I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling…

26.

26 has never looked so good.

Okay sike kinda.  Today is my 26th birthday, and I write to you, not from my fancy vacation, but from my desk on my way to work.  Since I’ve absolutely sucked at doing my 30 days of thanks, I’m gonna hit you with 26 incredible things that happened in the past year, and that I’m thankful for.  Here goes (in no particular order)!

  1. I ran two marathons in my 25th year.  Right before I turned 25, I ran my first half, and I guess I caught the bug.  More specifically, I ran two half marathons, 2 fulls, and I think one really fun 5k.
  2. I got engaged!  I was telling my mom yesterday, that I never would have thought that I’d meet someone I’d love enough to marry just 4 years after I graduated.  After I broke up with my college boyfriend, I really thought that was it for me, and I was content to live with my animals.  Seriously, before Austin I’d fallen into this dorky routine of working out, watching Dancing with the Stars, and getting into to bed before midnight most Fridays.  What a difference a few years makes, right?
  3. I learned about the power of networking.  They always say it’s not what you know but who you know.  And I’ll be gosh darned, they were right.  And I credit that with this next one.
  4. I got a social work job. After searching for what felt like 50 years.
  5. But I also worked full-time for Fleet Feet, a running specialty store, and I have to be honest with you, I’m still in love with the company, and I’d consider opening a store with my husband.  Bob and Kathy, my bosses, and my coworkers, are such amazing, good people, and working there really pushed me to be a better athlete.   I think that speaks for the company.  When your job creates a better and more competitive athlete out of you, that’s something special.
  6. I got my cat, Martin.  He is the worst behaved cat I’ve ever met.
  7. My grandmother passed away.  That is not the good part, obviously.  The good part, and the part that warmed my heart was the fact that all of us, all 3 of my siblings, and both of my parents were able to coordinate enough to get on planes and make it to her services on short notice. 
  8. I got to go to my second home, camp. It was just as beautiful as I remembered.  After my first summer there, I literally thought I’d never see the place again, and I would dream about coming back there at night.  I made it.  And I love those kids.
  9. I bought my first car.  When my ’99 Taurus died on me (transmission issue), I laid down and bawled, not sure what I was going to do.  Austin helped me through the process of buying a car, and I made my first real adult purchase, a little Lancer, with an equally little payment.  It’s perfect for me.
  10. I went through some interviews with some not-satisfactory results.  But you know what?  Every “failed” job prospect was a great learning opportunity, and I think I emerged from each experience a little stronger.  At the time, I was shaking my first and gnashing my teeth, if you will, but it was all for the best.
  11. My mom is still with us.  The same weekend I bought my new car I was actually signing the paperwork for my new car, when my mom called me.  “Hey.  What are you doing.  You sound kinda weird,” I’d said kinda causally.  “Oh, I just…well I’m in the hospital.  But everything’s okay!”  and the way the universe takes care of me is the minute I’d signed the paperwork on that new car, I was able to drive down and spend what would turn out to be a couple of weeks with my mom, who’d, as it turned out, had a small stroke at some point.  She’s doing better and better each day.
  12. My bank account is looking a little bit better than it was, this time last year.  Praise.  Let’s keep that thing on the rise.
  13. I got a library card.  Maybe now I can stop pouring money into my Kindle.
  14. I chose a wedding venue!  Kinda superficial, but I had a rough go of it for a while!
  15. My siblings are all successful, productive members of society.  Not everyone can say that.  Armours. Bettah. Werk.
  16. I attended my 4th Elon University Homecoming (nearly didn’t make it out alive, as you’ll remember last weekend), and now I’m considering become even more involved with my alma mater, and not just offering my meager financial support.  I really don’t mind giving back to the school that literally taught me how to become a grown up.
  17. I have great friends.  I worked at Fleet Feet the other night, and fell right back into an old pattern like no time had passed.   The same of Elon Homecoming, it truly felt like no time had passed.
  18. I got closer with my friends.  And this year, I vow to be an even better friend if it kills me.  More coffee dates, more phone calls, more visits.  I’ve let it get a leetle too far in between some friend dates.  My sincere apologies, ladies and gents.
  19. I participated in one FANTASTIC wedding, which was fun from start to finish.  My good friend Alexa got married in May, and since I was a bridesmaid, I got to participate as far as getting a cute dress, contributing to her bachelorette weekend in Asheville (which meant I got to run in some crisp mountain air), and I got to celebrate her wedding….
  20. And I attended the wedding of another good friend in Cincinnati.  And it was like an Elon reunion all over again.  All this to say, guys, I’m sorry, if you notice a few similarities between your wedding and mine – but they both were so different and so beautiful, that I’d love to try and recreate these moments all over again.
  21. I started doing yoga.  Actually on January 1st, I started, and I credit that with singlehandedly allowing me to get through my first marathon without hurting anything.
  22. My home.  Admittedly, I miss my old condo, the one I lived in when I started this blog.  I had to move because the owner sold it (or is trying to sell it for way more than it’s worth, but that’s just my two cents).  But as I strolled through my apartment this morning, freshly vacuumed and smelling nice, I was thankful for my toasty little nook in the woods.  Often, when I run, I look under bridges that I pass, and I’ll often see vestiges off a little home there.  Foodstuffs, blankets, sometimes and old mattress.  And I thank God that I have a warm place to lay my head at night.
  23. This blog.  I raised some money last year, and I really appreciate for people to tell me when they’ve been following along.  I mean, I love to hear myself talk, so I’d prolly continue writing even if I suspected that only cats are reading my blog, but man, I’m happy and grateful that this blog “happened,” so to speak.
  24. This country.  Things are a hot mess.  But we live in the best nation in the world.  Run and tell dat.
  25. My health.  I continue to be amazed at where I can push my body.  Part of the reason for the tears at the finish of each marathon is to thank heavens that my body is able to hold up for that long, and recover quickly.  Not everyone can say that.  I hope they can, eventually.
  26. Real Housewives of Atlanta is back on.  And I really don’t need to say much more about that.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reading, and thank goodness for another year.  Here’s to 26 being another good one!

