This year, I have met a lot of new people, seen some great concerts, and experienced some new milestones. But the biggest thing of course is that the Giant finally moved here to the good ol' US of A for three months on the tourist visa. This folks means more to me than anything, because now we are on the same continent, hell, the same zip code. I get my partner full-time to watch movies, hang out on the couch, ride bikes, and drink some beers (even signed him up for his plate at Flying Saucer). It's been fabulous. I couldn't ask for anything more.
But there was more...so much more and without further adieu, a list of my epic adventures this year:
- Ran in the rain without issues, which gave me some strength and confidence with my running. I'm not scared to run in the rain anymore and using it as an excuse.
- Joined the Karbach Running Club and got a free shirt after five runs. It's a three mile run every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the brewery. I highly recommend it. I met some great people, including one (Bob) who introduced me to the Houston Triathlon Club.
|The inauguration of the Karbach Running Club.|
- Organized my very first run (Quadraman) with the help of a few great ladies to raise money for a good friend of mine, David Hartsock. If you haven't read his story, please visit his Caring Bridge site. His story has made international news again through a Sports Illustrated article in which a Give Forward site was set up to help him out. Please considering visiting and donating. His story also made it into Readers Digest and has sparked several groups to do an activity to raise money. It has been awesome to watch.
|Quadraman 2014 participants|
- Got into swimming...like a lot. I even had a friend (Jim) help me out and I'm now more of an efficient swimmer. I still have more to learn and want to take a Masters Swimming Class once.
- Participated in my first scavenger hunt, which was freaking cool. I have wanted to do this race for a year now, but I was always out of town. As luck would have it, I was in town when the call came into to join a team. And from there, I met and cultivated a great friendship with Elizabeth.
|Selfie with a party cycling thing and a dog banana.|
|This picture has nothing to do with the actual run, but it was my favorite picture from that weekend. Oh and we had some good wine, too.|
- Ran the Sprint For Life 5k with MaloRee for the first time ever after three years participating in this event. She just so happened to be in town that weekend and finally got to run it with our group.
- Participated in The Walking Dead Escape with Sara, Lori, and James where we outran zombies and then eventually, became one ourselves. I was knee deep in my sickness (so appropriate for this event), but I was not contagious anymore. Sara and I were marathoners turned zombies, while my brother and his wife were the bride and groom zombies.
|This was my favorite picture ever.|
- Ran my longest run ever (before my marathon, of course) with Jim. This was a huge milestone for me and proved to me that I could make it through the marathon without a total fail of my body.
|I loved how this picture captured my city, the park, and Jim running. Thankfully, it doesn't show me dying.|
- Completed a much needed Gait Analysis, which helped me a lot on my back issues and running form.
- OMG! FINISHED MY FIRST MARATHON!!! This was hard and crazy, but was such an amazing life goal that I tried several times to make happen. I couldn't believe it finally did happen. Plus, I got to go to another country, Scotland and show the Cordovas my second home of England (including a very beautiful run in England). I also got to hang out with Helen who's friendship I stole from the Giant (love her).
|The troublemakers can conquer the world now!|
|I take that back...this is my favorite picture ever.|
- Ran in France...very cool.
- Participated in another Hot Undies Run with Elizabeth (her first) dressed as Gay Mexican Fiesta Pride.
- Started and finished my first ever challenge, Five Minutes of Planks a Day Challenge. This was a rewarding experience and something I try to do at least once a week. I was supposed to get to a five minute plank, but it's just not going to happen this year.
- Participated in my first Raspas and Elotes bike ride and learned what the hell that even meant. I have always done the taco rides or whatever social rides, but not this one. I also learned that I will never let Caroline get my elotes.
|This is elotes!|
- Organized several bridge runs (Kemah Bridge and Fred Hartman Bridge) where I actually ran on a bridge with a group of people for fun. It was quite cool and I met a lot of new people. Because my foot got to Level Orange on the third one, I had to stop these runs completely, which made me so sad.
|This picture here won me a gift card to Sports Chalet.|
- Participated in sunrise yoga by the beach, my first yoga session on sand. It was really cool and I hope to make that an annual thing.
|This picture shows me doing this headstand thing for the first time with minimal help.|
- Bought a new road bike named Cylo and have already had some fun adventures on it. Check out posts here, here, and here, including my longest bike ride ever.
- OMG! FINISHED MY FIRST TRIATHLON!!!! This was another amazing experience. I had some trouble throughout, but I know I can do better. I have even agreed (maybe stupidly) to a Half Ironman next year (for sure 2016). EEK!!!
|This picture got me over 100 likes for the first time on Facebook. Oh yes, it did.|
|Out of all the pictures the professional photographer took, I loved this one the best.|
- Hiked up Enchanted Rock with the Cordovas and the Giant.
- Had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) at a marathon. Yeah, it's probably not something to celebrate, but it was my first time and I was okay with it. With this experience, I created a running group bond with the Allen sisters and Valerie. We have plans now to meet each other somewhere and run a half marathon or a marathon every year. The Marine Corps Marathon is on our horizon for 2015 if we can get in at all.
- Participated in Cranksgiving, which is a program to bring supplies to homeless people and their dogs on Thanksgiving morning using our bicycles.
- Went on a Houston Historic Pub Crawl where I learned about my city through beer, such as Houston used to be the capital, but was moved to Waterloo (now called Austin), because our last President didn't like Sam Houston. I also won a free tour anywhere in the world. I also FINALLY learned about the Wiley stickers I've seen around town and made a connection with him through Instagram.
|This is of the State Bar, which was recently closed. The history of this bar was so cool. JFK was there the night before his assassination to give a talk to LULAC.|
- Participated in Falconry with the Cordovas and was by far one of the coolest things ever.
