Tuesday, April 30, 2013

To exist is to change...

...to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. So says Henri Bergson.

Feeling very philosophical today and quite the mix of emotions. In effort to get back into blogging after four months, I am just going to ramble on write.

The past year, more specifically, the past few months have been nothing short of a whirlwind. I feel like things are changing all around me - personally, professionally and just about every other way possible - and time is going by so fast. By nature, I am not one to immediately embrace change, positive or negative. But as I get older, I realize how vital it is to personal growth. After all, how can we expect things or situations to change if we aren't willing to change ourselves?

The biggest change has been at home. I was traveling a ton for work at the end of 2012 and during the first half of this year. And while I LOVE to travel (it's ridic how excited I get when I get bumped into the next Medallion/frequent flyer tier), thankfully that has slowed down for the time being. However, the husband's travel schedule has just picked back up. With him being in outside sales and running demos all across the country, he is typically gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. This has been a major adjustment for us. Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But it is something you have to get used to, learn to live with and simply embrace. Luckily he is home for at least two weeks in between his trips, which has been wonderful. And with us both racking up frequent flyer miles, we try to work in a fun trip or meet the other when one of us is in a fun city. Next trip: the beach in T-minus 20 days!

My role at work has certainly evolved from what it was five and a half years ago, and I have loved just about every minute of it. Having the opportunity for change and growth is of the utmost importance to me, especially where my career is concerned. And knowing that the opportunity is actually there is just as important. With the new product line I have stayed busy promoting, we talk a lot about transforming, adapting and making a difference. And I am so thankful to have been a part of it, because it has helped me realize that these are all the things I want for myself. Seriously considering pursuing my MBA...we shall see! As one of my favorite quotes reads (and I must keep reminding myself), "growth is the only evidence of life."

Different subject...as you get older, you want to surround yourself with people who lift you up and share the same values as you. The only downside is that your circle of friends gets a bit smaller. The upside? The people around you are positive and want positive things for you. This is a process and often times a struggle, and I am so thankful for that small but real circle.

My body is definitely changing, too. As in, it doesn't recover as quickly as it used to. I would like to consider myself a hardcore runner. But when you push yourself that hard for four months with minimal cross training, especially after an excruciating marathon experience, you get hurt. What should I have expected? I know better! Chiropractor today; physical therapy tomorrow. Lesson learned...again.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes says, "the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." What powerful words. Life is about embracing change and moving forward. I just have to keep telling myself that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Marathons and Memories...Ciao! Ciao! 2012

So I totally slacked on my blog writing in 2012. It hasn't been for a lack of topics; but with sitting at a computer for close to 10 hours a day, that's the last thing I want to do when I get home. That said, it's been quite a busy, stressful and altogether wonderful few months...well, year.

Anyone who knows me knows that running is a true passion of mine, and 2012 has been quite the year running-wise. I scored a PR running the NYC Half (1:40), came in first place in my age group at two races, second in another, and third in two others. And then came the St. Jude Marathon. I've run the half every year since 2007, but decided to go for the full (my second) this year. I didn't make the decision lightly, but felt I was ready to take on 26.2 again and thought there’s no better race to do it than St. Jude – and certainly no greater cause. Well, it didn't go so well...but I crossed the finish line. And for that, I'm proud. My Dad was right; it was my "best" race yet!

It's been an INCREDIBLE year travel-wise. Brent and I flew across the pond and spent two amazing weeks in Italy last spring. Rome > Siena > Florence > Venice. Trip of a lifetime doesn't come close to describing it! Also for pleasure, I went to New York, then Hartford and Cape Cod for my cousin's wedding, Brent and I went Atlanta for Labor Day, Tampa and Clearwater Beach for a dear friend's wedding and a quick trip to Orlando, since Brent was already there for work. Speaking of which, 2012 took me to Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Boston, Asheville, Charlotte, Minneapolis, San Francisco and finally, Nashville. Phew! It's been almost two months since my last flight...starting to get antsy!

Work-wise, I certainly can't complain either. And not just for the travel, though obviously that was a nice treat. This month, I celebrate five wonderful years at Mahaffey. When I started, my position was brand new. I've had the opportunity to mold it into exactly what I want it to be and do more than I ever imagined I could in a "marketing" role. I'm so honored to not only have a job but a true career. 2012 also brought me a FABULOUS new assistant, Kristin. She has ambition, takes initiative and I can count on her to gets things done whether I'm in or out of the office. I love what I do and who I work with, which makes it a little less like work. For all that, I am so very thankful.

