03 January 2011

Reflecting on 2010

I've found reflection on my past, where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished, helps guide me in setting new goals. I am always trying something new, so when I look back I can see what I enjoyed or what natural talent I never knew I had and take steps to further advance in those directions. From enjoying the new friendships I've made to the happiness that comes from cutting out the toxic people or items in my life, the past few years I know I am doing something right. I have no regrets whatsoever. Amor fati. Below are a few specific things I accomplished in 2010:

In 2009 I ran four ultramarathon trail races. In 2010 I ran far more, totaling over 800 miles of trail races. While this screams chronic cardio, I never race ultras to win, it was all about finishing. I went slower, enjoyed the scenery, and if anything it was more of a speed hiking experience than a race. Through these events I got to see large portions of the East Coast and several portions of the Mid West. The people at these races tended to be lovers of the outdoors and far from elitist. Two things that made these races tougher than before is that I ran in minimalist footwear (my KSO Treks) and I fueled myself eating mostly paleo.

Minimalist Footwear
In addition to running ultras in the KSOs, I also wore VFFs for everything from traveling to working out. And for work I bought several pair of Vivobarefoot models that allowed me the ability to wear more appropriate minimalist shoes. Only on a few occasions, such as outdoor soccer, did I wear non-minimalist shoes. I currently own 3 pair of VFFS and 3 pair of Vivobarefoot shoes and both myself and my feet love them.

Standing at Work
As of April 1st I started standing at work. It initially started when I asked myself the question ‘When am I ever on my feet for over 8 hours?’ This was in regards to my running of ultras and how several would take me 8 to 13 hours to complete. So I started standing at work mainly to get me used to being on my feet for so long. The only time I regretted raising my desk and scrapping my chair was when I first came back to work after wrecking my knee. I at first attempted working propped up with crutches, but eventually brought in a stool. Now that I can stand again I will be back at it until the next surgery.

Food Quality
One of the biggest things I accomplished in 2010 was improving the quality of the food the dogs and I eat. To date, 100% of my food and over 50% of the dog’s food comes from organic/grass-fed/pastured/wild sources. This is and continues to be a pricey endeavor, however I do not regret making this move. Although I've cut things out such as TV/internet at home, new clothes, and more than a few nights out drinking, I’ve gained much in terms of health, friendships with farmers and producers, and my efforts and interest have landed me with a Board of Directors position with a local organic food non-profit and I have been asked to be on an University of Maryland taskforce on sustainable agriculture.

The hounds ending 2010 with a new friend.
The above accomplishments are simply scratching the surface of what I did or experienced last year. Even with my knee injury and a few other setbacks, 2010 was exponentially better than 2009, as 2009 was exponentially better than 2008. While I did not accomplish everything I set out to do in 2010, I could not be more satisfied how everything turned out. It is extremely hard not to look at 2011 or beyond and be pessimistic. Every year will be a Golden Year, every day a step forward. And hell, even if I lose everything but my health and my hounds, I will still be happy.