- Found a group of friends equally in love with watching the World Cup as myself. Through this, we have seen and done many activities together. And thankfully, they like food like I do.
- Participated in my second favorite time of year, Houston Restaurant Week. I was able to go to a record eight new places and one place I've been to before for a total of 9 restaurants. The places included Mr. Peeples Restaurant, Masraff's, The Bird and the Bear, Post Oak Grill, Mockingbird Bistro, Churrascos (been there before), Triniti, Brasserie Max & Julie (least favorite), and Nara Sushi & Korean Kitchen. It was awesome and my favorite was Masraff's.
|The group at Masraffs. Yum.|
- Reunited with some old TAMUCC college buddies. GO TARPINS!
|World meet Corey. Corey meet world. This was at the Houston Beer Festival, which was my first time, as well. It was freaking hot and I'm not sure who was the moron to decide on an outdoor festival in August in Texas.|
|This guy right here, Matt. Through a randomly posted picture on another friend's Facebook page, I reunited with him and found out that we both have Brits (long distance relationship) in our lives.|
- Read a zombie book (Winchester Undead) written by my friend, David Lund. I actually know an author (really need to work on this for myself). Buy his book here; the second book is coming out soon. I also won this artwork.
- Jumped with my friend Rueben on his first tandem for his birthday.
- Pied the Cordovas. Only skydivers will understand this and how they got away with it for so long is beyond me. Thanks to Tony for organizing it.
|Congrats on your 1000th jumps a decade ago.|
- Saw my friends get married at the cutest backyard wedding ever done up with all science related love themes. Loved it.
- Went to my first ever Oktoberfest in Houston complete with lederhosen and all. I'm ready for the real deal now in Germany.
- Welcomed the Giant to America at where else...St. Arnold Brewery where I coincidentally ran into my Godmother.
|I haven't seen Susan in years and it was a surprise to run into her. Now, if only my mom would have remembered she volunteers here so we could have gotten a table reserved.|
- Participated in a Houston Brewery Tour with the Giant, Lori, and James. My brother is not pictured, because he's on the bus ready to drink.
- Went to the opening and closing games for the Houston Dynamo. We didn't get to the playoffs, but I still had fun.
- Saw the coolest, campiest, craziest musical ever, Evil Dead The Musical where I started another new friendship with Lauren. We had so much red liquid poured on us, it was crazy. Next time, I will bring a towel.
|We got a picture with most of the cast afterwards.|
- Dressed up as Magenta from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was a bucket list costume item for me. And to top it off, the Giant dressed as Riff Raff. I loved our costumes and can't wait to dress up like that again. Thanks to Susan for making my hair a work of art. All that's left for the Halloween Costume Bucket List is dressing up as slave Princess Leia.
|Touch me Touch me Touch me. I want to feel dirty.|
- Used a pretty cool template for the first time ever to carve our pumpkin. And no, the Giant didn't do all of the work.
- Went to several bucketlist concerts, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Gwar (was an off the wall kind of list). I also learned about a new band called Sir Sly whom I LOVE and will see them again in January. I had a mini Mayde Creek reunion seeing our favorite band from that era, 311. It was a fantastic night and I got a free ticket to NIN and Soundgarden (never saw either before and thanks Faz). NIN was one freaking amazing concert and I will make it a point to see NIN again whenever they come to town. I also saw freaking Alice Cooper, which was another fantastic performance. My only other bucketlist concert that didn't get reached was ZZ Top. They had to reschedule the show until May.
|Nick Hexum from 311 is still a dream.|
|NIN was freaking amazing.|
|Lindsey and I with the singer of Sir Sly.|
- Took the Giant to his first professional football game where we saw the Texans play the Philadelphia Eagles. We lost, but I got to hang out with my good friend, Ashley and show the Giant what tailgating is really like (with Jim's group of people).
- Went to a really cool event called Pints for Pups hosted by K-9 Angels Rescue at the Karbach Brewery. It made me realize that I want to get more involved with events like this for 2015 or at least go to as many as I can. Remington was not at all pleased with what happened that night and could care less to go back.
- Toured Fredericksburg winery country and visited Luckenbach, TX, and Albert Hall, TX, for the first time.
- Watched the Giant learn to play Beer Pong for the first time. It was glorious and he did awesome.
- Watched the Giant change the break pads and discs on my car. This right here was the sexiest thing ever.
- Watched the Giant participate in his first American Thanksgiving.
- Went on my first Santa Pub crawl. I don't remember much of the night, but I know I got home safely...I think
|This is the before picture.|
I have a lot of expectations or things I'm pumped to do in 2015. I will have a big life event happening at some point in early 2015 and then yes, another foot surgery, which will be scheduled around that time, too. I have more triathlons and marathons in my future. I want to do a century ride and definitely hike a large mountain. I also want to do a Rim to Rim Tour of Grand Canyon. There's an Alaska trip hopefully scheduled and maybe I will finally get to see my first Women's World Cup in Canada and/or Rugby World Cup in England. The other two unknowns right now are MS150 and a Half Ironman.
I had a pretty darn busy year and three months with the Giant flew by in a flash. We didn't get to do all of the things I wanted to do before he left. So, I have some places I want to go and see in Texas, such as Big Bend National Park and Hamilton Pools. However, I can't get a concrete schedule until I know when my foot surgery will take place.
Have a safe and happy Christmas y'all! And...