So this is only my 2nd blog post of 2021 – apparently, I didn’t feel like sharing thoughts this year. I will do my best to recap this year, mostly referring back to pictures to jog my memory of how this year started vs how it’s going now.
Started 2021 off with a hike at Fort Mott with Josh & Burton.
On January 4th, I started my second (and final) Level II fieldwork. My placement was at a special services school with middle school and high school students. I had two AMAZING fieldwork supervisors. We started off the fieldwork virtually. Midway through January, we transitioned to in-person learning; however, about 50% of my caseload of students opted for virtual learning. Therefore, I got A LOT of experience with teletherapy. We had snow days that were also virtual. I enjoyed both experiences (in-person and virtual) for different reasons. I think about this placement regularly and the students who made me smile daily.
On January 20th, I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – Pfizer. I received my shot in the Inspira parking lot in trailers they were operating out of.
Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20th as well.
Burton & I (and sometimes Josh) shared many winter miles together – in windy weather, snow, ice, and slush. His post-run snuggles are still the best.
On February 10th, I got my 2nd Pfizer dose. I was absolutely exhausted the day after. Luckily, this fieldwork day was a virtual day due to winter weather so I was able to nap in between AM and PM sessions.
March 26th was my last day of fieldwork – a classroom surprised me with a cookie cake and handmade cards which I still cherish (and chuckle at) to this day.
Sometime in March/early April, I moved in with Josh (and Burton).
I spent all of April and the very beginning of May studying for my boards (the NBCOT). Weekdays were spent studying and trying to balance my sanity with what needed to be crammed into my brain. I was lucky to have a study buddy to review material with via Zoom.
We participated in a crop share for the first time. The weekly share of veggies were awesome and I enjoyed adding the freshest (most local) veggies to our meals each week.
We also had our own garden that provided good veggies for salads.
Burton & I got into a routine of early morning walks before study sessions.
Burton also supervised many of my study sessions and heard me repeat developmental milestones, Allen’s Cognitive Levels, and Rancho Los Amigos levels over and over again.
I took my exam on May 7th. It was the most stressful 4 hours of my life. I walked out feeling like I failed. I picked up a milkshake for lunch, then tried to decompress with a walk with Josh & Burton.
I earned my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy on May 12th. Our ceremony was in-person but only a few guests were permitted. Some of my family watched virtually. This was also the first time since March 12, 2020 that the majority of my cohort was back together.
I learned that I passed my boards on May 13th around 6:30AM. So much relief. So much pressure lifted off my shoulders. FINALLY I could get a job.
Planned and hosted a bridal shower for Brianna. Made so much food and pulled off the surprise!
I spent a lot of time in May and June applying for jobs. I had two in person interviews and one virtual interview.
Bachelorette party in Ocean City for Brianna – dinner at Crabby Jack’s and a walk on the boardwalk.
At some point I decided to restart group runs. It has been great growing the running community and expanding our group run “regulars”.
Brianna’s wedding was on June 17th!!! Honored to be the maid of honor and so much fun celebrating! Vianna did my make-up and Joanne did my hair.
Hosted another scavenger hunt race with Josh. It was a much smaller group than in 2020 but everyone had fun!
I was offered a job in late June/early July. Feeling like I had to take it so that I could get some experience under my belt, I accepted. It was a school-based job with high school students. I was hired as an independent contractor (no benefits and have to handle my own taxes) which still to this day SUCKS. I just keep telling myself experience is for the resume. Suck it up now and figure it out later.
Raced Summer Sizzler in June and somehow managed to pull off 2nd place in CAT 3. I’m going to say it was home course advantage at its finest. It was a fun day with Team S&S.
The 4th of July race was extra exciting – Angela was back to run it, it was the first true race I was doing since before the pandemic started, and it was Uncle Mike’s 40th Pitman in a row. So much fun and reasons to celebrate! I finished in 29:14, 9th overall female, and 2nd in my age group. Definitely wasn’t expecting those kind of results but thrilling nonetheless.
Knowing that I would not have a summer job, I worked extended school year as a paraprofessional for 6 weeks. I was placed in a high school classroom with great (and comical) staff members. We played lots of games and the days were never dull!
Dad decided to connect several trail systems into one long mountain bike ride. 35 miles total and a fun time documenting each trail system we visited!!
On July 17th, I bought a new car – another Toyota Rav 4; however, this one was 20 years newer and had 300,000 less miles on it. HA! I had some buyer’s remorse but it was great gaining A/C and reliability. Before the summer ended, I sold my beloved ’96 Rav 4 with 332,000+ miles on it for $800 (no bargaining by the buyer). It was sad to see it go as I had had that car for 11 years and over 100,000 miles. My ’96 Rav 4 was with me through 2 years of high school, all 4 years of undergrad (two different colleges), and all 3 years of grad school (and some years in between college degrees). Sad to see it go, but reliability and safety became more prioritized.
