Wednesday, November 25, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 10

Today I am thankful for my family.

It's hard to find the words to appropriately sum up how thankful I am for my wonderful family.  I have a large family as I am one of 5, all 4 siblings are married and 3 out of 4 siblings have had a total of 7 kids.  When I was growing up, the size of my family annoyed me at times as it meant a crowded dinner table, long waits for the bathroom (we had 2 for a family of 7, but one was mostly for my parents), and the ongoing battle for my parents' attention.  However, now that I am an adult, I love my big, at times loud, and loving family.

I recognize the fact that the holiday season is not a time of joy for everyone as some have lost a parent or loved one or may have other family dynamics that make the holiday season a time of stress or sadness.  I feel so fortunate that that is not the case for me.  Of course no family is perfect, but I am lucky that despite the fact that we have many unique personalities, we love and support one another and genuinely enjoy the time spent together.

I'm looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow with Phil, my parents, and my 2 brothers and their families.  We'll miss my 2 sisters and their families that won't be there, though!

What are you thankful for today?  I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend and to those living in the U.S. - Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9

Today I am thankful for my amazing network of friends.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a large network of supportive friends. I've made friends from so many different phases of my life - college, past jobs, through blogging, through running, and the list goes on and on.

I have spent much of my life single but I think one of the blessings of being single is that I have developed very strong female friendships in my life.  That is not to say that those who marry young can't have strong female friendships; it's just different when you are going through life without a partner to rely on, as it forces you to rely on others in your life.  And I think that learning to rely on a network of people is a healthy lesson to learn in life. 

I am thankful for the friends that I've met organically through running, work, college, etc, but I'm especially thankful for the friendships that blogging has brought to my life.  Blogging has allowed me to connect with people who have similar interests, personality traits, and values.  Having a blog definitely makes a person feel more vulnerable, but I have found that the shared experience of being vulnerable seems to deepen the relationships that are formed.  

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 23, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 8

Today I am thankful that I am able to run and race again.

After being diagnosed with RA in 2013, I thought that running and being active were a thing of the past for me.  I was so relieved when I was able to tentatively return to running in 2014. 2014 was a rebuilding year as I was careful about the number of miles I ran and the only race I did was a low key trail half.

My confidence was rebuilt in 2014 so I decided to challenge myself in 2015.  It was a great year for running as I PR'd at a 10 mile race in March.

And then I PR'd again in April at my half marathon.

Perhaps this shirt is my lucky shirt as I ran both PRs in it!
Then in August I tackled my first sprint tri and had a great time!

While visiting Amber in Kamloops, I did a fun and challenging 21km trail race!

And then in October I ran my 4th marathon. Running a marathon was something I thought I'd never do after my RA diagnosis so I am so thankful that I was able to.  It was great to run it with John and my run club buddy Megan.

This was around mile 20 so we were still smiling at this point!

At the finish line with John
Besides racing, I got to run in some really beautiful places, like Chicago...

... and the beautiful Princeton, NJ area.

Running is such a huge part of my identity so I am so thankful that I am back at it!

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 20, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 7

Today I am thankful for the amazing travel adventures I've had over the past year.

Since last year I've traveled to...

... Montego Bay, Jamaica with Phil to celebrate our friends' wedding.

... Santa Barbara with Phil for a long weekend full of hiking, time outdoors and delicious food!

... Rocky Mountain National Park with Kyria for a weekend packed with beautiful hikes and great non-stop conversations!

... Kamloops, BC where I FINALLY got to see where Amber lives!  We hiked, ran trails, ate yummy food, and had lots of awesome conversations.  I also got to know her husband Eric better (he's awesome, too!).

Seen on a run on the trail system near Amber's house.

Enjoying a shady part of the trail race we did together!

Enjoying wine and aps on a gorgeous day!
... Miami with my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law. I love our tradition of going away every other year!

... Boston with my honey to visit our friends.  I also got to see Kelly on this trip!

... Philadelphia with Phil for 1.5 days of exploring before heading to...

... Lambertville, NJ for Alli's wedding.  I failed to take many pictures of our time in Lambertville, besides the one below. Suffice it to say that it was a very charming and beautiful area!  And besides watching Alli get married, I also got to see Becky and Mandy!  Win-win. 

The Delaware River valley was stunning!

Phew, that is a lot.  It was definitely the year of "small" trips as all of these trips were done over long weekends.  I feel very blessed to have been able to go to as many places as I did, but traveling is a priority for me so it's something I definitely budget for!

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6

Today I am thankful for sites like Groupon and Living Social as they give me access to fitness studios at a very affordable price.  

