2014…It’s a wrap!

I sat here the last few days trying to figure out what I could possibly say about the past year.    As I sat here listing out the pros and cons of this past year I realized something;  There have been far more GREAT things that happened over this past year than there were negative things.    This year was riddled with happiness and excitement for my family.  There was an engagement, a granddaughter, a high school graduation, lots of friends, a new college student, an amazing family, and AWESOME friends.   There is not enough negativity or bad things that can take any of that away.

While I am going to touch on the great things, I am going to devote a little bit to the unpleasantries that came with 2014.     Frustration is when you unselfishly do nice things for people who respond by stabbing you in the back & when you defend yourself, you’re the bad one.  

2014… where to start.   2014 was going to be a great year and for different reasons than what I planned, it WAS!   Our daughter got engaged to her girlfriend,  our granddaughter was born, our youngest son graduated from High School (and started college), our oldest son was accepted to the El Paso police department and attended the academy (graduates 25 Jan), and I finally found “friends”.

What didn’t really happen was any major running milestones.  I ran, but every one of my running goals this year were hampered due to some type of random medical problem.     E.coli took me out of a race, tendonitis took me out of a race, random hospital visits kept me out of a race,  “border-line” Rhabdo took me out of a race, and a business trip took me out of a race.   Regardless of the race….some external force decided that there were better things for me to do.

As I look at my bib board that I collect my race bibs on, I realize that I only toed the line of 4 races(runs) this year.   For some this may be a lot,  but in 2013 there were months that I did 3 races in one month!  Due to all of my mishaps during 2014, those races just never happened.    To hear a little about those races that did take place, check out my other posts:

As I look back on 2014, something jumped out at me that I hadn’t realized until I actually sat down to write this.   This me, this was the year of family and friends and building bonds that I never knew could exist.    I found some sisters on the trails, some friends on the softball fields, and the unhappiness that came about this year is actually what made my year better (in a strange twisted kind of way).

Join me as I walk through the year.  Touch the ups, the downs, and what I have learned as we step into 2015!

1016442_10202408199039221_1436385361_nJanuary 2014 – Our newest “puppy” Athena decided that she wanted to be homeless.   The escape artist husky in her thought it would be a good idea to visit the surrounding countryside!  Athena found (actually made) a hole through the fence so she could explore (because our 4 acre yard just wasn’t enough for her).   Liz and I spent HOURS that night driving around looking for her, shining flashlights on a Bandito bonfire, and returned home empty handed.    I didn’t sleep that night at all.  The next morning I tried running on the trails and had to even cut that short;  I couldn’t focus on running not knowing where she was.   When I pulled into the driveway at home I saw a white glimpse of a dog on the neighboring property and quickly drove around to investigate.   As you can see in the picture….  It was her!    To this day, the hole in the fence still exists!   Athena experienced homeless life once and apparently doesn’t want to go back to that! 🙂


February 2014 – The highlight of February was a baby shower.  Not any baby shower, but the baby shower for our Granddaughter.    We went to El Paso (that seems to have happened a lot this year) and I was allowed to break into my balloon decorating skills and decorate for the baby shower!   Our family had a balloon store when I was shorter and I would decorate for weddings, birthdays, etc.   It was fun to do that again even though this was a much smaller scale!    Granddaughter…. I will talk about that soon!  No need to get into that just yet!  😉

March 2014 – March can be summed up with one thing…The Army Marathon!   Get the details at https://johnstasulli.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/the-longest-marathon/ .    In addition to the Army Marathon and my “make-up” run, I found a friend.     Thank you Ed for everything you have done!


