Put on your party hat! It’s T-Rex Runner’s First Blirthday.

Happy first birthday to my blog! Exactly one year ago today, I wrote my first entry. I would say that the rest is history, but it’s been a long, strange, wonderful, awkward, amazing year.

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Is it just me, or does Hurricane T-Rex sound infinitely cooler than Hurricane Sandy?

I’ll be celebrating the first anniversary of my blog by running the Marine Corps Marathon in a hurricane. Hooray! Because we all know how much I love running in the rain. I am pretty pumped to see all 240 (!!!) Maniacs that will be in attendance, though. Plus, T-Rex Mom and I are running a 5k together on Saturday. We’re going to be wearing matching outfits. I know you can’t wait to see it.

I thought I’d take a little time on my blog’s birthday (blirthday? blogiversary? So many possibilities. I think blirthday.) and reflect on some of the things that have happened over the past year. I like to think y’all have been right here with me following along the whole time, not unlike that oft-referenced train wreck that you want to look away from, but can’t.

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As you can see, my Paint skills have not progressed at all over the past year.

1. I’ve run 22 marathons.

Since starting The T-Rex Runner, I have run 22 marathons in 19 different states. That sounds like a lot, and I suppose it is, but remember – I run with a crazy group (pun intended, bitchez). It’s easy to downplay your own accomplishments when you meet up with people regularly who are doing double marathon weekends EVERY weekend. My coworkers think I’m absolutely nuts, but most of them are getting used to it. Now, multiple people ask me every Friday where I’m going and running that weekend. It’s kind of nice. I like to think people live vicariously through me, but it’s probably more accurate to say that they mock me at home behind my back. Either way, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent traveling across the country this year for anything.

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There are people who actually get to go to work with this EVERY DAY.

I mean, I’ve been to South of the Border, a victory in itself. Even if I had to stop there, I would declare the year a success. I’ve been to the Magic Mall (the “big mall”) in South Williamson, Kentucky. I saw the World Trade Center Memorial. I ate deep dish pizza in Chicago, became a “leaf peeper” in New Hampshire (such a creepy description), ran past the first integrated public school in the U.S., ran up (and down) a mountain range on an Army base, and have been to more local breweries than I can count or that my liver cares to remember. I’ve had the best and worst races. I’ve met the best and worst people. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

2. I stopped worrying about the details.

Those of you who have known me for many years know I have struggled with an anxiety disorder for about the past 10 years. Those of you who have met me this year would probably never guess that. You might think that with the amount I have traveled and the sheer volume of logistics I’ve had to deal with over the past year, I’ve become even more organized and freaked out the details of everything, but the opposite has proven to be the case. What I’ve learned over the past year is that everything always works out in the end. Always. At the end of the day, although a situation might not work out how I expected it to, it’s always ok. Now, if you ask me about plans for a trip I have coming up, I probably can’t tell you what time my flight leaves until the day of the actual flight. I may or may not remember what hotel I’m staying at. I can almost never tell you what time the race starts until the night before the race. I don’t know where I’m going to find my Sprite or my Oreos. In fact, usually the only thing I do have worked out is where the local brewery is that we are going to. Life is too short to spend the whole thing worrying about timing, so I worry about beer.

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Some things are more important than minor details like the start time of the race.

3. I learned that my most popular blog posts are the ones that are the most depressing…aka you guys are assholes.

Yeah, so basically you guys love depressing entries. You love my failure and my heartache. I get it because I am totally the same way with other people’s blogs, so I can’t really blame you. To this day, my most popular post by far was the race report from the Flying Pig Marathon, which lest we forget is the only marathon I have ever DNFed. Sure, maybe I was a little over dramatic about it in my promotion of the post on Facebook, but whatever. Incidentally, this is also the same post that led to me becoming internet friends (and subsequently real life friends) with Dan and Otter.

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Gotta love hopping into the finish line of a 3 hour half marathon.

Other popular posts include my discussion of my overwhelming hatred of my body and that time I got divorced. Speaking of that…

4. I got divorced.

I guess this is kind of a big one. After what seemed like the longest year and a half ever, my divorce was finalized in July. I can honestly say that the reason I started running the way I do now is because of the emotional turmoil of my failing marriage, so I suppose that is the silver lining of a painful situation. I still don’t feel old enough to be divorced, but apparently I am. And you know what? It isn’t so bad. While some people treat me like I am a leper (like that awkward moment when T-Rex Mom told me I shouldn’t date someone who has been divorced and I had to remind her that I am one of those people…), for the most part, I’ve been fortunate to find an overwhelming amount of support during the process of legal separation and the whole deal. Every relationship gives you a new perspective on both life and yourself, and I’ve been able, on most days, to appreciate how I have grown from the experience, no matter how painful. Some days, I’m just mad and sad, but that’s ok. That’s what running is for.

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Independence Day! Now celebrated on July 10th.

