2019 Goals and Word of the Year

One thing I like to do every year is look back and see how I spent my time, what I thought I would get done and didn’t, and what I want to prioritize in the coming year. I also look ahead at what I have on the calendar. I use all of these things to set some goals for the year. Typically, these goals are focused on bettering myself and the world around me.

This year, I’m also setting a word of the year, something I want to use to help focus my year. I have a number of Coeur teammates who do this every year, and I decided this year, I would too.

For 2019, my word is Challenge. I picked this after reading through some quotes and came across this one: “Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.” This definitely resonated with me, especially when it comes to racing. I often set race goals for myself that I fear I can’t meet but then I end up meeting and beating. The majority of the time, I crush my A goals. To me, that says I’m not setting my challenges high enough. This year, I want to push myself, both in triathlon and in life. I want to see what I can accomplish.

I took a look at my goals for last year and used those as a framework for 2019. I think some were too generic and I need to be more specific. I won’t say these are full on SMART goals, but they’re closer.

Goal 1 – Train and Race Smart at IM 70.3 Ohio
As the race draws closer, I will set specific time goals. Ideally, I would like to crush my 70.3 PR, but isn’t that always the race goal? Truly, the goal is to be smart about training. I want to push myself, but not so hard that I burn out or get injured or sick.

Goal 2 – Cook One New Recipe a Month
I have so many amazing cookbooks, and yet I tend to pick one or two recipes from them and just make them over and over again. I want to try at least one new recipe a month.

Goal 3 – Read More Books
This year, I got really into longform journalism, which is awesome, but it meant that I wasn’t reading as many books as I used to. I want to get back to that (which will also mean not reading from a screen before bed, which is a terrible habit) and track in Goodreads. I am going to try to read 50 books this year, which will include audiobooks. Given the hours of training I have ahead of me, that should be doable.

Goal 4 – Get My Budget to YNAB’s Rule 4
I have been using You Need a Budget for money management for probably around 10 years. The application has changed a lot in those years, but the basic concepts of the budgeting method haven’t. Rule 4 is the basic idea that you live on last month’s income. It helps you build a buffer for when unexpected expenses appear, and it makes monthly budgeting a lot easier. Now, I’m certainly not living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s been a while since I’ve been fully at Rule 4 and I’d like to get back there.

Goal 5 – Lift Heavy Things
When I injured my hip, I gave up on a lot of my workouts, and the big thing that hasn’t fully returned is weightlifting. I’m doing bodyweight workouts and some upper body strength work, but I want to get back to doing my regular weightlifting routine. My plan is to start with once a week and then increase that. I have the ChaLEAN Extreme Program that was popular a number of years back and I really enjoy it. It’s slow, controlled movements, and the workouts are under 45 minutes.

I think these are definitely doable goals, but also goals that will challenge me, especially in terms of time management. Life is busy, but it’s important I prioritize myself.

2018 Year in Review

I had big plans in 2018, namely to finish a 70.3.

Well, we all know how those plans went. 2018 quickly went off the rails, but I did my best to regroup and reframe my goals. One of my goals was to get healthy and I can successfully say that I did that by rehabbing my hip. I’m back to running pain free, so I consider that a huge win.


January was definitely a month of discovery. I started the month with an awesome trip to Disney to cheer for the marathon, but ended the month with a diagnosed labral tear as well as MRI findings showing some sort of mass on my ovary. Unexpected, for sure.

Though I had been working with my PT prior to this (she’s the one who initially suspected the labral tear), at this point, we started doing focused work on my hip.


In February I saw an amazing doc who confirmed my super cool ovarian cyst and told me she was going to take it out at the beginning of March. I really appreciated her no-nonsense attitude.

This also began the month of cancelled plans. With the labral tear, racing the Donna half was out. Given that I wasn’t sure what surgery was going to cost me after insurance, I opted to cancel that trip to conserve expenses. Thanks to Southwest’s awesome policies, I transferred that flight to a trip to my parents’ house to see family. Always worth it (and much cheaper lodging too).


I started March with surgery. It was not as bad as I feared, save for the fact that we discovered that hydrocodone doesn’t have an effect on me. After surgery, my heart rate was elevated, and when the nurses asked if I was in pain, I said yes, but it wasn’t awful. They gave me more pain meds, which didn’t really help. I just figured the pain made sense. I had just been cut open. It was bearable after all. Turns out with the drugs I had been given, I shouldn’t have been feeling anything. Whoops. I discovered this later, when at home and alternating hydrocodone and ibuprofen, I realized that the ibuprofen helped and the hydrocodone did nothing. (Turns out this is a fun family trait. Thanks, Dad.)

Because of my surgery, I had to step back on some of my PT exercises. My surgeon was great and told me which of my exercises I could do, but it turns out that when your abdomen has been sliced open, you don’t want to do anything where you are leaning or laying such that the weight of your organs is pushing towards those incisions. So I lost a bit of recovery time here.