April 2014 – This was a very special month for me.   While a lot of things happened, I am going to focus on the most important.   In April my wife and I celebrated our 20 (yes TWENTY) year anniversary!   She is not only my wife but my best friend and look forward to every day we spend together.   She is my world and comes first about everything else.   So… in April we took our anniversary pictures.   Let me say that I can’t recall when we ever took great pictures.   That changed for our anniversary.  All I can assume is that Amber (http://www.ads-photography.com/) did some sort of magic behind the camera!    We took so many pictures that day, but I think this one is my favorite.   🙂10273880_10203094478755785_6584475047624612548_n

The other thing that happened in April was Endurance Outfitters (http://enduranceoutfitters.com/) and great friendship in Tiffany and Joey.    Joey was there with me the day that I did my Army Marathon make-up.  Him and his wife are both amazing people and only fitting that it was them that turned us on to Amber who took our amazing anniversary photos!   While I wish we could have done more to help Joey and Tiffany with the store, it was great to be able to help Joey build the store and get it opened!   In a strange sort of way we feel part of the store when we go in there!  😀   Thanks guys!  You two mean a lot to me!

Let’s not forget the second hospital visit!!  I REALLY wish I could get another Fall Risk bracelet!   If any of you can get me one, PLEASE send it my way!   I wore this until it finally fell off!  lol


May 2014 – While several things happened in May, there is really only one thing worth mentioning… That is our granddaughter.    First, I also turned 40 in May  (feel like 20, but anyway) and in my mind it was very hard for me to grasp that I was a grandfather (Papa).   That just didn’t seem right to me.    It is amazing and extremely exciting that we have a granddaughter…I just wasn’t entirely convinced that I was mentally ready for that!     10155243_10203157848419987_8689224316467781916_n  So since we are talking about our granddaughter I am going to talk about me and kids for a moment.   I have never really been a fan of kids…. Not all kids by any means.  Just infants, toddlers, children, teens, adults… Hmmm  ok.  I get it.  It probably isn’t just kids.  I am just not a fan of people in general!      I have never been a really been overly fond of holding infants.   Not that I won’t, I would just prefer not to.   I will play with them if others are holding them…I just never really felt comfortable doing so.   Well on my birthday (May 18th) I did hold her!  🙂  So tiny, fragile, and beautiful..  I AM a grandfather and couldn’t be happier.
Something else happened in May that is worth mentioning… I  became the new owner of a Big Green Egg for my Birthday!   I have wanted one of these for YEARS but it came at a cost (other than the obvious of course).     I traded my Big Green Egg for the Capt’n Karl 60k series that summer!   In hindsight, I wouldn’t have been able to run all of them anyway due to injuries and illness so it all worked out.   If I could do it again, we would still have the Egg!  We use it constantly and the food that comes off of it is AMAZING!   My wife is simply amazing!  Thank you again honey 😀10373850_10203220335182117_7432188012550670055_n1511451_10204401660154503_1689193584445046969_n10269098_10203267664445319_2436802301119323072_o

June 2014 – Anthony got a bit older!   Anthony graduated from High School!  That means we are almost empty nesters!  None of our kids will ever be gone from our home, but we no longer have to enjoy the “fun” of school every year!   All of our kids have grown up to be such amazing people!  We couldn’t be more proud of them!

It was awesome seeing AJ graduate!  I had been deployed for all of the others so this was the first time getting to sit in the stands and cheer him on!   I am really proud of everything that he does and know that he is going to turn into an amazing young man!

10003054_10202918423554515_4218075606551245305_n 10383495_10203325899461158_6367296144459916594_n

July 2014 – It was summer… what can I say…  I ran, spent time on the Kayaks, and went to the lake with our amazing family!   Simple as that 😀


September 2014 – A lot  happened in September and each one was a result of the previous event!  We started off September in Hamburg, Pennsylvania visiting my family.   We make this trip every year and it is always a great time.   I always run while up there but this time I ran a 15mi segment of the Appalachian Trail from my home and ran to Pulpit Rock.    While I call it a “run” over half of the trail was unrunable do to the rocks.  Regardless, it was an amazing time!  While I had been on the trail before growing up, this was the first time I actually ran it!   I can’t wait to do it again!  🙂

10689770_10203969311146048_3337590485655977587_n 10535704_10203969311746063_6019724059901694082_o

