2014: A Year in Review

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I really can’t believe how quickly the year went. Before we get too far into 2015 though, I wanted to do a post recapping the year like I have done for the last three years. After a very challenging year in 2013, I came out stronger and better prepared to handle whatever life threw at me. I definitely was able to apply the lessons I learned to have a much better year personally and professionally, as a wife, mother, teacher, runner, friend, and coach. Here are the details.

2014

January

I kicked off a brand new year with a brand new challenge: 365 Days of Fitness. After feeling the effects of not making the time and effort to exercise enough in 2013, I wanted to try to move my body in some way everyday of the year. I thought this challenge would be just the motivation I needed! Fast forward a year later… I was right 🙂

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We had an awesome surprise when we learned that Kevin’s bad race photo was featured in Runner’s World! He submitted it for their contest on Instagram and it was chosen! This made us laugh pretty hard for a while.

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We were blessed in January with tons of snow days and two hour delays, which meant more time with my baby boy at home. It was amazing getting to see him really experience snow for the first time!

Kevin's first time in the snow!

Kevin’s first time in the snow!

February

In February I was wrapping up my marathon training and tapering for the Myrtle Beach Marathon. I had my final 20 miler at an 8:36 average pace and was feeling stronger than ever. I couldn’t wait to race!

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We had more crazy winter weather and even more snow days, which almost threw a wrench into our travel plans for the marathon. We were hit with a big blizzard AND I got sick – both of these things happened the week of my marathon. I tried to stay positive and hope for the best, since I had big goals for this race. Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned and I ended up with my first ever DNF, having to stop and get medical help shortly after the 21 mile mark.

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Everything ended up begin okay, but I spent the rest of the month pretty down on myself, confused, and disappointed in my “failure.” I went back and forth between never wanting to run again and wanting to run a redemption marathon. Ultimately I learned a very important lesson that there’s a difference between pushing yourself and pushing yourself too far, and I know in retrospect that I absolutely made the right choice not to finish that day, as heartbreaking as it was.

March

At the beginning of the month, 3 weeks after Myrtle Beach, I decided to finish what I started and quietly attempt another marathon. I registered at the last minute, only told a few people, and just went for it. It was amazing! I finally ran my sub-4 marathon! Everything about this race was perfect, and it felt so good to run the race that I knew I had trained for.

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Much to my surprise, we were given even MORE snow days in March! Kevin also hit the 18 month mark this month, and was more fun than ever. His language was starting to really develop and his personality was really coming through.

A rare snow day for all 3 of us!

A rare snow day for all 3 of us!

The marathon at the beginning of the month was the beginning of a few really great race performances for me. Later in the month I ran the Runway Runaway 5K, and got yet another PR of 22:07. I was actually the first place finisher for my age group of 20-29! I couldn’t believe I PRed in two completely different distances, the marathon and the 5K, in the time span of 2 weeks!

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At the end of the month we were able to take a spontaneous trip home to Pennsylvania when rain cancelled our weekend plans. I was so happy to be able to do this, because it had been 2 months since we’d last made the trip, and we weren’t going to be able to go again for another 2 months- WAY too long! It was really nice to relax and hang out with my dad and sister without anything big planned. I love being home in Pennsylvania, it just makes my heart so happy!

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April

I kicked off the month of April with yet ANOTHER PR, this one in the 15K distance at the J. Brian’s Tap Room 15K.  I finished in 1:14:25, which is a 7:59 average pace! Who, me? Running sub-8 minute miles for that long? I felt unstoppable with my running

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A week later I went down to Richmond for my RRCA Running Coach Certification Course. I could not wait to soak in all I could about running and training, and it did not disappoint! It was an awesome weekend and great to spend it with other people who were as passionate as I was about running.

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Right after the coaching course I went into my spring break. It was really nice to get to stay home with little Kev and spend some time with him, after being really busy at school and stressed out for a while. We were even able to get some family photos taken, which really captured his personality at 18 months.