As I waited for my job to start (and because I no longer had to study or think about college life), I read A LOT of books over the summer. Reading for fun is GREAT!
I took a weekly virtual American Sign Language class over the summer. It was fun learning a new language and I hope to expand my knowledge of ASL in the future.
Through the summer, we helped host a short track mountain bike series. It was fun (and sometimes stressful) helping manual time each race. Towards the end of one night of the series, a storm rolled in and we were scrambling cleaning up equipment, still recording times, and making sure all finishers were out of the woods. It was CHAOTIC! True results that night were nearly impossible to determine.
Burton enjoyed many walks at Fort Mott and along the river.
I raced the Friday the 13th Trail Race at Parvin (4 miles). I came in 3rd overall (1st female). I outran many people that evening but did not outrun the ticks or chiggers. Itching for DAYS!!!
Towards the end of summer, we started trusting Burton to chase us when we mountain biked (mostly Josh because he’s faster than me). Burton is an absolute natural when it comes to chasing bikes. We didn’t even have to train him and he LOVES it.
My mom fostered many adorable dogs – puppy snuggles are so fun! And Burton enjoyed meeting other dogs too!
We went to Ocean City MD for a day trip to visit with family. We walked on the beach/boardwalk for a little and then enjoyed lunch at Bad Monkey.
S&S celebrated its 6 year anniversary!
I started my first OT job. We visited the town I was going to work in 1-2 weeks before I started work so I could learn my commute. While visiting we ate brunch at a local restaurant. It is important to note that due to the fact that I only get paid monthly (the 10th of every month if you’re curious), my first REAL paycheck only paid me for the 2 days I worked in August. LOL @ my life!!!!!!!!!! – I got paid for TWO WHOLE DAYS!
A tornado touched down in the next county over in early September. Tornado alerts were popping up on our phone a lot that afternoon. The school I work for sent everyone home close to one hour early just to allow everyone to get home before bad weather rolled through. Homes were destroyed and there was a lot of damage to the area.
I started to get back in to geocaching. Now, I’m obsessed (and it’s slightly a problem) but it’s great to enjoy a new(er) hobby!
We hosted one final short track race to race money for a family friend (#WesStrong) who experienced an abdominal aortic aneurysm (also known as “AAA”) resulting in bilateral above the knee amputations. That night was so inspiring as there were so many racers and spectators. Thousands of dollars were raised to make modifications to his home. It is truly great to be a part of a strong community of athletes!
I hosted the annual 9/11 Run. We had a great turnout and to remember that day 20 years ago, I ran 9.11 miles.
Burton enjoyed many nights camping and chasing bikes at Camp Edge. He also enjoys wading in the lake and sprinting across the field.
Meg visited before departing for Germany – we went kayaking one night and then hiking another day. So great to catch up with childhood friends!
Josh & I attended Oktoberfest.
We celebrated Burton’s 1 year adoption anniversary with a hike at Ceres. He’s so cute and we love him!!!
Patti and Colin visited from California. It was great to catch up with them!
Josh and I visited Ricketts Glen together for the first time. We stayed at a nearby Airbnb, hiked to see SO MANY waterfalls, and did some geocaching. On our way home from that trip, we mountain biked at the Geisinger trails. They were too hard for me to mountain bike.
Josh and I did our first adventure race together in October at Marsh Creek State Park. It was fun in retrospect although at times it was really hard and challenging for us. Orienteering is definitely not our strong point. I think our best leg was the paddle-run leg. We covered over 23 miles in the 6 hour race and finished 6th/10 in the Co-Ed 2 division.
The Reactors and S&S hosted Shred the Edge. Another successful year. I helped at the timing tent again and Josh woodburned the awards (which were a hit!)
We visited the Bloomsburg area for a weekend trip with Burton. We stayed in an Airbnb, went to the Geisinger trails two days in a row, geocached, and were grateful for the warmth of our Airbnb when it was raining.
Over Thanksgiving break, we spent time with Abbe, Bryan, Bridgette, and Bryce while they visited from out of country and out of state, respectively. Coffee shop and then Flyers game on Black Friday. The Flyers lost BAD that day. We did not get to tailgate like we had planned (but that’s probably ok because it was SO windy and cold). That day was funny in retrospect for many reasons. Still great to hang out with friends and also our 1st sports game in close to 2 years (the last time we had Flyers tickets was for a March 13th, 2020 game – the day that the world shut down).
