This past year, 2014, has been quite something. I did a better job of setting and tracking goals than I have in the past, and looking back at the calendar, it shows. The year was filled with lots of ups and downs….and as if I were to use one word to describe the year, I’d describe it like my favorite foods – ‘crunchy.’
In January, I celebrated my 53rd birthday by competing for the first time in the Mid-Atlantic ERG sprints. What’s an ERG? I think it’s the sound you make after rowing all out for 2000 meters, then collapsing in a heap. It was a lot of fun.
In February, I followed that up by running to the top of the Empire State Building, and doubling my fundraising goal of $2500 to $5000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). I met a lot of amazing people, and saw first-hand the power of focus and enthusiasm in defeating a life-changing condition.
In March, I stepped out of my comfort zone to attend Lady and the Champs – a conference on professional speaking run by some of the best speakers on the planet. It was a bit scary to get up on stage in front of all those professionals….but they made me feel like I belonged there. I also completed my Competent Communicator award in Toastmasters after a long hiatus.
In April, I was furiously training for both a big bike ride….and my first triathlon, which I completed on May 5th. I was a little (actually VERY nervous) about swimming in open water, but once I got used to it, it was a lot of fun. I also ran the Marine Corps 17.75K race, earning a spot in the fall Marine Corps Marathon.
In May, I drove down to Spartanburg, South Carolina for the Assault on Mount Mitchell bike ride. It’s 102 miles, and over 11,000 feet of climbing. I attempted the ride in 2008….and didn’t finish. This year, I was determined to make it to the end – and I did…as the LAST official finisher. (still counts!) I also competed at the District level in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest.
In June, my daughter Lauren and I drove up to Pennsylvania…and I competed in the Black Bear Triathlon. It was still just a Sprint tri…but the bike ride was very hilly, which brought back memories of the previous month. It was a beautiful part of the country, with some great camaradie from the DC Tri Club. I also got to share some good times with old friends at my 35th high school reunion, realizing that we don’t get together often enough.
In July, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my motorcycle accident – at the time, the doctor said that I might not walk again…and after weeks in the hospital, it took me a long time to even walk without assistance. By this time in 2014, I was running up to 13 miles at a time. I think he might have been wrong. 😀
In August, I was busy building up my running mileage, and also completed my Advanced Communicator Silver and Competent Leader awards in Toastmasters. I was lucky enough to take a trip to London with the kids, and despite the food, had a great time in England.
In October, I completed my 10 year quest to come back from the motorcycle accident by completing the Marine Corps Marathon. I went out too fast, had to walk too much, and ended up a lot slower than my target time…but a decade later (and 20 years after my first MCM), I made it.
In November, I worked on recovery from the big race, and on Thanksgiving Day, had fun running a 5-miler in Cary, North Carolina…and finished 6th in my age group! Later on, I found out that there were 6 runners in my age group. 😀
In December, my story was selected as one of the most inspiring stories of 2014 in Michael Hyatt’s ‘Best Year Ever’ contest. It gave me more opportunities to talk about the lessons I learned in coming back from the accident, and how to set and achieve future goals. I also completed my Advanced Communicator Silver and Advanced Leader Bronze awards in Toastmasters.
It’s been quite a year. I’m working on my goals for 2015, and trying to make sure I’m balancing family, work and play to make it an even better year than this one. What are your plans for 2015? Are you setting goals that you can track and hold yourself accountable?
What can you do to make this coming year your best year ever?