2018 in Review

Hello strangers, and happy new year!

It’s so cliche, but wow, does time go so much faster the older you get, especially once you have kids. Wasn’t it just, like, 2008?? It is mind blowing to me that it’s 2019 already. My Wee Bairn is almost 2!! Whaaaaaat?!

Now that that’s out of my system, let’s take a look back at my 2018, shall we? It may have been lacking a significant number of blog posts, but life carried on regardless!

2018 Goals Recap:

1) Get the Bairn registered at the gym so he can hang at their daycare while I work out.

I did this! And I brought the Bairn to the gym with me all of… 2 times. Once in January, and once in December. Well… better than 0 times? I need to remember that this is an option during the long winter now, because it worked really well each time; he seemed to have a blast in the play area and I got to get my Expresso Bike on.

2) I’m registered for a half marathon in April; while I ran a half in 2016 without properly training, I’d like to NOT make that a habit. So, I’d like to train for this race. 

Umm, right. Yes. Well, I *started* training for the half. Then the Bairn got sick, and then I got sick, and training plans got derailed. I managed to get up to 5 miles and then my body started hurting. So I dropped down to the 5K and ran that instead, and it was one of the best running decisions I’ve made. You can read all about it here. So, while I didn’t hit my goal exactly, I did end up training for the race I ran, and also didn’t run a race I wasn’t trained for, so I call that a win.

3) Continue reading. Read more books by People of Color and from backgrounds not like mine. Continue reading to the Bairn as often as he’ll let me. 

I read!! A lot! I chugged through 43 books in 2018, which is way more than I anticipated reading. I didn’t even sign up for the Goodreads challenge because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I missed my goal. As for the rest of the goal, only 8 of the 43 were written by PoC, and a handful more were by and about people with backgrounds not like mine. It’s a start, but I could certainly read harder than I did last year. 13 of the 43 books were fiction, and 14 of the 30 nonfiction were parenting-related books, so clearly there was a trend to my reading this year (mostly on the theme of “OMG I have a toddler now, what do I do??”)

As for reading to the Bairn… one of my proudest bits of this parenting gig is that the Bairn *loves* books. We read him 3 every night before bed, and throughout the day he’ll pick random ones up and either ask us to read them to him or he’ll just start leafing through on his own. It’s adorable and awesome, and I hope his love of books continues as he gets older!

4) Actually use the jogging stroller for jogging!

This happened!! Only twice, that I can remember, but it happened! I pushed the Bairn in a race (recap still forthcoming…….) and pushed him around the pond once. I’m hoping to do more of it this year, especially because a new rail trail opened nearby so I’ll have a new cool place to run!

5) Get out and about with the Bairn more. I was scared to drive with him for quite a while, and also scared to mess with his fragile nap schedule. But Drew and I realized we didn’t do a whole lot with him in his first year. His grandparents got him memberships to the aquarium and Children’s Museum, so putting those to good use will be a start!

I definitely got better with this. I only ventured to the Children’s Museum solo with him once (and we met up with friends there, so it wasn’t totally solo), but we did way more out and about in 2018 than we did in 2017. We went to the mall, grocery shopping, to various libraries and storytimes, to friends’ houses, the zoo, and even to a trial class at the Little Gym. During the summer, nearly every morning I was home with him would feature a stroller walk to Dunkies for a giant iced coffee, and then a walk to one of several parks nearby. I may not have done many stroller runs this year, but I did take some epic stroller walks! Oh, and the Bairn and I spent several days out and about on our own in Berlin… more on this later!


Animal stare-down at the zoo


My 2018 in Numbers (Running)

Total miles: 20.9 (up from 15.84 in 2018… up is up, right?)

Races completed: 3 (up from from 0 in 2018; 2 5Ks and 1 6K)

States raced in: 1 (up from 0 in 2018; good ol’ home sweet home, Massachusetts)

MA towns raced in: 3 (up from 0 in 2018; Easthampton, Reading, and Worcester)

Countries raced in: 1 (up from 0 in 2018; US)

PRs beaten: 1 (6K)

DNSs: 0

Not my best year by far, but I’m totally okay with that. It was an improvement from 2017, and improvements are improvements, no matter how humble!

