Oh Hey There 2015!

So let me set the stage for you.  I have just finished waking up and feeding Maya (aka “Little”) and putting her back to sleep, it is now 1:30am on Wednesday 12/31/2014.  As I lay back down and try to get some sleep, I find myself thinking about 2014 and all that has changed.  I also find myself thinking about 2015 and what lies before my family and I.  Great, now I can’t sleep.  I guess I will have to add getting rid of insomnia to my list of New Year’s resolutions.  Speaking of, it’s probably time to put those suckers in writing and posting them on some type of public forum so that I actually feel some sort of need/accountability to complete them.  Its times like this that I am glad I have a blog, albeit a blog that hasn’t gotten a lot of use lately.

But hey, who can blame me?  I mean seriously, I have crammed a ton of life experiences into the span of just one year.  So let’s back up to the start of 2014 for a nice little recap shall we?  Or better yet, the end of 2013.  Here let me set the scene:

So it’s just after Christmas and Alicia and I were visiting her family in Virginia like we have done for the past few years.  Living so far away in Northwest Iowa, it was usually few and far between the times we were able to see her family, and I know that we both cherished being able to spend the holidays with them.  At this point and time in our lives, Alicia and I were fully devoted to our health and fitness.  We both lifted, swam, biked, and ran frequently.  We were in the greatest shape of our lives and working out was a priority for us.  We were also both living near our hometowns and both working full time as HR professionals.  We like to think that we had a pretty good grasp on the world as it was and it was around this point and time that Alicia and I decided that we were going to try and have our first child.  And that’s how 2014 started, Bow-Chick-A-Wow-Wow and cue cheesy music.

Needless to say we are both pretty good at this procreation stuff, because a few short months later we were at the doctor getting the news that Alicia was indeed pregnant.  Sweet!  We had already planned bringing this bundle of joy into our lives and knew that we were up to the task.  It wouldn’t be until at least a month after that when we found out that not only were we pretty good at having babies, but that we are basically 2 times greater at having babies than the parents of singletons….drumroll please as we welcome the future craziness that is the introduction of twins.

So while Alicia was being an all-star with the pregnancy, I continued to train for a short time longer before I got sidelined with some sorry old knees that decided it was time to get tendonitis (Runners Knee).  It was recommended to me that I take some time off to let the recover (6-8 months) so that I could continue my workouts/triathlon training in 2015 with no issues.  So, reluctantly that’s what I did and even went as far as to try out blood platelet injections in my knees to help the process.  So I went from 5-6 times a week working out to zero times a week. That basically lasted until right about the time that I am writing this post.  Oops!  In hindsight it was an absolute blessing as it meant that I could be more helpful to Alicia during her pregnancy and also that I could focus on the changes that were coming.  But ultimately it would lead to weight gain and fitness loss and to many of the resolutions that I will be listing here shortly.

Inquisitive Girls

So because I was no longer working out as much I now I had a lot of free time on my hands, and with the knowledge of two small babies soon to be entering out lives, I began to brainstorm options for us. With that brainstorming came the realization and the plan that would inevitably shake up our world.  Alicia and I have always wanted to live in Virginia.  Me because its stunning and full of outdoor adventure,  and Alicia because her family lives nearby.  So, since I wasn’t really enjoying working for Vogel’s, who ran their company like an old dying dinosaur, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to seek out other employment.  Needless to say I ended up making contact with a couple of businesses in the VA area and started the joys of applications, phone interviews, and Skype conference calls.  Meanwhile Alicia was put on bed rest and the babies were going to be coming to us very soon!  And as luck would have it, while driving to the hospital in Sioux Falls for what would be our last checkup on September 5th, and ultimately knowing that the babies would be here within 1-2 weeks, I got a phone call from my now current employer (Centra), about flying out for an interview.  Perfect timing….not!  Well after our appointment the doctor scheduled us for an induction on September 8th, but low and behold Kate and Maya couldn’t wait that long, and on Sunday September 7th they burst into this world kicking and screaming.  Thanks to Centra’s flexibility and understanding, I was able to reschedule to come out to see them 2 short weeks later, leaving my newborn girls and their mother and mother in law back in Iowa to fend for themselves as I went out in search of new employment.  Good luck Ladies, I am off to lock down our next life adventure!

Well to make this long story short…I got the job and just a month after the offer rolled in, we were packing up, leaving the Midwest, and uprooting our lives and month old newborn babies to gorgeous VA.  Let’s just say, God has a fantastic plan in place for my family and I am so grateful for the things he has done for us this past year and the doors he has opened.

So now its 12/31/14 and as I sit in the dark typing this up with the family sleeping, I can honestly say that this has been the greatest and most stressful year of my life.  To anyone who helped us out along the way, Thank You!  We never could have made this move and change without help from our family and friends.   We certainly have no regrets and are loving our new roles.  My wife gets to stay at home with the girls and honestly has the hardest job out of the both of us but absolutely loves it. Me on the other hand, I get to help shape Centra’s Mental Health programs with the power of HR…wow that makes me sound like an HR geek doesn’t it?  Regardless, we both enjoy our new roles and wouldn’t change them for anything.

Whew!  So that was 2014 in a very short summary.  Kind of puts a lot of pressure on 2015 to step it up now doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t be too difficult as I already know the best part of the New Year is going to be watching our girls grow.  How exciting is that going to be?  Pretty damn exciting I can tell you that.


