Happy New Year! Are you ready to attack 2017? It’s going to be full of change for me but more on that in another post.

I finished out 2016 with a couple of fun activities.

Night Hike: Last Wednesday I decided to join a local group for a night hike. We hiked over 6 miles and it was really fun. I thought I’d be scared of tripping and falling but our headlamps gave plenty of light and the trails are really well maintained. They meet every week and they also have a group of trail runners out there too. Maybe I’ll get the courage to try the running at some point this year.

Headlamps and smiles

Headlamps and smiles

Holiday City Run: Saturday morning (New Year’s Eve morning) I went into the city to meet some running friends—Lisa, Gary and Mike—for our holiday windows run.

We started here

We started here

We didn’t run past as many department store windows as usual but still stopped to see the tree at Rockafeller Center, Bryant Park and we discovered another really beautiful tree at a random hotel on Madison Ave.

Barneys

Barneys

Saks 5th Ave

Saks 5th Ave

hotel-tree

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Another shot from Bryant Park

Another shot from Bryant Park

Rockafeller tree and the gang

Rockafeller tree and the gang

I take this  exact shot every year.

I take this exact shot every year.

We made a quick stop into St. Patrick's Cathedral to say a prayer/light a candle

We made a quick stop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral to say a prayer/light a candle

These oversized ornaments are a classic over the years

These oversized ornaments are a classic over the years

We also ran into Times Square as they were preparing for the big New Year’s Eve ball drop shenannigans. There were already people who had gone through security and were “in position” at 9am! This is crazy to me. They basically were going to be spending 15 more hours just standing there until midnight. And no opportunity to exit. No bathrooms. It was really cold. I just think that’s nuts. They did however have bags with snacks. #priorities

All ready for the insanity

All ready for the insanity

Roads closed. You NEVER see Times Square without cars.

Roads closed. You NEVER see Times Square without cars.

New Year’s Eve: I had a quiet evening at Mr. SOTSS’s on New Year’s eve with Duncan, Casey (it was my last night of dog-sitting her) and Chester. I almost didn’t make it until midnight.

Mr. SOTSS, Casey, me, Duncan and Chester....

Mr. SOTSS, Casey, me, Duncan and Chester….

Not at all interested in staying up until the ball drops

Not at all interested in staying up until the ball drops

I leaned over the couch to reach for something on the sofa table and Duncan jumped up to get comfy. He's a riot and a half

I leaned over the couch to reach for something on the sofa table and Duncan jumped up to get comfy. He’s a riot and a half

New Year’s Day: After dropping Casey off, we took Duncan and Chester to our favorite park so they could get some exercise.

Duncan decided to roll around in some sort of animal poo and I had to give him a bath when we got home. I really don’t understand why dogs like to roll in stinky things.

Hey ma! I'm having a blast and I even rolled in something really stinky!

Hey ma! I’m having a blast and I even rolled in something really stinky!

Hoping 2017 is filled with lots of this

Hoping 2017 is filled with lots of this

We also painted Mr. SOTSS’ bathroom. He started remodeling his bathroom 2 years ago. It’s been a slow process because he hardly gets free time but the tiling is all done and now it’s painted.

I volunteered to do all the edging

I volunteered to do all the edging

Classic subway tile and "country house" blue

Classic subway tile and “country house” blue

It’s been really rainy here the last two days. I got some work done while Duncan kept me company. Not much different from 2016 :) I finally went to the mall to power-walk just to get my 10,000 steps.

my "office"

my “office”

 

I’m always optimistic at the beginning of a new year. So far I’m on day 2 of trying to drink more water and track my food. I’m not ready to say I’m on a diet but I just want to start being aware of what I’m eating each day.

Are you a resolutions person?

Have you ever hiked at night? I had run at night during my Ragnar Relay events but never hiking on trails before.

Have you ever wanted to or been to Times Square on New Year’s Eve?

Lately my life has felt a bit routine and I think it’s time to edit my “template”. While I was running the other day this sentence popped into my head: “Life is a template and YOU just need to customize it.” I love when I have these profound moments. It dawned on me that I don’t want to make a drastic change to my routine…I actually like a lot of my routine. I like the structure. I like where my text boxes and picture boxes are anchored. I just need to add a few unique colors or shapes. (Yep, I’m a graphic designer so these metaphors are working for me. :)

I thought about the new things I tried in 2016: I added some new media “customization” in 2016 when I listened to my first audiobook and my first podcast and they immediately worked their way into my routine. If you’re looking for a good podcast to listen to while running (or walking) I recommend DizRuns.

Diz Runs

Diz Runs

Just lots of runner-to-runner kinda conversation. His first question to all his guests is “What is your favorite distance to run and why?” I love hearing the answers. On a recent episode an ultra runner’s response was “the 50 miler because I can sleep in my own bed”. That’s crazy! He even interviewed me on episode 248 earlier this year. I spent lots of summer nights walking for hours around my neighborhood just to finish up listening to the episodes in my cue. I want to do more of that in 2017.

I want to try some new workouts in 2017, cook some new recipes and maybe go as crazy as getting a new shade of tinted lip balm! Any suggestions?

Yesterday was Duncan’s 8th birthday. I can’t believe it.

lol

lol

I force him to wear his party hat for 30 seconds every year

I force him to wear his party hat for 30 seconds every year

I remember picking him up when he was 11 weeks old on March 23, 2009. A 10-hour round-trip road trip just to bring home this bundle of curls.

He stared at me for a good hour of the drive before he finally curled up on my lap.

He stared at me for a good hour of the drive before he finally curled up on my lap.

I’ve been dog sitting for Duncan’s cousin Casey. It’s been fun to see double doodles every minute of the day.

