2018 Goals!

Now is about the time that many people are falling off the wagon with their new year’s resolutions and goals, so I figured now was also the perfect time for me to share mine. I don’t really ever set resolutions, but I like to have some goals to focus on.

I’ve actually got some pretty big goals that I’m keeping private for right now (but if we’re friends IRL, please ask me about them!), but here’s what I’m putting out there for the world:
 

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1. Read every day.

In 2016, I set a goal to read 52 books, or one per week. I actually surpassed this goal and read 53! I knew I wanted a slightly less aggressive goal in 2017, but I read even less than expected and probably read somewhere around 25-30 books (which is still a lot!).

To get back into reading more regularly, I’ve set a goal to read every single day (and so far I’ve still got a perfect record!). I use Goodreads to track my reading, and I’ve set a goal on there to read XX books, so I’m hoping daily reading time will help do the trick!

I’m not putting further parameters on what “read every day” means - so some days it may be a chapter, or other days might be a bit more, like the day recently where I had 3 hours of flights and read a few hundred pages.

I’m also committing to reading all of the unread books on my bookshelf (as opposed to the hundreds of unread books also sitting in my kindle app haha!)



2. Run 2 marathons.

I’m already registered for the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Marathon in May (on my birthday!), so that’s one for sure. I’ve got a free entry for Akron in September and had a great experience there in 2017, so I’m definitely considering it again as well. I’m also tossing around some other ideas!

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I'm also participating in the Run for a Reason program once again and am looking to raise $1000 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. I'm currently 15% completed with my goal. I'd love to see my friends and family sponsoring my race at $1 per mile (that's 26.2 miles, folks!). Even $0.50 per mile is a HUGE help and goes a long way towards funding a cure. You can donate by clicking HERE!

First things first - I’ve got to get back into a rhythm with running. The past few months have not included much running and while I’m ok with that and know I’ll get back into it, I also know these next few weeks will probably be rough, particularly with all the gross weather we’ve had.

 

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3. Create a plan and budget for a trip to Europe.

A Eurotrip has been high on my bucket list for many years, so I’m determined to finally start making some plans!

I won’t be going on the trip or setting dates until I’ve met some financial goals I’m working towards, but I’m also hoping that making more concrete plans will help keep me focused on those goals.

 

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4. Stick to my #powersheets.

I haven’t used a planner in many, many years thanks to technology because I keep my calendar and task list in Google Calendar, but I decided to try one out this year in hopes that seeing my goals in writing, on paper, in my own handwriting, will help me stay focused on them and not lose momentum. I figure if I’ve got to drag this book everywhere with me, I may as well smash the goals and plans written in it, right? :-p

After looking at a few options, I settled on the #powersheets planner from Cultivate What Matters. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the 12-month planner and aren’t restocking their inventory, so I purchased a 6 month calendar. I’ve been chipping away at it a little bit at a time and hope to have all of my action plans laid out by the end of next week!

This goal also encompasses achieving those other goals I vaguely mentioned at the beginning of this post, so it's actually more than just writing in a planner (though I'm definitely going to buy some fun new pens to write in it!)

 


Do you set New Year’s resolutions or goals? Share them in the comments!

2016: A Year in Review

Like most people, I can agree  with the sentiment that 2016 was a bit of a dumpster fire. I'm not really sad to see it go, but there were also a lot of highlights and memories made that I will cherish forever. Here is my 2016 year in review:

-I took trips to Chicago, San Antonio, DC, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Indianapolis (again), St. Louis (again), Dover, Niagara Falls, Riviera Maya, and Boston;

Kansas City has a pretty great skyline. #travelswithlauren #adventureisoutthere #collectmomentsnotthings

A post shared by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on

 

-I said goodbye to my beloved Grandma Margaret;

-I ran 26.2 miles and didn't die (mostly thanks to Jeff and Chelsea);

-I turned 30 and had two parties to celebrate;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on May 7, 2016 at 7:24am PDT

-I celebrated the weddings of friends;

Whoever thinks running is a solitary sport is just. plain. wrong. 😘😘 #mcshuppwedding #ohana #manatees #runbutler
A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on May 22, 2016 at 4:35pm PDT

-I scrambled around downtown Pittsburgh with Laynie to find a place to watch the last few minutes of the Stanley Cup Final so I could see my favorite team win their 4th Stanley Cup;

-I watched David Boudia and Steele Johnson qualify for the Olympics in person;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Jun 24, 2016 at 5:54am PDT

-I said goodbye to my childhood home and moved to a new one; 

Thanks for the memories, 431.

