Monday, February 20, 2017

The problem with pain

The orthopedist was very friendly on Monday, but didn't have any real answers. She said my foot pain was "something tendon related" and wanted an MRI. I chose not to pay for the MRI when the outlook was likely to be the same - a few weeks of physical therapy and a prescription for NSAID's. Turns out the anti-inflammatory's are an arthritis medication, but the xray did not reveal any "significant" arthritis buildup.

I'm starting the physical therapy next week, and after talking to a friend at church today I feel really good about that. The drugs have been working great on my foot as well, it really feels better. Not 100% yet, but really manageable. I'm still in the foot brace or the orthotics, and no running yet (going on almost 6 weeks now).

Side effects from the drugs has included gaining 12 pounds in the first week. that's not cool. Also the joint pain in my hands is showing some signs of improvement, but my elbows are having some new and pretty serious joint pain. Also muscle pain around my elbows, forearms mostly. I tried doing some pushups the other day, and could barely make it through 10 instead of my usual 50. I tried swimming Monday night when Ella was back in her swim team practice too, and barely 300 yards in my arms were heavy and killing me. The rest of the night it was agonizing joint pain in the elbows and forearms. And I haven't had a single workout since then. No yoga, swimming, running, biking, weights, anything.

The hardest part about chronic joint pain is not letting it bring negativity into every other part of your life. My family well knows that if I go a few days without a decent workout I get very short tempered. Right now I'm working very hard to remain patient. It feels like I'm suddenly aging very fast. It's more than just accepting some time off for an injury. Normal rest should make you feel better, not make everything else fall apart.

I don't know what's going on anymore, or what I'm supposed to do about it. And until I figure that out, I am just going to keep taking the drugs and going to physical therapy and take everything else one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

So much better

Truly, I am amazed at how much better 2017 has already been than what 2016 was. At work I got promoted to being a team lead a few weeks ago. The software we've been building since last spring has gone live and we picked up a few hundred customers in the first week. This is huge! So huge, in fact, that I got named Team Lead for another team as well. It's a new team formed to do the same process to another piece of software. So now I'm leading 9 other engineers on 2 separate teams on 2 separate pieces of software. It's a crazy amount of responsibility, but I'm loving it so far. Really getting to use the leadership skills again.

January was largely wonderful. We got some snow, I got some stories.

Swim: 31,950 yards, 10 swims
Bike: 62.2 miles, 5 rides
Run: 15 miles, 2 runs
Yoga: 10 times
Strength: 8 times

Actually I thought I swam more often than that. on 1/17 I wrenched out my lower back picking up EG, so I lost that entire week. Chiropractor and acupuncture took care of that. However I am still dealing with some constant pain in my right foot. I have not run a mile since Jan 12 and there is no end in sight. To help fix that, I was stepping up the crosstraining by doing more core work and getting back on the bike. I'm actually enjoying the bike a bit more these days. I usually lift weights before I ride, and I can actually feel the muscles around my right knee strengthening. That's going to help the foot heal. However, I've been dealing with this foot pain for about 4 months now. It's time to see an orthopedist. Yoga also really steps up the foot pain, so that's out for a while too.

12 in 12 update
Well, as you might imagine this whole goal is really down the drain. My next round of marathons was supposed to start in March. I cut the Myrtle Beach marathon back down to the half, and just deferred the Tobacco Road marathon until 2018. Also I added the Javelina Jundred 100k in January. So I got up to 11 marathons in 13 months, then back down to 9. 2017 will end up with 6 marathons or ultras, plus that half. And I'm going to knock 3 more states off of my list.

It's also time to add in some swim races. Something unique is coming up the first weekend of June. The US Masters Open Water Championship is going in Chattanooga Tennessee. I'm going to swim the 2.4 mile race on Saturday, then kayak for my buddy Tom when he does the 9.2 mile swim on Sunday. Add in the 3 open water series races here in Raleigh and that should fill out my race schedule for the year. Might throw in a 5 mile swim near Richmond, but I've looked at that one before.

We got some snow in January, so the kids got to play in it! I got pictures of the snow, and of the kids playing, but not both at the same time #dadfail

I did go run in the snow

Have yak trax, will log easy miles

Made it to the state capital! 10 miles in the snow was amazing.

Walked to the chinese restaurant across the street like this

My favorite yoga studio had a grand opening for the new owners

While drunk, I bought a small drone on Amazon. The kids destroyed it quickly.

My little ham has started digging bacon

But she's still a ham. and an Evil Genius.