Engagement anxiety – a wedding post.

I was, and am thrilled to be getting married.  Absolutely thrilled.  I’m still in disbelief that someone wants to marry me, but that’s another discussion for another day.

We finally put a deposit down on the venue, and I feel like such a huge weight is lifted.   I literally, to the chagrin of me darling neighbors, did a Rockettes-styled dance when I hung up the phone with Jeremy, my point person at the venue.  The search for a venue was a frustrating one – especially because there’s no real indication of whats in your price range and what’s not until you visit a place.  And then they tell you it’s a $20,000 food minimum.  And then you die kinda.

Meadow
Here it is, the beautiful place where we will be getting married August 23, 2014.

Kudos to all you brides that make it look like you spent a year to a year-and-a-half enjoying making wedding plans over a bubbly pedicure with little flutes of champagne, and your wedding binder in your lap, but whatever.  I am SO not that bride.  Well, not yet.

There’s a little bit of anxiety that comes with being engaged, anxiety about the fact that you’re in this state of limbo, not a girlfriend, but not yet a wife, and you’re expected to run around with clouds around your feet, singing songs, and spreading your arms wide when you hit the high notes.  And any shred of anxiety is supposed to mean that you’re making a huge mistake, right?  Wrong.

Yes, I’m wearing a beautiful diamond ring, and I literally cannot wait to walk down the aisle and become an official family with Austin.  But the diamond doesn’t transcend all, and daily things and logistics about the wedding will create anxiety.  In the span of time since I’ve gotten engaged, I lost my grandmother, moved apartments suddenly, and started a new job, so arrest me for being a little off-kilter.

Additionally, the pressure from other people adds to this.  People making demands as far as their invites, worries about money, logistics of getting 150 folks into your city and housed, fed, and drinked for a night, complaints from family members about your choice of dress, hairstyle, the venue – these all will add to some of your anxiety.

So brides-to-belisten here.  If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, and you’re worried that your worry is a sure sign that you’re a freak, destined to be alone forever, chill out.  You’re not the only one and your worry is normal.  Relax and remember that in a few months, you’re about to throw the party of the dang century.  Cheers!

Newly-engaged and irritated!

Kate. Bettah. WARKK!

Just had a baby and looking so fly! And if you think for a second I didn’t delay my post-run shower today to watch her emerge, flawless from the hospital, you haven’t been reading very long.

Kate

I have been having so much fun with this engagement.

Despite the fact that I have had my nails unpainted for a total of like 4 days since last November, I have put a little extra sauce into my nails since everyone wants to see my nails (or ring) now.