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Finally, in April I traveled up to New Jersey for one of my best friend’s bridal showers and bachelorette parties. It was really fun to have a weekend away with my girlfriends and to let loose a little bit! It had definitely been a while!

May

May was the month of races for me: I ran not 1, not 2, but FOUR races this month! It all started with the Potomac River Run Half Marathon. I had high hopes of finally achieving a PR at this distance, but once again it escaped me for a variety of reasons. I just can’t beat the time I set back in 2011, but I know I will someday!

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After this race I had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, where I was spoiled by my boys and felt very appreciated.

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Next up was the Historic Half Marathon, which I had planned to run with my friend Amanda who I had been coaching, to hopefully get her to a PR. I love this race and always have a great experience at all the Marine Corps Marathon races. Amanda blew away her expectations and finished with a huge PR. I was so proud of her!

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After that I ran the Civitans 5K on Memorial Day, which kicked off my 101 day Summer Running Streak until Labor Day. Kevin decided to do the race and the streak with me, which was super exciting because he hadn’t done a race or hadn’t even run regularly in a long time. I did better than I thought I would in this race and somehow finished under 23 minutes, which I was super happy with. Kevin pushed the stroller and kicked butt like always!

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Finally, I ended this amazing month by running the Purple Stride 5K with my sister and a bunch of friends and family, in honor of the 10 year anniversary of my mom passing away from pancreatic cancer. This was truly one of the best experiences ever. It was awesome to see so many people come together for my mom and for everyone who has loved someone who has gone through pancreatic cancer. My sister and I raised money for the cause as well, and ended up raising over $1,000. I ended up running the whole race with her which was a first for us. I know my mom would have been so happy and proud of all of us on that day.

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June

Ahhh, June! The beginning of summer! This was a great month. This was the month I officially started my running group, which was the beginning of something really special!

The first group run with some of the girls!

The first group run with some of the girls!

I was able to celebrate the marriage of one of my best friends Ashley and we traveled to New Jersey so I could be in the wedding. It was a beautiful wedding on the beach, and we had a great time- especially since my sister came down to babysit!

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After Ashley’s wedding summer officially began for me and I was off from school! I could not wait to spend time with my boy at home, especially because he was so much fun and growing up right before my eyes. We kept super busy with playdates, trips to the pool, travel, and daily toddler activities. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way.

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This was also the month that we officially stopped breastfeeding after 21 amazing months.  We went through so many trials and tribulations on our breastfeeding journey and I never in a million years thought we’d even make it to a year. He ended up weaning himself and we were definitely both ready, but it was still pretty emotional for me. My husband took this picture of one of our last nursing sessions before bed, and it will always be special to me ❤

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July

We started this month by taking a mini-vacation to Myrtle Beach to visit my in-laws! We usually spend at least a week down there, but we had a bigger trip across the country planned later that month, so all we could do was a long weekend over the 4th of July. It was so much fun to see Kevin experience the beach again this year and really be able to play in the sand and the ocean. We even got to go on some dates since we had Mamaw & Papaw to babysit, which was so nice.

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While we were there Kevin and I ran a 4th of July 5K. This was the race Kevin had been training for and he claimed I wouldn’t be able to beat him. I haven’t been able to beat him at a race in years, but I did this time! I got ANOTHER 5K PR of 21:55. I never thought I’d see a 5K race time that started with the number 21. I was so happy to have a positive race experience in Myrtle Beach after what had happened in February. Our friends James & Chanda were there too, which made it even more fun.

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In the middle of all of this we started trying for baby #2. It had taken a while, but I was feeling the baby fever itch again starting in late May. It took Kevin a little while longer but this is the month he decided he was also ready. It was exciting and scary to be entering this phase of our lives for the second time, but I felt ready physically and emotionally.

