Category Archives: triathlon

Stonebridge Ranch sprint triathlon race recap

It hit me as I was laying out my gear on Saturday night for my traditional pre-race layout photo that this was my first such photo in 2017 (I raced one other time this year, my February 15k, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to run that until I woke up that morning, because of a fender bender the day before).

One other race in 2017. Wow.

2017 has not been my favorite, and it certainly hasn’t been about “me” at all, due to some health issues with a member of my family. I’ve been fairly low on the totem pole of priorities, as are most moms, I’d reckon. So, after a few summer months of a fairly disciplined training cycle preparing for this triathlon, I was especially disheartened to get sick the two weeks before this race, not to mention a crazy Aug/Sept schedule that only allowed me to get to the pool 6 times in the 5 weeks leading up to the race.

Life, man. Still, I was up and at ’em and ready to go on Sunday morning, albeit with a few albuterol puffs and some coughing.

I left the house at 5:50am to drive the 30 min to the race site and have time to set up in transition and get my chip before the 6:55am transition lockdown and 7am Olympic distance start. My husband would leave later, closer to 7am, with the 3 kids. All 3 volunteered (no guilt trip, bribes or directives involved!) to come cheer me on, which I really appreciated. I almost always schedule my races on weekends when they’re with their Dad (because 3 teenagers. Enough said.), so they rarely see me race. I’m actually not sure my races are even on their radar, to be honest. They asked me at dinner the night before what I actually do in a triathlon.

They’re teenagers. But they’re really sweet kids.

The weather was gorgeous for the swim start, although it was a balmy 90 degrees by the run. It was my first time at the Stonebridge Ranch triathlon (okay, only my 3rd triathlon period), and my 3rd ever open water swim. Which is all to say that I am still very much a triathlon newbie.

We lined up on the area by the dock to watch the Olympic triathletes start their swims. While I was waiting, I saw a former student (I taught him senior year English) exit the water in third place, which was incredibly cool. I cheered his name loudly as he dashed by me (roughly 10 yards away) towards transition, and he told me after the race that he heard me yelling.

The swim: We entered the water (man made lake) off a dock, one by one, ants-marching style. It was too warm to be wetsuit legal, which worked for me as I do not have a wetsuit. I felt pretty strong throughout the swim; I sighted well, did not weave off track at all, and steadily picked swimmers off. I kept telling myself to slow down, pull back, and save it for the bike and run, but yet again, I cannot follow this advice.

I don’t know how to not “race” on the one leg that I can do well (more on that later). When I exited the water, I glanced at my watch, and saw I was sub-14 minutes, which was about where I thought I should be, given my conditioning. I also suspected, given how many swimmers I passed, that I did fairly well.

This turned out to be true. I was first in my AG out of the water, and the 7th woman overall.

I wish I could end my race report here, because that’s where the good news ends. #swimmer

my husband caught this picture of me exiting the water from his viewing point. 

See the guy in the neon yellow/green shirt in my husband’s picture? This is what he captured. Um. Okay, the good news is that I was running. The bad news is everything else.

T1: I noticed when I looked up the 2016 results (do all triathletes do this? Because I have to do this. It gives me an idea of the size of the field and how competitive it might be) that the T1 times for my AG were almost all between 4-5 minutes. This struck me as very odd. That is a long transition time.

It turns out that there is a very long run from the water exit to the transition area. As in, run down a big hill, across a field, between sets of tennis courts, and then finally into the transition area. I’m not kidding. It was a hike.

running down the hill towards transition. I look fast because I was trying not to fall down. It was a fairly steep decline.

see the edge of a tennis court in the far left side of this picture? We had to run over there, down the width of the court, then hang a right and run between two full court-lengths. 

The bike: What to say about the bike? I am still slow as molasses. I mean, okay, positive reframe – it was my first race using the clip-in pedals, and I did not wipe out at the start or finish. On the other hand, there were 10 and 11 year olds that were flying by me and doing those obnoxious yet graceful running-leap mounts and dismounts that would quite certainly land me in the hospital if I ever attempted them. I, on the other hand, very carefully and gingerly swing my leg over and settle myself and check left, check right, making sure I am not taking anyone out before slowly-grandma-style start to accelerate (and vice versa on the finish). It was hot, and there was a monster hill on mile 1 just out of the start (and then again at the beginning of loop 2) that was kind of brutal.