We're building onto the back of the shed!
We need to add some partially protected space to the back of the shed so I added this pad in the last weekend of January. Felt good to flex my landscaping skills again. We'll add a couple of walls to this, then move the kiln out there so it will be well ventilated but still out of the rain. Kelley is looking forward to firing some pottery without having to go down to the studio.

So that's it! I'll be sure and post what happens to this stupid foot. Looking forward to a fun and exciting February here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

About Transformations

This past Sunday was Scout Recognition Day at our church. Our church sponsors a boy scout troop that has a particularly high turnout rate of Eagle Scouts. Also, I've been meditating for a while around the concept of transformation, more specifically this quote:

During the regular church service the scoutmaster gets up to talk about the troop and the ideals of the boy scouts, and how they align with the goals of the church. Then all of the current and former scout leaders, as well as any Eagle Scouts in the congregation, stand for recognition. Something really clicked for me then, and I want to explain it here.

I distinctly remember waking up on my 17th birthday (almost 25 years ago), rolling over in bed and staring down my boy scout handbook. My first thought was "I have one year left to finish this and if I don't do it now it will never happen". I knew what I had to do.

Telling people that you are an Eagle Scout sets - well "expectation" is the wrong word. There is a reputation that precedes you at that point, but that's a good thing. Eagle scouts know the value of honesty, are trustworthy, and have a natural leadership ability. The keyword is that you "achieve the rank of Eagle Scout" because it's not something that you can just step into or pay for. It takes more work than most people realize.

Everyone knows there are a large list of merit badges that you have to complete. Those are checklists, things where everyone has to put together the same accomplishments like riflery (shooting a .22 5 times inside of the diameter of a quarter on a gun range). Some people know there has to be an Eagle Scout Project where you have to build and lead a team through ideas, funding, materials, and project completion. My project involved remodeling part of a house for an elderly couple taking care of an adult son with disabilities. Very few people know that you then have to defend your accomplishments to a council of scoutmasters. I had my council meeting about 10 days before my 18th birthday.

12 year old me who joined the scouts just wanted to go camping with my childhood best friend. I learned the value of honesty, and standing up for what's right. I became a trustworthy person and then led my peers and kept the younger scouts in line just like the older scouts kept me in line. At the time I didn't realize how distinct that transformation was, but from age 12 to 18 I did transform myself to achieve the rank. It certainly still has a lasting affect on me to this day.

Lots of people add "finish an Ironman" to their bucket list. I wasn't necessarily one of them. I was a pack a day smoker for 15 years. I was an obese, heavy drinker. When I finished my first sprint triathlon I had two thoughts: First, I knew I had beaten my tobacco addiction. It's been 9 years, still happy about that. Second, I thought those people who did Ironmans were idiots - certifiably insane.

The Ironman brand's mantra is "anything is possible", and you learn what that means during Ironman training. As humans, we don't have limits. Our mind sets up what we can and cannot do. If you can change your mind, you can alter your entire reality.

To get ready for Ironman training I lost the rest of the weight. I established a solid aerobic base during the weight loss phase by running 5 miles on the treadmill 5 days a week for several months straight. Then I increased my endurance steadily over time, joined a US Masters swim team, and started increasing my time on the bike. The training plan for a full iron takes about 9 months working out twice a day, 6 days a week. Ideally, you want to ride 5 times, run 5 times, swim 2 or 3 times, and still work in some yoga/stretching and strength training every week too.

Your body turns iron long before race day. On 11/5/2011 I finished Ironman Florida in 13:06:24 and became an Ironman. The day of the race was a magical celebration, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, riding through a breezy flat course, then running my way to hear an announcer say "John Flynn You Are An Ironman" - and all of those hours of sweat paid off in exponential ways that were better than I had imagined.

I had transformed myself from smoker to triathlete, then from triathlete to Ironman. The registration anxiety was crazy the day I signed up. I wasn't that guy who actually thought I could finish the race I had just dropped $700 on. I had to change myself into someone who could do that. I learned discipline, confidence, and where my limits were (hint: I don't have any)

Since the Scout Recognition Day happened in Church, it got me thinking about the transformation that happens when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It gives me a sense of peace. The unending love that God has for us is the same love that we should show for our fellow man.

Muslims pray 5 times a day which seems absurd to so many Americans. But if we ask a blessing before each meal, start the day with some prayer and meditation time, and finish each day by thanking God for what happened that day, we're there as well. And if you establish a new pattern of prayer, do you think God will transform something in your life if you keep praying often enough?

