Flashback: 2012 Edition

So here it is.  New Year’s Eve.  Time to flip the calendar.  (Suck it, Mayans!)  You know what that means….

The 2012 Year-in Review!
One year ago I set a few goals for myself.  Some were running related, some were not.  I gotta say, I had a pretty dang successful year.
Running-related goals: 
  • Run 1,000 miles –  SUCCESS!!!  It came down to the wire, but I DID IT!!!!  With seven whole hours to spare!
  • Run a sub-2:10 half marathon – SUCCESS!!!  I finished Rock n Roll St. Louis in 2:07:24
  • Run a sub-27 5K – SUCCESS!!!  I ran a 26:45 at a small local 5K, also securing a 2nd place AG award
  • Run a sub-60 10K – Well, this one was neither a success nor a failure because I didn’t run a 10K this year.  I was planning on one in May, but I ended up getting sick.  When I was still running fever the morning of the race, I decided not to go.  Since that’s the only 10K in the area, I’ll have to wait until May 2013 for my next shot at it.
  • Cross and strength train more – SUCCESS and FAIL respectively.  I’ve loved having a spin bike here at home and have used it quite a bit.  I definitely cross-trained more than last year, and I absolutely think that had a hand in keeping me injury free in 2012.  I totally dropped the ball on strength training though.
General life goals:
  • BE HAPPY! – SUCCESS!!!  I’ve made huge, huge strides here.  We had an incredibly trying year in 2012.  Lots and lots of job uncertainty for both of us… a layoff, talks of cutbacks and closures… but through it all, I have tried to keep a positive attitude and not worry about the things I couldn’t do anything about.  Sure, I’ve had my moments… some worry, some nearly paralyzing fear… but for the first time ever I was able to keep it from consuming me and was still able to find joy in the little things.  Very significant difference from 2011.
  • Continue to decrease dairy and processed foods – SUCCESS!!!  I consider myself an herbie now, and really the only processed foods I eat are cereal, Clif and protein bars, and the occasional vegan convenience foods, like Tofurky.  Although I do still have a weakness for Fritos.
  • Save a higher percentage of our combined salaries – FAIL.  No excuses.  Just haven’t done it.  We haven’t saved any less or spent any more, but we didn’t meet my original goal of saving more.
So I didn’t do so bad!!!  Yeah, I missed some, but I nailed the ones that were really important to me.  There’s always next year for the other ones!  Other than those, I really haven’t thought much about what I want to accomplish in 2013 yet.  I’m still kind of reveling in 2012.  A few highlights…

1st place AG!

Little Rock Half Marathon

Michele and me at the Shamrock Half
3rd place AG at a local 4-miler

Cruisin’!

Hangin’ out at the marina with friends.

Running to the finish line with a new 5K PR and a 2nd place AG award.

PRing at the Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

Lining up for St. Jude!

Celebrating 26.2 #2!

Finishing my favorite race to date with my best friend in the world!

Christmas Eve with my fabulous husband and his awesome family.

And now since I don’t have kids, you get an eyeful of my furbabies!  This year C.C. turned 13 and Bella and Harley each turned 3.

The queen overlooks her domain…

Nom, nom, nom

Always happy to go for a ride.

I am zombie cat.  Must have pink mouse brains!

Psssttt… you awake?

Is Daddy’s weed eater broken?

zzzzzzzzzz….

Move over, Mom, you’re taking up too much room in my bed.

They even hold their Kongs the same way.

I’m just gonna lay right here and wait for Santa.

Does that guy have a cheeseburger???

HAPPY 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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And Now We Breathe…

Any of you that have been reading this for more than about a day know that this has been an incredibly trying, emotional, stressful, worrisome year for me and D.  Yeah, I’ve mentioned it a lot, but I’ve explained very little.

Everything was just hunky-dory until April.  When we left for our cruise, we were both happy and gainfully employed at full-time jobs that we loved.  Okay loved is a stretch.  We were both content and getting paid.

And then we came home from vacation to a whole new world.

We both got up and went to work on Monday morning, but only one of us came home still gainfully employed.  D was laid off.  At that point, I honestly wasn’t that concerned.  Y’all don’t know D.  This man can do ANYTHING.  He is the smartest, most multi-talented person I know.  He knows how to do everything.  Construction, cars, computers… and does it all like a pro.  So I knew he would find something.  Even if it took him a little while, I still wasn’t worried because I knew we could make it on my salary.  Sure we would have to cut back here and there, but we could make it.

That was Monday.  Tuesday, I received a letter in the mail from Human Resources.  I’ll spare you the whole thing, but here are a few loosely quoted excerpts.

