I think many of us will agree that 2009 was a difficult year. And it felt difficult while living it. But looking back, I have so much to be grateful for and wanted to share some of the highlights with you.
- I got married! On February 27, 2009, I married the love of my life, Tim Long. Just a small, simple ceremony with my sister, brother-in-law and parents in attendance. It was the perfect way to start our life together. I couldn't ask for a better friend, partner, cheerleader and coach.
- My sister got married, too! Her celebration was larger and more elaborate, but no less joyful. So happy to welcome Brian to our family and see my sister so happy.
- My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary! So, so grateful for their love and support. And their genes--don't they look amazing?
- My dad completed his first half marathon! Our family trip to Kiawah Island was supposed to be my marathon debut. Alas, it was not meant to be--a nasty case of swine flu knocked me out. But it was a true joy to cheer on my father as he crossed the finish line--two days later, he was ready for more!
- My best friend Emily had another sweet baby boy, Samuel "Cutler," every bit as adorable as his big brother, Jonah. Such a blessing to be able to spend time with the Hardings this year.
- While the Country Music Marathon was my least favorite event of the year, I got to spend the entire weekend with one of my best friends, Angela Hansberger. It was our third season training together, and collectively, we've raised over $30,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Angela had never even run a mile until her dear friend Kate was diagnosed over two years ago--what a joy to run all of those miles with her, and better still, to celebrate Kate being cancer free this summer.
- The 4th of July! It's my favorite holiday. This year, I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the eight consecutive year with my TNT friends, my husband, my dad and honorary brother David Cordell, whose wife Sarah (my best friend from college) and son Nathan have started joining us for the holiday. I love nothing more than a great run in the sweltering heat with 60,000 of my closet friends, followed by grilling out, fruity drinks and low-key times with family.
- The Stupid Chickens! Most Wednesday nights, you can find me, Tim and our neighbors and close friends, Paul and Sarah McKibben, plus others who joined us along the way, at Bone Garden Cantina. No matter how packed our training and work schedules are, Wednesday night has become sacred time reserved for fellowship over cheese dip and margaritas. Better yet, we managed to win four straight quarterly tournaments--earning us bar cash for even more cheese dip and margaritas!
- My dear friends Jaclyn and Roger got married! I met them through my very first Team in Training event, when their relationship was brand new, so it's been a joy to watch them fall deeper and deeper in love as the months and years have passed. Mazel tov!
- Twitter! I heart Twitter. Yes, not all connections on Twitter turn into friendships (see this recent blog post for more), but many of them did, particularly with my long-lost twin Gini Dietrich (whom I got to meet in Chicago in October), and the fabulously witty and wonderful Marisa Sharpe. So blessed to meet so many amazing new people.
2009 was the year this formerly picky eater became a foodie.
- Meeting Jen and Ryan Hidinger of Staple House. Fabulous people making fabulous food (and football fanatics). You won't meet more real people in all of Atlanta, and Tim and I are happy to call them friends. Can't wait for their restaurant to open!
- Woodfire Grill. I had four outstanding meals at Woodfire this year: Tim's birthday, a girls' night out with Angela, my birthday dinner with family and a serendipitous meal with my friend Chris. All very sweet memories, made even sweeter by the company as well as the outstanding food and service.
- Antico pizza. I need a 12 step program for this pizza. My best experience there was a private tasting in the kitchen, where we ate slice after slice of cheesy goodness. While the place has lost some of its initial charm, the pizza is still heavenly enough to merit a weekly visit.
- The Holeman and Finch burger. It's legendary. For those who don't know, they only make 24 burgers a day and only serve them at 10pm. And on Christmas Eve, Tim and I FINALLY got to taste Atlanta's juiciest novelty. We've decided to make it an annual tradition.
While 2009 seemed challenging in the moment, as I look back, it was a year of huge growth. For me as a person, as a runner and as an entrepreneur. I can't say thank you enough to all of the people who made that possible and look forward to more amazing experiences, relationships and connections in 2010.
Pass the champagne!