When you learn how to love yourself, you then learn how to love others. If I can grow so many different ways above, then I can help others grow in their own way. Being a Christian has determined how I lead my family, what I teach my kids, and how I build my social circles. Currently I sing in the sanctuary choir and truly love sharing my gift of song.

Your goals don't have to be my goals. It took me 6 years to transform myself into an Eagle Scout. It took 4 years to go from smoker to Ironman. I was baptized at age 12, and I bet eventually I'll become a decent church member. What has transformed you in the past? How do you want to transform in the future? Any good, big goals ahead?

Postlude: Goals don't have to be physical. Now at 41, I've been fighting foot pain long enough that I'm starting to abandon my race schedule and start swimming more. I just can't run yet and I miss it so much. Actually, I've noticed that every time I do what I love I complain about it. Get in the pool? no flip turns today, my back hurts. Running? foot pain. can't get enough miles to properly train for the upcoming marathons. Also I have no idea what I'm going to do about that. Goals might also instill setting priorities. I still want to finish a full marathon or longer in all 50 states so this years new states have to be the priority. But am I too old for this? Some days I feel too old for a lot of things. Age is another form of transformation, I guess.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Acupuncture Works

Last week I made the appointment to try acupuncture for the first time, and boy am I ever glad that I did. Then Monday night I wrenched out my lower back trying to pick up an Evil Genius that fell asleep in the wrong place. That hurt. so bad. all week. I did make it to swim practice Monday at noon, got in 4000 yards, and I haven't been able to do a darn thing since. No yoga, no pushups, no swim/bike/run.  Hell most days I could barely stand.

on the table
Thank goodness I found Essential Wellness Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine on google. The office is very close to my home and office and the rates seemed affordable, so I booked an appointment for Thursday afternoon. I was a bit nervous, not gonna lie there. I didn't expect it to hurt but also thought it might be a giant waste of time. Boy was I wrong.

The doc was great, he listened to all of my whining about my foot and back and then started sticking needles into me. At first he tapped the needle through the skin, then pushed it another half an inch deeper into the muscle. Then there was some kind of battery packed hooked up for electro-stim. There was a heat lamp involved. It took about 20 minutes, I may have fallen asleep.

me back!

He hit all the right spots

this looks insane
Afterwards, he did some massage on my legs that was nice, and really made me realize how tight my hamstrings are. Then I tried to stand up.

Fun fact, muscle stimulation releases something like toxins. Once those toxins are released, they have to be flushed out. So I'm using the term "stand up" pretty loosely there. I could barely walk. But I knew the release was a good thing. One of the benefits of acupuncture is increased recovery time so I knew my lower back hurting bad at the time was going to mean some extra water that night and it would finally feel better in the morning. 

Sure enough, I was right. I walked out of there with no foot pain, and the next morning I had no back pain. It was pretty magical.

Foot pain came back by Sunday, but definitely not as bad as it was before. He said it would take 1-4 treatments, and if it was a muscular problem it would be more effective. If it was a tendon problem, not so much. So I'm hopeful that it is actually muscular and this will hold up. Still going to take another week before I try running again, but I will be able to swim and get back on the yoga mat again tomorrow. And that is fantastic.

I tried taking a few pictures while I was upside down on the table and it was pretty horrible/funny

Not too bad, really

where did all those gray hairs come from?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gravity Catches

The quote is "Old age and gravity eventually catch up to us all" is totally ringing true these days. So far 2017 is going great, really. I'm moving into a managerial role at work, the kids are doing great at school, and we had some good snow days last week. I'm settling into a really good pattern of workouts that are a lot of fun, even if they aren't getting me really prepared for my March marathons. This is not a downer post.

But I do miss running! I've been getting out there about once a week since 11/6. Actually I took the first 3 weeks off completely after the City of Oaks marathon. This tendonitis in my right foot hasn't gone away yet. I thought that by January I could get back up to 30-50 mile weeks so my patience is wearing a bit thin here. I'm taking the zen practice of acceptance approach to the whole thing. Fixing it now will be easier than fixing it later. Take each day as it comes. I've got 5 marathons coming up, it's better to rest now and miss the first few than to push it now and miss them all.

Last night Evil Genius fell asleep in the wrong place. That meant Daddy had to correct the situation. That meant Daddy threw out his lower back trying to pick up a little girl. And that meant Daddy was laughing aaaaaalllllll day about how much pain he was in.