Firsts and Milestones (Running)

  • New 6K PR: 37:01 (previously 38:14)
  • First time running in the Massachusetts towns of Easthampton and Reading. I need to update my running maps!
  • Ran my first race pushing a jogging stroller (recap still forthcoming…… one of these days!).


    Shammies at the Samantha’s Harvest 5K

Firsts and Milestones (Personal)

  1.  I started a new job after 12 years at my previous one (I wrote a bit about this a few months ago)
  2. I flew internationally with a toddler for the first time… and lived to tell about it!
  3. Related to above – I went to Germany for the first time! We spent a few days in Berlin, where the Bairn and I did a bit of wandering around while Drew worked. We saw the remnants of the Berlin Wall, explored to the zoo, took in the Festival of Lights, and went to a LOT of playgrounds:

    Exploring one of Berlin’s many, many playgrounds


    Part of the Festival of Lights


    Goals for 2019

1) Establish some kind of mileage base and try to run as regularly as life will allow. I’ve learned that running makes a significant difference to my mental health, and now that I’m facing a year with a two year old, I’ll need all the help I can get!

2) Run a half marathon. I kind of hate them while I’m running them, but it’s a good goal to train for, and it would allow me to throw my name in the hat for a marathon number if I choose to do so later this year.

3) Continue to make an effort to read harder (see recap of last year’s goals), using Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge if I need a push. Also, read more fiction. I didn’t have enough fiction in my life last year. And keep reading to the Bairn as much as possible.

4) Make coffee at home more and use some of my massive stash of travel mugs. Having the Starbucks app is daaaaaaangerous, folks.

5) Go to the gym more than twice this year. I don’t even want to calculate my cost-per-visit for 2018… those were some dang expensive Expresso Bike rides, and that is not sustainable.

6) A bonus goal for the year – try to be more mindful, especially in the moments when the Bairn can be a bit, well, toddlerish. Breathe more, yell less.

Happy 2019! What was your favorite thing about 2018? What are you looking forward to in the coming year?


2016 in Review

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again (well, a few days late, but considering how neglectful of this blog I’ve been in the past few months, a few days is nothing!), when we all gaze back on our accomplishments and/or struggles of the previous year. 2016 was certainly an interesting one. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

2015 Goals Recap

A-ha! I had no specific goals for 2016, other than staying healthy and running to enjoy it. Health-wise, well… the start of the year saw me still recovering from a dodgy metatarsal and related bursitis, then I learned that I don’t breathe in the best way possible, which led to a reprise of dodgy ribs, and my knees bothered me off and on. And, while not an injury, I got pregnant a few months into the year and that made running a bit more interesting than usual. On the whole, I think I enjoyed running. For the most part.

In spite of my lack of goals this year, though it took an extra trip around the sun, I did meet 2 of my goals from 2014, namely beating my 5K and 10K PRs (huzzah!). More on that below. I also managed to add one new town to my race map, plus a new country, so that was pretty cool.


Celebrating a new PR and starting off 2016 happily!

My 2016 in Numbers (Running)

Total miles: 106.84*
*Closest estimate I could get given that I lost my training log from the start of the year and Simon died on me without saving some data

Races completed: 8 (up from 7 in 2015; 3 5Ks, 1 6K, 3 10Ks, 1 half marathon)

States raced in: 3, none new (Massachusetts, Maine, and California; up from 2 in 2015)

MA towns raced in: 3, 1 new (Dedham (new), Lunenburg, and Worcester)

Countries raced in: 2, for the first time! (US and UK)

PRs beaten: 3! 5K, 6K, and 10K

DNSs: none! for the first time!

Firsts and Milestones (Running)


I unofficially placed first in the Pregnant American division at the QEOP 10K

Firsts and Milestones (Personal)

  • Traveled to my first international conference and visited two new-to-me cities (Dundee and Glasgow)


    Enjoying a cheeky Clarkies pie in Dundee

  • Sneaked in one last match at White Hart Lane before they started tearing the stadium down (our seats from that match are now a gaping hole in the ground)
  • Had tea and Turkish Delight at C.S. Lewis’s house
  • Found out I was going to have a baby… that was a pretty big moment*


    Already a Spurs fan

  • Attended my second international conference and got to bask in the glory that is Wembley Stadium
  • Had a mini-reunion with some of my study abroad friends in Colorado, visiting Denver and the new-to-me Fort Collins

*The whole baby thing continues to be a pretty big moment! Sometimes it still feels completely unreal, despite the Alien situation that’s nearly always happening in my growing bump. And speaking of the growing bump…


August 16


August 29


September 3, post-QEOP 10K, when I realized I had officially outgrown my clothes and had to make an emergency Primark run for a shirt that wouldn’t expose my belly


October 3


October 22, bump buddies!


