One of my all time music idols passed away last December 28 – Lemmy Kilmister passed away from an aggressive form of cancer days after having been diagnosed. 2016 was not to be an auspicious year on that front: David Bowie, Maurice White, Prince, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake. Just a tough year for the classics…and some of the names of my childhood.
The most bizarre Presidential election cycle of my lifetime came to a close in November…in the most unlikely ways. I’m still letting the phrase “President-elect Trump” sink in. He may well be President before I can swallow that phrase.
The mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends succumbed to the cancer that she had willed at bay.
As we close the year, I’m anticipating the flood of “So long 2016…” and “may 2017 suck less than 2016” posts all over social media. With all of this, by and large, 2016 has been an amazing year for me. I learned some things about the power of goals and endurance. I learned some things about humility and being willing to step out of my comfort zone and try something different.
On January 2, I set out amongst the snow and slush, making my way on an 18-mile round trip walk to a nearby dam. It took me a little more than 4-hours to make the trip. Tired and exhausted, it was awesome. It also helped set the stage for more than a few workouts this year – up and down the stairs, along the trails came to be known as the “Pain Cave” in my strange little circle of compatriots.
I began with a goal of 50 Obstacle Course races by age 50 – something I may still strive toward, as that’s my real passion and interest – but my short list of a handful of races, eventually became a goal of 46 races for my 46 years. I honestly had no idea how low I had set my target and why would I?
On February 13, I ran the first race of the year; a 5k in 17-degree weather. A couple of weeks later, I jumped into a pool of ice water to raise money for a kids’ camp.
It wasn’t until May that I dared try anything longer than a 5k – although the day before I ran 2 5k races – and it was kind of important that I do that because somewhere along the line I had joined a Ragnar Relay team and I had never run more than a 5k at one time. I guessed at a 10k pace time for Ragnar, and tried to match it a couple of weeks before hand. I did well enough – not great, but well enough – that I agreed to take on a longer set of legs for the relay, and I’m glad I did.
328 racing miles on the year. I did so much more than I ever could have imagined. Ragnar. Ragnar Trail. Killington Spartan Beast. A half-marathon. 11-races in July. An overnight marathon relay so far into the New Hampshire darkness I saw the International Space Station traverse the sky. I met some really cool folks. I made stronger connections with old friends. I ran 4 races with my daughter. I either lost 20 pounds and gained 5 or lost 15 – I prefer to think of it as having lost 15.
Interestingly enough, that icewater fundraiser I mentioned earlier, set the stage for another key aspect of the year for me: we gave more to charity this year than we ever have, and over a wide breadth of causes. We had international guests for 2-months this summer; what an amazing experience. We welcomed yet another dog into our home – but this time we swear, no more.
So, 2016 didn’t see us get suddenly wealthy or even progressively so. BUT it sees us through together, healthy. Our bills are paid. My daughter has completed her college studies a semester early and will be going to Europe for a couple of months in celebration.
Before complaining about how crummy 2016 was to you, maybe take some time and think about all the ways 2016 was pretty good to you. 365.25 days can’t all be bad. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has waiting; I’m ready to go. Happy New Year my friends.
9 Pairs of sneakers
- Reebok (3)
- New Balance (3)
- North Face (1)
- Asics (1)
- Saucony (1)
66 Races (9 Obstacle Courses)
64:33:24 Hours:Minutes:Seconds Racing
Raced in 5 States (MA, NH, CT, RI, VT); Ran in 9 (NY, NJ, NC, FL)