At least I handled it better than the person in front of me on my 2nd loop, who abruptly had to hop off her bike halfway up the hill because she couldn’t keep the momentum going, which then led the poor guy behind her to also half-fall/half-jump off his bike to avoid crashing into her. This all happened about 15 yards in front of me, which led me to involuntarily call out “oh shit, that sucks” as I swerved to avoid them.

Other than that, the bike was fine, but slow. I passed 3 or 4 people. Roughly 30-40 people passed me.

me on my trusty $200 Schwinn.

The run: As in my previous 2 triathlons, there is an initial euphoria for me going into the run because I am off the bike and alive praise Jesus all I have to do is keep my body moving forward I will not crash! (remember this. Wait for it.). Then, within a few minutes, the hurt locker sets in and I think “how in the WORLD am I supposed to run right now? This is not possible!”

Every time. Every. Time. (all 2 previous times).

I don’t know, y’all. I’m not a runner. I mean, I am in the sense that I have taken up running and I do it regularly, but let’s not forget that I am slow. I’m fine with that in half marathons. I’m still so proud that I can do half marathons. But in triathlons, it bothers me that I’m slow, and despite following training plans and really putting in the hours and training, not having the endurance to even do my pace for the 5k/10k part.

On this particular run, as some sort of cosmic balancing act for not crashing on the bike, the universe decided it would be fun if I tripped and fell with roughly 1/2 mile left of the 5k. I went flying. Down for the count, skidding across the gravel sidewalk trail. Immediately 2 other runners came to my aid (because athletes, whether runners or triathletes, are seriously the nicest people), and I had to do that embarrassing “fine! I’m fine! I got it!” while holding up my bloody palms and brushing off my bloody knee and immediately hobbling-jogging again, so that I wouldn’t slow down their race.

So that was fun.

 

this smarted more than it looks. Road rashes are the worst. 

I finished the race around 9:15am, and had to wait around for transition to open again, since we weren’t able to take our bikes out until the last cyclist left the field. My finishing time was a 1:38:08, which was a good 7-8 minutes slower than where I wanted to finish, so I was not pleased with my performance, but happy to be done.

We headed out to brunch with the kids, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I checked the results page at almost 11am and saw that I was 3rd in my AG. What? How was that possible?

It turns out it wasn’t. When I checked the results page this morning (to get the swim split picture for this blog post), I saw that while those times were accurate for myself and the two women in front of me, the other women were (previously) listed at their “finish” times, vs chip times. They actually finished in front of me – it’s just that I came out of the water before them by quite a bit.

With my former student. He won his AG, and placed 3rd overall for all men. He’s a rockstar.

Triathlons are long. And hot. And boring.

But they love their Mom

So, I have many thoughts about triathlons, and none of them very positive (this week). Three times, I have won my AG, and placed very, very well in the entire female field (without anything beyond the bare minimum for pool training), for the swim portion, and three times, I have done abysmally on the bike and run.  I don’t know where I want to go with this (and fortunately, since my triathlon season is done, I don’t need to make any decisions right now).

I have considered trying Master’s swimming next summer. I’ve considered focusing on aquathlons and open water swim challenges. I’ve considered that at some point I will get better on the bike and run. I’ve considered that maybe I should just try to be okay with being a rockstar on the swim part and merely average (or below) on the bike and run and just do it to have fun.

I don’t know. It’s an awfully expensive and time consuming hobby to be left so wracked with emotional frustration. But who knows. For now? I’m looking forward to getting a bunch of road races on the calendar, where simply getting that finisher’s medal really is an accomplishment for me.

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Adulting is hard

I’ve written before about what I not-so-affectionately call my limplungs.  The cliff notes version is that I’ve had pneumonia many times, which apparently means my lungs are “scarred” (according to an emergency room doctor), and whenever I get any sort of virus, it tends to make a straight shot for my lungs and make itself comfortable.

I used to approach these maladies with what my husband calls my “Christian Scientist” approach to sickness in general, which is to curl my lip at any actual medical intervention (like a visit to a doctor. Antibiotics. OTC medicine. Rest. Whathaveyou) and just mind-over-matter my way through it. This works very well for me with headaches, stomach bugs, minor aches and pains, and a vast assortment of other physical ailments.