“In accordance with the strategy recently announced, adjustments to your hours to match customer needs will be made.  Your office will become a 6-hour per day office.”

“The decrease in the operating hours of your office will be effective 9/30/2014.  However, you will remain in your current position title, occupation code, and grade with your current salary and office operating hours until that time, unless you pursue another career choice prior to 9/30/2014”

“Many employees will be affected, and we recognize that this can be stressful.  This notice is a part of our efforts to keep you informed and to assist you in making the best decision for you and your family.”

Now that doesn’t seem so bad on the surface.  But when you find out what’s involved…whoa.  Rather than just adjusting my salary from 8 to 6 hours, basically cutting my pay by 25%, they were going to reclassify my job, give it a new title, do away with the salary, and put me on an hourly wage making approximately $1.50 more an hour than I did on my very first day on the job as a lowly night-shift peon.

“…we recognize that this can be stressful…”  Well, THERE’S the understatement of 2012!

So D’s laid off, and I’m looking at a maximum of two years of guaranteed full-time employment.  Fan.  Fucking.  Tastic.

Luckily, D’s layoff lasted only two weeks, so that was definitely a good thing, but still there was the cloud hanging over our heads regarding my job.  We can handle D being unemployed for a little while, but it’s MY job that we depend on for the salary and insurance and such.  After being in my office for four years and making it my “home,” I had to start scrambling.  The thing is, the vast majority of the offices around here  got the very same letter I did, so I knew my opportunities were going to be few.  There were going to be a few positions opening up over the next few months, but there were a lot of people just like me (approximately 13,000 nationwide) that were going to be fighting for the few full-time positions that were left.

On August 25th, they posted the first round of vacancies.  As I suspected, there was one local to me, and two just inside a one-hour commute range.  The rest, as I have mentioned before, would have required a relocation.  But I simply couldn’t NOT apply for them.  I couldn’t allow myself to only put in for the three jobs around here.  Sure I was just as qualified for them as anyone else, but there were a lot of “anyone elses” competing with me, so nothing was guaranteed.  If I hadn’t gotten one of them and all of these other vacancies were filled and I didn’t at least apply for them, I’d have never forgiven myself.  So I applied for 17 of them.  My cutoff for this round was a 200-mile range.  I figured that was close enough that I could rent through the week and drive home on Friday after work and stay until Monday morning.  I still had until 9/30/14, so if I didn’t get one, I still had two years to broaden my search to places farther away, but I wouldn’t do that until I was desperate.

Last Thursday I found out that out of the 17 offices I applied for, I made it through the review committee to move on to the interview round for 10 of them.  The local-to-me office was one of them, along with one of the one-hour commute ones, and eight that were a good ways off.

The interviews were Monday and Tuesday.  Preparing for one interview is hard enough, but TEN???  That’s just downright overwhelming.  And the way they were doing it… all of those 10 offices fell under three managers, so when you interviewed with a manager, you were interviewing for all of the offices under him.  Luckily they were all done over the phone so I could have notes about all the offices spread out all over the desk in front of me.

My last interview was Tuesday at 11:00.  It was odd how much better I felt after that.  I was so relieved just to be done with the interviews.  I felt like they had gone pretty well, and yeah I was still worried about the outcome, but at that point I knew that I had done everything in my power, and had done it to the best of my ability.  If I didn’t get one of these positions, it wasn’t because I didn’t give it my all.  I was told during the interviews that the managers had to have their decisions made and submitted to the District office by close-of-business Friday and that I would hear something back no later than the following Tuesday.

Fastforward to Thursday.  I wasn’t expecting to hear anything yet.  I figured I would have to wait and wonder all weekend, so I was really trying not to think about it.  So there I was at work, doing my normal thing, when the phone rings.  It was one of the managers I interviewed with.  The conversation went a little something like this:

Manager:  Hey, Pam, how ya doing today?
Me:  Well, that depends largely on why you’re calling me.
Manager:  Oh, I just wanted to ask you a quick question.
Me:  Oh, okay.  What’s up?
Manager:  How would you like to work for me at _________ office?

It was the office I wanted.  The one 12 miles from my house.  The one that meant I would remain at home with my husband and my cat and my dogs where I belong.

Now I fully grasp what the phrase “weak in the knees” means.  In a split second, my legs almost went out from under me as I leaned my back against the wall and felt tears of relief sting my eyes.  It was over.  The worrying, the waiting, the limbo.  OVER.

