Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Final update on my 2015 New Years Resolution...

I did it!

A dreamy image of 2015

365.3 miles logged in 363 days!  I actually had to play catch up in December and ended up running over 65 miles this month alone.

Considering I was not a runner at all before I began the year, I think that I have learned quite a bit while going  through this task.  Here's what I've learned:

-  Running is fun.  Seriously.  I've had some great times running around the countryside, taking photos of sunsets and a whole lot of selfies.  I've mooed at cows as they cautiously move away from the sound of my approaching footsteps and the strange sounding noises coming from iPhone's play list.  My playlist this year included a steady diet of Purity Ring, Ryan Adams, Duplekita, Avett Brothers, Dave Bazan, and Death Cab.  Kind of a mellow runner.

-  Running isn't that hard.  The hard part is starting.  Literally 2 minutes after starting, it's easy to push on for a few miles.  The difficulty lies completely in the motivation and preparation.  If you are not motivated or prepared (running clothes tucked away instead of hanging where you can see them, GPS watch fully charged) then you will not succeed.

- Kind of assumed, but I feel better.  I had neck pain before I started running (I also have had a standing desk since the Spring) and that pain is gone.  I am never short of breath.  Also, I made it through the whole year without getting sick once.  Not even a sniffle!

-  This time last year, after a good month of eating holiday treats, I weighed 240 pounds.  This last week, on the same scale, I weighed in at 216.  Carrying 24 less pounds around is nice and is a huge factor in me feeling healthier.

-  I slacked off a few weeks here and there, but that was okay as long as I paid for it later.  Totally okay to slow down here and there and then work hard towards getting back on track.  Of course, this is not ideal and I will work to avoid playing catch up in the future.

-  I ate super healthy until September.  No fried food, no burgers for about 3 months there, tons of kale & fruit smoothies.  In this area, I slacked off again.  However... I no longer crave soda pop or things like that.  I hope that this will continue and will apply to other kinds of junk food that I still like to delve into a little too often.  Bottom line is that abstaining from certain things can be a lasting thing that feels good.  Not a punishment because, in the end, you lose the craving for it.

-  I can set a goal and actually complete it.  This is probably the most important thing about this accomplishment for me.  I set out to do a lot of things, and most of the time I don't follow through.  A year ago I said that people laugh at New Years Resolutions because nobody ever follows through with them.

Well, I did!

I set a reasonable goal and I did it.  You can, too!  Whatever it may be.  I challenge you to set a goal this new year and to chip away at it all the way through the year until you complete it!  Go for it!

For this coming year I have set a new goal.  Because I like running, and it makes me feel good, I will continue.

At the Run For Life 13.1 mile finish.  Time of 2 hrs. 8 minutes

My goal is to run 50 miles a month for the year 2016.  I set a monthly goal because weekly goals are really hard to make happen certain weeks for me and I have the flexibility to work toward the end of each month with this goal in mind.

This goal is not a huge jump from 30 a month, but it's just enough to challenge me to not slack off at any point this year.

Along with my 50 miles a month, I want to add 50 push ups a day, 5 days a week.  This will help me in all around strength and give my core strength to continue running further and faster.

I will run the Run for Life in Stony Plain again in the Fall, with a goal time of 1 hour 50 minutes for the half marathon.  I might sign up for another run in the Spring as well.

So, that's about it.  I will keep you posted as I go along.  Wish me luck in 2016 and good luck to you!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Street

I wrote this about the street in front of where I lived for 6 years in the city of Xining, China.  It is the road that passes by the university where I studied Chinese.  It was where I would buy groceries, where I ate meals, and where I played with my children in an foreign land.

-The street-

The street shifts with the times; shiny red lights, power lines heavy under thick dust, and the feet that tilt it back and forth. 

Clothing styles come and go and come again.  Teenagers suck down cigarettes.  College students pop their collars.  Girls climb to the top of high heels and totter.

There is a strange scene of status; the latest fashion in street sweeping attire.  Feet shift and shake on heels as her arms grow embarrassingly firm.

Children play, in the gutters and in the trash.  A blessed imagination takes them through the dirt, the dust and the day into some sort of wonderland.

Steam soaks out of an open piece of glass.  The damp humidity chokes, the flavors provoke.

A frying cart; soaking in oil and down the throat.  Slam some more salt on that lettuce, please.  Press it in there.

The tea shop, where they drink beer.  The memories made on the street.

The grass is where they grew up, but the times have changed.  A cement square here, a water feature there.  Yet there it is!  A time and a place for feet; on the street.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ugly Sweaters

Did you see that most stores now sell mass produced "ugly sweaters"?  

Ben and Rose with their epic twin ugly sweater back in 2011

All of the fun and joy that's evolved and grown out of silly traditions like this gets swallowed up by the ones who love the mighty squeeze of the dollar. It will wring our Master Cards until every last nickel and dime falls out of this trend, leaving a million brand new, factory made 'ugly sweaters' to beautify the landfills with.

God bless the mighty dollar, am I right?

People used to have to go out to the thrift stores and actually work for their fun. Now Walmart and the gang have caught on. They've bottled up all of the silliness and hung it up on their racks for us to buy so we don't have to have any fun looking for those ugly sweaters.

What a world!

Who knows what other surprises the shopping malls and the television commercials have for us this winter.

Next thing you know they'll put wifi in our cars so that our poor kids won't have to look out of the window.

For me? My ugly sweater will remain to be this crappy looking Oilers pullover. For many obvious reasons.

Ugly since 2007