It took me a few visits over the past several years to acute care and the emergency room, with the accompanying breathing treatments and shots in the ass (literally), to recognize that maybe when it comes to my limplungs, proactive and aggressive medical intervention is better.

For an educator, I can be a slow learner.

Which is all to say that when I woke up last Sunday morning, after chaperoning 101 seniors on an overnight retreat in the woods, followed by my middle son’s birthday slumber party, I figured my stuffed nose, painful sinuses and burning throat was just allergies and exhaustion. By Wednesday, when I added wheezing, coughing and hacking up brown junk to my symptoms, I knew I had to get on the phone to Teladoc.

(can we just pause a moment and praise the existence of Teladoc? For those of you that don’t have this employee perk, it’s a doctor that you call. And yes, I despise the phone, but I hate waiting rooms and copays even more. This is free and quick. It’s perfect for when you know what you need, but you just need someone with the initials MD to get it for you)

So I called Teladoc and explained that no, I did not need antibiotics because I was pretty sure it was viral (don’t get me started on the over-prescribed antibiotic epidemic) but that I did need a refill on my inhaler because it was out and the gunk was in my lungs and that never ends well.  I also explained that I have a triathlon in exactly 11 days and I would really prefer to make my race, so could he hook an athlete up with something?

He prescribed a course of steroids to make sure my lungs cleared up. And a hard pass on my girls’ trip to Austin this weekend, saying the best thing I could possibly do for myself was take it easy and get lots of rest.

No offense to the Teladoc medical professional, but this was a crappy treatment plan all around. For one, steroids make me a little crazy cranky. For another, NOT THE GIRLS’ WEEKEND I HAVE BEEN WORKING MYSELF INTO THE GROUND FOR 5 STRAIGHT WEEKS GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN, DOC.

But, alas, I knew the “smart” thing to do was to jump on the steroids and bail out on the fun weekend. A combination that, while slowly clearing up my lungs (I’m pretty sure the triathlon will happen as planned next Sunday), has resulted in most of this weekend spent scrolling through social media in a melancholy, weepy, pity party.

I kid. (not really)

It’s not all sad and lonely, however. Today is also the 7th anniversary of my first date with my husband. I blogged about it 3 years ago, and we’re still happily married (jazz hands!) so I’m going to rally and head out to our first date restaurant with him for dinner tonight.

Knock on wood the limplungs make a full recovery and my next post is a triathlon race report!

Back to school

If it’s been almost a month since I blogged, it must be back to school time! (or May. Or there’s a crisis. Or I don’t feel like blogging. But in this case, it’s back to school).

I know for moms everywhere back to school is crazy, and for teachers everywhere back to school is crazy, but it’s a special brand of manic exhaustion to be a teacher mom (not to mention with multiple children).  Every year from the 2nd week of August until roughly mid-September, my family goes from 0 to 120mph, literally overnight. It seems like every. single. night. my husband and I are brainstorming tomorrow’s schedule of how to get 3 busy teenagers and 2 educators to their respective obligations (with 2 cars, I might add).

But every year, we figure it out, albeit with some help from our village.

Every year, it also gets just a little bit more exhausting. I honestly can’t figure out if it’s because I really am feeling these mid-40s years, (age is no joke, people), or if as the kids get older, they have more commitments. Next year will be a good litmus test, as we’ll be down one child after we drop our oldest off at college (more on that in a minute).

This year, however, there was a noticeable decrease in the nightly dinners with 5 people around the table. We were more frequently missing at least one, if not two or more, children home for dinner. We capitalized on this by trying to take the remaining 1 or 2 kids out for special “Mom and Stepdude” dinners.

As you can tell, the girlchild was simply thrilled with the personal attention.

Despite the crazy schedule, I did squeeze in some fun friend time; one of my goals as my children get older, life gets crazier, and my work obligations get more demanding, is to not neglect my friendships. While I don’t wish a personal crisis on anyone, there is no better reminder of how important a support network is like a divorce, sick child or other stressful life event. These ladies have been with me through the ups and downs for nearly a decade now, and I love them to bits.

Even if they do argue over who has to stand next to the tall blonde one when we do group pictures.

Then there was the actual first day of school (August 24th for us). This year I have an 8th grader,  9th grader and senior (!). It’s my last year with children spanning more than one division at our pk-12 private school, It’s the first year for the middle child to wear khakis instead of navy blue.