He told me to try to contain myself the rest of that day while he notified the other applicants that didn’t get the job.  And I did.  Unless you count telling my husband, parents, sister, best friend, a couple of other friends, and a couple of close co-workers.

I feel like I’m back.  I haven’t been fully present for a long time now.  After holding my breath for five months, I’m finally able to breathe again, and do it with a smile.

Halfway There Already???? GEEZ! The 2012 Mid-Year Check-In

It is ASTONISHING how quickly this year is flying by.  Scary, really.  Everyone told me this would happen as I got older.  Damned if they weren’t right.

At the beginning of the year, I, like everyone else, set some goals for myself.  Let’s review, shall we?

Non-running:
  • BE HAPPY, DAMNIT!!!  – SUCCESS!  While I still have my moments of stress and just feeling blue (who doesn’t?) I’ve come so far with just being able to deal with it, do what needs to be done, and move on.  This has been the most stressful year at work I’ve ever been through (and it will likely only get worse from here), but I’m managing not to let it consume me.  It’s still a struggle sometimes, but overall I’ll give myself a passing grade on this one.  
  • Continue to decrease dairy and processed foods. – SUCCESS!  Processed foods are pretty much nonexistent in my diet now, the major exceptions being Clif bars and the occasional vegan convenience food like Tofurky.  And I still have a weakness for Fritos.  It could be a lot worse.  And as far as animal products go, a tiny bit of dairy may sneak past me every now and then as an ingredient in something I didn’t make myself, but other than that, I’m DONE with animal products of any kind.
  • Save a higher percentage of our combined salaries. – FAIL.  We just haven’t made this happen.  We’re still saving, but at the same rate.  I want to kick that up a notch or two.

Running

  • Run 1,000 miles. – FAIL.  I was on track for a couple of months, but I’ve fallen behind now.  I ended June with 401.7 miles for the year.  That means I’ll have to average 100-mile months for the remainder of the year.  Doable?  Probably.  Will I make the effort?  Probably not.  (Just being honest here…)
  • Run a sub 2:10 half-marathon. – FAIL.  I was sure I would nail this one at the Shamrock Half in March, but I bonked and ended up running a 2:13:20.  Next opportunity will be in October.
  • Run a sub-27 5K.  –  BOTH?  But mostly fail.  I “officially” ran a 26:31 in February, but the course was short and I don’t count it.  It wouldn’t have been under 27 anyway.  And that’s the only 5K I ran this year.  My 5K split from a 4-mile race in April was 27:11, still 11 seconds short of the goal.  So success for the official record, fail because I personally don’t count it.  Maybe this fall…
  • Run a sub-60 10K – Neither.  I haven’t run a 10K this year.  I was sick the day of the race I planned on running to meet this goal.  Since that’s the only one I know of in this area, I may not get another chance at this one this year.
  • Cross and strength train more. – SUCCESS!  I’ve made use of my spin bike and D’s Bowflex and have done some core work.  Even though I’m calling it a success, I still want to up my game in this area the latter part of the year.  Especially going into marathon training.
So overall not a horrible year.  You win some, you lose some!  And I’ve still got six months to make progress in the areas I’m currently not succeeding in!

The Obligatory 2010 Year-End/2011 Goals Post

Okay, first thing’s first.  Is it “year-end” or “year-in” post?  I’ve seen both, but “year-end” just makes more sense to me, so that’s what I’m going with.

I can’t even begin to say how much better 2010 was than 2009.  I am so grateful because I was long overdue for a really good year!

I honestly can’t do a goals/accomplishments comparison because I really didn’t have any set goals for 2010.  But I’m happy with the way things went down.
 
On the non-running front, in 2010 …

  • I turned 30.  I know, I know, that’s not exactly something I had any control over, but it was still a pretty big deal!
  • my family was healthy.  I did have to have a lymph node in my neck checked out early in the year to rule out the c word, but praise the Lord, that turned out fine. 
  • I was promoted to Postmaster.  No more money than my supervisor job but LOTS less stress, and that is PRICELESS!
  • we added our newest member to our small furry family.  We adopted Harley from a bully-breed rescue in February.
  • I was baptised.
  • we enjoyed wonderful trips to Cabo San Lucas, Destin, and Las Vegas.
  • we made great strides towards reducing debt.  We no longer own a credit card  Those things are the devil in a little plastic suit.

And in running news, in 2010 …

  • I ran my second and third half-marathons.  I finished my third one 21 minutes faster than my first slightly less than a year prior (21-minute improvement from November 2009 to October 2010).
  • I completed my first only marathon.  Yes, I’m still saying I’m done with those.
  • I ran 710.3 miles.