Other-wise, life has been pretty great as well. Brent and I both turned 30, we celebrated five years of marriage and 10 years of being together. We took our first (and certainly not last) trip to Europe. I became an aunt again. Got Medallion status back on Delta. Joined the USGBC Memphis Board. Was published in three publications. Got accepted into the 2013 NYC Half (3 years in a row, whoop!)...but unfortunately gave up my spot since I'm going to be there the following week for a conference.

Though I've always been thankful for the many blessings in life, I don't think I've ever quite felt as happy as I do at this very moment. Everything is exactly as it should be. I love my little family, Buster the Boston Terrier especially. ;) I love my job. I love being an aunt. I love my family and friends. I love the new leather pants I wore to ring in the new year (despite my almost Ross moment when they got a bit sticky after the random dance party broke out). I love to run. I love to travel. And I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for all of the above!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 St. Jude Marathon

I've run the St. Jude Half Marathon every year since 2007, but decided to go for the full (my second) this year. I didn't make the decision lightly, but felt ready to take on 26.2 again and thought there’s no better race to do it than St. Jude and certainly no greater cause.

Training, at least the first half of it, went very well. This was the first distance race I've trained for completely solo, which was a bit scary. But even with a hectic travel schedule, I still managed to get in all my long runs. I kept up a good weekday training schedule as well, though I didn't focus nearly enough on the speed and tempo workouts. All the runs up to 18 miles were fantastic. I felt good, nothing was hurting and truly enjoyed logging the miles. Then it went downhill. IT band pain combined with two falls thanks to having the grace of a toddler makes for a crappy last month of training.

Fast forward to the week of the marathon, and I was finally feeling better. The first 13.1 went great, and I even got to run it with my fabulous assistant, Kristin. Around mile 14, sh** got bad. My legs started cramping up and it never went away. I collapsed three times and pretty much had to walk the entire second half. I had pumped myself full of potassium, was well hydrated the entire week leading up to the race and even carried Powerade the day of, and didn't drink a sip of alcohol that week (that was probably my big mistake). Anyway, despite sobbing through the last five miles, I managed to run jog hobble across the finish line at 4:41. I wouldn't have been able to make it without the incredible support of my Dad, Brent, Autumn, Michael and Kristin. And the sweet people and even a few runners along the course who stopped to help me. Thank you all SO much!!

Whether it was an electrolyte issue, dehydration, the heat, pushing too hard the first half or just a bad day, I'll never know. What I do know is that I'll do another full. Can't go out like that. ;)

 Feeling good

 Kristin and me

Trying to keep pushing

And, I'm spent...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally some down time...

Where do I begin? Thankfully the summer was relatively quiet as far as travel goes, with the exception of my cousin Missy's FABULOUS wedding in Cape Cod in late June! Things were a bit stressful for the Wilsons after we got back from Italy, so it was nice to take it easy for a month or two.

Soon, though, a crazy couple months of travel ensued for both B and me. I definitely can't complain; it's been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.

It started with a trip to Boston in mid-August for a marketing conference and business development meeting. What an amazing, productive trip that was! A tour of Harvard, running along the Charles River and through MIT campus, shopping on Newbury Street, people watching...I've been to Boston twice before, but never experienced it like this. That city is so alive, and I can't wait to go back!

The next week I drove to Joplin, Missouri, to visit a few of our customers get some pics and video footage of our products in action, thanks to a handy Flip cam. It’s so sad to see all the devastation there, but also incredible to see how quickly the town has bounced back. I was able to swing through Fayetteville, Arkansas, on my way home and take my handsome cousins to dinner. So much fun! And how did they get this old?!

Asheville, North Carolina, was next. I’m now part of the local USGBC chapter, so they asked me to attend a leadership conference for our region. Not only was it a tremendous opportunity for networking and professional growth, but I got to stay at the Grove Park Inn, which was absolutely stunning! Can't wait to go back with B!

After that, it was off to Atlanta for Labor Day weekend. We stayed with Brent's brother and his wife in their beautiful new home and had an AMAZING three days. Lots of football, bar hopping, shopping (duh), eating, and more. I even got to do my long run on the Silver Comet Trail. If you’re a runner or bike rider, I highly recommend it!

My 30th birthday was September 8. B took me to dinner at Restaurant Iris (my fave!) and invited my Sis and brother-in-law to come with us, which was such a treat! The next day we drove to Nashville for a friend’s engagement party and the Titans game. And Monday I got to have dinner with my entire family. So blessed!

