Looking back at the year, the months seem like a swirl of running, biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, writing, reading, and cooking. Good thing those are some of my most favorite activities! The year was also filled with some heavy, high emotions and deep, soul-searching (and soul-baring) moments in my meditation practice, my race training, my writing, my search for writing and editing work, and my relationship.
All of this adds up to one very full year of rollercoaster highs, lows, and sideways twists! And I guess sometimes that’s just what life is all about 🙂
Here I present my Top 5 Best Memories of 2011:
I completed my first triathlon, ran the SF Marathon 5K, the Title 9K, and the North Face Endurance Challenge 10K. It felt great to get back to running races after a few years and it felt fantastic to complete my tri. I’m very much looking forward to new races in 2012!
2. Clean Eating
This year also included some dietary choices that surprised some people around me. After reading The Mood Cure (which I highly recommend to anyone looking to adjust and balance stress, energy, and emotions without pharmaceuticals), I was inspired to clean up some lingering habits that I knew weren’t benefiting my life:
- I quit drinking alcohol.
- I gave up sugar for the most part (except for the very occasional cookie or birthday cupcake!) by replacing it with stevia or eliminating it entirely from recipes.
- Most significantly, I started eating a LOT more protein, about three times what I had been eating. This really helped my energy levels and mood and was particularly beneficial during my triathlon training.
I also added amino acid supplements, such as Tyrosine and L-Glutamine, to help with cravings and energy levels and after a few months, I was able to cut them out almost entirely, too.
These days, we eat out rarely, spending most of our time and money cooking at home. We stick to “clean eating,” which I define as whole foods with an emphasis on quality, low-fat protein and lots (LOTS) of vegetables, especially leafy greens. Our recipes typically have no more than 5 ingredients and we almost never use processed food or “food products.” (This includes tofu and vegan meat substitutes, which are some of the most highly processed foods out there!)
- I successfully re-added “freelance writer” to my resume after a few years, when I went freelance with iSport. I wrote over 200 how-to and informational guides on yoga and Pilates, more than any sport on the site, and pumped up my portfolio in a huge way.
- I wrote a novel! Then I edited it, edited it again, and once more, then proofread it and submitted it to a contest by December 15. If I win, I’ll know in February. If I don’t win, I’ll also know in February 🙂 Either way, I’ll keep ya posted.
The definite yoga highlight of the year was my 50-hour Advanced Teacher Training with Jason Crandell, indisputably one of the best teachers in the U.S. today, as Module One of Yoga Tree’s 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training program (which is currently on hold for me due to other priorities).
5. Time Spent with My Honey and Kitties
I know it sounds shmaltzy, but when the stress of everyday life hits and the world seems cold and unknowable, it’s nice to know I can count on a few things to warm me up. Watching our kittens grow up to be cats has been one of the sweetest experiences ever.
What were your favorite experiences / memories / moments of 2011?
What would a year be without music and books? Dreadful, I say!
Here, my Top 5 Books of 2011 (books I read this year, not actually books that debuted this year):
1. ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer
A game changer.
2. Counterculture Through the Ages by Ken Goffman (a.k.a. R U Sirius)
A wild romp through the funnest nonconformist countercultures throughout history.
3. Cheesemonger by Gordon Edgar
The cheese guy from our local c0-op wrote a book about punk rock and cheese. It rocks!
4. Deliverance by James Dickey
There’s no “Squeal like a pig” in the novel. This book is pure survivalist poetry. Brilliant and chilling.
5. Vision in White and the rest of the Bride Quartet series, by Nora Roberts
Fun, emotional, sweet, complex, and everything I want in a romantic series about four best friends who run a wedding business!
Top 5 Artists of 2011 (music that got me through the year, not artists that debuted this year):
Suffice it to say, I wrote my novel to several of his ambient albums from the ’70s on repeat.
Bassy progressive/electro and such a cutie, too.
Dreamlike, neo-shoegazer psychedelia.
4. Josh Brill
I can’t tell you how many yoga practices I’ve done to his lush soundscapes.
And nothing gets me out the door running better than these guys.
What about you? What were your favorite books and music from 2011, (new or not)??