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.


Abby said...

I am so sorry you had a horrid 2016 - I feel like it seemed to be a shitty year for the country too - it must get better right?

Amber said...

Oh man. What a year.

First, love your convertible pics. That is pretty awesome you can drive it with the top down 12 months a year down there!

Second, so funny that you get SAD in the summer and I get it in the winter. So really the weather in Canada wouldn't be so bad

Third, if you are serious about moving to Canada I would recommend checking out smaller centres and also looking more westward - where the economy is better. That said, don't go TOO small because then you are going to end up with mindsets like the rural people who voted in Trump. The city I'm currently living in absolutely would have voted for Trump - full of a bunch of redneck conservatives. But the economy is great here and the jobs are good, so I suck it up. It's really only bigger centres in Canada that are super left/liberal. Also the west - oil and gas - is much much more right wing than the east.

Oh, and if she's seriously concerned about the weather you need to look in BC. Anywhere in southern BC you guys would be just fine. Every several years they get a bad winter down there (this year is one of them) but for the most part the weather is great so that would be an easier adjustment for Kelley. Also, and I'm biased, but BC is definitely the most beautiful province ever. You would be in awe at the outdoor recreation opportunities here!

Al's CL Reviews said...

I can't even write down how bad 2016 sucked because I start to cry every time I do.

But we got through it. And let us know when you start the move to Canada. D and I may be on board.