Later the following week was a work conference in Minneapolis. Networking, marketing, great meals, fun conversations and chilly temperatures. So great! I sooo wanted to stop by Mall of America while we were there, but with it only being a two-day trip, there was no time. Boo. On our last day, we had a 3am wake up call to catch a 5am flight. Combine that with a 2+ hour layover in Atlanta, half a day in the office and one of the most fun races (Cooper Young 4-miler) of the year, I was pooped.

Brent's had his fair share of travel as well. Three trips to Phoenix for training, another in Minneapolis and most recently, New York.

This week, I was in Houston for another conference. It was trying to say the least, being the only female in a room full of professional engineers (so out of my league). But being able to overrule an engineering spec and write a section of a published Recommended Practice, I'd say it was a success!

This weekend, we finally get to take a long, much needed deep breath. Saturday is actually our five-year anniversary, and we've got a super fun, low-key few days planned!

Next weekend, we're off to Tampa for one of B’s best friend’s wedding. We are staying at a swanky hotel right on the beach, and I CAN'T WAIT!!

Then things slow down a bit...for me anyway. B will be traveling quite a bit for work in October. Good thing I'm not training for a marathon or anything. ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reflecting on what's important

It's so easy to get wrapped up in everyday life, an ever-expanding workload and what we think should be our priorities. The stress of what's been a roller coaster of the past couple months has really weighed on me these last few weeks, which may or may not have been why I drank heavily came down with a cold. Nevertheless, the downtime gave me time to reflect on what’s really important. And for that, I'm extremely thankful.

Time to reflect on B's new job. I couldn't be more proud of my hubby! While he's going to be traveling about 40% of the year, this is an absolutely incredible opportunity for him...for us. It's going to be an adjustment for sure, but we are partners. And that's what a partnership is about.

Time to reflect on my job. I've been so stressed with work lately, mainly because it's never been so busy. That said, I've also never enjoyed it more. A lot of that has to do with my new assistant, who in less than a month is already making my job easier. I'm getting to do more things, furthering my education and finally feel at a place where I can be productive. It's a good place to be!

Time to reflect on marathon training. Training for marathon #2 started today, whoop! I almost forgot how much dedication and commitment it takes to prepare for 26.2, especially when you're doing it solo. And then I looked at my training plan...whew. Thankfully (in large part to my Dad) I've found a love for swimming, and with 3 days of scheduled rest or cross training, I have a good feeling about the next 4 months.

Time to reflect on family. When it's all said and done, friends come and go. Family is the only constant in this world, and there's truly no greater gift in life. Family is what's important, and those are the people worth making time for.

Here's a parting thought just because it seems fitting. That Dr. Seuss sure was a wise man!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When One Door Closes Another Opens!

Just call me a slacker. Well, that's not entirely accurate given my schedule these days. But when it comes to this blog, I'm waaaaaay behind. So many travel and other posts to do, so little time.

Anyway, this post was originally titled, Everything happens for a reason. While I've always been a firm believer in that, I didn't think it would be the most appropriate title right now.

Nevertheless, in my old young age of {almost} 30, I think I've finally realized what the cliché phrase "when one door closes another opens" means. To say it's been a bit stressful around our house lately would be an understatement.

About a month and a half ago, Brent was laid off from his job. Thankfully it wasn't due to performance, as he was one of the top salespeople in the region. They had simply overcrowded the Memphis market and had to let someone go. Since he had the "least amount of responsibility" (aka we don't have children), they chose him. Even though he received a fantastic letter of recommendation from his District Manager and his resume could speak for itself, he was pretty beat up about it. Can't imagine what he was going through. I did everything I could to be supportive and let him know he was loved no matter what (even Googled what to do when your husband gets laid off...you'd be surprised what can find!), I know he was dealing with the natural thoughts of "I'm the man of the house; I should be the provider." If it had been performance-based, he would have at least been expecting it. But losing a job is never easy, especially when you're blindsided.

Through it all, I tried to convince him that this was a tremendous blessing. Of course it didn't seem like it at the time, especially after receiving our lovely credit card bill from the Italy trip (even then, we wouldn't take a single part of it back). But for the past 4+ years, Brent has been pretty miserable when it comes to work. The longer time went on, the more I just knew we'd look back 10 years from now, and he'd still be at the same job, still miserable and nowhere near where he wanted to be career-wise.