And of course, it’s my oldest child’s last first day of school. At some point this year, I will do a blog post about what it’s like to parent a senior in high school, after twenty years of educating them (I began teaching 11th and 12th grade English in August 1997).

Spoiler: I’m not nearly as prepared, or chill, as I thought I would be.

my oldest manchild, who is now more man than child. 

First day of school, years 9 and 11 for us at our current school (although I beat him by several years in overall educator tenure). 

There was also the Upper School pre-Eucharist chapel tie lesson for my middle guy. In the middle school, they have clip-on ties for Thursday Eucharist. When you graduate to the big kids, you have to learn how to put on a “real” tie. Three years ago, my husband stood in our kitchen and taught the eldest this life skill; this time around, big brother helped (although stepdad had to lend his voice of experience).

So, here we are, September. Next week is the “worst” week, schedule-wise: we have Upper School parent night (which doubles as work night for us), then 2 days of Upper School retreats (all 4 grades go away to separate locations with faculty chaperones for class bonding activities), 2 field hockey games, 1 football game (aka drumline performance), and then my middle guy’s 15th birthday.

And that’s just next week.

But hey, I’m still doing that triathlon on September 24th (gulp), and putting together a race schedule for the rest of the school year. Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my marathon training plan query – I will definitely be running the marathon at a run-walk, just still not sure what plan I will use (will do the long runs at my run-walk ratio regardless of plan).

 

Tri training and end of summer update

I have lived in Texas for 11 years (which still kind of blows my mind) but one thing I’m still not used to is thinking of the first (at most, second) week of August as the “end of summer”. Growing up in New England, we didn’t start school until after Labor Day, and even as a teacher in the late 90s and early 2000 years, I didn’t have to return for professional development until the end of August.

For me, “summer” is really July and August, even though here in Texas, it’s June and July (well, per the schools. If you go by the temperature, it’s roughly 65% of the year. Another aspect of Texas I am not fond of).

This is all to say that I’m about to head back to work, and the kids are in the thick of frantically starting finishing their summer work.

I’m still plugging away preparing for my September triathlon.  Training has been going well, in the sense that I’ve been very consistent with the 2x a week workouts in all disciplines, plus strength training, plus an additional weekly brick. I feel like I’m in solid shape, if not at my “fastest”. I’m not approaching this triathlon very competitively, given the timing (on the heels of the first 4-6 weeks back at work, which is always a beatdown). It seems every year, as I get older, I am a bit more tired with the teacher-mom August – September hamster wheel.

I am, however, looking forward to having a fun race, while (hopefully) feeling good. If you can believe it, I’ve only done one race in 2017 (a 15k back in February) so I’m ready to get my head, and body, back in the game. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, 2017 has been a really, really difficult year, and my athletic hobby has been low on the priority list – I’m hoping I can turn that around heading into 2018.

Speaking of re-focusing on 2018, I’m almost ready to commit to my marathon. I’m starting to look at different first-time marathon training plans. For those of you who have covered the 26.2 distance, what’s your favorite newbie plan?

Summer, continued, and triathlon musings

Well, here we are, halfway through July, and nearly a month since I posted last, ​with the “I can’t believe I’ve been out of work for 3 weeks and have no time” post. I’m wrapping up week 6 of 11 weeks off, which means my summer vacation is officially more than half over; I feel like I have nothing to show for my summer vacation – which is weird, because if I look at it objectively, I’ve done 2 trips to the East Coast, a bajillion mom appointments, and a lot of triathlon training.

I get unsettled without daily structure. Happens every single summer. Even when I know I’m being fairly productive, I *feel* like I’m wasting my life away, without really relaxing or taking time off. I’m sure my husband can’t wait for me to retire. Fortunately, with 3 kids to put through college, I will probably have to work until I die. #silverlining

Anyway, the animals have been very happy to have me home. Their favorite time of day is when I (attempt to) plank and do push-ups. They like to “help”.

I’ve been sticking to my twice-a-week strength training with the husband. For the first time in probably ever, I can see some muscle definition in my thighs.

We celebrated the 4th of July with some dear friends, and an (early) cake for my birthday.

On my actual birthday, we flew to Boston for my cousin’s wedding. It was an awesome 3 day affair with multiple parties and celebrations. My cousin married a Pakistani-American girl, so we were able to experience a piece of their culture with the festivities. It was beyond gorgeous and fun.

out celebrating my birthday at a Boston pub with my family. That’s the groom in the center, who was the most composed of all of us at that point. 

the bride’s family provided us with traditional clothing for one of the receptions. So much fun!

at the mosque for the wedding ceremony. 