I love my fiance.  I love my jewelry.  I love the feeling of having a wedding to plan.  I love it when people refer to me as “The Future Mrs. Samples” (despite the fact that I’m keeping my last name.)  I cannot wait.

But there are a few things, as a almost-married lady, that irritate me.  Here they go.

  • Asking “are you happy now that you’re engaged?!”  Uh yes.  Absolutely duh.  My best friend in the whole world just asked me if he could spend the rest of his life with me.  Of course I’m happy.  If I was unhappy, you’d be concerned, right?
  • “He’s white!” Yes darling, my husband is white.  Wouldn’t it be odd if I prefaced our story with “Yea, he’s super-white.” Get your 2013 on folks, you love who you love!
  • “So, do you have a date yet?” Honies, I literally got engaged 2 weeks ago.  Can I enjoy it before I nail down a date?
  • “What are you wearing?” you payin’? Then wait for the Facebook album like everyone else?

So if yous have friends who are recently engaged, remember not to ask them annoying questions.  Love! Mwah!

(Also, ready for a combo running/lifestyle/health/wedding prep blog?  Me too :))

Okay, for all of you guys who are whining and moaning about how excited I am about the royal baby…

You can literally have a seat. Like. If you’re one of those people who’s an Oscar-the-Grouch, and you’re like “Oh why should I care about this again??” with your condescending tone, seriously, as the great philosophers Posh, Scary, Baby, and Ginger once said, “Spice up ya life.” Babies are fun. The royal family is a fun figurehead. And it’s so fun to get riled up about something when there’s so much bad stuff going on in the world. Calm down. I don’t make fun of you for caring about things like Nascar, and WWF, so cut us fun chickadees some slack.

Onto the good stuff!

My Heart
My Heart, my K-2 Zoo girls!

I left my heart in the Poconos this morning. For those of you who’ve been following along, my posts have been a little further and fewer between this week, as I’ve been blogging from the (dis)comfort of my iPhone all week from Camp Pocono Trails, a weight-loss camp in the Pocono Mountains. Seriously, if you’ve ever blogged from an iPhone, ouch, right? Anyhoo, camp was a blast. I taught Zumba, and played full-on role of counselor this week. And I loved it. Sure, I decided to come (unbeknownst to me,) in the thick of a stifling heat wave, and I literally had to change clothes 3 times a day because of how soaked I was from the workouts, and I looked like a wilted flower the entire time, but it was all in good fun.

I learned something while I was there, which is cool, because after like, three years at weight-loss camp, you think all your learning is done. I learned, during one of the evening activities, to establish a goal everyday. So I’ll be gosh-darned, I am going to try that. I’m training for a marathon, planning my wedding, moving apartments, among other insanity, and you know how I’m gonna get through it? I’m gonna wake up with a goal in mind every day. Sometimes I’ll share, sometimes I won’t, lest I tmi you with the minutiae of the upkeep it takes to be a girl, but today’s goal, as I wound my way down through the Delaware Water Gap? Blog for you guys, and run. Done, and done 🙂

I fell in love at the gym.

Ready for a bombshell?  Your favorite running/lifestyle/healthy-living blog can also add to the lineup, a wedding prep blog.

Cause…I got engaged on Friday.

I am engaged.  I am getting married!  I am.  Getting married!

It sounds so weird to say. (And don’t worry ladies, I’ll put some ring pics up for you to drool over in a bit).

So.  I fell in love at the gym.  My fiancé (oh my gosh I have one of those), used to teach cycling.  I used to hear his 90’s rap music floating down the hallway from his class room.  Who is that?  Gotta be some young black guy, listening to all that music I love.  When in actuality, it was an Engineering student who worked in the fitness suite as well.  Who happened to be a white guy.  I wonder if he thinks I’m cute?  Nah.  No way.  I teach Zumba, he teaches cycling, we could never make this work. 

Fast forward to a beer date we were on as friends.  The cute guy from cycling asks me on a date.  One date, and I was a smitten kitten.  Two dates, and I was thinking about our future.  3.5 dates?  And I was in love.  So in addition to running, running safety, apparel, race prep, charity work, 2.5 years after I met the cutie who played 90s rap in his cycling class, my blog will feature a little bit of wedding fun.  I am so excited!  Stay tuned for some sick-ass wedding/running/toning/Pinterest posts.  We’re getting married!

ring