November 19


December 23

I look absolutely HUGE in that last picture… I don’t think the angle helps 😉

So, yeah. 2016 had a lot going on. And that’s not even taking into account the state of the world with Brexit, Syria, Standing Rock, the US election, and all the seemingly endless other things that gave this year a general feeling of despair. If I’m honest, I’m finding it hard to be hopeful about 2017 as a whole, and it’s all a bit overwhelming. So in light of that, here are my goals/things to focus on for the year:

  1. Get this baby out safely and make his little world as cozy, safe, and full of love as possible.
  2. As soon as I get the OK from my midwife, jump back on the running wagon. I’ve been missing running like crazy, and the new jogging stroller is all assembled and ready to go!
  3. Related to above, I’m hoping to be fit enough to run the Worcester Firefighters race in June. I’d like to keep that streak going!
  4. Read. Read for fun, read to learn, read fiction, read non-fiction, read newspapers. Try to balance staying informed with staying sane.
  5. Do good, no matter how small, whenever and wherever I can.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, hopeful 2017!

How was your 2016?

What was your favorite thing that happened last year, running-wise or not?

2015 in Review

Happy last day of 2015! Or, if you’re reading this after today… happy new year! 😀

Tired but victorious after salvaging one last race in 2015

Tired but victorious after salvaging one last race in 2015

2015 certainly didn’t go as well as hoped. If you read any of my posts this year, you had about a 97% chance of reading my whinging about injuries… freak rib injuries, runner’s knee, stressed out metatarsals… yeah, it wasn’t a pretty year.

But I did learn some important lessons (the hard way), such as:

  • stretching is not only your friend, but it’s also very important for avoiding injury
  • if you get exercises to do for physical therapy, you should, you know, actually do them
  • cough carefully, lest you throw your rib cartilage all out of whack (I coughed my way to costochondritis back in March and my ribs still feel funny)

Learn from my mistakes, readers, and may your 2016 be injury-free and fabulous!

My 2015 in Numbers: (spoiler alert: it wasn’t stellar)

Races completed: 7 (5 actual, 2 virtual; down from 19 in 2014)

States raced in: 2, none new (Massachusetts and California; down from 6 in 2014)

MA towns raced in: 4, with 1 being a town I hadn’t raced in before (Cambridge, Woburn, Watertown, Worcester; down from 11 in 2014)

5K PR: 33:10 (still not as fast as my all-time PR of 30:49)

10K PR: n/a

Half marathon PR: n/a

Races missed: 9 (the Worcester Running Festival race was canceled, and then I DNSd a bunch; up from 3 in 2014)

My Goals for 2015:

I set the following goals in my 2014 in Review post last December. Surprisingly, I actually met one of the goals despite my crap year – huzzah!

1. Get my 5K PR under 30 minutes: Nope. My Moby Dick of 30:49 lives to haunt me another year.

2. Get my 10K PR under 01:10:00: Nope. I ran no 10Ks in 2015.

3. Beat my fastest Garmin mile (currently 9:25.5): Wait, what?! I actually beat this goal!!

Boo yeah

Boo yeah!

4. Add 3 more towns and 1 more state to my map: Nope. I did add one town (Watertown), and was on par to pass the 3-town mark, but had to DNS all the other races in new towns. No new states added, either.

Looking Ahead to 2016

I’m taking a page from the books of Fallon and Rae this year and not setting any formal goals. Goals are great, but… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know how badly I struggle with motivation and how that makes me fall short of so many goals. It gets discouraging, and, maybe even worse, it makes me just stop caring about the goals in an effort to not feel discouraged. Basically, setting goals hasn’t been helping my motivation problem, so I need to figure out something else.

I still hope to beat my PRs and add towns and states to my race maps, but mostly I just want to be healthy in 2016. I want to be able to run to enjoy it, without getting injured every time I start loving running again after having been injured and discouraged. I want to run regularly with the Shammies, and I want to get back to track workouts. I want to have fun with my running, and be able to enjoy how awesome I feel after going for a run.