Toward the end of July we packed up and flew across the country to Oregon for my cousin’s wedding and to visit all of our family who lives there. We were there for a little over a week and split our time between Portland and Bend. I love Oregon so much, and it was extra special to be able to go there with my dad and sister and take little Kevin along. The last time we were there I was pregnant, so it had been a while. We had an amazing vacation and made some really great memories that I’ll never forget (and some that I’d like to- like a couple of the very difficult flights we had with our toddler- UGH!). But it was all worth it in the end 🙂

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August

In August I was able to have more fun staying home with Kev and enjoy the summer sunshine! We spent a lot of time with friends and outside. We both loved it and I never wanted summer to end. We also started swim lessons, which were great once he got used to them. He turned into a little fish!

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During this month I took Kevin home to Pennsylvania with me for an extended trip. I stayed at my dad’s house all week and then my husband came that weekend. We were able to catch up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while, and Kevin also had his first amusement park experience at Dutch Wonderland, which was so much fun.

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I was still streaking and running with my group of girls, and together most of us participating in the Hartwood 10 Miler– one of my favorite local races. Once again I went in with no real expectations and surprised myself with yet another PR. I beat my time from last year by 30 seconds!

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The following weekend I spontaneously decided to run the Patrick Henry Half Marathon with two of my running buddies, still riding the high of my awesome race the week before. Conditions were very different for this race and it was not easy, much warmer and more humid, but I was really proud of my strong finish. Even though my time was about 4 minutes slower than my half marathon PR, I was more proud of this race than my PR the week before because I fought harder for it!

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Finally, at the end of the month I started a brand new school year and my 7th year teaching. I was sad to see summer go, but I knew I truly made the most of the time I had.

September

My summer running streak ended on Labor Day, September 1st, after 101 days! I couldn’t believe I had actually run every single day for that long. It was definitely a challenging journey and I was proud of my accomplishment- and Kevin’s too! He did an awesome job!

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A few weeks into the the new school year just as I was getting settled into a routine, I received the news from my principal that I was getting de-staffed (moved to a different school) along with 3 other colleagues. This was due to low enrollment, which in turn = less money. Two classroom teachers and two specialists (me) were destaffed based on seniority. Even though I had been at my school my entire career, 7 years, I was still one of the lowest on the seniority list. I was heartbroken to leave the school and my coworkers that I loved so much.

Dinner with my amazing co-workers before leaving my old school.

Dinner with my amazing co-workers before leaving my old school.

The next morning, we found out we were pregnant after trying for 3 months. What a roller coaster of emotions!

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The same afternoon after finding out we were expecting we headed to the Arlington 9-11 5K, where we ran with our friends as part of Team RWB. It was hot and not easy since Chanda & I pushed the strollers, but I loved knowing I was doing my first race with baby #2 inside!

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The next weekend was Kevin’s 2nd birthday (and my hubby’s 27th!)! We celebrated by taking the day off from work,  going to his 2 year doctor’s appointment, and then headed to Pennsylvania for my 10 year high school reunion and also to celebrate with my family. This is also when we revealed that we were pregnant to my family and friends. They were so excited! While we were home my dad took some photos of us as a family and Kevin at age 2. He’s an awesome photographer and we LOVE having him take our photos!

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We also took this special photo- but we waited a while to share that one!

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The weekend after that we had Kevin’s official birthday party in Virginia. Kevin’s family came to town and we shared the news with them before the party, which was so exciting. His party went awesome and he was so happy. I loved seeing my little boy with all of his friends enjoying his special day.

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Also during his party I found out that one of my best friends (Ashley, whose wedding I was a part of in June!) was also pregnant and due only 3 days after me! I told her that I was pregnant, and she said she was too! It was an amazing moment!

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October

On October 1st I turned the big 2-8. We celebrated by going to dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants. Then a couple days later I received the best gift ever the next day by getting to see our baby for the first time!

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That weekend I ran the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon at 8 weeks pregnant. I ended up feeling great and this race quickly became one of my favorites! I finished much more quickly than I thought I would, even with a bathroom stop! Loved it!

