2014 – a year in review

Happy New Year, dear reader! Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015! I celebrated the change of year at a friend’s and had a lovely time. I took the opportunity to reflect on an eventful year and I’ve wanted to share my recap of everything that has happened in 2014.

January

I remember going into 2014, happy that 2013 was over. I had a lot of stress toward the end of 2013, with an international relocation, a new job and just some family stuff. I was hoping 2014 would be kinder.

I can’t remember much of January; in fact, the only exciting thing that seemed to have happened (according to my Facebook) was one of my photographs being featured on the Flickr blog. Scroll down, it’s the one of the Manhattan Bridge at the very bottom.

My parents also came to visit, the first time since I’d moved to Munich. They (and I)’d received tickets to a show as a Christmas present from my brother. Surprisingly, nobody died that weekend.

And finally, I also managed to somehow drop a 16kg kettlebell on my shoulder. Oh, I remember now! I had started training for a spring half marathon since I’d had to realize in December of 2013 that I wasn’t ready yet to train for another full just yet. On the day of the kettlebell incident, I went on a run before my CrossFit class. That’s apparently when bad things happen. The bruise looked like a horse bite:

No, I did not get cozy with a horse. It was a kettlebell.

My eating also started getting out of control, so I saw a nutritionist. She put together a plan for me that I followed for a while and saw great results at first, despite the high share of carbs. I was half-marathon training, so I think that obviously helped with burning through those. However, my nightly binge-eating was a big issue, which sort of negated all the good eating I did during the day. I was getting very frustrated.

And on a sad and final note, we also had to say goodbye to my great uncle in January. He’d been struggling with health for a while, yet, I don’t think anybody was ready to see him pass. He was a wonderful man with a warm, gentle laugh and he’s missed very much.

Workout stats for January:

  • Number of workouts: 25
    • Runs: 14
    • CrossFit: 8
    • Yoga: 3
  • KMs: 148 km (running only)

February

In February, I headed home to celebrate my granny’s birthday. While I was at it, I cut of my hair. After 6 years or so. It was a lot of hair:

Hair. There’s a song waiting to be sung.

I’m still digging the short hair, but some days, I really miss the ease of a ponytail.

In a moment of insanity, I let a friend talk me into signing up for a ToughMudder. The race wasn’t going to be until later in the year, but I pretty much regretted the decision as soon as I made it. ;o) More about that later. Note to self: never let yourself be talked into that again.

I also started bonding with my supervisor at the time over CrossFit workouts. Whenever I visited the company’s headquarters in Frankfurt (I felt like I did that a lot in February, it was a work-busy month), we went to her box together, where she had personal training with some friends. It was a lovely experience. Even if it meant falling off the box right in front of her eyes the very first time. Go me.

My eating got even worse. And with eating, I mostly mean my nightly eating. The stress at work really took its toll on me and I started purging again. It was a really rough phase.

Workout stats for February:

  • Number of workouts: 25
    • Runs: 12
    • CrossFit: 8
    • Yoga: 4
    • Walking/Hiking: 1
  • KMs: 118 km (running: 111 km)

March

March was super-busy! I was having issues with a co-worker. Big issues that had been going on since December and partly contributed to my emotional turmoil and binge eating & purging. I think right around March was also when my depression hit me fairly severely. It was finally time to start seeing a therapist again because I couldn’t continue like this.

In order to recharge and reset, I treated myself to my first vacation this year. Actually, the first vacation in a really, really, really long time. I went to a wonderful hotel in Füssen and spent a week doing nothing but hiking, visiting castles and hanging out at the SPA.

Neuschwanstein was absoluely stunning.

You can see the full album here.

I made one of my best purchases this year in March. I bought a bike! Munich is extremely bike-friendly and not having a car and having to rely on public transport can be tedious at times. Especially since it takes me 35 minutes to bike to the box, but almost an hour if I go public. My big treat to myself this year was this:

Sweet new ride

After about 6 years, this happened:

Salami for breakfast.