Considering that I hardly ran at all in January and very little to speak of in May or June and missed SO MANY miles with my knee during the marathon training, all in all, I’m satisfied.

Now for my 2011 goals…

Nonrunning …

  • Be happy.  Simple, right?  I’m cutting ties with the people and things in my life that bring me stress, unhappiness, and drama.  Buh-bye negativity!
  • Further decrease my meat and animal product consumption.  I’ve cut way back on my carnivorous ways the last several months, and I want to continue this trend.  Also, the more I learn about dairy, the more I think I should scale that back too.  I have no desire to become completely vegetarian or vegan, but the benefits of a primarily plant-based diet (for your body, for the environment, and obviously for animals) are inarguable.
  • Decrease unnecessary spending.  Do I REALLY need that new coat?

And running …

  • 1,000 miles.  That’s almost 300 more than I ran this year, but if I stay healthy it’s totally doable.
  • Make more time for cross and strength training.
  • Work on speed.  I would like to see what I’m capable of in the 5K distance, and I would like to be under 2:10 in the half-marathon distance by the fall.

(I hereby reserve the right to delete this post and deny that it ever existed if I fall embarassingly short of these goals.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

Tag!

Lucky me, I was tagged twice yesterday because apparently I’m just THAT cool.

Emz and Funderson each tagged me to answer a series of questions, so here goes!  Two birds, one stone.

Emz wanted to know:

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

DUH!  Wanna see my medal again?

 
Running goals for 2011?

One thousand miles.  I will end 2010 with over 700 miles, so 1,000 isn’t that much of a stretch.  I would also like to work on speed in the shorter distances and knock a few more minutes off my half-mary PR.

What’s your favorite race?

Hands down — Nashville’s CMM.  It was crazy crowded and hilly, but the course support and spectatorship were awesome, and Nashville is just a great city.

Favorite Holiday Guilty Pleasure?

CHESS SQUARES.  I could single-handedly eat a freakin’ pan of those things if I didn’t control myself.  Do they have a jillion calories?  Yes, they do.  Do I care?  I most certainly do not.  I have them once a year, and I savor every bite!

Most embarassing running moment?

I had to think on this one.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with anything that has happened during a run.  I was like, “Come on, Pam, as much as you embarass yourself, SURELY something has happened while you were wearing running shoes.”  But, nope.  Couldn’t come up with anything.  BUT I did come up with something running RELATED.  I used to attend a step aerobics class, and the instructor and I were training for the Clarksville Half Marathon (this was last year, so it was my first) at the same time.  She ended up moving off for a few months and didn’t run it.  When I bumped into her in town after she moved back, she asked me how it went and what my time was.  When I told her, she laughed at me.  Yep.  Out loud and right in my face.  Looking back on it now, it just makes me wish I’d grabbed her by her cute little blonde pigtails and slammed her face into the pavement a time or two, but then it made me feel about this big.

And Funderson wants to know:

What races do you plan to complete in 2011?

That seems to be the million-dollar question these days!  As I’ve said, I want to work on shorter distances and speed.  There is a Cupid’s Chase 5K in Murray, KY on 2/12 that I’d like to do.  And there’s a Chickasaw Chase 10 miler in the Chickasaw State park on January 8th.  And I will probably repeat the Johnsonville Charge and Race on the Trace 5-milers in January and February.  For my spring half marathon, there are two I haven’t chosen between yet.  They’re both close and relatively inexpensive, so I would do them both, but they are only a week apart.  I will either be doing the Murray Half Marathon or the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon.  I’m leaning more toward the Andrew Jackson.  In the fall, I plan on running the inaugural Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon.

Notice how there are no more marathons on that schedule?  ONE AND DONE, BABY.

What is your #1 indispensable running accessory?  #2?

Numero uno is definitely my Garmin Forerunner 305.  Second would be my iPod.

Do you send Christmas/Holiday cards?  Why or why not?

I do not.  Because I am lazy.

What do you mostly think about when training?

I’m still pretty new to the sport, so I’m not to the “mindless running” level yet.  A lot of you guys talk about how you just let your mind wander and don’t even realize you’re running.  Yeah.  I’m so not there.  I still have to stay mentally present and concentrate on form, breathing, and pace.

Is your sweetheart supportive of your extracurricular active activities?  How?

As much as he can be, yes.  He always tells me he’s proud of me and never complains about the money that gets sunk into it.  Which is more than I can say for myself.

What’s your proudest moment of 2010?

Here, let me show you again.

And now TAG, you’re it, Bobbi, Bootchez, and Zaneta!