2017 in Review

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It has been an interesting year. Some highs,  lows, and then times of cruise control. I started working at a new company, had to say goodbye to a family pet, saw my little sister get married, and so much more. It was a year of pushing myself to my limits physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

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I would be lying if I said the year started out on a high. Sure I was starting at a place that actually wanted to invest in me, but new jobs bring on tons of new stresses. The transition was very taxing on me. I no longer had the great friends I had developed at my previous place. I was now responsible for many more things, and during this transition I was hit with some of the most devastating news I good get. You may know, but at the beginning of the year we had to put Copper to rest. It was the perfect storm. I drained myself empty by not having the familiar faces from the previous company, along with trying to out perform the expectations the new company had for me.

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Feb/March came quickly. I wanted to show my appreciation for the women in my family so I took each of them out individually. I think I told them I was doing it for them, but in reality I was probably doing it for me. I needed to be around them. They each got to pick a restaurant, and over the next few weeks I was able to have one night with each of them

 

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Spring finally arrived and the winter blues went away. I didn’t walk into this year with goals of doing a triathlon or crit racing. I wasn’t even wanting to get stronger, but for some reason working out became my rest. Not physically, but mentally. It was a way to escape the stress and frustrations of every day adulting. Then somewhere along these rides I became addicted to it even more.

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I had my first days off from work/riding in May. It was a vacation that I will remember for years to come even though it was a short weekend. I wish I could have captured those moments better with a camera. Starting a hike in rain and having it slowly turn into snow the higher we went was crazy. None of us were prepared for this weather which is one reason it left such a mark.

 

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This was the next day….weather be crazy

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I haven’t been into cars as much lately since I can only handle one expensive hobby, but in May I got to help a friend out by taking some photos at a Poker Ride held by the Team Annie Rose Foundation. It was a blast getting to see so many nice cars. They were beautiful to look at in the parking lot, but the sound of them driving away can’t be beat.

 

 

 

Right after the vacation I decided to ride in the Tour de Nash. It has always been an enjoyable ride since it is just around downtown. I spent the time after the ride catching up with a friend from church as he worked the Project 615 tent. That day was what I needed at the time. The community on the bike and off the bike, along with the workout was perfect.

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The weekend after the Tour de Nash was another ride, but this one was longer and had more hills. It was a tough 66 miles with over 3,500ft of climbing. I had been riding with a group up until about mile 40 which was the start of the King of the Hill segment. That segment destroyed me and made our group fall apart. I stubbornly decided to not stop at the last rest stop for fluids. Someone told me we only had like 6 miles left, and I was also feeling good. Those last what turned out to be 10+ miles almost ended me as I was fighting cramps in my thighs on the last few hills.

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It was around this time that I started to realize I couldn’t get off the bike. I would ride Percy Warner after work or just ride around my neighborhood. I didn’t care who I rode with, or if I rode with anyone. I just wanted to be outside.

 

 

Enter the Summer. Around this time Alex moved to Knoxville which meant I lost my roommate and the person I was probably the closest to. I am not sure if I had ever felt more alone than during this time. I struggled and to this day still deal with it some. I am a bit of a hobbit, but in the past it has always been by choice. I guess not wanting to be alone feels much more different than wanting to. So to fill this time I rode more, swam more, and ran more. Everything I enjoyed I tried to do more. This is when I tried my first crit race. It was embarrassing but so fulfilling. I may not race in 2018, but I really look forward to spending the afternoons at the track.

 

In May I was still down about Copper, but one day my friend Dywuan reached out to me to see if I wanted to help with a dog event at Station 40 apartments. It was the perfect time to spend the afternoon around pets.

 

As Summer rolled on I started to need a break. Cycling was putting a toll on me, and work was really stressful. So my parents were amazing and asked if I wanted to tag along with them for a weekend getaway with my second family. So I got to spend 4 days with the family I lived with during my internship in Ohio. My second mom who I always will love, my second dad who I can always go to for advice on wine and logistics, and then my brothers who I can laugh with (on and off the golf course)

 

 

After this trip I decided I wanted to try a triathlon out. I hadn’t been officially training for one, but I had been cycling and running/swimming some. I was incredibly nervous the morning of the race. The riders staged next to me ended up being very helpful in easing the butterflies as I probably almost had a panic attack during the swim. I finished better than I expected, but I was a bit frustrated that I didn’t try to suffer more during the bike ride.

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It was around this time that Alex’s wedding started to approach. I was unsure how I was going to do the day of. Alex is my baby sister, best friend, and the one person who has seen me at my weakest. The wedding showers during the Summer really helped to confirm that I was letting her go to a great family.