I really did think it was funny. I mean, you have to be able to laugh at yourself. So today I went to the chiropractor and got a fantastic adjustment. My regular tuesday has been some yoga before work, then hitting the weights and the stationary bike at the gym at night. I decided not to workout at all today to let the back recoup. It feels great now.

Also today I made an appointment for the dentist to makeup for one that got cancelled during snowpocalypse. I also called to setup a new patient appointment for a family physician. The last time I got a cold of some kind I wanted antibiotics but didn't have a regular doc to take care of that. So I'm going in for a physical so that situation won't come up again. Also I made an appointment to get some acupuncture, hopefully that will FINALLY help this foot tendonitis heal up!

But as a health nut, going to the chiropractor on the same day that I line up visits for acupuncture, a filling, and a physical just seems excessive. I shouldn't need to talk to four doctors offices in one day. But I guess old age and gravity really do catch up to us all.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Dumpster Fire

For a 2016 year in review, it was really a fucking dumpster fire. My 2007 was really bad, this may be worse. Kelley doesn't think it was. I really am trying to stay positive going into 2017 but it's not easy. 2016 was filled with personal failures, depression, and deaths. and I'm not even talking about anything related to the election yet. But it does seem like personally (and nationally) someone took out all of the trash and set it on fire.

Start with the positive! I've been thinking hard to find something good that happened in 2016. Two events really stand out. First, I had an absolutely amazing trip to San Diego last January. Traveling with my parents made that really special. Later this year my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease so he might not be able to make big trips like this much longer. I finished my first 50 miler out there and had a wonderful time on the trails of Escondido. We went whale watching.

That garmin fell out of my suitcase on the cargo bay during the flight home. I never got my data uploaded.

The other real highlight of the year was seeing Ella graduate from elementary school and start middle school. As difficult as it can be to admit that my kids are growing up, they keep getting older. But every year they get sweeter and more kind. And as they get older we can do more things together. They get more independent and make more friends all the time.

At her graduation
2016 Goals
Mantra: consistency
Well that didn't happen. Everything was up and down all over the place. This mantra was supposed to relate to my eating habits and weights. I guess my weight was consistent over the year. I was overweight the whole time. Started the year over 190 lbs for the first time since 2010. I did get into the 180's for a while in the spring, but 2017 is starting out at 197 lbs. I can't even.

Short Term Goals:
  • Finish a 50 mile race - Success! I finished the 50 miler in San Diego, got 41 miles at the 12 hour race in Alabama, and got an official 50 mile finish at Umstead
  • Finish a 100 mile race - Fail - only made it 75 miles at the Umstead 100

Long Term Goals:
  • 2 more states - Success! I did knock California and Alabama from my 50 state marathon list by getting the San Diego 50 and Delano Park 12 hour (41 miles)
  • 200 mile month - Fail! The best chance was during Umstead training, highest I ever got was 173 miles in January
    • unwritten sub-goal: get an 80 mile week - Fail! Proper 100 mile event training means you have to get in some 80 mile weeks and 200 mile months. I did get a 74 (or 76?) mile week during Umstead training, but never hit 80. ugh
  • Try Something Else - Fail! The purpose of this goal was to get something else going for me after Umstead training. I set that goal to get my bench press up to 225 lbs. The highest I ever got was 205. Eating for heavy weight training also raised my body weight pretty high. I abandoned this goal when it was time to start training for the fall marathons. I was just happy to be able to run again.
    • secondary sub-goal: starting in the fall, finish 12 marathons in 8 months - Fail! Part of this was scheduling and cost. Kelley didn't want me to marathon in November and December to save family time and do holiday stuff. I finished 3 of those in the fall (well, a 50k and 2 marathons) and am registered for 5 more in the spring.
    • That has turned into a 12 marathons in 12 months goal - Fail! I am registered for 2 more races inside of that 12 month time frame, as well as a 100k after the October 1st time to complete which means there won't be anything else going on with running marathons next year. Capped out at 10 marathons in 13 months.
  • Take photographic evidence of me driving the convertible with the top down every month - Success! Really this was a guess that in North Carolina the climate is so mild that I could ride topless at least once. Getting the pictures for this goal made me really appreciate how nice the weather is here. We get all 4 seasons, sure, but it's not really that bad. The summer was actually the hardest time to get the pictures, a black leather interior is horrible when you're in shorts and a tank and it's 116* outside.