Ever since I started CrossFitting, I was having really bad meat cravings and despite eating a lot of protein, I felt that my body was just not getting enough. Or maybe not the quality it needed. Maybe it was the new way of training through CrossFit or just my body going through some other change, but I felt that I just had to eat meat again. I started with salami, because quite frankly, after 6 or so years, I had no idea what to do with a raw piece of meat. I remember being very underwhelmed with the taste. It wasn’t quite the rainbows I’ve expected. ;o)

Ever since, I’ve relearned how to cook meat and now actually eat a lot of it. More in later months!

Speaking of CrossFit: I graduated from the Basics class to the regular class. I was terrified the first time I went. But I survived!

And finally, I took this selfie:

Perfect hair day.

Workout stats for March:

  • Number of workouts: 54
    • Runs: 11 (I was still training for the half in April, but ended up skipping and modifying a lot of runs due to my vacation)
    • CrossFit: 10
    • Yoga: 4
    • Biking: 25
    • Hiking/Walking: 4
  • KMs: 387 km (141 km running, 197 km biking, 41 km walking/hiking)

April

In order to get the most out of my bike, I took part in a 3 day bike camp here in Munich. It was a basics course that taught us about proper position on the bike, tipping points, breaking (without doing a flip over the handlebars) and some in field practice. I hadn’t biked in probably 15 years and I think I took the course too early. I was extremely wobbly on the bike and didn’t get as much out of it as I could have.

While I biked a lot over the course of the year, I didn’t mountain bike enough and if I were out on the trails, I’d be pretty lost. That’s a shame really.

I did manage to fall off the bike during camp and twist my ankle pretty badly. That one took a while to heal.

My half year anniversary as the new girl in town was coming up and I was making new friends through CrossFit. A trend that would continue throughout the year.

After I’d sort of been lax about training for the Würzburg half marathon, end of April finally saw race day. The first race of the season. I was so not into racing that day, after I’d been struggling with injury, weight gain and depression. I didn’t have an amazing time, but I managed to PR against all odds.

This is my “glad we’re almost done” face.

You’d think after just running a half, I’d not want to think about running for a long time. But April was also the time to start planning my next. 😉 The Big Sur in Monterey Bay in November. I was getting a nice vacation in the Bay Area out of it, so nope, not too early to get excited!

Workout stats for April:

  • Number of workouts: 76
    • Runs: 6
    • CrossFit: 9
    • Yoga: 2
    • Biking: 59
  • KMs: 525 km (62 km running, 449 km biking)

May

May was the month when I finally revamped this blog. I had realized that I missed blogging and that I missed documenting the important changes in my life. Especially in 2013, when I relocated and went through a major life change. No more missing of that.

I volunteered at the Munich triathlon in the pouring rain, I baked my first ever bagels and I went hiking with my CrossFit friends. My first ever hike in the Pre Alps. Yay! (I also took the opportunity to remind myself of how far I’d come. I can’t believe these pants used to fit.)

Mom came to visit to help me plant my balcony and spend the weekend. We were both pretty pleased with the result:

Flowers. (Full set: here)

And I bought my first ever dirndl. Because you can’t live in Munich and not have one:

Dirndl

On a sad and serious note, in May one of my cousins passed away. He lost the fight to Multiple Sclerosis after almost 20 years. While it was a big relief for him, it was obviously still a big, sad loss for us. He was such a fighter.

Workout stats for May:

  • Number of workouts: 87
    • Runs: 7
    • CrossFit: 12
    • Yoga: 1
    • Biking: 58
    • Hiking/Walking: 6
  • KMs: 474 km (49 km running, 386 km biking, 26 km hiking/walking)

June

One of my highlights for the entire year happened in June! A trip to the Baltic States with the CrossFit crew. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of decision when I had to decide within an hour whether I wanted to go or not. Somebody else had canceled last minute, opening another spot to be filled. I’m not the spontaneous kind, but it turned out that not thinking sometimes and following my heart is a smart thing to do.

