This year was packed with job transitions, new hobbies, travel, and plenty of races! Josh launched his endurance coaching career, quit his not-so-awesome job of 5 years, and picked up some extra work (along with a season pass) at Snowbowl. I had an opportunity to teach a course at the university in addition to my job as a community health educator. We both achieved significant athletic goals: Josh competed in the Ironman World Championship and the Half Ironman World Championship (and qualified for the Duathlon World Championship, too!) while I ran my first marathon and accomplished a new personal best in Olympic-distance triathlon. We lived on a tight budget and managed to reduce our debt by $10,500. In our precious free time, we took up gardening, played a lot of disc golf, and added to our collection of house plants. It was a great year for weddings and camping, as well. Altogether, we spent time in Texas, Ohio, Washington, DC, Hawai’i, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and California. Whew!
Here are some highlights, in sorta-kinda chronological order:
The first few months of 2012 were overwhelming. Both of us were working full-time, then I was spending hours preparing lectures and grading papers, and Josh was coaching NAU’s triathlon team and teaching the triathlon class. On top of all of that, I was training for my marathon and Josh was training for spring races. We also traveled out of town nearly every weekend of the spring semester for various reasons; I think we were gone for something like 12 out of 15 weekends. The end of the semester was a glorious relief! (In case it wasn’t clear, I am no longer teaching the class so I have time to breathe.)
We stored up the extra income from those hectic months and saved through the summer so Josh could pursue his goal of coaching endurance athletes full-time. In July, he attended a USA Triathlon certification clinic in Salt Lake City, and by September he left his job refurbishing vending machines, which was a huge triumph! He continues to coach Trijacks and teach the class, and he is very passionate about coaching individual athletes through Racelab. We are also excited because this allows him more time and flexibility for his own training. Recently, he began working a few days per week operating ski lifts at Snowbowl, since the winter months are an off-season for training and racing. He enjoys working there, especially because of the free season pass!
I was thrilled to finish the Lost Dutchman Marathon in three hours and forty-nine minutes (Garmin time, the course was long). The race itself was amazing, and I loved the training leading up to it. I highly recommend doing a marathon (after proper preparation, of course!). If you’re looking for suggestions, I am very fond of the scenery and atmosphere of Lost Dutchman. Now I finally have my awesome long-sleeved t-shirt!
In the summer, we planted our first vegetable garden. I loved caring for the plants, watching them grow, and especially eating them! The zucchini, onions, and pumpkins thrived. We had a bit of luck with lettuce and carrots, but weren’t so fortunate with the spinach, beets, or kale, which grew alright but were eaten by mystery critters before we had a chance. I foresee many gardens in years to come!
We had a ton of fun riding our new tandem around town throughout the year…
Getting married seemed to be a popular activity this year: we were invited to several weddings. We couldn’t make it to all of them, but we had a fantastic time celebrating with friends and family members. In April, we flew to Ohio for Josh’s sister, Kaylee’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were wonderful, and it was great to spend time with his relatives. I was introduced to the groom, Jared, for the first time, and realized it’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a brother. (Is that a brother in-law, in-law? Or…?) In July, we celebrated with my high school friends and college roommate, Kristen and Matt, who had a gorgeous ceremony in Flagstaff. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with the high school crew. Later that month, I attended our good friend Rachel’s wedding, which was a blast. Those guys really know how to dance…Trijacks weddings for the win! Congratulations, everyone!
In June, we drove to Texas for the Buffalo Springs 70.3 half iron race. Kaylee and Jared were able to meet up with us as they were stationed in Texas. Josh’s race went well and he earned a slot to the half iron championships.
We camped like nobody’s business this year: I can think of ten camping trips off the top of my head. A lot of the trips were associated with traveling to races. We also camped with my family in the White Mountains and with Trijacks for training camps. Locations included Bartlett Lake, Usery Mountain, Lake Havasu, Lost Dutchman State Park, Lake Powell, Oasis State Park, and south of Sedona.
I joined Racelab this year and experienced the difference that comes with a great coach! After three years of consistently finishing triathlons in 2:45, I finally broke through the barrier at the Mountain Man Triathlon with a 2:38! Yusssss! Thanks, Racelab!
September was another crazy month for us. Josh raced the 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, we spent the evening roaming around the Strip, then I flew straight from Vegas to Washington, DC for a week-long conference. I really enjoyed DC – what a beautiful city! I love museums, and the Smithsonian was outstanding. I also visited as many monuments as I could. Since the trip coincided with our second anniversary(!), Josh and I celebrated with a pleasant picnic and a nice view of the sunset from Snowbowl.
The big highlight of our year was the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October. Josh qualified to race in November 2011 and trained intensively from May through October this year. We spent much of 2012 planning and anticipating the trip, and the experience was incredible. Josh’s parents joined us from Ohio for the race and festivities. It was a tough race that included a bit of bad luck, but Josh did a great job and learned a lot. If things go well, we hope to return for another race. Hawai’i was lovely; I loved the sea turtles, flowers, and fresh bananas. We did quite a bit of snorkeling in the clear waters, drove up to the Mauna Kea visitor center, and ate at some very cool restaurants. Check out Josh’s posts for more details about the trip.
I spent a lot of the summer preparing for the GRE and a lot of the fall working on graduate school applications. I’ve applied for a few PhD and MS programs in physiology, and am anxiously awaiting responses. I feel that my applications are strong, and I am hoping that funding and space within research laboratories align so I can begin my studies in the fall. Send positive thoughts my way!
During Josh’s down time after Kona, we played a lot of disc golf. Flagstaff has several courses, and we like it because it is outdoors and it’s free! Josh even got an Ace – a hole-in-one – although nobody was around to witness it…
In November, I chopped my hair off, which turned out great. Then Kaylee and Jared joined us at my parents’ house in Gilbert for a delightful Thanksgiving. From there, we drove back to Flagstaff and did some hiking in the Grand Canyon. We’re glad we got to spend time with them again before they are transferred to Japan.
I added knitting and crocheting to my hobbies list shortly before Christmas, which worked out conveniently for gifts. Christmas was excellent, of course. We loaded the truck up to take snow to my parents’ house and made a sweet sledding hill on the grass. It’s always great to hang out with my little sisters (and the not-as-little ones!) for Christmas.
I seriously cannot believe how quickly time has been passing since we graduated. It’s been a crazy, eventful year with plenty of good memories. We’re excited to find out how my graduate school applications turn out and watch Josh’s triathlon career in the upcoming year. Now, off to the Flagstaff Pine Cone Drop to bring in 2013!