It's nearing the end of 2009 and I couldn't wait to reflect on my favorite events or moments of my year! Here are my top five:

ONE: I saw Oprah, y'all! I can't believe that in January, I attended an Oprah show with Anna, Molly and Shelz. Little did we know it would be one of her last seasons. Although the show was not our favorite, good things came out of our time with O. One of her challenges to us was the I'm In campaign where we pledged five hours of volunteer work in our community. My pledge turned into a promise. I pledged a little over five hours each week for the Girls on the Run program in a Wilmington school. More on that in a bit!

TWO: I was WICKED! There was a moment -- seconds before the last song of the first act of WICKED -- where I was defying gravity. Even in my seat, in a packed matinee show on a Sunday afternoon on Broadway, I was flying. The entire weekend was magic. We saw Tony-award winning actors. We shopped. We dined. We dodged wacka-doodle fans. We peer pressured Amy's brother to down a very blue martini. I have to thank Amy for the invite, C.A. for the hospitaliy, R.K. for sharing his mom and his last day at the show and J.B. for the laughter.

Number THREE belongs to TRIathlons, naturally. I completed two tris this year - the White Lake Sprint in May and the Wilmington YMCA sprint in September. Both of these triathlons were improvements over last year's time and effort. I am proud of my commitment to training and my results but, these made the list because in each event there was a moment in each race where I experienced joy. In the swim at White Lake and in the bike portion of the Wrightsville Beach race I remember thinking: this is FUN! Can you smile underwater? I think I did.

As part of my triathlon experience, I also joined the YDubTriClub this fall. I have found joy in training with others this year! I am loving the people I swim, bike and run with every day at the YWCA. The coaches and other athletes push me, encourage me and make me laugh. I've gotten faster and fitter. My mile time at our track workouts has improved by about five seconds and my 100-yard time in the pool has improved almost 10 seconds! Plus, I've gotten fitter. Which leads me to......

FOUR - As in a size four. I don't think I've seen a size four since I was, well, four. I've lost almost 15 pounds since May of 2008. I maintained the first ten for more than six months and then dropped five pounds in the first three weeks of the tri club! In October and November - miracle of miracles - I dropped inches. Sometime in October I went to my favorite shop in Mayfaire (WH/BM) and realized I had dropped two sizes (from a 10 to a 6). I stopped by another shop to justify my unscientific discovery and realized I fit into a size FOUR!! I think everyone in the store heard my squeal from the dressing room and might have understood when I came out doing a the joyful jumping dance. I danced right on outta there with that pair of corduroys! In fact, I'm wearing them right now and they're a little loose.

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FIVE - Thanks to Oprah and Suze Webster, I volunteered for Girls on the Run this fall. As previously mentioned, Oprah encouraged me (way back in January) to volunteer five hours for Starbucks' I'm In campaign. Suze, my niece, had been a participant a few years ago in Girls on the Run and I loved the concept - an after-school running program for third to fifth graders. The goals: train girls how to run a 5K and educate and prepare them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Carol Kays (a true superwoman and mom of one of the girls) and I, coached 15 girls at Myrtle Grove Christian to their first (or best) 5K. We played games, we did relays, we made up cheers and we ran an ran and ran. Our chant was: Our word is FINISH. Our goal is FUN. We are the girls - GIRLS ON THE RUN!

The end of our season was marked by the PPD Ho Ho Holiday 5K in downtown Wilmington. It was rainy and cold. I ran with Cady Matoska - a fourth-grader who participated in 2008. She told me before the race that she wanted to beat her time from last year (42:00) and finish in under 40 minutes. We dodged pot-holes, street cones and huge puddles. We ran up hill - both ways. It was my slowest race, but one of my happiest. My heart was so full when I watched Cady pass me and cross that finish line - in 39:11. I had about 14 other great moments that day, knowing that Caitlyn, Carly, Lilly, Hannah Grace, Emma Grace, Avri, Savannah, Michaela, Channing, Alis, Loring, Susan, Olivia and Loring crossed that finish line and received their medals.

I found a great quote from Oprah: "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." I found that was true of my experience in Girls on the Run.

There were other moments of gratitude, joy, peace, pride, and all out fun and laughter. I was able to hold and welcome Emery Elise Best and Alonzo Dumay Gorham, IV on their birthdays. I ran my third half marathon and got a PR in my umpteenth 5K. I wiied and skiied and celebrated Frozen Dead Guy Days with Jennifer and Troy in Colorado. I rocked out to Ratdog, the DEAD, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Widespread Panic, Muse and U2!!! I visited Chris and Annie in Hendersonville and I celebrated my 20th high school reunion. Heck, I even visited IKEA for the first time! It's been a fun year and I am looking forward to 2010. I hope your new year is full of moments just like these!