I know this is a random thing to be thankful for, but I really do appreciate the deals on sites like groupon and living social. Right now I am enjoying a month of unlimited yoga at my favorite studio, Core Power Yoga.  I love this studio and the classes they offer so much but I do not love the price tag associated with being a member!  Thanks to groupon, I was able to snag an affordable 30-day membership and have been trying to get my bootie there as much as possible.  In January, I am planning to activate a living social deal for 10 fitness classes at another studio that is close to my house.

I love switching things up and trying new workouts so am thankful that I'm able to snag these deals when they come along. I have too many interests to commit to a membership at one studio so this is a great way for me to do some new things during the running off-season.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Today I am thankful that I have a job I enjoy and am reunited with my mentor.

I've been through a lot career-wise over the last several years; there have been some peaks but a whole lot of valleys.  Going through all of those challenges makes me appreciate the fact that I've found a company and role where I belong.  I changed jobs in July as I had the opportunity to work with my mentor again at a company that I respect.  I actually wrote about my mentor during the 10 days of Thanksgiving last year in this post.  In that post, I said the following:

"I'm not sure what my future holds career-wise but I'm hopeful that I will find myself working with my mentor again as a team as, looking back over the last 4 years, that is when I was most happy and content.  Whether or not that happens, I'm thankful that he's in my corner."

Luckily, I am working together with him as a team and it's been awesome.  The reason I like working with him so much is that we have a great working relationship. We are honest with each other even when that requires giving constructive criticism.  Best of all, we know that we always have each others' back. And - we have fun together at work.

Besides working with my mentor, I enjoy the rest of the people in the organization as well.  My last job taught me that liking and respecting who you work for makes a huge difference in your level of job satisfaction.  Of course it's not all sunshine and roses because no job is. But in general, I am very happy at work, feel challenged, and enjoy the work I do. 

When I left my last position, which was a terrible fit, I felt a deep sense of shame. I felt like I should have been able to last there for more than 14 months. And when I shared the news about my new job with friends and family, I got a lot of comments about how often I change jobs, which made me feel even more shameful. Well, since leaving that job, the 2 other people on my team (we were a team of 3) have been let go due to an acquisition.  So chances are that I, too, would have been let go.  Since starting my new job I've felt more and more like it was the right decision to leave when I did, but finding out that the rest of the team has been let go has just confirmed that leaving was the right decision for me. 

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4

Today I am thankful for podcasts.

I discovered podcasts around this time last year when Serial became uber popular.  After hearing friends rave about it, I decided to check it out. Serial was my entry drug. Now if I am listening to something on my phone while walking or driving or cooking, it's probably a podcast.  In fact, I might need to change my monthly recap to "Podcasts, Books, Miles and Looks" because I barely listen to new music anymore.  It's kind of sad because I do miss listening to music at times, but I just love listening to a podcast and falling down the rabbit hole of whatever topic is being discussed from female friendships to the latest book releases to starting a new company.

Another unintended benefit of podcasts is that listening to podcasts has broken my terrible habit of texting while driving.  I never should have been texting and driving in the first place but now it's out of the question because I can't text, drive and listen to a podcast as that's entirely too much multi-tasking.

I'll close with a list of my 5 favorite podcasts!

1.  Start-Up - This is a podcast about starting a new company.  Even if you have no interest in starting your own company (which is the case for me) it's totally intriguing.  Plus I love the voice of the main host, Alex Bloomberg.

2.  Book Riot - Book Riot has several podcasts but my favorite one is their main one. The hosts talk about what's new and exciting in the world of books.  As a lover of reading, I love listening to this!

3.  Starr Struck Radio - In this podcast, a husband wife duo banter back and forth about topics such as morning routines, the decision about when to have children, impostor syndrome, and so on.  I like that they often don't agree with each other as it makes for a more interesting discussion.

4. Death, Sex and Money - In this podcast the host covers topics related to, you guessed it, death, sex or money. The host, Anna Sale, has my favorite voice of the female podcasters that I listen to.  I like that the episodes tend to be shorter (around 30 minutes) and introduce me to subjects and people I had never thought about or would have encountered otherwise.

5.  Books on the Nightstand - Of course 2 out of my 5 favorite podcasts are book related!  The last podcast to make my top 5 list is another literary podcast that is hosted by 2 people who work in the publishing industry. The episodes are typically 30-40 minutes long and have some sort of theme with book recommendations at the end.  Listening to these two talk makes me REALLY wish I worked in the publishing industry!

What are you thankful for today?