This was also the second cancelled trip, as I missed out on BDR New Orleans. This month, I also officially pulled out of 70.3 Chattanooga. I didn’t cancel my trip – I was way too excited to spend time with my Coeur teammates. I just knew I wouldn’t be racing.


This month, I started easing back into training. All self-guided, but it felt good to be back. I also started pushing my hip rehab now that my incisions were mostly healed.

This was the third missed race of the year – the local National Women’s Half. This one didn’t feel like as much of a loss, since it was a local race.

In April, I also got to see Hamilton with my family! It was even better than I thought it would be, seeing as I knew the soundtrack inside and out.


May was a big month. Though I wasn’t racing (fourth missed race of the year), I still traveled to 70.3 Chattanooga with some friends and it was worth every single minute. I don’t know that I could have had more fun. It was awesome to cheer for friends and strangers, help out where needed, and just enjoy the company of friends and my Coeur teammates. I’m so very glad I went and didn’t sit at home feeling sorry for myself.

I also went to see Harry Potter & the Cursed Child with my sister and my cousins – our first of two trips for the year. I wasn’t the biggest Harry Potter fan – I liked the books and movies, but wasn’t into it as much as some of them, but I really loved the play. We saw both parts in one day, and that’s a lot of time in a theater, but it never dragged. Definitely worth the trip.

Finally, in May, I started working with a new coach. Nothing against my old coach, but after a few years of working together, we just weren’t fitting as well as we had been, so I took the opportunity for a new start, knowing that I was spending the year rebuilding.


June was a bit of a quiet month, but it was also a month of a lot of training. This was my big push back to running, my big push towards racing. It was a month of a lot of hard work.


This was the month I had been working towards. Finally, my first race of the year. I’m so glad that it was Rev3 Williamsburg, a great way to start my season (and sadly, say goodbye to one of my favorite races). I was nervous, since I was still recovering, but it went so incredibly well and proved that all my training and PT was working.


Obviously, the Baltic Cruise was the highlight of August. I still can’t believe all of the things we got to see on that trip. I’m still trying to put together a photo book from the trip. Of course, I didn’t even get it close to finished by Christmas! It was worth every single penny spent, and I hope my sister and my cousins and I all get to travel together again in the next few years.


Choir started back up this month with our new conductor following two seasons of guest conductors. It was absolutely a change, but a welcome change. I appreciate someone who insists on hard work, but doesn’t ask more than you can give.

This month was also the end of my triathlon season with the Giant Acorn Oly. I had goals for this race, and was really happy with my finish. I managed to PR the course! All my work had paid off. It was a great race that felt incredibly good, and I was sad that my triathlon season was so short, but glad that it was a successful season.


October was a bit of a blur. I raced my 11th Army Ten Miler. It certainly wasn’t a fast race, but I raced without pain, which was the whole goal.

We also had a huge choir concert this month, premiering a work that was written in 1917 and had never been performed. It was absolutely exhausting. So many hours spent rehearsing. But when it was all said and done, it was a very cool thing to be a part of, and I’m looking forward to hearing the recordings once they’re complete.


I finally made it back to book club (then promptly missed the December meeting). I need to find a way to prioritize this in my schedule – I really like spending time with these ladies!

The month ended with a triumphant return to half marathon racing, nearly a full year since my last 13.1. It was like I wrapped up the past year in a nice bow when I finished that race. The previous year, I was struggling with my hip, and this year, I finished strong.

That was followed by an amazing whirlwind trip to Disney World to see the decorations. It was exhausting and so much fun. Anyone who thinks Disney isn’t for adults is wrong.


Finally, a relatively easy month. It’s a month of rest and recovery from an intense year of training. I sang three holiday concerts (still less work than October’s premiere) and am currently spending Christmas with my family, which is the best way to end a great year.

What’s In My Bag: Purse Edition

Various magazines often post lists of what celebrities carry in their purses.  It made me wonder how my purse stacks up.  Plus it was well past time to clean it out, so I thought I would document the process.  I pretty regularly switch between purses, and try to carry a smallish bag, but haven’t switched out from my big purse after my trip to Florida at the end of November.  That means it’s starting to fill up with ridiculous things.  

Starting out, it’s not looking too crazy.  From top to bottom:

  • Portable phone charger
  • iPhone earbuds
  • Giant keychain with way too many things for the small number of keys
  • Pen case (for the fancy fountain pens I carry) plus two “regular” pens.  Note that the fancy pens aren’t currently in the case and instead are strewn about my office and house
  • Two snacks.  Because everyone needs snacks.

Still pretty normal purse contents.

  • Sunglasses case (with sunglasses inside)
  • Reusable bag
  • Altoids and weird licorice candies
  • Cough drops, which are weird, only because I’m not sure when I last had a cough.
  • Business card case

This one’s a bit misleading because I didn’t open up the pouch, which contains all sorts of ridiculousness.

