WHAT I LEARNED (ABOUT LIFE) IN 2010
I am not quite sure where to begin with this one. Last year really didn't have a traditional/figurative beginning, middle and an end. I'm not even sure I'm writing this to be read (yeah, sure Jimmy, that's why it's in BLOG format, and not in your journal). I just talked to myself in 3rd person there. Yep, it was one of those years!
To understand where I find myself beginning 2011, it's important to look at where I was to begin 2001, yes, a decade ago (many of you do NOT know this story, which is amazing considering how infrequently I am not talking/telling stories).
In January of 2001, I declared (for the second time) "I will run my first marathon this year!" It was right after taking a groundbreaking life seminar called the Landmark Forum (feel free to ask me more specifically about this course if you're curious what you might get out of it). I then hired a coach (sponsored triathlete / Coach Kaley Parkinson who then worked at/for Forward Motion Sports) and I went to work. The trouble started when Kaley sent me his athlete questionnaire and I answered many questions with answers from when I was in peak shape, about 6 years prior (can you say oops). I was just starting to run (again) and essentially was asking him to give me workouts that I shouldn't be able to handle/withstand for another 8-12 weeks. You guessed right: I was completely injured (ITBS) within 8 runs, maybe even less (I think it was 11 days). Completely my fault. Kaley, being a triathlete coach, suggested we continue training and he worked with me in the pool. I did all I could to sustain motivation and went to the gym diligently for about a month. I swam, biked did a ton of core work. IT band didn't improve much, at least not quickly enough to train for that marathon (June 2001). Months later, I still went to the SD R'n'R Marathon out of a sense of moral obligation to the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, since I had donation/sponsorship checks for $1-$2 per mile. I arrived in San Diego, went to the marathon expo, got the course map on Saturday, picked up my bib and started walking the course. I got to the section where the course goes up a freeway on-ramp and after careful consideration thought better of it. Instead I completed another couple loops around Balboa Park, GPS reading = 14-miles. The next morning, I caught a cab to Mile 13, stretched and waited for the race to come by, then jumped in and started walking, then walk/running, then jogging towards the finish. I finished, albeit unofficially in 22-hours, 17-min (6-hours, 17-min of moving forward time with a 16-hour recovery break in the middle). It marked the first time in my life (I was 24 years old) that I followed through and did something I said I would complete when I knew my initial goal was not possible (to run the race straight through).
That race changed me. Yet, it took another 16-months to prepare for my first successful marathon (run) after 2 more injury/sickness setbacks of 2-4 months, I completed CHICAGO in Oct of 2002. Then, as inspired as I've ever been, I brought on the worst over-use injury of my running life: quadriceps tendinitis that lasted from late-Nov 2002 to Aug 2003. I battled depression (for the second time in my life), went deeply into the abyss of 'video game addition' (was averaging 7-8 hours of gaming or gaming related activities for the better part of a year). At one point that summer, I was eating 2-McDonald's McGriddles per day, 4-days per week, and on the other days, it was the much healthier choice of 2-Krispy Kreme Original Glazed and a Starbucks 'poor man's mocha (coffee and chocolate with some cream)'. My relentless girlfriend/fiancée (we got engaged somehow in the middle of all that nonsense) Kate invited me to run with her 2-3 times per week for 10-months (and I gave her approximately 100-consecutive-NO's). The 101st invite elicited a "why not, let's go" and I laced up the shoes and have not looked back since then. That tough, tough period of my life taught me patience and perseverance in ways I'll always appreciate and utilize. I haven't had a serious injury (*knocking on wood now*) since. Sure, in peak training/racing, I've had ticky-tack aches and pains, a few muscle imbalances, but all things I could correct quickly with diligent work ethic and willingness to scale training back and rest when necessary.
The next PR marathon came in Dec 2004, and I finally got my 'BQ'. I ran my 1st BOSTON in Apr 2005. Then, I started training for a double-marathon on trails in May 2005 and ran the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run in September that year. I went on one year later to complete my 1st 100-mile mountain trail race (Angeles Crest 2006) and the rest brought us to 2010.