While the trip to Pennsylvania was GREAT, I forgot to do something.  I forgot to take care of myself!   While in Pennsylvania I have a tendency to forget about water and drink Guers Iced Tea (TRUST ME!).   Well I had organized an event back in Killeen for 9-11.   I had organized a 9hr 11min run for Team RWB (which would unfortunately become my last event with the organization) around a 1 mile track.   Physically I felt great going into it.   The goal was to keep a single flag moving for the entire 9hr 11min and had a roster of people that were going to do just that.    The day actually turned out to be considerably hotter than expected.    From the moment we started the run I continued to put down Tailwind Nutrition to fight the impact of the heat.   I felt great until about 5hrs in.   Out of the blue I began feeling dizzy.  I stopped running and began walking.  The group that I was with began getting further and further in front of me and everything around my started spinning more.   The next thing I knew I was laying in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital.    A few injections (to control the shaking/seizures), some blood work, and an eventual urinalysis the doctor finally came in and gave me the word… the labs were not as good as they would have liked and they said I had borderline Rhabdo and my body simply shut down on me.     Needless to say, this grounded me for 6 weeks and was not allowed to run more than 5mi at a time!  😦


October 2014 – I can sum this month up in one word!  RAGNAR!    Oct 17-18 (which actually ended my 6-week limited-running punishment) I joined some amazing people for a Ragnar Trail Relay.  My wife joined me out there for 2 days and we had an amazing time!   While our entire team was amazing, 2 people on our team in particular are very special to me.    I could probably put together an entire blog just on this race alone (and I probably should have)… I will just have to do that next time!     I was honored to be included in the team.  Thank you Lynn for all of your hard work and everything that you did for us!  🙂10668882_10204284742511635_7094338343457202467_o 10414856_10204281489310307_8565139437282711605_n 10245346_10204285837339005_9046437236346172200_n 1398501_10204312835733948_7527260758140721381_o

December 2014 – What a month!   Just read about it!   https://johnstasulli.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/i-came-to-pace-and-found-heart/

In addition to pacing Brazos Bend 100 something else remarkable happened!   I become a part of SKORA Running and can’t wait to see what happens in 2015!

10662039_10204727619343279_3042626251805539040_o (1)
Running Year : Okay… running this year was definitely not where I wanted it to be and didn’t accomplish any of my goals for the year, but I ran, grew, and am stronger than ever and ready for 2015!  🙂

# of Runs 180
Distance 1,287.2 mi
Time 246:21 (h:m)
Elevation Gain 104,373 ft
Avg Speed 5.0 mph
Avg Distance 7.02 mi



What better way to end the year than with the very friends that I adore so much.  To end the year I organized a 20.14k run at Dana Peak Park.   It was a perfect end to the year spending it with a lot of people that I have the honor to now call friends.

2015 Goals :

2015 is going to be my year for running.  I have amazing sponsors behind me and amazing products that are going to take me to the next level!  This year I am visiting Bandera, TX to complete Cactus Rose 100!    So far my schedule for this year has 4 races (right now)!  :

  • Sugarloaves’ Ultra Vista 60k (31 January)
  • Army Marathon (March 2015)
  • Cactus Rose 100 (October 2015)
  • Brazos Bend 100 (December 2015)

In closing this year, with all of its challenges, was a year of growth and learning for me.   Many people know that I don’t really do that best friend thing or have ever really had anyone that I would call a great friend.   This year my wife and I welcomed people into our lives.   I can’t thank each of you enough.    I am not going to call each of you out because each of you know who you are!  😀   We are so happy to have each of you in our lives!    In February I will be deploying to Afghanistan.  I am going to miss everyone, but more important I am going to miss my amazing wife!  I love you honey!

Happy New Year everyone!  I can’t wait to see where 2015 takes us!


A special thanks to SKORA Running, X-1 Audio, and Tailwind Nutrition!   2015 is going to be GREAT!

Posted on January 1, 2015, in Trail Banter. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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