-I got to spend time with cherished friends;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:20pm PDT
A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Aug 8, 2016 at 6:00pm PDT

-I wish bon voyage to a dear friend who embarked on a huge adventure;

I am so proud of this brave girl, but damn I miss her! 

-I ran new race PRs (heyyyyyy sub-30 5k!);

And the season of PRs continued today with a HUGE PR at Buffalo Creek today."! 2:12:04 - holy crap! Huge thanks to @pghrunner for helping me through that final mile today! #hshive #nuunbassador #gameonpgh
A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:36pm PDT

-I met one of my favorite people and told him he was my favorite (and he loved it);

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Oct 9, 2016 at 9:26am PDT

-I earned a medal the size of my head;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:07am PDT

-I discovered Popeye the Foodie and he became my favorite instagrammer; 

A photo posted by Popeye the Foodie Dog 😉 (@popeyethefoodie) on Nov 23, 2016 at 9:16am PST

-I took my racing international and also ran 3 half marathons in 3 weeks (including another HUGE PR);

-I visited every country in North America in 4 days;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Nov 6, 2016 at 1:00pm PST

-I visited Mexico for the first time and watched my lovely roommate get married;

Nice close-up of the back of my head haha

-I raised a lot of money for CCFA;

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Nov 17, 2016 at 8:35am PST

-I read 53 books; 

A photo posted by Lauren Hopkins (@pghlauren) on Nov 29, 2016 at 5:36am PST

-I celebrated my 4th anniversary with an organization that treats me like family (and I got a promotion!);

-I hugged my favorite super heroes 58982986389237967876532312787 times;

-Annnnnnnd I ended the year with a bout of shingles. But here's a picture of some of the many tacos I ate this year instead. 

When I write it all out like this, there was a lot more good than bad. But that doesn't mean I don't have big goals for 2017!

I'm back!

Since the last time I posted here was in July, I thought it was time for a new header and some updates. This wasn't an intentional blogging hiatus, but so much life has happened since then and I've just been focused on other things.

Up first, I've made progress on several of my goals! 

Successfully train for and run a marathon - DONE 5/1/2016

Raise $1000 for CCFA - DONE 5/1/2016

Run a sub-30 5k - DONE! I ran the Steelers 5k in 29:34 thanks to Coach Jeff's help and then ran the inaugural Flyby 5k in 29:30!

Run a sub-60 10k - still chasing this goal, but I did get a new 10k PR at the Great Race this year (1:01:29 so close!)

Run/walk 1500 miles - 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) + 94.08 (Apr) + 67.02 (May) + 53.28 (Jun) + 53.1 (Jul) + 8.51 (Aug - YIKES! But this is only what I actually tracked, so it's not

this

 bad) + 58.16 (Sep) = 574.25. 

Clean out my boxes in the basement - DONE! We moved in August (which contributed to the low mileage displayed above), but since then I've taken several very full carloads of stuff to Goodwill! 

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use - DONE! In fact, that desk is in the garage ready to be donated/sold. 

Read 52 books: I've read 36 so far this year! 

Use more vacation days: I'm going to Mexico in less than a month, so I'll be using at least a week then! 

Blog more: HAHA oops.

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can 

finally

 blog about the experience and design and order photo books: HAHA maybe before the 2 year anniversary of the trip? The photos are mostly sorted - I just need to actually put the books together.

Denali National Park

----

As I mentioned above, we moved in August and I also had a huge work event, both of which went very well, but I'm glad to be done with. Moving to a smaller house has allowed us to go through and get rid of a lot of crap we don't need, and the result is a lot less clutter! 

As I also mentioned above, I'm going to Mexico next month! My college roommate Elyssa is getting married at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya. I've never been to Mexico so I'm looking forward to some pool time, margaritas, and as much chips and guac as I want!

Time to plug a great cause and a super fun event! I'm on the planning committee for Opening Night! A movie premiere event benefiting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/WV chapter. This year we are premiering

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

 and will also be showing

Dr. Strange

 in a second theatre! Tickets are on sale now and we have some awesome things planned! For more information and to purchase tickets, click the picture! 

