Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 30, 2013

Tidbits: It's 2014 already?

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — I can't believe it's already New Year's Eve. Where did 2013 go? I still have projects I wanted to get done and chores that I've been ignoring hanging over my head. I need more time!

But time waits for no gal, it seems. So another year has come and gone and it's time to take stock and prepare for the year ahead. That calendar change-over makes you think about all the opportunity that lies in wait, just a few pages over, where I've yet to pencil in my next adventures.

Before looking ahead, it's always good to look back and see what was accomplished.

I'm happy to say this year, finally, I seem to have accomplished a goal. I'm about seven months out from my quit smoking date. I'm feeling good. I can breathe. I can run.

And with that monkey off my back, I feel like I can accomplish anything!

I want to thank everyone that stopped me or wrote me or called to encourage me in quitting smoking. Someone told me shortly after I wrote of making it three months without cigarettes, "Talk about accountability." It helps to put it out there. If I'm accountable to my friends, family or that nice reader that takes time to encourage me, then it's easier to stay quit and fight the urge to smoke. And yes, that urge still strikes.

This year, I plan to stay quit and cross another vice off my list, at least a little bit. It is absolutely silly to drink as many carbonated and caffeinated beverages as I do in a day.

A few weeks ago, as a coworker lamented running out of her carbonated beverage of choice, I chided her for only bringing one tiny little 16-ounce bottle. That's hardly enough to get me going of a morning. She's pretty quick witted and replied, "Sorry, but I don't drink a gallon of it at a time." Touché.

What I should be drinking more of is good old H2O. But I don't like it. It's not bubbly or fizzy or flavored. How boring! But it's apparently really good for my heart, my weight, my digestion, even my appearance. I've even read that being well hydrated can reverse the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and help erase those under-eye circles.

So, goal one is I will drink less caffeinated beverages and drink more water. I'm shooting for less than two beverages a day, but it may take me a little while. This one is going to be tough!

I've also registered for a half marathon in March, just a few weeks after I turn the big 3-6. I had set a goal to run one this past year after I started running, and had hoped to run one before the birthday clock ran out. Oh well, a few weeks is close enough.

I've got to get back into training, though. A little injury a few weeks ago had me limping for a while. I'm getting started again and I have my eye on the prize, a shiny medal at the finish line and the knowledge that I am strong enough and determined enough to finish a 13.1-mile race.

I've got my eye on several races in the coming year and hope to collect some runner's swag — medals, T-shirts, sashes, whatever. It's a fun activity that can be done in a group or by myself. There isn't a lot of cost to just running, though I need to watch those race registrations. They can add up pretty fast. But mostly, the goal of continuing to run will hopefully help me reach a few health goals I have and keep me active all year long.

I'm going to start the year off right tomorrow. There will be a first hike of the year at Cumberland Mountain State Park, beginning at 10 a.m. Ranger Monica Johnson is leading an easy to moderate 2.7-mile hike along Pioneer Short Loop Trail. Meet at the restaurant for some hot cocoa and coffee before the hike starts.

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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.