100 Happy Days

I don’t remember where or how I first came across the 100 Happy Days hashtag, but whatever I saw had me intrigued enough to look into it and discover the site behind it. I had been planning to do some kind of “photo a day” project over the winter, and coming across 100 Happy days mid-January fit perfectly…so I dove in. I ended up with 96 photos, two videos, and two days missed. Honestly, I’m shocked that I only missed two days!!

If we’re friends on Instagram you’ve already seen these over the last few months. For the rest of you (or if you want to see them as a collection/in order) I pulled the photos into an album on Flickr so head over there to see all of my 100 Happy Days in the same place, and check out some of my favorites below!

 

100 Happy Days Snapshot

Year in Running: 2013

I promise you this blog isn’t turning into all-running-all-the-time, but since I do spend a lot of time running, you have to deal with hearing about it periodically. I came across this survey on a few blogs that I read and really liked the idea of sitting down to figure out how I would answer, so here you go: my year in running.

  • Best race experience? Falmouth, hands down. Falmouth was totally unexpected – I didn’t even attempt to get a number in the lottery, but a got a bib through a friend of a friend who works for the race organizer. I was super nervous about this race because, at seven miles, it was the longest distance I’ve ever raced. The course is known to have a number of challenging hills. It’s also in August, on Cape Cod when humidity and heat are an Year in Running: 2013 | My Monotonous Lifeincredibly real threat, and those are my least ideal running conditions (they guarantee a post-race migraine). Oh, and at 13,000 runners, it’s the largest race I’ve ever run, which means all kinds of crazy logistics….but it’s Falmouth! Falmouth is a “bucket list” race for runners from around the world, and I was lucky enough to have a bib fall into my lap, so there was no backing out. I planned to run with the friend who had finagled me a bib, and as she was coming off a back injury our plan was to just take it easy. We dubbed it a “seven mile party on the run”, and that’s exactly what we did (with heaps of goofy race photos to prove it!). We zigged and zagged across the street and PRed in running under hoses and sprinklers. We high-fived every little kid we saw with an outstretched hand. We sang along to the music being played by both live bands and folks with huge speaker set-ups on the sidelines (the crowd support for this race is, with no hyperbole, legendary). We laughed a lot, and we ran my slowest race ever, and it was AWESOME. Before Pete and I had even driven out of Falmouth to head home after the race, I was plotting to buy a house there in order to guarantee me a race bib every year (donations towards this goal are accepted and earn you visiting rights). Runners up: Firefighters 10k and Edaville Rain Run – Pete’s first race!

Year in Running: 2013 | My Monotonous Life

  • Best run? Running in the Hamptons in March. Pete and Mark went on ahead of me and I had a tough, exhausting run that ended up including a lot of walking. Despite that, it was also a beautiful run through a state park and with a stretch along the beach, and maybe I spent part of that run worried that I was lost and never going to find Pete and Mark again and so would die in the woods….but it’s definitely the first run that comes to mind when I think of great runs this year. Runners up: my Philly run in October, running the Tan in Melbourne with Ros,  and (surprisingly) my super hilly training runs for Falmouth.Year in Running: 2013 | My Monotonous Life
  • Best new piece of gear? I’m not a huge gear person (at least I don’t think I am?), but I finally bought a pair of insulated running tights in an effort to do more running this winter than I did last winter, and I la-la-love them. I’m waiting to find another pair on super-sale to snatch up, because I would like to own a pair for every day of the week.
  • Best piece of running advice you received? I’m really not sure how to answer this one, because there isn’t one specific thing that I heard or read that clicked and changed things. I guess the best advice (that I didn’t get from anyone in particular but had the biggest impact on my running this year) was to really embrace strength training – and to do it consistently. The impact on my running was huge! I set PRs in every distance I race in numerous times this year (10k in April and again October, 5 miler in May and again in November, 5k in August). I’ve also been more comfortable running for longer distances than I have been since I was running three seasons of track in high school. The impact on my life wasn’t exactly small, either! My goal this year was simply to get strong, but I was hoping that “get strong” would lead to “get back to my pre-desk job weight”…I’m not there (yet?), but I did lose six stubborn pounds and I am back at my pre-desk job clothing size despite the extra few pounds. I dropped ~3% body fat, too. The mental perks have been great, and I picked up a bunch of bootcamp buddies along the way.
  • Most inspirational runner? This is hard! I am ridiculously lucky to have a lot of inspiring running friends. One of them survived three months in a coma, came out of it barely able to walkYear in Running: 2013 | My Monotonous Life, and is now running half marathons on the regular…and has taught me to appreciate every. freaking. day. (even a bad day is a good day) and every. freaking. run (even a bad run is a good run). One of them survived cancer as a child and is winning age-group medals at races. One of them has dropped heaps of weight and came out of it with a truly inspiring attitude. One of them set amazing goals and wasn’t afraid to talk honestly about the struggles of training and the disappointment of not reaching a goal, yet never gave up. Sorry! I can’t pick just one.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? PR city! Strong. SO MUCH FUN.