When I go to Mexico, I'll also be stopping in Miami for a day on the way home. Comment below with your suggestions for things to do and places to eat! 

June Goals Update and a Weekend Update!

June Goals Update:

Successfully train for and run a marathon:

 DONE

Raise $1000 for CCFA:

 $2100+ raised.

Run a sub-30 5k: 

Coming this summer?

Run a sub-60 10k: 

Coming this fall?

Run/walk 1500 miles:

 66.41 (Jan) + 76.35 (Feb) + 97.34 (Mar) + 94.08 (Apr)  + 67.02 (May) + 53.28 (Jun) = 454.48! It's not likely I'll make 1500 miles (since I'm only counting logged running/walking workouts and not ALL my steps).

Clean out my boxes in the basement:

 Done, I guess? They're all in storage at the moment. We're moving in August so maybe I'll get a chance to sort through some of that crap then. 

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use:

 Done! 

Read 52 books:

 30 books read to date. 

Use more vacation days:

Big fail on that so far this year, but I've got a trip to Mexico in the fall and hoping for a few long weekends here and there as well. 

Blog more:

 Oops.

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can 

finally

 blog about the experience and design and order photo books:

Sorted, but no photobooks yet. 

I had a pretty solid July 4th weekend: I enjoyed craft beers with penguins at the Aviary on Friday, had yinzeritas on Saturday, went to a Daniel Tiger birthday party for two special girls on Sunday, and ran a new course PR at the Brentwood 5K on Monday! How was your holiday weekend?

PENGUINS!

Happy the Penguin tried to steal some ShuBrew!

New Course PR at Brentwood!

Finally, a plug for a super awesome event that is coming up on FRIDAY! Hope you see everyone at Cosmo - use code HOTNIGHT for discount tickets! Details can be found at

trustarts.org/cosmo

.

January's Goal Progress

Despite traveling for work, obnoxiously cold temperatures, and just overall winter sluggishness, January was a pretty good month in terms of progress towards my goals.

Progress:
Successfully train for and run a marathon: I completed 16.5 out of 20 scheduled training runs, including 3.5 of my 4 long runs. This is a WIN.

Raise $1000 for CCFA: I raised $50 from one donor in January (THANKS, Coach Jeff!), taking my total fundraising for the marathon to $422. 

Run a sub-30 5k

Run a sub-60 10k

Run/walk 1500 miles: 66.41 miles in January. This will increase as marathon training ramps up. 

Clean out my boxes in the basement

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use


Read 52 books: 13% complete - 7 books read in January!

Use more vacation days 

Blog more: I can't really say I blogged more. But there were posts. 

Sort pictures from Alaska and order photo books 


How are you doing with accomplishing your 2016 goals? 


Also, can I get a shoutout for my girl Chelsea for doing 280 BURPEES today?! #BAMF #MoreBurpeesLessCancer

2016 Goals

Remember when I said I was going to post my goals 2 weeks ago? Oops.

Here are my 2016 goals:

Successfully train for and run a marathon

Raise $1000 for CCFA

Run a sub-30 5k

Run a sub-60 10k

Run/walk 1500 miles

Clean out my boxes in the basement

Clean out the desk in my room that I never use


Read 52 books, including the large stack sitting on aforementioned desk (I've already read two so far!)

Use more vacation days 

Blog more. I currently have 11 drafts in various stages of completion about a variety of topics

Actually sort through my pictures from Alaska so I can finally blog about the experience and design and order photo books

What about you? Do you have goals for 2016? Comment below!

26 until 26.2!

The countdown is on! It's the 26th of the month and there are 26 weeks until I run my first 26.2! I'd like to kick off this countdown by reaching 26% of my $1000 fundraising goal! If 21 people donated just $10, I'll reach my goal! 



I appreciate every dollar that is donated and it all goes directly to fund the Western PA/WV chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. 




I ran a Half Marathon!

I ran a half-marathon. I did it! It wasn't a great run, or even a fun one, but crossing that finish line was the best! Sorry this is coming so late, and that there's not much of a recap, but here's some pictures! 

Race day outfit!

Steel Challenge Completed!



First Half = PR and PDR!


My favorite little fans!


Happy to be done!


