Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So long 2013. Welcome 2014!

I can't believe I'm here recapping another year. WOW they sure go fast these days!
2013 was for sure not my easiest year yet, but nevertheless, it was a great one overall!

I started the year out in January making some resolutions for the year. Those resolutions were as follows:
  • Complete my Master's degree by the end of the year. 
  • Walk/run 365 miles total (although about halfway through the year I decided to up this to 400). 
  • Run 200 of the 400 miles traveled. 
  • Work on toning exercises 52 hours this year. 
  • Read 365 books to my children. 
Well I'm very delighted to share that I did indeed finish my Master's degree this year and was the first person to every complete an online degree from William Woods University. I sure didn't know I would get such publicity for doing so. I did a phone interview with William Woods and had to send them a picture of myself. This article and image ended up being posted many places prior to my graduation! It was in the William Woods News, on the William Woods Online Login page, in the News Tribune and the first thing I saw when I typed in Newstribune.com one day when the article was new. It also made the Blair Oaks High School Daily News report and about a week later, I also had to do an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune and that article was published in their newspaper and on the web. This all made me feel like I actually did accomplish something and proud of that accomplishment. There were times this year when things were tough. It was hard to balance teaching full-time, with parenting (Hunter who turned 3 this year and Laci who turned 1), and being a student. Trevor still spent many weeks out on the road this year, so some of those weeks were trying. Regardless, I survived. We survived. And I'm glad it's over. I finished the schoolwork over Thanksgiving break and Graduation was December 13, although I elected to not walk. I was glad to have made that choice as the weather was none too pretty the night of graduation. Trevor, the kids and I instead went down to Sugar Creek Restaurant in Meta to celebrate and the next morning they all gave me my gift of a new ipod. I LOVE IT!!! 

Some of my other goals seemed as if they wouldn't be reachable this year due to all of the time I had to put in on my Master's. I did meet a couple goals, but there are a couple still not reached. Overall, though I'm very pleased with the outcomes. 

Another goal I did reach was the mileage goal. I started off the year going for 365 miles again, but decided I needed more of a challenge. I also decided that if I could get 365 miles in while pregnant, nursing, and having my second child (last year) that I could surely do more than that this year. That wasn't an easy feat, but I "got er done". As of December 29th I wasn't thinking I'd reach my goal of 400. I still had 12.77 to go and only two days left to do so. December 30th was very cold with the high only reaching into the 20s. I had an eye doctor appointment that day, so decided to take advantage of a free 7 day pass that a local gym, Anytime Fitness, had to offer. I dropped the kids off at my Mom's (whom I can't thank enough for always being there when she's needed), and headed in to town a few of hours before my scheduled eye doctor appointment. I went in to Anytime Fitness and ended up knocking out over 9 miles. That left me with 3.57 to finish on New Year's Day. Luckily it was a beautiful day outside today, so I spent the early afternoon hours walking around the yard and some was done walking through the hallway in our small house. This was even after having to take the kids in to Extended Care for ear infections. They were peacefully sleeping in their beds while I finished the last of my miles. 

Furthermore, I decided to set a goal of not only putting in 400 miles this year, but running at least half of those miles. I have learned that I love running. It makes me feel weak and powerful all at the same time. :) I feel weak because when I first start out running it seems as if I won't be able to run very far at all, but the more I run, the stronger I feel and I realize that not much can stop me aside from my own mind and ambition. Running clears my mind. It makes me a better person inside and out. By the end of the year I had met my running goal and put in 208.5 miles ran. I'm extremely proud of that amount!  

Another great accomplishment from this year was finishing my very first half-marathon on May 25, 2013. I blogged about that experience separately. At the time I wrote the blog I was not thinking I would ever want to do another thing so silly ever again, but later decided that it was extremely worth it and that I would indeed do another one. I'm actually going to try to do two in 2014. I'm already signed up and registered for the first one, the Go Girl Run one again in Columbia on May 24. This time I'm hoping that the weather holds out and is a beautiful day. I'm also wanting to actually run this one WITH some people instead of alone. As I finished the race earlier this year, I watched other ladies cross the finish line hand-in-hand and that was awesome to see. I've got a small group of ladies already committed to the race and we have been encouraging each other through our early preparations. I'm hoping some of us can stick together through the race this year. I'm also hoping to finish in closer to 2 hours this time as my last one took 2 hours and 33 minutes. May will be here soon enough! I'm very excited for that time! 

Those were the goals that I did accomplish. There were a couple that I fell short. There really are no excuses for not reaching these goals. I have excuses, but they aren't good ones because I know there was time this year spent wasted (on Candy Crush Saga or Facebook), and I could easily have accomplished those other two goals. One of which was getting in 52 hours of toning this year. I ended up with 47.5 hours. That's far more than I ever have in my entire life before I'm sure, but I still would have liked to reach that goal. I ended up deciding to push this one lower on my priority list at the end of the year because I wanted to reach my mileage goal far more than this hours goal. There's always 2014 to achieve more toning/exercising hours. *Side note: These hours are not included with the time spent putting in my miles. These are completely separate. 