2/1/2016 and a haircut

2/28/16 with Evil Genius

4/24/2016 with Ella. Shaved the beard after Umstead
5/4/2016 after church
6/18/2016 after a swim race

8/17/2016 - Only time it was cool enough was at night

8/18/2016 got cool enough for Ella to ride with me downtown



11/5/2016 with Evil Genius

12/27/2016 after returning from SC for Christmas on a 72* day
 Overall that was a really fun challenge. You'd think taking selfies in the car would just be another way to inflate my ego but it turned out to be really cool.

The Final Numbers
Swim: 199,150 yards, 113+ miles, 68 swims
Bike: 82 miles, 7 rides
Run: 1179.5 miles, 122 runs
Strength: 76 times
Yoga: 78 times
Weight: Average 187 lbs, Min 181.7 lbs, Max 195.9 lbs

People on facebook were pissed that I wouldn't get the last 850 yards in the pool on new years' eve to make that an even 200k. 2012 is the only other time this decade that I have not cleared 200k. In 2015 I did a marathon swim race and got in 375k in the pool total. I really want to put in more work in the pool this year.

Biking is about right. I really was burned out. 1 sprint triathlon in June took 14 of those miles, and that will likely be my last triathlon ever. It's just not safe on the roads.

There is an unwritten goal every year that I want to run 1200 miles. Failing at that during a year where I went marathon or longer 6 times is particularly bitter. Especially when it ends with a 41 mile November (inc a marathon) and a 36 mile December. The truth is I finished the last marathon with some foot/heel pain that is spawning some knee pain. I think it's coming from some tight hips. So I couldn't run much at all for those last 2 months and I'm kind of bitter about it. still.

The numbers for yoga and strength training are about half of what they used to be. A far cry from the 300 days of yoga challenge that I did a few years ago. That is contributing directly to the foot/knee pain. must fix that this year.

The strangest part of last years goal post was how I wrapped it up:
oh my! It did suck! It sucked so bad. Such a no-good, terrible, very bad year. Why?

What happened in 2016?
How did everything go so wrong? I mean, I'm sure it could have been worse. but wow, that was bad. It started in the spring. Great trip to San Diego, then a good trip to Alabama in February with Kelley. I needed the time alone with her, but she's getting irritated when I'm running 41 miles in a race for 9 hours while she is left to fend for herself. I wanted to run at least 50, and then didn't get to shower for at least 4 hours after the race while we searched for a hotel. Not bad, could have been better.

Easter weekend we thought we would tackle a small home improvement project, the toilet had popped up a few tiles in the bathroom floor. We thought we would retile the floor, maybe have to replace half a sheet of subfloor and it's all good. Turns out the entire thing was rotten and it would take a contractor 6 weeks and over $17,000 to repair. This is also the same time we had to pay our taxes (no refund for us this year). So while we were quite happy to have a nice little nest egg saved up at the end of 2015, really more than we've ever had before in our entire lives, it was all completely wiped out in one slow remodel that never seemed to end. We had to get help from family members to pay for the whole thing. How embarrassing is it to be 40 years old and still not be able to maintain my own house & personal finances. Fuck that was tough.

My seasonal affective disorder (SAD disease) was raging this summer. The heat was oppressive, I could barely walk outside. This leads to lower vitamin D levels which leads to depression. At the same time I'm buried in a terrible contract with the state government, trying to get out of it and into an office closer to home. And the presidential election was heating up. Hearing the way the issues were discussed, and the way the system treated Bernie. Trump's ego.....

Let me tell you what I found out about Canada. I did actually apply for a couple of jobs in Montreal before I found the work visa regulations. Didn't get a response on those. Ottowa and Montreal both have similar demographics (size, population, work availability) to Raleigh. For the four of us to move there would take about $22,000 US and take about 3 years. There is a booklet available online called Life in Canada that gives you everything you need to know to pass the citizenship test. I read that booklet, it was fascinating. All of the immigration reform and "drain the swamp" reform that Trump wants? They already have that. All of the democratic socialization policy that Bernie wanted? They already have that. And they do it without all of the corruption that we have (smaller military, limited foreign influence, etc) and all of the tax reform that we need. Canada's highest tax bracket is only 33%, ours is 39.5% (but I don't think they have our system of deductions which [have a higher impact on the extremely rich and] wouldn't affect normal middle class people like me). So between the heat, depression, and the election I legitimately wanted to move to Canada this year. I still think it is the "after" picture that we should end up with in about 20 more years. My cynicism is so strong that I mentally went from "we need to fix this, and can with this election" to "we cannot fix this and should leave asap". Kelley doesn't think she could handle the cold, and nobody wants us to be that far away from our extended family members, but shit. it's not going to get fixed here. Canada is a better option.