5K, Steel Challenge, HALF MARATHON medals!

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Marathon for featuring this one on their Facebook page: 


Things I Will Do This Week

The week is finally here. It's Marathon week in Pittsburgh! Here are some things I'll do this week:

1. I will go for a quick run with some of my fellow CCFA runners and get my CCFA race day shirt! Unfortunately, I think they decided to make these shirts orange, so it will probably be a one-time-wear shirt for me. Though it should make it easy for people to spot me on Sunday!



2. I will post a photo of my race day outfit so that people can find me on race day! Let me know in the comments if you will be there this weekend so I can look for you! 


3. I will see my running Ohana. I am so excited for everyone to arrive in town and to spend time with so many people who inspire me in my running (and life) journey.



4. I will attend the Expo and fight like hell to get a green men's shirt instead of the STUPID pink women's shirts. I will also be following up with the Marathon people to see why they thought sexist shirt colors were a good idea in 2015.



5. I will attend a Meet-Up at 7:30am by the main entrance of PNC Park on Saturday. Steff will be giving away some Sparkly Soul headbands!


6. I will run Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, which was my FIRST-ever race last year! (Medal count: 1)
Chelsea and I after the 5k last year - my first race! 

7. I will enjoy carbs and good company at dinner Saturday night.


8. I will run my FIRST HALF MARATHON! (Medal Count: 2)



9. I will collect my Steel Challenge Medal and hopefully visit the FedEx Ground Hospitality Tent for a complimentary massage and some treats! I will have access to this tent thanks to all of my amazing donors who helped me to raise over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter! (Medal Count: 3)




10. I will go out to eat with my family to celebrate my birthday that is next week! 



11. I will do NOTHING for the rest of the day haha. 


See you all this weekend! Good luck to all of my fellow runners! 

P.S. Sarah at Sparkly Runner featured me on her blog today - check it out

The Training Plan That Wasn't...

Remember back in January when I picked out a training plan for my upcoming half marathon? Then the universe said LOL and the next few months did not go according to ANY plan, training or otherwise.

January brought 22 days of travel for work and volunteer obligations, a sinus infection, and bed bugs

February brought more travel and sub-zero temperatures. Without regular access to a treadmill, I was stuck inside.

In March came 18 days of travel, another sinus infection, and a kidney infection that turned to be e.coli (!!). I actually put a lot of miles in, but most were walking while traveling (I averaged 5-8 miles per day while in New Orleans). 

In summary, I haven't had a single week where I got all the runs on my training plan in. Oops. With that said, most weeks haven't been a total fail and I know I can finish 13.1 miles - it's just a matter of being able to finish in the time I want.

April finally brings warmer temperatures, and with it, the HIGH levels of pollen everywhere. April is also the month that some big miles need to happen, come hell or high water. If I can get a few good long runs in, I'll feel much better about May 3. Right now, I'm not sure I'll realistically be able to make my goal :( Right now the plan is to stick with Coach Jeff and Chelsea for the first 12 miles or so and make them keep me on track. 

Soooooooo if we could actually have some decent weather and I could not get sick or have my allergies make my head explode, that would be stellar. KTHXBAI.

What are your best tips and tricks for salvaging a disaster of a training plan? Comment below!

THE GOOD NEWS: Thanks to a very generous donation from my employer, I HAVE NOW SURPASSED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! This is even better than any running could ever be because every dollar is a step closer to finding a CURE for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis! Think I can make my stretch goal of $1500 by May 3rd? If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, please do so here! On behalf of the approximately 1.6 million Americans living with IBD, we say THANK YOU! 



Running in New Orleans! (I'm back!)

I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans last week a few weeks ago to attend the NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education - their alphabet soup doesn't match) Annual Conference. It was my first trip to New Orleans and I can't wait to go back and visit again! New Orleans a beautiful city, full of life and culture and fun things to do and SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD. 

I knew I would have Saturday morning free before the conference kicked off in full swing, so naturally, I looked to see if there were any races happening in New Orleans. This is how I found The Great St. Charles Avenue Road Race sponsored by the New Orleans Track Club. There are 10k, 5k, and 1mile races. I quickly registered for the 10k to try and work it into my "training plan" - the reason I use that in quotes will come in another post soon.