And last, but not least, here’s the recap from my race tracker spreadsheet for 2013…two races left before I’m done for the year (fun ones! Girls Night Out this weekend and the Ugly Sweater Run the following).

Year in Running: 2013 | My Monotonous Life

Melbourne

I will spare you all an onslaught of photos…you can find a lot (almost 200) of the photos I took on our trip over at Flickr….the ones here are a few of my favorites. We spent two weeks in Melbourne in April (it already feels like it was ages ago), and it was awesome. I could probably go on for hours about our trip, but I’ll spare you that, too. Here are the things I don’t want to forget:

Baby-size Coffee– Pete’s first experience with the smaller portion sizes: In the Sydney airport, Pete went to McDonald’s to get a coffee (we had just deplaned after a 19 hour flight from LAX and were on hour 27 of our trip. Coffee was in order). We proceeded to the gate to reboard our plane and were chatting about how Pete had survived his first trans-Pacific flight, how the quick layover at LAX was the furthest west he’s ever been in the US, and how he was starting his first visit to Australia – “so many firsts!” I said. He replied “and it’s my first time getting a baby-sized coffee!” I laughed, knowing that it would take a day or two to get used to how everything in Oz is smaller – the cars, the houses, the portion sizes. What I didn’t realize was how hung up Pete would be on his first experience with it. Thirty minutes into our flight (the last, and shortest, of 4 legs), Pete shows me the screen of his phone and says “that’s how much I paid for my baby-sized coffee!” and I see that he’s got the currency exchange app open and is shocked to learn that he’s paid something like 2.85 USD for a coffee the size of your average sippy cup.

– The heartache when we heard about the Boston Marathon bombing, and the frantic tracking down of all our friends. The worry when we learned that our friend Ryan had been injured (but was “okay”) and waited to learn more details about her condition. The gratitude for the technology which meant that we were able to keep in touch, live, with friends at home while we all tried to digest what had happened and ensure that our loved ones were safe. The comfort of being with friends who could understand our shock and sadness because they have also called Boston home. The shock of walking into Fed Square and looking up to see video of the explosions on the jumbotron. The tears I fought every time it came up in conversation with strangers over the next two weeks.

Boston Posse!

– Feeling so at home in a city so far away. From the comfort of having the same standard conversation openers (weather, sports) to having somewhere to get coffee on every corner (although far more independent businesses than we have in Boston), to the luck of having a number of friends who live in Melbourne…I never once felt like I was in a foreign city. It was so hard to leave – partly because I didn’t want to say goodbye to all the friends who we get to see so rarely, partly because I feel very much in tune with the Aussie mindset, and partly because I fell in love with the city of Melbourne itself.

Mr & Mrs– Ros and Chris’ wedding: The look on Chris’ face when he saw her coming down the aisle. Ros’ inability to look Chris in the eye during the ceremony because she refused to start crying. The cat that wandered behind them mid-ceremony. Watching two people so perfect for each other bring together their families and friends for an amazingly fun party. The reappearance of Pedro, a máquina de bailando!

– Cider cider everywhere! Not that I was worried about finding a beer alternative to drink while we were there, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that cider is all over the place in Australia these days. I would happily have managed with champers and wine for two weeks, but I loved having a new-to-me cider almost every time we were out. Pete certainly outdid me with his multitude of beer paddles, but I may have managed to try as many ciders makers (are they also brewers? I don’t know the lingo) as he tried different brewers!

More Heidi
– You guys! Kangaroos are SO SOFT. More on that in another post.

– You guys! Koalas are SO UGLY. And not particularly nice. On the day that we drove the Great Ocean Road, we were directed to a specific spot: take the turn to the Cape Otway Light, drive until you go over the cattle grate, then pull over and look up. We were skeptical, but we saw ten wild koalas hanging out in the trees! And they really are ugly! The one that was on the ground was hunting for tourists to attack, but luckily koalas are slow and the tourists were smart enough to get out of the way. An actual koala attack would have made a great story, but we were happy that we didn’t have to figure out how to get emergency medical help for an innocent tourist.