I started volunteer coaching the Reactors.
We took Mommom and Granny on a Christmas lights tour in Pittsgrove and Pitman. The light displays were EXCELLENT!
Santa Run 2021 – over 500 lbs of food donated to SJRAS! Burton got to drop off the food with us this year!
Josh & I went Christmas tree hunting with my parents. This was our 1st Christmas together. We bought it for $30 at a random Christmas tree “farm” in someone’s side yard. The Christmas tree is still up and it’s so cute!
Traditional Christmas Eve festivities with family returned this year as everyone was vaccinated.
A fun but relaxing Christmas day with family. SO MANY COOKIES.
Lots of reading and geocaching over winter break!
We hosted friends for dinner and a game night. A week later they hosted us for dinner and games! So much fun catching up with childhood friends!
We visited Harbaugh Village – a cool Christmas village near by! Reminds me of every Hallmark movie you’ve ever seen (or not seen).
Running Stats of 2021:
- Total miles: 1,035.4 miles (vs 2020 at 1,008 miles)
- Highest monthly mileage: November (113.8 miles) (vs 2020 at April 151.3 miles)
- Races: Pitman 4 Miler and Friday the 13th Trail Race.
- Shoes worn: Altra Superiors & Altra Escalantes
- States I ran in: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania
Cycling Stats of 2021:
- Total miles: 314.8 miles (vs 2020 at 874.4 miles)
- Highest monthly mountain bike mileage: May (49.1 miles) (vs 2020 at July 129.6 miles)
- Highest monthly road bike mileage: September (19.8 miles) (vs 2020 at July 373.2 miles)
- Highest monthly combined mileage: May (64.8 miles) (vs 2020 at July 502.8 miles)
- Total Road Bike Miles: 47.2 miles (vs 2020 at 527.1 miles)
- Total MTB Miles: 267.6 miles (vs 2020 at 347.3 miles)
- Races: Summer Sizzler
Other activity Stats of 2021:
- Total walking/hiking miles: 244.8 miles
- Adventure Race miles: 23.8 miles
Total woman-powered miles: 1,618.8 miles (vs 2020 at 1,882.4 miles)
Although, as the stats show, I covered less overall miles this year (and SIGNIFICANTLY less cycling miles…OOOOPS), it has been great to get back into consistently running. Group runs restarted, I ran two races, and signed up for an ultra for 2022. I feel like I’m in control of my miles now compared to last year when grad school controlled how much time I felt I could allot to run or bike. Strava stats show that I covered 9,000 more feet of elevation gain than in 2020 which is AWESOME (32,392 ft in 2021 vs 23,532 ft in 2020). Overall, I am satisfied with these statistics and I’m SO excited to get back to the ultra scene in 2022.
And for good record (since reading became a renewed hobby for me this year)…
Reading Stats of 2021 (courtesy of GoodReads):
- # of books read: 40 books
- # of pages read: 13,875 pages
- Favorite reads: The Silent Patient, Where the Crawdads Sing
And also, for good record (since I started geocaching again this year too)….
Geocaching Stats of 2021:
- Finds: 43
- Hides: 1 hide with Bikewrench and 1 pending (will probably get approved in ’22)
- States: NJ, PA, DE, MD
All in all, 2021 has brought new challenges, changes, and quality time with family and friends. Changes in science, how the world views the pandemic, how the world views the world and everyone in it, and how we handle change. I can’t say this year has been easy or perfect. Big transitions occurred in 2021. The world is still an ever-changing place where we must make conscious decisions every day about health concerns. We have seen the country argue about viewpoints on vaccinations, political conflict (that turned violent and upsetting in January in DC), and everything in between.
I saw friends achieve their goals and start new ones. I’ve cherished moments (whether via Zoom or side by side) with friends who live in other states and countries. Friends have gotten married, had babies, moved to different countries, and ran goal races. I’m looking forward to growing old and new friendships.
Burton has given me much joy this year. His behavior has improved although there are still things that are a work in progress. He has made friends with Gwin & Zoey and many foster dogs. He has learned the joy in chasing bikes. He still doesn’t really like running (although some days I think it’s growing on him). He camped for the first time this year. He visited Pennsylvania mountains for the first time ever and was decently behaved during our Airbnb stay. He is the BEST snuggler – like a little heater! I tell him daily that he’s cute and how much I love him.
Josh has been a steadfast supporter in all my transitions this year and in previous years. He loves that Burton is his mountain bike buddy. We have shared many miles – both biking and running – together. We’ve enjoyed good meals together – at home and out to eat. He is a pretty cool roommate. We’ll see what 2022 brings!!
That’s all for 2021….. ’22 here we go!