Fast forward to last week, and he's got a new j-o-b! Not only is it a position he would have left his previous company for, but it's THE job he's been looking for. It wasn't without stress, arguments and what could have been a huge strain on our marriage - I assure you. But to find something like this and the company be so excited to have your husband come work for them...wow, what a blessing indeed!

Aside from that, the personal stress + professional stress of the past month and a half + not being able to run = mild depression. However, dealing with yet another round of ITBS (in both legs/knees no less) forced me to cross train. It's opened my eyes to the world of biking and swimming. And I LOVE it!! I never knew I would enjoy swimming so much, and get such an intense workout from it at the same time. I'll be a better runner because of it, and will hopefully be able to run longer. Plus, it's something for my Dad and I to do together, which is pretty cool. :)

There's also the infertility factor. Though we've been a little more "careful" I guess you could say over the past couple months, it's been close to three years that we've been trying to conceive. I was planning to start a new fertility treatment in June, which was naturally put on hold until things got settled with Brent. That was a huge factor in putting it off, but to be honest, I started having reservations about it even before that. Looking back on the past 3-5 years, I'm overwhelmed by all the blessings we've been given and truly believe there's a reason for everything. Maybe it just hasn't been our time yet. Maybe I needed to be a good aunt to Bailey (and now Ava!) first. I'm so thankful for my career and the fact that I love what I do. So maybe I needed time to focus on that. And travel. Ooooo, do I love to travel! Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Cape Cod, New York, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago...and that's just 2012! Granted half of that was for business, but the other was 100% pleasure. The whole kid chapter definitely hasn't closed (we do have Buster, you know!), but I feel so much more at peace with where I'm at -- where we're at. And for that, I'm so very thankful!

On the Rialto Bridge in Venice!

Cape Cod!

A few of my cousins and I at Missy's wedding at the Cape!

Best buds!

My child...who thinks he's human. :)

Ava dancing and me doing who knows what

Melts my heart!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to those who have been so incredibly amazing and supportive through the Wilsons' ups and downs. It's been quite a journey so far, and as we continue {hopefully} opening these new metaphoric doors, it means that much more to have family and true friends to share in it all with you.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Expanding my {fitness} horizons

Injury...a word avid runners come to know well. Or at least most of them.

A little over a month ago, I injured my left knee during a race. I had just taken two weeks off while the hubby and I were in Italy, and I had maybe squeezed in a week and a half of decent runs before taking home my FIRST first place finish (whoop!) at Zoom Through the Zoo. I felt great after, but then the next morning my knee had swollen to the size of a grapefruit.

A few days later, after trip to the orthopedic doctor, I was diagnosed with fluid buildup and put on anti-inflammatory meds and a light-intensity workout plan. Needless to say, a mild case of depression set in.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am rather passionate about running. One might call it obsessed. But obviously I've had to transform my training for the time being...and I have LOVED every minute of it!!

For the past month or so, I've been alternating swimming 2-3 times a week and biking at least 2 days. The biking has been somewhat satisfying, but the swimming...I never knew I would enjoy it this much!

A HUGE thank you to my dad, who paid for a month's membership for me at the Y, so I could see if I liked it. Not only is it something we can do together, but it's so much better for my joints, and my body just feels different. Who knows. Maybe there's a tri in my future?! For the time being, though, I think I'll stick with individual workouts. :)

New workout view!

Today was the first Road Race Series race of the year. I promised myself to keep it slow, so as not to injure my knee again. I kept a super slow pace (at least for the first 2 miles), finishing with my worst 5K time to date. But I'm not upset in the least. It was super fun, a new course, and my knee is feeling good.

Anyway, I'd have to say that my fitness horizons have definitely expanded. And regardless of how good the knee (hopefully) continues to feel, I'm going to keep up with the cross training.

Marathon training begins in less than a month!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The craziness that has been the past month...or so

It's been well over a month since my last post. I'd like to say it's due to laziness, a lack of topics, or whatever, but honestly I just need about 50 bazillion more hours in the day.

First, I have to mention the hubby's and my AMAZING trip to Italia. Trip of a lifetime doesn't even begin to describe it! As mentioned in my couple of Italy posts, we were there for 12 days and made stops in Rome, Siena (our fave!), Florence, and Venice (my close-second fave). Being able to spend that time with B, seeing all the amazing sites we saw, and just experiencing all we did...it was truly life-changing. Timing is everything, and I'm so glad we were able to share it together. I have an entire journal of notes to post, but here are a few pics until then...

