This is my first post of 2015! So far, the year has gotten off to a pretty good start. With life constantly getting more and more complicated (especially from work and family scheduling standpoints), I continue making adjustments to keep things as simple as possible. That reminds me: Check out Duncan Callahan's latest Ultrarunnerpodcast.com interview as well as his "Burden of Self Improvement" blog post. I don't identify with all of what Duncan has included on his list, but I think we'll all agree that he's onto something.
When I think about my life now versus my life in 2007, before I was a dad, it's hard to believe the changes that have taken place. I didn't realize then how much free time I had! Being a dad is the greatest job in the world. It's not always easy, but the love I feel for my son and all of the joy he brings my wife and me and our entire family are beyond description. It's more fun than anything else. Every night, when I'm reading to my son, I realize that one day he'll be too old for his dad to lay in the bed next to him with a "Curious George" book in hand. So, I try to relish every moment. But I also realize that the good times will continue even when he's grown--just in different ways.
Whether we want to admit it or not, parenting requires tradeoffs. In order to be the dad (and husband) I want to be, I've had to give up certain things that were sucking up time or creating distractions. For example, I rarely have the time to join in on group runs anymore. It's just too damned hard to commit to others right now, especially when on Saturday mornings I'm often too tired to get out of bed before 6am to drive 45 minutes to the mountains (those runs are far better for me on Sundays), or we have stuff on the schedule. Over the past few years, I've also cut down on my racing schedule. I'll enter about a half-dozen races this year, with just a few of them being marathons and ultras. I also don't watch much TV. I've never been a big TV fan but these days I watch so little of it that I'm not at all informed about the latest shows, etc. The only things I do watch are the "news" and, occasionally, sports (that said, I am a Tour de France junkie and am glued to the TV in July). I also find it hard to keep up with my running magazines. I used to read them cover to cover; now I just glance over them and read only the articles that really interest me. Movies? It's hard to stay up-to-date on movies when I'm in bed early every night.
A big change I made recently, and am so glad I did so, is severely reducing the number of "friends" I have on Facebook. I've always thought Facebook was dumb and a waste of time, and yet I use it anyway. It had gotten to the point that my Facebook feed was littered with content from people I didn't even know. So, I went through my "friends" list and cut it down to the point that the only people I'm now connected to are people I personally know (family, friends, etc.). It's not that I didn't value the connections I had when my "friends" list was much bigger than it is now; it's just that I got to the place where I felt disconnected from what I was reading and who had posted it. Now when I log onto Facebook, I see content posted by people I know. I feel more of a connection.
Admittedly, my decision to cull my Facebook "friends" list wasn't arbitrary in the least. A few weeks ago, I allowed myself to become embroiled in a political debate on Facebook that got quite ugly. I was debating two guys who I didn't even know all that well. Suffice it to say, we hold very different political views. I see this kind of stuff frequently on Facebook--people arguing over this, that or the other thing when in really it's all a waste of time. As a friend told me after the above-mentioned dust-up, it's highly unlikely you'll change someone's mind on Facebook. And yet we hide behind our keyboards and argue with each other in ways that we'd never resort to in person. So, with that heinous episode behind me, I decided to sever connections with people I didn't know personally and with people whose content I found negative and toxic.
I'm also trying to find time to read. Over the past month or so, I read "Unbroken" and "Killing Kennedy." It's been good to put my devices down and read an actual book. Books unleash the mind in ways devices cannot. Louis Zamperini instantly became a hero of mine after I read "Unbroken." I admire the man not just for what he endured as a POW but also for living his life with faith, love and hope. As for Kennedy, though an imperfect man (as we all are), he remains one of my political idols.
So, there you have it--how my 2015 has gone so far. On the running front, my training is progressing nicely. I just logged another 70-mile week--my second 70+ mile week of the year. A few weeks ago, while in Dallas, I logged an outstanding 5x1-mile workout, going sub-6 on the last three with quarter-mile recoveries. Every week, I try to do at least one quality workout (intervals, tempo, etc.). I'm trying to keep the mileage at a decent level (70+) on weeks that we don't ski. And then on ski weeks, I'm allowing the mileage to come down a tad as I'm missing an entire day of running (Saturday). I don't sweat it too much; skiing delivers a heck of a workout anyway.
I honestly haven't thought a ton about Bighorn except for what my training will look like going into the big race on June 19. I have two events on my schedule leading up to Bighorn: 24 Hours of Palmer Lake Fun Run on April 11, and Cheyenne Mountain 50K on April 25 (my fourth Cheyenne). As tempting as it is, I'm not doing all 24 hours at Palmer Lake. Instead, I'll be running 6-8 hours and mostly focusing on getting in 30+ miles and testing my new nutrition "plan." Lots of other folks, as I understand it, use Palmer Lake in a similar way. It's at 7,300 feet--perfect early season Bighorn training.
Beyond those two events and maybe a spring half-marathon, it's going to come down to getting out on the trail for some long runs and logging some quality workouts here and there. I do like my chances at a solid result at Bighorn. First off, I have a knack for racing well in June. June just seems to be a good month for me. Second, the elevation at Bighorn isn't that bad, though the course is on technical, single-track mountain trail (which I like). And third, I seem to be on the right track with my diet. Carbs before a long run don't work for me. Instead, I'll have something along the lines of eggs and sausage or perhaps full-fat, plain Greek yogurt with berries and maybe a banana (admittedly, some of that includes carbs).
Whatever your race schedule in 2015 looks like, may it be epic!