Tag Archives: New Year

Plan for 2018: Keep Moving, Keep Improving

It’s 2018, and as usual, I have no New Year’s resolutions. More accurately, I’m not changing anything I’m doing just because it’s a new year.

Yet while I’m not a fan of artificial “resolutions,” I am a strong believer in continually improving myself and the world around me. I try to live in that spirit every day, and I also set goals and then train and work to achieve them. Having a purpose, and something to look forward to, helps me focus on what’s important in my life and spend my time and energy there, as opposed to just ‘running in place,’ as it were.

And because I like to balance repeating favorite activities with trying out new things, 2018 will be similar to years past but with some twists and even leaps out of the ol’ comfort zone. And I look forward to sharing it all with you.

Here are some things I plan to keep right on doing:

Running. No surprise here, I hope. After ten years it’s become a part of how I define myself. In addition to keeping me healthy and fit, I use running to step away from the everyday noise and restore a sense of perspective. Whether it’s concentrating on a training assignment or easy coasting for a couple of hours, it’s a great way to clear the mind of mundane chatter. And I’ll continue to compete in races, too. In an upcoming post I’ll share what I have planned so far this year. (Hint: they’re not getting easier!)

Here’s a hint. (Photo courtesy of the Vote Charlie blog).

Supporting sustainability. I don’t talk much about my Zero Waste business on this blog, but Happy Planet Running had a terrific first year. In 2017 I worked 30 events and helped divert over seven tons of waste away from the landfill into more productive use as compost or recycled materials. And at every event I get thanks and compliments from the runners. It’s a passion of mine and a true labor of love.

2017 Firecracker 5K – holding the total trash with two fingers.

Lifestyle makeover. Last year we got a serious start on long-overdue updates to the house, getting rid of stuff we don’t need, and re-evaluating our diet. A sustainable lifestyle isn’t just about recycling; it’s all about reducing our imprint on the environment while improving quality of life. Some of this I’ve posted here, and I’ll continue to do so.

Little indulgences. Coffee and chocolate in particular are two of life’s little pleasures that I will happily continue to cultivate. Any changes to diet are not going to include reduction in either. Moderation? Save that for other things. Life is for living, after all!

Enjoying the good life in Richmond visiting my daughter.

And in the spirit of balance, here are a few things, popular as they may be at present, that I firmly intend never to do:

Cold showers. Yeah, I get that they are stimulating, help the body recover, blah blah. You know what I hate worse than being cold? Being wet AND cold. When I’m done with a workout, even a race in the summer, when I get under the shower, I want it hot. I’ll happily stick my feet into a cold lake after an ultra, but the rest of me is just fine being warm and dry, thank you.

From one of my few triathlons. The swim part was as much fun as it looks.

Faddish foods for runners. Raw eggs? Nope. Green smoothies? Looks like something from a primeval swamp. And even coffee isn’t exempt from questionable shit being added to it. The latest? So-called “bulletproof coffee,” which is perfectly good coffee with butter and coconut oil dumped into it. If I want saturated fat with my coffee, I’ll dust some bacon with espresso powder. Hey, that actually sounds good. I could start a whole new trend.

Give up on humanity. Given our current political environment, it’s hard not to get cynical about our leaders and our society in general. Sure, I don’t like a lot of what’s going on. But to me that’s an incentive to me to get more active and work for a world I want to live in, and not stand by and let other people make those decisions. Maybe I can’t change the world, but I can change a little part of it and help it grow.

So I’m looking forward to a healthy and positive year, and while there are no guarantees, I’ll be doing my best to make it so. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go join my club for the Saturday long run. Happy New Year!

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Postscript: I finished this post before my club run, but am publishing it afterward. It was ten miles at 10 degrees. But with coffee and chocolate afterward, life is good. (It was good during the run, too, but you know.)

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Running Into the New Year

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers! I had a great time over the holidays with family and friends. And I hope you did, too!

Hope you got a visit from Santa Claus! (Or Santa Claws, as the case may be);

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Hope you got to dress up in your finest;

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That you got to spend time with your loving family;

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That you got exactly what you wanted for Christmas;

If you got socks for Xmas - and were happy about it - you might be a runner.

If you got socks for Xmas – and were happy about it – you might be a runner.

And, of course, I hope you got in a good run or two. Here I am with my visiting niece Stephanie and her boyfriend Austin. (They’re the good looking ones.)