We visited Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) and finally Vilnius (Lithuania), three absolutely gorgeous cities that I probably would have never traveled to on my own. Which is a shame because they’re all very charming and worth a visit in their own ways. Not to mention that it was a wonderful way to deepen some of the friendships I’d made at CrossFit.

Tallinn

Lots of fun in Riga

Vilnius

You can see the full album here. The full travel report is here.

After a short running break, I also started training for the Munich Marathon. I kicked it off with partaking in the Stadtlauf, a local 10k that is held in the city every summer. Considering, I hadn’t trained, I did reasonably well. It gave me confidence for marathon training. I was following the FIRST method, the same I had used to prepare for the NY Marathon in November 2013. The track workouts were really tough at first, but eventually got a bit easier. That was of course before  the injuries kicked in.

June started with a lot of self-love and positivity, but sadly somewhere along the line, the feeling disappeared and I couldn’t find it again until after the summer.

The evening before I headed off to Tallinn, I found out that unfortunately, I was going to be laid off due to my employer having to downsize after the loss of a big client. However, I was offered that my contract was going to be taken over by a sister company within the network at the same conditions. It sounded like a great idea at the time, so I accepted. There would be some major drama later in the year with a surprising, but absolutely fantastic outcome for me.

Workout stats for June:

  • Number of workouts: 78
    • Runs: 7
    • CrossFit: 13
    • Yoga: 4
    • Biking: 51
    • Hiking/Walking:2
    • Kayaking: 1
  • KMs: 438 km (48 km running, 350 km biking, 13 km hiking)

July

July was awful.

Despite being laid off, my company tried to squeeze out of me as much as they could. This would continue well into August. It worsened my depression and disordered eating. I went to see the sister agency that had taken over my contract and left them with the feeling of having done something incredibly stupid when agreeing to the deal. We did not see eye to eye.

I had a pretty nasty bike accident:

Bike accident

Went to a yoga event where everybody but me wore a size 0 and went into another frenzy of feeling bad about my weight, the weight I had gained in the previous weeks with a healthy dose of self loathing on top. I was questioning my health, fitness and aesthetic goals. Marathon training, too, was a total disaster with plenty of runs skipped or modified. July was not a good month for me.

My annual low was the day I drove home after my best friend’s bachelorette party. I was having suicidal thoughts as I drove along the highway. Ever since, I’ve worked through them with my therapist. Back then, it was a scary feeling. Scary thoughts to have.

Workout stats for July:

  • Number of workouts: 95
    • Runs: 11
    • CrossFit: 16
    • Yoga: 2
    • Biking: 66
  • KMs: 578 km (115 km running, 440 km biking)

August

Unfortunately, if July was bad, August started off even worse. At work, I was close to a burnout and was actually considering calling in sick. I was extremely disappointed because my warning signals and concerns about my workload (an employee they were letting go of in the very near future) went by unheard. It wasn’t a very nice feeling. I cried a lot.

Physically, I was absolutely drained. Marathon training was a joke, I started having first overuse injuries, my CrossFit workouts were sluggish and the ToughMudder I ran – I barely made it through. I had an awful time.

Pre-Mudder.

My best friend got married in August and due to my depression, I had a hard time fully enjoying the celebration. I was happy that finally, there was something positive happening (after the deaths in my family this year and my Dad’s health being a big concern), but my own struggles made it hard to just forget and be merry. The wedding brought back a lot of old fears of being alone forever, the feeling of not being pretty enough to ever find somebody to love me. The first half of August was certainly rocky.

Mom came to visit for my birthday and we spent a couple of nice days together. After that, things got definitely better. My therapist was my rock back then, asking me the right questions for me to work my way out of depression and giving me the necessary tools to pick myself up and lessen my self-destructive thinking.

And then, two great things happened at the end of August. I got a new tattoo and I scored a job interview that I did pretty well at!