 With our tour guide, Paola, in Rome!

 Being silly :)

 Love this pic!

 Trevi Fountain

 Il Campo in Siena...our favorite spot!

Enjoying the scenery!

 Our FAVORITE day on the vineyard tour!

 On the Ponte Vecchio in Florence!

How beautiful is this view?! From atop the Pitti Palace

 Arriving in Venice!

 Chasing the pigeons in the Piazza San Marco!

 Rialto Bridge

 Just had to post...our view on the gondola ride

Ever since we got back, I've been working what seems like all day every day trying to keep my project load in a manageable place. I'm SO very thankful for my job and the fact that I love what I do. But as I'm sure one can imagine, when you're in front of a computer for close to 10 hours a day, the thought of going home and continuing to do so to work on your own blog isn't all that enticing. So there's my excuse for the lack of posts. On the bright side, I'm in the middle of hiring a new marketing assistant. Yay! The University of Memphis sure did produce some incredible candidates!

And then there's BBQ Fest. Normally I despise this event (crazy talk, I know), but I have to say this my favorite year ever! We made so many new friends, had a lot of laughs, let loose, and just had a good time...and I still made it to work every day. :) It may or may not have also helped to have a DD for most of the weekend (thank you, Marcie!!).

 My sweet, preggo friend Marcie and me on Friends & Family night

B and me

Keeping with the positivity, my running has improved tremendously...or so I thought. After taking off for about 10 days while in Italy, I came back ready to jump into training. Well, more so just getting back in shape from the past two weeks of absolutely gorging myself – and yes, it was TOTALLY worth it! Anyway, I placed first in my age group at Zoom Through the Zoo a little over a week ago (and third woman overall, whoop)! I felt great after the race and the next morning. And then it hit me. By the end of the day, my knee had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and I could hardly bend it. I finally went to my orthopedic doctor last week. Diagnosis: inflammation due to fluid build up. Treatment: anti-inflammatory meds and take it easy for the next three weeks, but low-impact exercise (bike, elliptical) is okay. Boo! But it could definitely be worse.

Speaking of running, today is National Running Day! I had an intense bike ride this morning, but did get in a quick gimp-jog in around the neighborhood. :)

Lots more going on...but that's all I’ve got to say for now. Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We're off to Italy!!!

Ahhhh!!! I can hardly contain my excitement! It's been an insane few days as the husband and I get ready to leave. I can't believe our trip of a lifetime is finally here!

We head out tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Rome around lunchtime on Saturday. A few days there, then a few days in the beautiful region of Tuscany, and we end our journey in Venice. CAN'T WAIT to eat, drink, sleep, and repeat! SO thankful for vacation days. :)

And as the saying goes:

"When in Rome...yes, please continue...do as the Romans do?"
- courtesy of Anchorman. ;)

Stiamo Andando in Italia!!

Ciao! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving the AMAZING weather today! Makes me want to go outside and run for hours.

I'm loving that I am running with a new group of girls tomorrow morning. Can't wait! Speaking of running, I entered the lottery for the ING NYC Marathon today. Highly doubt I'll get in, but it's an exciting possibility! I also signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Sooo pumped!

I'm loving that my hubby's 30th birthday is this Saturday, which just so happens to be the same day as Hot Wing Fest. Hey Oh!

I'm loving that I barely even have a scar from my skin cancer surgery two weeks ago. So thankful they caught it in time, and the fact that my regular dermatologist recommended I go to Levy Dermatology for the actual procedure. Dr. Levy did an incredible job, and his staff is just wonderful!

I'm loving EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I don't particularly care for its classification as "mommy porn," and you do have to get past its (way) more-than-mediocre writing and lack of editing, as it was initially a self-published e-book (keep in mind it didn't go through a rigorous editing process like most books, especially a #1 New York Times Bestseller). I read the first book, all 500+ pages of it, in less than 3 days. Crazy fast for me. Beneath the surface, the story – and the message, too, I guess – is quite captivating. It's been a wonderful escape. It's also...well...let's just say that my husband doesn't have much to complain about regarding my choice of reading material. ;) And as Vicky Ward, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, so perfectly puts it, "It's a brilliant psychological thriller – albeit a horribly written one." And here's another fab article from Newsweek, for those so inclined.

Oh yeah...and I'm loving that we leave for Italy in NINE DAYS!!!!

What are you loving today?