Ok now I am finally at the resolution part.  And since I am a fitness junky at heart, I certainly done want to leave out any of my fitness goals, because even though one of my knees still doesn’t feel like it has healed to 100%, I want to get moving again.  So her were go:

Fitness Goals

  • Drop down to race weight of180lbs.
    • I was at this weight when I competed in the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, WI and I have to say I never felt better. Ultimately dropping that excess weight (I was 210lbs) made me feel so much better and made each discipline so much easier.  I have gained back 20lbs over my offseason of 2014 and so I will be dropping that in 2015.  This will be no small task as I now no longer have unlimited workout time because of the girlies, but nonetheless I think it is something that I can manage.  I don’t have plans for any triathlons in 2015, but rather I just want to reach peak fitness and hit on some key weak areas.  Ultimately, I see a lot of cardio in my future!
  • Rope climb
    • This one may seem stupid but my upper body is weak and always has been. I would like to see some improvement with body weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups and ultimately be able to climb a rope.  This is something that I have never been able to do either because of lack of muscle or lack of technique but probably both.  I always see these obstacles in Spartan Races, and they always intimidate me.  That being said, I am going to climb a damn rope in 2015 so that I can finally be a proper HS Gym Class Athlete!!!  Then maybe I can work up the courage to do a Spartan Race sometime without looking like a buffoon.
  • Improve Squat
    • My squats are weak. Back in the glory days at Buena Vista University, I was a Decathlete who specialized in 100-400m sprints and High/Low Hurdle races.  I used to fancy myself a pretty powerful guy in the Hamstring, Quad, Hips, Gluteus, and Core muscles, and somehow along the way to becoming an Olympic distance triathlete, I lost a lot of the power that comes with sprinting.  With that gone, my squats now suffer and it’s time to turn that around.  I don’t have an exact weight I want to be able to hit but rather I just want to see significant improvement.
  • Improve Grip Strength
    • Honestly this is another silly one but one that came about while I was moving all my belongings up multiple flight of stairs. My hands are weak!  I was literally carrying a couch of mine with my father and it really isn’t that heavy but my grip just gave out.  And ever since then, I have noticed the weakness with other tasks that I do as well.  One of which is of the upmost importance…not to drop the Car Seats.  I mean I obviously haven’t done this yet and don’t ever plan too, but seriously I can’t hold a 25-35lb car seat for a minute without feeling weak and having to engage “hold by the crook of the elbow mode”.  And don’t even get me started on jars…nothing can make you feel less masculine than being beat by a jar.  So there, after 2015 when you shake my hand, I hope my grip is uncomfortably firm.

Honestly that’s it for fitness.  Really just want to get back to living healthy and eating right and feeling like an athlete again.  And by accomplishing the items above, I will reach that goal.  So as cliché as it may be, I will officially be getting a gym membership in the month of January.

As far as non-fitness related resolutions I have a few, and the fact that they come after fitness goals in this post does not make them the lowest priority.  The items below are actually at the top of my list.

Life Goals

  • Continue on my path with God
    • Alicia and I have finally found a church that we like in Lynchburg. It’s nice to have a community/family of believers again that can create an electric atmosphere of worship every Sunday.  I want to build upon my faith so that I can show my girls what a positive impact it can have in your life, and to instill upon them the importance of not just being a believer but in turn being a good person through your actions and not just your words.  Because it’s not who you say you are that defines you, but it’s what you do.
  • Continue to put family first
    • Family means everything to Alicia and me. Not just our new additions, but our whole extended family and especially my family who I left back in the Midwest.  It was a hard decision to make to move out here to be closer to Alicia’s family but to leave mine behind, and I never want to take for granted the time that get to spend with either side of our families.  It is all precious and I want to continue to put a priority on that.  And I want to make sure that I am around for all twin related activities and to support my life with her new fulltime job.  If this means other things in my life need to receive less importance so be it.  Family Comes First!
  • Let’s get a house
    • We are currently in a 2 bedroom apartment because the thought of house shopping on top of everything else that was going on in our lives in 2014 was daunting. So 2015 will be the year of the house!  We need the extra space I can tell you that, and I think my sister in law would agree, as many of our belonging are currently taking up prime real estate in her basement.

Well I am sure I will think about this list some more and maybe even add a few more things, but it’s now 4:00am and I am hoping to get some shuteye otherwise my coworkers will be none too happy with my attitude tomorrow.  And so to 2014, all I have to say is thank you for one heck of a good year!  It’s been a blast and I have memories and experiences that will stick with me for a lifetime.  And now Kate is officially up for her late night feeding…Ahhhh this is the life!



About Tanner Russ

Husband, Father, Triathlete, Human Resource Professional I started my journey in triathlon back in 2010. Since then I have competed in over 30 endurance events ranging from simple road races, to USAT sanctioned events, and anything that poses a physical challenge. Somehow in 2012 I convinced my wife Alicia to partake in this crazy lifestyle as well, and since then we have been working out side by side to reach our goals. Early morning pool swims, long hot bike rides, and grueling distance runs. Doesn't get much better! Oh wait yes it does...since starting this blog I am a father of 3 beautiful girls! This whole Life thing is pretty cool!

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