If you may recall, dear readers, I made a list of my favorite moments of 2009 a year ago. And here we are, on the eve of the eve of the New Year (what?), and it's time to reflect once again. My ten favorite moments and things and events of 2010. Sit back. Grab a blanket. Some popcorn. A cup of hot cocoa. A book. A beer. Your dog. The remote. A different website. Whatever. And enjoy. In no particular order... 10. Mom's Surprise Birthday Party
Mom turned 50 this year. Just kidding. She turned 26. No, really. She turned 50. Just don't tell her I told you, the Entirety of the Internet. There was all sorts of hilarious hullabaloo surrounding the keeping of the secret, but in the end, it was amazing. We pulled it off. We were proud. I am high-fiving us.
09. Over The Edge
For some unknown reason, I never blogged about this adventure. In short, I rappelled down the side of a 13-story building. It was a Special Olympics Wisconsin event and I did it, in part, for work, and it was awesome as hell. If you've never rappelled, try it. It's fun. It's scary. It's all adventurous and whatnot. My secret? Don't look down.
This is the race day I'd been dreaming of since I ran my very first marathon. A sub-4-hour marathon. I did it, finally, in June. 3:58:34. The accompanying blog post tells the entire story, but even one day when I break that personal record, this marathon will always be the one.
Oh dear lord, this day. The day I received a random email from an unknown blog reader who had a job that was perfect for me. It all fell into my lap. It all fell into place. And it was, like, the best week ever. I've been happily in this "new" job for seven months now, and sometimes I still can't believe it's real. I took a picture of myself on my first day as if it were the first day of kindergarten. My mom wanted to see. In a way, it was very much like the first day of kindergarten. A whole big, new life started that day. Only no one cried or peed their pants, or anything. I think.
06. The Lake Loop
Ah, my very favorite running route in all of Madison. It's become so familiar. I can run it forwards, backwards, with my eyes closed (no not really), daytime, nighttime. I love it. Thirteen miles of perfect. It's one thing I'm most thankful for here. I will run it forever. Well, OK. That's probably a lie. But. You know. Sounds poetic.
I tried snowshoeing for the very first time this year. On New Year's Day, in fact. How appropriate. And again a few weeks later for a candlelight snowshoe event at a local state park. I fell in love with it. Such a blast! And such a good workout. I pined for my own pair of snowshoes ever since. And last week, for Christmas, I GOT SOME! Bring on the snow, 2011.
04. The Wisconsin Badgers
I didn't go to the University of Wisconsin, and although I'd always followed suit with my dad and enjoyed the Badgers (I still remember hollering at the TV with him during the 1994 Rose Bowl and running to ShopKo afterward to buy victory t-shirts), I'd never been to a Badgers sporting event of any kind. Until this year. Since fall, I've been to four football games, a couple basketball games and a hockey game. I got to experience "Jump Around" at Camp Randall (hands down the most fun part of all of it), and feel what it's like to be surrounded by red, white and pride. Way cool. Way, way.
03. I met Hal.
Hal freaking Higdon. That sweet man got me through my very first marathon five years ago. We used to curse him during every long run ("damn you, Hal!") and praise him every time we succeeded ("Hal is the BEST"). He's the marathon training plan guru, and for as long as I've been a marathoner, I've wanted to meet him. NEEDED to meet him. He's Hal. HAL! He's like my marathon grandpa. Love him. And in October, at the Lakefront Marathon race expo, I MET HIM. He signed my race bib. It was so magical I don't even know what to say. So I won't. I'll just relish in the glory that was that moment.
02. Dances With Dirt
The day I was a badass for three hours. Three hours of mud and hills and rocks and climbing and sweating and scrapes and absolute, total awesome. The Dances With Dirt "Extreme Half Marathon." Again, this is another one completely covered by the accompanying blog post, but what an epic day. Considering how hard the race was, I've never had more fun. This race is definitely happening again in 2011. Only bigger. And better. Just you wait.
I ran with one of my best friends this day. Anne and I had a mission -- to enjoy. This marathon will always hold a special place in my heart because it was full of happiness and bonding and the kinds of memories you should take away from a marathon. I finished that race with a burst of energy and a smile that will be hard to replicate.