As the conference neared, I realized my friend Matthew (partner to the awesome Sarah over at Sparkly Runner) would also be attending the conference and quickly invited him to join me at the race!

I arrived in New Orleans Friday afternoon and after lunch and a nap (I had to be up at 3:30am for my flight!), I set out to explore the area a little bit and get a few miles in before the race the next morning. I knew the climate would be different than the winter conditions I'd left behind in Pittsburgh, so I was hoping to adjust at least a little bit. Holy heat and humidity! What I had planned to be a 3 mile run ended up being a 1 mile run with a 1 mile walk back. 

Matthew had 18 miles on his training plan for that Saturday, so he opted to run the ~4 miles to the race start and back. I took the streetcar up to the start and met up with Matthew. The high school where the start was at had amazing race support. All the volunteers were helpful and excited and so welcoming. We cheered as the 1-mile race kicked off and hung out until it was time for the 5k and 10k start. The cheerleading squad led the racers in dynamic stretching, the national anthem was performed, and then we were off! 

Matthew and I at the start!

The course started down St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District. There are beautiful homes and gardens through this section of New Orleans. We passed the picturesque campus of Loyola New Orleans and then headed into Audobon Park. The park itself was beautiful as well - full of palm trees and lush greenery. The course looped almost all the way around the park before turning around to head back out and back down St. Charles Avenue. 
Matthew snapped this as we passed in Audobon Park!
Before I arrived in New Orleans, I was planning to try and PR this race. The course was flat and I knew I could do it. However, I knew as soon as I stepped outside at the New Orleans airport that a PR would not be happening. The humidity was just too much - especially without any gradual transition to it. I decided to just have fun and do my best. 

Coming up to the finish line! No PR but definitely FUN!

I used more water in this race than I have ever used in any race before. I say "used" because while I drank a LOT, I also poured a lot over my head to cool off. The high school students volunteering at the water stations were super helpful with refilling my water bottle. They could tell I was struggling in the humidity haha. 

The cheerleading squad were lining the sides of the finish chute cheering everyone on - it was great! Matthew had already finished and was there to cheer me on and snap a few photos as well - thanks, Matthew! 
I met up with Matt and we downed some more water and got some more Smoothie King smoothies - yum! We also experienced a post-race first, jambalaya! The jambalaya was provided by a company called Cook Me Somethin' Mister! We met the owner, Kristen, and she told us how she started the company using her family's recipe and made all the jambalaya that morning herself! It was DELICIOUS! She also told us that she sells packages of the rice online at wholesale on Amazon. If you're looking for a fundraising idea, this is a great one! Check them out on Facebook

Thanks for the great post-race grub, Kristen! It was so great to meet you!
After the race, Matt and I parted ways so he could finish his miles by running back! I grabbed my free post-race beer (Bud Light) and decided to start walking back to see more of the Garden District. I figured if I got tired at some point I could hop on the streetcar, but I ended up walking the 4 miles back to the hotel! Later this week, this would probably come to be a mistake due to all the walking we did in New Orleans. 



30 Days to go!


I can't believe that in only 30 days, I will run my first half marathon! I can't believe it - the time is going by so fast!


To continue with preparations, here are some more tips from Jeff Galloway!

Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com
PROMOTIONAL NEWS!
Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 with no risk!  The 2nd annual half marathon on Dec. 13, 2015 is currently $95. You can sign up with no risk! Take advantage of this low price, and if you can't make it, you can roll into the virtual option with no extra charge!
Register today at

Why do we get injured?

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links.

The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees - Feet -Calf - Achilles -Hip - Glute/piriformis/sciaticia

But the body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.

So if you're sensitive to the first indication of irritation in these areas and take immediate action it's possible to avoid injury.

2.  Stress buildup due to the way we train.
  • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress.
  • Adverse Training Components-speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
  • Running form-too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury

__________________________________________________

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries

1.  Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments
2.  Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
3.  Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
4.  Avoid Stretching
5.  Be careful when running speed sessions

  
Jeff Galloway
4651 Roswell Road, I-802
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
WEST COAST EVENTS
RUN/WALK/RUN CLINICS 

Carmel, CA                                                                     Lake Tahoe, CA
"Re-Charging Your Running, Fitness and Nutrition"       The Perfect Summer Running Camp
April 23-24, 2015                                                            July 23 - 30, 2015 (week)                           
 Click here for more info.                                                 July 24 - 26, 2015 (weekend)
                                                                                        Click here for more info.
                                                                                                         

P.S. I am still fundraising for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter - please help me reach my goal and work towards a cure for Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis!