I’m teaching a summer online class, and working on some “list” items of cleaning and organizing (some people do “spring cleaning” – I’m pretty sure most teachers do “summer cleaning”), but other than that, it’s pretty much daily workouts, errands and household chores.

Boring routine makes for boring blog, I guess.

I *am* brainstorming my upcoming year’s race schedule, and trying to map out a trajectory of goals and training to focus on. Other than my triathlon in September, I don’t have anything officially on the agenda. I’m currently debating whether I want to do an early November triathlon or focus on road races once my September triathlon is over. I have such a love-hate relationship with triathlons; while I love the mash-up of workouts rather than the drudgery of mostly running, the time + expense factor makes me stabby. It’s really hard to find the time to train when I’m not off for the summer, and I really should consider getting some more gear if I’m going to stick with it (wetsuit. bike that’s not a $250 Schwinn, etc) but I have a hard time reconciling the cost factor of triathlons.

Not to mention I still sort of hate the bike.

Secretly I’m hoping I’ll fall in love with the marathon in 2018 and just focus on that.

Realistically, I think the odds are better of me winning the lottery and having all the money in the world to spend on triathlons rather than loving training for and running 26.2 miles, but anything can happen, right?

I know a lot of runners and triathletes read this blog – feel free to weigh in on whether you focus solely on one vs the other (or how you balance the two if you do both), and (especially for middle class ish parents with kids at home), how you handle the ridiculous cost of triathlons. I’m pretty lowkey when it comes to racing, and I know you can do triathlons on the cheap(er) – heck, I’m doing it – but I’m wondering how you approach it. Only a certain number of races per year? Stick to sprints on cheaper/less equipment?

I’ve been approaching it with the mindset that this is just a fun off-season-from-running-cross-training-workout, but I feel like the (few) triathletes I know “in real life”, as well as those I follow virtually, are all hardcore triathletes – as in, they invest a lot more time and money on the sport than myself, and take it seriously. Wondering if there are other “casual” triathlete moms out there who are content with lowkey racing/training?

2017

happy-new-year-2017-wallpapers-images-pictures-hd5

Happy New Year!

I think there are a lot of people exhaling that the dreaded 2016 is finally over, and looking forward to a fresh calendar year. The stroke of midnight like a tangible exorcism of last year’s demons, albeit with champagne instead of sage and resolutions replacing incantations.

Meh. I’m not all that excited for 2017.

Now, lest you think I’m just stubbornly clinging to the pervasive 2016 Debbie Downer mentality, I have my reasons. Sure, there are some exciting and anticipatory events on the horizon. We have a family spring break trip planned for March. I’m trying to work out the details to return to Yankee-land in July for a family wedding. I do have a pretty scary exciting fitness goal for 2017 (more on that in a minute).

But I have a hunch, somewhat reasonable and partly intuitive, that 2017 is going to bring the winds of change. For better or for worse.

I don’t like change. I would rather stay entrenched in known and predictable misery than face the unknown. True story: when I was a child, my mother would ground me*.  Only, she wouldn’t tell me how long I was grounded for. It might be 2 weeks. It might be 2 days. I didn’t know. This was far, far worse than the actual moratorium on Atari or television or sleepovers. I used to try to bargain with her that she could add on extra time to whatever number she had in her head if she would only tell me when my time was up. It was the purgatory that made the hell.

For a woman who, still, to this day, likes to call me her “brilliant Georgetown girl”, she’s clearly no dummy herself.

Anyway, most of these possible changes, I can’t blog about, for various reasons. I can say that my oldest will be applying to colleges in 2017, and will in all likelihood (fingers crossed) already have an acceptance or two under his belt by this time next year. That situation is particularly difficult for me (above and beyond the usual oldest-flying-the-nest hurdle), and I’m still hoping that there will be an amicable, non-litigious, resolution.

But I’m prepared for the alternative.

So, count me in the camp of giving 2017 more of a suspicious side-eye than celebratory squee.

With that said, I do have two goals for 2017.