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The weekend after that we headed off to Pennsylvania for one of my favorite yearly traditions- French Creekend! Every year my family and friends rent the cabins at French Creek State Park and we spend the weekend together. I look forward to this so much and this year did not disappoint. We now get our own cabin with a few of my friend and it was so much fun.

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We ended the month with Halloween, which is just getting more and more fun as the years pass and Kevin gets older. This year we all dressed up as a superhero family, and went over to James & Chanda’s house to let our kids trick or treat together. Kevin and his little friend Leighton are the CUTEST! I am loving watching them grow up together.

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November

November was a month of many ups and a few downs. It started off with us celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary. We were married on November 11th, which is Veterans Day, so I had the day off from school. My husband decided to take the day off as well and we had little Kev go to daycare, so we could have a whole day together. We had such a special day full of running (in our Team RWB gear in honor of the veterans- including my hubby!), Starbucks, yummy food, shopping, flu shots, trips down memory lane by visiting where we got married, birth center touring, and some relaxation in there too!

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That weekend we headed to Richmond to support our friends who were running the Richmond 8K, half marathon, and full marathon. I ran the last 8 miles of the marathon with my friend Amanda and it was awesome! I can’t wait to come back and run the half marathon in 2015!

All smiles at mile 21!

All smiles at mile 21!

Unfortunately, a couple days after returning from Richmond we received the sad news that Kevin’s grandfather had passed away. We were planning to go visit him in West Virginia over Thanksgiving, less than two weeks away. We packed our bags, took off from work, and headed there on Thursday morning for a long weekend. We spent the weekend celebrating his life and sharing memories with family.

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We got back into town at the end of the weekend, worked for a few days, and then were off once again for Thanksgiving break. We spent the morning running my first ever Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with some of our friends. It was a really nice way to kick off the holiday and a tradition I definitely want to continue.

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Right after the race we headed straight up to Pennsylvania to spend the rest of the long weekend with my family. We ordered take-out that night and made our real Thanksgiving dinner the next day. The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and catching up with family after a whirlwind month. It was perfect!

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December

We started the month of December by getting our christmas tree together as a family and decorating the house. Throughout the month we made sure to do all of our favorite traditions and even a few new ones- going to see Santa at the mall, visiting the Festival of Lights, watching Santa ride through our neighborhood on the fire truck, go on the Santa Train Ride, go to the Marine Corps Base tree lighting with friends, buying gifts and wrapping them together, watching Christmas movies, and so much more! It was a great way to build up the holiday, especially since this is the first year Kevin has been able to get excited about it and understand a little bit.

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I also threw my good friend Cynthia a baby shower to welcome her baby girl who is coming in January! We went to elementary school, middle school, high school, and college together and then both of us moved to Virginia to teach. Now we’re both pregnant together and having babies around the same time. It’s so exciting!

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The day after the shower I ran the Blue & Gray Half Marathon! It was a challenging course but I exceeded my expectations and finished in 2:05! Best of all, I felt amazing! It was a great way to end my racing season in 2014.

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My glorious two week winter break began and we celebrated Christmas first as a little family of 3, and then our extended families came into town afterwards. It was so much fun to see Kevin really experience Christmas for the first time. He loved it!

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While our families were in town for the holiday we did our gender reveal, and found out that we are having another baby BOY! It was so exciting to find out this way, since we waited until birth to find out that Kevin was a boy. I’m glad we now have experienced both! We can’t wait for our baby boy to join our family in May!

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We ended the year with a laid back New Years Eve celebration. We invited two of my friends over who are also pregnant. Cynthia and Laura are both due in January, so we ordered take-out and the three of us hung out and drank yummy mocktails, while our husbands did some beer tasting and the toddlers played. It was a perfect way to ring in the new year!

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2014 was one of my best years yet. It’s been a beautiful ride and I can’t wait to see what’s next for me and my little family!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Love to all my friends and family, near and far!

Past “Year in Review” Posts

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