Door "flair"

Door “flair”

content to co-exist

content to co-exist

I got a lot of eyes watching my every move

I got a lot of eyes watching my every move

i guess i'll sit in the middle

i guess i’ll sit in the middle

 

Mr. SOTSS came to visit me the other night and brought me some roses. I love flowers on non-occasions. So special. img_8212Duncan was happy to snuggle between us. img_8215I had back-2-back crappy runs yesterday and the day before. 3 SLOW miles with my annoying hamstring tightness.

I did get to listen to an hour of a podcast between the 2 runs but that's the only thing that was good.

I did get to listen to an hour of a podcast between the 2 runs but that’s the only thing that was good.

I started to realize this hamstring tightness began right around the time of my birthday at the end of October. It basically feels likes there are resistance bands connected from the backs of my knees up through my glutes. I can’t seem to propel forward much which leaves me slogging through every run, especially hilly ones. Today I finally decided i’m taking a break. I’ll start with taking a week off and I’ll see how that goes. Maybe this will be the perfect time to customize that template with a new form of exercise 😉

Hope you all have a lovely fun-filled weekend, happy holiday and merry everything! Here’s my final holiday card that I promised I’d share.

The front

The front

and the back

and the back

P.S. Thank you so much for reading my blog. I don’t make a penny on this blog. It’s purely because I love to talk about my life and running.

I have 2 posts that seem to get a lot of traffic. Ironically one is about cookies…..ok maybe not so ironic :) Anyway, these are my 2 most viewed pages

My review of the Nike Aeroloft Vest and the Starbucks Toffee Doodle Cookies I made.

 

As 2016 comes to a close I thought I’d recap my top 10 favorite runs of 2016. All for different reasons why they made the list and not in any order (although maybe they’re in date order now that I look at it).

1. There was my first time running a 10 miler…

The Cherry Blossom 10 miler in Washington D.C. Jane, Amy and I got into this race via lottery and while it was cold and windy we all did really well and had a fun girl’s weekend. The Cherry Blossoms were post-peak but I was fortunate last year to experience them during their peak so I wasn’t too bummed about that. I left that weekend with this desire to want to run more 10 milers. Of course there just aren’t a ton of 10 mile races so I haven’t run one since.IMG_2267

Found one!

Found one!

IMG_2265

Jane, me and Amy FREEZING our butts off before the race

2. And a half marathon in Philly for the 3rd year straight…

The Love RunI set a PR (in the pouring rain) at the 2014 Love Run, the first year I ran it. This year I had a solid run. My fastest of my 4 half marathons of 2016.finish2016

The medals at this race never disappoint. Last year was a spinner medal. This year was just super glittery.

The medals at this race never disappoint. Last year was a spinner medal. This year was just super glittery.

Good times

Good times

3. A Meaningful run to honor someone’s memory:

More »

Geez! Life has been whirlwind lately. I have a whole slew of post ideas that require my focus, yet I’ve been so busy with work and other commitments that I can’t seem to find the time to work on them.

Meanwhile, every year during the month of December, I want to slow down time and just sit and enjoy the twinkling lights on my tree and sip hot cocoa, but instead I’m scrambling to buy and wrap gifts in between working.

He agrees. He'd rather not have to work and buy and wrap gifts. Oh wait, he doesn't.

He agrees. He’d rather relax and not have to work and buy and wrap gifts. Oh wait, he doesn’t.

I took my niece to Six Flags Great Adventure on Sunday so we could get our season passes for next year. We hit up one of the roller coasters while we were there (Superman) and then went to the outlet stores a few miles away to shop.

Superman! My favorite ride at Great Adventure

Superman! My favorite ride at Great Adventure

That roller coaster in the background? We went on it earlier this year and we both freaked out because the safety harness felt loose!

That roller coaster in the background? We went on it earlier this year and we both freaked out because the safety harness felt loose!

Holiday in the Park!

Holiday in the Park!

I went for a quick run on Monday evening just before sunset to regroup.

i love when the sun sets and the moon shows up at the same time

i love when the sun sets and the moon shows up at the same time

I was feeling so frazzled and had so many things to tackle that it was easier to go running and think about how to prioritize my to-do list. I really love that aspect of running.

I had to bring my Subaru in for service on Tuesday and squeezed in a second run while I waited for it to be ready. It wasn’t a pretty route.

not the most scenic to run by

not the most scenic to run by

img_8024

I stopped to take a phone call from the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment which slowed my time overall but I actually kept a decent pace.

I basically ran over one of the biggest highways in New Jersey. But a run is a run right? There will be plenty of more scenic runs in 2017.

I also ran some errands with Mr. SOTSS while waiting for the car. We stopped at the post office for stamps. I hung back with the pooches.

Do you think he'll come out with biscuits?

Do you think he’ll come out with biscuits?

It’s really cold out today. Windy and in the 20s. Duncan gets static ears every year when it gets so dry in my house from the forced air.

So you're saying I need to tame the frizz?

So you’re saying I need to tame the frizz?

I took him to the vet this morning for routine stuff and to buy a 6 month supply of his heart worm and flea and tick preventatives. Geez. So expensive! Cost me over $300 in total. And he didn’t seem too appreciative. More like….”Can we go now?”

The "I got blood drawn" look

The “I got blood drawn” look not to be confused with the “you made me wear a halloween costume” look.

I took him to Petco after to pick up dog food…cha ching! img_8062And now he’s at the groomer which costs as much as a salon haircut and color. Plus, I’ll probably give his groomer a larger than usual tip for the holidays. In other words….I’m pet poor at the moment. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

We’ll I’d better get back to working to keep the kibble on the table.

Hope you’ve had a good week so far.

Anyone have fun weekend plans coming up?

Any solutions for static electricity (and shocks) in the winter?

Roller coasters? Yay or Nay?