One: train for a marathon. I have been saying for a couple years now that I would cross the 26.2 threshold in 2018. It seemed like a safe and comfortable horizon back in 2014. I blinked, and here I am, starting 2017, and realizing that the once far off shore is the next port of call. Since most marathon training plans are 3-4 months long, and I’m looking at marathons in the first month or two of 2018, the majority of my training will most likely take place in 2017.

So. 2017. Time to step up my running game.

On a smaller scale, I still want to do some sprint triathlons and shorter distance races in the meantime (I have a 15k in early February, and a triathlon on the books for the end of April).

Two: write more.

new-years-greetings-quotes-for-friends

I’ve always written, in various forms and fashions. I journaled as a tween and teenager. As an English major in college, I was always writing. I did the mommy blogger gig before it was even deemed “mommy blogging”. I’ve written for my eyes only, and, once upon a time, for an audience of several thousand viewers a month (in my previous incarnation).

I’ve always written. Except not so much the past few years.

So, I’d like to return to that. Some of my writing will appear on this blog, natch. If you’re interested in reading my ramblings, especially once I figure out my marathon plans (gulp!), feel free to subscribe (top right), especially if you’re visiting from Facebook. I’m not planning on promoting most of my blog posts on there in 2017.

But some of my writing will not be published in this corner of the internet. This is not a resolution for public consumption. Not yet, anyway.

Happy 2017, everyone. May it be bigger, brighter, and filled with more hope, love and optimism than that stinker 2016.

 

*a lot. All the time. I spent approximately 67.4% of my childhood and adolescence on restriction.

Sayonara

So, how about that 2016?

If you’re on social media, or heck, sitting around kvetching with family or friends, you have probably heard, even declared yourself, that 2016 was the worst. year. ever. Don’t believe me? See here.

Here’s the thing, though. It wasn’t. I mean, it hasn’t been a banner year. Certainly for some people I know, who have endured personal grief, loss or challenging circumstances, it has legitimately been one of the worst. I’m sure there are people out there, maybe even reading right now, whose 2016 was their version of my 2010.  I’m not talking about those versions of 2016. Y’all go ahead and give 2016 the trophy for the biggest loser.

I’m talking about this.  How our access to information, and groupthink catastrophizing, has led us to this mantra. Yes, many celebrities died. Yes, the election was a clusterfuck. Definitely, the violence, both domestically and abroad, is tragic. But we still have it pretty good. By we, I mean those of you (myself included) with internet access reading from your comfortable First World abode. For the record, I’m in pretty good company with this assertion.

So can we agree, on this last day of 2016, that while the year set the bar relatively low for 2017, it wasn’t a total wash?

Personally, when I look back at my resolutions for 2016, I discover that, beyond completing my triathlon and continuing to eat healthy, I didn’t really make any grand goals. This is a relief as I prefer apathy to failure.

I kid. Well, not really, but my lack of resolution making last year was purposeful. Still, I had a fairly productive year.

  • Miles run: 683 (much lower than last year’s 835, but #triathlon)
  • Miles biked: 898
  • Miles swam: 38 (okay, this number makes me giggle. Really? Remember when I won my OWS AG by 10 minutes.  If only running and biking came to me as naturally as swimming. I could be a triathlon SUPERSTAR).
  • Races: 2 half marathons, 2 triathlons, 1 15k,  1 5k, and 1 open water swim race.

I feel like that is a decent year, although in retrospect, it doesn’t seem like many races. I would love to do more, but I try to limit the impact of my midlife hobby on my family’s budget and weekend time.

I’m ending the year at the same weight I began (actually maybe a couple pounds lighter. I think. I’ve orbited the same 5-6 pounds since 2011, but I’m currently on the lower end of the range).

In other ways, 2016 had many other achievements, tangible and measurable, and otherwise. I completed my first year running a new program for the senior class, and it went as well as could possibly be expected (which is to say with 91 out of 93 completing it on time, which is statistically successful but not up to my 100% or bust standards).  I saw my girlfriends more than in previous years, and considering we have 19 kids between the 6 of us, that’s no easy feat (we even squeezed in a weekend getaway for a 40th birthday celebration. Not mine of course. I’m older than 4 of them. Bitches.). My kids continued to flourish and celebrate their own achievements, and my husband is wrapping up his year-long administrative leadership training program, and considering potential career trajectories.

There was a lot accomplished in 2016, despite the year’s bad rap.

Still, I’m not sad to say goodbye to 2016.