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In one sense it’s sad to see the year end, since it seems only yesterday I stood outside my house with this sign:

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And yet after today’s 16-miler, it’s time to close the book on my running log for 2016.

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I’m looking forward to some fun and challenging events in 2017, starting with my first race just one week away. And I’ll continue to share my adventures and misadventures alike here on this blog. Thanks again for reading and I’ll do my best to keep you entertained.

Best wishes for 2017,

Jeff

2016: New Year, New Dreams

I WALKED AROUND WITH A GLOW OF SATISFACTION. I had just won a race – a 5K trail race, as I recall – and I was trying to figure out how much to brag about it and to whom. Wouldn’t do to be overly immodest, after all.

Then I felt something nudge my head. My cat was telling me it was time for breakfast. And I remember thinking rather forlornly as I woke up, I suppose this means I didn’t really win a race.

That’s okay, though. What a wonderful holiday it was, with both kids at home and get-togethers with loving families and the best friends you could ever hope for. Chocolate and other goodies abounded, with my wife’s incredible carrot cake and about five tons of homemade caramels, and my daughters helping me make truffles. At least I burned off a few of those extra calories keeping up my tradition of running on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

New Years Day Mileage 2016

Back to training as usual next week. Big plans for the year ahead! And the wonderful people who read this blog can rest assured I will tell you all about them, especially when life doesn’t quite work out according to those plans. And who knows – just maybe there’s a race to win out there yet.

Happy New Year to one and all. May at least one of your dreams come true in 2016!

Jeff

2015: Back From the Moon – Now What?

“Once you’ve gone to the moon, staying home just isn’t good enough.”
– Astronaut Eugene Cernan

THERE I WAS after the Holiday Hustle last month, innocently enjoying the completion of over 30 races in 2014 and becoming the first person to run every Running Fit event in a year. Then I got asked the question.

“So, Jeff – what do you have planned for next year? Are you going to do the entire race calendar again?”

Well, that was a definite “NO.”

Here's the 2015 events, if you'd like to take the title from me! (Click to enlarge.)

Here’s the 2015 calendar, if you’d like to take the “Most Valuable Runner” title from me! (Click to enlarge.)

Now I had a really good time last year – even better than I thought I would when I set up the schedule last January. But do it again? Not a chance. Some races I will do again, starting with the Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K in Traverse City next week, and maybe one or more of the Dances with Dirt ultras. Other than that, I’m taking a more relaxed approach to scheduling stuff for 2015. But there will be stuff.

Apparently it’s fairly common for people to suffer a letdown after finishing their first marathon. They spend all that time in training, invest their emotional energy in preparation, anticipation, and running the thing, and now it’s over. It didn’t happen to me after my first (Chicago, 2011), and it hasn’t happened now that 2014 is in the books. In fact, I’m fired up about 2015 and its possibilities.

Sure, I'm ready for another 26.2! Just let me finish this beer and take a nap - for a month or so.

Sure, I’m ready for another 26.2! Just let me finish this beer and take a nap – for a month or so.

Like what? Well, there’s that 100K I didn’t finish, so another attempt is definitely on the agenda. I’m looking forward to resuming long bike rides, maybe even some multi-day, multi-hundred mile trips like in 2012. And there’s that black belt in Aikido I’d still like to get to – someday.

In addition, 2014 was a mixed year overall. One of my wife’s favorite cousins died from cancer, my wife got very sick (fortunately, she’s fully recovered), and my mom passed just after Thanksgiving. So as a family, we’re all grateful to have that behind us. A “new year” may be an arbitrary convention, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make use of it.

Above all, I will be sure to stay active. I think that whether or not you have a specific race or other goal, being active can’t help but keep you “plugged in” to life and forward-looking. To pull Newton out of context, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. In the best case, exercise stops being a chore and becomes a part of your life.

Take this morning, for example. It was 13 degrees at 8:00 a.m. in Ann Arbor, and over 30 people turned up at the PR Fitness studio to go for a run of up to 14 miles. Some of them are training for the Boston Marathon or other spring races, but others just came out to get some miles in. Why? It’s something we do to stay healthy and fit. And that’s one of the best goals of all.

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Are you a non-runner who’s interested in starting, but you’re not sure you have what it takes? Here’s a great post by running coach Sarah that says. yes, you can be a runner!