5 Things Friday: The Winter Freeze Edition

Ziva keeping warm in her Snuggie.

1. I'm going to New Orleans and Portland, OR and Seattle, WA next month - what are the must-sees (and eats and drinks!)??? Tell me in the comments!

2. I'm 37% of the way to my fundraising goal for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon - can you help me hit 40% by the weekend? If three people donate just $10, I can do it! 

3. My training plan has been completely derailed by the weather this week :-/

The More You Know

4. I got a great deal on some Mizuno leggings and ProCompression socks (yellow and green!) on Active GearUp yesterday! 

5. Chelsea from Pittsburgh City Girl is holding a Happy Hour fundraiser for her marathon training tonight at Buckhead's - I'm going to be there and you should too! 


Hello 2015!!

2015 is already shaping up to a pretty great year! 

I finally selected a half marathon training plan - I'm going with Hal Higdon's Novice II plan. I like that the plan includes daily mileage as opposed to other plans that just list an amount of time you should run (because there's a big difference in running 2 miles in 30 minutes and running 3!). My training plan is 12 weeks long and will begin on February 9! This may change, but right now my goal is run the half in under 2.5 hours.

I would also like to run at least 20 races this year. I ran 10 last year and the first one was not until May, so I absolutely think I can do this! I think January's race will most likely be a virtual one as I will be traveling for 23 days of the month for work (ugh). 

I ran 278.77 miles in 2014, my first year of running. In 2015, I would like to run at least 600 miles! All those half marathon training runs should certainly help contribute to this! 

I will visit at least 3 new states for the first time this year - Delaware, Louisiana, and Oregon!

I also want to be more intentional about actually using vacation time this year - since I didn't use any vacation days in 2014 :(. Though, to be fair, we are given quite a bit of time off throughout the year that doesn't count against our vacation time, including time over the holidays). I've been thinking a lot about trying to arrange a Walt Disney World trip with friends - who wants to come?! 

Thank to all of the friends and family who have already contributed to my Half Marathon fundraiser for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation! I ended 2014 already at 28% of my goal and I still have 4 months left to fundraise!! 
 

Four Things

Steff over at Run Steff Run posted a "4 things" post on her blog and I figured I'd jump on that train as well! 

Four names that people call me: 
1. Lauren
2. Hop
3. Red
4. Anna (this is what Dex and Quinn call me. We haven't figured this one out yet but I'm rolling with it!)

Four jobs I have had:
1. Retail (HELL)
2. New Student Orientation Coordinator (college)
3. Fraternity and Sorority Advisor
4. Teacher 

Four movies I have seen more than once:
1. Miracle
2. Legally Blonde
3. 10 Things I Hate About You
4. The Santa Clause

Four books I'd recommend:
1. I See Rude People (Amy Alkon)
2. The Providence Trilogy (Jamie McGuire - anything by JM really)
3. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)
4. I'd Like To Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had (Tony Danza)

Four Places I've Lived:
1. Plymouth, OH (Birthplace)
2. Cranberry Twp, PA (Growing up and current)
3. Erie, PA (College)
4. Richmond, VA (Previous work)

Four Places I've Been:
1. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
2. Liechtenstein (and several other European countries)
3. Montreal, QC
4. Vancouver, BC (2010 Olympics)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Somewhere in the Carribbean, where it's warmer than 20F
2. Walt Disney World (my second home)
3. San Antonio, eating shrimp and grits
4. Europe

Four Things I Don't Eat:
1. Peas
2. Sauerkraut
3. Walnuts (it totally ruins a cookie/dessert when they put these in there!)
4. Lima beans

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Spaghetti
2. Cheese
3. Peanut butter pie
4. Sourdough bread

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year:
1. Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend, including running my first half marathon!
2. Traveling to New Orleans for work
3. All the running weekends
4. Actually using some of my vacation time

Four Things I'm Saying:
1. Why are you so sucky, Highmark?
2. Something about Dex and Quinn
3. My spring travel schedule for work sucks
4. Deuces

Four People I'm Tagging:

Play along and leave one of your answers in the comments!