car only had a tape deck, so I found some old cassettes that I haven’t listened to in years. I found many remnants of my life over the last 6 years, and I had fun reliving some memories.

But, it was time, and I watched as my little Taurus was driven to the back lot as I received the keys to my new Soccer Mom car.  I transferred over the 13.1 magnet (and then the car was taken to the car wash by the dealership, and it came back with NO magnet) and signed it away.

I hope this new Acura will take me through just as many life events, and I hope that it will be a safe and reliable choice (I have two very smart friends who are engineers for Honda, so I hope they know what they are doing!).  At least I know that I will enjoy the ride with my sunroof open and the music blasting!

The 2012 Bucket List

I’ve heard so many people say they don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because they never keep them.  I always make them(look like a supermodel, become Martha Stewart, etc.), but very rarely do I actually accomplish what I set out to do.

So I was inspired when I stumbled upon Lesley Carter’s Blog Indulge Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences and her 2012 “Bucket List.”  Of course she does way cool stuff like swim with dolphins and sky dive and her 2011  adventures are way more than I will probably do in a lifetime, but I loved her idea of creating a bucket list. By definition, you can’t fail at a bucket list like you can fail as resolutions.  Plus, it doesn’t have to be realistic or in any way attainable. I think this is a much more positive way to enter into the new year, so I decided to create my own.


Amy’s 2012 Bucket List of Adventures (and Other Stuff)

1) Get Passport stamp #4 (Ideally, either a tropical beach vacation or Paris at Christmastime, but heck I’ll take Mexico)

2) Pay off credit card debt (I got so close this year, but then we went to San Francisco.  I’m really not in very much debt at all, but I’d rather spend interest payments on something else).

3) Ride in a hot air balloon (You would think since I live in the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World that I would have already done this).

4) Run a full marathon (planning on The Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October).

5) Run a race every month.

6) Compete in a triathlon (this will be tricky since I don’t know how to swim and I haven’t been on a bike aside from a tandem in 15 years).

7) Learn to swim.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time (the list and my progress is here on my new sub page).

9) Go on a White Water Rafting expedition (I’ve been rafting once, but I would like to do one of those weekend excursions)

10) Start dressing my age (I should probably retire the flip flip/hoodie/jeans/ponytail outfit sometime soon and accept that American Eagle isn’t marketing to my demographic).

11) Visit a new state.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos.

14) Relearn French (once upon a time I spoke well enough to not have to take it in college).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach.

16) Write a novel.

17) Buy a new car (hopefully BEFORE the Taurus self-destructs ).

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization.

19) Take the GRE.

20) Go to a live music festival (Coachella? Blues and Brews? Austin City Lights?).

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for and learn everything about them (then go to one of their games).

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork from a stuffy gallery in Santa Fe.

24) Finish a Tough Mudder (pretty much the most insane looking physical contest…you have to navigate yourself though all sorts of military obstacles and things that can electrocute you)

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there.

I wish you much love and happiness in 2012.  Whether you have resolutions, bucket list items, or nothing at all, I hope the upcoming year is everything you hope for!