As the new year begins, I cannot help but direct my attention to annual goals. Not resolutions, necessarily, as they can be a bit stifling. Rather, at this time of year I like to focus on reachable but aspirational goals that can help direct my attention appropriately and hopefully, along the way, make me a better runner and person.
For 2014 I have some specific ‘hard’ goals as well as some more nebulous ‘soft’ goals. So, in no particular order, here they are, three of each:
- Run 3,000 miles. In 2010, I ran 4,000 miles. Since then, it’s been all downhill. 3,212 miles in ’11, 2,747 miles in ’12, and 2,600 miles in ’13. While I know all miles are relative, I’d like to get back to 3,000 miles this year, at least. Call me compulsive, but it’s my goal and I am sticking to it.
- Finish my 10th Western States. This has been a dream of mine since I first toed the line in 2001. It’s been a long and winding road but as anyone who reads this website knows, it’s become a bit of an obsession for me. As the calendar ticks down to June 28th, I am thrilled to share the 10th running experience with Erik Skaden, John Nichols, and the indefatiguable Tom Green.
- Stay uninjured for a whole year. I know this may sound lame to some of the invincible runners out there, but I simply want to run one full year uninjured. The last time I did that was 2010. Since then, I have had plantar fasciitis, a torn meniscus, and a serious hip/hamstring/glute issue. I know I am ‘my own worst enemy,’ but at least it’s worth a try. Advice from other mid-lifers who’ve stayed injury-free for a full year would be much appreciated.
- Pay more attention to detail. Pretty much everyone who knows me calls me a ‘big-picture guy.’ I am good at finding themes, trends, and threads running through things. Conversely, I am not so good at connecting those disparate things in the context of the details that, ultimately, make up the essence of our lives. Therefore, for 2014, I pledge to pay more attention to detail. Please call me on it if I stray!
- Accept what I cannot control. I have come to the conclusion that acceptance is the essence of middle age. While the 20’s and 30’s are filled with hope, optimism and vigor, the 40’s and beyond are filled with the rest of life. As such, we need to take that acquired wisdom and understanding and use it to our advantage. Before it kicks us in the ass. A big part of that process is accepting what is and discarding what isn’t.
- Simplify my life. I must admit I have been trying to do this for years, but this year, more than ever, I am really going to try to do it. The simple life is more fun, more safe, and more sane than any other life and I, for one, want it to be my life. Like my grandfather always used to say, “Keep it simple, stupid!”
Okay, I’ll admit it, I want to finish my last Western States in 2014 in the top 10.
There, I said it!
WS Race Director Craig Thornley has already told me he won’t let me into the race in 2015 regardless of how I finish in 2014 so I won’t be running for continuance as I did in all the years between 2004 and 2011. Rather, I’ll be running for pride and for the hopes and dreams of all who wish to run 100 miles. And, I must admit, I have drawn tremendous inspiration from those second-five top-10 finishers in 2013 (Paul Terranova in particular. In fact, check out Bryon’s pre-race interview with me before WS 2013 when he asked about surprise top-10-ers and see how his eyebrows rose when I mentioned Terranova’s name. :-)
I started running these things, quite honestly, as a regular guy who wanted to get in shape and loved the trails. Along the way, I found a sport, an event, and a community that got into my heart and soul and became an essential part of my being. Sure, I have enjoyed the ride and all that it’s meant to my family and me, but most of all I’ve enjoyed the journey, and I’d be a bald-faced liar if I said it didn’t want to put it all out there one last time.
So, everybody, here’s to training our butts off in 2014. It’s going to be a great year!
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina. My friend, Jason Farr, tipped me off to their very limited edition holiday ale called Cold Mountain Ale which is truly outstanding. Balanced, focused, and full-bodied it, quite frankly, reminds me of me. :-)
Call for Comments (from Bryon)
What are your goals for 2014?