Workout stats for August:

  • Number of workouts: 63
    • Runs: 9
    • CrossFit: 9
    • Biking: 42
    • Hiking/Walking: 2
  • KMs: 448 km (116 km running, 282 km biking, 16 km walking)

September

September started off right. With a vacation! Mom turned 60 in April and as a gift, we’d given her a voucher to a lovely SPA hotel. She and I spent about a week there, recharging some seriously empty batteries. I started doing better thanks to therapy and the time off further contributed to my improved well-being. Mom and I visited the Wartburg, a historic site nearby. It was pretty!

Wartburg

Another one of my personal highlights of 2014: I scored a new job. A pretty fucking fantastic new job! After my experience with the would-be new employer in July, I didn’t hesitate when a great, local agency contacted me at the end of August and offered that we talk about an open position they had. Talking never hurts and accepting an invitation to a job interview after the first talks doesn’t either. I had a great interview, felt good about the company and when I called them the next day to let them know I was still interested in the position, they already offered me a contract – to my surprise.

There was quite a mess because I had a signed contract with another company (that sister company I was talking about, the one I met and didn’t feel connected to) that I needed to break. It was a bit of a political issue, but after the way I’d been treated the previous months, I had a hard time caring. My new job was too good an opportunity for me to pass. A great, local agency, a giant client, a big career step for me with plenty of room to grow. I had to do it. You can read more about it here.

I made some great progress with therapy in September and started feeling a lot better. September was the last month at my old company and since I wasn’t starting my new job until December, I was looking forward to a 2 month break.

Marathon training was a pretty big disaster. After skipping and modifying too many runs in July and August, jumping into my prescribed distance for September was not working. I had some serious overuse injuries, mostly the tendons in my feet. It was a pretty nasty month, filled with doubt about whether I could even safely attempt to race. I was getting frustrated because I had already invested to much time and energy. I changed strategy and substituted the short runs for time on the rower and only did my LSDs. It wasn’t ideal, but the best I could do.

Outfit for the month: compression socks and ice.

Other highlights included: another hike and the first visit of the Oktoberfest (or Wiesn as we call them here).

Workout stats for September:

  • Number of workouts: 76
    • Runs: 6
    • CrossFit: 11
    • Rowing: 4
    • Biking: 52
    • Hiking/Walking: 1
  • KMs: 540 km (120 km running, 355 km biking, 9 km hiking)

October

In October I finally ran that marathon. The Munich Marathon. After weeks of preparation, some ups and a few more downs, I was incredibly nervous as race day approached. Because of my injuries, I’d given up all attempts at a time goal. My concerns were more about being able to finish at all. I had some big jitters as I visited the race expo.

The race itself wasn’t perfect, but better than I expected it to be. I managed to finish only about 10 minutes slower than I had run the ING NY Marathon – not too bad, considering I had to modify training so much and was pretty much in pain for the better part of the race.

Tastiest beer I’ve ever had.

You can read the full race report here.

After the marathon, I was more than happy to give my feet a break and let the overuse injuries heal. Doesn’t mean I can’t work on getting some new injuries while I’m at it. I sprained my toe at CrossFit as I clumsily got off the rings. Yup. A couple of days later, my toe turned the colors of the rainbow. This was painful. Thankfully, it happened post-marathon.

We were blessed with some seriously nice weather toward the end of the month. I took the last chance I had and realized one of the projects I had wanted to do all summer, but never found the time due to marathon training: bike to & around Lake Starnberg. The lake is maybe some 30 km south of Munich and since I’d never been. I thought it was a lovely trip to take.

Me at Lake Starnberg

It pretty much took me all day to ride the 120 km, but so worth it. Nature was beautiful and the weather held up the entire time. I’ll definitely do another project like this in 2015. Here are some more pictures and a full report.

Shortly after the marathon, I got my tattoo colored. My artist was absolutely wonderful and I’m still madly in love with the design. I wish getting tattoos weren’t so expensive. Or maybe that’s a good thing, or else…

William

And finally, after having toyed with the idea for a while, I went on a Whole30 challenge at the end of October. I’d been curious about Paleo, having heard a lot about it through the CrossFit community. I’d always been hesistant. After I felt that the nutrition plan I’d gone on earlier in the year wasn’t working anymore, I decided I should try this for 30 days. I saw some great results almost immediately.