 

 

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Riding season was coming to an end but that didn’t stop me from treating myself with some new wheels. After a few years my custom built ones were becoming impossible to maintain. With me riding at the track so much more, and also wanting to look the part I bought these beauties. I don’t think they made me faster, but I look good haha. I also was able to participate in the last Ride for Reading book delivery. It happened to be at the elementary I grew up going to which made it that much more special.

 

 

The holidays can be a tough time. Add in the awful weather and it results in me being stuck inside. So I tried to keep myself busy around the household. Riding my trainer, doing workouts in the spare bedroom, or just taking pictures. I also started something new in my journal. At the end of each day I look back at what maybe upset me or stressed me out and come up with a way to be thankful for it.

 

 

There are so many more photos I could share, and def more thoughts. 2017 was a year that pushed me. I was promoted at work in a management position over their Truckload department. I was able to become a stronger rider and swimmer. I became much more involved at church by volunteering, serving on Sundays, and being involved in my small group.

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I had some amazing highs in that I got to see my little sister get married, and then I placed 7th out of 76 in my age group for the triathlon. I rode 60% more miles, ran 168% more, but swam 4% less this year vs 2016. I also had the lowest of lows such as Copper passing away from cancer, and then the random nights coming home to an empty house. If there is one thing I know it is that I am stronger than ever because of both of these. I am still undecided on if I will compete/race any, but I do have some personal goals when it comes to fitness and my relationship with God that I plan to knock out of the park. Until next time, I hope everyone had a great ending to 2017. I know I will because I just bought a new mattress, so I plan to enter 2018 refreshed haha.

 

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Time Is Not on My Side

Ok so maybe the title is a bit dramatic. With that being said, I am always surprised at how fast time goes by. I can’t believe that the middle of October is already here. But when I look back I can see that so much has happened this year. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that November is quickly approaching. I am sure all of us have big changes happen every year. So like your year, this one has not been an exception for me. I have moved to a new company, been promoted at that company, my roommate and best friend moved out, gained another brother-in-law, and lost a dog that I loved. So far the year has had incredible highs, and some awful lows.

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I was able to take some pictures at a Puppy Pool Party. I had an incredible time there because I got to meet some great people and some awesome dogs. It reminded me about the joy a dog can bring to my life. It reminded of the power friends have and community. But it also reminded of a dog I lost. A dog I will never replace, nor ever want to.

I finally took a vacation, even if it was just a couple of days. I was able to see my second family. The parents that took me in for the months I lived in Columbus, OH. It was great because I was able to relax for a bit. Oh and be pampered with the finest of bourbon and wine.

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My roommate/lil sis/bestfriend (she wears many hats) moved out. It has been very difficult finding ways to fill that void and silence at home. (Refer to parts about me working out more) I had to say bye as she moved to another city, and I had to say bye to her when she got married. It is difficult seeing a sister get married, because to me my job as a brother is ending.  I am no longer the guy they need. Now that both are married I feel like I have lost a job I have had for my whole life. No longer needing to be that person to cheer them up and to be by their side. (Cue Toy Story 4 ending)  However, I am glad to know they have found guys that will fill my place and do a better job.

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I attempted my first ever criterium race at the speedway. I had spent months riding hard, so in my mind I was prepared.  The adrenaline that day was at an all time high. The euphoria during that first lap was something I will remember for a long time. But when it ended I felt defeated. I had given it my all, and wanted to throw up because of how hard I pushed. It was hard knowing that even that wasn’t enough.

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Thankfully I didn’t throw in the towel, but instead spent the rest of the summer working harder. I haven’t put this much effort into exercising before. Because of this I have spent nights with zero energy and days alone. But those days were spent outside doing what I enjoy. Sure it probably won’t lead to success in a criterium race, but it certainly has shown me that my past limitations were only of the mind.

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I also tried my first ever triathlon. I didn’t decide until the week before, but I was already running and swimming so why not. That race was my first time to ever do all 3 sports at once. It was madness in the pool, the bike ride was spent with my body trying to figure out what was going on, and the run was 100% survival mode. I did better than I expected. I placed 7th out of over 70 in my age group.

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That simple act of trying my first race sparked this desire to improve. Not only on my riding, but in everything. I have became more involved at church, I have tried my best to have a social life, and I will continue to work on every other avenue of my life. Nobody is going to give me the things I want. Time is only going to keep ticking. No matter what I did, the things above were going to happen. So I am going to use these days to pedal harder, to love the people I care about, and above all to become a better follower of our Lord.

So I simply ask that you do the same. Know that your limitations can be passed. Realize that time is not on your side, so spend it with those you love. Or tell those people that don’t know how much you care. Read a book to grow your mind, go outside to explore the world. Just do whatever you can so that at the end of the day you can know that the person you are today is a better version of who you were yesterday.

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