Eventually I did land a dreamy job close to home and with a really cool company. It's a very complex system and I'm barely smart enough to hang with these people. I started in June on a contract-to-hire basis. Contracting sucks. While on this contract portion and the government contracts I was on for almost a year before, I had to pay $1000 per month (average) for health insurance. On top of that $17k bathroom remodel? Contracting is unstable by nature, so as much as I liked the company I was desperate to get to the "hire" part. It finally kicked in October 24th, just in time for thanksgiving. The FTE company insurance is so much better than that Obamacare garbage that was so expensive and didn't actually cover anything. Now I have the kind of income, security, commute, environment, technology, and benefits that I have been looking for since the summer of 2015. Finally something good

happens right before the election. Then the downward spiral of depression starts all over again. November 6 was the City of Oaks marathon, I was very happy with that race and looking forward to resting my foot so it could heal. I still have not seen an orthopedist like I should.  We ended up with 2 terrible candidates that nobody liked because the system is corrupt. One of them won thanks to more corruption (and terrible advice for Hillary not to go campaign in Michigan or Wisconsin) from the Russians. So fuck it. deal with whatever fallout happens from the Drumpf.

At least there's Thanksgiving and Christmas. they were both fantastic. Except my brother-in-law and Kelley's cousin both died unexpectedly from heart problems.

So there you have it. I made 3 goals and failed at 6 goals on the year. I wanted to move to Canada and couldn't make that happen. And then when the holidays hit there comes death. 2016 can kiss my ass.

What now?
I'm not setting a mantra or any goals for 2017. My only hope is that it will suck less than 2016 did. It's a low bar.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The End of the Shitshow

December 2016 started with death and ended with the holidays. It brings to an end the smoldering dumpster fire that was 2016, but that's another story. I did still manage to get some work done in December.

Swim: 18,300 yards, 7 swims
Bike: 11 miles, 1 ride
Run: 37.4 miles, 6 runs
Strength: 2 times
Yoga: 3 times

So the running was a bit light because of a foot pain. Don't really know what that is yet, or what I'm going to do about it. The one time I hit the bike (first time since June) was actually great cross training. I could feel the muscles around my knees starting to stabilize, so I knew that was going to help the foot pain. And it did. Yesterday I ended the year getting 13.4 miles in Umstead:

Starting out so full of smiles

About 8 miles in, not quite conditioned for this anymore
The decreased running led to more swimming whenever I could get into the water. I had one solid week with 3 swims and 2 runs in there, but the first few days were out and all of the holiday travel provided plenty of rest. I just totally gave up on yoga and strength training. Overall the month was really slack and I kind of let myself go.

Topless Year
We did have 2 days that were over 70* in December here in Raleigh, so I was able to take advantage.

This was 12/18 leaving church after the Christmas Cantata

Late night office depot run after we got back from SC Christmas on 12/27
12 in 12 Update
I was able to add 2 more races in December, truly stretching it out to 12 months. I finally registered for the Boring marathon just outside of Portland Oregon! And I have really been looking forward to visiting the pacific northwest for quite a while. Still have a ton of other logistics to work out but that's going to be a fun trip.

Then on Christmas Eve the Yeti Trailrunners opened up a 50 mile option to the Yeti 100! It sold out in a few hours, but I managed to get in. Very excited about this as I have a ton of friends who are going for the 100 mile so this is going to be a blast. Both of these races are in September.

It also means my year is getting longer. I want some opinions on the Javelina Jundred. Cousin Ryan has already registered for Javelina as his first 100 miler. I want to register for the 100k and be there to support him when he finishes. That puts my 2017 looking like 3 marathons in march, 2 50k's in april, marathon and 50 miler in September and a 100k in October. Plus, flights to Phoenix and Portland are both fairly expensive but I think I can pull it off. Technically October 28 is after the Oct 1 cutoff date for my 12 in a year goal, but I think that's just a label now anyway.

Family Stuff

Ella had another swim meet in December. We had Cousin Donnie's funeral mentioned before. Evil Genius had a get-together with her Indian Princess tribe that was a lot of fun. Kelley and I got a few nice date nights. Overall it was a busy month with lots of ups and downs.

EG's tribe

Date night at my company Christmas party

Ella ready to dive into the pool after a meet

NO! No valentines day candy before Christmas. Don't do it retailers!

First selfie with the new phone
December had some fun and some not so fun stuff. Lots of holiday cheer, lots of family time, it was the best possible way to wrap up the year. Hope you had a good month too!