The Connection Runners + [YOGA]

Top 10 "Real World" Moments of 2011

If you've ever watched The Real World on MTV, then you're familiar with the season finale confessional montages where the 20-something cast members lament over the experience of being picked to "live in a house with seven strangers". They get all teary-eyed - even the guys - as they maintain that being on the show was "life-changing" and that it "taught them so much about themselves" and any other End-of-a-Chapter-in-One's-Life cliche you can think of.

Then the cameraman cuts to a sweet scene, a la the one below...

(source)

... and the viewer is left to ponder their own place in this big crazy world we live in. Or, if you're like me, you're now pondering just how the hell this show is still on, and how you're suddenly too old to even consider applying for it.

Since my chance of ever exposing myself and my life's secrets passed about 4 years ago, I figured the blog was a good a place as any Confessional Room to spill my guts about how being picked to live in a house in a small Michigan town with another 28-year-old stranger husband while juggling a full-time job and marathon training schedule totally changed me this year.

Well, not really. But I did learn some pretty hefty lessons in 2011. Cue the tears and the sad Coldplay song now.

My Top 10 "Real World" Moments of 2011

10) You can't plan everything.

Getting pregnant was by-far the most planned unplanned experience of the year. If I'd had it my way, LBA would've been conceived at the "perfect" time, back in the summer of 2010. But she's apparently a stubborn little being (maybe she gets that from her mom), and didn't make an appearance until May. I quickly realized this year that things happen will happen when the time truly is right, not just when your schedule says it should be so.

9) Flexibility is key.
I only got through my issues with #10 by trying to become more adaptable this year. Running was one area that took a hit; I had to assess my ability as a runner several times in the last few months and remember to take lots of bathroom breaks if needed.

8) Be resourceful with the closet. *vain alert!*

It sounds rather shallow, but one of my biggest problems this year was dealing with my changing body. No longer could I snap up a handful of J. Crew tees or my go-to Gap skinny jeans. At times, I felt ugly and fat, and it bothered me that I had to uncomfortable in sagging maternity jeans for so many weeks of my life. Fitness apparel posed other problems, but somewhere in there, I finally found some happy medium. And now, at 38 weeks, I realized that it's either A) okay to wear the same grey tee twice in a week because it's all that fits, or B) completely acceptable to wear yoga pants 97% of the time.

7) Reach out to the (unknown) world.

This blog was born in April of 2010, but it wasn't until April of this year that I truly began to utilize it's potential. By sharing my love for blogging and linking up with other blogs, I discovered there's a whole world of gals and guys out there like me who cherish health and fitness and enjoy writing all about it. I met lovely people like Megan and Erika who became some of my closest friends, and I look forward to connecting with other bloggers in 2012!

6) Limits are meant to be pushed.
Before getting pregnant, I was on a runner's high in 2011. Since setting a sub-2 hour half-marathon PR last October, I was intent on seeing what else my body could do. In the process, I...
-Set a new 5k PR of 24:34
-Ran a 10-mile race in just over 1:40 at 20 weeks pregnant
-Learned that speedwork doesn't have to be so scary

5) But you have to know when to throw in the towel.

In the midst of those successes, though, came the time to put my running life on hold and concentrate on preparing to become a mom, an entirely different race altogether. Giving up Chicago was a bit heart-breaking, and after the Turkey Trot 5k in November, I knew I was done for a while. Knowing that running will be on the back burner for at least a few months was a tough pill to swallow, but I'm glad that 2012 will bring with it the opportunities for new successes.

4) Five-plus years is a good chunk of time to realize just how far you've come.
This year marked the fifth full year that I've been graduated from college. It's amazing to think about the crap I was doing back in 2005 and, if I need evidence of it, I can now hop over to my Facebook timeline. While I miss those days, I'm so happy to be where I am today: sitting on a cozy brown couch in the living room of a cute vintage bungalow that I share with a great husband of 3.5 years. We have good jobs, a cool cat named Baxter, and a sweet little tyke on the way.

3) I really, really miss my road bike.

Sorry, had to throw in one more gratuitous, materialistic point in this post, but I can't help but miss the blue Trek, even in spite of its nasty clip-in pedals. Not being able to ride this year was another tough change to stomach, but I'm again looking forward to lugging out the bike in 2012 for (perhaps) a century ride and another triathlon.

2) We are all still learning in some way.
No matter what I did or didn't glean in the last year, I know that I still have a ways to go in life - as a runner, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and as a friend. The learning curve will always exist for me, even when I think I've truly learned it all (and ask Kevin - he knows that I'm always right!).

1) Building and maintaining relationships through fitness is one of the best ways to be with the ones you love.
In 2011, I ran or raced or spectated with some of the greatest people in the world.

With my sister, mom, and nephew at the MSU Shamrock 5k in March

With Kevin and our friend Matt at the Kalamazoo Marathon in May

Joining Megan & her RunnerFamily at the Belle Isle 10k in June

Completing our fourth consecutive Crim 10-mile race in August

Spectating Chicago in October with Kara and Cassie

Running Juno-style with Kevin at the Wicked Halloween 5k

If you've come this far and read this much, I owe you 3 stale Christmas cookies and big fat hug. Thanks for following along with all of my adventures so far this year. I hope you've enjoyed reading my posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them!

Tell me... what was one of your "Real World" moments of 2011?