It's been a heckuva year. Last Jan 1st, I woke up to a scale that read 213 lbs. I rarely went out for any exercise and even when I did - it was a slow walk of maybe a mile or so. I couldn't swim 25 yds without feeling like my heart would leap out of my chest and my lungs would explode. I could barely get through a flat 5 miles on the bike and had to walk my bike up the big hill (which I didn't even attempt until mid-April). And I couldn't run at all. I had never completed anything other than a charity walk 5K and barely knew what a triathlon was.
I had never blogged about anything though I had participated in online friendships with other moms sharing the ups and downs of life. My husband walked too fast for me to ever walk with him and hold a conversation. I lived on a variety of fast food, junk food and Coke (full calorie, full caffeine). I drank a cocktail (margaritas mostly) pretty frequently though rarely more than one or two in an evening. Thin and fit was what I read about in my Self magazine - not really ever envisioned being again (read back story if you want to understand the "again" part).
In other areas of my life, I was fighting to find my way as well. I was trying to understand how my dad could leave his estate in such a mess (given how many estates he worked as an attorney in his career). I was trying to figure out how to be a business owner - needing to write a business plan, cultivate client relationships, keep up with things like billing and estimated taxes and all the other hats an owner gets to wear. I was enjoying the fact that my self-employment was allowing me to be around more for my kids, but still adjusting to working around 3 PM pickup times. My marriage was strong - having gone through a really tough 2010 had actually been good for us in an odd way. I was sad that I didn't have any really close girlfriends that lived around here. I missed my friend Chris who used to walk with me when I was younger. I missed my friend Pam who was always such a mentor to me. I often fought the feeling that I was just "getting through" life.
Today, I weighed 175.6 lbs! Not a bad way to end the year even if slightly short of the 40 lbs mark (hey, losing weight during the holidays is a big enough accomplishment). I can now swim much further (and don't even have to flip over to do back stroke or frog kick my way through breast stroke). My swim workouts are usually 30-45 min long and average 1500 yards. I have ridden across town a few times (and back) with much less walking of hills (still a few that are my nemesis) and this fall was regularly riding 8-10 miles when I'd go out. I ran a much larger percentage of my "walmart 5K" last night with Stacy and am hopeful that by March, I will be able to run an entire 5K.
I trained for and completed two sprint triathlons (Pewaukee and Show Me State Games). I met most of my goals related to Pewaukee - finishing being the main one. I was pretty disheartened by my first DFL, but I know that it is all part of the process. I joined Columbia Multisport Club and did a group open water swim taking some tips on drills away from it. I completed four 5K's this summer/fall - two with my daughter who also did her first tri in July - so proud! And I can now walk side by side with my 6'3" husband and keep up while still talking to him. This helps us continue to keep our marriage strong.
I started this blog and have written over 120 posts about my journey. I've really enjoyed reading other blogs, commenting and receiving feedback, encouragement and advice. In the meantime, an online group I've belonged to over 10 years has slowly been dissapating which makes me sad. I still like to eat too much crap and drink coke sometimes and the occassional cocktail - but I do a whole lot less of it and have really begun to understand how it affects how I feel. I think there is a long way I can go to better nutrition and this will continue to be a goal in 2012.
I finished my business plan in January, spoke at two conferences in March, got WBE certified in Missouri in April, designed the majority of the infrastructure for a residential subdivision throughout the spring while continuing to assist my MS4 clients, took a slow 4th quarter in stride an enjoyed some of the down time it gave me, and wrote three abstracts that will be presentations at three conferences in Feb, March and April 2012. I still need to work towards figuring out how to make a real living doing what I love, but I continue to believe that following my passion will provide me enough business to do the other things that I love in my life.
My kids continue to be a blessing and a challenge in my life. But now I share rides with another mom and it gives me some flexibility a few days a week. I love watching them grow and change and cope with the challenges life brings them. I continue to love the way my husband is a great dad to them and how supportive he's been of my new endeavors. I have really enjoyed using exercise to develop deeper friendships with people like Stacy, Alyssa and Susan and look forward to how these special people (and others I am meeting along the way) will enrich my life in addition to encouraging me to move more.
I finally sold my dad's house in the spring and spent most of this year still fighting the paperwork that goes with settling his estate, but we are nearly done and I am so thankful. I have just begun really mourning his loss recently which I think was compounded by the loss of his father (my grandfather) just after Thanksgiving. But hopefully, we can be done with losing loved ones for a while.
What would life be without the highs and lows. But I think you can really see why "life changing" was my description for this year. I know I will always look back on 2011 as a turning point. I'm excited to see what the new year brings me and will be ringing it in with a large group of friends and their families. We are so blessed!