Ready Freddy!

– We spent about half a day in Bendigo (I really enjoyed annoying Pete by repeatedly saying “let’s a-go to Bendigo!” all day), mainly for the purpose of going on a tour of a working gold mine. It was pretty rad, but my favorite part was when Dale, our tour guide, was referring to how the miners were paid when it first opened. As contractors, they were paid “per foot – or in more modern terms, per meter”. Because imperial units is so antiquated, who would use those measurements these days?!

There is so much more that happened on our vacation, but these the bigger things that stick out, and a few of the little things that make me smile and I don’t ever want to forget. Check out the rest of my photos on Flickr if you want to see and read more about what we did with our two weeks!

Lately

There’s been a bit of this going on:

web_1.13.2012_Pete_Guitar

That one is from January. He got a 12 string acoustic from his parents for Christmas, which re-inspired him to play lots and lots. Surprisingly, the awesome new guitar inspired him to play both his old 6 string acoustic and his newer electric as well. Since I’m the Best Girlfriend in the World, I tipped him off about A Street Music, which  had recently relocated from Quincy Center to our ‘hood. Pete was so happy with the work they did on his 12 string that he then tipped Downstairs Dave off about them, and it’s almost as if the two of them are now competing to be Customer of the Year! Why play only three guitars and leave one sad, old, lonely electric guitar stored under the couch in the guest room when you can take it to your new BFF and have him gussy it all up so that you can have four guitars in rotation?!

Yeah.

web_2.9.2013_Pete_Guitar

This one is from February (the older electric wasn’t back in rotation until March I think – I’m not sure I’ve got photographic evidence of it…yet).

I don’t want anyone to think that Pete only sits on the couch and plays guitar alone – now that he and Downstairs Dave have significantly increased the number of guitars to play, they spend plenty of time playing together down in Dave’s apartment. It’s almost cute…except when I realize that there are weeks that Pete spends more time with Downstairs Dave than he does with me! ;)

…and then July happened…

June was so busy that I think we subconsciously kept July a little less planned and more relaxed…and yet we still managed to have a lot of fun.

OpSail Tall Ships were in town the first week of July and I spent a Sunday afternoon wandering along the HarborWalk and checking out some of the festivities.

My creation

The Fourth had us hanging out with friends to grill and enjoy the weather. Oh…and there was some slip and slide action from the kiddos.

7.4.2012_fourth20

The following weekend, I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon kayaking on the Charles with friends. I love kayaking like you wouldn’t believe (if anyone wants to buy me a kayak for my birthday or Christmas, you will rocket to #1 on my list of Favorite People in the Entire World…and I’ll let you use it occasionally), and I’m not entirely convinced that there’s a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the city. Even if there is blue-green algae on the water which may lead to a rash…or possibly death.

7.8.2012_Kayaking4

You’re probably curious what the cats have been up to throughout the summer. Let me sum that up for you in this one picture of Barley:

7.12.2012_BarleyAtWork

On July 13th, Pete and I celebrated our eight anniversary. Remember on our third anniversary when I bought Pete one piece of gum for every day we had been dating (I’m actually not sure I ever blogged about that)? I think he liked this gift better: one bottle of beer for every year we’ve been together. For someone who chooses beers based entirely on aesthetics, all reports indicate that I picked good ones. Also, if you’re curious, the beer only cost $10 more than the gum.
7.13.2012_beer_trip

All of the remaining photographic evidence from July is courtesy of my phone – which is to say, not abundant or of great quality. There’s a new ice cream place in Quincy – Molly Moo’s. It’s conveniently located halfway between our house and the beach, so on one particularly nice Saturday afternoon we got some ice cream and then wandered down to the beach to enjoy it. This was our view. Every once in a while I forget that there are parts of Quincy that are downright beautiful, and then I go for a run or a walk along the beach and find myself amazed by how pretty it is.

squantum yacht club

The next weekend was pretty awesome, actually, but the pictures that prove that are crap as they were (again) taken on the phone and it was very dark. We went to see the Summerland tour. Pete and I were in college for the same four years, but the music that each of us remembers from that time is very different…this tour? It was my college years, rolled into one awesome concert – Marcy Playground, Lit, Sugar Ray, Everclear. I’ve never enjoyed watching 40+ year old men run around on stage acting like they were 20-something so much!

And that? That brings us to August!