Yeti 12 days of Vert (thoughts)

Screenshot 2019-12-14 at 3.41.43 PM (1)1. A very big part of this challenge is the time of year. I don’t have kids and don’t host Christmas at my house and I still found that it was hard to fit 1,100 feet of climbing in every day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas.

2. The challenge was good for me because it made me change things up. I’m really good at doing the same routes and runs over and over again, but not so great about varying my workouts. The challenge made me look for different routes with more elevation, do more hill repeats, hike in the woods, walk up steep inclines on the treadmill and climb to the top of a parking deck 16 times in a row. Variety is a good thing.

3. The challenge was bad for me because this old body needs recovery time. My resting heart rate was up 8% by the end of the challenge and still hasn’t returned to normal. I was more than a little surprised that I made it through the challenge without injuring myself. Although my hamstring started hurting 11 miles into my long run on Sunday. So I wouldn’t say I made it through the challenge unscathed. I ended up having to walk the last three miles. I tried to run yesterday and only made it 2 miles. I’m pretty sure I strained my hamstring. So now I’m being forced to take time off. Training has started for my next race and I’m already getting behind.

My favorite challenge days:

Day 5 (early morning Christmas tree run and afternoon parking garage climb)
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Day 12 (Christmas day hill repeats up Occoneechee mountain with Jen and Brian)

IMG956233I would do this challenge again. Busy time of year, old body and all.

2019

1,446 miles run
(my second highest mileage year ever)

2019 Races:

Promise Land 50k++  (April 27)

Odyssey Trail Running Rampage Marathon (September 27)

Conquer the Cove 25k (June 2)

Helsinki City Running Day half marathon (May 18)

Skinny Turkey half marathon (November 27)

Non-running highlights:

Helsinki, Finland

Massachusetts family reunion

Father’s Day weekend in Boone

Holidays with the family

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Adopting Isobel

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And just for fun, my favorite photo of 2019:

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Commonplace

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reading a book and come across a particular passage and thought “I need to write that down.” Every time this happens, I think that I should keep a notebook exclusively for this purpose. I should write down all the quotes, passages and words that speak to me so that I can return to them whenever I want.

I just finished reading The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr. The book itself was interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by the way the brain works and I’ve recently been concerned about how dependent I’ve become on my cell phone. In particular, I don’t remember phone numbers and I don’t learn my way around new places the way that I used to because I rely on Google maps to tell me where to go.

But I also learned that keeping a notebook filled with things you come across in your reading that you want to remember or come back to used to be commonplace. In fact, these notebooks were called “commonplace books” or simply “commonplaces.”

The Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, in his 1512 textbook De Copia, stressed the connection between memory and reading. He urged students to annotate their books using “an appropriate little sign to mark “occurrences of striking words, archaic or novel diction, brilliant flashes of style, adages, examples, and pithy remarks worth memorizing.

According to Carr, popularity of the commonplace dropped off in the nineteenth century. I’m calling for a revival of the commonplace in the twenty-first century. At the very least, I’ve finally started one of my own.

Not surprisingly (I am a nemophilist, after all), some of the first passages in my commonplace are about Nature:

A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet, rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become calmer and sharper.

This wasn’t news to me. I’ve read quite a bit about how spending time in nature is good for us. What I didn’t know was that it also makes us better, more empathetic and compassionate human beings.

It’s not only deep thinking that requires a calm, attentive mind. It’s also empathy and compassion… the more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctively human forms of empathy, compassion and other emotions. “For some kinds of thoughts, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection,”

Slow down. Go outside. Breathe.

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December 21, 2019

Happy Winter Solstice

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Morning walk (December 9, 2019)

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My quads are really sore from Saturday’s Jarmans Challenge run. Brian and I added on to the challenge because we had 15 on the schedule. Fifteen miles including a trip up Jarmans (1700 feet in 3 miles) was a bit ambitious for us.

No running for me today, but I got out for a quick walk this morning and I have to say it left me feeling much better about this cold, dreary Monday.

IMG_20191209_072309984IMG_20191209_072246462I hope you find some fun and joy today.

Peace, Love and Compassion were also out on the trail this morning.

Skinny Turkey half marathon (November 28, 2019)

Thanksgiving is the best holiday. It combines my two favorite things: running and eating.

The last couple of years we’ve just been going for a trail run in the morning, but we decided to go back to doing a turkey trot this year. I’m glad we did. It was so much fun!

My sister Jen, her friend Dana, Brian and I all ran the Skinny Turkey half marathon.

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It was sunny and cold. Perfect running weather other than a little too much wind. Brian and I surprised ourselves and ran quite a bit faster than we were expecting.

My sister brought apple cider, champagne and homemade cinnamon rolls so we had a delicious little post-race tailgate in the parking lot before heading home for a day of eating and relaxing with the family.

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I’m thankful for turkey trots, people to run them with, sunshine, family and delicious food to eat.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.