5. I became a Marathon Maniac and a 50 Stater.

I actually almost forgot to include this one, which seems completely ridiculous since these two organizations have become such a huge part of my life. I have wanted to be a Maniac since even before I ran my first marathon, but a broken hip made that goal take about a year and a half longer than I anticipated. Either way, I qualified for the Marathon Maniacs at the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 4, 2011, becoming Maniac #4674. I was so happy I almost cried. I qualified for the 50 States Marathon Club after the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25, 2012, since New Mexico was my 10th state. I have met some of my best friends through these clubs – people who have absolutely changed my life. Kate is now one of my best friends, and we met at a race thanks to my Maniacs singlet. Anders has been my blog’s biggest champion and my mentor. I’ve convinced countless people to join these clubs and start a journey down this crazy path, which reminds me – Amanda qualified and is now Maniac #6001!! It’s about damn time.

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Marathon Maniac FaMMily. Yeah, I know that’s cheesy as hell.

6. I’ve fought my back, heart, and stomach for the right to run marathons in a respectable time…or finish them at all.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe in doing things the easy way, and my body is apparently no exception. This year, is seems like I’ve had serious medical issues in at least half of the races I have run – lately, a lot more. Between my back giving out on me, my heart condition, and my stomach problems, it’s a pretty rare day that I feel even remotely decent in general, let alone during a marathon. Some days, it’s hard not to get discouraged about it and I feel angry. But then I think about my experience with Team in Training, and you know what? I don’t have cancer. I haven’t lost a limb during a war. I wasn’t born with a physical handicap that makes me incapable of walking. Yeah, it sucks not to always feel perfect, but I don’t have it that bad. When people tell me that they are amazed that I keep running after I throw up, or that I finish marathons with my back in horrible pain, I never really understand why. I’m lucky to be out there doing it at all, so quitting is not an option. I’m running for everyone who wishes they were out there but can’t be. There may come a day where I can’t run anymore, but today is not that day.

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I can handle a little vomit if this kid can handle having no legs.

7. I’ve made new friends all over the country and reunited with old ones I thought I’d never see again.

Running has given me a great excuse to travel, which has led to meeting new people and reconnecting with old ones. I’ve taken 4 marathon trips with Fawn, a girl I knew for only 3 weeks more than 3 years ago, because she loves traveling as much as I do. I saw my ex-boyfriend’s fraternity advisor in Chicago…8 years after the last time I saw him. I met random guys from the interwebs. I’ve run with Maniacs, 50 Staters, first time marathoners, 400th time marathoners, and everyone in between. I’ve had perfect strangers offer to bring Sprite for me during a marathon. People I haven’t even met yet are making me T-Rex costumes. I’ve had people open their homes, hotel rooms, and cars to me when I needed some place to go. The world is filled with goodness, people. It might not always seem like it (especially during election season) but there are people everywhere who care about you. I’m not that good of a person, so if there are this many people who have treated me with such kindness, I promise there are plenty out there for you too.

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Remember when I was sad that I couldn’t get one of these at the Lincoln Park Zoo because I had no money? Guess what’s being delivered to me at Marine Corps thanks to one of the many awesome people I’ve met along the way!

8. I learned how disturbing the internet really is.

People have found my blog searching for some really bizarre and obscure things, not the least of which is “t-rex porn.” Imagine checking your daily list of search terms used to find your blog and seeing “t-rex porn” and then your full name (including both your married and maiden names) directly underneath it. That’s all I have to say on this topic.

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I literally burst out laughing when I saw this and I have no idea why.

9. I realized that I have no grasp on reality whatsoever.

One of the best things about writing this blog is that I have had a little bit more of an opportunity to see myself how other people see me and focus less on how I see myself. Your comments and the interactions I have with readers have slowly begun to make me realize that I do have something to offer society as a whole, even if that something is snark. Not to sound like an angsty 7th grader, but we all have moments (or entire lives) of self doubt, and I’ve been someone who struggles with that more than most people realize. Your encouraging comments, laughter at my antics, and endless support has made me realize that I have spent 26 years looking at myself in a completely absurd way. While I may never really get over those feelings, every once in awhile, I have moments where I see myself how you see me – like the irreverent hair model I truly am.

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Pint of beer – $4. Finisher’s medal – $60 race fee. Perfect hair – priceless.

10. I convinced AJ to tolerate me for the foreseeable future.

Somehow, I managed to meet and snag the most amazing guy I have ever met during the course of a year of complete insanity. I’m pretty sure this only worked because 1) he knows great hair when he sees it and 2) he has never known me any other way than how I am now – completely crazy and always on the go. If I had met AJ 14 months ago, before I started traveling all over the place, I’m pretty sure he never would have put up with my new found lifestyle, but as they say, timing is everything. That’s not to say that my schedule doesn’t make him crazy, because it often does, but at least he knew what he was getting into. I’ve been so lucky to share many trips with him (although I’m about 80% sure he does not feel the same way) and to have created a lot of hilarious memories all over the country in the past 11 or so months since we met. I even tricked him into living with me, so now he cannot escape. One day, perhaps I will have him write a guest blog that describes a day in the life from his perspective, although that could be dangerous. Regardless, he has been the icing on the cake of a year of adventure, and icing is my favorite.

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Yes, I do actually own outfits that are not running clothes.

THANK YOU for being a part of the past year. Whether today is your first time reading my blog or whether you check it every day, I am glad you’re here. I can’t wait to see what next year brings! Now go celebrate my blirthday by getting a Team T-Rex shirt of your very own and/or liking my Facebook page.

Leave a comment and tell me what things/races/places I should do next year to make year 2 even better than year 1!

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