Workout stats for October:

  • Number of workouts: 59
    • Runs: 2
    • CrossFit: 12
    • Rowing: 3
    • Biking: 59
    • Hiking/Walking: 3
  • KMs: 560 km (56 km running, 538 km biking, 21 km walking)

November

On November 1st, my one year anniversary of having moved to Munich came up. I was at a good point in my life and had no regrets about leaving New York.

After the trip to the Baltic States, November saw my second big trip this year. I was headed to California to meet up with a friend and run a half marathon together. We first spent a couple of days in San Francisco (which I absolutely loved), before we headed on to the Monterey Bay, where we ran the Big Sur half. We had a wonderful time together, exploring both regions.

Especially San Francisco was lovely. Full album here.

Big Sur half - post-finish.

Big Sur half – post-finish.

I CrossFitted a lot. I PRed a lot. My bench, my shoulder press & my clean. I also saw some improvement in my deck squats and push-ups. And I PRed my Split Jerk.

Giant CrossFit hickey

Giant CrossFit hickey

I also finished my first 30 days of Paleo and survived a vacation on Whole 30. I felt considerably better and decided to continue eating Paleo with the reintroduction of coffee. (Spoiler: I didn’t eat very Paleo in December, thanks to having so little willpower when it comes to Christmas treats. However, I’ve gone back to Paleo since I returned to Munich post-Christmas and I already feel a lot better again.)

At the end of the month, my two best friends came to visit for the weekend. We had a wonderful time, visiting Christmas markets and attending a “Dinner in the Dark”. It was a great experience! You receive a 4 course meal that you eat in complete darkness. The catch? You don’t know what it is until after you’ve eaten it. It’s all regular, perfectly edible food, but yet, it’s an interesting experience, not seeing what you eat and actually having to focus on taste and texture. It was awesome.

Christmas market with the girls

Christmas market with the girls

Post-dinner. The wine for sure was tasty! ;o)

Post-dinner. The wine for sure was tasty! ;o)

Workout stats for November:

  • Number of workouts: 58
    • Runs: 2
    • CrossFit: 16
    • Biking: 30
    • Hiking/Walking: 10
  • KMs: 385 km (31 km running, 296 km biking, 34 km walking)

December

The biggest happening for December came in form of a new job. After 2 months off, on December 1st, I was finally starting at the new company. It was a big change from being able to manage my freetime as I saw fit and the constant flow of information drained me at first. I didn’t have quite as much energy for CrossFit as I would have liked. But toward the end of the month I got used to the workload for sure. Read more about my first few days back at work here.

Since the weather was still mild for most of December, I biked quite a lot. I managed to squeeze in a final injury for 2014: I fell off the bike and bruised my shoulder pretty badly.

Dad gave us a giant health scare during December. He had to be admitted to the hospital after the wound from an earlier surgery kept getting infected. Once they were at it, they noticed gout in his hand, another surgery, and then they also noticed that his carotid artery was 95% clogged. He was 5% away from a stroke.

Workout stats for December:

  • Number of workouts: 56
    • Runs: 4
    • CrossFit: 10
    • Biking: 40
    • Hiking/Walking: 2
  • KMs: 304 km (37 km running, 241 km biking, 9 km

Recap

Overall, I’d say that 2014 was fairly eventful. I had a lot of great moments, but certainly a lot of bad moments too. One of the main themes seemed to be my depression and disordered eating in 2014. I’m glad I’m ending the year having made great progress and feeling so much better. 2014 was also the year where I fully arrived in my new home town and made new friends. 2014 also was a year that brought lots of success and improvements when it comes to fitness. It was a year rich in PRs, yet also plagued by injury.

For 2015, I’ll just take the PRs, please.

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One thought on “2014 – a year in review

  1. Pingback: Goals 2015 | 3ckfoodie

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