We're in the last days of December and about to bid farewell to 2015. Usually this time of year fills me with sadness. Granted, I’m a bit of a glass-half-empty kind of gal, but I tend to look back and feel like I didn't take full advantage of all that the year had to offer. It dawned on me today that this is the first year that I don’t really have that feeling. Sure, there are regrets (like eating jambalaya the night before my race in August, OOF!), but overall, I feel really satisfied with 2015. This year was filled with so many experiences that were memorable for my family and for me.
February found us with the Cho side of our family. First we went to Kansas to celebrate the birthdays of my nephew Connor and my niece Hailey. It was Connor’s 3rd birthday and Hailey’s 1st. From there, we jetted to Orlando for a trip to Disney World!! It was Maddie’s first trip to the House of Mouse and Mike’s and my first trip in a LONG time. As it wasn’t peak vacation season, the park wasn’t crowded, which made the whole trip SO much more enjoyable! It was truly magical to experience Disney World with Maddie and getting to see everything through her eyes. And, it was even more special that we got to vacation with the whole Cho family. The highlight of the trip was Breakfast with Cinderella. Maddie was in heaven! The look of excitement in her eyes as she met all the princesses will forever be imprinted in my mind.
April brought my first Olympic distance triathlon at the Kemah Triathlon. It was quite an experience! The race begins by jumping off The Colonel paddlewheel boat and swimming to shore. I jumped off the boat and took off swimming without any problem, but about 50 yards out, I had a panic attack. I couldn’t put my face in the water. After maybe 5 minutes of that, I decided to suck it up and get moving. Something about fighting through that fear changed me permanently. I’m not a very confident person, but resolving myself to “just keep swimming” created new synapse connections in my brain. I believe in myself more now because of that experience.
May meant another (Mike’s fourth!) Ironman Texas. While it wasn’t a PR, Mike had a great race. Most importantly, Mike’s mom came down for the race and got to spend time with Maddie. It truly makes my heart sing when Maddie gets to spend time with family! Of course there is some serious re-programming that has to take place after days of getting spoiled, but that’s what Grammies are for!
May also brought the biggest heartbreak of my life when Rocket went to doggy heaven. In 2002, a few months after graduating college, I went to the mall looking for a skirt and came home with a puppy. Rocket was with me my entire adult life and was my one constant in an ever-changing world. He saw me through the end of my 3-year relationship with my college boyfriend, my move to the big city of Chicago, meeting and marrying Mike, the heartache of infertility, the joy of becoming a mother and moving to Texas! He was with me through it all and my heart shattered when I had to let him go.
The first weekend of August brought my second Olympic distance triathlon and my first time on the podium! I had a lot of nerves going into the race as I was having rear derailleur issues and I had to ascend the Kemah bridge twice! But, I surprised myself with a stronger bike leg than I knew I was capable of (almost 20 mph)! I was totally surprised when I found out I won my age group!
This fall was surely an eventful one! At the end of September, I opened my first business, Honor and Pride Sports. As a military wife, I felt inspired to design endurance sports apparel that would allow all women affiliated with the Armed Forces (be they the active duty servicemember or a family member) to wear their branch pride during races. It is a lot of work, but so rewarding! November saw the Oylers headed back to the Sunshine State for Ironman Florida. The trip turned out to be another family vacation, as we were staying in a beautiful resort right on the beach and even flew Grammy down to spend time with us. November also brought the PowerSync trainer into the Oyler house courtesy of the Sacrifice Nothing contest, sponsored by CycleOps.
Thanksgiving and Christmas took us to Kansas to spend time with the Cho side of the family again. Maddie is so close with her cousins and we try to get up North as often as we can. I am so thankful for the relationship Maddie has with Connor and Hailey and wish we lived closer so she could spend more time with them.
So, here we are, counting down until the calendar reads 2016. We’ve passed the valley of the winter solstice and are now climbing the hill towards more sunshine. I think that analogy is fitting for this time in my life. Sure, there will be tough periods, but I truly feel like life is getting better. Here’s to a 2016 that glitters like gold!