Having fun whilst running... it's a lovely feeling!

Having fun whilst running… it’s a lovely feeling!

I am registered for a half marathon in 2016 – the Worcester Running Festival Half – and I’d love to be able to train properly and go into it prepared and uninjured. We all know how well my training went for my first half marathon, but this time I want to actually try. We shall see.

Until then, Happy New Year!!

How was your 2015? If you set goals, how did you do?

Are you setting goals for 2016, or taking the year as it comes?

Any fun plans for New Year’s Eve?
Drew and I are planning on watching some movies while eating Chinese food. The excitement never stops around here! 😉

2014 in Review: Going Strong Despite Setbacks!

This past January I wrote a 2013 in Review post, looking back over my first “real” year of running. It had been a pretty big year for me running-wise… I ran an entire mile in one go for the first time ever, ran my first race, and considered myself a runner for the first time. It’s fun to look back on that post and see how far I came in just one year… and then to think about how far I’ve come just since January! So, to continue that tradition, here is my 2014 in Review.

First race of 2014 - ready to take on the year!

First race of 2014 – ready to take on the year!

2014 saw a massive increase in mileage for me, compared with 2013. Last year was big too, going from a quarter-mile being the longest I could run without needing a break to being able to run a 5K without stopping. In 2014, I started small by completing a 4-miler in March, and ended the year having completed a half marathon (I did take walk breaks, but still… the miles got done!) I’m not entirely sure how far I could go without needing to walk… 4 miles might still be my limit, but it’s definitely an improvement.

2014 also saw more injuries that put a damper on my year. In 2013 I suffered a bad back/neck injury that kept me from running for quite a while, and then I had a foot niggle that made running not fun at the end of the year, but otherwise I was mostly whole. 2014 saw a tendon tear that benched me from April to June, dodgy shins, dodgy toes, dodgy knees, and now a bout of peroneal tendonitis to end the year with. Hopefully the plan of attack laid out in my last post will help 2015 be a year of less injury!

2014 was also my first year being part of a running club, the Shammies. I joined in January, hoping the camaraderie would help snap me out of my first bout of running doldrums, and it’s been an awesome year of new friends, new races, and new experiences. I’m looking forward to (hopefully!) many more years as part of this club!

And now, my year in numbers:

Races completed: 19 (up from 15 in 2013)

States raced in: 6 (Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington, New Hampshire; up from 4 in 2013)

MA towns raced in: 11 (Worcester, Lunenburg, Boston, Cambridge, Woburn, Shirley, Somerville, Newburyport, West Newbury, Salisbury, Winchester; up from 7 in 2013)

5K PR: 32:43 (still not as fast as my all-time PR of 30:49)

10K PR: 01:14:52

Half marathon PR: 02:37:58

Races missed: 3 (Spring Classic, Kick In For Kids 5K, and WFPL 5K; same number missed as 2013)

And now, let’s see how I did on the goals I set last year:

1. Get my 5K PR under 30 minutes – not met. I tried, but that shiny PR of 30:49 is still my Moby Dick. I’ll keep trying.

2. Complete a 10K – heck yes! In fact, I ran two – the Old Wethersfield 10K in August and the Beat the Blerch 10K in September. Boo yeah! (And for good measure, I completed a half marathon in October! This time last year I would have laughed in my own face at the thought of running an entire half marathon. My, how a year can change things!)

3. Run in a BAA event, hopefully the 5K – I did this too! I was injured, but slathered BioFreeze all over my ankle and ran gleefully around the city with 9,999 of my closest friends. It was awesome, and totally worth the extra time I had to spend resting after running on an injured ankle.

Two out of three ain’t bad, right? Now, my goals for 2015:

1. Get my 5K PR under 30 minutes (worth another shot!)

2. Get my 10K PR under 01:10:00

3. Beat my fastest Garmin mile (currently 9:25.5)

4. Add 3 more towns and 1 more state to my map

It’s tempting to add “get injured less!” to my list of goals, but that’s just tempting fate. So we’ll leave it at that.

All in all, it was a pretty good 12 months! Here’s to an even better 2015!

How was your 2014?

What accomplishment from 2014 are you most proud of?

Have any goals for 2015?