FAST FORWARD TO 2010
I turned 34 last year, but spent the bulk of the stanza in "my Jesus year" as a couple of my friends playfully jested. The Urban Dictionary defines Jesus year this way... "The 33rd year of your life. Time to get moving and get things done." I took on more this year than maybe any other year of my life. I did things that spanned the gambit: traveled (US and abroad) to coach runners, lead running clinics and presented as a motivational keynote speaker. I performed stand up at numerous events/functions/clubs. I coached the completion of my first formal training program for the running team/group I founded (the SoCal COYOTES aka Coyote Running). I helped inspire/motivate a family member (my BIL, Stan) to run 100-miles (my single proudest accomplishment of 2010). I completed "the World's Toughest Footrace aka the Challenge of the Champions" aka the BADWATER Ultramarathon. A healthy number of things I wanted to be great fell flat on their face. I failed to finish my last major race/competition of the year (dropping out of the Oil Creek 100-Miler at Mile 76). I fell short of my coaching program goals and promises in the sophomore effort of Coyote Training Programs. I made a fool of myself, sometimes intentionally, sometimes quite accidentally on a number of occasions. It was an amazing, epic and mixed bag. I also came a few steps closer to understanding what my family means to me, and which friends I consider family come hell or high water.
I'm in my next zone now. My introspective (or is this outtrospective?) space laying the foundation for what's to come in 2011 was January. I share this with you to say, 2010 was an amazing AND perfect mess. I hope I live another year to tell the tale of 2011 and dream about what 2012 holds in store.
RUNNING (the foundation/ground work for all I accomplish in other areas of my life)
After taking my Western States 100-Miler lottery stat to 0-for-4 (I got into the 2008/2009 edition of the race by automatic entry), I saw another loss in the lottery at the MMT100. I realized my fate: to return to the ANGELES CREST 100-MILER: the site of my first 100-mile finish AND my first ever epic race fail (see: DNF). I will run the Lake Sonoma 50-miler (April) and the MIWOK 100k (May) in my training buildup to my July 23rd/24th date with destiny. I also aim to nail down the 'XTERRA Trail Run Series Champion' title in SoCal XTERRA's this year. There are 7 races (you can tally points at 6), and I'll be running 4 or 5 of them in hopes of being 1st Place 'Age Group Male' 35-39 years of age. I have 1 prospective race left, albeit it is a week after a 50-miler. Good times. I'd love to add another full Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail fkt attempt in there somewhere, and I also am eyeballing the Rio Del Lago 100-Miler in September. Howl!!!
I will continue to grow 'COYOTE RUNNING' brand awareness, help as many athletes as I can achieve their athletic (and life) goals in 2011, and coach in new arenas (corporate wellness, motivational/keynote speaking, school assemblies, etc.).
I will take an even more active role in the lives of my siblings (Sarah, Mary and Daniel), work to set up some structures to mentor my baby bro (he's a Senior in HS), and plan more trips to see Kate's family and my nieces and nephew. Also, I will continue to support my baby sis and her husband in their race and fitness goals (Stan is running WESTERN STATES!). My family is rad. I will also plan more time in with my mom, and invite her to participate (earlier) in some of my races. I'd like to get my dad down to SoCal on a simple visit to see me and my sis Sarah. I plan to move into a new apartment that allows dogs and get a puppy in the next 6-months, and use the time prior to throw out and organize 7-10 years accumulation of garbage/clutter that I don't need in my life including excess running shoes and clothing that can be donated.
I will continue to move forward in my Motivational Speaker / Keynote Speaker business. Last year I booked 4 gigs between August-November, this year I will average 2 per month (or more) by the end of 2011 and continue developing my network of schools. I plan to book $24k-$50k+ in keynote/assembly gigs and take the next step forward in my presentation to both adults, businesses, kids and schools. I will also get a website up on my speaking/emceeing by the end of March. I already have my first "mini-doc" on a school assembly I did back in September (thank you Adam Bowman!)...
100 MILE CLUB CHALLENGE (15-min long) - video by BBrandTripel
There's a LOT to do in 2011. Enough writing about it, I've gotta get crackin' sendin' emails and making calls!!!