The final goal I did not reach is probably the only one that is a little upsetting to me. I had the goal of reading 365 books to my children this year. While I know they had over that many total read to them, I only managed to read 315 books to them (although I may try to do more tonight on New Year's Eve to lessen that number). My husband also read to them many nights when he was home and they got books read to them at preschool (Hunter) and Grandma's (both kids). I know they are not lacking in the 'being read to' category, but I still wish I would have made a little more time to work on this goal. There were many nights that I was exhausted and didn't want to take the time to read to them because I just wanted to go to bed. That's so silly. It only takes a couple of minutes to read some of those books, so I shouldn't have let myself off so easy on that. I WILL reach my book goal for next year, which is going to be 365 books again. I think a book a day is a great goal to have (knowing that they are also getting read books by other people, so it's really more than that for them to hear over the year.) *Side note: The total number of books does not count prayers that we read and said either. Prayer books are separate and special and don't count as a book. 

Not only did I accomplish many goals, but I also overcame an addiction this year. I can now admit that I was addicted to Candy Crush Saga. My addiction was so bad that I was missing out on valuable family time to play the game. I don't remember quite when I quit, it was around late summer/early Fall, but I decided enough was enough and quit cold turkey. There are times I consider playing again, but I don't want to get caught back into that time wasting addiction. I also know that some of the time I spent playing that game kept me from working toward some of my other goals, such as the ones I did not achieve. That's a big bummer. No more Candy Crush Saga (or hopefully any other addicting games) for me. 

Re-cap of achievements this year (2013): 
*Master's degree- earned
*400 miles traveled exactly
*208.5 miles ran
*315 books read to my kids
*47.5 hours of toning/other exercises than walking/running
*Candy Crush Saga addiction cured

I have many people to thank for helping me get my miles achieved. First and foremost, thank you to God for my health to allow me to achieve these goals. Also thanks to my amazing little family for all the support. My hubby was a tremendous help this year around the house and with the kids so I could especially work on my Master's work. That took a lot of time. The Teaching and Technology Master's through William Woods is definitely no easy/blow off degree. Also thanks to some great motivators this year. My sister-in-law Kelly K, is always there to offer words of encouragement. I really appreciate her more and more all of the time. I have some other friends in some small Facebook groups who have helped with motivation throughout the year. I am also meeting more and more people through fitness groups who have the same fitness goals and struggles as I do. It's great to get to know those people online and feel like I know them personally. I also have an aunt who has lost over 110 pounds in over a year now. She is very inspirational. This year I bought the workout program called Focus T25. With buying that program I was assigned a BeachBody Coach, Michelle Haner. She is also very inspirational and motivational. She likes to tell it how it is and give tough love, but that's exactly what I (and many other people) need. 

This year I have also realized even more how important my family is to me and how valuable they really are. We lost my Uncle Doug to cancer in October of this year. That was rough. We were all with him as he underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor that was putting a lot of pressure on his brain and causing him to deteriorate very rapidly. He survived surgery and was doing well a couple of days afterward, but then went downhill very quickly. By the next weekend, we were all gathered at his bedside yet again to say our final goodbyes. I've still not decided if it is easier to be with someone when they go or to just find out about their passing otherwise. It was tough to be there in his final hours, but yet I'm glad I was. We will sure miss him. He left behind a wife and two lovely children, a 14 year-old daughter and a 10 year-old son who miss him dearly. We all miss you Uncle Doug! 

Looking ahead to 2014.... These are the goals I'm setting for this next year: 
*500 miles travled (walking/running)
*250 miles ran (always going for half my total)
*365 books read to my kids 
*60 hours of toning or complete 3 BeachBody exercise programs from start to finish (restarting T25 on Jan. 1, 2014)
*52 random acts of kindness (trying something new to work on doing more for other people)
*2 half-marathons (and hopefully some 5Ks and 10Ks in there)
*take a family vacation out of state somewhere/anywhere to celebrate 5 years of marriage this year and 10  years of being with my awesome hubby. 
*Finally reaching my goal weight. I'll go ahead and say it here. I want to get into weighing in the 140s (or below) and I'm going to make that happen in 2014! I've spent 2013 in the 160s and 150s. 2010-2012 were spent in the 160s, 170s and above for the most part (with having 2 kids and the time in between). I'm tired of seeing those high numbers. This is my year to get in shape! 
*We also hope to payoff our house this year, unless we find a place with more land. 

I realize how quickly these years keep going by. I'm also making it my personal goal to have as much fun this year as I can and I hope to have most of that fun with my hubby and family. If there's something we want to do, by darn we are going to go do it! We are going to spend more time this summer fishing and swimming (because I'm going to look great in a bikini). :) We are going to go on small trips and maybe/hopefully even one long one. We are going to have a blast this year! 

One more thing... one final goal I have for this year is to not give a d@mn about what others think of me. I'm putting myself first and going to do what I know is right/best for me and quit worrying about what others think. It's my life! :) 

Lots to look forward to in 2014! Sounds to me like another great year! :) 2013 was probably my best year yet (even with some bumps in the road), and I'm looking so forward to saying the same about 2014. Happy New Year! Make this next year a great one!