Good morning! Gabe here. Today is New Year’s Eve and it is hard to believe that we’re mere hours from putting 2018 to bed and stepping foot into 2019. It seems like this past year has really flown by. It has personally been quite the roller coaster of a year after a 2017 that was tough in its own right. I just thought I’d share some personal moments from this last year or so and what I’m looking forward to most in 2019.
In 2017, my wife and I said good-bye to her maternal grandmother as well as an aunt on her dad’s side. Then in September of that year, her cat, whom she had several years before I came into the picture, had to be put down. By the end of 2017 we were done, as were our kids, with difficult times but unfortunately they would keep coming. Her Aunt Becky who had taken care of her grandmother who had passed in March became sick again with cancer and was taking a turn and not for the better. Thanksgiving came and a friend of my wife’s, whom she’d known since grad school, was diagnosed with the same cancer Becky had. She was the same age with a couple little ones. Things were starting to accumulate and were hitting close to home.
The hope for a more positive New Year and 2018 were dashed when Becky passed in January of this year. A few weeks later my parent’s beloved 11 year old Bernese Mountain Dog that all of my kids loved had to be put down. Wrigley was simply the best and the kids were a wreck at that point. Within 2 weeks, my 94 year old Grandma who’d gone to the hospital for a quick stay due to dehydration and had perked up, was joking around with family and the doctors before calling it a night and suddenly passed away.
Needless to say, by the time March rolled around, we were shot. Things needed to lighten up in our household and thankfully they did. The kids were doing great in school, while sometimes having issues coping, but great nonetheless. Our little boy started baseball for the first time and that was a joy to watch from April into June.
Jenn and I began our training for Ragnar Relay Michigan by participating in a Wine at the Finish Line 5k in April and ran into our friend Kelly, who Jenn was start pestering to join Runnin’ Not Walken. We’d also run in the Sunburst Races in South Bend where you get to finish at the 50 yard line at Notre Dame. It was great to be moving more and I was running as freely as I had been and mileage was starting to add up, even if I was only running short distances at this point.
Moving into the summer we did need a break and took the kids on a week long trip to the east coast in search of some ocean time for the kiddos since they’d never experienced it before and to just unplug from everything. Things still felt heavy and we needed the time away. It was just what the doctor ordered.
We experienced a beach in Portland, ME, rented a cabin in a community on the bay in Wiscassett, ME, Acadia National Park up by Bar Harbor, the LL Bean HQ which I had no idea was in Freeport, The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY on the way home as well as Niagara Falls too. It was the Great American road trip I’d hope it would be and an excellent escape. I even got a run in while we were in Maine and it was a gorgeous 2 miles.
Back home, it wouldn’t be long and Jenn and I’d celebrate our 10th Anniversary with dinner at Ruth’s Chris and it was a magical dinner. I’m not sure we’d felt like we were that spoiled at a dinner since our wedding reception. It was awesome.
Our Ragnar Michigan prep was going well. Training was going great and we were raising more money for Kate’s Kart than we ever had. Leading up to the race, I was killing it as I was getting comfortable into the distances I was to run and while before a 10 min mile was good for me, I was down below 9 1/2 and creeping into the 8’s on occasion and then I got hit with a hip issue that was described as an IT band issue that I’d never experienced and I cut down on my running quite a bit in those last 4 weeks. I’d get the issue calmed down for the most part and the race, with the exception of one run where it flared up, would be a good one and truly enjoyable with such a great crew to experience it with this year. My hip continued to bug me for a good bit and I took a good bit of time from running off and that was fine as I got to spend much more time with Jenn and the kids.
Jenn and I would find time to attend the Garth Brooks Live at Notre Dame concert in October and some time away to adventure about in Pittsburgh between the holidays as well.
Just last night, we went old school and played some Wii Bowling with the kids for the first time and my little 4 year old rolled a 116 as she beat big brother and sister, which was hilarious to me…not so much to them. In the end, there was much more happiness, joy, and laughter in our house at the end of the year here than at the beginning and considering how it started, I’ll take it.
In Part 2, I’ll explore some things relative to Runnin’ Not Walken and some goals for 2019!