  • Pouch with lipstick, mirror, hair bands, spare contacts, medications, and other random tiny things
  • Wallet
  • Bottle of hotel lotion from a trip I took in May
  • Mickey Tsum Tsum lip balm that I bought on a whim (which is now stacked on my desk)
  • More chapstick

And now we get into the random stuff

  • Passion Planner – I LOVE this thing
  • Holiday CD from a coworker
  • Massage ball
  • Pile of garbage
  • Gum, plus loose gum that fell out of the container
  • An Action Wipe… in case I sweat and need to wipe down? I’m not sure why this is in my purse.  Usually these are in my gym bags.
  • You are Beautiful stickers

So that’s the full list of what was in my purse.  Most things went back in, save for the trash and the Mickey lip balm.  Anything random in your bag?  I think next up I’m going to dig through my tri bag, because that thing is a disaster.


40 Bags in 40 Days

This year, I’m trying out the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge.

No, it’s not actually getting rid of 40 bags of stuff, though that would be nice.  Rather, it’s about decluttering one area a day for 40 days.  I’ll be honest, there will be days that get skipped, so my goal is to declutter 40 areas.

What I like about this challenge is that it’s not just physical areas.  What I really like about this challenge is that it also focuses on digital decluttering.  Let’s be honest, we all have way too much email piled up.  As of right now, I have over 1400 emails in my personal inbox and something like 29,000 in my work inbox.  These are both problematic.  For work, I can’t actually delete very much, but I can certainly sort it into files.   For my personal email, I KNOW I can delete a ton of it, and much of it can be archived out of the inbox.

Another digital area I want to tackle is my photo storage.  Because I don’t need 40 blurry pictures of my cats.

Of course, there are plenty of other areas to go through as well.  I like the idea of breaking it down into very achievable goals.  On the list of areas to declutter, some examples are “junk drawer,” “food storage containers,” and “mail.”  Nothing too big, but when you take 40 little things, the end result certainly adds up.

It’s been an entire race season since I’ve gone through all my gear and race shirts and I’m sure it’s past time to get rid of more than a few items.  Just because it’s all neatly stored away doesn’t mean that I need to be keeping it.

I also need to go through my makeup.  It’s embarrassing how very expired some of it has to be.  Do I really need 30 lip products?  Nope.  Time to declutter.  My skincare arsenal is a little cluttered (I’m partial to my Meaningful Beauty products) but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as my makeup situation.  I’m so close to labeling myself a hoarder!

Anyone want to join me on this mission?  Tackle a few areas in your life that need to be cleaned up?

Friday Faves

It’s kind of a crazy day in the US today.  Today is also my day off, so I’m spending it doing what I do on many of my Fridays off – doing laundry, getting my house in order, and getting a super painful, but super helpful massage.  And in honor of Friday, here are some things that I’ve been loving as of late.

The Royals on E!

A coworker recommended I watch this show, and I started it while on a marathon trainer ride.  I was hooked.  It’s a show about a fictional present-day royal family and they are a MESS.  It’s exactly the sort of drama you’d expect from E! – affairs, scandal, intrigue, drug use, murders, and people coming back from the dead.  And it is a joy to watch.  The first two seasons are available for free on Amazon Prime, and the third can be streamed on E!’s website.  It’s total trash tv, but it’s so addicting.  Not everything you watch has to be deep and meaningful.

Metal Earth 3D Model Kits

I have wanted to make these models for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to buy them (plus if you remember, 2016 was sucked up by 70.3 training).  Santa (who in this instance look strangely like my mom and dad) brought me a tool kit and a couple of Disney models.  I just finished the Haunted Mansion and am probably starting the Wheel of Death… I mean, Mickey’s Fun Wheel this weekend.  They are incredibly tiny, so it helps to have good lighting and good tools (and good eyes or glasses), but it’s nice to just sit and make something.  I’ll probably work on some non-Disney ones at some point, so if anyone has a favorite, please let me know.

The Bright Sessions Podcast

The Bright Sessions describes itself as “an audio drama about therapy for the strange and unusual.”  I don’t remember what led me to this podcast, but I’m certainly glad I found it.  It’s definitely hard to describe.  Each episode (for the most part) is a recorded therapy session with someone who has special abilities.  The cast of characters isn’t too huge, so you really get to know the different patients and their abilities.  Of course, they can’t stay separate forever, and the stories start to work together.  It’s really well done and worth the listen.  Definitely start at the beginning.

My Instant Pot

Santa also brought me an Instant Pot.  For the uninitiated, this is an electric pressure cooker.  I’d been hearing about them and decided that I definitely wanted one.  And I was not wrong.  This thing is amazing.  I haven’t done any major recipes yet, but I have used it to cook:

  • sweet potatoes
  • hard boiled eggs
  • chicken breasts (from frozen!)
  • quinoa
  • steel cut oats
  • spaghetti squash

So really, I’m just getting started.  The big perk to the Instant Pot is that everything cooks so much faster than it would using traditional methods.  Considering I’m always putting together meals in a rush, this is awesome.  Is it something everyone needs?  Certainly not.  Plenty of people have no trouble finding 45 minutes to bake a spaghetti squash.  I am not one of those people.  If I can cook it in under 20, count me in.